Sunday, September 04, 2005

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist Dead At 80. Halliburton To Gouge New Orleans In Katrina Aftermath. Red Sox Update.

Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist Dead At 80

WASHINGTON - Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist died Saturday evening of cancer, ending a 33-year Supreme Court career during which he oversaw the court's conservative shift, presided over an impeachment trial and helped decide a presidential election. His death creates a rare second vacancy on the nation's highest court.

"The Chief Justice battled thyroid cancer since being diagnosed last October and continued to perform his duties on the court until a precipitous decline in his health the last couple of days," said court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg. Rehnquist was appointed to the Supreme Court as an associate justice in 1971 by President Nixon and took his seat on Jan. 7, 1972. He was elevated to chief justice by President Reagan in 1986.

Full Story

I'm not going to shed too many tears over this. Rehnquist was an enemy of abortion rights, affirmative action, gay rights and equal pay for women. He was also an enemy of democracy, voting to halt the Florida recounts in the 2000 elections, thereby giving the White House to President Useless Bungler. He also saw little distinction between church and state as he favored public tax money to fund private religious schools. In addition, as a law clerk for the Supreme Court in the early 1950s, Rehnquist wrote memos suggesting that the Court vote against the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision that outlawed racial segregation in public schools.

Yet despite all these conservative qualifications, you can bet that people like Ann Coulter will scream that Bush needs to appoint someone even more draconian to replace him, just as she did when Sandra Day O'Connor retired and John Roberts was nominated as her possible successor. Neither O'Connor nor Roberts had enough conservative cred for Crazy Annie, as she detailed in two recent Town Hall columns Reagan's Biggest Mistake Finally Retires and Read My Lips: No New Liberals that readily display her complete break from reality.

In any event, it will be interesting to see how the process to replace the late Chief Justice goes, given the clumsiness with the Roberts nomination.

Halliburton To Gouge New Orleans In Katrina Aftermath

As if the survivors of Hurricane Katrina don't have enough about which to worry, it now appears that a Halliburton subsidiary has been chosen to lead the effort to rebuild some of the military facilities that were damaged by the storm. Yahoo News AP wire excerpt:

WASHINGTON - A Halliburton Co. subsidiary that has come under fire for its reconstruction work in Iraq has begun tapping a $500 million Navy contract to do emergency repairs at Gulf Coast naval and Marine facilities that were battered by Hurricane Katrina.

The subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root Services Inc. of Arlington, Va., was awarded the competitive bid contract last July to provide debris removal and other emergency work associated with natural disasters.

Jan Davis, a spokeswoman for the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, said Sunday that KBR will receive $12 million for work at Naval Air Station Pascagoula, Naval Station Gulfport and Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. It will receive $4.6 million for work at two smaller Navy facilities in New Orleans and others in the South.

Halliburton has reported being paid $10.7 billion for Iraq-related government work during 2003 and 2004. The company reported its pretax profits from that work as $163 million. Pentagon auditors have questioned tens of millions of dollars of Halliburton charges for its operations there.

Late last month three congressional Democrats asked Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to investigate the demotion of a senior civilian Army official who publicly criticized the awarding of that contract.

Bunnatine H. Greenhouse, who had been the Army Corps of Engineers' top procurement official since 1997, was removed from her position last month for what the Corps called a poor job performance. The lawmakers said the demotion "appears to be retaliation" for her June 27 testimony before Congress in which she detailed her objections to the award of contracts for Iraq projects.

Full Story

Terrific. It's not enough that Halliburton and it's many subsidiaries have gouged U.S. taxpayers with the shitty job they've done in Iraq, now we will get a closer look at how they cut corners, overcharge and generally abuse their position due to the fact that Vice President Potty Mouth Cheney is the one who is really running the show, and he gets to choose who gets these contracts so he can continue to get richer at the expense of the rest of us peons. Not that I'm really surprised about this development, but it would probably make more sense for the actual military branches affected by this storm to lead the repair efforts, seeing as how they are more likely to make decisions that make sense than those Halliburton is going to make.

Red Sox Update

The Red Sox beat the Baltimore Orioles this afternoon 5-1 behind the pitching of David Wells, who won his 12th game of the season. The Orioles countered with Rodrigo Lopez, a Sox nemesis who owned a 10-4 record against them going into today's action.

After having allowed just one baserunner through the first four innings, the Sox got to Lopez for five runs in the fifth inning, highlighted by John Olerud's three-run homer (his sixth of the season) and Johnny Damon's two-run double. Wells cruised to a rare complete game victory, the 54th of his career, to which Dad replied, "that'd be two years worth for Warren Spahn".

The Sox have won six of their last seven games, and now lead the AL East by four games over the Yankees who play tonight in Oakland against the AL West co-leading Athletics. The Sox play the White Sox tomorrow in a rain makeup before the Angels (tied for the AL West lead with Oakland) come to Fenway for a three-game series.


Miss Templeton said...

When last in New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2004, I stayed with friends who had enough connections in town to see about an invite to the Halliburton Mardi Gras party. Not sure what I was going to do with my opportunity as one of the 'gypsies in the palace' but I was avidly ready to attend and take notes and clandestine photos.

But, the friend in question was 'downsized' and lost his place in the employee chain for the invite.

listerplus said...

I've never been to New Orleans, but have always thought that it would have been a fascinating place to have visited.

Too bad your opportunity to peek into the Halliburton world was lost. It would be nice to know someone on the "inside".

Ken Kaniff from Connecticut said...

I am disappointed that Mr. Thomas was not made Chief.

It would have been a tip of the hat to his dad's only conservative choice to the Court and a thumb in the eye of all the harridans that wanted to keep the man, any man, down.

Hey Anita, I _still_ don't believe you.

I will still state: Roberts is this generations Anthony Kennedy: The left will scream now, the right later, and he'll sit on the bench for 20 years at least.

listerplus said...


Please remember that when Daddy Bush picked Slappy for the court that it marked the only time George Will ever told the truth on camera when he stated that Slappy was not even close to beign qualified to hold the post for which he was nominated. So please forgive me if I fail to shed any tears at his being passed over for the Chief Justice slot.

But if it makes you feel any better, I will continue to scream about Roberts.