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.
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.
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.