April 29, 2006

News -- April 29, 2006

Bush Rejects Calls for Tax on Oil Profits - "President Bush said Friday that taxing enormous oil industry profits is not the way to calm Americans' anxieties about pain at the gas pump, and that his "inclination and instincts" are that major oil companies are not intentionally overcharging drivers."

How dumb does Big Oil think you are? - "So, it's no surprise there's been a concerted—and so far, unsuccessful—effort to downplay the scope, scale, and size of Big Oil's profits. Here's how they've done it:"

U.S. Reaches Out to Some Oil-Rich Nations - "Searching for energy supplies and allies against Iran , the Bush administration is reaching out to leaders who rule countries that are rich in oil and gas but accused of authoritarian rule and human rights violations. The presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Equatorial Guinea are all getting special attention. The effort sometimes seems at odds with President Bush ‘s stated second-term goal of spreading democracy." -- Because Bush's agenda is not about spreading democracy.

The New Syndrome -- F. E. A. R. -- Fear Everything Anxiety Reaction - "The Zionist zealots (neo-conservative Likud Party supporters who yoke Israel's interests to those of America) and rightwing evangelical "millennial" or end-time Christians, both raise the spectre of "Islamic terrorism" as a force that threatens free people everywhere. They know that fear destroys reason, leaving the individual's conscience in the hands of those who instill the fear. Similarly, Fascism and Zionism achieved their objectives through fear, resulting in the vast societal FEAR syndrome. People who believe in peace with justice must do exactly the opposite of what the fear-mongers want. We must struggle in solidarity to promote more education, mutual knowledge, a "living together" based on universal values, on respect for life and diversity, for democracy, for freedom, and for justice."

Scathing nuclear report as US brands Iran enemy No 1 - "The US administration branded Iran public enemy number one, calling it one of the world's most active sponsors of terrorism, as the UN nuclear inspectors revealed that Tehran has successfully enriched uranium and is racing ahead with its nuclear programme."

McCain warns Russia, China on Iran - "A leading U.S. senator warned Russia and China on Friday of damage to their relationship with the United States if they refused to go along with sanctions against Iran. Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona told a Brussels conference that Iran's nuclear program posed the greatest security threat to the world alongside terrorism."

Tumbling Dice - "The US House of Representatives voted in favor of what it calls "Iran Freedom Support Act". Now, what is not known by the passage of this act is if the members of Congress who voted for it are ignorant, or if they hope that their constituents are ignorant. What it states is ludicrous:"hold Iran accountable and support a smooth transition to democracy." accountability? From this Congress? They can't even, or don't want to hold President Bush accountable for his many violations of the law and/or Constitution, now they want to hold Iran accountable for following the NPT? But that's not even the best part! "..Support a smooth transition to democracy." Iran is a democracy, just like the US. They voted for their current President, just as we voted (kind of ) for ours. Of course, I'm sure they wouldn't have voted for such a hardliner if they hadn't felt crowded by the US Army, which is occupying countries to either side of it. But, that's beside the point. They are a democracy, so for Congress to vote to support a smooth transition to democracy is kind of like Congress voting to keep accepting favors from lobbyists.All this is, is the same old rigoramole leading to the inevitable invasion of Iran. It's not that Iran has nuclear weapons, it's for three other reasons, the first and most obvious being it's vast oil reserves."

US admits Iraq is terror 'cause' - "THREE years after its invasion of Iraq the US Administration acknowledged yesterday that the war has become “a cause” for Islamic extremists worldwide and there is a risk of the country becoming a safe haven for terrorists hoping to launch fresh attacks on America." -- Good work, George. I see you're aiming to do the same for Iran.

House will debate Iraq - "House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told Republican colleagues yesterday that they will have a full and lengthy floor debate on the Iraq war, a dramatic change of course for GOP leaders who had previously resisted Republican and Democratic calls for such a debate."

End Time Values. The Demise of America - "Russian Christians now admit that the concept of human rights and liberties as advocated by America and the West has no application in contemporary Russia . That country is drowning in vices directly linked to the West’s concept of inherent rights and liberties: abortion; homosexuality; dissolution of traditional marriage; pornography; slavery, prostitution, and exploitation of the oppressed, etc. The Russian Orthodox now understand that such American “values” are, in fact, vices which harm every human society as a collective. Such American “rights” have not brought happiness. They represent the deviance of the cult of the individual. From my Third World perspective, I am amazed that some Americans continue to argue that America’s virtue is that it protects such “rights” (=vices)."

Bush's Imperial Presidency - "The Bush administration has pushed hard for limitless powers to spy on, imprison and torture American citizens in the name of 'security.' Is this really what America stands for?"

Bush administration invokes "state secrets" in suit against NSA - "It's official: The Bush administration formally said Friday that it will try to halt a lawsuit that accuses AT&T of helping the National Security Agency spy on Americans illegally."

Citing 'liberal' immigration laws, U.S. blasts Canada on terrorism - "Islamic terrorist cells continue to operate in Canada, according to a Bush administration report released yesterday that fingers a "liberal" immigration system for allowing terrorists to infiltrate the country." -- The hypocrisy is painful to read.

Bush to proclaim designated month for Jewish history - "In a history-making moment, President George W. Bush is expected next week to proclaim May of every year as Jewish American Heritage Month."

Osama Connected to 9/11? Not According to the F.B.I. - "As of today, 4/28/06, the F.B.I. website listing for Osama notes that it was last updated in November, 2001, after the events of September 11th 2001. While the site notes several crimes for which Osama is suspected, the site makes no mention of the events of September 11th."

'At Some Point, Reality Has Its Day' - "Al Gore on why America—and even George Bush—is close to a tipping point on global warming."

Prostitution Alleged In Cunningham Case - "Federal authorities are investigating allegations that a California defense contractor arranged for a Washington area limousine company to provide prostitutes to convicted former congressman Randy "Duke" Cunningham (R-Calif.) and possibly other lawmakers, sources familiar with the probe said yesterday."

Republicans Involved In Lobbyist Sex Scandal At The Watergate Hotel? - "Well, folks, we may have ourselves a genuine sex scandal. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that there is enough evidence of a lobbyist-sponsored prostitution ring that investigators are scurrying across D.C., trying to figure out exactly which lawmakers were involved:"

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." -- Just in case you have not heard of this story.

Report reveals number of secret FBI subpoenas - "The FBI secretly sought information last year on 3,501 U.S. citizens and legal residents from their banks and credit card, telephone and Internet companies without a court's approval, the Justice Department said Friday."

Congress may consider mandatory ISP snooping - "It didn't take long for the idea of forcing Internet providers to retain records of their users' activities to gain traction in the U.S. Congress. ... The Bush administration's current position is an abrupt reversal of its previous long-held belief that data retention is unnecessary and imposes an unacceptable burden on Internet providers."

Hill staffers spin Web encyclopedia - "Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia that can be altered by anyone with a computer, has proved remarkably useful for pulling political dirty tricks."

The Columbine Massacre Unravels - "Columbine has never made any sense. On a close examination of eyewitnesses, and events, one can easily see that there were at least seven people involved, and maybe a third shooter. ... John Stone, the Sheriff of Jefferson county at the time, believed there were others involved, but he was constantly blocked by an FBI agent named Wayne Fuselier. To make matters worse, Fuselier had two sons in the Trench Coat Mafia, and the FBI saw no conflict of interest." -- Interesting.

"Boycott Da Vinci Code film": top Vatican official - "The latest broadside came from Archbishop Angelo Amato, the number two official in the Vatican doctrinal office which was headed by Pope Benedict until his election last year. Amato, addressing a Catholic conference in Rome, called the book "stridently anti-Christian .. full of calumnies, offences and historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, the Gospels and the Church.""

Mexico proposes decriminalizing pot and cocaine - "Owning marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if the drugs are carried in small amounts for personal use, under legislation passed by the Congress."

Two-tiered Internet: Panel paves way for fees - "Among others, Google has expressed concern that firms such as AT&T might start charging extra fees on heavy bandwidth users. Bloggers have complained they, too, might end up having to spend money to maintain sites if a two-tiered system is implemented."

Trojan horse: Your money or your files - "When activated, the Trojan horse, dubbed Ransom-A by antivirus company Sophos, displays some explicit images. It then shows an expletive message that demands a $10.99 payment, or it will delete one file every 30 minutes, security experts at SophosLabs said in a statement published Friday."

MIT pulls course Web page after complaints - "The Massachusetts Institute of Technology took down a history course Web page after Chinese students complained about a 19th century wood-print image of Japanese soldiers beheading Chinese prisoners."

Cells That Read Minds - "But if the findings, published in 1996, surprised most scientists, recent research has left them flabbergasted. Humans, it turns out, have mirror neurons that are far smarter, more flexible and more highly evolved than any of those found in monkeys, a fact that scientists say reflects the evolution of humans' sophisticated social abilities. The human brain has multiple mirror neuron systems that specialize in carrying out and understanding not just the actions of others but their intentions, the social meaning of their behavior and their emotions."

NASA Says Comet Fragments Won't Hit Earth - "Chunks of a comet currently splitting into pieces in the night sky will not strike the Earth next month, nor will it spawn killer tsunamis and mass extinctions, NASA officials said Thursday."

Quote of the Day
"Quite an experience to live in fear, isn't it?"
~ Roy Batty, Blade Runner

April 28, 2006

News -- April 28, 2006

Neil's Garage -- Neil Young's official website. Check out the new album.

The $2-Trillion War - "“We are not only saddling our young people with this burden,” she adds, “but we are sweeping it under the carpet and not noticing that there’s a big bump. These costs are locked in. The reality is that the government is very, very bad at budgeting for long-term costs. And one of the hardest things about teaching budgeting is that people don’t understand scale. How big is big? The highest-grossing movie ever, Titanic, took in $1.8 billion. We spend that in Iraq in one week.”"

Russia and China warn UN not to antagonise Iran - "Russia and China on Thursday warned against escalating the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme. The call came on the eve of an eagerly awaited report on whether the country has met United Nations demands."

House votes 397-21 for “Iran Freedom Support Act" - "As if Iraq isn’t a big enough mess, the House of Representatives has just voted to ‘hold Iran accountable and support a transition to democracy’. Sound Familiar? Only this time Iran is a democracy. They just held an election where their president was actually elected by the people. How refreshing."

Subject to the Penalty of Death -- Too much to post here.

TERRORISM IS TERRORISM! - "Clearly the United States is the largest terrorist state in the world and by our own definition. The US Department of Defense defines terrorism as: "the unlawful use of -- or threatened use of -- force or violence against individuals or property to coerce or intimidate governments or societies, often to achieve political, religious, or ideological objectives." Is this not what the United States is doing to Iraq? ... The United States Government refuses to admit terrorist acts that we use around the globe with this fake "Global War On Terror" ( GWOT ) against militarily weaker peoples and countries. This is sold to Americans by the shovel load through the main stream press that sells our terrorism as the "advancement of democracy" to "protect the American people" All designed to fool the American public into believing our terrorism is necessary when in actuality it is calculated plot for economic and strategic conquest. Terrorism has always been used to support military spending throughout our American history."

Chevron pumps higher profit - "Net income in the first quarter increased to $4 billion, or $1.80 a share, from $2.7 billion, or $1.28, in the year-earlier period."

Bush: Raise fuel-efficiency standards - "Bush called on Congress to give him the authority to set the standards for passenger cars sold in the United States as a means of reducing the nation's demand for gasoline." -- Oh, that makes me feel better.

Market fuel prices drop - "Oil and gasoline prices took another tumble in New York trading yesterday on signs of increasing supplies and slackening demand in the United States and China, adding to an 18-cent drop in wholesale gas prices that likely will produce relief at the pump in the days ahead."

May 1 immigrant boycott aims to 'close' cities - "Pro-immigration activists say a national boycott and marches planned for May 1 will flood U.S. streets with millions of Latinos to demand amnesty for illegal immigrants and shake the ground under Congress as it debates reform. Such a massive turnout could make for the largest protests since the civil rights era of the 1960s, though not all Latinos -- nor their leaders -- were comfortable with such militancy, fearing a backlash in Middle America."

State Senate Supports Immigrant Walkout On Monday - "California's state senators on Thursday endorsed Monday's boycott of schools, jobs and stores by illegal immigrants and their allies as supporters equated the protest with great social movements in American history."

Myth vs. Fact - "Politicians and pundits are defending illegal immigration with worn-out myths that can easily be proven wrong."

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman rebuffs attempts to interview Administration officials in pre-war Iraq probe - "The Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has denied Democratic attempts to interview Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, former CIA Director George Tenet and two former senior aides to erstwhile Secretary of State Colin Powell."

Let Us Now Spit Upon The Earth You can do it the old way, or you can do it like Bush -- with smirks, mountain bikes and oil - "It was Earth Day weekend. The president talked about how mountain biking helped him "settle his soul" and "burn off excess energy when you're living life to its fullest," which apparently means blindly running your nation into a bloody flaming wall at full speed like a drunk NASCAR driver on Ambien. He talked about how he enjoyed mountain biking because it had such minimal impact on the pristine, wild surroundings. Shockingly, lightning did not strike him dead on the spot. ... Bush on Earth Day. It's like Satan talking up the joys of Easter. It's like Paris Hilton chatting about treading the planet with humility and grace. It's like Jerry Falwell gushing about his love of Brokeback Mountain, Eli Lilly extolling the virtues of meditation and green tea. It is, in a word, embarrassing. Humiliating. Intellectually bludgeoning. And hypocritical in a way, and at a depth, that is as nauseating to stomach as the testosterone levels at a Duke lacrosse frat party."

Running for Senate, and Against the War - "From a cocktail party of liberal contributors in Baltimore to the ball-cap-wearing crowd in a conservative town in southwest Virginia, wherever Democratic loyalists gather, there are five words sure to prompt applause for a Senate candidate: End the war in Iraq."

Conflict Stirs Up Confusion On Border of Chad, Sudan - "In this desolate, sand-blown desert region of Chad near the Sudanese border, civilians are caught in a conflict so confusing that they -- and even the combatants -- have trouble telling who is fighting whom. Or exactly why."

Two More Free Nations Fall To Biometric Prison - "When is a national ID card not a national ID card? That's correct my Orwellian students, its when your leader says its a "biometric access card". Australia is set to revert back to being a prison state as all citizens are to be forced to carry the "access card" by 2010. The card would include a computer chip with biometric information and photograph, and is 'designed to reduce welfare and identity fraud, and protect against terrorists." ... Any number of upgrades could see the card used in all aspects of life in the two countries. The ID systems in Britain and Australia equate to lifelong surveillance and an end to life as a private citizen."

Terrorist: ‘Nice Guy’ Trying To ‘Influence Social Policy’ - "That's not my definition. That's the government's definition in a terrorism pamphlet prepared and distributed by the Texas Department of Public Safety Special Crimes Service Counterterrorism Intelligence Unit. ... Consider yourself warned. WE are the enemy."

American Samizdat - "Your right to read news stories and writing that disrupt the government/Big Media symbiosis is under attack. And you probably don’t even know it. ... The Orwellian “Communications Opportunity, Promotion, and Enhancement Act of 2006,” sponsored by Congressman Joe Barton (R, Texas), will, if it becomes law, allow your Internet provider to charge you extra to read this column. It will allow your provider to block this column entirely."

When Hollywood Makes History - "But the movie, which opens nationwide today, is a dramatic re-creation that includes scenes and images that go far beyond what is known about the attacks. Those scenes raise questions: How far can a dramatic movie go in imposing its own reality before it distorts the public's understanding of the event? And with memories of 9/11 still vivid and raw, is it too soon for such films to be made?"

A Death in the Congressman's Office - "A young female employee of one of Florida's Congressmen had died unexpectedly in the Congressman's office. There were no witnesses to her death and the cause of death was not apparent. Klausutis' boss, Joe Scarborough had recently resigned from Congress prematurely and unexpectedly, amid rumors about his marital fidelity and soon after a divorce."

Corporate America backs gay rights - ""Corporate America is ahead of government in providing equal treatment for GLBT people because it knows that fairness is good for business," declares Joe Solmonese, president of Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and lesbian civil rights group."

Circumcision, Fidelity More Effective HIV Prevention Methods Than Condoms, Abstinence, Researchers Say - "In addition, circumcision has been shown to reduce male-to-female HIV transmission by 60% to 75% (Goering, Chicago Tribune, 4/23)."

Research raises hopes for male birth pill - "A pill for men that will allow them to share the responsibility for birth control looks a better prospect with research published today."

Australian research shows mobile phones affect brain function - "Scientists from Swinburne University of Technology's Brain Sciences Institute in Melbourne found people's response times slowed during a 30-minute mobile phone call but their memory appeared to improve."

Calif. agency OKs broadband via power lines test - "The California Public Utilities Commission approved a plan on Thursday allowing providers of high-speed Internet services to test using electricity lines to deliver online access throughout the state."

Is Jesus the next killer app? - "Companies such as Sony, Panasonic, Avid and Hitachi are helping churches spread the gospel as part of an effort to cash in on an exploding market known as "house of worship technology.""

Quote of the Day
"But the reality is, I'm getting away with murder."
~ Papa Roach

April 27, 2006

News -- April 27, 2006

Impeaching Bush, State by State - "Taking advantage of 'Jefferson's Revenge,' state legislatures have brought impeachment much closer to reality."

Iran has missiles that put Europe in range: report - "Iran has received a first shipment of missiles from North Korea that are capable of reaching Europe, Israel's military intelligence chief was quoted on Thursday as saying."

60 Minutes: CIA Official Reveals Bush, Cheney, Rice Were Personally Told Iraq Had No WMD in Fall 2002 - "Tonight on 60 Minutes, Tyler Drumheller, the former chief of the CIA’s Europe division, revealed that in the fall of 2002, President Bush, Vice President Cheney, then-National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and others were told by CIA Director George Tenet that Iraq’s foreign minister — who agreed to act as a spy for the United States — had reported that Iraq had no active weapons of mass destruction program."

Exxon Mobil profit rises on soaring prices - "Net income in the first quarter was $8.4 billion, or $1.37 a share, up from $7.86 billion, or $1.22 a share, a year earlier. Revenue jumped to $88.98 billion from $82.05 billion."

ConocoPhillips profit soars as oil prices surge - "Net income in the first quarter surged to $3.29 billion, or $2.34 a share, compared with a profit of $2.91 billion, or $2.05 a share, in the year earlier period."

Going a Short Way to Make a Point - ""Since George Bush and Dick Cheney took over as president and vice president, gas prices have doubled!" charged Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), standing at an Exxon station on Capitol Hill where regular unleaded hit $3.10. "They are too cozy with the oil industry." She then hopped in a waiting Chrysler LHS (18 mpg) -- even though her Senate office was only a block away. ... America may be addicted to oil, as President Bush puts it. But America is in the denial phase of this addiction -- as evidenced by the behavior of its lawmakers."

Senators to push for $100 gas rebate checks - "Every American taxpayer would get a $100 rebate check to offset the pain of higher pump prices for gasoline, under an amendment Senate Republicans hope to bring to a vote Thursday. However, the GOP energy package may face tough sledding because it also includes a controversial proposal to open part of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to oil exploration, which most Democrats and some moderate Republicans oppose." -- First off, this is underhanded and sneaky. Second, what will $100 do for anyone except maybe fill up the tank twice? Big deal.

Privately, Bush Says He Favors Citizenship - "President Bush generally favors plans to give millions of illegal immigrants a chance at U.S. citizenship without leaving the country, but does not want to be more publicly supportive because of opposition among conservative House Republicans, according to senators who attended a recent White House meeting."

Senate OKs $2 billion to stop illegals - "The Senate yesterday approved immediately spending nearly $2 billion to stop illegal immigration, the largest such infusion of emergency cash for the effort in recent years."

U.S. seeks to keep evidence from 9/11 families - "Prosecutors asked a judge to rethink granting 9/11 families suing airlines access to evidence gathered for the criminal case against al Qaeda terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui." -- Hmmm.

Senate Panel Recommends Abolishing FEMA - "The recommendations conclude that the Federal Emergency Management Agency is crippled beyond repair by years of poor leadership and inadequate funding. They call for a new agency - the National Preparedness and Response Authority - to plan and carry out relief missions for domestic disasters."

Wounded Soldiers Fight Off Bill Collectors at Home - "The draft report by the Government Accountability Office, which ABC News obtained, said that hundreds of wounded soldiers had military debts incurred through no fault of their own turned over to collection agencies."

Senate Panel Demands Oil Co. Tax Records - "The Senate Finance Committee promised "a comprehensive review of the federal taxes paid" by the oil companies on their record profits last year."

Cheney still profits from Halliburton ties - "The $211,465 that Halliburton paid him in 2005 was more than Cheney’s government salary of $205,031. So who does he really work for? Us, supposedly. This is why the Halliburton payout, which Cheney negotiated before he ran for vice president in 2000, has always been controversial. And it is why Cheney’s dismissive attitude toward the appearance of a conflict of interest should have been taken more seriously back at the beginning — that is, before the word “Halliburton” became associated with the phrase “waste, fraud and abuse.”"

Neil Young: Exclusive 'Impeach the President' Lyrics - "Here, for the first time, the lyrics to Neil Young’s “Let’s Impeach the President”:"

Can we criticize Israel without being labeled anti-Semitic? - "Earlier this semester, I wrote a column criticizing Israel's hard-line response to the newly-elected Hamas Palestinian government. The day it ran, someone asked me why I thought I was qualified to comment on that miserable and bloody conflict. Any interest group that lobbies my government to the tune of nearly $3 billion per year is well within my range of criticism. And any government that engages in questionable foreign policy with my country's name attached to the sales receipt is well within the sphere of my written word."

House reverses course, supports expanded use of deadly force - "In a surprise turnaround, the House supported legislation it defeated last month that would give people more leeway to use guns to defend themselves in public places. It also voted for a bill to bar the state from taking guns or ammunition from people during a state of emergency."

Survey: Americans uncomfortable with new surveillance technologies - "The most negatively viewed surveillance method concerns implanting an electronic chip to track identity. Also, more than half of respondents perceive spyware, the U.S. government's use of wiretaps and the widespread deployment of RFID tags that could track people as unacceptable modes of surveillance."

N.H. Leads Revolt Against Federal ID Rules - "New Hampshire has suddenly become a battleground in the fight over privacy rights versus homeland security, with state legislators voting against strict new federal standards for issuing driver's licenses. At issue is the federal Real ID Act, which is intended to keep terrorists from getting fake IDs. It requires states by 2008 to verify documents such as birth certificates, Social Security cards and passports when people apply for driver's licenses. State databases with driver information and photos will also be linked. Last month, the Republican-controlled New Hampshire House voted overwhelmingly to bar the state from participating in the program."

'Jesus with erection' ignites outrage - "A Catholic activist organization has written to Oregon's governor and state lawmakers to protest a University of Oregon student newspaper for having published cartoons showing Jesus Christ naked and with an erection."

Chinese Internet writer charged with subversion - "A Chinese Internet writer has been charged with attempting to "subvert state power" for backing a movement by exiled dissidents to hold free elections for a new democratic government, his lawyer said on Thursday."

America's rags-to-riches dream an illusion: study - "America may still think of itself as the land of opportunity, but the chances of living a rags-to-riches life are a lot lower than elsewhere in the world, according to a new study published on Wednesday."

Is 35 now over the hill? - "Telecom giant LM Ericsson AB is offering buyouts to up to 1,000 of its employees in Sweden, a voluntary package that is only being offered to employees between the ages of 35 and 50. The novel initiative is meant to clear the way for younger workers. Ericsson also announced plans to hire 900 new employees—only those under 30 need apply—over the next three years."

Preparing for the Economic Typhoon - "Is it really possible for one man to single-handedly obliterate the world’s most robust economy? Guess so."

Obesity and technology: Can the stomach be fooled? - "The company that invented the heart pacemaker is employing the same technology to trick obese patients into thinking their stomachs are full. And Medtronic Inc., the world's biggest maker of medical devices, is not the only medical technology company trying to tap into the $100 billion obesity market."

Your Thoughts Are Your Password - "What if you could one day unlock your door or access your bank account by simply "thinking" your password? Too far out? Perhaps not."

What Does Your Sneeze Say About You? - "But you may want to listen to all that sneezing: A body language expert said that a sneeze can offer a revealing look at someone's personality."

You, To, Can Right Like a Blogger - "Some people claim surfing the web and reading blogs can actually improve your writing skills. Others shudder as a very public disaster unfolds."

Video Of Girls' Fight As Parent Watches Circulates On MySpace - "Videotape of the fight, which lasts about 7 minutes, was recently posted on MySpace. A woman can be seen standing over the girls and watching the scuffle. Fresno police said they know who the girls are but they don't know who filmed the fight and who posted it online. If the person who put the fight online is an adult, they could face charges, Local 6 News reported."

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

April 26, 2006

News -- April 26, 2006

Vermont lawmakers to call for Bush impeachment - "A Progressive lawmaker today will introduce a formal resolution in the state Legislature calling on Congress to draft articles of impeachment against Pres. George W. Bush." -- State number 3, and counting.

Iran threatens retaliation if America attacks - "Iran will harm US interests anywhere in the world if America launches an attack, the supreme leader of the country, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said today."

Olmert Takes Ahmadinejad Threats Seriously - ""The Jewish people and the very existence of Israel" are Iran's targets, Olmert said, "and we don't see enough of a response from the world." ... Olmert also praised President Bush, saying Israel was "in good hands" when it relied on him."

Dangerous Times Ahead - "These are dangerous times, because the Bush family history, and the Rove M.O., are to attack viciously and without restraint when cornered."

Crisis building in White House over Iraq war - "A week ago, it was the generals. Now it's the colonels and majors and captains. Moreover, these officers are in uniform and have none of the security from retribution of the generals who had all already retired. ... This debate is about the war in Iraq, about the tactics and prospects of the American forces there, and, most particularly, about Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, already the target of stinging criticism by a half dozen recently-retired senior generals, most of whom had served in Iraq. The names of these junior officers have all been withheld by the Times. If ever identified, they would be court-martialed. So readers have to take it on faith that the paper has described their opinions accurately. But it's hard to doubt that the report is close to the truth. To heighten its credibility, by no means all of its findings are predictable. Thus, while the younger officers overwhelmingly fault Rumsfeld, they are less critical of President George W. Bush."

Iraq Funding Bill to Hit Senate Floor - "The $106.5 billion bill has ballooned by almost $15 billion over President Bush's February request, and that figure could grow as senators of both parties press amendments to add money for border security and medical care for veterans." -- They have no concept of fiscal responsibility.

US will go for other states after Iran and Iraq, says Margolis - "Renowned American journalist Eric Margolis has said that the US will “go for” Pakistan and Saudi Arabia after Iraq and Iran."

Is it Zarqawi, Or Is It Memorex - "On the right is a picture from the video, while on the left is a known photograph of Zaraqawi. A close examination will bring you to the conclusion that the man in the new video is most definitely not Zarqawi, as his nose is longer than the one on the left. In other words it's a fake."

Canada Bans Coverage of Returning War Dead - "The government also has stopped lowering flags to half-staff outside Parliament each time a Canadian soldier is killed, prompting Liberals to accuse Prime Minister Stephen Harper of trying to play down the growing human cost of the Canadian mission in Afghanistan."

U.S. to Free 141 Terror Suspects - "Only 10 of the roughly 490 alleged "enemy combatants" currently detained at the facility have been charged; none has been charged with a capital offense."

Texas Training Pamphlet: 'Nice Guys' Who Wear Levis & Travel With Children Likely Terrorists - "A Texas Department of Public Safety Criminal Law Enforcement pamphlet gives the public characteristics to identify terrorists that include buying baby formula, beer, wearing Levi jeans, carrying identifying documents like a drivers license and traveling with women or children."

Bush's Slide Deeper Than Any One Poll Shows - "Let's face it, watching George W. Bush's approval rating tick incrementally down to the single digits he has so rightfully earned is in some ways the political equivalent of watching paint dry. We know he's going down and the relevant issue seems to be when that will happen. At this point, the only interesting thing in examining individual approval polls is wondering how uninformed or Kool-Aid drunk this thirty-something percent must be to still actually believe he is doing a good job." -- Check out the maps. They speak volumes.

ArmyTimes Poll: Do you think the U.S. war effort is grounds for Secretary Rumsfleld to resign? - Yes: 64%

Rumsfeld sued over Pentagon's recruiting database - "Six New York teen-agers sued Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld on Monday, alleging the U.S. Department of Defense broke the law by keeping an extensive database on potential recruits."

Prisoner torture numbers fuzzy - "The military has nearly completed investigating and trying hundreds of soldiers accused of mistreating detainees in the war on terror, yet it is still not clear how many prisoners were actually tortured as various human rights groups have claimed." -- Does it matter how many? The fact that it happened should be repulsive enough.

Gas prices may hit $4 before falling back - "Look for $4 in some markets and for the national average to peak near $3.50 a gallon before the Fourth of July. But relief should follow, if everything falls into place. And there are no hurricanes."

Drivers run out of gas to save money - "Some California drivers are resorting to desperate measures to beat the surge in gas prices at the pump -- deliberately running dry on the state's freeways and simply waiting for rescue."

Human trafficking is 'slavery that shames world' - " Almost every country in the world is affected by the scourge of human trafficking, a UN report will reveal today. ... Germany, Greece and France are among about a dozen countries identified as having a "high" incidence of acting as transit countries. Ten countries are named as the top destinations for trafficking victims: Belgium, Germany, Greece, Israel, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Thailand, Turkey and the US."

Bush, senators agree on alien citizenship, shut out critics - "President Bush and a group of senators yesterday reached general agreement on an immigration bill that includes a pathway to citizenship for many illegal aliens."

Hispanic Attorney Says Using Term Illegal Alien Racial Slur - "Appearing on KLIF Radio’s Gregg Knapp show, attorney Domingo Garcia said that using the terms illegal alien or illegal immigrant is a “racial slur”. Garcia said that those who use it, in reference to Hispanics, are racist."

Bank considers 'sexual orientation' - "A Louisiana shareholder, Virginia M. Brown (owner of 306 shares of BofA stock) calls for shareholders to vote in favor of her initiative where the "sexual interests, inclinations and activities (of) employees should be a private matter, not a corporate concern," concluding that sexual orientation provisions are not needed for the Bank's human resources guidelines."

Officials park where, when they please - "This elite group of drivers can park anywhere in the District when they're on "official business," and not get a ticket or risk getting their vehicle towed."

Wisconsin Bill would prohibit mandatory microchip implants - "A proposal moving through the state Legislature would prohibit anyone from requiring people to have the tiny chips embedded in them or doing so without their knowledge. Violators would face fines of up to $10,000."

Percent who skip health insurance jumps - "More than 40 percent of Americans making between $20,000 and $40,000 a year went without insurance for at least part of the year last year, according to a study published Wednesday."

Bugs bite into popular browsers - "The Firefox and Safari bugs could cause the browsers to crash, while the IE hole could be exploited to hijack a vulnerable Windows computer, Secunia said in advisories on its Web site."

Mini-Comets Approaching Earth - "In 1995, Comet 73P/Schwassmann-Wachmann 3 did something unexpected: it fell apart. For no apparent reason, the comet's nucleus split into at least three "mini-comets" flying single file through space. Astronomers watched with interest, but the view was blurry even through large telescopes. "73P" was a hundred and fifty million miles away. We're about to get a much closer look. In May 2006 the fragments are going to fly past Earth closer than any comet has come in more than twenty years."

Quote of the Day
"George W. Bush is not America; he is the current US President. It is not the same."
~ Matthew Parris

April 25, 2006

News -- April 25, 2006

Why Bush Is Going Nuclear - "Just before Christmas, a few days after President Bill Clinton had been impeached by the House of Representatives, Clinton received intelligence from Iraqi exiles that Saddam Hussein and his entourage would be spending a specific night in an underground bunker beneath one of his palaces. Facing possible removal from office for "high crimes and misdemeanors," Clinton decided to remove Saddam from his office, thereby diverting attention from himself, as well as achieving the regime change in Iraq long sought by both neo-crazies and loony lefties. ... Saddam wasn't killed by our cruise missiles because the non-nuke warheads they carried weren't powerful enough, nor capable of penetrating deep enough, to destroy underground bunkers."

Israel: Iran 'worst threat to Jews since Hitler' - "Shaul Mofaz said: "Of all the threats we face, Iran is the biggest. The world must not wait. It must do everything necessary on a diplomatic level in order to stop its nuclear activity." He added: "Since Hitler we have not faced such a threat.""

No, It's Not Anti-Semitic - "My own reading of the Mearsheimer-Walt paper found it unremarkable, a bit sloppy and one-sided (nothing here about the Arab oil lobby), but nothing that even a casual newspaper reader does not know. Its basic point -- that Israel's American supporters have immense influence over U.S. foreign policy -- is inarguable. After all, President Bush has just recently given Israel NATO-like status without so much as a murmur from Congress. "I made it clear, I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally Israel," Bush said. This was the second or third time he's made this pledge, crossing a line that previous administrations would not -- in effect, promulgating a treaty seemingly on the spot. No other country gets this sort of treatment."

Bush Says He Tried to Avoid War 'To The Max,' Explains How God Shapes His Foreign Policy - "Bush also explained, in unusually stark terms, how his belief in God influences his foreign policy. "I base a lot of my foreign policy decisions on some things that I think are true," he said. "One, I believe there's an Almighty. And, secondly, I believe one of the great gifts of the Almighty is the desire in everybody's soul, regardless of what you look like or where you live, to be free. "I believe liberty is universal. I believe people want to be free. And I know that democracies do not war with each other.""

Bush Orders Probe Into Gas Price Cheating - "President Bush is trying to calm Americans' outrage over soaring gas prices by ordering an investigation into whether the price of gasoline has been illegally manipulated, his spokesman said Monday."

Coming soon: Cars that get 100 miles per gallon - "A car that doesn't need gas, or at least not much, is getting slightly more realistic all the time." -- I think this technology has been supressed for years in order to maximize oil profits.

"I'm Not Ready to Make Nice" -- Listen to the song, read the lyrics, check out the video. They have earned my respect.

DEMOCRATS SPEAK WITH FORKED TONGUES - "To listen to Democrats today, you would think they all opposed George Bush’s illegal 2003 invasion of Iraq. Bush, now at his lowest in public opinion polls, is open game for his Democratic opponents. He is being portrayed as a lying warmonger while the Dems are extolling the virtues of their anti-war philosophy. All this posturing is false. Four years ago, the Democratic Party jumped on board the war bandwagon. Many voted to go to war and gave resounding testimony to the evil of Iraq. However, if you believe the messages being sent by Democrats, you would think that not one supported the war."

Chavez: U.S. Diplomat Welcome in Venezuela - "Venezuela's president said Sunday that he would welcome a visit by a top U.S. State Department official and hopes to build close ties with like-minded Americans despite his vehement opposition to President Bush."

Congress readies broad new digital copyright bill - "For the last few years, a coalition of technology companies, academics and computer programmers has been trying to persuade Congress to scale back the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. Now Congress is preparing to do precisely the opposite. A proposed copyright law seen by CNET News.com would expand the DMCA's restrictions on software that can bypass copy protections and grant federal police more wiretapping and enforcement powers."

The secrets of Scientology - "Very few journalists have infiltrated this bizarre "religion", although it has attracted at least eight million followers and is estimated to make £250m a year from its members. ... I ask if Scientology is a drug rehabilitation programme or a religion and he can't give me a straight answer: "It's different things for different people, you know," he says. I don't. "Well, people have all different kinds of problems and Scientology can help anyone through anything. It makes you a better person." Quite what Scientology does for the individual has been a matter of debate since Hubbard set it up in 1954. Tellingly, four years earlier, he had announced at an authors' convention: "Writing for a penny a word is ridiculous. If a man really wants to make a million dollars he should start his own religion." ... Although Ron will not give me an exact figure, he says that recruits pay "thousands" to study Scientology."

The Christian Nation Movement and the Alabama-ban - "A Missouri House Committee recently ignited debate over whether the United States was a "Christian nation" when it approved a resolution that the founding fathers "recognized a Christian God and used the principles afforded to us by Him as the founding principles of our nation." This resolution is not the first of its kind and follows the 2004 Texas Republican Party's platform which declared that the "United States of America is a Christian nation." The Christian nation movement is part of an escalating assault on the separation of church and state by the Republican right, so that the real question today is not whether we are a Christian nation but whether we are still a First Amendment nation."

Atheism is a liberating world view - "Let's first affirm that atheism is not a religion. It is quite simply a fundamental world view that asserts that to date there has been no evidence for the existence (reality) of gods. Logically, it is therefore incumbent on believers to support their claims rather than the reverse. The evidence that we do have argues quite strongly that the Judeo-Christian deity does not exist. For example, God is traditionally described as all-powerful, -knowing, -present and -good and not of time or space. Like square circles and married bachelors, it is an incoherent statement on its face and proven so by a simple reality check. ... Whereas atheists would change their position the minute there was evidence for a god or for the supernatural, religionists are so hard-wired and vacuum-sealed in their beliefs that they freely admit that their position is not even open for discussion. Atheism is the liberating view incorporated in the philosophy of secular humanism. Its central theme is that man alone is solely responsible for his destiny on earth. Morality has been shown to be a product of human development over thousands of years; no deity is necessary to counsel us about right and wrong. Atheists are continually amazed that Americans can reason with such clarity and critical thinking on most aspects of life except when it comes to God and religion. God, faith, religion, and the supernatural are, in the atheist's world view, the causes of the delusional wishful thinking that has at best, wasted man's time and at worst, been responsible for his most awful behaviors."

Will Anti-Religion Books Be the Next Big Thing? - "As pundits and pollsters are endlessly telling us, America is the most religious nation in the Western world. So why are two recent books, both of which challenge the very premise of religion, so hot?"

Just Say None of Your Business - "New government guidelines give even more funding to abstinence-only programs, despite solid evidence that they don't work." -- And that's because humans are supposed to start having sex in their teenage years. Otherwise, they wouldn't have those "urges". Seven year olds don't have those urges.

One Day, That Economy Ticket May Buy You a Place to Stand - "The airlines have come up with a new answer to an old question: How many passengers can be squeezed into economy class? A lot more, it turns out, especially if an idea still in the early stage should catch on: standing-room-only "seats.""

Why men get aggressive with super-masculine rivals - "A question for the men out there: ever find yourself becoming mysteriously aggressive towards rugged, super-masculine men once a month? The reason could lie with your wife or girlfriend - scientists have found that men become jealous of other dominant-looking males when their partners are at their most fertile."

Teacher Accused Of Forcing Kids To Watch Porn - "The New Sunday Times reported that 13-year-old male and female students were forced by a teacher to watch porn because they didn't do their homework."

Quote of the Day
"You've got to kill the terrorists before the killing stops and I am for the President - chase them all over the world, if it takes ten years, blow them all away in the name of the Lord."
~ Jerry Falwell

April 24, 2006

News -- April 24, 2006

California Becomes Second State to Introduce Bush Impeachment - "Joining Illinois, California has become the second state in which a proposal to impeach President Bush has been introduced in the state legislature. And this one includes Cheney as well."

L.A. Times Editorial Calls for Cheney's Ouster - "A Los Angeles Times editorial Sunday called for a "far more audacious" makeover of President Bush's administration, saying he should send Vice President Cheney into early retirement." -- I think jail is more appropriate.

Chips down, Bush prepares a Hail Mary bet - "With Bush in power, there is no waiting. There is no thought of avoiding another hideous war at all costs. To the Bush hawks, diplomacy is a failed joke. Negotiation is for intellectuals and tofu pacifists. In the Dubya worldview, the planet is a roiling cauldron of nasty threats, crammed with terrorists and hateful Muslims and foreign demons suddenly growling on our doorstep when, curiously, they really weren't there before he stumbled into power. Amazing how that works."

The madness of bombing Iran - "As part of the softening-up come the justifications, as false as the ones that preceded the Iraq war, but more disgraceful second time round. Here are the counter-arguments."

Republicans urge Bush to probe high gasoline costs - "The retail price for gasoline soared 13.1 cents in the last week to a national average of $2.91 a gallon, the fourth highest price ever recorded by the government, and pump costs are forecast to keep rising."

Blasts Kill 21 in Egyptian Resort City - "Three nearly simultaneous bombings hit the Egyptian beach resort popular with foreigners Monday at the height of the tourist season, killing at least 21 people and wounding more than 60 a day after Osama bin Laden issued a taped warning against Westerners."

Is al-Qaeda behind attack? - "Counter-Terrorism Bureau Head Danny Arditi issued a warning to Israeli citizens just a few weeks ago to refrain from visiting any Arab country." -- Hmmmm.

Blasts Kill 22 in Egyptian Resort City - "British tourist Paul McBeath told Sky News that there had been "no warning whatsoever."" -- Hmmmm.

Bush says Blair had option to withdraw from Iraq invasion - "It is now official. For the first time, U.S. President George W. Bush has publicly disclosed that, in the run-up to the Iraq invasion in March 2003, he offered British Prime Minister Tony Blair the option to withdraw from the U.S.-led coalition to avoid a confrontation with his MPs who were opposed to the war. But, according to him, Mr Blair insisted that he was "staying'' even if it meant losing his job."

US forces planning for the long haul in Iraq - "The US armed forces are planning to stay in Iraq for at least a decade, a media report claimed on Monday, quoting military strategists. A report in Newsweek said that the 38 square kilometres mini-city and airport Balad was the evidence that American forces were preparing for the long haul. With 27,500 landings and takeoffs a month, Balad is second only to London's Heathrow Airport in traffic worldwide, Brig Gen Frank Gorenc, the base commander, was quoted as saying."

Russian and US citizens see each other as potential enemies? - "The cold-war paradigm of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) between the US and Russia never really went away, and experts warn of a replay of the old superpower arms race. Citizens both in the USA and in Russia see each other as potential enemies, thinking that another cold war is inevitable. However some experts believe that fresh talks between the heads of the two countries can change the situation for the better." -- Huh? Citizens of each country don't see each other as enemies, but world leaders need them to think they are enemies so they propagate it.

In Moscow, buzz over arms race II - "The cold-war paradigm of Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD) between the US and Russia never really went away, and experts warn of a replay of the old superpower arms race." -- And who will reap the profits?

Chavez moves toward nationalizing Venezuela oil - "The moves would up the ante in Mr. Chávez's long-running battle with foreign oil companies, which he accuses of making outsize profits amid high oil prices at the expense of a poor nation. The stakes are high because Venezuela, the world's fifth-largest oil exporter, holds the world's biggest oil reserves outside the Middle East and is the third-biggest supplier of crude to the U.S."

CHOKING ON GAS PRICES AND EXECUTIVE PAY - "Last fall, Lee Raymond, chairman of ExxonMobil, told Congress that gas prices were high because of global supply and demand. "We're all in this together, everywhere in the world," he said. Not exactly. In 2005, ExxonMobil posted a profit of $36 billion, higher than any company ever."

Bush: Deportations not the answer - "President Bush today ruled out deporting current illegal aliens as part of the solution to immigration, saying the government cannot do it."

Congress tries to keep smaller parties down - "On Feb. 1, congressional Democrats led by Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin introduced a bill that, if approved, would end viable third-party competition in races for the U.S. House of Representatives." -- It is easier to control two parties than many.

Africanized ‘killer’ bees settle into South Florida - "The Africanized honeybees, defensive and aggressive, have been in Florida since 2002, entering on cargo ships. They started to spread more quickly last summer. And they are here to stay."

Bill would make sale of sex toys illegal in South Carolina - "The South Carolina bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Ralph Davenport, would make it a felony to sell devices used primarily for sexual stimulation and allow law enforcement to seize sex toys from raided businesses. The measure would add sex toys to the state's obscenity laws, which already prohibit the dissemination and advertisement of obscene materials. People convicted under obscenity laws face up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine." -- What the fuck? A felony?

Quote of the Day
"Who are these men of lust, greed, and glory? Rip off the masks and let's see."
~ Supertramp

April 23, 2006

News (Page 2) -- April 23, 2006

Bush Impeachment - The Illinois State Legislature is Preparing to Drop a Bombshell - "The Illinois General Assembly is about to rock the nation. Members of state legislatures are normally not considered as having the ability to decide issues with a massive impact to the nation as a whole. Representative Karen A. Yarbrough of Illinois' 7th District is about to shatter that perception forever. Representative Yarbrough stumbled on a little known and never utlitized rule of the US House of Representatives, Section 603 of Jefferson's Manual of the Rules of the United States House of Representatives, which allows federal impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of a state legislature. From there, Illinois House Joint Resolution 125 (hereafter to be referred to as HJR0125) was born. Detailing five specific charges against President Bush including one that is specified to be a felony, the complete text of HJR0125 is copied below at the end of this article."

Return of America First? - "Friday's lead story in America's largest newspaper must have made for sober reading at AEI and the Council on Foreign Relations, the twin dorms that house the Wilsonian wings of our national parties. Americans, it appears, have had a bellyful of interventionism and globaloney."

Attack Iran, Ignore the Constitution - "During the 2004 election, George W. Bush famously proclaimed that he didn't have to ask anyone's permission to defend America. Does that mean he can attack Iran without having to ask Congress? A new Congressional resolution being drafted by Representative Peter DeFazio, a Democrat from Oregon, can be a vehicle to remind Bush that he can't."

Deadly serious war games - "It is not exactly a closely guarded military secret when the announcement appears as a dispatch in USA Today, a national newspaper that appears on every street corner, indeed, virtually every hotel in the land. The message this week: the National Strategic Gaming Center of the National Defense University (NDU) will conduct a "war gaming" exercise on July 18 involving Iran's nuclear program."

Worldwide Terror Attacks Exceed 10,000 - "Yet the numbers are a striking reminder that violence around the globe has dramatically increased in the more than four years of the war on terror." -- In other words, the War on Terror is not preventing terror attacks. Shocker.

Flight 93 cockpit recording is a hoax - "I will stick my neck out and declare it a hoax: Jurors in the al-Moussaoui trial were shown alleged cockpit voice recordings of the final stages of the hijacking of United Airlines flight 93. It was played to the court accompanied by a video showing gruesome pictures of charred bodies, so it was intended to stir emotions rather than to provide hard evidence. The defence team's objections to the type of evidence were over-ruled. It took the authorities a long time to come up with evidence from the flight recorders which they had earlier stated were not recoverable. It seems to me they still did a rather sloppy job when replacing the real recordings with this dramatic production. Here is why:"

Virginia Judge allows defense in AIPAC trial to summon Rice - "U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis on Friday allowed the defense to summon Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to testify in the trial of two former AIPAC officials accused of disclosing classified information."

Is U.S. being transformed into a radical republic? - "As Alexis de Tocqueville once said: "America is great because she is good. If America ever ceases to be good, America will cease to be great." In January 2001, with the inauguration of George W. Bush as president, America set on a path to cease being good; America became a revolutionary nation, a radical republic. If our country continues on this path, it will cease to be great - as happened to all great powers before it, without exception."

Probation for owner of grisly porn site - "Wilson's website gave soldiers free access to pornography in exchange for posting pictures from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars." -- Hmmm.

Stolen Away - "Safah is part of a seldom-discussed aspect of the epidemic of kidnappings in Iraq: sex trafficking. No one knows how many young women have been kidnapped and sold since the fall of Saddam Hussein in 2003. The Organization for Women's Freedom in Iraq, based in Baghdad, estimates from anecdotal evidence that more than 2,000 Iraqi women have gone missing in that period. A Western official in Baghdad who monitors the status of women in Iraq thinks that figure may be inflated but admits that sex trafficking, virtually nonexistent under Saddam, has become a serious issue. The collapse of law and order and the absence of a stable government have allowed criminal gangs, alongside terrorists, to run amuck. Meanwhile, some aid workers say, bureaucrats in the ministries have either paralyzed with red tape or frozen the assets of charities that might have provided refuge for these girls. As a result, sex trafficking has been allowed to fester unchecked."

Donald Rumsfeld Makes $5 Million Killing on Bird Flu Drug - "Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m (£2.9m) in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease."

What's To Worry? - "The way the US government measures unemployment is ludicrous. Instead of counting the number of people actually out of work, it counts the number of people filing for unemployment benefits. Which would be accurate, if benefits lasted until one found a position. So once your benefits run out, you are not counted as unemployed by the governmnet, regardles of whether or not you were successful in gaining employment. So when the government lists unemployment at 4.7%, is it really an accurate representation of unemployed? ... Well, the reality is, that the economy is only doing well for the top 20% of Americans. The average executive compensation to worker compensation ratio has gone from 107 to 1 in 1990, to 431 to 1 in 2003. The top 10% of Americans hold 37% of the income. And they just got a tax cut that Bush wants to make permanent to boot.The average American worker however, is seeing none of this "booming" economy. Their healthcare costs are going up, as well as the price of gas, which will eventually drive up the price of everything else. But as long as the haves and have mores aren't hurting, don't expect the Republicans to do anything about it."

Why a strong economy is no GOP asset - "Of all the problems Republicans face heading into the fall political season, one of the most exasperating is the economy."

Hillary Clinton vs. Al Gore - "There simply is no one as powerful as Al Gore to run as the Democratic candidate in 2008. He has all the experience of serving as a United States Senator, of serving as the Vice President, and of already having run once for the Presidency and, thereby, learning from his mistakes. Although he should not personally exploit it, the increasing view that he had the Presidency taken away from him by a biased Supreme Court in what is now widely believed to be a questionable Presidential election in 2000, would also work in his favor. Many Americans could easily look back on the last eight years and imagine much better things for America than George Bush has given us."

Pigs Lining Up To Suckle At The Public Teat:Repiglickin's - "The question often arises, are our public servants seeking election out of a genuine desire to serve the people, or are they merely seeking to serve their own needs and line their pockets? Is it wrong for us to question when say, Dick Cheney's Halliburton and it's subsidiaries get numerous no-bid contracts from the government, or are they just fortunate to be the only companies prepared for the needs of the government? Is it just a coincidence that Halliburton was prepared to meet the many needs of the Bush administration and it's war on "terror", or did they anticipate it?"

Play pushed underground - "Rachel Corrie was born in Washington, killed in the Gaza Strip, praised in London and censored in Manhattan. Now she's being forced to go underground in Toronto. ... But the astonishing thing about this whole affair is that at no point in the play's history has it been the cause of any actual confrontations or demonstrations. It's the fear of what might happen that seems to be motivating people's actions."

News -- April 23, 2006

The One Certainty About Iraq: Spiraling Costs for Americans - "Not only in human lives, but in monetary terms as well, the costs of the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq far exceed the administration's initial projection of a $50 billion tab. While the number of American casualties in Iraq has declined this year, the amount of money spent to fight the war and rebuild the country has spiralled upward."

Killing Thousands of Iraqis: Is It Murder or Isn't It? - ""Thou shalt not kill" (Exodus 20:13) ... What, then, is the point of all this quibbling about the translation of a Hebrew word? Why are some people so adamant about limiting the sixth commandment to murder? Simply this: They are ideologically driven by a desire to legitimatize killing in war, and especially the current war in Iraq. The line of reasoning is as follows: If the commandment in question only prohibits murder, then killing someone in war is okay, and will not subject one to negative consequences by God at the judgment, since it is not murder to kill a man on the battlefield. Is it or isn’t it? ... Is it murder to travel thousands of miles away from your home and drop a bomb, scatter cluster bomblets, throw a grenade, launch a missile, or fire a gun at someone in his home that you have never met who was no threat to you until the United States invaded his country? If it is not murder then what are you going to call it? Justifiable homicide? Manslaughter? Self-defense? Perhaps it can be masked as collateral damage, peacekeeping, or spreading democracy? Any sane man would say that if you travel thousands of miles from your home in Florida to California and blow up a building so as to kill the people inside then you are a murderer. What is it that separates murder from mere killing? What makes the difference? Does killing someone in a foreign country instead of on U.S. soil make the difference? Does the religion of the people you kill make the difference? Does wearing a uniform make the difference? Does getting a paycheck from the government make the difference? Does using a government-issued weapon make the difference? Does following a government order make the difference? Apologists for U.S. soldiers killing in Iraq would have us to believe that the killings are justified because they are done in self-defense. The terrible truth is that most killing in war is simply murder under the guise of self-defense. Those darn Iraqis were trying to kill me so I just had to kill them. All I wanted them to do was to welcome me as a liberator, write a constitution, and hold an election (and perhaps give me a little cheap oil), and look how they are treating me. Let’s see if I understand the self-defense argument. A U.S. solider participates in the invasion of a country thousands of miles away that has never attacked his country. He has his weapon loaded, his finger on the trigger, and the weapon pointed straight ahead. Someone who objects to his country being invaded then loads his weapon, puts his finger on the trigger, and points it at the invading U.S. soldier. The soldier shoots and kills the foreigner. It’s not murder; it’s self-defense. The "enemy combatant" should have surrendered peacefully. So likewise, I suppose that if an armed robber stands on someone’s driveway and aims his weapon at the owner of the house standing in the garage and puts his finger on the trigger, but then the owner of the house points a shotgun at him, that the robber could shoot and kill the homeowner and say that he was simply defending himself. "But the robber was trespassing," you say. And U.S. troops are not? What else are you going to call it? Importing democracy? Regime change? Nation building? It is all of these things and more, but at the point of a gun. U.S. soldiers killing for the state in Iraq cannot claim to be acting in self-defense because the war itself was not for self-defense. It was an act of aggression that was supposed to be a cakewalk, but it backfired with disastrous results for the United States."

Tide turns on Dubya's wreck - "SYDNEY, NSW, is a long way from Washington DC but, even at this distance, it is clear that the Bush Administration is falling to pieces. In recent weeks, scanning the political coverage in the mainstream US media and sampling the blogs has been to watch a flood tide ebbing to reveal a rotting, skeletal hulk. It is the George W. Bush ship of fools, stuck in the mud for the world to see in all its mendacity, its incompetence, its faith-based stupidity."

In Tape, bin Laden Urges Fighters to Sudan - "Osama bin Laden issued ominous new threats in an audiotape broadcast Sunday, purportedly saying the West was at war with Islam and calling on his followers to go to Sudan to fight a proposed U.N. force."

New Plans Foresee Fighting Terrorism Beyond War Zones - "Details of the plans are secret, but in general they envision a significantly expanded role for the military -- and, in particular, a growing force of elite Special Operations troops -- in continuous operations to combat terrorism outside of war zones such as Iraq and Afghanistan. Developed over about three years by the Special Operations Command (SOCOM) in Tampa, the plans reflect a beefing up of the Pentagon's involvement in domains traditionally handled by the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department. ... And in a subtle but important shift contained in a classified order last year, the Pentagon gained the leeway to inform -- rather than gain the approval of -- the U.S. ambassador before conducting military operations in a foreign country, according to several administration officials. "We do not need ambassador-level approval," said one defense official familiar with the order."

God Bless Neil Young - "But why does it take a 60 year old Canadian musician to generate political activism in America? ... Young himself has said "I was waiting for someone to come along, some young singer 18 to 22 years old, to write these songs and stand up ...I waited a long time. Then, I decided that maybe the generation that has to do this is still the '60s generation.""

Officials mum on huge U.S. Embassy - "The fortresslike compound rising beside the Tigris River here will be the world's largest of its kind, the size of Vatican City, with the population of a small town, its own defense force, self-contained power and water, and a precarious perch at the heart of Iraq's turbulent future. The new U.S. Embassy also seems as cloaked in secrecy as the ministate in Rome. ... "It's somewhat self-evident that there's going to be a fairly sizable commitment to Iraq by the U.S. government in all forms for several years," he said in Washington."

We're Staying! Unless the Iraqis Force the United States Out, The Evidence Shows the U.S. Isn't Leaving - "The message is clear. Indeed, it's gigantic for all Iraqi's, for the entire world to see. A 100 acre compound - ten times the size of the typical U.S. embassy, the size of 80 football fields, six times larger than the UN, the size of Vatican City. The U.S. Embassy Compound, in the middle of Baghdad - the center for U.S. domination of the Middle East and its resources. ... If there is any thought that the U.S. is planning on leaving Iraq, the new embassy should make it clear 'We're staying!'"

Army suicides hit highest level since 1993 - "In 2005, a total of 83 soldiers committed suicide, compared with 67 in 2004, and 60 in 2003 — the year U.S.-led forces invaded Iraq. Four other deaths in 2005 are being investigated as possible suicides but have not yet been confirmed. The totals include active duty Army soldiers and deployed National Guard and Reserve troops. “Although we are not alarmed by the slight increase, we do take suicide prevention very seriously,” said Army spokesman Col. Joseph Curtin."

Hillary wants to build a U.S.-Mexico fence first — and she's right - "And she said she favors a "carrot-and-stick" approach with Mexico to provide that government and its "oligarchs" the incentives to give Mexicans more and better jobs in their own country."

Hollywood puts its faith in holy films - "HOLLYWOOD, long accused of promoting Godless amorality, has found religion. Studio executives are praying that a flood of Christian films will rescue them from a slump by performing miracles at the multiplex. ... For the first time in half a century, studios are test-screening films in front of religious leaders rather than teenagers. They are also paying pastors and rabbis as consultants. ... A Hollywood remake of the British cult film The Wicker Man remains in the balance as scriptwriters seek to “modernise” the film. In the 1973 version Scottish pagans triumph over Christianity, but the remake, starring Nicolas Cage, has to avoid offending 75m Americans who describe themselves as “born again”." -- I really enjoyed the original Wicker Man. I do not expect the new version to have the same punch as the original.

The atheists under the bed - "In a rather juvenile and loosely reasoned diatribe "The left's own religious whackjobs," Raw Story columnist Melinda Barton marshals a series of straw man arguments against the threat of what she terms "secular whackjobs.""

Cameras talk trash to would-be criminals - "Baltimore officials say "talking" cameras that issue stern warnings to trespassers have resulted in less graffiti vandalism and illegal dumping throughout the city."

The true cost of a college education - "Graduates will have to work well into their thirties before they can reap the financial benefits of getting a degree, according to new research that will make many parents and teenagers question the value of university."

Texas Community College Bans MySpace.com - "An investigation found that heavy traffic at MySpace.com was eating up too much bandwidth, said August Alfonso, the school's chief of information and technology. Forty percent of daily Internet traffic at the college involved the site, he said."

Unpatched Mac flaws may put users at risk - "Apple Computer is investigating several unpatched and potentially serious security flaws in Mac OS X that have been publicly disclosed, the company said Friday."

Fibonacci poems multiply on the Web - "That's exactly what happened after Gregory K. Pincus, a screenwriter and aspiring children's book author in Los Angeles, wrote a post on his GottaBook blog several weeks ago inviting readers to write "Fibs," six-line poems that used a mathematical progression known as the Fibonacci sequence to dictate the number of syllables in each line."

Quote of the Day
"The growth of our nation and all its activities are in the hands of a few men."
~ Woodrow Wilson

April 22, 2006

News -- April 22, 2006

Iran still years away from having nukes: US intelligence chief - ""By the same token, our assessment at the moment is that even though we believe that Iran is determined to acquire or obtain a nuclear weapon, that we believe that it is still a number of years off before they are likely to have enough fissile material to assemble into, or to put into a nuclear weapon; perhaps into the next decade," he said. "So I think it's important that this issue be kept in perspective," he said."

Here it comes - "Since our "federal reserve notes" have no value unless all countries are forced to buy them at economic gunpoint, Iran is the leak in the dike. If the USA doesn't stick its finger in it, it will definitely grow. Once other nations see Iran getting away with selling her oil for real money, they will stop buying U.S. dollars and the USA will be flooded with inflation because of her idiocy in having federal reserve notes backed by nothing."

GEORGE WACKO BUSH - "Prof Justin Frank said the president is a danger to the world because he actually believes he is all-powerful and beyond the law."

If Past Is Prologue, George Bush Is Becoming An Increasingly Dangerous President - "Bush is following the classic mistaken pattern of active/negative presidents: As Barber explained, they issue order after order, without public support, until they eventually dissipate the real powers they have -- until "nothing [is] left but the shell of the office." Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon all followed this pattern. Active/negative presidents are risk-takers. (Consider the colossal risk Bush took with the Iraq invasion). And once they have taken a position, they lock on to failed courses of action and insist on rigidly holding steady, even when new facts indicate that flexibility is required. The source of their rigidity is that they've become emotionally attached to their own positions; to change them, in their minds, would be to change their personal identity, their very essence. That, they are not willing to do at any cost. Wilson rode his unpopular League of Nations proposal to his ruin; Hoover refused to let the federal government intervene to prevent or lessen a fiscal depression; Johnson escalated U.S. involvement in Vietnam while misleading Americans (thereby making himself unelectable); and Nixon went down with his bogus defense of Watergate. George Bush has misled America into a preemptive war in Iraq; he is using terrorism to claim that as Commander-in-Chief, he is above the law; and he refuses to acknowledge that American law prohibits torturing our enemies and warrantlessly wiretapping Americans. Americans, increasingly, are not buying his justifications for any of these positions. Yet Bush has made no effort to persuade them that his actions are sound, prudent or productive; rather, he takes offense when anyone questions his unilateral powers. He responds as if personally insulted."

Rumsfeld Zeros in on the Internet - "Before Bush took office, “political rantings and musings about current events” were protected under the 1st amendment. No more. The War Department is planning to insert itself into every area of the Internet from blogs to chat rooms, from leftist web sites to editorial commentary. Their rapid response team will be on hair-trigger alert to dispute any tidbit of information that challenges the official storyline. We can expect to encounter, as the BBC notes, “psychological operations (that) try to manipulate the thoughts and the beliefs of the enemy (as well as) computer network specialists who seek to destroy enemy networks.”The enemy, of course, is anyone who refuses to accept their servile role in the new world order or who disrupts the smooth-operation of the Bush police-state.The resolve to foreclose on free speech has never been greater."

Lawyer: Rice Allegedly Leaked Defense Info - "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice leaked national defense information to a pro-Israel lobbyist in the same manner that landed a lower-level Pentagon official a 12-year prison sentence, the lobbyist's lawyer said Friday."

CIA Officer Fired for Leaking Information - "In a rare move, the CIA has fired an employee for leaking classified information to the press. ... ABC News has learned that the fired officer admitted to the leaking after he failed a polygraph test. The leak included information on the CIA's secret prisions, but that was not the only story this official was accused of leaking."

A Spy Speaks Out - "A CIA official who had a top role during the run-up to the Iraqi war charges the White House with ignoring intelligence that said there were no weapons of mass destruction or an active nuclear program in Iraq. ... They didn't want any additional data from Sabri because, says Drumheller: "The policy was set. The war in Iraq was coming and they were looking for intelligence to fit into the policy.""

Homeland Security grants spent on clowns and gyms - "Fire departments are using Homeland Security grants to buy gym equipment, sponsor puppet and clown shows, and turn first responders into fitness trainers. The spending choices are allowable under the guidelines of the Assistance to Firefighters grant administered by the Homeland Security Department, which has awarded nearly 250 grants since February totaling more than $25 million out of the current spending pot of $545 million."

Texans Going To Pawn Shops To Get Extra Gas $$ - "Pawn shops say their business is increasing, with some customers saying they're selling things to buy gas." -- It's $3.09 here. It went up 15 cents yesterday alone.

Damning Evidence of ‘Big Oil’ Conspiracy To Limit Supply - "“As observed over the last few years and as projected well into the future, the most critical factor facing the refining industry on the West Coast is the surplus refining capacity, and the surplus gasoline production capacity. The same situation exists for the entire U.S. refining industry. Supply significantly exceeds demand year-round. This results in very poor refinery margins, and very poor refinery financial results. Significant events need to occur to assist in reducing supplies and/or increasing the demand for gasoline.” --Internal Texaco document, March 7, 1996"

Senior Democrat Exits House Ethics Panel - "The top Democrat on the House ethics committee, Alan Mollohan, will leave the panel _ at least temporarily _ while he defends his own financial conduct, Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said Friday. Mollohan's decision comes in an election year when his party is accusing majority Republicans of allowing a "culture of corruption" in Congress."

Australia is Debt Free - "THE Federal Government will today finally manage to do what most Australians struggle to achieve – pay off the dreaded credit card."

Neil Young's protest album to get Web premiere - "Neil Young's newly recorded protest album "Living With War," including a song calling for the impeachment of President Bush, will be posted for free Internet streaming next week, his label said on Friday."

The "smoking iPod": Definitive proof that George W. Bush is a lawbreaker - "OK, forget the fact that he called the author of one of the great pop hits of all-time "Dan McLean" instead of "Don McLean" or that he admits listening to Betty, Veronica and Jughead. If stupidity were an impeachable offense, the late Chief Justice Rehnquist would have been sending his "Pirates of Penzance" outfit bck to the dry cleaner four-and-a-half years ago. No, the key part is where he admits, not once but twice, that he downloads the Beatles."

Japanese researchers find new giant picture on Peru's Nazca Plateau - "The image is 65 meters long, and appears to be an animal with horns. It is thought to have been drawn as a symbol of hopes for good crops, but there are no similar patterns elsewhere, and the type of the animal remains unclear. The discovery marks the first time since the 1980s that a picture other than a geometrical pattern has been found on the Nazca Plateau." -- Check out the picture.

American Ethnic Geography -- Lots of interesting information at this site. Thanks to Secular Front for posting the link.

Quote of the Day
"It's amazing I won. I was running against peace, prosperity and incumbency."
~ George W. Bush, June 14, 2001, speaking to Swedish Prime Minister Goran Perrson, unaware that a live television camera was still rolling