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Links of the Week

Defense Contracting in Iraq:
Issues and Options for
Congress, Congressional
Research Service

Budget of the United States
Government: Browse Fiscal
Year 2008, Government
Printing Office

Cyril Tourneur:  The
Revenger's Tragedy,  1608   
Electronic Text Center,
University of Virginia

Archive of columns by Molly


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red state rebate
back to top of
number 89  02.04.07
source : US Department of Housing
Brown Tribute
verbatim                                                                         number 17.3
“You can't rely upon a
...you can't rely upon him
making rational decisions when
it comes to war and peace.”
                 Meet the press 02.13.04
Median value of
owner-occupied residential
units, by state
CA     HI     DC    MA    NJ
A German court has ordered the
arrest of a group of suspected CIA
operatives for their alleged
involvement in the abduction, illegal
detention, and torture of a German
citizen. The warrant, which was
issued at the request of state
prosecutors in Munich, refers to the
13 individuals by their agency
codenames and specifies charges of
abduction and causing grievous
bodily harm to Khaled al-Masri, who
was detained while on vacation in
Macedonia in 2003. The case
represents a serious challenge to the
CIA practice of “extraordinary
rendition” from a country with close
ties to the US.

The Justice Department has refused
assist in the German investigation
and sought the dismissal of a lawsuit
brought by al-Masri in US District
Court, arguing that a trial would
compromise national security.
Prosecutors worked from information
provided by Swiss Senator Dick
Marty, who led a European Union
probe into renditions, and by
authorities in Italy and Spain.

The members of the CIA “abduction
team” were reportedly based on the
Spanish resort island of Majorca.
Although they are not named in the
arrest warrants, German television
has already identified the 11 men
and 2 women after reporters traced a
number of them to North Carolina-
based Aero
Contractors. In a statement,
prosecutors would not confirm the
names, saying, “The personal
details contained in the arrest
warrants are, according to our
current knowledge, aliases of CIA

In a separate case, Italian officials
investigating the abduction of a
prominent Muslim cleric in 2003
are seeking indictments against
25 CIA agents and several Italian
citizens, including the former
director of the intelligence
services. Last week, a European
Parliament committee report
concluded that EU member states
knew of, and participated in,  US
rendition programs.    
it's all true  
Florida governor Charlie Crist has
endorsed an initiative that would
scrap the state’s electronic voting
machines and replace them with
optical scan systems that create a
paper trail to be used in manual
recounts. The $32.5 million
measure has broad bipartisan
support and is expected to be
implemented before the 2008
presidential election. More than
half of Florida’s registered voters
used electronic touch screen
systems in the 2006 elections, but
a series of widely reported
problems have eroded public
confidence in the security of the

In a tightly contested
congressional race in Sarasota
County last November, touch
screen machines produced more
than 18,000 no-vote results.
Republican Vern Buchanan was
eventually declared the winner by
369 votes, but Democratic
candidate Christine Jennings has
filed a lawsuit against election

Several other states are
considering proposals to procure
optical scan systems or to modify  
their existing electronic machines
to produce a verifiable paper
it's all true
Disputed Elections
Drive Diebold
German Prosecutors Place Rule of Law Uber
An executive order issued by
President Bush introduces sweeping
changes to the procedures federal
agencies use to develop policies and
guidelines for public health and
safety, privacy rights, and the
environment. The order mandates
that each agency create a regulatory
policy office to be headed by a White
House appointee, and that all
significant rules and guidance
documents must be reviewed by the
Office of Management and Budget.
Business groups and trade
associations, which have lobbied
extensively to reduce federal
regulation, welcomed the measure.

The executive order also stipulates
that agencies must identify a
“specific market failure” to be
addressed by any new guidelines.
This standard for federal intervention
has been endorsed by Susan E.
Dudley, the president’s nominee to
head the Office of Information and
Regulatory Affairs at the OMB. The
Senate did not confirm Dudley last
year, but the president nominated
her again last month.

Dudley‘s opposition to regulation and
her close ties to corporate interests
have been criticized by consumer
groups and environmental activists.
Although confirmation by the
Democratically-controlled Senate
seems unlikely, there
is speculation that Bush might
attempt to circumvent the process by
making her a recess appointment.
Dudley is currently a senior adviser
at the OMB.

The order prohibits agencies from
issuing guidance documents that
might impose new legal obligations
on businesses, and forbids
“mandatory language such as ‘shall,’
‘must,’ ‘required,’ or ‘requirement.’”  
Democratic Rep. Henry Waxman of
California, who heads the House
Committee on Oversight and
Government Reform, told the
York Times
that the president’s
order “allows the political staff at the
White House to dictate decisions on
health and safety issues, even if the
government’s own impartial experts
disagree. This is a terrible way to
govern, but great news for special

Legal experts note that the order
limits and redefines powers that have
been granted to the various federal
agencies by Congress, effectively
expanding the authority of the
executive branch. Public health
advocates warn that the new
procedures could lead to delays in
the establishment important safety
standards. Spokesmen for the US
Chamber of Commerce, the nation's
largest business lobbying group,
endorsed the  White House
it's all true
Executive Order Ordered by Executives
Guards at the military prison
camp at Guantanamo Bay,
Cuba, reportedly exposed
detainees held there to
graphic photographs of the
execution of Saddam Hussein,
including a photo of the
deposed leader hanging by
the neck shortly after his
death.  The photographs were
used by the guards to
“intimidate and compel
submission” of the captives
according to Joshua Dratel, an
attorney who represents one
of the detainees held by the
US military.  

“Displaying photos of
condemned men to those who
may be facing capital charges
can only be interpreted as an
attempt to…mentally torture an
already abused detainee
population,” Dratel told
reporters late last month.  
Dratel further reported that a
poster in the exercise yard at
the prison camp contained
photos of Hussein’s trial and a
warning that read, “Because
Saddam chose not to
cooperate…he was executed.”

Dratel reported the incidents
as he made an official request
for an independent
assessment of his client’s
mental and physical condition.  
Dratel, who represents inmate
Australian David Hicks, claims
his client has suffered mental
and physical abuse by his US
military captors.  Dratel said
that “this display is another
vivid example of the coercive
and dehumanizing
environment” that exists at the
US detention center.  A military
spokesperson did not refute
the allegation,  saying "mental
stimulation is a good
it's all true
Complaints about a teacher at a
public high school in New Jersey who
peppers his lectures with religious
teaching,, including threats that
students who are not Christian will go
to hell when they die, have led the
school to make a rule banning
students from making recordings of
classroom lessons.

When a student at Kearny High
School became frustrated that his
teacher, David Paskiewicz, used
class time to preach fundamentalist
Christian theology he complained
school administrators.   The student,
Matthew LaClaire, worried that his
complaints would not be taken
seriously, began taping the teacher’s

Paskiewicz was caught on tape
claiming that dinosaurs were on Noah’
s Ark, that the big bang theory is not
scientific and
that evolution does not exist.  He told
his students, "If you reject (Jesus)
you know where you belong."  When
copies of the tapes appeared on the
local news and on student’s
MySpace pages on the Internet,
some students, who support
Paskiewicz's theological lecturing,
complained to school administrators
that their voices had been published
and broadcast without their
permission.  The complaints led to
the school’s creation of a rule
banning the tape recording of
classroom lectures.

The high school released a
statement stating that it has taken
"corrective action" against the history
teacher who also leads a study group
at Kearny Baptist Church.  LeClaire
said that he has received threats
from other students since he
reported Paskiewicz to
it's all true
A congressional committee recently
heard testimony from scientists and
former government employees that
the Bush administration applied
political pressure to change scientific
studies to under report evidence that
human and industrial pollution
contributes to global warming and
downplay the environmental threat
that global warming poses to the

The House Oversight and
Government Reform Committee held
hearings last week exploring the role
of the administration and its
appointees in stifling scientific
reporting over the past five years.

The committee heard testimony from
a spokesperson for the Government
Accountability Project and the Union
of Concerned Scientists about a
survey of
government scientists that was
performed to asses whether they felt
political pressure to downplay
scientific evidence of the effects of
global warming.  43 percent of the
respondents reported that their work
was edited in a way that “changed
the meaning” of their findings, and
47 percent said that they felt
pressure from administration
officials.  A spokesperson for the
scientific watchdog group testified
that 150 climate scientists reported
435 instances of political interference
by the Bush administration or its
appointees over the past five years.

Another witness who appeared
before the committee was a former
senior administrator in the
government office that coordinates
federal climate programs who
resigned in 2005 alleging that
scientific reports about the effects
of global warming were being
rewritten by political appointees.  
The official, Rick Piltz,told the
committee that he resigned
because the "politicization of
climate science communication by
the current administration was
undermining the credibility and
integrity" of the program he
oversaw.  Piltz said that the
administration suppressed reports
and studies for reasons that were
"essentially political."  Piltz
testified that a Bush appointee
who formerly lobbied for
ExxonMobile edited research to
emphasize the "scientific
uncertainty" of global warming.

The committee also heard
testimony that senior Bush
officials were forbidden from
saying the words ‘global’ and
‘warming’ in the same
it's all true
NJ Students Attend Histrionics Lesson
US Ensures
Get the Picture
Climatologists Report High Pressure Emanating From
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