TCA (my initials)

June 27, 2007

slow summer news (not)

Filed under: Doodling — TCA @ 7:05 pm

All of these news items were published within the last 24 hours.

Your U.S. government

Wasteful government spending is at an all-time high says The Blotter blog of ABC-TV News investigative reporter Brian Ross.

Mother Jones magazine’s MoJo blog includes a helpful list of facts:

– Between 2000 and 2005, federal procurement spending rose by over 80%.

– No-bid and other contracts awarded without full and open competition increased by more than 100%.

– Contract mismanagement led to rising waste, fraud, and abuse in federal contracting.

– For the first time EVER the federal government has passed $400 billion threshold in contracts for the year.

– More than half of this spending–more than $200 billion in new contracts–was awarded without full and open competition.

Think Progress provides this illustrated chart. The “fastest growing contractor” is Halliburton. Surprise, surprise.

Bruce Fein in Slate wants the U.S. Congress to impeach Dick Cheney. Robert Scheer in the Huffington Post provides good reasons for doing so in an essay about the banality of greed.

Christine Todd Whitman has disclosed that she resigned as EPA chief because Cheney “allowed some of the nation’s dirtiest plants to make major modifications without installing costly new pollution controls.”

Did you know that former Interior Department official J. Steven Griles was a playboy? He had an arrangement with lobbyist Jack Abramoff to buy expensive gifts for his dates. How romantic! The tearful begging for mercy of Griles prior to his sentencing was reminiscent of Paris Hilton. The judge wasn’t impressed this time, either. The sentence: Ten years in prison for Griles.

Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi says in her blog that Republicans are blocking 9/11 and lobbying reform bills.

Think Progress lists these examples of legislative constipation. It’s an inspection that your proctologist would envy. Republicans in the U.S. Senate have:

– blocked debate on raising the minimum wage (Rejected 54-43)
– blocked debate ethics reforms (Rejected 51-46)
– blocked debate on funding for renewable energy (Rejected 57-36)
– blocked a vote on funding for the intelligence community (Rejected 41-40)

Meanwhile, the Washington Post takes a close look at the CIA’s “Crown Jewels.” It’s an inspection that your urologist would envy:

¤ Fighting war protesters
¤ Experimenting with the mind
¤ Trying to kill Fidel Castro

Science beat

First the bad news. Roman Catholic bishops have urged the British parliament to give animal-human embryos human rights.

Now the good news. Two independent teams of scientists from Oxford and Cambridge announced on Wednesday that they “have discovered a new type of embryonic stem cell in mice and rats that should speed up research into regenerative medicine and help in the hunt for cures to a range of diseases.” So says Reuters.

Art corner

Contemporary art or vandalism? Is there any difference? The Splasher leaves clues. The New York Times covers the story.

I’m a digital artist–but I’m not sucking up here. Visionary sci-fi author Bruce Sterling says he plans to become a digital art judge.

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