May 31, 2006

News -- May 31, 2006

Noam Chomsky: Why it's over for America - "An inability to protect its citizens. The belief that it is above the law. A lack of democracy. Three defining characteristics of the 'failed state'. And that, says Noam Chomsky, is exactly what the US is becoming. In an exclusive extract from his devastating new book, America's leading thinker explains how his country lost its way."

Bill Moyers to college grads: - "So I have been thinking seriously about what I might say to you in this Baccalaureate service. Frankly, I'm not sure anyone from my generation should be saying anything to your generation except, "We're sorry. We're really sorry for the mess you're inheriting. We are sorry for the war in Iraq. For the huge debts you will have to pay for without getting a new social infrastructure in return. We're sorry for the polarized country. The corporate scandals. The corrupt politics. Our imperiled democracy. We're sorry for the sprawl and our addiction to oil and for all those toxins in the environment. Sorry about all this, class of 2006. Good luck cleaning it up.""

White House: Haditha findings to be made public - "The results of an investigation into the killings last year of 24 Iraqi civilians will be released to the public when the Marine Corps' investigation is complete, the White House said." -- Yes, but will the truth be released?

Photos Indicate Civilians Slain Execution-Style - "Photographs taken by a Marine intelligence team have convinced investigators that a Marine unit killed as many as 24 unarmed Iraqis, some of them "execution-style," in the insurgent stronghold of Haditha after a roadside bomb killed an American in November, officials close to the investigation said Friday. The pictures are said to show wounds to the upper bodies of the victims, who included several women and six children. Some were shot in the head and some in the back, congressional and defense officials said. One government official said the pictures showed that infantry Marines from Camp Pendleton "suffered a total breakdown in morality and leadership, with tragic results." -- Hmmm?

US probe finds Haditha victims were shot:NYT - "U.S. military officials say the killing of 24 civilians in the Iraqi town of Haditha in November appears to have been an unprovoked attack by U.S. Marines, after an investigation found the victims died of gunshot wounds, The New York Times reported on Wednesday. The findings of the investigation contradicted Marines' claims that the civilians were victims of a roadside bomb, the newspaper said." -- And it just gets more interesting.

Cheney desperate to attack Iran, World Cup offers pretext - "Keep your eyes peeled, folks. These guys are cornered and any day now they're going to act - even if they pass up the World Cup."

Terrorism invoked in ISP snooping proposal - "In a radical departure from earlier statements, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has said that requiring Internet service providers to save records of their customers' online activities is necessary in the fight against terrorism, CNET has learned."

Top scientist gives up on creationists - ""I don't engage with creationists directly," he said, saying that, when he had, they had frequently quoted him out of context or accused him of lying. "If somebody has decided to believe something - whatever the evidence - then there is nothing you can do about it.""

Significant increase diabetes prevalence in US - "More than one out of every three individuals in the United States have diabetes and another 26 percent have impaired fasting glucose, which increases the risk of developing diabetes, new study findings suggest."

Study: Canadians healthier than Americans - "You can add Canadians to the list of foreigners who are healthier than Americans. Americans are 42 percent more likely than Canadians to have diabetes, 32 percent more likely to have high blood pressure, and 12 percent more likely to have arthritis, Harvard Medical School researchers found. That is according to a survey in which American and Canadian adults were asked over the telephone about their health." -- The telephone?

Heart may be home to its own stem cells - "A team of US researchers has discovered the “home” of stem cells in the heart, lending credence to the idea that the heart has the capacity to repair itself. The finding raises the possibility that these cardiac stem cells could one day be manipulated to rebuild tissues damaged by heart disease – still the leading cause of death in the US and UK."

Pedophiles to launch political party - "Dutch pedophiles are launching a political party to push for a cut in the legal age for sexual relations to 12 from 16 and the legalization of child pornography and sex with animals, sparking widespread outrage. ... The party said it wanted to cut the legal age for sexual relations to 12 and eventually scrap the limit altogether. ... The Netherlands, which already has liberal policies on soft drugs, prostitution and gay marriage, was shocked by the plan. An opinion poll published Tuesday showed that 82 percent wanted the government to do something to stop the new party, while 67 percent said promoting pedophilia should be illegal. "They make out as if they want more rights for children. But their position that children should be allowed sexual contact from age 12 is of course just in their own interest," anti-pedophile campaigner Ireen van Engelen told the AD daily."

Magic mushroom users turn to exotic alternatives to get high without breaking law - "Ironically, the trade has been stimulated by the Government's decision last year to ban "magic mushrooms", which contain the hallucinogenic psilocin, which had been sold openly through the internet and in places such as Camden market in north London. The ban left a gap in the market, with consumers and vendors looking for new products."

Quote of the Day
"...,if by a liberal they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties if that is what they mean by a 'liberal' then I am PROUD to be a liberal."
~ President John F Kennedy

May 30, 2006

News -- May 30, 2006

World powers weigh nuclear 'guarantee' for Iran, Russia says - "World powers are prepared to guarantee Iran's right to develop nuclear energy provided Tehran eases international concerns over its nuclear intentions and cooperates fully with the UN atomic watchdog, Russia said. Speaking at the start of a critical week of high-stakes diplomacy, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the five permanent UN Security Council members and Germany were hammering out a plan for resumption of talks with Tehran."

The Evil Is In Our Government - "Is the Bush Regime a state sponsor of terrorism? A powerful case can be made that it is. ... Bush damns the "axis of evil." But who has the "axis of evil" attacked? Iran has attacked no one. North Korea has attacked no country for more than a half-century. Iraq attacked Kuwait a decade and a half ago, apparently after securing permission from the US ambassador. Isn’t the real axis of evil Bush-Blair-Olmert? Bush and Blair have attacked two countries, slaughtering their citizens. Olmert is urging them on to attack a third country – Iran. ... The US government has spent the past half century interfering in the internal affairs of other countries, overthrowing or assassinating their chosen leaders and imposing its puppets on foreign peoples. To what country has Iran done this, or Iraq, or North Korea? Americans think that they are the salt of the earth. The hubris that comes from this self-righteous belief makes Americans blind to the evil of their leaders. How can American leaders be evil when Americans are so good and so wonderful? ... The former terrible tyrant ruler of Iraq, Saddam Hussein, is on trial for killing 150 people. The US government murdered 500,000 Iraqi children prior to Bush’s invasion. When the US government murders people, whether Serbs, Branch Davidians at Waco, or Iraqi women and children, it is "collateral damage." But we put Saddam Hussein on trial for putting down rebellions. Gentle reader, do you believe that the Bush Regime will not shoot you down in the streets if you have a rebellion?"

Bush 'planted fake news stories on American TV' - "Federal authorities are actively investigating dozens of American television stations for broadcasting items produced by the Bush administration and major corporations, and passing them off as normal news. Some of the fake news segments talked up success in the war in Iraq, or promoted the companies' products."

OIL ON TROUBLED WATERS - "Amid the ever-escalating rhetoric between the United States and Venezuela, the president of the oil-rich Latin American country, Hugo Chavez, has been busily scoring points with low-income American consumers. Under a program sometimes dubbed petro-diplomacy, Citgo, Venezuela's wholly-owned gas and oil subsidiary, has been providing discounts of up to 60 per cent on heating oil to poor communities in the U.S. The program is currently operating in Maine, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Connecticut, and Rhode Island. Most local politicians, desperate for ways to reduce energy costs for their constituents, have welcomed it with open arms."

Dixie Chicks — a profile in courage - "Now it all seems quaint, so three years ago. As in, before the WMDs turned up MIA, before the bungling of Hurricane Katrina, before the scandal of Abu Ghraib, before illegal spying on U.S. citizens, before 20,646 U.S. casualties in Iraq, 2,462 of them fatalities. These days, between 65 percent and 70 percent of us — the polls vary — have reservations about the leadership of George W. Bush. And Natalie Maines' assessment of this profoundly mediocre man seems almost ... charitable. Indeed, in a recent Rolling Stone cover story, Princeton history professor Sean Wilentz declares Bush a contender for the uncoveted title of worst president ever. So yes, the Chicks could have accepted vindication gracefully, taken a demure victory lap and gone quietly back to country. Instead, they release a song full of fighting words and, in interviews, declare their lack of regret and uninterest in rapprochement with the red-state musical establishment that made them stars. What a bracing display of guts. Watching, you wonder when is the last time you saw anyone in the pop-culture arena put their careers on the line for matters of principle. Surely, you don't have to go all the way back to Muhammad Ali in '66 saying, "I ain't got no quarrel with them Viet Cong." Surely it only feels that way. Surely some singer, actor, athlete has taken a risk for right since then. But no names come immediately to mind. ... These are, should it have to be said, fearful times. Soldiers in harm's way, terrorism threats looming, government surveilling citizens. There is much cause for trepidation. But courage is courage only when fear is present. It matters only when something is at stake. For what it's worth, the Chicks' new single bombed on country radio, putting their careers further in question. It's a problem they wouldn't have had if they'd kept silent. Thankfully, they didn't. There's already too much of that going around."

Gonzales Gone Wild - "This assault on the meaning of the Fourth Amendment is, in my estimation, the biggest leap forward for totalitarianism in this country. The following is an excerpt from Alberto Gonzales' Fourth Amendment catechism (emphasis mine):"

Pitt anthropologist thinks Darwin's theory needs to evolve on some points - "He does take issue with two key parts of traditional Darwinian thinking, though -- gradualism and adaptation."

High-tech tags may track kids in TUSD - "Millions of consumers pay extra to put tracking devices in their cars in case of theft. But would parents want to shell out more money for something similar for their children? And would schools go for it? The answer seems to be yes. ... If the program is approved for a districtwide rollout in the fall, the company would give TUSD's 12,000 bus-riders from fifth grade down a plastic watchband, a small black box hooked to a belt loop or a key fob. The devices will let administrators, teachers and parents know when students get on a bus, when they get off, where they are at noon and when they're dropped off."

Officials in California TownSay Smoking Ban Is Working - "Ten weeks after they enacted the most draconian smoking ban in the nation, city officials in Calabasas, Calif., say the rules are having the desired impact -- reducing exposure to the secondhand smoke that can accumulate when smokers congregate outdoors and near building entrances."

Study: Sexual Desire is in Your Genes - "The researchers found that individual differences in human sexual desire can be attributed to genetic variations. The study is the first to provide data to show that common variations in the sequence of DNA impact on sexual desire, arousal and function, the researchers said."

"Weapon of Mass Destruction" Targets Sex Shop - "Detectives say it's an act of local terrorism. An adult bookstore is cleaning up after a chemical attack by a homemade device that investigators are calling a "weapon of mass destruction.""

Russian Scientists Harness Star Power in New Battery - "Russian scientists have invented a battery that can capture energy not only from the sun, but also from the stars, the head of a research center at the Dubna Nuclear Institute near Moscow, said."

U.S. is an impatient nation, poll finds - "We'll make this quick. We know you're busy. ... In short, Americans want it all NOW. Or awfully close to now."

Quote of the Day
"I'm not ready to make nice, I'm not ready to back down."
~ The Dixie Chicks, (Not Ready to Make Nice)

May 29, 2006

News -- May 29, 2006

The State in the Dock - "People tell me that Saddam Hussein is a very bad man. Probably he is. Ok, really he is. He is egregiously immoral and ghastly. Should he be put on trial? Can such a trial be fair? This is where it gets complicated. If all heads of state who commit violent acts were to be tried as criminals, we would live in a very different world. It would be a world without governments as we know them. Let's say that you like that idea. You might argue that lopping off Saddam's head is as good a place to start as any. But there's a problem: The trial is being administered and run and decided by the government of a conquering nation, one led by a man who clearly had a personal vendetta against Saddam, and who used the most duplicitous methods to drag his country into an imperial venture that has killed perhaps a hundred thousand and thrown the victim country into political and economic chaos."

Murtha: New Scandal Worse Than Abu Ghraib - "The fallout from the killing of as many as two dozen Iraqi civilians by Marines could undermine U.S. efforts in Iraq more than the Abu Ghraib prison scandal did, a lawmaker who is a prominent war critic said Sunday. The shootings last November at Haditha, a city in the Anbar province of western Iraq that has been plagued by insurgents, were covered up, said Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa."

U.S. is world leader in avoiding human rights accountability: Says Amnesty International report - "“The United States has become a world leader in avoiding human rights accountability; a case in point is the reliance of the United States government on private military contractors, which has helped create virtually rules-free zones sanctioned with the American flag and firepower,” said Larry Cox the executive director of Amnesty International’s US Chapter."

More than 60 children reportedly held at Guantanamo Bay - "Those detainees were under 18 when they were captured by US forces, and at least 10 of them still being held at Guantanamo were 14 or 15 when they were seized, held in solitary confinement, subject to repeated interrogation and allegedly tortured, the charity Reprieve was reported as saying."

Bush worshippers are the real un-Americans - "The yahoo Bush worshippers (YBWs) are the real un-Americans. Although they heavily lard their speech with the words “democracy,” “liberty,” and “freedom”; the YBWs do not understand the meaning of these words. After they utter them (usually accompanied, a la Sinclair Lewis, with the Stars and Stripes (or maybe the Stars and Bars) waving in one hand and a prominently displayed gilt Bible in the other), in the very next breath, they support the Bush administration’s domestic spying program, arguing -- if one can call such parrot-screed an argument -- that they have “nothing to hide” and so it’s quite all right with them if the government listens in on them. These people call themselves patriots. They need to do some historical research. At the time of the American Revolution, people with ideas like those of the YBWs were called Tories, not Patriots. The Patriots fought against King George, not for him."

Autopsy: No Arabs on Flight 77 - "A list of names on a piece of paper is not evidence, but an autopsy by a pathologist, is. I undertook by FOIA request, to obtain that autopsy list and you are invited to view it below. Guess what? Still no Arabs on the list."

Israel warns of World Cup terror - "Saudi newspaper says Israel warned US, European intelligence service of possible attempts by Hizbullah cells to carry out attacks during upcoming soccer tournament in Germany in bid to prove to international community that Tehran is capable of retaliation if attacked."

Gonzales pressures ISPs on data retention - "U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and FBI Director Robert Mueller on Friday urged telecommunications officials to record their customers' Internet activities, CNET has learned."

Babies aborted for not being perfect - "The ethical storm over abortions has been renewed as it emerged that terminations are being carried out for minor, treatable birth defects."

US scientists back autism link to MMR - "American researchers have revealed that 85 per cent of samples taken from autistic children with bowel disorders contain the virus. The strain is the same as the one used in the measles, mumps and rubella triple vaccine."

English radio station bans James Blunt songs - " Chris Cotton, programme controller of local radio Essex FM in southern England, said: "We don't have anything against James Blunt and we're pleased he has been so successful, but we really need a break.""

Earth's Ozone Layer Appears To Be On The Road To Recovery - "While the ozone hole over Antarctica continues to open wide, the ozone layer around the rest of the planet seems to be on the mend. For the last 9 years, worldwide ozone has remained roughly constant, halting the decline first noticed in the 1980s. The question is why? Is the Montreal Protocol responsible? Or is some other process at work?"

Sweet success for pioneering hydrogen energy project - "In a feasibility study funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, bioscientists at the University of Birmingham have demonstrated that these bacteria give off hydrogen gas as they consume high-sugar waste produced by the confectionery industry."

The next big bang: Man meets machine - "Yet research on multiple fronts in digital technology, biotechnology and nanotechnology may, over the next half century, alter the way we think about computers and information, and our relationship to them. With these changes, bionic body parts won't seem so far-fetched as we increasingly develop ways to integrate high-tech materials into our mortal flesh."

The 25 Worst Tech Products of All Time - "The Complete List of Losers"

EU to tax e-mail, text messages? - "European Union lawmakers are investigating a proposed tax on e-mails and mobile phone text messages as a way to fund the 25-member bloc in the future."

Quote of the Day
"The most sensible way to avoid these threats, according to the instructor, is to remain alert, use common sense, be inconspicuous and avoid dangerous areas, such as planet Earth."
~ Dave Barry

May 26, 2006

News -- May 26, 2006

Senate OKs citizenship for illegal aliens - "The Senate yesterday easily approved an immigration bill that allows 10 million illegal aliens to become citizens, doubles the flow of legal immigration each year and will cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $54 billion over the next 10 years."

Lay Convicted, Bush Walks - "First, Lay got away with murder - or at least grand larceny. Like Al Capone convicted of failing to file his taxes, Ken Lay, though found guilty of stock fraud, is totally off the hook for his BIG crime: taking down California and Texas consumers for billions through fraud on the power markets."

Decisions, Decisions - "One thing about the decider, once he decides something, the decision is made. No amount of reason can change his mind, he's bound and determined to follow the course his mind is already traveling down."

NYC Mayor Advocates U.S. Worker Database - "Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg thrust himself into the national immigration debate Wednesday, advocating a plan that would establish a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers."

Wis. sex offenders face lifelong tracking - "Wisconsin has enacted a law that requires paroled child molesters to wear a Global Positioning System tracking device for at least 20 years. "Expanded GPS will help law enforcement know exactly where these people are every minute of every day," said Gov. Jim Doyle as he signed the bill into law Monday in Madison. Under the system, warnings would be issued if a sex offender gets near a school, park or other places frequented by children, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Tuesday."

Paradise Lost - "Anti-sweatshop leaders and some members of Congress have long sought to increase wages and protect the islands’ garment workers, most of whom are women, from what amounts to indentured servitude. But their efforts were repeatedly stalled in Congress. And who was among the biggest opponents of reform? None other than the notorious lobbyist Jack Abramoff, whose tentacles reached deep into House Republican leadership. And who was one of the loudest congressional cheerleaders against reform? Tom DeLay, who praised the islands as “a petri dish of capitalism."

Retiree benefits grow into 'monster' - "Taxpayers owe more than a half-million dollars per household for financial promises made by government, mostly to cover the cost of retirement benefits for baby boomers, a USA TODAY analysis shows. ... "This is a monster financial problem that both parties are going to have to solve," says Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., a member of the House Budget Committee. "Most Americans and Congress members don't realize the terrific burden we are putting on future generations."" -- This is because most members of Congress have no concept of financial responsibility.

Hackers can crack top antivirus program - "Symantec Corp.'s leading antivirus software, which protects some of the world's largest corporations and U.S. government agencies, suffers from a flaw that lets hackers seize control of computers to steal sensitive data, delete files or implant malicious programs, researchers said Thursday."

HIV's Ancestry Traced to Wild Chimps - "Twenty-five years after the first AIDS cases emerged, scientists have confirmed that the HIV virus plaguing humans really did originate in wild chimpanzees, in a corner of Cameroon."

Heavy marijuana use not linked to lung cancer - "Despite popular belief, a new study shows that people who smoke marijuana do not appear to be at increased risk of developing lung cancer. It seems even heavy, long-term marijuana users do not appear to increase the risk of head and neck cancers, such as cancer of the tongue, mouth, throat, or esophagus."

Treasury Disconnects the Telephone Tax - "Telephone callers will see one tax drop off their bills this summer and can look forward next year to a refund of federal taxes paid on long-distance and bundled services."

Listening To Music Can Reduce Chronic Pain And Depression By Up To A Quarter - "They found that people who listened to music for an hour every day for a week reported improved physical and psychological symptoms compared to the control group."

Theories see path to invisibility - "New materials that can change the way light and other forms of radiation bend around an object may provide a way to make objects invisible, researchers say."

Quote of the Day
"The "C" students run the world."
~ Harry S. Truman

May 25, 2006

News -- May 25, 2006

Hamas looking to fly planes into buildings - "Hamas is seeking the ability to attack Israel using small airplanes laden with explosives to be flown 9-11-style into important targets, possibly Tel Aviv skyscrapers, Abu Abdullah, a leader of Hamas' so-called military wing, told WorldNetDaily yesterday."

National Post apologizes for anti-Iran story - "A Canadian newspaper apologized on Wednesday for a story that said Iran planned to force Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from Muslims."

Dobbs: Bush, Congress tell working folk to go to hell - "Never before in our country's history have both the president and Congress been so out of touch with most Americans. Never before have so few of our elected officials and corporate leaders been less willing to commit to the national interest. And never before has our nation's largest constituent group -- some 200 million middle-class Americans -- been without representation in our nation's capital."

Republicans, incumbents receive large majority of oil lobby cash - "Eighty four percent of the $8.6 million oil and gas companies have contributed to the 2006 elections has gone to Republicans, according to the Center for Responsive Politics."

U.S. Public Widely Distrusts Its Leaders - "Three out of four (75%) said they trust government less than they did five years ago, just 5% said they think corporations do right by the consumers they are in business to serve, and only 25% feel the reporting is fair and accurate in the newspapers they read or the nightly broadcast network news they watch on television. Nearly 60% said they believe the “state of honesty in America” today is in poor shape (18% said it is in the worst possible shape)."

Osama: A 757 Hit the Pentagon! - "Just in time to stem the tide of ballooning public suspicion of the official story of 9/11 sparked by the newly released Pentagon tapes, the newly camera shy Osama bin Laden takes full responsibility for 9/11! Yes, an unconfirmed tape of bin Laden surfaced yesterday, AFTER the Moussaoui trial, to tell everyone that he was directly responsible for the events! That was very nice of bin Laden being that he would probably benefit greatly by having the public suspect the Bush administration of being responsible for the events."

Arrest of illegals falls off Clinton pace - "The U.S. Border Patrol increased at a faster rate and apprehended more illegal aliens per year under President Clinton than under President Bush, according to statistics from a new, unpublished congressional research briefing report."

How Often Did Abramoff Visit? The White House Won't Tell - "We may never know how many times Abramoff really visited the White House... or who Jeff Gannon/James Guckert, the male prostitute and White House correspondent, met with there. The White House has records that would show all that. But in a departure from the policy of the Clinton White House, the Bush administration seems determined to keep them forever out of public view."

Recycling an implausible narrative of persecution - "It would of course be too impolite to note that the overall narrative of overcoming discrimination just isn't very plausible in a nation that is overwhelmingly Christian and hyperreligious. Christians love to wrap themselves in the lie that they are a persecuted minority and to paint the attempt to convert others not as a form of psychological assault, but as a right of free speech. Whenever someone pushes back, they squeal persecution. But does the newspaper of record really have to uncritically regurgitate this pathologically self-centered tale of woe?"

"Sleeper effect" of cigarettes can last for years - "Scientists have discovered that a single cigarette has a "sleeper effect" that can increase a person's vulnerability for three years or more to becoming a regular smoker."

Honda says brain waves control robot - "In a step toward linking a person's thoughts to machines, Japanese automaker Honda said it has developed a technology that uses brain signals to control a robot's very simple moves."

Study: Most young kids glued to the TV - "Eight in 10 of the nation's youngest children — babies up to age 6 — watch TV, play video games or use the computer for about two hours on a typical day. A third live in homes where the TV is on most of the time."

Quote of the Day
"They're at their most effective when they stir up emotions and hysteria among the feeble-minded."
~ Neal Boortz

May 24, 2006

News -- May 24, 2006

The War in Iraq Costs - "Below is a running total of the U.S. taxpayer cost of the Iraq War."

Iraq doctor brings evidence of US napalm at Fallujah - "EVIDENCE to support controversial claims that napalm has been used by US forces in Iraq has been brought to Australia by an Iraqi doctor."

Iran Requests Direct Talks on Nuclear Program - "Iran has followed President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's recent letter to President Bush with explicit requests for direct talks on its nuclear program, according to U.S. officials, Iranian analysts and foreign diplomats. The eagerness for talks demonstrates a profound change in Iran's political orthodoxy, emphatically erasing a taboo against contact with Washington that has both defined and confined Tehran's public foreign policy for more than a quarter-century, they said."

Crying for a Horse - "Now the nation waits with bated breath to find out if Barbaro will even survive his broken ankle. For horse racing fanatics like Judi Hunt of Aberdeen, Washington, who has listened to or seen each and every Triple Crown race since 1948, the reaction was as expected. The New York Times reported Ms. Hunt as saying, "I cried yesterday when the horse came up lame. I just want to know how the horse is going to do." Such empathy and pity are both predictable and natural in such a heartrending circumstance. However if Americans cared as much about people as they do about horses, Sunday night’s presentation of the HBO documentary Baghdad ER might have actually awoken the somnolent majority of our citizenry who are as indifferent to the carnage in Iraq as they are to tax rates in Tanzania." -- Too much to post here. Check it out.

Vladimir Putin and the rise of the petro-ruble - "On May 10, Russian President Vladimir Putin ignited a firestorm that is bound to sweep across the global economy. In his State of the Nation speech to parliament,, he announced that Russia was planning to make the ruble “internationally convertible” so that it could be used in oil and natural gas transactions. Presently, oil is denominated exclusively in dollars and sold through the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMX) or the London Petroleum Exchange (LPE) both owned by American investors. If Russia proceeds with its plan, the ruble will go nose to nose with the dollar on the open market sending several billions of surplus greenbacks back to the United States. This could potentially send the American economy into freefall; triggering a deep recession and an extended period of hyper-inflation."

ACLU Launching Don't Spy on Me Campaign - "A civil rights group was launching a nationwide Don't Spy On Me campaign Wednesday to urge the public to demand that the Federal Communications Commission and state utility commissions probe whether phone companies broke laws by sharing customer records with the government's biggest spy agency."

Web inventor warns of 'dark' net - "The web should remain neutral and resist attempts to fragment it into different services, web inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has said. Recent attempts in the US to try to charge for different levels of online access web were not "part of the internet model," he said in Edinburgh. He warned that if the US decided to go ahead with a two-tier internet, the network would enter "a dark period"."

A Nation in Chains - "Beneath the thunder of the mighty cataclysms unleashed by the Bush Administration – the war crime in Iraq, the global torture gulag, the epic corruption, the gutting of the Constitution, the open embrace of presidential tyranny – a quieter degradation of American society has continued apace. And this slow descent into barbarism didn't begin with George W. Bush – although his illicit regime certainly represents the apotheosis of the dark forces driving the decay. ... Earlier this month, the International Centre for Prison Studies at King's College London released its annual World Prison Population List. And there, standing proudly at the head of the line, towering far above all others, is that shining city on the hill, the United States of America. But strangely enough, the Bush gang and its many media sycophants failed to celebrate – or even note – yet another instance where a triumphant America leads the world. Where are the cheering hordes shouting "USA! USA!" at the news that the land of the free imprisons more people than any other country in the world – both in raw numbers and as a percentage of its population?"

Feedback Loops In Global Climate Change Point To A Very Hot 21st Century - "Studies have shown that global climate change can set-off positive feedback loops in nature which amplify warming and cooling trends. Now, researchers with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) and the University of California at Berkeley have been able to quantify the feedback implied by past increases in natural carbon dioxide and methane gas levels. Their results point to global temperatures at the end of this century that may be significantly higher than current climate models are predicting."

By 2020, kiss the snows of Kilimanjaro goodbye - "There are a lot of projections about global warming, and almost all of them are scary."

McGavick would bar Iran from soccer's World Cup - ""This is not a trivial matter," McGavick said in an interview. "The world needs to use all the tools at its disposal against Iran. It needs to see that it's an outlaw state."" -- Idiot.

Jeb Bush Approached About Running NFL - "Florida Gov. Jeb Bush said he was privately approached about his interest in becoming the NFL's next commissioner."

Googling America's Brain - "I spend a lot of time at a computer trying to avoid writing, which means that I make extensive recreational use of Google. For me, Google is a toy with which to tap into the written word of the American people -- and thus to plumb the psyche of the nation. Google turns out to be a septic cesspool in which deviant idiots splash around." -- Pretty funny.

A car that slows you down - "Vehicles in London could soon be fitted with technology that would automatically slow them down if they break the speed limit."

Doctor, did you warm up with 'Grand Theft Auto'? - "Surgeons who warmed up by playing video games like "Super Monkey Ball" for 20 minutes immediately prior to performing surgical drills were faster and made fewer errors than those who did not, said Dr. James "Butch" Rosser, lead investigator on the study, slated for release Wednesday."

Quote of the Day
"How many times can a man turn his head and pretend that he just doesn't see?"
~ Bob Dylan, (Blowin' In The Wind)

May 23, 2006

News -- May 23, 2006

Murtha on Iraq: ‘There’s Not Only No Progress, It’s Worse Than It Was Prewar’ - "[T]here’s not only no progress, it’s worse than it was prewar. this thing has been mishandled so badly. The American people needed to hear. we’re spending $450 billion on this war by the end of the year, $9 billion a month, and so we need to change course. The facts appear to back Murtha up."

President grabs power while Congress sleeps - "But the changes that George W. Bush has made to our nation's constitutional firmament may not depart with the first family's bags. His disregard for the separation of powers has so dramatically distorted the office of the president that he may have engineered a turning point in American history. Bush represents the flag-wavers who are long on enthusiasm but don't have any real appreciation for the nobility of America. It isn't our big, expensive military or our big, expensive economy that bestows greatness. It is our modesty. America's magnificence lies in its grounding principle that power must be diffuse. We built a system based on the assessed fallibility of man, where a president is limited by Congress, the courts and the Constitution. ... Bush has taught tomorrow's leaders that, if there are no consequences for ignoring legal constraints on power and if no one stops you from conducting the nation's business in secret, you don't have to be accountable. He is ruling through the tautological doctrine of Richard Nixon, who told interviewer David Frost that as long as the president's doing it "that means it is not illegal.'' ... "Power Surge: The Constitutional Record of George W. Bush" is an unblinking 28-page analysis of our slow devolution into autocracy. Its message can be summed up with this quote: "Under (the president's) sweeping theory of executive power, the liberty of every American rests on nothing more than the grace of the White House.""

Top Ten Signs of the Impending U.S. Police State - "Hey America! Freedom is just around the corner…behind you." -- A good list. If you are unaware of the "Signing Statements" then you should at least read that entry.

Bush governs in dictator style - "President Bush's approval of domestic surveillance is just the tip of the iceberg. The Boston Globe on April 30 (and the New York Times on May 12) reported that President Bush claims authority to disobey more than 750 laws enacted since he took office." -- Yes, you read that correctly: "more than 750."

Few Americans Expect Bush Impeachment - "Many adults in the United States believe their president should not face legal charges over his decision to launch the coalition effort, according to a poll by Opinion Dynamics released by Fox News. 62 per cent of respondents think it would be wrong for lawmakers to try to impeach George W. Bush over the Iraq war and weapons of mass destruction." -- Who are these people?

What People Believe - "The answer lies in the nature of the human being. We are mind-directed creatures. We act on the basis of our beliefs. Therefore, if you can control what people believe, you can control what they do. That's the whole purpose of advertising, for example – to instill in people's minds the belief that a product or service will be beneficial to them. ... Millions of men have gone to war because, as Americans or British or French or Germans or Russians or Japanese, they believed it was their duty. The danger lies in the fact that unscrupulous men, through misrepresentation and propaganda, can motivate people to go to war even though it is not in their country's interest, much less their own. Unless there is an invader threatening one's home and hearth, it is never in the interest of an individual to go war – unless he decides to be a mercenary. It is an evil paradox that men with the lowest motives can launch wars by appealing to the highest ideals of better men."

North American Union to Replace USA? - "The blueprint President Bush is following was laid out in a 2005 report entitled "Building a North American Community" published by the left-of-center Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). The CFR report connects the dots between the Bush administration's actual policy on illegal immigration and the drive to create the North American Union:"

Panic builds up behind America's Great Wall - "And yet there’s something else at work here: an unease, a panic, a sense of helplessness and being beleaguered that has plagued the American psyche since 9/11. On that day, the pristine separation between America and the rest of the world was abolished. The continent was no longer immune to the terror that all other countries had grown used to. ... Then there is genuine cultural discomfort. Census statistics last week showed that, for the first time, almost half of Americans under five years of age are now non-white. The reason? Hispanics accounted for half the population growth in America from 2004-05; and 70% of the growth in the population under the age of five. Project that into the future and America becomes a majority coffee-coloured country in a generation. When the disproportionately white baby-boomer generation dies off, the ethnic demographic shift could be dramatic. There’s a reason that people are not proposing a wall to cordon off Canada."

An illegal alien who can legally sue - "To put it another way: Victor Caballero may not have the legal right to actually live in New Jersey, but New Jersey says he has the legal right to receive generous benefits for being here. Go figure."

Google dumps news sites that criticize radical Islam - "Search giant axes another news page, calls terrorism discussion 'hate content'"

Collapse of the Petrodollar Looming - "The announcement by President Putin of a Russian bourse trading oil and gas in Roubles threatens the stability of the US Dollar far more than Iran's bourse alone would do, and continues the slide in relations between the old Cold War foes."

Country radio nixes Dixie Chicks - "It appears the war U.S. country radio stations mounted against the politically outspoken Dixie Chicks has not abated in the least."

Quote of the Day
"I don't know what's going on in the scenes behind. I worry about it some of the time."
~ Matthew Sweet (Holy War)

May 22, 2006

News -- May 22, 2006

Israel: Iran 'months' from making nukes - "Asked whether he believes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would halt his nation's nuclear-enrichment program under international pressure, Olmert said, "I prefer to take the necessary measures to stop it, rather than to find out later that my indifference was so dangerous." Some observers disagree with Israel's characterization, saying Iran is five to 10 years away from being able to make a nuclear weapon."

Illinois Legislators Introduce Bill for Bush Impeachment - "Three members of the Illinois General Assembly have introduced a bill that urges the General Assembly to submit charges to the U. S. House of Representatives to initiate impeachment proceedings against the President of the United States, George W. Bush, for willfully violating his Oath of Office to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States and if found guilty urges his removal from office and disqualification to hold any other office in the United States."

Ex -US soldier: 'If he didn't answer the way we liked, we would shoot his youngest kid in the head' - ""When we were doing the night raids in the houses, we would pull people out and have them all on their knees and zip-tied. We would ask the man of the house questions. If he didn't answer the way we liked, we would shoot his youngest kid in the head. We would keep going, this was our interrogation. He could be innocent. He could be just an average Joe trying to support his family. If he didn't give us a satisfactory answer, we'd start killing off his family until he told us something. If he didn't know anything, I guess he was SOL."" -- There is a video.

Attorney Gen.: Reporters Can Be Prosecuted - "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Sunday he believes journalists can be prosecuted for publishing classified information, citing an obligation to national security. The nation's top law enforcer also said the government will not hesitate to track telephone calls made by reporters as part of a criminal leak investigation, but officials would not do so routinely and randomly."

KILLER BUG AIR SCARE - "A WOMAN who arrived in London on a flight from Africa yesterday is reported to have died from the deadly and contagious ebola virus. ... Virgin Atlantic cabin crew who came into contact with the woman have been told to monitor their health. One said: "We are now terrified what we may have caught.""

Rough Summer Is on the Way for Air Travel - "Planes are expected to be packed fuller than at anytime since World War II, when the airlines helped transport troops. Fares are rising. Service frills are disappearing."

Pope says low birth rates in Canada due to 'pervasive effects of secularism' - "Pope Benedict said Saturday that low birth rates in Canada are the result of the "pervasive effects of secularism" and asked the country's bishops to counter the trend by preaching "with passion" the truth of Christ." -- No comment.

Summer tours offered to site of 'Noah's Ark' - "A new travel website is now promoting summer tours to a Turkish site near Mount Ararat believed by many to be the fossilized remains of Noah's Ark."

1 in 136 U.S. Residents Behind Bars - "Prisons and jails added more than 1,000 inmates each week for a year, putting almost 2.2 million people, or one in every 136 U.S. residents, behind bars by last summer."

The gangs busing sex slaves between towns - "Hundreds of sex slaves from Eastern Europe are being shuttled between different towns and cities, often several times a week, by criminal gangs determined to cash in on multiple "markets"."

Despite Pledge, Taxes Increase for Teenagers - "The $69 billion tax cut bill that President Bush signed this week tripled tax rates for teenagers with college savings funds, despite Mr. Bush's 1999 pledge to veto any tax increase. Under the new law, teenagers age 14 to 17 with investment income will now be taxed at the same rate as their parents, not at their own rates. Long-term capital gains and dividends that had been taxed at 5 percent will now be taxed at 15 percent. Interest that had been taxed at 10 percent will now be taxed at as much as 35 percent."

Menstruation Is Fast Becoming Optional - "Thanks to birth control pills and other hormonal contraceptives, a growing number of women are taking the path chosen by 22-year-old Stephanie Sardinha. She hasn't had a period since she was 17."

Where have all the icebergs gone? - "The British-funded Ice Patrol is usually busy in May, protecting shipping from rogue bergs. But it's all gone alarmingly quiet this year, as Michael Park discovers."

Studios finding it's cheaper to use special effects - "Unknown to most moviegoers, special-effects innovations have reached the point where a filmmaker can set a $100 million summer blockbuster in an exotic locale without sending the usual fleet of actors, makeup artists, cinematographers and key grips there." -- I'm thinking of more devious reasons to use this technology.

World's Largest Digging Machine - "This is the largest digging machine (or trencher or rotating shovel) in the world." -- Check out the pictures. This thing is huge.

Quote of the Day
"You must be the change you wish to see in the world."
~ Mahatma Ghandi

May 20, 2006

News - May 20, 2006

You got your damn war and it looks like "a mother and young child bent over as if in prayer, shot dead" - "A Pentagon probe into the death of Iraqi civilians last November in the Iraqi city of Haditha will show that U.S. Marines "killed innocent civilians in cold blood," a U.S. lawmaker said Wednesday. From the beginning, Iraqis in the town of Haditha said U.S. Marines deliberately killed 15 unarmed Iraqi civilians, including seven women and three children. One young Iraqi girl said the Marines killed six members of her family, including her parents. "The Americans came into the room where my father was praying," she said, "and shot him." On Wednesday, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said the accounts are true. Military officials told NBC News that the Marine Corps' own evidence appears to show Murtha is right."

Space Aliens From Luxembourg: A Horror Story - "Let us imagine that tomorrow morning, when you flip on CNN, you see Wolf Blitzer being jostled by surging crowds. Everyone is running, staring at the sky in fear. "Space aliens have landed in Luxembourg!" cries Wolf, wide-eyed and almost hysterical, "and they have a message for all mankind!" There is a burst of static, and then you see a drooling, bulging-eyed monstrosity gripping prepared notes in its slimy sea-green tentacles. "Citizens of Earth!" it gurgles, "We bring good news! We see that, all over the world, citizens live under the slavery of what you call ‘governments.’ Millions of you are unjustly imprisoned, billions are stolen from you through taxation, and government-owned WMDs threaten the very survival of the planet! This is a moral abomination, and we have come to put a stop to it!"" -- A pretty good read.

Spying on America - "The truth is, we’re reliving the 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s relentless search for “communists” and now calling them “terrorists,” the uber enemy we created to feed the military industrial complex Dwight Eisenhower so aptly warned us about after WW II. The same complex that got in bed with the surviving fascists of post-war Europe, England and America, looking for an enemy to cover their new/old ambitions of global power, so aptly re-expressed in the Project for the New American Century’s need for a “New Pearl Harbor” to stir the natives into a frenzy of war and death still one more time, i.e., 9/11, to guarantee a “New World Order,” which is in total chaos. The need for this fascist, corporate-profit-at-all-costs driven dominance seems embedded in the psyche of these barely human beings. The same who have created vast amounts of wealth, like the Bush family, the Rockefellers, the Rothschilds, the Fords, and now the Buffets, the Gates, the Corporatos, the “Economic Hitmen” of the world. Their War on Terror will never end. It’s an incredible cash cow, generating billions in military and defense appropriations and natural resources, wherever they can be stolen. They’re getting richer than ever on those three little words: War on Terror."

The Snooping Goes Beyond Phone Calls - "The Departments of Justice, State, and Homeland Security spend millions annually to buy commercial databases that track Americans' finances, phone numbers, and biographical information, according to a report last month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress. Often, the agencies and their contractors don't ensure the data's accuracy, the GAO found. Buying commercially collected data allows the government to dodge certain privacy rules. The Privacy Act of 1974 restricts how federal agencies may use such information and requires disclosure of what the government is doing with it. But the law applies only when the government is doing the data collecting."

"When will they round up the Bloggers...?" - "Every day, it becomes a little clearer that the Bush administration is running roughshod over the civil rights and liberties of the American people. Cynically manipulating the events of 9/11 to crush any opposition, the Bush administration is engaged in an unprecedented effort to consolidate presidential power that threatens the very Democratic principals and institutions that have fostered a free America. What’s next, arresting journalists? When will they round up the Bloggers in their pajamas?"

Impossible to Prove a Falsehood True: Aircraft Parts as a Clue to their Identity - "Considering the catastrophic incidents of September 11 2001, certain troubling but irrefutable conclusions must be drawn from the known facts. I get no personal pleasure or satisfaction from reporting my own assessment of these facts."

White House waits on marriage - "President Bush's spokesman said the White House supports the constitutional amendment that passed a Senate committee Thursday to define marriage as between a man and a woman, but the spokesman would not call it a priority and said the administration is taking a wait-and-see approach to next month's full Senate vote."

Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism - "For many of them, daily life is but a patient waiting game for the resurrection of Christ (although there are difference beliefs as to how and when he will appear). They view the world differently because this life is just a right of passage to the splendors of meeting up with Christ in soulful bliss, as the expendable earth and our temporal bodies are left behind. This is the parallel universe that they inhabit, and they believe it is their duty to control the government. Rather chilling isn't it? ... Islamic fundamentalists and Christian fundamentalists are in broad agreement on many issues: sexual issues (anti-gay, pro-abstinence, anti-abortion); family issues (patriarchal structure); the role of women (anti-feminist); science (the explanation for life is in the holy book and nowhere else); and so on. The difference, in large part, is only in the God they worship. The values of their belief systems are really quite similar, particularly in believing that their belief system is the only one ordained by God."

Savage: "Jimmy Carter is like Hitler" - "On his radio show, Michael Savage declared that former President Jimmy Carter is a "Jew-hater" and a "war criminal" who "is like Hitler" because of his criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank. Savage also called Carter a "communist, anti-American, anti-Semitic bastard.""

How Did Seven Family Members Get Infected With Bird Flu? - "We still don't know how seven members of the same family in Indonesia became infected with the H5N1 bird flu virus strain. Six of them have died. It is vital to know whether some of them infected each other. If they did, this would mean that the virus might be changing."

Town Cracks Down On Unwed Couples - "The city council in Black Jack, Mo., has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together. The mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction. ... The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption."" -- Yes, this is the world we have created.

Report: Ozone Hole May Disappear by 2050 - "The ozone hole over the Antarctic is likely to begin contracting in the future and may disappear by 2050 because of a reduction in the release of chlorofluorocarbons and other ozone-depleting gases, according to a team of Japanese scientists."

Women Get Drunk, High and Addicted Easier Than Men - "The study documents how women, pound-for-pound, not only get more drunk or higher faster then men, but also become addicted more easily. The research results are presented in a new book from CASA called "Women Under the Influence" (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2006)."

Publishers fear drop in reading - "he publishing industry enjoyed a strong year in 2005, with increases in both revenue and the number of books sold. But projections for long-term growth remain limited because people increasingly don't read, according to a study released yesterday."

Quote of the Day
"Too graphic. Too overt. Not suitable for mass consumption."
~ Carrie Laughlin, Kalifornia

May 19, 2006

News -- May 19, 2006

US spells out plan to bomb Iran - "THE US is updating contingency plans for a non-nuclear strike to cripple Iran's atomic weapon programme if international diplomacy fails, Pentagon sources have confirmed."

Iran eyes badges for Jews - "Human rights groups are raising alarms over a new law passed by the Iranian parliament that would require the country's Jews and Christians to wear coloured badges to identify them and other religious minorities as non-Muslims."

The Neo-Monarchy of George W. Bush - "To underscore grounds for concern, the administration has pronounced a theory of presidential power that should alarm anyone who wants government power limited. Under the Unitary Executive doctrine of the Bush Justice Department and many conservative legal theorists, the executive branch has enough implied and inherent powers during wartime to negate the checks and balances ordinarily provided by Congress and the courts. Considering that the Bush administration’s “war on terror” is vague enough to last indefinitely and assumes a global battlefield, the Unitary Executive doctrine is a blueprint for despotism that Napoleon would have envied."

The Eternal Value of Privacy - "The most common retort against privacy advocates -- by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures -- is this line: "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?" Some clever answers: "If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me." "Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition." "Because you might do something wrong with my information." My problem with quips like these -- as right as they are -- is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It's not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect."

No one in Baghdad wants to talk about U.S. Embassy project - "Don't ask about the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad. It's a secret - security reasons. But it's hard keeping a 104-acre complex rising on the banks of the Tigris River hidden. Anyone who cares to know can easily see four giant construction cranes towering over the river at the largest such project ever undertaken by the United States - a symbol of American presence that will last well into the future."

Report Says FAA Got 52 Warnings Before 9/11 - "The Federal Aviation Administration received repeated warnings in the months before Sept. 11, 2001, that al Qaeda hoped to attack airlines, according to a previously undisclosed report by the commission that investigated the terrorist attacks."

Senate panel backs US gay marriage ban - "A Senate panel approved a controversial proposal to write a gay marriage ban into the US Constitution. The proposed amendment will go to the full Senate on June 5 for what is expected to be a heated debate on a ban backed by President George W. Bush." -- God damn this hypocritical country. Sure you have liberty, but only the liberty we say you can have. Sure you have the right to pursue happiness, but only what we deem happiness to be.

The Logic of 'Love It or Leave It' - "Any person who has strong sentiments against the way things are done in this country has probably heard "love it or leave it" at some point. What is the logic of this argument?"

The War On Sex - "They have a plan for you, and if you are anything like the 85 percent of American couples who have sex once a week, you're not going to like it. The pro-life groups who are the most committed to ending legal abortion -- and gotten the furthest in their goals -- are also leading campaigns against the only proven ways to prevent abortion: contraception. Shocking as it may be, there is not one pro-life organization in the United States that supports the use of contraception. Instead the pro-life movement is the constant opponent of every single effort to provide Americans with the ability to prevent unwanted pregnancies."

Happy Sex Is Healthy Sex - "And yet, "18 out of 25 students wrote papers that dealt with addiction or predators," she said. "Unfortunately, that image is very entrenched. It's what the media has latched onto. Anything that has to do with sex and the internet is (portrayed as) negative.""

Vaccine to halt cancer endorsed - "An advisory panel to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration yesterday recommended approval of a vaccine to protect women and girls as young as 9 years old against a sexually transmitted virus that causes cervical cancer."

Final chromosome in human genome sequenced - "Scientists have reached a landmark point in one of the world's most important scientific projects by sequencing the last chromosome in the human genome, the so-called "book of life"."

Illegals granted Social Security - "The Senate voted yesterday to allow illegal aliens to collect Social Security benefits based on past illegal employment -- even if the job was obtained through forged or stolen documents."

Mexicans say nothing will halt illegal trips north - "Mexicans say it will take more than three layers of fence and 6,000 National Guard troops to keep them out of the United States."

'National' or 'common'? Senate ponders what to call English - "Whether English is America's "national language" or its national "common and unifying language" was a question dominating the Senate immigration debate."

Reid calls language proposal racist - "Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid called a proposal to make English the official language "racist" on the Senate floor yesterday."

US Proposes Ban on Nuclear Bomb-Making Material - "The United States has presented a draft treaty aimed at cutting off production of fissile material, the plutonium and uranium used in making nuclear weapons."

ISP snooping plans take backseat - "A prominent Republican in the U.S. Congress has backed away from plans to rewrite Internet privacy rules by requiring that logs of Americans' online activities be stored."

Couple Arrested For Asking For Directions - "WBAL-TV 11 News I-Team reporter David Collins said Joshua Kelly and Llara Brook, of Chantilly, Va., got lost leaving an Orioles game on Saturday. Collins reported a city officer arrested them for trespassing on a public street while they were asking for directions. "In jail for eight hours -- sleeping on a concrete floor next to a toilet," Kelly said."

'Da Vinci Code' Called 'Real Danger' to Christians' Faith - "Leaders of several religious organizations Wednesday urged filmgoers to boycott "The Da Vinci Code," which opens in theaters on Friday. While most speakers at the Washington, D.C., news conference condemned the film, the head of one group went further, calling the movie "a real, real danger" to the faith of Catholics and other Christians."

What Do You Think Of The Da Vinci Code? Who Cares? - "The Da Vinci code is the latest salvo in mass marketed conspiratorial junk that creates a counterfeit cultural zeitgeist and diverts focus from the real conspiratorial agendas that are unfolding before our own eyes not on a movie screen or a fictional paperback but in reality."

A fine romance: how humans and chimps just couldn't let go - "It could be the oldest, not to mention the messiest, break-up in history. When humans and chimpanzees split up along the path of evolution, they carried on having sex for as long as 4m years, geneticists claim today. The revelation suggests that the history of humanity may be far more complex than scientists appreciated."

Some apes, birds can think ahead, studies show - "Two carefully planned sets of experiments to be published on Friday in the journal Science show intelligent birds and great apes can plan into the future in a way that transcends simple food caching, as squirrels, foxes and other animals do. ... "Apes and jays can also anticipate future needs by remembering past events, contradicting the notion that such cognitive behavior only emerged in hominids.""

Quote of the Day
"Must be a yearning deep in human heart to stop other people from doing as they please."
~ Mannie, The Moon is a Harsh Mistress by Robert A. Heinlein

May 18, 2006

News -- May 18, 2006

Israel 'Will Not Allow' Iran Nuclear Weapons - "The brother of newly-elected Israeli prime minister, Ehud Olmert, said here on Monday that Israel "will not allow" Iran to acquire nuclear weapons capability, and will launch a unilateral military strike if necessary to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities." -- We are on the brink of WWIII.

Bad news, America: World doesn't like We the People - "While Europeans and Asians and Arabs increasingly have disliked U.S. policies or specific U.S. leaders in recent years, Americans were liked and admired. Polls show an ominous turn. Majorities around the world think Americans are greedy, violent and rude, and fewer than half in countries such as Poland, Spain, Canada, China and Russia think Americans are honest."

Legal loophole emerges in NSA spy program - "An AT&T attorney indicated in federal court on Wednesday that the Bush administration may have provided legal authorization for the telecommunications company to open its network to the National Security Agency."

WEATHER MODIFICATION BILL IN US CONGRESS - "U.S. Senate Bill 517 and U.S. House Bill 2995, a bill that would allow experimental weather modification by artificial methods and implement a national weather modification policy, does not include agriculture or public oversight, is on the “fast track” to be passed in 2006." -- Here is the Senate Bill.

Global Food Supply Near the Breaking Point - "The world is now eating more food than farmers grow, pushing global grain stocks to their lowest level in 30 years. "

Robertson: God Says Tsunami Possible For U.S. - "The Rev. Pat Robertson says God has told him that storms and possibly a tsunami will hit America's coastline this year."

Mexico wants your software work - "Mexico may not have as many engineers as India or China, but the country's a lot closer to the United States than either of them."

Human, Chimp Ancestors May Have Mated, DNA Suggests - "The study suggests that the human and chimp lineages initially split off from a single ape species about ten million years ago. Later, early chimps and early human ancestors may have begun interbreeding, creating hybrids—and complicating and prolonging the evolutionary separation of the two lineages."

Pyow pyow pyow . . . hack hack hack hack! Let's get out of here (in monkey talk) - "British scientists have discovered that the putty-nosed monkey in Nigeria pictured above sometimes communicates by combining sounds into a sequence that has a different meaning from any of its component calls, an ability that was thought to be uniquely human." -- That's because humans are not all that unique.

Student Faces Criminal Charges For Teacher Jokes - "A Henry County high school student is facing criminal charges after posting comments about his teacher on the Web site,, reported WSB-TV in Atlanta."

Colleges chase as cheats shift to higher tech - " With their arsenal of electronic gadgets, students these days find it easier to cheat. And so, faced with an array of inventive techniques in recent years, college officials find themselves in a new game of cat and mouse, trying to outwit would-be cheats this exam season with a range of strategies--cutting off Internet access from laptops, demanding the surrender of cell phones before tests or simply requiring that exams be taken the old-fashioned way, with pens and paper. ... In a survey of nearly 62,000 undergraduates on 96 campuses over the past four years, two-thirds of the students admitted to cheating."

Planet group similar to solar system found - "A team of European astronomers said Wednesday that they had found one of the closest analogues yet to our solar system: three planets and an asteroid belt circling a pale Sun-like star about 42 light-years away in the constellation Puppis. ... The third planet, about 18 times the mass of Earth, circles at a distance of about 60 million miles, within the star's so-called habitable zone, where the temperatures would allow the existence of liquid water, the authors said."

Smokeless rockets launching soon? - "Only time and money separate the current state of rocket propulsion science from the engine rooms of Star Trek's Starfleet, according to a university professor."

Quote of the Day
"And crawling on this planet's face, some insects called the human race. Lost in time. And lost in space... and meaning."
~ The Criminologist, The Rocky Horror Picture Show

May 17, 2006

News (Page 2) -- May 17, 2006

Is the Bush Administration Planning a Nuclear Holocaust? - "At no point since the first atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima on August 6th, 1945, has humanity been closer to the unthinkable, a nuclear holocaust which could potentially spread, in terms of radioactive fallout, over a large part of the Middle East. All the safeguards of the Cold War era, which categorized the nuclear bomb as "a weapon of last resort" have been scrapped. "Offensive" military actions using nuclear warheads are now described as acts of "self-defense"."

U.S. stocks tumble; Nasdaq erases gain for year - "U.S. stocks plummeted, with the Nasdaq erasing its gains for the year, on Wednesday on increased concern about inflation and interest rates."

FBI Secret Probes: 3,501 Targets in the U.S. - "The letters require telephone companies to keep secret even the existence of the request for records."

Telephone Records are just the Tip of NSA's Iceberg - "These cutting edge tools -- some highly classified because of their functions and capabilities -- continually process hundreds of billions of what are called "structured" data records, including telephone call records and e-mail headers contained in information "feeds" that have been established to flow into the intelligence agencies."

New Presidential Memorandum Permits Intelligence Director To Authorize Telcos To Lie Without Violating Securities Law - "Ordinarily, a company that conceals their transactions and activities from the public would violate securities law. But a presidential memorandum signed by the President on May 5 allows the Director of National Intelligence, John Negroponte, to authorize a company to conceal activities related to national security. (See 15 U.S.C. 78m(b)(3)(A)) There is no evidence that this executive order has been used by John Negroponte with respect to the telcos. Of course, if it was used, we wouldn’t know about it."

Senate OKs Border Fence, Backs Citizenship - "The Senate endorsed a chance at citizenship for millions of illegal immigrants Wednesday but also voted to build 370 miles of triple- layered fencing along the Mexican border in increasingly emotional debate over election-year immigration legislation."

Study guide for U.S. citizenship test omits freedom of press - "A set of flashcards designed to help applicants for U.S. citizenship learn basic civics has become one of the most popular items sold by the Government Printing Office. But the $8.50 flashcards — which contain questions and answers from the actual citizenship exam — won't help immigrants learn much about the role of the press in American democracy. Question 80 asks, "Name one right or freedom guaranteed by the First Amendment." The answer lists freedom of speech, religion, assembly and the right to petition the government — but omits freedom of the press."

Youths torn from camps, forced to fight - "Children as young as 13 are being forced into combat by Sudanese rebels who take the youngsters from squalid refugee camps in neighboring Chad, CNN has learned."

INTEREST RATES CROSSING CRITICAL THRESHOLD - "We are crossing a critical threshold beyond which the U.S. government could begin to lose control over rising interest rates, and ultimately, the entire economy."

Bush Administration: Time to Face Traffic - "The transportation secretary unveiled a strategy to reduce congestion that included privatizing roads, putting tolls on busy roads and designating corridors for development to speed movement of truck and rail freight. ... Democrats criticized the plan's reliance on privatizing roads and charging tolls to use them."

Another Waco Brewing In Sleepy Texas Town Of Eldorado - "Mankin said the controversy surrounds the nation's largest polygamist sect and its leader, Warren Jeffs, who was recently put on the FBI's 10 most wanted list for allegedly abusing and raping a child." -- On the FBI's 10 most wanted list for allegedly abusing and raping a child? How many other people should then be placed on the FBI's 10 most wanted list? This seems far fetched to me.

White House Intern Needed, Must Have Skills - "Majority of American public seek intern to rescue future of American democracy."

Da Vinci Code Actor: Bible Should Have 'Fiction' Disclaimer - "If "The Da Vinci Code" was already feeding the flames of controversy with its challenge to the basic tenets of Christianity, actor Ian McKellen managed to pour a refinery tank's worth of gasoline on the fire on this morning's 'Today' show, asserting that the Bible should carry a disclaimer saying that it is "fiction.""

Judge Strikes Down Ga. Ban on Gay Marriage - "A judge has struck down Georgia's ban on same-sex marriages, saying a measure overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2004 violated a provision of the state constitution that limits ballot questions to a single subject."

Forever Pregnant - "New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon. Among other things, this means all women between first menstrual period and menopause should take folic acid supplements, refrain from smoking, maintain a healthy weight and keep chronic conditions such as asthma and diabetes under control."

Dying comet swings past Earth - "A comet that has broken up catastrophically will swing past Earth on Thursday. It will be the nearest approach by any comet in the past two decades."

Abstinence Greeting Cards - "Want to tell someone you care about that they're worth waiting for? Send one of these unique abstinence greeting cards. Available in notecard size, these cards will get your message across. Choose from three different designs."

News -- May 17, 2006

Russia, China: Don't use force in Iran - "In an outreach to Tehran, Lavrov also said that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will attend a summit meeting next month in Shanghai of leaders from Russia, China and four Central Asian nations."

Lack of Surprise Greets Word of U.S.-Libya Ties - "The normalization of U.S.-Libya relations is a natural marriage of an American administration desperate for friends and oil in the Middle East and a government that needs to open its economy to the outside world, Arab and exiled Libyan observers said Monday. The announcement was called proof that promotion of democracy is no longer a top priority of the Bush administration, which is grappling to hold Iraq together and has turned attention toward building alliances against a hostile Iran over its nuclear program."

FBI Acknowledges: Journalists' Phone Records are Fair Game - "The FBI acknowledged late Monday that it is increasingly seeking reporters' phone records in leak investigations. "It used to be very hard and complicated to do this, but it no longer is in the Bush administration," said a senior federal official."

Release Of Pentagon Images Direct Assault On 9/11 Truth Movement - "The release of new video images of Flight 77 hitting the Pentagon is both a direct assault against a 9/11 truth movement that has flourished in recent months and an attempt to reinforce the attendant propaganda of 9/11 in light of Bush's 29% approval rating."

Confidence In GOP Is At New Low in Poll - "Public confidence in GOP governance has plunged to the lowest levels of the Bush presidency, with Americans saying by wide margins that they now trust Democrats more than Republicans to deal with Iraq, the economy, immigration and other issues, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll that underscores the GOP's fragile grip on power six months before the midterm elections."

'Impeachment is too good for Bush' - "As Lindorff and Olshansky state: "The evidence of ... constitutional transgressions, violations of federal and international law, abuse of power, and criminal negligence as chief executive ... are so blatant one might think conviction would be a foregone conclusion." Well then, why stop there? "The call for impeachment trivializes the crimes," declares journalist Rosemarie Jackowski. "Where is the demand for war crimes trials?" Good question."

Pentagon plans cyber-insect army - "The Pentagon's defence scientists want to create an army of cyber-insects that can be remotely controlled to check out explosives and send transmissions. The idea is to insert micro-systems at the pupa stage, when the insects can integrate them into their body, so they can be remotely controlled later."

Venezuela Weighs Selling U.S. Jets to Iran - "Venezuela is considering selling its fleet of U.S.-made F-16 fighter jets to another country, perhaps Iran, in response to a U.S. ban on arms sales to President Hugo Chavez's government, a military official said Tuesday."

Chavez accused of ties to terrorists - "Venezuela has allowed its intelligence service to become a clone of Cuba's while it shelters groups with ties to Middle East terrorists and allows weapons from its official stockpiles to reach Colombian guerrillas, a senior U.S. official said yesterday."

Mexico Voters Fear Nation on Edge of Chaos - "Less than two months before Mexicans elect their next president, many fear the country is teetering on the edge of chaos - a perception that could hurt the ruling National Action Party's chances of keeping the presidency and benefit Mexico's once-powerful Institutional Revolutionary Party, whose candidate has been trailing badly."

U.S. Secretly Backing Warlords in Somalia - "More than a decade after U.S. troops withdrew from Somalia following a disastrous military intervention, officials of Somalia's interim government and some U.S. analysts of Africa policy say the United States has returned to the African country, secretly supporting secular warlords who have been waging fierce battles against Islamic groups for control of the capital, Mogadishu."

Police lab tailored tests to theories, report says - "Houston crime lab analysts skewed reports to fit police theories in several cases, ignoring results that conflicted with police expectations because of a lack of confidence in their own skills or a conscious effort to secure convictions, an independent investigator says in his latest report on the scandal."

Synthetic marijuana drug coming to chemo patients - "Seventeen years after it was withdrawn from U.S. markets, a synthetic version of the active ingredient in marijuana is going back on sale as a prescription treatment for the vomiting and nausea that often accompany chemotherapy, the drug's manufacturer said Tuesday."

Why do girls lose interest in math and science? - "Low participation in math and science activities by girls is keeping them from achieving their full potential and weakening the nation's ability to compete, Education Secretary Margaret Spellings said Monday."

States starry-eyed over spaceports - "The promise of blasting thrill-seeking tourists into space is fueling an unprecedented rush to build snazzy commercial spaceports. The Federal Aviation Administration is reviewing proposals from New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas to be gateways for private space travel. Depending on how environmental reviews and other requirements go, approval could come as early as this year and the sites could be ferrying space tourists soon after."

Space--the new summer vacation? - "Both men feel strongly that it will take corporate investments in order to further the space program during an era of transition for NASA. "The only way we are going to become a multiplanet species is through private enterprise," Musk said. "Governments are terrible about cost optimization.""

Quote of the Day
“This America is not the America that I bled for. This America is the aggressor, and this America is the type of nation that I risked my life to fight against."
~ Peter Fossel, Vietnam Veteran