Sunday, January 29, 2006

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him: The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Post-Katrina Promises Unfulfilled

Post-Katrina Promises Unfulfilled: Nearly five months after Hurricane Katrina swamped New Orleans, President Bush's lofty promises to rebuild the Gulf Coast have been frustrated by bureaucratic failures and competing priorities, a review of events since the hurricane shows.

While the administration can claim some clear progress, Bush's ringing call from New Orleans's Jackson Square on Sept. 15 to "do what it takes" to make the city rise from the waters has not been matched by action, critics at multiple levels of government say, resulting in a record that is largely incomplete as Bush heads into next week's State of the Union address.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

mail fraud

No that is not a reference to Karl Malone, but to the recent increase in postage rates. Did you know that the rates were not increased in order to cover the costs of delivering the mail?

The USPS has publicly stated that no increase was necessary.

Instead, postal rates were raised on the political orders of the ruling Rethuglican party in legislation passed two years ago demanding an 'escrow fund.'

The increase follows legislation requiring the Postal Service to put $3 billion in an escrow account this year.

Why the hell does the USPS need a $3,000,000,000.00 escrow fund you ask? Well... it doesn't. But the Rethugs have had such an easy time of raiding other lock boxes and monies set aside that they thought they'd help themselves to more via the postal service.

In short, the postal increase is a Rethuglican regressive tax designed to help fund BushCos gutting of the income tax on the super-rich. This from the party that supposedly frowns upon government 'picking winners and losers.'

Sunday, January 08, 2006

SSA told to stop stealing from retirees

An issue revisited
Press Release: December 8, 2005 For Immediate Release
Federal Court Strikes Down Social Security Administration Policy Suspending Benefits for Elderly and Disabled
Contact: Gerald A. McIntyre, National Senior Citizens Law Center 3435 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 2860, Los Angeles, CA 90010
Office: (213) 639-0930, ext. 300 Email:
Jennifer J. Parish, Director of Criminal Justice Advocacy, Urban Justice Center
666 Broadway, 10th floor, New York, NY 10012 Office: (646) 602-5644 Cell: (646) 872-1686 Email:
Bill Lienhard, Project Director, Mental Health Project, Urban Justice Center
Office: (646) 602-5667 Cell: (917) 685-8181 Email:
Los Angeles Times Article Attached

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York ruled this week that it is illegal for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to suspend the benefits of elderly and disabled Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and Social Security beneficiaries whenever there is an outstanding felony warrant. The ruling, if it is not appealed, will affect thousands in New York, Connecticut and Vermont, most of them people with serious mental impairments who have no other source of income, who are often at risk of homelessness and whom law enforcement authorities have no interest in pursuing. “It leaves SSA with the dilemma of having one policy for the states of the Second Circuit and another for the rest of the country,” said Gerald McIntyre of the National Senior Citizens Law Center.

The decision came in the case of Felipe Oteze Fowlkes, at the time a Schenectady, NY resident, whose benefits were suspended in 2000 under a law that allows benefits to be suspended when a person is “fleeing to avoid prosecution” for a felony. SSA applies this provision with a broad brush and suspends benefits whenever there is an outstanding felony warrant regardless of whether or not the individual is aware of the charges. In Mr. Fowlkes’ case, it was two Virginia warrants, one for petty larceny and another for a 1995 voter registration offense, that were the basis for suspending his benefits. He had never been informed of either charge. The Court ruled in Mr. Fowlkes’ case that the plain meaning of the word “fleeing” requires intent and that, therefore, there must be a finding of intent before benefits can be suspended under this provision.

In each case where this suspension provision is applied, law enforcement authorities have already been notified where to find the individual but have decided not to seek the person’s arrest or extradition. Thus, in most cases, the underlying offenses are minor and often quite old.

The court ruling comes one day after SSA published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would enshrine in a formal regulation its policy of suspending benefits whenever there is an outstanding felony warrant. With the Second Circuit decision, it is now clear that this proposed regulation cannot be put into effect in New York, Connecticut and Vermont. It leaves SSA with the dilemma of having to decide whether to revisit its irrational and inhumane policy or to instead try to proceed with one policy for the states of the Second Circuit and another for the rest of the country.
Here is the December LA Times update on the issue

The Raw Story

Time: FBI email says Abramoff case 'far from over'

Abramoff Viewed as ‘The Middle Guy,’ Official Involved in Probe Tells TIME, Suggesting There Are Bigger Targets in Their Sights