October 31, 2006

News -- October 31, 2006

Iraq: 'The Greatest Strategic Disaster in American History' - "The U.S. failure in Iraq has been even more damaging than Vietnam because the opponent was punier and the imperial ambitions even greater."

Over 300 may never leave Guantanamo - "“Yes, they could be held for the duration of their lives,” said Cully Stimson, the Defense Department’s assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs." -- And never charged with a crime.

All the President's Lies - "Many Americans are cynical about what they hear from politicians – and often with good reason – but perhaps no U.S. political leader in modern history has engaged in a pattern of lying and distortion more systematically than George W. Bush has. Bush’s lies also aren’t about petty matters, such as some personal indiscretion or minor misconduct. Rather his dishonesty deals with issues of war and peace, the patriotism of his opponents, and the founding principles of the American Republic. They are the kinds of lies and distortions more befitting the leader of a totalitarian state whipping up his followers to go after some perceived enemy than the President of the world’s preeminent democracy seeking an informed debate among the citizenry. ... Even when acknowledging that Bush’s statements often turn out to be false, his defenders say it’s unfair to call him a liar. They say he’s just an honest guy who gets lots of bad information. But there comes a point when that defense wears thin. The evidence actually points to a leader who wants his subordinates to give him a steady supply of “talking points” that can be used to achieve his goals whether the arguments are true, half true or totally false."

The Worst Congress Ever - "How our national legislature has become a stable of thieves and perverts -- in five easy steps. There is very little that sums up the record of the U.S. Congress in the Bush years better than a half-mad boy-addict put in charge of a federal commission on child exploitation. After all, if a hairy-necked, raincoat-clad freak like Rep. Mark Foley can get himself named co-chairman of the House Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children, one can only wonder: What the hell else is going on in the corridors of Capitol Hill these days?"

Can This Machine Be Trusted? - "The U.S.'s new voting systems are only as good as the people who program and use them. Which is why next week could be interesting."

U.S. digs for vote-machine links to Hugo Chavez - "In the debate about the reliability of electronic voting technology, the South Florida parent company of one of the nation's leading suppliers of touch-screen voting machines is drawing special scrutiny from the U.S. government. Federal officials are investigating whether Smartmatic, owner of Oakland, Calif.-based Sequoia Voting Systems, is secretly controlled by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, according to two people familiar with the probe." -- Hmmm. So if the Democrats win, then the Republicans can blame Chavez for rigging the election?

Glitches cited in early voting - "Several South Florida voters say the choices they touched on the electronic screens were not the ones that appeared on the review screen -- the final voting step. ... Debra A. Reed voted with her boss on Wednesday at African-American Research Library and Cultural Center near Fort Lauderdale. Her vote went smoothly, but boss Gary Rudolf called her over to look at what was happening on his machine. He touched the screen for gubernatorial candidate Jim Davis, a Democrat, but the review screen repeatedly registered the Republican, Charlie Crist."

Does e-voting need paper trails? - "No massive incidents of fraud have been reported yet involving DRE machines, which were designed to tabulate votes internally, often without producing a paper record. They have nonetheless created ongoing concern among voter transparency advocates and computer scientists because of their perceived susceptibility to hacking and general malfunctioning. And those worries are not entirely theoretical: A recent report by Common Cause cited seven reported occasions since 2002 in which votes were mysteriously added or subtracted in states like Florida, Texas and North Carolina--and without paper records to shed light on the anomalies. Many computer scientists remain convinced that a paper receipt is the single most effective safeguard against computer glitches--or something more malicious."

Sweatshops, made in the good, old U.S. A. - "If you're one of those independent-minded voters who drifted in recent years to the Republican camp and may be thinking twice about that allegiance come November, there is one more reason to do so: Allen Stayman." -- Disgusting.

WMD intercept exercise set to begin in the Gulf - "War games designed to intercept ships carrying weapons of mass destruction will take place for the first time today in the Gulf opposite Iran." -- What's going to happen in the next 7 days?

North Korea agrees to return to nuclear talks - "Washington hopes the talks will resume before the end of the year, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said. In the meantime, U.N. sanctions imposed after an October 9 nuclear test by Pyongyang remain in place."

United States National Debt - "An Analysis of the Presidents Who Are Responsible For Excessive Spending." -- Interesting. Check out the chart.

Same-sex marriage joins taxes, terrorism on Bush agenda - "President Bush has for months cast the midterm elections as a choice about just two issues: taxes and terrorism. Now, with polls predicting bleak results for Republicans, he is trying to fire up his party by decrying same-sex marriage." -- Pathetic.

Bush Says 'America Loses' Under Democrats - "President Bush said terrorists will win if Democrats win and impose their policies on Iraq, as he and Vice President Cheney escalated their rhetoric Monday in an effort to turn out Republican voters in next week's midterm elections."

Former Republicans campaign as Democrats - "Call it the year of the former Republican. At a time of widely expected Republican losses in both chambers of Congress, a new breed of politician has emerged: former Republicans challenging Republican incumbents."

Limbaugh Outfoxed - "But if you worry about the embryos, you had bloody well better look into the eyes of the people dying of these diseases. You had better ask yourself whether slowing research that might save them is an acceptable price for your principles. If you can't -- if all you can see is "acting" -- then you need more help than they do. Fox's disease can only take your body. Limbaugh's can take your soul."

Court: Woman Can't Say No After Start Of Sex - "An appellate court said Maryland's rape law is clear -- no doesn't mean no when it follows a yes and intercourse has begun. ... The decision startled activists who believe people have the right to say no at any time. Jennifer Pollitt Hill of the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault called the law "insulting and dangerous."" -- Our days get darker.

MySpace to Block Copyright Music - "MySpace.com will use "audio fingerprinting" technology to block users from uploading copyright music to the social networking site, the company said Monday."

Cause Of Nerve Fiber Damage In Multiple Sclerosis Identified - "Researchers have identified how the body’s own immune system contributes to the nerve fiber damage caused by multiple sclerosis, a finding that can potentially aid earlier diagnosis and improved treatment for this chronic disease."

British scientists grow human liver in a laboratory - "British scientists have grown the world's first artificial liver from stem cells in a breakthrough that will one day provide entire organs for transplant."

New male contraceptive Pill with no side effects - "Scientists have discovered a substance that can temporarily block the development of sperm without altering testosterone levels and without causing unwanted side effects."

Quote of the Day
"They're coming to get you, Barbara!"
~ Johnny, Night of the Living Dead

October 30, 2006

News -- October 30, 2006

Saddam verdict may be delayed: prosecutor - "A court trying Saddam Hussein for crimes against humanity could delay its verdict by a few days, the chief prosecutor said on Sunday, in a move that would shift the announcement until after U.S. midterm elections." -- Now isn't that interesting?

America Did Not Make Iraq’s Violence “Worse”; We Made it “Happen!” - "No matter how hard the media works to keep Americans stupid the people of this great nation remain smarter than they think; only they don’t know it. The current message coming out of our media via the people who really run our government is that our presence in Iraq is making the violence in Iraq worse. This is clearly a pre-packaged excuse for bringing troops home and blaming the violence on the Iraqis, al Qaeda, Iran, Syria, the devil, liberals, Michael Moore, Nancy Pelosi, Susan Sarandon, NY Yankee Alex Rodriguez and anyone who did not want to launch this war based on lies. I forgot one…the Dixie Chicks!"

U.S. military's October death toll reaches 100 - "U.S. military deaths in Iraq in October reached 100 Monday, making this the deadliest month for American troops in a year."

Striking the US where it hurts - "It is like key acupuncture points in ancient Chinese medicine. Puncture one vital point and the whole anatomy is affected. If America ever goes to war with China, say, over Taiwan, then America should be prepared for the following "acupuncture points" in its anatomy to be "punctured". Each of the vital points can bring America to its knees with a minimum of effort."

No fast U.S. shift on Iraq if Democrats win -Dean - ""The president will still be in charge of foreign policy and the military ... I don't imagine we're going to be able to force the president to reverse his course," he told the CBS "Face the Nation" program. "But we will put some pressure on him to have some benchmarks, some timetables and a real plan other than stay the course," he added."

Why Nancy Pelosi is Wrong - "House minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), in an interview with Lesley Stahl of CBS News, said impeachment would be "off the table" if Democrats take over the House of Representatives in November, calling it a "waste of time." She couldn't be more wrong, and most Americans know it."

Swedes think US 'greatest threat to peace' - "Nearly one in three Swedes, 29 percent, think that the US is the biggest threat to peace on earth, the poll, commissioned by Axess Television, reveals. ... North Korea was a close runner up to the United States - 28 percent of respondents thought that the secretive communist dictatorship was most dangerous."

Poll: Majority believes government doing too much - "The poll released Friday also showed that an overwhelming majority of Americans perceive, correctly, that the size and cost of government have gone up in the past four years, when Republicans have had a grip on the House of Representatives, the Senate and the White House."

How to Stop the November Elections from Being Stolen - "The hope of many Democrats for success on November 7th is sharply tempered by still-fresh memories of perceived Democratic victories turned into defeat in 2000 and 2004. Even more disconcerting is the fact that since 2004, there has been overwhelming documentation of voter repression and fraud. The result is that many believe that past elections have been stolen, and efforts to prevent people from voting -- especially minorities -- have been successful."

Limbaugh's Savage Crusade - "Rush Limbaugh is not just making an issue of Michael J. Fox's campaign ads for Democratic candidates who support stem-cell research. The conservative talk-radio personality is making it the issue of a fall campaign that gets stranger by the day. ... In Limbaugh's warped assessment of the political process, it's fine for him to try and influence the votes of Americans. But woe be it to anyone else who attempts to do so."

The Thirteen Scariest People in America - "From the scariest presidential candidate to the scariest billionaire to the scariest cop, these truly are the worst America has to offer."

And The YouTube Purge Begins, Starting With Comedy Central - "It's an interesting move on the part of Comedy Central, which has seemed to turn a blinde eye until now, to their benefit: Not everyone gets cable, or is home to see every show religiously in the 11 - 12am block."

Britons 'could be microchipped like dogs in a decade' - "The prospect of 'chip-citizens' - with its terrifying echoes of George Orwell's 'Big Brother' police state in the book 1984 - was raised in an official report for Britain's Information Commissioner Richard Thomas into the spread of surveillance technology."

Feds Leapfrog RFID Privacy Study - "The story seems simple enough. An outside privacy and security advisory committee to the Department of Homeland Security penned a tough report concluding the government should not use chips that can be read remotely in identification documents. But the report remains stuck in draft mode, even as new identification cards with the chips are being announced."

Ranking of Most, Least Dangerous Cities - "The list starts with the safest cities and ends with the most dangerous."

Chevron 3Q Profit Soars to $5 Billion - "A $5 billion third-quarter profit from Chevron Corp. lifts the cumulative results of the five major oil companies that reported July through September earnings this week to more than $31.5 billion."

Global warming could devastate economy - "Unchecked global warming will devastate the world economy on the scale of the world wars and the Great Depression, a British government report said Monday, as the country launched a bid to convince doubters that environmentalism and economic growth can coincide."

Pay up ... or the planet gets it - "HARD-WORKING families face crippling new bills as the Government fights global warming with a raft of stinging taxes. But critics accused ministers of forcing the public to pay for their failure to react earlier to the crisis."

Climate Science Coalition says Al Gore's claim in movie 'Inconvenient Truth that Pacific Islands sinking incorrect - "The New Zealand Climate Science Coalition does not accept arguments about man-made global warming. Spokesman Owen McShane claims Gore has been liberal with the truth in his film, when he says Pacific Islanders have been evacuated because their islands are drowning. "There are no such refugees and what's more, the Pacific Islands are not sinking below the waves. It's a very active area. In some islands the sea level is falling and in others it's rising.""

At 2 TV Stations in Maine, What Al Gore’s Movie Says Isn’t News - "Michael Palmer, the general manager of television stations WVII and WFVX, ABC and Fox affiliates in Bangor, has told his joint staff of nine men and women that when “Bar Harbor is underwater, then we can do global warming stories.” “Until then,” he added. “No more.”"

Scientist finds 100 million-year-old bee - "A scientist has found a 100 million-year-old bee trapped in amber, making it possibly the oldest bee ever found."

Honeybee Genome May Shed Light on Social Evolution - "Insects are the most diverse group of animals on Earth, with about 925,000 identified species. The genetic exploration may eventually shed light on the biology of togetherness and cooperation, which bees and people both discovered in the 600 million years since they last shared a common ancestor."

Soil minerals point to planet-wide ocean on Mars - "An ocean of water once wrapped around Mars, suggests the discovery of soil chemicals by NASA’s rovers. But the same chemicals also indicate that life was not widespread on the planet at the time the ocean was present."

Quote of the Day
"It may take centuries, but humanity will pay for its arrogance."
~ T'Pol, Star Trek Enterprise

October 27, 2006

Red, White, & Blue

Makes you proud, doesn't it?

News -- October 27, 2006

Judge Orders Release of Abu Ghraib Child Rape Photos - "A federal judge ruled today that graphic pictures of detainee abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison must be released over government claims that they could damage America's image. ... What is shown on the photographs and videos from Abu Ghraib prison that the Pentagon has blocked from release? One clue: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last year, after viewing a large cache of unreleased images, "I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe." They show acts "that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane," he added. A Republican Senator suggested the same day they contained scenes of "rape and murder." Rumsfeld then commented, "If these are released to the public, obviously it's going to make matters worse." ... "'The American public needs to understand we're talking about rape and murder here. We're not just talking about giving people a humiliating experience,' Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told reporters after Rumsfeld testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee. 'We're talking about rape and murder -- and some very serious charges.'"

We have turned Iraq into the most hellish place on Earth - "The truth is that the English-speaking world still cannot kick the habit of imposing its own values on the rest, and must pay the price for its arrogance."

Iraq better off under Saddam, says Blix - "Former United Nations chief weapons inspector Hans Blix on Wednesday described the United States-led invasion of Iraq as a "pure failure" that had left the country worse off than under the rule of Saddam Hussein. In unusually harsh comments to Danish newspaper Politiken, the diplomatic Swede said the US government had ended up in a situation in which neither staying nor leaving Iraq were good options."

Chomsky On "Terrorism" - "But what I write causes extreme anger for the very simple reason that I use the U.S. government's official definition of terrorism from the official U.S. code of laws. If you use that definition, it follows very quickly that the U.S. is the leading terrorist state and a major sponsor of terrorism and since that conclusion is unacceptable, it arouses furious anger. But the problem lies in the unwillingness to recognize that your own terrorism is terrorism. This is not just true of the United States, it's true quite generally. Terrorism is something that they do to us. In both cases, it's terrorism and we have to get over that if we're serious about the question."

New Rules - "And finally, New Rule, in two parts: A) You can't call yourself a think tank if all your ideas are stupid. And B), if you're someone from one of the think tanks that dreamed up the Iraq War, and who predicted that we'd be greeted as liberators, and that we wouldn't need a lot of troops, and that Iraqi oil would pay for the war, that the WMD's would be found, that the looting wasn't problematic, and the mission was accomplished, that the insurgency was in its last throes, that things would get better after the people voted, after the government was formed, after we got Saddam, after we got his kids, after we got Zarqawi, and that the whole bloody mess wouldn't turn into a civil war...you have to stop making predictions!"

Report: Iran has expanded nuke program - "Iran has doubled its capacity to enrich uranium by successfully executing the process with a second network of centrifuges, a semiofficial news agency reported Friday, sending a defiant new message to the U.N. Security Council."

Now Europe Targets Bloggers As Terrorists - "Bush administration efforts to infiltrate, misdirect, regulate and pollute the Internet with Neo-Con propaganda, as well as their openly stated agenda to target American bloggers as terrorists, is now being aped by the British government across the pond as well as other major European countries."

The Book of Rahm - "Last week in CounterPunch (1), I wrote that the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC), Congressman Rahm Emanuel, had worked hard to guarantee that Democratic candidates in key toss-up House races were pro-war. In this he was largely successful, because of the money he commands and the celebrity politicians who reliably respond to his call, ensuring that 20 of the 22 Democratic candidates in these districts are pro-war. So the fix is in for the coming elections." -- We have no choice.

Report Warns of Potential Voting Problems in 10 States - "The report by Electionline.org says those states, and possibly others, could encounter trouble on Election Day because they have a combustible mix of fledgling voting-machine technology, confusion over voting procedures or recent litigation over election rules -- and close races."

The Torture Election - " The stakes, as President Bush likes to say--and on this point he is correct--could scarcely be higher. But they include one stake he never mentions: the future of constitutional government in the United States, which his presidency and his party have put in serious jeopardy. The old (lower case) republican system of checks and balances and popular liberties, you might say, is in danger of replacement by a new (upper case) Republican system of arbitrary one-party rule organized around an all-powerful presidency. That many-sided danger, of course, is the subject of this series of articles. It is simply impossible to know in advance when, in a great constitutional crisis, the decisive turning point--the irrevocable capsizing--might come. We are left wondering whether we are witnessing just one more swing of the familiar old American political "pendulum," bound by its own weight to swing back in the opposite direction, or whether this time the pendulum is about to fly off its hinge and land us with a crash in territory that we have never visited before."

G.O.P. Moves Fast to Reignite Issue of Gay Marriage - "“It’s an issue that’s going to play a big role in the next 12 days,” Mr. Allen’s campaign manager, Dick Wadhams, said in an interview." -- This is one reason why politics has such a bad name.

Hillary comes out for same-sex marriage, sort of ... - "When she ran for Senate in 2000, she said she opposed same-sex marriage. But that position didn't reflect the "many long conversations" she's had since with "friends" and others, and that her thinking "has certainly evolved.""

Poll: Middle class voters abandoning GOP - "The 2006 election is shaping up to be a repeat of 1994. This time, Democrats are favored to sweep Republicans from power in the House after a dozen years of GOP rule."

Mexican president criticizes U.S. fence - ""It is an embarrassment for the United States," Fox said. "It is proof, perhaps, that the United States does not see immigration as a subject that corresponds to both countries.""

Carlyle Group reportedly among possible bidders for Tribune Co. -- Hmmmm.

Economy weakest in 3 years - "Gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the nation's economy, grew at a annual 1.6 percent rate in the quarter, the Commerce Department said, down from the 2.6 percent rate in the second quarter."

A Better Way to Build a Face - "Scientists are poised to perform the first full-face transplant, but a group of Stanford surgeons hopes to eliminate the need for the drastic surgery altogether by learning to regenerate the skin on the face."

Report: College degree worth extra $23,000 a year - "That is the average gap in earnings between adults with bachelor's degrees and those with high school diplomas, according to data from the Census Bureau. College graduates made an average of $51,554 in 2004, the most recent figures available, compared with $28,645 for adults with a high school diploma. High school dropouts earned an average of $19,169 and those with advanced college degrees made an average of $78,093."

Methamphetamine Menace Fastest Rising Drug Threat - "According to a report in Issue #37 of The National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the trafficking of methamphetamine and its abuse has been spreading eastward over the past decade. The number of meth labs seized increased 25% between 2001 and 2004. The report also points out in detail, state-by-state, the use of the drug from 12-year-olds on up to adults. This class of drugs are easily manufactured with readily accessible over-the-counter medications and substances. For a few dollars these chemicals can be procured and created in homes, offices, schools--anywhere one can secret them. Not only are they easy to produce, but the procedures for manufacture can be found in any of numerous venues, primarily websites that detail their deadly production."

Industrial design takes cues from bugs, leaves, crabs - "Scientists call it biomimicry when human-made designs are inspired by nature. Though it's not mainstream quite yet, biomimicry is a fast-growing field of research and development in corporate and academic environments because some believe it could help solve global energy problems, reduce waste and promote sustainability."

South Park mocks Steve Irwin - "South Park maker Comedy Central defended the episode. A spokesperson for the company said: "It has offended people in the past and probably will again. Regular watchers would not be shocked."" -- No, I was not shocked.

Subliminal Nude Pictures Focus Attention - "Nothing focuses the mind's eye like an erotic picture, according to the results of a new study. Even when such pictures were actively canceled out, subliminal images of female nudes helped heterosexual men find the orientation of a briefly shown abstract shape. Such nudity-driven focusing worked almost as well for women, as long as the image accorded with their sexual preference."

Hang on to your dog: meet the vicious 10ft terror bird - "The phorusrhacids were vicious flightless birds able to snap up dog-sized creatures that flourished in South America between 60 million and two million years ago. The find suggests that these monstrous birds, which are thought to have weighed up to half a ton, were probably more agile and less portly than previously thought."

Quote of the Day
"The problem lies in the unwillingness to recognise that your own terrorism is terrorism."
~ Noam Chomsky

October 26, 2006

News -- October 26, 2006

Cheney confirms that detainees were subjected to water-boarding - "Vice President Dick Cheney has confirmed that U.S. interrogators subjected captured senior al-Qaida suspects to a controversial interrogation technique called "water-boarding," which creates a sensation of drowning. Cheney indicated that the Bush administration doesn't regard water-boarding as torture and allows the CIA to use it. "It's a no-brainer for me," Cheney said at one point in an interview. Cheney's comments, in a White House interview on Tuesday with a conservative radio talk show host, appeared to reflect the Bush administration's view that the president has the constitutional power to do whatever he deems necessary to fight terrorism." -- These are sad, sad days.

Many follow U.S. example on detainees - "Several governments around the world have tried to rebut criticism of how they handle detainees by claiming they are only following the U.S. example in the war on terror, the U.N. anti-torture chief said Monday. Manfred Nowak, the U.N. special investigator on torture, said that when he criticizes governments for their questionable treatment of detainees, they respond by telling him that if the United States does something, it must be all right. He would not name any countries except for Jordan. "The United States has been the pioneer, if you wish, of human rights and is a country that has a high reputation in the world," Nowak told a news conference. "Today, many other governments are kind of saying, 'But why are you criticizing us, we are not doing something different than what the United States is doing?'" Nowak said that because of its prominence, the United States has a greater responsibility to uphold international standards for its prisoners so other nations do not use it as an excuse to justify their own behavior." -- And if you did not expect this to happen then what the hell were you thinking?

Bush on Iraq: “If We Can’t Win, I’ll Pull Us Out.” - "In today’s Iraq, the president conceded, it is the enemy, and not the United States, that is defining what victory means. The frustration in the room stemmed not so much from internal divisions and paralysis in the Iraqi government, or lagging indicators like oil and energy production. Rather, it came from the fact that American forces simply do not seem to be winning the war — on anyone’s terms — and that most Americans are disinclined to leave the troops in Iraq without some clear movement toward victory."

'US withdrawal from Iraq would be disastrous for Israel' - "As talk of an American withdrawal from Iraq heats up, some local experts say the removal of a strong US military presence there could be disastrous for Israel. "If Iraq spirals into civil war, it will be seen as a real setback for the US and their policy of military intervention," said Cameron Brown, deputy director of global research in international affairs at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. "This would probably create a renewed Vietnam syndrome, meaning the US would become trigger-shy. And what if the US becomes trigger-shy? No one else except the US has the military might to set back Iran's nuclear program. Maybe Israel, but it's not certain. If the US gets trigger-shy, then we're in trouble."" -- So every world issue has to be resolved by pulling a trigger?

U.S. troops on active duty call for Iraq withdrawal - "More than 200 active duty U.S. armed service members, fed up with the war in Iraq, have joined an unusual protest calling for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the country, organizers said on Wednesday."

Sick war pictures that put Germany to shame - "The uniformed men are seen holding up the skull and posing with it on a military vehicle. Another is seen exposing himself next to the skull. Bild's headline declares: 'German soldiers desecrate a dead person.' Other pictures show soldiers simulating oral sex with the skull, and one shows the troops having secured the skull to their vehicle like a bonnet mascot." -- War brings out the absolute worst of humanity.

German troops in skull photos row - "On one of the pictures, a soldier is seen holding the skull next to his exposed penis, on another - soldiers pose with the skull on their jeep."

The Empire's Foot Soldiers Ape Its Master - "It was Jesus Christ who told his disciples, "You will know them by their fruits," and the fruits of the Neo- Cons in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the deliberate creation of chaotic, fear-ridden deadly hellholes. It comes as no surprise therefore that since the empire's imperial foot soldiers were deployed in the name of "democracy," their behavior has aped the dark intentions of their superiors."

US will have to fight 'dirty' in new wars - "THE US could defeat any enemy with overwhelming power but any new conflict would involve more brute force and civilian casualties than in Iraq, the top US general said today." -- Brute force is no substitute for collaboration and compromise.

Constitution, Schmonstitution - "Suddenly, the most sacred text in America is under attack from all sides. The Constitution was never meant to be a "suicide pact," says eminent judge and author Richard Posner. It's "undemocratic," says University of Texas law professor Sanford Levinson. In this time of terror we need a new one — an "emergency Constitution" — says Yale Law School guru Bruce Ackerman. And Richard Labunski, in his fine and timely book about James Madison, pretty much destroys the myth that the Founding Fathers were motivated solely by noble impulses when they crafted the new government's guiding light."

Poll: Most feel civil liberties not harmed by war on terror - "While 39 percent of the 1,013 poll respondents said the Bush administration has gone too far, 34 percent said they believe the administration has been about right on the restrictions, according to the Opinion Research Corp. survey. Another 25 percent said the administration has not gone far enough. Asked whether Bush has more power than any other U.S. president, 65 percent of poll respondents said no. Thirty-three percent said yes. Of those who said yes, a quarter said that was bad for the country." -- Who the hell are these people?

Bush to Sign Mexico Border Fence Bill - "When President Bush signs a bill authorizing 700 miles of new fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border Thursday, he'll give GOP candidates a pre-election platform for asserting they're tough on illegal immigration. Yet the centerpiece of his immigration policy, a guest worker program, remains stalled in Congress. And a handful of House Republican are at the brakes, blocking negotiations with the Senate for a bill that includes the president's proposal."

Report criticises US press freedoms - "The World Press Freedom Index 2006, published by the Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), showed that the US had dropped 12 places to 53rd place, below countries such as Ghana, Mali and Bolivia. The organisation said "the steady erosion of press freedom in the United States, France and Japan is extremely alarming". RSF said George Bush, the US president, had used national security as a pretext to regard journalists who questioned the "war on terror" as suspicious."

Halliburton Cited For Iraq Overhead - "Administrative overhead accounted for more than half the costs that a Halliburton Co. subsidiary passed on to the government under a key contract to restore Iraq's oil industry, a figure that critics said was unusually high."

Exxon Mobil Posts $10.49B Profit in 3Q - "Exxon Mobil Corp. on Thursday said its profit rose to $10.49 billion in the third quarter, making it the second-largest quarterly profit ever recorded by a publicly traded U.S. company." -- Just so you know who's getting richer in this world.

Weight Gain Means Lower Gas Mileage - "Want to spend less at the pump? Lose some weight. That's the implication of a new study that says Americans are burning nearly 1 billion more gallons of gasoline each year than they did in 1960 because of their expanding waistlines. Simply put, more weight in the car means lower gas mileage."

Atheist Evangelist - "In less than an hour, Harris condemns the God of the Old Testament for a host of sins, including support for slavery. He drop-kicks the New Testament, likening the story of Jesus to a fairy tale. He savages the Koran, calling it "a manifesto for religious divisiveness.""

O'Brien Underfire for Asking for 9/11 Muslim Apology - "Muslims in Scotland have criticised Cardinal Keith O'Brien, after Scotland’s leading Catholic suggested that Muslims should apologise for the 9/11 and 7/7 terrorist attacks."

The T-shirt they say is a threat - "Me: Are you saying that an Arab wearing a shirt in Arabic is a terrorist? Officer: I’m just saying you’d better not wear that shirt here anymore. ... This is one of many examples of anti-Arab racism that has become so prevalent in the U.S. since September 11, 2001. Now, it has come to the point when Arabic writing itself is under attack."

Muslim leader blames women for sex attacks - "THE nation's most senior Muslim cleric has blamed immodestly dressed women who don't wear Islamic headdress for being preyed on by men and likened them to abandoned "meat" that attracts voracious animals."

Young women fleeing war and poverty fall prey to sex traffickers - " For the 26-year-old eldest daughter of eight children whose parents faced a daily despair of car bombs and poverty in their Baghdad slum, the offer sounded too good to be true. It was. Within a week of arriving in Damascus, Mona - whose name has been changed to protect her identity - had been plied with alcohol by Um Ahmad, required to dance for "friends of the factory owner" and had lost her virginity. Unable to return to her family due to the perceived shame she had brought upon them, Mona began her new life in Syria as a prostitute working for Um Ahmad, dancing in bars outside Damascus and having sex with clients. ... Mona had become another victim of the growing sex trade among an Iraqi refugee community in Syria that local NGOs now estimate at 800,000 people, and to whose plight aid agencies say the international community continues to turn a blind eye."

Jersey court orders OK of gay unions - "The New Jersey Supreme Court yesterday said that although there was no right to same-sex "marriage" in the state constitution, homosexual couples were treated unequally by the state and that lawmakers must find a way to correct this."

The Bottled Water Lie - "The corporations that sell bottled water are depleting natural resources, jacking up prices, and lying when they tell you their water is purer and tastes better than the stuff that comes out of the tap."

AT&T unveils video home-monitoring service - "AT&T, said on Thursday it would start to offer a monitoring service that would let U.S. customers use cell phones or computers to receive alerts or view a real-time video feed from their home."

Women risk passing infertility to children if they delay motherhood - "A new study suggests older mothers may bequeath a devastating legacy by passing on biological flaws that will make it more difficult for their own daughters to get pregnant."

Men who use mobile phones face increased risk of infertility - "Those who made calls on a mobile phone for more than four hours a day had the worst sperm counts and the poorest quality sperm, according to results released yest at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine annual meeting in New Orleans."

Is Sex Necessary? - "The best that modern science can say for sexual abstinence is that it's harmless when practiced in moderation. Having regular and enthusiastic sex, by contrast, confers a host of measurable physiological advantages, be you male or female."

Ice-T's album cover too raunchy for U.S. music shops - "The 48-year-old rapper poses nude with his stripper wife Coco draped over him, barely covering his usually concealed weapon. Unless his record label places stickers over the album - which is titled Gangsta Rap and is his first in seven years - the legendary rapper faces a boycott by stores."

Quote of the Day
"Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is."
~ Kevin Tillman

October 25, 2006

News -- October 25, 2006

America may penalise Iraq if it fails to stop the violence - "President George W Bush met his top generals to discuss the deteriorating situation in Iraq as it was reported that America is considering punishing Baghdad if it fails to meet deadlines to stop the violence." -- What? The U.S. is to blame for the violence in Iraq but they're going to punish Baghdad. This is the world we live in.

BUSH REGAINS POWERS OF MONARCH - "The greatest shame is the scarcity of shame. The president of the United States and his toadies in Congress pulled off an unprecedented frontal assault on our most fundamental "unalienable rights," and most Americans snored through the event. ... We have returned to the House of Hanover rules. The king does as he pleases. The people must accept his benevolent protection and shut up about quaint notions of civil liberties and human decency. The decider decides what is fair and just. We must accept what he decides without question."

Investing in Fear on Fox - "Fox News inadvertently revealed another reason why it loves to terrorize Americans with fears of foreign terrorists. It not only helps keep George Bush and his party in power, it also makes money for lots of corporations." -- And it is always, ALWAYS, about money.

U.S. Says More GIs May Be Needed in Iraq - "U.S. officials previously said they were satisfied with troop levels and had expected to make significant reductions by year's end. But a surge in sectarian killings, which welled up this past summer, forced them to reconsider."

More U.S. Troops May Be Iraq-Bound - "The commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., also said he now believed Iraqi forces would be ready to take over security responsibility from the Americans no sooner than late 2007 or early 2008." -- Or never.

US naval war games off the Iranian coastline: A provocation which could lead to War? - "There is a massive concentration of US naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea."

War Critics Try to Recruit Military - "But at least two senators _ both critical of the administration's handling of the war in Iraq _ said they were concerned that service members speaking out against the president may undermine the military's apolitical status."

The Mother Of All Heists - "More than half a billion dollars earmarked to fight the insurgency in Iraq was stolen by people the U.S. had entrusted to run the country's Ministry of Defense before the 2005 elections, according to Iraqi investigators."

Mayor admits first WTC cleanup was fast - "Mayor Michael Bloomberg's explanation that the city's cleanup of the World Trade Center site was done quickly out of respect for victims' families did little to quell the anger of some who fear the remains of their loved ones were overlooked." -- Out of respect for victim's families? Hmmm. Why not just do the cleanup correctly, meticulously?

Electronic Voting Machines Could Skew Elections - "Diebold, the company that makes the voting machines, told ABC News, "These discs do not alter the security of the Diebold touch-screen system in any way," because election workers can set their own passwords. But ABC News has obtained an independent report commissioned by the state of Maryland and conducted by Science Applications International Corporation revealing that the original Diebold factory passwords are still being used on many voting machines."

With Hand on Heart: Pelosi Admits Israel Comes First - "Despite the fact that AIPAC was recently busted for spying on the United States, Pelosi, along with many other top bureaucrats from Washington, gushed effusions of praise on the foreign power. "There are those who contend that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is all about Israel's occupation of the West Bank and Gaza," Pelosi said as she rallied AIPAC loyalists. "This is absolute nonsense. In truth, the history of the conflict is not over occupation, and never has been: it is over the fundamental right of Israel to exist." Apparently Pelosi has never asked Palestinians what they think of Israel's brutality. Not that she hasn't witnessed the occupation firsthand; Pelosi is just not concerned in the least with the Palestinian resistance."

Nancy Pelosi Gives the Neocons a Get Out of Jail Card - "Once again, demonstrating there is essentially no difference between Democrats and Republicans, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has told CBS’s 60 Minutes that the war criminal cabal deserves to escape justice. “Wouldn’t they just love it if we came in and our record as Democrats coming forth after 12 years is to talk about George Bush and Dick Cheney? This election is about them. This is a referendum on them. Making them lame ducks is good enough for me.” According to Pelosi, prosecuting Bush and Cheney for torturing children, killing 650,000 Iraqis, and destroying the United States economy is “off the table.” Of course, this makes sense, as Democrats will continue killing Iraqis and deficit spending the nation into bankruptcy."

Never Wrong - No One Is Ever Wrong - "When was the last time you heard your executive, judicial, senatorial, congressional or pastoral leaders say "I was wrong," "We were wrong," "I am sorry"? From "I did not have sex with that woman," to "those weapons of mass destruction must be around here somewhere," just saying "I'm sorry," seems the hardest thing to do. Give it a try anyway before you kill us all."

Kenneth Lay alive? Maybe - "How do I know? Why else would a federal judge decide last week to vacate Lay's conviction on fraud and conspiracy charges connected to the downfall of the once mighty energy trading company? Why would a judge make it more difficult for the government to seize $43.5 million from Lay's estate, money he stole from his company, and ensure the ill-gotten goods stay put. The answer is easy. So somebody, probably Lay, can use the money at a later date. The ruling was based on case law established in 2004 that allows convictions to be revoked if defendants die without an opportunity to appeal. The convenience makes it impossible for me to think otherwise."

If Your Fingerprints Aren't Down You're Not Coming In - "UK Government wants to control where citizens go to get drunk. Will people start caring more about the liberty crushing surveillance society now?"

Enough With the 'One God' Stuff - "In the world today, one ancient religious ideology, monotheism, stands out as especially dangerous, repressive and loony."

Why There Almost Certainly Is No God - "We explain our existence by a combination of the anthropic principle and Darwin's principle of natural selection. That combination provides a complete and deeply satisfying explanation for everything that we see and know. Not only is the god hypothesis unnecessary. It is spectacularly unparsimonious. Not only do we need no God to explain the universe and life. God stands out in the universe as the most glaring of all superfluous sore thumbs. We cannot, of course, disprove God, just as we can't disprove Thor, fairies, leprechauns and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. But, like those other fantasies that we can't disprove, we can say that God is very very improbable."

Republican base loses faith - "As midterm elections near, polls show that some religious voters are stepping off the GOP bandwagon."

Rush Limbaugh On the Offensive Against Ad With Michael J. Fox - "Possibly worse than making fun of someone's disability is saying that it's imaginary. That is not to mock someone's body, but to challenge a person's guts, integrity, sanity. To Rush Limbaugh on Monday, Michael J. Fox looked like a faker. The actor, who suffers from Parkinson's disease, has done a series of political ads supporting candidates who favor stem cell research, including Maryland Democrat Ben Cardin, who is running against Republican Michael Steele for the Senate seat being vacated by Paul Sarbanes. "He is exaggerating the effects of the disease," Limbaugh told listeners. "He's moving all around and shaking and it's purely an act. . . . This is really shameless of Michael J. Fox. Either he didn't take his medication or he's acting.""

The Permanent Middle Class - "America has always welcomed and used cheap labor. But at least during the industrial economy, people hoped their kids could do better. Today, they're not so sure."

Shocking figures reveal rape trends in SA - "Almost a fifth of South African men have raped a woman at least once in their lives, the South African Medical Research Council (MRC) has disclosed in releasing its annual report."

U.S. Public at Risk from Radiation: Scientists - "The United States, in a twist on social Darwinism, maintains protection standards so low that they shield only the strongest people from cancer-causing radiation. So say scientists whose conclusions are propelling a new campaign to provide greater safety for women, children, and others at greatest risk."

Psychiatry's latest disease mongering scheme: Compulsive shopping called a disease requiring "treatment" - "If you've ever bought items that you really didn't need, or bought huge quantities of items based on large discounts or other factors, some may brand you a "shopaholic." Now, some psychiatrists are pushing to label excessive shopping a mental imbalance that needs to be treated with prescription drugs. ... Many researchers argue that categorizing binge buying as a strictly mental problem takes the focus away from social factors, such as the impact of advertising, easy credit and commercialization."

Humans living far beyond planet's means - "Humans are stripping nature at an unprecedented rate and will need two planets' worth of natural resources every year by 2050 on current trends, the WWF conservation group said on Tuesday. ... "If everyone around the world lived as those in America, we would need five planets to support us," Leape, an American, said in Beijing."

Americans upset with rising health costs - "A growing number of Americans are upset with rising health care costs and say that covering medical bills is reducing their ability to save."

Feds Ease Limits on Same-Sex Schools - "The Education Department on Tuesday announced rules that will make it easier to create single-sex classes or schools, a plan that's been expected for almost three years. The move comes as the value of same-sex education is in doubt. Research shows mixed results, as even the department's own review says."

Marriage 'no longer relevant' say a third of women - "Whirlwind romances also get the thumbs down, with 71 per cent saying couples marry in haste without thinking things through carefully enough. The research into women's changing attitudes to relationships, work and family lives, found older women were more cynical about the idea of wedded bliss."

Report finds sex always on men's minds - "A study released Tuesday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Scientists found 54 percent of men and 19 percent of women admit they think about sex every day -- or several times a day -- in a society where they are bombarded with subconscious erotic images."

Eyelash transplants set to sweep nip tuck world - "Think you've seen it all when it comes to cosmetic surgery? Look more closely. Eyelash transplant surgery wants to become the new must-have procedure for women -- and the occasional man -- convinced that beauty is not so much in the eye of the beholder as in front of the eye itself."

Quote of the Day
"Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes."
~ Kevin Tilllman

October 23, 2006

News -- October 23, 2006

Israel admits using phosphorus bombs during war in Lebanon - "Israel has acknowledged for the first time that it attacked Hezbollah targets during the second Lebanon war with phosphorus shells. White phosphorus causes very painful and often lethal chemical burns to those hit by it, and until recently Israel maintained that it only uses such bombs to mark targets or territory."

Iraq Is Coming Apart at the Seams - "As Iraq falls apart, rumors are flying that there will be a Bush-backed coup, an open three-sided civil war and a host of other nightmarish outcomes."

Bush vows to adapt Iraq tactics - "US President George W Bush has said military tactics in Iraq will keep changing to deal with insurgents. But the US would not abandon the goal of building a strong democracy, Mr Bush said in his regular radio address."

Bush says Iraq attacks are propaganda - "U.S. President George W. Bush said the spike in violence in Iraq is a calculated ploy by terrorists to swing public opinion against the U.S. presence in Iraq."

US in secret truce talks with insurgency chiefs - "AMERICAN officials held secret talks with leaders of the Iraqi insurgency last week after admitting that their two-month clampdown on violence in Baghdad had failed."

Diplomat cites U.S. 'stupidity' in Iraq - "A senior U.S. diplomat said the United States had shown "arrogance" and "stupidity" in Iraq but was now ready to talk with any group except Al-Qaida in Iraq to facilitate national reconciliation."

Bush’s absolute power grab - "On October 17, George W. Bush signed into law the Military Commissions Act of 2006. This new law gives Bush power similar to that of Stalin or Hitler, and grants agencies within the executive branch powers similar to those of the KGB or Gestapo."

Troops in debt can't go overseas - "Thousands of U.S. troops are being barred from overseas duty because they are so deep in debt they are considered security risks, according to an Associated Press review of military records."

Bush's family profits from 'No Child' act - "A company headed by President Bush's brother and partly owned by his parents is benefiting from Republican connections and federal dollars targeted for economically disadvantaged students under the No Child Left Behind Act."

Recipe for a Cooked Election - "A nasty little secret of American democracy is that, in every national election, ballots cast are simply thrown in the garbage. Most are called "spoiled," supposedly unreadable, damaged, invalid. They just don’t get counted. This “spoilage” has occurred for decades, but it reached unprecedented heights in the last two presidential elections. In the 2004 election, for example, more than three million ballots were never counted."

Sen. Obama says he's weighing 2008 run - "Sen. Barack Obama acknowledged Sunday he was considering a run for president in 2008, backing off previous statements that he would not do so."

YouTube becomes political weapon - "You've likely heard of YouTube. Well, rest assured, your representatives in Washington, D.C., most definitely have too. That's because campaign operatives are starting to place negative images of the candidates they oppose on the video sharing site. The campaigns have camera-wielding staffers who go to the opposition's campaign events with the hopes of shooting something negative or embarrassing the candidate says and then putting it on YouTube."

YouTube's no friend to copyright violators - "People posting copyright material on YouTube shouldn't be surprised if the company makes no effort to protect them in a copyright battle."

Devils in Disguise - "A documentary portrait of a pedophile priest and his pious protectors."

Modern western culture against religion, pope says - "Modern Western culture is unable to dialogue with religion and cannot answer fundamental questions about the meaning of life, Pope Benedict XVI said Thursday. Speaking in the northern Italian city of Verona, where he attended a convention of the Italian Catholic Church, Benedict said the West must return to its Christian root, warning against its secular drift."

Church is not political, pope says - "Pope Benedict XVI outlined on Thursday his view of the Catholic Church's role in Italy, saying it was not to be a political player but to oppose the advance of a Godless culture."

Battle of the New Atheism - "The New Atheists will not let us off the hook simply because we are not doctrinaire believers. They condemn not just belief in God but respect for belief in God. Religion is not only wrong; it's evil. Now that the battle has been joined, there's no excuse for shirking."

Mother sues over Bible class - "A Mooresville woman is suing her son's public school, alleging that its practice of allowing some students to attend Bible classes once a week on school grounds while others stay behind without instructional time is unconstitutional."

This is the moment for Europe to dismantle taboos, not erect them - "Far from criminalising denial of the Armenian genocide, we should decriminalise denial of the Holocaust."

U.S. immigrants pose TB threat - "Although the number of confirmed drug-resistant TB cases in the U.S. is relatively small – still measured in the dozens – health officials say visitors from other countries are bringing in the deadliest mutations."

See a smoker in Omaha? Dial 9-1-1 - "Omaha's tough new anti-smoking ordinance banning the practice in nearly all public places comes with an even tougher enforcement policy."

Spam Trojan Installs Own Anti-Virus Scanner - "The Trojan, which uses peer-to-peer technology to send commands to hijacked computers, has been fitted with its own anti-virus scanner—a level of complexity and sophistication that rivals some commercial software."

Germany Extends License Fees to Computers, Mobile Phones - "German state premiers have agreed on a monthly license fee for computers that can access television and radio programs via the Internet. The move has attracted criticism."

Becoming mother at 50 'no risk to health' - "WOMEN who give birth in their fifties are just as healthy, both physically and psychologically, as those who start families much earlier in life, according to research that will significantly strengthen the case against upper-age limits for fertility treatment."

CDC sends Morgellons investigators to California - "The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is sending a team of investigators into California as a beginning step in its recently announced decision to investigate Morgellons disease, a mysterious condition heretofore diagnosed by most physicians as a psychotic disorder."

Study Links Bread, Kidney Cancer Risk - "An Italian study shows that people with renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer, may eat more bread and fewer vegetables than those without kidney cancer. But the study, published online in the International Journal of Cancer, doesn't claim bread causes kidney cancer."

Rain makes the ground shake - "A wet weekend may be enough to set off an earthquake."

Gold mine holds life untouched by the Sun - "The first known organisms that live totally independently of the sun have been discovered deep in a South African gold mine. The bacteria exist without the benefit of photosynthesis by harvesting the energy of natural radioactivity to create food for themselves. Similar life forms may exist on other planets, experts speculate."

Floating Pile Of Rubble A Pristine Record Of Solar System's History - "A small, near-Earth asteroid named Itokawa is just a pile of floating rubble, probably created from the breakup of an ancient planet."

Quote of the Day
"Selling skin, selling God. The numbers look the same on their credit cards."
~ Queensryche

October 21, 2006

News -- October 21, 2006

After Pat's Birthday - "Editor’s note: Kevin Tillman joined the Army with his brother Pat in 2002, and they served together in Iraq and Afghanistan. Pat was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. Kevin, who was discharged in 2005, has written a powerful, must-read document." -- I thank Mr. Tillman for writing this article. Peace.

October 20, 2006

Keith Olbermann on the Death of Habeas Corpus

Well done, Mr. Olbermann.

News -- October 20, 2006

GOP to Air Ad Warning of Terror Attacks - " The Republican Party will begin airing a hard-hitting ad this weekend that warns of more cataclysmic terror attacks against the U.S. homeland. The ad portrays Osama bin Laden and quotes his threats against America dating to February 1998. "These are the stakes," the ad concludes. "Vote November 7."" -- They have nothing to go on except fear. GOP, you do not frighten me.

I Hereby Declare Myself an Enemy Combatant - "And yes, I know this means I’ll end up in Gitmo or in one of those nifty new Kellogg Brown and Root Detention Centers . But I would suffer the fate of demons should I make a whore of my soul, to paraphrase another Unlawful Enemy Combatant. Why do I consider myself even remotely capable of being labeled this way? Posted on http://www.whitehouse.gov/, the National Security Council’s “Strategy for Winning the War on Terror” states the following: “Subcultures of conspiracy and misinformation. Terrorists recruit more effectively from populations whose information about the world is contaminated by falsehoods and corrupted by conspiracy theories. The distortions keep alive grievances and filter out facts that would challenge popular prejudices and self-serving propaganda.” On Monday, October 16, 2006 , Fatherland Security Chief Chertoff stated that an “area of concern” is the threat of “plots involving local communities, American citizens, who may become radicalized over the Internet . . . .” It is clear: the next front of control is the blogosphere and the alternative news media. By contributing towards the “subculture” exposing the fascist nightmare oozing out of D.C., I must be necessarily “keeping alive grievances” that make our population a ripe recruiting ground for bad people."

The limits of liberty: We're all suspects now - "There will be many reasonable people among you who will argue that the fight against terrorism or some other compelling problem makes the removal of a fragment of liberty the best option available to us. A little bit here, a little bit there doesn't really matter, particularly when it involves somebody else's rights. Without thinking very deeply, we say to ourselves "if you've done nothing wrong you've got nothing to fear from these new laws". Not true. There is something to fear - because someone else's liberty is also your liberty. When it's removed from them, it's taken from you even though you may not be able to conceive of the circumstances when you might need it. A system of rights must apply to bank managers, illegal immigrant cockle pickers and every type of defendant otherwise it doesn't count."

Approval of Republicans at record low: poll - "With congressional elections less than three weeks away, the Republican party's approval ratings are at an all-time low, with approval of the Republican-led Congress at its lowest point in 14 years, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll released on Wednesday."

Electing Extremism - "Around the U.S., right-wing radicals are running for everything from national political office to a county mosquito control board."

Poll: Lieberman's Lead Growing in Conn. - "Sen. Joe Lieberman has built a 17-point lead over Democratic challenger Ned Lamont, according to the first Quinnipiac University poll since the two faced off in a debate this week." -- Politics must be an addiction. Oh no, wait...make that power is an addiction.

Republican ad refers to black women as "ho's" - "The radio ad criticizes Democrats for being pro-choice and features two black men speaking on the subject: BLACK MAN #1: "If you make a little mistake with one of your 'hos,' you'll want to dispose of that problem tout suite, no questions asked." BLACK MAN #2: "That's too cold. I don't snuff my own seed." BLACK MAN #1: "Maybe you do have a reason to vote Republican.""

Spin the Bottle: Finger Pointing Edition - "I've been seeing a whole lot of coverage over the whole "voting machine" issue. Most of the coverage I've seen implies that the upcoming election will be manipulated by the Republican party. Could be it is, could be it's not. But here's my question."

Former delegate gets purported Diebold code - "Diebold Election Systems Inc. expressed alarm and state election officials contacted the FBI yesterday after a former legislator received an anonymous package containing what appears to be the computer code that ran Maryland's polls in 2004. Cheryl C. Kagan, a longtime critic of Maryland's elections chief, says the fact that the computer disks were sent to her - along with an unsigned note criticizing the management of the state elections board - demonstrates that Maryland's voting system faces grave security threats."

How To Spot a Dictator - "Well, now that we have established a Democratic Dictatorship there seems to be some confusion. This is America! Constitutional Monarchy? It can’t happen here! We learned that in the third grade. It has happened here! With the passing of the Military Commissions Act of 2006, America has its very first bona fide dictator! The Silver Spoon Kid from Texas has made good."

"You're under arrest." For what? "None of your business." - "As of yesterday we, all of us, are just one indiscretion, misunderstanding or set up away from disappearing. ... But the reason you end up in federal custody, refused a lawyer, or a trial, may never be known, to you or anyone else. "Get outta here, Pizzo. I'm a US citizen. That kind of stuff only happens to foreign terrorists." No. You get outta here. As of yesterday it can happen, and it can happen to YOU."

Top US general says Rumsfeld is inspired by God - "The top US general defended the leadership of Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, saying it is inspired by God." -- But what if God is not good?

Poll: Forty percent of American voters believe the Israel Lobby has been a key factor in going to war in Iraq and now confronting Iran - "The poll, which was carried out by Zogby International, reveals that 39% of the American public "agree" or "somewhat agree" that "the work of the Israel lobby on Congress and the Bush administration has been a key factor for going to war in Iraq and now confronting Iran." However, a similar number, 40%, "strongly disagreed" or "somewhat disagreed" with this position. Some 20% of the public, or more than one in five, were not sure."

655,000 Dead: Reporting the Reporting - "According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, George Bush's lies have killed not 30,000 innocent Iraqis, as the president not long ago estimated, but nearly 22 times that amount, or 655,000. Neither the Pentagon, nor much of the mainstream media have made much attempt to make their own counts -- it's just not that important to anyone. So how has the U.S. media reported on these shocking-albeit-necessarily-imprecise findings, based on door-to-door surveys in 18 provinces, by the experts trained in this kind of thing? The actual methods included obtaining data by eight Iraqi physicians during a survey of 1,849 Iraqi families -- 12,801 people -- in 47 neighborhoods of 18 regions across the country. The researchers based the selection of geographical areas on population size, not on the level of violence. How strict were their standards? They asked for death certificates to prove claims -- and got them in 92 percent of the cases. Even so, the authors say that the number could be anywhere from 426,000 to 800,000."

We've lost battle for Baghdad, US admits - "A day after George Bush conceded for the first time that America may have reached the equivalent of a Tet offensive in Iraq, the Pentagon yesterday admitted defeat in its strategy of securing Baghdad."

Major Change Expected In Strategy for Iraq War - "The growing doubts among GOP lawmakers about the administration's Iraq strategy, coupled with the prospect of Democratic wins in next month's midterm elections, will soon force the Bush administration to abandon its open-ended commitment to the war, according to lawmakers in both parties, foreign policy experts and others involved in policymaking."

White House rejects Iraq partition plan - "The White House yesterday rejected partitioning Iraq into three sections based on ethnicity and religion and took issue with reports that President Bush now views the 3-1/2-year-old Iraq war as similar to the war in Vietnam."

Shiite militia takes over Iraqi city - "The Shiite militia run by the anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr seized control of a southern Iraqi city on Friday in one of the boldest acts of defiance yet by the country's powerful, unofficial armies, witnesses and police said."

Essay by promoter of “ex-gay” movement sparks racism charges - "A prominent member of the National Association for Research & Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH) is under fire for publishing an essay in which he argues that Africans were fortunate to have been sold into slavery, and the civil rights movement was "irrational.""

New Bible publication literally cuts out unused parts - "That's because those troublesome verses about justice for the poor, responsibility for the rich to address their neighbors' needs, and all that talk about money, are gone. Not just edited out, cut out."

Antarctic ozone hole biggest on record, U.S. reports - "This year's ozone hole over Antarctica is bigger and deeper than any other on record, U.S. scientists reported on Thursday."

One billion people overweight, 300 million obese worldwide - "The scourge of obesity, bringing in its train a host of health and economic problems that could one day cripple economies, is more prevalent in some countries than others, but still constitutes a global epidemic, says WHO. A billion people out of the world's six billion population are now considered overweight, compared with 800 million who do not have enough to eat."

Candidate: Use Textbooks As Shields From School Shooters - "If elected, he said he would put thick used textbooks under every desk for students to use in self-defense." -- I don't even know what the hell to say.

Video-hungry users could push Net to brink - "Soaring demand for games, video and music will stretch the Internet to its limits, Canada's Nortel Networks Corp. says, and it expects service providers will make big investments in its technology to avoid a crunch."

TV causes autism - study - "According to the research, heavy TV indulgence before the age of three is clearly associated with an increase in autism. The paper suggests that TV could be a trigger for those with a genetic predisposition toward the condition."

Study finds risks, benefits in giving Ritalin to preschoolers - ""I hope publication of this does not lead to more overprescribing," said Dr. Sidney Wolfe of the watchdog group Public Citizen. "The safety isn't adequately established, the efficacy even less.""

Ancient fish fossil provides missing link in evolution of land animals - "The discovery of a 380 million-year-old fossil in a remote region of Western Australia has given scientists new insight into the process by which fish evolved into land animals."

Study: Expectations matter when it comes to math - "Telling women they can't do well in math may turn out be a self-fulfilling statement."

Discriminate against tattoos, piercings at your own risk - "According to legal experts in employment law, if you fit any of these categories, you are setting yourself up for lawsuits from members of a new activist lobby representing the ever-growing population of those into "body modification.""

Most mothers don't get enough sleep - "Half of U.S. mothers are not getting enough sleep and they believe getting more rest would make them better parents, according to a U.S. study."

Quote of the Day
"The question is not whether we will be extremists, but what kind of extremists will we be?"
~ Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

October 19, 2006

News -- October 19, 2006

Four U.S. soldiers charged with rape and murder - "Four U.S. soldiers accused of raping and killing a 14-year-old girl and slaying her sister and their parents will face courts-martial on murder charges, military officials say."

Bush Accepts Iraq-Vietnam Comparison - "President Bush said in a one-on-one interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that a newspaper column comparing the current fighting in Iraq to the 1968 Tet offensive in Vietnam, which was widely seen as the turning point in that war, might be accurate."

'Dramatic change of direction' coming for Iraq - "Leaks from a U.S. task force headed by former Secretary of State James A. Baker III are contributing to the widespread sense that the Bush administration is preparing for a "course correction" in the coming months. The options cited most frequently in Washington include the partition of Iraq into three ethnic- or faith-based regions, and a phased withdrawal of U.S. troops, with some remaining in neighboring countries to deal with major threats. Another scenario is being discussed -- and taken seriously in Iraq -- by many of Iraq's leading political players, under which the U.S.-trained army would overthrow struggling Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and replace him with a strongman who would restore order while Washington looks the other way."

North Korean General: 'War Is Inevitable' - "If President Bush continues to ask North Korea to "kneel," war "will be inevitable," and it would begin on the Korean Peninsula, North Korean Gen. Ri Chan Bok told "Good Morning America" anchor Diane Sawyer, in an exclusive interview inside North Korea."

Peace Activists Beware: Homeland Security May Be Reading Your E-Mail, and Passing it on to the Pentagon - "More information keeps coming out, thanks to the ACLU, about the Bush Administration’s equation of protest with terrorism—and the snooping it then engages in. Homeland Security is monitoring peace groups and even peering at their e-mails. It then shares that information with Joint Terrorism Task Forces, which include the FBI and state and local law enforcement, as well as with the Pentagon’s notorious Talon (Threat and Local Observation Notice) program."

Poll: Half of Americans think Congress is corrupt - "According to the poll, a majority disapproves of how both parties are handling their jobs in Congress. Just 42 percent approve of how the Democrats are doing in Congress, while 54 percent disapprove. The GOP fares even worse -- only 36 percent approve of their performance in Congress, while 61 percent disapprove."

Democrats would reverse Bush's work - "The Democrats' election-year agenda, which says what they will do if the voters put them back in charge of Congress, would seek to overturn or change just about everything President Bush and the Republicans have done since 2001. Key parts of their agenda call for repealing the bulk of the administration's tax cuts, ending the ban on federal funding for new lines of stem-cell research and limiting some of the investigative, prosecutorial and surveillance methods in the counterterrorism USA Patriot Act."

New Laws and Machines May Spell Voting Woes - "As dozens of states are enforcing new voter registration laws and switching to paperless electronic voting systems, officials across the country are bracing for an Election Day with long lines and heightened confusion, followed by an increase in the number of contested results." -- How convenient.

Doubts about vote count strong in U.S. - "Count on close, contentious elections to stir up public distrust in the vote count."

New Prime-Time TV Look for Elections - "Meanwhile, a study released by the Center for Media and Public Affairs on Wednesday found that the network evening-news programs are covering this year's midterm election campaign three times as heavily as they did in 2002."

Conservative voters likely to stay home - "The Republican Party can stave off defeat with a strong turnout on Nov. 7, party leaders are telling the faithful -- but they are finding it tough to sell that message to some disillusioned conservative voters."

Greasing the Skids - "Meanwhile, the White House was evading blame for gas prices having doubled like Olympian dodgeball champions. It's not us. It's unrest in Iraq. Nuclear threats from Iran. Growth in China. Economists said, It's supply and demand, stupid. Following their logic, and given the second-fastest drop in gas prices ever, we'd expect a noticeable reversal of those factors: an end to the war in Iraq, perhaps; India and China halting production; the Iranian president warmly embracing Bush and the home team. None of this happened. As far as supply goes, this spring US crude oil inventories were at their highest point since May 1998. ... To say the election has nothing to do with it would be naïve. To say gas prices won't be up again afterward would be wrong."

Space: It's Our Final Frontier - "President Bush has signed an order asserting the United States' right to deny adversaries access to space for hostile purposes. Bush also said the United States would oppose the development of treaties or other restrictions that seek to prohibit or limit U.S. access to or use of space."

US full of Internet addicts: study - "Most disturbing was the discovery that some people hid their Internet surfing, or went online to cure foul moods in ways that mirrored alcoholics using booze, according to the study's lead author, Elias Aboujaoude."

Human species 'may split in two' - "Humanity may split into two sub-species in 100,000 years' time as predicted by HG Wells, an expert has said. Evolutionary theorist Oliver Curry of the London School of Economics expects a genetic upper class and a dim-witted underclass to emerge."

Happy, confident students do worse in math - "Other countries do better than the United States because they seem to expect more from students, he said. That could also explain why high performers in other nations express less confidence and enjoyment in math. They consider their peer group to be star achievers."

SKorean scientists say cancer-killing virus developed - "When injected into cancerous tumors, the virus quickly multiplies in the cancer cells and kills them, the team said. The new adenovirus can target only cancer cells and does not harm normal cells, the team said."

Virtual colonoscopy accurate and 'less invasive' - "Here's welcome news for anyone alarmed by a standard "optical" colonoscopy, the oft-dreaded and unpopular exam for colon cancer that yields an accurate diagnosis, right along with patient discomfort and embarrassment."

Scientists create cloak of invisibility - "If you can hide something from microwaves, you can hide it from radar — a possibility that will fascinate the military."

Advocacy Groups Ignore Breast Cancer Hot Spots - "Certain parts of the country have significantly higher rates of breast cancer -- but major organizations won't invest in research to find out why."

125 arrested in child porn roundup - "Federal officials arrested more than 125 people Wednesday on charges of subscribing to a Web site that depicted children as young as infants engaged in sexual activities with adults."

Two arrested in brutal bathroom attack - "While one attacker held down the victim, the other forced the plumbing snake into his rectum and spun it several times, causing internal injuries, police said."

Quote of the Day
"But the Bill of Rights is a literal and absolute document. The First Amendment doesn't say you have a right to speak out unless the government has a 'compelling interest' in censoring the Internet. The Second Amendment doesn't say you have the right to keep and bear arms until some madman plants a bomb. The Fourth Amendment doesn't say you have a right to be secure from search and seizure unless some FBI agent thinks you fit the profile of a terrorist. The government has no right to interfere with any of these freedoms under any circumstances."
~ Harry Browne