May 31, 2007

CEOs vs. Slaves

Recent findings shed new light on the increasingly unequal terrain of American society. The new "top" involves pay in the hundreds of millions, a private jet and a few acres of Nantucket. The new bottom is slavery.

The gap widens.

Here's more.

Finger length may foretell academic potential

The length of children's fingers may hint at their natural abilities in math and language, a new study suggests.

Alright, every one look at their fingers:

Specifically, boys whose index fingers were short compared with their ring fingers tended to excel at numbers and girls with index and ring fingers of similar length tended to do better on the verbal portion of the test.

Here's more.

Poll shows support for a patient's right to die

More than two-thirds of Americans believe there are circumstances in which a patient should be allowed to die, but they are closely divided on whether it should be legal for a doctor to help terminally ill patients end their own lives by prescribing fatal drugs, a new AP-Ipsos poll finds.

"Allowed to die"? So, people need permission?

Read more here.

May 30, 2007

The Religious Left is Left Out by the Commercial Media

A new study by Media Matters for America shows that when the topic is religion, the media looks disproportionately to hard-line right-wingers for comment.


How is it possible that political reporters routinely and without irony refer to people who have no moral qualms about bombing another country as a matter of choice rather than necessity as "values voters"? How do those same people wear the "values" label even while supporting one of the last death penalties in the industrialized world? How is it that self-proclaimed "Men of God" can call for the assassination of foreign heads of state, blame the 9/11 attacks on Americans' promiscuity and lobby to keep vaccines against deadly cancers out of the hands of young women and still claim to represent the moral compass of spiritual America?

More here.

Crying Over Spilled Semen

The finding that women who do not use condoms during sex are less depressed and less likely to attempt suicide than are women who have sex with condoms and women who are not sexually active, leads one researcher to conclude that semen contains powerful—and potentially addictive—mood-altering chemicals.

Get addicted here.

Pop star told to cut girl's name from song

Pakistan's Supreme Court has ordered a pop singer to change his lyrics after a college girl complained that male students teased her by singing the song when she passed by, a court official said on Tuesday.

What about Roxanne? or Nikki? ;-)

Here's the rest.

House: Allow religion in school

The House embraced legislation Monday that seeks to clarify the rights of Texas public school students to offer public prayers at football games or graduation, hand out religious messages or hold religious meetings during the school day if they want.

Supporters said the Schoolchildren's Religious Liberties Act, which passed on a 110-33 vote, would protect districts from lawsuits by setting guidelines for students' religious expression while protecting students from being admonished, for example, if they talk about Jesus in an assignment about Easter.


But opponents who failed to derail the bill said it raises more legal problems than it solves and opens the door to school-sanctioned evangelizing to a captive audience of young people.

Read more here.

Which ISPs Are Spying on You?

Think your anonymous? Think again.

"From a user perspective, the best practice would be for ISPs to delete data as soon as possible," Rotenberg said. "(The government) will treat ISPs as one-stop shops for subpoenas unless there is a solid policy on data destruction," Rotenberg said.

The results:

Read 'em here.

iTunes goes DRM-free with EMI

Shoppers have the option to purchase either a 256kbps AAC-encoded DRM-free song for $1.29 via iTunes Plus, or the usual 128kbps AAC-encoded DRM-version for 99 cents.

About time.

Here's more.

Will Bush walk away in 2009?

Many of us have had a difficult time picturing how it's going to go in January of 2009. It's hard to imagine Bush and Cheney just walking away from their unpopular but apparently supernaturally powerful positions as the leaders of the Only Superpower On Earth.

Well on May 9, Bush quietly signed a directive that may ensure that he and Tricky Dick II don't have to hand over the reigns.

Learn more.

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.

More here.

The new rules of imperialism: Economic warfare, consumer products and disease exports

History tells us that imperialist nations quite predictably invade weaker nations on a regular basis... especially when those weaker nations happen to be standing on valuable natural resources like oil or uranium. Thanks to this desire for strategic control over territories, the twentieth century was the bloodiest in human history, with more people being lost to war, greed and conquest than during any single century in recorded history (including the centuries spanning Greek and Roman civilizations).

History may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme a lot. ~ Mark Twain

Read the rest.

US school students don’t count in international class

And this is one reason why, in time, the US will fall just like every other empire.

In fact, the OECD says, US school students “rank 24th out of 29 OECD countries in mathematics performance.” It explained: “By the middle grades, the top achieving countries ... begin the transition to the study of algebra ... geometry and even in some cases, basic trigonometry. By the end of the eighth grade in these countries children have mostly completed US high school courses in algebra 1 and geometry. “By contrast, most US students are destined to mostly continue the study of arithmetic. In fact, we estimate that at the end of eighth grade (about age 14) US students are some two or more years behind their counterparts around the world.”

Not good.

Here's more.

Cheney lawyer told Secret Service not to keep copies of visitor logs

A lawyer for Vice President Dick Cheney told the Secret Service in September to eliminate data on who visited Cheney at his official residence, a newly disclosed letter states.


“The latest filings make clear that the administration has been destroying documents and entering into secret agreements in violation of the law,” said Anne Weismann, CREW's chief counsel.

If these "visits" are kept secret, then the public doesn't know what the VP may be up to. Oh, wait, wait, that's the point. Just who is Cheney loyal to any way? I'm thinking he's not loyal to the US.

Read the rest.

Bush's Monica Problem

But the Justice Department is supposed to stand for the rule of law—to be the enforcer of the laws of the United States, not the place presidents go to get around the law.

Read more here.

Movie Patrons Can Rat Out Rude Behavior

Will this work?

Are you fed up with rude movie patrons? A major theater group is offering a way to tattle on them.

The Regal Entertainment Group has been testing small hand-held devices called "Guest Response Systems." Selected patrons can use them anonymously to page management when there's a specific problem.

More here.

Microsoft unveils revolutionary device

The future?

To do things on Surface’s tabletop screen, you reach down, touch it and push it. To make the image you see on the screen bigger, spread your fingers. To make it smaller, squeeze your fingers together. To move something into the trash, push it into the trash with your hand. And it allows what Microsoft calls “Multi-Touch” and “Multi-User” interaction — namely, more than one person can interact with it at a time. Try that with your home computer.

One of the most revolutionary aspects of Surface, though, is its natural interaction with everyday objects and technologies. When you place your wi-fi enabled digital camera on the table, for example, Surface ‘sees’ the camera and does something extraordinary: It pulls your digital pictures and videos out onto the table for you to look at, move, edit or send. Images literally spill out in a pool of color.

Learn more.

May 29, 2007

Bush: People agree with me

Confronted with strong opposition to his Iraq policies, President Bush decides to interpret public opinion his own way. Actually, he says, people agree with him.

This is the world we live in.

How do we allow this man to stay in office?

Read more.

Democrats in Washington want to keep impeachment off the table

The push to impeach President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney is gaining a hearing in some parts of the country, but not in Washington.


There are both policy and political reasons that Democratic leaders are risking the anger of their base.

One is that some don't see an impeachable offense in what Bush has done, what the Constitution calls "high crimes and misdemeanors." They might find such evidence in any of the many congressional investigations, but they haven't yet.

Another is that they fear a political backlash from voters similar to the one that punished Republicans after they impeached Bill Clinton. One factor on the side of the pro-impeachment crowd: Clinton was much more popular than Bush.

The third is that they're eager to keep Bush and Cheney around as punching bags for Democratic candidates in the 2008 campaign.

Here's more.

Hitchens vs. Hedges; Atheist vs. Believer Clash Ignites Audience

Visualize this spectacle: a debate between a neocon and a progressive. The subject is religion. One of them is there to defend religion, to praise God, to cheerlead for even the most devout. The other -- his opponent -- is an atheist. He skewers deities and those who follow deities. He calls them evil. Toxic. Childish. He mocks doctrine. Railing that the devout want to kill us and control the world, he is on a mission, as it were, to vanquish missions. You'd expect the liberal to be the atheist and the neocon to vouch for the devout. No-brainer, right? Well, no.


Bush the Neoliberal

Years ago, someone coined the term "neoliberal." I was never sure what it meant, and it has since fallen into disuse, but whatever the case, I'd like to revive (and mangle) the term and apply it -- brace yourself -- to George W. Bush. He's more liberal than you might think.


Planet-hunters find bonanza of new solar systems

Planet-seekers who have spotted 28 new planets orbiting other stars in the past year say Earth's solar system is far from unique and there could be billions of habitable planets.

I know it's a slap in the face to some of you, but there really is nothing special about Earth or humans. We are just this planet's current occupants in this small, small corner of the universe.

Learn more.

Is Christianity Good for the World?

In considering the above question (for which my thanks are due to your generosity and hospitality in inviting my response), I have complete confidence in replying in the negative. This is for the following reasons.


I cannot, of course, prove that there is no supervising deity who invigilates my every moment and who will pursue me even after I am dead. (I can only be happy that there is no evidence for such a ghastly idea, which would resemble a celestial North Korea in which liberty was not just impossible but inconceivable.) But nor has any theologian ever demonstrated the contrary. This would perhaps make the believer and the doubter equal—except that the believer claims to know, not just that God exists, but that his most detailed wishes are not merely knowable but actually known. Since religion drew its first breath when the species lived in utter ignorance and considerable fear, I hope I may be forgiven for declining to believe that another human being can tell me what to do, in the most intimate details of my life and mind, and to further dictate these terms as if acting as proxy for a supernatural entity. This tyrannical idea is very much older than Christianity, of course, but I do sometimes think that Christians have less excuse for believing, let alone wishing, that such a horrible thing could be true. Perhaps your response will make me reconsider?

Read more.

University president recommends firing professor

The president of the University of Colorado has recommended that a professor who likened some September 11 victims to a Nazi should be fired, according to the professor and the school.

Ward Churchill, a tenured professor of ethnic studies, has denied the allegations and threatened a lawsuit if he is dismissed.

You all are to think the same way, to have the same opinions, and to fall in line and shut up!! No independent thought for you!!

The world we live in.

Read more.

Records: Senators who OK'd war didn't read key report

A new biography of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton has once again raised the issue of whether members of Congress read a key intelligence report before the 2002 vote to authorize war in Iraq.

Clinton did not read the 90-page, classified National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq, according to "Her Way: The Hopes and Ambitions of Hillary Rodham Clinton."

For members of Congress to read the report, they had to go to a secure location on Capitol Hill. The Washington Post reported in 2004 that no more than six senators and a handful of House members were logged as reading the document.

Six? Fucking six? That really means that 94 didn't read it. Ninety-fucking-four! What the hell do they do out there on the Hill anyway? Why do we pay you lazy sumbitches?

And yet, we allow them to get away with such non-action.

We all should be pissed off!

Here's more.

New museum says dinosaurs were on Noah's Ark

The Christian creators of the sprawling museum, unveiled on Saturday, hope to draw as many as half a million people each year to their state-of-the-art project, which depicts the Bible's first book, Genesis, as literal truth.


If you really need to, you can read more here.


While you were sleeping, “the decider” has struck again by issuing a presidential directive giving himself full powers of authority, in the event of another attack or natural disaster. Since he did such a bang-up job defending the country on 9/11 and rescuing New Orleans from Katrina’s deluge, it only stands to reason that he be given full and total authority for the safety and protection the American people.

That pretty much sums it up.

Here's more.

Celebrating the Rule of Force, Not Freedom

Because this needs to be said:

This is Memorial Day, and we are going to hear the rhetoric about honoring those who "died fighting for our freedom." Indeed, Americans might be honoring the dead from U.S. wars, but in no case did any of those dead whom we memorialize today die for "our freedom." They died, instead, because our political classes pointedly understand that promoting war is good for them.

Nicely put.

Here's more.

Cindy Sheehan: Why I Am Leaving the Democratic Party

There is absolutely no sane or defensible reason for you to hand Bloody King George more money to condemn more of our brave, tired, and damaged soldiers and the people of Iraq to more death and carnage. You think giving him more money is politically expedient, but it is a moral abomination and every second the occupation of Iraq endures, you all have more blood on your hands.

Give 'em hell, Cindy.

Read more.

Never Wrong - No One Is Ever Wrong

When was the last time you heard your executive, judicial, senatorial, congressional or pastoral leaders say "I was wrong," "We were wrong," "I am sorry"? From "I did not have sex with that woman," to "those weapons of mass destruction must be around here somewhere," just saying "I'm sorry," seems the hardest thing to do. Give it a try anyway before you kill us all.

And we may never hear those words again from our leaders.

Here ya go.

Top medical journal blasts "designer vagina" craze

One of the world's most prestigious health journals has lashed a fast-growing trend in the United States and Britain for "designer vaginas," the tabloid term for cosmetic surgery to the female genitalia.

The fashion is being driven by commercial and media pressures that exploit women's insecurities and is fraught with unknowns, including a risk to sexual arousal, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) says.

Praying on, and stoking, the insecurities of some women.


U.S. Military Wanted to Provoke War With Cuba

In case you were not aware of this:

In the early 1960s, America's top military leaders reportedly drafted plans to kill innocent people and commit acts of terrorism in U.S. cities to create public support for a war against Cuba.

So what makes one think that this scenario wouldn't happen today?

Read more on Operation Northwoods here.

No jobs for US citizens without Homeland Security approval

Welcome to the new world:

American Civil Liberties Union pointed out that the DHS's Employment Eligibility Verification System (EEVS) is error plagued and if the department makes a mistake in determining work eligibility, there will be virtually no way to challenge the error or recover lost wages due to the bill’s prohibitions on judicial review.

Even current employees will need to obtain eligibility approval from the DHS Within 60 days of the Immigration Reform Act of 2006 becoming law.

Learn more.

Australian pub bars heterosexuals

A gay pub in the city of Melbourne has won the right to ban heterosexuals - the first time such a decision has been made in Australia.

Why, you ask.

The pub's management said the move would stop groups of heterosexual men and women abusing gay people.

Civil liberties groups have supported the decision.

Read more.

So why does the government say terrorism is DHS primary focus?

Records obtained from the immigration courts under the Freedom of Information Act show that only 0.0015 percent of the total number of cases filed by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security were terrorism related, despite the fact that the Bush administration has repeatedly asserted that it is the primary focus of the DHS.

A report issued by independent research group The Transactional Records Action Clearinghouse (TRAC) found that in the last three years there have only been 12 charges of terrorism out of 814,073 cases.


"The DHS claims it is focused on terrorism. Well that's just not true," David Burnham, a TRAC spokesman told CNN. "Either there's no terrorism, or they're terrible at catching them. Either way it's bad for all of us."

Read the rest.

Rules 'hiding' trillions in debt

The federal government recorded a $1.3 trillion loss last year — far more than the official $248 billion deficit — when corporate-style accounting standards are used, a USA TODAY analysis shows.

1.3 trillion! With a "T"! Pay attention people!

The loss — equal to $11,434 per household — is more than Americans paid in income taxes in 2006.


Bottom line: Taxpayers are now on the hook for a record $59.1 trillion in liabilities, a 2.3% increase from 2006. That amount is equal to $516,348 for every U.S. household. By comparison, U.S. households owe an average of $112,043 for mortgages, car loans, credit cards and all other debt combined.

Rich people should not be allowed to run governments because they have no understanding of fiscal responsibility (they've never had to). They've rarely, if ever, had to save money because generally speaking they've always had it or they have forgotten what it's like to not have it.

Here's more.

May 28, 2007

Source: Vick 'one of the heavyweights' in dog fighting

Whether the allegations or true or not, dog fighting is yet another example of why humans are a vile species:

Our confidential source said he's been involved in dog fighting for more than 30 years. He has trained and fought -- by his estimation -- about 2,000 pit bulls and was poised to tell "Outside the Lines" about the time in 2000 when his dog squared off against a dog owned by someone he referred to as one of the "heavyweights" of the dog fighting world: Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick.

So, how can this high profile athlete engage in such activity and it not be public?

"You know, it's very interesting that we have got a whole roster of names of professional athletes that we know are involved in dog fighting," Goodwin said. "Surely, not every single one has come to light; I bet not even 10 percent have come to light."

If that's true, one reason might have to do with the "code of silence" among dog fighters. The source said many matches take place on rural farms, with lookouts stationed in the woods and down surrounding roads, up to eight miles away. He adds that sometimes, local sheriffs are paid off to look the other way -- that is, when they're not participating in the dog fights themselves. But with as many as 200 people in attendance at any given match, how is it possible that a high-profile athlete can attend dog fights and never have word get out to the general public?

"Dog fighting is a very private thing," answers the source, who said that Vick was still involved in dog fighting as recently as last year. "It's all Pit Bull Men. It's close knit: you got your little boys, then you got your heavyweight boys. It's a completely different class … And now [that] it's all over the media, and you have to keep it more private."

But I had to keep reading:

The source said he consented to our interview to change people's perceptions about dog fighting because they have "the wrong idea" about it and should see "just one" match for themselves before judging it. "They'll let this other thing go -- what is it called? UFC [Ultimate Fighting Championship]?" he asked. "That is every bit as bad -- you know, that's terrible. But then you have thousands of people that cheer, rah, rah, and they really love that. You see guys get their heads busted, you know, and they get their arms messed up, their legs twisted almost off. But then they fuss over this here, is wrong."

When asked what he thinks people's reactions will be when they learn of his account of Vick's involvement in dog fighting, the source was nonplussed.
"They shouldn't be really upset, OK?" he said. "Because it's only just an animal. It's just a dog that is raised up. He's put out there, you know, and he's chained up, OK. And the time he gets a certain age, this dog is going to want to fight. It is bred in him, OK? He knows what he is and he's going to fight. Just take him off the leash, let him go."

It's this logic and resoning that make humans the most vile species on the planet. 'It's only just an animal.' What I wouldn't give to have a more advanced species come in here, take fuckers like this away, and force them to fight each other to the death. All because the more advanced species sees him as, well, 'only a human.'

"Dog fighting is illegal for a reason," Goodwin said. "It's a severe form of cruelty."

Duh. The people participating in UFC actually get to make a choice about being in the fight. The dogs never had a choice. Fucking poor excuse for a human.

Then the fucking poor excuse for a human goes on to say:

"The gameness that the dog fighters strive for -- and 'gameness' is the willingness to continue fighting, even in the face of extreme pain, even in the face of death -- is something that's bred into the dogs," Goodwin said. "There are pit bulls that have been bred away from the fighting lines that are perfectly socialized, but the game-bred dogs -- bred for fighting -- just have it bred in them to want to kill any dog in front of them."

However, the bottom line all of this is:

"Everybody in the dog world is worried about Michael Vick talking," the source said, shortly before leaving our interview room and heading back to work. "Michael Vick is making large money; he's making millions, OK? And if he has to tell on some people [to avoid prison time], I think he would tell … I don't put nothing past him."

Hmmm. If they get sent to prison then they might be in a similar situation that they put the dogs in: fighting for their lives.

I am too fucking disgusted to say more. Read the rest of this shit here.

May 25, 2007

Senate votes to legalize 12 million undocumented immigrants

Senators Thursday overwhelmingly endorsed a plan to allow more than 12 million undocumented immigrants to remain in the United States legally and rejected major challenges to legislation that President Bush called the "best opportunity" to repair the nation's immigration system.

Here's more.

Did the U.S. Lie About Using Cluster Bombs in Iraq?

At a time when many nations are moving toward banning the use of cluster munitions, which pose a more serious threat to civilians than any other type of weaponry, the U.S. opposes new limits of any kind.


Here's more.

Police Raid Lingerie Shop

An obscure law sends one local lingerie store clerk to jail. And now she may forever have to register as a sex offender.


Earlier this month, four officers raided the shop, confiscating several toys deemed to be illegal by the Texas penal code. The code states "a person who possesses six or more obscene devices is presumed to possess them with intent to promote the same." In other words, intent to sell.

This is what pisses me off:

According to state law, it’s illegal to sell obscene devices with the intention of sexual gratification. But what is an obscene device and who`s going to be the judge of that?


He says obscenity laws have been on the books as long as they`ve had books as a way of protecting the community from what he calls the secondary effects of obscenity which are child pornography, money laundering and prostitution.

Oh, yeah, bring in the "protect the children" argument again. Give me a fucking break.

More here.

The New Establishment

Increasing the speed of the fall:

Goodling is part of a new generation of evangelicals ushered in by Falwell, who insisted that Christians get involved in politics. They are graduates of the exploding number of evangelical colleges, which no longer aim to create a parallel subculture but instead to train "Christian leaders to change the world," as the Regent mission statement reads.

Read more.

Imprisoning a Whole Nation

There is no war. There is resistance among the poorest, most vulnerable people on earth to an enduring, illegal occupation imposed by the world's fourth largest military power, whose weapons of mass destruction range from cluster bombs to thermonuclear devices, bankrolled by the superpower. In the past six years alone, wrote the historian Ilan Pappé, "Israeli forces have killed more than 4,000 Palestinians, half of them children."


The Goods on Goodling and the Keys to the Kingdom

This Monica revealed something hotter --- much hotter --- than a stained blue dress.


Goodling testified that Gonzales' Chief of Staff, Kyle Sampson, perjured himself, lying to the committee in earlier testimony. The lie: Sampson denied Monica had told him about Tim Griffin's "involvement in 'caging' voters" in 2004.

It gets much juicier:

Here's how caging worked, and along with Griffin's thoughtful emails themselves you'll understand it all in no time.

The Bush-Cheney operatives sent hundreds of thousands of letters marked "Do not forward" to voters' homes. Letters returned ("caged") were used as evidence to block these voters' right to cast a ballot on grounds they were registered at phony addresses. Who were the evil fakers? Homeless men, students on vacation and --- you got to love this --- American soldiers. Oh yeah: most of them are Black voters.

Why weren't these African-American voters home when the Republican letters arrived? The homeless men were on park benches, the students were on vacation --- and the soldiers were overseas. Go to Baghdad, lose your vote. Mission Accomplished.

How do I know? I have the caging lists...

I have them because they are attached to the emails Rove insists can't be found. I have the emails. 500 of them --- sent to our team at BBC after the Rove-bots accidentally sent them to a web domain owned by our friend John Wooden.
Here's what you need to know --- and the Committee would have discovered, if only they'd asked:

Give 'em hell, Greg.

Learn more here.

Ron Paul assigns reading to Giuliani

Give 'em hell, Ron.

"I don't think he's qualified to be president," Paul said of Giuliani. "If he was to read the book and report back to me and say, 'I've changed my mind,' I would reconsider."

Paul advocates a limited U.S. foreign policy, including an end to the war in Iraq and a reduction in troop levels abroad.

Paul said he was unfairly attacked during last week's debate by 10 Republican presidential hopefuls, when Giuliani dismissed his contention that U.S. policies in the Middle East had contributed to the attacks in New York and Washington.

"I don't think I've ever heard that before, and I've heard some pretty absurd explanations for September 11th," Giuliani said to wild applause.

Shut up, Rudy. Are you a moron? No, you're a puppet, that's right. Damn, I get those two things confused.

Read the rest.

Razor-thin TV screen you can wear as a T-shirt

In the race for ever thinner displays for TVs, cell phones and other gadgets, Sony may have developed one to beat them all - a razor-thin display that bends like paper while showing full-colour video.


"In the future, it could get wrapped around a lamppost or a person's wrist, even worn as clothing," said Sony spokesman Chisato Kitsukawa. "Perhaps it can be put up like wallpaper."

Here's more.

May 24, 2007

North American union plan headed to Congress in fall

A powerful think tank chaired by former Sen. Sam Nunn and guided by trustees including Richard Armitage, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Harold Brown, William Cohen and Henry Kissinger, is in the final stages of preparing a report to the White House and U.S. Congress on the benefits of integrating the U.S., Mexico and Canada into one political, economic and security bloc.

Read more.

Divisive bill stokes GOP anger; base rejects path to citizenship

The bipartisan immigration bill being pushed by the White House and Sen. Jon Kyl, Arizona Republican, is fracturing rather than "saving" the Republican Party nationally, according to angry party leaders and new poll findings.

In general, has this country ever been more divided? Even during the Civil War, was there this much division on as many issues?

Read the rest.

The entire government has failed us on Iraq

For the president, and the majority leaders and candidates and rank-and-file Congressmen and Senators of either party—there is only blame for this shameful, and bi-partisan, betrayal.

Give 'em hell, Olbermann.

They Knew

U.S. intelligence agencies warned the Bush administration in early 2003 that invading Iraq could create internal conflict that would give Iran and al Qaeda new opportunities to expand their influence, according to an upcoming Senate report.

Officials familiar with the Senate Intelligence Committee investigation also say analysts warned against U.S. domination in the region, which could increase extremist recruiting.

Here's more.

Lock and Load

I don't trust any politician alive or dead.

I keep reading all these other sites just gushing about Ron Paul and, at first blush, he seems to be a real patriotic 'America first' candidate but I have to keep remembering these other sites have sang high praises for many of the other 'saviors' too. How's savior Pelosi doing so far?

This person's reasoning:

Here's how you will know if Ron Paul is a true patriot candidate or not, if he is still running in 2008 primaries and actually has a chance then he is not for real, Why? Because if he is still alive he belongs to the New World Order. Has to be. No one with any chance of actually rescinding any part of what they have built up is going to get that far! If you believe they are then you are seriously deluded.

Read the rest.

Net taxes could arrive by this fall

State and local governments this week resumed a push to lobby Congress for far-reaching changes on two different fronts: gaining the ability to impose sales taxes on Net shopping, and being able to levy new monthly taxes on DSL and other connections. One senator is even predicting taxes on e-mail.

They always want your money.

Learn if you'll have more taken from your pocket here.

Scientists Develop Tiny Implantable Biocomputers

Researchers at Harvard University and Princeton University have made a crucial step toward building biological computers, tiny implantable devices that can monitor the activities and characteristics of human cells. The information provided by these "molecular doctors," constructed entirely of DNA, RNA, and proteins, could eventually revolutionize medicine by directing therapies only to diseased cells or tissues.

Learn more.

'Sicko' Shows Michael Moore's Maturity as a Filmmaker

Unlike many of his previous films ("Roger and Me," "Bowling for Columbine," "Fahrenheit 9-11"), "Sicko" works because in this one there are no confrontations. Moore smartly lets very articulate average Americans tell their personal horror stories at the hands of insurance companies. The film never talks down or baits the audience.

We'll see.

Here's the rest.

May 23, 2007

Google’s goal: to organise your daily life

Google's ambition to maximise the personal information it holds on users is so great that the search engine envisages a day when it can tell people what jobs to take and how they might spend their days off.

Do we really want this level of involvement from a big company?

Read the rest.

Broken wheel reveals water on Mars

Now this is exciting.

Experts said last night that the finding showed that water had flowed on the surface of Mars within the last tens of millions of years.

Bush could double force by Christmas

As long as there is no public uprising, this war will continue to escalate. The choice is yours.

The Bush administration is quietly on track to nearly double the number of combat troops in Iraq this year, an analysis of Pentagon deployment orders showed Monday.

Read the rest.

Why the US Government Is Hated All Over the World

Something is wrong with the United States. I think most of us have noticed it. There is a mortal rot in the country, made manifest by many little rots that are hard to integrate mentally yet are, I think, somehow related. The change is grave, accelerating, probably irreversible, and fascinating. Things are not as they were.

The United States is the most hated country on the planet, followed by, to the extent that there is a distinction, Israel. So far as I know, there are no other contenders. You can say “Who cares?” as many will say, or “Screw’em if they can’t take a joke,” or “I’d ratherh be feared than loved.” All very droll. Still, it is an interesting datum. No country ever lives up to its own PR, but there was a time when America was widely admired. Now, almost universally, it is seen as a rogue state. And is.

This carries a price. The US consulate in Guadalajara is part fortress, part prison, with barriers and cameras and bars and rentacops, and they take away a woman’s lipstick if she is going to enter. Maybe a country that fears lipstick needs to think. The French consulate around the corner is wide open, like all others that I know of. The French, Chinese, Japanese and so on aren’t hated.

(1) The US government now lives in its own, strange, insulated world.

(2) The United States is the most militarily aggressive country on the planet, followed closely by Israel. I am aware of no other contenders.

He has 5 more points. Check 'em out.

Iraq: Where Nobody Is Accountable

With no doors of justice open to them, many Iraqis are now taking to unlawful ways to hit back at occupation forces and government targets.

"The only way to do it is at gunpoint," 32-year-old Ali Aziz from Ramadi, 100 km west of Baghdad, told IPS. "They invaded us at gunpoint and we find it ridiculous to talk about any other way of getting back what belongs to us."

Read more.

FDA approves first pill meant to end periods

Called Lybrel, it’s the first such pill to receive Food and Drug Administration approval for continuous use. When taken daily, the pill can halt women’s menstrual periods indefinitely and prevent pregnancies.

More here.

Bush Authorizes New Covert Action Against Iran

The CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert "black" operation to destabilize the Iranian government, current and former officials in the intelligence community tell the Blotter on

This information is of course brout to us by the those "anonymous" sources.

Read the rest.

Apple v Ann Summers in iGasm spat

High street adult retailer Ann Summers has landed itself in a heap of trouble with Apple.

Now this is what I'm talking about!

The retail chain has been promoting a £30 sex toy called the iGasm, a device which connects to any music player and offers users an erotic vibrating treat in time to the beat.

Apparently it's not the fact that the iPod connects to a sex toy, but rather the way in which Ann Summers has gone about advertising.

Check out the ad here.

May 21, 2007

MySpace to provide sex offender data to state AGs has unveiled a plan for cooperating with the state attorneys general who have requested that the social-networking site turn over data pertaining to registered sex offenders.

Learn more here.

The Neocon Reaction to Ron Paul

For whatever reason – perhaps out of fear or power lust – neocons have abandoned conservative skepticism of government in favor of a blind ideology of American exceptionalism. Beck, Hannity, and Giuliani have jumped on Dr. Paul relentlessly because they are beginning to realize that many conservative voters are dissatisfied with the spendthrift, Wilsonian mainstream of the Republican Party. As the base shrinks and moderates start voting Democratic, they know and fear that true conservatives who believe in the ideals of the Old Right might wake up from their post-9/11 slumber and leave the neocons as well. In their attempt to hold their floundering movement together, they have resorted to shouting down and ostracizing the "crazed dope" Ron Paul, hoping to push him "way out" of the presidential race. Dr. Paul and his supporters must be doing something right to raise such fear and ire from the neocons; let us keep it up.

Give 'em hell, Ron.

Read the rest.

As US, NATO forces turn to airpower, civilian casualties mount

Not good.

With reinforcements often a long helicopter ride away, US and NATO troops in Afghanistan are turning to air power when they get into trouble. A disturbing result, analysts say, has been mounting civilian casualties.

Read more.

High Number Of Moms Admit Pot Use

"These were middle to upper-middle class women, professional women, mommies. We had some that were members of the PTA and one school teacher even reported," Pausa said.


"I like it just to relax, if I'm very stressed out and I just need some time, just to relax. It's good for that."


"But I've also used it for headaches. I've used it when I've been sick with the stomach flu, when I've been really nauseous and, I mean, I need to function. So it's in my medicine cabinet," Sue said.

Of the hundreds of mothers Pausa surveyed, 52 percent said they smoke pot at least 10 times a year.

Twenty-seven percent said they smoke it one to seven times a week.

Here's the link.

Our oceans are turning into plastic...are we?

A vast swath of the Pacific, twice the size of Texas, is full of a plastic stew that is entering the food chain. Scientists say these toxins are causing obesity, infertility...and worse.


This news is depressing enough to make a person reach for the bottle. Glass, at least, is easily recyclable. You can take one tequila bottle, melt it down, and make another tequila bottle. With plastic, recycling is more complicated. Unfortunately, that promising-looking triangle of arrows that appears on products doesn’t always signify endless reuse; it merely identifies which type of plastic the item is made from. And of the seven different plastics in common use, only two of them—PET (labeled with #1 inside the triangle and used in soda bottles) and HDPE (labeled with #2 inside the triangle and used in milk jugs)—have much of an aftermarket. So no matter how virtuously you toss your chip bags and shampoo bottles into your blue bin, few of them will escape the landfill—only 3 to 5 percent of plastics are recycled in any way.

There's a lot more here.

Japanese use bacteria to store data

While ink may fade and computers may crash, bacterial information lasts as long as a species stays alive - possibly a mind-boggling million years - according to Professor Masaru Tomita, who heads the team of researchers at Keio University.

There's more.

US government trying to seize new Michael Moore film, says producer

Whatever you may think about Michael Moore, he does stir the pot. And quite frankly, the pot always needs stirring.

The film has already caused Moore - who won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2004 with Fahrenheit 911 - to clash with the American authorities. Now, according to movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Company is behind the film, the US government is attempting to impound the negative.

According to Weinstein, the US Treasury's moves meant "we had to fly the movie to another country"- he would not say to where. "Let the secret service find that out - though this is the same country that thought there were weapons of mass destruction, so they'll never find it." He added that he feared that if the film were impounded, there might be attempts to cut some footage, in particular the last 20 minutes, which related to a trip to Cuba. This, said Weinstein, "would not be good."

Here's more.

One building that's been built on time and on budget in Iraq: America's fortress embassy

For those that think the US will be leaving Iraq.

The compound, by the side of the Tigris, would be a statement of President Bush's intent to expand democracy through the Middle East. Yesterday, however, the entire project was under fresh scrutiny as new details emerged of its cost and scale.

Rising from the dust of the city's Green Zone it is destined, at $592m (£300m), to become the biggest and most expensive US embassy on earth when it opens in September.

It will cover 104 acres (42 hectares) of land, about the size of the Vatican. It will include 27 separate buildings and house about 615 people behind bomb-proof walls. Most of the embassy staff will live in simple, if not quite monastic, accommodation in one-bedroom apartments.

The US ambassador, however, will enjoy a little more elbow room in a high-security home on the compound reported to fill 16,000 square feet (1,500 sq metres). His deputy will have to make do with a more modest 9,500 sq ft.

They will have a pool, gym and communal living areas, and the embassy will have its own power and water supplies.

Can this possibly be a good thing you ask.

"What you have is a situation in which they are building an embassy without really thinking about what its functions are," Edward Peck, a former American diplomat in Iraq, told AP.

"What kind of embassy is it when everybody lives inside and it's blast-proof, and people are running around with helmets and crouching behind sandbags?"

But guess what? That's right...

There is one added irony - the embassy is one of the few major projects the administration has undertaken in Iraq that is on schedule and within budget.

And the invasion was about helping Iraqis. Yeah right.

Read the rest.

May 17, 2007

GALLUP: In Shocking Plunge, Only 1 in 4 Now Satisfied With State of USA

Well, let's see:

We have the war.

We have rich people getting richer. Many off the war.

We have big corporations getting bigger.

We are concerned that it is only the rich that get to run for the presidency and these people have no idea what it's like to be a commoner in the US. Thus, they can not relate to us, so how can we expect them to do what is right for us.

We notice there is little concern from the government regarding the health of its citizens.

We notice that our government plays on our fears, even actively stokes these fears, to further agendas we know very little, if anything, about.

We notice that no matter who gets elected to Congress, nothing much ever changes.

And there is shock because 25% of the population is satisfied with the state of the country?

We expect more from our government.

We expect truth, honesty, and fairness.

We expect our leaders to be held accountable for their actions.

We expect our leaders to do what is right for the citizens of this country and not to do what benefits their personal agendas or their pocketbooks or the pocketbooks of their friends.

We are tired of being used.

Here's the story.

May 16, 2007

Empire or Republic

“But we live in a different time now. Today, the terrorists hate us and are coming to get us. The Constitution is not a suicide pact.”

That raises the important question of why people around the world, especially in the Middle East, are angry and hateful toward our nation. The issue is important because getting the prescription right usually depends on arriving at a correct diagnosis of the malady.

The issue of why they hate us revolves around two conflicting rationales. The federal rationale is that foreigners hate America for its “freedom and values.” The other rationale holds that foreigners hate our nation because of extremely bad things that the federal government has done to people overseas.

Face reality: the US is not hated for its "freedom and values."

Read the rest.

California-Sized Area of Ice Melts in Antarctica

"Antarctica has shown little to no warming in the recent past with the exception of the Antarctic Peninsula," said Konrad Steffen of the University of Colorado, Boulder. "But now large regions are showing the first signs of the impacts of warming as interpreted by this satellite analysis."

Here's the rest.

Intelligent Design Scientist Denied Tenure

If this is true, then it is troubling.

"The denial of tenure is all the more incredible given the fact that Dr. Gonzalez exceeds by 350% the number of peer-reviewed journal publications required by his department to meet its standard of excellence in research."

Dr. Gonzalez does not teach about intelligent design in his university courses. His research and advocacy of the theory are done outside of his time as a professor.

Democrats Work Hard To Screw YOU!

Yes, screw YOU! Can you believe this new legislation which the Democrat Party Leaders are attempting to pass? Let me explain, short and sweet:

Democrats, along with ALL THEIR LEADERS, want legislation which will ... are you sitting down? ... legislation which will make YOU liable for a law suit, if you report something or someone suspicious to the authorities and they are found to be innocent.

Now think about that.

Read the rest.

'Five Years Left To Save The Planet'

Humans have been predicting the end of civilization (and even the end of the world) since we began walking and talking on this planet. This is just the most recent gloom and doom scenario.

Our planet is just five years away from climate change catastrophe - but can still be saved, according to a new report.

Read more on the predicted end of the world here.

Amsterdam Upgrades Airport Security

Passengers hardly blinked at the introduction of a new security scanning system this week at Amsterdam's airport as part of anti-terrorism efforts, a spokeswoman said Wednesday, even though the machine in essence allows guards to peer beneath their clothes.


"People figure, if this is going to let me get through the lines quicker, then I'll do it," said airport spokeswoman Miriam Snoerwang.

Here's the rest.

May 15, 2007

Galactic merger to 'evict' Sun and Earth

It's hard to know where you'll be in five years' time, never mind 5 billion. But astronomers have it all figured out. In 5 billion years, they say, the Sun and Earth – along with our atomic remains and any living Earthlings – will inhabit "Milkomeda", the wreckage of a violent collision between the Milky Way and the giant Andromeda galaxy.

Read the rest.

What Price Slaughter?

What value has a human life?


The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered by al-Qaeda terrorists on September 11, 2001 to his or her family: $1.8 million.

The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered at Haditha, Iraq, by U.S. Marines: $2,500.

The value of an innocent civilian slaughtered by U.S. Marines near Jalalabad, Afghanistan: $2,000.

Never say that the U.S. government is incapable of putting a price on the deaths of innocents.

Absolutely disgusting.

Here's the rest.

Arsonists, yes. But are they terrorists?

You knew the "terrorist" label would eventually apply to all sorts of crime.

Their guilt isn't in question. The six men and four women already admitted being involved in a series of arson fires that did $40 million in damage to research facilities, a ski resort and other businesses in the West. But are they terrorists as the government says?

Here ya go.

Shop Owner Appeals Sex Toys Case

The owner of adult stores in Alabama asked the Supreme Court on Monday to throw out a state ban on selling sex toys, calling it an unconstitutional intrusion into the bedroom.

If the court declines to take the case—as it did in 2005—Alabama residents shopping for sexual novelties could soon have to look outside the state's borders.

Bring your batteries here.

Vatican denies hiding the full truth about the end of the world

The Pope’s second-in-command, Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, denied that the Church was suppressing a vision of the end of the world said to have been revealed by the Virgin Mary to three shepherd children on a hillside at Fatima in Portugal exactly 90 years ago.


He said that the undisclosed portion of the “secret” predicted a crisis of faith in the West and the collapse of the Church hierarchy in the face of a tidal wave of “apostasy and heresy”. Marco Tosatti, a Vatican watcher and author of The Prophecies of Fatima, also said that the Vatican was believed to be “hiding something” so as “not to alarm millions of the faithful”.

But yesterday, as tens of thousands gathered at Fatima, 130 kilometres (81 miles) north of Lisbon, to mark the 90th anniversary of the “visions”, Cardinal Bertone insisted that the idea that the secret predicted “catastrophic world events” or the collapse of the Christian Church were “pure fantasy”.

More here.

Thirsty world needs higher water prices

"Water is generally underpriced and sometimes practically given away as a free good and that leads to waste. Yes it's a right, but that doesn't mean it has to be free... because it's scarce," Gurria said.

Here's more.

National ID: Biometrics Pinned to Social Security Cards

The Social Security card faces its first major upgrade in 70 years under two immigration-reform proposals slated for debate this week that would add biometric information to the card and finally complete its slow metamorphosis into a national ID.

Because it has just been a matter of time.

Read more about your future here.

The Unbeliever

Hitchens, who once described Mother Teresa as "a fanatic, a fundamentalist, and a fraud," is notorious for making mincemeat out of sacred cows, but in this book it is the sacred itself that is skewered. Religion, Hitchens writes, is "violent, irrational, intolerant, allied to racism and tribalism and bigotry, invested in ignorance and hostile to free inquiry, contemptuous of women and coercive toward children." Channeling the anti-supernatural spirits of other acolytes of the "new atheism," Hitchens argues that religion is "man-made" and murderous, originating in fear and sustained by brute force. Like Richard Dawkins, he denounces the religious education of young people as child abuse. Like Sam Harris, he fires away at the Koran as well as the Bible. And like Daniel Dennett, he views faith as wish-fulfillment.

Is this really any different than religious fundamentalists spouting off at the mouth? I read on...

Historian George Marsden once described fundamentalism as evangelicalism that is mad about something. If so, these evangelistic atheists have something in common with their fundamentalist foes, and Hitchens is the maddest of the lot.

The bottom line:

As should be obvious to any reasonable person -- unlike Hitchens I do not exclude believers from this category -- horrors and good deeds are performed by believers and non-believers alike. But in Hitchens's Manichaean world, religion does little good and secularism hardly any evil.

Read the rest.

U.S. healthcare expensive, inefficient: report

Americans get the poorest health care and yet pay the most compared to five other rich countries, according to a report released on Tuesday.

Germany, Britain, Australia and Canada all provide better care for less money, the Commonwealth Fund report found.

"The U.S. health care system ranks last compared with five other nations on measures of quality, access, efficiency, equity, and outcomes," the non-profit group which studies health care issues said in a statement.

Read more here.

Bush doesn't want detente. He wants to attack Iran

The US has swept aside repeated overtures from Tehran. Is it any wonder if the Islamic Republic now wants the bomb?

No, it is not a wonder.

Although the US administration's current priority is Iraq, it has not given up on Iran. Silently, stealthily, unseen by cameras, the war on Iran has begun. Many sources confirm that the US has increased its aid to armed movements among the ethnic minorities that make up about 40% of Iran's population. ABC News reported in April that the US had secretly assisted the Baluchi group Jund al-Islam (Soldiers of Islam), responsible for a recent attack that killed 20 Revolutionary Guards. According to an American Foundation report, US commandos have operated inside Iran since 2004.


During the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein used chemical weapons against Iran, but there was no outcry in the US, whose troops are now deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Two neighbouring countries, Pakistan and Israel, have nuclear weapons. No Iranian leader could fail to be aware of this situation.

Learn a lot more here.

Cities With Most, Least Road Rage

Residents in the following 25 cities were surveyed and are listed in order from those reporting the most incidents of road rage to the fewest:

See where your city ranks.

Gonzales proposes new crime: "Attempted" copyright infringement

The Justice Department's summary of the legislation says: "It is a general tenet of the criminal law that those who attempt to commit a crime but do not complete it are as morally culpable as those who succeed in doing so."

Read more.

May 14, 2007

Pretty pills: The dark side of the latest underground beauty trend

Our pop-a-pill-to-fix-everything-society now has this.

Just imagine if you could transform your looks by popping a pill.

No need to spend hours in the gym in pursuit of a perfect body; no fake tans, sunbeds or hours baking on the beach to get a tan; and you could say goodbye to facials and expensive anti-ageing treatments.

Just swallow a tablet with breakfast and you're done.

Now guess how easy it is to get this and other pills.

Read all about this and more.

Women may get right to breastfeed in public

It will be interesting to see if Britain passes this.

MINISTERS are considering new laws to give women a right to breastfeed their babies in public and take statutory breaks at work to suckle their infants.

I don't think this would ever fly (even as a topic of consideration) here in the states.

Christian conservatives pledge support for '08 Thompson bid

Both the Protestant and Catholic activist, like other Christian conservatives, spoke to The Times on the condition of anonymity. They say their support for Mr. Thompson is shared by like-minded conservatives, though the sentiment is not unanimous in their circles.

Here's the rest.

Romney cites Scripture in defending opposition to gay marriage

Just because it is in "the Scripture" doesn't mean that it is right.

Read more.

Fort Worth pastor suspended after rape accusations

A Fort Worth pastor accused of paddling and raping women under the guise of scriptural teaching has been suspended by the national body of the Church of God in Christ.


The paddling escalated from there, she said, with Mr. Allen ordering her to pull down her jeans and then her underwear. Ms. Kelly said she was hesitant but believed so devoutly in Mr. Allen's power that she viewed it as a spiritual father/daughter relationship.

"I looked at him as a man of God, my pastor," she said. "I just revered him. I always thought he was hearing from God."

And finally...

Around March or April 2005, Mr. Allen made sexual advances and eventually added sex as part of her punishment, she said.

Now really, all that is in the scripture?

There's more, including more victims.

Read the rest.

Collateral Genocide

Two elements are necessary to commit the crime of genocide:

1) the mental element, meaning intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, and

2) the physical element, which includes any of the following: killing or causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group's physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births; or forcibly transferring children to another group.

Considering that such clear language comes from a UN treaty which is legally binding on our country, things could start getting a little worrisome -- especially when you realize that since our government declared economic and military warfare on Iraq we've killed well over one million people, fast approaching two.

Here's the rest.

Because They Can: The Logic of the Torture State

This is what always accompanies war.

“This is your god!”

That profane outburst fell from the lips of Pfc. Damien M. Corsetti – aka “Monster,” aka “King of Torture” – as he straddled a helpless Saudi detainee in a Soviet-constructed Afghan prison. Corsetti had just threatened to rape the detainee, and the supposed deity he referred to was the appendage with which he would commit that act. At the time, said appendage was pressed against the prisoner's face.

This account was offered by a witness at Corsetti's court martial. That witness testified for the defense. As Eliza Griswold recounts in the current issue of The New Republic, the tribunal “cleared Corsetti of all charges. His lawyer successfully argued ... that the rules for detainee treatment were unclear: `The president of the United States doesn't know what the rules are. The secretary of defense doesn't know what the rules are. But the government expects this Pfc. to know what the rules are?'”

So – at the time of Corsetti's trial a year ago, the assumption was that sexual assault was considered a permissible interrogation tactic in the absence of a specific prohibition. He'd used the tactic before while working at Abu Ghraib: With the help of two comrades he forced an Iraqi woman to strip.

Why did he do this? Because he could.

Don't think for a minute that this guy is an aberration; one bad apple in a sea of good apples. No, this is just one of the very few that we have heard about.

Benchmarks and Bullsh*t

The news I have for "netroots" types and Huffington Post liberals who see the Democratic Party as the major if not only hope for the antiwar movement can be summed up in two words: forget it. Majority leader Sen. Harry Reid recently let the cat out of the bag when he said, "There is new reason this week to believe that a bipartisan consensus on Iraq is emerging."

Translation: the sellout is coming, if it isn't already here.

Read more.

Family of girl, 12, sues after 'Brokeback' shown in class

The girl, Jessica Turner, and her grandparents Kenneth and LaVerne Richardson, are seeking more than $400,000 in damages under the suit filed Friday against the Chicago Board of Education and others.

Seems like someone is out to make a little money.

The plaintiffs accuse Diaz, Buford and the Chicago Board of Education of negligence, false imprisonment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The suit claims Jessica continues to suffer from emotional distress caused by watching the film and is currently undergoing psychological treatment and counseling.

Here's more.

Tenet hands Jeb Bush a big windfall

Shareholders officially elected former Gov. Jeb Bush to the board of Tenet Healthcare on Thursday -- a part-time job that will bring him over $450,000 in the next year.


That doesn't make him a special case at Tenet, however, because SEC filings show the company's board members earned between $409,000 and $590,000 for 2006.


On Wednesday, Brett Arends, a columnist at, calculated Bush would be earning $36,500 a day for 13 days of work a year, and if board meetings lasted four hours each, that meant the former governor would be getting $9,125 an hour.

How do you like your minimum wage?

Read the rest.

Bush passes the buck on Iraq

Both Bush and Congress have laid down the law to the beleaguered al-Maliki with this message: If his government doesn't pass an oil law divvying up Iraq's vast oil reserves among the three ethnic-religious groups and if he fails to reconcile the various Iraqi factions, the U.S. just might just pack up and leave.

This is the same Bush administration trying to throw its weight around after destroying Iraq and destabilizing the entire Middle East. But al-Maliki will be there to catch the blame.

May 11, 2007

CBS fires Gen. Batiste over VoteVets ad.

This should rattle your cage:

Iraq veteran Gen. John Batiste “has been asked to leave his position as a consultant to CBS News” over a new VoteVets ad criticizing the Iraq war. He was interviewed tonight by MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann. Watch it:

Executive Orders and the Decline of Law

There is no specific provision in the Constitution for presidents to issue executive orders. However, as was recently made clear when Congress made a somewhat feeble attempt to rein in the proclivities of CIA field officers and U.S. military personnel to torture suspected terrorists held by U.S. forces, the Bush administration claims to reserve the right to interpret legislation as it sees fit. In other words, Bush (not to mention other presidents before him and almost certainly presidents to follow) declares that the executive branch owns the power supposedly held by the judicial branch to be the interpreter of legislation.


Emboldened by the failure of Congress and the courts to hold their ground, the executive branch has grown in power, authority, and its ability to control the lives of individual Americans without fear of legal retribution. From Roosevelt’s executive order seizing private gold holdings of Americans, to his order to illegally intern Japanese-Americans during World War II, to Clinton’s executive order to bomb Serbia in 1999, to the slew of orders from the Bush administration, executive orders have become tools for the president and executive-branch bureaucrats to impose their own agendas that by themselves could not get past Congress. Moreover, Bush’s recent statements after signing an “anti-torture” bill from Congress that he would interpret the law in any way he saw fit shows only how big the problem has become.

Find out more here.

Will Chimp Life Get Human Rights?

Hiasl, a 26-year old Austrian-based chimpanzee, is petitioning the courts for human status, and let me be the first to extend him a warm welcome to our species.

My animal rights activism has never gone beyond the cage-free eggs' stage; it's the human possibilities raised by Hiasl's case that caught my attention. If a chimpanzee can be declared a person, then there's nothing in the way of a person becoming an ape -- and I'm not just talking about a retroactive status applied to ex-husbands. In fact, I predict a surge in trans-specied people, who will eagerly go over to the side of the chimps.


There are is another, less selfish reason, to seek chimpanzee status. Like me, you may be a wee bit disappointed in our own species. Here we are - the tool-wielding, word-spouting brainiacs of the earth -- and what have we done with our powers? We've poisoned the world, encrusted it with our unsightly infrastructure, and exterminated most of our fellow earth-dwellers, from elephants and tigers to fish.

Of course, what makes humans especially obnoxious is our tendency to believe in our absolute superiority over all creatures. We alone, of all species, have come up with religions and philosophies that declare us uniquely deserving of global hegemony. Yet one by one, our "unique" human traits have turned out to be shared: Chimpanzees have culture; dolphins make art (in the form of bubble patterns); female vampire bats share food with their friends; male baboons will die to defend their troop; rats have recently demonstrated a capability for reflection that resembles consciousness. We are animals, and they are us.

I couldn't have said it better.

Read the entire article.

Accused Impersonator Freed in Rape Case

A woman who had sex with her boyfriend's brother in her darkened room late one night claimed she was raped, saying the man tricked her into the act by impersonating her boyfriend.

But Massachusetts' Supreme Judicial Court disagreed Thursday, citing a half-century-old state law that says it is not rape when consent to sexual intercourse is obtained through fraud or deceit.


Read the rest.

Put It Out, Shweetheart

Depictions of smoking in movies will now be a factor when deciding what a film's rating will be, possibly making a PG-13 movie R-rated, the Motion Picture Association of America said yesterday. The policy affects only new movies.

Here ya go.

States' rebellion at Real ID echoes in Congress

Two states leading a revolt against the Real ID Act have picked up new firepower in the U.S. Senate in their fight to roll back an unprecedented federal overhaul of state driver's licenses.


Driving the momentum in Congress, Montana and Washington state last month passed nearly unheard-of statutes rejecting the federal law, which they charge will infringe on their residents' privacy and saddle states with a $14 billion unfunded mandate. More than 30 other states have taken up similar bills or resolutions calling on Congress to repeal Real ID or fully fund it.

Read more.

Vatican changes transcript of abortion remarks

Pope Benedict XVI caused such a stir with his comments on the excommunication of lawmakers who vote in favor of legalizing abortion that the Vatican released a transcript Thursday changing what he said.


Lombardi told reporters such edits are common. “Every time the pope speaks off-the-cuff the Secretariat of State reviews and cleans up his remarks,” he said.

Orwell rolls over again.

Read the rest.

College cost crunch felt worldwide, not just in U.S.

A college cost crunch is bearing down on governments worldwide -- not just in America -- and some innovative approaches to student loans are being taken overseas, although you wouldn't know it on Capitol Hill.

As another round of debate gets going in Congress on how to help debt-burdened university students, aides said lawmakers were largely ignoring how other countries do it.

Make sure to go and check out what other countries are doing.

"Very useful and important things are happening in other countries," said Robert Shireman, executive director of the Project on Student Debt, a group that aims to improve America's labyrinthine and politically sensitive student loan system.

But getting U.S. lawmakers to look abroad for ideas is hard. "It's fascinating how insular Americans are. Discussions of what happens in other countries fall flat," Shireman said.

Read the rest here.

College cost crunch felt worldwide, not just in U.S.

A college cost crunch is bearing down on governments worldwide -- not just in America -- and some innovative approaches to student loans are being taken overseas, although you wouldn't know it on Capitol Hill.

As another round of debate gets going in Congress on how to help debt-burdened university students, aides said lawmakers were largely ignoring how other countries do it.

Make sure to go and check out what other countries are doing.

"Very useful and important things are happening in other countries," said Robert Shireman, executive director of the Project on Student Debt, a group that aims to improve America's labyrinthine and politically sensitive student loan system.

But getting U.S. lawmakers to look abroad for ideas is hard. "It's fascinating how insular Americans are. Discussions of what happens in other countries fall flat," Shireman said.

Read the rest here.

Pentagon restricting testimony in Congress

Somebody's afraid of something...

Robert L. Wilkie , a former Bush administration national security official who left the White House to become assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs last year, has outlined a half-dozen guidelines that prohibit most officers below the rank of colonel from appearing in hearings, restricting testimony to high-ranking officers and civilians appointed by President Bush.

Here's the rest.

Global Dimming

We are all seeing rather less of the Sun. Scientists looking at five decades of sunlight measurements have reached the disturbing conclusion that the amount of solar energy reaching the Earth's surface has been gradually falling. Paradoxically, the decline in sunlight may mean that global warming is a far greater threat to society than previously thought.

Learn more here.

Administration Withheld E-Mails About Rove

The Bush administration has withheld a series of e-mails from Congress showing that senior White House and Justice Department officials worked together to conceal the role of Karl Rove in installing Timothy Griffin, a protégé of Rove's, as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

Now what else do you think they've withheld?

Here ya go.

Cheney vows Iran will not get nuclear weapons

"We'll stand with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating this region," he told thousands of sailors on the nuclear-powered USS John C. Stennis as it cruised roughly 240 kilometres (150 miles) from Iran.

He's so manly.

In reality, he think the U.S. should dominate the region.

Any country without nuclear weapons is at the mercy of those countries that have them.

Read more here.

May 10, 2007

Only Ron Paul Can Defeat Hillary Clinton

There is only one Republican candidate that can prevent Hillary Clinton from walking into the Oval Office after the next election and that's Ron Paul - which is why the corporate interests that have already selected Hillary are busy trying to stem the tide of a populist onslaught to bring the Texas Congressman to the attention of the American people.

Read more here.

'Memory-freezing' tool to help fight crime

Tests have shown that witnesses using the form were 42 per cent more accurate than other witnesses who were simply asked to report as much as they could remember.

Read more about this new tool here.

Teenage girls strangled their best friend ‘just because we felt like it’

If children are our future then...

The girl who twisted the wire around Eliza’s throat told police how she watched with detachment as her friends’s emotions shifted from anger, to terror and eventually the realisation that she was going to die.

For the next five to ten minutes both girls watched as the life ebbed out of their friend.

They said that they knew it was wrong, but that it just “felt right” and that they did not feel any remorse.

I'm too disgusted to comment.

Atheist offers to send letters post-Rapture

I wonder how much this guy is making off this.

As Witter sees it, it will fall to the unsaved to serve as the postmen of the Apocalypse.

'Mercy killing' husband convicted of murder

A devoted husband has been found guilty of murder for killing his wife after she repeatedly begged him to help end her life.


Nobody during the trial questioned that the pair were anything but a "passionate and devoted couple" or that Lund had acted out of anything but compassion for his wife, who had attempted suicide on five previous occasions and was severely depressed by the affects of irritable bowel syndrome.

Now, however, Lund faces an automatic life sentence after being convicted of murdering her at their home in New Brighton, Merseyside, last September.

Here's more.

War debate cited as aiding al Qaeda

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates yesterday told Congress that al Qaeda will establish a stronghold in Iraq's Anbar province if U.S. troops pull out prematurely and that the group is reacting to the war debate in Washington by stepping up attacks.

Orwell rolls in his grave.

There's more here.

Record Shops: Used CDs? Ihre papieren, bitte!

From the paranoia file, we get this gem:

New "pawn shop" laws are springing up across the United States that will make selling your used CDs at the local record shop something akin to getting arrested. No, you won't spend any time in jail, but you'll certainly feel like a criminal once the local record shop makes copies of all of your identifying information and even collects your fingerprints. Such is the state of affairs in Florida, which now has the dubious distinction of being so anal about the sale of used music CDs that record shops there are starting to get out of the business of dealing with used content because they don't want to pay a $10,000 bond for the "right" to treat their customers like criminals.

The legislation is supposed to stop the sale of counterfeit and/or stolen music CDs, despite the fact that there has been no proof that this is a particularly pressing problem for record shops in general.

'We don't need no stinkin' proof!'

Research confirms theory that all modern humans descended from the same small group of people

So wars are just really big family fueds?

The research confirms the “Out Of Africa” hypothesis that all modern humans stem from a single group of Homo sapiens who emigrated from Africa 2,000 generations ago and spread throughout Eurasia over thousands of years. These settlers replaced other early humans (such as Neanderthals), rather than interbreeding with them.

Read more.

Comics = Terrorism

Details are sketchy at this time, but it appears that making a comic about his experience counts as making terroristic threats. I realize that by this logic, me reporting on the making of a comic that’s seen as a terroristic threat may count as lending support to terrorists. If I wake up in Gitmo, tell my wife that I love her, and I’m sorry I’m not there to help walk the dog.

Here's the comic in question.

Read the rest of the story.

Coming Soon to a Toll Booth Near You

The future looks bleak this morning.

These governors and lawmakers, unwilling to tax the rich to maintain America’s roads, are now taking bids to sell these roads to the rich.

Learn more.

Widespread 'Twilight Zone' Detected Around Clouds

There seems to be something new under the sun -- in the sky, specifically -- that could complicate scientists' efforts to get a fix on how much the world will warm in the future. Greenhouse gases are not the only things in the air that influence the temperature of our atmosphere. Clouds and small airborne particles called aerosols also play an important and complicated role. And now a new ingredient has been discovered: an extensive and previously unseen “twilight zone” of particles that represents a gradual transition from cloud droplets to dry particles.

Find out more here.

Japan's first 'baby hatch' opens to controversy

Japan's first "baby hatch", where parents can drop off unwanted infants anonymously, opened Thursday despite opposition from the conservative national government.

The baby hatch, modelled on a project in Germany, went into operation at a Roman Catholic hospital in the city of Kumamoto, some 900 kilometres (560 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

Read the rest.

Face recognition next in terror fight

Ah, the future...

Homeland Security leaders are exploring futuristic and possibly privacy-invading technology aimed at finding terrorists and criminals by using digital surveillance photos that analyze facial characteristics.

Read more.

May 9, 2007

Internet Calls Subject To Phone Tapping

Companies that provide Internet phone service have just six days to meet a deadline from the Justice Department. By next Monday, they'll have to make their systems easier to tap. That's right -- make it easier to secretly listen in on your phone calls, or face daily fines of $10,000 dollars.

Where's my carrier pigeon?

Here's the story.

New Jersey to consider abolishing death penalty

New Jersey lawmakers will consider abolishing the death penalty this week, starting a process that could see the liberal state become the first to scrap capital punishment since the U.S. Supreme Court reinstated it in 1976.

Read the rest.

Glendale professor faces termination over e-mail


"This case would be almost funny if it wasn't having such serious implications for the professor's life and livelihood," Lukianoff said.


More TV time means worse school performance

In the duh column:

The more TV adolescents watch, the more likely they are to develop attention and learning problems, and to do poorly in school in the long-run, a new study confirms.

Here ya go.