Monday, August 08, 2005

Scooter and Judy and Steamed Rice - and more... 

Operation Yellow Elephant alert: Pentagon to expand opportunities for Young College Republicans.
Pentagon Plans to Send More Troops to Iraq - By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer

WASHINGTON - Anticipating a new burst of insurgent violence, the Pentagon plans to expand the U.S. force in Iraq to improve security for a planned October referendum and a December election.

Although much public attention has been focused recently on the prospect of reducing U.S. forces next spring and summer, defense officials foresee the likelihood of first increasing troop levels. --- more

Steamed Rice:
Rice: Insurgency Losing Political Steam By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press Writer - Mon Aug 8, 9:44 AM ET

WASHINGTON - Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice says the insurgency in Iraq is losing steam as a political force, even as Democratic congressmen warned Sunday that violence jeopardizes plans for withdrawing some troops.

Rice, in an article appearing on Time magazine's Web site, argued against viewing the war solely through the rising death toll. More than 1,820 American troops have died in Iraq, at least 30 of them in the last week.

"It's a lot easier to see the violence and suicide bombing than to see the rather quiet political progress that's going on in parallel," Rice said.

"If you think about how to defeat an insurgency, you defeat it not just militarily but politically," she said, adding that she believes the insurgents are "losing steam" politically. more

Lets just say that the insurgency is bursting at the steams... moving along...

"The Judy Line" is apparently ringing off the hook:
Speaking of the Times' Washington bureau, according to another source within the Times, the DC office has put in a dedicated phone line specifically for the purpose of receiving Judy's collect calls from prison -- which are then forwarded to whoever it is she wants to talk to. It's been dubbed "the Judy Line." No word on whether the number is 1-800-4-MARTYR. -- more, Arianna Huffington

Scooter and Judy, two thousand & three, k.i.s.s.i.n.g.:
WHERE'S THE WAIVER? The DCCC's Jesse Lee has the text of a new letter sent by representatives John Conyers, Louise Slaughter, and Rush Holt to I. Lewis Libby. Citing Murray Waas' Prospect report of a meeting between Libby and Judith Miller on July 8, 2003, the Democrats call on Libby to cooperate fully with the Plame investigators by granting Miller a personal waiver to talk about their discussions. Everyone is waiting with baited breath for Libby's response, I'm sure. Meanwhile, the question remains: Will The New York Times' editorialists issue a demand for Libby to hold a press conference to disclose all he knows, as they had earlier demanded of Karl Rove? --- more via TAP

Grassroots turf:
Real Cost of Living [by Hank Kalet]
I have a friend who has been looking for an apartment. She's in her early 30s, has a young son and works in the service industry at a job that relies on tips to make ends meet. She lives with her parents -- but not out of choice. It's because the cost of housing in our area is well beyond her reach.

And she's not alone.

According to a recent study by the Legal Services of New Jersey's Poverty Research Institute titled "The Real Cost of Living in 2005: The Self-Sufficiency Standard for New Jersey," the average adult with two kids has to earn $17.70 per hour or $37,374 a year to be considered self-sufficient in the state.

According to PRI, the self-sufficiency standard is a better model -- which would be $16,090 -- by which to gauge the actual cost of living in a given area. Unlike the federal poverty line, which is calculated nationally based on the cost of food and takes into account nothing else, the self-sufficiency standard attempts to calculate what families need to earn to pay for food, housing, healthcare, childcare, transportation, clothing and the normal incidentals that most of us take for granted.

The figures vary from region to region, depending on the cost of various services. In Indianapolis, for instance, a family of three would need to earn $16.25 an hour -- or $33,800 a year -- to be self-sufficient, while in Milwaukee the cost balloons to $20.08 an hour or $41,766 a year.

In Middlesex County, N.J., where I live, the PRI calculates self-sufficiency for a family of three at $45,309, while a family of four would need to earn a little more than $50,000, with the figures rising for larger families with older children.

Let's put this in perspective: That is less than $1,000 a week to cover rent and utilities, food, clothing, transportation and child care.

And, yet, it is almost three times the poverty threshold set by the federal government and, more importantly, more than four times what someone working 40 hours a week at a minimum wage job would earn, meaning that there is no way the federal minimum wage can keep a family afloat economically. --- more

meanwhile... Bu$hCo's Plunder Dome extols latest oily gifting swindle:
Bush Signs Massive Energy Bill Into Law
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - President Bush on Monday signed sweeping legislation that provides billions of dollars in tax subsidies to energy companies, yet does little quickly to ease gas prices or lower America's reliance on foreign oil. -- Associated Press

Truckstop economics:
Fred Stembottom: This Is Angry. I Am Yelling. But I Am a White, Male Truckdriver... Fred Stembottom

I have been reading pages and pages about the DNC and the DLC and I want to tell you why I am so opposed to the direction the DLC has taken the Party in the last 20 years.

I have been advocating, writing letters, talking locally within the Democratic Party for 25 frickin' years now. To no avail.

My message is simple: talk about workers' rights. Unionizing, outsourcing (especially outsourcing!), management cheating (we have ALL been cheated out of portions of our wages by innumerable statistical tricks). SPEAK OF THEM and blue-collar men go absolutely NUTS with recognition of the problems! Followed 5 minutes later with the most intense hunger to do something about it all that you have ever witnessed.

I speak of them to my blue-collar friends all the time! All. By. Myself.

Millions of white, male blue-collar workers go around in right-wing talk radio induced ignorance. Each and every one of them thinks that the problems they have with their employer is unique, puzzling and sure to get better after a change of management ...or something.

What I do: I simply point up how these "puzzling anomalies" are actually well-known and ancient un-fair labor practices. With NAMES!

Speed-ups. Wage stagnation policies. Two-tiered wage systems. Worker isolation. These are some of the names of the classic Unfair Labor Practices that my friends experience everyday. But they don't even know that there are such things as Unfair Labor Practices! --- more via Huffington Post


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