January 31, 2007

January 31, 2007

'I don't know the details' - "The admiral picked by President Bush to oversee his new strategy for Iraq testified yesterday that he does not know much about the plan that the administration says will determine whether the U.S. wins the war."

Bush 'spoiling for a fight' with Iran - "US officials in Baghdad and Washington are expected to unveil a secret intelligence "dossier" this week detailing evidence of Iran's alleged complicity in attacks on American troops in Iraq. The move, uncomfortably echoing Downing Street's dossier debacle in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, is one more sign that the Bush administration is building a case for war." -- 'Cause we luv killing!

The neocons have learned nothing from five years of catastrophe - "Their zealous advocacy of the invasion of Iraq may have been a disaster, but now they want to do it all over again - in Iran." -- Of course, catastrophe is relative.

U.S. officials: Probe eyes Iran ties in Karbala attack - "The Pentagon is investigating whether a recent attack on a military compound in Karbala was carried out by Iranians or Iranian-trained operatives, two officials from separate U.S. government agencies said."

Here We Go Again - Pentagon leaks 'proof positive' against Iran - "Either Bush and his zionist handlers are convinced that we're braindead, or they're certain Americans don't have the cojones to stop them."

Senators warn against war with Iran - "Republican and Democratic senators warned Tuesday against a drift toward war with an emboldened Iran and suggested the Bush administration was missing a chance to engage its longtime adversary in potentially helpful talks over next-door Iraq."

Rift looms as Europe resists US call - "European governments are resisting Bush Administration demands to curtail exports to Iran and to block transactions and freeze the assets of some Iranian companies, officials on both sides say."

US money is 'squandered' in Iraq - "Millions of dollars in US rebuilding funds have been wasted in Iraq, US auditors say in a report which warns corruption in the country is rife."

Chavez a threat to democracy, US intelligence chief says - "Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez exports a form of "radical populism" throughout Latin America that poses a threat to democracy, the top US intelligence official said Tuesday. John Negroponte, during hearings on his nomination to become deputy secretary of state, warned that frustration in Latin America about the lack of prosperity under democratic governments could further fuel the populism advocated by Chavez."

Lawmakers say terror bill goes too far - "A proposed law would give authorities critical new tools to thwart the scary prospects of a terrorist attack in California, supporters said Wednesday, while critics insisted it is a giant step backward to McCarthy-style communist witch-hunt tactics."

FBI turns to broad new wiretap method - ""What they're doing is even worse than Carnivore," said Kevin Bankston, a staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation who attended the Stanford event. "What they're doing is intercepting everyone and then choosing their targets.""

Rockefeller Admitted Elite Goal Of Microchipped Population - "Hollywood director and documentary film maker Aaron Russo has gone in-depth on the astounding admissions of Nick Rockefeller, who personally told him that the elite's ultimate goal was to create a microchipped population and that the war on terror was a hoax, Rockefeller having predicted an "event" that would trigger the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan eleven months before 9/11. Rockefeller also told Russo that his family's foundation had created and bankrolled the women's liberation movement in order to destroy the family and that population reduction was a fundamental aim of the global elite."

Sowing the Seeds of Surveillance - "Technology has an almost irresistible lure. When we build systems for surveillance, experience teaches that we will inevitably use them for purposes other than those for which they were originally designed." -- But humans generally fail to learn from history.

Bush is left isolated as America turns green - "George Bush may have two years to run on his presidency, and remains personally opposed to mandatory caps on carbon gases, but the change in the Senate illustrates how the rest of America has moved on. Congress, big business, state governments such as California, and mayors have embarked on a course that could bring America into step with the international community on climate change."

Scientists charge White House pressure on warming - "U.S. scientists were pressured to tailor their writings on global warming to fit the Bush administration's skepticism, in some cases at the behest of a former oil-industry lobbyist, a congressional committee heard on Tuesday."

ExxonMobil's War on Science - "With an elaborate network of phony think tanks and slick public relations firms, ExxonMobil has become today's Big Tobacco, defrauding the public and waging a war on science."

U.S. climate researcher: We've got 10 years left - "While a leading U.S. climate researcher claims there's a decade at most left to address "global warming" before environmental disaster takes place, the federal government issued a report showing the year 1936 had a hotter summer than 2006."

London suburb to charge drivers parking fees based on emissions - "Residents of a suburban London district will soon pay annual parking fees based on how much carbon dioxide their cars emit, penalizing owners of gas guzzlers."

California may ban conventional lightbulbs by 2012 - "A California lawmaker wants to make his state the first to ban incandescent lightbulbs as part of California's groundbreaking initiatives to reduce energy use and greenhouse gases blamed for global warming."

New Fatherhood Initiative Leaves Some Dads in the Cold - "The Bush Administration's new initiative to improve fatherhood in America raises questions about how best to strengthen families: by encouraging parenting skills or by promoting marriage?"

Older people take bad news in their stride: study - "Older people are able to take bad news more in their stride than their children or grandchildren which can make them more risky gamblers as losses don't scare them, according to a U.S. study."

Is MS new "Vista" both garbage and dangerous? - "Bad enough that innocent you now has a paperweight where your PC was a minute ago. But, there's more. ... Even without deliberate abuse by malware, the homeland security implications of an external agent being empowered to turn off your IT infrastructure in response to a content leak discovered in some chipset that you coincidentallyhappen to be using is a serious concern for potential Vista users. Non-US governments are already nervous enough about using a US-supplied operating system without having this remote DoS [denial-of-service] capability built into the operating system. And like the medical-image-degradation issue, you won't find out about this until it's too late, turning Vista PCs into ticking time bombs if the revocation functionality is ever employed."

"Smokable" pain drugs promise faster action - "The Palo Alto, California-based company is developing drugs that can be "smoked," and, like nicotine in cigarettes, pass through the lungs and into the bloodstream almost instantly. Investors like the idea."

The Saga Of the Lost Space Tapes - "Only in recent years was the agency reminded of what it once had -- clean and crisp first-man-on-the-moon video images that could be especially valuable now that NASA is planning a return trip. About 36 years after the tapes went into storage, NASA was suddenly eager to have them. There was just one problem: The tapes were nowhere to be found."

Hubble trouble - "Considering this is historically a devilish week for NASA-related endeavors, I suppose today's Hubble news could be worse, but it's not great. It seems that everyone's favorite flying eye had something of an electrical short earlier this month and switched itself into safe mode. NASA scientists have gotten a look, and they've concluded that two of the three channels on the ultra-popular, historically tetchy Advanced Camera for Surveys have taken a substantial hit."

Poll: Parents Prefer A Trekkie To A Date Met Online - "Parents would rather see a daughter date a stranger met at a biker bar or a Star Trek convention than someone met over the Internet."

Quote of the Day
"Why of course the people don't want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally, the common people don't want war: neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship ... Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger."
~ Leading Nazi leader, Hermann Goering, at the Nuremberg Trials before he was sentenced to death

January 30, 2007

January 30, 2007

Edging Impeachment Back Onto the Table - "The news from former vice presidential chief of staff "Scooter" Libby's trial on charges of obstructing a federal investigation -- particularly the revelation that Vice President Dick Cheney wrote a memo that effectively confirms his intimate involvement in strategizing about how to counter the inquiry into the Bush administration's politically-motivated outing of CIA operative Valarie Plame -- should slowly but surely edge the prospect of impeachment back onto the table from which Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi removed it."

The Unraveling of Dick Cheney - "But as his astonishing interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer laid bare last week, Cheney is increasingly out of touch with reality. He seems to think that by asserting things that are simply untrue, he can make others believe they are so."

Congress weighing strength of its war powers - "The alternatives range from capping the number of troops permitted in Iraq to cutting off money for troop deployments beyond a certain date or setting an end date for the war."

Specter: Bush not sole 'decision-maker' - "A Senate Republican on Tuesday directly challenged President Bush's declaration that "I am the decision-maker" on issues of war."

US must abandon Iraqi cities or face nightmare scenario, say experts - "The US must draw up plans to deal with an all-out Iraqi civil war that would kill hundreds of thousands, create millions of refugees, and could spill over into a regional catastrophe, disrupting oil supplies and setting up a direct confrontation between Washington and Iran. This is the central recommendation of a study by the Brookings Institution here, based on the assumption that President Bush's last-ditch troop increase fails to stabilise the country - but also on the reality that Washington cannot simply walk away from the growing disaster unleashed by the 2003 invasion."

Torture works on 24, but not for real - "You don’t protect the innocent by ‘breaking’ defenceless prisoners."

Was 9/11 really that bad? - "IMAGINE THAT on 9/11, six hours after the assault on the twin towers and the Pentagon, terrorists had carried out a second wave of attacks on the United States, taking an additional 3,000 lives. Imagine that six hours after that, there had been yet another wave. Now imagine that the attacks had continued, every six hours, for another four years, until nearly 20 million Americans were dead. This is roughly what the Soviet Union suffered during World War II, and contemplating these numbers may help put in perspective what the United States has so far experienced during the war against terrorism. It also raises several questions. Has the American reaction to the attacks in fact been a massive overreaction? Is the widespread belief that 9/11 plunged us into one of the deadliest struggles of our time simply wrong? If we did overreact, why did we do so? Does history provide any insight?"

Dutch man face terror trial in U.S. - "An Iraqi-born Dutch citizen pleaded not guilty yesterday in federal court in Washington to charges of conspiring with insurgents to attack U.S. military personnel in Iraq -- the first U.S. criminal prosecution arising from terrorist activities in Iraq."

Lt. Ehren Watada - "Watada's case is critical for two main reasons. If he is convicted for his speech charges, it sends a message to other war resisters that they will be penalized for their speech more harshly than even their decision not to deploy to Iraq. In addition, this sends a chilling message to journalists who wish to cover their story – that as a journalist you may be used as an arm of the prosecution to testify against your sources."

IDF builds fake Muslim city to prepare for war - "The IDF unveiled an Urban Warfare Training Center (UTC) on Monday in a mock city that simulates an Arab town, four months after the second Lebanon war ended. The unit's commanders firmly stated that the city was planned eight years ago and that construction began a year ago. They added that the current pace of the training was two battalions each week."

Airport Security Has Gaping Hole - "While passengers, pilots and flight attendants undergo careful screening, a CBS News hidden camera found that it is easy for employees at one of the busiest U.S. airports to get into a secure area: a flash of a badge, no X-rays, no physical screening — no questions asked."

US plans to 'fight the net' revealed - "A newly declassified document gives a fascinating glimpse into the US military's plans for "information operations" - from psychological operations, to attacks on hostile computer networks. Bloggers beware."

FBI turns to broad new wiretap method - "Instead of recording only what a particular suspect is doing, agents conducting investigations appear to be assembling the activities of thousands of Internet users at a time into massive databases, according to current and former officials. That database can subsequently be queried for names, e-mail addresses or keywords."

RFID: A TINY CHIP IS A BIG THREAT TO CIVIL LIBERTIES - "What if the government could identify each and every product made on Planet Earth? What if the government could identify the specific products you own and use contain identification to tell if you had attended a political protest? If you don’t like the idea of the government collecting a huge database of phone numbers, you won’t like plans by the government and large corporations, such as Proctor and Gamble and Wal-mart, to label every item manufactured on earth with uniquely numbered Radio Frequency ID (RFID) tags."

All the World's a Tag - "The basic idea is that a slew of emerging technologies -- RFID tags, wireless networking, portable devices hooked up to satellites, wearable computing -- will make objects in the real world act like the internet currently does. They'll be labeled, tagged, searchable and traceable, laden with tiny radio stations transmitting information to us, and storing information about us."

Proposal requires sex offenders to list e-mail, IM - "Thousands of Web sites with message boards or chat rooms would be encouraged to check their lists of registered users against a federal list of sex offenders, according to forthcoming legislation in the U.S. Congress."

Democrats unveil massive spending bill - "Democrats have unveiled a massive spending bill combining the budgets of 13 Cabinet agencies with increases in aid for lower-income college students, while cutting President Bush's funding requests for foreign aid and closing military bases."

CIA Helped Bush Senior In Oil Venture - "Newly released internal CIA documents assert that former president George Herbert Walker Bush's oil company emerged from a 1950's collaboration with a covert CIA officer."

Billionaire boom - "Robert Kiyosaki's "Retire Young, Retire Rich" is now must reading for aspirant billionaires. It took John D. Rockefeller 16 years to become a billionaire. Bill Gates did it in 10. Mike Dell in five. And Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page became multibillionaires in their late 20s. The collective worth of the world's 700-odd billionaires is now bumping $3 trillion. Their numbers grow by more than 100 new big ones a year."

Wal-Mart's New Marketing Strategy Hides Dirty Practices - "Wal-Mart is making over its image to cater to a more affluent crowd. But behind its increasingly upscale image are the same lowbrow business tactics."

Apple Computers: Fun for You, Toxic for the Environment - "Jobs and the PR wizards at Apple have done a fantastic job of positioning the company as the technological haven for the hip, the progressive and the revolutionary. But when it comes to the environment, Apple is out of touch."

Caring for America's health - "Americans who fall ill are cut no slack. A society which expects everyone to pay their way, expects it of them as well. As a jolly man selling life insurance pointed out to me the other day, most personal bankruptcies in the US are the result of illness. The story of American healthcare is one of huge expenditure for little obvious benefit."

Climate change means hunger and thirst for billions: report - "The report estimates that between 1.1 billion and 3.2 billion people will be suffering from water scarcity problems by 2080 and between 200 million and 600 million more people will be going hungry."

Global warming: rise of 4.5 C if pollution doubles, says draft report - "Among other things, the document declares it "very likely" that heatwaves and pounding rain will become more frequent, snow cover is projected to contract -- and typhoons and hurricanes will become less frequent but more powerful."

US urges scientists to block out sun - "THE US wants the world's scientists to develop technology to block sunlight as a last-ditch way to halt global warming."

10 years to save the planet - "A NEW worldwide movement backed by celebrities, musicians, politicians and business leaders is aiming to reverse the effects of global warming over the next decade."

This proposed smoking ban has some fuming - "When the City Council of this San Francisco suburb voted to consider what could be the most stringent tobacco regulation in America, anti-smoking activists cheered. Banning smoking everywhere but single-family detached homes and their yards would be a big step forward, even in health-conscious California. Then the blogosphere erupted."

Smoking Is Healthier Than Fascism - "Smoking Ban Is About Government Control; Believe it or not, the state really doesn't care about your health."

Drugmaker to test fat-fighting marijuana drug - "Britain's GW Pharmaceuticals Plc said Tuesday it plans to start human trials of an experimental treatment for obesity derived from cannabis."

Scientists: Flores island "Hobbit" is new species - "The tiny woman dubbed the Hobbit who lived 18,000 years ago on a remote Indonesian island deserves to be deemed a new human species and not a deformed modern human as skeptics assert, researchers said on Monday."

Forget your brats and beer: Tailgating is banned at the Super Bowl - "There's no grilling allowed. Forget about bringing a cooler full of beer. If you don't have tickets for the game, you won't be able to get near Dolphin Stadium. A lot of local fans aren't happy about it."

Quote of the Day
"There exists a shadowy Government with its own Air Force, its own Navy, its own fundraising mechanism, and the ability to pursue its own ideas of national interest, free from all checks and balances, and free from the law itself."
~ Senator Daniel K. Inouye - Iran Contra Hearings

January 29, 2007

January 29, 2007

World War III has already begun, says Israeli spy chief - "A third World War is already underway between Islamic militancy and the West but most people do not realize it, the former head of Israel’s intelligence service Mossad said in an interview published Saturday in Portugal."

Should America return to the draft? - "The United States hasn't had a military draft since 1973, when Congress eliminated conscription as the Vietnam War drew to a close. Five years earlier, Nobel Prize-winning economist Milton Friedman, a champion of free markets, had labeled the draft "inconsistent with a free society.""

Thousands may be involuntarily called for tours - "Hundreds of thou sands of National Guard and Reserve members previously mobilized for tours in Iraq and Afghanistan are exposed anew to involuntary call-up under a policy change unveiled with President Bush's plan to "surge" forces into Baghdad."

Which brings us to Lara Logan - "One would assume that Ms. Logan, as CBS chief foreign correspondent, has a fair amount of influence as to what stories she gets to cover, and that most of her important stories, once produced and delivered, will be broadcast. But when the story comes out of the mean streets of Baghdad, and doesn’t fit the officially-sanctioned narrative of Iraqis and US soldiers working arm in arm to help protect thankful Iraqi citizens, even chief foreign correspondents sometimes need to ask for help in getting it seen. Imagine our surprise recently when–over the digital transom–we received a copy of an email from a frustrated Lara Logan. ... The segment in question–”Battle for Haifa Street”–is a piece of first-rate journalism but one that only appears on the CBS News website–and has never been broadcast. It is a gritty, realistic look at life on the very mean streets of Baghdad, and includes interviews with civilians who complain that the US military presence is only making their lives worse and the situation more deadly. “They told us they would bring democracy, they promised life would be better than it was under Saddam,” one told Logan.“But they brought us nothing but death and killing. They brought mass destruction to Baghdad.” ... See for yourself what the controversy is all about. You can watch the video here (RealPlayer required):"

Images of Today's Iran -- Take a look.

Bush warns Iran against action in Iraq - "Deeply distrustful of Iran, President Bush said Monday "we will respond firmly" if Tehran escalates its military actions in Iraq and threatens American forces or Iraqi citizens."

Global court confirms charges for first trial - "The International Criminal Court (ICC) ruled on Monday there was enough evidence against a Congolese militiaman to launch the new court's first trial."

Cutting through Israel'spropaganda war in the US - "Four short clips of thingsAmericans never see on TV."

Battle Royal - "To compare our political struggles to the conflicts between rival dynasties may be carrying it too far. But we have become, I think, a nation that is less small-r republican and more royalist than it used to be. Viscerally, this strikes me as a bad thing. But as I've thought about it, I've decided that something can be said for the increasing royalism of our politics. And whether you like it or not, you can't deny it's there. Not when the wife of the 42nd president is a leading candidate to succeed the 43rd president who in turn is the son of the 41st president. The two George Bushes are referred to in their family, we are told, as 41 and 43. If Hillary Clinton wins, will she and her husband call each other 42 and 44?"

Hillary the Favorite in Race for Jewish Donations - "New York’s junior senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton, is expected to snare the lion’s share of the Jewish community’s substantial political donations in the race for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination."

Barack and Hillary: Can Israel rely on either? - "We simply cannot afford to allow a person with incoherent, weak and inconsistent views on national security and foreign policy to become the Democrats' presidential nominee."

Torture Sours U.S.-Canadian Right-wing Lovefest - "That conservative lovefest is now over. Last week Day and U.S. Ambassador to Canada David Wilkins exchanged the most hostile tit-for-tat to date over the case of Maher Arar. In 2002, U.S. authorities detained Arar, a Canadian citizen, at JFK airport. After accusing him of having links to al Qaeda, they sent him to Syria, where he was tortured for nearly a year before being released without charge." -- You read that last sentence correctly.

US attempts to shed unfriendly image - "THE US Government and private sector are launching a massive effort to reshape America's image for foreign visitors amid concerns that tightened security measures have made the country inhospitable."

Rural America Pays the President's Price in Iraq - "According to their study, the death rate "for rural soldiers (24 per million adults aged 18 to 59) is 60% higher than the death rate for those soldiers from cities and suburbs (15 deaths per million)." Of rural areas, Vermont has the highest rate of casualties, followed by Delaware, South Dakota, and Arizona. Only 8 of our states have higher urban than rural death rates."

Childhood poverty comes at great cost to U.S. economy - "Children who grow up poor in the United States cost the economy $500 billion a year because they are less productive, earn less money, commit more crimes and have more health-related expenses, according to a new study."

Top 10 for a More Perfect Union - "Some of these bills are eminently passable, a few are related to the "100 Hours" agenda and others can be seen as long-term goals. But all would help return our nation to the path to a more perfect union (note: Bill numbers may change in the new Congress)."

X-ray cameras on lampposts plan - "The Government is considering installing X-ray cameras on lampposts to spot armed terrorists and other criminals"

Moscow Mayor Calls Gay Pride Parade Satanic - "“Last year, Moscow came under unprecedented pressure to sanction the gay parade, which can be described in no other way than as Satanic,” Luzhkov said at the 15th Christmas educational readings in the Kremlin Palace. “We did not let the parade take place then, and we are not going to allow it in the future,” said Luzhkov who has been in office since 1992."

U2 service brings rock to religion - "The Pope may have condemned rock music as "anti-religion" but the Church of England has announced it is to use the songs of a global supergroup in an effort to boost congregations.The first "U2-charist" in England, an adapted Holy Communion service that uses the Irish rock group's best-selling songs in place of hymns, is to be staged at a Lincoln church in May."

Italy's high court rules that file downloading not a crime if not for profit - "Italy's top criminal court has ruled that downloading music, movies and software over the Internet isn't a crime if profit wasn't the motivation, though analysts questioned Monday whether the ruling would have much effect on copyright laws."

College can be a crash course in debt - "Parents make the mistake of not introducing financial literacy to children at a young age and most parents are equally clueless as to what it takes to remain financially stable, she said."

Cyber-bullying replaces schoolyard bullying among US kids - "Cyberspace has replaced the schoolyard as the preferred space for bullying among many US kids, who are going online to threaten, insult and harass each other outside the watchful eye of teachers or parents."

Chlorine in the bathwater is linked to cancer - "Low levels of chlorine in tap water used for bathing can almost double the risk of bladder cancer, a study claims."

A Wheelchair That Reads Your Mind - "Patients who suffer from disease or injury that leave them unable to move have little hope of independent mobility. But that may be about to change. Researchers are developing a thought-controlled robotic wheelchair."

Coin Shortage Means a Penny Could Be Worth 5 Cents Soon - "A potential shortage of coins in the United States could mean all those pennies in your piggy bank could be worth five times their current value soon, says an economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago."

How the Moon rules your life - "For eons, folklore has blamed the Moon for everything from lunacy to bad luck. And, for the last few centuries, scientists have scoffed. Now, according to new research they're not so sure. The Moon may not be made of cheese, but it seems to influence a lot more down on Earth than we previously thought. According to new research, the Moon affects not only the tides of the oceans but also people, producing a range of symptoms from flare-ups of gout to bladder problems. It may even lie behind the causes of car crashes and affect people's hormonal balances."

Men with ‘moobs’ swell queues for breast surgery - "MEN are turning to cosmetic surgery to tackle the embarrassment of “man breasts”, fuelling a near doubling in the number of people sculpting their bodies through liposuction."

Quote of the Day
"We seem to be made to suffer. It's our lot in life."
~ C3PO, Star Wars

January 26, 2007

January 26, 2007

Bush: 'I'm the decision-maker' on Iraq - "President Bush on a collision course with Congress over Iraq, said Friday "I'm the decision-maker" about sending more troops to the war. He challenged skeptical lawmakers not to prematurely condemn his buildup." -- The problem is your decisions are not good for the Iraqi people nor for Americans.

Escalation of US Iran military planning part of six-year Administration push - "In sum, the Bush Administration seems to have concluded that Iran is guilty until proven innocent and continues to maintain that the Persian Gulf belongs to Americans – not to Persians – setting the stage for a potential military strike."

U.S. troops authorized to kill Iranians in Iraq - "The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort."

Cheney held up Iraq probe, senator says - "Vice President Dick Cheney exerted ''constant'' pressure on the Republican former chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee to stall an investigation into the Bush administration's use of flawed intelligence on Iraq, the panel's Democratic chairman charged Thursday."

Cheney's spokeswoman and Libby tell different stories - "Vice President Dick Cheney's spokeswoman testified she told I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby that a prominent war critic's wife was a CIA employee earlier than Libby has said he first learned the information from a reporter. On the third day of Libby's trial, Cathie Martin became the first member of Cheney's inner circle to contradict statements the former vice presidential aide has made."

Venezuela May Ask U.S. Envoy to Leave - "President Hugo Chavez warned Thursday that the U.S. ambassador could be asked to leave the country if he continues "meddling in Venezuela's affairs.""

Death and Taxes - "Recently a report has surfaced that nearly half a million current and former U.S. federal employees have not filed tax returns and that they collectively owe almost $3 billion. ... A reasonable extrapolation leads me to suspect that the number of individuals who no longer file must be in the millions. Whether they do so out of reluctance to pay taxes, disgust with the government, or abhorrence of the paperwork I cannot say."

Maine revolts against digital U.S. ID card - "Maine lawmakers on Thursday became the first in the nation to demand repeal of a federal law tightening identification requirements for drivers' licenses, a post-September 11 security measure that states say will cost them billions of dollars to administer."

Republican: Scripts need reviewing - "Citing the controversy surrounding the Dakota Fanning film Hounddog, the leader of the state Senate Republicans says he wants the government to review scripts before cameras start rolling in North Carolina." -- Um, no.

Outrageous Injustice - "He's 20 now. Just two years into a 10-year sentence without possibility of parole. ... Once, he was the homecoming king at Douglas County High. Now he's Georgia inmate No. 1187055, convicted of aggravated child molestation. When he was a senior in high school, he received oral sex from a 10th grader. He was 17. She was 15. Everyone, including the girl and the prosecution, agreed she initiated the act. But because of an archaic Georgia law, it was a misdemeanor for teenagers less than three years apart to have sexual intercourse, but a felony for the same kids to have oral sex. ... The position of Barker and the district attorney, McDade, who refused to comment, is that Wilson is guilty under the law and there is no room for mercy, though the facts seem to say they simply chose not to give it to Wilson. At the same time this trial was under way, a local high school teacher, a white female, was found guilty of having a sexual relationship with a student -- a true case of child molestation. The teacher received 90 days. Wilson received 3,650 days." -- Absolutely disgusting. This story should piss you off.

Former principal accused of possession of child porn - "Police say that among the thousands of pictures and movie clips they found on Deussing's computer were images of infants being tortured and raped. Children were forced to have sex with animals, and they also found a so-called snuff film, a movie showing what appears to be the violent murder of a woman. Police also say an animated cartoon on Deussing's computer was designed to teach young children how to have sex with adults."

Boys Face Charges Of Taping Sexual Assault On Children - "Two 13-year-old boys are accused of videotaping themselves sexually assaulting two 5-year-olds and a 3-year-old and also taping sexual contact between three young children, according to Lincoln police. ... The video, police said, shows one of the 13-year-olds using a device on one of the girls while the other teen was operating the camera. When police later reviewed the tape, an investigator said, it appeared the girl was in pain. "The sexual perpetrations of one of the victims was a violent act," Crosby said. The reports show that the video also shows one 5-year-old girl lying on a bed on top of the other 5-year old. The 3-year-old boy is also on the bed, exposed from the waist down, police reports show."

Incarceration Nation - "Viewed through an optimistic lens, the United States might genuinely be at the beginning of a trend toward real criminal justice reform. Meanwhile, millions of Americans have already paid far too high a price for shortsighted penological policies. Floridian Yraida Guanipa is among them."

The Dawkins Delusion - "An Oxford theologian contends that the aggressive rhetoric of Richard Dawkins' books masks a deep insecurity about the public credibility of atheism."

R.I. School Bans Talking at Lunch - "A Roman Catholic elementary school adopted new lunchroom rules this week requiring students to remain silent while eating. The move comes after three recent choking incidents in the cafeteria." -- Jesus Christ.

Ghost brides are murdered to give dead bachelors a wife in the afterlife - "The arrests have exposed a trade that places a higher value on women when they are dead than when they are alive." -- The creator's of the show Daria had it right: Sick, Sad, World.

U.N. climate report will shock the world - ""There are a lot of signs and evidence in this report which clearly establish not only the fact that climate change is taking place, but also that it really is human activity that is influencing that change," R.K. Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, told Reuters."

Global warming possibly linked to an enhanced risk of suicide - "For males, increasing anomalies in monthly average temperatures associated to a higher monthly suicide mean from May to August and, to a lower extent, in November and December. In January, on the other hand, increasing anomalies in monthly average temperatures appeared to be coupled to a lower number of suicides. For females, the links between temperature and suicides are less consistent than for males, and sometimes have a reverse sign, too."

Same-sex classes a growing trend in public schools - "More public school systems are looking at separating boys and girls, whether for certain classes or by entire schools, after the federal government opened the door last fall. Supporters say splitting students by sex minimizes distractions, helps them learn better and allows boys and girls to explore subjects they may not otherwise take."

New dinosaurs: Spelling, conversation skills - "The modern wired family is seeing a few mainstays going the way of the dinosaur: landlines, printed dictionaries, maps, newspapers and, of course, the need to remember phone numbers or learn to spell." -- Pathetic. Particularly the part about spelling.

New York Plans Official City Condom - "Available soon from City Hall: an official New York condom in a jazzy wrapper, perhaps one printed with a colorful subway map or some other city theme."

This Web site can name that tune - "Launching in beta mode on Friday, Midomi allows people to search for a song by singing, humming or whistling a bit of the tune. The site then offers search results that include commercially recorded tracks or versions of the song recorded by others who have used the site. The technology also lets people listen to the exact section of each of the results that matched their voice sample. People also can type in a song title or artist to get results. The system recognizes misspelled words."

Quote of the Day
"Only the poet can look beyond the detail and see the whole picture."
~ Helen Hayes

January 25, 2007

January 25, 2007

Senate panel strikes first blow to block Bush's Iraq plan - "Democrats began what they promised would be a prolonged push to stop President George W. Bush’s troop buildup in Iraq today granting initial approval of a resolution condemning the move and potentially opening the door to debate on funding cuts for the war."

Cheney: Talk of blunders in Iraq is 'hogwash' - ""It won't stop us," he said. "And it would be, I think, detrimental from the standpoint of the troops." If U.S. forces were to pull out of Iraq, "we would simply validate the terrorists' strategy that says the Americans will not stay to complete the task ... that we don't have the stomach for the fight. That's the biggest threat."" -- How do we allow this guy to stay in office?

Senator Feinstein's Iraq Conflict - "As a member of the Military Construction Appropriations subcommittee, Sen. Feinstein voted for appropriations worth billions to her husband's firms."

US says its has proof Iran is interfering in Iraq - ""There is solid evidence that Iranian agents are involved in these networks and that they are working with individuals and groups in Iraq and that they are being sent there by the Iranian government," said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack." -- Just like the solid evidence of WMDs in Iraq?

Dropping like flies - "Resignations of U.S. attorneys raise suspicion of politically motivated Justice Department purge. ... Democratic senators are concerned that the high turnover is linked to an obscure, recently passed provision of the Patriot Act. The provision allows the Bush administration to fill vacancies with interim prosecutors for the remainder of the president's term without submitting them to the Senate for confirmation. Previously, interim appointments were made by a vote of federal judges in the districts served by the outgoing U.S. attorneys." -- Stacking the deck?

Heat-beaming weapon ready by 2010 - "THE US Defence Department today unveiled what it called a revolutionary heat-beaming weapon that could be used to control mobs or repel foes in conflicts like Iraq and Afghanistan. The so-called Active Denial System creates an intense burning sensation causing people to run for cover, but no lasting harm, officials said."

Bush's War on the Republic - "In Bush’s State of the Union speech on Jan. 23, there could be heard a requiem for the Republic. “The evil that inspired and rejoiced in 9/11 is still at work in the world. And so long as that’s the case, America is still a nation at war,” Bush told Congress. But that “evil” will always be “at work in the world,” so America will always be “a nation at war” and thus, under Bush’s theories of unlimited Commander-in-Chief powers, the American Republic will be banished permanently. ... Since the 9/11 attacks, Bush has overseen a bare-knuckled political strategy of bullying anyone who disagrees with him and marginalizing their voices. From the Dixie Chicks to former Ambassador Joseph Wilson, from France to United Nations weapons inspectors, those who have dared to cross the President have faced ridicule and reprisals. These ugly attacks have become so much a part of the American political landscape that the news media treats them as unexceptional, as if it’s normal for a President to coordinate with powerful media allies to silence dissent."

Martyrs of the Republic - "Ah, how things change! The military court in LT Ehren Watada’s trial has denied any courtroom discussion of the legality of the war in Iraq. Yes, the vast majority of Americans, Senators and Congressmen have already admitted that the war was based on lies, fostered by a narrow set of agenda setters, for a non-national security agenda, violates international law, and is likely unconstitutional. Yes, we all suspect today that the war for "democracy" is no more than make-believe, even as the war for oil and bases is all but lost."

The World Agrees: Stop Bush Before He Kills Again - "President Bush has accomplished what Osama bin Laden only dreamed of by disgracing the model of American democracy in the eyes of the world."

Carl Bernstein: Bush Administraton Has Done 'Far Greater Damage' Than Nixon - ""In the current administration we have seen from the President down -- especially Vice President Cheney, Attorney General Gonzales, Condoleeza Rice, Donald Rumsfeld -- a willingness to ignore the great constitutional history of the United States -- to suspend, really, many of the constitutional guarantees that have made us a nation apart, with real freedoms unknown elsewhere, unrestricted by short-term political objectives of our leaders. "Then there are the Geneva conventions: Who would have dreamed that, in our lifetime, our leaders would permit their flagrant abuse, would authorize torture, 'renditions' to foreign-torture chambers, suspension of habeus corpus, illegal surveillance of our own citizens.... "But perhaps worst, has been the lying and mendacity of the president and his men and women--in the reasons they cited for going to war, their conduct of the war, their attempts to smear their political opponents. "Nixon and his men lied and abused the constitution to horrible effect, but they were stopped. "The Bush Administration -- especially its top officials named above and others familiar to most Americans -- was not stopped, and has done far greater damage."

Fanning Fears of a Space War - "The revelation last week that China had slammed a medium-range ballistic missile into one of its aging satellites on January 11 and littered space with junk fragments has created its own form of political debris in Washington, D.C." -- God, the human species loves conflict.

Smears for Fears - "And, indeed, it is interesting, for demonstrating the bizarre rules of the road in discussing America's Israel policy. If you're offering commentary that's supportive of America's soi-disant "pro-Israel" forces, as Barone was, it's considered perfectly acceptable to note, albeit elliptically, that said forces are influential in the Democratic Party in part because they contribute large sums of money to Democratic politicians who are willing to toe the line. If, by contrast, one observes this fact by way of criticizing the influence of "pro-Israel" forces, you're denounced as an anti-Semite."

A Fundamental Evil - "I have come to the conclusion that the Christian fundamentalists, also known as the religious right, are the most evil people in the world. Others (such as those of various Islamic terrorist groups) were considered, but after due consideration, the Christians won... hands down. In fact it was no contest."

Love Jesus or Burn Forever in Hell... You're Basic "Love Me or I will Kill You" Religion - "Boy does this little bit of encouragement say reams about the either/or mentality that goes with many fundamentalist teachings. So here is the lesson for the day evidently. EITHER I love Jesus, which I assume means confess him, promote him and do everything he is thought to have said and taught, or burn, not just up, but FOREVER in hell. Whoa moma, what a choice and even better, what a reason to love Jesus! Obey out of sheer fear of annihilation. Spirituality doesn't get any better than this!"

The Maid is Not Coming in Today and Neither is Jesus - You'll Just Have to Work It Out Yourselves - "You can sure tell it's almost time for Jesus to return,” is a phrase I have heard all my life. During the 1967 Arab Israeli war, when all the forces of Middle Eastern good and evil, depending on who you were rooting for, were coming together for the one big bang before Jesus returned to save us all, I just knew it was the end times. Well that one lasted six days and Jesus, I guess, was recalled."

Scientology Treatment Program for Prisoners Funded by Feds - "The Second Chance program is billed as an alternative treatment program for nonviolent offenders and uses the principals of Scientology -- such as using saunas, diet, massage and vitamins to purge the body of toxins -- to fight addiction."

Another Media Expert Nobody Has Heard Of - "The tendency to create spokespeople for certain issues isn’t something the media has recently engaged in, they have been doing it for decades, but only recently has it been possible to prove that their spokespeople are in reality total creations of the media and nothing more. A quick google news search will reveal that the Washington Post is the ONLY national media publication that picked up Lipstadt’s garbage article about Carter and if one closely researches the results of a standard google search one will find that Lipstadt’s only champions are in fact the pro-Israel, pro-Jewish websites, while the majority of everyone else is highly critical of her position on Carter. In short, nobody is reading Deborah Lipstadt, primarily because nobody knows who she is or they’ve finally figured out that her position on matters related to anti-Semitism and Israel are part and parcel of the media’s lies - people are getting wiser you know."

Militarization and The Moon-Mars Program: Another Wrong Turn in Space? - "NASA is not paying the giant of the military-industrial complex $8.15 billion to have people hop around and hit golf balls on the moon. The aim of the moon-Mars program is U.S. dominance, as suggested by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin’s statements that "my language"—i.e., English—and not those of "another, bolder or more persistent culture" will be "passed down over the generations to future lunar colonies.""

Microsoft offers cash for Wikipedia edit - "Microsoft Corp. landed in the Wikipedia doghouse Tuesday after it offered to pay a blogger to change technical articles on the community-produced Web encyclopedia site."

Father kills daughter; doubted virginity - "A Jordanian man fatally shot his 17-year-old daughter whom he suspected of having sex despite a medical exam that proved her chastity, an official said Thursday. The man surrendered to police hours after the killing, saying he had done it for family honor." -- Disgusting.

Girl, 6, embodies Cambodia's sex industry - "She was sold to a brothel by her parents when she was 5. It is not known how much her family got for Srey, but other girls talk of being sold for $100; one was sold for $10. Before she was rescued, Srey endured months of abuse at the hands of pimps and sex tourists. Passed from man to man, often drugged to make her compliant, Srey was a commodity at the heart of a massive, multimillion-dollar sex industry in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. ... Despite the attention, Somaly said the situation on the street is not getting better. Gang rapes of prostitutes are becoming more common, she said, and many of the attackers don't use condoms. Instead, they share a plastic bag. "Poor women, they have been raped by eight, 10, 20, 25 men ... they hit them. They receive a lot of violence," she said." -- Humans are such a sad lot.

Educators assail No Child Left Behind - "Colorado teachers, principals and administrators overwhelmingly say the federal education law No Child Left Behind is unrealistic and underfunded, according to a survey conducted by U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar's office."

Obama calls for universal health care - ""I am absolutely determined that by the end of the first term of the next president, we should have universal health care in this country," the Illinois senator said."

Study: Americans spend more time with computer than spouse - "A new study indicates that most people spend more time with technology than they do with their family. The survey found 65 percent of respondents spent more time with a computer than with their spouse or significant other."

Quote of the Day
"Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is perhaps the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes. And armies and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few."
~ James Madison

January 24, 2007

January 24, 2007

Bush State of the Union: Work with me - "Faced with a widely unpopular war in Iraq and a Democratic Congress, President Bush in his State of the Union address urged lawmakers to work with him to "achieve big things for the American people.""

Al-Qaeda Run PR For Bush Before Union Speech - "Two days before President Bush's State of the Union speech, Al-Qaeda have graciously popped up once again to launch a public relations stunt that vindicates the administration's claim that opponents of the Iraq troop surge are siding with America's enemies."

Bush Speech Terror Claim Debunked A Year Ago - "A claim made by President Bush in his State of the Union speech last night, that an attack on an L.A. skyscraper had been averted, was universally debunked as a hoax by Mayors, CIA, FBI and NSA personnel and counter-terror experts nearly a year ago when it first surfaced. By regurgitating this fraud, Bush has committed an impeachable offense by knowingly lying to the American people."

With support gone, Bush stumbles on - "George W. Bush, in the most difficult State of the Union of his presidency, attempted Tuesday night to convince Congress and the American people that he is still relevant. It was a tough sell."

Reality Check: Bush's State Of The Union Speech - "A WISC-TV analysis found that mostly the speech was accurate but that some statements deserve a closer look." -- Interesting. Particularly the part about education.

He Still Doesn't Understand the War - "What a dispiriting State of the Union address! So many disasters, so little time left to repair them, so few insights into what caused them or what to do about them now."

Edwards: Iran Threat Serious - ""Iran is serious about its threats," former US Senator John Edwards has told an audience in Israel. ... Hinting to possible military action, Edwards stressed that "in order to ensure Iran never gets nuclear weapons, all options must remain on table."" -- John, you just lost my vote.

Israel faces nuclear Holocaust warns Gingrich - ""Israel is in the greatest danger it has been in since 1967. Prior to '67, many wondered if Israel would survive. After '67, Israel seemed military dominant, despite the '73 war. I would say we are (now) back to question of survival," Gingrich said. He added that the United States could "lose two or three cities to nuclear weapons, or more than a million to biological weapons." Gingrich added that in such a scenario, "freedom as we know it will disappear, and we will become a much grimmer, much more militarized, dictatorial society. Three nuclear weapons are a second Holocaust," Gingrich declared, adding: "People are greatly underestimating how dangerous the world is becoming. I'll repeat it, three nuclear weapons are a second Holocaust. Our enemies are quite explicit in their desire to destroy us. They say it publicly? We are sleepwalking through this process as though it's only a problem of communication," Gingrich said." -- If this is what human life is all about then humanity has failed miserably.

Gates sees military power as a means to making negotiations effective - "But a hawk may not be all he is. His favorite quotation from history, he told reporters traveling with him recently for meetings with allies and commanders in Europe and the Middle East, is one from Frederick the Great, the 18th- century Prussian monarch who was also A gifted musician: "Negotiations without arms are like music books without instruments." Or, put another way, it takes military power to create the leverage necessary to make negotiations fruitful." -- Then you are an embarrasment to humanity.

View of US's global role 'worse' - "The view of the US's role in the world has deteriorated both internationally and domestically, a BBC poll suggests." -- The fall of this nation is coming fast.

The Empire Turns ItsGuns on the Citizenry - "In recent years American police forces have called out SWAT teams 40,000 or more times annually. Last year did you read in your newspaper or hear on TV news of 110 hostage or terrorist events each day? No. What then were the SWAT teams doing? They were serving routine warrants to people who posed no danger to the police or to the public."

81-Year-Old Liberals Now Terror Threat - "Like most Americans, 81-year-old Dan Tilli isn't a big fan of President Bush. And like many older Americans, he writes letters to the editor of his local paper, The Express-Times in Easton. Unlike most Americans, Dan Tilli got a visit from the Secret Service after writing a letter bashing President Bush."

Travel to U.S. off 17 pct since 9/11 - "A 17 percent drop in overseas travelers to the United States since the September 11 attacks has cost the country more than $15 billion in lost taxes and nearly 200,000 jobs, a study showed on Tuesday. Since the September 11 attacks, the United States has tightened security measures and toughened its visa and entry requirements. As a result, the country was ranked as the world's most unfriendly to visitors in a survey conducted last year of travelers from 16 nations." -- That pretty much sums it up.

U.S. drafts Holocaust denial resolution - "According to a copy of the draft made available to The Associated Press, the proposed resolution urges all member states to "reject any denial of the Holocaust," saying that "ignoring the historical fact of these terrible events increases the risk they will be repeated."" -- Why isn't all history looked at in order to avoid repeating it over and over and over again?

Military Builds Robotic Insects - "Defense scientists in several countries are developing tiny flying robots that can hit the enemy with itsy-bitsy explosives. Critics worry that terrorists will adopt the nasty tech."

Cruise 'is Christ' of Scientology - "A source close to the actor, who has risen to one of the church’s top levels, said: “Tom has been told he is Scientology’s Christ-like figure. “Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But future generations will realise he was right.”"

Ted Haggard Says Evangelicals Have the 'Best Sex Life' - "Haggard resigned from the church in 2006, after a scandal linked him to drugs and a male prostitute."

White Atlanta suburbs push for secession - "A potentially explosive dispute in the City Too Busy to Hate is taking shape over a proposal to break Fulton County in two and split off Atlanta's predominantly white, affluent suburbs to the north from some of the metropolitan area's poorest, black neighborhoods."

THE NONSENSE OF GLOBAL WARMING - "The facts, such as we can observe and calculate them, do not support the idea of man-made global warming. Natural processes completely eclipse anything that man can accomplish- a minor rainstorm expends energy than a large nuclear explosive releases and the lowest category of hurricane expends more energy than all of the nuclear weapons ever produced in a short time. The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo alone put more pollution into the atmosphere than the entire history of man. Consider that a moment. Most geologists and indeed, most scientists in the U.S. do not accept the idea that global warming resulting from human activities is a viable theory -because most have an appreciation for the kind of power inherent in natural systems."

'Scientist' Group's Funding Comes with Liberal 'Strings Attached' - "At a time when the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) is censuring free market organizations for accepting donations from ExxonMobil, critics have turned the spotlight back onto the UCS, its left-wing positions, and its own funding practices."

Skin patch used to treat Alzheimer's - "The University of South Florida researchers say use of a skin patch vaccination might offer a simpler way of preventing or treating the neurodegenerative disease, with less likelihood of adverse immune reactions."

FDA considering new standards for birth control drugs - "The government is considering setting higher standards for birth control drugs used by millions, saying that newer pills appear to be less effective at preventing pregnancy than those approved decades ago."

Hacking the Human Life Span - "Resveratrol, a compound found in grape skin and red wine, is the latest tool in the kit for many highly educated professionals who believe they can increase longevity by changing their body chemistry."

Anger linked to women's heart problems - "Some women who make a habit of venting their anger may be more likely to develop blockages in the heart arteries, new research suggests."

Rare primitive shark captured on film - "A species of shark rarely seen alive because its natural habitat is 600 metres (2,000 ft) or more under the sea was captured on film by staff at a Japanese marine park this week." -- Check out the picture.

Dutch shock at proposed dating show for 'visibly disfigured' - ""The main aim of the programme is to remove prejudice about these people, to create more acceptance and respect and, of course, to find the love of their lives." But the majority of Dutch viewers are turned off by the show that was initially set to be called "Monster Love"."

Quote of the Day
"So this world full of greedy humans continues to turn."
~ John Kaminski

January 22, 2007

January 22, 2007

US plans attack on Iran - "US contingency planning for military action against Iran's nuclear programme goes beyond limited strikes and would effectively unleash a war against the country, a former US intelligence analyst said on Friday."

US under secretary of state: We won't allow nuclear Iran' - "Nicholas Burns says ‘There is no doubt Iran seeking nuclear military weapons; stationing of two battle groups in Persian Gulf is part of our response’; adds: We are committed to being Israel's strongest security partner."

Pentagon sees U.S. war cost in Iraq rising - "The steadily rising Iraq war price tag will reach about $8.4 billion a month this year." -- You read that corretly.

Czechs give go-ahead for US 'son of star wars' base - "The Americans have already built two missile interceptor sites, in California and Alaska, but the proposed project in the Czech Republic is the first in Europe. It has alarmed Russia, which claims it and not "rogue states" in the Middle East or Asia is the target of the missile shield. The US says the installations are aimed at thwarting potential North Korean long-range missiles, while the European sites guard against long-range missiles from Iran or other regional foes."

Space Arms Race Is Most Definitely On - "Any notion that the war machine in Washington has not brought this on themselves is laughable. The US has consistently carried out research on lasers that could knock out enemy satellites and the Bush administration has repeatedly ruled out the idea of a global treaty banning putting weapons in space."

Website offers whistleblowers chance to go global - "THE internet could become even more difficult for governments to regulate with a new website, Wikileaks, promising to provide a safe haven for whistleblowers to upload confidential documents."

Man kicked off flight for Bush-bashing T-shirt - "An airline passenger barred from a flight for wearing a T-shirt labeling President Bush a terrorist has threatened legal action against Australia's flag carrier Qantas." -- Who is a 'terrorist' is really in the eyes of the beholder.

ACLU Report Shows Widespread Pentagon Surveillance of Peace Activists - "The American Civil Liberties Union today released a new report revealing that the Pentagon monitored at least 186 anti-military protests in the United States and collected more than 2,800 reports involving Americans in an anti-terrorist threat database."

Ben Bova: Has the Internet made our speech a little too free? - "So the danger of the Internet’s unfiltered babble is not with the Internet per se, but with our own attitudes. Most people lack the will to seek out opinions that contradict their own, to deliberately and conscientiously attempt to sift through the avalanche of information available to them in an honest attempt to arrive at the truth."

Sorry, There Is Little Hope For America - "I keep thinking about the one word that best describes current day America and it has to be the word “shallow”. Most of our nation is too wrapped up in shallow endeavors to really be challenged with thinking or something they might have to face and deal with before it is too late."

Federal Workers Owe Billions in Unpaid Taxes - "More than 450,000 active and retired federal employees did not voluntarily comply with federal income tax requirements for the 2005 tax year, according to documents obtained by WTOP through the Freedom of Information Act."

Rising numbers of nonbelievers increase popularity of atheism - "One encouraging aspect of the new popularity of atheism is that a growing numbers of people are abandoning their religious faith in favor of an evidence-based view of the world."

Atheism scary in its sheer conceit - "Ernie Barrington, a retired teacher, wondered why it was that in a predominantly secular society like ours people running for election never deny the possibility of a higher power. ... Atheism is scary, as is religious dogma in someone who wants to be entrusted with power. But atheism is more scary, I suspect, in its sheer conceit."

Why I can't be an atheist - "Why should someone be an atheist? Some, who want to take the intellectual high ground, will say they are forced into that conclusion because religious beliefs are inherently irrational. But are they really? They are only irrational if one must try to prove them using the presuppositions held by the atheist. If you get aboard another traveler's tour bus, you will go to his destination. The quintessential question in examining either atheism or theism as a system of thought, would be in determining whose presuppositions are justified."

Question Authority When that Feeling in Your Stomach is Stronger than the Thoughts in Your Head - "Growing up there was one thing one never did and that was to question authority. If someone was older, they were right. If they were an adult and I was just the kid, they were right. If they were elected or appointed by some group for some reason, they were right. If they were a minister, priest or even a preacher, by God then, they were really right. Problem is, they were often wrong and people suffered for it."

Support grows to make English official - "The push to make English the nation's official language is building momentum, with a congressional bill on the horizon and seven states pushing legislation to make English the official language or to strengthen laws already in place."

Taking a cue from program in Indiana, new technology would allow callers to send crime-scene images - "Now the city is moving to simplify your ability to share telltale evidence of subway flashers, house burglars or even a suspect pothole, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said yesterday. "If you see a crime in progress or a dangerous building condition, you'll be able to transmit images to 911 or online to nyc.gov," Bloomberg said in his State of the City address."

Fla. City Plans Homeless-Only Village - "The village will provide shelter, psychiatric help and the support of neighbors. "This is for the people who can't work and can't integrate themselves into society," Arth said. "The answer is not to build a Hooverville of tents and trailers but to make these buildings attractive enough so that if you or I would went there, we would say, 'Wow, I'd live there.'" Critics worry that the Tiger Bay Village will only promote homelessness and that the population will relocate to rural areas."

Climate scientists feeling the heat - "Problem is, global warming may not have caused Hurricane Katrina, and last summer's heat waves were equaled and, in many cases, surpassed by heat in the 1930s. In their efforts to capture the public's attention, then, have climate scientists oversold global warming? It's probably not a majority view, but a few climate scientists are beginning to question whether some dire predictions push the science too far. "Some of us are wondering if we have created a monster," says Kevin Vranes, a climate scientist at the University of Colorado."

As harmful as cigarettes? - "MOBILE phones could turn out to be as damaging to health as cigarettes, a world expert says."

A new crop of kids: Generation We - "Researchers say this kind of environment, in which parents aren't afraid of or are clueless about technology, is fostering a new generation of kids who are naturally adept with technology and comfortable with having virtual access to friends, family and the world at large. They have a much more global outlook at a younger age, and experts from the research firm Iconoculture say that unlike the picture of entitled teens and 20-somethings that many pundits have dubbed the Me Generation, today's kids under the age of 11 are part of what Iconoculture dubs "Generation We.""

Quote of the Day
"I contend that we are both atheists. I just believe in one fewer god than you do. When you understand why you dismiss all the other possible gods, you will understand why I dismiss yours."
~ Stephen Henry Roberts

January 19, 2007

January 19, 2007

An Impartial Interrogation of George W. Bush - "Mr. President, Sir, when reporter Bob Woodward asked you if you had consulted with your father before ordering our army into Iraq you said, "No, he's not the father you call on a decision like this. I talked to my heavenly Father above." My question, Mr. President: If God asked you to bombard, invade and occupy Iraq for four years, why did he send an opposite message to the Pope?"

The great games over Iraq - "No doubt, we are now witnessing the dawn of a new great game over Iraq. A recent communique by the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) has stated its "collective desire to prevent Iraq from becoming a battleground for regional and international powers". The irony, however, is that this communique is also signed by two "out of area" Arab states, Jordan and Egypt, whose inclusion in the security calculus of the Persian Gulf rattles Iran and fuels the growing rivalry between the Shi'ite power bloc and the Sunni Arabs led by Saudi Arabia."

Those ingrate Iraqis - "President Bush is right: Americans deserve gratitude for cutting Iraqis' energy consumption and tackling their overpopulation problem."

Gonzales, live: "The Constitution does not say that every citizen has the right to habeas corpus." - "Gee, who decides when they don’t?"

Pentagon Drafts Rules for Detainee Trials - "The Pentagon has drafted a manual for upcoming detainee trials that would allow suspected terrorists to be imprisoned or put to death using hearsay evidence and coerced testimony." -- What a sad world we live in.

The War Becomes More Unholy - "A stepped up military offensive that targets mosques, religious leaders and Islamic customs is leading many Iraqis to believe that the US-led invasion really was a "holy war.""

Crusade Number Four - "Very few Americans understood their nation had just invaded another in an act worthy of the late, unlamented Chairman Leonid Brezhnev. Much of Somalia has already been occupied by Ethiopia’s powerful, US-financed army which invaded that defenseless nation, with Washington’s blessing, under cover of the Christmas holiday."

As Bush's War Strategy Shifts to Iran, Christian Zionists Gear Up for the Apocalypse - " Is Bush pushing for a second war or a Second Coming?"

Where Is the Consistency in the War on Terrorism? - "It would seem safe to assume that individuals who have fired a bazooka at the United Nations headquarters in New York, served time in connection with the first state-sponsored act of terrorism in the United States, or actively participated in secret groups that claimed responsibility for dozens of bombings in New York, New Jersey and Florida, would raise many red flags when coming into this country. Or maybe not. Just last week, Guillermo Novo, Pedro Remon and Gaspar Jimenez, the men behind those and other terrorist acts, received a hero's welcome in the United States. After a quick flight from Panama aboard a private jet, the men flashed victory signs and smiled to a swarm of cameras in a Miami airport while U.S. authorities looked on."

Bush fights to quash vote of no confidence - "A beleaguered President George W Bush was battling yesterday to prevent Republican rebels in Congress joining Democrats to pass a vote of no confidence in his Iraq policy."

"We want nuclear programme; rules in region have changed" - "Tel Aviv- Jordanian King Abdullah II said in remarks published Friday that Jordan was abandoning its "nuclear-free Middle East policy" and was seeking to develop a nuclear programme for peaceful purposes. "The rules have changed on the nuclear subject throughout the whole region. Where I think Jordan was saying, 'We'd like to have a nuclear-free zone in the area,' after this summer, everybody is going for nuclear programmes," Abdullah said in an interview with the Israeli Ha'aretz daily." -- Where's the freakin' comet? Humanity has failed.

Chinese missile destroys satellite in space - "The prospect of "Star Wars" between China and the West loomed last night after Beijing used a ballistic missile to destroy a satellite in space."

As trial goes on, he hunkers down - "The government's case against a Plainfield couple who refused to pay income taxes for more than a decade has drawn the ire of tax protesters and militia members from around the country, including some who have pledged to defend the couple with firearms if necessary."

Methodists: No Bush Library at SMU - "The petition, on a new Web site, http://www.protectsmu.org/ , says that "as United Methodists, we believe that the linking of his presidency with a university bearing the Methodist name is utterly inappropriate.""

Senate passes Democrats' ethics bill - "The Senate, responding to voter frustration with corruption and special interest influence in Washington, on Thursday overwhelmingly approved far-reaching ethics and lobbying reform legislation. Under the bill, passed 96-2, senators will give up gifts and free travel from lobbyists, pay more for travel on corporate jets and make themselves more accountable for the pet projects they insert into bills."

Hillary's team has questions about Obama's Muslim background - "Are the American people ready for an elected president who was educated in a Madrassa as a young boy and has not been forthcoming about his Muslim heritage? This is the question Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s camp is asking about Sen. Barack Obama." -- Now that's just pathetic. Go away Hillary. You will not get my vote.

McCain no longer rocks in Granite State - "“John McCain is tanking,” says ARG president Dick Bennett. “That’s the big thing [we’re finding]. In New Hampshire a year ago he got 49 percent among independent voters. That number’s way down, to 29 percent now.” ... Bennett says ARG is finding a similar trend in other states polled, including early primary battlegrounds like Iowa and Nevada. “We’re finding this everywhere,” he says. The main reason isn’t hard to find: His hawkish stance on the Iraq war, which is tying him ever more closely to an unpopular president. “Independent support for McCain is evaporating because they view him as tied to Bush,” says Bennett." -- Hmmm. I see I am not alone in my dislike for John.

Bloggers Who Criticize Government May Face Prison - "You'd be forgiven for thinking that it was some new restriction on free speech in Communist China. But it isn't. The U.S. Government wants to force bloggers and online grassroots activists to register and regularly report their activities to Congress in the latest astounding attack on the internet and the First Amendment." -- Land of the free?

US Army officer barred from disputing legality of Iraq war at court-martial - "A US military judge ruled Tuesday that 1st Lt. Ehren Watada, a US Army officer who refused deployment to Iraq because he felt the war is 'unlawful,' cannot argue that point in his upcoming court-martial. Lt. Col. John Head further ruled that Watada may not raise a free speech defense, as soldiers do not enjoy the same constitutional rights as civilians." -- But yet soldiers fight to "protect" our constitutional rights. Hmmmm. Why would anyone willingly give up their rights?

A blanket ban on Holocaust denial would be a serious mistake - "That a measure is well-intended does not, however, make it wise. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. And this proposal is very unwise. First of all, if passed, it would further curtail free expression - at a time when that is under threat from many quarters. Free expression is a unique and primary good in free societies; it's the oxygen that sustains other freedoms. You must therefore have very good reasons for restricting it by law."

Couple pay £9,000 to have first British web baby - "A British woman will be impregnated with a "designer baby" in the next few months, it has been revealed. She will be the first British woman to undergo treatment at a U.S. embryo bank that allows would-be parents to select their child's characteristics over the Internet. Customers can choose egg and sperm donors after seeing pictures of them and receiving details of their medical history, education and family background."

Bernanke: Fiscal action needed as America ages - "Bernanke acknowledged that official projections suggest the U.S. budget deficit could stabilize or shrink in the next few years, but cautioned: "We are experiencing what seems likely to be the calm before the storm.""

Arizona Bill Would Legalize Assisted Suicide, Pro-Life Groups Opposed - "A bill introduced in the Arizona state legislature would attempt to make the southwestern state the second in the nation to legalize assisted suicide. Other states such as Vermont and California may also see battles this legislative session to join Oregon in allowing the grisly practice." -- Grisly?

MySpace Hit With Online Predator Suits - "Four families have sued News Corp. and its MySpace social-networking site after their underage daughters were sexually abused by adults they met on the site, lawyers for the families said Thursday."

Residents Battle Proposed Private Party Ban - "Miami Beach residents and city commissioners are going head to head over a proposed amendment that would make it illegal to have private gatherings at home." -- Again, land of the free?

No-spank bill on way - "Assemblywoman Sally Lieber, D-Mountain View, wants to outlaw spanking children up to 3 years old. If she succeeds, California would become the first state in the nation to explicitly ban parents from smacking their kids."

“The Weather Channel” Mess - "I do not know of a single TV meteorologist who buys into the man-made global warming hype. I know there must be a few out there, but I can’t find them. Here are the basic facts you need to know:
*Billions of dollars of grant money is flowing into the pockets of those on the man-made global warming bandwagon. No man-made global warming, the money dries up. This is big money, make no mistake about it. Always follow the money trail and it tells a story. Even the lady at “The Weather Channel” probably gets paid good money for a prime time show on climate change. No man-made global warming, no show, and no salary. Nothing wrong with making money at all, but when money becomes the motivation for a scientific conclusion, then we have a problem. For many, global warming is a big cash grab. *The climate of this planet has been changing since God put the planet here. It will always change, and the warming in the last 10 years is not much difference than the warming we saw in the 1930s and other decades. And, lets not forget we are at the end of the ice age in which ice covered most of North America and Northern Europe. If you don’t like to listen to me, find another meteorologist with no tie to grant money for research on the subject. I would not listen to anyone that is a politician, a journalist, or someone in science who is generating revenue from this issue."

Bacteria tests reveal how MRSA strain can kill in 24 hours - "PVL-producing MRSA, a highly-virulent strain of the drug-resistant superbug, methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, has spread around the world and caused deaths in the UK, Europe, the US and Australia. PVL or panton-valentine leukocidin toxin destroys white blood cells and usually causes boils and other skin complaints. But if it infects open wounds it can cause necrotising pneumonia, a disease that rapidly destroys lung tissue and is lethal in 75% of cases."

Staph bug causes new pneumonia - "A nasty staph germ circulating in and out of hospitals produces a poison that can kill pneumonia patients within 72 hours, researchers said on Thursday."

Ted Nugent fires up GOP crowd, and not in a good way - "Using machine guns as props, Nugent, 58, appeared onstage as the final act of the inaugural ball wearing a cutoff T-shirt emblazoned with the Confederate flag and shouting offensive remarks about non-English speakers, according to people who were in attendance." -- Ah, the Nuge Spooge is showing is class.

Why beauty is infectious - "The first evidence that beauty is infectious is published today by scientists who have shown that when women see a rival smiling at a man, he becomes more attractive as a result."

Make Mix Tapes And The RIAA May Send A SWAT Team To Bust Down Your Door? - "If the RIAA was really upset by it (despite the free publicity), there's no reason they couldn't file a civil suit, rather than bringing in a SWAT team."

Study: World falling behind on 2015 education goal - "Access to education increased dramatically over the past century but 323 million children worldwide are still not in school and efforts to achieve universal primary education by 2015 are likely to fail, a new study said on Wednesday."

Oregon board votes to raise graduation requirements - "Proposals to raise the requirements for a high school diploma -- most often four years of English, at least three years of higher level math and three years of science -- have already passed in a dozen states, including Ohio, Michigan and Texas. More states are poised to follow. The new requirements are finding plenty of support among politicians, colleges and employers, but some students, principals and parents aren't as enthused. They worry about who will pay for the extra courses and whether the new requirements will cause more students to give up and drop out."

Dumb Math Tests a Canadian Thing - "The Canadian court's stamp of approval paired with the simple nature of the question has made the four-part mathematics problem the de facto standard among product promotion sweepstakes. It's also a standard in decline."

No sex, thanks - "In our erotically superheated society, celebs, and people next door, are reclaiming chastity."

Digital archivists look to porn, Flash for tips - "How can society preserve digital art on the Internet the way brick-and-mortar museums can for Picassos and van Goghs? Oddly enough, at least one preservationist believes the answer might be found in an expression that most curators don't consider art--online pornography."

Quote of the Day
"If a million people believe a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing."
~ Anatole France