November 30, 2006

News -- November 30, 2006

Ahmadinejad's letter to Americans - "The US administration's illegal and immoral behavior is not even confined to outside its borders. You are witnessing daily that under the pretext of "the war on terror," civil liberties in the United States are being increasingly curtailed. Even the privacy of individuals is fast losing its meaning. Judicial due process and fundamental rights are trampled upon. Private phones are tapped, suspects are arbitrarily arrested, sometimes beaten in the streets, or even shot to death. I have no doubt that the American people do not approve of this behavior and indeed deplore it. ... The legitimacy, power and influence of a government do not emanate from its arsenals of tanks, fighter aircrafts, missiles or nuclear weapons. Legitimacy and influence reside in sound logic, quest for justice and compassion and empathy for all humanity. The global position of the United States is in all probability weakened because the administration has continued to resort to force, to conceal the truth, and to mislead the American people about its policies and practices. ... My questions are the following: Is there not a better approach to governance? Is it not possible to put wealth and power in the service of peace, stability, prosperity and the happiness of all peoples through a commitment to justice and respect for the rights of all nations, instead of aggression and war? We all condemn terrorism, because its victims are the innocent. But, can terrorism be contained and eradicated through war, destruction and the killing of hundreds of thousands of innocents? If that were possible, then why has the problem not been resolved? The sad experience of invading Iraq is before us all."

Iran's nuclear ambitions seen similar to Holocaust - "Iran's reported drive to make an atomic bomb has become an existential threat to Israel that some Israelis are likening to the Holocaust -- especially with the United States appearing to back away from confrontation with Tehran."

Powell says world should recognize Iraq at civil war - "Former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said on Wednesday Iraq had descended into civil war and urged world leaders to accept that "reality"."

Report: Panel to call for U.S. pullback - "Such recommendations would require a shift in policy for the Bush administration that President Bush has shown no hint of implementing."

Democrats Reject Key 9/11 Panel Suggestion - "But with control of Congress now secured, Democratic leaders have decided for now against implementing the one measure that would affect them most directly: a wholesale reorganization of Congress to improve oversight and funding of the nation's intelligence agencies."

Why we love government - "Unlike today's Americans, the founders of our nation were suspicious, if not contemptuous, of government. Consider just a few of their words. ... With sentiments like these, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison became presidents. Could a person with similar sentiments win the presidency today? My guess is no. Today's Americans hold such liberty-oriented values in contempt, and any presidential aspirant holding them would have a zero chance of winning office. Today's Americans hold a different vision of government. It's one that says Congress has the right to do just about anything upon which it can secure a majority vote. Most of what Congress does fits the description of forcing one American to serve the purposes of another American. That description differs only in degree, but not in kind, from slavery."

U.S. to unveil new citizenship questions - "No longer would it be sufficient to know the three branches of government (executive, legislative and judicial). Applicants could also be asked why there are three branches of government." -- Isn't the question: Are there still 3 branches of government?

Supreme Court clashes over climate change - "The global political battle over climate change was also being fought at the US Supreme Court on Wednesday as judges bickered over the role of greenhouse gas emissions in global warming and disagreed on whether the Env­­ir­on­mental Protection Agency had the power to refuse to regulate such emissions."

7M in U.S. Jails, on Probation or Parole - "A record 7 million people _ or one in every 32 American adults _ were behind bars, on probation or on parole by the end of last year, according to the Justice Department. Of those, 2.2 million were in prison or jail, an increase of 2.7 percent over the previous year, according to a report released Wednesday."

Federal case may redefine child porn - "... prosecutors acknowledge there's no evidence he has ever taken a single photograph of an unclothed minor. Rather, they argue, his models struck poses that were illegally provocative. ... Because no sex or nudity is involved, the prosecutions raise unusual First Amendment concerns that stretch beyond mere modeling-related Web sites: children and teens in various degrees of undress appear in everything from newspaper underwear advertisements to the covers of Seventeen and Vogue."

N.H. to Offer Girls Free Cancer Vaccine - "Beginning in January, the vaccine against the human papilloma virus, or HPV, will be provided to girls ages 11 through 18 as part of a state program that offers various immunizations to children at no cost."

Federal government launches marketing campaign for psychiatric industry - "Under the guise of combating the stigma of mental illness, the U.S. government will soon begin a massive campaign of psychiatric indoctrination, designed to increase the acceptance of psychiatric chemical imbalance theories and labeling, and to pave the way for national psychiatric screening, driving more Americans into seeking psychiatric drug treatment."

Nike+ IPod = Surveillance - "If you enhance your workout with the new Nike+ iPod Sport Kit, you may be making yourself a surveillance target."

Tobacco-related diseases to take high toll, study finds - "Tobacco-related diseases including cancers and heart disease will kill 6.4 million people a year by 2015, 50 percent more than AIDS, a study said this week."

McDonald's puts patent on sandwiches - "McDonald's wants to own the rights to how a sandwich is made. The fast-food chain has applied for a patent relating to the 'method and apparatus' used to prepare the snack. The burger company says owning the 'intellectual property rights' would help its hot deli sandwiches look and taste the same at all of its restaurants."

Hawking: Man must leave planet Earth - "Mankind will need to venture far beyond planet Earth to ensure the long-term survival of our species, according to the world's best known scientist, Professor Stephen Hawking."

Africa Faces Growing Obesity Problem - "Africa, a continent usually synonymous with hunger, is falling prey to obesity. It's a trend driven by new lifestyles and old beliefs that big is beautiful. Ask Nodo Njobo, a plump hairdressing assistant. She is coy about her weight, but like many African women, proud of her "big bum." She says she'd like to be slimmer, but worries how her friends would react."

Scientists Unravel Mystery of Ancient Greek Machine - " Scientists have finally demystified the incredible workings of a 2,000-year-old astronomical calculator built by ancient Greeks. A new analysis of the Antikythera Mechanism, a clock-like machine consisting of more than 30 precise, hand-cut bronze gears, show it to be more advanced than previously thought—so much so that nothing comparable was built for another thousand years."

Quote of the Day
"If other planets aren't now in danger from Earth, they soon will be."
~ Billy Pilgrim, Slaughterhouse Five

November 29, 2006

News -- November 29, 2006

WHILE IRAQ DESCENDS INTO FLAMES, BUSH STANDS INCREASINGLY ALONE - "No one has a simple solution, simply because there isn't one."

Bring back Saddam Hussein - "Restoring the dictator to power may give Iraqis the jolt of authority they need. Have a better solution?"

LDS Judge Jay Bybee and Donald Rumsfield Justifies Child Sex Abuse & Torture in Iraq! - "The biggest story of the Iraq war is not about missing weapons of mass destruction, or about deep-cover CIA officers getting their covers blown by vengeful White House agents, or even about 896 dead American soldiers. These have been covered to one degree or another, and then summarily dismissed by the American mainstream news media. The biggest story of the Iraq war has not enjoyed any coverage in America, though it has been exploding across the international news media for several weeks now. The biggest story of the Iraq war is about the torture of Iraqi children."

Carter blames Israel for Mideast conflict - "Carter said there was "no doubt now that a minority of Israelis are perpetuating apartheid on the people in Palestine, the Palestinian people." Carter called Israel's occupation the "prime cause" of continuing violence in the Middle East."

U.S. Bans Sale of IPods to North Korea - "The Bush administration wants North Korea's attention, so like a scolding parent it's trying to make it tougher for that country's eccentric leader to buy iPods, plasma televisions and Segway electric scooters. The U.S. government's first-ever effort to use trade sanctions to personally aggravate a foreign president expressly targets items believed to be favored by Kim Jong Il or presented by him as gifts to the roughly 600 loyalist families who run the communist government."

I have never been more ashamed of the US government - "Traveling around the world these past months has given me an education about American history that majoring in the subject at UCLA never did. I have witnessed first hand what US imperialism and militarism can do to countries and societies. I sat with indigenous Hawaiian tribal leaders who shared their tragic stories of how US colonialism and militarism ruined their fishing waters and turned their lands into super-fund sites. I stood in solidarity with Irish peace activists who want the US military off their soil and want US transport and rendition planes to stop using Shannon Airport to land for refueling. These are just a few stories. Everywhere I go, the local populations have stories of greed, crime, corruption, pollution, etc., that all go hand in glove wherever the US military is present. Not to mention the "hot" war zones, where hundreds of civilians are murdered, maimed or displaced on a daily basis. This rampant, arrogant, and care-less US militarism has nowhere been more evident than here in South Korea, especially in the village of Daechuri, near Pyong-taek City. The loathing for George Bush, America, Americans, irresponsible capitalism, corporatism, imperialism and militarism is a planetary phenomenon, but apart from what the US is doing to the wretched countries of Iraq and Afghanistan, I have never been more ashamed of the US government than when I visited the village of Daechuri with 17 other American peace and social-justice activists and a campesino from Colombia. ... Golf! A village was obliterated for golf. If this is the "American way," then we obviously need a new way, as speedily as possible."

Judge: Bush can’t designate groups as terrorists - "A federal judge struck down President Bush's authority to designate groups as terrorists, saying his post-Sept. 11 executive order was unconstitutional and vague, according to a ruling released Tuesday."

Big Brother: Watching, Listening And Shouting - "The microphones, which are already in use in the Netherlands, can pick up "aggressive tones" on the basis of 12 factors, including decibel level, pitch and the speed at which words are spoken. They are so advanced that background noise is filtered out, enabling the camera to focus on specific conversations in public places. ... These devices may be successful in recording the murmurs leading up to a scuffle between a couple of hobos but they're certainly not going to prevent any major security threats. What are they going to do, monitor conversations and despatch emergency squads of argument police if it looks like it might turn nasty? Step by step our free and open society is being transformed into one of hi-tech authoritarian panopticon state control."

Software Will Let Users Dodge Government Internet Censorship - " Developers from the University of Toronto plan to release software this week that will allow residents in restrictive countries to gain uncensored Internet access through friends' and family members' home computers."

Your details could be logged at the till - "EVERYDAY transactions such as buying a store gift card or playing pokies could lead to your details being recorded on a government database under a crackdown on money laundering and terrorism."

Are George W. Bush lovers certifiable? - "Lohse says his study is no joke. The thesis draws on a survey of 69 psychiatric outpatients in three Connecticut locations during the 2004 presidential election. Lohse’s study, backed by SCSU Psychology professor Jaak Rakfeldt and statistician Misty Ginacola, found a correlation between the severity of a person’s psychosis and their preferences for president: The more psychotic the voter, the more likely they were to vote for Bush. But before you go thinking all your conservative friends are psychotic, listen to Lohse’s explanation. “Our study shows that psychotic patients prefer an authoritative leader,” Lohse says. “If your world is very mixed up, there’s something very comforting about someone telling you, ‘This is how it’s going to be.’”"

Turks: Atheism Is the 'Root of Terrorism' - "A lavishly illustrated "Atlas of Creation" is mysteriously turning up at schools and libraries in Turkey, proclaiming that Charles Darwin's theory of evolution is the real root of terrorism. Arriving unsolicited by post, the large-format tome offers 768 glossy pages of photographs and easy-to-read text to prove that God created the world with all its species. ... Creationism is so widely accepted here that Turkey placed last in a recent survey of public acceptance of evolution in 34 countries - just behind the United States."

Atheists Agonistes - "John Locke, who was almost everyone’s favorite political philosopher at the time of the founding of our nation, was a very tolerant man. In his 1689 “Letter Concerning Toleration,” he advocated a policy of live and let live for believers in many faiths, even heretics. But he drew the line at atheists. He wrote: “Lastly, those are not at all to be tolerated who deny the being of God. Promises, covenants and oaths, which are the bonds of human societies, can have no hold upon an atheist. The taking away of God, though but even in thought, dissolves all.” Instead of waging intellectual battles over the existence of god(s), those of us who live in secular society might profit by being slower to judge others and by trying very hard to understand how it is possible for John Locke and our many atheist friends to continue to gaze at each other in such a state of mutual misunderstanding."

Gaia scientist Lovelock predicts planetary wipeout - ""We are not all doomed. An awful lot of people will die, but I don't see the species dying out," he told a news conference. "A hot earth couldn't support much over 500 million.""

Anger at YouTube videos that show how to break into houses - "Hundreds of videos are available on the site showing users how to pick locks, which experts fear will result in a spate of burglaries."

Study: 1 in 5 parents say kids online too much - "One in five American parents believe their kids are spending too much time on the Internet, though most say the online activities have not affected grades either way, a new survey indicates. In a study to be released Wednesday by the University of Southern California, 21 percent of adult Internet users with children believe the kids are online too long, compared with 11 percent in 2000. Still, that is less than the 49 percent who complain their kids watch too much TV."

Judge: Make Bills Recognizable to Blind - "The government discriminates against blind people by printing money that all looks and feels the same, a federal judge said Tuesday in a ruling that could change the face of American currency."

FDA Approves Fluoride in Bottled Water; Fluoridated Water Reduce the Risk of Tooth Decay - "FDA announced last week it will allow fluoridation of bottled water to assist in the prevention of dental caries (cavities), prompting praise from the American Dental Association and concerns from anti-fluoride groups."

RIAA Legal Ruling Could Shut Down The Internet - "A landmark legal case on behalf of the Recording Industry Association of America and other global trade organizations seeks to criminalize all Internet file sharing of any kind as copyright infringement, effectively shutting down the world wide web - and their argument is supported by the U.S. government."

Chess players to face anti-doping measures - "Chess's world governing body will introduce dope testing at the Asian Games this week, although the sport's top official in Doha said he had no idea how drugs could enhance chess performance."

New Advice: Don't Sit Up Straight - "The longstanding advice to "sit up straight" has been turned on its head by a new study that suggests leaning back is a much better posture."

Study Finds that a Single Impact Killed the Dinosaurs - "A new study provides compelling evidence that "one and only one impact" caused the mass extinction, according to a University of Missouri-Columbia researcher."

This fish was king when it came to the crunch - "Even Jaws would have turned tail if he'd met this prehistoric snapper, which today is revealed to have the biggest and meanest bite of any known living or fossil fish. "Dunkleosteus terrelli, which grew up to 33 feet long and weighed four tons, lived 400 million years ago in the Devonian era when armoured selachian sharks", ancient crustaceans and molluscs swam about." -- Check out the pic. It's pretty cool.

Hollywood Eats Sci-Fi's Brains - "Hollywood has all but stopped producing challenging sci-fi films like The Fountain. Instead, Tinseltown funnels more and more resources into mega-budget, formula-driven and generally mediocre superhero and fantasy films."

Quote of the Day
"Privacy is the right to be alone - the most comprehensive of rights, and the right most valued by civilized man."
~ Louis D. Brandeis

November 28, 2006

News -- November 28, 2006

Congress to Ponder Conscription? - "Given the choice, many in Congress would rather draft more young bodies than rethink our role as world policeman and bring some of our troops home. Military needs aside, some politicians simply love the thought of mandatory service to the federal government. The political Right favors sending young people to fight in aggressive wars like Iraq. The political Left longs to send young people into harm's way to save the world in places like Darfur. But both sides share the same belief that citizens should serve the needs of the state – a belief our Founders clearly rejected in the Declaration of Independence. ... Conscription is wrongly associated with patriotism, when really it represents collectivism and involuntary servitude."

Why a national service program is a bad idea - "How well did the draft work to stop the pointless 14-year Vietnam War? Why is Rangel proposing to respond to the Iraq debacle -- proven to be initiated under false pretenses -- by sending more troops to “finish the mission?” How has Rangel managed to convince himself that the American people can keep Bush honest, when he sits in a Congress that is itself helpless before an increasingly powerful and self-authorizing presidency? When politicians are promoting legislation for stupid reasons, it’s usually because the real reason can’t be stated openly. So let’s think. What’s the current number one taboo subject? That’s easy: It’s the true state of the U.S. economy. No public figure wants to talk honestly about the economic debacle created by high (though hidden) inflation, the collapsing real estate market, and personal and public indebtedness. ... Enter the Democrats with the other half of the traditional economic fix: direct government support. A National Service Program is the 21st century’s answer to the WPA. Laid off? Can’t get a job? Foreclosed on your mortgage? Drowning in debt? Commit two years of your life to Uncle Sam’s labor pool, and you’ll be assured of free meals, a place to sleep, and perhaps even a reduced rate on your interest payments! Sounds good until you consider the fact that Uncle Sam is now a puppet. His actions are controlled by people who are motivated by power and profit, not human needs and values. The last thing we should want to do is to hand our military/corporate/government/banking power elites a blank check for the only resource they don’t already own, tax, or control -- our bodies. ... Involuntary servitude is not a patriotic duty. Enslaving ourselves to policies that have repeatedly been proven untrustworthy, incompetent, rash and motivated by greed is not wise, and will not solve our economic problems. Instead, Americans must take control of their own economic well-being by working to build sustainable local and regional economies."

Bush Says U.S. Won't Pull Out of Iraq - ""There's one thing I'm not going to do, I'm not going to pull our troops off the battlefield before the mission is complete," he said in a speech setting the stage for high-stakes meetings with the Iraqi prime minister later this week. "We can accept nothing less than victory for our children and our grandchildren.""

Hagel: U.S. should pull out of 'mismanaged' Iraq - "A leading Republican senator called Sunday for American troops to begin withdrawing from Iraq, declaring that a U.S. pullout is needed to head off "impending disaster" in the nearly 4-year-old war."

Bush: Iraq Violence Is al-Qaida Plot - "President Bush said Tuesday that an al-Qaida plot to stoke cycles of sectarian revenge in Iraq is to blame for escalating bloodshed, refusing to debate whether the country has fallen into civil war." -- Jesus, George. This excuse is getting old.

Gingrich raises alarm at event honoring those who stand up for freedom of speech - "Gingrich, speaking at a Manchester awards banquet, said a "different set of rules" may be needed to reduce terrorists' ability to use the Internet and free speech to recruit and get out their message." -- That's not the answer Newt. Now go away.

It Is Time For Secretary of State Condi Rice to Resign - "One wonders how former National Security Advisor and now Secretary of State Rice manages to keep her lies straight."

Congressman calls Miami a `Third World country' - "''Look at what has happened to Miami,'' the WorldNetDaily quotes Tancredo as saying in an interview. ``It has become a Third World country. You just pick it up and take it and move it someplace. You would never know you're in the United States of America. You would certainly say you're in a Third World country.''"

Pope calls for Christian-Muslim dialogue - "Pope Benedict XVI began his visit to Turkey -- his first to a Muslim country -- Tuesday with a message urging "dialogue" between Christians and Muslims as he moved to ease anger over his perceived criticism of Islam."

Supersized worship - "Megachurches hit growth spurt and spin off campuses across the region."

Trained bees can sniff bombs, scientists say - "Scientists at a U.S. weapons laboratory say they have trained bees to sniff out explosives in a project they say could have far-reaching applications for U.S. homeland security and the Iraq war."

Cutting Back on Smoking Won't Cut Death Risk - "Reporting in the journal Tobacco Control, a team from the National Health Screening Service in Oslo found that limiting the daily amount of cigarettes may be useful as a temporary measure when a smoker is trying to quit, but kicking the habit is the only real way of reducing the risk of smoking-related health consequences and early death."

AIDS to Be 3rd Leading Cause of Death - "Within the next 25 years, AIDS is set to join heart disease and stroke as the top three causes of death worldwide, according to a study published online Monday."

Deep-Sea Eruption Detected in Progress - "Scientists made their first discovery of a volcanic eruption in progress 1.5 miles below the surface of the Pacific Ocean."

Wild sex 101 - "S&M clubs, nude parties, porn, X-rated romps rule at Columbia. Famed as a hotbed of debate over academic freedom, New York's most elite school is also a playpen for sexual hijinks, sophomoric antics and the wacky indulgences of the children of the rich."

Women talk three times as much as men, says study - "And, if that wasn't enough, the simple act of talking triggers a flood of brain chemicals which give women a rush similar to that felt by heroin addicts when they get a high." -- No comment.

Quote of the Day
"One cannot wage war under present conditions without the support of public opinion, which is tremendously molded by the press and other forms of propaganda."
~ General Douglas MacArthur

November 27, 2006

News -- November 27, 2006

Iraq War Now Longer for America Than WW II - And Continuing to Get Worse - "America's only longer wars have been the Vietnam War (eight years, five months), the Revolutionary War (six years, nine months), and the Civil War (four years)."

They lied their way into Iraq. Now they are trying to lie their way out - "Those in the west who fear that withdrawal will lead to civil war are too late - it is already here. Those who fear that pulling out will make matters worse have to ask themselves: how much worse can it get? Since yesterday American troops have been in Iraq longer than they were in the second world war. When the people you have "liberated" by force are no longer keen on the "freedom" you have in store for them, it is time to go."

The Democrats and the Slaughterhouse - "The way you end a slaughter is by no longer feeding it. Every general, either American or British, with the guts to speak honestly over the past couple of years has said the same thing: the foreign occupation of Iraq by American and British troops is feeding the violence. Iraq is not on the "edge of civil war". It is in the midst of it. There is no Iraqi government."

Boogeymongering - "It seems clearer every day that the original purpose of the Iraqi invasion was not the elimination of nonexistent weapons of mass destruction or the installation of democracy – which has been a failure – but simply an excuse to squat militarily on the second-largest oil reserves in the world. There is no military solution to the war in Iraq, so how long we keep American troops there boils down to how many more American lives you want to sacrifice for nothing useful or beneficial."

Beware the lure of 'phased withdrawal' - "Nixon tried it in Vietnam, once most agreed the war was lost, and it cost 20,000 U.S. lives."

The Perils of Escalation in Iraq: A Grim History Lesson - "The gruesome lesson from the Korean War and Vietnam show that nothing will be accomplished by sending more troops to Iraq, other than adding to the 2,876 soldiers killed and leaving more dead civilians."

Rumsfeld okayed abuses says former U.S. general - "Karpinski, who ran the prison until early 2004, said she saw a memorandum signed by Rumsfeld detailing the use of harsh interrogation methods."

Democrats Blame Iraqis for U.S. Induced Misery - "All of this should be nothing new. Democrats have repeatedly expressed their approval of decimating Iraq and reducing it to a depleted uranium wasteland where, one day, the living will envy the dead."

Dems Rebut Carter on Israeli 'Apartheid' - "Instead, Democrats are shoring up their pro-Israel bona fides. They are strikingly anxious because of a courageous new book by President Jimmy Carter that hit American bookstores in mid-November, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid. It is an extraordinarily bold--and apt--title."

President Bush's Bad Reputation - "Around The World, People See The President As An Extension Of America's Arrogance. ... From Britain to China, Bush is the "go-it-alone cowboy" to much of the world, leading the United States in the direction he wants, regardless of what anyone else thinks."

W library in record book - "He may be a certified lame duck now, but President Bush and his truest believers are about to launch their final campaign - an eye-popping, half-billion-dollar drive for the Bush presidential library. Eager to begin refurbishing his tattered legacy, the President hopes to raise $500 million to build his library and a think tank at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Bush lived in Dallas until he was elected governor of Texas in 1995."

AP Analysis: Firms Crimping Oil Supplies - "Why would Shell Oil Co. simply close its Bakersfield refinery? Why scrap a profit maker? The rumor seemed to make no sense. Yet it was true. The company says it could make more money on other projects. It denies it intended to squeeze the market, as its critics would claim, to drive up gasoline profits at its other refineries in the region. Whatever the truth in Bakersfield, an Associated Press analysis suggests that big oil companies have been crimping supplies in subtler ways across the country for years. And tighter supplies tend to drive up prices."

California Legislature Votes to Kill the Health Insurance Industry.... - "There is a war on in the United States over health care. On one side is the "status quo" represented by the medical monopoly, the pharmaceutical industry, the health insurance carriers, and an entrenched bureauracracy wholly beholden to, and run by, the people they are supposed to regulate. The US system, according to the World Health Organization, is rated 72nd in quality, but number one in cost, worldwide. The "Death by Medicine" study shows that the system itself is the number one killer of Americans. The number two and three killers of Americans are heart disease and cancer, diseases which those of us outside of the "status quo" know are curable, and preventable - but those cures and preventive treatments are being suppressed by agents of the "status quo." On the other side is a beleaguered America simply trying to find ways to survive." -- 72nd? Ouch.

Word on the street ... they’re listening - "The microphones can detect conversations 100 yards away and record aggressive exchanges before they become violent."

GPS Surveillance Creeps into Daily Life - "For $5.99 per month, you can turn a cell phone into a surveillance device and track when your target leaves home, where he or she travels and at what speed. You can even detect how much battery power is left on the phone. Marketed as "virtual eyes" on your kids or employees, the service also allows you to construct a virtual "fence" so that you can receive electronic alerts if the phone’s carrier crosses into forbidden areas."

How Gene Patents Are Putting Your Health at Risk - "A fifth of your genes belong to someone else. That’s because the U.S. Patent Office has given various labs, companies and universities the rights to 20% of the genes found in everyone’s DNA— with some disturbing results. Many U.S. labs won’t perform certain genetic tests because of patent restrictions or fees. One company that holds a license for a gene connected with Alzheimer’s has refused to let other labs work on its gene. The company that “owns” a genetic mutation for breast cancer charges up to $3,000 for a breast-cancer gene test." -- This is bad.

From Pastor to Bastard - "I don't need to find God in a glass, mahogany, teak, gold, silver or platinum Cathedral, Church or Worship Center. I once attended a place where the building was dedicated as the "House for God." It cost millions and most of the people who paid for it, never set foot in it...a TV ministry. But then the place was sold and God was evicted. Good thing the Book says he wasn't living there anyhow. Any real God lives within the human anyhow, a place most humans would never think to look. No literalist church wants you to discover you don't need the church after all to be a content and grounded human being. They certainly don't want you to think you were born right the FIRST time."

Peace on earth? Not in our subdivision! - "A homeowners' association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan." -- How much more fucked up can this country get?

Pace of Global Warming Causes Alarm - ""I feel as though we are staring crisis in the face," Futuyma said. "It's not just down the road somewhere. It is just hurtling toward us. Anyone who is 10 years old right now is going to be facing a very different and frightening world by the time that they are 50 or 60.""

Lure of Great Wealth Affects Career Choices - "The opportunity to become abundantly rich is a recent phenomenon not only in medicine, but in a growing number of other professions and occupations. In each case, the great majority still earn fairly uniform six-figure incomes, usually less than $400,000 a year, government data show. But starting in the 1990s, a significant number began to earn much more, creating a two-tier income stratum within such occupations."

Study: Humpback whales have 'human' brain cells - "Humpback whales have a type of brain cell seen only in humans, the great apes, and other cetaceans such as dolphins, U.S. researchers reported on Monday. This might mean such whales are more intelligent than they have been given credit for, and suggests the basis for complex brains either evolved more than once, or has gone unused by most species of animals, the researchers said." -- In reality, humans are not all that special.

UK scientists invent male 'pill' that can be taken hours before sex - "The tablet would prevent a man from being able to impregnate a woman, but within a few hours his fertility would return to normal."

The Big O: Fireworks? Or is your sex life less than explosive? - "The truth is, only one in four women regularly has an orgasm during intercourse, and a third rarely or never do. This news may be reassuring -- or depressing. But what's healthy when it comes to orgasms, anyway? To find out, Health went in search of a sexual reality check and uncovered everything (well, almost everything) you'll ever want to know about the Big O."

10 Is the New 15 As Kids Grow Up Faster - "In some ways, it's simply part of a kid's natural journey toward independence. But child development experts say that physical and behavioral changes that would have been typical of teenagers decades ago are now common among ``tweens'' - kids ages 8 to 12."

Xerox seeks self-erasing paper - "The printed information on the document "disappears" within 16 hours. The documents can be reused more quickly by simply placing them in the copier paper tray. The researchers said that individual pieces of paper had been printed on up to 50 times, and the only current limit in the process appears to be paper life."

Quote of the Day
"It's a town full of losers and I'm pulling out of here to win."
~ Bruce Springsteen

November 24, 2006

News -- November 24, 2006

"As Long As You're Not Doing Anything Wrong, You Have Nothing To Worry About" - "Since when were long established civil liberties and the citizen's right to privacy replaced with this "new freedom", this "freedom lite" shall we call it, this guilty until proven innocent mantra? The problem lies with what is considered to be "something to hide". I don't want to be filmed 24 hours a day, everywhere I go, does that mean I've got something to hide? I don't much like the idea of being fingerprinted if i want to go into a bar, does that mean I have got something to hide? Yes, if I am an enemy of the gestapo in the 1930s, but no if I am a free citizen in 21st century Britain or America."

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

'Big Brother' cameras listen for fights - "In U.K. public places, smarter closed-circuit TV cameras have been given the ability to listen for disturbances and also keep an eye on citizens. The system has already been put into use in the Netherlands to listen for people speaking in aggressive tones, to try to counter violent attacks in Dutch streets, prisons and railways."

Chertoff’s “Chilling Vision” - "Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff, who runs the giant agency that keeps track of threats to the United States, has shared what he calls his “chilling vision” of the future—a time when U.S. government actions might be constrained by international law."

Bush's Mysterious 'New Programs' - "But recent developments suggest that the Bush administration may already be contemplating what to do with Americans who are deemed insufficiently loyal or who disseminate information that may be considered helpful to the enemy." -- Just what is being planned?

Iraq war was good for Israel: Olmert - "Thank God for the power and the determination and leadership manifested by President Bush."

The 'Real' McCain - "If Ms. Huffington is baffled as to why McCain and Feingold are giving radically different assessments of what is going on in Iraq, then one has to wonder if it's her, and not McCain, who has gone off the rails. What world is she living in? Feingold is the only Democrat of any national stature calling for the U.S. to get out of Iraq. McCain, on the other hand, is – and always has been – one of the biggest warmongers in the U.S. Senate, and no more fervent supporter of the war exists outside the offices of the Weekly Standard. Why do you think Bill Kristol, the little Lenin of the neocons, supported his candidacy during the 2000 GOP primary?"

Two U.S. men charged with broadcasting Hezbollah TV - "U.S. authorities brought terrorism charges against two men for providing satellite broadcasts of Hezbollah television channel al-Manar to U.S. customers, according to an indictment unsealed on Monday."

LBJ Night Before JFK Assassination: "Those SOB's Will Never Embarrass Me Again" - "The night before the Kennedy assassination, Lyndon Baines Johnson met with Dallas tycoons, FBI moguls and organized crime kingpins - emerging from the conference to tell his mistress Madeleine Duncan Brown that "those SOB's" would never embarrass him again. It's a jaw-dropping deposition and it's the biggest JFK smoking gun there is - despite the fact that it has received little media attention."

CIA role claim in Kennedy killing - "New video and photographic evidence that puts three senior CIA operatives at the scene of Robert Kennedy's assassination has been brought to light. ... It reveals that the operatives and four unidentified associates were at the Ambassador Hotel, Los Angeles in the moments before and after the shooting on 5 June, 1968. The CIA had no domestic jurisdiction and some of the officers were based in South-East Asia at the time, with no reason to be in Los Angeles."

No Thanks to Thanksgiving - "One indication of moral progress in the United States would be the replacement of Thanksgiving Day and its self-indulgent family feasting with a National Day of Atonement accompanied by a self-reflective collective fasting. ... But in the United States, this reluctance to acknowledge our original sin -- the genocide of indigenous people -- is of special importance today. It's now routine -- even among conservative commentators -- to describe the United States as an empire, so long as everyone understands we are an inherently benevolent one. Because all our history contradicts that claim, history must be twisted and tortured to serve the purposes of the powerful."

Teaching Thanksgiving from a different perspective - "Morgan is among elementary school teachers who have ditched the traditional Thanksgiving lesson, in which children dress up like Indians and Pilgrims and act out a romanticized version of their first meetings. He has replaced it with a more realistic look at the complex relationship between Indians and white settlers. Morgan said he still wants his pupils at Cleveland Elementary School in San Francisco to celebrate Thanksgiving. But "what I am trying to portray is a different point of view." Others see Morgan and teachers like him as too extreme. "I think that is very sad," said Janice Shaw Crouse, a former college dean and public high school teacher and now a spokeswoman for Concerned Women for America, a conservative organization. "He is teaching his students to hate their country. That is a very distorted view of history, a distorted view of Thanksgiving.""

Atheism, not religion, is the real force behind the mass murders of history - "Whatever the motives for atheist bloodthirstiness, the indisputable fact is that all the religions of the world put together have in 2,000 years not managed to kill as many people as have been killed in the name of atheism in the past few decades."

The religious divide - "BEHIND THE political divide in America, there is also a religious divide. The split is not just between people who believe and people who do not; it is between those who see religious faith as society's foundation and those who see it as society's bane. ... A religion, like any other set of beliefs, can be used for good or bad. In America, some people used the Bible to justify slavery, but Christians were also in the forefront of the battle to abolish it. Any passionately held belief, whether or not it includes God, can make some people intolerant, closed-minded, unwilling to look at facts that contradict their dogma, and hateful toward those who disagree."

First, Re-Open the Libraries - "It never got down to actual book-burning, but the Republican choke-hold on government would clearly have taken us there. In August, under the guise of fiscal responsibility, the Bush Environmental Protection Agency began closing most of its research libraries, both to the public and to its own staff. ... Closing the EPA libraries is the perfect symbol to characterize the methods of the Bush administration. Since 2000, the Republicans have cemented their reputation as ushers of a new dark age. They have sought to shroud the light of science by closing libraries and by suppressing scientific reports. They have gagged their own scientists and persecuted whistleblowers. They have cloaked government in secrecy, a prime example being Dick Cheney's secret meetings with oil companies to draft an industry-friendly national energy policy. But that era is now winding down."

How Multinational Corporations Avoid Paying Their Taxes - "Drug companies and other multinational companies based in the U.S. systematically avoid paying tax in the U.S. on their profits. The companies elect to realize profits in low-tax countries and because of this the rest of us have to pay billions of unnecessary taxes to make up for the shortfall, writes Peter Rost, an ex-pharmaceutical executive."

Genetic breakthrough that reveals the differences between humans - "The findings mean that instead of humanity being 99.9 per cent identical, as previously believed, we are at least 10 times more different between one another than once thought - which could explain why some people are prone to serious diseases."

Lifelike robots: Cool or creepy? - "Their heads are so lifelike, their skin so textured and realistic, that Candy Sidner, a competing roboticist, called his Albert Einstein robot "spookily cool ... a giant step forward." ... "If you make it perfectly realistic, you trigger this body-snatcher fear in some people," he said. "Making realistic robots is going to polarize the market, if you will. You will have some people who love it and some people who will really be disturbed.""

Hubble telescope's top ten greatest space photographs - "Hubble's Top Ten are shown here, and they illustrate that our universe is not only deeply strange, but also almost impossibly beautiful." -- Very nice pics.

Quote of the Day
"Reading is too intimate. It will put you too close to the feelings and the ideas of others. It will disturb and confuse you."
~ Mary Lou Borne, Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

November 22, 2006

News -- November 22, 2006

Trapped in Lies and Delusions - "Hanging over the Iraq debacle, however, is that one overriding moral issue that unfortunately all too many Americans have yet to confront: neither the Iraqi people nor their government ever attacked the United States or even threatened to do so. That means that in this conflict, which has killed more than 600,000 Iraqis, the United States is the aggressor nation and Iraq is the defending nation. Why is that issue so important? Because it involves morality, not pragmatics. Do U.S. troops have the moral right to be killing people, when they are part of a military force that has aggressed against another country? Do they have the moral right to kill people who have done nothing worse than defend their nation from attack or attempt to oust an occupier from their midst? Does simply calling an action “war” excuse an aggressor nation from the moral consequences of killing people in that war? In other words, does the United States have the moral right to violate the principles against aggressive war, for which it prosecuted Germany at Nuremberg and condemned the Soviet Union in Afghanistan?"

Pentagon cites alternative to Baker report - "The Pentagon is drafting its own new options for winning in Iraq, in part, to give President Bush counterproposals to fall back on in case the Iraq Study Group comes up with ideas he does not like, defense officials say."

U.N.: October bloodiest month yet for Iraqi civilians - "The United Nations said Wednesday that 3,709 Iraqi civilians were killed in October, the highest monthly toll since the March 2003 U.S. invasion and another sign of the severity of Iraq's sectarian bloodbath." -- How has life been improved for the Iraqi people?

U.S. Considers Raising Troop Levels in Iraq - "The idea, dubbed the “surge option” by some officials, would involve increasing American forces by 20,000 troops or more for several months in the hope of improving security, especially in Baghdad. That would mark a sharp rise over the current baseline of 144,000 troops."

The Draft: No Solution to Social Inequality - "Progressives are drawn to Charlie Rangel's call for a draft, but a draft only inducts people. Class determines what job they will be assigned once they are in the military and, often, how happy they will be."

Missing presumed tortured - "More than 7,000 prisoners have been captured in America's war on terror. Just 700 ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Between extraordinary rendition to foreign jails and disappearance into the CIA's "black sites", what happened to the rest?"

'War on terror' could last 30 years or more - "The fight against terrorism could last 30 years or more, according to a report published by a British think tank that specialises in international security." -- As long as one group of people oppresses another group of people, then there will be terrorism.

Bush's Only Real Victory - "George Orwell warned us, but what American would have expected that in the opening years of the 21st century the United States would become a country in which lies and deception by the president and vice president were the basis for a foreign policy of war and aggression, and in which indefinite detention without charges, torture, and spying on citizens without warrants have displaced the Bill of Rights and the U.S. Constitution? If anyone had predicted that the election of George W. Bush to the presidency would result in an American police state and illegal wars of aggression, he would have been dismissed as a lunatic. ... Once we cut down civil liberty so that police may better pursue criminals and terrorists, where do we stand when government turns on us? This is the famous question asked by Sir Thomas More in the play A Man for All Seasons. The answer is that we stand naked, unprotected by law. It is an act of the utmost ignorance and stupidity to assume that only criminals and terrorists will stand unprotected."

What about Cheney? - "In the days since President George W. Bush fired Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, one figure is eerily missing from public view and public accounts of what occurred: Vice President Dick Cheney. As usual, America's de facto prime minister is either literally or metaphorically in an undisclosed location."

10 lessons from the toilet presidency of George W. Bush - "3. Once upon a time, we had political representatives who spoke for our values and truths, but there's more spine in the back of a book than in the DLC (Democratic Leadership Council). In short, WE ARE ON OUR OWN. Practically speaking, this is the most important lesson of all, because so long as we assume we have political advocates, we won't take responsibility for saving our children and country."

UK Admits Israel Has Nuclear Weapons - "Former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has become the first member of the British cabinet to go on public record and formally admit that the Zionist regime has an arsenal of nuclear weapons."

The Gewalt agenda - "On his way home from Los Angeles, the prime minister "calmed" the reporters - and perhaps even himself - by saying there is no danger of U.S. President George W. Bush accepting the expected recommendations of the Baker-Hamilton panel, and attempting to move Syria out of the axis of evil and into a coalition to extricate America from Iraq. The prime minister hopes the Jewish lobby can rally a Democratic majority in the new Congress to counter any diversion from the status quo on the Palestinians."

Military Data Reveal Tips on Antiwar Activities - "An antiterrorist database used by the Defense Department in an effort to prevent attacks against military installations included intelligence tips about antiwar planning meetings held at churches, libraries, college campuses and other locations, newly disclosed documents show."

Report Finds DHS Lax on Contracting Procedures - "Report finds officials neglected records as they spent billions after Sept. 11 attacks, often on security systems that did not work as planned."

Tancredo: McCain, Giuliani would be disastrous for GOP - ""Both of those individuals, of course, would be disastrous for us for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is their position on immigration, which is to open the border," Tancredo told WND in an exclusive interview. "I will do everything I can – whether I'm a candidate for president or just as a member of Congress – I will do everything I can to make sure those two names are not the only options that people have.""

U.S. to Require Passports for Nearly All - "Nearly all air travelers entering the U.S. will be required to show passports beginning Jan. 23, including returning Americans and people from Canada and other nations in the Western Hemisphere. The date was disclosed Tuesday by Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff in an interview with The Associated Press. The Homeland Security Department plans to announce the change on Wednesday."

Stubbornly pursuing a course that is destroying the planet - "Because of this fundamental shift, almost everything is different now than it was 50 years ago. But our institutions, our language, and our mental tools have not changed. As a result, we are stubbornly pursuing a course that is wrecking the future.Let's review some features of our new world:"

U. S. Technology Czar Says More IT Workers Needed - ""The IT work force is not skilled enough and almost never can be skilled enough," said Robert Cresanti, undersecretary of commerce for technology, in an exclusive interview with eWEEK editors. "There are not enough engineers with the appropriate skill sets." Cresanti said U.S. colleges and universities are not enrolling enough engineering students, resulting in a dearth of information technology professionals. In addition to boosting engineering enrollment, he urged opening the gates to more foreign workers, including H-1B holders. "Without H-1B visas, we would have economic dislocation," Cresanti said."

How To: Foil Wiretaps at Home - "Think the Feds might be jacked into your home line? Well, there’s no need to skulk down to the corner pay phone to conduct your business. All you need is a C note. University of Pennsylvania computer science professor Matt Blaze ­dissected the wiretap equipment commonly used by law enforcement and found a few, um, bugs. Spies, it turns out, don’t like to record dead air, so they turn the system off by playing a special C-pitched tone when the target phone is hung up. As a result, anyone with an MP3 player and a recorded C can prevent eavesdroppers from snooping on their private chatter. It doesn’t work with all listening devices, though, so there’s no guarantee the NSA won’t come calling."

37 Percent of U.S. Births Out of Wedlock - "Out-of-wedlock births in the United States have climbed to an all-time high, accounting for nearly four in 10 babies born last year, government health officials said Tuesday. While out-of-wedlock births have long been associated with teen mothers, the teen birth rate actually dropped last year to the lowest level on record. Instead, births among unwed mothers rose most dramatically among women in their 20s. The overall rise reflects the burgeoning number of people who are putting off marriage or living together without getting married."

No Grades, No Tests At 'Free School' - ""Free schools," which had their heyday decades ago, operate on the belief that children are naturally curious and learn best when they want to, not when forced to. Today, the approach is getting another look from some parents and students tired of standardized testing, excessive homework, and overly rigid curriculums in regular schools."

Higher grades challenge college application process - "Some call the phenomenon that Zalasky's fighting "grade inflation" -- implying the boost is undeserved. Others say students are truly earning their better marks. Regardless, it's a trend that's been building for years and may only be accelerating: Many students are getting very good grades. So many, in fact, it is getting harder and harder for colleges to use grades as a measuring stick for applicants. Extra credit for AP courses, parental lobbying and genuine hard work by the most competitive students have combined to shatter any semblance of a Bell curve, one in which 'A's are reserved only for the very best. For example, of the 47,317 applications the University of California, Los Angeles, received for this fall's freshman class, nearly 21,000 had GPAs of 4.0 or above."

Quote of the Day
"On September 11th, I sat in numb horror as the images of carnage unfolded before me on the television. On that day, I was the victim of terrorism, along with every other American. Today, I sit in numbed horror as more carnage unfolds. Hundreds of massive missiles have rained down on a city far away, killing indiscriminately among the young, the infirm, the old and the innocent. My government did this. My nation did this. My leaders did this. Today, I am the terrorist. So are you."
~ William River Pitt

November 21, 2006

News -- November 21, 2006

Iran probably has germ weapons, possibly N.Korea-US - "Iran probably has germ warfare weapons, North Korea may have developed them and Syria could have carried out research into such banned weaponry, the United States told an arms control conference on Monday." -- Probably? Not real convincing there.

Iraq, Iran and Syria set for 3-way talks - "Iraqi President Jalal Talabani yesterday agreed to travel to Tehran this weekend for an unprecedented three-way summit with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Syrian leader Bashar Assad to deal with Iraq's raging insurgency."

Obama calls for troop withdrawal in 6 months - "Obama, who is considering a run for president in 2008, also advocated negotiating Iraq's future with neighboring Iran and Syria, an option President George Bush has rejected as he blames both countries for meddling in the U.S. effort to install a democratic government."

Usurpation of Power: The 2007 Defense Authorization Act and the "Reform" of the Insurrection Act of 1807 - "Messages are circulating on the Internet that raise an alarm over a provision of the FY2007 Defense Department Authorization Act (PL 109-364) that expands presidential discretion to declare martial law and to federalize the National Guard in case of insurrection. The first to raise the subject was Senator Patrick Leahy (VT)."

CACI: Torture in Iraq, Intimidation at Home - "Dogged by serious allegations of human rights abuses in Iraq, a leading profiteer from the Iraq war engages in intimidation campaigns against journalists in America who seek to expose its practices."

Dear Senator McCain: When and Why Did You Sell Your Soul? - "Political insiders mention you as a possible Republican candidate for 2008. As a fellow veteran, a fellow former prisoner, and a fellow Arizonan, I always respected you. Anyone who survives years of confinement and torture has my respect. Sadly, I've come to respect you less and less, as I see you sell your soul for less and less in return."

US rides weapons wave - "War, instability and high oil prices have created a perfect storm of profit for the world's weapons manufacturers. This year, military analysts predict the biggest arms bonanza since 1993, which is saying something because in the aftermath of the first Gulf War the global industry reaped the benefits of a US$42 billion arms race." -- Because it is always about the money.

Rangel's call for new military draft rebuffed - "Democratic Rep. Charles B. Rangel's latest call to quickly restart the military draft was shot down yesterday by incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other party members, who said it will not be part of the Democrats' legislative agenda."

Selective Service: Ready for a draft - "Military experts say it's highly doubtful a military draft would ever again be green-lighted because the volunteer system works. They also say any major attack against the United States would certainly result in a surge of additional volunteers that would make a draft unnecessary." -- Or a false-flag operation.

College students sound off on a military draft - "In reality, he says most students see little chance of a draft measure actually passing."

6 Imams Removed From Twin Cities Flight - "A passenger initially raised concerns about the group through a note passed to a flight attendant, according to Andrea Rader, a spokeswoman for US Airways. ... Three of them stood and said their normal evening prayers together on the plane, as 1.7 billion Muslims around the world do every day, Shahin said. He attributed any concerns by passengers or crew to ignorance about Islam."

Swedish human rights worker viciously attacked by Jewish extremists in Hebron - "They started chanting in Hebrew “We killed Jesus, we’ll kill you too!” — a refrain the settlers had been repeating to internationals in Tel Rumeida all day."

Did 22 SDI Researchers really ALL Commit Suicide? - "Like hundreds of other British scientists, he was working on a pilot program for America's Strategic Defense Initiative--better known as Star Wars. And like at least 21 of his colleagues, he died a bizarre, violent death."

Big Brother To Decide If You Drive - "Just when you thought the Orwellian Big Brother society couldn't possibly accelerate further, it gets even worse. A move is afoot to force 245 million drivers in America to have alcohol breathalyzers fitted in their vehicles, ignition interlocks that prevent the vehicle from being started by an inebriant. "The threat of arrest and punishment, for decades the primary tactic against drunken drivers, is no longer working in the struggle to reduce the death toll, officials say, and they are proposing turning to technology — alcohol detection devices in every vehicle — to address the problem," reports the New York Times."

'Jericho,' 'Heroes' spark concern with civil defense - "Americans are not only eating up the fall's only two hit network TV shows both dealing with nuclear attacks, they are also showing more interest in preparing for the disasters U.S. officials have characterized as inevitable in the future."

California court: websites not liable for libel in third-party postings - "Unless the U.S. Congress revises the existing law, people who claim they were defamed in an Internet posting can only seek damages from the original source of the statement, the court ruled."

CBS appeals FCC indecency rules - "CBS told a federal court Monday that the government's new "zero tolerance" policy for indecent broadcasts is threatening to choke off free speech." -- "Fuck" is just a word. It's the way this country acts that makes it seem bigger than it really is.

US is unfriendly to visitors: survey - "The United States is the world's most unfriendly country for international travellers, a survey suggests. The global survey showed the US was ranked "the worst" because of rude immigration officials and long delays in processing visas." -- The US thinks it is more important than it really is. The egocentrism is nauseating.

Students Dropping Out of High School Reaches Epidemic Levels - "In several of the largest school systems across the country — from Baltimore to Cleveland to Atlanta and Oakland, Calif. — half of the students are dropping out. And the problem is not only in the big cities. ... It is estimated that about 2,500 students drop out of U.S. high schools every day. ... And why is a high school diploma so important? Consider this:"

Nuclear fusion deal 'victory for humanity' - "Representatives of more than 30 countries signed a deal on Tuesday to build the world's most advanced nuclear fusion reactor, aimed at developing a cheap and abundant energy source as the end of fossil fuels looms."

Polygamists Fight to Be Seen As Part of Mainstream Society - "Valerie and others among the estimated 40,000 men, women and children in polygamous communities are part of a new movement to decriminalize bigamy. Consciously taking tactics from the gay-rights movement, polygamists have reframed their struggle, choosing in interviews to de-emphasize their religious beliefs and focus on their desire to live "in freedom," according to Anne Wilde, director of community relations for Principle Voices, a pro-polygamy group based in Salt Lake."

Health fears lead schools to dismantle wireless networks - "But many parents and some scientists fear that low levels of microwave radiation emitted by the transmitters could be harmful, causing loss of concentration, headaches, fatigue, memory and behavioural problems and possibly cancer in the long term. Scientific evidence is inconclusive, but some researchers think that children are vulnerable because of their thinner skulls and developing nervous systems."

Stem cells core of more cancers - "A spate of new discoveries about the basic biology of cancer is pushing researchers toward an astonishing conclusion: For decades, efforts to cure the disease may have targeted the wrong cells. ... But mounting evidence suggests that cancer's real culprits -- the roots of perhaps every tumour -- are actually a small subset of bad seeds known best to the world as stem cells. ... Abnormal stem cells have now been identified as the engines driving certain cancers of the blood, breast, brain, bone and prostate. And today, two research groups -- one in Canada and another in Italy -- report in an advance online publication of the journal Nature that they have pinpointed aberrant stem cells as the source of colon cancer, the second leading cause of cancer deaths."

Mushrooms take a trip back to the lab - "Scientists suspect the hallucinogen, whose use dates back to ancient Mexico, may have properties that could improve treatments for some psychological conditions and forms of physical pain. Long dismissed as medically useless, the banned mushrooms — a staple of the psychedelic 1960s — are taking a long, strange trip back to the lab."

Iceberg Spotted From New Zealand Shore - "An iceberg has been spotted from the New Zealand shore for the first time in 75 years, one of about 100 that have been drifting south of the country."

State policy on abusive men: They will never change - "The state switched about seven years ago to a philosophy that allows only what amounts to finger-wagging in the 26-week programs it funds. Instructors can only tell the abusers they were wrong and why. "Why would we do this work if we didn't believe there was a possibility it could help change abusive men?" asked Vera House's executive director, Randi Bregman. The philosophical divide: those who think wife-beaters can change and those who think that even the attempt to change them gives victims false hope for safety."

Danger on the toy shelves - "Issuing their 21st annual "Trouble in Toyland" report Tuesday, the Washington-based U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) warned that there are many toys out there that pose significant safety hazards to children."

In Web world, rich now envy the superrich - "Envy may be a sin in some books, but it is a powerful driving force in Silicon Valley, where technical achievements are admired but financial payoffs are the ultimate form of recognition."

Fox News eyes right-leaning satirical show - "Fox News Channel might air two episodes of a "Daily Show"-like program with a decidedly nonliberal bent on Saturday nights in late January, with the possibility that it could become a weekly show."

Did the CIA kill Bobby Kennedy? - "In 1968, Robert Kennedy seemed likely to follow his brother, John, into the White House. Then, on June 6, he was assassinated - apparently by a lone gunman. But Shane O'Sullivan says he has evidence implicating three CIA agents in the murder."

O.J. Simpson Book, TV Special Canceled - "After a firestorm of criticism, News. Corp. said Monday that it has canceled the O.J. Simpson book and TV special "If I Did It." ... In both the book and show, Simpson speaks in hypothetical terms about how he would have committed the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife Nicole and her friend Goldman."

Mike Tyson To Be A Prostitute - "Former boxing champion Mike Tyson is to become a male escort after agreeing to work at legendary Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss' new legalized brothel for women. Fleiss bought 60 acres of land in Nevada, and his work is scheduled to begin on Heidi's Stud Farm. ... She says, "I told him, 'You're going to be my big stallion.' It's every man's fear that their girlfriend will go for Mike Tyson.""

Quote of the Day
"If you've been wondering when Orwell's Thought Police predictions would actually come true, stop holding your breath. It's here right now. We now live in a world where thinking certain thoughts, writing certain things down, or saying certain things in public is a federal crime."
~ Mike Adams

November 20, 2006

News -- November 20, 2006

Rep. Rangel Will Seek to Reinstate Draft - "Americans would have to sign up for a new military draft after turning 18 if the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee has his way. Rep. Charles Rangel, D-N.Y., said Sunday he sees his idea as a way to deter politicians from launching wars and to bolster U.S. troop levels insufficient to cover potential future action in Iran, North Korea and Iraq."

Bush won't commit to Iraq troop changes - "President Bush said Monday he hasn't decided whether to send more troops to Iraq or begin bringing them home, saying he is awaiting the military's recommendations. He also shrugged off protests that greeted him in the world's most populous Muslim nation, calling it a sign of a healthy democracy."

Kissinger: Iraq Military Win Impossible - "Kissinger presented a bleak vision of Iraq, saying the U.S. government must enter into dialogue with Iraq's regional neighbors _ including Iran _ if progress is to be made in the region."

Embittered Insiders Turn Against Bush - "Forty-three months later, the cakewalk looks more like a death march, and Adelman has broken with the Bush team. He had an angry falling-out with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld this fall. He and Cheney are no longer on speaking terms. And he believes that "the president is ultimately responsible" for what Adelman now calls "the debacle that was Iraq.""

Gonzales attacks ruling against domestic spying - "Attorney General Alberto Gonzales contended Saturday that some critics of the Bush administration's warrantless surveillance program were defining freedom in a way that presents a "grave threat" to U.S. security."

CIA analysis finds no Iranian nuclear weapons drive: report - "A current senior intelligence official confirmed the existence of the CIA analysis and said the White House had been hostile to it, he wrote. Cheney and his aides had discounted the assessment, the official said. "They're not looking for a smoking gun," the official was quoted as saying, referring to specific intelligence about Iranian nuclear planning. "They're looking for the degree of comfort level they think they need to accomplish the mission."" -- "We have no need for the facts!"

Bush: I would understand if Israel chose to attack Iran - "In talks with Israeli sources several days ago, a French government official asserted that an Israeli military attack against Iran would be "a total disaster" in terms of its implications for the entire world. According to the French official, such a strike would at best delay the completion of Iran's nuclear program by two years." -- Humanity is disgusting.

Hersh: Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more? - "If the Democrats won on November 7th, the Vice-President said, that victory would not stop the Administration from pursuing a military option with Iran. The White House would put “shorteners” on any legislative restrictions, Cheney said, and thus stop Congress from getting in its way. The White House’s concern was not that the Democrats would cut off funds for the war in Iraq but that future legislation would prohibit it from financing operations targeted at overthrowing or destabilizing the Iranian government, to keep it from getting the bomb. “They’re afraid that Congress is going to vote a binding resolution to stop a hit on Iran, à la Nicaragua in the Contra war,” a former senior intelligence official told me."

White House dismisses Hersh article - "White House spokeswoman Dana Perino on Sunday derided Hersh's article in the upcoming issue of The New Yorker as "riddled with inaccuracies" and charged that "once again he is creating a story to satisfy his own radical views.""

WHAT THE AMERICANS DO NOT KNOW - "The aggression against the Palestinians is widening and the United States of America is taking an active role in it. The country of "Justice for All" and its allies are maintaining a deadly blockade against the people of Palestine. Medicine, food and water are not available and the Palestinian children, like their young brethren in Iraq, are suffering the most."

Chertoff says U.S. threatened by international law - "A top Bush administration official on Friday said the European Union, the United Nations and other international entities increasingly are using international law to challenge U.S. powers to reject treaties and protect itself from attack."

Bolton in extraordinary outburst against United Nations - "Bolton was furious over the adoption by the General Assembly of a resolution which said the assembly regretted the deaths of 19 civilians in an attack by the Israeli military in the town of Beit Hanoun last week. Despite the resolution being significantly watered down at the behest of the United States, and being passing by 156 votes to seven, Bolton launched a blistering attack on the UN, and many of its members." -- These are sad days.

Iraqi students fear death of education system - ""The future? The future is a dream. We only live in the now. There is no future," the 21-year-old student says. This university, with its sprawling green campus, once was abuzz with activity. Now it is covered in the layer of grime and dust that seems to blanket all of Baghdad. Like most of the students at Baghdad University, Maha lives in fear. But now, after the mass kidnapping at the Ministry of Higher Education this week, she lives not only in fear of the violence, but in fear of losing the one thing that will determine her future -- her education. ... When she heard that the education ministry was thinking of shutting down the university, her world -- already shattered -- crumbled. "You can't imagine what we felt, I saw our future destroyed," she says. "How do you know that a future of a country ... has been destroyed? It's when there is no justice, no security, and no education, if you reach the stage of no studies and no education. And when you lose that, that's it, the people are finished. "There is no future.""

Global Hawk to fly 1st mission over U.S. - "They've become a fixture in the skies over Iraq and Afghanistan, a new breed of unmanned aircraft operated with remote controls by "pilots" sitting in virtual cockpits many miles away. But the Air Force's Global Hawk has never flown a mission over the United States. That is set to change Monday, when the first Global Hawk is scheduled to land at Beale Air Force Base in northern California."

USA Disses UN Human Food Rights - "The government of President George W. Bush shamed the United States into international isolation after it rejected a UN resolution defending the human right to food."

E-voting glitch turns up in Texas - "County officials uncovered the hiccups on the day after the election, when they found that the number of reported votes was higher than the number of people who signed at their polling places."

Time for a Constitutional Convention - "Given that both the Republican and the Democratic parties are wholly corrupt, and they are just 2 heads of a single corporate/imperial party (with the main difference that the Democrats wear more of a velvet glove and give an occasional token nod to the "little guy" and the less-affluent), how can we save America? We need a new constitutional convention."

1040 Checkmate? - "On May 12, 2006 in Peoria, Illinois, the attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) begged the court to dismiss all charges against IRS victim Robert Lawrence in federal District Court. The motion for dismissal came on the heels of a surprise tactic by Lawrence’s defense attorney Oscar Stilley. The tactic threatened exposure of IRS’s on-going efforts to defraud the public. The move put DOJ attorneys in a state of panic that left them with only one alternative: beg for dismissal, with prejudice."

No doubt about it - Jesus Camp is ritual child abuse - "Obviously, in these times of professed sensitivity to child abuse, hitting kids is not allowed, nor is sexually exploiting them, but psychologically abusing the hell out of them in Jesus' name is sanctioned and/or ignored by both church and state."

When religion loses its credibility - "Religion's only real commodity, after all, is its moral authority. Lose that, and we lose our credibility. Lose credibility, and we might as well close up shop. It's happened to Christianity before, most famously when we dug in our heels over Galileo's challenge to the biblical view that the Earth, rather than the sun, was at the center of our solar system. You know the story. Galileo was persecuted for what turned out to be incontrovertibly true. For many, especially in the scientific community, Christianity never recovered. This time, Christianity is in danger of squandering its moral authority by continuing its pattern of discrimination against gays and lesbians in the face of mounting scientific evidence that sexual orientation has little or nothing to do with choice. To the contrary, whether sexual orientation arises as a result of the mother's hormones or the child's brain structure or DNA, it is almost certainly an accident of birth. The point is this: Without choice, there can be no moral culpability."

In the beginning: scientists get ready to hunt for God particle - "The project may prise open extra dimensions and create baby black holes; it may reveal enigmatic "dark energy" that drives the expansion of the universe. It should certainly discover what some call the "God particle", finally answering the embarrassingly simple but elusive question of why things have mass."

Europeans ‘would accept climate change curbs’ - "Research carried out this month by Harris Interactive in Germany, France, the UK, Italy and Spain found that 86 per cent of people believed humans were contributing to climate change, and 45 per cent thought it would be a threat to them and their families within their lifetimes."

Introducing the nano battery, as thick as a strand of hair - "A university here has developed and patented nano-battery technology suitable for military applications."

Calif. couple calls for orgasm for peace - "The Global Orgasm for Peace was conceived by Donna Sheehan, 76, and Paul Reffell, 55, whose immodest goal is for everyone in the world to have an orgasm Dec. 22 while focusing on world peace."

European Cities Do Away with Traffic Signs - "Are streets without traffic signs conceivable? Seven cities and regions in Europe are giving it a try -- with good results."

'You're an Idiot,' And Other Festive Holiday Greetings - "The Web site allows motorists to post the license plate numbers of offending drivers on the Internet and tell the world what a moron that guy was on the Capital Beltway. The Web site was created by a Fairfax man who said he wants to shame people into driving better. Police disapprove, saying the best tactic is to call authorities. On the Web site, license plate numbers are accompanied by pointed, sometimes-profane commentaries on the motoring skills of their owners. They are listed under headings such as "Maniac" and "Jerk on the Phone.""

Quote of the Day
"The illegal we do immediately. The unconstitutional takes a little longer."
~ Henry Kissinger, The New York Times, October 28, 1973