Tuesday, November 21, 2006

AmericaBlog Hot Topics

Why Karen Carter's run-off race in Lousiana matters

John in DC: Tim Targaris explains in detail. But suffice it to say that Karen Carter is a great progressive voice running in the deep south. And she's taking on a man who personally embodies the corruption that took down the Republican party this election, except this guy is a Democrat. His name is William Jefferson, and you might remember him as the guy who stocked away $90,000 in his freezer until the FBI found it. Jefferson is also making a mainstay of his campaign gay-baiting and attacking Carter for being pro-choice. Yes, not only is the man a crook, but he's proudly running as an anti-gay and anti-choice candidate. Because, you see, Jefferson says HE'S the values candidate. Uh huh, the guy with $90,000 hidden in his freezer is the values candidate. With his affinity for freezers, let's see how he likes it in the cooler.

This guy needs to go. He's not only going to be an albatross around our necks, but do we really need this kind of corruption in our government? I don't think so.

Pentagon is considering massive troop increase (oh, but it's just a short-term massive increase)

Joe in DC: They're calling it the "surge option." Massive increase in troops to get things under control. It sounds more like the Pentagon's version of a Hail Mary pass, except a lot of people will die:

Pentagon officials conducting a review of Iraq strategy are considering a substantial but temporary increase in American troop levels and the addition of several thousand more trainers to work with Iraqi forces, a senior Defense Department official said Monday.

The idea, dubbed the “surge option” by some officials, would involve increasing American forces by 20,000 troops or more for several months in the hope of improving security, especially in Baghdad. That would mark a sharp rise over the current baseline of 144,000 troops.

The same brain-trust that got us in to this mess just can't figure out how to get us out of this mess. Instead of de-escalating, they're on the verge of escalating the mess.

Don't forget. Increasing the number of troops in Iraq by 20,000 is John McCain's brilliant idea, too.

OSHA threatens scientist who issued asbestos warning

Chris is Paris: Will it never end with this administration? Do they have to turn back the clock on science every time? This time the threat of being sacked came from the former OSHA head, former Big Auto friend John Henshaw, who did not like that an OSHA scientist ran studies and then issued an asbestos health warning related to automobile brakes. Big Auto did not like the warning and did not see any reason why such an warning needed to be issued. Many consumers and workers were unaware of the continued asbestos tainted car brakes being imported into the US. It's going to be nice having balance in government again.

It took six years to get federal worker safety officials to issue warnings to auto mechanics that the brakes they're working on could contain lethal asbestos fibers. But it took only three weeks after the warnings were posted before a former top federal official with ties to the auto industry reportedly pushed to have them removed.

John Henshaw, a former head of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, called Aug. 15 for the agency to make changes to its warnings, according to documents obtained by The Sun.

But Ira Wainless, an OSHA scientist who wrote the advisory bulletin about asbestos in brakes, refused, according to agency documents. Wainless cited dozens of studies, including work at his own agency, to show that his presentation of the medical risk to mechanics was solid.

Last week, David Ippolito, an official with OSHA's Directorate of Science, Technology and Medicine, told Wainless that he would be suspended without pay for 10 days if the changes weren't made, according to documents.

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