March 30, 2007

March 30, 2007

Blair: Britain Won't Negotiate With Iran - "Prime Minister Tony Blair said Thursday that Britain would not negotiate over British sailors and marines held hostage by Iran. In an interview with ITV News, Blair again called for the unconditional return of the 15 Royal Navy personnel who were seized by Iranian authorities last week."

'We were torturing people for no reason' - "The results of the hangings, shacklings and prolonged stress positions - sometimes for hours - were devastating. "You take a healthy guy and you turn him into a cripple, at least for a period of time," Lagouranis told me. "I don't care what Alberto Gonzales says. That's torture.""

Suspect at Guantanamo Claims Torture - ""From the time I was arrested five years ago, they have been torturing me. It happened during interviews. One time they tortured me one way, and another time they tortured me in a different way," al-Nashiri said, according to the transcript. "I just said those things to make the people happy. They were very happy when I told them those things.""

Congress tells Bush: Get us out of Iraq - "A defiant, Democratic-controlled Senate approved legislation Thursday calling for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq within a year, propelling Congress closer to a wartime veto confrontation with President Bush."

Blogging with Bush - "In trying to win support for his escalation in Iraq, President Bush was reduced to quoting two bloggers in Baghdad -- who turned out to be brothers he once met at the White House -- and their comments were more than three weeks old. Has it come to this?"

Israel's Olmert Fights Publication Of War Probe Findings - "Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert established the Winograd Commission to probe the government's execution of last year's war with Lebanon's Hezbollah, but now he is intent on making sure its findings never see the light of day."

U.S.: China cyberspace, outer-space war gains impress - ""The scope, though not yet the scale of these investments, is consistent with global aspirations, but by most assessments, is excessive in relation to China's regional security needs," said Schneider in remarks similar to Pentagon complaints." -- Um, Pot. Kettle. Black.

America unprepared for 'likely' nuke attack - "The most extensive study of the effects of nuclear detonations in four major U.S. cities paints a grim picture of millions of deaths, overwhelmed hospitals and loss of command-and-control capability by government."

Face the fear, people - "It's fine for me to protest, as long as the cops don't beat me down. It's fine for me to write my congressperson, so long as I don't piss someone off and have someone in a suit with a gun and handcuffs knocking at my door. It's fine to argue with my Bush-lovin' neighbor, as long as tensions aren't too high and one of us doesn't end up in the morgue. We're afraid of what might be coming to us if we act, and we're afraid of what we might do if we’re confronted."

‘Ice’ becomes drug enforcement nightmare - "In the last few years, through arrests and laws restricting chemicals used to make methamphetamine, authorities were able to dramatically reduce meth labs in the United States. But now, those efforts around the country are being undercut by Mexican drug traffickers, who are mass-producing ice in big labs south of the border, then smuggling it throughout the U.S."

Somalia battles called worst in 15 years - "Insurgents shot down a helicopter gunship in Somalia's capital and mortar shells slammed into a hospital Friday in the worst fighting seen in this beleaguered capital in more than 15 years."

Teacher-Sex Scandal Spurs Cries Of Racism - "Both women are white. The boys — six in all — are black. ... Some blacks shudder to think what would have happened if the teachers were black men and the students were white girls."

Students give up social networks for Lent - "For some, it's chocolate. For others, it's coffee or cigarettes. But as this Easter approaches, some young and devout Christians are anxious to return to what they gave up for Lent: Internet sites Facebook and MySpace."

Student punished for spaghetti beliefs - "But the disciplinary action has provoked controversy – because the student says that the ban violates his rights, as the pirate costume is part of his religion. Bryan Killian says that he follows the Pastafarian religion, and that as a crucial part of his faith, he must wear 'full pirate regalia' as prescribed in the holy texts of Pastafarianism. The school, however, say that his pirate garb was disruptive. Pastafarians follow the Flying Spaghetti Monster (pictured), and believe that the world was created by the touch of his noodly appendage. Furthermore, they acknowledge pirates as being 'absolute divine beings', and stress that the worldwide decline in the number of pirates has directly led to global warming."

US 'no longer technology king' - "The US is now ranked seventh in the body's league table measuring the impact of technology on the development of nations. A deterioration of the political and regulatory environment in the US prompted the fall, the report said. The top spot went for the first time to Denmark, followed by Sweden."

Former Christian Right Homophobe Sees the Error of His Ways - "Religious right-wing activist Joe Murray was drawn to the American Family Association because of its "prolife" positions -- and soon he started bashing gays without giving it "much thought.""

Schlafly cranks up agitation at Bates - "For nearly two hours, she belittled the feminist movement as "teaching women to be victims," decried intellectual men as "liberal slobs" and argued that feminism "is incompatible with marriage and motherhood." ... "By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape," she said."

Bill to ban smoking in cars advances - "SB7, proposed by Sen. Jenny Oropeza, D-Carson (Los Angeles County), would make it an infraction punishable by a fine of $100 to smoke a cigarette, cigar or pipe in a vehicle containing anyone under 18."

Does Maya calendar predict 2012 apocalypse? - "With humanity coming up fast on 2012, publishers are helping readers gear up and count down to this mysterious — some even call it apocalyptic — date that ancient Mayan societies were anticipating thousands of years ago."

The World Needs More Rebels Like Einstein - "Albert Einstein, as every kid knows, was a smart guy. But as we discover when we get older, smart gets you only so far. It's worth remembering, especially now, that what made Einstein special was his impertinence, his nonconformity, and his distaste for dogma."

China and US at highest risk of damage from asteroids - "China and the US are the countries most vulnerable to damage from future asteroid impacts, according to preliminary new research. Sweden also ranks surprisingly high in this first attempt at quantifying the risks of impact effects, such as tsunamis, on individual nations."

Scientists doubt how dinosaurs died out - "The asteroid part of the story is still true, but a study published today in the journal Nature challenges the oft held belief that the demise of the dinosaurs played a major role in the rise of our ancient ancestors, suggesting global warming and the appearance of flowers could have been much more important."

Ancient Head-Squishing Violence Revealed - "Ancient Peruvian aristocrats dismembered their less well-off neighbors as a scare tactic, new archaeological finds suggest. ... "When a dominant class appears, [it] always seeks mechanisms to impose fear," said Pedro Castro-Martinez of the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB), who headed up a study of the corpses. "The power of an elite is exercised and maintained by means of force and fear. Mutilations can be part of those tactics to frighten."" -- Hmmm. Things haven't changed much.

Quote of the Day
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."
~ Dr. Seuss

March 29, 2007

March 29, 2007

Bush fully backs Britain in Crisis with Iran - "Amid mounting tensions, fuelled by US navy exercises in the Gulf, Blair has vowed to "ratchet up" pressure on the Islamic republic."

Film on "Radical Islam" Tied to Pro-Israel Groups - "A controversial documentary on the threat of radical Islam, promoted by the two most-watched U.S. cable news networks, was marketed and supported in part by self-described "pro-Israel" groups, according to an IPS investigation."

Military beefs up Internet arsenal - "The U.S. military is quietly expanding capabilities to attack terrorist computer networks, including websites that glorify insurgent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq, military officials and experts say."

Income Gap Is Widening, Data Shows - "The new data also shows that the top 300,000 Americans collectively enjoyed almost as much income as the bottom 150 million Americans. Per person, the top group received 440 times as much as the average person in the bottom half earned, nearly doubling the gap from 1980."

Creating a Culture of Cheerfulness as Rome Burns - "A friend recently asked me what I knew about The Secret, and I had to confess, absolutely nothing. A couple of days later, another friend asked the same question, so I decided I’d better investigate this supposedly revolutionary new book and DVD that have taken the country by storm. As I did so, I discovered that nothing about The Secret is revolutionary or new but rather a glitzy, twenty-first century redux of what has come to be called in metaphysical circles “New Thought”."

Marines ban big, garish tattoos - "The Marines are banning any new, extra-large tattoos below the elbow or the knee, saying such body art is harmful to the Corps' spit-and-polish image."

When can clerks refuse to serve, citing religion? - "Can a cashier or clerk wish a customer "Merry Christmas"? Must a pharmacist dispense birth control devices if his faith forbids it? Can a Muslim clerk refuse to touch a whisky or beer bottle, or a pork chop? Disputes between retailers and employees over religious beliefs in the United States can be traced back to the Puritans, who established laws that retail stores must not open on Sundays. Hundreds of years later, retailers are still dealing with how to address an employee's religious practices."

Poles March to Demand Total Abortion Ban - "God gives life and only he has the right to take life away."

God-fearing villagers snub "satanic" bar codes - "A hundred residents of a Russian village have refused to switch to new passports because they believe the documents' bar codes contain satanic symbols, state television reported on Wednesday."

Why They Choose Gangs - "As a former assistant principal of one of the most volatile middle schools in the city and spending more than a month at the notorious Central Booking, Heiber gained rare insight into the young Black men who transition between the school system and the prison system."

Study: California being warmed by urbanization - "Average temperatures across California rose slightly from 1950 to 2000, with the greatest warming coming in the state's big cities and mostly caused by urbanization -- not greenhouse gases -- authors of a study released on Wednesday said."

The Unkindest Cut - "Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) has inflicted pain, illness and death for 2,000 years. Today, nearly 140 million women and girls globally have endured this so-called cultural tradition. The pain lasts, intensifies, recurs: at the cutting, at sexual contact, at childbirth. And that’s if the woman doesn’t die first, as 35 percent do, from such immediate or long-term complications as fistulas. Those who survive suffer emotional trauma as drastic as the physical pain. ... Less known is that FGM was common in the United States and United Kingdom until the 1950s, prescribed as a cure for such “female deviancies” as lesbianism, masturbation, nymphomania and even epilepsy. In 1996, after decades of feminist lobbying, Congress passed legislation making it crime to perform FGM on a minor. But some immigrant populations are reviving the practice."

West African child labour still feeds the world's insatiable hunger for chocolate - "Children are being forced to work on cocoa farms in west Africa despite a pledge by the chocolate companies more than five years ago to start eradicating child labour."

In the lab: Robots that slink and squirm - ""It's very organic," Trimmer says with a smile. Apparently, "organic" is a technical euphemism for "creepy." But it is eerily lifelike, and that is the point."

Study: Dinosaur loss wasn't mammals' gain - "The big dinosaur extinction of 65 million years ago didn't produce a flurry of new species in the ancestry of modern mammals after all, says a huge study that challenges a long-standing theory. Scientists who constructed a massive evolutionary family tree for mammals found no sign of such a burst of new species at that time among the ancestors of present-day animals. Only mammals with no modern-day descendants showed that effect."

Time Only Heals Some Wounds - "Over eons, this defensive mechanism got deep-wired into our DNA. Or so the theory goes. But is this true? Does it still apply in the modern world? Or is it possible that we no longer have to be as adaptable as we once were? Michigan State University psychologist Richard Lucas is one of a growing number of scientists who are questioning the set-point theory of happiness. One problem with the theory, he says, is the nature of the evidence itself: While studies do fail to link happiness to things like health and income and friends, none of the research has looked at people actually experiencing big changes—and either adapting or failing to. Lucas decided to do this. ... But adaptation to other events is not so quick, nor so complete, and this is where it gets interesting. Widows and widowers do get over their grief, but it takes a full seven years for that recovery to occur. Divorce and job loss, on the other hand, seem to leave people permanently scarred. Hold up. People get over the death of a spouse, but not a divorce? While this wouldn't seem to make sense at first, psychologists have a couple of possible explanations. Some suspect that it may in fact be easier to adapt to a one-time hit of bad luck—even if it's big, like death—than to a chronic condition. Divorce in this sense is akin to long-term illness or disability: It's a broken life, never to be repaired, with all sorts of messy reminders around all the time. It's also possible—and Lucas's findings support this—that people who get married and then divorce are significantly less happy to begin with than people who get married and stay married. In other words, divorce selects people who tend toward misery anyway."

Schoolgirls bullied into stripping online - "Cyber bullies are even forcing their girlfriends to undress in front of webcams and then sharing the images with others online."

Child wants cell phone; reception is mixed - "Some parents and child psychologists say the need for cell phones among such young children, who are rarely without adult supervision, is marginal, and the gadgets serve mainly as status symbols, quickly lost in a tangle of toys, batteries hopelessly out of juice. Others, though, say the phones are an electronic security blanket for both parent and child in a world of two-career households and split-custody arrangements, Amber alerts and color-coded terror threat levels."

Every movie in 3D? - "Three-dimensional film technology can transform the movie business, with viewers willing to pay a premium for it, two top movie industry executives said Wednesday."

Quote of the Day
"The truth always turns out to be simpler than you thought."
~ Richard Feynman

March 28, 2007

March 28, 2007

Ominous Signs Suggest Iran War Close - "As tensions surrounding Iran's seizure of 15 British navy personnel continue to build, ominous signs that war is nearing give an indication that this could be the new "Gulf of Tonkin" Bush and Blair have long yearned for to justify air strikes on Iran."

Russian intelligence sees U.S. military buildup on Iran border - ""The latest military intelligence data point to heightened U.S. military preparations for both an air and ground operation against Iran," the official said, adding that the Pentagon has probably not yet made a final decision as to when an attack will be launched. He said the Pentagon is looking for a way to deliver a strike against Iran "that would enable the Americans to bring the country to its knees at minimal cost." He also said the U.S. Naval presence in the Persian Gulf has for the first time in the past four years reached the level that existed shortly before the invasion of Iraq in March 2003."

Oil spikes $5 on rumors of Iran attack - "U.S. crude futures briefly spiked over $5 a barrel in electronic trading late Tuesday on rumors that Iran fired on U.S. Navy warships."

Senate Signals Support for Iraq Timeline - "Defying a veto threat, the Democratic-controlled Senate narrowly signaled support Tuesday for the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from Iraq by next March. Republican attempts to scuttle the non-binding timeline failed on a vote of 50-48, largely along party lines." -- You read that correctly: 'non-binding.' Congress just goes through the motions to make it look like they are doing something.

Bush: Dem meddling could harm troops - "President Bush accused congressional Democrats Wednesday of meddling in Iraq war policy and said setting a deadline for a pull-out of U.S. forces would have disastrous repercussions for both Iraq and America."

Fatal Flaws of Bush's 'Tough-Guy-ism' - "Indeed, “tough-guy-ism” insists that all conflicts no matter how misguided must end in American "victory," even if military strategists conclude that "victory" is either impossible – as in Vietnam – or would far outweigh any value to U.S. national security – as in Lebanon and Somalia."

The Pentagon’s Power to Jail Americans Indefinitely - "Last Friday, the presiding judge in the case, Marcia Cooke, denied Padilla’s motion to dismiss. The judge held that when a person, including an American citizen, is held in custody by the Pentagon as an “enemy combatant,” the time doesn’t start running with respect to his right to a speedy trial. It begins running, she held, only when he becomes part of the federal criminal-justice system. Gee, I wonder if the judge’s reasoning applies to the rest of the Bill of Rights as well. Maybe the First Amendment doesn’t apply if it’s the Pentagon that is suppressing speech and assembly as part of its perpetual “war on terror.” Or maybe the Second Amendment prohibits only the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), not the Pentagon, from seizing guns from the American people, as it is doing as part of the “war on terror” in Iraq. Our 18th-century American ancestors would have found Judge Cooke’s ruling to be ludicrous. If a military department of government is exempt from the restrictions of the Bill of Rights, then the entire executive branch is exempt for the obvious reason: Whenever the government wants to exempt itself from the Bill of Rights, all it has to do is employ the military to do the dirty deed. The purpose of the Bill of Rights was to protect the American people from the federal government, not a particular department of the federal government."

Want To Watch The Game? Show Your ID - "In another example of how Big Brother is enveloping all aspects of British society, Sheffield Wednesday football club are to become the first team in the country to demand their season ticket holders show a photo ID every time they enter the stadium to watch a game."

Children could be monitored for signs of criminal behaviour - "All children could face compulsory checks to discover if they are at risk of turning into criminals, the Prime Minister announced today." -- Ah, the world we live in.

The Reflecting Pool -- Watch the trailer.

Pope says hell and damnation are real and eternal - "HELL is a place where sinners really do burn in an everlasting fire, and not just a religious symbol designed to galvanise the faithful, Pope Benedict XVI has said." -- And because the Pope says it, then it must be true. Whatever. Hey Pope, you can not prove Hell is a real place, you only believe it to be true. Isn't using fear to manipulate the masses called, um, terrorism? Just a question.

Creation "Science" Is the Christian Right's Trojan Horse Against Reason - "From California to Florida, a string of Creation "Science" museums are springing up across the country as part of the Christian Right's attempt to rewrite the past and make it conform to the Bible. ... Before Adam and Eve were expelled from paradise, museum visitors are told, all of the dinosaurs were peaceable plant-eaters. The evidence is found in Genesis 1:30, where God gives "green herb" to every creature to eat. There were no predators. T-Rex had such big teeth, the museum explains, so it could open coconuts. Only after Adam and Eve sinned and were cast out of paradise did the dinosaurs start to eat flesh. And Adam's sin is a key component of the belief system, for in the eyes of many creationists, in order for Jesus' death to be meaningful it had to atone for Adam's first sin." -- Christ in a basket these people.

Putting a Price on Human Life - "The law of averages says that every politician in cannot be a jackass. However, it is becoming harder and harder to find examples to the contrary. ... Dan Patrick may be in love with himself, but one idea he certainly is not in love with is women having control over their own bodies. In January 2007, he filed legislation to make abortion in illegal if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. Intriguingly, the man who proposed the companion bill in the Texas House is Warren Chisum, the man who believes that the sun revolves around the Earth. Great minds think alike, indeed."

California's Hidden Third World Slums - "Out here — just a few miles from world-class golf resorts, private hunting clubs and polo fields — half-naked children toddle barefoot through mud and filth while packs of feral dogs prowl piles of garbage nearby. Thick smoke from mountains of burning trash drifts through broken windows. People — sometimes 30 or more — are crammed into trailers with no heat, no air-conditioning, undrinkable water, flickering power and plumbing that breaks down for weeks or months at a time."

Texas signs new self-defense by gun law - "Criminals in Texas beware: if you threaten someone in their car or office, the citizens of this state where guns are ubiquitous have the right to shoot you dead."

Texas governor knew about teen sex scandal - "While Texas Gov. Rick Perry claimed to reporters he learned only last month of the teen sex scandal rocking the state's juvenile justice system, his office admitted to WND it knew of an investigation that began two years ago."

Want a job? Clean up your Web act - "Employers are increasingly checking out online personal information about candidates when making recruitment decisions."

Circumcision Is Recommended to Fight HIV - "U.N. health agencies recommended Wednesday that heterosexual men undergo circumcision because of "compelling" evidence that it can reduce their chances of contracting HIV by up to 60 percent."

Cities set limits on serving food to homeless people - "Cities are cracking down on charities that feed the homeless, adopting rules that restrict food giveaways to certain locations, require charities to get permits or limit the number of free meals they can provide."

S.F. Leaders OK Plastic Grocery Bag Ban - "City leaders approved a ban on plastic grocery bags after weeks of lobbying on both sides from environmentalists and a supermarket trade group. If Mayor Gavin Newsom signs the ban as expected, San Francisco would be the first U.S. city to adopt such a rule."

Mothers eating beef could threaten sons' fertility - "The sons of women who regularly ate beef during pregnancy are more likely to have low sperm counts, a report claims today. The American researchers suggest the growth promoters used in cattle may be responsible. It has been known for more than 10 years that sperm counts had been falling in the western world, with scientists at Copenhagen University pointing to exposure to pesticides and industrial chemicals."

Children's ads show lots of junk food - "In a child's buffet of food commercials, more than 40 percent of the dishes are candy, snacks and fast food. Nowhere to be found: fresh fruit, vegetables, poultry or seafood. For years, health officials have warned that kids were being inundated with commercials about not-so-healthy foods. Now, researchers have put numbers to those warnings in the largest-ever study of commercials aimed at children."

Mysterious hexagon spotted above Saturn - "Spanning 25,000km - equivalent to the width of two planet Earths - the bizarre geometric feature appears to remain virtually still in the atmosphere as clouds swirl around it."

Quote of the Day
"They keep us so ignorant."
~ Mary Lou Borne, Mockingbird by Walter Tevis

March 27, 2007

March 27, 2007

Robert Fisk: The crushing fear that stalks America - "Thirty hours later, I flicked on the television in my Valdosta, Georgia, hotel room and there was a bejewelled lady on Fox TV telling American viewers that if "we" left Iraq, the "jihadists" would come after us. "They want a Caliphate that will take over the world," she shrieked about a report that two children had deliberately been placed in an Iraqi car bomb which then exploded. She ranted on about how Muslim "jihadists" had been doing this "since the 1970s in Lebanon". It was tosh, of course. Children were never locked into car bombs in Beirut - and there weren't any "jihadists" around in the Lebanese civil war of the 1970s. But fear had been sown. Now that the House of Representatives is talking about the US withdrawal by August 2008, fear seems to drip off the trees in America."

U.S. Navy Launches Show Of Force Off Coast Of Iran - "The U.S. Navy on Tuesday began its largest demonstration of force in the Persian Gulf since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, led by a pair of aircraft carriers and backed by warplanes flying simulated attack maneuvers off the coast of Iran."

Gulf economies to 'drop the dollar' - "Gulf economies will move away from a dollar currency peg and shift foreign exchange reserves away from dollar to other currencies, including the Chinese yuan, the chief executive of Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) has said."

Is the American Empire on the Brink of Collapse? - "U.S. military expert Chalmers Johnson argues the catastrophe in Iraq and the staggering cost of running a military that stretches across 130 countries on 737 bases may finally cost America its empire."

Americans in the Opinion Polls, Not in the Streets - "If so many people are fed up with the war, why is everyone so silent? Is this the way it usually feels in the heartlands of great empires until the barbarians actually do come knocking at the gates?"

U.S. commander: No civil war in Iraq - "Iraq isn't engulfed in a civil war, and there are signs of hope outside strife-torn Baghdad, the new leader of U.S. Central Command says."

Mueller: FBI can properly use its powers - "FBI Director Robert Mueller labored Tuesday to persuade skeptical senators that the FBI can properly use its terrorism-era authority to gather telephone, e-mail and financial records of Americans and foreigners while pursuing terrorists."

1 Out of 680 Americans a Suspected Terrorist - "TIDE has also created concerns about secrecy, errors and privacy. The list marks the first time foreigners and U.S. citizens are combined in an intelligence database. The bar for inclusion is low, and once someone is on the list, it is virtually impossible to get off it. At any stage, the process can lead to "horror stories" of mixed-up names and unconfirmed information, Travers acknowledged."

Ordinary Customers Flagged as Terrorists - "Private businesses such as rental and mortgage companies and car dealers are checking the names of customers against a list of suspected terrorists and drug traffickers made publicly available by the Treasury Department, sometimes denying services to ordinary people whose names are similar to those on the list."

Terrorists use Web against 'idiot' Americans - "Islamic terrorists are engaged in a "media jihad" in which they encourage jihadists to pose online as Americans to foster anti-war sentiment in the U.S." -- Hey, I'm not a "jihadist".

Mind how you walk. It could be a crime - "My favourite is automatic gait recognition. This identifies people by the way they walk and the Government has asked Ministry of Defence scientists to develop it for widespread use. Cameras are programmed to pick up on a particular gait, thereby making it impossible for a suspect to escape by covering his face. Even Orwell did not come up with "gaitcrime"."

Drones could defend airports - "The Homeland Security Department and the military this summer will test whether drones flying 65,000 feet above the nation's busiest airports could be used to protect planes from being shot down by terrorists with shoulder-fired missiles."

TV Evangelist John Hagee Wants War With Iran, and He Wants It Now! - "If anyone still thinks that the radical end-times "prophecy" movement is not a threat to peace and stability, think again. ... The most dangerous element of this prophetic paradigm, however, is its doom-and-gloom view of the world. And in most cases, those who have a fascination with the end of the world have a particular fascination with war and militarism as well. More problematic, it assumes that their wars of choice are not just their own foreign policy preferences or personal opinions. Rather they are ordained by God. In 2003, more than a few pastors and influential Christian figures basically said that opposing the Iraq war was opposing God’s end-time plan. According to Evangelical end-times enthusiasts, if you opposed the Iraq war, you didn’t just hate your country and the troops, now you were opposing God and the Bible as well. ... If left up to Hagee, there would be a military strike against Iran today. Since last summer, Hagee has been practically foaming at the mouth for a new war with Iran. Why? Because he thinks it is the rest of the world’s job to fight Israel’s wars and because he thinks such a showdown is a piece of the puzzle in regards to Bible prophecy. To Hagee, there is no middle ground on this issue. God told Abraham he would "bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you" (Gen. 12:3). That means if YOU aren’t on board with wars that might be in Israel’s interest, but not in the United States’, then YOU will be cursed by God. At least according to Hagee."

Catholic Church Confronts Declining Confessions - "The Archdiocese of Washington is taking a great leap of faith they hope will bring Catholics back to confession: it's advertising on the radio."

Sarasota Easter parade canceled - ""I've seen young girls shaking and dancing," Valerie Buchand said. "It hurt me to see that.""

Island Christian leaders: Ban Elton John - ""We feel it can have a negative social impact. There are some who may not be sure of their sexuality and one has to be careful about how this can create impressions on impressionable minds," pastor Terrance Baynes told Reuters Monday." -- Jesus.

S.C. Bans Gay Marriage - "South Carolina officially banned gay marriage Thursday as legislative leaders ratified a constitutional amendment approved by voters in November." -- The land of the free? Hardly.

Teen sex scandal ignored by AG, others for 2 years - "Emerging evidence suggests the scandal was systematic and statewide, perpetrated by a criminal conspiracy of staff employees. Texas authorities are investigating allegations that pedophiles on the TYC staff conspired to recruit and hire other pedophiles to engage in criminal acts of forced sex with the minor inmates. Among the charges in a Texas Ranger report was that administrators would rouse boys from their sleep for the purpose of conducting all-night sex parties."

AOL's Instant Message 'Tracking' Plug-In Concerns Police, Parents - "A new plug-in that allows users of American Online's popular instant messaging service to track and find the location of their buddies with Wi-Fi positioning technology has police and parents concerned, according to a Local 6 report." -- Bad idea.

America, Maxed Out - "The federal government -- and the majority of Americans -- can no longer get by a single day without taking on additional debt. And as more borrowing goes to simply pay off old debt, or to make interest payments, the new debt does little more than increase banking profits. ... Our incomes have risen an average of 1 percent in real terms, while our household debt has increased over 1,000 percent. As a result, we no longer save. We have no choice but to keep spending until our credit is exhausted and we own nothing."

China makes ultimate punishment mobile - "The country that executed more than four times as many convicts as the rest of the world combined last year is slowly phasing out public executions by firing squad in favor of lethal injections. Unlike the United States and Singapore, the only two other countries where death is administered by injection, China metes out capital punishment from specially equipped "death vans" that shuttle from town to town."

Womb for Rent - "How much is nine months of pregnancy, labor, and the birth of a child worth? Less than 10 cents an hour, according to the supposed "Culture of Life" warriors in Texas. The "Adoption Incentive Program" -- otherwise known as the Texas Baby Purchasing Act of 2007 -- would offer women $500 for forgoing abortion, giving birth and then signing away their parental rights. It does not apply to women who choose to keep their children or to women who choose adoption without first visiting an abortion provider, and it's being billed as an anti-abortion measure. Talk about commodifying women's bodies. This law would essentially pay women to rent out their uteruses. As BitchPhD points out, it's not about encouraging childbirth, it's about bribing women out of abortion and into adoption, effectively using them as cheap labor to create a child for someone else. Five hundred dollars isn't anywhere near enough to pay for the costs of pregnancy, like pre-natal care, maternity clothes, extra food, and time taken off of work. The bill even states that abortion providers -- and abortion providers alone -- are required to offer the funding to women seeking terminations. ... Baby-selling, it should be noted, is pretty illegal. But the proposed Texas law deals with that by simply saying that the anti-baby-selling statute "does not apply to the grant or acceptance of money under this section." Well ok then." -- No comment.

Why feminism 'could be bad for your health' - "A study in Sweden, arguably one of the most egalitarian countries in the world, discovered that men and women who are equal are more likely to suffer illness or disability. Those who earn the same are also more likely to become unwell or suffer a disability. People who have management jobs, male or female, were also found to die younger than those with a less pressured lifestyle."

It's not always rape if a woman is drunk, says judge - "A woman who is very drunk may still be capable of agreeing to sex, they said."

Beating the wife-beaters - "In South Wales and Plymouth, police have been piloting a new way of gathering primary evidence - crucial in such "one word against the other" style cases - which is simple, but brilliant. The head-camera scheme, which has been running since autumn 2006, provides police officers with the tools to gather evidence at the scene of a DV incident. The mini digital video cameras can be worn on a headband or attached to the side of police helmets, and can provide real-time evidence of victims' injuries, damage to property and the demeanour of the accused when first confronted."

Girls' Fertility Chartbook Stirs Debate - "Should teenage girls be taught to recognize the physical signs that indicate when they are most likely to become pregnant? ... Some comprehensive sex education advocates are asking: Is this too much information, too soon? ... Unlike the notoriously failure-prone rhythm method, which does not take a woman's individual cycles and fertility signs into account, fertility charting is highly effective. Research published online last month by the journal Human Reproduction finds that for women who faithfully follow fertility-awareness rules, it is only slightly less effective than the pill."

Big man on campus likely a woman - "Women's share of college enrollment is at an all-time high as education researchers continue to debate what is causing the trend of more women than men going to college, and what the future impact of the trend could be."

Many Americans see little point to Web? - "A little under one-third of U.S. households have no Internet access and do not plan to get it, with most of the holdouts seeing little use for it in their lives, according to a survey released on Friday."

Oprah's 'Secret' Could Be Your Downfall - "Why is The Secret, an Oprah Winfrey-endorsed documentary film and book package with a simplistic message that leads to more consumerism, topping Amazon's bestselling DVD list?"

American Socialism for the Already Rich - "Call it phony universalism, Robin Hood in reverse, or socialism for the rich -- the United States spends almost as much helping the have-plenties as the have-nots."

The War on Drugs Is Really a War on Minorities - "While all the major candidates are vying for the black and Latino vote, they are completely ignoring one of the most pressing issues affecting those constituencies: the failed "war on drugs" -- a war that has morphed into a war on people of color."

Sweeping changes to global climate seen by 2100: study - "Many of the world's climate zones will vanish entirely by 2100, or be replaced by new, previously unseen ones, if global warming continues as expected, a study released Monday said."

Riches await as Earth's icy north melts - "The U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic has as much as 25 percent of the world's undiscovered oil and gas. Russia reportedly sees the potential of minerals in its slice of the Arctic sector approaching $2 trillion. All this has pushed governments and businesses into a scramble for sovereignty over these suddenly priceless seas."

Now scientists create a sheep that's 15% human - "Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs."

Flavored meth use on the rise - "Reports of candy-flavored methamphetamine are emerging around the nation, stirring concern among police and abuse prevention experts that drug dealers are marketing the drug to younger people."

New IBM Chip Moves Data at Light Speed - "IBM on Monday showed off optical transceivers capable of data transfers at speeds of 160 GB per second. The technology could allow for extremely fast downloads of consumer content like high-definition movies, though the company said it has no consumer-related developments planned. However, IBM left the possibility open for others to move the technology in that direction."

Quote of the Day
"Liberty is lost through complacency and a subservient mindset. When we accept or even welcome automobile checkpoints, random searches, mandatory identification cards, and paramilitary police in our streets, we have lost a vital part of our American heritage. America was born of protest, revolution, and mistrust of government. Subservient societies neither maintain nor deserve freedom for long."
~ Ron Paul

March 23, 2007

March 23, 2007

Defense spending soars to highest levels since World War II - "As the Iraq war enters a fifth year, the conflict that President Bush's aides once said would all but pay for itself with oil revenues is fueling the highest level of defense spending since World War II."

Army Revises Upward Number of Desertions in ’06 - "A total of 3,196 active-duty soldiers deserted the Army last year, or 853 more than previously reported, according to revised figures from the Army. The new calculations by the Army, which had about 500,000 active-duty troops at the end of 2006, significantly alter the annual desertion totals since the 2000 fiscal year."

New to Job, Gates Argued for Closing Guantánamo - "Mr. Gates’s arguments were rejected after Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales and some other government lawyers expressed strong objections to moving detainees to the United States, a stance that was backed by the office of Vice President Dick Cheney, administration officials said."

FOX News Threatens Sheen & Cuban Not to Make Film - "FOX News' Bill O'Reilly warned actor Charlie Sheen not to do narration for a theatrical version of Loose Change, threatening "If he voices this, he's through" and stating plainly, "Don't do this. You're not gonna come back from it if you do." ... Guest Gerald Posner-- also a shill/author for the JFK official story-- slandered that O'Donnell's posting of information about the WTC7 collapse shouldn't be allowed and is like saying the "Holocaust didn't exist." This anti-semitic theme was repeated by he and other guests in attempts to compare Loose Change "propaganda" with that of the 3rd Reich and to link 9/11 Truth with theories that Israel carried out the attacks."

D.C. voting rights stall in House - "House Republicans derailed efforts yesterday to give the District congressional representation when they injected the city's gun ban into the debate and turned an expected vote into a tumult."

Fewer pledge allegiance to the GOP - "What's more, the survey found, public attitudes are drifting toward Democrats' values: Support for government aid to the disadvantaged has grown since the mid-1990s, skepticism about the use of military force has increased and support for traditional family values has decreased. The findings suggest that the challenges for the GOP reach beyond the unpopularity of the war in Iraq and Bush."

Europe claims Israel preparing for war - "One senior European Union official told Assad the Israeli government instructed its major hospitals not to allow staff to take vacation time during the summer months for fear a conflict will break out during that period, according to the Baath party source."

'Bombs more precious than children' - "A 'music video' broadcast on a Palestinian Hamas TV station on Wednesday had a simple message for its viewers: Carrying out a suicide bomb attack is more important than raising one's children."

Woman re-interprets Koran with feminist view - "The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women's council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women."

Catholic school bans pupils from MySpace - "Friday is the deadline for students at St. Hugo of the Hills Catholic School to follow orders or risk suspension. School Principal Sister Margaret Van Velzen sent letters home to parents this week saying, in part, that if families allow children to continue their sites, they will not be allowed to return to school. The school plans to use its computer-savvy staff members to monitor the site for student activity.The principal declined comment, but St. Hugo office manager Judy Martinek said the principal just wants to keep the students safe." -- Banning them from MySpace doesn't keep them safe you idiot, educating them does.

Son of TIA Will Mine Asian Data - "Nearly four years after Congress pulled the plug on what critics assailed as an Orwellian scheme to spy on private citizens, Singapore is set to launch an even more ambitious incarnation of the Pentagon's controversial Total Information Awareness program -- an effort to collect and mine data across all government agencies in the hopes of pinpointing threats to national security."

Lure of U.S. unravels Mexican family ties - "As the immigration boom enters its third decade, many Mexicans have committed themselves to one side of the border or the other, weakening family ties -- often forever."

Tourists cause global warming - "Holidaymakers may be ruining their favourite destinations through pollution and greenhouse gases, making the tourism industry one of the world's worst polluters, experts say."

SC Advances Bill to Require Ultrasound Before Abortion - "Members voted 91-to-23 on Wednesday in favor of a bill that does not contain any exception for women who are the victims of rape or incest."

World's first 'spinal transplant' carried out - "Spinal discs from accident victims were transplanted into patients with disc degeneration in the cervical spine, the area nearest the neck."

Alcohol joins heroin in danger drug list - "ALCOHOL and tobacco have been given top 10 rankings in a new table of the most dangerous drugs compiled by British experts."

Survey ranks Nevada the most dangerous state... again - "Once again, Nevada has a ranking and reputation Metro isn't too proud of: The most dangerous state in the country."

UFOs flew over Phoenix in '97, Symington says - "Former Gov. Fife Symington says now that those strange lights that appeared over Phoenix a decade ago were from another world and that he had a close encounter with an alien craft on March 13, 1997."

8 Signs Google is Planning to Build a National Wireless Network - "Google tries to hide it, but this article provides 8 reasons why one of the world's most successful companies is trying to build a national wireless network."

British father hang himself on live webcam - "A father of two has filmed himself committing suicide live over the internet via a webcam."

College students to pay more for birth control pills - "Prices for oral contraceptives, or birth control pills, are doubling and tripling at student health centers, the result of a complex change in the Medicaid rebate law that essentially ends an incentive for drug companies to provide deep discounts to colleges."

Harvard abstinence group fights back - "Sometime between the founding of a student-run porn magazine and the day the campus health center advertised “Free Lube,” Harvard University seniors Sarah Kinsella and Justin Murray decided to fight back against what they see as too much mindless sex at the Ivy League school."

America's Next Top (Dead) Model - "You know, this is just fucked. Apparently America's Next Top Model had a recent episode where the models took part in a "beautiful corpses" photoshoot. You can see all the pics here; they are massively disturbing. But perhaps even worse than the pictures of women who are beaten, shot, strangled, drowned, stabbed, decapitated and more, were the reactions of the judges to the pictures: "

Quote of the Day
"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats."
~ Howard Aiken

March 22, 2007

March 22, 2007

Blaming The Victims: Covering Up Terrorism In Iraq - "Why Iraqis didn’t “hate each other” before the illegal invasion of their country is totally ignored by Western media and remains a mystery to most Westerners."

Building an Embassy Fit for an Empire - "The United States is building a massive embassy complex in the heart of Baghdad that is already becoming a symbol of America's imperial ambitions in the Middle East."

Is FOX News’ Foreign Affairs Analyst A Former Terrorist? - "It was another War-A-Go-Go on Hannity & Colmes last night (9/1/06) with two guests with the same opinion – that every day we delay either military action against Iran or effecting regime change (or maybe both), the US comes closer to being attacked by a nuclear bomb. Just in case that didn’t get the message across, the screen read “Only one option?” and “Time to attack Iran?” throughout the discussion. One of the guests was a new-to-me FOX News foreign affairs analyst named Alireza Jafarzadeh. It turns out Mr. Jafarzadeh is the former spokesperson for what the US State Department deemed a terrorism group allied with Saddam Hussein."

Tony Snow Flip-Flops On Executive Privilege - "How times have changed. As Glenn Greenwald first noted, Snow had a much different view of executive privilege in 1998, when President Clinton was using it to resist having his aides testify in the midst of the Monica Lewinsky saga. On 3/29/98, Snow published an op-ed titled, “Executive Privilege is a Dodge”:"

Mystery creator of anti-Hillary ad unmasked - "The political whodunit of the campaign season was solved Wednesday after a strategist with an Internet consulting firm -- which has ties to Barack Obama -- stepped forward as creator of the controversial "1984"-style Internet ad which depicted Sen. Hillary Clinton as a "Big Brother" figure."

FBI Confirms Contracts with AT&T, Verizon and MCI - "The FBI's general counsel, Valerie Caproni, testified today on Capitol Hill that the FBI entered into contracts with AT&T, Verizon and MCI to harvest phone records on American citizens under a national security letter program that has come under fire from Congress and the Justice Department's Office of Inspector General for circumventing privacy laws."

'This Is Indeed A Miracle' - "Thousands of people are flocking to see portraits of Jesus Christ which are said to have been bleeding for the past two weeks."

Furor over Baptist's gay-baby article - "The president of the leading Southern Baptist seminary has incurred sharp attacks from both the left and right by suggesting that a biological basis for homosexuality may be proven, and that prenatal treatment to reverse gay orientation would be biblically justified."

Use of deadly force likely to be expanded in Texas - "Texas legislators have sent to Gov. Rick Perry's desk a bill that allows people to use deadly force against attackers outside their homes under a much broader range of circumstances than current law allows, including in defense of their cars or businesses."

Bill to Ban Regular Light Bulbs Introduced in House - "A Democratic lawmaker has introduced a bill that would ban the sale of traditional incandescent light bulbs - which are less energy-efficient, prompting claims that they contribute to "global warming" - one day after a colleague told a press conference that legislating a ban would be a "last choice.""

Will Viacom Kill the Video Star? - "What makes this case special, legal experts say, is Viacom's aggressive legal arguments. If the case proceeds to trial and results in a ruling favoring the cable operator, it could substantially raise the risks for companies that publish content of any kind online."

School disciplines students for using the term 'gay' - "The president of the Pacific Justice Institute says officials at a California public school are having their free-speech rights violated in the name of "tolerance" for homosexuals. The school, he says, could soon find itself facing a lawsuit for telling elementary children they cannot use the word "gay" in a derogatory manner."

Houses cheaper than cars in Detroit - "As Detroit reels from job losses in the U.S. auto industry, the depressed city has emerged as a boomtown in one area: foreclosed property."

Why Having More No Longer Makes Us Happy - "Which means, according to new research emerging from many quarters, that our continued devotion to growth above all is, on balance, making our lives worse, both collectively and individually. Growth no longer makes most people wealthier, but instead generates inequality and insecurity. Growth is bumping up against physical limits so profound -- like climate change and peak oil -- that trying to keep expanding the economy may be not just impossible but also dangerous. And perhaps most surprisingly, growth no longer makes us happier. Given our current dogma, that's as bizarre an idea as proposing that gravity pushes apples skyward. But then, even Newtonian physics eventually shifted to acknowledge Einstein's more complicated universe."

It's Been an 'All Out War' on Pot Smokers for 35 Years - "Since 1972, U.S. taxpayers have spent well over $20 billion enforcing criminal marijuana laws and 16.5 million people have been arrested. It's time to put an end to this waste."

Navy Won't List Sonar Use For Whale Case - "The Navy is refusing to detail its sonar use for a federal court in a case involving potential harm to whales, saying the information could jeopardize national security."

GM mosquito 'could fight malaria' - "A genetically modified (GM) strain of malaria-resistant mosquito has been created that is better able to survive than disease-carrying insects."

Human Brain a Poor Judge of Risk - "We humans have a completely different pathway to cope with analyzing risk. It's the neocortex, a more advanced part of the brain that developed very recently, evolutionarily speaking, and only appears in mammals. It's intelligent and analytic. It can reason. It can make more nuanced trade-offs. It's also much slower. So here's the first fundamental problem: We have two systems for reacting to risk -- a primitive intuitive system and a more advanced analytic system -- and they're operating in parallel. It's hard for the neocortex to contradict the amygdala."

Ugly defendants 'more likely to be found guilty than attractive ones' - "It is thought that the principle applies elsewhere in life, with beauty being associated with kindness, intelligence and sporting ability."

Acids in Popular Sodas Erode Tooth Enamel - "Root beer could be the safest soft drink for your teeth, new research suggests, but many other popular diet and sugared sodas are nearly as corrosive to dental enamel as battery acid."

5 Newspaper Companies Report Slides - "Several newspaper companies today reported big hits to their revenues in early 2007."

US CD sales plummet as people turn to digital music downloads - "Purchases of digitized albums online failed to make up the difference -- instead they dropped from 119 million during that time period in 2006 to 99 million during the first three months of this year, SoundScan reported."

Dazzling new images reveal the 'impossible' on the Sun - "Another surprise sighting is that of giant magnetic field loops crashing down onto the Sun's surface as if they were collapsing from exhaustion, a finding that Golub describes as "impossible". Previously, scientists thought they should emerge from the Sun and continue blowing out into space. "Almost every day, we look at the data and we say – what the heck was that?" says Golub, a member of the XRT science team."

Husband rips wife's eyes out after she refuses sex - "Mohamed Hadfi, 31, tore out his 23-year-old wife Samira Bari's eyes following a heated argument in their apartment in the southern French city of Nimes in July 2003 after she refused to have sex with him. Ms Bari, who had demanded a divorce before the attack, was permanently blinded."

Australian court: If you suck, you must fuck - "A court in South Australia has ruled that a man can't rape and have consensual sex with a woman in same sexual encounter."

France opens secret UFO files covering 50 years - "France became the first country to open its files on UFOs Thursday when the national space agency unveiled a website documenting more than 1,600 sightings spanning five decades."

Quote of the Day
"Don't underestimate the gods."
~ Ender Wiggin, Xenocide by Orson Scott Card

March 21, 2007

March 21, 2007

Fantasyland and a President Devoid of Reality - "All along the White House has claimed that there was no politics involved, only to have embarrassing emails prove them to be liars. They tried claiming there was no White House involvement but those same emails proved them to be liars on that count as well. Those emails have revealed that the main motive was political and that each of these attorneys was working on cases prosecuting republican corruption. Digging deeper we have discovered that some of these attorneys were inappropriately contacted by congressional republicans to try and sway prosecutions. One of the fired attorneys was replaced by a personal protégé of Karl Rove. Not political? The entire debacle was political from the moment they decided to fire these attorneys who appear to have done very little to deserve their terminations."

White House Offers Interview With Rove - "The White House offered Tuesday to make political strategist Karl Rove and former counsel Harriet Miers available for congressional interviews but not testimony under oath in the investigation of the firing of eight federal prosecutors."

Iran says to sell oil in 'every currency' - "Iran's Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh has said that the Islamic Republic will sell its oil in all currencies."

Blair believes he does what 'God' wants him to do, says diplomat's wife - "Now Sir Christopher's wife, Lady Catherine Meyer, said that Blair and US President Bush "are both very religious and I believe that they both feel that what they are doing - especially Blair - is what God wants them to do and that God has chosen their way. This is why they bonded immediately.""

Saving believers - "Dillahunty's pursuit for biblical truth took him on an unexpected journey. Instead of trying to win souls for God, the 37-year-old preaches the gospel of science and provable reality in the hope of keeping someone else from spending years on religion."

English schools win right to ban Muslim veils - "Schools have the right to ban students from wearing Muslim veils if teachers believe the garments affect safety or pupils’ learning, the British government said Tuesday."

Erasing the Pain of the Past - "Scientists Are Developing Drugs That Could Eliminate Traumatic Events From Our Memories" -- Which really means other memories could be 'eliminated' as well. Voluntary? Involuntary?

Pentagon Preps Mind Fields - "The U.S. military is working on computers than can scan your mind and adapt to what you're thinking."

House Democrats seek to boost spending - "House Democrats are seeking to boost spending for domestic programs while assuming that a variety of popular tax cuts expire at the end of the decade."

Lawmakers Propose Ultrasounds Before Abortions - "Getting an ultrasound is a normal part of most pregnant women's journey into motherhood. Now, some state representatives want women considering abortions to view images of their fetuses before a decision is made."

Think the Nation's Debt Doesn't Affect You? Think Again - "In addition to borrowing from the world's poorest countries, Bush & Co. are secretly confiscating your hard-earned dollars to support their out-of-control spending habits."

US fudging of climate science - details revealed - "However, the committee also heard a former White House aide defending his editing of government reports on climate change, to put them in line with the views of the Bush administration."

Will global warming trigger a new ice age? - "A growing body of evidence suggests that, at least for the UK and western Europe, there is a serious risk of this happening - and soon."

WWF Says World's Mightiest Rivers Are at Risk - "They were once mighty freshwater bodies on whose banks human civilizations were born. But now, many of the world's great rivers are threatened by over-extraction of water, climate change, construction of large dams, and pollution."

'We want this baby polar bear dead' say animal rights lobby - ""The zoo must kill the bear," said spokesman Frank Albrecht. "Feeding by hand is not species-appropriate but a gross violation of animal protection laws.""

Berlin gripped by fate of polar bear cub Knut - "Berlin Zoo rallied to the defense of Knut, a three-month-old polar bear cub, Tuesday, rejecting demands that the animal be allowed to die after being abandoned by its mother."

Artery walls take a decade to heal - "Ten years after quitting, former smokers' arteries returned to a level of stiffness seen in non-smokers, according to an article published on Monday by the American Heart Association."

Smoking lowers Parkinson's disease risk - "A new study adds to the previously reported evidence that cigarette smoking protects against Parkinson's disease. Specifically, the new research shows a temporal relationship between smoking and reduced risk of Parkinson's disease. That is, the protective effect wanes after smokers quit."

Why we look the other way - "It's a subtle paradox: People choose to ignore the relationship between performance enhancers and the NFL because it's unquestionably the league where performance enhancers would have the biggest upside. But what will happen when such deliberate naïveté becomes impossible? Revelatory drug scandals tend to escalate exponentially (look at Major League Baseball and U.S. track and field). Merriman, Sauerbrun and the other 33 players suspended by the NFL since 2002 could be exceptions; it seems far more plausible they are not. We are likely on the precipice of a bubble that is going to burst. But if it does, how are we supposed to feel about it? Does this invalidate the entire sport, or does it barely matter at all? This is where things become complicated. ... Unlike everybody else in America, they cannot do whatever it takes to succeed; they have to fulfill the unrealistic expectations of 10-year-old kids who read magazines. And this is because football players have a job that doesn't matter at all, except in those moments when it matters more than absolutely everything else. It may be time to rethink some of this stuff."

'Born-Again Virginity' in the Age of Girls Gone Wild - "Born-again virginity has been debunked by research, but serious proponents of it -- from mature single women to evangelicals -- continue embrace the chastity pledge, for strikingly different reasons." -- Just get naked and have sex.

Who is and isn't marrying, and why - "While the culture wars rage on — conservatives doing their darndest to ban same-sex marriage, domestic partners gay and straight clamoring for the same legal rights as their married neighbors, and singles shouting, "Hey, where's our piece of the government pie?" — a funny thing happened: Marriage slipped off its pedestal."

Values Begin at Home, but Who's Home? - "The Democrats' 2004 presidential platform vacuously talked about "valuing parenting," but nowhere did it say that parents have the right to time off when their children are ill, a right guaranteed by every nearly every other democracy.

The New Rules of Food - "How differently would we eat if we got to know our food better? Basic knowledge of where food comes from and how it is produced is lost on many Americans today and with it a trust in the food supply that sustains us."

Tool turns unsuspecting surfers into hacking help - "A security researcher has found a way hackers can make PCs of unsuspecting Web surfers do their dirty work, without having to actually commandeer the systems."

Community Suggests Gun Possession Is Illegal For Residents - "Two weeks ago, residents received a letter from their homeowners' association indicating that guns are not allowed on the property."

Being a millionaire just isn't the same these days - "Not that long ago, the word "millionaire" conjured up visions of chauffeured limousines and extravagant shopping trips and elegant yachts. These days, a millionaire is more likely to be the guy or gal next door who saved carefully -- and perhaps benefited from the sharp run-up in housing prices -- but still worries about covering the exploding costs of children's educations, caring for aging parents and funding their own retirements."

First steps on Grand Canyon Skywalk - "Tour packages with deck access will range in price from $49.95 to $199. The deck, which juts 70 feet beyond the canyon's edge, will accommodate up to 120 guests at a time and offer a bone-chilling vantage point more than twice as high as the world's tallest buildings."

California-based team cracks century-old math problem - "The problem's proof, announced Monday, consists of more than 205 billion entries, with about 60 times the data of the Human Genome Project. When stored in highly compressed form on a computer hard drive, the solution takes up as much space as 45 days of continuous music in MP3 format."

Quote of the Day
"There’s three things to remember: claim everything, explain nothing, deny everything."
~ Senator Prescott Bush (Skull and Bones 1917)

March 19, 2007

March 19, 2007

The Anniversary From Hell - "Now, get out your calculator: There are 288 days left in 2007. Multiply those by 180 attacks a day – remembering that the insurgents in Iraq are growing increasingly skilled and using ever more sophisticated weaponry – and you get 51,840 more attacks on American troops this year. Add in another 65,700 for next year – remembering that if, for instance, Shi'ite militias get more involved in fighting American troops at some point, the figures could go far higher – and you know at least one grim thing likely to be in store for Americans if a withdrawal doesn't happen."

How True Are the True Confessions of the Terror Mastermind? - "An American editor wrote to me, “I am deeply troubled by the reports of Mohammed's confession. It strikes me that it is a tidy resolution to a much larger problem. How convenient that we have all the questions answered in one somewhat disheveled package. Considering that the confession was obtained through torture, and the number of studies that have shown that information obtained in that matter is unreliable (although politically expedient), what have we really learned? Is it overly cynical to think that this administration so desperately needs a win that this is being trotted out? And what of the nefarious Osama Bin Laden? Does this mean that he wasn't involved, if Mohammed was the "mastermind" and orchestrated everything from "A to Z." (By the way, interesting use of the American vernacular -- I wonder who the translator is?).”"

The waterboarded evildoer - "Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) customers to waterboarding usually don't last more then 14 seconds before confessing to anything. Salafi-jihadi mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammad - or KSM, as he is known in the counterinsurgency netherworld - apparently lasted as long as 150 seconds. KSM's "confession" comes courtesy of a Pentagon that already gave the world Abu Ghraib in Baghdad, Bagram in Kabul, Guantanamo, "extraordinary rendition" and extreme variations of handsomely paid subcontracted torture. According to Human Rights Watch, waterboarding "really amounts to a mock execution, which is illegal under international law". Those who believe KSM was not tortured in his more than four years in Pakistan and in Guantanamo may also believe in Spider Man. The CIA, just in case, also kidnapped both of his sons - one is seven, the other is nine. The impeccable timing - although more than four years late - of KSM's "confession" also happens to knock the scandal surrounding US President George W Bush's chief law enforcer and torture apologist, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, off the media cycle." -- This is the world we have created.

Do We Still Have Khalid Sheikh Mohammed's Sons? - "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s sons, who would now be 13 and 11, have apparently been incarcerated somewhere in the United States for four years now, and all that time they have been at the tender mercies of the Central Intelligence Agency. Now there may still be some innocents among us who will readily believe that the CIA has been giving them nothing but “the best of care,” but that could hardly include anyone with the imagination to put himself in Mohammed’s place. These determined continued believers in the word of people who have been caught in lies repeatedly might also swallow the assertion that we nabbed these moppets to pump them for vital information, never mind that this kidnapping flies in the face of everything that is legal and decent."

Poll: Fear, anger, stress grip Iraqis - "The optimism that helped sustain Iraqis during the first few years of the war has dissolved into widespread fear, anger and distress amid unrelenting violence, a survey found."

Iraqis see hope drain away - "Four years after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq, Iraqis describe daily lives that have been torn apart by spiraling violence and a faltering economy. The bursts of optimism reported in a 2004 public-opinion survey taken a year after the invasion and another in 2005 before landmark legislative elections have nearly vanished."

Iraqis: life is getting better - " MOST Iraqis believe life is better for them now than it was under Saddam Hussein, according to a British opinion poll published today."

US ready to defend interests in ME for decades: Gates - "The US is “dedicated to strengthening those commitments and defending our interests for the decades to come. And we will do all in our power to protect and defend our homeland,” he said."

Military goes online to stem troop suicide - "Here's a future scene from the Iraq battlefield, circa July 2007: A U.S. soldier battles against the enemy all day long. At night, after returning to base, he's troubled by what he's seen. But he knows better than to speak up. Just outside the view of his fellow soldiers, he logs on to a virtual therapy Web site provided by the military called He knows that if his comrades see him talking with one of the shrinks on base, they would lose trust in him, label him a head case. A medical file soon would contain records of the visit. If he ever wanted a promotion, he'd have to explain the weakness of his mind."

Military Is Ill-Prepared For Other Conflicts - "More troubling, the officials say, is that it will take years for the Army and Marine Corps to recover from what some officials privately have called a "death spiral," in which the ever more rapid pace of war-zone rotations has consumed 40 percent of their total gear, wearied troops and left no time to train to fight anything other than the insurgencies now at hand."

Scandal over lawyers moves nearer to Bush - "The scandal over the sacking of eight government lawyers, allegedly for political reasons, moved closer to the White House last night after it was revealed that George W Bush's right-hand man was involved in discussions about the dismissals two years ago."

Crime Blotter:1600 Pennsylvania Ave. - "We are faced with the almost certain fact that the two highest law enforcement officials of the United States are criminals."

Karl Rove Must Go To Prison - "Karl Rove must go to the jail, the pokey, the big house, if you will. No not country-club Republican, I-ripped-off-your-grandma-with-junk-bonds prison where he can join the Dartmouth or Princeton rowing squad and walk by a state-of-the-art outdoor weight-lifting facility his two-seats-on-Southwest ass would never even think about using."

Political video smackdown - "It may be the most stunning and creative attack ad yet for a 2008 presidential candidate -- one experts say could represent a watershed moment in 21st century media and political advertising."

The Late, Great American Nation - "Under these new provisions, the president can now use the military as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or to any “other condition.” According to the new law, Bush doesn’t even have to notify Congress of his intent to use military force against the American people—he just has to notify them once he has done so. The defense budget provision’s vague language leaves the doors wide open for rampant abuse. As writer Jane Smiley noted, “the introduction of these changes amounts, not to an attack on the Congress and the balance of power, but to a particular and concerted attack on the citizens of the nation. Bush is laying the legal groundwork to repeal even the appearance of democracy.” The main reason we do not want the military patrolling our streets is that under martial law, the Bill of Rights becomes null and void. A standing army—something that propelled the early colonists into revolution—strips the American people of any vestige of freedom. Thus, if we were subject to martial law, there would be no rules, no protections, no judicial oversight and no elections. And unless these provisions are repealed, the president’s new power will be set in stone for future administrations to use—and abuse."

If Americans Knew - "What every American needs to know about Israel/Palistine."

Still Love Governments? - "It's truly amazing despite all the crimes committed by governments, people still religiously cling to the idea governments are necessary to protect life, liberty and property. You can even point out governments not only have no duty to protect anyone, but also do a disasterous job at whatever they bother doing. Despite overwhelming evidence government is not only unnecessary, corrupt and a cancer on the world, its victims continue to revere them. Maybe this will help convince them governments are nothing more than gangs of killers, thieves and liars. Show a friend who believes governments are necessary this copy of title 50 of the United States Code, section 1520. This "law" authorizes the "Department of Defense" to conduct chemical and biological warfare experiments on "civilian populations". You'll notice there is nothing in there about about informing the "civilian population" and getting their consent. While the only ones "notified" are "local civilian officials", there is nothing about getting consent first. I seem to remember hearing something about a dictator in the middle east being accused of doing something like this."

State nannies to be sent in to target 'at risk' families - "The state should step in to turn around young lives at the first sign they are becoming blighted by crime, poverty, violence and drug abuse, Mr Blair will say."

AOL introduces location plug-in for IM - "AOL is offering users of its AIM instant messaging service new capabilities to see where people on their buddy lists are physically located."

For the Christian Right, Gay-Hating Is Just the Start - "As the Christian right works hard to make gays and lesbians second-class citizens, society needs to make a stand -- or else the same tactics will soon be used against other "social deviants.""

Lesbian kiss falls flatter than a pancake - "Just one kiss. That’s all it took — to get thrown out of the IHOP in Grandview. ... Two young women sharing a kiss didn’t seem inappropriate to the other couple in the restaurant booth that night, Jackie Smith and the woman with whom she shares her life, Toni Smith. But someone watching the scene was offended."

Adultery Is a Ho-Hum Issue for '08 Candidates - "The era of adultery in politics appears to be over, given that the three top candidates for the Republican presidential nomination have broken their marriage vows."

Monroe was tricked into suicide, says FBI report - "The three-page report suggests the late US attorney-general Robert Kennedy, the movie star’s lover, knew of — and perhaps even participated in — a plan “to induce suicide”. The papers suggest Monroe, 38, who had a history of attention-seeking suicide attempts, was deliberately given the means to fake another one on August 4, 1962, but was left to die."

A380 on trans-Atlantic sales pitch - "It may trail the historic impact of Charles Lindbergh's 1927 solo flight across the Atlantic, but the Spirit of St. Louis also did not have a wingspan wider than a football field or space for more than 500 passengers."

Behavior May Suggest We're Not Only Human - "Over the past two centuries, people have had to disabuse themselves about various ideologies asserting that humans are fundamentally different from other animals. Biologists have shown that our arms and legs and organs have long evolutionary histories. Beliefs about the uniqueness of human behavior might well be the last bastion of our superiority complex, but research by de Waal and many others suggests that even this redoubt may be crumbling." -- Humans, contrary to their egotism, are not superior to the other species on the planet. They share the planet with them.

Quote of the Day
"If we ever pass out as a great nation we ought to put on our tombstone, ‘America died from a delusion that she has moral leadership.’"
~ Will Rogers