August 31, 2006

Pink Floyd - The Fletcher Memorial Home

News -- August 31, 2006

U.S. military sees Iran's nuke bomb 5 years away - "The U.S. military is operating under the assumption that Iran is five to eight years away from being able to build its first nuclear weapon, a time span that explains a general lack of urgency within the Bush administration to use air strikes to disable Tehran's atomic program."

Bush seeks to bolster war on terror - "The White House and Republicans are setting the stage for a security-heavy September, with President Bush preparing a series of speeches to bolster the war on terror and with Congress ready to debate defense spending and terrorist detention."

Soldiers die, CEOs prosper - "While Army privates died overseas earning $25,000 a year, David Brooks, the disgraced former CEO of body-armor maker DHB, made $192 million in stock sales in 2004. He staged a reported $10 million bat mitzvah for his daughter. The 2005 pay package for Halliburton CEO David Lesar, head of the firm that most symbolizes the occupation's waste, overcharges, and ghost charges on no-bid contracts, was $26 million, according to the report's analysis of federal Securities and Exchange Commission filings. "Those examples take the cake, especially because it's all related to their government contracts, which is money straight out of the taxpayer's pocket," Leondar-Wright said."

US would consider Israeli request for military aid - "If Israel asks, the US would "seriously consider" granting the Defense Ministry additional financial assistance because of the huge expenses incurred during the war in Lebanon, a high-ranking US diplomat revealed Wednesday."

Is this Bush's secret bunker? - "Mount Weather is a top-security underground installation an hour's drive from Washington DC. It has its own leaders, police, fire department - and laws. A cold war relic, it has been given a new lease of life since 9/11. And no one who's been inside has ever talked."

President Bush 'assassinated' in new TV docudrama - "Death of a President, shot in the style of a retrospective documentary, looks at the effect the assassination of Bush has on America in light of its 'War on Terror'."

US military leaders planning $20m public relations effort - "US military leaders in Baghdad have put out for bid a two-year $20 million public relations contract that calls for extensive monitoring of US and Middle Eastern media in an effort to promote more positive coverage of news from Iraq." -- Now think about why this would be needed.

Guard families cope in two dimensions - "Welcome to the "Flat Daddy" and "Flat Mommy" phenomenon, in which life-size cutouts of deployed service members are given by the Maine National Guard to spouses, children, and relatives back home. The Flat Daddies ride in cars, sit at the dinner table, visit the dentist, and even are brought to confession, according to their significant others on the home front." -- Check out the picture. I now feel kind of creepy.

Stevens is Smoked Out - "After much speculation, a staffer to Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, admitted to Cox Newspapers today that the senator is the lawmaker who placed a “secret hold” on legislation that would open up the obscure world of government contracting to public scrutiny. Until now, it was a political whodunnit as to who quietly blocked legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., that would create a searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance, worth $2.5 trillion last year." -- One would think that a country where politicians are supposed to represent the people, government contracting would have always been available for public scrutiny. Maybe politicians do not really represent the people? Oh, how naive of me.

Doubt about official version of 9/11 widespread - "With the fifth anniversary of Sept 11 on the way, there will undoubtedly be a flood of television specials, terror-alert updates, and newspaper editorials. Yet a sizable portion of the public will likely remain dubious of the authorized version of 9/11."

Feds challenge 9/11 conspiracies - "In the wake of growing skepticism, the U.S. government is taking the unusual step of responding to conspiracy theories about the Sept. 11, 2001, destruction of the World Trade Center.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, headquartered in Gaithersberg, Md., investigated the causes of the collapse of the twin towers. Yesterday NIST announced it had posted a "fact sheet" addressing alternative theories about the World Trade Center fires and collapse. "

Sen. Burns: Terrorists drive taxis by day, kill at night - "Republican Sen. Conrad Burns, whose recent comments have stirred controversy, says the United States is up against a faceless enemy of terrorists who "drive taxi cabs in the daytime and kill at night.""

Pro illegal immigration protesters replace American flag with Mexican.. - "On Saturday, August 26, 2006, approximately 70 supporters of Save Our State and the Minutemen gathered in Maywood, California to protest the city's decision to openly declare themselves a sanctuary city for illegal aliens. They were met by an angry mob of illegal aliens that displayed offensive signs, damaged property, assaulted Americans, and removed the US Flag from the post office replacing it with a Mexican flag."

They know all about you - "What was published by AOL represents only a tiny fraction of the accumulated knowledge warehoused within Google's records - but it has given all of us, as users, a dramatic and unsettling glimpse of how much, and in what intimate detail, the big search engines know about us. ... All of this information is stored. Google identifies every computer that connects to it with an implant (known as a cookie) which will not expire until 2038. If you also use Gmail, Google knows your email address - and, of course, keeps all your email searchable. If you sign up to have Google ads on a website, then the company knows your bank account details and home address, as well as all your searches. If you have a blog on the free blogger service, Google owns that. The company also knows, of course, the routes you have looked up on Google maps. Yahoo operates a similar range of services. ... One of the first researchers to demonstrate that we will tell anything, however intimate, to a computer, was Joseph Weizenbaum of MIT, who in 1966 wrote a programme called "Eliza" that parodied non-directional psychotherapy. If the user typed anything in, Eliza would appear to ask a question based on that cue. In no time at all, unhappy students were telling the computer all their troubles as if there were a real and sympathetic person behind the screen. Stories and jokes about this circulated for decades, but the men most successful at turning this concept into a fortune were the founders of Google, Larry Page and Sergei Brin. As users, we think that the Google search engine is a way of supplying us with information about what's on the web. But the flow of information is two way. We ask Google things that we would hesitate to ask anyone living. The price for the answers is that Google remembers it all. ... This is knowledge beyond the dreams of any secret police in history. ... But the real power for a totalitarian government is no longer just censorship. It is to allow its citizens to search for anything they want - and then remember it. No western government, so far as we know, has gone that far. But if one ever does, it will know where the information is kept that will tell it almost everything about almost everyone." -- Interesting read.

Tool Generates Fake Searches for Privacy - "A new tool seeks to make your searches more private by hiding them in plain sight. TrackMeNot periodically sends fake, innocuous queries to search engines, making it harder for someone to glean your actual search habits by reviewing the companies' logs that contain your queries."

Hawaii Legislature Takes Steps to End War - "The Hawaii State Senate has passed a resolution "CALLING UPON THE GOVERNOR OF HAWAII TO TAKE STEPS TO WITHDRAW THE HAWAII ARMY AND AIR NATIONAL GUARD TROOPS FROM IRAQ.""

On YouTube, Charges of Security Flaws - "But when no one seemed to be stepping up to correct what he saw as critical security flaws in a fleet of refurbished Coast Guard patrol boats, De Kort did just about the only thing left he could think of to get action: He made a video and posted it on"

Downward Mobility - "If you’re still harboring the notion that the economy is “good,” prepare to be disabused."

US data show one in eight Americans in poverty - "In the world's biggest economy one in eight Americans and almost one in four blacks lived in poverty last year, the US Census Bureau said on Tuesday, releasing a figure virtually unchanged from 2004. The survey also showed 15.9 per cent of the population, or 46.6 million, had no health insurance, up from 15.6 per cent in 2004 and the fifth increase in a row."

NYT move to block Web to Britons raises questions - "A New York Times decision to block British online readers from seeing a story about London terrorism suspects raises new questions on restricting the flow of information in the Internet age, legal and media experts say."

Bush Nixes Public Access to EPA Libraries! - "What has been termed, "positively Orwellian", by PEER Executive Director Jeff Ruch, is indeed frightening. It seems that the self-appointed "Decider", George W. Bush, has decided to "end public access to research materials" at EPA Regional libraries without Congressional consent. In an all out effort to impede research and public access, Bush has implemented a loosely covert operation to close down 26 technical libraries under the guise of a budgetary constraint move. Scientists are protesting, but at least 15 of the libraries will be closed by Sept. 30, 2006."

Medical Practices Blend Health and Faith - "The center is one of a small but growing number of practices around the country that tailor the care they provide to the religious beliefs of their doctors, shunning birth-control and morning-after pills, IUDs and other contraceptive devices, sterilizations, and abortions, as well as in vitro fertilization. Instead, doctors offer "natural family planning" -- teaching couples to monitor a woman's temperature and other bodily signals to time intercourse."

Poll finds women take cynical view of politics - "Rhode Island women tend to be disengaged from politics and many don't regard political activity as an effective way to influence their world, according to interpretations of a poll released yesterday by the Women's Fund of Rhode Island."

Mother wins ban on violent porn - "A mother whose daughter died at the hands of a man obsessed with violent internet porn has won her fight for a ban on possessing such images. The government has announced plans to make the possession of violent porn punishable by three years in jail."

RadioShack Uses E-Mail to Fire Employees - "RadioShack Corp. notified about 400 workers by e-mail that they were being dismissed immediately as part of planned job cuts. Employees at the Fort Worth headquarters got messages Tuesday morning saying: "The work force reduction notification is currently in progress. Unfortunately, your position is one that has been eliminated.""

GM Withdraws CBS' 'Survivor' Sponsorship - " General Motors Corp. has decided to end its sponsorship of CBS' hit series "Survivor," but the world's largest automaker said Wednesday that the decision had nothing to do with the reality show's controversial decision to divide its contestants in the upcoming season by race and ethnicity." -- Sure it's not.

Schoolgirl 'stabbed for love of AC/DC' - "A teenager who was stabbed in the eye during her school lunch break said a "gang mentality" singled out pupils for their music and fashion tastes."

Scientists Erase Memories in Rat Brains - "Scientists have for the first time erased long-term memories in rats and also directly seen how the brain is changed by learning. The research points to potential human benefits." -- I bet.

Scientists report baldness breakthrough - "In a finding that could help treat an inherited form of baldness, a research team in Manchester claims to have discovered a protein "code" that instructs cells to sprout hair."

Smart Buildings Make Smooth Moves - "What if buildings could function like living systems, altering their shapes in response to changing weather conditions or the way people use them? That's the vision of a new breed of architects who are working on what they think is the future of architecture -- "responsive structures" that observe their internal and external environment and change form to suit any situation."

Robots that will change your life - "The robots are on the move — leaping, scrambling, rolling, flying, climbing. They are figuring out how to get here on their own. They come to help us, protect us, amuse us — and some even do floors."

Supernova caught in its exploding act - "Teams of international scientists have used observations from NASA's Swift satellite and other telescopes to witness the evolution of a cosmic blast into a stellar explosion or supernova."

Quote of the Day
"It is the function of the experts, and the mainstream media, to normalize the unthinkable for the general public."
~ Edward S Herman

August 30, 2006

Pink Floyd - Not Now John

News -- August 30, 2006

If You Get Your NewsFrom the Corporate Media: Just Shut Up and Listen!!! - "All this time you’ve ignored people who know things you can’t even imagine. You’ve shut your eyes and your mind to people who have spent years gathering information and checking out their sources. You’ve dismissed people with skills and credentials you can’t even pronounce. And you’ve demeaned people with knowledge and experience you can’t even come close to. All this time you’ve refused to hear a single thing they’ve said. You’ve strutted around like an arrogant peacock, believing you knew more than they. You had no basis for what you claimed to know. You just decided it was true. What unadulterated stupidity. It’s time to stop being a total idiot. It’s time to just shut up and listen. You probably don’t even know it, but there’s a huge, blank space in your information data base. So much has happened in this country about which you know absolutely nothing. So many lies have been told and so much has been kept secret that you are simply wandering in the dark. So much of what you should know and what you have a right to know has been denied you. And yet you foolishly claim to know what is going on. Not so. You know almost nothing that is real about your own country or the world. Almost nothing. ... So just shut up and listen for a minute. For starters, take a look at what you DON’T know, even though you pretend you do. Take a good close look and cringe at your lack of facts and real news and vital information. Here is our SHORT LIST of things you DO NOT KNOW:"

Sick Puppy Meets Media Beast - "To extend Karr’s allotted 15-minutes of fame into a 10-day ordeal, TV news ignored important stories of war, environmental degradation, corruption, citizen activism. Instead, TV viewers were offered hundreds of hours of single-minded examination and debate on one burning question: did Karr do it? The inquiry was relentless and aired all sides. If only we’d had such in-depth, full-spectrum debate when the Bush team was dragging our country into war based on pretense."

JonBenét Died - And Bush Lied? - "So we have Republicans who have admitted spying illegally. Who brag about it. And who have evidently - according to Tom Ridge - played the media like a violin for years. Could it be that the Karr/Ramsey case is another Soviet-style manipulation of the media? Or is that too paranoid to contemplate? ... So, at the worst for Republicans who trot out "news" and "terror alerts" to misdirect our attention, this will probably just be chalked up as Coincidence Number 14 on Keith Olbermann's list."

Today's 'Islamic Fascists' Were Yesterday's Friends - "This simplistic view of the new geopolitical landscape is deeply problematic. It overlooks the key role that the West played in nurturing radical Islamist groups, precisely as a means of isolating and undermining secular movements that were judged by Western governments to be too uppity or dangerous. Over the past 80 years and more – from Egypt to Afghanistan to Palestine – powerful governments in the West and their allies in the Middle East helped to create radical Islamic sects as a bulwark against secular nationalist parties or pan-Arabism. They gave the nod to, and in some instances funded and armed, Islamist movements that might challenge the claims of local anti-colonial, liberationist, or communistic outfits. In other words, there is a deep and bitter irony in the West's current claims to be standing up to evil religious sects in the name of universal values. It was precisely the West's earlier disregard for secularism and democracy in the Middle East, its elevation of its own powerful interests over the needs and desires of local populations, which helped to give rise to a layer of apparently "evil" radical Islamism. What we have today is not a World War between a principled West and psychotic groups from "over there," but rather the messy residue of decades of Western meddling in the Middle East."

The Big Lie About 'Islamic Fascism' - "The latest big lie unveiled by Washington’s neoconservatives are the poisonous terms, "Islamo-Fascists" and "Islamic Fascists." They are the new, hot buzzwords among America’s far right and Christian fundamentalists. ... The term "Islamofascist" is utterly without meaning, but packed with emotional explosives. It is a propaganda creation worthy Dr. Goebbels, and the latest expression of the big lie technique being used by neocons in Washington’s propaganda war against its enemies in the Muslim World." -- The United States government has to have an enemy.

The New Fascism Vs. The Old - "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld compared today’s situation with the situation with Nazi Germany. Let me see, militaristic nation pre-emptively strikes another, rounds up people to send to be tortured-he's right, the US is like Nazi Germany. ... We are fighting a new kind of fascism, by being more fascist ourselves. Kind of like how we're fighting the terrorists by being bigger terrorists ourselves."

Rumsfeld asks Americans for 'patience' in Iraq - "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Americans that if they have patience, the situation in Iraq will eventually change for the better." -- More patience? This war has already lasted longer than than the U.S.'s involvement in WWII.

U.S. May Curb Iran - "With increasing signs that several fellow Security Council members may stall a United States push to penalize Iran for its nuclear enrichment program, Bush administration officials have indicated that they are prepared to form an independent coalition to freeze Iranian assets and restrict trade."

Anti-War Candidates - "The purpose of this site is to show clearly to voters where their candidates stand on the Bush Administration's "War on Terror." Our goal is to ensure that the issue is not sidelined again in upcoming elections."

Is Our President Learning? - "In January 2005, George W. Bush sat down with C-SPAN's Brian Lamb, longtime host of Booknotes. When Lamb asked the president how much reading he does on a given day, Bush replied, “I read, oh, gosh, I’d say, 10, maybe, different memoranda prepared by staff.” When Lamb clarified that he was asking specifically about books, the president explained, “I'm reading, I think on a good night, maybe 20 to 30 pages,” before segueing into an explanation about his rigorous exercise schedule. Given the history, it came as something of a surprise this month when the White House began a not-so-subtle public-relations campaign suggesting that the president not only has a great fondness for books, but has actually become a voracious reader who finishes challenging texts at a stunning clip."

Hitler and Stalin were possessed by the Devil, says Vatican exorcist - ""I am convinced that the Nazis were all possessed. All you have to do is think about what Hitler - and Stalin did. Almost certainly they were possessed by the Devil. "You can tell by their behaviour and their actions, from the horrors they committed and the atrocities that were committed on their orders. That's why we need to defend society from demons."" -- Jesus.

'God spot' researchers see the light in MRI study - "Brain scans of nuns have revealed intricate neural circuits that flicker into life when they feel the presence of God. The images suggest that feelings of profound joy and union with a higher being that accompany religious experiences are the culmination of ramped-up electrical activity in parts of the brain."

Iran cracks down on women's dress - "Police in Tehran have been ordering Iranian women to cover up, stopping those they perceive as "badly veiled.""

Up to 14 hurt in SF hit-and-run spree 7 critical - "As many as 14 people were injured this afternoon by a motorist who drove around San Francisco running them down before he was arrested, authorities said."

Scientists warn of 'unproven stem cell treatments' - "A group of leading British scientists warned patients today to be wary of "extravagant" claims made for "unorthodox" stem cell treatments offered abroad."

Vermont law allows minors access to morning-after pill - "Vermont minors will continue to be able to get the emergency contraceptive Plan B without a prescription, despite a Food and Drug Administration ruling to the contrary, a Planned Parenthood executive said Friday."

CBS PHOTO TRICKERY TAKES A LOAD OFF'SLIMMER' COURIC - " Thanks to a computer "slight" of hand, the Tiffany network has made the new face of "CBS Evening News" instantly drop about 20 pounds." -- Check out the pic.

Time to Rein In the Pump Profiteers - "While ordinary Americans are forking over upwards of $3 for a gallon of gas, 15 distinctly unordinary Americans -- the CEOs of the largest U.S. oil industry companies -- are celebrating their biggest paychecks on record."

Gasoline prices could keep falling - "Gasoline prices are falling fast and could keep dropping for months. "The only place they have to go is down," says Fred Rozell, gasoline analyst at the Oil Price Information Service (OPIS). "We'll be closer to $2 than $3 come Thanksgiving."" -- Again, they have not dropped in my neck of the woods for months.

Physics Wars - "The universe has a problem. The math that describes gravity and the structure of spacetime – general relativity – conflicts with the math that describes the interactions of subatomic particles – quantum mechanics. For the past two decades, the dominant approach to unifying the two has been string theory, which basically says that the universe is made of infinitesimally small, vibrating filaments of energy moving through multiple dimensions. It's wacky stuff, but no weirder than a lot of other science. Yet in his new book, The Trouble With Physics, theoretician Lee Smolin argues that string theory is not only weird, it might be wrong. A founding scientist at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, Smolin says that string theory is unconvincing – maybe even nonscientific – and that physicists have embraced it at the expense of other promising research."

Scientists pinpoint polar cataclysm date - "A 30-mile maze canyons in Antarctica was carved out of bedrock by the catastrophic draining of subglacial lakes during global warming between 12 million and 14 million years ago, according to university researchers who warn a similar event today could have serious environmental consequences."

SAT Score Drop Is Biggest in 31 Years - "The results come two weeks after it was announced the class of 2006 had posted the biggest score increase in 20 years on the rival ACT exam. The ACT, which is also accepted by almost all colleges that require standardized tests, is generally more focused on material covered in high school classes than the SAT, which is more of a measure of general ability."

New Jersey is richest state, but has some of the poorest cities - "The numbers illustrate that New Jersey, with its middle-class and wealthy suburbs nestled up against struggling, old industrial cities, continues to be a place of stark economic contrasts."

U.S. report: More nicotine in cigarettes - "The level of nicotine found in U.S. cigarettes has risen about 10 percent in the past six years, making it harder to quit and easier to get hooked, according to a new report released Tuesday by the Massachusetts Department of Health."

Cell phones won't keep your secrets - "Selling your old phone once you upgrade to a fancier model can be like handing over your diaries. All sorts of sensitive information pile up inside our cell phones, and deleting it may be more difficult than you think." Gets Book Smart - "Those who can't publish, blog. It's one of the enduring knocks against the blogosphere. But what happens when any blogger, or blog reader, has one-button access to cheaply printing a neatly bound, customized slice of"

Quote of the Day
"If you don't want anybody to know about what you're saying, don't say it. Because if you do say it, somebody will be listening."
~ Mike Frost

August 29, 2006

Pink Floyd - The Final Cut

The Flurbs

News -- August 29, 2006

Ahmadinejad defiant, challenges Bush to TV debate - ""I suggest holding a live TV debate with Mr. George W. Bush to talk about world affairs and the ways to solve those issues," he said." -- Now that would be funny.

Levey: Iran 'Central Banker of Terror' - "They are the central banker of terror. It is a country that has terrorism as a line item in its budget." -- By the U.S. definition of "terrorism" it looks like the U.S. has it as a line item in their budget.

Cheney can't scare me anymore - "Americans aren't falling for this ''only more war can protect you from the evil terrorists'' routine as easily as they once did, judging from Bush's abysmal popularity poll figures hovering in the one-in-three range. It has taken three-and-a-half years, the deaths of 2,600 U.S. military personnel and the wounding of 19,000 others, the waste of $400 billion perfectly good dollars, escalating worldwide terrorism and a virtual civil war in Iraq, but polls suggest even patriotic self-delusion eventually wears thin without evidence and results." -- I'm still not convinced the tide has turned.

Rumsfeld: Terrorists Manipulating Media - "Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld said Monday he is deeply troubled by the success of terrorist groups in "manipulating the media" to influence Westerners. ... "They are actively manipulating the media in this country" by, for example, falsely blaming U.S. troops for civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. "They can lie with impunity," he said, while U.S. troops are held to a high standard of conduct." -- So when you lie it's okay, but when they lie it's bad. Hmmm.

PRESIDENT NOW CLAIMS TO BE LITERATE - "From the ridiculous claim that Bush is a voracious reader to the laughable suggestion that he had never linked Iraq and Saddam Hussein to the Sept. 11 attacks, this administration treats the American people like they are dumb as rocks. ... That is pure crap. Anyone who believes Bush has breezed through 60 volumes of serious literature this year should be eligible for a mental health disability or a Bush Cabinet appointment. I would, however, accept the 60 number as Bush's lifetime count. This is the man who didn't bother reading a CIA briefing paper entitled "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside U.S." This is the commander in chief who never bothered reading his own State Department reports warning that Iraq could erupt into sectarian violence. This is the president who prides himself on just glancing at headlines but "rarely" reading newspaper articles because "a lot of times there's opinion mixed in with news." Instead, Bush relies on his crack staff to keep him informed. In truth, Bush always chooses fawning support over challenging exchanges. Better to rely on The Daily Condi than to read yourself and, God forbid, think and reflect. But we are now told a man who disdains complexity and subtlety, the most visceral president in American history, has transformed and is reading books faster than Rush Limbaugh gets his prescriptions filled."

GOP callers overwhelm City Hall lines - "Offended by Rocky Anderson's plans to protest President Bush this week, the Utah Republican Party is waging a public-relations campaign urging Utahns to call the mayor and tell him to "stop embarrassing" the state. And while Utahns have listened - flooding City Hall with almost 300 calls and overwhelming the phone system - Anderson hasn't. Salt Lake City's mayor isn't altering his protest plans. "Given the nastiness of some of these people, it actually just bolsters my resolve," said Anderson, who previously alleged that the "real embarrassment" is Utahns' unwavering support of Bush."

Army: Doubting Official 9/11 Story Is ‘Disloyal To The United States’ - "Upon returning to his office the next day, Buswell discovered the locks had been changed, his security clearance was revoked, and an investigation had been launched. Buswell’s commanding officer, Colonel Luke Green, drafted a letter assigning Major Edwin Escobar to the investigation. According to sources, Colonel Green has asserted that SFC Buswell failed to obey Army regulations when he used his government issued email account to send what have been termed as messages disloyal to the United States with the intent of stirring up disloyalty, in a manner that brings discredit upon the United States Army."

On Point: 9/11 theories burst - "With the anniversary of 9/11 just a couple of weeks away, it's time to strike a blow for sanity and, yes, truth. If the polls are accurate, someone you know is flirting with 9/11 denial - or perhaps has succumbed already to the contagious delusion. The symptoms are unmistakable. For starters, the victim uses the phrase "the official version" when referring to events of that day - or more likely, "the government version" - and utters the words with unconcealed contempt."

Canada's Nuclear Do or Die - "At the UN, Blix said there is "a serious and dangerous loss of momentum in disarmament and non-proliferation has stalled...the nuclear states no longer take their commitment to disarmament seriously." And only a few days later, in a truly incredible statement, the deputy director of Nuclear and Security Affairs for the U.S. State Department said "the peaceful use of space is completely consistent with military activity in space...there is no consensus about the supposed weaponization of space," "the Conference on Disarmament is not the appropriate venue for such discussions" and "it's impossible to define a workable ban on space-related weapons systems." From Geneva, also in June, "The United States on Tuesday reasserted its right to develop weapons for use in outer space...and ruled out any global negotiations on a new treaty to limit them." ... It has recently been suggested that if the U.S. proceeds with new testing, up to 40 nations will take steps to begin to manufacture their own nuclear weapons." -- Because a country without nuclear weapons is under the thumb of those countries that have them.

Court told votes don't have to be counted, certified - "A motion to dismiss a congressional election challenge in California took on national implications last week when defense attorneys argued that no court has jurisdiction to intervene in an election after Congress has sworn in a member."

Australia keeps terror suspect in check - "Prime Minister John Howard earlier had said he supported monitoring the activities of those in Australia's mosques, citing a need for the government to know if members of the Islamic community supported or taught violence. And Education Minister Brendan Nelson said those members of the Islamic faith who do not support Australian values are welcome to leave." -- Every day my faith in humanity decreases a little bit more.

Has Canada Got the Cure? - "Publicly funded health care has its problems, as any Canadian or Briton knows. But like democracy, it’s the best answer we’ve come up with so far. Should the United States implement a more inclusive, publicly funded health care system? That's a big debate throughout the country. But even as it rages, most Americans are unaware that the United States is the only country in the developed world that doesn't already have a fundamentally public--that is, tax-supported--health care system. ... That means that the United States has been the unwitting control subject in a 30-year, worldwide experiment comparing the merits of private versus public health care funding. For the people living in the United States, the results of this experiment with privately funded health care have been grim. The United States now has the most expensive health care system on earth and, despite remarkable technology, the general health of the U.S. population is lower than in most industrialized countries. Worse, Americans' mortality rates--both general and infant--are shockingly high."

Bush offers Gulf states commitment - "President Bush yesterday toured the Gulf Coast in the run-up to today's Hurricane Katrina anniversary and rebutted charges that his administration had botched relief efforts, saying the federal government had provided money and the actual work needs to be done by the region's governments."

Rep. Harris: Church-state separation 'a lie' - "U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris told a religious journal that separation of church and state is "a lie" and God and the nation's founding fathers did not intend the country be "a nation of secular laws." The Republican candidate for U.S. Senate also said that if Christians are not elected, politicians will "legislate sin," including abortion and gay marriage." -- Why do people with such hatred for other humans even get the opportunity to voice their hatred on a national level?

Saddam's cartoon capers - "Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein is being made to watch his appearance in cult cartoon South Park while he is behind bars."

How NAFTA superhighway is built under radar screen - "Ask some members of Congress about plans to build a "NAFTA superhighway" connecting Mexico and Canada via the U.S. and you might hear snickers. Some officials will tell you they have seen no "earmarks" for such a plan and question whether it even exists. But the plan does exist and the NAFTA superhighway is being built – under the radar screen."

BLACK ACTIVIST PLANS SPANISH LAWSUITS - "A black activist is organizing a wave of class-action workplace lawsuits for people who have lost their jobs because they did not speak Spanish"

Digital cameras focus on revised reality - "Want to look thinner? Taller? Tanner? Don't worry, there's a camera for all that. Today's cameras will let you do more than adjust the flash; they'll let you adjust reality. Photo-adjusting features that once required a PC and special know-how are now allowing consumers to alter a photo as soon as it's snapped. ... "People in the legal world are now concerned about whether photos can be accepted as evidence anymore, especially when you can alter the scene as you click the shutter," said Peter Southwick, associate professor and director of the photojournalism program at Boston University. "And in the old days, there was an original, now there is no original. Photography as a tool for providing evidence, or as proof, may not exist anymore.""

Ban on the sale of 'fresh' sperm over the internet - "The sale of fresh sperm over the internet is to be banned following a government clampdown. Ministers will outlaw anonymous donations and introduce new rules forcing all sperm samples to be frozen and screened."

Waistlines continue to grow in U.S. - "The gravy train — make that the sausage, biscuits and gravy train — just kept on rolling in most of America last year, with 31 states showing an increase in obesity."

SpiralFrog in music deal with Universal - "SpiralFrog, a new advertising-supported music service, on Tuesday said it would make Vivendi's Universal Music Group's catalog available for free legal downloading in the United States and Canada."

Robots Wrote This - "Machines replace nurses, personal assistants and bartenders. They're even becoming financial reporters. Is there anything robots can't do?"

Science Projects That Scare the "bleep" Out of Us - "Remote-control sharks, pain guns, radioactive scorpion venom ... Bond-like technology is unnervingly real in some labs."

Only women need apply for Russia traffic police - "Russia is to create its first women-only traffic police unit because commanders believe they are less corrupt than men, a newspaper reported on Monday."

Quote of the Day
"I don't ever wanna play the part of a statistic on a government chart."
~ Sting, (Invisible Sun)

August 28, 2006

News (Page 2) -- August 28, 2006

John Mark Karr Freed in JonBenet Case - " Prosecutors abruptly dropped their case Monday against John Mark Karr in the slaying of JonBenet Ramsey, saying DNA tests failed to put him at the scene despite his repeated insistence he killed the 6-year-old beauty queen." -- Oh, but what a brilliant distraction.

Vast majority of us now officially 'bitter and angry' - "Of course we're bitter and angry. The majority of Americans are. And if you're not, I can only ask, what planet are you living on? In fact, if you aren't bitter and angry at this dumb, smug president who's wrecking the country " well, then you're just not paying attention. ... So, you bet I'm bitter and angry. And I can only ask, what would it take to make the bitterness and anger unanimous?" -- Nice list.

Neocon Dreams, American Nightmares - "Taking what might be considered the moderate neocon position on the Israel/Hezbollah war, the editors of The New Republic demand that the Bush Administration "move ruthlessly to prevent Iran from acquiring the deadliest arsenal of all," while their contributor Michael Oren calls only for an Israeli, rather than an American, attack on Syria. Next door at The Weekly Standard, William Kristol sees no point in playing coy. Having already called for an American attack on Syria twenty months ago, he is now beating his bongo for an immediate "military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities." Concerned about retaliation against American citizens in the form of terrorist attacks around the world? Don't worry. Any and all "repercussions," he promises, "would be healthy ones." Kristol even imagines that such an attack could cause the Iranian people "to reconsider whether they really want to have this regime in power," as if the natural reaction of people who see their country attacked, their families killed and their property destroyed is to side with the people who are bombing them (just like in, um... Iraq)."

Daley: Loop evacuation drill to be 'spontaneous' - "Chicago has conducted countless tabletop drills since Sept. 11, 2001 to simulate what would happen if the city was hit with a terrorist attack or natural disaster. Next week, the simulation will come “off the tabletop and out into the street.” ... The goal of the drill is to test in a real-life situation how prepared Chicago is for a mass evacuation nearly five years to the day after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks."

Pope prepares to embrace theory of intelligent design - "There have been growing signs the Pope is considering aligning his church more closely with the theory of "intelligent design" taught in some US states. Advocates of the theory argue that some features of the universe and nature are so complex that they must have been designed by a higher intelligence. Critics say it is a disguise for creationism."

King County's sensible take on drugs - "Is it time to forge an "exit strategy" for our prolonged "war on drugs"? That question — normally considered a "no-no" in legal circles, especially among prosecutors and police — has been raised by the prestigious King County Bar Association since 2000. And the results have been impressive. ... The uncomfortable truth is that despite decades of aggressive government crackdowns, U.S. drug use and drug-related crime are as high as ever. Made profitable by prohibition, violent criminal enterprises that purvey drugs are flourishing. Harsh criminal sanctions, even for minor drug possession, have packed jails and prisons. Public coffers have been drained of funds for critical preventive social services. Prohibition has failed to stamp out markets and quality, or increase street prices for cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and marijuana. The drug war kicked off by President Nixon in the 1970s costs $40 billion or more a year. It is a massive, embarrassing, destructive failure."

Mind Control: America's Secret WarA History Channel Documentary - "This powerful History Channel documentary reveals how for decades, top secret government projects worked virtually non-stop to perfect means of controlling the human mind. Though for many years the government denied that these projects even existed, the details have long been preserved in thousands of pages of now declassified government documents reluctantly released through the Freedom of Information Act. LSD and electroshock therapy in huge doses given to unsuspecting citizens are only a part of the unbelievable program revealed by these declassified documents."

Bush's language angers US Muslims - "They are upset about his use of terms like "Islamic fascists", which he used this week both for Hezbollah and the suspected bomb plotters held in the UK. "It offends the vast majority of moderate Muslims," Ahmed Younis said. "The use of the term casts a shadow upon Islam and bolsters the argument that there is a clash of civilisations between Islam and the West," Mr Younis, the national director of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (Mpac), told the BBC. He said it was wrong to link the actions of violent Muslims to their religion. "There is nothing Islamic about their fascism. The Prophet [Muhammad] and the Koran clearly articulate that this type of activity is outside of bounds for Muslims.""

Reclaiming The Issues: Islamic Or Republican Fascism? - "Genuine American fascists are on the run, and part of their survival strategy is to redefine the term "fascism" so it can't be applied to them any more. Most recently, George W. Bush said: "This nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation." In fact, the Islamic fundamentalists who apparently perpetrated 9/11 and other crimes in Spain and the United Kingdom are advocating a fundamentalist theocracy, not fascism. But theocracy - the merging of religion and government - is also on the plate for the new American fascists (just as it was for Hitler, who based the Nazi death cult on a "new Christianity" that would bring "a thousand years of peace"), so they don't want to use that term, either."

Course Correction - "Times editors did not seem to notice the dark side of this story--the negative impact on the wages of Americans in non-supervisory jobs (that's 82 percent of the workforce). Their wages stagnated and even declined in real terms, discounted for inflation. This helps explain why typical Americans did not join the cheering--they are losing ground and borrowing more to keep afloat. Last year for the first time since 1933, the family balance sheet went negative, that is, negative savings."

Teen: Didn't Miss Much in Captivity - " The Austrian teenager held in an underground cell for more than eight years insisted Monday she didn't miss out on much in captivity and was even spared some temptations and torments of adolescence, such as smoking, drinking and dealing with "bad friends.""

'Defense demands could set standard of living back 20 years' - "The government economist claims the demands are extravagant and would push Israel 20 to 30 years back economically, including a sharp drop in the standard of living."

AIPAC urges U.S. to shut Iranian Web site - "The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is urging the United States government to disconnect an Iranian news site from American Internet servers, charging that the site has ties to terrorist organizations. The allegation is based on a report published by Haaretz last month."

Harris clarifies statements on religion - "Congresswoman and candidate for the Senate Katherine Harris (R-FL) has responded to criticism of recent statements regarding religion by indicating that she is a strong supporter of Israel, RAW STORY has learned."

Spanish firm to build and run new PFI toll road in Texas - "This would be part of the ‘super-highway’ spanning the United States from the Mexican border at Laredo, making its way through Texas, Kansas and Oklahoma and connecting with the Canadian highway system north of Duluth, Minnesota. Because it would provide a connection all the way between Canada and Mexico, the project is also described as the North American Free Trade Area (NAFTA) super highway."

FDA weighs drug to stop premature birth - "A drug to help women carry their babies to term that is awaiting federal approval doesn't appear to delay the earliest preterm births most often linked to death and serious health problems, according to federal documents released Monday."

Receding Texas lake reveals old skeleton - "He said that an on-site examination of the body indicated that it is less than 1,000 years old. But arrowheads collected at the site suggest a burial taking place between 1,500 and 2,000 years ago, he said."

Professor helps invent lightning sensor - "A University of Oklahoma professor has helped invent a device that measures the likelihood that lightning will strike."

Bright Idea: Sunlight Curbs Afternoon Drowsiness - "Letting in a little extra light throughout the day may do more than just lift your spirits. It could make you more alert and help you avoid an afternoon energy slump."

Pink Floyd - The Gunner's Dream

The Flurbs

News -- August 28, 2006

U.S. plans for sanctions on Iran - "The Bush administration plans to move rapidly to organize and impose international economic sanctions on Iran, but not until after a Thursday U.N. deadline passes, according to Bush administration officials." -- 2-year olds at the playground.

Homicide Charges Rare in Iraq War - "Though experts estimate that thousands of Iraqi civilians have died at the hands of U.S. forces, only 39 service members were formally accused in connection with the deaths of 20 Iraqis from 2003 to early this year. Twenty-six of the 39 troops were initially charged with murder, negligent homicide or manslaughter; 12 of them ultimately served prison time for any offense."

Bush 'palace' shielded from Iraqi storm - "THE plans are a state secret, so just where the Starbucks and Krispy Kreme stores will be is a mystery. But as the concrete hulks of a huge 21-building complex rise from the ashes of Saddam's Baghdad, Washington is sending a clear message to Iraqis: "We're here to stay.""

Bush's backdoor draft another sign of strain - "The involuntary call-ups will affect people who believed they had completed their military service. Many of them will leave families and careers behind for at least a second time because of the Bush administration's miscalculations. Also, the Pentagon's implementation of stop-loss policies will keep at least 10,000 soldiers in Iraq indefinitely. U.S. forces are stretched to the limit to serve in the cross hairs of a civil war that the White House never saw coming and has no strategy for quelling. A telling indicator of how poorly things are going in Iraq is the administration's inability - despite a desperate desire to win political points - to bring home token numbers of troops to stem criticism before the November election."

Rumsfeld: Troops' families have no reason to be mad - "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld praised the work Saturday of members of an Army brigade whose one-year tour in Iraq was extended just as they prepared to return home, and said he saw no reason for the soldiers or their families to be angry with him. "I don't put it in that context," he said. "These people are all volunteers. They all signed up. They all are there doing what they're doing because they want to do it. They're proud of what they do. They do it very, very well."" -- They didn't volunteer to invade and occupy another country.

Experts warn U.S. is coming apart at the seams - "A pipeline shuts down in Alaska. Equipment failures disrupt air travel in Los Angeles. Electricity runs short at a spy agency in Maryland. None of these recent events resulted from a natural disaster or terrorist attack, but they may as well have, some homeland security experts say. They worry that too little attention is paid to how fast the country's basic operating systems are deteriorating. ... "If a terrorist group were able to knock the NSA offline, or disrupt one of the nation's busiest airports, or shut down the most important oil pipeline in the nation, the impact would be perceived as devastating," Beckner said. "And yet we've essentially let these things happen — or almost happen — to ourselves.""

Democrats See Victory in U.S. House Races, Senate Within Reach - ""We have to go back to 1974 (during Watergate) to find such a favorable environment,'' says James Carville, who ran Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. "If we can't win in this environment, we have to question the whole premise of the party.''" -- Then they don't need to sound so much like Republicans.

Modest Proposal: Waterboard Congress - "The White House wants military tribunals hearing the cases of terrorism suspects to be able to use "coerced" confessions. As Acting Asst. Atty. Gen. Steven Bradbury helpfully assured Congress last month, "there are gradations of coercion much lower than torture." Because many in the administration and Congress feel strongly that coerced confessions constitute the "best practice" to get truth from people suspected of bad things, then, under the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment, American citizens should be permitted to use the same method to pry the truth out of their elected representatives. One such method is waterboarding: strapping someone to a board and pushing him underwater to make him feel like he's drowning. Since then-CIA Director Porter Goss assured Congress last year that this was a "professional interrogation method," not torture, citizens should be permitted to bring splintery planks, leather straps and water tanks to expedite discussions with any member of Congress who continues to insist that things are going swimmingly for the U.S. military in Iraq."

The Meaning of the Armitage Leak in the Plame Case - "One mystery solved. It was Richard Armitage, when he was deputy secretary of state in July 2003, who first disclosed to conservative columnist Robert Novak that the wife of former ambassador Joseph Wilson was a CIA employee. "

Gore Lashes Out at Media Consolidation - "Former Vice President Al Gore said Sunday ever-tighter political and economic control of the media is a major threat to democracy. ... "Democracy is a conversation, and the most important role of the media is to facilitate that conversation of democracy. Now the conversation is more controlled, it is more centralized." He said that in many countries, media control was being consolidated in the hands of a few businesspeople or politicians. ... In the United States "the only thing that matters in American politics now is having enough money to put 30-second commercials on the air often enough to convince the voters to elect you or re-elect you," he said. "The person who has the most money to run the most ads usually wins.""

Professor's 9/11 theories outrage NH leaders - ""In my view, there are limitations to academic freedom and freedom of speech," said U.S. Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. "I believe it is inappropriate for someone at a public university which is supported with taxpayer dollars to take positions that are generally an affront to the sensibility of most all Americans," Gregg said." -- In other words: tote the party line and shut up.

Conspiracy Nuts And 9/11 - "I have some friends who are conspiracy nuts. They believe, for example, that on 9/11 some clown named Osama bin Laden picked up his cell phone in a cave in Afghanistan and directed 19 Muslims, none of them professional pilots, to hijack four airliners and fly them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, thereby bringing down three steel-skeleton skyscrapers, the only time in world history that has ever happened. A humdinger of a conspiracy, that one. My conspiracy nut friends know it's true because they have it on good authority -- George Bush told them so. These conspiracy nuts also believe Osama is part of some mysterious worldwide "terrorist" organization of "Islamic fascists" that hates us because of our freedoms and democracy, and have enough power to destroy us -- despite our thousands of nuclear warheads, ships, warplanes, tanks, and countless men under arms. A fearsome enemy, to be sure, as President Bush frequently tells us."

The 9/11 Chronicles: Destroying a Crime Scene - "Forbes reported that over the weekend of September 8-9, 2001, floors 50 and above of the South Tower experienced a power down, meaning that all electrical currents were shut off for about 36 hours. The officially stated reason was that the electrical cables in the building were being upgraded. In that Forbes functioned as a senior database administrator in charge of Fiduciary Trust's computer division, he was entrusted to shut down the company's computers before the shut down occurred. After the power down he had to turn the computers back on and restore service to the network. Because there was no electric power above the fiftieth floor there were also no security cameras or security locks. There were many outside engineering personnel, however, coming and going in and out of the tower all weekend."

Prophets, Priests, Kings and CEOs - Can the Problem Be Mental Illness? - "The world is full of strange, intimidating and unfortunately powerful and influential people who just may be mentally ill. It seems that some of the very personal traits they possess to rise, on the backs of their peers, lead to one disaster after the another. They can build a business, company, organization and or become a powerful politician or charismatic Pastor, only to destroy it and others in the process. If they don't destroy it, they thrive on the drama they inflict upon those who simply can't understand what the hell is wrong with the boss, pastor, dad or politician, that they say and do the things they do? They use and abuse people for their own personal ends and the degree they do this can be both stunning and stupid. For example. If you are troubled by..... ... We commoners need you big wigs to get some help if any of this sounds familiar. Some of you are harmless. Some of you are humerous and we are laughing at you behind your back. But some of you are downright dangerous to our health, welfare and survival. You are wrecking the company, the church, the family and the country with your reckless mental illness. In fact, you are just like the rest of us but don't seem to know it. Please get some help before we all pay even more for your mental illness untreated."

The Deity Does Not Really Need Your Income...But The Church Would Love You to Think So - "Let's face it...God really doesn't need our literal money to make it in the world of humans. Ministers and Churches need our money, but God actually does just fine without it. Ministers need to be paid and churches need to be maintained, enlarged, adorned and air conditioned, but God simply does not personally need our money. He already "owns the cattle on a thousand hills, the wealth in every mine," so He's all set. Let's notice the ofte quoted, Old Testament fundraiser. In Malachi 3 we are often told and encouraged to believe that...."

Weighty matter: Is religion making us fat? - ""America is becoming known as a nation of gluttony and obesity, and churches are a feeding ground for this problem," says Ken Ferraro, a Purdue sociology professor who studied more than 2,500 adults over a span of eight years looking at the correlation between their religious behavior and their body mass index. "If religious leaders and organizations neglect this issue, they will contribute to an epidemic that will cost the health-care system millions of dollars and reduce the quality of life for many parishioners," he says."

S. Dakota Becomes Abortion Focal Point - ""To think passing a law will stop abortion is incredibly naive," Bell said. South Dakota is the unlikely home of this year's most intense duel over abortion, a Nov. 7 referendum to decide the future of HB 1215, a measure that would institute a broad ban on the procedure. No exceptions would be allowed for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest -- abortion would be permitted only when the mother's life is in jeopardy."

The 1,800-Fold Price Hike - "No one much noticed, but thousands of family-planning clinics across the country went into a tailspin last month. They were reacting to a drastic price increase by Ortho-McNeil, a major supplier of birth-control pills and maker of the popular contraceptive patch. The company used to charge publicly funded clinics as little as a penny a pack for the pills. Then, as of July 1, the price of some pills jumped to more than $18 a pack. Ortho's move was apparently legal under federal pricing rules. But it's anybody's guess as to why the company chose to do this now, without giving the clinics any real notice."

Gas prices drop 15 cents in 2 weeks: survey - "Gas prices tumbled more than 15 cents during the past two weeks, to $2.87 per gallon of self-serve regular, a national survey said Sunday." -- Not in my neck of the woods. Where the hell did they survey?

2005 Vies for Hottest Year on Record - "For people living in the Northern Hemisphere—most of the world's population—2005 was the hottest year on record since 1880, the earliest year for which reliable instrumental records were available worldwide."

Footballers use babies for 'repair kits' - "PREMIERSHIP footballers are storing stem cells from their newborn babies as a potential future treatment for their own career-threatening sports injuries. They are freezing the cells taken from the umbilical cord blood of their babies as a possible future cure for cartilage and ligament problems. Stem cells can be used to regenerate damaged organs and tissue because they are the earliest form of cells."

First Bay Area West Nile virus fatality reported - "The Bay Area’s first death resulting from the West Nile virus is not alarming San Francisco health officials."

New York to L.A. in Two Hours - "Lockheed Martin's advanced Skunk Works unit is designing a small, 12-seat passenger jet that would travel at 1,200 mph (Mach 1.8) but which would produce only a whisper of the annoying crack once emitted by the retired Concorde."

Who invented e-learning computing? - "Blackboard's patent doesn't refer to any device or even specific software code. Rather, it describes the basic framework of an LMS. In short, Blackboard says what it invented isn't learning tools like drop boxes, but the idea of putting such tools together in one big, scalable system across a university. ... Blackboard's claims are "incredibly obvious," said Feldstein. The company's patent suggests "that they invented e-learning," said Alfred Essa, associate vice chancellor and CIO of the Minnesota state college and university system."

Study: Teacher's gender impacts how boys, girls learn - "For all the differences between the sexes, here's one that might stir up debate in the teacher's lounge: Boys learn more from men and girls learn more from women."

128 Students Suspended at Ind. School - "Fed up with inappropriate outfits, the principal suspended the students for one day Wednesday, minutes after doors opened at the school. Those suspended represent more than 10 percent of the 1,200 total students. The offending attire - including baggy pants, low-cut shirts, tank tops and graphic T-shirts - are banned from classrooms. Students were also cited for cell phone use."

Switch off TV and switch on your memory - "Turning off the television, picking up a crossword and eating more fish could be the key to a better memory, an Australian survey has found. Results of the on-line survey of almost 30,000 people, conducted as part of Australia's science week, also found people who read fiction had better memories than those who don't, while heavy drinkers found it more difficult to recall names."

Actual Recording Of Astronaut UFO Encounter - "On March 13th, 1989, Donald Ratsch (an American member of a radio club that monitors all of NASA's space travel transmissions) was recording communications from the shuttle Discovery. He picked the right time to record, because he got this astronaut transmission: "Houston this is Discovery, we still have the Alien spacecraft under observance.""

Quote of the Day
"I'd rather die, than give you control."
~ Nine Inch Nails

August 27, 2006

News -- August 27, 2006

Another miserable milestone for Bush's war - "A miserable milestone was passed the other day. America's (and Britain's) disastrous war in Iraq has now lasted longer than the US involvement in the Second World War. Yes, this conflict has outlasted a war that ended with total victory over Nazi Germany. Hitler declared war on the US on 11 December 1941. Exactly 1,244 days later, on 7 May 1945, Germany surrendered. The US invaded Iraq on 19 March 2003, and this weekend it is 1,267 days later, with no end in sight."

The Trouble with Bush's 'Islamofascism' - "If you control the language, you control the debate. As the Bush Administration's Middle Eastern policy sinks ever deeper into bloody incoherence, the "war on terror" has been getting a quiet linguistic makeover. It's becoming the "war on Islamic fascism."

Iran launches new nuclear project - "Iran's president launched a new phase in the Arak heavy-water reactor project on Saturday, saying Tehran would not give up its right to nuclear technology despite Western fears it aims to make atomic bombs. ... "No one can deprive a nation of its rights based on its capabilities," Ahmadinejad said in his speech to inaugurate the heavy water project." -- I have to agree.

Israeli general plots war with Iran - "Israel has appointed a top general to oversee a war against Iran, prompting speculation that it is preparing for possible military action against Tehran's nuclear program."

Airline Insanity Merely A Beta Test For Police State Caste System - "Escalating security measures, body scans, lie detector tests and behavior analysis now being forced upon unwitting human livestock passing through airports are the first stage of an agenda to create a two tier caste system whereby only government authorized citizens will be able to travel and everyone will be subject to intense airport style harassment on city streets."

Senator who put 'secret hold' on bill to open federal records is a secret, too - "In an ironic twist, legislation that would open up the murky world of government contracting to public scrutiny has been derailed by a secret parliamentary maneuver. An unidentified senator placed a "secret hold" on legislation introduced by Sens. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., that would create a searchable database of government contracts, grants, insurance, loans and financial assistance, worth $2.5 trillion last year. The database would bring transparency to federal spending and be as simple to use as conducting a Google search. The measure had been unanimously passed in a voice vote last month by the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. It was on the fast track for floor action before Congress recessed Aug. 4 when someone put a hold on the measure. Now the bill is in political limbo. Under Senate rules, unless the senator who placed the hold decides to lift it, the bill will not be brought up for a vote." -- Very interesting.

Misquoting Lincoln - "Supporters of President Bush and the war in Iraq often quote Abraham Lincoln as saying members of Congress who act to damage military morale in wartime "are saboteurs, and should be arrested, exiled or hanged." ... But Lincoln never said that."

A Court That Countries Have to Answer to - "The European Court of Human Rights shows how justice can cross borders. It could be a model for the whole planet."

Get Sick, Go Broke - "So why isn’t this the number one political issue in America today? Why aren’t politicians who are nervous about their jobs hanging onto this issue like a life raft? Why aren’t ambitious job-seekers who want to unseat those politicians shouting from the rafters that they will push for a serious, comprehensive plan to help ordinary Americans deal with the fallout from a serious medical problem? I guarantee that one in five Americans would be listening. And their cousins and neighbors and dear friends."

Old theory, new doubt - "Scientists at the Lawrence Livermore Laboratory studying the assassination of President John F. Kennedy have done what many thought impossible -- their research suggests that the single-bullet theory is even less credible than it seems."

eBay prohibits textbooks for homeschool teachers - ""They told me that it fell under their heading of 'illegal, dangerous, offensive, or potentially infringing,'" she said."

Scientists flock to test 'free energy' discovery - "A man who claims to have developed a free energy technology which could power everything from mobile phones to cars has received more than 400 applications from scientists to test it." -- Or suppress it?

Global warming boost to glaciers - "Global warming could be causing some glaciers to grow, a new study claims."

Vatican critical of stem cell creation - "A Vatican official on Saturday criticized a new method of making stem cells that does not require the destruction of embryos, calling it a "manipulation" that did not address the church's ethical concerns. ... Church teaching holds that in-vitro fertilization is morally wrong because it replaces the conjugal union between husband and wife and often results in the destruction of embryos. Artificial insemination for married couples is allowable if it "facilitates" the sex act but does not replace it. The church condemns all forms of experimentation on human embryos."

Revealed: nine-year-olds to get vaccination against cervical cancer - "EVERY schoolgirl in the UK is set to be vaccinated against a sexually-transmitted virus which causes cervical cancer, Scotland on Sunday can reveal. Following successful trials of the vaccine on women in Glasgow, health chiefs are about to authorise nationwide jabs for girls as young as nine." -- Finally, an intelligent move by a government.

13 Plagues Reported in U.S - " Thirteen cases of plague including two deaths have been reported in the western United States this year, the highest number of cases in 12 years, health officials said Friday."

Cancer alert over tin can and plastic bottle chemical - " A gender-bending chemical found in babies' bottles and tin cans may cause breast cancer, scientists have warned. ... Industry has previously claimed the chemical is broken down by the body, making it safe to use. But new research casts doubt on this, with experiments showing the chemical remains carcinogenic."

Tea 'healthier' drink than water - "Drinking three or more cups of tea a day is as good for you as drinking plenty of water and may even have extra health benefits, say researchers."

Kidnapped girl kept diary during her eight-year ordeal - "Rupert Leutgeb, a family spokesman, confirmed that Fräulein Kampusch had kept a record hundreds of pages long. He said that no details would be disclosed until Fräulein Kampusch decided what she wanted to do with the diary."

Maya civilization collapsed upon learning kings weren't gods - "The decline of the Maya civilization began some 1,100 year ago when millions of Indians working on the contruction of tall pyramidal temples and palaces learned that their kings weren't gods, Spanish anthropologist Andres Ciudad told EFE."

A Pregnant Man? - "Living in the city of Nagpur, India, Bhagat said he'd felt self-conscious his whole life about his big belly. But one night in June 1999, his problem erupted into something much larger than cosmetic worry. ... "He just put his hand inside and he said there are a lot of bones inside," she said. "First, one limb came out, then another limb came out. Then some part of genitalia, then some part of hair, some limbs, jaws, limbs, hair." Inside Bhagat's stomach was a strange, half-formed creature that had feet and hands that were very developed. Its fingernails were quite long. "We were horrified. We were confused and amazed," Mehta said. At first glance, it may look as if Bhagat had given birth. Actually, Mehta had removed the mutated body of Bhagat's twin brother from his stomach. Bhagat, they discovered, had one of the world's most bizarre medical conditions — fetus in fetu."

Taller people are smarter: study - "While researchers have long shown that tall people earn more than their shorter counterparts, it's not only social discrimination that accounts for this inequality -- tall people are just smarter than their height-challenged peers, a new study finds."

Lawmaker wants limits on plastic surgery - "Shocked by the number of teens seeking breast implants, Botox injections and nose jobs, the leader of Australia's most populous state has said new laws are needed to make it harder for young people to go under the knife."

Study: Hybrid cars will pay for themselves over time - ""High gas prices and generous tax credits now offset the high sales prices of some hybrids, assuming owners keep their hybrids for a few years," said Alex Rosten, an analyst with"

Now the music industry wants guitarists to stop sharing - "In the last few months, trade groups representing music publishers have used the threat of copyright lawsuits to shut down guitar tablature sites, where users exchange tips on how to play songs like "Knockin' on Heaven's Door," "Highway to Hell" and thousands of others. ... "People can get it for free on the Internet, and it's hurting the songwriters," said Lauren Keiser, who is president of the Music Publishers' Association and chief executive of Carl Fischer, a music publisher in New York."

Quote of the Day
"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter, and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
~ Abraham Lincoln

August 25, 2006

News (Page 2) -- August 25, 2006

Bush and Saddam Should Both Stand Trial, Says Nuremberg Prosecutor - ""Nuremberg declared that aggressive war is the supreme international crime," the 87-year-old Ferenccz told OneWorld from his home in New York."

Bush can reinstate the draft, or lose the Iraq War - "Fast on the heels of yesterday's Defense Department involuntary call up of Marine reserves, an Iraq veterans group tells RAW STORY that if a draft is not the next step, President Bush must choose to accept a loss in the war."

Video Discloses Alleged Plot To Target Sears Tower - "Undercover video acquired by CBS 2's Miami sister station, WFOR-TV CBS 4, reveals an inside look at a suspected terror group leader accused in a plot to target U.S. landmarks, including the Sears Tower." to Replay 9/11 Attacks Coverage - "CNN will mark the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks by replaying on the Internet the cable network's coverage of that day's events. Viewers can watch how events unfolded starting at 8:30 a.m., minutes before the first reports of an airplane hitting the World Trade Center. The feed will run in real time, as the network showed it five years ago, until midnight."

Let's Not Make This an Emergency - "Funny how contraception methods that men control—condoms—are rarely disputed and readily available. Funny how contraception methods that women control—the pill, emergency contraception, etc.—is grounds for a civil war."

Election of Alabama lesbian overturned by committee - "The committee disqualified Todd and her opponent, Gaynell Hendricks, because they had not filed a required campaign finance report on time. The same rule has been ignored by all candidates since 1988 and the Associated Press has reported that this year's party nominees for Governor and Lieutenant Governor have not filed the reports as well."

No Way In Hell President Bush Has Read 60 Books - "And those of you with similarly insane schedules might be able to relate to my feelings of shock and dismay when I learned the following news. President Bush is currently responsible for two ground wars; a crisis in Israel and Lebanon; a midterm election; a sagging housing market; the upcoming hurricane season; a laundry list of scandals; an on-going attempt to avoid coming off like a retarded frat-boy bully; and the day-to-day struggle to basically run the nation -- that is, pretend to run the nation. Looking back on 2006, he's faced numerous other critical events at home and abroad including gas prices, immigration, the Dubai ports deal, the Plame investigation, and his vice president shooting a lawyer in the face. Yet, he's somehow found time to read not one, not five, not 20, but 60 books this year alone (via Crooks & Liars). According to US News & World Report, he's in a competition with Karl Rove to see who can read more books over the course of the year. Rove is trailing by 10 books, until November when Diebold will put him up by three." -- Do Dick and Jane have 60 books?

Family Time at Kennebunkport - "President Bush returned to his parents' century-old oceanfront retreat here Thursday for the first time in his second term, putting aside the troubles of the world to some extent for a brief spell of fishing and family." -- Ah, priorities. How do you read 60 books and still have time for fishing?

Is Bush a Clear & Present Danger? - "Faced with George W. Bush’s disastrous policies in the Middle East and his adamant refusal to change course, the question now arises whether the President has become a “clear and present danger” to the security of the United States and, indirectly, to Israel."

Teenager tells of her eight years as dungeon sex slave - "A girl held captive as a sex slave in a dungeon for eight years told police of her dramatic escape from the man she was forced to call 'Master'. Natascha Kampusch, who was ten when she was kidnapped on her way to school, was imprisoned in a tiny pit dug into the floor of her captor's garage."

No Escaping Sexualization of Young Girls - "True, the statistics suggest that an American child is about as likely to share JonBenet's fate as she is to be killed by lightning. The abduction and murder of children by people outside their families is exceedingly rare.But as the mother of preschool girls, I know how easy it is to succumb to irrational panic in the face of this week's 24/7 media obsession with pedophilia."

WHO OWNS YOUR CHILD? - "This case should send a deep chill through the heart of every parent ... This case caught the attention of the national media because it strikes at the heart of every parent who should be asking the following questions: “Who really has control over my child?” “When is a child mature enough to participate in his own healthcare decisions?” “How did we get to the place where doctors, judges and social workers have more rights than parents over the healthcare decisions of a child?”"

News -- August 25, 2006

Russia rejects sanctions against Iran - "Russia on Friday rejected any talk for now of sanctions against Iran and France warned against conflict with Tehran, raising doubt whether it will face swift penalties for not halting nuclear work by an August 31 deadline."

Islam poses a threat to the West, say 53pc in poll - "A growing number of people fear that the country faces "a Muslim problem" and more than half of the respondents to the YouGov survey said that Islam posed a threat to Western liberal democracy. That compares with less than a third after the September 11 terrorist attacks on America five years ago." -- Oh, the propaganda has worked so well.

Beating the Drums of War. US Troop Build-up: Army & Marines authorize "Involuntary Conscription" - "This looks as if it is an unprecedented event in the recent military history of the United States; something that has not happened since the ‘full draft’ during the American war in Vietnam and the World Wars. The obligation of military service or military conscription was not initiated after the tragic events of 9/11—the trigger that augmented and accelerated the aggressive militarization of American foreign policy—nor during the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003. In fact the only time a draft has seriously been mentioned or entertained publicly is in the circumstances and likelihood that the United States should find itself attacking Iran or both Iran and Syria."

Mysterious Gaza kidnapping stirs U.S. media debate - "In the nine days since two Fox News journalists were kidnapped in Gaza, one of the more notable aspects of the case had been the relative silence that has surrounded it, both in Gaza and in much of the media."

Poll: Majority wants Olmert out - "A poll published on Friday in the Yedioth Ahrnonoth daily shows that 63 percent of Israelis feel that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert failed in managing the war in Lebanon and should resign."

Bush revamps anti-terrorism message - "In the thick of an election campaign, President Bush has revived and retooled his argument that the US must fight terrorists overseas or face them here. Despite the unpopularity of the Iraq war, some GOP candidates are borrowing Bush’s line. “We leave before the mission is done, the terrorists will follow us here,” Bush warned at a news conference this week. Rep Curt Weldon, locked in a tight Philadelphia-area re-election race, went a step further. “We either fight them there, or we fight them in the supermarkets and streets here,” he said Wednesday in an interview with CNN."

Refuse to be Terrorized - "The point of terrorism is to cause terror, sometimes to further a political goal and sometimes out of sheer hatred. The people terrorists kill are not the targets; they are collateral damage. And blowing up planes, trains, markets or buses is not the goal; those are just tactics. The real targets of terrorism are the rest of us: the billions of us who are not killed but are terrorized because of the killing. The real point of terrorism is not the act itself, but our reaction to the act. And we're doing exactly what the terrorists want. We're all a little jumpy after the recent arrest of 23 terror suspects in Great Britain. The men were reportedly plotting a liquid-explosive attack on airplanes, and both the press and politicians have been trumpeting the story ever since. In truth, it's doubtful that their plan would have succeeded; chemists have been debunking the idea since it became public. Certainly the suspects were a long way off from trying: None had bought airline tickets, and some didn't even have passports." -- So, who is doing the terrorizing?

Fear mustn't be driving force in U.S. - "The fear established on Sept. 11, 2001, is the sole lens through which our national political emotion flows. By cultivating this fear, politicians can promote almost any policy — including war — that will maintain their grip on power." -- Things will not be any better with "the other" party in power, either.

What a Moronic Presidential Press Conference! - "Defeating terror by promoting freedom—it's "the fundamental challenge of the 21st century," he has said several times, especially when it comes to the Middle East. But here, from the transcript of the press conference, is how he sees the region's recent events:
'What's very interesting about the violence in Lebanon and the violence in Iraq and the violence in Gaza is this: These are all groups of terrorists who are trying to stop the advance of democracy.' What is he talking about? Hamas, which has been responsible for much of the violence in Gaza, won the Palestinian territory's parliamentary elections. Hezbollah, which started its recent war with Israel, holds a substantial minority of seats in Lebanon's parliament and would probably win many more seats if a new election were held tomorrow. Many of the militants waging sectarian battle in Iraq have representation in Baghdad's popularly elected parliament. The key reality that Bush fails to grasp is that terrorism and democracy are not opposites. They can, and sometimes do, coexist. One is not a cure for the other."

An official secrets act might keep Congress in the dark - "If ever there was a piece of legislation crying out for withdrawal, this is it. Intolerably broad and unneeded, it would deprive Congress and the public of critical information they should know by chilling disclosures of wrongdoing to the press."

Recession will be nasty and deep, economist says - "The United States is headed for a recession that will be "much nastier, deeper and more protracted" than the 2001 recession, says Nouriel Roubini, president of Roubini Global Economics. Writing on his blog Wednesday, Roubini repeated his call that the U.S. would be in recession in 2007, arguing that the collapse of housing would bring down the rest of the economy."

Fleecing the Flock 101...They Actually Have Classes! - "I have to say when I first saw the title, "There's Gold in them thar Pews," I thought it must be a parody on religion with regard to getting the faithful to part with their money. Certainly no one would actually promote a pastoral class on how to get more money out of a congregation with that title? ... The article begins..."Be encouraged: "There’s gold in them thar’ pews! Sitting in your pews each week is a goldmine of resources waiting to be lovingly extracted and put to work for Christ. If your church’s giving is poor, I assure you it is not because your people are. They have far more money to give than you think. The proof is in the results we have seen in the poorest of churches worldwide. When pastors in Zimbabwe, Africa, implemented the ten steps I am about to share with you, their giving increased 100 percent. In the Philippines, churches that used these steps saw giving increases of 100, 200, and almost 300 percent. Obviously, even the poorest of God’s people have money to give. They just need to be taught biblical stewardship.""

Black students ordered to give up seats to white children - "Nine black children attending Red River Elementary School were directed last week to the back of the school bus by a white driver who designated the front seats for white children."

Russia Overtakes Saudi Arabia as World’s Leading Oil Producer — OPEC - "OPEC statistics show that in the period since 2002 Russian companies have surpassed the Saudis as the world’s biggest oil producers on an on-and-off basis. The latest figures, however, have been hailed in Russia as evidence that such periodic production spikes are no one-offs and that Moscow really does have a right to lay claim to the number one spot."

This is TV news? - "Take last Thursday, for example. On that day, US District Court Judge Anna Diggs Taylor ruled that the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program was unconstitutional. Taylor's ruling means that the National Security Agency's communications-monitoring effort is finally beginning to get the judicial scrutiny it needs. But had you turned on the TV expecting that important story to top the nightly news, you would have been greatly disappointed, for that was the day TV coverage of Karr really got rolling. All three major networks led with the latest development in the decade-old case. By my count, some five minutes of broadcast time had gone by before they began shifting to other stories. ... "It's an embarrassment," says Tobe Berkovitz, associate dean of Boston University's School of Communication. ``This case is totally irrelevant to the life of the nation." Not only that, but there actually are serious events taking place in the world -- events that should be explored more regularly and thoroughly by news organizations with international reach."

The Most Trusted Names in News (Really!) - "There are still some hero-journalists out there standing in front of the schoolyard bullies and fighting the good fight."

Federal student aid site exposes borrowers' data - "The U.S. Department of Education has disabled the online payment feature for its Federal Student Aid site, following a security breach that could affect up to 21,000 borrowers."

Microsoft puts police link on Messenger - "Microsoft will add a "report abuse" icon to Messenger that will link any users worried about their anonymous internet buddies directly to online police services."

Apple recall deepens Sony battery crisis - "The recall applies to 1.1m batteries sold in the US and 700,000 batteries sold outside the US. It comes amid heightened concerns about the safety of Lithiumion battery packs commonly used in laptop computers. A number of videos and news stories describing fires caused by laptops spontaneously bursting into flames have circulated on the internet."

Ford Motor considers going private - "Ford Motor (F) is considering taking the company private, a move that could give the ailing automaker time to restructure operations outside the glare of critics, a source with direct knowledge of the discussions said Wednesday."

No Suit Required - "Terry McBride has a maverick approach to music management: Take care of the fans and the bands, and the business will take care of itself. ... McBride wants to make the individual files available so that amateur DJs can use them like Lego bricks to create something all their own. The record industry likes control. McBride is proposing unfettered chaos."

Who killed the newspaper? - "The most useful bit of the media is disappearing. A cause for concern, but not for panic."

NYC Officials Want New 'Survivor' Pulled - "As CBS prepares to launch a new season of the hit reality show "Survivor," this time featuring teams divided by race, enraged city officials are saying it promotes divisiveness and are calling for the network to reconsider."

Wynn alters rules on tips - "A restructuring of how Wynn Las Vegas manages its casino soon will leave many dealers there a little lighter in the wallet. Starting Sept. 1, table game supervisors will share in the tips earned by dealers, a move gaming industry insiders said is unheard of along the Strip."

Milwaukee is named 'Drunkest City' - "Milwaukee has been ranked by as "America's Drunkest City" on a list of 35 major metropolitan areas ranked for their drinking habits."

Quote of the Day
"Our problems are man-made, therefore they may be solved by man. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings."
~ John F. Kennedy