Tapes reveal Nixon, Reagan – racist and corrupt

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

On Jan. 22, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence.

Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said.

There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

Ambivalence? Why be polite about racist politics. Nixon’s self-questioning is no different from what you’d expect from any bigot.

Nine months later, Nixon forced the firing of the special prosecutor looking into the Watergate affair, Archibald Cox, and prompted the resignations of Attorney General Elliot L. Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William D. Ruckelshaus. The next day, Ronald Reagan, who was then governor of California and would later be president, told the White House that he approved.

Reagan said the action, which would become known as the “Saturday Night Massacre,” was “probably the best thing that ever happened — none of them belong where they were,” according to a Nixon aide’s notes of the private conversation.

Those disclosures were among the revelations in more than 150 hours of tape and 30,000 pages of documents made public on Tuesday by the Nixon Presidential Library, a part of the National Archives. The audio files were posted online, as were a sampling of the documents.

RTFA. Follow all the links in the article. Learn a bit of American presidential history if you weren’t around then.

Obama kills Bush program using satellites for domestic spying

Government will be watching over you…
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The Obama administration plans to kill a controversial Bush administration spy satellite program at the Department of Homeland Security, according to officials familiar with the decision.

The program came under fire from its inception two years ago. Democratic lawmakers said it would lead to domestic spying. The program would have provided federal, state and local officials with extensive access to spy-satellite imagery — but no eavesdropping capabilities— to assist with emergency response and other domestic-security needs, such as identifying where ports or border areas are vulnerable to terrorism.

It would have expanded an Interior Department satellite program, which will continue to be used to assist in natural disasters and for other limited security purposes such as photographing sporting events. The Wall Street Journal first revealed the plans to establish the program, known as the National Applications Office, in 2007…

The plans to shutter the office signal Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano’s decision to refocus the department’s intelligence on ensuring that state and local officials get the threat information they need, the official said. She also wants to make the department the central point in the government for receiving and analyzing terrorism tips from around the country, the official added.

Lawmakers alerted Ms. Napolitano of their concerns about the program-that the program would violate the Fourth amendment right to be protected from unreasonable searches-before her confirmation hearing…

The lawmakers were most concerned about plans to provide satellite imagery to state and local law enforcement, so department officials asked state and local officials how useful that information would be to them. The answer: not very useful.

Cheney’s little army of Republican clones will spend the rest of the week in front of the White House – in the shade, of course, with beverage in hand – chanting, “Soft on communism!” Something like that, anyway.

Whatever is leftover in their chickenhawk pea-brains from the McCarthy days of the Cold War.

Spain 0 – 2 U.S. Americans into Confederations Cup Final

USA caused one of the biggest surprises in Confederations Cup history by beating European champions Spain to reach Sunday’s final.

Jozy Altidore scored the opener when he turned his marker Joan Capdevila to fire in from 15 yards.

Fulham’s Clint Dempsey doubled the lead in the second half when he converted Landon Donovan’s pass from close range.

Tim Howard saved from Fernando Torres and Cesc Fabregas before USA’s Michael Bradley saw red for a tackle of Xavi.

Many would have predicted Spain to win this match with a lot to spare, judging by the ease with which they won their group games.

But Vicente del Bosque’s men had only faced New Zealand, Iraq and South Africa in the lead up, and with all respect to those teams, the Americans were always going to be a tougher proposition.

Time and time again in the first half, the USA managed to read Spain’s trademark killer passes by sticking tight to potent forwards David Villa and Torres.

In fact, prior to USA’s goal, Spain’s best opportunity fell to Liverpool hot-shot Torres whose attempt at a volley from six yards was superbly scuppered by Watford’s Jay DeMerit.

What was starkly apparent on Free State Stadium pitch, was the superior athleticism of the Americans.

RTFA. It was a joy to behold. Parking the bus is not my favorite style of football; but, that was just about the only option available to the American team. They were superb at it. The comment about fitness was appropriate – and something that shouldn’t surprise anyone who follows American training methods and standards.

And Tim Howard was man of the tournament, today. He stopped everything that Spain offered.

Let’s hear it for the Family Values Brigade – one more time!

I know there was something I was supposed to mention before I left…
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford says an extramarital affair is behind his unexplained disappearance.

At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, he admitted he’s been unfaithful to his wife with a friend from Argentina.

Sanford says he and his family have been working through the affair for about the last five months.

He apologized to his wife, kids and staff after his mystery trip to Argentina.

He says, “I’ve let down a lot of people.”

He says he spent the last 5 days in Argentina “crying a lot”.

Sanford also resigned as chairman of the Republican Governors Association, but when asked if he’d resign as governor of South Carolina, he did not respond.


Vancouver Police on the lookout for naked french fry thief

Canadian police are on the search for a brazen thief who snatched a take-away meal while making a naked run past a fast food restaurant’s drive-though window.

An employee of a Langley, British Columbia, Wendy’s restaurant was handing food to a customer waiting in her car when a naked man ran between them, taking off with her fries, and leaving little evidence behind, according to police.

Other than an age range, neither woman could provide further description,” police said in a press release.

The man, believed to be in his 20s, jumped into a waiting van, which sped away from the scene during the weekend incident, police said.

Har! Neither woman got a look at his face.

Store keeps clerk off shop floor because of prosthetic arm

An exclusive American clothing shop banned a disabled sales assistant from working on the shop floor because her prosthetic arm did not fit with the store’s “look policy”, a tribunal heard today.

Abercrombie & Fitch demonstrated a “blatant display of eugenics” when they “hid” 22-year-old Riam Dean in the stockroom instead of letting her serve customers as per her job description, the central London employment tribunal was told.

Dean, a law student from Greenford, Middlesex, is suing the firm for disability discrimination after she was left “personally diminished [and] humiliated” while working in the American firm’s flagship London store last summer. “I had been bullied out of my job,” she said. “It was the lowest point I had ever been in my life…”

Dean, who was born without her left forearm, claims that when she told A&F about her disability after getting the job the firm agreed she could wear a white cardigan to cover the link between her prosthesis and her upper arm. But shortly after this, she was told she could not work on the shop floor unless she took off the cardigan as she was breaking the firm’s “look policy”. Her job was supposed to entail four roles – two on the shop floor and two in the stockroom.

A&F management “used the ‘look policy’ and the wearing of the cardigan as an excuse to hide me away in the stockroom”, Dean said today in her evidence. “I knew then that I was being treated different and unfairly because of my disability,” she said, before breaking down in tears.

I’ve had some small involvement with family members with disabilities – and mainstreaming. In fact, lawsuits were required for access to equal opportunity in education. To further handicap someone with a diminished chance to work and earn within society is reprehensible.

Diesel is no longer a dirty word!

If only the other manufacturers of diesel-powered vehicles had their act together as well as Audi, we’d be in a better situation here in the United States.

Diesel is cleaner, diesel is cheaper. We’d be saving money as families and as a nation. We’d lower our dependency on foreign oil – because there’s hardly anything easier and cheaper to produce than biodiesel. Yet, new biodiesel refineries are closing because of underutilization.

If you know anyone with a diesel-powered vehicle – who has tried biodiesel – they’ll tell you their critter ran better and cleaner with the veggie product than the stuff refined from petroleum.

Yet, almost every manufacturer who sells a diesel-powered car or small truck somewhere else in the world – is afraid to market it in the United States. Something else we can thank General Motors for – the crap diesel cars they sold decades ago ruined the market for the fearful.

Of course, like Toyota did with the hybrid, manufacturers like Audi [and Volkswagen] have the smarts and cojones to get the jump on everyone else and establish themselves as the source for clean, powerful, economical diesel-power ahead of all the others who could be doing the same.

Like Toyota, Honda, GM’s Opel, Ford – all candyass manufacturers with diesel cars and small pickups they could be selling here.

The Pentagon presents – Cyber Commandos!

Will Jinx get to design the uniforms?

The Pentagon will create a Cyber Command to oversee the U.S. military’s efforts to protect its computer networks and operate in cyberspace, under an order signed by Defense Secretary Robert Gates.

The new headquarters, likely to be based at Fort Meade, Maryland, outside Washington, D.C., will be responsible for defending U.S. military systems but not other U.S. government or private networks, Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said.

Asked if the command would be capable of offensive operations as well as protecting the Department of Defense, Whitman declined to answer directly.

“This command is going to focus on the protection and operation of DoD’s networks,” he said. “This command is going to do what is necessary to be able to do that…”

The power to disrupt and destroy, once the sole province of nations, now also rests with small groups and individuals, from terrorist groups to organized crime to industrial spies to hacker activists, to teenage hackers,” he said…

The head of the Cyber Command would also be the director of the U.S. National Security Agency, which conducts electronic surveillance and communications interception and is also based at Fort Meade.

Can you imagine the security check to get into this gig? Almost anyone who applies to join the new Obama CyberWarrior Commando won’t be worth spit at the job unless they’ve already been working at hacking into someone’s military secrets.

Boeing share prices crater as debut flight postponed for 5th time

Back into the garage, again…
Daylife/Getty Images used by permission

Boeing’s share price dropped by nearly 9 per cent in intraday trading yesterday after it postponed the initial test flight of its first new aircraft in more than ten years.

The company said that problems with the body of the revolutionary 787 Dreamliner had forced it to delay the test, which had been scheduled for this month.

Boeing said that it would be several weeks before it could announce a new test flight date or details on how far the delay would push back the delivery of the Dreamliner, which is the company’s first new aircraft since the 777 was developed more than a decade ago.

This marks the fifth time that the test flight has been postponed, damaging Boeing’s credibility when it is struggling with cancelled orders because of the economic downturn…

The aircraft was originally scheduled to make its first flight in summer 2007, with delivery to airlines by early last year, but the test has been delayed four times because of design or production problems.

With the economic downturn hitting business in the travel industry, airlines have cancelled their orders for 45 Dreamliners, although Boeing said this month that it had orders for more than 850 of the aircraft.

“Disappointing” is hardly the appropriate term.

When the world market is down to two firms competing at this size of passenger aircraft, delays give a giant boost to your competitor. In this case, the crew at Airbus. The 380 is rolling out the door.