From the Arizona Daily Star (emphasis added) -
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff likes to argue that illegal traffic across the border "has caused severe and profound impacts to the environment."
Trash and litter don't begin to compare to the severe and profound impacts to the environment that could follow Chertoff's high-handed decision on Tuesday to waive 36 laws, ignore local expertise and concerns, shut down vital wildlife corridors and slam up border fencing.
Republican Sen. Jon Kyl...told Fox News Tuesday that Chertoff was just doing his job.
"We gave him the authority for the waivers," Kyl said. "We've given him the money. And we've said, get about the job (of finishing the fence)."
Last year, Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ7) introduced H.R. 2593, the Borderlands Conservation Security Act. The bill has been languishing in various committees since its introduction; maybe Chertoff's open contempt for the laws and people of the United States will inspire a couple of committee chairs to get off their asses.
Rep. Grijalva's press release on Chertoff's waivers of law here.
The Department of Homeland Security's press release here.
...Congratulations go out to Rep. Harry Mitchell (D-AZ5) on the House unanimously passing his H.R. 4847, the United States Fire Administration Reauthorization Act of 2008.
The bill authorizes nearly $300 million in appropriations over a four year period for many things, including training for improved fighting of fires such as those from terrorism, natural disasters, and wildfires (Arizona has been known to have one or two of those, hasn't it?? ).
Mitchell's press release on the matter here.
CQPolitics' story on the vote here.
...Guess that now that people aren't blindly buying into the 'fear' component of their "fear and smear" campaign to retain control of the White House (and to perhap regain control of Congress), the Republicans have decided to minimize the impact of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
From AP via Yahoo! News -
A conservative Republican congressman says he supports helping victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks but did not offer an apology for remarks he made while questioning the need for federal compensation.
During a joint hearing on Tuesday by two House Judiciary subcommittees considering legislation to extend benefits, [Rep. Darrell] Issa [R-CA] described the Sept. 11 attacks as "a fire that had no dirty bomb in it" and added: "It had no chemical munitions in it. It simply was an aircraft, residue of two aircraft and residue of the material used to build this building."
He questioned "why the firefighters who went there and everyone in the city of New York needs to come to the federal government for the dollars versus, quite frankly, this being primarily a state consideration."
"Primarily a state consideration"???
So, in the highly unlikely event that Osama bin Laden is ever captured, does that statement mean that Congressman Issa believes the District Attorney for New York County has first dibs on him (for roughly 3000 counts of murder in Manhattan)??
...From the "Doesn't get along well with others" Department:
It's not enough for the Bush-led Department of Justice to ignore Congress, now it's ignoring the courts, too.
From the L.A. Times -
New federal sentencing guidelines designed to end the racially tinged disparity between prison sentences for powder and crack cocaine dealers went into effect a month ago, and so far more than 3,000 inmates have had their prison terms reduced.
Dozens have been released, including at least 15 in California, but many others who should have been released have not. Attorneys involved in the process blame bureaucratic delays as well as opposition from the Justice Department.
The problem isn't only with the Justice Department, either.
Also from the Times' story -
In Dallas, one judge has refused to allow federal defenders to represent crack offenders in his court, saying they have no right to counsel at this stage of the proceedings. That has left hundreds of inmates having to file jailhouse petitions to gain their freedom.
I suppose some of the crack offenders left hanging (so to speak) by the foot-dragging of the DOJ and the courts *could* appeal directly to George Bush for relief, but looking at the list of his most recent pardons, they shouldn't expect much help in from that direction.
Of the 15 pardons listed, 1 was for marijuana, one for cocaine, one for heroin, and one for distribution of an unnamed controlled substance that pre-dates crack; the others were non-narcotics-related offenses.
No crack offenders to be found.