January 30, 2006

News -- January 30, 2006

George Bush and Cheney have committed high crimes including treason... - "Mssrs. Bush and Cheney have committed the following high crimes including treason:"

Palace Revolt - "They were loyal conservatives, and Bush appointees. They fought a quiet battle to rein in the president's power in the war on terror. And they paid a price for it. ... These Justice Department lawyers, backed by their intrepid boss Comey, had stood up to the hard-liners, centered in the office of the vice president, who wanted to give the president virtually unlimited powers in the war on terror. Demanding that the White House stop using what they saw as farfetched rationales for riding rough-shod over the law and the Constitution, Goldsmith and the others fought to bring government spying and interrogation methods within the law. They did so at their peril; ostracized, some were denied promotions, while others left for more comfortable climes in private law firms and academia. Some went so far as to line up private lawyers in 2004, anticipating that the president's eavesdropping program would draw scrutiny from Congress, if not prosecutors. These government attorneys did not always succeed, but their efforts went a long way toward vindicating the principle of a nation of laws and not men."

Enough of the Bush "Patriot Act" - "The drums of Washington's Beltway warriors sound all too familiar; in my case the call was to defend the freedom of the people of South Vietnam from the red peril; or was it that we were defending ourselves from the yellow peril? Or were the North Vietnamese defending themselves from the white peril? I don't recall. I just know it was a perilous world we lived in, and if Vietnam fell, so too would Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and all the rest, like dominoes. That theory, I'm sorry to say, is alive and well today in the Mideast. If Iraq falls, so too will Iran, Lebanon, Syria, etc. Dominoes déjà vu. The beat goes on. How many times have we heard that Iraq is not like Vietnam? I agree; it's not. It's much worse. And the guys who got us in there have no idea of how to get us out. This administration cannot comprehend that democracy is a process; it cannot be imposed on another country by military force. The will of the people must provide the foundation for a democratic government; the people who want it must be as willing to die for it as the people who so vehemently oppose it. We cannot do the killing and the dying for Iraqi freedom; Iraqi patriots must do it for themselves."

The problem with democracy - "God damn that democracy. What are we to do with people who don't vote the way they should? ... The Middle East was never a successor to Nazi Germany or Fascist Italy, despite the rubbish talked by Messrs Bush and Blair. How long will it be before we can throw away the burden of this most titanic of wars and see our future, not as our past, but as a reality?"

UN unveils plan to release untapped wealth of...$7 trillion (and solve the world's problems at a stroke) - "The most potent threats to life on earth - global warming, health pandemics, poverty and armed conflict - could be ended by moves that would unlock $7 trillion - $7,000,000,000,000 (£3.9trn) - of previously untapped wealth, the United Nations claims today. The price? An admission that the nation-state is an old-fashioned concept that has no role to play in a modern globalised world where financial markets have to be harnessed rather than simply condemned."

Blair and Bush 'conspired to go to war regardless of United Nations' - "Tony Blair knew that George Bush was only "going through the motions" of offering support for a second UN resolution in the run-up to the Iraq war, it was claimed last night."

USA threats after boycott support - "US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice threatened Norway with "serious political consequences" after Finance Minister and Socialist Left Party leader Kristin Halvorsen admitted to supporting a boycott of Israeli goods." -- Huh?

Exxon Sees Record Profits for Any U.S. Co. - "Exxon Mobil Corp. posted record profits for any U.S. company on Monday _ $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter and $36.13 billion for the year _ as the world's biggest publicly traded oil company benefited from high oil and gas prices and demand for refined products. The results exceeded Wall Street expectations and Exxon shares rose nearly 3 percent in morning trading."

Study Ties Political Leanings to Hidden Biases - "The new interest has yielded some results that will themselves provoke partisan reactions: Studies presented at the conference, for example, produced evidence that emotions and implicit assumptions often influence why people choose their political affiliations, and that partisans stubbornly discount any information that challenges their preexisting beliefs. ... Another study presented at the conference, which was in Palm Springs, Calif., explored relationships between racial bias and political affiliation by analyzing self-reported beliefs, voting patterns and the results of psychological tests that measure implicit attitudes -- subtle stereotypes people hold about various groups. That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did. ... "If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial," he said. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, 'This takes me aback,' they are ignoring a huge volume of research.""

Google: Trials of an internet giant - "Fast, funky and free, it became the way to search the web. But now it stands accused of censorship, exploitation and violating the privacy of its users. ... And that's not all: Google faces a batch of lawsuits from companies that once benefited from its search engine and which were then consumed by it. It also faces suits from the US government."

Demo: Cloning a Verichip - "Verichip markets their product for access control. This means that you could have a chip implanted, and then your front door would unlock when your shoulder got close to the reader. Let us imagine that you did this; then, I could sit next to you on the subway, and read your chip's ID. At this point I can break in to your house, by replaying that ID. So now you have to change your ID; but as far as I know, you cannot do this without surgery. None of this ought to surprise you."

Sale of counterfeit goods lands eBay in legal battle - "The legitimacy of eBay's business model is being tested by Tiffany & Co, which is suing eBay for facilitating the trade of counterfeit Tiffany jewellery. EBay argues that it has no obligation to investigate claims of counterfeiting unless the complaint comes from a "rights owner" - a party holding a trademark or copyright."

Killer bees join list of hazards of Florida living - "As if hurricanes, roaches, sea lice and insurance bills weren't bad enough, Floridians can add a new menace to their list of worries. Killer bees are here."

Quote of the Day
"If this were a dictatorship, it'd be a heck of a lot easier, just so long as I'm the dictator."
~ President George W. Bush

January 29, 2006

News -- January 29, 2006

Prepare yourself for the unthinkable: war against Iran may be a necessity - "If Iran gets safely and unmolested to nuclear status, it will be a threshold moment in the history of the world, up there with the Bolshevik Revolution and the coming of Hitler. What the country itself may do with those weapons, given its pledges, its recent history and its strategic objectives with regard to the US, Israel and their allies, is well known. We can reasonably assume that the refusal of the current Iranian leadership to accept the Holocaust as historical fact is simply a recognition of their own plans to redefine the notion as soon as they get a chance (“Now this is what we call a holocaust”). But this threat is only, incredibly, a relatively small part of the problem. If Iran goes nuclear, it will demonstrate conclusively that even the world’s greatest superpower, unrivalled militarily, under a leadership of proven willingness to take bold military steps, could not stop a country as destabilising as Iran from achieving its nuclear ambitions. No country in a region that is so riven by religious and ethnic hatreds will feel safe from the new regional superpower. No country in the region will be confident that the US and its allies will be able or willing to protect them from a nuclear strike by Iran. Nor will any regional power fear that the US and its allies will act to prevent them from emulating Iran. Say hello to a nuclear Syria, Egypt, Saudi Arabia." -- Iran knows they will be obliterated if they use nukes against another country. They're not stupid. It's called deterrence. Again, why should some countries be allowed to have nuclear weapons while others are not? Those that have these weapons have quite the advantage over those that do not have them.

Iran crisis 'could drive oil over $90' - "Oil markets are braced for a nail-biting week, as world leaders demand action against Iran over its nuclear ambitions, and analysts warn that crude prices could reach $90 a barrel if the oil-rich state retaliates by blocking supplies."

Ready for $262/barrel oil? - "Two of the world's most successful investors say oil will be in short supply in the coming months."

Beating Around the Bush By the Bourse - " Only bimbos believed Bush when he said it was WMD's that made him attack, invade, occupy and massacre Iraq. Most of us thought it was to steal Iraq's oil, but we were only partly right. What totally terrorized the tyrannical Texan tycoon was when Saddam played the oil bourse card in November, 2000. When Saddam started selling Iraqi oil in euro's, he jeopardized greenback hegemony as the world's supreme foreign exchange transaction currency. If this brilliant idea catches on, it will trigger the total collapse of the USA economy. The oil grab is a sideshow. The main feature is the oil bourse."

America's Withdrawal Behind a Steel Wall - "Even during the Vietnam War, America never scorned its own values as much as it does today, the same values it wishes to instill in others! Given this situation, it is no wonder that George Walker Bush is erecting towers and barbed wire, rather than bridges and bonds of friendship with the outside world. This project, which is no different at all from the one in Gaza, has already reached an advanced phase of preparation. On December 16th, Congress voted in favor of the wall by a crushing majority. This steel wall, which is meant to thwart illegal immigration and terrorism, is to be over 1,000 kilometers in length, along the United States border. An actual modern version of the Great Wall of China. This 15-foot-high wall will bristle with watchtowers, be lit with powerful searchlights and scanned by sophisticated video cameras."

Screw the Photos: Bush, Abramoff Smoking Gun is W Removing Prosecutor Twice - "Twice now, Bush has removed the prosecutor in the Abramoff case. Twice! ... How can Bush remove Abramoff’s prosecutor twice and get away with it?"

Abramoff Scandal Threatens GOPBut Media Runs Interference - "That day, as part of MSNBC’s breaking coverage, Hardball’s Chris Matthews said, “I’m not sure it’s partisan. I’m not sure that people are going to see him as part of any Republican culture of corruption. I think [Rep. Randy] Duke Cunningham [R-CA] also was sort of a lone wolf in that department. I think we’re gonna see this case, basically––What’s the right word? ––It’s gonna be kept to itself. It’s not going to be part of a larger story of Washington this year, I think.” But Matthews himself had his own ties to Abramoff—a symptom of how deep the scandal goes, and why it may be difficult for the public to get the full story."

Climate Expert Says NASA Tried to Silence Him - "The top climate scientist at NASA says the Bush administration has tried to stop him from speaking out since he gave a lecture last month calling for prompt reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases linked to global warming."

Brain Scans May Be Used As Lie Detectors - "Picture this: Your boss is threatening to fire you because he thinks you stole company property. He doesn't believe your denials. Your lawyer suggests you deny it one more time — in a brain scanner that will show you're telling the truth. Wacky? Science fiction? It might happen this summer." -- Did you read The Truth Machine by James Halperin?

Google challenges EU plan to regulate the internet - "The company, which last week said it would self-censor its Chinese search engine to appease the country's government, objects to the commission's proposals to extend regulations in the Television Without Frontiers directive (TWFD) to cover video content shown on the internet. James Purnell, the minister for creative industries, has backed Google's stance. He said: "There is no benefit to the consumer that justifies this move. This increased scope could mean significant regulation of the internet and stifle the growth of new media services. That would raise prices for consumers and deprive them of potential new services.""

US Internet companies snub Congressional hearing - "The leading US-based Internet companies are showing little interest in attending a Congressional briefing on worries that the firms are bending to the wishes of China's censors."

Lunar New Year: French animal lovers howl at Chinese dog slaughter - ""Millions of dogs (in China) are hanged, beaten with sticks and butchered while they are still alive," it said in a press release. The organisation added that it had tried to get French media to accept an advertisement as part of its campaign against dog butchering, but the picture -- of an animal being cut to pieces in a pool of blood -- was so graphic that it had been rejected by every newspaper."

Pharmacists sue Walgreen over contraceptives - "Four Illinois pharmacists have sued U.S. drugstore chain Walgreen Co., saying they were wrongly fired for refusing to dispense the “morning-after” emergency contraceptive pill."

Police Allege Child Porn Ring Sold Girls From Apartment - "Five men were taken into custody in Orange County, Fla., Friday on suspicion they ran a child prostitution ring out of their apartment, offering clients sex with 11 and 12-year-old girls, according to Local 6 News."

Crime Is OK, but Sex Isn't - "The makers of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas is sued by the L.A. city attorney. Not for the excessive violence that makes the game notorious, but for the hidden sex "game within a game" that threatens to undermine the morals of America's youth."

Blobs Inside Earth Might Explain Rapid Mountain Building - "The research, reported today in the journal Science, adds to another recent study that found mountains grow much more quickly than scientists had thought. How it's done needs to be rethought, and one idea involves a giant blob of material inside the Earth."

And the most important trait in a mate is...

Quote of the Day
"It looks like there's going to be a war, dear."
~ Jim Blogg, When the Wind Blows

January 28, 2006

News -- Januray 28, 2006

Catastrophe Looms - "Americans need desperately to comprehend that if Bush attacks Iran and Syria, as he intends, terrorism will explode, and American civil liberties will disappear into a thirty-year war that will bankrupt the United States. The total lack of rationality and competence in the White House and the inability of half of the US population to acquire and understand information are far larger threats to Americans than terrorism. America has become a rogue nation, flying blind, guided only by ignorance and hubris. A terrible catastrophe awaits."

The Truth About the State of our Union - "On Tuesday night President Bush will stand before the Congress and the nation, to deliver his annual State of the Union address. We are sure to hear a rosy tale of an economy on the rebound, a blossoming democracy in Iraq, a terror network on the run, and a Gulf Coast region rebuilding better and stronger than ever before. As is most often the case with this Administration, the rhetoric does not match reality."

Democrats concede Judge Alito victory - "Well before he reached the battlefield, however, Democrats had waved the white flag and agreed that next week's vote to confirm Judge Alito will surely succeed."

Chilling dissent - The sordid history of the government spying on its own citizens - "From spying on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil right activists, to the Cointelpro program that targeted the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement and scores of anti-Vietnam War groups in the 1960s and 1970s, to the Reagan Administration's spying on activists opposed to its Central American wars during the 1980s, to police infiltrating groups protesting at the Republican National Convention in 2000, spying on Americans by assorted government agencies is as American as leaky breast implants, cronies getting jobs in the Bush Administration, unsafe coal mines, and Pat Robertson embarrassing himself on television on a near weekly basis."

Germany 'needs a nuclear arsenal of its own' - "A former defence minister has provoked outrage and broken a major taboo by suggesting that Germany should have its own nuclear arsenal." -- If you don't have them, then you're at the mercy of countries that do.

US plans to 'fight the net' revealed - "A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks. ... Consider that for a moment. The US military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet." -- Interesting read.

Manufacturing Reality - "The Bush Administration's recent dog and pony show Why we Spy! doesn't aim to convince anyone of the validity of any of their pretexts for expanding executive power. ... They don't care because the whole show is not about logic, or valid interpretations or even 3rd grade reading proficiency. The aim rather is to create the illusion of controversy. It is a key technique in the propagation of really big lies."

They say POWER corrupts - "Evo Morales proves that it does not. Shortly after winning the Bolivian presidency in a landslide election, Morales reduced his own salary by 57%, to US $1800 per month. Apparently, the age old saying that power corrupts is either not true, or does not apply to Morales. ... I would also argue that the saying is not true. It's a cynical and demoralizing statement that discourages people from expecting more from their leaders. I remain convinced that power may attract corruption, but it does not cause it. Once corrupt, always corrupt. But, if a man is honest, modest, and sincerely cares for people other than himself, no amount of power will corrupt his integrity and his values."

Breathtaking Power Grab - "What emerges with clarity from the weeks since the National Security Agency domestic surveillance program was made public is that this administration is single-mindedly devoted to increasing the power of the government, and more specifically of the executive branch, and has used the 9/11 attack and the subsequent "war on terror" to justify this goal. It is worth remembering that Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld and a few others were veterans of the Nixon administration who saw Watergate not as a loathsome abuse of power, but as an unfortunate event that discredited and downgraded the prestige and power of the executive branch and made it more difficult to exercise, in Hamilton's words, "energy in the executive." The terrorist attacks provided a perfect opportunity."

BYU professor's group accuses U.S. officials of lying about 9/11 - "Last fall, Brigham Young University physics professor Steven E. Jones made headlines when he charged that the World Trade Center collapsed because of "pre-positioned explosives." Now, along with a group that calls itself "Scholars for 9/11 Truth," he's upping the ante. "We believe that senior government officials have covered up crucial facts about what really happened on 9/11," the group says in a statement released Friday announcing its formation. "We believe these events may have been orchestrated by the administration in order to manipulate the American people into supporting policies at home and abroad.""

IBM Strives For Superhuman Speech Tech - "IBM unveiled new speech recognition technology on Tuesday that can comprehend the nuances of spoken English, translate it on the fly, and even create on-the-fly subtitles for foreign-language television programs."

Quote of the Day
"We Americans are the ultimate innocents. We are forever desperate to believe that this time the government is telling us the truth."
~ Sidney Schanberg

January 27, 2006

News -- January 27, 2006

57% Americans support military action in Iran - "Despite persistent disillusionment with the war in Iraq, a majority of Americans supports taking military action against Iran if that country continues to produce material that can be used to develop nuclear weapons, a Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll has found. The poll, conducted Sunday through Wednesday, found that 57% of Americans favor military intervention if Iran’s Islamic government pursues a program that could enable it to build nuclear arms." -- Bullshit.

U.S., Israel to attack Iran nukes 'before April' - "Pre-emptive strike all but inevitable, say military, intelligence sources." -- Oh look. Before April is March.

A clear and present danger to America - "George W. Bush, the out-of-control despot who thinks the Presidency of the United States is a license to lie at will, wage war on a whim and break the law without recrimination, put on his “I am in charge” face Thursday and, for all practical purposes, told anyone who thinks his powers should be subject to review or oversight to go screw themselves."

U.S. won't deal with Hamas - "President Bush yesterday said the U.S. will not deal with Hamas, the terrorist group that won Wednesday's Palestinian elections, unless it renounces its goal of destroying Israel. "A political party that articulates the destruction of Israel as part of its platform is a party with which we will not deal," the president said in a press conference. "People must renounce that part of their platform." He added, "You can't be a partner in peace if your party has got an armed wing."" -- You should practice what you preach, George.

Hamas, Son of Israel - "Amid all the howls of pain and gnashing of teeth over the triumph of Hamas in the Palestinian elections, one fact remains relatively obscure, albeit highly relevant: Israel did much to launch Hamas as an effective force in the occupied territories. If ever there was a clear case of "blowback," then this is it."

Why We Fight -- The official site for the film.

Documents Show Army Seized Wives As Tactic - "The U.S. Army in Iraq has at least twice seized and jailed the wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" their husbands into surrender, U.S. military documents show." -- This is bullshit. If you are not pissed off than you are not paying attention.

Broadcaster says serious news at risk - ""Truth no longer matters in the context of politics and, sadly, in the context of cable news," said Aaron Brown, whose four-year period as anchor of CNN's NewsNight ended in November, when network executives gave his job to Anderson Cooper in a bid to push the show's ratings closer to front-runner Fox News."

Target pharmacist is fired over Plan B controversy - "Pharmacist Heather Williams believes there’s no middle ground when it comes to the so-called “morning-after” pill known as Plan B. ... “I just can’t be a link in the chain at all,” she said. As of Jan. 1, that stance cost Williams her job." -- Good. Do your job or get another one.

World Cup Police State Sales Pitch - "The upcoming soccer World Cup continues to be utilized as a showcase for the police state, as all major sporting spectaculars are these days."

Bill seeks ‘intellectual diversity’ - "Saying that they want to ensure that a wide range of views is heard and tolerated on college campuses, a group of state lawmakers is proposing legislation that would ask South Dakota’s six state universities to report periodically on their efforts to promote “intellectual diversity.”"

Fla. Men Arrested for Dog Vs. Hog Fights - "Authorities arrested five men for setting up fights between dogs and wild boars at an Indian reservation in South Florida. ... "It's a little known blood sport that's been around for 25 years," said John Goodwin of The Humane Society." -- Sport? Bullshit.

2,400-foot tunnel 'beats them all' - " In the corner of a cavernous Otay Mesa warehouse, a small room held a big secret: the door to a passageway from Mexico."

Getting the kids used to the cashless society - "Supporters regard the cards, which are issued by Bluecorner, as the natural step in an increasingly cashless society. They argue that the prepayment cards will familiarise children with plastic without spending too much. Says the London Times. The cards are designed to get children used to the fact that cash is obsolete and their money, and the amount they are allowed to spend is controlled by someone else who also profits from their spending."

Quote of the Day
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former."
~ Albert Einstein

January 26, 2006

News -- January, 26, 2006

Rove's Warning For 2006: It's All About the "War On Terror" - "The speech that will define U.S. politics throughout 2006 has already been given. The audience was the Republican National Committee and the date was January 19. The speechmaker was Karl Rove, top political adviser to President George Bush. Rove laid out the political strategy that will shape the fight for U.S. public opinion, the midterm elections, and the terrain for all social struggles in 2006. The cornerstone of this strategy is once again “You Are With Us or You Are With the Terrorists.” This battle plan is a direct challenge not simply to the Democrats, but to antiwar activists and every progressive and grassroots movement. The responsibility falls squarely on us to meet Rove head on with an unequivocal challenge to the war in Iraq and to the “war on terror” justification for spying, torture, and racist injustice from the Gulf Coast to the U.S.-Mexico border."

Bush Confident Warrantless Wiretaps Legal - ""The program's legal, it's designed to protect civil liberties, and it's necessary," Bush told a White House news conference."

Congressional Hearing Spells Out Clear Case For Impeachment - ""He is claiming absolute power that no one in American history has ever claimed. This cannot stand," said Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y. "If you’re dealing with what appears to be a criminal conspiracy by the president, the vice president, the attorney general and others, you cannot ask the attorney general and the people under him to fairly investigate," Nadler said. "Obviously, they will dismiss this out of hand because they will not admit how real this is. "I want to be absolutely clear, what the president ordered in this case was a crime," said Jonathan Turley."

Are Concentration Camps Coming to U.S.? - "I've heard and seen many reports concerning detention camps that have been built throughout the country. Quite frankly, I viewed them with a bit of skepticism, not that I didn't trust the source or the information, I didn't trust the conclusions. The claims have been many and include information (including pictures) indicating some of these camps are built to hold as many as a million people if need be. While these types of stories are easy to fabricate and can provide plenty of speculation fodder to spread; the following news release should give cause for concern to even the most conspiracy challenged Americans. ... Color me naive, but when I hear talk of cages, detention and/or concentration camps, my mind usually wonders in devious directions. I haven't seen anywhere in history where detention centers and so forth were used as freedom enhancing tools. View this anyway you wish, but do so at your own peril. Consider yourself warned, what you choose to do with this information is only up to you."

Some historical perspective and a call to action by Gore Vidal - "For what we are now seeing are the obvious characteristics of the West after the fall of Rome: the triumph of religion over reason; the atrophy of education and critical thinking; the integration of religion, the state, and the apparatus of torture--a troika that was for Voltaire the central horror of the pre-Enlightenment world..."

If it walks like a DUCK and quacks like a DUCK... - "Marty is putting himself and his family at great risk by calling a duck a duck. He should be applauded and protected."

AG's memo raises questions on Patriot Act - "A footnote in Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales's 42-page legal memo defending President Bush's domestic spying program appears to argue that the administration does not need Congress to extend the USA Patriot Act in order to keep using the law's investigative powers against terror suspects."

Diebold Blocks Alaska Voters From Viewing Election 2004 Results, Data! - "In just one more story which illustrates the many undemocratic dangers of allowing private companies to "own" our public elections, Diebold, Inc., one of America's largest Voting Machine Companies is currently blocking citizens in Alaska from viewing election data from the 2004 general election!"

Closed-Door Deal Makes $22 Billion Difference - "House and Senate GOP negotiators, meeting behind closed doors last month to complete a major budget-cutting bill, agreed on a change to Senate-passed Medicare legislation that would save the health insurance industry $22 billion over the next decade, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. ... The change in the Medicare provision underscores a practice that growing numbers of lawmakers from both parties want addressed. More than ever, Republican congressional lawmakers and leaders are making vital decisions, involving far-reaching policies and billions of dollars, without the public -- or even congressional Democrats -- present." -- Democracy at work.

Why don’t we know what is going on in Israel & Palestine? - "In 2004, when 8 Israeli children were killed and 179 Palestinian children were killed, NBC reported on 100% of Israeli children’s deaths and on 10% of Palestinian children’s deaths, ABC on 100% and 11%."

Holocaust is a religion of Zionism for gentiles: Hoffman - "Skepticism is not allowed because the "Holocaust" does not entail the history of World War Two, rather it is a religion, the religion of Judaism for gentiles. To question the details of the gas chambers is to be a "hater" and an "anti-Semite." Historical accounts can be questioned and doubted. Religion cannot be questioned or doubted. The "Holocaust" is a religious cult masquerading as history. It is a means for Judaizing the West."

Congress catching on to the value of blogs - "Obama and Kerry are two of about 11 members of Congress who are blogging today, either on their own blogs or as guests on others' sites. Republicans like Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert of Illinois, Rep. Mark Kirk of Illinois and Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas have joined the fray, along with Democrats like Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, Rep. John Conyers of Michigan and Rep. Louise Slaughter of New York. That's still a small percentage of Congress, but some observers of politics and blogs think a greater number of Washington's elected officials will soon come around."

Marriage amendment set for Virginia ballot - "The Virginia Senate yesterday gave overwhelming final approval to a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, clearing the way for the issue to be put to voters in November."

Government study: VoIP, video can be taxed - " State and local governments may be able to tax certain aspects of Internet use under an existing federal law designed to ban such fees, government auditors said this week." -- Anything to get your money.

New planet discovered in Milky Way - "Scientists have discovered a planet more like Earth than any other found before, they said on Wednesday. It's 20,000 light-years away, just shy of the center of the Milky Way."

Quote of the Day
"If you give government power, it uses it."
~ Former Rep. Bob Barr (R)

January 25, 2006

News -- January 25, 2006

The End of 'Unalienable Rights' - "Today, Americans have rights only at George W. Bush’s forbearance. Under new legal theories – propounded by Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito and other right-wing jurists – Bush effectively holds all power over all Americans. He can spy on anyone he wants without a court order; he can throw anyone into jail without due process; he can order torture or other degrading treatment regardless of a new law enacted a month ago; he can launch wars without congressional approval; he can assassinate people whom he deems to be the enemy even if he knows that innocent people, including children, will die, too. Under the new theories, Bush can act both domestically and internationally. His powers know no bounds and no boundaries. ... Yet, maybe because Bush’s assertion of power is so extraordinary, almost no one dares connect the dots. After a 230-year run, the “unalienable rights” – as enunciated by Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and the Founding Fathers – are history."

Warriors and wusses - "I DON'T SUPPORT our troops. This is a particularly difficult opinion to have, especially if you are the kind of person who likes to put bumper stickers on his car. Supporting the troops is a position that even Calvin is unwilling to urinate on. ... And I've got no problem with other people — the ones who were for the Iraq war — supporting the troops. If you think invading Iraq was a good idea, then by all means, support away. Load up on those patriotic magnets and bracelets and other trinkets the Chinese are making money off of. But I'm not for the war. And being against the war and saying you support the troops is one of the wussiest positions the pacifists have ever taken — and they're wussy by definition. ... The real purpose of those ribbons is to ease some of the guilt we feel for voting to send them to war and then making absolutely no sacrifices other than enduring two Wolf Blitzer shows a day. Though there should be a ribbon for that. ... After we've decided that we made a mistake, we don't want to blame the soldiers who were ordered to fight. Or even our representatives, who were deceived by false intelligence. And certainly not ourselves, who failed to object to a war we barely understood. ... But when you volunteer for the U.S. military, you pretty much know you're not going to be fending off invasions from Mexico and Canada. So you're willingly signing up to be a fighting tool of American imperialism, for better or worse. Sometimes you get lucky and get to fight ethnic genocide in Kosovo, but other times it's Vietnam. And sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, you get to just hang out in Germany. ... I'm not advocating that we spit on returning veterans like they did after the Vietnam War, but we shouldn't be celebrating people for doing something we don't think was a good idea. All I'm asking is that we give our returning soldiers what they need: hospitals, pensions, mental health and a safe, immediate return."

Bush the Incompetent - "Incompetence is not one of the seven deadly sins, and it's hardly the worst attribute that can be ascribed to George W. Bush. But it is this president's defining attribute. Historians, looking back at the hash that his administration has made of his war in Iraq, his response to Hurricane Katrina and his Medicare drug plan, will have to grapple with how one president could so cosmically botch so many big things -- particularly when most of them were the president's own initiatives."

Google Agrees to Censor Results in China - "Online search engine leader Google Inc. has agreed to censor its results in China, adhering to the country's free-speech restrictions in return for better access in the Internet's fastest growing market." -- As always, it's all about money.

Let your fingers do the paying - "Buying groceries with the touch of a finger could be closer than you think, if new research touting the benefits of biometric payment for retail giants like Wal-Mart, Target, and Costco is anything to go by."

Death Penalty Proposed for Repeat Sex Offenders - "The Senator has written legislation to ensure that repeat child molesters face the toughest penalty possible. It's called Senate Bill 1747. It would make repeat child molesters subject to life in prison without parol or even the death penalty."

Sexual Harassment Routine, College Students in Poll Say - "Sexual harassment is common on campus, according to a national online survey by the American Association of University Women released yesterday, with 62 percent of college students saying they had received a comment or gesture they found inappropriate."

2005 was warmest year on record: NASA - "In descending order, the years with the highest global average annual temperatures were 2005, 1998, 2002, 2003 and 2004, NASA said in a statement."

Jobs vs. Gates: Who's the Star? - "Until recently, Bill Gates has been viewed as the villain of the tech world, while his archrival, Steve Jobs, enjoys an almost saintly reputation. ... Given Jobs' social detachment, I'm confused by the adulation he enjoys. Yes, he has great charisma and his presentations are good theater. But his absence from public discourse makes him a cipher. People project their values onto him, and he skates away from the responsibilities that come with great wealth and power. On the evidence, he's nothing more than a greedy capitalist who's amassed an obscene fortune. It's shameful. In almost every way, Gates is much more deserving of Jobs' rock star exaltation. In the same way, I admire Bono over Mick Jagger, and John Lennon over Elvis, because they spoke up about things bigger than their own celebrity. It's time for Jobs to do the same."

Use an iPod, go to jail? - "The incriminating evidence they found at the scene? An iPod crammed with stolen identities and contact information of criminal associates."

Male Student Wins Fight to Wear Skirt - "The ACLU announced the deal Tuesday. It will allow a Hasbrouck Heights School senior to wear a skirt to protest the school's no-shorts policy."

Quote of the Day
"You know, a long time ago being crazy meant something. Nowadays, everybody's crazy."
~ Charles Manson

January 24, 2006

News -- January 24, 2006

Sanitised images hide truth about war, says Fisk - ""When you see the things I see, you would never support war ever again.""

Investigator: U.S. 'Outsourced' Torture - "The head of a European investigation into alleged CIA secret prisons in Europe said Tuesday that evidence pointed to the existence of a system of "outsourcing" of torture by the United States, and that it was highly likely European governments were aware of it."

Impeachment hearings: The White House prepares for the worst - "The Bush administration is bracing for impeachment hearings in Congress."

Military Action Against Iran? - "If the intelligence on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is any indication, U.S. intelligence on Iranian nuclear facilities probably isn’t that good, and air strikes would thus likely be ineffective. Why then would the Bush administration go down this route? Because much of government policy—U.S. or other—is to show the domestic audience that something is being done about a problem, especially when the threat from an external “enemy” has been embellished. With a long confrontation with Iran and eventual air strikes, the Bush administration could distract attention from the deteriorating situations in Iraq and Afghanistan for many months without risking yet another quagmire in Iran."

Easy sailing expected for Alito - "All 10 Republican senators already had announced their support for the conservative judge, leaving the eight Democrats with no way to stop the committee from giving him a positive recommendation."

THE WAR ON DISSENT GETS CREEPY - "“But why break the law,” people ask? "What about this war troubles you enough to break the law?" In one word: images. Images that never leave me. Images of young soldiers and marines lying in row upon row of hospital beds. Images of picking shrapnel out of Mike Ramsack’s backside…dressing Bob Butikofer’s wounds every day and trying not to make him scream…changing colostomy bags on guys hoping they won’t defecate out the hole in their guts caused by a gunshot wound to the abdomen…trying to give a brain scan to a young soldier missing his entire left temporal lobe…Images of eating in the chow hall as dozens of patients in wheelchairs, on crutches, missing arms and legs and eyes line up for dinner…Images of a young man sitting silent and broken in a corner of the psych ward."

Who is messing with your head? - "WHAT if there was a drug that helped you do your job better, and your boss was pressuring you to take it, even though it could be bad for your health? There are already drugs that can boost memory or alertness, but whose long-term effects are unknown. Or what if scientists could tell what you were thinking or planning to do before you knew it yourself? Brain scans can now do this. Should these drugs and procedures be regulated - or permitted at all?"

Iris Scanning For New Jersey Grade School - "When a parent arrives to pick up their child at one of three grade schools in the Freehold Borough School District, they'll need to look into a camera that will take a digital image of their iris. That photo will establish positive identification to gain entrance into the school."

Homeland Security To Confiscate Bank Safe Deposit Box Contents - "During these last two days, the workshop included members from the Homeland Security Office who instructed them on how to field calls from customers and what they are to tell them in the event of a national disaster. She said they were told how only agents from Homeland Security (during such an event) would be in charge of opening safe deposit boxes and determining what items would be given to bank customers. At this point they were told that no weapons, cash, gold, or silver will be allowed to leave the bank - only various paperwork will be given to its owners. After discussing the matter with them at length, she and the other employees were then told not to discuss the subject with anyone."

Iceland the First Country to Try Abandoning Gasoline - "Hot Water Heats Homes, Businesses; Hydrogen Fuel Oil Powers Cars, Buses."

Kama Sutra worm seduces PC users - " A new e-mail worm that spreads under the guise of pornographic content has jumped to the top of the worldwide virus charts."

Quote of the Day
"Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time."
~ George Bernard Shaw

January 23, 2006

News -- January 23, 2006

Iran’s Oil Exchange threatens the Greenback - "The Bush administration will never allow the Iranian government to open an oil exchange (bourse) that trades petroleum in euros. If that were to happen, hundreds of billions of dollars would come flooding back to the United States crushing the greenback and destroying the economy. This is why Bush and Co. are planning to lead the nation to war against Iran. It is straightforward defense of the current global system and the continuing dominance of the reserve currency, the dollar."

U.S. accused of spying on those who disagree with Bush policies - "While the White House defended domestic surveillance as a safeguard against terrorism, a Florida peace activist and several Democrats in Congress accused the Bush administration on Friday of spying on Americans who disagree with President Bush's policies."

McCain: Bush Does Not Have “The Legal Authority To Engage In These Warrantless Wiretaps” - "Today on Fox News Sunday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said Bush’s warrantless domestic wiretapping program is illegal:"

Bin Laden: Where is he? Who's protecting him? Why can't we find him? - "The latest audiotape proves the al-Qa'ida figurehead has pulled off one of the most remarkable disappearing acts in history." -- Whatever. I think he's dead and the US just brings him out when they need a boogie-man.

When Seeing and Hearing Isn't Believing - "By taking just a 10-minute digital recording of Steiner's voice, scientist George Papcun is able, in near real time, to clone speech patterns and develop an accurate facsimile. Steiner was so impressed, he asked for a copy of the tape." -- This should cause you concern.

The Other Big Brother - "The Pentagon has its own domestic spying program. Even its leaders say the outfit may have gone too far."

The Wallet-to-Wallet Chasm - "Despite a lackluster showing in 2005 elections for the GOP, the Republican National Committee raked in better than $100 million last year and enjoys its largest cash-on-hand lead over its Democratic counterpart in more than a decade."

I, Greenspan - "Since I joined the Fed, outstanding home-mortgage debt has jumped from $1.8 trillion to $8.2 trillion. Total consumer debt went from $2.7 trillion to $11 trillion. Household debt has quadrupled. And government debt, too, exploded. The feds owed less than $2 trillion in the second Reagan administration, a figure that had been almost constant for the previous 40 years. But under my direction, the red ink has overflowed like the Nile in flood – to over $7 trillion. During the two terms of George W. Bush alone, the feds have borrowed more money from foreign governments and banks than all other American administrations put together, from 1776 to 2000. And more debt will be added in the eight Bush years than in the previous two hundred. The trade deficit, too, more than tripled since I’ve been at the Fed, from 150.7 to 756.8 billion, and will reach $830 billion in 2006. When I came to power, the United States was still a creditor. Now, it is a debtor, with more than $11 trillion worth of U.S. assets in foreign hands, a more than 500% increase since 1987. Who can argue with such a record? Who can compete with it? Who would want to? But that is the smooth, perverse pleasure a cynical old man takes in his achievements. I have practically ruined the nation, and I know it."

Abortion rights and the theology of the constitution - "In addition to diminishing overall quality of life, the goal is to set up laws openly in conflict with Roe in hopes of provoking a showdown in the newly reconfigured supreme court."

SD Legislature To Consider Abortion Ban - "In the next six weeks, South Dakota lawmakers will decide whether to make abortion a crime. A bill that would ban abortion in the state will be introduced within the next two days."

Impeachment Would Make Matters Worse - "And it doesn't get any better as you go down the line: Condoleezza Rice, who may have once told the truth about something, John Snow, Rumsfeld, Alberto (Torture is Us) Gonzales, and Gale Norton, who would be able to realize her lifelong ambition of putting the entire country west of the Mississippi up for sale. The short of it is that we're stuck with this hive of scoundrels for three more years, unless Pat Robertson can arrange for a heavenly tsunami to sweep up the Potomac tidal basin. Let us pray."

US thought control of Middle East studies - "The neo-cons initially urged Congress to reduce the appropriation for Title VI of the Higher Education Act. Since 1958, this legislation has provided federal funding to universities to support the study of less commonly taught languages, such as Arabic, Turkish and Persian. Now they want to set up a political review board to discourage universities and scholars from tolerating bad thoughts."

Hedge your bets - "The "chatter" in and around the entertainment industry is increasingly consumed by techno-talk, but one very basic reality seems to be emerging: The major media companies are significantly reducing their financial commitment to the motion picture sector. Substantially fewer films will be produced over the next year or two. And a significant portion of the production costs of the reduced slate will be borne by hedge funds and other investment groups."

University requirement for partner benefits: You must have sex - "University of Florida employees have to pledge that they're having sex with their domestic partners before qualifying for benefits under a new health care plan at the university."

Anti-nude law KOd by Fla. court - " Regulations prohibiting public nudity and nudity in places that sell alcohol violate the First and 14th amendments' protections of free speech and equal protection, the judge decided."

China to build world`s first "artificial sun" experimental device - "A full superconducting experimental Tokamak fusion device, which aims to generate infinite, clean nuclear-fusion-based energy, will be built in March or April in Hefei, capital city of east China`s Anhui Province."

If your suntan oil can change the sex of fish, what can do it to you? - "They fear that people are being exposed to the chemicals several times over, first by putting them on their skin, and then injesting them in drinking water and the fish they eat."

Quote of the Day
"Sometimes I feel I'm living in someone else's dream."
~ Blue Rodeo

January 22, 2006

News -- January 22, 2006

When George Met Jack - "White House aides deny the President knew lobbyist Abramoff, but unpublished photos shown to TIME suggest there's more to the story. ... "The President does not know him, nor does the President recall ever meeting him," McClellan said. The President's memory may soon be unhappily refreshed. TIME has seen five photographs of Abramoff and the President that suggest a level of contact between them that Bush's aides have downplayed. While TIME's source refused to provide the pictures for publication, they are likely to see the light of day eventually because celebrity tabloids are on the prowl for them." -- Another lie about to collapse.

Latest Bin Laden Tape: Another of the NeoCons' "Greatest Hits" - "Experts already begin to come forward with revelations that Latest tape just another CIA fake. Spying? Torture? Illegal airstrikes? SHUT UP and hate Bin Laden. The NeoCon use of Osama Bin Laden as a tool of fear and control is a tried and tested method whenever the going gets tough. It's predictable and it's tiresome, but the masses buy it every time and that's why he has reappeared once again."

Bin Laden threats may boost Bush - "Americans hardly need a tape of Osama Bin Laden to remind them they are threatened by extremists, as the War on Terror has overshadowed their lives since 9/11."

Iran's Bomb - "Presumably, we didn't want Israel to have the bomb, but the Israelis built them anyway. Ditto Pakistan, India and North Korea. In the end, despite the hot rhetoric, if the Iranians want a bomb, they will probably end up building it. That might cause the Israelis to lose a little sleep – though not much, as they have 200 nuclear weapons – but it shouldn't bother us in the least. The Iranians are just as sensible and levelheaded as anyone else. Don't buy the propaganda that they are all a bunch of crazies. They've been around a lot longer than we have. I would trust them with nuclear weapons as much as – perhaps even a hair more than – I trust Bush. Americans must stop allowing politicians and propagandists to scare them into reckless behavior."

Israeli Hints at Preparation to Stop Iran - ""Israel will not be able to accept an Iranian nuclear capability and it must have the capability to defend itself, with all that that implies, and this we are preparing," Shaul Mofaz said."

‘US will help Israel in case of war with Iran’ - "If Israel is attacked, the United States will “obviously” militarily support its close Mideast ally, US Vice President Dick Cheney said in interview with CNBC television Thursday."

Currency War - "And perhaps that hitch caused them to slow down long enough to reflect upon the Iranian Bourse that is scheduled to become operational – coincidently? – as early as March. ... So, there are some observers who fervently believe that the real reason Bush-Cheney launched a war of aggression against Iraq was to restore the primacy of petrodollars and to demonstrate to any country – such as Iran, who had begun serious planning for the Iranian Bourse in 2000 – what would happen to them if they followed Saddam’s lead."

Collapse of U.S. Economy Imminent - "In its attempt to establish a world empire dominating every nation on the planet, the U.S. has exhausted its ability to finance the expansion and the country now faces imminent financial collapse. From all indications, it looks like 2006 will spell the end for America. Consider these five important points:"

What do they know that they are not telling us? - " There has to be a reason why the U.S. government is spying on its citizens. There must be a reason why laws are being enacted to put the U.S. on a police state footing. There's got to be a reason why the executive branch of government seeks more and more control of all aspects of governance, including shaping the views of the judiciary by placing jurists in high positions who defer to the executive at the expense of the influence of their own branch of government. And the fear of "terrorism" cannot be that reason. ... There is something our government knows; there is something our government is planning; there is something about to happen that they are preparing for and not telling us about. It has little to do with foreign terrorism. Someone is preparing to survive at the expense of someone else."

Iran will be taught a lesson: Burns - "US Undersecretary of State R Nicolas Burns has called Iran “a threat to world peace” and vowed to “teach it a lesson”. He said this in a press conference following talks with Indian Foreign Secretary Shyam Saran on Friday.Iran has “crossed so many international red lines, that it has to know that will be a penalty to be paid,” he said." -- Same vague shit we heard about Iraq.

Not. Backing. Hillary. - "I'd like to make it clear to the people who run the Democratic Party that I will not support Hillary Clinton for president. ... The recent death of Gene McCarthy reminded me of a lesson I spent a long, long time unlearning, so now I have to re-learn it. It's about political courage and heroes, and when a country is desperate for leadership. There are times when regular politics will not do, and this is one of those times. There are times a country is so tired of bull that only the truth can provide relief."

Rove tells Republicans to run on Bush's record - "White House political adviser Karl Rove on Friday said Democratic critics of the Iraq war were wrong and Republicans should highlight the issue in November's congressional elections."

The Other Pro-Choice Movement - "In addition to Oregon, physician-assisted suicide is currently legal in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland. Everywhere else, the terminally ill are forced to endure sometimes horrific pain at the end of life, or end their misery with a plastic bag, a noose, or other undignified means. And those sad, desperate acts will continue as long as so-called "pro-life" factions keep fighting attempts to widen the acceptance of physician-assisted suicide and provide more people with the power to choose a good death over a horrible, lingering, painful one. ... "Surely the right to die in a manner and at a time one's own choosing is the ultimate civil liberty.""

Homeland Security to launch preparedness program for kids - ""Disaster . . . it can happen anywhere, But we've got a few tips, so you can be prepared, For floods, tornadoes, or even a 'quake, You've got to be ready -- so your heart don't break.""

Physicist hypothesizes creator left messages - "A University physicist has proposed that temperature fluctuations in microwave radiation may contain messages from the universe’s creator."

Fairies stop developers' bulldozers in their tracks - "VILLAGERS who protested that a new housing estate would “harm the fairies” living in their midst have forced a property company to scrap its building plans and start again."

Quote of the Day
"The United States is not nearly so concerned that its acts be kept secret from its intended victims as it is that the American people not know of them."
~ U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark

January 20, 2006

Where's the Party?

Where’s the Party?

“Mornings feel so damn sad these days.” ~ The Cowboy Junkies

Yes, Margo, they do.

I watch with open eyes and an open mind as the world before me continually spins faster into chaos. Will it stop? Hell, will it just slow down? Probably not.

I know history is replete with power, greed, control, and war. It must be human nature because there have always been groups of individuals who sought more land, wealth, and subjects. The Bush Administration is no different. Thus, the events of today fall neatly into the same pattern that was established long before the great-great-great ancestors of any of these current power-hungry individuals even existed. Sadly, the cycle may continue forever.

It appears we are now approaching the eve of an attack on Iran. I find it interesting that big oil producing countries are not allowed to have nuclear capabilities. Only the countries that use the majority of that oil are allowed to have them. Now why is that?

In addition, isn’t it rather interesting to note that five of the top six countries with the largest oil reserves are Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates? Let’s see, the U.S. already has its hands in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait, and the UAE. For those of you not paying attention, that leaves Iran. National Security? Hardly.

So we humans continue to make the same mistakes we’ve made since first understanding the concepts of power, greed, and control. Maybe Darwin was wrong, for I see no evidence that humans have evolved toward a civilized species. We’re still the same warring, arrogant species we’ve always been. Only the names have changed.

And as we all know, religion has played its part in helping these men (and they have almost all been men) manipulate their subjects to do their bidding. Holy Wars, Jihads, whatever, we just need to kill that group of individuals over there because their god is not the one, true God, and if we don’t kill them then they’ll kill us.

What kind of logic says we must kill someone because they don’t believe as we do? Correct, it is not logical. Instead, it is a way of manipulating one group of people into attacking another group of people. In other words, it’s all about control. The leaders of people know and understand this, and history has shown they have been very good at promoting this kind of thought from their subjects. Today is no different.

Now what we do have in America today is the facade of opposition parties: Republicans and Democrats. Supposedly they have different philosophies but lately they have appeared to be just about the same when it comes to power, wealth, and control. Where’s the opposition Party?

I want a Party that says regardless if the Bush Administration lied us into war, or was incompetent in their intelligence gathering, neither option is worthy of an administration leading this country.

I want a Party that opposes war.

I want a Party that opposes the Preemptive War Policy.

I want a Party that opposes torture. All kinds of torture.

I want a Party that will not use God as a way to manipulate the masses.

I want a Party that will not allow Religion and Government to mix.

I want a Party that does not cater to the top 1% of wealthy Americans.

I want a Party that will not spy on its citizens.

I want a Party that will not militarily interfere with other people’s countries.

I want a Party that believes in world cooperation with a live-and-let-live attitude.

I want a Party that understands and respects the differences between the peoples of this world.

I want a Party that will reduce the military/war budget and will use those funds to make sure the people of this country get health care.

I want a Party that will end our dependence on oil and will encourage companies to create new technologies.

I want a Party that will not be bought by the highest bidder.

I want a Party that will tell me the truth even if I may not like what I hear.

I want a Party that will break the cycle we humans have been in for centuries.

Is this too much to ask? Are there humans capable of doing the things mentioned above or is it true that all men would be tyrants if they could? Power does corrupt. So, maybe humans are just a weak species and what I want truly is impossible.

However, despite my pessimistic view of humanity, I can not accept that it is impossible. If this Party does not currently exist, then it must be created. Why have we been brainwashed to believe that we only have two “choices” for leadership in this country? Because it is easier to control two parties than it is to control several. That is why a third party is always squashed like the proverbial bug.

I say to hell with that.

I am a realist, not a utopian, but I want a Party that represents Humanity, not big business, not religion, not special interest groups, not white America, not black America, not brown America, not yellow America, not red America, but ALL America.

Where’s the Party?

News -- January 20, 2006

Syria, Iran close ranks - ""If WMD is the pretext of the West, then it should start with Israel.""

Iran Moving Its Foreign Currency Reserves - " The move suggests Iran has taken the issue of possible U.N. sanctions seriously. However, it has insisted that it won't give up its right under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty to enrich uranium and produce nuclear fuel."

Duke Professor Skeptical of bin Laden Tape - "He thinks bin Laden is dead and has doubts about the tape. Lawrence recently analyzed more than 20 complete speeches and interviews of the al Qaida leader for his book. He says the new message is missing several key elements. "There's nothing in this from the Koran. He's, by his own standards, a faithful Muslim," Lawrence said. "He quotes scripture in defense of his actions. There's no quotation from the Koran in the excerpts we got, no reference to specific events, no reference to past atrocities." -- It's good to be skeptical.

Are You Ready to Be Bugged and Tortured By George W. Bush? - "Those who support giving Bush these powers are undoubtedly ready and willing to be tortured and bugged themselves. As for the rest of us, there can be no compromise with tyranny."

IRS Abuses Offer Insight Into Dangers of Wiretap Program - "It's a useful technology, but according to a new government study, almost two-thirds of the refund requests identified as fraudulent through IRS data-mining are actually honest and clean. Of those returns categorized by the IRS as "conclusively fraudulent," 46 percent weren't fraudulent at all. In other words, IRS data-mining falsely identifies hundreds of thousands of American taxpayers as tax frauds every year. ... And in the end, that's the real problem with President Bush's insistence that the NSA spying program be immune to control by federal law, by Congress or the courts. Such unchecked government power will always — always — lead to abuse, and when the technology in question is as powerful as that controlled by NSA, the consequences for innocent individuals can be profound."

FAQ: What does the Google subpoena mean? - "Preparing to defend a controversial Internet pornography law in court, the Justice Department has demanded search logs from Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and America Online.
The department asked the search giants to hand over millions of records involving what search terms people have used on the sites and what Web sites are accessible via the search engines. On one level, the situation involves a straightforward question of whether the department's demands are too onerous and therefore not permitted under federal law. On another, the dispute raises novel questions about search engines' privacy protections and the relationship that four tech giants have with the federal government. What does it all mean, and what happens next? Read on."

Google refuses to give up data - "The subpoena requested that Google provide a random sample of 1 million Web addresses and "the text of each search string entered into Google's search engine over a one-week period (absent any information identifying the person who entered such query)," according to the motion filed Wednesday in San Jose, Calif., by Justice Department lawyers."

Legislatures consider potential political bias in colleges - "To some conservatives, the case represents a national trend by some liberal professors to infringe on conservative students' right to free speech at public colleges and universities. ... Rep. Dan Surra, a member of the Pennsylvania committee who has questioned the need for the investigation, said nothing so far has swayed him. Students in his rural district complain about such issues as tuition, but not about professors' biases, the Democrat said. "I've said it's the educational equivalent of the hunt for Bigfoot," he said."

Chain of Fools - "Things are looking a bit grim for the Bush faction these days. Their chief bagman, Jack Abramoff, is in the clink, naming names. Their top congressional enforcer, Tom DeLay, is in the dock, sinking fast. Their "war of choice" in Iraq has stalled in murderous quagmire. Their poll numbers are plummeting as scandal after scandal turn the American people against them. What, then, will be the fate of these brutal, bungling, bloodstained goons when they face the voters in the coming elections? Why, victory, of course!"

Paper Shutters Blog After Ombudsman Post - "The Washington Post shut down one of its blogs Thursday after the newspaper's ombudsman raised the ire of readers by writing that lobbyist Jack Abramoff gave money to the Democrats as well as to Republicans. ... There were so many personal attacks that the newspaper's staff could not "keep the board clean, there was some pretty filthy stuff," and so the Post shut down comments on the blog, or Web log, said Jim Brady, executive editor of washingtonpost.com."

Pre-crime and proactive policing - "Wanting to avoid the traffic, I simply turned around and took a different route. A friend who passed through the checkpoint informed me however that the police were asking every driver what they had been doing exactly one year ago and if they were in the same area at that time. Apparently there had been a murder committed there exactly a year ago. Now correct me if I am wrong but is this the way the police conduct murder investigations now? Stopping every vehicle that passes through the same area and questioning the drivers, demanding to know what they have been doing? And one year later? I don't have the worst memory in the world but I'm struggling to remember exactly where I was a year ago."

Study: Most College Students Lack Skills - "Nearing a diploma, most college students cannot handle many complex but common tasks, from understanding credit card offers to comparing the cost per ounce of food. Those are the sobering findings of a study of literacy on college campuses, the first to target the skills of students as they approach the start of their careers. More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks. That means they could not interpret a table about exercise and blood pressure, understand the arguments of newspaper editorials, compare credit card offers with different interest rates and annual fees or summarize results of a survey about parental involvement in school. The results cut across three types of literacy: analyzing news stories and other prose, understanding documents and having math skills needed for checkbooks or restaurant tips."

Quote of the Day
"Everything I know is wrong."
~ Claire Fisher, Six Feet Under

January 19, 2006

News -- January 19, 2006

Rice: No Point in More Iran Negotiations - "As European countries pushed ahead with efforts to have Iran brought before the U.N. Security Council for its nuclear activities, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused them of trying to deprive Iran of peaceful technology. "We are asking they step down from their ivory towers and act with a little logic," Ahmadinejad said. "Who are you to deprive us from fulfilling our goals? "You think you are the lord of the world and everybody should follow you. But that idea is a wrong idea.""

Iran scorns EU trio's draft nuclear resolution - "Any move to use full-scale sanctions against Iran, let alone military action, could send world oil prices rocketing and reopen some of the international rifts opened by the Iraq war."

Sen. Clinton calls for sanctions against Iran - ""We cannot and should not — must not — permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons," Clinton said in a speech before a capacity crowd in Richardson Auditorium."

Bin Laden Warns of Attacks, Offers Truce - "Al-Jazeera on Thursday broadcast portions of an audiotape purportedly from Osama bin Laden, saying al-Qaida is making preparations for attacks in the United States but offering a possible truce to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan."

France defends right to nuclear reply to terrorism - "France said on Thursday it would be ready to use nuclear weapons against any state that carried out a terrorist attack against it, reaffirming the need for its nuclear deterrent." -- And shouldn't Iran also have a "nuclear deterrent"? What makes it permissible for one country but not another?

Dismissal of terror detainee cases sought - "The U.S. Justice Department will seek to dismiss more than 180 cases involving inmates at Guantanamo Bay who have challenged their detention in court, court documents showed on Tuesday." -- Ah, the American way.

The Franklin Coverup Scandal - "This was the biggest scandal in the history of the U.S.A history. The story received some newspaper coverage but there was a TV News Media blackout on the subject. For this reason, most Americans have never heard of it."

Creeping tyranny - "I am not sure if there is any way to get the general public to realize or perhaps even care about the radical nature of regime change that is going on today in America."

Republicans vow to curb lobbyists - "Both House and Senate Republicans yesterday committed to ending privately paid travel, to clamping down on lobbyists' gifts and to restricting former members' privileges in the wake of corruption convictions and ethics accusations aimed at Republicans and Democrats."

Rightwing group offers students $100 to spy on professors - "It is the sort of invitation any poverty-stricken student would find hard to resist. "Do you have a professor who just can't stop talking about President Bush, about the war in Iraq, about the Republican party, or any other ideological issue that has nothing to do with the class subject matter? If you help ... expose the professor, we'll pay you for your work." For full notes, a tape recording and a copy of all teaching materials, students at the University of California Los Angeles are being offered $100 (£57) - the tape recorder is provided free of charge - by an alumni group." -- You WILL tow the party line!

The New Market Bubble Theory - "So here's the good news: The next five years will bring us the biggest stock-market boom in history. The bad news? The party will end in late 2010, after which we'll face the worst economic decline since the Great Depression."

Feds after Google data - "The Bush administration on Wednesday asked a federal judge to order Google to turn over a broad range of material from its closely guarded databases. The move is part of a government effort to revive an Internet child protection law struck down two years ago by the U.S. Supreme Court. The law was meant to punish online pornography sites that make their content accessible to minors. The government contends it needs the Google data to determine how often pornography shows up in online searches."

Study: Men Enjoy Seeing Bad People Suffer - "Bill Clinton said he felt others' pain. But a new brain-scanning study suggests that when guys see a cheater get a mild electric shock, they don't feel his pain much at all. In fact, they rather enjoy it. In contrast, women's brains showed they do empathize with the cheater's pain and don't get a kick out it. It's not clear whether this difference in schadenfreude - enjoyment of another's misfortune - results from basic biology or sex roles learned during life, researchers say. But it could help explain why men have historically taken charge of punishing criminals and others who violate societal rules, said researcher Dr. Klaas Stephan."

Human Ears Evolved from Ancient Fish Gills - "Your ability to hear relies on a structure that got its start as a gill opening in fish, a new study reveals." -- Don't let the creationists hear this.

Symantec Hides Rootkits In Software - " What's worse than finding spyware and viruses on your computer? Finding out that the software you use to keep your computer safe may be just as dangerous."

Stardust samples exceed expectations - "A preliminary estimation is that there might be more than a million microscopic specks of dust embedded in Stardust’s aerogel-laden collector. Furthermore, it appears — from the size of the carrot-shaped impact tracks in the aerogel — that there are about 10 particles of 100 microns in size. (A typical human hair is about 100 microns thick.)"

What kind of fish is this? - "A strange looking sea creature washed up on the shores of Cayman Brac this weekend." -- Check out the pics.

Face Transplant Patient Smokes Again - "The world's first face transplant recipient is using her new lips to take up smoking again, which doctors fear could interfere with her healing and raise the risk of tissue rejection."

Quote of the Day
"I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America."
~ Alexis de Tocqueville