Friday, August 03, 2007
If anyone should be called to account for the I-35W bridge collapse in Minneapolis, it's our very own congressman. Along with all his misguided friends there in Washington.
Do any of you remember what it was that Representative Rick Boucher got inserted into the last "transportation bill" in 2005, a portion of which might have gone toward replacing that bridge, on which five people died?
A horseback riding trail in Scott County, Virginia.
Oh, and a remodel of an abandoned train station in Bristol.
Oh, and the construction of a trail along an abandoned rail line in Pocahontas.
And a visitor center in Bland County.
And the purchase of land for the Daniel Boone Wilderness Trail Corridor.
And the restoration of the Hillman House in St. Paul.
All told, the 2005 transportation bill - what should have been the bridge reconstruction and replacement bill - had 6,376 pet projects, wasteful projects like those listed above that cost the taxpayers $26 billion - enough for more than a few Minneapolis bridge replacements, a transportation bill that amounted to a staggering $286,400,000,000.
The Washington Post reports this morning the following:
"According to a 2005 Highway Administration report, more than 75,000 of the nation's roughly 600,000 bridges -- 13.1 percent -- were rated 'structurally deficient.'"
Boucher responded by sequestering funds for a horseback riding trail.
And house reconstruction.
And a visitor center.
A train station.
Who's to blame for that bridge collapse and the deaths of those people killed in Minneapolis?
Seems like a fair request.
Democrats Have a Big Problem:
WHAT IF WE’RE SUCCEEDING IN IRAQ?
RPV Calls on Boucher to Clarify Clyburn’s Comments on Victory: “(I)t would be a problem for us.”
Richmond, Virginia. (August 01st, 2007) – Republican Party of Virginia publicly called on Democrat Rick Boucher (D – VA 9th) to clarify comments from fellow Blue Dog Democrat and House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D – SC) stating that a positive September report from General David Petraeus would be a problem for Democrats."I think there would be enough support in that group to want to stay the course and if the Republicans were to stay united as they have been, then it would be a problem for us," Clyburn said.“Republicans have long argued that Pelosi and Reid send conflicting messages on the War on Terror that embolden our enemies abroad,” stated RPV spokesman Shaun Kenney. “Now comes a moment of clarity from Clyburn, stating victory in Iraq poses ‘a real big problem’ for the Democrats?”
Many Democrats have anticipated that, at best, Petraeus and U.S. ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker would present a mixed analysis of the success of the current troop surge strategy, given continued violence in Baghdad. But of late there have been signs that the commander of U.S. forces might be preparing something more generally positive. Clyburn said that would be "a real big problem for us." 
“Why is victory in Iraq a problem?” asked Kenney. “Rep. Boucher should have the guts to tell the voters of Southwest Virginia and our men and women in uniform why completing the mission in Iraq is ‘a real big problem’.”
The Republican Party of Virginia called on Boucher to immediately clarify his position on supporting the mission in Iraq.
“Boucher should have the courage to stand beside our troops and bring them home in victory, not play politics with Iraq,” stated Kenney. “The stakes in the war on terrorism are too high to be left to Democratic partisan maneuvering.”
 “Clyburn: Positive Report from Petraeus Could Split Democrats on War”, Washington Post, 30 July 2007 (cited 01 August 2007)
We await a response ...
"Let's see if, in the end, James Webb decides to hold to his convictions and vote against the middle-class welfare bill working its way through the Senate."
The middle-class welfare bill to which I was referring passed yesterday. From the New York Times:
Senate Passes Children’s Health Bill, 68-31Senator Webb opposed the bill, according to his spokesperson. The Richmond Times-Dispatch had the following on the same day:
By Robert Pear, The New York Times
Washington, Aug. 2 — The Senate defied President Bush on Thursday and passed a bipartisan bill that would provide health insurance for millions of children in low-income families.
The vote was 68 to 31.
The bill would increase spending on the popular Children’s Health Insurance Program by $35 billion over the next five years. (link)
Sen. Jim Webb viewed "another tax increase on cigarettes to fund the program [as] both unfair and regressive," his spokeswoman, Jessica Smith, said yesterday.Robbing the poor to pay for middle-class health insurance, to be accurate.
About half of U.S. smokers come from the same income groups as families eligible for the children's health program, which in Webb's view "amounts to 'robbing Peter to pay Paul,'" Smith said. (link)
anyway, in "Webb's view," the bill amounts to robbing Peter to pay Paul ...
... and that another tax increase on cigarettes to fund the program is unfair.
... and that another tax increase on cigarettes to fund the program is regressive.
Well, apparently the bill wasn't too unfair. Or too regressive. It must not have hit the poor all that hard after all. Why?
After he went out of his way to criticise the bill, Virginia's junior senator voted in favor of it yesterday anyway.
For the love of God.
Edwards In a Biz Hate & $witchLike that energizer bunny ....
By Charles Hurt, New York Post Bureau Chief
Washington - John Edwards, who yesterday demanded Democratic candidates return any campaign donations from Rupert Murdoch and News Corp., himself earned at least $800,000 for a book published by one of the media mogul's companies.
The Edwards campaign said the multimillionaire trial lawyer would not return the hefty payout from Murdoch for the book titled "Home: The Blueprints of Our Lives." (link)
Pakistan Criticizes Obama on CommentsPakistan today. Tomorrow the world.
By Munir Ahmad, Associated Press Writer
Islamabad, Pakistan (AP) -- Pakistan criticized U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama on Friday for saying that, if elected, he might order unilateral military strikes against terrorists hiding in this Islamic country.
Top Pakistan officials said Obama's comment was irresponsible and likely made for political gain in the race for the Democratic nomination.
"It's a very irresponsible statement, that's all I can say," Pakistan's Foreign Minister Khusheed Kasuri told AP Television News. "As the election campaign in America is heating up we would not like American candidates to fight their elections and contest elections at our expense." (link)
Do we really want a mental lightweight holding the keys to the nuclear storeroom?
Regarding, potentially, the man who will have his finger on the nuclear trigger:
Would You Use Nukes?Hey. When you've decided what your going to do with your nuclear weapons, can you get back to us?
By Geoff Earle and Maggie Haberman, The New York Post
August 3, 2007 -- Barack Obama stumbled badly yesterday on a question about whether he'd use nuclear weapons in Afghanistan and Pakistan to fight terrorists - first saying he wouldn't do so "under any circumstances," then revising his response, and finally taking it all back.
"I think it would be a profound mistake for us to use nuclear weapons in any circumstance," Obama said. He then changed his answer to add, "involving civilians."
But he quickly reneged on that, saying, "Let me scratch that. There's been no discussion of nuclear weapons. That's not on the table. There's been no discussion of using nuclear weapons and that's not a hypothetical that I'm going to discuss." (link)
So sad to see a man with such promise committing self-immolation like this.
A First Step To Save Darfur
I expect to read this headline tomorrow morning:
Flame Of Hope Flickers For Titanic Victims