<center><h1><font color= green>The Scum Also Rises...</font></h1></center> Holy shit...! We're at war! Who knew!?! At least that's the imppression one gets when the emergency appropriations bill for Iraq and Afghanistan comes comes up every quarter. This so Dubbyuh doesn't really appear to be blowing any holes in the budget, and we don't really get to see what's in the spending bill. Instead of just providing funding for Dubbyuh's "war on terruh", which it does, the bill has become a hiding place for significant pork. One instance occurred earlier this week. <a href=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/17/AR2006041701551.html>Trent Lott, (R-MS) and Thad Cochran, (R-MS)</a> added a $700 million item to the bill to move a brand new rail line and replace it with a highway in their home state. They say it's to save the rail line from the next hurricane, but the reality is that it is simply a gimme for the real estate and casino developers trying to get their fingers into the thin Hurricane Katrina relief pie. Even worse, the utter hypocrisy of the Republicans was revealed this week as well. On a party line vote <a href=http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/26/AR2006042601793.html>an amendment</a>, introduced by Rep. Edward Markey, (D-MA), to screen all cargo containers entering the US for radiological threats within 5 years was defeated, citing "faulty technology" and "unrealistic deadlines". But hey, guess what...? Hong Kong screens 100% of the cargo entering its port with scanners made by <a href=http://www.saic.com/products/transportation/icis/index.html>Science Application International</a> of San Diego...HELLO...a US company. The technology exists, and is apparently reliable enough to be put into service in one of the busiest ports in the world. There might be production bottle-necks which would delay implementation at all US ports, but nothing that would be unralistic. What is unrealistic is the refusal, on the part of Republicans, to even debate the issue on the floor as a full bill, but it's difficult to move when they're in the shipping industry's pants. This technology should've been introduced years ago, but the Republicans are content to let the port operators "police themselves".