September 29, 2005

News -- September 29, 2005

Democrats Who Voted For Roberts - "Here’s the 22 Democrats who just minutes ago voted to confirm John Roberts Jr. to be the next Chief Justice on the United States Supreme Court:"

This is an act of censorship worthy of Joseph Goebbels - "The plan to draw up a list of historical events that people can be prosecuted for celebrating is a sign of a leader losing his grip. ... The home secretary has promised the prime minister that he will lock away for five years anyone who "glorifies, exalts or celebrates" a terrorist act committed in the past 20 years. He does not care if glorification was not meant. If someone, somewhere takes anything that I say or write as encouraging to terror, even if they do not act on it, I have committed a criminal act. Nor is this all. Lest any crackpot thinks he can dance up and down any old high street praising Hitler, Mao or Uncle Joe as outside the 20-year limit, Clarke is preparing a list of earlier terrorist acts that also render their celebrants criminals. ... Terrorism as defined in law more or less covers the story of the human race. ... This is government by trivia and whim. Already we are told that Clarke's listed events will not include anything Irish. Why? ... Are Hiroshima or Dresden to be listed events? If not, how can the no less terrorist blitz be listed? ... This extension of censorship renders any apologist for any liberation struggle vulnerable to prosecution. I find it astounding that people such as Falconer, Clarke and the rest of the cabinet can sit round a cabinet table and pass a measure worthy of Joseph Goebbels." -- The slope gets slippier and scarier.,3604,1576613,00.html

Iraq Burns; Dems Look on Bright Side - "At the same time the situation in Iraq continues to deteriorate, with CBS reporting on the "undeclared civil war" raging between Shiites and Sunnis and the Saudi Foreign Minister telling the world that Iraq is "going toward disintegration," there was John Kerry giving a speech arguing that "progress" was being made. As the Boston Herald put it, Senator John Kerry "back-pedalled on blistering criticism of the war." Unbelievable."

US forces in Iraq 'out of control', says Reuters chief - "Reuters has told the US government that American forces' conduct towards journalists in Iraq is "spiralling out of control" and preventing full coverage of the war reaching the public.",2763,1580244,00.html

Bush's Depression: Been There, Reported That - "Depressed and demoralized White House staffers say working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue is “life in a hellhole” as they try to deal with a sullen, moody President whose temper tantrums drive staffers crying from the room and bring the business of running the country to a halt. “It’s like working in an insane asylum,” says one White House aide. “People walk around like they’re in a trance. We’re the dance band on the Titanic, playing out our last songs to people who know the ship is sinking and none of us are going to make it.”" -- Just like everything else George W. Bush has been involved in.

Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Photos - "Saying the United States "does not surrender to blackmail," a judge ruled Thursday that pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image."

Is Normal Now A Mental Illness? - "'This is not a disease and these are not "diagnostic criteria." These are subjective judgments aimed at coercing a person to follow rules of "proper conduct" made by others with power. The list could just as easily contain: fails to be white, often does not attend a Christian church, tends to be smaller, younger, and unable to do adult tasks.' ... Ritalin, which is pharmacologically similar to Cocaine, is a favoured treatment option for those labelled with ADHD, yet critics claim it is a harmful drug that can cause neurological defects and further behavioural difficulties. Earlier this year, researchers in Texas found a link between Ritalin use and chromosome abnormalities - occurrences associated with increased risks of cancer and other adverse health effects."

Bill Bennett: "[Y]ou could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down" - "Addressing a caller's suggestion that the "lost revenue from the people who have been aborted in the last 30 years" would be enough to preserve Social Security's solvency, radio host and former Reagan administration Secretary of Education Bill Bennett dismissed such "far-reaching, extensive extrapolations" by declaring that if "you wanted to reduce crime ... if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down." Bennett conceded that aborting all African-American babies "would be an impossible, ridiculous, and morally reprehensible thing to do," then added again, "but the crime rate would go down.""

Oil Reserves Are Increasing - "Eugene Island is an underwater mountain located about 80 miles off the coast of Louisiana in the Gulf of Mexico. In 1973 oil was struck and off-shore platform Eugene 330 erected. The field began production at 15,000 barrels a day, then gradually fell off, as is normal, to 4,000 barrels a day in 1989, Then came the surprise; it reversed itself and increased production to 13,000 barrels a day. Probable reserves have been increased to 400 million barrels from 60 million. The field appears to be filling from below and the crude coming up today is from a geological age different from the original crude, which leads to the speculation that the world has limitless supplies of petroleum."

House Passes Bill Allowing Government-Funded Religious Discrimination - "The School Readiness Act (H.R. 2123), a bipartisan bill to reauthorize the Head Start program, was passed 48-0 in committee. However, during floor debate Thursday, Rep. Charles Boustany Jr. (R-LA) added an amendment allowing Head Start providers to exercise religious discrimination in choosing teachers and volunteers."

Bohemian Grove Employee Blows the Whistle on Inside Events - "The Grove is a private 2,700 acre redwood retreat on the Russian River in Sonoma County, California. Described as the "Greatest Men's Party on Earth," the members of the Bohemian Club and international elites have been gathering in their redwoods for over 100 years. Regular visitors include the Bushes, Henry Kissinger, Colin Powell, Newt Gingrich, whilst past luminaries have included Former Presidents Regan and Nixon, together BEFORE they had even taken office."

Intelligent design tied to creationism in Dover trial - "Bonsell wanted students to hear about creationism, the Biblical account of the earth's origins, testified Aralene Callahan, a parent and also a former school board member in Dover, York County. "If evolution was part of the biology curriculum, creationism should be shared 50-50," Callahan quoted Bonsell as saying."

Frist Made At Least Two Million On Insider Stock Sale - "Senator Bill Frist, now subject to a formal investigation by the SEC for insider trading, made between $2 million and $6 million by selling his HCA holdings just before stock values plummeted in the face of a bad earnings report, according to an analysis released today by the nonprofit, nonpartisan Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights (FTCR). "The amount of money involved makes Frist's motive for insider trading clear," said Carmen Balber."

Aids virus 'could be weakening' - "They found the newer samples appeared not to multiply as well, and were more sensitive to drugs - some other studies argue they are becoming more resistant."

Gas prices high? Try an eco-friendly, $3.5 mln Skycar - "If that Hummer is draining your cash at the gas pump, Neiman Marcus Group Inc. has the perfect holiday gift: A fuel-efficient, $3.5 million "Skycar" that flies 350 miles per hour and burns environmentally friendly alcohol.";_ylt=A9FJqYtSnzxD0NEABwTtiBIF;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

Credit-card delinquencies hit record - "The ABA also noted an increase in delinquent payments on personal loans, auto loans, home equity loans and lines of credit. A key reason for the increase: the strain of higher gas prices."

Sweden's new funeral rite - bodies freeze-dried, powdered and made into tree mulch - "A town in Sweden plans to become the first place in the world where corpses will be disposed of by freeze-drying, as an environmentally friendly alternative to cremation or burial."

Quote of the Day
"He has committed the crime who profits by it."
~ Seneca, Roman Philosopher

September 27, 2005

News -- September 27, 2005

Cindy Sheehan Arrested in Washington! - "From the latest I’ve heard, Usama bin Laden has not yet been arrested.Nor has anyone been arrested in the Valerie Plame or Muhammed Naeem Noor Khan leaks…"

Societies worse off 'when they have God on their side' - "RELIGIOUS belief can cause damage to a society, contributing towards high murder rates, abortion, sexual promiscuity and suicide, according to research published today. ... The study counters the view of believers that religion is necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society. ... “In general, higher rates of belief in and worship of a creator correlate with higher rates of homicide, juvenile and early adult mortality, STD infection rates, teen pregnancy and abortion in the prosperous democracies." ... “The widely held fear that a Godless citizenry must experience societal disaster is therefore refuted.”",,2-1798944,00.html

New Analyses Bolster Central Tenets of Evolution Theory - "If Darwin was right, for example, then scientists should be able to perform a neat trick. Using a mathematical formula that emerges from evolutionary theory, they should be able to predict the number of harmful mutations in chimpanzee DNA by knowing the number of mutations in a different species' DNA and the two animals' population sizes. "That's a very specific prediction," said Eric Lander, a geneticist at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard in Cambridge, Mass., and a leader in the chimp project. Sure enough, when Lander and his colleagues tallied the harmful mutations in the chimp genome, the number fit perfectly into the range that evolutionary theory had predicted."

'Intelligent design' trial begins today in Pennsylvania - "A court case brought by parents in Pennsylvania could have a profound impact on America's debate over religion and its role in public life."

If it's freedom and success 'they' hate, why aren't 'they' attacking Norway? - "Most Americans like to believe they live in the best country in the world. They don't. According to the United Nations Human Development Report for 2005, Norway is number one. Why? It's a welfare state. There is a pleasant economic equality enjoyed by the Norwegian polity. No one is too poor; no one is too rich. In fact, great wealth is regarded as some sort of social disease. Third oil exporter after Saudi Arabia and Russia, Norway is tucking away a national fund of over $180 billion for when the oil runs out, guaranteeing each family the quaint sum of $22,000 per year—in addition to guaranteed health care, education, pensions, and paid maternity leaves and vacations to die for! True, a glass of beer will cost you $8, but the waiter makes a good salary. Americans like to think that terrorists attack them because they are rich, free, and number one. Not true. They don't attack Norway—another benefit for keeping your neck out of the woods, minding your own business, taking care of your own people, and planning for tomorrow—not to mention preventing your government from being drowned in the bathtub by snake-oil salesmen posing as public servants, so it can't help when an iceberg hits a fjord, or equivalent natural disaster. Norwegians seem proud of having government on their backs! Not too heavy when they can request and obtain any government record they please for their review! They are also disgustingly healthy. Must be the lack of stress. Thirty million Americans are on anti-depressants. You wonder why. Lots of Americans like to think they have the most generous government in the world. Again, not true. The US is the stingiest donor of foreign aid among rich nations."

Entire 101st Airborne Division Deploying to Iraq - "Around 20,000 soldiers got their final briefing Friday afternoon at Ft. Campbell. It's been two years since the division was last deployed to Iraq." -- Hmmm.

With Hand on Heart: Pelosi Admits Israel Comes First - "Despite the fact that AIPAC was recently busted for spying on the United States, Pelosi, along with many other top bureaucrats from Washington, gushed effusions of praise on the foreign power. "There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza," Pelosi said as she rallied AIPAC loyalists. "This is absolute nonsense. In truth, the history of the conflict is not over occupation, and never has been: it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist." Apparently Pelosi has never asked Palestinians what they think of Israel's brutality. Not that she hasn't witnessed the occupation firsthand; Pelosi is just not concerned in the least with the Palestinian resistance."

Hospital Halts Organ Program - "St. Vincent Medical Center, one of the largest organ transplantation centers in the state, has suspended its liver program after discovering that its doctors improperly arranged for a transplant to a Saudi national using an organ that should have gone to a much higher priority patient at another hospital, officials said. Hospital staff members then falsified documents several times to cover up the alleged maneuver, pretending that the transplant was for a patient who was near the top of the regional waiting list, hospital President and Chief Executive Gus Valdespino confirmed Monday."

Kissinger's 1974 Plan for Food Control Genocide - "On Dec. 10, 1974, the U.S. National Security Council under Henry Kissinger completed a classified 200-page study, "National Security Study Memorandum 200: Implications of Worldwide Population Growth for U.S. Security and Overseas Interests." The study falsely claimed that population growth in the so-called Lesser Developed Countries (LDCs) was a grave threat to U.S. national security. Adopted as official policy in November 1975 by President Gerald Ford, NSSM 200 outlined a covert plan to reduce population growth in those countries through birth control, and also, implicitly, war and famine. Brent Scowcroft, who had by then replaced Kissinger as national security adviser (the same post Scowcroft was to hold in the Bush administration), was put in charge of implementing the plan. CIA Director George Bush was ordered to assist Scowcroft, as were the secretaries of state, treasury, defense, and agriculture."

Torturous Silence on Torture - "Where do American religious leaders stand on torture? Their deafening silence evokes memories of the unconscionable behavior of German church leaders in the 1930s and early 1940s."

Louis Farrakhan: Divers Found Levee Explosives - "Nation of Islam chief Minister Louis Farrakhan has expanded on his theory that New Orleans' levees were blown up during Hurricane Katrina, announcing Friday that divers working on the levee break have found evidence of explosives. ... Farrakhan predicted that when New Orleans is rebuilt, it will be "a white city.""

Osama Who? Media Begins the "Protect bin Laden Campaign!" - " Last night 60 Minutes (CBS) took part in a campaign to make the public think that catching Osama bin Laden is not important. You may see this message in many forms over the next few months. This, to me, indicates that Osama is indeed being protected by the US. We never intended on getting him. The media is now getting the public opinion in line. This speaks volumes."

Saudi Prince Buys Large Share of Fox News - "Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal has purchased 5.46 percent of the Fox corporation, according to Gulf Daily News, raising concern that the conservative Fox News may soften its anti-terror stance due to the views of the new shareholder."

China Wants Only 'Healthy' News on Web - "Only "healthy and civilized news and information that is beneficial to the improvement of the quality of the nation, beneficial to its economic development and conducive to social progress" will be allowed, Xinhua said. "The sites are prohibited from spreading news and information that goes against state security and public interest," it added. While the communist government encourages Internet use for education and business, it also blocks material it deems subversive or pornographic. Online dissidents who post items critical of the government, or those expressing opinions in chatrooms, are regularly arrested and charged under vaguely worded state security laws."

Woman Ticketed for Sitting on a Playground Bench with No Kids - "It's an only in New York story. A woman was given a ticket for sitting on a park bench because she doesn't have children." -- This country really has lost its mind.

Squid's in -- and now it's on film - "Until now, the only evidence of giant squids was extraordinarily rare -- from dead squids that washed up on remote shores or got snagged on a long-line fish hook or from ships' crews who spotted the deep-sea denizen as it made a sortie near the surface. But almost nothing was known about where and how Architeuthis lives, feeds and reproduces. And, given the problems of getting down to its home in the ocean depths, no-one had ever obtained pictures of a live one."

Quote of the Day
"Shut up Ann Coulter."
~Many, many people

September 24, 2005

News -- September 25, 2005

Can You Imagine?:Hussein Was Right & Bush Was Wrong - "Over and over, George Bush told us that Saddam Hussein was lying, that he was dragging his feet, that Iraq had dangerous weapons, that Hussein was a threat to the whole world, Now here we are, over two years later. What have we learned? The hunt for Weapons of Mass Destruction has turned up exactly nothing, and so the hunt has been called off. Everything Hussein said about the weapons has turned out to be true. Everything George Bush said about Iraq's weapons has turned out to be false. ... In other words, the Butcher of Baghdad was correct; the President of the United States of America was wrong. The Butcher of Baghdad will be put on trial for "war crimes." The President of the United States of America was reelected to "lead" the country for four more years. It's a sorry state of affairs in America when you can trust the words of Saddam Hussein more than those of your own President." -- This is a short article and worth the read.

Officer's Road Led Him Outside Army - "Then, in a lengthy chronology obtained Saturday by The Times, recounting what he saw in Iraq and his numerous efforts to get the Army's attention, he wrote that "Harvey is wrong." He wrote that Army guidance was "too vague for officers to enforce American values." He concluded that violations of the Geneva Convention were "systematic, and the Army is misleading America."",0,7402409.story?coll=la-home-headlines

Democrats Still Fear Dissent on Iraq - "Forget about standing up alongside Michael Moore. Merely speaking up against the war in Iraq continues to terrify Democrats. One exception is Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who voted against Roberts and is also a strong, consistent Democratic voice against Iraq. But Kennedy is not running for president. Democratic senators who are in the presidential contender mix, such as Clinton, Kerry, and Joseph Biden of Delaware, have yet to label their votes to authorize war a mistake, even though the underlying rationale -- weapons of mass destruction -- was long ago revealed as false. Given the reluctance to admit mistakes in Washington, they probably never will. These Democrats, meanwhile, continue to tailor their opposition to the way the war is being waged, not to its underlying purpose or morality."

Huge rally against Iraq war - "Police Chief Charles H. Ramsey, noting that organizers had hoped to draw 100,000 people, said, "I think they probably hit that.""

Hurricanes aside, Bush our biggest disaster - "Ten days later, President Bush announced that America can't fiscally withstand another such disaster. He spoke of cutting more social programs to pay for Katrina's destruction. He didn't talk of revoking the tax cuts he's given his "base," of killing the Senate's pending repeal of estate tax laws, of taxing the windfall profits of oil companies or of ending the war in Iraq. Yet it's hurricane season, we're at war, and we're borrowing every penny we spend."

National Security Agencygets fix on Internet users - "Internet users hoping to protect their privacy by using anti-virus software, Web anonymizers, false identities and disabled cookies on their computer's Web browser have something new to worry about – a patent filed by the National Security Agency (NSA) for technology that will identify the physical location of any Web surfer."

Bible Textbook for Public Schools Planned - "An interfaith group released a new textbook Thursday aimed at teaching public high school students about the Bible while avoiding legal and religious disputes."

Credit card companies can keep data ID theft secret - "Credit card companies don't have to notify customers their personal information has been stolen, a California Judge ruled today."

Bush plea for cash to rebuild Iraq raises $600 - "The public's reluctance to contribute much more than the cost of two iPods to the administration's attempt to offer citizens 'a further stake in building a free and prosperous Iraq' has been seized on by critics as evidence of growing ambivalence over that country.",6903,1577750,00.html

No Arctic oil drilling? How about selling parks? - "House Resources chairman Richard Pombo is circulating a draft of a bill that would sell 15 national parks and require the National Park Service to raise millions of dollars by selling the naming rights to visitors' centers and trails. Pombo's spokesman said the proposal, written by Pombo's House Resources Committee staff, is intended only to influence lawmakers to support an item in the budget bill that would permit oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge."

Women bypass sex in favour of 'instant pregnancies' - "Wealthy career women in their 30s and early 40s, some of whom have given up regular sex altogether, are turning to "medicalised conception" - despite being fertile and long before they have exhausted the possibility of a natural conception."

Ga. Schools to Close Two Days to Save Gas - "Most of Georgia's public schools will be closed Monday and Tuesday, taking two "early snow days," in an effort to conserve fuel in the aftermath of hurricanes Katrina and Rita."

Half of Europe's Citizens Know 2 Languages - "In the United States, by contrast, 9 percent of Americans speak both their native language and another language fluently, according to a U.S. Senate resolution designating 2005 the "Year of Foreign Language Study.""

Quote of the Day
"People want the world to make sense."
~ Lt. Stanton, Fallen

September 23, 2005

News -- September 23, 2005

War Pornography - "For almost a year, American soldiers stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan have been taking photographs of dead bodies, many of them horribly mutilated or blown to pieces, and sending them to Web site administrator Chris Wilson. In return for letting him post these images, Wilson gives the soldiers free access to his [porn] site. American soldiers have been using the pictures of disfigured Iraqi corpses as currency to buy pornography."

Top Democrats won't attend anti-war rally in Washington - "As the anti-war movement arrives in Washington this weekend, many top Democrats are leaving." -- Which means we have only one party in this country...The War Party.

Report attacks 'myth' of foreign fighters - "The US and the Iraqi government have overstated the number of foreign fighters in Iraq, "feeding the myth" that they are the backbone of the insurgency, an American thinktank says in a new report. Foreign militants - mainly from Algeria, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia - account for less than 10% of the estimated 30,000 insurgents, according to the Washington-based Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The report came as President Bush said a pullout of US forces would embolden America's enemies, allowing the Jordanian-born terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and Osama bin Laden "to dominate the Middle East and launch more attacks on America and other free nations".",2763,1576666,00.html

The Inevitable War with Iran - "If Washington wants a war with Iran, there'll be a war with Iran. That's the great lesson of the Iraq war; once the decision is made, there's no turning back."

Saudis warn region is on brink of war - " Iraq is hurtling towards disintegration, and could drag the region into war, the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, believes."

O'Reilly vs. Donahue in the No Spin Zone -- Worth the read. I'm just sorry I missed it on television.,2933,170195,00.html

Why Won't Democrats Fight? - "It's almost as if they don't really want to win. I'm done with them. I peeled my Kerry-Edwards sticker off my car this weekend. It felt so good to not feel like a chump anymore for standing up for people who won't stand up for themselves (or us). At least I'm not pretending anymore.""

Poll: Fewer than half think U.S. will win in Iraq -- What's to win? And doesn't this poll really say that more than half think the U.S. will lose?

Rita could equal $5 gas - "Remember when gas spiked to $3-plus a gallon after Hurricane Katrina? By this time next week, that could seem like the good old days."

Dangers of a Drunk Dubya - "Like the President, I’m a recovering alcoholic. Unlike him, I’ve been sober for 11 years, three months and 16 days. Bush says he quit drinking without help from any organized program. I had a lot of help – from family, friends and Alcoholics Anonymous. As an alcoholic, I can say without hesitation that available evidence tells me that Bush is drinking and drinking heavily."

Bishop admits church has received drug money - "A Mexican bishop has admitted that the local Catholic church receives donations from drug traffickers, but claimed these are "purified" through good works." -- Can you believe this shit?,3604,1575249,00.html

Girl arrested over Bollocks to Blair shirt - "I asked the officers how they could arrest someone for wearing a T-shirt and they told me it was because it would offend a 70-80-year-old woman." -- Everyone needs to be offended.

Chromosome transplant in mice could provide clue to Down's syndrome illnesses - "Genetic studies of the mice will help scientists to nail down which genes give rise to medical conditions which are prevalent among people with Down's syndrome, such as impaired brain development, heart defects, behavioural abnormalities, Alzheimer's disease and leukaemia. Medical researchers yesterday hailed the work as a "tour de force", but critics accused the team of pushing the boundaries of genetic manipulation too far and blurring the distinction of what was biologically human.",11381,1576717,00.html

STD vaccines in works, but for children - "A wave of experimental vaccines against sexually transmitted diseases could revolutionize the prevention of such infections during the next few years, but there's a catch: The shots likely will work best when given to children as young as 11. The first such vaccine to prevent human papillomavirus - the leading cause of cervical cancer - could be submitted for approval to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration by year's end. Another vaccine against genital herpes is in advanced clinical trials, and shots for gonorrhea and chlamydia are in the works. Already the injections have drawn moral opposition from some conservative groups, who fear such immunizations could give young teens a green light to have sex."

Quote of the Day
"The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be?"
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

September 16, 2005

News -- September 16, 2005

$200 billion post-Katrina rebuilding effort planned - "The president will call on Washington to resist spending money unwisely, but some in his own party are already starting to recoil at a price tag expected to exceed $200 billion -- about the cost of the Iraq war and reconstruction efforts. As emergency expenditures soar -- with new commitments as high as $2 billion a day -- some budget analysts and conservative groups are warning that the Katrina spending has combined with earlier fiscal decisions in ways that will wreak havoc on the government's finances for years to come. Bush and Republican congressional leaders, by contrast, are calculating that the U.S. economy can safely absorb a sharp spike in spending and budget deficits, and that the only way to regain public confidence after the stumbling early response to the disaster is to spend whatever it takes to rebuild the region and help Katrina's victims get back on their feet."

No Bankruptcy Relief for Katrina Victims - "Survivors of Hurricane Katrina who were hoping to avoid the weight of the new bankruptcy law may be out of luck. Representative F. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, has indicated he will not hold a hearing on waiving the law for purposes of disaster relief." -- Don't you just love those compassionate conservative Republicans?

E-mail suggests government seeking to blame groups - "Federal officials appear to be seeking proof to blame the flood of New Orleans on environmental groups, documents show."

The Verdict on John Roberts - Howard Dean - "But John Roberts is the wrong man for the job. Despite the fact that the White House has withheld key documents either out of incompetence or a fear that those documents might prove embarrassing, we have learned enough from the files on Roberts at the Reagan Library to make it clear that he should be rejected. This conclusion has only been solidified by Roberts' testimony during this week's hearings. He has been a polished performer, but in failing to present clear answers to straightforward questions, Roberts missed a crucial opportunity to answer legitimate concerns about his record and show compassion for those who have been excluded from the American Dream. The consistent mark of Roberts' career is a lack of commitment to making the Constitution's promise of equal protection a reality for all Americans, particularly the most vulnerable in our society."

Baghdad: The bloodiest day - "Al-Qa'ida in new offensive. More than a dozen Baghdad attacks. 150 are killed and 540 injured. Iraq plunges towards civil war."

Plague-Infected Mice Missing From N.J. Lab - "The mice have been missing for approximately two weeks." -- Now why are they messing around with the plague, a disease that has been wiped out?

U.S. leads the world in sale of military goods - "The Congressional Research Service recently found that global arms sales rose to $37 billion in 2004 -- the highest level since 2000. U.S. companies such as Lockheed Martin and Boeing rang up $12.4 billion in weapons contracts -- more than one-third of the total and more than twice what Russia -- the second largest exporter -- sold." -- Fear and state sponsored murder are big business.

Study: Half of All Teens Have Had Oral Sex - ""This is a point of major social transition," James Wagoner, president of Advocates for Youth, a reproductive health organization, said yesterday. "The data are now coming out and roiling the idea that boys are the hunters and young girls are the prey. It absolutely defies the stereotype." The data also underscore the fact that, unlike their parents' generation, many young people -- particularly those from middle- and upper-income white families -- simply do not consider oral sex a big deal. "Oral sex is far less intimate than intercourse. It's a different kind of relationship," said Claire Brindis, professor of pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco. "At 50 percent, we're talking about a major social norm. It's part of kids' lives.""

Few people trust politicians, global survey shows - "One of the most striking findings was international disillusionment with politicians. They achieved extremely low confidence ratings, with only 13 percent trusting them. Two out of three people polled around the globe felt unrepresented by their governments. The exceptions were South Africans, Israelis and Scandinavians. Most of these believed their governments were in tune with the people. There was a global desire to put more power in the hands of intellectuals such as writers and academics, the survey showed."

Aide: Schwarzenegger to Seek Re-Election - "Arnold Schwarzenegger will run for re-election next year, a top aide said Friday, an early announcement the governor hopes will jolt his sagging political momentum with the vitality that swept him into office two years ago."

U.S. Acts to Finish Divisive Border Fence - "In a rebuff to California officials and environmentalists, the Bush administration cleared the way Wednesday for completion of a 14-mile-long border fence that will run through coastal wetlands to the Pacific Ocean near San Diego. Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived environmental laws for the first time since Congress gave him that authority in May. Finishing the last 3.5 miles of fence is expected to cost about $32 million.",0,2455851.story?coll=la-story-footer&track=morenews

U.S. law professor proposes assassinating more suspected terrorists - "In June, about 100 people gathered at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington think tank, to hear a lecture by John Yoo on "fighting the new terrorism." Mr. Yoo recommended an unusual idea: assassinating more suspected terrorists." -- Suspected?

iTunes upgrade has users griping - "People have reported a range of problems with the updated program, while others said the software works fine. Among those reporting problems, many say that trying to install the program causes their computers to crash. Others report that once they install the program, it won't transfer music purchased at the iTunes Music Store to their iPod, deletes playlists, interferes with other programs or generally wreaks havoc on their computers. "What's worse, rolling back (to a previous version) can be difficult or impossible, and Apple's lack of official recognition or public response regarding these problems is driving many users up the wall."

IE flaw puts Windows XP SP2 at risk - "A flaw has been discovered in Internet Explorer that could enable a remote attack on systems running Windows XP with Service Pack 2, eEye Digital Security has warned. The flaw, which also affects systems running Windows XP, is found in the default installations of Microsoft's IE, according to an advisory released by the security company on Thursday."

Decision Deferred on Porn Domain - "And they say such a domain name would legitimize adult sites, which two of every five internet users visited in April, according to tracking by comScore Media Metrix. Many porn sites also objected, fearing that such a domain would pave the way for governments or even private industry to filter speech that is protected here under the First Amendment.",1367,68878,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_5

Chinese go mental for nude web chat - ""At first, we thought it was merely a game for a few mentally abnormal people. But as our research continued, we found the problem was much larger than expected."" -- I'm mentally abnormal?

Blogging the blues away - "Pundits who dub bloggers as wannabe journalists or budding political commentators may be off the mark, according to a new survey. For nearly half of 600 bloggers surveyed, blogging is a form of therapy, America Online said Friday, referring to research conducted by Digital Marketing Services. Around a third of the respondents said they write frequently about subjects such as self-esteem and self-help, while around 16 percent said they blog because of an interest in journalism. Another 12 percent said they do it remain on top of news and gossip. About 8 percent said they are interested in exposing political information."

Quote of the Day
"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress. But I repeat myself."
~ Mark Twain

September 14, 2005

News -- September 14, 2005

End of the Bush Era - "Recent months, and especially the past two weeks, have brought home to a steadily growing majority of Americans the truth that President Bush's government doesn't work. His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this."

Bush: 'I take responsibility' - "President George W. Bush took responsibility on Tuesday for any failures in the federal response to Hurricane Katrina and acknowledged the storm exposed serious deficiencies at all levels of government four years after the September 11 attacks. "To the extent that the federal government didn't fully do its job right, I take responsibility," Bush told a White House news conference at which he openly questioned U.S. preparedness for another storm or a "severe attack." Bush's rare admission of "serious problems in our response capability" came as the White House stepped up efforts to repair his public standing."

The Day Hell Froze Over - "Did I miss the cataclysmic event that rocked the heavens? Did Christ reappear and walk on water? Did hell freeze over? Or maybe aliens landed on the mall in Washington? Something must have happened to shift the earth out of his orbit because George W. Bush accepted blame for something."

U.S. Deploys Slide Show to Press Case Against Iran - "With an hour-long slide show that blends satellite imagery with disquieting assumptions about Iran's nuclear energy program, Bush administration officials have been trying to convince allies that Tehran is on a fast track toward nuclear weapons."

As bodies recovered, reporters are told 'no photos, no stories' - "On Saturday, after being challenged in court by CNN, the Bush administration agreed not to prevent the news media from following the effort to recover the bodies of Hurricane Katrina victims. But on Monday, in the Bywater district, that assurance wasn't being followed. The 82nd Airborne soldier told reporters the Army had a policy that requires media to be 300 meters -- more than three football fields in length -- away from the scene of body recoveries in New Orleans. If reporters wrote stories or took pictures of body recoveries, they would be reported and face consequences, he said, including a loss of access for up-close coverage of certain military operations. Dean Nugent, of the Louisiana State Coroner's Department, who accompanied the soldier, added that it wasn't safe to be in Bywater. "They'll kill you out here," he said, referring to the few residents who have continued to defy mandatory evacuation orders and remain in their homes.""

The News Media Are Knocking Bush -- and Propping Him Up - "This month we've heard a lot of talk about journalists who got tough with President Bush. And it's true that he has been on the receiving end of some fiercely negative media coverage in the wake of the hurricane. But the mainstream U.S. press is ill-suited to challenging the legitimacy of the Bush administration. The country's largest media institutions operate on a basis of enormous respect for presidential power. Major news organizations defer to that power even while venting criticisms. Overall, mass media outlets restrain the momentum of denunciations lest they appear to create instability for the Republic."

Roberts: Law Will Guide Right-To-Die Cases - "Supreme Court nominee John Roberts on Wednesday assured senators he would be guided by the law, not personal beliefs, on right-to-die cases. He also told the lawmakers that Congress can counter the court's decisions. ... "Without any knowledge of your understanding of the law _ because you will not share it with us _ we are rolling the dice with you, Judge," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who has wrangled with Roberts on privacy issues, right-to-die cases and whether judicial candidates should fully answer senators' questions." -- Rolling the dice? We have to "roll the dice" when approving a Supreme Court Judge?

America Is Bankrupt - "A recent trip to the United States – after a three-year absence – showed me how far the country and its people have deteriorated in a short period of time. Americans are bankrupt. They are bankrupt at every possible level: spiritually, morally, educationally. The country’s economy has deteriorated to the level of a Philippines or a Thailand (and I mean no disrespect to the Philippines or Thailand – I love those places). ... I shook my head and thought, When are these crazy people going to wake up? Apparently it’s good that the USA invaded Iraq to secure oil. Japan has no natural resources. America does. America even has its own oil. Guess what? About seven years ago, the price for a liter of gasoline in Japan was 100 yen (3.78 liters per gallon). The price today is about 125 yen per liter. That means today’s price for a gallon of gasoline in Japan, a nation that produces no oil, is about $4.58 – an increase of 25% over the last seven years. Now, it doesn’t take much of a math whiz to figure out that if the prices at the pumps in America – a nation that produces oil – have doubled in the last few years, there’s something strange going on. How is it possible that Japan’s gasoline prices have just barely inched up over these past few years, at about 3% per year, while USA prices have doubled or more? Is it just the Iraq war? Or is it the decline of the dollar? Probably a bit of both, but you can definitely be sure of one thing, it is the US government taking advantage of you – regardless of whether you are a Democrat or Republican. And the average American still cheers on the federal monster."

The Fallout of a Can't-Do Presidency - "We're not No. 1. We're not even close. By which measures, precisely, do we lead the world? Caring for our countrymen? You jest. A first-class physical infrastructure? Tell that to New Orleans. Throwing so much money at the rich that we've got nothing left over to promote the general welfare? Now you're talking. The problem goes beyond the fact that we can't count on our government to be there for us in catastrophes. It's that a can't-do spirit, a shouldn't-do spirit, guides the men who run the nation. Consider the congressional testimony of Joe Allbaugh, George W. Bush's 2000 campaign manager, who assumed the top position at the Federal Emergency Management Agency in 2001. He characterized the organization as "an oversized entitlement program," and counseled states and cities to rely instead on "faith-based organizations... such as the Salvation Army and the Mennonite Disaster Service." ... This is the stuff-happens administration. And it's willing, apparently, to sacrifice any claim America may have to national greatness rather than inconvenience the rich by taxing them to build a more secure nation. ... Let the Dutch build their dikes through some socialistic scheme of taxing and spending; that isn't the American way. Here, the business of government is to let the private sector create wealth - even if that wealth doesn't circulate where it's most needed. So George W. Bush threw trillions of dollars in tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, and what did they do with it?"

U.S. schooling falls back in global ratings - "The United States is losing ground in education, as peers across the globe zoom by with bigger gains in student achievement and school graduations, a study shows. ... By both measures, the United States was first in the world as recently as 20 years ago, said Barry McGaw, director of education for the Paris-based Organization for Cooperation and Development. The 30-nation organization develops the yearly rankings as a way for countries to evaluate their education systems and determine whether to change their policies. McGaw said that the United States remains atop the "knowledge economy," which uses information to produce economic benefits. But, he said, "education's contribution to that economy is weakening, and you ought to be worrying." The report, released yesterday, bases its conclusions about achievement mainly on international test scores released last December. They show that compared with their peers in Europe, Asia and elsewhere, 15-year-olds in the United States are below average in applying math skills to real-life tasks. Top performers included Finland, South Korea, the Netherlands, Japan, Canada and Belgium."

Judge: School Pledge Is Unconstitutional - "Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was declared unconstitutional Wednesday by a federal judge ruling in the second attempt by an atheist to have the pledge removed from classrooms. The man lost his previous battle before the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. District Judge Lawrence Karlton ruled that the pledge's reference to one nation "under God" violates school children's right to be "free from a coercive requirement to affirm God.""

Pa. Screening Schoolchildren for Obesity - "As they wait for their children's first report cards to come home this year, elementary-school parents across Pennsylvania also can expect to get a separate report on a key indicator of their children's health. For the first time, the state Health Department is requiring school nurses to compute students' body-mass index _ or height-to-weight ratio _ during annual growth screenings of children in kindergarten through fourth grade. Parents will get letters about the results that will encourage them to share the information with their family doctors. The letters will explain whether the BMI is above, below, or within the normal range for the child's age and gender."

F.A.A. Alerted on Qaeda in '98, 9/11 Panel Said - "American aviation officials were warned as early as 1998 that Al Qaeda could "seek to hijack a commercial jet and slam it into a U.S. landmark," according to previously secret portions of a report prepared last year by the Sept. 11 commission. The officials also realized months before the Sept. 11 attacks that two of the three airports used in the hijackings had suffered repeated security lapses."

Court Mulls Release Of Columbine Videos - "Reporters have already seen and written about the Columbine "basement tapes" of killers Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold showing off their arsenal and eagerly talking about their plan to attack their high school. But the gunmen's parents are fighting a newspaper's request for public release of the videos, audio recordings and writings Harris and Klebold made in the months before they killed 12 students and a teacher in April 1999. ... At the heart of the dispute is a question that District Judge Brooke Jackson said has never been considered by Colorado's courts: Does private property seized under a search warrant become public record?"

Dutch to Open Electronic Files on Children - "Beginning Jan. 1, 2007, all citizens will be tracked from cradle to grave in a single database — including health, education, family and police records — the health ministry said Tuesday. "

Slow Seismic Slip Event Underway in Pacific Northwest - "The chance of a major earthquake is 30 times higher now for a roughly two-week period, but the odds are still remote, scientists say. ... The slip began Sept. 3 on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington State and has migrated north to the Vancouver Island area, Cassidy wrote. Victoria moved 0.12 inches (3 millimeters) to the West over the course of two days. The events are thought to last six to 15 days."

Professor Sex Is Not Back for More - "George Washington University chose this summer not to renew the contract of the adjunct professor who had been teaching sexuality to a packed house for 17 years. Schaffer was given no explanation for the decision. But, he said, when he pressed Patricia Sullivan, the acting chair of the Department of Exercise Science, for answers, she told him “maybe you need to look at your student evaluations.”

Pssst...Where the devil is the exorcist convention? - "Orthodontists have national conventions, as do lawyers and computer salespeople. So why not exorcists? At the end of his weekly general audience Wednesday Pope Benedict greeted Italian exorcists who, he disclosed, are currently holding their national convention. The Pope encouraged them to "carry on their important work in the service of the Church." Problem was that until the Pope spoke few people outside the inner circle knew that a convention of Beelzebub-busters was going on, presumably in Rome. And where were they holding it? In a church, a hotel, a graveyard? "They try to keep these things quiet," said a Catholic professor who has dealings with exorcists. The Roman Catholic Church has shown growing interest in exorcism in Italy. ... A Vatican university announced last Thursday that for the second year running it will hold a course on exorcism and Satanism for Roman Catholic priests.";_ylt=A9FJqYUtxChDfDIBhhQSH9EA;_ylu=X3oDMTBiMW04NW9mBHNlYwMlJVRPUCUl

Playmobile Security Check in Toy -- Brainwashing the kids early.;sid=i-8G5lY-xEsG5BUYXxoKwJgMzFCP7m1uHcY=?ProductSKU=3172&CategoryName=US_storefront&PLS=0

California files french fry lawsuit - "California Attorney General Bill Lockyer has filed a lawsuit to force top makers of potato chips and french fries to warn consumers about a potential cancer-causing chemical found in the popular snacks."

Quote of the Day
"Have we found the same old fears?"
~ Pink Floyd

September 13, 2005

News -- September 13, 2005

Embattled FEMA Director Mike Brown Resigns - "Federal Emergency Management Agency director Mike Brown said Monday he has resigned "in the best interest of the agency and best interest of the president," three days after losing his onsite command of the Hurricane Katrina relief effort." -- Yeah, I bet it's in the best interest of the President.

New FEMA boss is 'Duct Tape Man' - "In another gesture symbolizing the continued confusion of the federal response, the man President Bush immediately named to succeed “Brownie,” proves to have been the same FEMA official who, two-and-a-half years ago, suggested that Americans stock up on duct tape to protect against a biological or chemical terrorist attack. David Paulison, then the government's Fire Administrator, joined with the then-head of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, on February 10th, 2003, to say that duct tape and plastic sheeting should be part of any home's "survival kit" in preparation for a terrorist attack. That set off a run on duct tape at stores, and widespread criticism of the administration. It might have been the first time after 9/11 that a large number of Americans wondered if the government really knew what it was talking about when it came to disaster preparedness. And the man behind that politically explosive proposal, has just been named to succeed the man who had been the face of the politically explosive response to Hurricane Katrina."

Money Flowed to Questionable Projects - "Before Hurricane Katrina breached a levee on the New Orleans Industrial Canal, the Army Corps of Engineers had already launched a $748 million construction project at that very location. But the project had nothing to do with flood control. The Corps was building a huge new lock for the canal, an effort to accommodate steadily increasing barge traffic. Except that barge traffic on the canal has been steadily decreasing. In Katrina's wake, Louisiana politicians and other critics have complained about paltry funding for the Army Corps in general and Louisiana projects in particular. But over the five years of President Bush's administration, Louisiana has received far more money for Corps civil works projects than any other state, about $1.9 billion; California was a distant second with less than $1.4 billion, even though its population is more than seven times as large."

We had to kill our patients - "Doctors working in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans killed critically ill patients rather than leaving them to die in agony as they evacuated hospitals, The Mail on Sunday can reveal. With gangs of rapists and looters rampaging through wards in the flooded city, senior doctors took the harrowing decision to give massive overdoses of morphine to those they believed could not make it out alive."

The Curious Incident of the Veep in the Summertime - "You’ll be happy to hear that I have a theory. Is it possible that the President and the Vice President have fallen out? I mean, I’m just asking. But if you remember September 11, 2001 -- and I’m sure you do -- the President had no idea what to do, but the Vice President did. The Vice President took over. He didn’t even consult with the President. He put the President on Air Force One and the President spent the day flying from one airport to another, which was something that even the President eventually understood made him look as if he wasn’t in charge. ... Could the President be irritated that Cheney helped con him into Iraq? Oh, all right, probably not. Could Cheney – and not just his aides -- possibly be involved in the Valerie Plame episode? Is Cheney not speaking to Karl Rove? Does the airplane/bicycle incident figure into this in any way? And how is it possible that the President is off on vacation and the Vice President is too? Not that it matters that much if the President is on vacation; on some level, the President is always on vacation. But where was Cheney?"

Thanks to corporations, instead of democracy we get Baywatch - "The pressure group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) was mystified by the ease with which Mr Tao had been caught. He had sent the message through an anonymous Yahoo! account. But the police had gone straight to his offices and picked him up. How did they know who he was? Last week RSF obtained a translation of the verdict, and there they found the answer. Mr Tao's account information was "furnished by Yahoo Holdings". Yahoo!, the document says, gave the government his telephone number and the address of his office. So much for the promise that the internet would liberate the oppressed. ... "We had the dream that the internet would free the world, that all the dictatorships would collapse," says Julien Pain of Reporters Without Borders. "We see it was just a dream." ... What the owners don't enforce, the advertisers do. Over the past few months, reveals, both Morgan Stanley and BP have instructed newspapers and magazines that they must remove their adverts from any edition containing "objectionable editorial coverage". Car, airline and tobacco companies have been doing the same thing. Most publications can't afford to lose these accounts; they lose the offending articles instead. Why are the papers full of glowing profiles of the advertising boss Martin Sorrell? Because they're terrified of him."

TV Viewers Speak Out Against Reality Shows - "Four out of five Americans say they think too many reality shows are on the air, according to an AP-TV Guide poll. Only 4 percent of respondents said there were not enough. Few people believe there's much reality in reality TV: a total of 82 percent said the shows are either "totally made up" or "mostly distorted."" -- There's hope!

Less Plaque, More Action Films - "At Bothwell's practice, on a tree-lined street in the bayside town of Alameda, California, returning patients often come with a DVD or videotape. While the dentist works, patients watch films on a set of goggles that create the ambience of a personal home theater. ... The goggles, which connect to a VCR or DVD player, consist of small screens that sit in front of each eye, earphones and a padded strap that fits around a viewer's head. While movies actually play about an inch from a viewer's eye, the device creates the illusion that one is watching on a screen several feet away.",1367,68735,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_3

Headphone Use May Worsen Hearing Loss - "Researchers fear the growing popularity of portable music players and other items that attach directly to the ears _ including cell phones _ is contributing to hearing loss in younger people."

September 11, 2005

News -- September 11, 2005

Tape Released: American al Qaeda Member Warns of Attacks - "In an apparent Sept. 11 communiqué broadcast on ABC News, an al Qaeda operative threatens new attacks against cities in the US and Australia. "Yesterday, London and Madrid. Tomorrow, Los Angeles and Melbourne, God willing." ... American intelligence officials believe the man who appears on the tape to be Adam Gadahn of Orange County, Calif. Last year, Gadahn delivered a similar taped communiqué for al Qaeda. That tape was later deemed authentic. ... "The statement broadcast this morning on Good Morning America should come as no surprise to anyone. The statement was meant to instill fear, and fear is the most important weapon the terrorists possess."" -- Does anyone else see this as too convenient?

People sense president's soulless sensibility - "Something very important is happening here -- something more than simply a hurricane, or the suffering of thousands who were neglected by their government during a time of great need. Most worldly occurrences reflect deeper truths. What is happening is a gigantic reckoning, as Americans are forced to come to terms with how very, very naked is the emperor who we thought had such incredible clothes. We are raised in the United States of America to believe our government is the strongest in the world, that as Americans we are basically protected, and that our country is basically good. It is cognitive dissonance for us to be confronted with evidence to the contrary, and yet such evidence has been piling up fast and furiously during this odd and potentially catastrophic phase of American history. ... The president prides himself on running the government like a well-run business. That, of course, makes him the chief executive. And if the government failed, then he failed. Fool us once, and maybe their tricks were dirty; fool us twice, maybe their public relations was too good; fool us now, and perhaps we just deserve to be fooled. From war to hurricanes, oh, America, the alarm bells of needless human suffering are going off everywhere. A nation that refuses to wake up at this point is in a dangerous slumber. The nightmares are upon us now. They will remain until our eyes are opened and we have awakened to the truth."

Will Bush Wriggle Out of This One? - "If we aren't alert, Bush will not only wriggle out of political responsibility for diverting funds from New Orleans's flood defenses, eviscerating FEMA, and bungling the response, just as he evaded responsibility after Richard Clarke's testimony that the administration ignored warnings about Al Qaeda's plans for a 9/11 style-attack. Katrina could even be a political windfall, promoting the campaign to cripple government, permanently displacing some reliable Democratic voters from the swing state of Louisiana, causing the faithful to rally 'round their beleaguered president, and knocking even more unpleasant news off the front pages and network TV."

Eye of the Political Storm - "Hurricane Katrina claimed her first political casualty Friday. Michael Brown, the head of FEMA, the federal disaster readiness and response agency, was sidelined from the largest disaster relief project in the nation’s history. Brown was recalled to Washington by his boss, Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff. But a new NEWSWEEK Poll suggests the post-Katrina political storm may just be rising. And her ultimate casualty could be President George W. Bush."

Pentagon Revises Nuclear Strike Plan - "The Pentagon has drafted a revised doctrine for the use of nuclear weapons that envisions commanders requesting presidential approval to use them to preempt an attack by a nation or a terrorist group using weapons of mass destruction. The draft also includes the option of using nuclear arms to destroy known enemy stockpiles of nuclear, biological or chemical weapons."

So you think we have an energy problem? No, we have a political problem. - "Here is the information. Please verify for yourself. 1. Some folks at Shell Oil Co. wrote "Fuel Economy of the Gasoline Engine" (ISBN 0-470-99132-1); it was published by John Wiley & Sons, New York, in 1977. On page 42 Shell Oil quotes the President of General Motors, he, in 1929, predicted 80 MPG by 1939. Between pages 221 and 223 Shell writes of their achievements: 49.73 MPG around 1939; 149.95 MPG with a 1947 Studebaker in 1949; 244.35 MPG with a 1959 Fiat 600 in 1968; 376.59 MPG with a 1959 Opel in 1973."

Court Says Bush can Indefinitely Detain People Without Criminal Charges During Wartime... - "A federal appeals court yesterday backed the president's power to indefinitely detain a U.S. citizen captured on U.S. soil without any criminal charges, holding that such authority is vital during wartime to protect the nation from terrorist attacks."

Changed Your Mind About War? Maybe You Can Return it at Wal-Mart Customer Service - "Recently on National Public Radio, a woman explained why she had changed her mind about the war in Iraq. She said, "It's no longer worthwhile" as if talking about hanging her laundry, as if it were something she'd purchased at Wal-Mart and decided to return. It occurred to me she had exposed in that single word the cavalier violence not only of the war itself but the violence of the American mind: We can kill at whim. We can waltz into other countries with our guns loaded when we feel like it. We can skip off to Granada or Panama and bomb away as easily as hanging our clothes on the line or throwing them in the dryer, whichever is more "worthwhile.""

Pet rescuers race against time - "On the flooded streets of New Orleans you can hear the dogs barking for miles. They are trapped -- in houses, on roofs, tied to porches. They are frightened and hungry. For the pets left behind after Hurricane Katrina, relief is on the way, but it's a race against time."

Yahoo Gives Up Reporter's E-Mail - "Yahoo earlier defended its move, saying it was obliged to comply with Chinese laws and regulations. The demand for the information was a "legal order" and Yahoo gets such requests from law enforcement agencies all the time, and not just in China, Yang told the forum.",1283,68830,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_4

New microchip design could be the key to expanding mobile phone memory - "Mobile phones could one day have the memory capacity of a desktop computer thanks to a microchip that mimics the functioning of the brain, scientists report today (9 September) in the journal Science."

Quote of the Day
"Right now I'm having amnesia and deja vu at the same time."
~ Steven Wright

September 9, 2005

News -- September 9, 2005

FEMA Chief Relieved of Katrina Duties - "Federal Emergency Management Agency Director Michael Brown is being relieved of his duties in managing the Bush administration's Hurricane Katrina relief and recovery efforts, The Associated Press has learned." -- The scapegoat? When will his boss be relieved of duty?

U.S. Censoring Katrina Coverage, Groups Say - "When U.S. officials asked the news media not to take pictures of those killed by Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, they were censoring a key part of the disaster story, free- speech watchdogs said yesterday. The move by the Federal Emergency Management Agency is in line with the Bush administration's ban on images of flag-draped U.S. military coffins returning from the Iraq war, media monitors charged in separate telephone interviews. ... "By and large, American television is the most sanitized television in the world," he said. "They are less likely to show bodies, they are less likely to show graphic images of the dead than any television in the world.""

Hiding Bodies Won't Hide the Truth - "When a lot of people see a lot of dead bodies, politicians begin thinking of damage control."

Have You No Shame? - "As Republicans desperately cry out of one corner of their mouths to stop the blame game, they have been blaming everyone but themselves since this catastrophe. Let's look at their ever-evolving buck-passing strategies."

Is FEMA Ready For Bay Area Earthquake? - ""We've never been able to get that message through to the Department of Homeland Security. The funding has systematically gone into terrorism and away from natural disasters," she said. In fact, she says in the West Coast region -- covering the Bay Area -- the number of federal specialists dealing with earthquakes is a simple number: just one."

A Very, Very Good Idea - "Ben Marble, a Gulfport resident who says he’s a doctor, had the guts to wade into Vice President Dick Cheney’s carefully-staged photo op Thursday and say what many residents of the Gulf Coast wanted to say to the politicians who sat on their butts while the people of Mississippi and Louisiana lay dead and dying. “Go fuck yourself Mr. Cheney,” Marble screamed just off camera as the event played out live on CNN. “Go fuck yourself you asshole!” ... Even right-wing Republican firebrand Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House who masterminded the GOP takeover of Congress, recognizes this in memos he recently sent to fellow party members. “For the last week the federal government and its state and local counterparts have consistently been behind the curve,” Gingrich said in a tartly-worded missive to Republicans. "The American people overwhelmingly know that the current situation is totally unacceptable. It is a mistake to get trapped into defending the systems and processes which clearly failed.” Gingrich suggests it is time to stop the useless argument about “values” in government and politics and realize that those elected to serve the people are in the business of delivering services to the people."

Time to Reward the Wealthiest, Again - "The Republicans seek to repeal the estate tax paid by the wealthiest two percent, if they succeed then we will pay the resulting $43 billon tax deficit."

UN hits back at US in report saying parts of America are as poor as Third World - "Parts of the United States are as poor as the Third World, according to a shocking United Nations report on global inequality. Claims that the New Orleans floods have laid bare a growing racial and economic divide in the US have, until now, been rejected by the American political establishment as emotional rhetoric. But yesterday's UN report provides statistical proof that for many - well beyond those affected by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina - the great American Dream is an ongoing nightmare."

Laura Bush Says Criticism of Husband 'Disgusting' - ""I think all of those remarks are disgusting, to be perfectly frank, because of course President Bush cares about everyone in our country," the first lady said Thursday in an interview with American Urban Radio Networks. "And I know that. I mean, I'm the person who lives with him," she said. "I know what he's like and I know what he thinks and I know how he cares about people."" -- Shut up Laura. You don't care about people if you intentionally mislead them in order to send them off to kill, and be killed by, other people. Hypocrite. All the wealthy see us common folk as cannon fodder and worker bees to help make the rich get richer.

New Orleans Begins Confiscating Firearms as Water Recedes - "Waters were receding across this flood-beaten city today as police officers began confiscating weapons, including legally registered firearms, from civilians in preparation for a mass forced evacuation of the residents still living here. No civilians in New Orleans will be allowed to carry pistols, shotguns or other firearms, said P. Edwin Compass III, the superintendent of police. "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons," he said."

Bush allows contractors to pay lower wages - "US President George W Bush issued an executive order on Thursday allowing federal contractors rebuilding in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to pay below the prevailing wage. ... "The administration is using the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to cut the wages of people desperately trying to rebuild their lives and their communities," Miller said.",2106,3405350a12,00.html

Iraq rebuilding under threat as US runs out of money - "Key rebuilding projects in Iraq are grinding to a halt because American money is running out and security has diverted funds intended for electricity, water and sanitation, according to US officials. Plans to overhaul the country's infrastructure have been downsized, postponed or abandoned because the $24bn (£13bn) budget approved by Congress has been dwarfed by the scale of the task.",2763,1566176,00.html

New plan aims to improve U.S. image - "Karen Hughes, the Bush administration's top public diplomacy official, yesterday rolled out a "strategic framework" to improve the U.S. image abroad, urging American ambassadors to step up their engagement with foreign audiences." -- How bad must it be if this country essentially needs a PR firm? Has this country needed such a thing before? Apparently, the rest of the world sees the duck for what it is.

Crude oil supplies overwhelm refineries - "The US and Europe are releasing more emergency crude oil than refineries in the Gulf of Mexico can handle, reinforcing suspicions that governments are using the crisis triggered by Hurricane Katrina to cap record oil prices." -- And don't forget these memos.

Refund Please... - "Dear Refund Department: We want our money back! This Administration thingamajig sucks. The previous model, the blue one, was a much better product. This damned red one, although a little slower than the last model, seemed to work okay when we first got it, but then, when we started relying on it, it started messing up everything. Now it doesn't do a goddamn thing we were told it would do before investing in it. Oddly enough, it generally does the exact opposite of what it's supposed to do. It seems to have zero regard for its owners. If you asked me, I'd say the damned thing is posessed by an evil spirit, much like that notorious 1933 version from Germany."

Scientists win right to create human embryo with three genetic parents - "But mitochondria contain 37 genes, so the embryo will have been created with a genetic contribution from three individuals — the father, the mother who provided the nucleus, and the donor who provided the mitochondria. If the embryo grows into an adult woman, she would pass on the donated mitochondria to any children of her own, raising concerns about germ-line genetic manipulation.",,2-1772135,00.html

100-square-mile bulge keeps getting bigger - "A recent survey of a bulge that covers about 100 square miles near the South Sister indicates the area is still growing, suggesting it could be another volcano in the making or a major shift of molten rock under the center of the Cascade Range."

Daily stress may stop breast cancer: study - "Women with high levels of stress in their everyday lives are at less risk than others of developing breast cancer for the first time, according to research in the British Medical Journal published on Friday.";_ylt=A9FJqY9R1CFDP0QAcwKs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3ODdxdHBhBHNlYwM5NjQ

Genes Show Signs Brain Still Evolving - "The human brain may still be evolving. So suggests new research that tracked changes in two genes thought to help regulate brain growth, changes that appeared well after the rise of modern humans 200,000 years ago."

Dinosaur big as a plane ruled sky - "THE largest animal ever to fly - a giant reptile called a pterosaur - was much bigger and more fearsome than previously realised, new fossil evidence has revealed. Scientists knew from fossils that the pterosaur, which roamed land and seas all over the world for hundreds of millions of years, had a wingspan of up to ten metres. Now analysis of fossilised footprints and bone fragments has confirmed some specimens were almost twice as big, with wingspans of 18 metres, making them as big as a medium-sized commercial aircraft."

ABC to Offer Primetime Shows in Spanish - "ABC viewers will get "Lost" in translation as part of a plan to make all the network's primetime entertainment available in Spanish starting this season. The move is an acknowledgment of the expanding U.S. Hispanic population and its potential as a source of viewers.";_ylt=A9FJqY9R1CFDP0QAyQOs0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3YXYwNDRrBHNlYwM3NjI

Quote of the Day
"We will have to repent in this generation not merely for the hateful words and actions of bad people, but for the appalling silence of the good people."
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.