June 30, 2006

News -- June 30, 2006

Next We Take Tehran - "Iran is a decade away from gaining access to the bomb, according to the administration’s own National Intelligence Estimate, and despite all the talk about the ugliness of the theocratic regime in Tehran, the likely showdown is, at bottom, driven by the geopolitics of oil. With one-tenth of the world’s petroleum reserves and one-sixth of its natural gas reserves, Iran sits in a strategic geographical position that makes it the cockpit for control of the entire Middle East. It straddles the Persian Gulf’s choke points, including the Strait of Hormuz; it has important influence among Shiites throughout Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states; and it borders highly contested real estate to the north, from the Caucasus to the Caspian Sea to Central Asia. The logic of the Bush administration is inexorable. Its ironclad syllogism is this: The United States is and must remain the world’s preeminent power, if need be by using its superior military might. One of the two powers with the ability to emerge as a rival—China—depends vitally on the Persian Gulf and Central Asia for its future supply of oil; the other—Russia—is heavily engaged in Iran, Central Asia, and the Caucasus region. Therefore, if the United States can secure a dominant position in the Gulf, it will have an enormous advantage over its potential challengers. Call it zero-sum geopolitics: Their loss is our gain."

Iraq war backfiring on US, experts warn - "THE United States is losing its fight against terrorism and the Iraq war is the main reason, more than 80 per cent of American terrorism and national security experts have said in a survey. One expert, former CIA official Michael Scheuer, said the war in Iraq had provided global terrorist groups with a recruiting bonanza and a valuable training ground."

Is Bush Signing Away the Constitution? - "While he has never vetoed a law, many constitutional scholars say the president is, in effect, exercising a "line-item veto" by giving himself authority to waive parts of laws he doesn't like. The practice has infuriated members of Congress in both parties because it threatens to diminish their power. They consider it an assault on the notion that the Constitution establishes the United States' three branches of government – legislative, judicial, and executive – as co-equal."

Supreme Court blocks war crimes trials for Guantanamo detainees - "The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that President Bush overstepped his authority in ordering military war crimes trials for Guantanamo Bay detainees. The ruling, a rebuke to the administration and its aggressive anti-terror policies, was written by Justice John Paul Stevens, who said the proposed trials were illegal under U.S. law and Geneva conventions."

Courts, Congress move to limit powers claimed by president - "But Thursday's Supreme Court decision, with its repudiation of military commissions for detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was a rebuke to the White House. It was the latest signal that the high court and Congress, after a long deference to the executive branch, are starting to check or question the Bush administration's attempts to broaden the wartime power of the presidency."

World skeptical over Guantanamo ruling - "Some saw the beginning of the end for Guantanamo Bay, others a vindication for Europeans who have condemned the U.S. prison camp. Still others saw a toothless ruling that will ultimately make no difference in a climate where they believe Washington is determined to have its way."

The weapon of last resort - "In addition, the current adventure exposes the profoundly racist nature of Israel's ruling elite. As far as it is concerned, the Palestinians are not entitled to the right of equal human dignity. Indeed, in its lexicon, such a concept does not even seem to exist. That is why 10,000 Palestinian prisoners of war in Israeli detention camps, including several hundred women and children, are deemed to be of no value whatsoever, whereas a single Israeli prisoner of war deserves a major onslaught on the most defenceless and densely populated strip of land on the face of the earth."

Nucleoholic, Hypocritical, and Dangerous - "The instant the U.S. uses a nuclear weapon again, 60 years of nonuse go down the drain and we have to start from scratch with abstinence. And it will be that much harder to stay sober the second time around."

House vote slaps news organizations - "The House on Thursday approved a Republican-crafted resolution condemning news organizations for revealing a covert government program to track terrorist financing, saying the disclosure had "placed the lives of Americans in danger.""

Major Pacific exercise underway with N. Korea in background - "Eight Pacific naval powers opened a month of exercises around the Hawaiian Islands this week in one of the biggest displays of allied naval strength since World War II."

Top Court Rules States Free to Redistrict - "A fractured Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that states are free to redraw congressional districts at a time of their choosing, largely blessing Tom DeLay's bitterly contested handiwork in Texas and the gains it gave national Republicans."

Team believes it found Noah's Ark - "A 14-man crew that included evangelical apologist Josh McDowell says it returned from a trek to a mountain in Iran with possible evidence of the remains of Noah's Ark."

All-Seeing Blimp on the Rise - "The problem with the American military today is that it doesn't have a giant, robotic airship, two-and-a-half times the size of the Goodyear blimp, that can watch over an entire city at once. Thankfully, the Pentagon's way-out research arm, Darpa, is trying to fix that."

House approves coastline oil and natural gas exploration - "The House of Representatives voted 232-187 Thursday to permit new oil and natural gas exploration off the nation's coastlines in swaths that have been off-limits since 1981 because of environmental concerns."

The lawlessness of the FDA, Big Pharma immunity, and crimes against humanity - "This "Final Rule," which may as well be called a "Final Solution" for drug consumers, claims that consumers can no longer sue drug companies for the harm caused by any FDA-approved drug, even if the drug's manufacturer intentionally misled the FDA by hiding or fabricating clinical trial data. ... The ramifications of this "Final Rule" action by the FDA cannot be overstated. If this rule is allowed to stand, it represents the end of health justice, the end of the power of Congress, and the surrender of absolute power to an agency of such arrogance and evil that it has conducted armed raids on vitamin clinics, organized the raid of a church, and even ordered the destruction of recipe books it didn't want to see published. (Supporting documents are available for all of these statements)."

Air-conditioning: Our Cross to Bear - "Those air-conditioners that keep things cool and comfortable inside are helping make the outside world even nastier." -- Part 1.

America's Air-Conditioned Nightmare - "Air-conditioning puts a chill on community spirit, aids the cause of anti-enviros, and just might have given us President George W. Bush." -- Part 2.

Driving While on Cell Phone Worse Than Driving While Drunk - "Maneuvering through traffic while talking on the phone increases the likelihood of an accident five-fold and is actually more dangerous than driving drunk, U.S. researchers report. That finding held true whether the driver was holding a cell phone or using a hands-free device, the researchers noted."

Congress targets social-networking sites - "Rep. Diana DeGette, a Colorado Democrat, originally proposed legislation in April that would require Internet service providers to retain activity logs to aid in criminal investigations, including ones involving child abuse. Now DeGette and some of her colleagues in the House of Representatives are suggesting that social-networking sites should be required to do the same thing."

Study: Money Does Not Buy Much Happiness - "Although most people imagine that if they had more money they could do more fun things and perhaps be happier, the reality seems to be that those with higher incomes tend to be tenser, and spend less time on simple leisurely activities."

Quote of the Day
"Generals gathered in their masses; just like witches at Black Masses; evil minds that plot destruction; sorcerers of war's construction."
~ Black Sabbath, (War Pigs)

June 29, 2006

News -- June 29, 2006

Shy boy whose fate could change history - "Today the future of the Middle East could hang on the fate of this otherwise unremarkable 19-year-old."

Israel hits Gaza as Hamas lawmakers held - "Israel rounded up members of the Hamas-led Palestinian government Thursday, arresting Cabinet ministers and parliament members as a crisis over the kidnapping of an Israeli soldier deepened."

The High Price of American Gullibility - "Many Americans have turned a blind eye to the administration's illegal and unconstitutional spying on the grounds that, as they themselves are doing nothing wrong, they have nothing to fear. If this is the case, why did our Founding Fathers bother to write the Constitution? If the executive branch can be trusted not to abuse power, why did Congress pass legislation establishing a panel of federal judges (ignored by the Bush administration) to oversee surveillance? If President Bush can decide that he can ignore statutory law, how does he differ from a dictator? If Bush can determine law, what is the role of Congress and the courts? If "national security" is a justification for elevating the power of the executive, where is his incentive to find peaceful solutions?"

Why Signing Statements Matter - "Over the course of the past year, it has been discovered that President Bush, during his five years in office, has cancelled all or part of 750 laws of Congress, quietly and with the stroke of a pen. These so-called "signing statements" have been used to invalidate laws passed by Congress to do everything from require government reporting on the uses of the Patriot Act's invasive provisions to banning torture and establishing a special investigator for corruption in Iraq."

Courts hit parents with triple whammy - "Federal judges have just hit parents with a triple whammy. Two appellate courts held that parents have no right to stop offensive, privacy-invading interrogation of their own children in public schools. In a third case, the U.S. Supreme Court indicated that it is not going to do anything to protect parental rights concerning schools."

More children in U.S. living in poverty - "U.S. children are poorer and less healthy now than in the 1990s, a child advocacy group says. The 17th-annual KIDS COUNT Data Book from the Annie E. Casey Foundation shows that three out of 10 child 'well-being indicators' have worsened since 2000."

Senate deals blow to Net neutrality - "By an 11-11 tie, the Senate Commerce Committee failed to approve a Democrat-backed amendment that would have ensured all Internet traffic is treated the same no matter what its "source" or "destination" might be."

Smile! A new Canadian tool can re-grow teeth say inventors - "The wireless device, smaller than a pea, must be activated for 20 minutes each day for four months to stimulate growth, he said. It can also stimulate jawbone growth to fix a person's crooked smile and may eventually allow people to grow taller by stimulating bone growth, Chen said."

Shuttle engineer says he's off team - "The Johnson Space Center's director of engineering said Monday that NASA has removed him from the management team for the space shuttle flight scheduled for Saturday after he expressed support for workers who questioned preparations for the flight."

Smellophone with a nose of its own - "Inventors are on the verge of creating the first mobile 'smellophone', a gadget which can capture an odour and then replay it back later, just as camcorders do with images."

Quote of the Day
"Our job is to give people not what they want, but what we decide they ought to have."
~ Richard Salent, Former President CBS News

June 28, 2006

News -- June 28, 2006

Dick Cheney’s Song of America - "The Plan is for the United States to rule the world. The overt theme is unilateralism, but it is ultimately a story of domination. It calls for the United States to maintain its overwhelming military superiority and prevent new rivals from rising up to challenge it on the world stage. It calls for dominion over friends and enemies alike. It says not that the United States must be more powerful, or most powerful, but that it must be absolutely powerful."

Israeli "Retaliation" and Double Standards - "In the skewed moral and news priorities of the BBC, the killing of two Israeli soldiers by Palestinian militants -- the "escalation" -- provides a justification for "fierce retaliation" against Gaza, with the inevitable toll on Palestinian civilians and militants alike. The earlier killing of tens of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military, however, is not presented as justification for yesterday's Palestinian retaliation against the army. In other words, on the scale of moral outrage the BBC ranks the deaths of Israeli soldiers enforcing an illegal occupation far above those of Palestinian civilians enduring the illegal occupation."

Army wives get phone death threats from Iraq - "Wives and family members of soldiers fighting in Iraq have received telephone calls, believed to include death threats, from insurgents, according to military documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph." -- Come on. I'm supposed to believe this?

Dean: 'We're About to Enter the '60s Again' - "America is about to revisit one of the most turbulent decades in its history, Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told a religious conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. "We're about to enter the '60s again," Dean said, but he was not referring to the Vietnam War or racial tensions. Dean said he is looking for "the age of enlightenment led by religious figures who want to greet Americans with a moral, uplifting vision."

Obama: Democrats must court evangelicals - "Sen. Barack Obama chastised fellow Democrats on Wednesday for failing to "acknowledge the power of faith in the lives of the American people," and said the party must compete for the support of evangelicals and other churchgoing Americans."

Wars Force Army Equipment Costs to Triple - "The annual cost of replacing, repairing and upgrading Army equipment in Iraq and Afghanistan is expected to more than triple next year to more than $17 billion, according to Army documents obtained by the Associated Press."

Weapon of Mass Diffraction - "A new technology that corrects for the distortion of light through the atmosphere could help make the doomsday devices of tomorrow."

Many U.S. Iraq War vets return to homelessness - "Thousands of U.S. veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan are facing a new nightmare - the risk of homelessness. The U.S. government estimates several hundred vets who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan are homeless on any given night across the country, although the exact number is unknown. The reasons that contribute to the new wave of homelessness are many: some are unable to cope with life after daily encounters with insurgent attacks and roadside bombs; some can't navigate government red tape; others simply don't have enough money to afford a house or apartment. They are living on the edge in towns and cities big and small from Washington state to Florida."

Anglican leader ponders a split - "The Archbishop of Canterbury conceded yesterday for the first time that the worldwide Anglican Communion may have to split. ... Archbishop Rowan Williams said the 70-million-member Anglican Communion may require a "covenant" defining theological orthodoxy on a wide range of matters, including homosexuality."

Analysis finds e-voting machines vulnerable - "Most of the electronic voting machines widely adopted since the disputed 2000 presidential election "pose a real danger to the integrity of national, state and local elections," a report out Tuesday concludes. There are more than 120 security threats to the three most commonly purchased electronic voting systems, the study by the Brennan Center for Justice says. For what it calls the most comprehensive review of its kind, the New York City-based non-partisan think tank convened a task force of election officials, computer scientists and security experts to study e-voting vulnerabilities."

Flag-burning amendment fails by a vote - "The Senate by a single vote Tuesday rejected a proposed constitutional amendment to ban desecrating the American flag."

Americans Rank No. 1 in Patriotism Survey - "When it comes to national pride, Americans are No. 1, according to a survey of 34 countries' patriotism."

CU To Fire Ward Churchill - "The tenured professor of ethnic studies has repeatedly denied all accusations of misconduct."

Senator seeks tax on pimps, prostitutes - "Republican Sen. Charles Grassley of Iowa is hoping to stamp out the sex trade by taxing pimps and prostitutes, then jailing them when they don't pay. The Senate Finance Committee is expected to vote Wednesday morning on the pimp tax. The bill also calls for more jail time for sex workers."

Study: Even with 100 % Condom Use 30% Still Contract Potentially Deadly HPV Virus - "The study relied on the journals of 82 female university students who kept daily records of their sexual behaviour, and found that 70% of the women, who reported 100% consistent condom use, were virus-free at the end of three years."

Teenage Girls Rob Man they Met on MySpace - "The so-called Natalia did tell the victim that she was 18, so he was shocked to learn he was actually talking to a 14-year-old. He says he has since removed personal information from his MySpace profile, like his salary and the kind of car that he drives." -- The apex of human intellect.

The eyes have it for making people behave more honestly - "Honesty may well be the best policy, but it often deserts us when no one is watching, psychologists report today. Experiments with an honesty box to collect payments for hot drinks reveal that people are better at paying up when under the watchful gaze of a pair of eyes. The surprise was that the eyes were not real, but photographed. The finding, which researchers believe sheds light on our evolutionary past, could be turned to practical use. The psychologists say images of beady eyes could boost ticket sales on public transport and improve surveillance systems to deter antisocial behaviour."

Tropical Stonehenge may have been found - "A grouping of granite blocks along a grassy Amazon hilltop may be the vestiges of a centuries-old astronomical observatory — a find archaeologists say indicates early rainforest inhabitants were more sophisticated than previously believed."

Albino humpback whale Migaloo spotted off Australian coast - "The only documented white humpback whale in the world has been sighted off the coast of Byron Bay as it migrates along the coast of Australia." -- Check out the picture.

Quote of the Day
"This is my world, and I am, world leader pretend."
~ R.E.M., (World Leader Pretend)

June 27, 2006

News -- June 27, 2006

Is the U.S. Through With Arab Democracy? - "In sharp contrast to its rhetoric, the administration recently adopted several policy measures that suggest a lukewarm commitment to democracy promotion, if not a reversal of the trajectory altogether."

Bush ignores laws he inks, vexing Congress - "A bill becomes the rule of the land when Congress passes it and the president signs it into law, right? Not necessarily, according to the White House. A law is not binding when a president issues a separate statement saying he reserves the right to revise, interpret or disregard it on national security and constitutional grounds."

License to lie - "At this point, one could forgive readers for asking, "How many more damning portraits of the Bush administration do we need?" From yellowcake to Joe Wilson to Abu Ghraib, the list of Bush scandals and outrages is endless, but nothing ever seems to happen. As the journalist Mark Danner has pointed out, the problem is not lack of information: The problem is that Americans can't, or won't, acknowledge what that information means."

Bush hits news leak of terror tracking - "A clearly incensed President Bush yesterday called the public disclosure of a secret terrorist-tracking program "disgraceful," and he defended his decision to allow U.S. counterterrorism analysts to obtain international financial records as a key tool in the war against terror."

New details on WMD ‘fabricator’ emerge - "The CIA officer took his pen, he recounted in an interview, and crossed out the whole paragraph. A few days later, the lines were back in the speech. Powell stood before the U.N. Security Council on Feb. 5 and said: "We have first-hand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails." The sentence took Drumheller completely by surprise."

The Last Days of Privacy - "And therein lies one of the 21st century's most vexing problems: More and more of our personal data are captured and stored by corporate and government interests, and are potentially available to anyone with the technological, legal or financial means to access that information. Whether it's phone calls we make, library books we check out, CDs we buy on the Internet or divorces we finalize in court, we leave a trail of information that becomes susceptible to prying eyes. For the price of a bus pass, you can pay a company to supply anyone's address, phone number, political affiliation, estimated income and property history. For $20 more, you can find out if that person is married or divorced, has a criminal record, and what sort of jobs he or she has worked."

State governments push for Net neutrality laws - "As a U.S. Senate panel prepares for a vote on Net neutrality legislation this week, state attorneys general in New York and California are joining Internet companies in saying that network operators must not be permitted to prioritize certain broadband content and services."

Does 'Jesus Loves Porn Stars' Bible Go Too Far? - "Christians agree that the Bible commands them to "go and make disciples of all nations" and that Jesus "came to invite the sinners" to be his followers and "save people who are lost." But a new Bible with the words "Jesus Loves Porn Stars" emblazoned on the cover has ignited a debate about how far is too far when it comes to spreading the word."

Surgeon General: No safe level of secondhand smoke - "Separate smoking sections don't cut it: Only smoke-free buildings and public places truly protect nonsmokers from the hazards of breathing in other people's tobacco smoke, says a long-awaited surgeon general's report."

Womb environment 'makes men gay' - "A man's sexual orientation may be determined by conditions in the womb, according to a study."

Glaciers are melting at their fastest rate for 5,000 years - "Mountain glaciers are melting faster now than at any time in the past 5,000 years because of an unprecedented period of global warming, a study has found."

Smart Pill to Report from Inside the Body - "Soon Big Brother may be watching from the inside out. Like a Mars Orbiter beaming data back to Earth, a power-packed pill will soon be broadcasting from a stomach near you, transmitting both medical measurements and the device’s position as it travels through the body."

Mammograms 'can increase breast cancer risk' - "Mammograms may increase the risk of breast cancer in women with a genetic predisposition to the disease, researchers revealed today."

Study links pesticides with Parkinson's - "People with long-term, low-level exposure to pesticides have a 70 percent higher incidence of Parkinson's disease than people who have not been exposed much to bug sprays, U.S. researchers reported on Monday."

Snake displays changing colours - "A snake with the ability to change its colour has been found in the rainforested heart of Borneo."

Huge Asteroid to Fly Past Earth July 3 - "An asteroid possibly as large as a half-mile or more in diameter is rapidly approaching the Earth. There is no need for concern, for no collision is in the offing, but the space rock will make an exceptionally close approach to our planet early on Monday, July 3, passing just beyond the Moon's average distance from Earth."

Quote of the Day
"What the world needs now, are some true words of wisdom."
~ Cracker

June 26, 2006

News -- June 26, 2006

Murtha says U.S. poses top threat to world peace - "American presence in Iraq is more dangerous to world peace than nuclear threats from North Korea or Iran, Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., said to an audience of more than 200 in North Miami Saturday afternoon."

Gov't Break a Law? Change It - "The White House is nearing an agreement with Congress on legislation that would write President Bush's warrantless surveillance program into law, the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman said Sunday."

Money-tracking leak angers Cheney - "US Vice-President Dick Cheney has condemned as "offensive" US media disclosures of a secret programme that probes global financial transactions."

Congressman: charge newspapers over reports on terrorist-tracing program - "King, a New York Republican, said he would write Attorney General Alberto Gonzales urging that the country's chief law enforcer "begin an investigation and prosecution of the New York Times - the reporters, the editors and the publisher." "We're at war, and for the Times to release information about secret operations and methods is treasonous," King told The Associated Press."

Today's Anti-Republicans, Tomorrow's Heroes? - "You may call us anti-Republican. I call myself pro-Constitution. Personally I am anti-Republican and anti-Democrat. I am not foolish enough to think politicians of either corporate party are going to save our nation."

Senate flag-burning amendment creates strange bedfellows - "The Senate's No. 2 Republican and Democratic leaders said Sunday there's no need for a constitutional amendment to ban flag-burning, which lawmakers plan to debate this week." -- It's a flag for Christ's sake.

GM to shed quarter of workforce this year - "General Motors will on Monday disclose details of one of most dramatic corporate downsizings in US history, exceeding a key target of its turnround plan and accelerating the demise of the privileged American car worker."

Kickbacks, cartels and chatrooms: how unscrupulous drug firms woo the public - "Drug companies use unscrupulous and unethical marketing tactics not only to influence doctors to prescribe their products but also subtly to persuade consumers that they need them, a report claims today. Consumers should be concerned because time and again the companies violate their own industry's ethical marketing codes. Patients' health may suffer if a drug like Vioxx - a painkiller later withdrawn - is over-promoted. Yet, says Consumers International, which has compiled the report, there is "a shocking lack of publicly available information about the $60bn [£33bn] spent annually by the industry on drug promotion"."

Morgellons - Weird 'Alien' bug hits USA - "Over 1000 people in Texas, Florida and California are saying that they are suffering from a nasty new skin complaint, but doctors are telling them they are 'delusional'. ... Victims feel like bugs are crawling under their skin. They have little blue fibers, and black specks and white threads coming out of their skins. Under the skin, those fibers are connected to what appears to be a cluster of fibers or in some instances, parasitic looking organisms."

Doctors Make Progress With Mysterious Disease - "Wymore says his tests rule out not only textile fibers, but also worms, insects, animal material and even human skin and hair. He says the filaments are not an external contamination. Instead, they are a substance that materializes somehow inside the body, apparent artifacts of something infectious. More results are expected soon. And Wymore says skin problems are not the worst symptoms. He says a neurotoxin or microorganism may disturb muscle control and memory."

Rape law expands to include alcohol - "The change, long sought by rape- victim advocates in Wisconsin, means that victims who are very drunk during a sexual encounter can be judged incapable of giving consent, triggering a possible second-degree sexual assault charge." -- This seems like a dangerous path for us to travel down.

Cell phone signals excite brain, study finds - "Cell phone emissions excite the part of the brain cortex nearest to the phone, but it is not clear if these effects are harmful, Italian researchers reported Monday."

Coming soon: Mind-reading computers - "An "emotionally aware" computer being developed by British and American scientists will be able to read an individual's thoughts by analyzing a combination of facial movements that represent underlying feelings."

Quote of the Day
"If there was any race other than the human race, I'd go join it."
~ Thomas Gore

June 25, 2006

News -- June 25, 2006

FEEL SAFER YET? - "Remember back when Bush was running for re-election and we had all those national security color scares? The red and orange scares that scrambled municipal police departments all over the country in a frantic attempt to stop those ghastly terrorists from destroying us all? Ever notice how we ALWAYS got a new color scare every time John Kerry had a bounce in the polls? The last serious color scare we got was the week following the Democratic presidential convention. After Bush was re-elected, we never had another color scare, not even after London was bombed. Not even after Madrid was bombed. Not even after that dire Canadian plot was uncovered last week.No more terrorist scares, once the Republicans were back in office. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? In spite of the terrible cost to municipal police departments in officer overtime and canceled vacations, those terrorist scares were used by the federal government for one thing and one thing only: campaign politics, Republican-style. They had absolutely nothing to do with national security."

Security trumps civil liberties for many Canadians - "A new poll on attitudes toward terrorism suggests many Canadians think preserving national security is more important than protecting civil liberties."

Canada, the United States, and Mexico... a possible merger? - "Is the lax view in which our government is taking regarding illegal immigration connected to plans to merge America with Canada and Mexico? Many reasons have led me to think this is a possible scenario. We continue to deal with the illegal immigration issue, the Senate failing to listen to the American public and drastically cut down on the number of illegals entering the U.S., and deporting those who are here illegally."

U.S. Population to Hit 300 Million in 2006 - "The U.S. population is on target to hit 300 million this fall and it's a good bet the milestone baby - or immigrant - will be Hispanic."

Russia falls short of G8 standards: UK think-tank - "Russia does not meet democratic standards for membership of the Group of Eight and its leadership of the rich nations' club risks destroying the G8's credibility, a British think-tank said on Sunday."

Irvin Baxter: Ministry says Armageddon is near - " Irvin Baxter took a deep breath and surveyed the more than 2,500 faithful. Then, citing biblical text and current events, he voiced a dire prediction. A raging war will soon incinerate a third of the world's population. "Two billion people will die," said Mr. Baxter, whose fiery oration Saturday in Garland connected a homeland security measure, the Real ID Act of 2005, with Satan's plan to enslave humanity."

Muslim Gays Seek Lesbians For Wives - "Across the globe and especially in America, hundreds of other gay Muslims have started to pursue marriages of convenience--or MOC, as they are known-- in which gay Muslims seek out lesbian Muslims, and vice versa, for appearances' sake. ... Muslim authorities around the world have repeatedly emphasized that homosexuality is not permissible. Muzammil Siddiqi of the Islamic Society of North America said there is no flexibility on this topic. "Homosexuality is a moral disorder. It is a moral disease, a sin and corruption. . . . No person is born homosexual, just like no one is born a thief, a liar or murderer," he said. "People acquire these evil habits due to a lack of proper guidance and education.""

Choice In The Midterms - "Here’s the dilemma for anti-choice politicians. Not only are they pushing extreme and divisive bans to criminalize abortion, but they’re blocking commonsense measures that would prevent unintended pregnancies and reduce the need for abortion. Their actions have exposed their hypocrisy and hostility toward the fundamental values of freedom and privacy."

Morgellon's Disease: Mysterious Ecto-Parasites - "The disease, called Morgellons Disease, is a parasite-like infection that literally makes the infected person's skin crawl. The disease has already been found in thousands of patients in Florida , Texas and California. ... What sounds like a science fiction movie is actually real life for the unlucky people who have contracted the disease which leaves painful sores all over the body. The sores ooze blue fibers, white threads and little black specks of sand-like material. The worst part, patients say, is the creepy and constant sensation of bugs crawling under their skin."

Creativity older than thought - "Modern human behaviour such as body adornment, figurative thought and probably complex language began at least 25,000 years earlier than previously believed, according to an analysis of shell beads kept in museum collections since the early 20th century."

Key to long life may be mom's age at birth - "People are more likely to see their 100th birthday, research hints, if they were born to young mothers."

Quote of the Day
"I don't want to die stupid."
~ Bono, U2

June 24, 2006

News -- June 24, 2006

List of accusations of GIs in Iraq stuns experts - "The accounts are brutal: An Iraqi man dragged from his home, executed and made to look as if he were an insurgent. Three prisoners killed by their Army captors. A team of revenge-seeking Marines going home to home, shooting down unarmed Iraqi men, women, children. The recent flurry of accusations against U.S. servicemen has stunned military analysts and experts. Many see a critical new point in the war — though few agree whether it shows the toll of combat stress, commanders resolved to stamp out war crimes, or, as some claim, an overzealous second-guessing of the troops." -- Stunned? What the hell did they think would happen?

U.S. Senate adopts bill to isolate Hamas government - "The U.S. Senate adopted on Friday a bill to isolate the Hamas-led Palestinian government and to ban contacts with Hamas." -- Democracy only means to vote in the leaders the US government approve of.

Democracy in chains - "US Republicans are planning to change the law to stop black, Hispanic and Native American voters going to the polls in 2008." -- Too much to put here. Interesting read.

Slowly They Turned on U.S., Inch by Inch, Step by Step ... - "Frankly, I can't think of any reason why this is important except one. That would be to continue to "take down names" and make our Bill of Rights into a Bill of Wrongs. And so, step by step, inch by inch, our rights are being eroded until one day we'll wake up to reveille in some concentration camp. Not because we're Jewish, but maybe because we're not. Or maybe because not being Jewish implies being un-American.Or maybe we'll wake up to prayers and have to face Mecca. Or face the South, where our leader has moved. To Mexico City. Eh?"

GOP Candidate's Call for Labor Camp Rebuked - "A Republican gubernatorial candidate's call for creation of a forced labor camp for illegal immigrants drew rebukes Friday from two GOP lawmakers, who labeled it a low point in the immigration debate."

Pentagon Details Abuse of Iraq Detainees - "U.S. special operations forces fed some Iraqi detainees only bread and water for up to 17 days, used unapproved interrogation practices such as sleep deprivation and loud music and stripped at least one prisoner, according to a Pentagon report on incidents dating to 2003 and 2004. The report, with many portions blacked out, concludes that the detainees' treatment was wrong but not illegal and reflected inadequate resources and lack of oversight and proper guidance more than deliberate abuse. No military personnel were punished as a result of the investigation."

Democrats need a new script - "Are the Democrats going to be such easy prey again, neutralized by phony wedge issues and neglectful of the real issue, which is the administration's flagrant use of falsehoods to justify a war of choice? It could happen again. The leaderless Democrats, speaking in a cacophony, are being outgunned by the conservatives and members of their own party representing the Democratic Leadership Council who are at heart "Republican lite.""

Veteran Critic of White House Turns on 'Gullible' Press Pack - "For almost five decades, White House reporter Helen Thomas has been covering America's leaders with a healthy dose of scepticism and an endless string of pointed questions. Along the way she has ruffled presidential feathers and, since becoming a columnist in 2003, she has made clear her views on some of those incumbents - including George W Bush who she has described as the "worst president in all of American history". Now, 85-year-old Thomas has focused attention on her fellow reporters, accusing them of failing in their duties in the run-up to the Iraq war. "I ask myself every day why the media have become so complacent, complicit and gullible," she writes in Watchdogs of Democracy?, a book published this week. "It all comes down to the 9/11 terrorist attacks that led to fear among reporters of being considered 'unpatriotic' or 'unAmerican'.""

Bush executive orderlimits property seizure - "On the one-year anniversary of the controversial Supreme Court decision expanding the government's power of eminent domain, President Bush issued an executive order preventing federal agencies from seizing private property except for public projects such as hospitals or roads."

Bush wants power to cut items in spending bills - "President Bush is pushing Congress to give him more authority to slice and dice the budget, an idea that's popular with conservatives who think the White House needs more muscle to restrict federal spending."

The World What? - "So the U.S. team has bombed at the World Cup. Again. And even though 2 billion people (!) are probably watching the World Cup, the fact that the U.S. even had a team in it hardly casts a ripple of awareness in America. Soccer gets even less interest from Americans than the quadrennial TV show Who Wants to Be America’s Next Despot. Why don’t Americans "get" soccer? ... The more likely reason, I think, is a combination of nationalism – and the U.S. is certainly one of the most absurdly nationalistic societies on Earth, given to wild fanatical claims about itself in comparison to others, and naturally prefers "American" sports like baseball, basketball and football to foreign sports – and and the other is what could be called elitism. Although most Americans believe in merit or something like it, in their favored sports they seem to prefer athletes who are far beyond average. Whether it’s giants in basketball or football or power hitters in baseball, Americans seem to prefer displays of brute force and size over finesse and coordination. ... And it’s not an original observation to say that American society is an unusually violent and brutal society in regards to it’s favored forms of entertainment, from sports to the movies and videogames to TV shows, especially the highly-rated TV show the "U.S. bombs and/or invades (insert name of country here)" regularly broadcast by the news/war channels. I think it’s certainly true that this preference for displays of destructive violence is translated into sports that feature displays of strength and favor large size. Perhaps for Americans, sports are merely an interlude between wars and a substitute for the disparity of military destruction that the U.S. enjoys over other regimes, which excites and inspires the most nationalistic Americans. Could it be that soccer’s worldwide popularity resides more in it’s equality of access, which favors societies where individuals have less disposable income to spend on sports equipment, but also is an expression of a more anti-imperialist and peaceful mentality in relation to the rest of the world?"

Congressional Hopeful Blames Troubles On The Devil - "Republican congressional hopeful John Jacob believes the devil is impeding his efforts to unseat five-term Representative Chris Cannon. ... Jacob says that since he decided to run for Congress, Satan has disrupted his business deals, preventing him from putting as much money into the race as he had hoped."

Doctors See Way to Cut Suffering in Executions - "A flood of lawsuits challenging lethal injection as cruel and unusual has stalled executions in some states and may prompt others to abandon them. And a Supreme Court ruling last week made it easier for death-row prisoners to file such suits. But medical experts say the current method of lethal injection could easily be changed to make suffering less likely." -- Nice debate, huh?

Cameroon girls battle 'breast ironing' - "This involves pounding and massaging the developing breasts of young girls with hot objects to try to make them disappear. Statistics show that 26% of Cameroonian girls at puberty undergo it, as many mothers believe it protects their daughters from the sexual advances of boys and men who think children are ripe for sex once their breasts begin to grow."

Bandanna banned in Springfield mall - "A southwest Missouri mall defended its dress code after a security guard told a 10-year-old girl her bandanna decorated with peace signs, smiley faces and flowers violated the mall’s code of conduct. ... Lydia had violated No. 10 on the list of 17 offenses: "failing to be fully clothed or wearing apparel which is likely to provide a disturbance or embroil other groups or the general public in open conflict."" -- Huh? Insanity runs rampant.

Worldwide reports of Morgellons Disease -- Interesting.

Stem cell op helps woman to stand again - "A WOMAN confined to a wheelchair for the past five years has told of the miracle moment she stood up after revolutionary stem-cell treatment. Julia Sandeman, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, paid £13,500 for the make-or-break operation in a Dutch clinic."

Charged Paper Moves on Its Own - "Gold-coated cellophane that bends when charged could work as the tiny wing-flexing muscles in paper surveillance planes, insect robots or even serve as smart wallpaper that emits sound like a speaker."

Teaching robot dogs linguistic tricks - "Researchers led by the Institute of Cognitive Science and Technology in Italy are developing robots that evolve their own language, bypassing the limits of imposing human rule-based communication."

Quote of the Day
"But for the present we're stuck with the world as it is."
~ Dr. Cors, A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.

June 23, 2006

News -- June 23, 2006

Cheney plays down NK strike calls - "U.S. Vice-President Dick Cheney has played down calls for a pre-emptive military strike to destroy a potential North Korean missile launch site." -- Which speaks volumes.

Officials: U.S. didn’t find WMDs, despite claims - "Senior U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday they have no evidence that Iraq produced chemical weapons after the 1991 Gulf War, despite recent reports from media outlets and Republican lawmakers."

Indictment: Suspects wanted to 'kill all the devils we can' - "The mission was intended to be "as good or greater than 9/11" beginning with the destruction of Chicago's Sears Tower, according to court documents obtained Friday by CNN."

Snow: Program Vital to War on Terrorism - "Treasury Secretary John Snow on Friday said a program tracking millions of financial transactions was not invasion of privacy of Americans but "government at its best" and vital to the war on terrorism."

Ike Was Right About War Machine - "I'll tell you where we ought to start saving: on our bloated military establishment. We're paying for weapons we'll never use. No other Country spends the kind of money we spend on our military. Last year Japan spent $42 billion. Italy spent $28 billion, Russia spent only $19 billion. The United States spent $455 billion. We have 8,000 tanks for example. One Abrams tank costs 150 times as much as a Ford station wagon. We have more than 10,000 nuclear weapons — enough to destroy all of mankind. We're spending $200 million a year on bullets alone. That's a lot of target practice. We have 1,155,000 enlisted men and women and 225,000 officers. One officer to tell every five enlisted soldier what to do. We have 40,000 colonels alone and 870 generals." -- Think of the progress and benefits that money could bring if it was used for more positive purposes.

Bush sets up domestic spy service - "US President George W Bush has ordered the creation of a domestic intelligence service within the FBI, as part of a package of 70 new security measures."

Newspapers Reject Government Request to Kill Story - "The New York Times and Los Angeles Times on Friday published a major story on government surveillance of private banking records over the objections of the Bush administration. The same team that produced the Pulitzer-winning National Security Agency (NSA) "domestic spying" program, James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, put together the New York Times' piece. In the middle of the article, they reveal that the White House had asked the paper not to run it. This had happened with the NSA story as well, and the Times put off running the pair's key findings for a year."

Bank Data Is Sifted by U.S. in Secret to Block Terror - "Under a secret Bush administration program initiated weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, counterterrorism officials have gained access to financial records from a vast international database and examined banking transactions involving thousands of Americans and others in the United States, according to government and industry officials."

'End Times' Religious Groups Want Apocalypse Soon - "For thousands of years, prophets have predicted the end of the world. Today, various religious groups, using the latest technology, are trying to hasten it. Their endgame is to speed the promised arrival of a messiah. For some Christians this means laying the groundwork for Armageddon. With that goal in mind, mega-church pastors recently met in Inglewood to polish strategies for using global communications and aircraft to transport missionaries to fulfill the Great Commission: to make every person on Earth aware of Jesus' message. Doing so, they believe, will bring about the end, perhaps within two decades."

Secret Government or A Free Press? - "France, Germany and courts in Japan could teach America a thing or two about one essential aspect of democracy: Their governments are more willing to make sure that journalists have the means to act as watchdogs on the people in power."

Class Warfare: The Minimum Wage Goes Down - "The GOP just shafted the working people of America. ... Even the not-exactly-populist Wall Street Journal points out, "While the minimum wage has remained frozen, lawmakers' salaries have risen with annual cost-of-living increases keyed to what is given federal employees. And last week's vote in the House Appropriations Committee followed a floor vote days before in which the House cleared the way for members to get another increase valued at thousands of dollars annually." So, while Congress will soon make close to $170,000 a year, hardworking full-time minimum wage workers make just $10,700 annually."

Jon Stewart, Enemy of Democracy? - "This is not funny: Jon Stewart and his hit Comedy Central cable show may be poisoning democracy. Two political scientists found that young people who watch Stewart's faux news program, "The Daily Show," develop cynical views about politics and politicians that could lead them to just say no to voting." -- Making Stewart a scapegoat and villian. Americans do not have much choice when the two "choices" are so much alike.

Welcomed or Wanted? - "It would be a wonderful thing if the 25 heads of government of the E.U. were to inform Mr Bush clearly that he is not wanted in Europe, except in the dock in The Hague, and that he should stay forever in his own home state of Connecticut or in his adopted state of Texas. He should be warned that if he strays again into any other part of the world he risks immediate arrest and being charged with, and punished for, his hideous crimes."

Feds Would Make Every Citizen a Criminal - "There’s only one reason for having tens of thousands of laws on the books. The government wants to be able to use these laws to punish political opponents."

S.F. unveils universal health care plan - "The city would offer health care to any adult resident, regardless of immigration or employment status, under a plan announced Tuesday. ... "Rather than lamenting about the fact that we live in a country with 45.8 million Americans that don't have health insurance ... San Francisco is doing something about it," Newsom said. "San Francisco is moving forward to fulfill its moral obligation.""

Crackdown on Homeschoolers: It’s the UN Wot Done It - "“One of the conditions [for homeschooling] is that the homeschoolers must sign a document in which they promise to rear their children along the lines of the UN Convention on Children’s Rights. These parents have not done this. This is why the ministry has started an inquiry." ... The document the homeschoolers are made to sign also states that government inspectors decide whether families comply with the UN’s ideology. Furthermore, it contains a clause in which the homeschooling parents agree to send their child to an official government recognized school if the inspectors report negatively about them twice."

Slow-frozen People? Latest Research Supports Possibility Of Cyropreservation - "The latest research on water - still one of the least understood of all liquids despite a century of intensive study – seems to support the possibility that cells, tissues and even the entire human body could be cyropreserved without formation of damaging ice crystals, according to University of Helsinki researcher Anatoli Bogdan, Ph.D."

Social Isolation Growing in U.S., Study Says - "Americans are far more socially isolated today than they were two decades ago, and a sharply growing number of people say they have no one in whom they can confide, according to a comprehensive new evaluation of the decline of social ties in the United States."

Scientists plan to recreate 'Big Bang' to uncover universe's mysteries - "International scientists will recreate the immediate aftermath of the "Big Bang" in a bid to uncover the mysteries of the universe, a world physics summit announced."

'Cat's pee' sweet smell of success for NZealand wine - "A wine with a whiff of "cat's pee on a gooseberry bush" has transformed Marlborough's Wairau Valley from scruffy farming country into New Zealand's wine capital in just three decades."

Quote of the Day
"Most people prefer to believe their leaders are just and fair even in the face of evidence to the contrary, because once a citizen acknowledges that the government under which they live is lying and corrupt, the citizen has to choose what he or she will do about it. To take action in the face of a corrupt government entails risks of harm to life and loved ones. To choose to do nothing is to surrender one's self-image of standing for principles. Most people do not have the courage to face that choice. Hence, most propaganda is not designed to fool the critical thinker but only to give moral cowards an excuse not to think at all."
~ Michael Rivero

June 22, 2006

News -- June 22, 2006

Cheney: Iraq pullout 'worst possible thing we could do' - "Withdrawing American troops from Iraq would embolden terrorists and leave the United States and its allies vulnerable to new attacks, Vice President Dick Cheney said Thursday. Linking Iraq to the war on terror, he said neither an immediate nor phased withdrawal would protect the United States. "If we pull out, they'll follow us," he said of terrorists." -- Thus, if Dick has his way, U.S. troops will forever be in Iraq.

Senate rejects Iraq pullout - "The Republican-controlled Senate today soundly rejected two Democratic plans to redeploy troops from Iraq, turning back Democrats' argument that it is time for a policy change."

US: Danger, danger everywhere - "Will this new war party succeed, as its predecessors did, in winning new public and policymaker support for what this latest CPD describes as "World War IV"? Or will the US reject the politics of fear and hate this time, and move toward a more measured, less militaristic course in international relations - one that ensures national security without burdening the US with new wars and a self-serving military-industrial complex?" -- Signs point to no.

Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq - "The weapons are thought to be manufactured before 1991 so they would not be proof of an ongoing WMD program in the 1990s. But they do show that Saddam Hussein was lying when he said all weapons had been destroyed, and it shows that years of on-again, off-again weapons inspections did not uncover these munitions." -- Give me a break. The grasping at straws continues.

Israel can no longer rely on the support of Europe's Jews - "Younger Europeans, not to mention the rest of the world, are more sceptical about Israel's territorial claims. They are less susceptible to moral arguments about redress for past horrors, which have underpinned Israeli actions for almost 60 years. We may hope that it will never become respectable to be anti-semitic. However, Israel is discovering that it can no longer frighten non-Jews out of opposing its policies merely by accusing them of anti-semitism. There is also evidence of growing disenchantment with Israel in the Jewish diaspora."

Army takes older recruits - "The U.S. Army, aiming to make its recruiting goals amid the Iraq war, raised its maximum enlistment age by another two years on Wednesday, while the Army Reserve predicted it will miss its recruiting target for a second straight year."

Study: Earth 'likely' hottest in 2,000 years - "It has been 2,000 years and possibly much longer since Earth has run such a fever." -- Which implies that it has indeed been this hot before.

Study Says Earth's Temp at 400-Year High - "The Earth is the hottest it has been in at least 400 years, probably even longer. The National Academy of Sciences, reaching that conclusion in a broad review of scientific work requested by Congress, reported Thursday that the "recent warmth is unprecedented for at least the last 400 years and potentially the last several millennia."" -- Same comment as above.

Global Warming Affecting Your Life? E-Mail Us - " Witnessing the impact of global warming in your life? ABC News wants to hear from you. We're currently producing a report on the increasing changes in our physical environment, and are looking for interesting examples of people coping with the differences in their daily lives. Has your life been directly affected by global warming?" -- Can you believe this shit? This is an asinine exercise.

AT&T rewrites rules: Your data isn't yours - "AT&T has issued an updated privacy policy that takes effect Friday. The changes are significant because they appear to give the telecom giant more latitude when it comes to sharing customers' personal data with government officials."

World scientists unite to attack creationism - "The world's scientific community united yesterday to launch one of the strongest attacks yet on creationism, warning that the origins of life were being "concealed, denied or confused"."

U.S. losing its middle-class neighborhoods - "Middle-class neighborhoods, long regarded as incubators for the American dream, are losing ground in cities across the country, shrinking at more than twice the rate of the middle class itself. In their place, poor and rich neighborhoods are both on the rise, as cities and suburbs have become increasingly segregated by income, according to a Brookings Institution study released today."

Frozen Brains Awaiting Their Resurrection Day - "In the United States, 150 bodies are frozen in cryonic slumber, 74 of them at the Cryonics Institute in Clinton Township, Michigan, which Ettinger founded in 1976 and still runs. When some of the bodies were frozen 30 years ago, there was speculation that they would be revived at about this time. But there is no sign that anyone is going to be resurrected anytime soon."

'Complicated grief' suggested as separate diagnosis - "It's normal to feel sadness and grief with the passing of a loved one, but an intense and persistent yearning for the person who died, difficulties "moving on" with life after a period of time, and a sense that life and the future are meaningless and purposelessness, are signs of "complicated grief," warns a group of Dutch doctors."

On the Web, Punch and Click - "Armed with a digital video camera, Cater and his friends tape their slugfests and post them on video-sharing Web sites, including Cater's Myspace.com page. The images tell a succinct, brutal story -- punches landing squarely on jaws, fists flattening noses, neck-straining headlocks followed by jackhammer storms of more blows to the face. Cater says no one has been badly injured -- hey, these guys are friends -- although participants can usually count on some bloody lips, plenty of sore knuckles and a few bruised egos. "I'm not in any way a violent person," says Cater, 22, who lives in Burlington, N.C., "but I enjoy getting out there and fighting when I can." There's more where that came from. Lots more. The convergence of cheap cellphone and digital cameras, easy-to-use video-sharing Web sites and good old human anarchy has created a whole subgenre: the amateur fight video, now playing all over the Internet. On such sites as YouTube.com or Google Video, you'll increasingly find a treasure-trove -- or a cesspool -- of people beating on other people, caught on tape by passersby, friends and other photographers. Some of the violence is consensual. Most of it isn't." -- What a wonderful species we humans are.

Boycott brewing after store owner refuses to stock morning-after pill - ""We've made our decision, and it's what we have determined. We're not going to change our position based on what happens. It's not a negotiable issue," he told The Olympian newspaper in Wednesday's editions."

Canada: No sex please until we're 16 - "Seeking to crack down on sexual predators in the era of the Internet, Canada's government brought in legislation Thursday that would raise the legal age of consent for sex to 16 from an unusually young 14."

How hard can it be to cancel an AOL account? - "More than 800,000 people canceled their AOL accounts last quarter. So it must be easy to cancel right? Not always." -- Another reason to stay away from AOL.

Quote of the Day
"It is not anti-Semitic to criticize the policies of the state of Israel."
~ Colin Powell

June 21, 2006

News -- June 21, 2006

Lawyer Representing Saddam Hussein Killed - "One of Saddam Hussein's lawyers was shot to death Wednesday after he was abducted from his home by men wearing police uniforms in Baghdad, court and police officials said."

U.S. Back at Full War Footing in Afghanistan - "The United States military is quietly carrying out the largest military offensive in Afghanistan since U.S. troops invaded the country in 2001. "The Taliban has made a comeback, and we have the next 90 days to crush them," said a senior U.S. military official."

If Saddam gets death for killing 148, what's the going rate for starting WWIII based on lies? - "They best be careful, though. They're setting themselves up with this precedent. If Saddam gets death for killing 148, then Bush and Co. have much to fear for their crimes."

US rejected Iranian overtures in 2003 - "Officials in US President George W. Bush's administration turned down a 2003 Iranian offer to begin talks with the US, recognize Israel, and end support of Palestinian terror organizations, The Washington Post reported on Sunday."

Oil prices could spike, Saudi warns - "World oil prices could double or triple over the current painful $70-per-barrel level if diplomacy failed and military conflict broke out over Iran's nuclear ambitions, Saudi Ambassador Prince Turki al-Faisal warned this morning."

The Zero Tolerance Militarized Police State - "Mayor Ray Nagin's order that National Guard troops be used to patrol New Orleans is a method of law enforcement quickly engulfing major US cities as crime becomes terrorism and men with machine guns and camouflage become the vanguard of a militarized police state."

Secrecy Mustn't Crush Rule of Law - "Are there any legal limits to what the executive branch can do in the name of national security, or is it anything goes?In separate federal lawsuits challenging the warrantless surveillance of American citizens, the Bush administration argues that courts must dismiss cases claiming that the National Security Agency has broken the law because those claims implicate "state secrets." ... The way the government has asserted the state-secrets privilege means these courts will do more than answer the already serious question of what protection official secrets deserve in a democratic government. The judges will be deciding whether the rule of law applies to any party, whether an agency of the government or a private company, acting in the realm of national security."

What are George Bush's gift-givers trying to tell him? - " A braided leather whip, a sniper rifle, six jars of fertilizer and a copy of the Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook were among the presents foreign leaders have given US President George W. Bush. They are clearly trying to tell him something."

Professors of Paranoia? - "In recent months, interest in September 11-conspiracy theories has surged. Since January, traffic to the major conspiracy Web sites has increased steadily. The number of blogs that mention "9/11" and "conspiracy" each day has climbed from a handful to over a hundred. Why now? Oddly enough, the answer lies with a soft-spoken physicist from Brigham Young University named Steven E. Jones, a devout Mormon and, until recently, a faithful supporter of George W. Bush. Last November Mr. Jones posted a paper online advancing the hypothesis that the airplanes Americans saw crashing into the twin towers were not sufficient to cause their collapse, and that the towers had to have been brought down in a controlled demolition. Now he is the best hope of a movement that seeks to convince the rest of America that elements of the government are guilty of mass murder on their own soil." - From the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Scientific Analysis Proves Towers Brought Down By Incendiaries - "Scientific analysis on WTC steel debris undertaken by BYU Professor Steven Jones proves that the twin towers were demolished by means of incendiary devices and the release of the conclusive evidence is imminent."

Digital camera blocking technology created - "Georgia Institute of Technology scientists say they've created a prototype device that can block digital video cameras from working in a specific area. The scientists say the prototype -- which could be used to stymie unwanted use of video or still cameras -- uses off-the-shelf equipment to scan for, find and neutralize digital cameras. The system works by looking for the reflectivity and shape of the image-producing sensors used in digital cameras."

Parents Can Select Healthy Embryos, Pre-Implantation Genetic Haplotyping - "Parents with a high risk of having a child with a serious genetic disorder, such as cystic fibrosis, will be able to select healthy embryos through IVF as a result of new technology from Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital, UK."

Womb transplants 'possible in 5 years' - "Women with damaged or missing wombs could, within five years, have transplants that would allow them to have children naturally, scientists said yesterday."

TV, Internet trump the great outdoors - "Americans are less interested in spending time in natural surroundings like national parks because they are spending more time watching television, playing video games and surfing the Internet, according to a new study."

Earth surrounded by giant fizzy bubbles - "The space above you is fizzing with activity as bubbles of superhot gas constantly grow and pop around Earth, scientists announced Tuesday."

Test Tube Meat Nears Dinner Table - "Scientists are growing little clumps of meat in dishes. One day, these synthetic morsels could end up on your grill."

Quote of the Day
"Tomorrow is never promised to you."
~ Walter Payton

June 20, 2006

News -- June 20, 2006

Iraqi: U.S. Bodies Showed Signs of Torture - "An Iraqi military official said Tuesday that the bodies of two missing U.S. soldiers showed signs of torture, and that men appeared to have been killed "in a barbaric way.""

Bush 'super-state' documents sought - "Author Jerome Corsi filed a Freedom of Information Act request yesterday asking for full disclosure of the activities of an office implementing a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada that apparently could lead to a North American union, despite having no authorization from Congress."

Many illegals entered U.S. with visas - "Nearly half of the 10 million to 12 million illegal aliens now in the United States entered the country legally, but never left."

Truth Is for 'Liberals' - "Here we are, five and a half years into the Bush Administration, and the press corps still hasn't figured out how to handle the White House's primary tactic of media management: lying."

Pentagon Lists Homosexuality As Disorder - "A Pentagon document classifies homosexuality as a mental disorder, decades after mental health experts abandoned that position."

New US church leader says homosexuality no sin - "Newly elected leader of the U.S. Episcopal Church Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said on Monday she believed homosexuality was no sin and homosexuals were created by God to love people of the same gender."

Presbyterians 'Receive' Policy on Worship - "The divine Trinity _ "Father, Son and Holy Spirit" _ could also be known as "Mother, Child and Womb" or "Rock, Redeemer, Friend" at some Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) services under an action Monday by the church's national assembly."

Stephen Hawking touches on God and science - "World-renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said Thursday that the late Pope John Paul II once told scientists they should not study the beginning of the universe because it was the work of God. ... "I didn't fancy the thought of being handed over to the Inquisition like Galileo," Hawking said during a sold-out audience at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology."

Will science follow Stephen Hawking to Beijing? - "China wants to stand up scientifically, as it is beginning to economically, and it is pouring money and talent into the sciences, particularly physics."

Tech Helps Curb Infant Blindness - "Thanks to a Stanford telemedicine program, doctors can remotely diagnose Retinopathy of Prematurity, or ROP, a condition that threatens 80,000 premature babies annually in the United States and causes blindness in up to 600. Babies like Liam can be diagnosed quickly using the new technology."

Net Neutrality Compromise Floated - "Alaska Republican Ted Stevens adds a new section to the so-called net neutrality bill that would provide for free surfing on the internet but it would still allow ISPs to charge for online content. That won't mollify the likes of Google or Microsoft, who stand to lose big if the legislation passes."

Critics say antiporn effort could affect wrong sites - "That voluntary warning may not be enough if a bill backed by the Bush administration becomes law. Under the Stop Adults' Facilitation of the Exploitation of Youth Act--or Internet Safety Act--introduced last week in the U.S. Senate, all "commercial" Web site operators who fail to flag each page containing "sexually explicit material" could risk fines, up to 15 years in prison, or both. While backers say they are mainly targeting child pornography and trying to keep kids away from mature content, legal experts argue that a broad range of less obvious material could be affected as well, including, for example, a news report that details a sordid sex crime, a computer animation that demonstrates condom use, or even an online lingerie catalog."

Quote of the Day
"Master of puppets I’m pulling your strings…"
~ Metallica

June 19, 2006

News -- June 19, 2006

Horror show reveals Iraq’s descent - "It is here that bodies from the nightly slaughter are dumped each morning. The stench of decaying flesh, mingled with disinfectant, hits you at the checkpoint 100 yards away. Each corpse tells a different story about the terrors of Iraq. Some bodies are pocked with holes inflicted by torturers with power drills. Some show signs of strangulation; others, with hands tied behind the back, bear bullet wounds. Many are charred and dismembered."

Group claims it kidnapped U.S. soldiers - "An umbrella group linked to al-Qaida in Iraq' claimed Monday that it had kidnapped two American soldiers reported missing south of Baghdad, where 8,000 Iraqi and U.S. troops were conducting a massive search." -- Umbrella group? Hmmmm.

How US hid the suicide secrets of Guantanamo - "After three inmates killed themselves, the Pentagon declared the suicides an act of 'asymmetric warfare', banned the media and went on a PR offensive. But as despair grows within the camp, so too does outrage mount at its brutal and secretive regime."

"Abducted", Or Captured? - "Now two American soldiers have been 'abducted' by masked gun men. I guess that makes it sound more like a crime has been committed than saying they were captured, thereby making criminals out of the perpetrators. Now, I hope these men get back home safely to their families. It goes without saying that if the current administration didn't have such a hard-on for the Iraqi oil, none of this would have happened. But of all the Iraqis in US custody, not to mention the 'enemy combatants' at Guantanamo, how many of them were abducted? All? Some ? None?"

U.S. learns to live with less freedom - ""People are more afraid of terror than having their privacy violated," says Tomasso, chair of the New Hampshire Liberty Alliance. "For so long the rhetoric has been about fear, not hope and more traditional American values.""

'Wash Post' Obtains Shocking Memo from U.S. Embassy in Baghdad - "The Washington Post has obtained a cable, marked "sensitive," that it says shows that just before President Bush left on a surprise trip last Monday to the Green Zone in Baghdad for an upbeat assessment of the situation there, "the U.S. Embassy in Iraq painted a starkly different portrait of increasing danger and hardship faced by its Iraqi employees." This cable outlines, the Post reported Sunday, "the daily-worsening conditions for those who live outside the heavily guarded international zone: harassment, threats and the employees' constant fears that their neighbors will discover they work for the U.S. government."It's actually far worse than that, as the details published below indicate, which include references to abductions, threats to women's rights, and "ethnic cleansing.""

Pardon talk for Libby begins - "Now that top White House aide Karl Rove is off the hook in the CIA leak probe, President George W. Bush must weigh whether to pardon former vice presidential aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the only one indicted in the three-year investigation."

Top court to decide second abortion law case - "The U.S. Supreme Court said on Monday it would expand its review of a federal law banning some abortion procedures and would decide a California case on whether the law was too vague and imposed a burden on women."

First embryonic stem cell trial on the cards - "THE first treatment derived from embryonic stem cells might soon undergo clinical trials. The cells would be used to help repair damaged spinal tissue."

New embryo test to screen for 6,000 diseases - "British fertility specialists have developed a powerful new way to test embryos for inherited diseases, offering hundreds of couples their first realistic chance of having healthy children. The procedure has been hailed as a big advance, boosting the number of diseases clinics can test for from about 200 to nearly 6,000."

Avoid breast cancer. Sleep in the dark... - "Sleeping with the light on or staying up late could be a cause of breast cancer, authoritative new research suggests. The research - which is being hailed as a "watershed", providing "the first proof" of a link between artificial light at night and cancer - confirms a mass of the studies suggesting that modern life causes the disease by interfering with natural sleep cycles."

District Gays -- You Can Change - "You heard it from the nice-looking woman in glasses -- you can change. Just stop your self-hating lifestyle and accept that you're into the opposite sex. It's that easy." -- Check out the second picture.

Safety fears as Shuttle date set - "Nasa is to launch the space shuttle Discovery on 1 July, despite warnings from senior safety officials and engineers that it is not safe to fly."

Pregnancy in teenage girls 'all part of nature's law' - "A LEADING doctor sparked controversy last night after claiming teenage girls who get pregnant "behind the bike sheds" are only obeying nature's law and should not be condemned out of hand. Dr Laurence Shaw, deputy medical director of the Bridge Centre fertility clinic in London, said females had been programmed by two million years of evolution to have babies in their late teens and early twenties, when fertility is at its peak."

Quote of the Day
"The most potent weapon in the hands of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed."
~ Steve (Stephen Bantu) Biko