Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Lab Notes : Science, Censored

The Bush government continues to get away with murder, in this case censoring key scientific data because it does not support administration policies.

Click on the link below to read the article from Newsweek Magazine.

Lab Notes : Science, Censored

Monday, June 11, 2007

GOP blocks Gonzales no-confidence measure

GOP blocks Gonzales no-confidence vote -
Politics -
The vote was 53-38, in favor of a "no confidence" resolution, two votes short of the 60 votes required.

"There is no confidence in the attorney general on this side of the aisle," said Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, the senior Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. Specter voted to move the resolution forward, but he said many of his GOP colleagues would not because they feared political retribution.

The Senate Democrats pushed for this vote specifically to try to get their Republican colleagues to go on the record with their disapproval of Gonzales' performance, and by extension, the Bush administration. When there is a close vote on a major issue, I am always interested in both how my senators voted, and who did NOT make the vote. In this case, despite the closeness of the vote on this hotly debated this issue, only 91 senators voted (out of a possible 99 votes - Wyoming senator Craig Thomas died last week).

I took a look to see which 8 members of the Senate missed the vote (and incidentally avoided putting their sentiment, either way, into the Congressional Record). Five of them were presidential candidates - Christopher Dodd, Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Sam Brownback and John McCain. Hillary Clinton was the only candidate for president who was present for the vote. The election is 17 months away. Wouldn't you think this vote was important enough to come off the campaign trail and be present for the roll call?

For those who are interested, here is how it broke down:

Voting "yes" were 45 Democrats, seven Republicans and one independent.

Voting "no" were no Democrats, 37 Republicans and one independent.

"Present" denotes those who voted they were present at the time of the vote but did not vote yes or no on the issue.

Democrats Yes
Akaka, Hawaii; Baucus, Mont.; Bayh, Ind.; Bingaman, N.M.; Boxer, Calif.; Brown, Ohio; Byrd, W.Va.; Cantwell, Wash.; Cardin, Md.; Carper, Del.; Casey, Pa.; Clinton, N.Y.; Conrad, N.D.; Dorgan, N.D.; Durbin, Ill.; Feingold, Wis.; Feinstein, Calif.; Harkin, Iowa; Inouye, Hawaii; Kennedy, Mass.; Kerry, Mass.; Klobuchar, Minn.; Kohl, Wis.; Landrieu, La.; Lautenberg, N.J.; Leahy, Vt.; Levin, Mich.; Lincoln, Ark.; McCaskill, Mo.; Menendez, N.J.; Mikulski, Md.; Murray, Wash.; Nelson, Fla.; Nelson, Neb.; Pryor, Ark.; Reed, R.I.; Reid, Nev.; Rockefeller, W.Va.; Salazar, Colo.; Schumer, N.Y.; Stabenow, Mich.; Tester, Mont.; Webb, Va.; Whitehouse, R.I.; Wyden, Ore.

Democrats No

Democrats Not Voting
Biden, Del.; Dodd, Conn.; Johnson, S.D.; Obama, Ill.

Republicans Yes
Coleman, Minn.; Collins, Maine; Hagel, Neb.; Smith, Ore.; Snowe, Maine; Specter, Pa.; Sununu, N.H.

Republicans No
Alexander, Tenn.; Allard, Colo.; Bennett, Utah; Bond, Mo.; Bunning, Ky.; Burr, N.C.; Chambliss, Ga.; Cochran, Miss.; Corker, Tenn.; Cornyn, Texas; Craig, Idaho; Crapo, Idaho; DeMint, S.C.; Dole, N.C.; Domenici, N.M.; Ensign, Nev.; Enzi, Wyo.; Graham, S.C.; Grassley, Iowa; Gregg, N.H.; Hatch, Utah; Hutchison, Texas; Inhofe, Okla.; Isakson, Ga.; Kyl, Ariz.; Lott, Miss.; Lugar, Ind.; Martinez, Fla.; McConnell, Ky.; Murkowski, Alaska; Roberts, Kan.; Sessions, Ala.; Shelby, Ala.; Thune, S.D.; Vitter, La.; Voinovich, Ohio; Warner, Va.

Republicans Voting Present
Stevens, Alaska.

Republicans Not Voting
Brownback, Kan.; Coburn, Okla.; McCain, Ariz.

Others Yes
Sanders, Vt.

Others No
Lieberman, Conn.

Wal-Mart Heiress's Museum Unnerves Art Elite

Wal-Mart Heiress's Museum Unnerves Art Elites -
Newsweek Entertainment -

I am not a fan of Wal-Mart. I find their stores to be overcrowded and disorganized, with not a single helpful person in sight. And, as a media producer, I am well aware of their massive economic power as the major "buyer" of creative content. The conservative political views of the Wal-Mart corporation, combined with their influence in the buying chain, means that unless we, the consumers, start to pay attention, we may find ourselves struggling to access any content that does not meet Wal-Mart's conservative "moral" standards.

All that said, I applaud Alice Walton's investment in the arts. And, I was taken aback at the vicious, racist tone of the comments on the article. People seem to think that Wal-Mart is solely responsible for American workers being downsized, outsourced, and outperformed. There is a whole lot more wrong with our politics, our economic policies, and our work ethic than Wal-Mart can possibly be responsible for.

I posted this comment on the Newsweek site, hoping to bring a bit of historical perspective into the dialogue. "Ruthless Industrialists" also happen to be our most avid art patrons, and it's a good thing!

(To The Editors)
Alice Walton is following in the long, distinguished tradition of philanthropy practiced by our nation’s powerful, wealthy, industrialist families. The United States, founded on a belief in the power of hard work and entrepreneurship, has built its “culture” in the same way that it built its economy – through deliberate investment in the long term by families who believed in the value of knowledge, as well as the acquisition of wealth.

Members of the Rockefeller family founded both MoMA (New York’s unparalleled Museum of Modern Art) and the Asia Society. Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney (an heir to the Vanderbilt shipping/railroad fortune) founded the Whitney Museum, one of the world's foremost collections of twentieth-century American art. The J. Paul Getty Museum in Los Angeles was established with his publishing/newspaper fortune. The Ford Family Foundation, whose goals are to strengthen democratic values, reduce poverty and injustice, promote international cooperation and advance human achievement, was established in the early 20th century by Henry and Edsel Ford. The list goes on and on.

The United States does not have a tradition of expansive public funding of cultural institutions, as do major European cultural centers like Britain, France, Italy, etc. We are a capitalist nation, and if developing our cultural resources and legacy depended on meeting a bottom line, we would be in trouble.

Thank goodness for patrons like Alice Walton, who recognizes that given her good fortune and great wealth, she has an obligation to give back. It seems obvious to me that all the hoopla around her art investing is pure snobbery because the Walton family is from Arkansas, and not part of the East Coast/West Coast “aristocracy.”
Liz Nealon