S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Weekend Roundup -- the Ins and Outs

Who is In and who is Out this week?

KBR, AND DynCorp AND Fluor Corporations are IN at DOD. ThisCommon Dreams Newsletter story was published on Saturday, May 24, 2008, and written by James Risen of The New York Times: "Controversial Contractor’s Iraq Work Is Split Up." To quote:

For the first time since the war began, the largest single Pentagon contract in Iraq is being divided among three companies, ending the monopoly held by KBR, the Houston-based corporation that has been accused of wasteful spending and
mismanagement and of exploiting its political ties to Vice President Dick Cheney.

. . . Last month the Pentagon awarded the companies pieces of a new contract to provide food, shelter and basic services for American soldiers, a 10-year, $150 billion deal that stretches far beyond the final days of the Bush administration. KBR will still get a sizable chunk of the business, but now it will have to share the work with Fluor Corporation and DynCorp International.

. . . Army officials acknowledge that they were under intense pressure from Capitol Hill to give KBR some competition, yet leading Democratic lawmakers and other critics say the new contract will merely paper over the fundamental problems that stem from the Pentagon’s heavy dependence on outside contractors in Iraq.

. . . Critics also say they doubt that the new contract will result in significant cost savings or better services for soldiers in Iraq. The Army has built into the deal the potential for larger profits for the contractors than existed under the prior contract, and it plans to outsource much of the management and oversight of the contractors to yet another company, Serco Inc., for $59 million.

Africa Peacekeepers are out with U.S. By JUSTIN ROOD: "U.S. Slashes Africa Peacekeeping Funds," May 20, 2008—
"Proposed Cuts Expected to Be as Deep as 25 Percent, According to Officials and Budget Documents." Quoting further:

The administration released its proposed peacekeeping cuts days before President Bush was scheduled to make what one paper termed his "victory lap" through the African continent. White House officials talked up the trip and Bush's commitment to the continent, telling reporters how the president "really cares about Africa."

"Could this have anything to do with the mercenary armies that they are recruiting there- along with regular military? I smell a post.....," betmo says. As a matter of fact all of these stories came to my attention through the generosity to my blogging friend, "betmo," who maintains the website, "life's journey." Next week I will be joining another blog community, The Siren Chronicles, at which betmo also posts. Soon I may be able to say that I am one of the new Sirens at the Chronicles' very sassy website.

The new IN book with Obama is "The Post-American World." From The New Republic: "Obama's Book Club" - 5/22/08. This is an excellent review of Fareed Zakaria's new book, which I saw him discuss not long ago on C-SPAN. Obama is wise to read this ground-breaking work. To quote:

The New York Times has flagged this snapshot of Barack Obama with his finger slipped between the pages of Fareed Zakaria's latest book, The Post-American World.

Shareholder Democracy is IN with us little folks. By David Sirota, at AlterNet: "The Untapped Power of Shareholder Democracy" May 23, 2008. To quote:

Company shareholders should use their economic leverage to force corporations to adopt environmentally friendly practices.

A Congresswoman is OUT of her California house. CBS5 in San Francisco, May 23, 2008 headlines, "SoCal Congresswoman Says Foreclosure 'Improper.'" To quote:

Rep. Laura Richardson claimed Friday that her Sacramento home was sold into foreclosure without her knowledge and contrary to an agreement with her lender.

She said that she is like any other American suffering in the mortgage crisis and wants to testify to Congress about her experience as lawmakers craft a foreclosure-prevention bill.

. . . Now, Richardson said, she has renegotiated her loan to pay it off and promised to fully comply with all its terms. She also said she will pay nearly $9,000 in delinquent property taxes.

Blogger journalism is IN. Bill Boyarsky's Columns in TruthDig: "Citizen Journalism: In With the New," an exploration of the highly successful OffTheBus. This is citizen journalism at its most basic level, on the ground, out with the campaigns. Posted on May 22, 2008.

OffTheBus was started by Jay Rosen, an NYU journalism professor and Internet communications pioneer, and Arianna Huffington, founder of the Web’s Huffington Post.

Mainstream newspaper reporters are Out at the WaPo. By Frank Ahrens, Staff Writer for the Washington Post : "More Than 100 Post Journalists Take Buyout." Friday, May 23, 2008. To quote:

More than 100 Washington Post reporters, editors, photographers, artists and other journalists will take early retirement packages offered by the company as a way to cut costs, reducing the newsroom staff by at least 10 percent.

Getting a laugh is IN. And Barry Crimmins makes us laugh. Add this to the mix and you've got several good chuckles for dessert today: Daniel Kurtzman's The Week's Best Late Night Jokes - 5/16/08------- Sign up for your political humor newsletter.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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The Future Was Yesterday said...

"Who is In"
Anybody that jumps on the "I hate Hilary bandwagon."

"Who is Out this week?"
Me, for telling the above they're a bunch of idiots!

Carol Gee said...

Hi to you, Future/TUA/Dan'l --
I am so glad you said this! Clinton's RFK remark was thoughtless, and probably the result of total exhaustion. You and I, no doubt, have said many similar things we would like to have taken back the moment they came out of our unhinged mouths. Candidates are not allowed to be fallible human beings, it seems.
Thanks for your sensitivity, my friend, as always.