Friday, March 30, 2007

Karl Rove staff and Lurita Doan offer your help to local corrupt Republicans

Karl Rove deputy J. Scott Jennings directed Lurita Doan, the chief of the GSA, and as many as 40 agency officials to help in the re-election of embattled Republicans in the 2006 election. The presentation was made by the White House aide given at the General Services Administration and discussed targeting 20 Democratic congressional candidates in the next election.

Jennings' 28-page presentation included 2006 election results and listed the names of Democratic candidates considered beatable and Republican lawmakers thought to need their help in 2008. The 2008 list includes the following local pols: Thelma Drake (VA-02), Roscoe Bartlett (MD-06) and Tom Davis (VA-11) . The last two slides of the 28 identify Virginia as battleground states in the 2008 Senate race where GSA help will be needed.

WaPo covers politics and the GSA here.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Deepwater is in Deep Caca ...and Cheney's son-in-law?!

Crossposted on DailyKos and Raising Kaine.

WaPo reported today about the Deepwater Revolving door and pay-to-play politics that jeopardizes the Coast Guard, Homeland security and border control. The story mentioned Phillip J. Perry.

The Perry family of McClean, VA has donated generously to the campaigns of crooks like Bob Ney, Randy Forbes, and Conrad Burns, as well as Tom DeLay's ARMPAC, Robert Ehrlich, and Tom Davis. The Perry family donations exceed $50,000.

What did they get for their money? They got to go through the Deepwater Revolving Door. Formerly a lobbyist for Lockheed Martin, J. Phillip Perry, a son-in-law of Dick Cheney, was nominated to be General Counsel to the Department of Homeland Security from June 2005 until he left in February 2007.

After drafting the law that created DHS at OMB, Perry became its GC, a position he could have used to oversee some of the many problems Lockheed had complying with its contract to build boats that float on time and on budget for the Coast Guard. Perry returned to the DC firm of Latham and Watkins in March.

A significant target of the Perry generosity is Tom Davis (R-VA), who oversaw the Government Reform Committee during a period of pay-to-play politics and almost unprecendented scandal when the Committee set records for inactivity. The company escaped accountability for the waste and inefficiency so the money seems like a great investment. Here are the details of the Tom Davis donations from the FEC wbsite.
PERRY, GERALD STEPHEN------10/23/1998---$500.00-THE DUTKO GROUP INC-98034022477
PERRY, GERALD STEPHEN------05/05/1999--$1000.00-THE DUTKO GROUP INC-99034720146
PERRY, ANNE POWERS MRS----04/28/2000--$1000.00-HOMEMAKER-20036461485
PERRY, PHILIP JONATHAN MR.-07/16/2001---$250.00-WHITE & CASE /ATTORNEY-22990118540

Friday, March 23, 2007

Alberto Gonzales lies revealed by emails

Emails show Alberto Gonzales lied to Congress on attorney firings.

E-mails show 2-year plan to oust prosecutors for investigating Republicans, campaign donors.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Edwards campaign, marriage going strong

Despite lots of speculation, NYT reports on John Edwards:

CHAPEL HILL, N.C., March 22 — John Edwards, the North Carolina Democrat, said today that his wife’s cancer had returned, but that his bid for the presidency “goes on strongly.”

“The campaign goes on, the campaign goes on strongly,” he said, with his wife, Elizabeth, at his side.

Mr. Edwards said he learned earlier this week that the cancer had reappeared in his wife’s rib cage. He said he and his wife recognized that it was no longer curable, though it could be managed with treatment.

Asked by a reporter whether recurrence of the cancer would cause him to suspend any campaign activities, such as fundraising or travel, Mr. Edwards said no. “We know from our previous experience that when this happens you have a choice, you can go cower in the corner and hide, or you can be tough and go out there and stand up for what you believe in,” he said.

“Both of us are committed to the cause and we’re committed to changing this country that we love so much and we have no intention of cowering in the corner,” Mr. Edwards said.

More here

Monday, March 19, 2007

Do we have the right guy?

In the Central Park jogger case, all it took was 14 to 30 hours of questioning of 5 teenagers without their parents, and the young men confessed to a horrible crime. All it took was these confessions, contradicted by DNA evidence and contradicted by each other, to give ambitious, tunnel-visioned prosecutors and judges the green light to close the case. A false sense of security was enjoyed by all. Meanwhile, the real rapist was hiding in plain sight as those brutal attacks escalated.

Is this person guilty? It's always a tough question. For the latest 9-11 confession by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, his photograph certainly was selected to make us think he's guilty of something.

No one wants to capture these guys more than I do, but it took more than than three years of secret questioning to get this confession. If we already know that 14 sleepless hours can produce a confession to a brutal crime the young men in New York didn't do, how reliable is a confession like this one? It includes a "plot" to blow up a building that didn't exist three years ago, and a murder another person already was sentenced for. Did we convict the wrong guy then? Or now? Or are they both guilty, or both not guilty?

Just as in the Central Park Jogger case, whenever we "catch" the wrong guy, the real guy laughs his way to the next crime. He's not deterred. He's emboldened.

This confession is covered well in several diaries at DailyKos here. But it deserves mentioning again that when the wrong man goes to jail, there are multiple injustices. One belongs to the innocent man. The other injustice belongs to the guilty one. And the third injustice is to the victims.

* Why people confess to crimes they didn't do.

* The False Confessions in the Central Park Jogger Case: How They Happened, and How To Stop Similar Injustices from Happening Again.

* The Lesson Of The Central Park Jogger Controversy: Start Videotaping Interrogations.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Disbar Alberto Gonzales!

How can you tell when Alberto Gonzales is lying?
. His lips are moving.

Alberto Gonzales must be disbarred, not just fired.

HispanicBusiness reported his behavior has "Echoes of Watergate" and is "enormously problematic" on March 12, 2007.

See the report of his lies to Congress on the Attorney General firings at WaPo here. Howard Kurtz on 3/16 is here.

See his lies to Congress on torture on NPR here, at WaPo here and here.

See his lies on the NSA warrantless spying program at Slate here, DemocracyNow here, at TalkLeft here and at TPM Muckraker here.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Contractor Accountability - who could possibly object?

Who is objecting to Contractor Accountability, Whistleblower Protection, and Testimony from Valerie Plame?

The purpose of the Contractor Accountability bill is "to improve Federal contracting and procurement by eliminating fraud and abuse and improving competition in contracting and procurement and by enhancing administration of Federal contracting personnel, and for other purposes."

Coming after the scandal of the contracting out of Walter Reed, which was done so poorly and at a higher cost then the government employees who had been working there for decades, the bill had broad support. Only 73 of 433 members of Congress, all Republicans, voted against the bill. Tom Davis and Eric Cantor voted against contractor accountability.

Tom Davis even voted with 190 Republicans against bringing the bill to the Floor for a vote.

The National Association of Govermnment Contractors is for the bill. They're tired of being used as a "piggy bank" for Congressional campaigns.

The Washington Post is for it. When the Democrats first introduced this in 2000, the Post hosted Paul Light, Vice President, Director, and Douglas Dillon Senior at the Brookings Institution. Light said,
"If we're going to have a contract work force, which we surely do, we ought to know what it looks like. Make it visible, understand it, track its movement, and make sure it is the highest quality for the dollar possible. We are increasingly in the business of buying labor through service contracts, but we continue to treat that labor as if it were nothing more than a stick of furniture. Our contract officers need to get smarter, better, and more agile at understanding the difference between buying toilet paper and procuring professional services."
Davis succeeded in attaching to the bill a provision that would prohibit all government agencies from awarding contracts to any institutions of higher learning that deny military recruitment on their campuses. This amendment split the Democrats and united the Republicans. Under current law, the ban applies only to contracts from the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and a few other agencies.

Davis also voted twice with the Republicans to prevent the Whistleblower Protection Act from coming to the floor here and here. It is obvious that the Walter Reed scandal came to light only because of whistleblowers; considering that Walter Reed personnel responded to the scandal by prohibiting employees and patients from speaking with the press, the need for this critical protection is obvious.

Davis is also "clearly unhappy" that Waxman has scheduled testimony from Valerie Plame on Friday, and Davis is trying to close the hearing.

See his Rubber Stamp voting record here.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Ava in Alabama Agitating for Action

Are you there, W? A 16-year-old in Alabama articulates her courage and objections to the war in Iraq in her professional-looking videos on She has been threatened with rape and murder for speaking out. This video, WWJD, that focuses on the injuries of children in the region, ironically and sadly has been flagged for mature audiences.

See her YouTube Videos here, including the emotional WWJD.

Iraq 101 at MotherJones


Monday, March 12, 2007

FDA regulation - around the horn

I've been asked before to blog on health care and the Pharma industry, and accused of being unwilling to subject my own industry to scrutiny. The truth is, it's difficult for me to write about something that I'm entrenched in, because I don't know when to stop. Also, there are other, better bloggers than I who've attacked this subject, so I'm using this spot to highlight them.

I have written a little on this, and here is my Amazon "How to" on this subject. My writings for RAPS are here (membership required)

Piper Report. Kip Piper has a blog and an Amazon "How To" also.

Other good blogs include these:

Drug Channels
Eye on FDA
Gooz News
Orange Book blog
Pharma Marketing Blog

Other great links to the industry:

ASQ, American Society for Quality. Look for special interest groups in biomedical, pharmaceutical, and foods/drugs/cosmetics.

Barnett International. Lots of $$ courses.

BIO, BioTech Industry Assn.

BioPortfolio Biotechnology and Pharmaceutical Press Release News and Headlines.

BioSpace. News, calendar and comments by region and industry and company. Calendar. San Diego, CA.

DIA, Drug Information Association. Best job board in the industry.

FDA website.
FDA Advisory Committee Meetings. Watch Agency and industry science work together.
Center for Devices and Radiological Health: FDA CDRH

Center for Drug Evaluation and Research: FDA CDER
FDA News Digest, FDA News Digest is a free newsletter that presents the latest FDA information. Sign up at the above URL, go to browse, and search for FDA- NewsDigest -L.

FDANews: FDA News: FDA News FDA News has free daily bulletins; annual fees apply to access some links. If there's a story that interests you, you can often find it for free; use the keywords to search for the story on FDA's website or in reputable papers.
FDAAA, FDA Alumni Association. For former FDA'ers, and current ones as associate members.

FDLI, Food and Drug Law Institute. An educational network of FDA lawyers.
FDLI’s SmartBrief. Free. Other related newsletters at
Federal Register. The Federal "daily newspaper." Find out what your government is doing. Sign up to freely receive the daily Federal Register Table of Contents via e-mail.

Findlaw. For lawyers and other people who want to keep track of what this branch of the government is up to, have court summaries and full text links emailed to you.

Freedom of Information: FOI services summarizes documents released by FDA (some of which are available free on the FDA site). It also publishes a "Free Document of the Week."

GBTC Greater Baltimore Technology Council: The GBTC works to grow the region's tech community.

Hogan and Hartson (law firm) FDA related events.

IIRUSA, International Institute for Research - USA.

IQPC, International Quality & Productivity Center.

JHU Government related symposia. This includes a list of some of the other think tanks and other organizations that have public meetings regularly in the DC area for discussions on politics and government.

Maryland Hi Tech Council. The Technology Council of Maryland (TCM), founded in 1986, is an association of technology firms, federal laboratories, education institutions and business support firms that collectively form Maryland's technology community. TCM represents thousands of knowledge-based employees in the state and region.

MdBio, Maryland BioTech Industry Org. A private, non-profit corporation that offers a variety of programs to advance the commercial development of bioscience in Md.

New York Times on FDA. Read the latest stories in the free paper with the best FDA coverage. Registration required.

PDA, Parenteral Drug Association. An educational association, very active on manufacturing issues.
PDA local chapter in DC Metro. This chapter has good meetings but unfortunately
a website that is not updated frequently. Get on their email list if you don't
see anything coming up.

PDA local chapters nationwide. These PDA meetings are short, cheap, and nationwide.
Pharmacy Times On line "quick course" with regulatory emphasis.

PQRI, Product Quality Research Institute.

RAPS, Regulatory Affairs Professional Association.

San Jose (CA) BioCenter.

Thompson Publishing Group News. Free newsletters, but links of additional news are for subscribers. If there are stories that interest you, use the keywords to search for the story on FDA's website or in reputable papers.

WA Bio, Washington (State) Bio.

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

GSA Head to Staff: “Find Opportunities to Help Republican Political Candidates”

Crossposted at Raising Kaine and Daily Kos.

Project on Government Oversight (POGO) today says:

Today House Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Henry Waxman put to rest recent reports that GSA Administrator Lurita Doan may have been acting in good faith when she steered a $20,000 contract to an old friend. According to a release from Waxman’s office, "Ms. Fraser used her professional connections to advance Doan’s nomination to GSA and to provide personal favors, and that Ms. Fraser continued to provide services with the expectation of payment to Ms. Doan after she became GSA Administrator.”
"Besides being caught with her hand in the cookie jar, Doan apparently urged her staff at GSA “to find opportunities to help Republican political candidates.”

The Post was a few hours behind POGO here.

Lurita Doan marches to the corrupt drum. See all the corruption and waste the Oversight Committee has been exposing since the Democrats took over just a few weeks ago. Who was responsible for oversight before Henry Waxman (D-CA) took over? Tom Davis (R-VA)

There are more installments in the series from Robert O'Harrow and Scott Higham. According to this story, at GSA, where Tom Davis forced out Angela Styles for friend and felon David Safarian, Lurita Doan took over. Doan was a very friendly donor to Davis when he was RNCC Chair; the Doan family gave $153,215 to Republicans and over $40,000 to Davis's RNCC when he was Chair. At GSA, for the second time in her federal career, Doan illegally bypassed her own staff to provide a no-bid contract to a friend.

Although the Post states that three Committee members signed a letter asking for an explanation of the fraud, they don't dare embarrass Tom Davis by saying Davis, the Committee Chair, was not bothered enough by the stink to be one of the signers. The letter asking for an explanation was signed by minority Committee members Waxman, Holmes-Norton, and Obserstar.

On her way out of GSA, Styles had said "There is still not a lot of oversight in some areas of our contracting system, and I think it will haunt us." Done.

Thursday, March 1, 2007

Bush Power Grab-Let them Eat Spinach?

Now that global warming is confirmed by a broad scientific consensus that is almost unanimous, and food safety and exposure of imports to terrorism is widely acknowledged, George Bush found a revised secret route to undermine public safety legislation. Congress needs to step up and reassert its authority.

A new Executive Order would strip regulatory agencies of authority to regulate dangerous products unless it can establish "market failure."

The Bush administration ordered agencies to get White House approval before issuing "guidance" on regulatory matters, possibly subjecting such pronouncements to the same comment period and cost-benefit analyses as full-blown regulations. The executive order also requires agencies to document a "market failure" to justify any new regulation and puts a political appointee in each agency to oversee regulatory policies.
Thousands of Americans have died in Iraq - and more allies and civilians and contractors - and the Administration refuses to call it a failure. How many consumers have to die before it will declare a "market failure"?

The compelling testimony of Georgetown Law professor and Director of the Institute For Public Representation, David Vladeck, is here. He points out it applies to drafts, guidelines and policies as well as rules, and to agencies implementing laws passed by Congress that require hazard analysis, not market failure.

More from WaPo:

"There is no question who this panders to," said Rena Steinzor, a University of Maryland law professor who is critical of administration regulatory policy.

"It's maybe not surprising that having lost control of the Congress, the president is doing what he can to increase control of the executive branch," [said Peter Strauss, a professor at Columbia University law school].

There is no question of the resounding effect this will have on safety regulation as recognized by papers that cover Federal regulation. In Biotech-rich Thousand Oaks, CA, the paper said the "Power Grab [is] likely to change the country." TomPaine calls it a "chokehold. The Washington Times says the Order will establish Bush's legacy, which according to the Moonies is currently tainted because the Clinton regulations first blocked by Bush as anti-business did eventually go through relatively intact. The Times especially complains about Clinton's environmental protections, designed to prevent increased rates of global warming, and the Times denies the vast weight of climate change evidence.

The changes would be secret, too

In a February 13 hearing before a House Science and Technology subcommittee on oversight, chairman Brad Miller of North Carolina commented that new regulations could "be smothered in the crib by the RPO" without even the possibility of public scrutiny. ... Vladeck told the committee that the new executive order "goes back to the days when OIRA was allowed to conduct a big part of its business in secret."

C'mon, Congress. Eat your Spinach.