February 28, 2007

February 28, 2007

CIA: Bin Laden In Pakistan Establishing New Camps - "U.S. officials would not describe the evidence in any detail, but people in the intelligence community have speculated recently that the CIA may have obtained surveillance photos of either bin Laden or Zawahri in Pakistan." -- So again, we have to take their word for it?

Taliban say attack aimed at Cheney - "The Taliban claimed responsibility for the bombing outside Bagram base about 60km from the capital, Kabul, which claimed the lives of one US soldier, a South Korean soldier and a number of Afghans." -- The Taliban and OBL? Man, they're bringing out the retreads today.

Some Americans sorry Cheney survived - "'You can never find a competent suicide bomber when you need one'."

Walter Reed patients told to keep quiet - "Soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center’s Medical Hold Unit say they have been told they will wake up at 6 a.m. every morning and have their rooms ready for inspection at 7 a.m., and that they must not speak to the media. “Some soldiers believe this is a form of punishment for the trouble soldiers caused by talking to the media,” one Medical Hold Unit soldier said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. It is unusual for soldiers to have daily inspections after Basic Training."

Canada's parliament votes against extending terror laws - "Canada's House of Commons on Tuesday voted against a government motion to extend two controversial anti-terrorism law provisions."

Virgin Mary on a Pizza Pan? - "True believes don't care if Catholic leaders are not ready to call this a miracle. They are telling reporters that, for them, the image leaves them feeling warm and safe."

Bill would mandate nicer term for illegals - "A state legislator whose district is home to thousands of Caribbean immigrants wants to ban the term "illegal alien" from the state's official documents. "I personally find the word 'alien' offensive when applied to individuals, especially to children," said Sen. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami. "An alien to me is someone from out of space.""

The Town the Law Forgot - "Cudahy resembles a Mexican border town more than it does a Los Angeles suburb. Entrenched gangs and Mexican drug trafficking have trapped working-class legal and illegal immigrants in a cycle of violence and fear, in a city where less than a quarter of the 28,000 residents are eligible to vote. An uneducated city council, a deeply troubled police force imported from Maywood two towns over, and the raw power of the 18th Street Gang — a complex criminal organization with a knack for setting up business fronts and obscuring underground drug activity — make Cudahy residents seem like hostages in their own city. By most accounts, Cudahy City Council members — two retired union managers, an insurance salesman, a waitress and a grocer — do not run the city as they were elected to do. Rather, they defer to City Manager Perez, a former janitor who is known to favor revenue traps such as DUI and driver’s license checkpoints over aggressive tactics that make gangs and drug dealers less comfortable."

Study: 1 in 4 U.S. women infected with cervical cancer virus - "One in four U.S. women ages 14 to 59 is infected with the sexually transmitted virus that in some forms can cause cervical cancer, according to the first broad national estimate."

Study finds 750,000 living on U.S. streets - "There were an estimated 754,000 homeless people in the United States, in shelters or living on the streets on a single night in January 2005, U.S. officials said in a report to Congress."

Woman accused of using infant as car down payment - "Three people were arrested on charges of swapping a 5-month-old boy for a down payment on a used Dodge Intrepid and cash, police said Tuesday."

Group: Gore a Hypocrite Over Power Bill - "Utility records show the Gore family paid an average monthly electric bill of about $1,200 last year for its 10,000-square-foot home. The Gores used about 191,000 kilowatt hours in 2006, according to bills reviewed by The Associated Press. The typical Nashville household uses about 15,600 kilowatt-hours per year."

Climate Panel Recommends Global Temperature Ceiling, Carbon Tax - "In a report requested by the United Nations and partially paid for by the privately funded U.N. Foundation, the panel warns that any delay could lead to a dangerous rise in sea levels, increasingly turbulent weather, droughts and disease."

A Shock to the System - "To slow the progress of Parkinson’s disease, doctors planted electrodes deep in my brain. Then they turned on the juice."

Antioxidant supplements tied to death risk - "Beta carotene and vitamins A and E, antioxidant supplements taken by millions to fight disease, may actually raise the risk of death, a review of 68 studies on nearly a quarter-million people said on Tuesday. The finding drew fire from critics who said it was flawed and based largely on studies of people who were already chronically ill before they were treated with the supplements."

Scientists invent real-life 'tricorder' - "U.S. scientists have created a handheld sensing system they liken to Star Trek's "tricorder," used to analyze the chemical compounds of alien worlds."

Link Found Between Genetics And IQ - "This is not a gene FOR intelligence," said Danielle Dick, an assistant professor of psychiatry and lead author of the study. "It's a gene that's involved in some kinds of brain processing, and specific alterations in the gene appear to influence IQ. But this single gene isn't going to be the difference between whether a person is a genius or has below-average intelligence."

Study Finds Early Sex Linked to Teen Delinquency Which Can Last into Adulthood - "A national study of more than 7,000 youth found that adolescents who had sex early showed a 20 percent increase in delinquent acts one year later compared to those whose first sexual experience occurred at the average age for their school. In contrast, those teens who waited longer than average to have sex had delinquency rates 50 percent lower a year later compared to average teens. And those trends continued up to six years."

20 new ocean species found in Indonesia - "Twenty new species of sharks and rays have been discovered in Indonesia in a five-year survey of catches at local fish markets, Australian researchers said Wednesday."

Can the Term "Guys" Refer to Women and Girls? - " Is this a legitimate issue or has feminism gone too far?"

Mmmm, Tasty Chemicals - "A new book 'deconstructs' a Twinkie and analyzes all 39 ingredients. Industrial-strength junk food, anyone?"

Quote of the Day
"No comment."
~ Anonymous

February 27, 2007

February 27, 2007

Dow drops 180 on fear of correction - "Wall Street fell sharply Tuesday, joining a global stock decline sparked by growing concerns that the U.S. and Chinese economies are cooling and that U.S. stocks are about to embark on a major correction."

Iraq Replaces Vietnam as Metaphor for Tragedy - "Many comparisons have been made about the two wars. But what Iraq may have finally done is not so much remind us of Vietnam as ultimately usurp it from our national psyche."

Don't micromanage war, White House tells Congress - "The White House said it does not want Congress to micromanage U.S. commanders in Iraq by limiting the 2002 resolution that authorized President Bush to invade that country, as Democratic senators have proposed."

George Washington Had It Right - "Have you ever thought how peaceful and prosperous we would be if our national leaders had followed the advice of George Washington in his "Farewell Address"? For starters, we would not be hopelessly in debt, and there would not be so many Americans buried in national cemeteries and in distant lands. Nor would we be as hated as we are today in so many countries, where new polls show people not only dislike American foreign policy and the American government, but are now deciding they don't like the American people."

'Inside the wire' - "But most of the poems, including the lament by Al Hela which first sparked Falkoff's interest, are unlikely to ever see the light of day. Not content with imprisoning the authors, the Pentagon has refused to declassify many of their words, arguing that poetry "presents a special risk" to national security because of its "content and format". In a memo sent on September 18 2006, the team assigned to deal with communications between lawyers and their clients explains that they do not "maintain the requisite subject matter expertise" and says that poems "should continue to be considered presumptively classified"."

Killers in the Classroom - "I knew in that moment that this was what the future of teaching about justice would include: teaching war criminals who sit glaring at me with hatred for daring to speak the truth of their atrocities and who, if paid to, would disappear, torture and kill me. I wondered that night how long I really have in this so called free country to teach my students and to be with my children and grandchildren."

Operation Falcon and the Looming Police State - "Operation Falcon is the clearest indication yet that the Bush administration is fine-tuning its shock-troops so it can roll up tens of thousands of people at a moment’s notice and toss them into the newly-built Halliburton detention centers. This should be a red flag for anyone who cares at all about human rights, civil liberties, or simply saving his own skin."

Five western states to bypass Bush on climate - "Oregon, California, Washington, New Mexico and Arizona have agreed to develop a regional target for reducing greenhouse emissions in six months, according a statement from Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski."

Poverty gap in US has widened under Bush - "The number of Americans living in severe poverty has expanded dramatically under the Bush administration, with nearly 16 million people now living on an individual income of less than $5,000 (£2,500) a year or a family income of less than $10,000, according to an analysis of 2005 official census data. The analysis, by the McClatchy group of newspapers, showed that the number of people living in extreme poverty had grown by 26 per cent since 2000. Poverty as a whole has worsened, too, but the number of severe poor is growing 56 per cent faster than the overall segment of the population characterised as poor - about 37 million people in all according to the census data. That represents more than 10 per cent of the US population, which recently surpassed the 300 million mark."

New England Town Prints Up Its Own Currency - "Berkshares were created to stimulate the local economy by giving people incentive to shop in their own neighborhood, rather than drive the distance to large chain stores."

Girl lost in poker game pleads for help - "A teenage girl in southern Pakistan, whose late father lost her in a poker game when she was 2 years old, has asked authorities to save her from being handed over to a middle-aged relative. ... "My husband didn't have money to pay, and instead he told Lal Haider that he could take Rasheeda when she grows up," she said. Despite being paid his money last year, she said Haider still insisted the girl should be given to him because of tribal customs."

Jealous? Could cost you 5 years in jail - "In Mexico, you'd better talk to your wife, have sex with her."

SYNTHETIC BIOLOGY -- GENETIC ENGINEERING ON STEROIDS - "In the past 5 years, the science of genetic engineering has made giant strides. Starting from scratch using lifeless chemicals, scientists are now able to create viruses, such as the polio virus. Technically, viruses are not "alive" because they require cells to survive. But soon -- perhaps some time this year -- scientists expect to create bacteria, which are definitely alive. From there, it will be a short step to manufacturing new forms of life that have never existed on Earth before. This startling new enterprise is called "synthetic biology.""

Decoding 'The Secret' - "If you're a woman trying to lose weight, you had your choice of two pieces of advice last week. One, from the American Heart Association, was to eat more vegetables and exercise an hour a day. The other was from a woman named Rhonda Byrne, a former television producer ... Byrne's recommendation was to avoid looking at fat people. Based on what she calls the "law of attraction"—that thoughts, good or bad, "attract" more of whatever they're about—she writes: "If you see people who are overweight, do not observe them, but immediately switch your mind to the picture of you in your perfect body and feel it.""

Guys: The biological bell tolls on thee, too - "Long after a woman's biological clock stops ticking, most men can still father children. Yet many men say it's not just women who worry that they are too old to have kids. The physiology might allow for septuagenarians to bounce their beloved bundles on their arthritic knees, but the psychology suggests there is an age to stop bringing another baby on board. ... The risk of dwarfism, Down's syndrome and other genetic abnormalities in children increases for fathers who put off parenthood."

Study: Vanity on the rise among college students - "Today's college students are more narcissistic and self-centered than their predecessors, according to a comprehensive new study by five psychologists who worry that the trend could be harmful to personal relationships and American society."

Honeybees Vanish, Leaving Keepers in Peril - "In 24 states throughout the country, beekeepers have gone through similar shocks as their bees have been disappearing inexplicably at an alarming rate, threatening not only their livelihoods but also the production of numerous crops, including California almonds, one of the nation’s most profitable."

"Rent-a-Wife" service draws variety of responses - "Haney, who lived in Grants pass for 23 years, returned in May after 13 years out-of-state. She targets single men because she says she doesn't like cleaning homes where women live."

Quote of the Day
"It is how dissenters are treated that enables us to measure how free a society is."
~ Richard M. Dolan

February 26, 2007

February 26, 2007

Israel, U.S. to discuss new annual aid program - "Israel receives about $2.4 billion a year in mostly military aid from the United States. Most of that is spent on U.S. military equipment."

Israel seeks all clear for Iran air strike - "Israel is negotiating with the United States for permission to fly over Iraq as part of a plan to attack Iran's nuclear facilities, The Daily Telegraph can reveal."

Al-Jazeera Cameraman Still at Guantanamo - "A TV cameraman is getting an inside view of life at Guantanamo Bay prison - only he is unable to get out and tell the story."

US-Russia tensions rise over antimissile bases - "Russia has threatened to withdraw from INF missile treaty, and target proposed US bases in Poland, Czech Republic."

Voice of the White House February 23, 2008 - "“In 2002, a special high level telephone and computer tapping sub-agency was set up by order of Rumsfeld at the suggestion of Cheney. Their job? To spy on important people; diplomats, Democratic senators and congressmen, potential enemies of the administration and people neither Cheney nor Bush personally liked. Like Topsy, this growed to the point where the group was spying on people the senior military at the Pentagon didn’t like or trust. One of their top targets has been Israeli diplomats, their intelligence agents operating here, quite openly, and at the CIA especially and so-called Israeli action groups like AIPAC. When Cheney got wind of that, he screamed like a scalded cat and the group was ordered to immediately cease and desist spying…but only on the Israelis. Much of this material, reams and reams of it, have been Xeroxed and have been circulating around Washington for about two years. Although much of this material relates directly to the American political and diplomatic endeavors, the American media will never touch any of it. Bush himself is fanatically pro-Isreal as was John Ashcroft and woe to anyone who issued one word of criticism of that problematical state."

The US psychological torture system is finally on trial - "Something remarkable is going on in a Miami courtroom. The cruel methods US interrogators have used since September 11 to "break" prisoners are finally being put on trial. This was not supposed to happen. The Bush administration's plan was to put José Padilla on trial for allegedly being part of a network linked to international terrorists. But Padilla's lawyers are arguing that he is not fit to stand trial because he has been driven insane by the government."

US defiant on cluster bombs - "THE United States said last night that cluster bombs should be preserved as a military option, rejecting a call by 46 nations for a ban. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: "We take the position that these munitions do have a place and a use in military inventories."The 46 nations adopted a declaration – accepted by Britain – at a meeting in Norway yesterday calling for a 2008 treaty banning cluster bombs, saying the weapons, which kill and maim long after conflicts end, inflict "unacceptable harm" on civilians."

Not ONE Member of the Bush Extended Family Has Served in Iraq! Not One! Take a Look. - "Yet, not one -- not one -- of any of Bush's children or his nieces and nephews have volunteered for service in any branch of the military or volunteered to serve in any capacity in Iraq. Not one of them has felt the cause was noble enough to put his or her life on the line. If Iraq is such an "honorable" cause, how come not one -- not one -- of Bush's extended family has joined the military to fight there? Not one. Same for Cheney's family."

Edwards: Israel not a threat to world peace - "John Edwards' presidential campaign wants to make it clear that he doesn't consider Israel a threat to world peace."

Does Being a Feminist Mean Voting for Hillary? - "Are feminists obligated to support a political candidate just because she's a woman?"

U.S. economy leaving record numbers in severe poverty - "The percentage of poor Americans who are living in severe poverty has reached a 32-year high, millions of working Americans are falling closer to the poverty line and the gulf between the nation's "haves" and "have-nots" continues to widen."

When God sanctions killing, people listen - "New research published in the March issue of Psychological Science may help elucidate the relationship between religious indoctrination and violence, a topic that has gained renewed notoriety in the wake of the September 11th terrorist attacks. In the article, University of Michigan psychologist Brad Bushman and his colleagues suggest that scriptural violence sanctioned by God can increase aggression, especially in believers. ... The research sheds light on the possible origins of violent religious fundamentalism and falls in line with theories proposed by scholars of religious terrorism, who hypothesize that exposure to violent scriptures may induce extremists to engage in aggressive actions. "To the extent religious extremists engage in prolonged, selective reading of the scriptures, focusing on violent retribution toward unbelievers instead of the overall message of acceptance and understanding," writes Bushman "one might expect to see increased brutality.""

I've found the coffin of Jesus, says film director - "James Cameron says he has proof that Jesus married Mary and that she bore him a son, Judah, who was buried alongside them."

Archaeologists, scholars dispute Jesus documentary - "Archaeologists and clergymen in the Holy Land derided claims in a new documentary produced by the Oscar-winning director James Cameron that contradict major Christian tenets."

Questions Your Pastor Will Hate - "I remember asking why the Bible, a book which had to know better since it was written by God himself, said Joshua raised his hands and the "sun stopped for the space of about a day," when clearly it would be the earth that stopped rotating? I asked him how oceans would not slop out of their basins in such a scenario and drown the whole world? I asked him if humans would not be cast into space by such a sudden stop of the entire planet? I even asked if this really happened, why did no one else on the whole planet notice it, or write about it? I got that dumb look again."

Is America Too Damn Religious? - "As if it weren't provocative enough to hold a debate on religion in America, panelists in a recent debate were tasked with answering the following: "Is America Too Damn Religious?""

Miami Church Brands Members With '666' Tattoos - "Church members say the symbol doesn't connect them to Satan but rather to De Jesus' claim that he has replaced Christ's teachings with a new gospel. ... Experts on new religious movements say De Jesus' opposition to other religions, and his claim to be the only legitimate spiritual authority, resemble the teachings of some cults." -- Man, that last statement sounds familiar.

Becoming an atheist - "I had believed that it was impossible to know whether or not God is real, but had always accepted His existence on faith. Eventually, I came to abandon that, as I realized that the argument in favour of God was not particularly strong."

Christian pediatrician denies child service because parents are tattooed - "A family is turned away by a local pediatrician, they say because of the way they look. The doctor said he is just following his beliefs, creating a Christian atmosphere for his patients. Tasha Childress said it’s discrimination."

Surveillance Cameras Get Smarter - "Researchers and security companies are developing cameras that not only watch the world but also interpret what they see. Soon, some cameras may be able to find unattended bags at airports, guess your height or analyze the way you walk to see if you are hiding something."

Teens Can Multitask, But What Are Costs? - "The students who do it say multitasking makes them feel more productive and less stressed. Researchers aren't sure what the long-term impact will be because no studies have probed its effect on teenage development. But some fear that the penchant for flitting from task to task could have serious consequences on young people's ability to focus and develop analytical skills."

Job seekers can cash in as baby boomers age - "Pay close attention in biology class -- students who pursue science and math careers will be earning far more money than their peers. "

Record number in U.S. relying on public aid - "Nearly one in six people relies on some form of public assistance, a larger share than at any time since the government started measuring two decades ago. "

Scientific Body Backs Creation Of Human-Animal Chimeras - "Scientists should be allowed to create human-animal hybrid embryos in the search for treatments for nervous system disorders, a Government advisory body said yesterday."

Mobile phones boost brain tumor risk by up to 270 percent on side of brain where phone is held - "The study, done by a collection of researchers from many universities and led by Anna Lahkola of the Radiation and Nuclear Safety Authority in Finland, found firm corollary evidence that using a cell phone causes the risk of getting a brain tumor called a glioma to rise by 40 to 270 percent on the side of the head preferred for using the phone."

Antarctic ice melt reveals exotic creatures - "Spindly orange sea stars, fan-finned ice fish and herds of roving sea cucumbers are among the exotic creatures spied off the Antarctic coast in an area formerly covered by ice, scientists reported Sunday."

Site lets you buy friends (and they're hot) - "Now, prospective employers and others can gain some insights into an applicant's lifestyle and character by looking at a person's social-networking page, including the roster of friends. So what if a job applicant's networking page lacks friends? Enter FakeYourSpace.com, a business founded by Brant Walker, which offered users of MySpace.com and similar sites a way to enhance their page with photographs and comments from hired "friends"--mainly attractive models--for 99 cents a month each."

Fake Private Parts Are No Joke, Myers Says - "As the General Assembly debates global warming and the death penalty, Myers (R-Washington) has something else on his mind: the outsized plastic testicles that truckers dangle from the trailer hitches of their pickups. To some truckers, they are manly expressions of rural chic. But Myers, who says his Western Maryland district is brimming with giant fakes on the roadways, calls them vulgar and immoral -- and filed legislation this week to outlaw them."

Quote of the Day
"If you want truly to understand something, try to change it."
~ Kurt Lewin

February 23, 2007

February 23, 2007

Bachman on Iran: -- "U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann claims to know of a plan, already worked out with a line drawn on the map, for the partition of Iraq in which Iran will control half of the country and set it up as a “a terrorist safe haven zone” and a staging area for attacks around the Middle East and on the United States."

"Theater Iran Near Term" (TIRANNT) - "Code named by US military planners as TIRANNT, "Theater Iran Near Term" has identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a "Shock and Awe" Blitzkrieg, which is now in its final planning stages."

Iran Must Get Ready to Repel a Nuclear Attack - "For the general Leonid Ivashov, the former Chief of the Russian armed forces’ Staff, it is doubtless that the Bush administration plans nuclear attacks against Iran and that the Pentagon will be capable to carry them out within the few coming weeks. He is too sure that the United States will not be talked out of it by the other nuclear powers and will have to endure but a conventional counter. The only unknown thing yet is if this project will be approved or refused by the United States’ Congress."

US Iran intelligence 'is incorrect' - "Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by US spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, diplomatic sources in Vienna said today."

Democrats Seek to Repeal 2002 War Authorization - "Senate Democratic leaders intend to unveil a plan next week to repeal the 2002 resolution authorizing the war in Iraq in favor of narrower authority that restricts the military's role and begins withdrawals of combat troops."

Cheney Holds Firm on Iraq, Pelosi Comments - ""My statement was that if we adopt the Pelosi policy, is that we will validate the strategy of al Qaeda," Cheney said. "I said it, and I meant it."" -- Hmmm. I don't recall "al Qaeda" as being the reason for invading Iraq.

Fears grow over Iran - "Tony Blair has declared himself at odds with hawks in the US Administration by saying publicly for the first time that it would be wrong to take military action against Iran."

An accident waiting to happen - "Former UN weapons inspector, turned peace activist, Scott Ritter isn’t swallowing Gates’ assurances either. Here’s what he said on the subject during a recent lecture: “Ladies and gentlemen, we’re going to war with Iran. It’s going to happen. There’s nothing we can do to stop it.” ... So he would have to be stark staring mad to bomb Iran against such opposition and in light of the political, humanitarian and economic mayhem that such an attack would trigger. Wouldn’t he? In truth, there could be method in his madness. Various papers penned by his neocon friends before he took office (“Clean Break” and the Project for the New American Century’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses”) make clear the Bush administration’s end goal, which is control of this region and its resources to stem the rise of competitors. There were basically two obstacles to that goal: Iraq and Iran."

US poll: Israel alone named 'vital friend' - "A Gallup poll surveying US opinion on geopolitics singles out Israel as only foreign nation Americans feel favorably toward and also say that what happens there is vitally important to the US."

Albright says next president must `restore goodness of American power' - ""We have lost the element of goodness in American power, and we have lost our moral authority," she said. "The job of the next president will be to restore the goodness of American power.""

U.S. soldier gets 100 years for Iraq rape, killings - "In his plea agreement, he said he conspired with three other soldiers from the Fort Campbell-based 101st Airborne Division to rape 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi. The girl, her parents and a younger sister were all killed." -- How many other atrocities are unknown?

Osama targets Prince Harry - "Code-breakers say top al-Qaida leader wants Iraq-bound royal – 'dead or alive'." -- Give me a break.

Psychics 'hired to find Bin Laden' - "It is claimed the ministry hoped positive results would allow it to use psychics to 'remotely view' Bin Laden's base and also to find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. However, after running up a bill of £18,000 of taxpayers' money, defence chiefs concluded there was 'little value' in using psychic powers in the defence of the nation and the research was taken no further." -- From the 'I can't make this shit up' pile.

Canada rules indefinite detention wrong - "Canada's Supreme Court struck down the government's right to detain foreign terrorism suspects indefinitely and without trial, ruling Friday that the system violates the country's bill of rights."

Affidavit: McVeigh had high-level help - "Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols says a high-ranking FBI official "apparently" was directing Timothy McVeigh in the plot to blow up a government building and might have changed the original target of the attack, according to a new affidavit filed in U.S. District Court in Utah. The official and other conspirators are being protected by the federal government "in a cover-up to escape its responsibility for the loss of life in Oklahoma," Nichols claims in a Feb. 9 affidavit. Documents that supposedly help back up his allegations have been sealed to protect information in them, such as Social Security numbers and dates of birth. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Utah had no comment on the allegations. The FBI and Justice Department in Washington, D.C., also declined comment."

Nichols Fingers FBI Agent Directing McVeigh in OKC Bombing By Name - "Though subsequent reports do not mention the accused agent by name, the Deseret Morning News identified the individual as Larry Potts, who was the lead FBI agent during the Ruby Ridge confrontation in 1992 and was also involved in the 51-day siege of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas in 1993."

Revealing X-ray machine set to scan Sky Harbor fliers - "The equipment has rankled privacy-protection groups because it can produce exceptionally clear X-ray images of the human body."

It Can Happen Here - "In light of the series of laws passed in Congress and precedents set by the Bush administration, people have good reason to doubt the future of democracy and the rule of law in America." -- The future ain't what it used to be..

Rev. Lonnie Latham - Hypocrisy and Corruption in the Pulpit
- "The Southern Baptist Convention is notable for its strongly held public positions on traditional moral values which include outspoken condemnatation of homosexuality and belief in 'wifely submission' in marriage. Latham himself is known in the Tulsa community for his preaching against homosexuality and his belief that homosexuality can be 'cured' through aggressive application of the Bible in sexual orientation reeducation programs. I can only imagine the joy of his congregation on Thursday when they heard on the local news that the most-righteous Rev. Latham was arrested in Oklahoma City for picking up a male prostitute who unfortunately turned out to be an undercover police officer. ... This story is both amusing and somewhat tragic, but what's truly remarkable about it is how often we've seen it repeated. It's become a cliche - the man of God who has an altar boy under his robes, a mistress in the choir or a gay lover working in the church office. And it's usually the most morally righteous and the most outspokenly critical of the sins of others who seem to be the most corrupt. It's as if their self-loathing drives them to direct their anger and hatred outwards towards others - often those who share the same prurient interests."

Misogyny 6, women 0 - "Mr Sarwar, a stonemason in his mid40s, appeared calm when he told a television channel that he had carried out God’s order to kill women who sinned. “I have no regrets. I just obeyed Allah’s commandment,” he said."

Protect the Children From Porn - "By all means, let's Protect The Children. Because that's what it's all about, right? It doesn't matter whose life gets mowed down in the process, as long as we are clear that it's all in the name of keeping kids innocent. Except we seem to be confusing innocence with ignorance. ... The prosecution claims she deliberately visited porn sites from the class computer and allowed the 12- and 13-year-olds to view the content. She claims -- and evidence proves -- the school computer got hit with a pop-up frenzy she didn't know how to stop."

Private Health Insurance Is Not the Answer - "Why are we keeping a hopeless, for-profit health insurance system alive? ... Despite the overwhelming evidence from other industrial countries -- and even domestic programs such as Medicare -- that government-run health plans are much more efficient, the U.S. political class seems to be on a mission to save private insurance."

Doctors’ personal beliefs can hinder care - "A disturbing number of doctors do not feel obligated to tell patients about medical options they oppose morally, such as abortion and teen birth control, and believe they have no duty to refer people elsewhere for such treatments, researchers say." -- How very sad.

Studies: Circumcision Reduces HIV Risk - "Scientists say conclusive data shows there is no question circumcision reduces men's chances of catching HIV by up to 60 percent - a finding experts are hailing as a major breakthrough in the fight against AIDS. Now, the question is how to put that fact to work to combat AIDS across Africa."

No "Go Pills"; Air Force Wants Sleep-Fighting Lamps - ""The more we understand about the body's 24-hour clock the more we will be able to override it," says Russell Foster, a circadian biologist at Imperial College London. "In 10 to 20 years we'll be able to pharmacologically turn sleep off."" -- That can't be a good thing.

Expert disputes storms' link to global warming - "Further study continues to show that hurricane activity occurs in cycles of 20 to 45 years, he said."

Google-ized - "Google's unofficial slogan is "Don't be Evil." It seems that such a slogan should be applied to oneself above all. Evil aside, Google has put itself in a position of, what can only be construed as, being a censor of information; for example, its decision to violate the openness of the internet by censoring Uruknet from its news service, collaboration with Chinese regime, and removing certain sites from google ads, such as controversial Ziopedia."

California plan would criminalize spanking - "A leading state lawmaker in California has introduced a proposal that would classify parents who place a careful swat on the bottom of their little one, enthralled in the pursuit of excitement during the "terrible twos," the same as a child abuse felon who beats a baby with an electrical cord."

While you slumber, your brain puts the world in order - "Ever wondered why sleeping on a problem works? It seems that as well as strengthening our memories, sleep also helps us to extract themes and rules from the masses of information we soak up during the day."

216 Million Americans Are Scientifically Illiterate (Part I) - "Okay, now let’s talk (dare I say rant?) about the 200 million Americans out there who cannot read a simple story in, say, Technology Review or the New York Times science section and understand even the basics of DNA or microchips or global warming. This level of science illiteracy may explain why over 40 percent of Americans do not believe in evolution and about 20 percent, when asked if the earth orbits the sun or vice versa, say it’s the sun that does the orbiting--placing these people in the same camp as the Inquisition that punished Galileo almost 400 years ago. It also explains the extraordinary disconnect between scientists and much of the public over issues the scientists think were settled long ago--never mind newer discoveries and research on topics such as the use of chimeras to study cancer, or pills that may extend life span by 30 or 40 percent. As Carl Sagan eloquently wrote in The Demon-Haunted World, ignorance reigns in our society at a moment when science is on the cusp of doing amazing and wonderful things, but also dangerous things. Ignorance, said Sagan, is not an option."

Spear-wielding chimps snack on skewered bushbabies - "In a revelation that destroys yet another cherished notion of human uniqueness, wild chimpanzees have been seen living in caves and hunting bushbabies with spears. It is the first time an animal has been seen using a tool to hunt a vertebrate."

New radiation warning--run for your life - "The International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Organization for Standardization want you to know when it's time to panic, so they've adding a person running and a skull and crossbones to the radiation warning symbol." -- Check out the a pic of the new symbol.

Medieval Muslims made stunning math breakthrough - "Magnificently sophisticated geometric patterns in medieval Islamic architecture indicate their designers achieved a mathematical breakthrough 500 years earlier than Western scholars, scientists said on Thursday. ... "Oh, it's absolutely stunning," Lu said in an interview. "They made tilings that reflect mathematics that were so sophisticated that we didn't figure it out until the last 20 or 30 years.""

Michael Jackson 'to convert to Islam' - "Michael Jackson could soon convert to Islam, according to his brother Jermaine. ... Michael and I and the word of God, we could do so much."

Quote of the Day
"Idiot population on the Earth is increasing at a frighteningly alarming rate."
~ S.L. Goldman

February 22, 2007

February 22, 2007

President Bush has increased terrorism - "A study on global terrorism has shown a sevenfold increase since President Bush attacked Iraq."

Update on the Empire - "Although Donald Rumsfeld once claimed that the United States is not imperialistic and doesn’t seek empires, what else are you going to call this global presence in 159 regions of the world? Do all these countries want U.S. troops on their soil? Is there really any reason why the United States still has 64,319 troops in Germany, 33,453 troops in Japan, and 10,449 troops in Italy – sixty years after World War II? And what are we doing with 1,521 troops in Spain, 414 troops in Honduras, and 347 troops in Australia? And why do we have 31 soldiers in Cote D’Ivoire? Cote D’What? Cote D’Where? How many Americans can locate Cote D’Ivoire on a map or have ever heard of it? How many even care? (For the record, Cote D’Ivoire is next to Burkina Faso.)"

Iran 'six months from mass uranium enrichment' - "Iran could be as little as six months away from being able to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, having mastered the technology since last August, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog warned in an interview published today. However, Mohamed ElBaradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general, stressed that Iran was still years away from developing a nuclear weapon."

Report says nuclear work ongoing in Iran - "The conclusion — while widely expected — was important because it could serve as the trigger for the council to start deliberating on new sanctions meant to punish Tehran for its intransigence over its nuclear program."

Iran drones 'can attack US ships' - "An Iranian website close to the Revolutionary Guard has said they have drones that can launch attacks on American warships in the Persian Gulf." -- Sounds awfully familiar.

Huge Fearmongering Billboards Urge Preparedness for A Terror Attack on 11/9/09 - "These rather fetchingly huge fearmongering billboards have been going up across America recently to advertise the Red Cross. Note that they interestingly place the date of a future "attack" as November 9th 2009, that is 11/9/09. Also note that the small print states the attack is to be a bio-chemical attack. Are you scared yet?" -- Check out the billboard.

BUSH ASKS FOR $2.9 TRILLION - "A budget battle is looming. The AP out of Washington, D. C. reports that President Bush has sent a whopping $2.9 trillion spending plan to a Democratic-controlled congress on Monday. He asked for a big increase in military spending, including billions more to fight the war in Iraq - and fewer dollars to turn the rest of government."

Tony Snow and White House Reporters Slam The ‘Hateful,’ ‘Polarized’ Blogosphere - "In a press roundtable at the National Press Club tonight, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow led a discussion with White House correspondents about the impact of the internet on their respective jobs. Their conclusion? They don’t like being challenged by blogs."

Atheist group takes on Bush initiative - "Annie Laurie Gaylor speaks with a soft voice, but her message catches attention: Keep God out of government. ... The court will decide whether taxpayers can sue over federal funding that the foundation believes promotes religion. It could be a major ruling for groups that fight to keep church and state separate. "What's at stake is the right to challenge the establishment of religion by the government," Gaylor said."

Criticizing religions that have offensive beliefs - "Problems arise because people think that their right not to be mistreated because they have a faith extends to a right not to have their faith itself criticized."

Assassin was 'obeying Allah' - "A PAKISTANI minister and women's activist has been shot dead by an Islamic extremist for refusing to wear the full veil."

Egypt blogger jailed for insulting Islam - "An Alexandria court convicted an Egyptian blogger on Thursday for insulting both Islam and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak and sentenced him to four years in jail over his writings on the Internet."

Men-free tourism island planned - "Iran plans a female-only island to boost tourism in a northwest province, the Tehran-e Emrouz newspaper on Wednesday quoted a local official as saying. ... Under Iran's strict Islamic law, mixing with men in public is forbidden. Strict sex segregation actually protects women rather than restricting their rights, officials argue."

What the World Trade Center Building Designers Said: Before and After 9/11 - "An analysis of contradictions in statements by Building Designer Leslie Robertson"

Fever claim on global warming - "GLOBAL warming will take a toll on children's health, according to a new report showing hospital admissions for fever soar as days get hotter."

Steve Jobs, Proud to Be Nonunion - "But don't you love it when a billionaire who sends his own kids to private school applies half-baked business platitudes to complex problems like schools? I'm surprised Jobs didn't suggest we outsource education to the same nonunion Chinese factories that build his iPods. As someone who sends his kids to a struggling San Francisco public school (where 60 percent of the students are eligible for free lunches), I know for a fact that Jobs' ideas about unions are absurd, he's-on-a-different-planet bullshit. The solution, Jobs believes, is to treat schools like businesses: Empower the principal to fire bad teachers like a CEO. ... The issues are many and complex, and yes, there is a problem with firing incompetent or indifferent teachers, but it is not the No. 1 reason schools are failing. It's not even in the top 10."

Reports: Test scores, grades don't jibe - "Large percentages of high school seniors are posting weak scores on national math and reading tests even though more of them are taking challenging courses and getting higher grades in school, say two new government reports released Thursday."

Gambia's president claims he has cure for AIDS - "“Whatever you do, there are bound to be skeptics, but I can tell you my method is foolproof,” President Yahya Jammeh told an Associated Press reporter, surrounded by bodyguards in his presidential compound. “Mine is not an argument, mine is a proof. It’s a declaration. I can cure AIDS and I will.”"

The Big Fat Joke of our Dietary Recommendations in the US - "Slowly but surely we have modified our diet and more calories now, than ever before, 73% in fact, come from plant-based sources; and we've grown obese, diabetic and disabled with increased incidence of degenerative disease. We're also a nation slowly becoming dependent on prescription medications to relieve the symptoms of our poor dietary habits while we're repeatedly told our health would improve if we just ate less meat, eggs, butter, saturated fat, and cholesterol. Folks, these are not the problems in our diet."

New Warning for Attention Deficit Drugs - "Drugs prescribed to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder will include guides to alert patients and parents of the risks of mental and heart problems, including sudden death."

Cities Can Make You Skinny - "City dwellers living in areas evenly balanced between residences and commercial use had significantly lower BMIs compared to New Yorkers who lived in mostly residential or commercial areas."

Wimbledon agrees to equal prize money for women - "After years of holding out against equal prize money, Wimbledon yielded to public pressure Thursday and agreed to pay female players as much as male players at the world's most prestigious tennis tournament."

Water Mysteriously Absent from Extrasolar Planets' Atmospheres - "Both planets' spectra are missing water along with carbon monoxide and methane—at least some of which researchers had expected to find."

Spitzer Sees Light From Faraway Worlds - "NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has captured for the first time enough light from planets outside our solar system, known as exoplanets, to identify signatures of molecules in their atmospheres. The landmark achievement is a significant step toward being able to detect possible life on rocky exoplanets and comes years before astronomers had anticipated."

Teen makes mammoth fossil find in Fla. park - "Paleontology and archaeology experts have confirmed the find, and recent digging at the site has turned up teeth and bones from a second mammoth, giant sloths, camels, turtles with shells up to six feet long, saber-toothed cats and giant armadillos the size of Volkswagen Beetles."

Quote of the Day
"Of those who say nothing, few are silent."
~ Thomas Neill

February 20, 2007

February 20, 2007

US 'will retaliate if ships are targeted' - "The United States stands to retaliate against Iran in case Tehran targets the "innocent passage of ships," the commander of the Fifth Fleet has said. "Although our presence in the Arabian Gulf is for defensive and not offensive purposes, the US will take military action if ships are attacked or if countries in the region are targeted or US troops come under direct attack," Patrick Walsh yesterday told journalists in Bahrain."

Iranian official: Tehran wants to renew talks on nuclear program - "Meawnwhile, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Tuesday called on Western nations to stop their own enrichment programs if they wanted his country to stop its own and return to negotiations."

Court: Detainees can't challenge cases - "Guantanamo Bay detainees may not challenge their detention in U.S. courts, a federal appeals court said Tuesday in a ruling upholding a key provision of a law at the center of President Bush's anti-terrorism plan."

Bush: Bin Laden is in Pakistan - "US President George W Bush believes that Osama bin Laden and other top leaders of al Qaeda could be in Pakistan. "

How Do You Know You've Lost a War - "How do you know when you've lost a war? Is it when the country you are supposedly fighting to save decides to start fighting one another and shooting your soldiers, too? Is it after you've spent more than a quarter-trillion dollars on the war and it only gets worse? Have you lost the war when a large majority of the occupied country wants you to leave? How about when the people being occupied, more than 60 percent, think it is acceptable to kill American soldiers? Maybe the war jig is up when a plurality of your own soldiers lose faith in the mission and their commander-in-chief? For most reality-based and cognitively viable individuals, any of the above would be a pretty solid indicator that you've lost the war. George W. Bush and Congressional Republicans, however; see it all as signs of impending victory."

U.S. Congressman calls for war critics to be hung - ""'Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged.'""

Homemade Bombs Most Feared by FBI - "Now, Yeager says, the "Mother of Satan" explosives are considered the most likely weapon that terrorists will use against the U.S., more so than a nuclear or radiological "dirty" bomb."

Republican calls for email and IM monitoring - "A bill introduced to the US House of Representatives would require ISPs to record all users' surfing activity, IM conversations and email traffic indefinitely. The bill, dubbed the Safety Act by sponsor Lamar Smith, a republican congressman from Texas, would impose fines and a prison term of one year on ISPs which failed to keep full records."

Atheists under attack - "What should have been a civilized discourse on this complex issue amounted to an audacious atheist-bashing session, which was in no small part due to the fact that there were no atheists present to offer a counterpoint. The content of this “discussion” included repeated insinuations that atheists should “shut up” and keep their beliefs to themselves and that “atheists are the intolerant ones” rather than the Christian majority."

Pastor with 666 tattoo claims to be divine - "But Jose Luis de Jesus Miranda is not your typical minister. De Jesus, or "Daddy" as his thousands of followers call him, does not merely pray to God: He says he is God." -- Christ in a basket.

German Bible Goes Politically Correct - "A new German translation of the Bible is aimed at ridding the Holy Scriptures of their misogynist and anti-Semitic traits as well as flashing out the relationship between the poor and the privileged."

Angels singing caught on tape? - "It happened supernaturally. There's no other explanation."

Anglicans urge action on same-sex conflict - "Anglican leaders demanded yesterday that the U.S. Episcopal Church unequivocally bar official prayers for same-sex couples and stop consecrating any more homosexual bishops to undo the damage North Americans have caused within the Anglican faith."

Gay Couples Get Licenses in N.J. - "This is as close to marriage as we're going to get for right now."

NYC mayor rejects Catholic condom-nation - "New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday defended the city’s free condom program as a “real world” tactic to fight HIV and AIDS. Catholic leaders publicly chastised city officials for the program Thursday, saying it was immoral. They charged City Hall with failing to protect “the moral tone” of the community by encouraging “inappropriate sexual activity.”" -- Jesus.

Terrorists Chip In - "Implanting radio ID tags in U.S. passports makes stealing personal data easier than ever."

Teen 'sport killings' of homeless on the rise - "Criminologists call these wilding sprees "sport killing," -- largely middle-class teens, with no criminal records, assaulting the homeless with bats, golf clubs, paintball guns."

Humans' beef with livestock: a warmer planet - "Livestock are responsible for 18 percent of greenhouse-gas emissions as measured in carbon dioxide equivalent, reports the FAO. This includes 9 percent of all CO2 emissions, 37 percent of methane, and 65 percent of nitrous oxide. Altogether, that's more than the emissions caused by transportation. The latter two gases are particularly troubling – even though they represent far smaller concentrations in atmosphere than CO2, which remains the main global warming culprit. But methane has 23 times the global warming potential (GWP) of CO2 and nitrous oxide has 296 times the warming potential of carbon dioxide."

Which Babies Are Real Americans? - "Today’s immigration debate extends beyond the goal of limiting the rights and humanity of immigrants: It’s about controlling who may be considered an American. Anti-immigrant activists contend that American citizenship is not about where you were born, but who gave birth to you. By extension, they believe—the 14th amendment notwithstanding—that the government must limit the reproductive capacities of immigrant women. Thus, immigrant women of childbearing age are central targets of unjust immigration reform policies."

Texas expected to approve shooting first in self-defence - "In a shoot first, ask questions later approach to personal safety, state lawmakers are weighing a Bill that would give Texans the right to use deadly force as a first resort when they feel their safety is threatened."

Lead-laden lunchboxes OK'd by government - "In 2005, when government scientists tested 60 soft, vinyl lunchboxes, they found that one in five contained amounts of lead that medical experts consider unsafe -- and several had more than 10 times hazardous levels. But that's not what they told the public. Instead, the Consumer Product Safety Commission released a statement that they found "no instances of hazardous levels." And they refused to release their actual test results, citing regulations that protect manufacturers from having their information released to the public."

Surgeons who play video games more skilled: study - "Video game skills translated into higher scores on a day-and-half-long surgical skills test, and the correlation was much higher than the surgeon's length of training or prior experience in laparoscopic surgery, the study said."

Japanese scientists grow teeth from single cells - "After growing them, they found their structures had matured into the components that make teeth, including dentin, enamel, dental pulp, blood vessels, and periodontal ligaments."

Paranoid androids 'in 10 years' - "However, the real thing will be available far closer to home in just 10 years, scientists predicted yesterday. They now claim it is essential to give robots their own emotions if they are to be capable of running independently and efficiently enough to take on a variety of domestic tasks."

Getting Ready for Deep Impact - "A new generation of technology will soon allow scientists to detect thousands more potential threats from errant asteroids. But a little over two years after perhaps the biggest asteroid scare of all time, no planetary defense plan is in place nor an indication of who would put one into effect."

Sexed-up images in media hurt young girls: study - "Inescapable media images of sexed-up girls and women posing as adolescents can cause psychological and even physical harm to adolescents and young women, a study in the US has warned."

Quote of the Day
"Not all true things are to be said to all men."
~ Bishop Clement of Alexandria

February 19, 2007

February 19, 2007

Iraq's death toll is far worse than our leaders admit - "The government in Iraq claimed last month that since the 2003 invasion between 40,000 and 50,000 violent deaths have occurred. Few have pointed out the absurdity of this statement. There are three ways we know it is a gross underestimate. First, if it were true, including suicides, South Africa, Colombia, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Russia have experienced higher violent death rates than Iraq over the past four years. If true, many North and South American cities and Sub-Saharan Africa have had a similar murder rate to that claimed in Iraq. For those of us who have been in Iraq, the suggestion that New Orleans is more violent seems simply ridiculous."

Iran - Ready to attack - "American military operations for a major conventional war with Iran could be implemented any day. They extend far beyond targeting suspect WMD facilities and will enable President Bush to destroy Iran's military, political and economic infrastructure overnight using conventional weapons."

737 U.S. Military Bases = Global Empire - "With more than 2,500,000 U.S. personnel serving across the planet and military bases spread across each continent, it's time to face up to the fact that our American democracy has spawned a global empire."

Where Your Income Tax Really Goes - "What you pay (or don’t pay) by April 17, 2007, goes to the federal funds portion of the budget. The government practice of combining trust and federal funds began during the Vietnam War, thus making the human needs portion of the budget seem larger and the military portion smaller." -- Check out the charts.

Obama to Haaretz: U.S. must help protect Israel - "U.S. Senator Barack Obama (Illinois), who is competing for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, told Haaretz yesterday that the United States should help protect Israel from its sworn enemies."

The Voice of the White House - "“There may be a concept of freedom of the press but the American media is certainly a controlled entity. As much of the print and television media is controlled by Jewish interests we never see criticism of Israel but we do see attacks on their enemies, such as Iraq and Iran. If a Palestinian sets off a bomb in Israel, the press is filled with it but if the IDF is thrashed in battles with the Hezbollah or sets fire to an Arab day care center, it never sees the light of day on this side of the Atlantic. Members of AIPAC stealing secrets? Back page if at all. But “evil Iran” (who might bomb Israel with an atomic weapon) is constantly on the front page."

Clinton urges start of Iraq pullout in 90 days - "U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, the early front-runner for the Democratic presidential nomination, has called for a 90-day deadline to start pulling American troops from Iraq."

Russia threatens to quit arms treaty - "Russia threatened on Thursday to pull out of a landmark nuclear arms control treaty unless the US backed away from plans to install its missile defence shield in Eastern Europe."

Dems go after Attorney General Gonzales - "The point of the Democratic attack is dismissal of seven U.S. attorneys, all involved in probes of public corruption."

Driver’s License Emerges as Crime-Fighting Tool, but Privacy Advocates Worry - "Other biometric databases are more useful for now. But DNA and fingerprint information, for instance, are not routinely collected from the general public. Most adults, on the other hand, have a driver’s license with a picture on it, meaning that the relevant databases for facial-recognition analysis already exist. And while the current technology requires good-quality photographs, the day may not be far off when images from ordinary surveillance cameras will routinely help solve crimes. Critics say the databases may therefore also represent a profound threat to privacy. “What is the D.M.V.?” asked Lee Tien, a lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a privacy advocate. “Does it license motor vehicles and drivers? Or is it really an identification arm of law enforcement?”"

Russia Proves 'Peak Oil' is a Misleading Zionist Scam - "Profoundly disturbing hard intelligence like this does not sit well with the frantic cries of western academic shills and lobbyists, determined to convince you all that the end of the oil world is nigh, or, more accurately, that America faces an imminent catastrophe when global production capacity "Peaks", i.e. when world demand for crude oil finally exceeds the rate at which we can physically pump the required product out of the ground."

Tensions high in Mediterranean over oil field - "Warnings and threats backed by gunboat diplomacy have electrified the eastern Mediterranean region, where news of a possible major oil and natural gas field has created visions of unexpected wealth."

Study sees harmful hunt for extra oil - "All the world’s extra oil supply is likely to come from expensive and environmentally damaging unconventional sources within 15 years, according to a detailed study."

Christians not being persecuted - "In order to believe bringing Christianity back into public schools would increase the morality of kids, you have to believe two equally false things: First, that being Christian makes someone moral, and secondly, that non-Christians are inherently immoral. We often find examples of Christians doing immoral things and of non-Christians leading exemplary lives. Faith is not a cure-all for social ills, and the premise is shaky at best. I'm always amazed at the Christian sense of persecution when they are required to follow the same rules as non-Christians. Christians are not being persecuted. The idea is laughable. ... Christians aren't being persecuted. They've been privileged. They've been privileged for so long that they must feel picked-on whenever they are subjected to a level playing field."

Anti-evolution memo stirs controversy - "The Anti-Defamation League is calling on state Rep. Ben Bridges to apologize for a memo distributed under his name that says the teaching of evolution should be banned in public schools because it is a religious deception stemming from an ancient Jewish sect."

Why Creationism and Intelligent Design Do Not Belong in Public Schools - "Creationism and ID are not science, as they violate the scientific method. Creationism, for example, begins with its conclusion. A second grade student knows that scientists begin with evidence, examine it, and attempt to draw conclusions from it. Creationists begin with the Bible and attempt to find evidence to legitimize it."

The real theory, fueled by evidence, and the stupid one, powered by vitriol - "There are really two theories of evolution. There is the genuine scientific theory, and there is the talk-radio pretend version, designed not to enlighten but to deceive and enrage. The talk-radio version had a packed town hall up in arms at the "Why Evolution Is Stupid" lecture. In this version of the theory, scientists supposedly believe that all life is accidental, a random crash of molecules that magically produced flowers, horses and humans — a scenario as unlikely as a tornado in a junkyard assembling a 747. Humans come from monkeys in this theory, just popping into existence one day. The evidence against Darwin is overwhelming, the purveyors of talk-radio evolution rail, yet scientists embrace his ideas because they want to promote atheism. ... Real evolutionary theory explains how life forms change across generations by passing on helpful traits to their offspring; a process that, after millions of years, gradually transforms one species into another. This does not happen randomly but through nature's tendency to reward the most successful organisms and kill the rest. This is why germs grow resistant to antibiotics and why some turtles are sea animals and others survive quite nicely in the desert, and why dinosaurs — and more than 99 percent of all other species that have ever lived on Earth — are extinct."

U.S. Beliefs in Pseudoscience Worry Experts - "A panel of researchers expressed concern that people are giving increasing credence to pseudoscience such as the visits of space aliens, lucky numbers and horoscopes. In addition, these researchers noted an increase in college students who report they are "unsure" about creationism as compared with evolution."

CARDINAL GEORGE PELL: Keeping a cool head amid warming hysteria - "What we were seeing from the doomsayers was an induced dose of mild hysteria -- semi-religious if you like, but dangerously close to superstition."

Warmest January ever recorded worldwide in 2007: US scientists - "World temperatures in January were the highest ever recorded for that month of the year, US government scientists said."

McCain: Roe V. Wade Should Be Overturned - "Republican presidential candidate John McCain, looking to improve his standing with the party's conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned."

Woman Becomes Quadruple Amputee After Giving Birth - "Claudia Mejia gave birth eight and a half months ago at Orlando Regional South Seminole. She was transported to Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando where her arms and legs were amputated. She was told she had streptococcus, a flesh eating bacteria, and toxic shock syndrome, but no further explanation was given. The hospital, in a letter, wrote that if she wanted to find out exactly what happened, she would have to sue them."

Women will be paid to donate eggs for science - "Women will be paid to donate their eggs for scientific research in a landmark decision that will prompt a fierce backlash from leading figures in the medical world."

Children's TV 'is linked to cancer, autism, dementia' - "It is the number of hours and the age at which they start which produces the biological effects. It is because of the medium, not the message, that these effects are occurring."

FCC report: TV violence should be regulated - "Television networks are free to sprinkle their programs with shootings, slashings, torture and other gore because the government has no regulatory authority over violent programming. But a draft report being circulated at the Federal Communications Commission says Congress can change that, without violating the First Amendment."

Yahoo endorses end to copy protection - "Software that prevents people from copying digital music may be gone from more than half of the songs offered by Yahoo Inc.'s music service by the end of the year, Vice President Dave Goldberg said this week."

Robot-driven cars on roads by 2030: scientist - " Scientists are developing vehicles which will not only be driven by robots independently, but will be able to operate in a simulated city environment."

Science Finding Ways to Regrow Fingers - "Researchers are trying to find ways to regrow fingers _ and someday, even limbs _ with tricks that sound like magic spells from a Harry Potter novel."

So men are the germier sex? Well, think again - "Women have three to four times the number of bacteria in, on and around their desks, phones, computers, keyboards, drawers and personal items as men do, according to a new study from University of Arizona germ guru Charles Gerba, professor of soil, water and environmental sciences."

Quote of the Day
"You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."
~ Abraham Lincoln

February 15, 2007

February 15, 2007

Once the most beloved country in the world, the US is now the most hated - "Be patient, said the sage. America is like a pendulum, swinging from good to bad, from bad to good, and before long it will swing again. He was right, and with luck, perhaps the pendulum is almost ready to swing back once more. Whatever we may think in our moments of despair, America is still a marvellous and lovable country whose patriotism can still be touching: try restraining a tear when you listen to Irving Berlin's setting of the words on the Statue of Liberty - the ultimate American text, with music by the emblematic American immigrant. The Great Republic is great still, full still of decent clever people trying to be good. Even now, it is as free as can be expected, and its democracy is fundamentally honest and robust. It laughs at itself, criticises itself and dislikes itself just as much as we do. All it needs is someone with a key to unlock that Idea again, and I hope it will be that next president, whoever it is, even now gearing up for the election. Please God, may it be a poetic president."

Iraq invasion plan 'delusional' - "The US invasion plan for Iraq envisaged that only 5,000 US troops would remain in Iraq by December 2006, declassified Central Command documents show. The material also shows that the US military projected a stable, pro-US and democratic Iraq by that time. The August 2002 material was obtained by the National Security Archive (NSA). Its officials said the plans were based on delusional assumptions. The US currently has some 132,000 troops in the violence-torn state."

Auditors: Billions wasted in Iraq war - "The U.S. government is at risk of squandering significantly more money in an Iraq war and reconstruction effort that has already wasted or otherwise overcharged taxpayers billions of dollars, federal investigators said Thursday."

Giants meet to counter US power - "India, China and Russia account for 40 per cent of the world’s population, a fifth of its economy and more than half of its nuclear warheads. Now they appear to be forming a partnership to challenge the US-dominated world order that has prevailed since the end of the Cold War."

The new Bush strategy: Secure Baghdad and attack Iran - "All is not going well in Iraq or Middle East. Time and patience are running out on President George W. Bush, and he is running out of patience with Iran and Iranian proxies in Iraq. Defeat is “not an option”, but going for broke is. Mr Bush knows that Iraq is beyond salvage and its civil war is beyond reversal by US. If so, why ask for more money, more troops and more sacrifice. The answer is, Iran."

Bush on Iraq civil war: Hard to give assessment 'living in this beautiful White House' - ""President Bush said Wednesday he's convinced that the Iranian government is supplying deadly weapons to fighters in Iraq, even if he can't prove the orders came from the highest levels in Tehran," the Associated Press is reporting."

Assassinations, Terrorist Strikes and Ethnic Cleansing: Bush's Shadow War in Iraq - "The constant sectarian violence in Iraq is not purely of domestic origin -- much of it is directed by covert U.S. and British military: Here is Bush's other war in Iraq."

U.S. general: No evidence of Iran giving arms to Iraqis - "A top U.S. general said today there was no evidence the Iranian government was supplying Iraqi insurgents with highly lethal roadside bombs, apparently contradicting claims by other U.S. military and administration officials."

Envoy: Iran Poses No Threat to Israel - "Ali Larijani, speaking at a forum that gathered the world's top security officials, said Iran doesn't have aggressive intentions toward any nation."

Skepticism Over Iraq Haunts U.S. Iran Policy - "Skeptical members of Congress have questioned administration charges of Tehran's support for Iraqi insurgents and President Bush's insistence that his plans for dealing with Iran remain purely diplomatic. The administration, conscious of its low credibility, believes it has gone out of its way to convince doubters that Iran is not Iraq all over again."

The mother of all genocides - "There are startling similarities that the situation in Iraq bears with those of the conflict in Bosnia and the Rwandan genocide. As if genocide of its own people were not enough, Iraq holds the seeds to the greatest regional conflict since World War II. While the possibility of a civil war is often mentioned, one grim specter is seldom mentioned, one with bleak reminders from the previous century, that of genocide."

Problem With A Dictator? - "You could be young, either a student or unemployed, or you could be middle-aged and employed, but you all share the same problem - your country is run by a dictator. ... From now on it shouldn't be a problem. Everything you need to know is in a book called How To Organise Non-Violent Struggle - 50 Crucial Points."

The Road Map to Despotism - "Editor’s note: Despite spending an estimated $80 million, the government was unable to prove that Dr. Sami Al-Arian was a terrorist, yet he remains in prison and his sentence will likely be extended. Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges warns that the abusive imprisonment of this nonviolent Palestinian dissenter does not bode well for the rest of us."

Jail for German Holocaust denier - "Ernst Zuendel was convicted of 14 counts of inciting racial hatred and for denying that the Nazis killed six million Jews during World War II."

Soldiers Back From War Fight Different Battle - "Soldiers who were paralyzed, suffered brain damage and lost limbs owe the government enlistment bonus money. They must pay the money back because they didn’t fulfill their tour of duty." -- What the fuck?

Military Accepting More Ex-Cons - "More recruits with criminal records, including felony convictions, are being allowed to join the U.S. Army and Marine Corps, as the armed services cope with a dwindling pool of volunteers during wartime."

The Creeping Fascism of Global Warming Hysteria - "The hoax of the doctrine of man-made global warming that is being foisted upon the world by decree, and the junk science that is manipulated to support it, represents a creeping fascism whose agenda to stifle open debate betrays the fact that climate change hysteria is a farce intended to crush freedoms and further centralize global power."

Radio Station Cries 'Enough' -- "Won't Quote From Certain News Stories Relying on Unnamed Officials - "The news director of the public radio station in Santa Fe, New Mexico, has directed his staff to "ignore national stories quoting unnamed sources." He also called on other news outlets to join this policy."

The Father, son and holy toast - "Throughout much of human history, stories of the miraculous have been a dime a dozen; very little was understood, and ignorant humans were perpetually running across inexplicable events that could only be the work of unseen forces. As science erases ignorance, “miraculous events” become increasingly rare, but those who want to see miracles will always find them."

Blasphemy Site 'Playing Texas Hold 'Em With Eternity' - "The "ultimate sin," in his view, is denying the Holy Spirit, based on the biblical injunction, "Whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin" (Mark 3:29). The site asks people to videotape themselves saying "I deny the Holy Spirit" and to post the videos on YouTube. ... "But to me, it's akin to dousing yourself with gasoline and running around screaming 'there is no God' while waving a sparkler.""They're playing Texas Hold 'Em with eternity and are holding a lousy hand," Barber added. "You can only pity the attention-starved boneheads behind this wickedness.""

Death Certificates on Abortions Proposed - "Legislation introduced in Tennessee would require death certificates for aborted fetuses, which likely would create public records identifying women who have abortions."

Flying the cleanly skies? - "Without a viable jet-fuel alternative, air travel in 30 years may be only for the wealthy."

Threat Detection System Will Monitor Your Every Move - "Tiny cameras the size of a fingernail linked to specialist computers are to be used to monitor the behaviour of airline passengers as part of the war on terrorism. Cameras fitted to seat-backs will record every twitch, blink, facial expression or suspicious movement before sending the data to onboard software which will check it against individual passenger profiles."

Toll Road Checkpoints to Deal With Dissenters - "Tony Blair's toll road surveillance and taxation grid is to be enforced by a new cadre of jackbooted inspectors who will be given powers to stop and search vehicles where owners are suspected to have removed their tracking tags. Arguing with the officials will be punishable by a 6 month prison sentence, according to a leaked government memo."

NFL rejects Border Patrol ad - "The National Football League refused to run a recruitment ad for the U.S. Border Patrol in last week's Super Bowl program, saying it was "controversial" because it mentioned duties such as fighting terrorism and stopping drugs and illegal aliens at the border."

Tapping Brains for Future Crimes - "The finding raises issues about the application of such tools for screening suspected terrorists -- as well as for predicting future dangerousness more generally. Are we closer than ever to the crime-prediction technology of Minority Report?"

Diss a 'gay'? Go to jail! - "Two Christians in Australia have been indicted for criticizing Islam, and another for criticizing Zionism. A filmmaker has been threatened with arrest for using the word "homosexual" rather than "gay." Now a German priest faces jail time for publicly criticizing abortionists, and in Holland, "fornicators" and "adulterers" are protected classes and cannot be criticized. All courtesy of the concept of federal "hate crimes" legislation, which unless defeated soon could be mandatory in the United States, warns a rising chorus of critics."

Teacher Convicted in Porn Case - "She was convicted last month of exposing seventh-grade students to pornography on her classroom computer. She contended the images were inadvertently thrust onto the screen by pornographers' unseen spyware and adware programs. Prosecutors dispute that. But her argument has made her a cause celebre among some technology experts, who say what happened to her could happen to anyone."

RFID 'Powder' - World's Smallest RFID Tag - "The world's smallest and thinnest RFID tags were introduced yesterday by Hitachi. Tiny miracles of miniaturization, these RFID chips (Radio Frequency IDentification chips) measure just 0.05 x 0.05 millimeters." -- Check out the pictures.

U.S. one of worst places for kids - "The United States and Britain ranked at the bottom of a UN survey of child welfare in 21 wealthy countries that assessed everything from infant mortality to whether children ate dinner with their parents."

Housing sales fall in 40 states in 4Q - "The National Association of Realtors report showed that the biggest declines were in former boom areas."

Toyota fears U.S. backlash over gains - "Toyota executives have publicly downplayed the importance of predictions that the Japan-based company will pass General Motors Corp. this year as the world's largest automaker. But the Toyota report says the company could face criticism because its U.S. sales are increasing while Detroit's automakers are losing sales and shuttering plants."

Mental health bill moves forward in Congress - "A bill that would require health insurers to cover more of the costs of treating mental health conditions moved forward in Congress on Wednesday with wide backing from employers and insurers."

Pharm Animals Crank Out Drugs - "With its tranquil ponds and rolling fields, the GTC Biotherapeutics farm in Charlton, Massachusetts, looks like a typical pastoral retreat. But its 1,400 goats don't produce any butter or cheese. Instead, the animals are sophisticated drug incubators, with millions of dollars of potential profit accumulating in their udders each day."

Researchers identify genes linked to diabetes - "Scientists announced yesterday the discovery of important genetic clues to diabetes, opening a new chapter in the study of the fast-growing disease."

Steer Clear of Windows Vista Basic - "Windows Vista Home Basic could be the most pointless edition of Windows that Microsoft has ever released."

Start-up demos quantum computer - "About a year from now, banks, pharmaceutical companies and other large institutions will be able to rent time on a computer that calculates by studying the behavior of a niobium atom, according to D-Wave Systems."

Scientists dubious of quantum computer claims - "Quantum computing is such an elusive goal that even the company claiming to have the "world's first commercial quantum computer" acknowledged it isn't entirely sure the machine is performing true quantum calculations."

Kansas repeals science guidelines questioning evolution - "Kansas has repealed public school science guidelines questioning the theory of evolution that brought the state international ridicule, but educators aren't sure how long it will be before the decision is overturned."

Scientist: Frog Could Be 25M Years Old - "A Mexican researcher announced the rare find of a tiny tree frog completely preserved in amber on Wednesday that he estimates lived about 25 million years ago."

Fintastic! Dolphin fitted with artificial tail - "Fuji's tail fin was attacked by a mystery disease and four years ago two thirds of her tail fin had to be amputated. But thanks to an artificial fin developed by vets and a tyre manufacturer, Fuji is back in the water."

The Sun: A Great Ball Of Iron? - "Manuel believes a supernova rocked our area of the Milky Way galaxy some five billion years ago, giving birth to all the heavenly bodies that populate the solar system. Analyses of meteorites reveal that all primordial helium is accompanied by "strange xenon," he says, adding that both helium and strange xenon came from the outer layer of the supernova that created the solar system. Helium and strange xenon are also seen together in Jupiter."

Sex toys are like prostitution? - "According to the Eleventh Circuit, Lawrence, which struck down a Texas anti-sodomy law, limited its holding to "private" activity between sexual partners. The Alabama law, on the other hand, prohibits the sale of sex toys--a "public, commercial activity." Reasoning that the sale of sex toys was more similar to "prostitution" than to private, consensual sex, the Eleventh Circuit upheld the Alabama law."

Where the Stars Hide Their Money - "U2, the Rolling Stones, movie stars, sports figures and a host of corporations have turned to an unlikely accountant, the Netherlands, to help them avoid paying taxes on multimillion dollar profits in their home countries."

Hollywood making Milli Vanilli movie - "Disgraced pop duo Milli Vanilli will soon get a movie made about their less-than-spectacular career, following in the cinematic steps of such icons as Ray Charles and Johnny Cash." -- Definitely the Fall of Humanity.

Quote of the Day
"Once a government is committed to the principle of silencing the voice of opposition, it has only one way to go, and that is down the path of increasingly repressive measures, until it becomes a source of terror to all its citizens and creates a country where everyone lives in fear."
~ Harry S. Truman