July 31, 2006

News (Page 2) -- July 31, 2006

A man screams for help as he carries the body of a dead girl after the July 30 Israeli air strikes on the southern Lebanese village of Qana.
AFP/Nicolas Asfouri

Israel rejects pressure to end Lebanon war - "Israel rejected mounting international pressure on Monday to end its war against Hizbollah and launched a new incursion into Lebanon, as world powers squabbled over the urgency of a ceasefire."

The End of the Holocaust - "How is it that Israel can persist in massacring people while the world stands by? What justification does it give itself, and what gives the world pause? The answer is as obvious as it is absurd: the Holocaust. The Jewish state receives dispensation for the crimes committed against the Jewish people. It was nearly exterminated, and now it must protect itself. How many massacres can Israel commit before this dispensation runs out? Kibya, 1953; Sabra and Shatila, 1982; Jenin, 2002; Qana, 2006, and all the others in between. (Let us not forget that for Qana, this is the second time around. In 1996, Israel massacred 100 people there.) One is tempted to suggest that Israel has overdrawn its credit on the Holocaust. It is perhaps time to reject the appeal to German barbarity in order to engage in barbarity of one’s own. Historians, many of them Israeli, have shown us that the history of Israel is not one of defense against aggression. It is instead a litany of aggressions in which civilian life, as long as it is not Jewish, is expendable. And yet the Israeli state and much of its citizenry continue to cloak themselves in mantle of victimhood and the discourse of self-protection. It is time, indeed it is past time, to break the discursive link between Israel and the Holocaust. There is no moral relation between the two, unless betrayal counts as a moral relation. The sustaining narrative for Israeli atrocities must be recognized for what it is."

Israel: To the gods of war, a sacrifice - "A teenage mother clutches her two-month-old baby to her chest. Both are dead and mutilated. Beneath them, in what has become their concrete and steel tomb, are dozens more; body after broken young body, tangled and as yet unreachable in the ruin of a single house. This was Qana, where more than 60 civilians, mostly women and children, are thought to have been killed in an Israeli missile strike in the early hours."

VIDEO - Ad: 'For Zion's Sake, I Will Not Keep Silent' - "Israel is under attack." -- I heard this ad appeared on Fox News but have no confirmation.

Why Do They Hate Us? Listen to Qana (Again) - "To the Lebanese, and most in the Arab world, the United Nations now symbolises everything that is corrupt about the international community and its "conscience". The world body, it has become clearer by the day, is a mere plaything of the United States and, by default, of Israel too. It is nothing more than a talking shop, one so enfeebled that it lacks the moral backbone even to denouce unequivocally the murder of four of its unarmed observers by the Israeli army last week. How can Lebanon expect protection for its civilians from an international body as emasculated as this?"

AIPAC's Dangerous Grip on Washington - ""The Bush Administration is bad enough in tolerating measures they would not accept anywhere else but Israel," says Henry Siegman, the former head of the American Jewish Congress and a Middle East expert at the Council on Foreign Relations. "But the Congress, if anything, is urging the Administration on and criticizing them even at their most accommodating. When it comes to the Israeli-Arab conflict, the terms of debate are so influenced by organized Jewish groups, like AIPAC, that to be critical of Israel is to deny oneself the ability to succeed in American politics.""

Gitmo Guards Often Attacked by Detainees - "The prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay during the war on terror have attacked their military guards hundreds of times, turning broken toilet parts, utensils, radios and even a bloody lizard tail into makeshift weapons, Pentagon reports say."

US begins building treaty-breaching germ war defence centre
- "Construction work has begun near Washington on a vast germ warfare laboratory intended to help protect the US against an attack with biological weapon, but critics say the laboratory's work will violate international law and its extreme secrecy will exacerbate a biological arms race."

Shanghai Constructs Underground Bunker Capable Of Sheltering 200,000 People - "Shanghai has constructed a massive underground bunker complex capable of sheltering 200,000 people from a nuclear attack, a local newspaper reported."

Bush briefed on global warming's impact on storms - "Officials tracking the approach of the peak hurricane season told President Bush on Monday that data linking a series of devastating storms to global warming was inconclusive."

WORST EVER SECURITY FLAW FOUND IN DIEBOLD TS VOTING MACHINE - "Upon examining the inner workings of one of the most popular paperless touch screen voting machines used in public elections in the United States, it has been determined that with the flip of a single switch inside, the machine can behave in a completely different manner compared to the tested and certified version."

Readers Write: The Growing Threat of Right-Wing Christians - "Does faith have a role in politics? AlterNet readers react to an article about right-wing Christians -- and end up questioning the legitimacy of religion itself."

Museum uses bible to tell earth's history - "Like most natural history museums, this one has exhibits showing dinosaurs roaming the Earth. Except here, the giant reptiles share the forest with Adam and Eve. That, of course, is contradicted by science, but that's the point of the $25 million Creation Museum rising fast in rural Kentucky. Its inspiration is the Bible — the literal interpretation that contends God created the heavens and the Earth and everything in them just a few thousand years ago.

Death at the Supermarket - "A disgruntled and bullied Safeway employee is the latest to commit a workplace massacre. The press and coworkers are blaming the attacker -- but the real culprit is a corporate culture gone bad."

Scientist thinks invisibility possible in future - "It's unlikely to occur by swallowing a pill or donning a special cloak, but invisibility could be possible in the not too distant future, according to research published on Monday."

News -- July 31, 2006

Israeli Strikes Resume After Brief Lull - "Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes in southern Lebanon on Monday, hours after agreeing to temporarily halt raids while investigating a bombing that killed nearly 60 Lebanese civilians, mostly women and children seeking shelter."

Olmert: We need 10 more days of military operations - "Israeli PM tells US Secretary of State Rice country needs 10 days to two weeks to finish Lebanon offensive. Defense Minister Peretz warns of 'final strike' by Hizbullah in retaliation for Qana attack."

Days of darkness - "Since we've grown accustomed to thinking collective punishment a legitimate weapon, it is no wonder no debate has sparked here over the cruel punishment of Lebanon for Hezbollah's actions. If it was okay in Nablus, why not Beirut? The only criticism being heard about this war is over tactics. ... Lebanon, which has never fought Israel and has 40 daily newspapers, 42 colleges and universities and hundreds of different banks, is being destroyed by our planes and cannon and nobody is taking into account the amount of hatred we are sowing."

How can 'terrorism' be condemned while war crimes go without rebuke? - "Washington's partners in this hypocritical war on terror are given free rein to wreak their own brutal, illegal violence."

New maximum-security jail to open at Guantanamo Bay - "The controversy over the US-run detention centre at Guantanamo Bay is to erupt anew with confirmation by the Pentagon that a new, permanent prison will open in the Cuban enclave in the next few weeks."

Agency hid rising costs of Iraq projects - "The U.S. State Department agency in charge of $1.4 billion in reconstruction money in Iraq used an accounting shell game to hide ballooning cost overruns on its projects in Iraq and knowingly withheld information on schedule delays from Congress, a federal audit released late Friday has found."

'Definitive answer' on depleted uranium sought for troops - "After years of veterans pleading for help with illnesses occurring after service in the Gulf wars, the U.S. House and Senate are calling for an immediate study of health effects of exposure to a radioactive metal used in U.S. weapons and armor."

Congresswoman Woolsey Calls for Repeal of President’s Iraq War Powers - "One of the most outspoken critics of the war in Iraq, Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-Petaluma) today introduced H.R. 5875, legislation that would repeal the President’s War Powers for the Iraq War. While the Congress authorized President Bush to wage war against Iraq in 2002, the original authorization did not anticipate an open-ended U.S. military campaign against Iraq, or the occupation that currently exists."

Key prewar intelligence report section may not be released until after November elections - ""The section most Democrats have sought, however, is not yet in draft form and might not emerge until after the November election, staffers said," reports Dafna Linzer."

U.N. issues nuke deadline for Iran - "The U.N. Security Council passed a weakened resolution Monday giving Iran until Aug. 31 to suspend uranium enrichment or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions."

Seattle Shooting suspect was baptized - "He told friends he felt alienated from his own family, in part because his career had disappointed his father and also because he had disavowed Islam last year, converting to Christianity. ... Yet in the midst of his shooting spree in Seattle Friday, he declared himself an angry Muslim."

Child soldiers wake up from a nightmare - "When he was 6, Sam was kidnapped. He spent the next six years as a captive of a rebel army, where he was forced to kill other children, sometimes by biting the skin off a screaming victim who would slowly bleed to death. For nearly two decades, northern Uganda has faced the terror of an army of child predators. The children live in a wilderness of towering elephant grass and attack at night. They have been known to attack villages -- killing all but the children between 6 and 15, whom they take away."

U.S. set to issue passports with RFID chips - "The U.S. Department of State is on track to start issuing passports with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips next week, despite warnings from some security experts that such systems could be accessed or tracked by hackers. The new program will start in the Denver passport office and be rolled out across the country over the next several years. All American passports are expected to include RFID chips containing personal information by 2017."

Building Artificial Viruses - "In the past five years, new technology has made it easier to genetically modify microbes and even create new ones from scratch. Some worry that the developments could lead to novel and more dangerous kinds of bioterror threats."

Mysterious Skin Disease Causes Itching, Loose Fibers - "Imagine your skin burning and itching, and feeling like bugs are crawling under or on top of it. Imagine having open sores on your face and body. Then imagine having stringlike fibers literally coming out of your skin. That's exactly what patients with a mysterious illness called Morgellons disease say happens to them."

Itching for Answers to a Mystery Condition - "Fed up with doctors calling them delusional, a group suffering from nightmarish symptoms has pressured the CDC to look into their disease."

HIV hides in gut to escape attack - "Even when blood tests suggested antiretroviral treatment was working, the virus continued to replicate in the gut, suppressing immune function."

FDA Considers Morning-After Pill Sales - "The government is considering allowing over-the-counter sales of the morning-after pill, but only to women 18 and older. The surprise move Monday revives efforts to widen access to the emergency contraceptive almost a year after it was thought doomed."

Silence of the Lam - "Accused of sexually abusing young boys, a Brooklyn rabbi lit for Israel 22 years ago. Now one alleged victim wants him brought back for trial."

Churches Putting Town Out of Business - "They are not the words one expects to hear from a politician or a Southerner, and Leonard Scarcella is both: "Our city has an excessive number of churches."Scarcella is mayor of this Houston-area community, which has 51 churches and other religious institutions packed into its 7 square miles. With some 300 undeveloped, potentially revenue-producing acres left in Stafford, officials are scrambling to find a legal way to keep more tax-exempt churches from building here."

More than 60 percent of U.S. in drought - "More than 60 percent of the United States now has abnormally dry or drought conditions, stretching from Georgia to Arizona and across the north through the Dakotas, Minnesota, Montana and Wisconsin, said Mark Svoboda, a climatologist for the National Drought Mitigation Center at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln."

Killer heat waves here to stay, global warming researchers say - "And the computer models show that soon, we'll get many more — and hotter — heat waves that will leave the old Dust Bowl records of the 1930s in the dust, said Ken Kunkel, director of the Center for Atmospheric Sciences at the Illinois State Water Survey."

French ban nudity - ""People must behave according to good standards to maintain tranquillity, security and public order," the decree said, according to Saturday's edition of Le Parisien. "Notably indecent attire (nude sunbathing, g-strings and toplessness etc) is forbidden.""

CNN snatching page out of YouTube's book - "On Monday, CNN is expected to announce the launch of CNN Exchange, a page on the company's Web site that will feature user-submitted video, audio and articles."

California radio station changes format from God to sex - "KFYE-FM hasn't budged from the Fresno-area dial, but it's about as far as you can get from the Christian music, sermons and Bible stories it was broadcasting until about a week ago. Now it calls itself "Porn Radio" — "all sex radio, all the time," with a suggestion that people under 21 not listen."

MySpace blurs line between friends and flacks - "The volume of advertising in MySpace and other social networks is expected to balloon in the next few years, and much of it could blur the lines between socializing, entertainment and marketing."

The egg that will tell you when it's perfectly boiled - "Revolutionary "self-timing" eggs designed to overcome the perennial problem of how to avoid runny whites and overcooked yolks will appear on supermarket shelves in the coming months."

American astronomers claim that black holes may not exist - "They swallow everything that comes their way and exercise the world's finest minds, but the portrayal of black holes as awe-inspiring celestial menaces may be woefully inaccurate, a team of scientists claim. Indeed, they might not exist at all. According to the researchers, the traditional astronomers' view of a universe liberally sprinkled with invisible, all-consuming black holes should be replaced with an alternative that sees strange, magnetic balls of plasma floating in their place."

No bumper sticker today.

Quote of the Day
"You just take your pill and everything will be alright."
~ Everclear

July 29, 2006

News -- July 29, 2006

Israel rejects calls for temporary ceasefire - "Israel today rejected a United Nations request for a three-day ceasefire in Lebanon to allow aid through and civilians to leave the war zone."

Death Toll Could Be Twice the Official Figure - "Lebanese doctors, aid workers and refugees are all reporting that the official number of dead in Lebanon is far lower than the actual."

President Bush and Prime Minister Blair of the United Kingdom Participate in Press Availability - "PRESIDENT BUSH: David, it's an interesting period because instead of having foreign policies based upon trying to create a sense of stability, we have a foreign policy that addresses the root causes of violence and instability. For a while, American foreign policy was just, let's hope everything is calm, kind of managed calm. But beneath the surface brewed a lot of resentment and anger that was manifested in its -- on September the 11th. And so we've taken a foreign policy that says, on the one hand, we will protect ourselves from further attack in the short-run by being aggressive and chasing down the killers and bringing them to justice -- and make no mistake, they're still out there, and they would like to harm our respective peoples because of what we stand for -- in the long-term, to defeat this ideology, and they're bound by an ideology. You defeat it with a more hopeful ideology called freedom." -- Yes, he said American foreign policy was to blame for 9/11. Then he went on and blathered about how to defeat one ideology with another ideology. I guess the only way to do that is with violence.

Is Bush Trying to Dodge the Gallows? - "Could George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and maybe Alberto Gonzales all end up sucking poison gas? That, apparently, is a concern now being taken seriously by Attorney General Gonzales, who is quietly working with senior White House officials and friendly members of Congress to do what murderous dictators in Chile, Argentina and other bloodthirsty regimes have done as their future in office began to look uncertain: pass laws exempting them from prosecution for murder."

Britain, U.S. Using Radioactive ‘Dirty Bombs’ - "While U.S. and British military personnel continue using illegal uranium munitions—America’s and England’s own “dirty bombs”—Department of Energy (DOE) and Department of Defense (DOD) officials deny that there are any adverse health and environmental effects as a consequence of the manufacture, testing and use of uranium munitions. The reason for the doubletalk is obviously to avoid criminal liability for the willful and illegal dispersal of a radioactive and toxic material—depleted uranium (DU). How do I know this? Fourteen years ago, I was asked by the U.S. military to clean up the initial DU mess from Gulf War I."

US in quiet U-turn on Iraq troop numbers - "The US administration has quietly reversed its goal from whittling down troop numbers in Iraq before the mid-term congressional elections in November. ... However, analysts said an increase in troop numbers was more likely than a reduction because the number of sectarian killings in Iraq had almost doubled since the start of the year. The rise will prompt fears that the US is becoming increasingly bogged down in an unwinnable conflict."

Who are the real terrorists in the Middle East? - "What exactly is being defended by the violence in Gaza and Lebanon? Is it the citizens of Israel or the nature of the Israeli state?"

Reality intrudes - "This comes at a time when things were supposed to be improving -- after formation of a new Iraqi government, more participation by Sunni politicians, a raid that killed al-Qaida's top operative in Iraq. And it is a time when Americans, and that certainly includes most Republican candidates this year, hoped the U.S. presence would start to diminish. Instead, it is hard to think of anything that has gotten better. The security situation has so deteriorated that, for the first time, the average daily death toll among Iraqi civilians last month exceeded 100. The casualties are especially high in Baghdad, which is becoming unlivable. Businesses are closing, streets are often deserted and -- perhaps most ominously -- religious minorities are fleeing previously integrated neighborhoods, often with the intent of leaving the country." -- 3000 Iraqi civilians die each month. Oh yes, things are so much better for the Iraqi people.

Who Needs Congress or Courts With Bush in Charge? - "Congress passes a law that says the U.S. won't torture people. The president says OK, we won't -- unless we really need to, thus adopting an exception Congress had specifically and vociferously rejected. Congress passes the Sarbanes-Oxley law to reform business practices. In signing it, the president issues a statement to cut back on protection for corporate whistle-blowers. Congress passes a law telling the administration to inform it on specific matters. The president issues statements saying he won't disclose anything he doesn't think he should. So Congress tells him to notify it when he decides to ignore a law. He repeats that he will disclose only what he thinks he should, claiming, as he always does, constitutional authority to resist. As of July 11, President George W. Bush had said no (or, not unless I want to) to 807 provisions enacted by Congress that he signed into law, according to Christopher Kelley, a political science professor at the University of Miami, Ohio. That number compares to some 600 provisions challenged by all of Bush's predecessors combined, says Kelley."

House Leadership Invokes "Martial Law," Forcing Members to Vote On Key Bills Without Full Knowledge of What They're Voting On - "The House Republican Leadership has announced its intention to have the House vote, before adjourning on Friday or Saturday, on several major pieces of legislation that are not yet available to House members in final form because behind-closed-door negotiations on the proposals are still going on. The Leadership apparently intends to use a process known as “martial law” to allow these bills to be brought to the floor very shortly after negotiations are completed, with the result that Members of the House are likely to have virtually no time to examine and consider the details of the legislation before they will be required to vote on it."

Iranian leader bans usage of foreign words - "Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has ordered government and cultural bodies to use modified Persian words to replace foreign words that have crept into the language, such as "pizzas" which will now be known as "elastic loaves," state media reported Saturday."

Judge rules against Bucs; league defends pat-downs - "Security "pat-downs" of fans at Tampa Bay Buccaneers games are unconstitutional and unreasonable, a federal judge ruled Friday, throwing into question the practice at NFL games nationwide."

Court Says Lending Weapon Not Covered By Gun Law - "The state's highest court has ruled that Marylanders can lend a gun to a friend without going through the seven-day waiting period and background check required by state law before guns can be transferred or sold to a new owner."

Minimum wage increase passes House - "Republicans muscled the first minimum wage increase in a decade through the House of Representatives early Saturday after pairing it with a cut in inheritance taxes on multimillion-dollar estates."

Global warming's effect on hurricane strength disputed in new report - "Scientists linking the increased strength of hurricanes over recent years to global warming have not accounted for outdated technology that may have underestimated storms' power decades ago, researchers said in a report published Friday."

If Fox News Had Been Around Throughout History -- There are some pretty good ones.

China's growing pollution reaches U.S. - "Researchers say the environmental impact of China's breakneck economic growth is being felt well beyond its borders. They worry that as China consumes more fossil fuels to feed its energy-hungry economy, the U.S. could see a sharp increase in trans-Pacific pollution that could affect human health, worsen air quality and alter climate patterns."

Powering Up, One Step at a Time - "British engineers are converting street vibrations into electricity and predict a working prototype by Christmas capable of powering facility lights in the busiest areas of a city."

Scientists: Cosmic blob biggest thing in universe - "An enormous amoeba-like structure 200 million light-years wide and made up of galaxies and large bubbles of gas is the largest known object in the universe, scientists say."

Marijuana gumballs found at school - "Federal drug agents aren't laughing about marijuana packaged in yellow, smiley-faced gumballs. ... "When it comes to drug dealing, you're only limited by your imagination.""

Pornopoliticos: Candidates with nothing to hide - "The gubernatorial campaigns of Melody "Mimi" Damayo and Mary Carey could be seen as dirty politics, but their experience and exposure in adult films gives them some advantage, political pundits say."

Quote of the Day
"How can a world that makes such wonderful things…be bad?"
~ Ariel, The Little Mermaid

July 28, 2006

News -- July 28, 2006

The call that tells you: run, you're about to lose your home and possessions - "The voice sounded friendly enough. "Hi, my name is Danny. I'm an officer in Israeli military intelligence. In one hour we will blow up your house." Mohammed Deeb took the telephone call seriously and told his family and neighbours to get out of the building. An hour later, an Israeli helicopter fired three missiles at the four-storey building in Gaza City, destroying the ground floor and damaging the upper storeys."

Hezbollah leader said to be hiding in Iranian Embassy - "Intelligence reports indicate the leader of Hezbollah is hiding in a foreign mission in Beirut, possibly the Iranian Embassy, according to U.S. and Israeli officials."

Iran: The Next War - "Even before the bombs fell on Baghdad, a group of senior Pentagon officials were plotting to invade another country. Their covert campaign once again relied on false intelligence and shady allies. But this time, the target was Iran."

U.S. may send 5,000 more troops to Baghdad - "Military commanders in Iraq are developing a plan to move as many as 5,000 U.S. troops with armored vehicles and tanks into the country's capital in an effort to quell escalating violence, defense officials said Thursday."

Detainee Abuse Charges Feared - "An obscure law approved by a Republican-controlled Congress a decade ago has made the Bush administration nervous that officials and troops involved in handling detainee matters might be accused of committing war crimes, and prosecuted at some point in U.S. courts."

US must abolish secret detention facilities: UN rights panel - "The UN Human Rights Committee has called on the United States to immediately abolish all secret detention facilities, in a report raising deep concerns about the conduct of the "war on terror". Information on secret detentions was "credible and uncontested", the panel said in its final report after an examination of the United States's human rights record."

Analysis: Bush Foreign Policy Struggling - ""This president has a very firm world view that is not about to be changed by facts or realities. There are good guys and bad guys," said Ivo Daalder, who was director of European affairs in the National Security Council in the Clinton administration. "Right now, Israelis are the good guys and Hezbollah, Syria and Iran are the bad guys," said Daalder, now a fellow with the Brookings Institution. He said the administration's refusal to deal directly with Hezbollah, Syria or Iran "is a manifestation of this world view: We don't talk to bad people.""

Strange, "End-Times" beliefs of some Fundamentalist, "Evangelical" Christians - "Is this all wild, "science fiction"? Maybe. But again, no one knows. Does it hurt to believe in this "unbelievable" scenario? These "Evangelical" Christians seem to say that it won't hurt at all to believe that such scenarios could come true. They say that they have nothing to lose by believing in it even if it doesn't come true, but everything to gain if it indeed takes place, if one is a believer."

Would $100 oil slam the global economy? - "Economists have been surprised how little the current high price of oil has damaged the U.S. and world economies. After all, prices have already soared by 300% since 1999, yet nearly all regions of the world continue to chug along. That's a big contrast to the oil crises of the 1970s and 1980s, which sent economies into major funks. What would happen, though, if the price of a barrel of oil topped the psychologically significant level of $100? The answer varies by region, with the worst likely impact in Asia and the least impact in Europe. But no question, oil prices one-third higher than they are now would sting everywhere."

BP Profit Rises to a Record on Oil Prices, Refining - "BP Plc, Europe's biggest oil company, reported a 30 percent jump in second-quarter profit to a record as crude prices surged and refining earnings increased."

Poland reluctant to give America sovereignty over missile base - "Concerns have been raised over America's insistence that the base would be a sovereign US installation on Polish soil, and beyond the scrutiny of local legal and defence officials. "I approach the problem of extra-territoriality with reserve, I won't hide that," said the president, Lech Kaczynski. The Warsaw newspaper Rzeczpospolita reported this week that Poland's government would be kept in the dark about the US base's operations and would not be consulted about missile launches. Poland, a staunch American ally which is increasingly at odds with its European neighbours and partners under a national-conservative government, is the frontrunner to host the sole national missile defence site outside the US."

Chat rooms could face expulsion - "Web sites like Amazon.com and MySpace.com may soon be inaccessible for many people using public terminals at American schools and libraries, thanks to the U.S. House of Representatives. By a 410-15 vote on Thursday, politicians approved a bill that would effectively require that "chat rooms" and "social networking sites" be rendered inaccessible to minors, an age group that includes some of the Internet's most ardent users. Adults can ask for permission to access the sites." -- Ask for permission? Welcome to fascist America.

Teens Online: Not a Freak Zone - "She has also seen ignorance, confusion and nervousness among adults -- about the technology more than about teen sexuality. Many parents, teachers and counselors discover what teens are doing online almost entirely through the media. "Media always portray new technology in alarmist, 'the world ends tomorrow' fashion," she says. "You get the sense that MySpace is an online sexual orgy where adults and kids sleep together in some kind of culty illicit community. That's really not what's going on." To show adults a more accurate picture of how teens use the internet, Gowen developed the Virtual Mystery Tour workshop to guide grown-ups through the tools and communities popular among young people."

Legalizing Warentless Wiretapping - "New legislation that would rewrite the rules governing foreign surveillance wiretaps is making its way through the Senate Judiciary Committee. The legislation's content is predictable: The GOP-controlled Congress is giving the President essentially what he wants, by approving his NSA wiretapping program."

Lactivists: Where is it OK to breastfeed? - "These readers weren't complaining about a sexually explicit cover, but rather one of a baby nursing, on a wholesome parenting magazine -- yet another sign that Americans are squeamish over the sight of a nursing breast, even as breast-feeding itself gains more support from the government and medical community. ... The evidence of public discomfort isn't just anecdotal. In a survey published in 2004 by the American Dietetic Association, less than half -- 43 percent -- of 3,719 respondents said women should have the right to breast-feed in public places." -- The world is full of idiots.

A Brief History of Human Sex - "Birds do it, bees do it, humans since the dawn of time have done it. But just how much has the act really changed through the millennia and even in past decades? Are humans doing it more? Are we doing it better? Sort of, say scientists. But it's how people fess up to the truth about their sex lives that has changed the most over the years."

Quote of the Day
"Nobody knows anything. Everybody knows that."
~ Melanie Boyer

July 27, 2006

News (Page 2) -- July 27, 2006

Israel's star-spangled arsenal - "Much has been made in the US media of the Syrian- and Iranian-origin weaponry used by Hezbollah in the escalating violence in Israel and Lebanon. There has been no parallel discussion of the origin of Israel's weaponry, the vast bulk of which is from the United States. The US is the primary source of Israel's far superior arsenal. For more than 30 years, Israel had been the largest recipient of US foreign assistance, and since 1985 Jerusalem has received about US$3 billion in military and economic aid each year from Washington. US aid accounts for more than 20% of Israel's total defense budget. Over the past decade, the US has transferred more than $17 billion in military aid to this country of just under 7 million people."

Mysterious wounds from Israeli shells in Gaza - "Doctors say they have never before seen such specific burn injuries, concentrated so much on the lower body and causing such a high propensity of amputations."

Bush cites Iran's role in Lebanon conflict - ""Hezbollah attacked Israel. I know Hezbollah is connected to Iran," Bush said tersely at the end of Oval Office meetings with Romanian President Traian Basescu. "Now is the time for the world to confront this danger," Bush said." -- Just like they "knew" where the WMD were in Iraq. We've been down this road before, oh little boy who cried wolf way too many times.

Fox News Says Hezbollah 'Certain' To Nuke Major City - "Following the ceaseless bombing of Lebanon, Fox News has gone thermonuclear in its mission to drive fear into the hearts of Americans by insisting that Hezbollah's use of a nuclear device in a major US or Israeli city is inevitable and that only increased surveillance of Americans can stop it."

India could make 50 warheads under nuclear deal with Bush - "The US House of Representatives was set to vote yesterday on a nuclear deal with India that threatens to fuel a nuclear arms race in Asia. The deal, a centrepiece of the Bush administration's foreign policy, comes as the US is pressuring Iran and North Korea to halt their nuclear programmes."

Bullies - "President Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told us they are making our world safer from the terrorists. Who are they kidding? If anyone views the world as a safer place today than when they took office, insanity has replaced reality."

Mr. Bush, What about Israel's defiance of UN Resolutions? - "As we watched your speech to the United Nations General Assembly on September 12, 2002, we were struck by the ironic proximity of the Israeli and Iraqi delegations. Ironic, because many of the accusations you leveled against Iraq could, with ample justification, be directed toward Israel."

Sparks fly as ExxonMobil profit tops 10 billion dollars - "The soaring profits of ExxonMobil and other oil groups have generated fierce criticism about the industry profiting from consumer misery, prompting some US lawmakers to call for a "windfall" profits tax. The oil industry has countered by saying its profit margins are lower than many other sectors, and that much of the earnings are reinvested in new production."

Waste, abuse in Homeland Security contracts: report - "A dependence on no-bid contracts and inadequate oversight have contributed to extensive waste and misspending at the Department of Homeland Security, The Washington Post reported on Thursday, citing a congressional investigation."

Psychologists' Group Under Fire - "The American Psychological Association is under fire from some of its members and other professionals for declaring that it is permissible for psychologists to assist in military interrogations. ... The unrest stems from an APA policy, issued last year, that says that while psychologists should not get involved in torture or other degrading treatment, it is ethical for them to act as consultants to interrogation and information-gathering for national security purposes."

I'M NOT FILMING UP SKIRTS I'M SPYING ON AL-QAEDA - "A DETECTIVE was arrested for allegedly filming up women's skirts with a hidden camera. The married anti-terrorist officer told police he was working undercover to video al-Qaeda suspects. But back at the station they found his camera had close-ups of bottoms and knickers."

NBC/WSJ poll: U.S. pessimism on increase - "With congressional midterm elections less than four months away, the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that candidates will be facing a public that has grown increasingly pessimistic, as nearly two-thirds don't believe life for their children's generation will be better than it has been for them, and nearly 60 percent are doubtful the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion. And there's more pessimism: Among those who believe the nation is headed on the wrong track, more than 80 percent say it's part of a longer-term decline."

VeriChip's human-implatable RFID chips clonable, sez hackers - "In case anyone needed more proof that we're all living in a Philip K. Dick novel, a pair of hackers have recently demonstrated how human-implantable RFID chips from VeriChip can be easily cloned, effectively stealing the person's identity."

Doctors test anti-smoking vaccine - "Doctors are testing a radical new way to help smokers quit: a shot that "immunizes" them against the nicotine rush that fuels their addiction."

Common pollutant eyed in cancer study - "Growing scientific evidence suggests the most widespread industrial contaminant in drinking water — a solvent used in adhesives, paint and spot removers — can cause cancer in people."

Pay raises struggle to outpace inflation - "The bad news: this year will be another year of modest pay increases. The worse news: inflation might eat up those gains."

News -- July 27, 2006

Bush and chaos in the world - "Contrary to previous American presidents who tried to maintain at least the appearance of neutrality in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Bush chose instead to put his foot in his mouth by proclaiming his overt partiality: "We're going to correct the imbalances from the previous administration on the Mideast conflict. We're going to tilt it back toward Israel. And we're going to be consistent.""

Israel commits more troops - "An Israeli cabinet minister today claimed "permission from the world" to press on with its Lebanon campaign as both sides launched attacks on enemy territory."

Iranian Volunteers Set Off for Lebanon - "Surrounded by yellow Hezbollah flags, more than 60 Iranian volunteers set off Wednesday to join what they called a holy war against Israeli forces in Lebanon. The group - ranging from teenagers to grandfathers - plans to join about 200 other volunteers on the way to the Turkish border, which they hope to cross Thursday. They plan to reach Lebanon via Syria over the weekend."

Al-Qaida deputy calls for worldwide war on Israel - "Osama bin Laden's deputy issued a worldwide call today for Muslims to rise up in holy war against Israel and join the fighting in Lebanon and Gaza, until Islam reigns from "Spain to Iraq"."

Israel's "new Middle East" - "Beirut is burning, hundreds of Lebanese die, hundreds of thousands lose all they ever owned and become refugees, and all the world is doing is rescuing the "foreign passport" residents of what was just two weeks ago "the Paris of the Middle East". Lebanon must die now, because "Israel has the right to defend itself", so goes the U.S. mantra, used to block any international attempt to impose a cease fire."

America: From Freedom to Fascism -- Check out the trailers for the new documentary film.

The Murder of America - "The evidence is overwhelming. There is absolutely a wicked and devastating plot and conspiracy to overthrow America. The traitors are now confident they will soon wash over 225 years of American tradition and history down a sinkhole. If their foul plan suceeds, the vision we as patriots once had of a strong, prosperous nation of liberty, freedom and prosperity will soon vanish beneath a cavernous cesspool of forgotten dreams." -- Interesting.

NAFTA Superhighway RFID Card For US Citizens - "US citizens will be forced to adopt a de-facto national identification card and have their freedom of mobility defined by behavioural fielty to the government under proposals set to derive from NAFTA superhighway toll road systems and the implementation of the American Union."

They plundered Iraq for fun and profit - "Mike Battles — former Republican candidate for Congress in Rhode Island and Fox News war-on-terror analyst — figured he could make a quick fortune off the rebuilding of Iraq. So he and pal Scott Custer set up a contracting firm with the catchy name of Custer Battles. The company proceeded to steal a cool $50 million from American taxpayers, according to two of its former employees. In March, Custer Battles became the first U.S. contractor to be found liable for fraud in Iraq. Ex-employees now accuse two former Pentagon officials of plotting with Custer Battles to set up shell companies that, among other things, sold arms on the Iraqi black market — weapons that could have been used against American troops. ... The first whistleblower suit stemmed from Custer Battles' work in helping to introduce a new Iraqi currency. A jury found that the company had defrauded the U.S. government of $3 million. ... With $21 billion now budgeted for Iraq reconstruction, you'd think the leaders in Washington would tighten up the oversight. Think again. Sen. Byron Dorgan, a North Dakota Democrat, has proposed creating a special committee to review government contracts in Iraq. Last month, it went down in flames with only one Senate Republican voting for it, Rhode Island's Lincoln Chafee. It all sort of leaves you speechless."

'Free Market' Ideology Has Killed Thousands in Iraq - "Iraqis have been brutalized not only by bombs and bullets; they've also been the victims of economic violence in the form of the free market "shock therapy" cooked up by a firm in Virginia on a $250 million no-bid contract before the U.S. invasion. Tranforming Iraq's economy overnight was a matter of ideology trumping commonsense, and it's killed thousands of innocent Iraqis and shattered a way of life for hundreds of thousands more."

FOX News Deliberately Hides Fact That "Middle East Analyst" Is Apocalyptic Christian Preacher - "Evans is a rapture Christian who believes that, once Israel is at peace, the end of the world will come, at which time a very few chosen Christians (including himself and George Bush) will be wisked into heaven by Jesus while the rest of non-believing humanity will be cast into the fiery pit for all eternity. While Mr. Evans is entitled to his quaint religious notions, FOX News was playing it fast and loose with the truth when it labeled him a "Middle East Analyst". "Right Wing Christian Lunatic" might have been a better choice."

Dead Dem Walking - "It's not just Joe Lieberman's support for the war on Iraq, or his steady backing of the Bush agenda. There are many reasons why Joe must go -- and now."

Unpicking the philosophy of faith schools - "Christian schools are perfectly acceptable but other faith schools, especially Muslim ones, are a big mistake and should be scrapped if the Government wants to encourage a unifying British identity, according to the man reckoned by many to be the world's leading moral philosopher."

At Thursday's Braves game, bring a glove - and a Bible? - "After the final at-bat of Thursday's game between the Atlanta Braves and Florida Marlins, the stadium seats will turn into pews. That's because it's "Faith Day" at Atlanta's Turner Field. No, the hot-dog vendors won't preach John 3:16. But churchgoing fans - with, promoters hope, their non-Christian friends in tow - will assemble after the game to hear Braves star pitcher John Smoltz share how his life changed by believing in Christ."

'Strine' slang Bible a hit in secular Australia - ""Out of the blue God knocked up the whole bang lot.... God said 'let's have some light' and bingo – light appeared.""

Norway 'Nazi cartoon' irks Israel - "Israel's ambassador to Norway has complained to press regulators about a cartoon showing Israeli PM Ehud Olmert as a Nazi concentration camp commander."

Court refuses to define marriage - "The Washington Supreme Court yesterday narrowly upheld a state law banning same-sex "marriage," saying both the Legislature and the people have the authority to withhold from or grant marital rights to homosexual couples."

Canadian Professor Fined for Stating Opposition to Homosexuality - "A Canadian professor has been fined two weeks pay by a Nova Scotia university for telling a student that homosexuality is an unnatural lifestyle. But despite the disciplinary measures imposed against the educator, he says he refuses to succumb to the administration's "intimidation.""

Cell Phone Picture Called Obstruction Of Justice - "Cruz said that when he heard a commotion, he walked out of his back door with his cell phone to see what was happening. He said that when he saw the street lined with police cars, he decided to take a picture of the scene. "I opened (the phone) and took a shot," Cruz said. Moments later, Cruz said he got the shock of his life when an officer came to his back yard gate. "He opened the gate and took me by my right hand," Cruz said. Cruz said the officer threw him onto a police car, cuffed him and took him to jail. A neighbor said she witnessed the incident and could not believe what she saw."

House votes to block police from seizing legal guns in disasters - "The House voted Tuesday to prevent law enforcement officers from confiscating legally owned guns during a national disaster or emergency."

Exxon Mobil 2Q profit jumps 36 percent - "Exxon Mobil Corp. said Thursday it earned $10.36 billion in the second quarter, the second largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company."

US Gasoline at $3 Drives People Onto Buses, Trains - "Gasoline prices at near-record highs are fueling a big increase in the number of riders on buses and trains, prompting cities around the country to improve their public transport systems, transportation agencies said on Tuesday."

Bird-flu vaccine may be ready by next year - "A British company reported Wednesday it had achieved the best results ever seen on an experimental human vaccine for bird flu and said mass production might be possible by 2007."

Sun kills 60,000 a year, WHO says - "As many as 60,000 people a year die from too much sun, mostly from malignant skin cancer, the World Health Organization reported on Wednesday."

Sorry, but my children bore me to death! - "Here, she argues provocatively that modern women must not be enslaved by their children. ... Research tells us that mothers drink the most when they have young children. Is that because talking to anyone under the age of ten requires some sort of lobotomy? ... All us bored mothers can take comfort from the fact that our children may yet turn out to be more balanced than those who are love-bombed from the day they are born. Research increasingly shows that child-centred parenting is creating a generation of narcissistic children who cannot function independently."

Quote of the Day
"Governments lie."
~ I.F. Stone

July 26, 2006

News -- July 26, 2006

Lebanon's 9/11 or Why Do They Hate Us? - "What exactly do our politicians mean when the say we support Israel in its action against Lebanon? What is it that they support? Surely not this carnage?" -- Pictures.

Civilians bear fear, injuries, death, grief - "Jawad Najem, a surgeon at the hospital, said patients admitted Sunday had burns from phosphorous incendiary weapons used by Israel. The Geneva Conventions ban using white phosphorus as an incendiary weapon against civilian populations and in air attacks against military forces in civilian areas. Israel said its weapons comply with international law."

U.N. observers' deaths fuel diplomatic firestorm - "A diplomatic furor erupted Wednesday after four U.N. observers died in southern Lebanon in what the U.N. secretary-general said was an "apparently deliberate" Israeli airstrike. Israel angrily denied the accusation."

U.S., allies divided over cease-fire terms - "Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice urged the international community on Wednesday to work quickly to end the "spasms of violence" rocking the Middle East, but the U.S. remained isolated from most of its allies by insisting that any cease fire address the region's long-term problems."

Islamists will set off dirty bomb, spy bosses believe - "Security sources have disclosed that the belief amongst most intelligence agencies is that a chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear (CBRN) attack, using a so-called dirty bomb, is now inevitable."

Report: Proposal would allow hearsay evidence against detainees - "According to the draft, hearsay evidence would be allowed unless it was deemed to be unreliable. Defendants also would be barred from their own trials if it necessary to protect national security."

Leading lawyers say Bush creates loopholes in laws he doesn't like - "President George Bush's practice of writing exceptions to legislation as he signs it into law represents a violation of the constitution and a danger to democracy, America's leading lawyers alleged yesterday."

Video: Some Christians see Biblical endtimes in middle east violence - "The apocalypse is seen looming in two video clips--from CNN and Comedy Central."

Stand up to US, voters tell Blair - "Britain should take a much more robust and independent approach to the United States, according to a Guardian/ICM poll published today, which finds strong public opposition to Tony Blair's close working relationship with President Bush."

Let’s have no more talk about Bush’s stupidity - "A lot of people think George W. Bush is stupid. It’s an understandable mistake: he often acts as though he is. But the truth is worse. The truth is that the things he doesn’t know are things he doesn’t want to know. His followers, the ones who also aren’t stupid and who aren’t simply lying about what they think, are on the same frequency; he and they are deliberately, sometimes heroically, ignorant."

The Diebold Bombshell - "Even more shockingly, we learned recently that Diebold and the State of Maryland had been aware of these vulnerabilities for at least two years. They were documented in analysis, commissioned by Maryland and conducted by RABA Technologies, published in January 2004. For over two years, Diebold has chosen not to fix the security holes, and Maryland has chosen not to alert other states or national officials about these problems. Basically, Diebold included a "back door" in its software, allowing anyone to change or modify the software. There are no technical safeguards in place to ensure that only authorized people can make changes."

Senate passes interstate abortion notification - "A bill that would make it a crime to take a pregnant girl across state lines for an abortion without her parents' knowledge passed the Senate Tuesday, but vast differences with the House version stood between the measure and President Bush's desk."

The Teen Endangerment & Grandmother Incarceration Act - "This legislation certainly won't reduce the number of abortions-- if lawmakers wanted to do that they'd fund medically accurate sex-ed and increase contraception access. Instead the law is designed to punish teenagers who need abortions and the people who are there to help them in a time of crisis."

Feds finally release info on 'superstate' - "After missing a deadline, the U.S. Department of Commerce finally has granted a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain complete disclosure of a congressionally unauthorized plan to implement a trilateral agreement with Mexico and Canada that critics say could lead to a EU-style alliance in North America."

Government Trolls - Our Tax Dollars at Work - "Last week it was the revelation that the Department of Defense was going to be indexing blogs. Then it was the revelation that Marine recruiters were using My Space to lure people into the military. Now it seems our tax dollars are being used for military personnel to cruise blogs sites and spam the comment section. At least that is what it seems like after we received this comment today:"

Lubbock, Texas, plans to pray for rain - "Public officials in Lubbock, Texas, are organizing a day to pray for rain. "Nobody is going to tell God what to do and what not to do, but we are in a serious drought in West Texas and since he is the man who controls the rain clouds, we're asking him for his mercy and his help," Mayor David Miller told the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal."

That Raise Might Take 4 Years to Earn as Well - "Those with bachelor's degrees are finding their incomes stagnate despite a growing economy."

Miss Indonesia under fire over 'insulting' swimsuit parade - "A MILITANT Islamic group has filed a police report against Indonesia's Miss Universe candidate, accusing her of indecency. Nadine Chandrawinata's participation in the contest and display of her body in a swimsuit "is actually insulting for Indonesian dignity and women", Islamic Defenders Front lawyer Sugito said yesterday."

CDC considers Texas for Morgellons study - "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is launching a study of Morgellons disease that may target South Texas where more than 100 people are suffering from the illness."

Scientists find a second code besides genetics in DNA - "Researchers believe they have found a second code in DNA in addition to the genetic code."

Study: TV Makes Learning Less Efficient - "Multitasking may be a necessity in today's fast-paced world, but new research shows distractions affect the way people learn, making the knowledge they gain harder to use later on."

China to test its 'artificial sun' - "Scientists told the newspaper a successful test will mean the world's first nuclear fusion device of its kind will be ready to go into actual operation, the newspaper said."

Men may be banned from daring to bare their chests - "Men may be barred from baring their chests - and stomachs - in public under new local laws being considered by town halls. They would stop men stripping off their shirts in crowded town centres and give powers to police to remove any who defy the cover-up laws."

More Americans too fat for X-rays, scans - "More and more obese people are unable to get full medical care because they are either too big to fit into scanners, or their fat is too dense for X-rays or sound waves to penetrate, radiologists reported on Tuesday."

Sun worries? Let your bikini do the talking - "As the bikini turns 60, it's entering the electronic age with a new model featuring a built-in alarm to warn wearers to get out of the sun--and ease concerns that the scanty swimsuits damage the health."

Are you a woman going solo? Try a blow-up man - "He fits in a car's glove box, appears at a flick of a switch and when a woman has finished using him, she can just pull the plug and he deflates. He's the "Buddy on Demand," a blow-up man launched on Tuesday with the aim of making solo female motorists feel less nervous about driving at night."

French police thwart joint-rolling world record attempt - " Police in France said they had thwarted an attempt by a group of marijuana smokers to roll the world's longest joint by seizing a work-in-progress measuring 80 centimetres (32 inches) in length."

New Monopoly game uses debit card, no cash - "A British version of the classic Monopoly board game released this week substitutes a Visa-imprinted debit card for the stacks of yellow, blue and purple play money long hoarded by children worldwide."

Quote of the Day
"Stroke of the pen, law of the land. Kinda cool."
~ Paul Begala, Presidential Aide

July 24, 2006

News -- July 24, 2006

LOOK IF YOU DARE - "Whatever you call it now remember the pictures for in the future those now so miserably bleeding and suffering will understandably try to do horrible things tomorrow to those who are responsible for doing these things today."

Four children and the cost of war - "The last time I sat down to write something, it was about the cost of war. As I looked ahead to the coming days, the last words I wrote were: Who will die? Today, I found out."

If this be anti-Semitism... - "if that's truly what anger at Israel's behavior amounts to, then so be it--cause I'm well and truly PISSED OFF. It has nothing to do with hating Jews or favoring Arabs, and everything to do with simple humanity."

Israel warns it will hit 10 buildings for every rocket fired - "The Israeli air force is under orders to blast 10 buildings in south Beirut, a Hezbollah stronghold, for every rocket the Shiite militant group fires at the Israeli port of Haifa, army radio said Monday."

Rice warns against 'false' Middle East ceasefire - "Condoleezza Rice tonight warned that an immediate ceasefire in the Middle East would be a false promise unless the underlying causes of the violence were addressed. The US Secretary of State spoke after Britain and the United States found themselves isolated and under fire at the United Nations Security Council for blocking a concerted international call for an end to the hostilities."

Hezbollah Envoy: War on Israel to Widen - "Hezbollah's representative in Iran struck a defiant tone Monday, warning that his Islamic militant group plans to widen its attacks on Israel until "no place" is safe for Israelis."

Fox News analyst compares Israelis to Nazis - "Fox News military analyst Maj. Bob Bevelacqua, a former Green Beret, appearing tonight on "The O'Reilly Factor," compared Israeli actions in Lebanon and Gaza with Nazi actions in Russia during World War II."

Dershowitz and Grades of Human Beings - "Alan "Torture is OK" Dershowitz is annoyed that the Israelis have been accused of killing innocent civilians. He is now arguing that there are degrees of "civilianity." He wonders how many innocent civilians killed by Israel in Lebanon would still be innocent if we could make finer distinctions. ... But I don't know why Dershowitz stops there. Let me reformulate his argument for him. Shouldn't we recognize degrees of humanness? After all, isn't that the real problem?"

Bush's Plan for "Serial War" revealed by General Wesley Clark - "According to General Wesley Clark--the Pentagon, by late 2001, was Planning to Attack Lebanon. ... "As I went back through the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan."

Pakistan Expanding Nuclear Program - "Pakistan has begun building what independent analysts say is a powerful new reactor for producing plutonium, a move that, if verified, would signal a major expansion of the country's nuclear weapons capabilities and a potential new escalation in the region's arms race."

American Bar Association denounces Bush's signing statements - "President Bush has vetoed only one piece of legislation during more than five years in office, but he has issued more than 800 challenges to bills that he has signed into law with formal "signing statements," more than all of his predecessors combined. Now, however, a task force of the American Bar Association has concluded that the president's unprecedented stream of signing statements poses a dangerous challenge to the constitutional checks and balances central to power in the United States. One of the signing statements reserves the right to torture detainees held in the war on terror."

Hands Off Connecticut - "Here we go again … There is a grass-roots movement picking up steam in the nutmeg state, but the old guard is rushing in to maintain the status quo. Bill Clinton is rushing to Connecticut to save Joseph Lieberman for the party insiders who don't want to lose their power in the party. ... That brings us back to Connecticut. A grass-roots campaign has taken shape to remove the ultimate DLC Democrat. Party activists are supporting Ned Lamont, who vows to oppose the policies of George Bush and not support them as Joseph Lieberman and the DLC have been doing."

Yahoo, Google, Microsoft censor the Internet - "Google filters search results. Yahoo discloses personal information about journalists. Microsoft censors blogs. These things are believable as part of a not-too-distant-future dystopia in the US, but unfortunately, it's exactly what's happening right now in China. Amnesty USA published a report last week that slammed the tech giants and others for behavior that inhibits the very core of what the Internet is about -- spreading information freely."

Hawking criticises EU states trying to ban stem cell research - "Professor Hawking, who suffers from motor neurone disease, has criticised President George Bush and European governments who want to stop the funding of research with embryonic stem cells, which promises to revolutionise the treatment of many incurable conditions."

Warming Pacific Hurts Food Chain - "But the steep decline of one bird species for the second straight year has rekindled scientists' fears that global warming could be undermining the coastal food supply, threatening not just the Farallones but entire marine ecosystems."

Australia scientists work on anti-Alzheimer's pill - "Australian mental health researchers have developed a once-a-day pill they believe might stop or slow the onset of Alzheimer's disease, with human trials expected within two months."

Foxed Christians - "A few minutes in front of the tube listening to the republican propaganda channel that is Fox News leaves me scratching my head. How did the christian right become such a powerful political force? Then I remember. It was because of a blowjob. Americans want so desperately to believe in the benign patriarchal figure that will protect and save them, that a moral indiscretion on the part of their president is enough to galvanize an entire political movement."

It's a sin to fly, says church - "THE Bishop of London has declared it sinful for people to contribute to climate change by flying on holiday, driving a “gas-guzzling” car or failing to use energy-saving measures in the home."

Family Upset About Sign In Neighbor's Yard - "But now a cardboard sign is hanging in their neighbor's tree -- spray painted with the words: "Caution-- Retards in Area." His mother says it is fortunate Colton can't read the words."

The High Cost of Being Poor - "From food prices to auto insurance, when did poverty get so expensive?"

Details Emerge on Bezos' Spaceport Plans - "A spacecraft taking off from a private West Texas spaceport being bankrolled and developed by Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos would take off vertically, but unlike NASA's space shuttle would also land vertically, according to an environmental study that offers a glimpse into the secretive plans."

Microsoft IPod 'Killer' Is Doomed - "The record labels would love to see somebody step up to compete with iTunes and the iPod. But their insistence on DRM makes it unlikely."

Car=boredom: have you found the answer yet? - "The equation finds that the time it takes for a child to ask the notorious question equals: one, plus the number of activities to do, divided by the number of children in the car squared. The result is then added to the time it took the family to get into the car and set off on their journey, to produce the final answer."

Quote of the Day
"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe."
~ Roy Batty, Blade Runner

July 23, 2006

News -- July 23, 2006

REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Scared to flee ... even more scared to stay - "The beleaguered country is facing a humanitarian catastrophe on an enormous scale with more than half a million civilians already displaced and hundreds of thousands more under 'orders' from the Israeli military to evacuate a 20-mile deep zone south of the Litani river."

The End Is Near, but first, this commercial. - "There are times when I think that this tired old world has gone on a few years too long. ... These crimes against humanity -- and I haven't mentioned the terrible special weapons reportedly used by Israel -- are what the people of Palestine get for voting for the wrong party. It is ironic, given the Israeli attacks against civilians in both Gaza and Lebanon, that Hamas and Hezbollah are routinely dismissed in the West as terrorist organizations. The generally accepted definition of terrorism, used by the FBI and the United Nations amongst others, is: The use of violence against a civilian population in order to intimidate or coerce a government in furtherance of a political objective. ... Israel has created its worst enemies -- they helped create Hamas as a counterweight to Fatah in Palestine, and their occupation of Lebanon created Hezbollah. The current terrible bombings can be expected to keep the process going. Since its very beginning, Israel has been almost continually occupied in fighting wars and taking other people's lands. Did not any better way ever occur to the idealistic Zionist pioneers? But while you and I get depressed by the horror and suffering, the neo-conservatives revel in it. They devour the flesh and drink the blood of the people of Afghanistan, of Iraq, of Palestine, of Lebanon, yet remain ravenous, and now call for Iran and Syria to be placed upon the feasting table. More than one of them has used the expression oderint dum metuant, a favorite phrase of Roman emperor Caligula, also used by Cicero -- "let them hate so long as they fear". ... As to the world being a better or worse place ... only Iraq itself was and is the issue here, not the world; although if the world is a better place, why am I depressed?"

CIVILIANS.... - "Alan Dershowitz argues today that all those civilians being killed in Lebanon may not really be civilians after all: ... This is very clever. Alan Dershowitz, after all, is nothing if not very clever. But I wonder how he'd respond to a similarly clever and nuanced definition of the word "terrorist"?" -- See the following link for the Dershowitz article.

'Civilian Casualty'? It Depends - "THE NEWS IS filled these days with reports of civilian casualties, comparative civilian body counts and criticism of Israel, along with Hezbollah, for causing the deaths, injuries and "collective punishment" of civilians. But just who is a "civilian" in the age of terrorism, when militants don't wear uniforms, don't belong to regular armies and easily blend into civilian populations?"

About those little girls signing bombs . . . - "Apparently, reports like mine about images of little Israeli girls signing shells have made their way across the internet with great success. So much so that Zionists are tripping over themselves trying to 'explain' their otherwise apparent and grisly perversions."

Iraq prisoner abuse 'was routine' - "The torture of prisoners in US custody in Iraq was authorised and routine even after the Abu Ghraib scandal came to light, a US-based rights group says. Soldiers' accounts show that detainees routinely faced severe beatings, sleep deprivation and other abuses for much of 2003-2005, Human Rights Watch says. Soldiers who tried to complain about the abuse were rebuffed or ignored."

Ted Koppel: 'United States is already at war with Iran' - "The United States is already at war with Iran; but for the time being the battle is being fought through surrogates."

Somalia edges closer to war as peace talks fail - "Analysts now fear that negotiations will be replaced by a conflict that is likely to include many of Somalia's neighbours. Ethiopia, which shares a long, porous border with Somalia, is determined to prevent the rise of a radical Islamist state on its doorstep. As well as sharing American fears that Somalia could become a "safe haven" for terrorist cells, Ethiopia has concerns that a strong Islamist government may wish to create a Greater Somalia, annexing the Ogaden region within Ethiopia's borders."

Group: Gunmen have killed 682 in Somalia - "The killings took place largely in the Somali capital, Mogadishu. Some came during battles for control of the city, others were due to clan differences, a few were kidnappings and some were for unknown motives, according to the report by the Dr. Ismael Jumale Human Rights Center."

Cheney behind turn toward dictatorship - "The United States is currently caught up in a new campaign for a military dictatorship rule by a military chief with absolute power. The White House, inspired by Vice President Dick Cheney, has argued that in time of great danger, the President has unlimited powers. If he cites national security, he can do whatever he wants -- ignore Congress, disobey laws, disregard the courts, override the Constitution's Bill of Rights, -- without being subject to any review. Separation of powers no longer exists under this view. The President need not consult Congress or the courts, only the vice president, the attorney general and God."

Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota - "The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments. "Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong," said one federal air marshal."

Democrats Increase Lead over Republicans in Race for Congress - "With mid-term elections now less than four months away, a new Harris Poll finds that Democrats have widened their lead over the Republicans in the race for control of Congress."

Moderates: Dems should talk about religion - "Rather than being bashful, Democrats should openly talk about their religious beliefs and moral values, say moderates urging the party to court voters beyond the traditional Democratic base to win control of the GOP-run Congress this fall and the presidency in 2008. ... The view, espoused by Democrats attending the centrist Democratic Leadership Council's annual meeting, could irritate liberals who advocate a strict separation of church and state."

Leading Biologist Urges Scientific Skeptics to Investigate God - "He asks scientific skeptics to investigate God with the same open-minded zeal they apply to the natural world, assuring them there's no incompatibility between belief and scientific rigor. He tells fellow evangelicals that opposition to evolution – whether the biblical literalism of creationists or "intelligent design" arguments – undermines the credibility of faith. He finds the first "fundamentally flawed" and warns that the second builds upon gaps in evidence that scientists are very likely to fill in the future, among other objections."

Religion Refuses to Fade Away in a Modern World - "There are concerns, however, that such groups may be too extreme in their views and that they can also provoke civil conflicts. But even if there are negative aspects to some uses of religious fervor, religion has played a positive role in supporting democracy and human rights in many countries."

USA and Japan become the poorest of the richest countries - "A report from the organization says that the USA and Japan cannot guarantee sufficient income to all citizens despite a high level of economic development. The two countries take the first and the second place respectively on the level of relative poverty. The notion of ‘relative poverty’ defines a part of population receiving less than 50 percent of the average income in a country."

Putin plan to shut out US oil giants - "President Vladimir Putin is set to keep US oil companies out of a lucrative gas field in the latest sign of the deteriorating relationship between Moscow and Washington."

Global Warming, Not Just Heat Wave - "The heat wave sweeping Europe is a direct consequence of the warming of the earth's atmosphere, experts say."

Killer drones on display at U.K. air show - "An invasion of killer drones struck English commuter town Farnborough this week as Boeing and other companies showed off sleek, pilotless spy planes set to reshape future combat."

Microsoft warns of PowerPoint virus - "Once the user triggers the corrupt PowerPoint file, the virus installs a keystroke logging system to capture everything typed on the machine. It also leaves the machine open to having a hacker install other malicious programs."

Computer kids swamp games addiction clinic - "A DUTCH clinic that has begun offering the world’s first treatment for computer game addicts has been overwhelmed with pleas for help from parents and children all over the world. ... “I’ve met 19-year-olds with the emotional intelligence of 10-year-olds,” he said, “because when they were 10 a parent said ‘Here, have this Game Boy’, and they haven’t stopped playing ever since.”"

Does ADHD Exist? - "Let there be no mistake about it. Present-day psychiatry, led by the National Institute of Mental Health in league with the American Psychiatric Association and the American Academy of Child Adolescent Psychiatry, represents ADHD . . . to be a biologic abnormality of the brain, a so-called neurobiologic disorder. Their representation to the entire public and to all the teachers and all mental health professionals is that, having ticked off six or more of these nine behaviors, one has diagnosed an organic or a physical abnormality of the brain."

Quote of the Day
"There are times when I think that this tired old world has gone on a few years too long."
~ William Blum