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Kick Assiest Blog
Friday, July 15, 2005
Dem fucktard Charles Schumer voted against the CIA leaker law
Mood:  loud
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Change of Heart?

Fox News' Britt Humes' pickings from the Political Grapevine:

New York Democratic Senator Charles Schumer — who says White House adviser Karl Rove may have committed a crime when he identified Ambassador Joe Wilson's wife as a CIA agent — voted against the law he says Rove may have violated. In 1982, Schumer, then in the House, was one of only 32 congressmen, all Democrats, to oppose the Intelligence Identities Protection Act, which made it a crime to out covert U.S. intelligence agents.

What's more, seven years later, Schumer criticized a new Justice Department policy to prosecute federal employees who leak certain kinds of information, telling the Los Angeles Times at the time, "I am worried that this policy is so broad it could easily be abused."

Poll Results

A new Fox News Opinion Dynamics poll shows that significantly more Americans (Six in 10) want President Bush to nominate a conservative judge to the Supreme Court, than want him to nominate a liberal or moderate one.

What's more, the vast majority says that if President Bush nominates a well-qualified, strong conservative, Senate Democrats should vote to confirm him or her.

Fox News ~ Brit Hume ** Political Grapevine - Change of Heart?

Posted by uhyw at 2:50 AM EDT
LA Dems in War on Poverty Quagmire
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Years Have Done Little to Help Local Blacks

Serious inequities still exist in healthcare, justice and housing, a new report finds.

Forty years after the Watts riots exposed the dismal social conditions afflicting many African American communities, blacks continue to trail other ethnic groups in housing, healthcare and criminal justice, a report issued Wednesday concludes.

Blacks in Los Angeles County are twice as likely as other groups to be victims of violent crimes, their death rates from homicide and HIV/AIDS are more than three times higher than for other racial groups, more blacks receive public assistance and more black children live in poverty.

The findings are included in "The State of Black Los Angeles," a report by the Los Angeles Urban League and the United Way of Greater Los Angeles presented at a USC conference attended by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, police Chief William J. Bratton and other civic leaders. The report, compiled with U.S. Census, state and county data, includes recommendations for creating jobs, developing affordable housing, expanding parks and establishing prison programs geared to reentry into society.

Particularly disturbing are crime data showing that blacks — adults and juveniles — have arrest rates far higher than other groups. In addition, black and Latino drivers are searched by the LAPD four times more often than whites or Asians, yet only 38% of blacks are found to be carrying illegal items compared with 55% of whites, 65% of Latinos and 54% of Asians.

Villaraigosa said the racial inequalities revealed in the report "should put a chill in our spine." He called the findings a call to action and said new housing, jobs and education initiatives should be targeted first at poor South Los Angeles neighborhoods.

"This is a challenge not just to the mayor, not just to city leaders but to everyone," he said. "A great city can't be a shining example with so many left behind."

Villaraigosa and other speakers noted that the report comes only a few months after the 40th anniversary of the Voting Rights Act and shortly before congressional debate on reauthorization of some of its key provisions, and a month before the 40th anniversary of the Watts riots, which caused 34 deaths and widespread damage. The McCone Commission at the time identified lack of jobs and inferior housing, schools and medical care as reasons for the violence.

Although progress has been made, the report notes that many of the most egregious disparities are virtually unchanged. Among other key findings, in L.A. County:

♠ Blacks have the lowest median household income, $31,905, when compared with Latinos at $33,820, Asians at $47,631 and whites at $53,978.

♠ Although just 10% of the population, blacks are estimated to make up 30% or more of the homeless population.

♠ Blacks are the target of 56% of hate crimes.

♠ 44% of black high school students fail to graduate with their class in four years.

♠ Blacks receive only 5% of all home loans, half as many as their share of the population, while whites — 31% of the population — receive 72% of all such loans.

♠ The premature death rate among blacks of 40.6 (per 100,000 population) far outstrips that of Latinos at 11, whites at 4.5 and Asians at 3.8. The teen death rate at 131.4 is far higher for blacks and is fueled by gang-related homicides.

The report includes some brighter news: L.A. County has more high-income black households than the national average, a high rate of black children — 94% — have health insurance, and 63% of black 3- and 4-year-olds attend preschool, which research has shown can make a difference in future school achievement and job attainment.

In addition, African Americans have increased representation among the county's top elected offices from 1% in 1960 to 14% in 2004. Indeed, according to the report, blacks rank highest of all groups in civic engagement, including voting, military service, union membership and citizenship.

The report used a compilation of data on economics, housing, health, education, criminal justice and civic engagement to come up with an "equality index" score to compare conditions among ethnic groups. Blacks scored the lowest at 69, Latinos scored 71, Asians 98. Whites are used as the baseline group with a constant score of 100.

Panelist Constance L. Rice, a civil rights attorney, called the education findings a "smoke alarm" warning that schools are in crisis, and she argued that the black middle class is losing ground. Bishop Charles E. Blake, of the West Angeles Church of God in Christ, said that blacks must reassert moral values in their communities.

"We have to teach the reading and the mathematics, but we also have to tell our children why it's right to do right and wrong to do wrong," he said.

Data on racial disparities in criminal justice were compiled by UCLA and UC Berkeley researchers and make up a special section of the report. The findings document that a historically tense relationship with law enforcement continues. For example, according to Los Angeles Police Department consent decree data for 2004, 19.8% of black drivers are stopped by police, compared with 12.6% for whites, 11.2% for Latinos and 10.1% for Asians. The national rate for blacks is 12.3%.

"There is a dual justice system," said John W. Mack, immediate past president of the Los Angeles Urban League. "This is something Chief Bratton and I have had many discussions about. Crime is real, violence is real and out of control in many parts of our community. But (enforcement) must be done in such a way that the sheriff's and the Police Department are not an occupying force and that not all young men are viewed as gang bangers."

Law enforcement officials have denied that they engage in racial profiling.

Bratton insisted Wednesday that laws will be enforced fairly and consistently in every community.

"We will do it constitutionally," he said. "We will not allow officers to break the law to enforce the law."

He mentioned one of the findings he found "chilling": An estimated 32% of black men born in Los Angeles in 2001 are likely to go to prison in their lifetime, compared with 17% of Latino men and 6% of white men, the report states.

"That statistic is horrifying, frightening. We cannot accept that, that should not be the future," Bratton said.

Some speakers referred to the familiarity of the issues and suggested that the prescriptions of the past had failed, foundered on a lack of public and political will. But Mack and others said past shortfalls should not be an excuse for inaction, and they argued for more innovative solutions, such as targeting with intensive services neighborhoods that are considered hot spots.

"This report is about the truth … but it's not just gloom and doom either, it's not just about wringing our hands," he said. "I'm optimistic we're going to come to grips with these serious challenges."

The report was sponsored by several public and private organizations, including the California Endowment, Bank of America, the James Irvine Foundation, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Kaiser Permanente, the Los Angeles Times, Southern California Edison, Verizon, Washington Mutual, Citibank and the California Wellness Foundation.

* (BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)
Inequalities

A new report uses data on economics, housing, health, and other factors to come up with an "equality index" comparing conditions among racial and ethnic groups in L.A. County. With whites as the benchmark at 1.0, blacks scored the lowest at .69.

Asians: .98

Blacks: .69

Latinos: .71

Whites: 1.0

Sources: United Way, Los Angeles Urban League / Los Angeles Times

LA Times ~ Carla Rivera ** Years Have Done Little to Help Local Blacks

Posted by uhyw at 2:13 AM EDT
Novak asked Rove about CIA officer
Mood:  cheeky
Now Playing: THE DEM'S LATEST MANUFACTURED SCANDAL FALLING APART
Topic: News

Karl Rove, President Bush's chief adviser, leaves Air Force One upon arrival from Indianapolis, Ind., at Andrews Air Force Base, Md., Thursday, July 14, 2005. Rove's allege involvement in a news leak that exposed a CIA officer's identity has made him a political liability for President Bush, who has not yet talked about Rove's future in the administration, or his actual role in the leak. >>>>>

Source: Rove Got CIA Agent ID From Media

WASHINGTON - Presidential confidant Karl Rove testified to a grand jury that he learned the identity of a CIA operative originally from journalists, then informally discussed the information with a Time magazine reporter days before the story broke, according to a person briefed on the testimony.

The person, who works in the legal profession and spoke only on condition of anonymity because of the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, told The Associated Press that Rove testified last year that he remembers specifically being told by columnist Robert Novak that Valerie Plame, the wife of a harsh Iraq war critic, worked for the CIA.

Rove testified that Novak originally called him the Tuesday before Plame's identity was revealed in July 2003 to discuss another story. The conversation eventually turned to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who was strongly criticizing the Bush administration's Iraq war policy and the intelligence it used to justify the war, the source said.

The person said Rove testified that Novak told him he had learned and planned to report in a weekend column that Wilson's wife, Plame, had worked for the CIA, and the circumstances on how her husband traveled to Africa to check bogus claims of alleged nuclear material sales to Iraq.

Novak's column, citing two Bush administration officials, appeared six days later, touching off a political firestorm and leading to a federal criminal investigation into who leaked Plame's undercover identity. That probe has ensnared presidential aides and reporters in a two-year legal battle.

Rove told the grand jury that by the time Novak had called him, he believes he had similar information about Wilson's wife from another reporter but had no recollection of which reporter had told him about it first, the source said.

When Novak inquired about Wilson's wife working for the CIA, Rove indicated he had heard something like that, according to the source's recounting of the grand jury testimony.

Rove told the grand jury that four days later, he had a phone conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper and - in an effort to discredit some of Wilson's allegations - told Cooper that Wilson's wife worked for the CIA, though he never used her name.

An e-mail Cooper recently provided the grand jury shows Cooper reported to his magazine bosses that Rove had described Wilson's wife in a confidential conversation as someone who "apparently works" at the CIA.

Robert Luskin, Rove's attorney, said Thursday his client truthfully testified to the grand jury and expected to be exonerated.

"Karl provided all pertinent information to prosecutors a long time ago," Luskin said. "And prosecutors confirmed when he testified most recently in October 2004 that he is not a target of the investigation."

Rove's conversation with Cooper took place five days after Wilson suggested in a New York Times opinion piece that some of the intelligence related to Iraq's nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. Novak's column identifying Wilson's wife as a CIA employee and Cooper's magazine piece came out a few days later.

Pressed to explain its statements of two years ago that Rove wasn't involved in the leak, the White House refused to do so this week.

"If I were to get into discussing this, I would be getting into discussing an investigation that continues and could be prejudging the outcome of the investigation," McClellan said.

My Way News ~ Associated Press - John Solomon ** Source: Rove Got CIA Agent ID From Media

Posted by uhyw at 1:44 AM EDT
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Extra, extra! Foreign press, translated
Mood:  spacey
Topic: News

>>>>>
SAUDI VIEW: A woman in Riyadh reads the paper in her home. Selected news articles in Arabic and other languages can now be read in English on WatchingAmerica.com.

Extra, extra! Foreign press, translated

Website lets Americans see what the world's non-English publications say about US policy

The headline reads, "Columbus' Discovery of America: History's 'Biggest Mistake.' " That might sound harsh to an American audience, but it's less likely to ruffle Iraqis reading it in Arabic. Another zinger, this one from Tunisia, bluntly states, "The United States: a Country Beyond the Law." A Mexican headline declares: "Time Near for Bush to Pay the Piper."

The stories offer a glimpse of how foreigners feel about the only superpower. And they were all available recently on www.WatchingAmerica.com, a website launched earlier this year that simply culls, without comment, the foreign online press for commentary about America.

Each article, posted within a day, has an English translation and a link to the original, for those fluent in foreign tongues.

Robin Koerner, cofounder of the site, sees its value as one of opening minds.

"If I want to conduct any kind of relationship, even a personal relationship, I need to know how what I say and do affects the person on the receiving end," he explains. To emphasize the point, he quotes the English philosopher and economist John Stuart Mill: "He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that."

Extend the relationship analogy to international affairs, Mr. Koerner says, and you find that knowing how the people you interact with feel about the things you do to them enables you to make better choices. "I think what we're doing is giving Americans a bit of the road map ahead."

The view from abroad is largely unflattering. Koerner estimates that roughly 5 percent of the news is positive, which doesn't mean 95 percent is overtly negative. About half is simply neutral, he says.

"There certainly isn't any American flag-waving going on [on the site]," agrees Al Tompkins, a journalism teacher at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Fla. He says it's important for citizens to stay informed and to listen to many points of view, even if they don't like them or agree with them.

While the Internet has made access to foreign media only a click away, what makes WatchingAmerica.com especially powerful is its translations of foreign-language news into English. (The Middle East Media Research Institute - www.memri.org - also offers translations of Arabic, Farsi, and some Hebrew media reports.)

The distinction may seem subtle. But news organizations such as Al Jazeera put out different material for an English-speaking audience than for an Arabic-speaking audience. With this website, "you're getting to see what, in some cases, your enemies are saying to each other in their own languages about you," Koerner says. "That gives you insights which you cannot get from what they offer in English."

One such broadside is from the Iraqi paper Azzaman, whose story about "History's Biggest Mistake" goes on to say, "If Columbus was alive today and witnessed the scandals of abuse and torture inside the US detention centers of Abu Ghraib, Umm Qasr, Guantanamo, and Afghanistan, he would have discovered the magnitude of his error and headed back to Spain ... to apologize to the world for the wars, disasters, and calamities that he had brought forth."

WatchingAmerica.com has no paid staff, and Koerner launched it from his own pocket. The entrepreneurial Brit, who has business consulting and writing experience, paired upwith American Will Kern, a former copy editor for the International Herald Tribune, to get the idea off the ground. And computer-savvy friends "wired" up the technology.

The translations are all done using software and then smoothed out by Koerner and volunteers - often native speakers of the relevant languages. As the site's profile rises, Koerner says, more such volunteers are offering their assistance.

To become self-supporting through advertising, however, the site would need 100,000 hits a day. Right now it gets about 6,000, Koerner says. That small number represents an interesting "intellectual elite" from think tanks and mainstream media, as well as regular check-ins from the US State Department and CIA, "because we're doing some of their work for them," Koerner says dryly.

To reach a broader audience is the goal. But are Americans ready for a site like this? Mr. Tompkins of the Poynter Institute thinks not. "Americans are not incredibly open-minded about others who says critical things about America." Koerner, however, thinks that since 9/11, more Americans are ready for introspection.

What they may not recognize yet, he adds, is that people outside the US are often more affected by American policy than Americans themselves.

Last January, when WatchingAmerica.com started to link to foreign articles and translate them, the founders had no idea how the foreign media would react. But all the news organizations that have been in touch about their content appearing on the site have been "totally delighted," Koerner says, and have begun alerting him to other stories in their publications.

You've got to give some understanding to get some, he suggests. "You are breaking down the final barrier among people from around the world - the language barrier."

Christian Science Monitor ~ Susan Llewelyn Leach ** Extra, extra! Foreign press, translated

Posted by uhyw at 5:01 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 5:06 PM EDT
Communist Mayoral hopeful seeks to conceal donors
Mood:  chatty
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

Mayoral hopeful seeks to conceal donors

A socialist candidate for mayor of Seattle is asking the city Ethics and Elections Commission to conceal the names of his campaign donors from public disclosure.

Chris Hoeppner, a member of the Socialist Workers Party, wants an exemption similar to one granted earlier this year to Linda Averill, another socialist candidate running for City Council.

City rules normally require candidates to disclose the names of donors who give more than $25. If donors give more than $100, their employers also must be disclosed.

But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that exemptions to contributor disclosure laws are justified in cases where fear of harassment or threats of violence against unpopular viewpoints creates a chilling effect on the willingness of people to associate with a political party or ideology.

Hoeppner is hoping for such an exemption at a special meeting of the ethics commission today.

The ethics commission granted Averill, a member of the Freedom Socialist Party, such an exemption after she won a federal lawsuit against the city in 2003.

Averill is running this year against City Council President Jan Drago. She has raised more than $9,300 so far and her contributors are identified only by code in her campaign filings. For example, her biggest donors are listed merely as "C12" and "C5," who both work for "E4."

Hoeppner said his attorney will present evidence to the commission that his donors, too, would legitimately fear harassment if identified by name. He pointed to past instances of socialists receiving threats and to the bombing of a socialist party headquarters in Pennsylvania last year.

Hoeppner, 55, is a laid-off meat packer who advocates strengthening unions and the withdrawal of "imperialist" U.S. military forces from nations including Iraq, Cuba and South Korea.

Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels is running for a second four-year term. With a couple weeks until the July 29 filing deadline, he faces little in the way of organized opposition.

Besides Hoeppner, Nickels is being challenged by Christal Wood, who ran unsuccessfully for City Council two years ago, and Richard Lee, who hosts a public-access cable television show devoted to conspiracy theories about the death of rock star Kurt Cobain.

Seattle Times ~ Jim Brunner ** Mayoral hopeful seeks to conceal donors

Also seen at the fruitckake commie lib loser website...
The Militant ~ Connie Allen ** Socialist Workers Party mayoral candidate in Seattle

Posted by uhyw at 4:17 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 4:24 PM EDT
Bush Daughters Edge Back Into Spotlight
Mood:  crushed out
Topic: News

Jenna Bush, right, daughter of U.S. President George W. Bush, hands out postcards of her pets to dancing children during a visit to the Equal Opportunity for All Trust Fund with her mother, U.S. first lady Laura Bush, not pictured, in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, Wednesday, July 13, 2005. >>>>>

Bush Daughters Edge Back Into Spotlight

DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania - In front of the television cameras, Jenna Bush listens silently to Tanzanian orphans who have been left by AIDS with no family. Across the continent in South Africa, twin sister Barbara quietly cares for children afflicted with the devastating disease.

First lady Laura Bush's trip to Africa this week has brought her 23-year-old daughters back into the spotlight that they have shunned for most of their father's presidency. The trip also found them — at least by Wednesday — dealing with it in different ways.

Jenna Bush has emerged as a prominent, if quiet, partner in her mother's African goodwill tour. Accompanying Mrs. Bush as she left South Africa for Tanzania and the trip's final stop in Rwanda, Jenna decided to begin taking part in all her mother's events.

It was a reversal from the early part of the trip, when both she and Barbara did everything they could to remain unseen and unheard.

On Wednesday, Barbara remained behind — and behind the scenes — in Cape Town, South Africa, where she has been working as a hospital volunteer with young AIDS sufferers and other patients.

Laura Bush said Jenna was comfortable with assuming a more public role — and wanted to demonstrate the commitment of her father's administration and her country to this impoverished continent.

Back in Washington, Jenna has followed her mother into the teaching profession, and will continue this year working at a public charter school that serves inner-city elementary-age students.

"She thinks that her presence is ... important to let American kids her age, young people her age — as well as African girls her age — know that her generation is also committed," the first lady said on the plane that brought her and her daughter here from Cape Town.

Indeed, dressed in a colorful print skirt, aqua sweater and white T-shirt, Jenna appeared poised and relaxed as she stayed by her mother's side here, from an airport greeting by dozens of traditional African dancers to an evening dinner at the presidential compound with Tanzanian first lady Anna Mkapa. She didn't seem troubled that photographers angled to document nearly her every move.

At a Catholic-run AIDS prevention and treatment center, she handed out gifts of pens, postcards of her pets, bookmarks and spiral notebooks to several children orphaned by AIDS. The children, some of whom are also afflicted with the disease, sat on benches overlooking a dusty courtyard and told Mrs. Bush and Jenna how the charity is helping to support them and get them drug treatment.

Later, at a social services organization for the rural poor, Jenna snapped up beaded jewelry — two necklaces and a bracelet — made by poor Tanzanian women trying to support their families. She mingled among children dancing, singing and Hula-Hooping for the first lady's entourage and passed out more of her trinkets.

As for Barbara, Mrs. Bush said she was due to return to the United States later this month after spending several weeks working in the South African hospital with some friends. She didn't elaborate on what was next, and the White House wasn't revealing what — if any — plans Barbara has made.

The first lady said both her daughters, who graduated from college last year — Barbara from Yale and Jenna from the University of Texas — feel strongly about helping others.

"It is certainly part of the age. They're idealistic and they wanted to help," Mrs. Bush said. "But it's a particularly American character and I admire that very much in my own girls and in the young people I've met around the country."

The press-shy Bush twins campaigned cross-country last year for their father's re-election, even putting on a nationally televised joint comedy schtick at the Republican National Convention. But afterward, the girls perhaps best known for their party-hopping, fashion-forward ways went back under wraps where they have mostly been — aside from some legal run-ins over underage drinking and occasion gossip-column accounts — since their father took office in 2001.

So it was no surprise that Jenna, accompanying her parents to a summit of world leaders, kept a low profile in Scotland. Or that the twins, united in Africa when Jenna and Mrs. Bush met up with Barbara for a private weekend safari, made every effort to avoid notice.

Jenna and Barbara hustled up the plane's back stairs to dodge official tarmac ceremonies and skipped all their mother's public appearances in Cape Town — even though a primary focus of the first lady's trip is the AIDS crisis that had drawn Barbara to South Africa. Instead, they hung out around the city and went out for private dinners with their mom.

Even on a chance encounter with reporters in the hotel where Mrs. Bush's entourage was staying, Barbara strode through the lobby with her hand shielding her face.

Jenna, however, offered a cautious "Hello." Then the next day, the same girl who once on a European trip with her mother insisted on being shielded from the cameras by a garment bag, took her place in Mrs. Bush's official delegation.

Yahoo News ~ Associated Press - Jennifer Loven ** Bush Daughters Edge Back Into Spotlight

Posted by uhyw at 1:35 AM EDT
Sudden, mysterious drop in China's oil consumption
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff

From China, Some Relief on Oil Demand
By Keith Bradsher

PARIS - A sudden and mysterious drop in China's oil consumption helped to push down the International Energy Agency's estimate on Wednesday of global demand for this year.

After growing 11 percent in 2003 and 15.4 percent last year, China's overall oil use declined 1 percent in the second quarter from the comparable quarter a year earlier, the agency said.

The drop is the latest in a series of unclear and often conflicting indications about whether the Chinese economy is still growing strongly. Top officials of the agency said in interviews they believed that the decline was temporary and that they expected Chinese demand to rebound in the second half of the year, but added that world oil prices could take a heavy blow if Chinese use did not increase.

The International Energy Agency, supported by the governments of the world's leading consuming nations, has recently become known for warning that the world does not have enough oil and calling for the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries to push its member countries to increase their output. But William C. Ramsay, the agency's deputy executive director, said Wednesday that there were signs that worldwide production capacity was starting to move ahead of demand for the year, and he expressed surprise that oil prices had nonetheless stayed high.

"There are not the conditions out there right now that should lead to these kinds of prices," he said in an interview in his office here.

The international oil market has gotten out of line with the availability of oil, he said, adding: "It gets in one of these bullish moods and it has to be dynamited out of it. The fundamentals are not disquieting."

While many traders have expressed concern about China's announcement a week ago that it was close to completing the first of three oil tank farms for a strategic reserve, Mr. Ramsay said he doubted that Chinese officials would opt to fill the reserve quickly as long as oil remained around $60 a barrel. [In New York on Wednesday, oil for August delivery declined 61 cents, settling at $60.01 a barrel.]

China's strong demand for energy has helped push Cnooc, one of its leading oil companies, to make an $18.5 billion proposal to acquire Unocal of California.

Officials of the International Energy Agency said there were four possible explanations for China's drop in oil demand in the second quarter, the most probable being that this was a temporary decrease. The most likely cause, said Fatih Birol, the agency's chief economist and head of economic analysis, was that China had not been allowing the domestic price of electricity and many refined products, like gasoline and diesel fuel, to rise nearly as quickly as world prices. This has caused power-generating concerns and service stations to sell less electricity, and less gasoline and diesel fuel, so as to limit their losses.

Many Chinese power stations have stopped burning fuel oil to produce electricity because the prices they are allowed to charge per kilowatt are not high enough to cover the cost of importing fuel. Chinese refiners have been selling part of their output overseas at higher prices than they can get in the highly regulated domestic market - where gasoline, for example, now sells for $1.63 a gallon.

China's consumption of fuel, a portion of overall oil consumption, plunged 19 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, said Jeff Brown, an oil-demand analyst here, while growth in refined fuel consumption slowed to a crawl.

Mr. Birol said that artificial energy shortages caused by distorted prices were the most likely basis for the curtailed availability of fuel, especially diesel.

But while diesel-fuel shortages and lines of trucks at empty service stations were a visible problem in China in April, they were not evident during trips over the last three weeks through southern China and to Beijing, and there has been little talk of continuing shortages in news media on the mainland or in Hong Kong.

When told this, Mr. Birol said there had been a vigorous debate in the last two days within the International Energy Agency over how to explain the decline in Chinese consumption, and he acknowledged that other, longer-term explanations were possible.

These include the possibility that the overall Chinese economy is starting to slow, that China is generating more of its electricity from coal instead of oil, and that China is improving energy conservation in response to high prices.

Economic statistics have been contradictory. Exports are still growing rapidly. But energy-intensive production of steel, cement and other construction material has started to slow as the government cracked down on real estate speculation.

In the last year, China has considerably expanded the production capacity of its coal mines and, just as important, the capacity of its railroad system to haul coal to markets. It has also exhorted businesses and households to use less energy, through steps like setting thermostats higher so air-conditioning systems do not have to work as hard.

NY Times ~ Keith Bradsher ** From China, Some Relief on Oil Demand

Posted by uhyw at 1:21 AM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 1:40 AM EDT
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Bill Clinton Defends Wife's Abortion Remarks
Mood:  silly
Topic: Lib Loser Stories


Clinton Defends Wife's Abortion Remarks

WASHINGTON - Former President Clinton, defending his senator-wife's statements on abortion, said Wednesday that Democrats are held to a double standard.

The comment came during remarks to Campus Progress, a left-leaning student group. He said young people in his party should speak directly to conservative voters.

He contended that Republicans have defined the abortion debate in a way that boxes in Democrats.

"So for example, if you're a Democrat and you have sort of normal impulses, you're a sellout, like when Hillary said abortion is a tragedy for virtually everybody who undergoes it, we ought to do all we can to reduce abortion," Clinton said.

"All of a sudden," he continued, the media began asking, "'Is she selling out? Is she abandoning her principles?' But if John McCain, who's pro-life, works with Hillary on global warming, he's a man of principle moving to the middle."

"It's nuts," the former president said.

A speech by Sen. Clinton in January in Albany, N.Y., led to a flurry of speculation that she was shifting slightly to the right. In that speech, she called abortion a "sad, even tragic choice" and said her husband's administration had done a great deal to reduce the number of abortions in the United States.

Conservatives and abortion-rights foes portrayed the speech as a sign that she was edging toward the middle with an eye toward the 2008 presidential campaign. Her supporters, however, said she was simply repeating positions she had stated since her 2000 campaign for the Senate.

On the Net: Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Yahoo News ~ Associated Press - Devlin Barrett ** Clinton Defends Wife's Abortion Remarks

Posted by uhyw at 11:58 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, July 14, 2005 1:24 AM EDT
Sen. McCain stars in boob raunch fest movie... Wedding Crashers
Mood:  silly
Topic: Yahoo Chat Stuff


SEN. MCCAIN STARS IN BOOB RAUNCH FEST

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. -- who once held hearings chastising Hollywood studios for producing R- rated films and marketing them to teens -- is now playing a part in one!

Opening this weekend, WEDDING CRASHERS, a movie packed with raunchy moments and bare-breasted beauties bedding down with the guys.

And Senator John McCain!

"In a summer full of sequels and remakes rated PG-13, we feel an original R-rated comedy will stand out," said Rolf Mittweg, president of worldwide distribution and marketing at NEW LINE.

Executives at the studio made a deliberate decision to swim against the current and fill the movie with four-letter words and lots-a-sex.

McCain joked on Tuesday, "Vince Vaughn, Owen Wilson and me - we're all pretty much starring roles." McCain said he couldn't resist a chance to appear in a Hollywood movie because "it impresses my kids."

Actors Wilson and Vaughn play divorce mediators who slip into weddings in order to seduce guests. Its slogan is "Life's a party. Crash it."

WEDDING CRASHER's director, David Dobkin, admitted that there had been some preliminary discussions about tailoring it for a less restrictive rating.

"At one point we sent the script to someone who knew about the rating system," Dobkin reported, "and he sent back a list of R-rated elements. It was a massive list. The two funniest scenes in the movie would have had to go."

During his senate hearings on Hollywood, McCain lectured Hollywood executives for pushing R-rated films:

"Motion pictures have to ability to elevate and inspire us. To weave wonderful tales, and to record our history. Clearly though, such is not the case."

Drudge Report Exclusive ** SEN. MCCAIN STARS IN BOOB RAUNCH FEST

Posted by uhyw at 11:43 PM EDT
Updated: Sunday, July 17, 2005 5:23 AM EDT
100% Leftist ~ Sheila Jackson Lee
Mood:  spacey
Topic: Lib Loser Stories

100% Leftist ~ Sheila Jackson Lee

♠ Congresswoman representing the 18th District of Texas, downtown Houston
♠ Member of the radical Progressive Caucus
♠ Member of the Congressional Black Caucus
♠ Ken Lay of Enron helped bankroll her first election to Congress
♠ Lent her prestige to 2001 anti-Jewish United Nations conference in Durban, South Africa
♠ Provided propaganda for Communist FARC guerrillas in Colombia
♠ Voted against school vouchers for Black parents in Washington, D.C.

Congresswoman Jackson Lee belongs to the radical Progressive Caucus in the House of Representatives. The group Americans for Democratic Action (ADA) rates her voting record in recent years to be 100 percent on the left side of legislation. She is also a member of the Congressional Black Caucus.

In 2000 Jackson Lee joined seven fellow Progressive Caucus members and one Republican in signing a letter that called on President George W. Bush to "delink" economic sanctions from military sanctions against Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq. This would have allowed Hussein to receive economic aid while refusing to comply with his international agreements.

Like most leftwing Democrats, Jackson Lee voted against the use of force in Iraq. (She later voted for a supplemental $87 billion appropriation to support troops in the field.) In February 2003 she was one of six House Democrats who filed a lawsuit to require President Bush to get explicit congressional permission before invading Iraq.

Jackson Lee also voted against allowing oil drilling on a scant 20 acres of the 1.2 million acre Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), thus voting to keep America dependent on Middle Eastern oil while opposing efforts to make that region politically democratic and stable. In 2003 and 2004, however, the Houston Democrat voted in favor of the Bush Administration's national energy policy.

In 2001 the United States withdrew most of its diplomatic participation in the United Nations' World Conference Against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia And Related Intolerance in Durban, South Africa after it became clear that the gathering would give prominence not only to anti-American but also to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic leaders. Despite this, seven members of Congress including Congresswoman Jackson Lee attended, and along with seven other congressional Democrats lent their prestige to what became an anti-Jewish hatefest.

In 2000, 2001 and 2004 Jackson Lee voted against reducing or ending the marriage penalty that imposed higher taxes on married couples than on singles. In 2000 and 2001 she voted against the "death tax" that can force the sale of a small family farm or business to pay tax on their value of up to 50 percent when a family member dies. In 2000 he voted against reducing taxes on Social Security benefits.

The Weekly Standard reported that Rep. Jackson Lee incurred a ridiculous cost to taxpayers, and might be in violation of House ethics rules, by having an aide drive her daily in a government-leased car to and from her congressional office to her Capitol Hill apartment one block away. She once told a staffer who had failed to reserve a limousine, "You don't understand. I am a queen, and I demand to be treated like a queen!"

Jackson Lee has a 100 percent pro-choice voting record, according to the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL). She voted in 2003 against banning partial-birth abortion except to save a mother's life. She voted in 2004 against making it a crime to harm a fetus during another crime. In 1999 she voted against banning physician-assisted suicide.

(More)
Discover The Network.org Blog ~ Lowell Ponte ** SHEILA JACKSON LEE

Posted by uhyw at 1:43 AM EDT

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