October 31, 2005

News -- October 31, 2005

Endless sunset - "While you were, ah, distracted, Congress was quietly renewing every major provision of the Patriot Act. Most of the provisions of the USA Patriot Act, including access to library records, were supposed to "sunset" this month, five years after the law's passing. Instead, both the House and the Senate have already voted to renew the entire act, with only minor revisions. While they're at it, they'd like to add some decidedly unpatriotic amendments to expand the death penalty."

Cia Leak: Not above the law - "There is a cancer on the presidency, and it cannot be exorcised by the resignation of I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby."

Bush's imploding presidency - "With the indictment of Lewis Libby and possible indictment of Karl Rove, President Bush faces a fateful choice. Bush can adopt a bunker mentality and try to appease his base of social ultra-conservatives and military hawks who have brought him such grief. Or he can reach out to the broad mainstream, as he pretended to do when he ran as a ''uniter, not a divider" in 2000. Who would have predicted that the Bush machine would implode so spectacularly, on so many fronts simultaneously? It is worth pausing a moment to take stock of it all:"

Democrats Demand Rove's Firing - "Democrats demanded yesterday that President Bush fire Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove and that the White House fully account for Vice President Cheney's role in the unmasking of CIA operative Valerie Plame, as Republicans acted to limit the political damage from Friday's indictment of Cheney's chief of staff."

We Have Been Warned - "We have been warned. Prepare for a broader war in the Middle East, as plans are being laid for the next U.S. led regime change-- in Syria. A UN report on the death of Lebanese Prime Minister Rafig Hariri elicited this comment from a senior U.S. policy maker: “Out of tragedy comes an extraordinary strategic opportunity.” This statement reflects the continued neo-conservative, Machiavellian influence on our foreign policy. The “opportunity” refers to the long-held neo-conservative plan for regime change in Syria, similar to what was carried out in Iraq."

The Sound Of Silence - "Silence is the sound of surrender. The sound of fear. Creating fear is the quickest way to achieve silence. Who benefits from the silence? Who would want to mute the mouths of Americans? You ask yourself that question; don't run around asking everyone else until you can answer it. It is not a trick question. It is a very simple question and has been answered by generations of the past. Rome, Germany, Russia, France, and China are prime examples of a people that were silent. As the past will prove, it is not an imaginary organization that benefits from a nations silence. Indeed, it is the leaders of that nation’s government which benefits from the silence."

What's Off Virginia? 'There's No Guarantee' - "Lurking off Virginia are tens of thousands of mustard gas shells and hundreds of tons of radioactive waste in at least five ocean dump zones created by the Army decades ago."

Bird flu poses no immediate threat to Europe, leading virologist claims - "Albert Osterhaus, the chairman of the European scientific working group on influenza, said this week that isolated outbreaks of avian influenza in western Europe did not "substantially increase the risk of a flu pandemic.""

The Fight Against the Flu - "The lethal H5N1 virus was found last week in birds in Europe. So far it has spread between humans in only a few suspected cases, but with no cure in sight, global health officials are nervously watching their borders and preparing for the worst."

Is Avian Flu another Pentagon Hoax? - "Tamiflu was developed and patented in 1996 by a California biotech firm, Gilead Sciences Inc. Gilead is a NASDAQ (GILD) listed stock company which prefers to maintain a low profile in the current rush to Tamiflu. That might be because of who is tied to Gilead. In 1997, before he became US Secretary of Defense, Donald H. Rumsfeld was named Chairman of the Board of Gilead Sciences, where he remained until early 2001 when he became Defense Secretary. Rumsfeld had been on the board of Gilead since 1988 according to a January 3 1997 company press release. An as-yet-unconfirmed report is that Rumsfeld while Secretary of Defense also purchased an additional stock in his former company, Gilead Sciences Inc., worth $18 million, making him one of its largest if not the largest stock owners today. The Secretary of Defense, the man who allegedly supported the use of contrived intelligence to justify the war on Iraq, is now poised to reap huge gains for a flu panic his Administration has done everything it can to promote."

China Says It's Free of Human Cases of Bird Flu - "Health officials in Beijing told journalists Friday that three recent outbreaks of avian flu among poultry have been stamped out, and that no human cases have been found in the country."

Whose Life Is It Anyway? - "More and more that cigarette, or drink at home, that political candidate you supported, even your eating habits, are coming under the scrutiny of your boss. If he doesn’t approve, it might even cost you your job, which is what happened to two Michigan women, Anita Epolito and Cara Stiffler. Anita and Cara were considered model employees at Weyco, an insurance consulting firm outside of Lansing, Mich., both having worked at the company for years. The women sat side-by-side, sharing workloads – and after work – sharing the occasional cigarette. But at a company benefits meeting two years ago, the company president announced, "As of January 1st, 2005, anyone that has nicotine in their body will be fired,” Anita remembers. “And we sat there in awe. And I spoke out at that time. ‘You can't do that to us’ And then he said, ‘Yes, I can.’ I said, ‘That's not legal.’ And he came back with, ‘Yes, it is.’” And it was legal: in Michigan, there’s no law that prevents a boss from firing people virtually at will. At Weyco, that meant no smoking at work, no smoking at home, no smoking period. Weyco gave employees 15 months to quit, before subjecting them to random nicotine testing. If you fail, you’re out."

Texas Leads Nation in Household Hunger - "A higher percentage of Texas households were at risk of going hungry over the past three years than in any other state, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Agriculture Department. Between 2002 and 2004, more than 16 percent of Texas households at some point had trouble providing enough food for all their family members, the USDA report said."

Shed the unhealthy, Wal-Mart memo says - "Wal-Mart Stores Inc. silenced many critics this week by reducing the cost of health insurance so more of its low-income employees can afford coverage. Now an internal memo sent to the company's board of directors has surfaced that outlines in blunt terms how the discount store giant may pay for it while still cutting costs. Under discussion are strategies to woo more younger workers less likely to run up big medical bills, ease out veterans more likely to need more health care and add physical tasks such as cart-gathering to cashier job descriptions to weed out the sedentary."

US unveils new prison in northern Iraq - "The US military has opened a new prison with capacity for more than 1,700 detainees near the Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah."

The Village of Long Life - "More than 10 percent of the population of his village is 85 or older - 10 times the American norm. The residents of Yuzuri Hara are not only living longer, but they are also quite healthy. Rarely do they have any reason to see a doctor, and they are hardly affected by diseased like cancer, diabetes and Alzheimer's. Many have even managed to keep their skin from showing signs of aging. What makes the residents of Yuzuri Hara even more remarkable is that they are living long, healthy lives - even those who engage in unhealthy activities."

Births to unmarried women hit record - "A record number of babies — nearly 1.5 million — were born to unmarried women in the U.S. last year. And those moms were more likely to be 20-somethings than teenagers, according to new federal data released Friday."

Quote of the Day
"Nevertheless, we have been warned."
~ Peter Day

October 28, 2005

News -- October 28, 2005

Cheney Adviser Resigns After Indictment - "The vice president's chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Jr., was indicted Friday on charges of obstruction of justice, perjury and making false statements in the CIA leak investigation, a politically charged case that casts a harsh light on President Bush's push to war."

Rove Won't Be Indicted Today - "Karl Rove won't be indicted Friday as prosecutors and his lawyers try to resolve questions in the CIA leak investigation, two people close to Rove told The Associated Press. The White House still braced for an indictment against another top aide."

Cheney, Libby Blocked Papers To Senate Intelligence Panel - "Vice President Cheney and his chief of staff, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, overruling advice from some White House political staffers and lawyers, decided to withhold crucial documents from the Senate Intelligence Committee in 2004 when the panel was investigating the use of pre-war intelligence that erroneously concluded Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, according to Bush administration and congressional sources."

A heap of trouble for George Bush - "The chief cause of the president's slide, of course, is the Iraq war. With neither weapons of mass destruction nor collaborative Iraq-Al Qaeda connections found, Bush has been left to offer rationales that reinvent reality, such as his insinuation that Iraq was complicit in Sept. 11 or his assertion that we are fighting terrorists there so we won't have to face them here. Now, with US military losses creeping above 2,000 in Iraq, special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald's probe into the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame has opened a window onto White House doings. Regardless of whether the conduct in question proves criminal, the investigation has revealed an administration seemingly more concerned with undercutting critics like her husband, former ambassador Joseph Wilson, than it had been with making sure its own claims about WMDs in Iraq were accurate." -- The worst president in modern history.

Iran 'six months' from nuclear bomb - "IRAN may be only six months from having the necessary means to make an atomic bomb, Israeli Foreign Minister Sylvan Shalom said today, urging quick international action on Tehran's nuclear program." -- Sounds familiar.

Rumsfeld “ordered torture” - "Karpinski, the highest-ranking officer demoted in connection with the abuse scandal, has admitted she violated the Geneva Conventions, however she said that part of the blame "Goes All the Way to The Top"."

Exxon Mobil Profit, Sales Soar to Records - "Exxon Mobil Corp. rewrote the corporate record books Thursday as the oil company's third-quarter earnings soared to almost $10 billion and it became the first public company ever with quarterly sales topping $100 billion. Anglo-Dutch competitor Royal Dutch Shell PLC wasn't far behind, posting a profit of $9 billion for the quarter. Those results led Democrats in Congress to demand a new windfall profits tax. "Big oil behemoths are making out like bandits, while the average American family is getting killed by high gas prices, and soon-to-be record heating oil prices," Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said in a statement. But Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said President Bush opposes such a move and is instead considering a wide range of proposals to help cushion consumers, including the creation of an emergency reserve of gasoline and other refined products."

Public Sours on Government and Business - "Americans express increasingly negative views of a wide range major institutions, reflecting strong discontent with national conditions. Over the past year, ratings have tumbled for the federal government and Congress. And it is not just Washington institutions that are being viewed less positively. Favorable opinions of business corporations are at their lowest point in two decades. In the face of high energy prices, just 20% express positive opinions of oil companies." -- So why can't the masses put together the connection between Republican administrations and their loyalty to big business and the fact that right now both the government and big business are held in negative views by the public? Seems to me they go hand-in-hand.

Public has had it with both parties - "A just-released political survey by George Washington University contains bad news for Democrats and Republicans because it lays bare a public seemingly disenfranchised with both major parties." -- The public has been brainwashed to believe there are only two parties and no other viable choices for the presidency. This is simply not true. However, it has been shown that neither party is all that interested in the well-being of the American public.

The Epic Crime That Dares Not Speak Its Name - "A Royal Air Force officer is about to be tried before a military court for refusing to return to Iraq because the war is illegal. Malcolm Kendall-Smith is the first British officer to face criminal charges for challenging the legality of the invasion and occupation. He is not a conscientious objector; he has completed two tours in Iraq. When he came home the last time, he studied the reasons given for attacking Iraq and concluded he was breaking the law. His position is supported by international lawyers all over the world, not least by Kofi Annan, the UN secretary general, who said in September last year: "The US-led invasion of Iraq was an illegal act that contravened the UN Charter.""

Senators plan push to end income tax - "A South Carolina senator dissatisfied with the results of a Bush advisory panel's recommendations on tax reform is set to introduce a bill to abolish federal income tax in favor of a levy on business transactions."

Is US becoming hostile to science? - "A bitter debate about how to teach evolution in U.S. high schools is prompting a crisis of confidence among scientists, and some senior academics warn that science itself is under assault. ... Polls for many years have shown that a majority of Americans are at odds with key scientific theory. For example, as CBS poll this month found that 51 percent of respondents believed humans were created in their present form by God. A further 30 percent said their creation was guided by God. Only 15 percent thought humans evolved from less advanced life forms over millions of years."

Frog sweat may kill HIV - "Vanderbilt University researchers found that secretions from the skin of some Australian frogs were effective in the test tube at killing HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. They hope their findings will lead to the creation of a topical ointment containing synthetic secretions that will help cut the spread of the deadly worldwide pandemic." -- But isn't most of the US against science?

Textbook committee rejects elementary books on evolution - "The state textbook committee Thursday recommended dozens of science textbooks to be approved by the state school board for Alabama students, but rejected three elementary-level books for containing material on evolution which was deemed "controversial" for that age group." -- No f*#!ing comment!

Skeptics converge to take on religion and morality - ""Unfortunately," Kurtz said, "too many well-meaning people base their conceptions of the universe on ancient books, such as the Quran and the Bible, rather than going directly to the book of nature.""

'Start of life' gene discovered - "The HIRA gene is involved in the events necessary for the fertilisation that take place once a sperm enters an egg. Faults in this gene might explain why some couples struggle to get pregnant despite having healthy sperm, say the researchers from the UK and France."

Suddenly, area's housing market favors the buyers - "Greater Boston's once-sizzling home sales have cooled so much this fall that realtors are reverting to a description not heard in a decade: ''Buyer's market.""

Coming Soon: Online Sex Games - "Yet we're finally glimpsing games on the horizon that support relationship building and sexual interaction as part of the game play. What's more, these game developers recognize that a crucial part of attracting gamers is to appeal to all gamers -- not just the half of the population with penises. ... Spend The Night will offer a graphically rich space where you can meet people, go on virtual dates and have cybersex. It might be the precursor to avatar-based online dating -- or at least, online screening of potential dates. Naughty America (a working title) is so coy it doesn't have a website yet. It's a complete role-playing game in which you can choose whether to enter a "sex mode." Both games recognize that they need to offer a variety of tools players can use to meet each other, develop relationships and interact sexually. And both are bending over backward to appeal to women."

ATM FEE FOR GETTING NOTHING - "We all know it often costs money to get your own money at an ATM machine; but now, you might have to pay up when you don’t get money. Let me introduce you to a fee you've probably never heard of -- the "ATM denial fee." Rejection, it turns out, can be costly."

Halloween Too Scary for Some Kids, Study Finds - "It is the adults who should be afraid this Halloween. Not of ghouls and goblins, but of permanently scarring their children. In a recent study of six- and seven-year-olds in the Philadelphia area, Penn State psychologist Cindy Dell Clark found that most parents underestimate just how terrifying the holiday can be for young kids.
Halloween has been scaring the heck out of kids of all ages for centuries." http://www.livescience.com/history/051027_halloween_fright.html

Quote of the Day
"We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology."
~ Carl Sagan

October 26, 2005

News -- October 26, 2005

23 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak - "The cast of administration characters with known connections to the outing of an undercover CIA agent:" -- A very interesting list.

WHY BUSH IS UNIMPEACHABLE - "Cracks Appear in the Constitution ... Unfortunately for my friend and the United States, impeachment is a political process, not a legal one. Nixon and Clinton faced Congresses controlled by the other party. Because Bush belongs to the same party as the majorities in the House and Senate, nothing he does can get him impeached. Our failed Constitutional system means we're stuck with this disastrous demagogue for three more years. Gloat now, Republican readers, but party loyalty's stranglehold on impeachment can easily take the form of a complacent Democratic Congress overlooking the misdeeds of a batty Democratic president. Any safe can be cracked; every system of safeguards breaks down eventually. We can't get rid of Bush because the Founding Fathers, who were smart enough to think of just about everything, dropped the ball when they drafted the article that provides for presidential impeachment. Because there were no national political parties back in 1787, their otherwise ingenious system of checks and balances failed to account for the possibility that a Congress might choose to overlook a president's crimes."

Cheney Plots New Wars To Save His Hide - "As one Israeli source put it: "Cheney has told Ariel Sharon that the American people will never tolerate the removal of a President or Vice President during wartime. He is pressuring Sharon to back up U.S. war plans, targeting Syria and Iran. Cheney sees his political days numbered, and he is desperate for a war to save his political hide."" -- If Cheney really did say this, then his (and Bush's) removal from office must be weighing heavily on his mind.

Poll: Iraqis support attacks on British troops - " 82 per cent are "strongly opposed" to the presence of coalition troops."

Most Say Bringing Troops Home Top Priority - "Fifty-three percent (53%) of Americans now say that getting U.S. soldiers home as soon as possible is more important than making sure "Iraq becomes a peaceful nation enjoying freedom and democracy." This is the first time that a majority of Americans have held that view." -- And it has taken way too long for the sheep to wake up.

PBS film documents Rumsfeld’s role in authorizing torture - "The Public Broadcasting Service’s October 18 edition of “Frontline” aired a documentary on US torture of detainees held in American prison camps in Cuba, Afghanistan and Iraq. Entitled “The Torture Question,” the report makes clear that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld bears direct responsibility for the brutal methods of interrogation used against US prisoners."

Powerful Government Accounting Office report confirms key 2004 stolen election findings - "As a legal noose appears to be tightening around the Bush/Cheney/Rove inner circle, a shocking government report shows the floor under the legitimacy of their alleged election to the White House is crumbling."

If you're a Christian, Muslim, or Jew - You are wrong - "We live in a twisted world, where right is wrong and wrong reigns supreme. It is a chilling fact that most of the world's leaders believe in nonsensical fairytales about the nature of reality. They believe in Gods that do not exist, and religions that could not possibly be true. We are driven to war after war, violence on top of violence to appease madmen who believe in gory mythologies. These men are called Christians, Muslims and Jews. ... Have I offended you? That's too bad. Stop killing each other in the name of false and ridiculous Gods and I will stop ridiculing you. Trust me, your offense is much worse than mine."

Fertility clinic in US gets green light for sex selection trial - "A clinical trial into the effects of allowing couples to choose the sex of their babies has been given the go-ahead at a US fertility clinic. The controversial study was given the green light by an ethics committee after nine years of consultation. The purpose of the study is to find out how cultural notions, family values and gender issues feed into a couple's desire to choose the gender of their child."

Panel Approves $10B Cut in Health Care - "A Republican-led effort to slow spending on health care programs for the poor, elderly and disabled survived a stern test in the Senate Tuesday."

ConocoPhillips profit beats forecasts - "ConocoPhillips, the No. 3 U.S. oil company, on Wednesday reported quarterly profit surged 89 percent, surpassing Wall Street forecasts, driven by record oil prices and sharply higher refining margins." -- You saw that right, up 89%.

Clear Channel profit falls, radio revs down - "Clear Channel reported net income of $205.5 million, or 38 cents per share, compared with $261.2 million, or 44 cents per share a year earlier." -- Where's my kleenex?

Rumsfeld To Profit From Bird Flu Hoax - "Finally, the pieces of the puzzle start to add up. Not long ago, President Bush sought to instill panic in this country by telling us a minimum of 200,000 people will die from the avian flu pandemic, but it could be as bad as 2 million deaths in this country alone. This hoax is then used to justify the immediate purchase of 80 million doses of Tamiflu, a worthless drug that in no way shape or form treats the avian flu, but only decreases the amount of days one is sick and can actually contribute to the virus having more lethal mutations. So the U.S. placed an order for 20 million doses of this worthless drug at a price of $100 per dose. That comes to a staggering $2 billion. ... Ahh, The Plot Thickens... If you read the link below from Gilead, you'll discover Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was made the chairman of Gilead in 1997. Since Rumsfeld holds major portions of stock in Gilead, he will handsomely profit from the scare tactics of the government that is being used to justify the purchase of $2 billion of Tamiflu."

Six-seat spacecraft top of Russian space plan - "Russia is paving the way for a crewed mission to Mars, according to its new 10-year space plan."

Bill makes DHS secretary eligible for presidential succession - "The House Government Reform Committee last week approved a bill that would officially make the Homeland Security Department an executive agency, rendering its secretary eligible to succeed the president."

Remote Control Device 'Controls' Humans - "We wield remote controls to turn things on and off, make them advance, make them halt. Ground-bound pilots use remotes to fly drone airplanes, soldiers to maneuver battlefield robots. But manipulating humans? Prepare to be remotely controlled. I was. Just imagine being rendered the rough equivalent of a radio-controlled toy car. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., Japans top telephone company, says it is developing the technology to perhaps make video games more realistic. But more sinister applications also come to mind." -- I encourage you all to read about this little device.

Accidental Invention Points to End of Light Bulbs - "LEDs produce twice as much light as a regular 60 watt bulb and burn for over 50,000 hours. The Department of Energy estimates LED lighting could reduce U.S. energy consumption for lighting by 29 percent by 2025. LEDs don't emit much heat, so they're also more energy efficient. And they're much harder to break."

How toxic is your bathroom? - "Be warned: your daily beauty regime could be taking years off your life. Pat Thomas reports on the chemical timebomb in your cosmetics cabinet."

Quote of the Day
"History proves that societies crumble when their governments become more powerful than the people and private institutions."
~ Rep. Ron Paul

October 24, 2005

News -- October 24, 2005

Plame plans to sue White House officials - "Joseph Wilson and his wife, Valerie Plame are preparing to file a civil suit against Bush administration officials."

CIA leak has always pointed to Cheney's office - "No prominent member of the administration had more to lose than did Cheney as a result of the 2003 revelation by Plame's husband, former Ambassador Joe Wilson, that the White House's pre-war claims regarding Iraq's weapons of mass destruction had been inflated. To a far greater extent than George Bush, Cheney had a hand in shaping the arguments for going to war. He plugged them in media appearances and defended them after all evidence suggested his pronouncements had been wrong."

Bush Won't Release All Miers Records - "President Bush said Monday that he will not release any records of his conversations with Supreme Court nominee Harriet Miers that could threaten the confidentiality of the advice that presidents get from their lawyers."

Ann Coulter Doesn't Like the First Amendment - "She also criticized the media for being liberal and Democrats for whining about their rights under the First Amendment. "They're always accusing us of repressing their speech," she said. "I say let's do it. Let's repress them." She later added, "Frankly, I'm not a big fan of the First Amendment."" -- Shut up, Ann. That First Amendment allows you to get paid for being a vile individual.

Bush taps Bernanke to Replace Greenspan - "President Bush announced Monday that he intends to nominate Ben Bernanke, his top economic adviser and a leading member of the Federal Reserve fraternity, to succeed Greenspan as Federal Reserve chairman."

The Troops Don’t Defend Our Freedoms - "How often do we hear the claim that American troops “defend our freedoms”? The claim is made often by U.S. officials and is echoed far and wide across the land by television commentators, newspaper columnists, public-school teachers, and many others. It’s even a common assertion that emanates on Sundays from many church pulpits. Unfortunately, it just isn’t so. In fact, the situation is the exact opposite — the troops serve as the primary instrument by which both our freedoms and well-being are threatened."

"No One Died When Clinton Lied" - "Even so, the conservatives are stuck in a place where they must separate what President Clinton did during the Monica Lewinsky affair and what Bush/Cheney/Rove/Libby have done in the Plame affair. They don’t get the difference but are still caught in trying to explain why Clinton should have been impeached but the White House is the "victim," in Rush's words, of making "policy differences a crime.""

Able Danger Cover Up Continues - "At least 7 former Able Danger team members have volunteered to testify before Congress that former Clinton Administration officials were warned ahead of time of both the USS Cole bombing and of Mohammed Atta’s presence in the US a year before 9/11/2001. These individuals have also been placed under gag-orders and are not allowed to speak to any Senate Committees or the media."

Young Singers Spread Racist Hate - "Thirteen-year-old twins Lamb and Lynx Gaede have one album out, another on the way, a music video, and lots of fans. They may remind you another famous pair of singers, the Olsen Twins, and the girls say they like that. But unlike the Olsens, who built a media empire on their fun-loving, squeaky-clean image, Lamb and Lynx are cultivating a much darker personna. They are white nationalists and use their talents to preach a message of hate."

Who decides what is hate and what isn't? - "Prussian Blue expresses the desire that whites marry whites. So that's hate. But when Jews express a desire that Jews marry Jews, that isn't hate?"

Christian group wants to 'redeem' US states - "Cory Burnell wants to set up a Christian nation within the United States where abortion is illegal, gay marriage is banned, schools cannot teach evolution, children can pray to Jesus in public schools and the Ten Commandments are posted publicly." -- Go away, Cory.

Big brother on campus - "The federal government, vastly extending the reach of an 11-year-old law, is requiring hundreds of universities, online communications companies and cities to overhaul their Internet computer networks to make it easier for law enforcement authorities to monitor e-mail and other online communications. The action, which the government says is intended to help catch terrorists and other criminals, has unleashed protests and the threat of lawsuits from universities, which argue that it will cost them at least $7 billion while doing little to apprehend lawbreakers."

TAMIFLU GILEAD CHAIR WAS ... RUMMY - "Readers can be helpful, and one just wrote in to inform us of a link that we had never imagined - Donald Rumsfeld, until he resigned and joined the Bush Administration, was the chairman of something called Gilead which just happened to make something called Tamiflu."

U.S. Ranks 44th in Worldwide Press Freedom Index - "The annual worldwide press freedom index from Reporters Without Borders shows the United States, which is supposedly spreading freedom and liberty throughout the world, is in a fast decline regarding the freedom of its own press."

When the votes don't add up - "What would it do to Americans' image of themselves, their country and their democracy if it turned out that a presidential election had been stolen?"

More lawmakers back U.S. control of Internet - ""Turning the Internet over to countries with problematic human-rights records, muted free-speech laws, and questionable taxation practices will prevent the Internet from remaining the thriving medium it has become today," said California Republican Rep. John Doolittle in a statement."

Web snooping vital, spy agency boss says - "The head of Canada's eavesdropping agency says it needs to own the Internet to combat terrorism."

Inventions: Sex drive patch to sideways bike - "Inventor Liz Paul claims that her Scentuelle -- a tiny transparent patch that exudes dopamines and is worn by a woman on her wrist to recharge her sexual battery -- is just what today's stressed and multi-tasking females need."

Quote of the Day
"Information age of hysteria. It's going out to idiot America."
~ Green Day

October 21, 2005

News -- October 21, 2005

White House Defense Crumbling in Leak Case - "The evidence prosecutors have assembled in the CIA leak case suggests Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff sought out reporters in the weeks before an undercover operative's identity was compromised in the news media, casting doubt on one of the White House's main lines of defense."

The Most Important Criminal Case in American History - "Patrick Fitzgerald has before him the most important criminal case in American history. Watergate, by comparison, was a random burglary in an age of innocence."

Secrets, Evasions and Classified Reports - "The CIA leak case isn’t just about whether top officials will be indicted. A larger issue is what Judith Miller’s evidence says about White House manipulation of the media."

Bush calls domestic problems "background noise" - "President George W. Bush, hit by a series of domestic woes that have eroded his popularity, said on Thursday he was focused on his job and not on what he called "some background noise.""

Don't Play Innocent, Democrats - "Bush is an easy target; but let's not be shortsighted and limit our actions to Bush. We will soon reach 2,000 U.S. soldiers dead, more of a millstone than a milestone on the road this quagmire has traveled. I hope we can hold those responsible accountable for the senseless deaths of both U.S. soldiers and Iraqi civilians. I want to make it clear: George Bush did not send our families to Iraq by himself; Congress allowed George Bush to send our families to Iraq. Congress continues to give money to keep our families there."

SILVER KILLS VIRUSES, STUDY FINDS - "In a groundbreaking study, the Journal of Nanotechnology has published a study that found silver nanoparticles kills HIV-1 and is likely to kill virtually any other virus. The study, which was conducted by the University of Texas and Mexico University, is the first medical study to ever explore the benefits of silver nanoparticles, according to Physorg."

The Blue and Red State Minimum Wage Divide - "With Senate Republicans once again rejecting a modest increase in the federal minimum wage this week, it seemed like a good time to take a look at how the different states behave in providing workers with a better standard of living then mandated by the federal government. ... Does that list of states look familiar to you? It should:" -- Check out the maps.

Death Watch at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - "But holding the White House together behind what has been one of the better Presidential propaganda machines is proving next to impossible as the American public and even members of Bush’s own party desert him over the war in Iraq, the nomination of White House counsel Harriett Miers to the Supreme Court, the Hurricane Katrina debacle, rising gas prices and the Valerie Plame scandal. “The fa├žade is gone and we are now seeing the Bush White House in all its incompetent glory,” says retired political science professor George Harleigh. “They’ve ignored reality for too long.”"

Disasters feed fears of apocalypse - "Recent famines, flood and earthquakes make believers, nonbelievers wonder if the end is near. ... Apocalyptic beliefs have long been an American staple. A June 2001 survey by the Barna Research Group, for instance, found that 40 percent of adults in the United States believe the physical world will end as a result of supernatural intervention. Fifty percent disagreed, and 10 percent didn't know."

The Rapture Index -- Just in case you want to know if the end really is near.

Arctic Map Vanishes, and Oil Area Expands - "Maps matter. They chronicle the struggles of empires and zoning boards. They chart political compromise. So it was natural for Republican Congressional aides, doing due diligence for what may be the last battle in the fight over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, to ask for the legally binding 1978 map of the refuge and its coastal plain. It was gone. No map, no copies, no digitized version."

No water for you - "Wendy Oshima says the three flags flying outside her small, tidy home in a south Chico community symbolize her support for people of Cuba, Palestine and Iraq. Apparently the folks at Mt. Shasta Spring Water see the flags as proof that Oshima doesn't support American soldiers fighting overseas and for that does not deserve delivery of the company's product."

Inequality in America: Version 2.0 - "The United States is now the third most unequal industrialized society after Russia and Mexico. This is not a club we want to be part of. Russia is a recovering kleptocracy, with a post-Soviet oligarchy enriched by looting. And Mexico, despite joining the rich-nations club of the Organization for Economic and Community Development, has some of the most glaring poverty in the hemisphere. In 2004, after three years of economic recovery, the U.S. Census reports that poverty continues to grow, while the real median income for full-time workers has declined. Since 2001, when the economy hit bottom, the ranks of our nation's poor have grown by 4 million, and the number of people without health insurance has swelled by 4.6 million to over 45 million."

Students show almost no gains in reading - "In the latest snapshot of how well American schoolchildren are learning, national test results showed a small gain in math proficiency in the past two years but nearly zero improvement in reading scores since 1992 despite more than a decade of focus on boosting student achievement."

Justices question Southern Nevada anti-prostitution ordinance - "State Supreme Court justices questioned Wednesday whether high school cheerleaders trying to flag down motorists for a car wash might run afoul of a broadly written ordinance targeting pushy Las Vegas-area prostitutes."

God Does Not Want 16 Kids - Arkansas mom gives birth to a whole freakin' baseball team. How deeply should you cringe? - "And furthermore, who are you to suggest that her equally troubling husband -- whose name is, of course, Jim Bob and he's hankerin' to be a Republican senator and try not to wince in sociopolitical pain when you say that -- isn't more than a little numb to the real world, and that bringing 16 hungry mewling attention-deprived kids (and she wants more! Yay!) into this exhausted world zips right by "touching" and races right past "disturbing" and lurches its way, heaving and gasping and sweating from the karmic armpits, straight into "Oh my God, what the hell is wrong with you people?""

Quote of the Day
"There are some things the general public does not need to know and shouldn’t. I believe democracy flourishes when the government can take legitimate steps to keep its secrets and when the press can decide whether to print what it knows."
~ Katherine Graham, former publisher Washington Post

October 19, 2005

News -- October 19, 2005

Texas Court Issues Warrant for DeLay - "A state court issued an arrest warrant on Wednesday for Rep. Tom DeLay, requiring him to appear in Texas for booking on state conspiracy and money laundering charges." -- Yes, Virginia, conspiracies do happen.

Cheney resignation rumors fly - "Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice."

Rumsfeld: China Sowing Suspicion Over Army - "In an interview aboard his plane en route from Washington, Rumsfeld questioned China's motives in underreporting its defense spending. He mentioned no figures, but the Pentagon said last summer that China may be spending $90 billion on defense this year _ three times the announced total." -- So let me get this straight. The U.S. spends $450 billion a year on its military (and that's what is reported) but is pissed off because China may be spending $90 billion a year on its military. Does anyone else see the hypocrisy?

Are we going to war with Iran? - "Shortly after the US elections, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, warned that Israel might attack Iran. Israel has the capability to attack Iranian targets with aircraft and long-range cruise missiles launched from submarines, while Iranian air defences are still mostly based on 25-year-old equipment purchased in the time of the Shah. A US attack might be portrayed as a more reasonable option than a renewed Israeli-Islamic confrontation." -- Huh?

Rice: U.S. May Still Be in Iraq in 10 Years - "Pushed by senators from both parties to define the limits of U.S. involvement in Iraq and the Middle East, Rice also declined to rule out the use of military force in Iran or Syria, although she said the administration prefers diplomacy. "I don't think the president ever takes any of his options off the table concerning anything to do with military force," Rice said." -- Which really means that military force is never taken off the table.

The Iraq War Runs Through It - "The day after Wilson's Times piece appeared, the White House retracted its Niger story. It was the first admission of falsehood or distortion in its case for the war. Actually, Cheney, in public appearances, still insists occasionally that the administration's original claims of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) were based on solid intelligence and will eventually turn out to be true. The war is more than two-and-a-half years old, and still no WMDs have been discovered."

History lesson for a military superpower - "Meanwhile America is moving backwards. It refuses to learn from its ugly past, so today it is in another ugly mess."

Film rolls as troops burn dead - "US soldiers in Afghanistan burnt the bodies of dead Taliban and taunted their opponents about the corpses, in an act deeply offensive to Muslims and in breach of the Geneva conventions." -- Just another breach of the Geneva conventions.

World is a safer place despite people's fears - "Widespread fears about a world in a perpetual state of war are unfounded, a study says today. It emphasises that the number of conflicts between nations, civil wars, battle deaths, coups and genocides has been falling steeply for more than a decade."

Rocks into Gas - "Geologists have long believed that the world's supply of oil and natural gas came from the decay of primordial plant and animal matter, which, over the course of millions of years, turned into petroleum. But new research coauthored by Dudley Herschbach, Baird research professor of science and recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize in chemistry, questions that thinking."

Navy, Marines Block Commercial Email Sites - "Hotmail account not working? Or Yahoo!? It’s not a glitch with the computer connection"

Yes, people like this exist in the world

Bill would keep dogs safer in cars, no ears flapping in the wind - "Rep. Tom Stevenson, R-Mt. Lebanon, has introduced a bill that would require dogs and other pets to be buckled up or battened down in pet seat belts or in crates. It would be illegal for an animal to put its head or even its nose out the window of a moving motorized vehicle." -- Why is this even a topic for debate when the country has so many other issues that need to be addressed?

The Pledge Revisited - "What’s wrong with the Pledge of Allegiance? Doesn’t it promote patriotism? Isn’t it a beloved and proud tradition that has for over a century become woven into the very fabric of national pride and love for flag and country?The very fact that it has become such a tradition and symbol of patriotism is what’s wrong with it. That’s what has always been wrong with it. It promotes fake patriotism while undermining true patriotic understanding and the right to be left alone by Big Brother and the fake patriots.The very fact that school children, from the youngest to the oldest, are required to recite it goes against the sense of individual liberty and freedom which is at the very heart of what our Republic stands for."

State tells insurer to pay - "Adams' odyssey into insurance hell started last March when a man named Michael R. Testa rammed his girlfriend's truck from behind to run it off the road. Testa bashed the truck across the centerline and into oncoming traffic, where it crashed into the Hyundai Adams was driving, squashing it. The 60-year-old Everett woman spent nine days in a coma and five months in a hospital and a nursing home. Testa had no insurance. But Farmers decided that the $2 million uninsured-motorist policies covering Adams didn't apply to anything Testa did because he caused the wreck on purpose. In Farmers' view, the wreck therefore was not an accident — even for Adams, who was just driving by, minding her own business." -- You know, this is screwed up on so many levels.

Secret Code in Color Printers Lets Government Track You - "The U.S. Secret Service admitted that the tracking information is part of a deal struck with selected color laser printer manufacturers, ostensibly to identify counterfeiters. However, the nature of the private information encoded in each document was not previously known." -- A deal?

Abnormal brains wired for lies - "Researchers have found that individuals who habitually lie and cheat have less grey matter and more white matter in their prefrontal cortex than normal people."

The All-New Devil's Dictionary! - "Evildoers. Anybody not with the US (and more than half of all Americans, according to recent polls). All foreigners, foreign-born, foreign-looking people, or the group Foreigner. All doers and thinkers of evil." -- This has some good ones.

Vaccine may target obesity in the future - "When babies receive shots against diseases like polio and measles, their vaccinations may in the future include protection against getting fat, according to researchers."

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.

October 17, 2005

News -- October 17, 2005

A Contingency Plan - "Karl Rove has a plan, as always. Even before testifying last week for the fourth time before a grand jury probing the leak of CIA operative Valerie Plame's identity, Bush senior adviser Rove and others at the White House had concluded that if indicted he would immediately resign or possibly go on unpaid leave, several legal and Administration sources familiar with the thinking told TIME. Resignation is the much more likely scenario, they say. The same would apply to I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the Vice President's chief of staff, who also faces a possible indictment. A former White House official says Rove's break with Bush would have to be clean--no "giving advice from the sidelines"--for the sake of the Administration."

It's Bush-Cheney, Not Rove-Libby - "That stonewall may start to crumble in a Washington courtroom this week or next. In a sense it already has. Now, as always, what matters most in this case is not whether Mr. Rove and Lewis Libby engaged in a petty conspiracy to seek revenge on a whistle-blower, Joseph Wilson, by unmasking his wife, Valerie, a covert C.I.A. officer. What makes Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation compelling, whatever its outcome, is its illumination of a conspiracy that was not at all petty: the one that took us on false premises into a reckless and wasteful war in Iraq. That conspiracy was instigated by Mr. Rove's boss, George W. Bush, and Mr. Libby's boss, Dick Cheney."

Bush to Blair: First Iraq, then Saudi Arabia - "George Bush told the Prime Minister two months before the invasion of Iraq that Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Iran and North Korea may also be dealt with over weapons of mass destruction, a top secret Downing Street memo shows. The US President told Tony Blair, in a secret telephone conversation in January 2003 that he "wanted to go beyond Iraq"."

An Angry America - "Pollsters say American anger is at an all-time high. You don’t need a poll to figure that out. Just wander down to the local coffee shop for breakfast and listen to the anger spilling out over the war in Iraq, skyrocketing energy prices and a government out of control."

Judgment Call - "Did Christian conservatives receive assurances that Miers would oppose Roe v. Wade?"

What Awaits Samira? - "The prospect for Iraq? She sees several possibilities, all of them bad. Perhaps a break-up of the state. Maybe a civil war. Certainly an ever growing bloody insurgency. No chance at all for a new, prosperous, democratic, multicultural society. Iraq looks now like a broken toy, taken apart by a willful, mindless child."

Venezuela seeks nuclear technology - "The Venezuelan government has made overtures to various countries about obtaining nuclear technology, according to U.S. officials, who worry that President Hugo Chavez might be taking the first steps in a long road to develop nuclear weaponry." -- Countries have learned from Iraq and North Korea that they must have nuclear weapons in order to prevent the U.S. from invading them.

US "private military contractors" already in-country to "deal with" Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez Frias... - "Intelligence agencies are revealing that US private military contractors, active in Colombia "under various contract umbrellas, including counter-narcotics and counter-insurgency" are building up to yet another attempted coup d'etat against Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez."

Torture in the Name of Jesus - "Many Americans stand with President Bush on virtually everything simply because he is a self-declared Christian, a once wayward man miraculously turned prayerful. ... On Oct. 5, the Republican-controlled U.S. Senate voted 90-9 in favor of Sen. John McCain's anti-torture amendment to a defense appropriations bill. But Bush has threatened to use the first veto of his presidency to kill the entire bill (which pays soldiers' salaries and funds the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq) because he opposes the provision to ban the use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" by the military, in accordance with the U.S. Army Field Manual. ... But Bush swats away such practical concerns. Evidently, God has told him that torturing other human beings is fine as long as you are born-again, which is all that seems to matter to some evangelical Christians. Hey, the Crusaders and witch-burners and slave holders did it, right?"

Rice Fails to Win Russian Support on Iran - "Rice wanted Russian cooperation as the United States and its European allies try either to draw Iran back to diplomatic talks or invoke the threat of punishment from the powerful U.N. Security Council. Despite lengthy meetings with Russian officials, including a long session alone with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, it was clear Russia had not changed its opposition to using the Security Council. The Iranian nuclear question can be handled through the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, which is already monitoring nuclear activities in Iran, Lavrov told reporters afterward."

Judges liken terror laws to Nazi Germany - "A powerful coalition of judges, senior lawyers and politicians has warned that the Government is undermining freedoms citizens have taken for granted for centuries and that Britain risks drifting towards a police state."

Ohio Police Arrest Woman For $1 In Unpaid Taxes - ""Whether it's $1 they owe us or $1,000, it's not fair to the rest of the public to not pursue that person," he said. "There is some expense involved, but it goes back to the principle. We have laws. The laws have to be complied with. At what cost do you stop enforcing the law?""

Cell phone tracking aids law enforcement - "Cell phones today are nearly as ubiquitous as a wristwatch — just about everyone has one. And while they have certainly made it easier for people to keep in touch, they also have helped police and prosecutors catch criminals."

The prison industry in the United States: big business or a new form of slavery? - "Human rights organizations, as well as political and social ones, are condemning what they are calling a new form of inhumane exploitation in the United States, where they say a prison population of up to 2 million – mostly Black and Hispanic – are working for various industries for a pittance. For the tycoons who have invested in the prison industry, it has been like finding a pot of gold. They don’t have to worry about strikes or paying unemployment insurance, vacations or comp time. All of their workers are full-time, and never arrive late or are absent because of family problems; moreover, if they don’t like the pay of 25 cents an hour and refuse to work, they are locked up in isolation cells."

First day of school for aspiring Vatican exorcists - " It was the first day of school, so some students were understandably nervous. But then again, they were not taking just any course, but one run by a Vatican university to teach aspiring demonologists and exorcists."

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

October 14, 2005

News -- October 14, 2005

Reversing the Intellectual Decline - "Historians will write of this time that the U.S. was in a period of intellectual decline, a kind of anti-renaissance of thought. Simplicity, and brevity displaced thoughtful dialogue. Repetition passed as true conviction, cult-like adherence to shallow philosophies unseated consideration of creative alternatives and honesty gave way to spin. This is not an era when thinking about anything for long is valued."

US setting up new spying agency - "The US has announced the creation of a new intelligence agency led by the CIA to co-ordinate all American overseas spying activities."

U.S. military to buy huge quantities of Anthrax- Director of the Sunshine Project - "It has been revealed that the U.S. army plans to buy large quantities of Anthrax, raising questions over its commitment to treaties aimed at controlling the spread of biological weapons."

Torture and misery in name of freedom - "The great poet Wilfred Owen articulated the tragedy, the horror - and indeed the pity - of war in a way no other poet has. Yet we have learnt nothing. Nearly 100 years after his death the world has become more savage, more brutal, more pitiless. But the "free world" we are told, as embodied in the United States and Great Britain, is different to the rest of the world since our actions are dictated and sanctioned by a moral authority and a moral passion condoned by someone called God."

Bush Among Biggest Spending Presidents - "After nearly five years in office, the record is clear: President George W. Bush ranks among the biggest spending presidents in American history! With such a record, no person can honestly categorize G.W. Bush as a fiscal conservative. By comparison, Dubya's spending habits make Bill Clinton look like a conservative!"

Auditor: Detroit may go broke - "The city is spending $15 million more a month than it brings in, Harris' report says. Most of these costs are in salaries and benefits."

Scandals Take Toll On Bush's 2nd Term - "Beyond the short-term problems, Republicans are particularly anxious about the sprawling investigations of conservative lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose business and political dealings regularly brought him into contact with dozens of lawmakers and top White House officials. Among insiders, he was one of the most familiar faces among the generation of operatives and lobbyists who came of age when Republicans took control of Congress after the 1994 elections. "The one that people are most worried about is Abramoff because it seems to have such long tentacles," said former congressman Vin Weber (R-Minn.), a lobbyist with close ties to the White House. "This seems to be something that could spread almost anywhere . . . and that has a lot of people worried.""

Former Naval Physicist: Government Can Control Hurricanes - "Many scoff at the possibility of weather control and simply refuse to believe it exists. Attempting to even engage such people in conversation on the subject is fruitless because their mind is set. Yet the reality is that weather modification has been in operation and continual development since the 1960s."

Are Americans Ruder Than They Used To Be? - "A slippage in manners is obvious to many Americans. Nearly 70 percent questioned in an Associated Press-Ipsos poll said people are ruder than they were 20 or 30 years ago. The trend is noticed in large and small places alike, although more urban people report bad manners, 74 percent, then do people in rural areas, 67 percent. ... More and more, manners are taught less and less."

Political Screening For All Park Service Managers - "The National Park Service has started using a political loyalty test for picking all its top civil service positions, according to an agency directive released today by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER). Under the new order, all mid-level managers and above must also be approved by a Bush administration political appointee."

Spokane Mayor Tries to Block Release of Computer Files - "Lawyers for embattled Spokane Mayor James E. West told a judge Wednesday that the contents of his City Hall laptop computer were not public records and should not be released." -- But it was not his private computer. It was a state owned computer.

A Polling Free-Fall Among Blacks - "In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll."

GAO calls Medicare video news releases illegal propaganda - "The investigative arm of Congress has found that parts of a Bush administration video explaining changes to Medicare violate the government ban on publicity and propaganda."

Study Says Software Makers Supply Tools to Censor Web - ""There's a cat-and-mouse game going on between states that seek to control the information environment and citizens who seek to speak freely online," said John Palfrey, the director of Harvard Law School's Berkman Center for Internet and Society and a researcher with the OpenNet Initiative. "Filtering technologies, and the way that they are implemented, are becoming more sophisticated." Not surprisingly, repressive governments have been eager buyers of those technologies."

Scientists unearth 4,000-year-old noodle dish - "A 4,000-year-old bowl of noodles has been discovered at an archaeological site in western China — possible proof for the argument that China invented pasta before Italy."

Lost Beethoven score discovered - "A working manuscript of one of Beethoven's final compositions has been rediscovered in a seminary library and could fetch more than $2 million (U.S.) at auction."

'I'm in the nude for dancing' - "Hundreds of clubbers are descending on the country's only nude disco every Saturday night."

Musical breast implants - "One boob could hold an MP3 player and the other the person's whole music collection." -- I can't make this shit up.

Quote of the Day
"We are all accountable for our own era."
~ Whitley, WARDAY by Whitley Streiber and James Kunetka

October 12, 2005

News -- October 12, 2005

Iraq war now costing $6 billion a month - "The Bush administration is spending about $7 billion a month to wage the war on terror, and costs could total $570 billion by the end of 2010, assuming troops are gradually brought home, a congressional report estimates." -- Good money wasted.

Poll: Americans Want Bush Impeached - ""The results of this poll are truly astonishing," said AfterDowningStreet.org co-founder Bob Fertik. "Bush's record-low approval ratings tell just half of the story, which is how much Americans oppose Bush's policies on Iraq and other issues. But this poll tells the other half of the story - that a solid plurality of Americans want Congress to consider removing Bush from the White House."" -- 50%

Dems Scrap Plans To Look Into Claims White House Manipulated Intel On Iraqi Threat - "Democrats in Congress have abandoned their efforts to investigate the White House's use of questionable intelligence information about Iraq's alleged stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, saying the issue has been "eclipsed" by President Bush's request for $87 billion from Congress to continue funding the war." -- They're all in it together.

Cheney's Halliburton stock options rose 3,281% last year, senator finds - "“Halliburton has already raked in more than $10 billion from the Bush-Cheney Administration for work in Iraq, and they were awarded some of the first Katrina contracts," Lautenberg said in a statement. "It is unseemly for the Vice President to continue to benefit from this company at the same time his Administration funnels billions of dollars to it. The Vice President should sever his financial ties to Halliburton once and for all.”"

Government by Temper Tantrum - "President George W. Bush’s temper tantrums are on the rise with White House insiders reporting increasing tongue-lashing of staffers, obscenity-filled outbursts and a leader driven to the edge by what he sees as party disloyalty and a country that no longer trusts him."

For President Under Duress, Body Language Speaks Volumes - "But this much could be seen watching the tape of NBC's broadcast during Bush's 14-minute pre-sunrise interview, in which he stood unprotected by the usual lectern. The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts. Bush has always been an active man, but standing with Lauer and the serene, steady first lady, he had the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere."

Scientists warn of possibility of drug-resistant avian flu - "US scientists warn that a drug-resistant Avian flu strain could arise with unrestrained and improper use of available drugs."

US mulls federal troops for bird flu quarantine - "The Pentagon is looking at the possibility of using federal troops to enforce a quarantine in the event of an outbreak of pandemic bird flu in the United States, a senior official said on Wednesday." -- Sure is a lot of talk about pandemics and quarantines lately.

Hate Speech - "I hate all the new talk about hate speech legislation. I hate any effort to make any speech a criminal offense, unless it involves threat or incitement to kill or riot. But there are already laws covering such things. I also hate hate speech, but I more hate any effort to create laws against it. The thing is, people love to hate."

The Troops Don’t Support the Constitution - "Every U.S. soldier takes an express and solemn oath to “support and defend the Constitution.” That oath, however, is a sham because the troops do not support or defend the Constitution. Instead, when it comes to war the troops follow another oath they take – to obey the orders of the president, and they do this without regard to whether such orders violate the Constitution. A textbook example involves President Bush’s war on Iraq."

Peak Oil is a Corrupt Globalist Scam - "In other words, Peak oil is a scam to create artificial scarcity and drive prices up. Meanwhile, alternative fuel technologies which have been around for decades are intentionally suppressed."

Natural Gas Users to Take Hit This Winter - "Winter heating bills will be a third to a half higher for most families across the country, with the sharpest increases expected for those who heat with natural gas, the Energy Department forecast Wednesday."

Companies have not been in such shape since the Depression - "Not since the Depression of 1929 has corporate America received so many black eyes. General Motors, the world's largest automaker, Sears Holdings Corp., the biggest U.S. department store chain, and Eastman Kodak Co., the largest photography company, led 27 borrowers whose $499 billion of outstanding debt obligations suffered the ignominy of being downgraded to junk. And if history is any guide, there will be no rebound soon. "You don't see companies get downgraded and work their way up, by and large," said Greg Peters, head of U.S. credit strategy at New York-based Morgan Stanley."

Experts: Microsoft-Yahoo alliance is food for IM worms - "The planned bridge between MSN Messenger and Yahoo Messenger has one drawback, experts warn: It could act as a conduit for a massive IM worm outbreak."

Machine Makes Dishes on Demand - "When Barbara Wheaton, culinary historian and honorary curator at Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library, told Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers that she longed for durable dishes that didn't need to be washed and could be thrown away after a meal, she was surprised when they took her seriously. MIT Media Lab's Counter Intelligence Group, which develops innovative kitchen designs, has created a machine that makes dishes on demand and recycles them after diners have finished a meal." -- This invention is pretty damn cool.

Violence in games stimulates brain for aggression - "Violent video games appear to put the human brain in a mood to fight, according to a new study from Michigan State University."

Arkansas Mother Gives Birth to 16th Child - "Michelle Duggar just delivered her 16th child, and she's already thinking about doing it again. ... "We both just love children and we consider each a blessing from the Lord. I have asked Michelle if she wants more and she said yes, if the Lord wants to give us some she will accept them," he said." -- No comment. Must lower blood pressure.

Apple and Disney herald new media era - Disney and Apple to sell episodes of Desperate Housewives and other television shows over an iPod device capable of playing video."

Quote of the Day
"It is rather unique the extent to which we have different perceptions of reality."
~ Steven Kull

October 10, 2005

News -- October 10, 2005

Death Toll Surpasses 30,000 in Asia Quake - "Villagers desperate to find survivors dug with bare hands Sunday through the debris of a collapsed school where children had been heard crying beneath the rubble after a massive earthquake killed more than 30,000 people in Pakistani-controlled Kashmir alone."

Saddam may never come to trial - "Saddam Hussein may never come to trial, Iraq's former Special Tribunal director said this week." -- Does this mean "they" don't have any proof?

U.S. Marines Engaged in Mock Executions of Iraqi Juveniles and Other Forms of Abuse, Documents Obtained by ACLU Reveal - "U.S. Navy documents released today by the American Civil Liberties Union reveal that abuse and even torture of detainees by U.S. Marines in Iraq was widespread. One Navy criminal investigator sent an e-mail in June 2004 describing his Iraq caseload "exploding" with "high visibility cases." "Day after day, new stories of torture are coming to light, and we need to know how these abuses were allowed to happen," said ACLU Executive Director Anthony D. Romero. "This kind of widespread abuse could not have taken place without a leadership failure of the highest order." The documents the ACLU released today, posted online at www.aclu.org/torturefoia, describe substantiated incidents of torture and abuse by U.S. Marines, including: holding a pistol to the back of a detainee’s head while another Marine took a picture (Karbala, May 2003); ordering four Iraqi juveniles to kneel while a pistol was "discharged to conduct a mock execution" (Adiwaniyah, June 2003); severely burning a detainee’s hands by covering them in alcohol and igniting them (Al Mumudiyah, August 2003), and; shocking a detainee with an electric transformer, causing the detainee to "dance" as he was shocked (Al Mumudiyah, April 2004). ... "Abuse of detainees was not aberrational," said ACLU staff attorney Jameel Jaffer. "The Defense Department adopted extreme interrogation techniques as a matter of policy.""

Shield Law Sponsor Lugar: Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos - "Bloggers would "probably not" be considered journalists under the proposed federal shield law, the bill's co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), told the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) Monday afternoon. ... A key reason some journalists oppose the popular federal shield proposal is fear that giving Congress the power to define who is and isn't a journalist could lead effectively to the licensing of journalists. In other remarks about the legislation at IAPA's 61st General Assembly, Lugar acknowledged that the legislation could amount to a "privilege" for reporters over other Americans."

Feds Prepare for Super-Flu Disaster - "The Bush administration has spent the last year updating its plan for how to fight the next flu pandemic. While it is impossible to say when one will strike, the fear is that the bird flu in Asia could trigger one if it mutates to start spreading easily among people."

Request for Domestic Covert Role is Defended - "As part of the expanding counterterrorism role being taken on by the Pentagon, Defense Intelligence Agency covert operatives need to be able to approach potential sources in the United States without identifying themselves as government agents, George Peirce, the DIA's general counsel, said yesterday. ... "I'm pretty alarmed" by the proposal, said Timothy Edgar, the American Civil Liberties Union's national security policy counsel, saying it could conceivably be used by Pentagon intelligence officers "as a loophole to attend political or other meetings as part of an initial assessing contact.""

THE WORKERS: Take a 63% cut in pay? First reaction is anger - "Delphi Corp. union workers across the country grappled Friday with how they would make ends meet if their employer, the nation's largest auto parts supplier, followed through on pay cuts of up to 63% to reduce costs and avoid filing for bankruptcy. ... Making matters worse, Friday's news of increased severance packages for Delphi's top 21 executives, whose pay is as much as $1 million a year, caused workers like Randy Burley, 56, of Lockport, N.Y. to curse."

Work Hard, Earn Less? - "One of the reasons the rich are getting richer is because they have more control over our number one expense: Taxes."

Deficit drives N.J. to consider selling roads - "New Jersey, the state with the most highways per square mile, may sell the best-known of them all -- the 148-mile New Jersey Turnpike." -- Now, if private companies own these roads that were payed for by our taxes, then these roads will be turned into toll roads.

Unauthorized Reproduction bill has been drafted - "Republican lawmakers are drafting new legislation that will makemarriage a requirement for motherhood in the state of Indiana,including specific criminal penalties for unmarried women who dobecome pregnant "by means other than sexual intercourse."" -- Posted because this type of thinking concerns me. Then later in the day the following story came out. Seems I'm not the only one concerned.

Legislator drops controversial plan - "A controversial proposed bill to prohibit gays, lesbians and single people from using medical procedures to become pregnant has been dropped by its legislative sponsor."

Americans playing risky game of sexual roulette: survey - "Americans are playing a risky game of sexual roulette, according to a new poll that found only 39 percent of respondents always ask a new lover if they are infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS."

Job fears? Don't open e-mail - "Employees once had to fear a tap on the shoulder or a pink slip in their mailbox. Now, their e-mail inbox may give workers everywhere the jitters. Opting for the efficiency of technology, the state this week sent out a mass e-mail to 2,582 Health and Human Services Commission employees alerting them they'll likely be sacked."

Bar sign runs afoul of state - "A tavern's sign, "For Service Speak English," violates Ohio civil rights law, a commission ruled Thursday - as the sign still sat in the window of the Pleasure Inn on U.S. 42. The Ohio Civil Rights Commission says that, because of the sign, the Pleasure Inn "engaged in discriminatory practices.""

Quote of the Day
"Freedom of expression is a meaningless concept if everyone thinks the same."
~ Richard M. Dolan