Saturday, March 31, 2007

Wal-Mart Loses In NYC...

In a stunning defeat, Wal-Mart chief executive, H. Lee Scott Jr. told the NY Times that trying to conduct business in New York City was so expensive — and exasperating — that “I don’t think it’s worth the effort.”

This is a major victory for New York City's middle-class, organized labor, innumerable small and medium sized retail stores and all mom-and-pop businesses in the City who would have been driven out of business by the retailing behemoth.

It's clear to Wal-Mart's friends and foes alike that change is needed and long overdue. In 2006 their holiday sales were down, their stock is in its third year of stagnation, and corporate leadership has lost the confidence of shareholders and employees alike.

Recent news reports the story:

"Wal-Mart is fighting for its image - and for its financial future... Wal-Mart is an embattled company and is fighting wars on all sides" - Business Week, Jan. 9, 2007

"Bad years do happen to good companies. But for Wal-Mart, 2006 was just another downer in period of decline that's lasted seven years... Wall Street is starting to lose patience" - Fortune Magazine, Jan., 2007

Wal-Mart is bad for America, it has partnered itself with the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army. The Red Chinese are America's largest potential economic and military opposition.

Of Wal-Mart's more than 6,000 global suppliers, experts estimate that as many as 80 percent are based in People's Republic of China. Today, Wal-mart uses over 3,000 Chinese factories to produce its cheap merchandise, this is almost as many stores as it has in America. Their fashion designs called, "New Order," are made in factories owned by the PLA, the Chinese Peoples' Liberation Army. Many of which are produced with slave labor. Wal-Mart estimates it imports $15 billion of Chinese goods every year and concedes that the figure could be higher - some estimates range as high as $20 or $30 billion.

Wal-Mart faces the nation's largest class-action lawsuit from 1.6 million current and former female Wal-Mart employees for gender discrimination. The charges against Wal-Mart are severe - but not surprising. They claim that Wal-Mart: (1) Advances male employees more quickly than female employees; (2) Denies female employees equal job assignments, promotions, training and compensation; and (3) Retaliates against those who oppose Wal-Mart's unlawful practices.

This case only confirms what many have known for years: Wal-Mart must fundamentally change the way it treats its employees, and set an example for labor practices worldwide. The facts remain that women comprise only 37.6 % of Assistant Managers, 21.9% of Co-Managers, and 15.5% of Store Manager positions at Wal-Mart.

About 65% of hourly employees are women, compared to about 33% of management employees. And, from date of hire until being promoted into an Assistant Manager position it took on average 4.38 years for women, compared to 2.86 years for men. To reach Store Manager, the average male needed 8.64 years compared to 10.12 years for a female.

Despite their advertising campaign meant to misinform the American consumer to Shop American, more than 75% of their products are foreign made, making them one of the largest contributors to Americas outsourcing of good paying union jobs. Their management vehemently opposes unionization of their stores.

Wal-Mart leads the list of companies with the most employees and dependents in taxpayer-funded health care programs. In California, Wal-mart cost the state an estimated $86 million dollars in health benefits.

Wal-Mart sales clerks made an average of $8.23 an houror $13,861 a year in 2001. That's nearly $800 below the federal poverty line for a family of three.

Be very aware, that every new Wal-mart store creates a ripple effect, family businesses close up shop, factories shut down, communities get squeezed, and fulfilling careers are turned into nightmare chores.

Meanwhile, taxpayers are footing the bill for the health care of thousands of Wal-Mart's employees, while the company receives exorbitant tax breaks - as they tried here - from the very same communities Wal-Mart will eventually use and then discard.

They are blatantly anti-family and anti-American. Wal-Mart stores and parking lots already occupy roughly 75,000 acres in the U.S. -- and the company plans to nearly double its footprint over the next 10 years.

I want to applaud Wal-Mart's decision not to try to conquer New York City. It takes a real man to swallow such an ignoble defeat so gracefully.

Therefore, I couldn't agree more with Mr. Scott of Wal-Mart's when he told the Times, “I don’t care if we are ever” in New York City, and neither do I.

US Mint Issuing Presidential Dollar Coins..

The US Mint will begin issuing Presidential One Dollar Coins.

The $1 Dollar coins depicting US Presidents, will feature four presidents a year in the order in which they served...
George Washington will be first in the collection. Some other interesting features of the coins are:

• The Mint would make commemorative, $10 "bullion" coins of the
presidents' spouses.

Grover Cleveland will be on two coins because he served non-consecutive terms.

The dollar coins would retain the gold color and be the same size as the Sacagawea.

A president must have been dead at least two years to appear on a coin.

The legislation comes as the government begins circulating nickels commemorating the Lewis and Clark expedition and the Louisiana Purchase.

The US Mint website shows the new design features including the edge lettering...

An Informative USA Today article including a photo slide show...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

This Modern World: Sparky enters the housing market...

View Original at Working for Change...

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform holds a hearing: "Allegations of Misconduct at the General Services Administration."

The latest scandal uncovered by proper oversight...Today Henry Waxman's House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform had another GOP hack in front of them as a witness, Lurita Doan, of the General Services Administration. (Doan is on CREW's list of the most corrupt administrators in the Bush Regime.)

The Committee on Oversight and Government Reform holds a hearing: "Allegations of Misconduct at the General Services Administration." The hearing inquires about allegations that GSA Administrator Lurita Doan failed to follow proper procedures for awarding federal contracts, attempted to intervene in contract negotiations, and engaged in partisan political activities on federal property. Rep. Braley questions GSA head Doan on a political briefing given at GSA headquarters.

Karl Rove's Slide Show...

Pelosi to Bush: “Calm down with the threats. There’s a new Congress in town”

Speaker Pelosi also said..."I just wish the President would take a deep breath and recognize again that we each have our Constitutional role and we should respect that."

Here's a
video clip at Crooks and Liars...

Mark Fiore's Animation - Gone Fishing

Mark Fiore's Animation - Gone Fishing 3/22/2007

Response to a NY Post Editorial -WFP: Weingarten's Fake Protestors

Original Editorial WFP: Weingarten's Fake Protestors dated March 28, 30

I'm not from New Jersey, nor a member of the Working Family Party but I am the proud parent of a student at MS 210 in Ozone Park.

I support the City Council resolution calling for Mayor Bloomberg to postpone the upcoming school-reorganization plan. I feel parents have been excluded from any substantive discussion on the future of our children's schools. Why the rush..?

I know parents were outraged at the Chancellor's recent school bus debacle which led to many youngsters being stranded in the streets.

And, isn't it ridiculous to start such a program in the middle of the winter..?

Parents have barely gotten used to the reforms instituted a few years ago. Nor have those reforms been assessed or evaluated to determine if they benefited our children.

Where is the accountability..?

This isn't about Randi Weingarten or the UFT this is about the Mayor and the POST disrespecting parents by not seeking out real parents of real students for our opinions.

Our voices can be found at the Chancellors Parents Advisory Council, any Community Education Council or Parents Association meeting in the City of New York. I invite the Mayor and the Post to the next District 27 CEC meeting.

Let's see if they print my response...

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Storm Surge City...The problem? Global warming is driving up sea levels...

The following article highlights the impact Global Warming will have on New York City by the year 2030...Original article courtesy of the Gothamist...

Through much of its history New York had a working waterfront. Be it for passengers, cargo, fishing, or ship building, warehouses and other industries, the waterfront was a busy, stinky, messy place. As a result the poshest residences were usually built inland, think Park Avenue. Since the ports are no longer used for industrial purposes there has been a rush to build along the shore. As discussed in a
long article in Sunday's Times, maybe riverside condos aren't such a great idea.

The problem? Global warming is driving up sea level. Five inches higher by 2030 and another couple inches by 2050. While that doesn't sound like much, a slightly higher sea level lets water from a
storm surge travel much further inland. Couple sea level rise with a likely increase in the frequency and strength of storms, both tropical and nor'easters, and you greatly increase the risk of an infrastructure disaster. Allstate is already refusing to renew policies in metro New York because of storm vulnerability.

Did you ever wonder why the West Village has low buildings? Why does the Manhattan skyline take a dip between the Financial District and Midtown? The answer is sand and bedrock. Early skyscrapers needed to be built on bedrock close to the surface. Sand underlies much of downtown above the Financial District. If a storm surge pushes through the West Village it is going to scour the sand that supports lots of unreinforced buildings, causing them to collapse or otherwise be unusable. It's not just the West Village, Red Hook is mostly fill, Coney Island and the Rockaways are nothing more than semi-permanent barrier islands, all the islands within Jamaica Bay are only a couple feet above sea level, as are JFK and LaGuardia airports. Shown in the map above, is the storm surge estimated for a category 3 hurricane, roughly the size of Hurricane Katrina. All the places in blue would be overrun with water.

Shiny new glass buildings are also a problem. Under the current building code, windows have to withstand wind gusts up to 110 miles an hour. That's fine for a minor hurricane, but it offers little protection in a major storm.

To deal with these problems the mayor has set up PLANYC, the Office of Long-Term Planning and Sustainability.

The options for holding back the sea are not pretty. A seawall would have to be dozens of feet high. A wall that high needs to be really wide. Good-bye river views and access!

A set of storm surge barriers, moveable, underwater locks that would be put into use ahead of an approaching storm will offer partial protection. According to SUNY-Stony Brook researchers there would have to be four barriers: under the Verrazano Bridge, between Staten Island and New Jersey, between Long Island Sound and the East River, and across the Rockaway Inlet. Barriers like this are expensive, $10 billion each, but that is a small investment if it protects trillions of dollars worth of infrastructure.

Other ideas PLANYC2030 are considering include requiring buildings to be retrofitted, and more appropriate land-use planning, including buffers to absorb the impact of storm surges. A draft revised building code is to be released this spring. Expected changes include requiring stronger windows and strengthening of critical buildings, such as hospitals, in flood zones.

Storm surge map from NASA and based on the work of the NYC DEP, SUNY Stony Brook, and FEMA.

Some Encouraging News on the Political Front...

Trends in Political Values and Core Attitudes: 1987-2007
Political Landscape More Favorable To Democrats

The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press:

Increased public support for the social safety net, signs of growing public concern about income inequality, and a diminished appetite for assertive national security policies have improved the political landscape for the Democrats as the 2008 presidential campaign gets underway.


Tuesday, March 27, 2007

PAT TILLMAN INVESTIGATION...his mother, Mary Tillman not satisfied with military's report...

Pat Tillman's mother says her family is pursuing congressional hearings on her son's death. Mary Tillman tells Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann she's still looking to find out what happened in the friendly fire death of her son in Afghanistan. Listen and read the interview and story on the The Big Show...

And more video from San Francisco Tillman: "But what they did is make up a story. That's not a misstep, and that's not an error. They made up a story, it was presented on national television, and we believe they did that to promote the war."

Here's a previous report
"The Truth of Tillman..?"

March 26th...Almost three years after Pat Tillman's death by friendly fire, the Army's inspector general says the investigations were thwarted...Keith Olbermann talks with Jon Soltz of

And although from 2004, this Washington Post two-part
story is a good compilation of the facts gathered at that point in time..

"Field Guide to the Birds of Iraq" this must be one of those good things happening in Iraq that the media isn't telling us about..

Iraq opens the book on wildlife conservation...

Canada Iraq Marshlands Initiative...there are some nice photographs and a video link for a ride through the marsh...

The first comprehensive survey of bird populations in Iraq seems to show that conservation efforts are working, but some species remain threatened.

Read more from BBC...

and here's a US soldiers blog named Birding Babylon...

Monday, March 26, 2007

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Must Go..!

As Sonny and Cher sang back in the 60's, "The beat goes on, the beat goes on, Drums keep pounding a rhythm to the brain La-de-da-de-de, la-de-da-de da"...but the beat may be grinding to a halt for the Bush Administration.

It is so unmistakably clear that Alberto Gonzales has repeatedly lied to Congress and the American people about what occurred with the U.S. attorney firings that now even some of the most loyal Bush sycophants are begrudgingly acknowledging the facts.

But what is blatantly clear is that this pattern of deceit, dishonesty and mendacity has been exhibited by the Bush Administration throughout it's six years in office. This is not an aberration in any way, shape or form, this has been the script for the Bush presidency and the actions of the Attorney General in this abuse of power case are par for the course with this Administration.

There is one thing and just one thing distinguishing this U.S. attorneys scandal from all of the other would-be scandals over the past six years and that is that the Democrats now have subpoena power and seem ready to wield it's power by forcing the administration to give public sworn testimony before committees and disclose actual evidence and documents, rather than simply issue their unscrutinized and non-investigated denials of wrongdoing to a rubber-stamp Republican Congress and that evidence offered demonstrates that the claims are true.

If you recall, in the past, this is how every scandal transpired, first questions about Administration conduct were raised, whereupon, present and past Administration officials would deny the wrongdoing. Then Karl Rove and Dick Cheney would start Administration officials selectively and voluntarily disclose exculpatory documents. Then they would appear before a milquetoast Congress, to assure everyone that prudent safeguards are in place, then deny any wrongdoing again, and lastly claim the conduct in question is used only for only proper purposes. More often than not they would foist national security and protecting the country against terrorism.

Then, according to script, the Administration followers led by the Republicans formerly controlling Congress; such as Senator Pat Roberts-R-Kansas and Senator Mitch McConnell-R-Kentucky; would insist that no investigation was warranted because the Bush Administration has made clear that there are safeguards in place protecting us and everything is being done for proper purposes. Congressional Republicans then would block any and all Congressional investigations, compel no disclosure of evidence, do nothing to investigate the claims against the Administration. And, finally the scandal ends, unresolved.

This has been the Administration's modus operandi and the same distinctive pattern has repeated itself over and over from when the Administration lost one of our most sophisticated spy planes to the Red Chinese Air Force before 9-11, to post 9-11 with controversies over secret and illegal surveillance programs spying on American citizens, to torture, black sites and rendition of prisoners of war which constitute war crimes in violation of the Geneva Conventions and the US Constitution.

Congressional Republicans have blocked all investigations during the Bush presidency, insisting that we can trust him and his Administration, and they have proceeded along, lying to Congress and the country with complete and utter impunity.

Getting back to the U.S. attorneys case, everything proceeded according to script, Alberto Gonzales did what he and other Bush officials have always done, issue false statements about what they did in order to conceal their wrongdoing and lie to everyone about what our Government is doing.

And had it not been for the forced disclosure of internal DOJ emails and other documents - something which never would have occurred prior to the November, 2006 election with the Republican majority - the same thing here would have happened: thusly, Alberto Gonzales and other top DOJ officials would have lied about what they did and why they did it and nobody would have been able to prove it either way.

The only thing that has changed is that there is now some minimal amount of oversight and already, thank goodness, within a mere three months, that oversight is finally being exercised by the Democrats and our country's Attorney General stands revealed as a serial liar in the politicization of the US Justice Department.

That is why our Founding Fathers felt that oversight was so critically important because they instinctively did not trust government and never trusted government officials to act properly when they can act in secret and with no checks. Oversight is fundamental to a functioning democracy.

So the November 2006 election has already proven that elections have consequences and the people have spoken, therefore I would encourage the Democratic-led Congress to continue to use their oversight powers to shine the light behind the curtain which has been the story of the Bush Administration.

Finally, I call upon President Bush to demand the resignation of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales. If that is not forthcoming, Congress must use it's impeachment power to rid our country of this dishonest Attorney General.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Must Go..!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Was Houdini murdered?

Sunday Video Funnies...

Bill Maher on Valarie Plame

As Bill Maher says, even the mob doesn't go after people's families...

Hillary Shows Support for Elizabeth Edwards on Her Webpage..

Hillary Clinton showed her solidarity with Elizabeth Edwards with this web banner on her webpage...

Walt Handelsman - Political Reality Show

Mark Fiore's Animation - Don't Askiversary

Mark Fiore's Animaton – Don't Askiversary 3/22/2007 - The Saturday Cartoons

Bob Geiger - The Saturday Cartoons

Tom Tomorrow - This Modern World

See original cartoon here...

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Potemkin Protestors

The NY POST recently ran this editorial and here is my response to it...let's see if they print it...

I am the parent of a real student in the NYC public school system at MS 210 in Ozone Park. I am speaking as a Parents Association member about mayoral control of our schools.

Parents were outraged at the recent school bus debacle, which led to elementary school students being stranded in the streets - Has anyone been fired..?

And, how ridiculous is it to roll out such a program in the middle of the winter..?

I agree with the Post that,“Klein and Bloomberg have been rocking the system since they won control of the schools in 2003” but, every informed parent I speak to feels that the Chancellor and Mayor have failed to improve our once great public education system.

Parents have barely gotten used to the reforms instituted by the Mayor a few years ago - Nor have those reforms been assessed or evaluated to determine if they benefited our children.

Where is the accountability..?

To hear that the Mayor does not support the use of the CFE law suit proceeds to reduce class size is lunacy to me. Every study shows convincingly that lower class sizes are beneficial to students.

I support the Nolan/Lancman bill in the State Assembly to use 25% of these proceeds for class size reduction and urge the Post to support it, too.

I think it is the Post disrespecting parents for not seeking out real parents of real students, they can be found at the Chancellors Parents Advisory Council, any Community Education Council or Parents Association meeting in the City of New York. Have a reporter give me a call..we'll talk.

Americans are NOT stupid..!

Support our Troops and Veterans...

Four years into the War in Iraq over 3,200 U.S. Troops have been killed, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians have been killed and billions of tax payers' dollars have been spent. After four years of war and six years of lies, the American people must make a choice and take a stand. Are you ready to end this war..? Then get out there and say something...

Friday, March 23, 2007

Scandal Du Jour...By Mike Luckovich , Atlanta Journal Constitution

From the Cartoonist Group.

Daily Show On Subpoenas: "The White House Is Adamant That Their Advisors...Retain The Right To Lie"...

The Daily Show correspondent John Oliver and anchor Jon Stewart discuss the last time Karl Rove testified.

Spring at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge...

A fallout of neotropical migrants at Jamaica Bay National Wildlife Refuge. Scarlet Tanager, Red & White-eyed Vireos, Black & white , Black-throated blue & Green, Magnolia, Bay-breasted, Chestnut-sided, Blackpoll, Cape May, Wilsons', Hooded and Canada Warblers, Ovenbird, Common Yellowthroat and American Redstart.

First Day of Spring (belatedly)...

From Audubon's Birds of America, IV: the Scarlet Tanager

John James Audubon, 1785-1851, and Maria Martin "Louisiana Tanager; Scarlet Tanager," plate 354, from his Birds of America, no. 71 (London: Havell, 1837).--the scale of Audubon's project meant that for some specimens he had to rely on other collectors. The two Louisiana (or western) tanagers here were supplied by a Dr. Townsend. Audubon painted these specimens in Charleston in the winter of 1836-37. The plant on which they are perched, the red bay, was painted by Maria Martin.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Major New Problems At Walter Reed...

Washington, DC (WUSA) -- A major 9NEWS NOW EXCLUSIVE -- allegations from a former inspector at Walter Reed of widespread and dangerous problems in nearly all the buildings at the Army's premier hospital.

Burst steam pipes near electrical cables, rats, mold, and holes in floors and walls -- all of that extends far beyond the well-publicized problems at the notorious Building 18.


VIP ward at Walter Reed gets scrutiny

USA Today did a piece on Walter Reed Army Medical Center's VIP Suites...

The large, comfortable suites on the hospital's top floor are reserved for the president, the vice president, federal judges, members of Congress and the Cabinet, high-ranking military officials and even foreign dignitaries and their spouses. The only enlisted members of the military who are eligible to stay there are recipients of the Medal of Honor.

The suites have carpeted floors, antique furniture and fine china in the dining rooms. That's a stark contrast to mold- and mice-ridden housing that some wounded troops had been found to be living in.

Slide show...

Sunday, March 18, 2007

2007 Blizzard - Iowa DOT

A friend of mine sent me this slide show from the Iowa DOT from their recent made shoveling our recent five inches of snow that much easier by comparison...

slide show... The Saturday Cartoons

Bob Geiger's Saturday Roundup of Political Cartoons


Former CIA officer Valerie Plame testifies before Congress - Three Parts

Former CIA officer Valerie Plame testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Friday, March 16, 2007

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Bill Maher - Sacrifice from 3/16/07 'Real Time w/ Bill Maher'

Are You Smarter than Alberto Gonzales?

I couldn't agree with "The Donald" moreso..."worse President in history"...

Monday, March 5, 2007

Deplorable Conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center

A Walter Reed Hospital postcard, ca. 1930s

I am writing about the deplorable out-patient conditions at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and to condemn the arrogance displayed by the Bush Administration and the Army brass, which is shameful at best and at worse, criminal.

I hope this situation finally highlights how our GI's and vets are treated by this Administration after nobly serving this nation.

It's a long told sad story of scandalous conditions at our VA hospitals, but now the same dismal conditions are found at active military hospitals.

I ask, if this is happening at Walter Reed in Washington DC, how do you think our wounded and disabled troops are being treated in other, less prominent facilities across the country?

For the Administration and the Army to make the claim that these issues weren't known simply shows their callousness and illustrates how our troops come second to military careers of general officers and special deals for Administration cronies.

The current commander Lt. Gen. Kevin C. Kiley said that the problems "weren't serious and there weren't a lot of them." He also said they were not "emblematic of a process of Walter Reed that has abandoned soldiers and their families." He blamed the troops by saying they shouldn't be leaving food or garbage in their rooms.

But according to the press, Kiley and other senior commissioned and noncommissioned officers were hearing complaints about out-patient care over the past several years.

The complaints had surfaced at on-base town hall meetings, at sessions in which soldiers and officers are encouraged to speak freely, and in several inspector general's reports detailing building conditions, safety issues and other matters.

In fact, Rep. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.) and his wife stopped visiting the wounded out of frustration. Rep. Young said he voiced concerns to commanders over troubling incidents he witnessed but was rebuffed or ignored. "When Bev or I would bring problems to the attention of authorities...we were made to feel very uncomfortable," said Young, who instead began visiting the wounded recuperating at other facilities.

The Army Times has reported that..."Last October, Joyce Rumsfeld, the wife of then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, was taken to Walter Reed by a friend concerned about outpatient treatment. She attended a weekly meeting, called Girls Time Out, at which wives, girlfriends and mothers of soldiers exchange stories and offer support."According to three people who attended the gathering, Rumsfeld listened quietly. Some of the women did not know who she was. At the end of the meeting, Rumsfeld asked one of the staff members whether she thought that the soldiers her husband was meeting on his visits had been handpicked to paint a rosy picture of their time there. The answer was yes."

When hospital officials found out that Mrs. Rumsfeld had visited, they told the friend who brought her - a woman who had volunteered there many times - that she was no longer welcome on the military base.

I've read, that every time the President, the Vice-President, the Defense Secretary or other “dignities” were coming to the military hospital, it would be thoroughly scrubbed and cleaned, like window dressing. The improvements would not last long, according to families of injured Iraq war veterans.

This week, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform was forced to subpoena Maj. Gen. George Weightman, who was recently fired as head of Walter Reed, the Army refused to allow him to testify voluntarily before the committee.

The Committee has asked Gen. Weightman to testify about an internal Army memo that showed privatization of services which could put “patient care services at risk of mission failure.”

A memo written in September by Garrison Commander Garibaldi to Weightman, “describes how the Army’s decision to privatize support services was causing an exodus of ‘highly skilled and experienced personnel,’” the committee’s letter states. “According to multiple sources, the decision to privatize support services led to a precipitous drop in support personnel.”

The memo said: “Without favorable consideration of these requests...Base Operations and patient care services are at risk of mission failure.”

A letter from the Committee stated that a five-year, $120-million contract was awarded to IAP Worldwide Services, which is run by Al Neffgen, a former senior Halliburton official.

They found that more than 300 federal employees providing facilities management services had dropped to fewer than 60. IAP replaced the remaining 60 employees with only 50 private workers.

The conditions that have been described at Walter Reed are disgraceful,” the letter continued, “Part of our mission on the Oversight Committee is to investigate what led to the breakdown in services. It would be reprehensible if the deplorable conditions were caused or aggravated by an ideological commitment to privatize government services regardless of the costs to taxpayers and the consequences for wounded soldiers.”

It said the Defense Department “systemically” tried to replace federal workers with private companies for facilities management, patient care and guard duty – a process that began in 2000.

But the push to privatize support services there accelerated under President Bush’s ‘competitive sourcing’ initiative, which was launched in 2002,” it states.

During the year between awarding the contract to IAP and when the company started, “skilled government workers apparently began leaving in droves,” the letter states. “The memorandum also indicates that officials at the highest levels of Walter Reed and the U.S. Army Medical Command were informed about the dangers of privatization, but appeared to do little to prevent them.”

The memo requests more federal employees because the hospital mission had grown “significantly” during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Commander Garibaldi wrote: “Without favorable consideration of these requests...Base Operations and patient care services are at risk of mission failure.” It states that medical command did not concur with their request for more people.

The evidence compiled so far suggests that Gen. Kiley has been more complicit in the scandalous neglect of Walter Reed's outpatient facilities for longer than Gen. Weightman has been.

As Rep. Young said yesterday of Gen. Weightman, "I don't know him. But I know he's the fall guy."

Why on earth was Lt. Gen. Kiley named as commander of the base again? It seems to me like another “heck of a job , Brownie” moment.

Let’s be clear about what’s to blame for the current debacle. It wasn’t overzealous regulation that led to soldier’s rooms being filled with mold and infested with mice and cockroaches. It was lack of oversight by a rubberstamp Republican Congress that led to those conditions. And it wasn’t government bureaucracy that led to the deterioration of the hospital staff. It was the George W. Bush payback to his corporate buddies with privatization.

I find this whole situation appalling and the epitome of arrogance. I feel it's important for people to know that this is how George W. Bush, our compassionate conservative president and the Army treats wounded and disabled troops.