What did he work for again? Oh yes, the united states of Rove, Bush & Cheney.
By BEN EVANS, Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 58 minutes ago
WASHINGTON - Former White House adviser Karl Rove defied a congressional subpoena and refused to testify Thursday about allegations of political pressure at the Justice Department, including whether he influenced the prosecution of a former Democratic governor of Alabama.
Rep. Linda Sanchez, chairman of a House subcommittee, ruled with backing from fellow Democrats on the panel that Rove was breaking the law by refusing to cooperate — perhaps the first step toward holding him in contempt of Congress.
Lawmakers subpoenaed Rove in May in an effort to force him to talk about whether he played a role in prosecutors' decisions to pursue cases against Democrats, such as former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, or in firing federal prosecutors considered disloyal to the Bush administration.
Rove had been scheduled to appear at the House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Thursday morning. A placard with his name sat in front of an empty chair at the witness table, with a handful of protesters behind it calling for Rove to be arrested.
A decision on whether to pursue contempt charges now goes to the full Judiciary Committee and ultimately to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
House Republicans called Thursday's proceedings a political stunt and said if Democrats truly wanted information they would take Rove up on an offer he made to discuss the matter informally.
The House already has voted to hold two of President Bush's confidants in contempt for failing to cooperate with its inquiry into whether the administration fired nine federal prosecutors in 2006 for political reasons.
The case, involving White House chief of staff Josh Bolten and former White House counsel Harriet Miers, is in federal court and may not be resolved before Bush's term ends in January.
The White House has cited executive privilege, arguing that internal administration communications are confidential and that Congress cannot compel officials to testify.
Rove says he is bound to follow the White House's guidance, although he has offered to answer questions specifically on the Siegelman case — but only with no transcript taken and not under oath.
Democrats have rejected the offer because the testimony would not be sworn and, they say, could create a confusing record.
Rove has insisted publicly that he never tried to influence Justice Department decisions and was not even aware of the Siegelman prosecution until it landed in the news.
Siegelman — an unusually successful Democrat in a heavily Republican state — was charged with accepting and concealing a contribution to his campaign to start a state education lottery, in exchange for appointing a hospital executive to a regulatory board.
He was sentenced last year to more than seven years in prison but was released in March when a federal appeals court ruled Siegelman had raised "substantial questions of fact and law" in his appeal.
Siegelman and others have alleged the prosecution was pushed by GOP operatives — including Rove, a longtime Texas strategist who was heavily involved in Alabama politics before working at the White House. A former Republican campaign volunteer from Alabama told congressional attorneys last year that she overheard conversations suggesting that Rove pressed Justice officials in Washington to prosecute Siegelman.
The career prosecutors who handled Siegelman's case have insisted that Rove had nothing to do with it, emphasizing that the former governor was convicted by a jury.
I found this article fun & interesting. Happy 4th!
Orlando Sentinel | Scott Powers and Jason Garcia | July 4, 2008 09:02 AM
Walt Disney World employees won't be packing any heat in the company parking lots anytime soon.
The giant resort has declared that much of its sprawling property is exempt from a new state law that allows Floridians with concealed-weapons permits to keep firearms locked in their cars at work.
Disney, which has 60,000 employees and a long-standing policy against allowing guns on its land, cites an arcane -- and late-added -- loophole in the new law, which took effect Tuesday. Read the whole story here.
My heart goes out to all who are suffering because of these fires. You are close by and in my thoughts and prayers. -A
The Associated Press, posted July 3, 2008
Hundreds of lightning-sparked wildfires have turned the air of Northern California into an unhealthy stew of smoke and ash, forcing the cancellation of athletic events and other outdoor activities.
Health advisories urging residents to stay indoors to limit exposure to the smoky air were issued Saturday from Bakersfield north to Redding, a distance of nearly 725 kilometres.
Air pollution readings in the region are two to 10 times the federal standard for clean air, said Dimitri Stanich, spokesman for the California Air Resources Board.
Some areas are experiencing the worst air quality on record, with the smoke hanging down to the ground like a fog.
Air quality agencies are especially concerned about small-particle pollution. The tiniest particles can penetrate past the body's immune defences, travelling deep into the lungs and the bloodstream.
"When you have it on the scale we are seeing now, it is very dangerous to the general public health,'' Stanich said. "This is a very serious problem.''
Changing weather brought smoke-clearing breezes and brief relief to some areas Saturday, but it could also bring lightning storms similar to the ones that ignited fires across Northern California a week ago.
Thunderstorms could strike anywhere in the northern Sierra Nevada or the northern Central Valley on Saturday night, said National Weather Service forecaster Johnnie Powell in Sacramento.
The thunderstorms could also bring a small amount of much-needed rain, he said. The front was expected to pass by Sunday, setting up a second week of abysmal air quality.
The renewed threat of dry lightning and stiffer breezes that could stir the wildfires led fire officials to declare a "red flag warning'' -- meaning the most extreme fire danger -- until 5 a. m. Monday for Northern California.
On Saturday, President Bush issued an emergency declaration for California and ordered federal agencies to assist in firefighting efforts in many areas.Gov.Arnold Schwarzenegger had made the request on Friday.
More than 17,000 firefighters, 1,500 fire engines and bulldozers and more than 80 helicopters and aircraft were fighting more than 1,000 fires Saturday, said state emergency services spokesman Kelly Huston.
"The summer has just begun, and fire conditions will only get tougher,'' Ruben Grijalva, director of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, warned in a weekly radio address on behalf of the governor.
The fires have destroyed 47 structures and injured 85 people and continue to threaten nearly 10,000 homes, businesses and buildings, according to his department.
A lightning-sparked wildfire in the Big Sur region of the Los Padres National Forest has burned 108 square kilometres and destroyed 16 homes. The blaze, which was only three per cent contained, has forced the closure of a 19-kilometre stretch of coastal Highway 1 and driven away visitors at the peak of the tourist season.
Farther south in the forest, a wildfire that started three weeks ago has scorched 238 square kilometres of remote wilderness. It was 80 per cent contained Saturday.
Stanich, of the Air Resources Board, advised people to stay inside and keep activity to a minimum. Children, the elderly and people with heart and lung problems are particularly vulnerable, but pollution levels are high enough to affect healthy adults.
Health officials have reported an increase in people complaining of eye and throat irritation and coughing. The poor air can also trigger asthma attacks and bronchitis.
Some veterinary offices said pet owners were bringing in dogs and cats with symptoms ranging from weepy eyes and irritated skin to difficulty breathing or unusual lethargy. Vets were advising that pets remain inside until the smoke clears.
Smoky air cancelled this weekend's 160-kilometre Western States Endurance Run for the first time in its 31-year history. The decision disappointed 370 runners who had travelled from as far away as Africa for the annual race from Squaw Valley at Lake Tahoe to Auburn in the Sierra foothills.
In Sonoma County, the limited visibility kept the Energizer Bunny and dozens of other colourful hot air balloons from lifting off during Saturday's Hot Air Balloon Classic in Windsor.
Cities also closed public pools, cancelled softball games and called off July 4 fireworks displays. Schwarzenegger urged residents not to buy fireworks this year and said local governments should consider an outright ban, though he would not impose one statewide.
Near Las Vegas, a small plane crashed in a forested area, killing four people and touching off a wildfire that is threatening about 40 homes, said Ian Gregor, spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration. Authorities recommended that residents evacuate.
In Arizona, crews fighting a blaze in the Phoenix suburb of Laveen worked to establish a line at a river crossing. About 50 residents of 18 homes were ordered to evacuate in the afternoon but were being allowed to return Saturday night, said Bill Watt with the state Foresty Division. The fire had almost doubled in size in a day and consumed nearly 21 square kilometres, but was about one-third contained, officials said.
If you can, please check out this series, African-American Lives 2. This series really touched me. Seeing these celebrities in real, vulnerable moments of discovery about their history is amazing to watch and experience. The production is handled with such dignity and care, I really recommend it. Watch it when you can, or grab a clip or 2 from YouTube, which I posted below.
Yes this is a positive review. When I saw the trailer, the interviews, and the fans reactions I would never have dreamed this film would be above 1 star. After several recommendations and discussions I was challenged to re-think this action monster. I am glad I did.
In the era of over bloated and over important war films, Rambo runs a brisk 91 minutes and gets things done. Stallone knows how to deliver the goods in this brutal and timely action ride. What starts out as a solid exploration of the further reaches of a 5th world country turns into an all out orgy of violence that is eerily relevant and important to todays society. This might be the most (Dare I say it?) important action film since the first Rambo, aptly titled First Blood. This might be stretching it, but Rambo worth the ride nonetheless.
It is strange to say, but if you are going to rent an action movie and are a fan of the genre, Rambo is the right movie to rent or buy. Stallone makes one of the most PC films of the year while thrashing out gallons of blood and guts for the right cause. While Cheadle and Clooney try to turn heads with Darfur Now, Stallone is breaking them to look at Burma, Myanmar. The bloody action film is actually ahead of the US cause of the month and gives you an awful look at some things that are going down there now. No one is saying this film is fact, but they aren't saying it's far from it either.
Rambo doesn't even feel like the other films in the series. It has the feel of a lean action or exploitation film of the '70's with an economical fast pace. If done at a different time I could see this film easily inspiring Tarantino and Rodriquez for future riffs. In fact, the film has almost a Sin-City, or Hulk feel to it in the semi-real life story extremely heightened with a bruised hero that has to face the fact that he is a killing machine...and if you're gonna kill, why not some of those people committing genocide?
*As a side note, it makes me curious as to how Machete, starring Danny Trejo will turn out.
Not that Rambo wants to unleash holy hell. He is begged to help out and refuses several times. What changes his mind? What always does, a beautiful damsel in distress played by Julie Benz. Hey, if a hot blond came up to me in the further reaches of Thailand asking for some help on a suicide mission, chances are I'd do it too.
Rambo possesses the special key in Stallone flicks that work; he is an underdog. He is like the hunchback who just wants to be left alone. And I have to say, with his current physical oddity, that isn't too far off the map here. He looks as muscle heavy as he's ever been, but pushing 63 it looks like it's difficult for him to breathe with all that beef on him. After all his muscle and plastic surgery work, it almost looks like he is wearing a rubber suit. But this works for him in the film. Much like the lovable loser of Rocky & Copland, Rambo knows he's not a charmer, and will never get the girl. One of the films better moments is when the beautiful girl hugs her peacenik boyfriend and Rambo knows that is something that he will never experience. Stallone also pulls off a humorous and strangely gleeful task of making that humanitarian pacifist and utter prick, and the payoff of him doing the most beneficial work of his life when he kills a soldier from the Burmese army against his better judgment.
My only real complaint with this film is that the end sequence death-a-thon gets a little cluttered with the fast paced, gritty editing and shooting style. It's done in that Michael BayTransformers style where we're so close to the action we don't know what's going on in the story. But does it really matter? Stallone is kicking so much ass I think he breaks a new record.
As the credits roll, I'm reminded this is directed and co-written by Stallone. Remember him? It's a comforting fact that a guy who is mostly known as a punchline in this town who got his name by putting his neck on the line for an indi called Rocky in 1976 still can come through with a solid punch more than 30 years later. Here's hoping he's got one more left in him.