Friday, May 25, 2007

Tom Davis and Lurita Doan

Several stories here and here in WaPo expose more corruption and taxpayer robbery this week. The only problem is the Post once again fails to mention the get-away car driver: Tom Davis.

Blogged more here, while Davis was head of the House Oversight committee, Lurita Doan of GSA was making sure that Republicans, including Davis, were given assignments, such as appearing in government public ceremonies and events, that would give them "ink" and time in the media in a favorable light.

First, Scott Higham and Robert O'Harrow of WaPo report that the conclusion of the new Special Counsel's Report is that the "GSA Chief Violated the Hatch Act."

Today, WaPO reports that Doan has been asked to refresh her bad memory and testify again on June 7. That invitation is from new Oversight Committee chair Harvey Waxman. Will he ask her to explain why Tom Davis appears on the slide of politicians whose campaigns must be "helped" by federal employees on government time?

According to the first version of the report by the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, the Office said,"we recommend that the President take disciplinary action against Administrator Doan" because "her disregard for such protections and safeguards is serious and warrants punishment." Those passages were removed from the final version sent to Doan. The final version included a cover letter from Special Counsel Scott J. Bloch containing his "recommendation that the President take appropriate disciplinary action against you for your serious violation of the Hatch Act."

The second robbery is blogged here. According to WaPo, on April 12 the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Arkansas filed suit against Sun [Microsystems], alleging that the company violated the False Claims Act when it "made false statements to the government about its commercial sales practices and the discounts it offers to its commercial customers." While Davis ignored the fraud, he raked in the campaign contributions.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

WaPo's Community Guide for Montgomery County, MD

Things to do listed in the Community Guide (and here's community events).

10 Places to Eat That You Should Know About

  1. Tower Oaks Lodge, 2 Preserve Pkwy., Rockville. 301-294-0200.
  2. Sunshine General Store, 22300 Georgia Ave., at New Hampshire Avenue, Brookeville. 301-774-7428.
  3. The Inn at Brookeville Farms, 19501 Georgia Ave., Brookeville. 301-924-6500.
  4. East Gude Drive, between Norbeck Road and Southlawn Lane, Rockville
    Jon Won Restaurant (1613 E. Gude Dr., Rockville, 301-309-1870) and Arirang Restaurant (1326 E. Gude Dr., Rockville, 301-279-0023) both feature light wood in small, tidy spaces. Jon Won has tables with grills built into the middle for cooking Korean barbecue. Both specialize in Korean soups.
    The seafood scallion pancake at Arirang was the freshest and best I have found in the Washington area, and the restaurant's version of dulsot bibimbap (rice with beef and vegetables in a hot stone pot) is not only generous in size, but the pot arrives at the table so hot that the rice forms the prized crust in the bottom of the bowl that is the hallmark of this dish.
  5. Fox Chapel Shopping Center, Germantown
    Yuraku Japanese Restaurant (19773 Frederick Rd., 301-515-7440)
    India Palace (19743 Frederick Rd., 301-540-3000) and
    Cafe Tacuba (19741 Frederick Rd., 301-540-8310).
  6. Rockville Pike, from Twinbrook Parkway to Ritchie Center
    Try Sichuan at Joe's Noodle House (1488-C Rockville Pike, 301-881-5518,;
    Taiwanese dim sum at A & J Restaurant (1319-C Rockville Pike, 301-251-7878);
    Mexican at El Mariachi (765-D Rockville Pike, 301-738-7177.;
    Spanish at Sol de Espa?a (838 Rockville Pike, 240-314-0202);
    Japanese at Temari Cafe (1043 Rockville Pike, 301-340-7720);
    Urban Bar-B-Que Co. (2007 Chapman Ave., 240-290-4827,
    Las Americas International Market (785-E Rockville Pike, 301-424-9550)
  7. Downtown SilverSpring
    Jackie's (8081 Georgia Ave., though the entrance is on Sligo Avenue, 301-565-9700)
    Ray's the Classics (8606 Colesville Rd., 301-588-7297) has
  8. DowntownWheaton
    Pearl Seafood Restaurant (11230 Grand View Ave., 301-962-8888).
    Ruan Thai (11407 Amherst Ave., 301-942-0075)
    Nava Thai (11315 Fern St., 240-430-0495)
    Nut House Pizza (11419 Georgia Ave., 301-942-5900)
    Max's Kosher Cafe and Marketplace (around the corner at 2319 University Blvd. West, 301-949-6297,
  9. DowntownBethesda
    David Craig (4924 St. Elmo Ave., 301-657-2484,,
    Persimmon (7003 Wisconsin Ave., 301-654-9860,
    Cafe Gelato (4823 St. Elmo Ave., 301-913-0050)
  10. Two Wine Places (20A Grand Corner Ave., Gaithersburg, 301-987.5933,
    Adega Wine Cellars & Cafe (8519 Fenton St., Silver Spring, 301-608.2200,

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

$90 million stolen from taxpayers while Tom Davis looks on, defends contractor

According to WaPo, On April 12, the U.S. attorney in the Eastern District of Arkansas filed suit against Sun [Microsystems], alleging that the company violated the False Claims Act when it "made false statements to the government about its commercial sales practices and the discounts it offers to its commercial customers."

Sun was selling tens of millions of dollars a year in software and services to agencies across the government, and the GSA stood to lose millions in industrial funding fees. Details on the prices remain secret because they are considered to be proprietary information. But the audit findings -- that Sun's commercial customers were getting discounts not provided to the government -- could not be ignored by agency officials.

One GSA contracting officer negotiating the discounts for taxpayers, Herman Caldwell, was reassigned. Lurita Doan and James A. Williams were pressuring the new GSA contracting officer, Mike Butterfield, to give Sun a break. Williams was told the government had already been overcharged $77 million over 6 years and was about to be overcharged another $14.4 million.

Hours later, a new contracting officer, Shana Budd, was assigned to replace Butterfield

Tom Davis had a critical role making this possible, converting government buying into a cookie jar for greedy contractors, for example, with a “Share in Savings” program that allowed contractors to pay themselves with amounts they claimed to save the government.

"It's kind of like going into a used-car dealership and being too trusting," said Angela B. Styles, a corporate lawyer who served as President Bush's chief contracting official from 2001 to 2003. "I don't think you really want a partnership with a used-car dealer because you're probably not going to get the best car at the lowest price."


"You couldn't design a better system to make accountability impossible," said Daniel Guttman, a government contracting expert at Johns Hopkins University Center for the Study of American Government. "We simultaneously increased the incentive to get masses of contracts out the door and assured no one will look and see how the money is being spent."

Tom Davis defended Budd at the March hearing.

Budd defended herself ... in an e-mail released at a March 28 hearing by Waxman's committee. It was read by Rep. Davis....

In a report prepared by the Republican staff of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, investigators questioned Waxman's findings and defended Doan and the Sun contract. "There is no evidence the Administrator acted improperly with respect to the Sun Microsystems contract," the report said, adding that "many of the issues" had been resolved before Budd took over the contract.

Waxman responded that Doan's statements "appear to be misleading" based on the committee's review of the e-mails of her multiple contacts with Larry Allen.

The testimony of the two GSA employees, Butterfield and Caldwell, is evidence. Perhaps there was no more evidence because as long as Davis had been head of the Oversight Committee, there had been no investigation. Sun Microsystems also paid Davis and his pay-to-play politicians to hold back investigators.


10/21/1999 $500.00 20035262854
06/07/2000 $500.00 20035893423
07/18/2001 $1,000.00 22990161786
06/25/2002 $1,000.00 22991431733
09/19/2006 $2,000.00 26930426824

07/15/2003 $1,000.00 24990274948
11/16/2001 $2,500.00 22990161785
05/28/2003 $2,000.00 23991565976

WASHINGTON MANAGEMENT GROUP, Tom Davis, $1,750 of $11,200.00 Total Contributions

06/16/2004 $500.00 24961800258
01/27/2006 $500.00 26940071388

WMP President
09/26/2000 $250.00 20036182097

12/15/2001 $500.00 22990118509

WMG Principal
02/14/2003 $7500.00 23020140686
10/28/2004 $200.00 24021041394

07/22/2004 $1,000.00 24962200931

This is a favorite Committee for Tom Davis; he has donated $58,000 from Tom
Davis for Congress to this Committee. Other than James Hyland, Davis's wife
Jeannemarie Devolites has received the most donations for an individual candidate from this Committee at almost $5,000.

02/13/2006 $500.00 26020230294


Thursday, May 17, 2007

Mother's Day: Birth Control is Healthy for Mom and Baby

Standing tall for Pregnant Women: Against Gag rules and Guns.

I had learned through work that bleeding is a common cause of death in pregnancy. It is endemic in the third world, such as Afghanistan. It is a problem that may get worse depending on the youth of the mother. In poor countries, the loss of small amounts of blood are especially dangerous due to the high rate of malaria and anemia that already weakens the moms. The lack of refrigeration makes blood transfusions almost impossible. The AIDS rate means a transfusion cure can be worse than the disease, anyway.

Without birth control and health care, these moms may die, sometimes during their fourth or fifth pregnancy, malnourished and exhausted from multiple, closely-spaced births. Often they are still nursing the previous child. This means most moms that die in childbirth leave orphans behind. If only they could space their pregnancies, they would have more strength, a better chance at life and at mothering their existing children. In cultures where men are not active in child rearing, these children are often left to suffer, starve, and die.

In the US, prior to the prevalence of handwashing and other aseptic techniques, rates of deaths from abortions and pregnancies were about the same. Midwives had better survivial rates, probably because doctors increasingly performed their work in dirty cities. As doctors tried to corner the market on obstetrics, in 1951 they formed the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists, and to reduce the influence of midwives they successfully lobbied to outlaw abortions, which till then had been undistrurbed in most states.

More recently, in the US, sepsis is not so much a problem any more. Bleeding death rates have also reduced. Curious of what pregnancy-associated issue may have taken its place, some scientists have followed pregnant women for a year to see what their health issues are today.

The most common cause of death was injury. The most common cause of injury was homicide. The most common cause of homicide was guns. The moms were shot, usually by the father of her baby.

In North Carolina 1992-94. In New York City 1987-1991.

In Chicago 1986-89. In young mothers

Back to the third world, I see a story on NOVA tonight with another cautionary tale about the effect of the lack of birth control. It involved a Turkish woman who had 19 children. The first 7 children were born within 5 years. As a young mother, overcome with the burden of raising them all, she never had time to teach the children to walk upright. They still walk on all fours, stuck in a baby's crawl. The daughters dispair of never dancing, never being able to marry. Their sons are angry they can never support a family or work. Their bone structure now may never be able to support them to walk upright.

Hiding behind "pro-family" rhetoric, neo-conservatives continue their deathly policies. With inadequate background checks and waiting periods for gun purchases, pregnancy can be a death sentence in the US. In poor countries, refusing to acknowlege the desperate need for birth control is ending lives of women and their children.
Maternal mortality remains the leading cause of death for women of childbearing age—an estimated 500,000 women die each year from pregnancy related causes, with 78,000 deaths resulting from unsafe abortion. Having access to safe, appropriate family planning methods and safe abortion when needed, can make the difference in women’s lives. It can prevent dangers from pregnancies ...

Save lives with your vote. Check out the politicians on these issues at the portal at Planned Parenthood.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

House.Gov monitors this blog on taxpayer dime

During the time I can't get a straight answer on why McNicoll would omit and distort facts to protect Tom Davis, I couldn't help but notice that this blog is getting hits from Although one hit is barely after 5 at 5:00:03 pm, the rest are after 9 and before 5 pm.

Here are five of the hits on screenshots - sorry for the resolution. I am no expert in graphics. There is a hit May 8 at 4:56, 4:42, 3:10 and 2:07.


This next one shows hits from May 9 at 9:47 am.

Your tax dollars at work!

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

A loyal Bushie lies for Tom Davis

Brian McNicoll, Director of Communications, Committee on Oversight and Government Reform accuses Dan Catalano of making up facts on whether Tom Davis can “measure up” should he decide to run for the U.S. Senate ["The man who would be king," The Odd Dominion, May 1, 2007]. In his retort, McNicoll is certainly guilty of making up his own facts to save his boss’s face. (Was this distortion written on government time?)

To say that Davis's name is on some bills during a time when lobbyists paid for the privilege to write them is no compliment. Davis, in fact, collected more money from lobbyists than 428 of the 435 members of Congress. After Tom Delay resigned in disgrace, he moved up from #8 to #7. He worked closely with Tom DeLay and Jack Abramoff at the Republican National Congressional Committee. Disgraced Mark Foley was a member of his $100,000 club that Davis called “The Business Leadership Trust.” Foley said he was being pressured by "the White House and Rove gang," who insisted that Foley run. If he didn't, Foley was told, it might impact his lobbying career.

As to Davis's wife’s job at ICG, it's true they weren’t married when he got that job for her. At that time, he was her "mentor" and campaign manager and they were divorcing their spouses with children. She had lost three elections and Davis was setting her up with a position with no federal campaign limits so that after donating to him up to the limit, bidders on government contractors could substitute money for competence. ICG did register as a lobbyist after they got caught by the Post. Again McNicoll gets his facts wrong: Andrew Hurst brought it up on his website and in debates, calling for Davis’s resignation, for example at here, here, and here.

The ethics committee letter on her job and the money she receives from clients testifying before Davis's Reform Committee, a letter written by a new crop of ethics members after Party leader Dennis Hastert fired the members who censured DeLay, did not give Davis a clean bill of health. In fact it clearly told him to avoid an appearance and an actual conflict of interest. ICG and Davis have yet to reveal which ICG clients were prepared for Davis’s hearing by his wife, but the sham hearings with obviously prepared questions include the Carnival Cruise Katrina contract and public health hearings including tobacco use and needle sharing.

As to the work he did on the Reform Committee, yes, he and Waxman didn’t call each other names. But it didn’t take a genius to conclude that the response to Katrina was “A Failure of Initiative.” And the tragedy was foreseeable and in fact was foreseen and Davis did nothing to prevent it while agencies responsible for response were dismantled and sold to contractors under Davis’s watch while he collected their campaign contributions. Tom Davis knew about Walter Reed conditions in 2004, but did not want to hold hearings because it would “embarrass” his Party or his President. See Congressional Quarterly March 7, 2007. Davis accepted campaign contributions from the Halliburton-connected contractor for Walter Reed during the decline of the staff and facility. Davis held a half-day hearing on Abu Gharib while Democrats had to meet in the basement.

At the recently-revealed GSA scandal, Tom Davis knew Lurita Doan was firing auditors, giving GSA contracts to friends. Davis had forced out previous GSA manager Angela Styles who had been pushing for audits of incompetent contractors, replaced her with David Safavian, a felon who sold access to contracts to Jack Abramoff. See more on Ms. Styles here. Tom Davis’s name appears on the slides of Republicans that federal employees were supposed to help on taxpayer time.

This is just the tip of the iceburg. I appreciate that Mr. McNicoll’s boss may have asked him to respond to the May 1 article, but the inaccuracies of a loyal Bushie should not go uncorrected.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Republicans raise their hands against science

At the Republican debate, three Senators running for President, Brownback, Huckabee, and Tancredo, raised their hands to signify they don't believe in evolution.

Next, they raise their hands to show they don't believe in gravity. Can they still keep their hands up?
Hmmmmm... why not?

They say evolution is "only a theory." However, in science, a theory is more than a "hunch." A theory is a substantiated hypothesis.

A theory is a logically self-consistent model or framework for describing the behavior of a related set of natural or social phenomena. It originates from and/or is supported by experimental evidence (see scientific method). In this sense, a theory is a systematic and formalized expression of all previous observations that is predictive, logical and testable. In principle, scientific theories are always tentative, and subject to corrections or inclusion in a yet wider theory. Commonly, a large number of more specific hypotheses may be logically bound together by just one or two theories. As a general rule for use of the term, theories tend to deal with much broader sets of universals than do hypotheses, which ordinarily deal with much more specific sets of phenomena or specific applications of a theory.
How do these men demand - and get - respect for espousing a belief that is completely unsupported by evidence? Even more, how about for a belief that requires ignoring and denying evidence?

A hysterical commentary on the race to ignorance is here.

"Evolution is a hoax," began Brownback. "It is hubris of the highest degree for scientists to think they know more than God."

"You're right," continued Huckabee, "But let me add that I believe gravity and electricity are also demonic ideas intended to blind humans to the glory of the Almighty."

Tancredo added his voice. "So true, gentlemen. We have lost our way, and I for one, yearn for that bygone era when religion was respected and permeated every aspect of society. I'm not talking about the 1950s. I'm talking about the 1050s. The Middle Ages, when the natural order of society was in balance."