August 31, 2007

History Will Not Absolve Us

While the Democratic Congress has yet to begin a serious investigation into what many European legislators already know about American war crimes, a particularly telling report by the International Committee of the Red Cross has been leaked that would surely figure prominently in such a potential Nuremberg trial. The Red Cross itself is bound to public silence concerning the results of its human-rights probes of prisons around the world—or else governments wouldn't let them in.


Few average Americans have been changed, however, by what the CIA does in our name. Blame that on the tight official secrecy that continues over how the CIA extracts information. On July 20, the Bush administration issued a new executive order authorizing the CIA to continue using these techniques—without disclosing anything about them.

If we, the people, are ultimately condemned by a world court for our complicity and silence in these war crimes, we can always try to echo those Germans who claimed not to know what Hitler and his enforcers were doing. But in Nazi Germany, people had no way of insisting on finding out what happened to their disappeared neighbors.

We, however, have the right and the power to insist that Congress discover and reveal the details of the torture and other brutalities that the CIA has been inflicting in our name on terrorism suspects.

Read more.

Mexican Trucks Begin Crossing Border Saturday

The union said Wednesday it would ask a federal appeals courts to block the Bush administration's plan to begin allowing Mexican trucks to carry cargo anywhere in the United States.

Read more.

See a Lie Inside the Brain

Polygraph tests, the old standard of being able to tell when someone is lying, are rarely admitted as evidence into court. The polygraph measures blood pressure, sweat and breathing, among other things, to look for emotional signs of lying. But it is possible in some cases for people to learn to control these things and trick the machine.

Now there may be a solution: a truth serum without the needles.

I read the "Truth Machine".

Read more.

Doctors Offering No-Interest Loans to Patients

Zero-interest financing, a familiar sales incentive at car dealerships and furniture stores, has found its way to another big-ticket consumer market: doctors’ and dentists’ offices.


Of course, going into debt to pay for medical procedures is nothing new for many people. And this type of financing is still only a fraction of the nation’s $900 billion market for consumer revolving credit.

Read more.

August 28, 2007

Teenagers hooked on TV and computer games only get four hours' 'junk sleep' a night

Teenagers often get as little as four hours of sleep a night because they secretly play video games or watch TV until the early hours.


Most blame computers or television for keeping them up but a significant number also lie awake worrying about relationships and exams.

Read more.

August 27, 2007

Many Won't Run Next Two 'Opus' Strips With Sex Joke, Islam Reference

Berkeley Breathed's Aug. 26 and Sept. 2 strips -- which comprise sort of a two-part series -- show the Lola Granola character wanting to become an Islamic radicalist (and wear traditional Muslim clothing) because it's a "hot new fad on the planet." Content also includes what Shearer described as "a sex joke a little stronger than we normally see."

Wyson said some client papers hesitated to run a sex joke and others won't publish any Muslim-related humor, whether pro or con. "They just don't want to touch that," she said.

Read more.

Judge sides with RIAA: file-sharing apps lead to direct infringement

One of the arguments the RIAA has made in every file-sharing lawsuit it has ever filed is that making a song available on a P2P network is the same as distributing it, therefore violating the record label's copyright on the song.

Read more.

Trafficked women auctioned in pubs and locked up in brothels

The scale of the abuse has horrified the officers and other agencies working with them, who have found women being forced to work in the sex trade in houses in villages as well as city centres, being unable to go out and having sex with up to 60 men a day, earning thousands of pounds for the gangs.


One described being beaten so hard that she had a broken arm for which she was not allowed medical attention. Another told of being forced to have unprotected sex with up to 25 clients a day. She was refused a testing kit when she thought she might be pregnant, and threatened by security guards with a samurai sword and a baseball bat.

Humans are such disgusting creatures.

Read more.

Obesity Rates Climb All Through U.S.

Loosen the belt buckle another notch America: Obesity rates continued their climb in 31 states last year. No state showed a decline. Mississippi became the first state to crack the 30 percent barrier for adult residents considered to be obese.

West Virginia and Alabama are just slightly behind, according to the Trust for America's Health, a research group that focuses on disease prevention.

Colorado continued its reign as the leanest state in the nation with an obesity rate projected at 17.6 percent.

Read more then go get some freakin' exercise.

Safety fears over new register of all children

Senior social workers have given warning of the dangers posed by a new government register that will store the details of every child in England from next year.

They fear that the database, containing the address, medical and school details of all under-18s, could be used to harm the children whom it is intended to protect.

Just another reason to either leave the UK or to never move there in the first place.

Read more.

Young Americans too fat to fight

AN EPIDEMIC of obesity could have serious consequences for America's economy and its ability to defend itself, according to a leading politician.

Self-confessed "recovering foodaholic" Mike Huckabee, a Republican Party presidential candidate, told a group of governors from the American South that the increasing numbers of people who were either over-weight or obese meant more and more people were having to take time off work for health reasons.


He questioned whether the nation's increasingly obese population would be able to defend itself "if we don't have enough people who are healthy enough to show up and pick up a backpack?"

Read more.

Vick Issues Apology After Guilty Plea

Vick made his first public statements on the dogfighting ring and said:

"I made a mistake of using bad judgment and making bad decisions. Those things just can't happen. Dogfighting is a terrible thing, and I do reject it."

I don't believe you believe your own words. Otherwise, you wouldn't have done the things you have done in the first place. Can people change? Sure. But, I question the change when it's to avoid jail time.

Read more.

AIDS victims 'buried alive' in Papua New Guinea

"I said, 'Why are they doing that?' And they said, 'If we let them live, stay in the same house, eat together and use or share utensils, we will contract the disease and we too might die.'"

This is our world.

Read more.

“We Are Going to Get Hit Again”

Al Qaeda has an active plot to hit the West. The United States knows about it but doesn’t have enough tactical detail to issue a precise warning or raise the threat level, says Vice Admiral (ret.) John Scott Redd, who heads the government’s National Counterterrorism Center. In an interview at his headquarters near Washington, D.C., Redd told Newsweek’s Mark Hosenball and Jeffrey Bartholet that the country is better prepared than ever to counter such threats. But he also believes another successful terror attack on the U.S. homeland is inevitable.

Despite the obvious scenario "if you fuck around with other countries there will be retaliation", how much of this is a scare tactic for the American people? Why would the "powers that be" make such an announcement? Doesn't that let the "enemy" know that you are on to their plans? Or is it simply to keep the masses in fear? Isn't that pretty much what Orwell wrote about in 1984?

Read more.

August 25, 2007

Vick's next role is an unsavory one: Government informant

Read both documents and the conclusion is obvious: His motivation right now is not to express his innocence of the charges, but to cooperate enough to land on probation, or on house arrest or some lesser form of punishment that will keep him away from a federal penitentiary. Vick likely faces 12-18 months in prison, but ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack believes it's possible Vick could provide enough information to federal investigators about the illegal, underground world of dogfighting and the people who finance it that he might not go jail at all.


Still, for all the emotion and anger, for all of the societal hot buttons this case has pressed at once -- race, class, privilege, the debate about cruelty to animals versus the value of human life -- this conclusion feels unsatisfying. Here is the saga of a man who financed and oversaw an inhumane operation, who was party to all of its graphic brutality and who, to date, has not shown an ounce of remorse. The fact that he still has a chance to avoid jail seems incongruous, even unfair, especially in a world in which it appears that hard time seems to exist only for the guilty poor, the average or the unconnected.

Read more.

Robert Fisk: Even I question the 'truth' about 9/11

Let me repeat. I am not a conspiracy theorist. Spare me the ravers. Spare me the plots. But like everyone else, I would like to know the full story of 9/11, not least because it was the trigger for the whole lunatic, meretricious "war on terror" which has led us to disaster in Iraq and Afghanistan and in much of the Middle East. Bush's happily departed adviser Karl Rove once said that "we're an empire now – we create our own reality". True? At least tell us. It would stop people kicking over chairs.

Read the rest.

More Enemies = Greater Profits

We have kept ourselves in military operations since WWII not to make us safer or to bring freedom to the world, but chiefly to keep our Defense and Munitions industries alive and profitable. I'm not saying that there haven't been reasonable and righteous reasons for us to be involved in military conflict at certain times since WWII. But the Iraqupation may be the greatest misuse of our military power in our nations history and contrary to popular belief, it has not backfired, at least not for those making money off it.

Read more.

August 24, 2007

NFL suspends Vick indefinitely

The National Football League has indefinitely suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick without pay, officials with the league said Friday.

Read more.

More War on the Horizon

No pullout from Iraq while I'm president, declares George W. Bush.

On to Iran, declares Vice President Cheney.

Israel is a "peace-seeking state" that needs $30 billion of US taxpayers' money for war, declares State Department official Nicholas Burns.

The Democratic Congress, if not fully behind the Iraqi war, at least no longer is in the way of it.

Nor are the Democrats in the way of the Bush regime's build up for initiating war with Iran.

Read more.

Children taken from parents and adopted ‘to meet ministry targets’

It says that the number of parents in England who have lost their children, despite insufficient evidence that they were causing them harm, has reached record levels.

One reason, according to social workers, is that they are under pressure to meet government adoption targets – in line with ministers’ policy for more children in care to be adopted.

At the same time, it is claimed, parents are not always given a proper chance to challenge adoptions because of the short time limit for appeals and the secrecy of the family courts. Lawyers say that hearings in private fuel parents’ sense of injustice and can in some cases breed bad practice, preventing them from properly defending themselves.


Read more.

Discussing NSA surveillance kills Americans? Hogwash

Having a free society requires being able to report on and publicly discuss what our government is doing with our tax dollars. This principle is even more important when there are allegations of wrongdoing.

Which is why it's odd to see National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell say that Americans will die because of the discussion of National Security Agency spying in public and in the U.S. Congress.

This is, unfortunately, no exaggeration. Check out this excerpt from an interview that McConnell, a former NSA director, recently gave to the El Paso Times:

Read the statement.

This is a bizarre statement. For it to be true, it requires that the NSA's adversaries (terrorists, I assume) be ignorant of the fact that eavesdropping occurs.

Read the rest.

Out-of-body experience recreated

Experts have found a way to trigger an out-of-body experience in volunteers.

The experiments, described in the Science journal, offer a scientific explanation for a phenomenon experienced by one in 10 people.

Two teams used virtual reality goggles to con the brain into thinking the body was located elsewhere.

Learn more.

Fossil find pushes human-ape split back millions of years

Ten million-year-old fossils discovered in Ethiopia show that humans and apes probably split six or seven million years earlier than widely thought, according to landmark study released Wednesday.

Read more.

Mother Teresa's Crisis of Faith

The two statements, 11 weeks apart, are extravagantly dissonant. The first is typical of the woman the world thought it knew. The second sounds as though it had wandered in from some 1950s existentialist drama. Together they suggest a startling portrait in self-contradiction — that one of the great human icons of the past 100 years, whose remarkable deeds seemed inextricably connected to her closeness to God and who was routinely observed in silent and seemingly peaceful prayer by her associates as well as the television camera, was living out a very different spiritual reality privately, an arid landscape from which the deity had disappeared.

Read the rest.

August 23, 2007

Fighting dogs face grim future

In the early 1900s, pit bulls were characterized as "nanny dogs" because they were used by families to baby-sit their children.

"By the end of the century, they were these horrible, aggressive, fighting dog machines, and that's very unfortunate," said Ed Boks, general manager of Los Angeles Animal Services in California.


"It was back in the '70s, '80s and '90s when people discovered just how loving these animals are -- so loving that they would fight to the death to please their owners," Boks said.

Read more.

Ron Paul Wins Five Straw Polls, Mainstream Media Remains Silent

Whether it's Washington, Alabama, New Hampshire, or South Carolina, the message is the same. We want our freedom, our rights, our money, and our country back, and we're willing to do whatever it takes to make it happen. Thousands are driving from all over their states to show support resulting in straw poll victories for Ron Paul with percentages as high as 81%. Dr. Paul has placed in a total of 16 straw polls now, tying him with Romney and thrusting him far beyond Giuliani in terms of visible support, and not a word about the trend can be heard from the mainstream media. To put this into perspective, there were over 4,800 articles in the mainstream media about the Iowa straw poll in which Mitt Romney spent over $200,000 ensuring his win, while there are a whopping 162 mainstream articles combined from all five straw polls in which Ron Paul was victorious. Most of these mentions are no more than a one-senence blurb incorporated into an article about a more general topic. But, this is the Internet, and we have access to the truth:

Read more.

Chickenhawk Bush Has the Gall to Lecture Americans on Vietnam

In effect, Bush is saying that Vietnam would have turned out better if only we’d stayed longer. But how much longer, Mr. Bush? Over 50,000 U.S. troops died in Vietnam. How many more lives — other than your own, of course — were worth sacrificing for a lost cause?

Unsurprisingly, Bush takes no responsibility for the fact that it was his decision, and his alone, to invade Iraq, or that it is his fault that our options there today range from awful to horrendous.

Read more.

Surveillance Cameras Installed In New Elementary Schools

New security measures are now in place at Lubbock ISD's newest elementary schools.

"In this building (Centennial Elementary) we have surveillance cameras throughout the building and we have monitors in several places, " Superintent Wayne Havens said.

Getting the youth comfortable with the idea of constant surveillance.

Home schooling looks better and better.

Read more.

Bush: there will be no pullout from Iraq while I'm president

Making it clear he will resist congressional pressure next month for an early withdrawal, he signalled that US troops, whom he hailed as the "greatest force for human liberation the world has ever known", will be in Iraq as long as he is president. He also said the consequences of leaving "without getting the job done would be devastating", and "the enemy would follow us home".

Excuse me while I puke.

Grab a bag and read more.

Indonesia district drops school virginity test plan

A plan to carry out virginity tests on female high school students in a district in Indonesia's West Java province has been dropped after a public outcry, media reports said.

The head of Indramayu district, Irianto Syafiuddin, is reported to have made the proposal for virginity tests after a video showing two high school students having sex circulated via mobile phones.

Hey, guess what. Teenagers fuck. Yeah, you may not want to believe it, but they do. Wanna know why? Because humans were made that way. It doesn't matter if you believe in "intelligent design" or "evolution" or something else, teenagers are supposed to have sex.

I'll stop ranting now and just let you read the rest of the story.

The Politics of God

The twilight of the idols has been postponed. For more than two centuries, from the American and French Revolutions to the collapse of Soviet Communism, world politics revolved around eminently political problems. War and revolution, class and social justice, race and national identity — these were the questions that divided us. Today, we have progressed to the point where our problems again resemble those of the 16th century, as we find ourselves entangled in conflicts over competing revelations, dogmatic purity and divine duty. We in the West are disturbed and confused. Though we have our own fundamentalists, we find it incomprehensible that theological ideas still stir up messianic passions, leaving societies in ruin. We had assumed this was no longer possible, that human beings had learned to separate religious questions from political ones, that fanaticism was dead. We were wrong.

Read the rest.

Study: Martian soil may contain life

His analysis of one of the experiments carried out by the Viking spacecraft suggests that 0.1 percent of the Martian soil could be of biological origin.

That is roughly comparable to biomass levels found in some Antarctic permafrost, home to a range of hardy bacteria and lichen.

Learn more.

A lightbulb powered by radio waves

By contrast, the Luxim bulb doesn't have electrodes. Instead, a radio frequency amplifier pumps RF waves to an antenna inside a resonant cavity. The interaction between the waves and the crystal cavity convert trapped gases into a plasma.

Read more.

Army gets new 'enhanced blast' weapon to fight Taliban

So-called thermobaric weapons have been used by the US against suspected al-Qaida and Taliban underground bases. Combined heat and pressure kill people over a wide area by sucking the air out of lungs and destroying internal organs.

Humans create such lovely things.

Read more.

The Analogy Quagmire

But Bush today tried to turn the Vietnam analogy on its head, arguing that the U.S. withdrawal led to disaster there and emboldened American enemies around the globe. He even went so far as to argue that present-day terrorists like Osama bin Laden are inspired by the turning of American public opinion against the war in Vietnam.


Bush's speech was a big hit at the Veterans of Foreign Wars National Convention in Kansas City. But it's hard to imagine that it will go over nearly as well with a wider audience -- not to mention with historians.

That's because the obvious lesson of Vietnam is not that leaving a quagmire leads to disaster, but that staying only makes things worse. (And oh yes: that we shouldn't get into them in the first place.)

Read more.

Congress won't let police examine pedophile's files

Florida's top police agency said Wednesday its investigation into former U.S. Rep. Mark Foley's lurid Internet communications with teenage boys has been hindered because neither Foley nor the House will let investigators examine his congressional computers.

Hiding something.

Read more.

Proposed amendment would pull up sagging pants in Atlanta

Baggy pants that show boxer shorts or thongs would be illegal under a proposed amendment to Atlanta's indecency laws.

The amendment, sponsored by city councilman C.T. Martin, states that sagging pants are an "epidemic" that is becoming a "major concern" around the country.

"Little children see it and want to adopt it, thinking it's the in thing," Martin said Wednesday. "I don't want young people thinking that half-dressing is the way to go. I want them to think about their future."

Ah, the "it's for the children" excuse again. In reality, this has nothing to do with "protecting the children" and everything to do with banning something that a small group doesn't approve of.

Read more, but make sure to pull your pants up.

Two Major Airlines Admit to Price Fixing

British Airways, Korean Air Fined $300 Million in Price-Fixing Conspiracy Case.

Yes Virginia, conspiracies happen.

Read more.

YouTube row over social services baby threat

I found this link over at Squeaky Wheel Seeks Grease. I have to say I agree with her. This is fucked up.

She recorded a social worker telling her and her husband Martin, 41, that even though there was "no immediate risk to your child from yourselves", the council would seek a court order to place the child in foster care.


John Hemming, the Liberal Democrat MP and chairman of campaign group Justice for Families, said: "I find it very odd that a newborn baby would be removed when there is not any allegation by the authorities that the child is at risk. Yet this case is not unique. There are many cases in which newborns are removed because of allegations that their mothers may at some later stage 'emotionally abuse' the child."

The case returns the spotlight to claims that social services are being heavy-handed in removing children from their parents, in order to meet Government adoption targets.


Adoption quotas?

How fucked up is that?

Read the rest. It should piss you off.

August 22, 2007

U.S. officials rethink hopes for Iraq democracy

Nightmarish political realities in Baghdad are prompting American officials to curb their vision for democracy in Iraq. Instead, the officials now say they are willing to settle for a government that functions and can bring security.

The Iraq government was functioning before the U.S. invasion.

Don't forget, this invasion was never about bringing democracy to the Iraqi people. That reasoning just evolved when all the other reasons given for the invasion failed to materialize.

Read more.

White House Manual Details How to Deal With Protesters

Not that they're worried or anything. But the White House evidently leaves little to chance when it comes to protests within eyesight of the president. As in, it doesn't want any.

A White House manual that came to light recently gives presidential advance staffers extensive instructions in the art of "deterring potential protestors" from President Bush's public appearances around the country.

Among other things, any event must be open only to those with tickets tightly controlled by organizers. Those entering must be screened in case they are hiding secret signs. Any anti-Bush demonstrators who manage to get in anyway should be shouted down by "rally squads" stationed in strategic locations. And if that does not work, they should be thrown out.

But that does not mean the White House is against dissent -- just so long as the president does not see it. In fact, the manual outlines a specific system for those who disagree with the president to voice their views. It directs the White House advance staff to ask local police "to designate a protest area where demonstrators can be placed, preferably not in the view of the event site or motorcade route."

And we let it come to this.

Read more.

White House fights disclosure

In court papers seeking to end the case, the Justice Department said the White House Office of Administration has no substantial authority independent of President Bush and therefore is not subject to the disclosure requirements of the Freedom of Information Act.

Read more.

Teen Pleads Guilty in Rare Theater Filming Case

The teen arrested last month for filming 20 seconds of Transformers in a Virginia theater has pleaded guilty to one count of unlawfully recording a motion picture in violation of state law.

The case is believed to be the first in which somebody was arrested and convicted for filming part of a movie for personal, noncommercial use in the United States.

Read more, but don't record anything.

Scientists ask: Where have all the dolphins gone?

The alarming drop in numbers of the Bay's three most common species of dolphin -- the striped, bottlenose and common -- can be attributed to one or both of two causes, Clive Martin, senior wildlife officer for the Biscay Dolphin Research Programme, told AFP.

"We know for a fact that by-catch is killing thousands of dolphins every year," he said, referring to commercial fishing operations in the bay, which is formed by the northern coast of Spain and the eastern French seaboard up to the tip of Brittany.

Martin singled out French "pair trawlers" that sweep the ocean with huge nets twice the size of a football pitch strung out between them as being especially lethal to the marine mammals.

"Dolphins are sometimes trapped hundreds at a time, and are asphyxiated" when they cannot come up for air, he said. Most dolphins typically replenish their lungs with fresh air every five minutes or so, he explained.

The second -- and probably more important -- reason that dolphins have disappeared is that there is simply very little left for them to eat.

Read more.

Most US adults in the dark about world politics

One reason for the knowledge gap is lack of interest, according to the poll.

"Well over half (57 percent) say they do not like learning about political issues in other countries," and 32 percent expressed a lack of interest for homespun politics, the Harris Poll group said.

Read more.

August 21, 2007


The Department of Justice wants to come up with an official list of every porn star in America - and slap stiff penalties on producers who don't cooperate.

The new rules, proposed under the Adam Walsh Child Safety and Protection Act, would require blue-movie makers to keep photos, stage names, professional names, maiden names, aliases, nicknames and ages on file for the inspection of the department's Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section.

"The identity of every performer is critical to determining and ensuring that no performer is a minor," according to the new proposal.

The adult film industry plans to challenge the new rule as a violation of the First Amendment, said Paul Cambria, a lawyer for Hustler and other adult film companies.

He sees it as a way to harass legitimate stag-film producers.

"If they can't get you for obscenity, they'll get you for violating record-keeping," he said. Such a violation would carry a five-year penalty.

Yes, the old stand-by "doing this to protect the children" is being offered as the reasoning for this new law. But I can't help but feel there is something more sinister that can and will happen.

Read more.

Staying silent in marital spats a killer for women

Women who force themselves to stay quiet during marital arguments appear to have a higher risk of death, a new study shows. Depression and irritable bowel syndrome are also more common in these women.


The researchers also found that men whose wives came home from work upset about their jobs were 2.7 times as likely to develop heart disease as men with less work-stressed wives.

Learn more.

Time Travel Machine Outlined

A new concept for a time machine could possibly enable distant future generations to travel into the past, research now suggests.

Learn more.

Cheney's Office Says It Has Wiretap Documents

Vice President Cheney's office acknowledged for the first time yesterday that it has dozens of documents related to the administration's warrantless surveillance program, but it signaled that it will resist efforts by congressional Democrats to obtain them.

Read more.

Pentagon's New Drug Weapons

In fact, it looks like the military are all set to start deploying a new generation of – well, as the report points out, they carefully avoid calling them chemical weapons. The preferred terms are nonlethal techniques, riot control agents, or, more commonly, calmatives.

How’s that? Calmative originally meant something quite specific, but researchers at the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center have started using their own definition:

A calmative agent can be defined as an antipersonnel chemical that leaves the victim awake and mobile but without the will or ability to meet military objectives or carry out criminal activity.

This is the world we live in.

Read more.

'We are all settlers in SA'

All South Africans are settlers, regardless of their skin colour, and their DNA carries the proof.


"No one group can lay claim to South Africa. Everyone is a settler, and we will show how people came here in waves of migration."

Learn more.

Scientists hail ‘frozen smoke’ as material that will change world

A MIRACLE material for the 21st century could protect your home against bomb blasts, mop up oil spillages and even help man to fly to Mars.

Learn more.

Leahy: Cheney Told GOP-Led Congress It Was ‘Not Allowed To Issue Subpoenas’

In fact, we were about to issue subpoenas then and one of the senators came to our meeting and said that the vice president had met with the Republican senators and told them they were not allowed to issue subpoenas.

Not quite sure that’s my understanding of the separation of powers, but it seemed to work at that time.

Read the rest and watch the video.

Cold virus may spur weight gain: study

A common virus that causes colds can be a factor in obesity, according to a study released Monday offering further evidence that a weight problem may be contagious.

Learn more.

One in four read no books last year

The survey reveals a nation whose book readers, on the whole, can hardly be called ravenous. The typical person claimed to have read four books in the last year — half read more and half read fewer. Excluding those who hadn't read any, the usual number read was seven.


Among those who said they had read books, the median figure — with half reading more, half fewer — was nine books for women and five for men. The figures also indicated that those with college degrees read the most, and people aged 50 and up read more than those who are younger.


People from the South read a bit more than those from other regions, mostly religious books and romance novels. Whites read more than blacks and Hispanics, and those who said they never attend religious services read nearly twice as many as those who attend frequently.

There was even some political variety evident, with Democrats and liberals typically reading slightly more books than Republicans and conservatives.


More women than men read every major category of books except for history and biography. Industry experts said that confirms their observation that men tend to prefer nonfiction.


Those likeliest to read religious books included older and married women, lower earners, minorities, lesser educated people, Southerners, rural residents, Republicans and conservatives.

Read more.

Book Chief: Conservatives Want Slogans

Liberals read more books than conservatives. The head of the book publishing industry's trade group says she knows why—and there's little flattering about conservative readers in her explanation.

"The Karl Roves of the world have built a generation that just wants a couple slogans: 'No, don't raise my taxes, no new taxes,'" Pat Schroeder, president of the American Association of Publishers, said in a recent interview. "It's pretty hard to write a book saying, 'No new taxes, no new taxes, no new taxes' on every page."


She said liberals tend to be policy wonks who "can't say anything in less than paragraphs. We really want the whole picture, want to peel the onion."

Read more.

August 20, 2007

Vick agrees to plead guilty in dogfighting case

Michael Vick's lawyer said Monday the NFL star will plead guilty to federal dogfighting conspiracy charges, putting the Atlanta Falcons quarterback's career in jeopardy and leaving him subject to a prison term.


Prosecutors, who were seeking a prison term of 12 to 18 months, have yet to formally agree to the plea, a source told ESPN's Kelly Naqi.


"Mr. Vick has agreed to enter a plea of guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his actions and the mistakes he has made. Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter."

Hey Michael, your apology is not accepted. Mainly because I believe you wouldn't be apologizing had you not been caught.

You're a fool.

You're a liar.

You're a waste of flesh.

You're an embarrassment to the human race.

Read more.

Young Women Defy Labels in Intimacy With Both Sexes

For many of today's women in their late teens and 20s, openness to intimate physical relationships with either gender has become a way of life, rather than an "experiment." This relatively new phenomenon is likely a product of a generation unconcerned with labels.

"These young women see sexuality as a fluid thing," said National Gay and Lesbian Task Force spokeswoman Roberta Sklar. "It's not just between your legs."

Learn more.

Southern Baptist seminary to offer academic program in homemaking

Southwestern Baptist, one of the nation's largest Southern Baptist seminaries, is introducing a new academic program in homemaking as part of an effort to establish what its president calls biblical family and gender roles.

It will offer a bachelor of arts in humanities degree with a 23-hour concentration in homemaking. The program is only open to women.


"We are moving against the tide in order to establish family and gender roles as described in God's word for the home and the family," Patterson said at the denomination's annual meeting in June. "If we do not do something to salvage the future of the home, both our denomination and our nation will be destroyed."

Dude, you need to go away.

If you're a man read more, if you're a woman then I guess you better "get in the kitchen and make me some pie!" ~ Eric Cartman

This is the most absurd thing I've read all day.

2 charges against Army officer dropped

A military judge on Monday dismissed two of the most serious charges against the only officer charged with abusing detainees at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison after an investigator acknowledged he failed to read the defendant his rights.

Read more.

Are Digital Music Watermarks a Blessing or a Curse?

Unique watermarks would allow labels to hunt down and sue alleged copyright infringers with vastly increased efficiency, even if the file was copied from their computer without their knowledge. Hill calls the possibility a "privacy nightmare."

However, the alternate vision for watermarks is less bleak, and could reinvent the music industry as a DRM-free, privacy-respecting, P2P-friendly market. Rather than assigning a unique ID to users, the watermark could trigger targeted ads. Record labels could profit from what Hill calls the "velocity" of music (the speed at which it moves around the net), rather than waging an endless campaign to stop it.


DRM was never the answer. But if the major labels adopt these watermarks and use them in the right way, it could bring Napster-style file sharing -- and music revenues -- back to life.

Read more.

Evangelist Hinn lands under a cloud

"The gospels are free, but the means of delivering the gospels is really expensive," Hinn, who got his start in Toronto 30 years ago, told the Star.


But Hinn arrives under a cloud after the CBC's The Fifth Estate this week challenged his claims of miracle cures and described a lavish lifestyle of fancy cars, a 7,000-square-foot ocean-side mansion and luxury travel to five-star hotels on a private jet.

Benny Hinn (which is awfully close to Benny Hill) has always been my favorite evangelical clown. If I need a good laugh, I turn to his show. However, it does sadden me that he cons many, many people of shitloads of money.

Read more.

The virtue of tolerance and religious freedom

She closed her letter with a quote from someone she described as a "wise man." She quoted this unnamed purveyor of wisdom as saying, "The last virtue of a depraved nation is tolerance."

I became curious as to what sort of "wise man" would issue forth such nonsense. It didn't take long for Google to locate the source. The quote comes from D. James Kennedy, pastor of the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Coral Ridge Florida.


So when Kennedy tells us he despises tolerance, he is not kidding. If he had his way, the Constitution would be scrapped in favor of an Old Testament theocracy.

Of course, I wouldn't mind a theocracy, which literally means "rule by God," if God was in fact the one who ruled. But what usually happens in theocratic states is someone who claims to speak for God ends up running things, and normally not too well.

Read more.

Vick, attorneys consider plea deal

Federal prosecutors have offered a plea deal recommending an 18- to 36-month prison sentence for suspended NFL quarterback Michael Vick for his alleged role in a dogfighting operation, but Vick's attorneys are trying to reduce that to less than a year, two sources told CNN on Monday.

Read more.

E-voting predicament: Not-so-secret ballots

Ohio's method of conducting elections with electronic voting machines appears to have created a true privacy nightmare for state residents: revealing who voted for which candidates.

Read more.

Only 'virtual protests' allowed at North American summit

Protesters will be "seen and heard" when North American leaders meet next week in Montebello, near Ottawa, but only virtually -- via an audio-video feed set up by organizers.

And the heads of the United States, Canada and Mexico may opt to change the channel.

Read more, but never have your voice heard here.

Padilla Jury Opens Pandora's Box

As Andrew Cohen put it, Padilla and the two co-defendants were convicted on the charge of "terrorist-wannabes" on the basis of "evidence that federal authorities did not believe amounted to a crime when it was gathered back before 2001." Cohen concludes: "it's further proof that if you can convince an American jury that a man in the dock had anything to do with al-Qaeda, you can pretty much bank on a conviction no matter how tenuous the evidence" (, Aug. 16, 2007).


When Padilla was arrested five years ago in 2002, the U.S. government charged that he was about to set off a radioactive "dirty bomb" in a U.S. city that would kill tens or even hundreds of thousands of Americans. The story was a total lie, a fabrication designed to keep the fear level high after 9/11 in order to keep support for the Bush regime's wars and domestic police state. None of the charges on which Padilla was illegally held, during those years before the U.S. Supreme Court intervened and ordered the Bush regime to release Padilla or bring him to trial, were part of the charges on which Padilla was tried.

There is little doubt that Padilla's conviction, and probably also the convictions of the two co-defendants, is a terrible injustice. But the damage done goes far beyond the damage to the defendants. What the red, white, and blue Padilla jury has done is to overthrow the U.S. Constitution and give us the rule of men.

Read more.

Is Justice Possible After Torture?

Nearly four centuries since the English abolished the Star Chamber, notorious for welcoming evidence obtained by “the rack and screw,” U.S. actions are pushing law back to those times. Whether statements made under coercion are ultimately used to exonerate the guilty (as many fear in the case of Pearl’s killer) or convict the innocent (as we hope won’t happen to those at Guantanamo Bay), there is little hope of doing justice under the law while allowing the illegality of torture to infect case after case.

Read more.

A debt culture gone awry

The U.S. economy, once the envy of the world, is now viewed across the globe with suspicion. America has become shackled by an immovable mountain of debt that endangers its prosperity and threatens to bring the rest of the world economy crashing down with it.


The United States borrows a whopping $2.5 billion daily from abroad to service its burgeoning debt. In order to continue borrowing at reasonable interest rates America needs to retain credibility with its overseas creditors, especially Far Eastern nations running huge trade surpluses. A cessation of foreign lending would force the Fed to raise interest rates to attract money, precipitating a collapse of the already weak housing market and pushing the economy into recession.

This is why the Chinese, in particular, have threatened to retaliate against proposed U.S. trade sanctions by reducing their $1.3 trillion in dollar holdings.

Read more.

Poison found in kids' clothes from China

TV3's Target programme will this week detail how scientists found formaldehyde in woollen and cotton clothes at levels 500 times higher than is safe.

Read more.

What we chose to ignore

Watch it.


There are arguments from both sides of the oil issue: either we are quickly running out of oil or we have adequate oil to meet our requirements for generations. Both sides offer evidence, witnesses, experts and documentation to validate their assertions. Some peak-oil projects, funded by oil companies, are highly suspect. The very credible Lindsey Williams maintains that the North Slope in Alaska has as much crude oil as Saudi Arabia. Governor Frank H. Murkowski said in 2005 that there is enough oil on the North Slope to supply the entire United States for 200 years.[1] Antony Sutton, author of Energy, the Created Crisis, is adamant that we have sufficient oil. Conversely, I have read reports which support the peak oil theory. I personally believe, after research, that "there is enough and to spare." Doom and gloom, Chicken Little oil scarcity claims have been propagated from the beginning. A scarcity, authentic or manufactured, of any crucial commodity accomplishes the following:


Henry A. Kissinger, Rockefeller's well-compensated, multi-purpose minion and long-time member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) said: "Control the oil and you can control entire Continents. Control food and you control people."[2] Michael Collon, Belgian author said: "If you want to rule the world, you need to control oil. All the oil. Anywhere."[3]

Read more.

The War as We Saw It

VIEWED from Iraq at the tail end of a 15-month deployment, the political debate in Washington is indeed surreal. Counterinsurgency is, by definition, a competition between insurgents and counterinsurgents for the control and support of a population. To believe that Americans, with an occupying force that long ago outlived its reluctant welcome, can win over a recalcitrant local population and win this counterinsurgency is far-fetched. As responsible infantrymen and noncommissioned officers with the 82nd Airborne Division soon heading back home, we are skeptical of recent press coverage portraying the conflict as increasingly manageable and feel it has neglected the mounting civil, political and social unrest we see every day. (Obviously, these are our personal views and should not be seen as official within our chain of command.)

Read the rest.

Internet addiction more serious than OCD

Internet addiction should be grouped with extreme addictive disorders such as gambling, sex addiction and kleptomania, an Israeli psychiatrist said.

Get your fix here.

Artificial Life Likely in 3 to 10 Years

Around the world, a handful of scientists are trying to create life from scratch and they're getting closer.

Experts expect an announcement within three to 10 years from someone in the now little-known field of "wet artificial life."

Welcome to our future.

Read more.

August 18, 2007

Padilla Case a Source of Deep Shame for America

Even as the U.S. government was breaking Jose Padilla, it was also systematically denying him the most fundamental legal rights of a citizen. As Yale professor Jack Balkin put it:

"It’s important to remember that the Bush Administration did everything it could to deny Padilla even the basic right of habeas corpus. It argued that courts had no power to second guess the president’s determination that Padilla was an enemy of the United States and could be held in solitary confinement indefinitely. It argued that no one had the right to contact Padilla and that no one had the right to know what the government was doing to him. It argued that courts should defer to the president’s views about who was dangerous and who was not – that once the president declared a person an enemy, that person had all the process that was due them and courts should respect that determination.

"It argued, in short, that the president always knows best. If the president had his way, the government, on the basis of information that never had to be tested before any neutral magistrate, could pluck any citizen off the streets, throw them in a military prison, and proceed to drive them insane.

"Those are the powers that the Bush Administration sought. I will not mince words: They are the powers of a dictator in an authoritarian regime. They are the powers of the old Soviet Union, of the military junta in Argentina during the time of the disappeared."

And you didn't think this could happen in America? Silly fools.

Read the rest.

Defense contractor openly using God to sell war in Iraq

A major defense contractor for the military and Homeland Security claimed that the United States is morally obliged to maintain a permanent presence in Iraq for the sake of God.

"If we stay and rebuild Iraq, we will demonstrate to the world that we remain the best force for good in the world," Charles Patricoff, Sr. Contract Manager for Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp, said. "More importantly, we as Christians can better influence that region for the Kingdom of God."

Jesus, this guy.

And why is "God" always on the side of whomever is doing the talking?

Read more.

August 17, 2007

Kucinich Sounds the Alarm

And in an era of mass delusion and denial on the party of leaders in both major political parties, stating the obvious can be a radical act.

Such is the case with Kucinich's appropriate answer to the latest move by the Bush-Cheney administration to ramp up hostilities with Iran. That move -- the unprecedented attempt to label Iran's 125,000-strong Republican Guard as a "specially designated global terrorist" group -- is, as the congressman says "nothing more than an attempt to deceive Americans into yet another war -- this time with Iran."

Read more.

The dogs of war

Since Beauchamp's tales of dog-squashing and skull desecration aroused so much outrage from conservatives, it's worth noting that the Nation's account, by Chris Hedges and Laila Al-Arian, includes similar stories. For instance, a platoon leader is described as shooting the jaw off a dog for no particular reason; the hapless creature yelps and spurts blood while the family whose home was being raided looks on in horror

On another occasion, an American soldier poses alongside a dead Iraqi man with the top of his head blown off, and pretends to be eating his brains with an Army spoon. "Take a picture of me and this motherfucker," the soldier reportedly said. Apparently someone did: the Nation claims to have photographic evidence of the incident, alleged to have been witnessed by members of the victim's family.


"Damn, they really fucked you up, didn't they?" laughed the spoon-wielding soldier as he surveyed the extent of the dead man's injuries.

Indeed they did. But long after the Iraqi was laid to an uneasy rest, his tormenter will be dealing with the reality of his own fucking-up. That's not propaganda. That's the entirely predictable consequence of a war that never should have been fought.

Read the rest.

The Rove Legacy by Bill Moyers

It’s so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber, and if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew that, in politics, you better bet on fear and loathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion.


At his press conference this week he asked God to bless the president and the country, even as reports were circulating that he himself had confessed to friends his own agnosticism; he wished he could believe, but he cannot. That kind of intellectual honesty is to be admired, but you have to wonder how all those folks on the Christian right must feel discovering they were used for partisan reasons by a skeptic, a secular manipulator. On his last play of the game all Karl Rove had to offer them was a hail mary pass, while telling himself there’s no one there to catch it.

Read more.

Prepackaged News

How much is good press worth? To the Bush administration, about $1.6 billion.


Around the same time, a spat erupted between the GAO and the White House over whether the government's practice of feeding TV stations prepackaged, ready-to-air news stories that touted administration policies (but did not disclose the government as the source) amounted to "covert propaganda." The GAO said that it did. The administration disagreed, saying spreading information about federal programs is part of the agencies' mission, and that the burden of disclosure falls on the TV stations.

Read more.

Feds pay $80,000 over anti-Bush T-shirts

A couple arrested at a rally after refusing to cover T-shirts that bore anti-President Bush slogans settled their lawsuit against the federal government for $80,000, the American Civil Liberties Union announced Thursday.


The ACLU said in a statement that a presidential advance manual makes it clear that the government tries to exclude dissenters from the president's appearances. "As a last resort," the manual says, "security should remove the demonstrators from the event."

Read more.

Russia says Iran poses no threat

Russia sees no threat emanating from Iran, the "rogue state" the United States is building its missile shield in Europe against, the Russian foreign minister said Thursday.

The U.S. announced in January plans to place a radar and a host of interceptor missiles in Poland and the Czech Republic to fend off what Washington sees as a growing missile threat from "rogue states," including Iran.

Read more.

Depression is over-diagnosed, psychiatrist claims

Too many people are being diagnosed with depression when they are merely unhappy, a senior psychiatrist said today.

Normal emotions are sometimes being treated as mental illness because the threshold for clinical depression is too low, according to Professor Gordon Parker.

Read more.

Astronomers find bizarre comet-like tail behind star

"This is an utterly new phenomenon to us, and we are still in the process of understanding the physics involved. We never would have predicted a turbulent wake behind a star that glows only with ultraviolet light," team member Mark Seibert from the Carnegie Observatories in Pasadena, US was quoted as saying.

Learn more.

Forget biofuels - burn oil and plant forests instead

It sounds counterintuitive, but burning oil and planting forests to compensate is more environmentally friendly than burning biofuel. So say scientists who have calculated the difference in net emissions between using land to produce biofuel and the alternative: fuelling cars with gasoline and replanting forests on the land instead.

They recommend governments steer away from biofuel and focus on reforestation and maximising the efficiency of fossil fuels instead.

Read more.

Stab-proof school uniforms go on sale to protect pupils from knife attacks

Parents are sending children to school in stab-proof uniforms to guard against knife crime, it has emerged.

They are paying a firm which makes body armour to line blazers and jumpers with a stab-resistant material called Kevlar.

The precautions are aimed at protecting pupils from knife attacks as street crime spills over into schools.

This is the world we live in.

Read more.

Blogger forces Nasa to admit global warming figures error

Nasa officials have admitted that for the past seven years they have used the wrong temperature statistics to assess global warming trends.

The mistake was spotted by a blogger, and forced Nasa to declare that last year was only the fourth-hottest year on record in the United States, rather than the third hottest.

Climate scientists were insistent yesterday that the flawed data had a negligible effect on global warming statistics, and none at all on the overall warming trend.

Of course they'll say that, their money depends on it.

Read more.

The Padilla verdict

To this day, many people, including myself, cite the Padilla case as the ultimate wake-up call to the true character, the genuine soul, of the Bush administration. Imprisoning a U.S. citizen, on U.S. soil, with no charges of any kind, and then keeping him for years completely incommunicado, is just one of those lines which many people believed would never be crossed in America.

Read the entire article.

Army Reports Brass, Not Bloggers, Breach Security

For years, the military has been warning that soldiers' blogs could pose a security threat by leaking sensitive wartime information. But a series of online audits, conducted by the Army, suggests that official Defense Department websites post material that's far more potentially harmful than blogs do.

But, wait, that doesn't make blogging and the internet look evil!

Read more.

The age of endarkenment

The enlightenment was a beautiful thing. People cast aside dogma and authority. They started to think for themselves. Natural science flourished. Understanding of the real world increased. The hegemony of religion slowly declined. Real universities were created and eventually democracy took hold. The modern world was born. Until recently we were making good progress. So what went wrong?


These examples, and many like them, result, I believe, from the bureaucratisation and corporatisation of science and education. Power has gradually ebbed away from the people who do the research and teaching, and become centralised in the hands of people who do neither.

Learn more.

Share news stories without permission, get fined?

If you're fond of occasionally circulating the full text of news stories to amuse your workmates, you may be in the clear, copyright law-wise. But systematic copying and blasting of articles for money-making purposes could get you into trouble, as evidenced by the latest settlement reached by an antipiracy trade group.

Read more.

An Inside Look at How U.S. Interrogators Destroyed the Mind of Jose Padilla

Up until last year the Bush administration maintained it had the legal right to hold Padilla without charge forever. But when faced with a Supreme Court challenge, President Bush transferred Padila out of military custody to face criminal conspiracy charges.

Read more.

Bulletproof Backpack For US Schools

A bulletproof backpack is being sold to parents in the US to protect their children against another Columbine-type attack.

Read more.

Prices for key foods are rising sharply

The Labor Department's most recent inflation data showed that U.S. food prices rose by 4.2 percent for the 12 months ending in July, but a deeper look at the numbers reveals that the price of milk, eggs and other essentials in the American diet are actually rising by double digits.

Read more.

Bloody and Bloodier

You’re losing money right now. This very minute. You’re losing money if you own an apartment. You’re losing money if you own a country home. You’re losing money if you own a stock or bond mutual fund. You’re losing money if you have a pension plan. You’re probably losing money here or there, you’re probably losing money everywhere (except maybe from your savings account and wallet). But this is no Dr. Seuss story. It’s more of a John Steinbeck tale, and we are the victims, a new generation of Tom Joads, and it’s the damn bankermen who broke us. No, there won’t be a police officer to investigate, and the government, at least this federal government, won’t save us.

Read more.

Babies Learn To Like Junk Food In The Womb

Pregnant women who "eat for two" by upping their intake of fatty and sugary food could unwittingly be putting their children at risk of obesity, new research suggests.

The same applies to mothers who are breastfeeding, scientists have warned.

Learn more.

Burned-out star harbors signs of Earthlike planets

Chemical elements observed around a burned-out star known as a white dwarf offer evidence Earth-like planets once orbited it, suggesting that worlds like our own may not be rare in the cosmos, scientists said on Thursday.

Learn more.

Clock is Ticking on Las Vegas' Water Supply

The news coming from the Southern Nevada Water Authority Thursday about the valley's future water supply is worrisome. Unless we act quickly, there will be no water for hundreds of thousands of Las Vegas Valley residents in just three years.

Read more.

August 16, 2007

Pill can delay a baby far longer than you want

Every day millions of women pop a tiny pill giving it as much thought as they would swallowing an aspirin. After all, the benefits of oral contraception - easy-to-use, reliable and protective against ovarian and endometrial cancer - are well documented. But for an increasing number of women there is a lesser known and distressing side-effect - amenorrhea, or lack of ovulation - that materialises only when they stop taking it.

Read more.

'We have broken speed of light'

A pair of German physicists claim to have broken the speed of light - an achievement that would undermine our entire understanding of space and time.

Learn more.


There's nothing new about abusive spouses using technology to terrorize, said Cindy Southworth, technology director at the National Network to End Domestic Violence. What is new is that now nearly all abusers use high-tech spying tools to try to extend their domination, she said.

Read more.

Is The Bush Administration Still Spying?

Is the Bush administration secretly siphoning millions of calls and e-mail communications from AT&T's network?

Be spied on here.

A non-believer - say it isn't so

You can be gay, black or even a woman, but America will not tolerate a president who has no religion.


That the US remains so concerned that its leaders be people of faith is surprising.

In most industrial societies, the level of religiosity declines as the society becomes wealthier and more sophisticated, according to John Green, a senior fellow at the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, which regularly surveys attitudes towards religion in the US.

Yet the US remains a highly religious place. Not the most religious place on the planet, but certainly more religious than Europe and Australia.

America is like white trash with money. While the country became wealthier, sophistication did not follow.

Read more.

The Bible's literary sins

Whether its central character exists or not is beside the point - the Christian scriptures are a barely readable mess.


The literary quality of the Bible is an issue that I think is worth addressing. Firstly, there's the simple point that if the Bible really were the word of God, you'd think that He would be able to make it more interesting. Secondly, there's a war being waged against reason at the moment and it's gone time that reason started landing a few punches of its own. Why not freely state the obvious, but hitherto rarely mentioned, truth? The Good Book is not, as is so often suggested, a damn good read. It's crap. If the two Testaments tell the greatest story ever told, I am a monkey (and not just the distant descendant of one).

Now, I'm aware that saying the Bible is crap rather a crude statement. So, let me introduce a few points to qualify my basic assertion.

Read more.

Recorded Lecture Reveals New Texas Education Board Chair's Hostility To Science, Religious Tolerance

“This recording makes clear the very real danger that Texas schoolchildren may soon be learning more about the religious beliefs of politicians than about sound science in their biology classes,” TFN President Kathy Miller said today. “Even worse, it appears that Don McLeroy believes anyone who disagrees with him can’t be a true Christian.”

Gov. Rick Perry appointed McLeroy, a Bryan dentist, as chairman of the state board in July. McLeroy’s statements during his lecture are particularly insulting to Roman Catholics and millions of other Christians who see no conflict between their religious faith and accepting the science behind evolution, Miller said.

“Texas parents should be very concerned that the governor chose an anti-science, religious ideologue to lead the state body that sets policy for our public schools,” she said. “He might as well have put up a sign that said, ‘Only my kind of Christian need apply.’”

This guy sounds like a real winner.

Read more.

Federal ID plan raises privacy concerns

Can you believe this is America?

Americans may need passports to board domestic flights or to picnic in a national park next year if they live in one of the states defying the federal Real ID Act.

Read the rest.

Iraqi women: Prostituting ourselves to feed our children

The women are too afraid and ashamed to show their faces or have their real names used. They have been driven to sell their bodies to put food on the table for their children -- for as little as $8 a day.


Prostitution is a choice more and more Iraqi women are making just to survive.

Life is so much better in Iraq.

Read the rest.

Clock ticks on possible Vick plea deal

The deal offered by federal prosecutors recommends that the Atlanta Falcons quarterback serve a year in prison, The Virginian-Pilot reported in its Thursday editions. The newspaper quotes two anonymous sources.

Without an agreement in place by the end of the week, Vick could face new, more serious charges when a grand jury reconvenes on Monday.

Read more.

Jury reaches verdict in Padilla terror trial

The jury in the Jose Padilla terror trial has convicted the American on charges of conspiracy to support Islamic terrorism overseas.


Padilla and two co-defendants were convicted on all counts.


Padilla was originally arrested on dramatic allegations that he planned to set off radioactive "dirty bombs" in the United States. But the current charges are not related to those accusations, and prosecutors did not present the "dirty bomb" plot to the jury.

Neither were jurors told that Padilla was held in a Navy brig for 3½ years without charges before his indictment in the Miami case.

Read the rest.

Millionaires Run for the White House

The main candidates running for the US presidency in the November 2008 elections are members of the select group of millionaires, according to data published by the Election Commission on Tuesday.

This is why things will never change. Millionaires do not understand (or don't remember) how to budget money in order to just survive. They don't have to. Their budgeting needs are so far removed from the average person that it's like comparing apples and oranges.

So, if political leaders can't comprehend the budgeting needs of the masses, then how can we expect them to effectively manage the nation's budget? We can't. And they don't. They just keep borrowing more money from foreign countries, building up debt that can never, and I repeat, never, be repaid.

Thus, we do not need millionaires as our political leaders. We need government for the people, by the people.

Read more.

Wikipedia Scanner outs Vatican, CIA

The CIA has been accused of editing entries on the interactive encyclopedia Wikipedia.

Wikipedia Scanner, an online tool, allegedly shows that workers on the agency's computers edited the page of Iran's president, the BBC reported.

It also purportedly shows that the Vatican has edited entries about Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams and "massaged" entries on several Catholic Saints.

Read the rest.

Attack of the Killer Robots

The fearless fighters are three robot soldiers who, unnoticed by the general public, were deployed in Iraq in mid-June, charged with hunting down insurgents. As if guided by an unseen hand, they hone in on their targets and fire at them with their machine guns. It's the future of war -- and it's already here.

Learn more.


Here is the problem with Dr. Ron Paul having a good showing in his OWN STATE OF TEXAS. The only people who can vote in the Texas Straw Poll are people who have been delegates in the past! IN other words, I, a Texas Republican cannnot go to Fort Worth on Sept 1 and vote for Dr. Ron Paul in my own state. Doesnt everyone see a problem with this??


Learn more.

Stewart only anchor in the country to see through the nonsense

Putting aside, for a moment, Kristol’s penchant for yet another war, this simple exchange was what was missing from all of the major media coverage when O’Hanlon and Pollack were all over every network. Jon Stewart — who, you know, heads a fake news show — managed to challenge a bogus assertion and convey useful information to his audience.

Now, was that so hard?

Read more and watch Stewart interview Kristol.

Comet May Have Exploded Over North America 13,000 Years Ago

New scientific findings suggest that a large comet may have exploded over North America 12,900 years ago, explaining riddles that scientists have wrestled with for decades, including an abrupt cooling of much of the planet and the extinction of large mammals.

Learn more.

Corporate America braces for market fallout

The economic contagion that started with a slump in U.S. home prices and spread throughout the financial sector as default rates on risky subprime mortgages rose has spooked investors the world over.

Read more.

August 15, 2007


It is likely you haven't heard about it unless you obtain your news from the internet.The newspapers, radio, and television have chosen to ignore the plan-introduced by the Council on Foreign Relations-to create a North American Union similar to the European Union.

Learn more.

New Spy Law Broader Than Thought

Before the Democratic-controlled Congress caved in on George W. Bush’s warrantless-wiretapping powers, White House lawyers slipped in two provisions to give the President even more authority – and less accountability – than he claimed on his own. And the U.S. press corps largely missed that part of the story.


That means that almost any American engaged in international commerce or dealing with foreign issues – say, a businessman in touch with a foreign subsidiary or a U.S. reporter sending an overseas story back to his newspaper – is vulnerable to warrantless intercepts approved on the say-so of two Bush subordinates, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell.

Read more.

U.S. to Expand Domestic Use of Spy Satellites

The U.S.'s top intelligence official has greatly expanded the range of federal and local authorities who can get access to information from the nation's vast network of spy satellites in the U.S.

And you didn't think this would happen.

Read the rest.

Cheney video causing uproar

Comments made back in 1994 by the then US Secretary of Defence Dick Cheney about Iraq are causing an uproar in America. In a videotaped interview, the current Vice-President explains why he thinks an invasion would be a bad idea. The video has come to light on the same day US troops in Iraq launched a new offensive - Operation Phantom Strike.

Yes, they have the video in case you haven't seen it.

Howard on internet porn crusade

JOHN Howard is going to spend $189 million on "cleaning up the internet" for Australian families, blocking pornography, upgrading the search for chat-room sex predators and cutting off terror sites.

Every Australian family will be provided with a free internet filter and the federal Government will enter an unprecedented partnership with service providers to filter pornography at the source.

If you don't want to see "pornography" (whatever that is?) then don't go to those sites and view it.

Read more.

'Terrorism' Case: Govt Says Facts Are Too Secret For The Defense To See

Some of Eisenberg's briefs have been redacted as well, because they are considered too sensitive for the public to see. But although Justice Department lawyers can see Eisenberg's redactions, he isn't allowed to see theirs.

In the Al-Haramain case, Eisenberg has had to respond to a government filing he was not allowed to see.

Asked Monday if there was any way, under the government's interpretation of the law, that someone could contest the surveillance program, a senior Justice Department official replied, "In the current context, no."

And we allow them to act this way.

It might not be you they are after today, but you might be the one tomorrow.

Read the rest.

The Curious Vacuum Cleaner in Rm. 641A

The address is 611 Folsom Street in downtown San Francisco. To be more precise, it’s in a tightly guarded, access restricted room: Room 641A. There’s a loud sucking sound coming out of this room. It’s the sound of the United States Constitution going down a rat hole.


To be clear, I’m not opposed to amending FISA, nor to intelligence agencies being able to monitor the conversations of persons who present a reasonable prospect of threat to national security. In fact, I insist that they do just that. I am absolutely opposed to this occurring without an independent check on the surveillance activity designed to check abuse–that is, making the checks and balances concept which is at the heart of the American Constitution work. Dictatorship and one-man rule are, of course, so much easier. Admiral McConnell transmits the Bush Administration’s “trust us” message, clad in a uniform. But there is no reason to trust this administration, or any other, and no reason to trust Admiral McConnell when he faithfully transmits their message. The current and historical pattern of abuse is too clear.

Learn more.

See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign

On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company's machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits.

In this case, the changes came from an IP address reserved for the corporate offices of Diebold itself. And it is far from an isolated case. A new data-mining service launched Monday traces millions of Wikipedia entries to their corporate sources, and for the first time puts comprehensive data behind longstanding suspicions of manipulation, which until now have surfaced only piecemeal in investigations of specific allegations.

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Two Legs Good, Four Legs Equal

Despite the trappings of a civilized culture and the incredibly persistent myth of our moral exceptionalism, we in the United States are collectively a group of mean-spirited, depraved barbarians. Sparing our psyches the pangs of conscience by ferociously devouring the corporate media’s seemingly endless supply of rationalizations, euphemisms, historical revisions, distractions, denials, distortions, and affirmations of our pathological self-absorption, we each carry a degree of responsibility in the infliction of immeasurable unnecessary pain and suffering upon the rest of the Earth’s sentient beings.

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Iraq Set to Disintegrate, New Study Warns

It's no secret that Iraq is a politically, ethnically and religiously fractured country. But a new study released in Berlin on Wednesday argues that federalism remains the country's last, best hope. Otherwise, it may fall apart completely.

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US labels Iran's Guards terrorists

THE US is to name Iran's Revolutionary Guards as a "specially designated global terrorist", a move that allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances.

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Council Seeks New Ban on Smoking by Parents in Cars

Smokers have already been banned from New York bars and restaurants, and soon they could be prohibited from lighting up in cars carrying minors, an idea giving added fuel to critics who say the city has become a nanny state.

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Internet is "the new Afghanistan": NY police commissioner

The Internet is the new battleground against Islamist extremism because it provides ideology that could radicalize Westerners who might then initiate home-grown attacks, New York police commissioner Raymond Kelly said on Wednesday.

Trying to demonize the internet, I see.

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Why the late-30s are a man's misery years

Whether they are mourning the passing of their prime or struggling to cope with the demands of a job and young family, those aged 35-44 invariably hit a mid-life crisis when their happiness level plunges lower than at any other age, according to a study for the Government.

It makes them the least satisfied members of society, scoring well below teenagers, the elderly - and women of all ages.

Researchers found that it takes men until they reach the age of 65 to start enjoying life as much as they did in their late-teens and early-20s.

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New airport agents check for danger in fliers' facial expressions

More from the Stay Scared Shitless (SSS) file:

Specially trained security personnel are watching body language and facial cues of passengers for signs of bad intentions. The watcher could be the attendant who hands you the tray for your laptop or the one standing behind the ticket-checker. Or the one next to the curbside baggage attendant.

"Behavior Detection Officers"?

No, really, that's what they're called.

Orwell rolls in his grave.

Read more, but don't make eye contact here.

U.S. Studying Two Dozen 'Clusters' of Possible Homegrown Terrorists

In a report to be made public today, New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly concludes the 9/ll attacks were an "anomaly" and the most serious terror threat to the country comes from clusters of "unremarkable" individuals who are on a path that could lead to homegrown terror.

If this were true, then why would it be reported, therefore tipping the "clusters" off?

No, I think this is a tactic to just keep the masses in fear.

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August 14, 2007

Clinton's first lady records locked up

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton cites her experience as a compelling reason voters should make her president, but nearly 2 million pages of documents covering her White House years are locked up in a building here, obscuring a large swath of her record as first lady.

Clinton's calendars, appointment logs and memos are stored at her husband's presidential library, in the custody of federal archivists who do not expect them to be released until after the 2008 presidential election.

Things should not work this way.

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August 13, 2007

Firefox leak could divulge sensitive info

A security researcher has discovered a vulnerability in Firefox that could allow criminals to remotely siphon private information stored in plugins and call sensitive functions.

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Windows XP: The OS that won't die?

Microsoft Corp. has had to create a new build of Windows XP Professional for computer makers because the six-year-old operating system's continued popularity has nearly exhausted the supply of product activation keys.

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Mr. Rove Gets Out of Town

Karl Rove, the architect of so much that has gone so wrong with the Bush administration, announced yesterday that he is leaving the White House to spend more time with his family. What he didn’t say is that by getting out of town he is also hoping to avoid spending any time at all with Congressional investigators.

Congress should not oblige.

The American public needs to understand the full story of how this White House — with Mr. Rove pulling many of the strings — has spent the last six and a half years improperly and dangerously politicizing the federal government. Mr. Rove is already defying one Congressional subpoena to testify about the United States attorneys scandal. He should be made to respond to that one, and should also be subpoenaed to explain his role in several other cases of crass politicization.

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Researchers Develop Bendable Battery

It's a battery that looks like a piece of paper and can be bent or twisted, trimmed with scissors or molded into any shape needed.

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‘Pull ’em up or pay up’ is new law in Mansfield

Anyone caught wearing sagging pants who exposes his or her underwear will be subject to a fine of up to $150 plus court costs, or face up to 15 days in jail.

Aren't there more important issues to be worried about in today's world?

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Learn from the fall of Rome, US warned

The US government is on a “burning platform” of unsustainable policies and practices with fiscal deficits, chronic healthcare underfunding, immigration and overseas military commitments threatening a crisis if action is not taken soon, the country’s top government inspector has warned.


Drawing parallels with the end of the Roman empire, Mr Walker warned there were “striking similarities” between America’s current situation and the factors that brought down Rome, including “declining moral values and political civility at home, an over-confident and over-extended military in foreign lands and fiscal irresponsibility by the central government”.

But who pays attention to history?

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A Symphony of Lies