Blogs

The Right Has its Own Marion Barry

| Wed Jun. 20, 2007 1:27 PM EDT

The state treasurer of South Carolina and the state chair for Rudy Giuliani's presidential campaign, obviously a Republican, was indicted Tuesday for allegedly being a coke dealer.

That is all. Just thought you should know.

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New White House Report Pokes Anti-Immigration Foes with Sharp Stick

| Wed Jun. 20, 2007 12:40 PM EDT

The White House has released a report by the president's Council of Economic Advisers that concludes, "Immigration has a positive effect on the American economy as a whole and on the income of native-born American workers."

People on our side of the debate appreciate the White House's efforts, but the report is unlikely to convince these folks. In fact, it'll probably make them more angry.

Bush Administration Under Investigation for Signing Statement Abuses

| Wed Jun. 20, 2007 12:21 PM EDT

Two days ago, we wrote about a GAO report on presidential signing statements. While signing statements can be used legitimately to indicate how the executive branch interprets a law passed by Congress, the Bush Administration has used them to basically nullify laws without having to go through the embarrassment of vetoing them. Moreover, this president has used signing statements in unprecedented numbers. (For a couple examples of laws that were distorted or completely ignored because of this problem, see this article from our March/April 2007 issue.)

Democrats in Congress caught wind of the GAO report -- which is no shock because two Democrats in Congress commissioned it -- and will investigate. No law has been broken, just the spirit of the law violated, so it's unlikely that Congress's inquiry will lead to anything more than a reprimand. But add this to the list of very needed investigations that began only after the GOP lost control of both houses.

iPoo? Really?

| Tue Jun. 19, 2007 9:10 PM EDT

iCarta.jpg

Well, the time has come. The latest iPod stereo dock is out, the iCarta, designed, and refined, to hold toilet paper. The product comes with docking materials, collapsible tissue holders that can be used as the stereo dock and you guessed it — moisture-free speakers.

In honor of this ground-breaking invention, here is a list of actual products relating to iPods that you may not have heard about but are popping up all around the Internet.

  • iBuzz. Half iPod, half sex toy. Enough said.

  • Bevy. Bottle opener/keychain/earbud wrap/iPod shuffle case.
  • Tadpole. Wheel-design iPod case for kids (a.k.a. virtual babysitter).
  • Redwire jeans. Totally expensive jeans that let you retract your headphones and supply a joystick controller in your pocket (or are you just happy to see me?).
  • iBeams. Snap a flashlight or laser beam onto your iPod.
  • TuneBuckle. Wear your iPod whilst holding up your pants.
  • —Anna Weggel

    Bush Vows to Veto Stem Cell Bill

    | Tue Jun. 19, 2007 9:04 PM EDT

    President Bush, pushing for more embryo "adoptions," has promised to veto a stem cell research bill that passed the House 247-176. Read more at The Blue Marble.

    Nan Kempner the Anti-Paris Hilton: Classy, Dignified, Relevant

    | Tue Jun. 19, 2007 8:42 PM EDT

    nan.jpg

    Nan Kempner grew up in a wealthy family, and she married rich. Like many women of her generation and background, the socialite occupied her time with charity work and fashion, but no one could accuse her of dabbling. Over thirty years, she raised $75 million for cancer research. In many ways, her collection of designer clothing and accessories is even more impressive.

    Kempner, whom Diana Vreeland famously called the one chic American woman, had an eye for detail and she knew how to make the most of her body (flat chested, flat bottomed, leggy). She got her first couture dress for her debutante ball in 1949 and never really stopped shopping. She liked Dior and Valentino; she loved Madame Gres and Yves Saint Laurent. Chanel bored her.

    A small portion of Kempner's Imelda Marcos-sized collection has traveled from the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art's Costume Institute to the de Young Museum in San Francisco. Arranged by Harold Koda, "Nan Kempner: American Chic" opened June 18 and closes November 11.

    —Ellen Charles

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    Bush to Veto Stem Cell Research Bill, Again

    | Tue Jun. 19, 2007 8:07 PM EDT

    President Bush announced today that tomorrow he will veto stem-cell legislation allowing federal funding for stem-cell research using excess embryos created by fertility treatments. The bill was passed by the House on June 7, but lacks the 2/3 majority necessary to override the predicted veto.

    Bush's statement today included the quote that "Each of these human embryos is a unique human life, with inherent dignity and matchless value...These boys and girls are not spare parts." Bush previously used the "spare parts" metaphor in 2006 when he rejected a bill (passed by a Republican Congress) that would have allowed couples to donate their extra embryos to research rather than store them or have them destroyed. The Senate failed an attempted veto.

    Only ten percent of frozen embryos are implanted; 500,000 remain frozen in a limbo-like legal status, waiting to be adopted, destroyed, or (in three percent of cases) slated for research. Bush has promoted—fiscally and publicly—embryo banks and adoptions as alternatives to disposal. As of 2003, Snowflakes, a Christian "embryo adoption program" that openly discriminates against single women, gay couples, and non-Christians, had received $1 million in federal funding.

    In 2001, Bush issued an executive order restricting research to the 21 existing stem cell lines still usable in the United States.

    Amy Winehouse Sets US Tour Dates, Hits Top Ten

    | Tue Jun. 19, 2007 6:36 PM EDT

    mojo-photo-amywinehouse.jpgIt wouldn't be surprising if you missed British R&B singer Winehouse the last time she came through your town; most of the venues were booked long before her recent, extraordinary rise to fame in the US, and thus were too small for the crowds. This time she's planning ahead: booking, for instance, two nights at the 3,000-capacity Warfield in San Francisco. However, with "Rehab" rocketing 38 slots (!) to land just inside the Billboard Top 10 this week, and her album, Back to Black, selling over 560,000 copies in the US to date, those dates will probably sell out fast. If you're a fan of Winehouse's neo-soul (and I wasn't at first but I have to say it's really growing on me) get your tickets soon.

    Dates and some videos after the jump.

    Good Job, You're Fired

    | Tue Jun. 19, 2007 4:27 PM EDT

    The Bush administration's pattern of promoting imbeciles like Paul Wolfowitz while sacking competent lawmakers like Colin Powell continues, with the news that budget director Rob Portman will step down. (His stated reason—to spend more time with his family—suggests that the move was not voluntary.) The Washington Post reports that Portman "is one of the most popular Cabinet members on the Hill, and even Democrats speak highly of his intellect and affability." The timing of Portman's departure is odd, given that the next two years will require someone who can negotiate with the Democrats.

    Enter Jim Nussle, who is known for his combative style. The AP reports:

    As House budget chairman, Nussle helped draft the blueprint for Bush's signature 2001 and 2003 tax bills....Republican leaders and conservatives such as Nussle regularly rolled over Democrats - and took pleasure in doing so.

    Asked what he thought of Nussle, House budget chair Steny Hoyer said, "What's the next question?" So why did this guy get the job, beyond the fact that the Bush White House seems to love to do things that throttle the democratic process?

    He's a hawk.

    With Friends Like Bush...

    | Tue Jun. 19, 2007 3:50 PM EDT

    Imagine that somebody in power made it impossible for you to do your job, then watched as you were fired for not doing your job, then appeared on TV with your long-time nemesis, who had participated in making it impossible for you to do your job, and declared his support for you.

    That's what President Bush has done to Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority. After free elections created a government divided between Abbas' moderate Fatah party and the radical Hamas party, Bush and his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Olmert, imposed such strict sanctions on the Palestinians that even those who had jobs weren't getting paid. Hamas would not and did not stand by and let this happen: The group overthrew Fatah in the Gaza Strip. Today, Bush and Olmert stood in the Oval Office together and declared their support for Abbas. Seriously? Here's the kiss of death: Bush called the emergency prime minister Abbas appointed "a good fella." Brownie, anyone?