Monday, July 30, 2007

The Presidential Campaign...

I have not written anything about the campaign but I have been following developments with considerable interest.

The Republican candidates are running to the right of Atilla the Hun...except for Ron Paul. The Democrats have a diverse and interesting field of candidates. I have no personal preference at this time though I am leading towards John Edwards. Would love to see Al Gore get in the race but that seems unlikely.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Bush's missile system suffers setback...

George Bush's plans to establish a European missile defence system suffered a big setback yesterday when a Congressional committee slashed the funding.

The House appropriations committee cut $139m from the $310m the Bush administration wants for preparatory work on the missile project in Europe. It approved funds for a radar system in the Czech Republic but cut the $139m Mr Bush requested to establish a missile interception system in Poland, the most controversial part of the defence system.

I'm guessing that this missile system will be deep-sixed if a Democrat becomes the next President. Bush claims he wants to protect the Europeans from Iranian missiles. I don't think the Europeans are that concerned about the Iranians. Or maybe Bush just wants to send a message to Putin.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

No charges filed against doctor in New Orleans...

An Orleans Parish grand jury Tuesday refused to indict Dr. Anna Pou, the New Orleans surgeon who rode out Hurricane Katrina at an Uptown hospital only to later be accused of murder by Attorney General Charles Foti.

The decision ends the year-long criminal investigation into Pou's performance during the catastrophe at Memorial Medical Center, which the levee failures turned into an island on Aug. 29, 2005, leaving the hospital a sweltering, powerless disaster zone, filled with 2,000 patients, families and employees. Pou, along with two staffers the district attorney recently declined to prosecute, had been accused of giving patients a lethal injection of painkillers and sedatives shortly before the hospital was finally evacuated, several days after the storm.

On Tuesday at Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, Judge Calvin Johnson read a ten-count bill of indictment into the record, the first count a second-degree murder charge for patient Emmett Everett, 61, a 380-pound paralyzed man, and nine additional conspiracy to commit murder charges, accusing Pou of helping kill nine frail patients on the seventh floor at Memorial.
Many people in New Orleans believed that the charges against Dr. Pou were politically motivated. In a poll today in NOLA, the Times-Picayune on-line publication, 95% of respondents said that the Grand Jury had made the right decision.
Can you imagine how much this woman has suffered over the past year. And what about the damage to her reputation.

Monday, July 23, 2007

What question would you ask the Democratic Candidates?

The You Tube/CNN debate led me to think about what question I would ask. Here's my nomination for a question:
Have you seen Michael Moore's documentary ("SiCKO") and what do you think of his critique of the American health care industry?
Here's my nomination for a foreign policy question:
How many troops would you plan to leave in Iraq and how would you plan to protect them?
Any suggestions????

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Padraig Harrington wins British Open...

What an exciting finish! I watched the final holes of the British Open at an Irish Pub in downtown Boston. I was delighted to see a fellow-Irishman win...though I would also have been happy to see Sergio Garcia win. A pity one of them had to loose.

I hope readers will not see these comments as a form of gloating! It's just extra special when we win on British turf.


Just talked to a niece in Dublin and she tells me that more than a few pints of Guinness were downed tonight in celebration of Padraig Harrington's victory. The Irish get very patriotic about their sports heroes.

Friday, July 20, 2007

The British Open - Live...

If you are a golf fan (as I am) you can get live updates here at the Guardian (UK). Garcia is still holding on to the lead. Two Irishmen are in contention. A lot can happen tomorrow and Sunday!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Murdoch, the war-monger...

Both the Independent (UK) and the Guardian (UK) are reporting this morning on Rupert Murdoch' role in urging Tony Blair to go to war in Iraq. This may have been payback for the critical role played by Murdoch's media outlets in Britain in supporting the election of Blair. According to the reports in today's newspapers in the days leading up to the invasion of Iraq Murdoch was treated as if he were a senior member of the cabinet.

I find it interesting that Murdoch has held a couple of fundraisers for Hillary Clinton. Will he be dictating American foreign policy if she gets elected? Since he's a big advocate for bombing Iran we may have another war on the horizen....

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Another deadly attack on civilians...

At least 85 people were killed yesterday when a suicide bomber struck in Kirkuk. It was the deadliest attack in the city since the war began.
We are so removed from the battlefield that it would be easy to forget the numbers of civilians that are getting killed every day in Iraq. Even those of us who opposed the invasion of Iraq had no idea that it would end up becoming this kind of humanitarian disaster. And the same NeoCons who "sold" this war to the American people are now agitating for an attack on Iran. Lunatics.
(Photo: Yahya Ahmed / AP

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Senator's Sex Scandal...

Senatore David Vitter of Louisiana has a PR problem. He has built his political career as a champion of Christian values. Back in the days when Clinton had his problems Vitter wrote an Op Ed in the Times-Picayune (New Orleans) asserting that Clinton was "morally unfit" to hold the office of President.

With the news at Vitter made visits to prostitutes in DC and New Orleans it will be interesting to see how the voters of Louisiana react. Historically, the people of Louisiana have had a lot of tolerance for the sins of their politicians. Edwin Edwards boasted about his gambling and womanizing and he still got reelected.

My bet us that Senator Vitter will survive this scandal. Maybe he'll focus on helping New Orleans recover from Hurricane Katrina...and spend less energy on telling other people how to live their private lives.


Looks like Senator Vitter is in some trouble with the voters of Louisiana. The Times-Picayune has this commentary in today's edition (Friday).

Monday, July 09, 2007

SiCKO is a powerful documentary...

This past weekend I saw Michael Moore's SiCKO. I can see why representatives of the Health Insurance industry are trying to discredit Moore.

Moore won an Academy Award for 2002's gun-control documentary, "Bowling for Columbine," and made 2004's President Bush-bashing "Fahrenheit 9/11."

"Sicko," his dissection of U.S. health-care infirmities, opened June 29 and is being distributed by the Weinstein Co.

Moore, 53, presents horror stories of Americans who have gone bankrupt and lost loved ones after health insurers denied coverage. He contrasts public health-care coverage in Canada, Great Britain and France with the private U.S. system. He visits Cuba for treatment of ailing Sept. 11 rescue workers, a trip that has prompted the U.S. Treasury Department to investigate Moore for potential violations of the trade embargo.

I highly recommend this documentary. You will laugh but it will bring a tear to your eye. It should be required viewing for every politician in this country.


Digby has this excellent review of SiCKO.

Update #2

C & L has this video clip of Michael Moore interviewed by Wolf Blitzer on CNN. What a smackdown!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A sobering thought for this Independence Day Holiday...

The 4th of July is one of my favorite holidays. An opportunity to reflect on what America is all about.

This year there are some reasons for concern. A war in Iraq with no end in sight. The image of America around the world at an all-time low. Now we read in the NYT that our President feels "liberated" despite his very low poll ratings. The suggestion is that he doesn't care what the public thinks any more. This is not a major problem if it just leads him to commute the jail sentence of a convicted felon. But what if he decides, in harmony with his messianic beliefs, to bomb Iran. A sobering thought for this Independence Day Holiday.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Bush commutes jail sentence of Libby...

Count me as one person who was not surprised to hear that Bush has decided that Libby should not go to jail. Bush takes his orders from Cheney...and Cheney was not about to let the man who protected him go to jail.

We have more than two million Americans in jail....many are African Americans doing time for various drug crimes. These people can rot in jail as far as Bush is concerned. But he'll use his Presidential power to take care of his friends. Makes me sick.

There will be a lot of talk over the next few days about freedom and justice...and all those other great American values. It is helpful to remember that there are two types of justice in this country.