Saturday, March 11, 2006

Enough Blogging For Now

When so much is coming in, I just feel overwhelmed.
President George W. Bush said on Saturday he was disappointed and saddened by the arrest of former senior White House aide Claude Allen on theft charges.

No shit? Maybe he is worried Allen won't be the only one found guilty of theft. Ya think?

Then this.
With the Iraq war nearly 3 years old and showing no sign of letting up, President George W. Bush said on Saturday he hoped to have Iraqi forces control more territory than U.S. troops by year's end.

He has a fucking civil war on his hands. But no problem. Gawd I wish I had such an Impenetrable bubble.

Another Sign Of Hope For All?

It is so rare to find an extint animal is not extinct. Time to celebrate.
Laotian Rock Rat (Kha-nyou or Laonastes aenigmamus), is a squirrel-like rat (rat-like squirrel?), thought to be extinct some 11 million years ago.

Turns out that this animal is alive and well in Asia. How did we find out? It was being sold for food in the markets of Laos.

Ok, it isn't a nice cute furry thing. Its a rat. But it isn't extinct as was previously thought. I'm still pulling for the discovery of a passenger pigeon or a dodo bird, but don't hold out much hope.

(read more)

None So Blind As Those Who Will Not See

And those people seem to be Republicans. This here is from William F Buckley Jr.
John Negroponte, director of national intelligence, had surveilled the proposed sale [of US ports management to DB World] and found no objection to it. The Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States, an interagency committee that passes judgment on foreign acquisitions, had approved the shift. The Coast Guard was unconcerned. [emphasis mine] Link

Oh yeah? That doesn't seem to be the info I've found at many internets sites.
The US Coast Guard warned there were gaps in intelligence over the security risk of an Arab firm bidding to run six major US ports, the Senate has heard.

The last is from BBC NEWS.

A Google search for "coast guard security ports concerns" only returned 2,160,000 items. Unconcerned? Not so much.

Jesus H Christ, do we have to hit these clowns on the head with a sledge hammer before they get it?

Slobodan Milosevic Found Dead in His Cell

Do we chalk this up to justice? I don't usually paste a whole article, but the story is too short to bother linking. I found it at Yahoo! News. This is it.
Netherlands - Slobodan Milosevic, the former Yugoslav leader who orchestrated the Balkan wars of the 1990s and was on trial for war crimes, was found dead in his prison cell at the U.N. detention center near The Hague, the U.N. tribunal said Saturday. He was 65.

A tribunal press officer in The Hague said Milosevic was found dead in his bed, apparently of natural causes.

Milosevic has been on trial since February 2002, defending himself against 66 counts of war crimes, including genocide, in Croatia, Bosnia and
Kosovo.

The trial has been repeatedly interrupted by Milosevic's poor health and chronic heart condition.

It was recessed last week until Tuesday to await his next defense witness. Milosevic also was waiting for a court decision on his request to subpoena former
President Clinton as a witness.

No Mixing of Church, State And Schools

This item is causing quite a stir, if you will, in Rome.
The Vatican has disconcerted Italian politicians - and some of the Roman Catholic church's most senior prelates - by endorsing a proposal by radical Muslims for a weekly "Islamic hour" in schools with a strong Muslim presence.

An aside, but nowhere in the article did the author explain why the term radical Muslims was used.

Everyone is taking sides and look at who all we have here.

Cardinal Renato Martino, a minister in the Vatican's government, the Roman Curia. [endorser]

The speaker of the Italian senate, Marcello Pera.

The archbishop of Milan, Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi.

The new Islamic Council [made the proposal]

The National Alliance [which grew out of Italy's main neo-fascist party]

Democracy and Freedom party.

Muslim Brotherhood.

World Muslim League [Italian representative of]

Magdi Allam [an Islamic affairs commentator of the newspaper Corriere della Sera]

Folks, this is exactly why we don't want religion, state and schools messing with each other. Mixing these things together can only produce rancor. The founding fathers knew damn well what they were doing.

Who Can Bush And Company Piss Off Today?

I'm no diplomat and Rice may not be either, but it seems to me this is the sort of thing you discuss quietly with other countries and not something you blab to the press?
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned that China could become a "negative force" in the Asia-Pacific region and urged the US, Australia and Japan to form a common position on how to engage the Asian economic powerhouse, reports said.

Speaking to Australian journalists in Washington ahead of her visit to Sydney and Melbourne next week, Rice said that Beijing's military and economic rise would be the focus of upcoming trilateral security discussions with Australia and Japan. [emphasis mine]

And can't this administration talk about any country without sounding like it deems them an enemy? It is only prudent to consider how to deal with increasing power of any country, but it isn't necessary to use the words "negative force".

Anyone wanna guess what the next headline in Beijing Daily, People's Daily, Shanghai Star and Xinhua News newspapers will be?

(Read More)

Hostage Tom Fox Found Dead


This is truly sad, but not totally unexpected.
Word spread quickly through the Quaker congregation that one of their own would not be coming home. Tom Fox's body was found Thursday evening, three days after he didn't appear in a video of Christian activists who had been taken hostage in Iraq. But members of the Hopewell Centre Quaker congregation in Clear Brook said they would not let their sadness overshadow the importance of what Fox was trying to accomplish.

Update: Posted better picture of Tom Fox.

(Read More)

FBI Is Intimidating An Academic?

This is just the sort of thing we supposedly despise when other governments do it.
A U.S. academic accused the FBI on Friday of trying to silence his criticism of Bush administration policy toward Venezuela, further straining ties between Washington and the major oil supplier.

Venezuela seized on agents' questioning of the professor, condemning it in a statement as "a violation of the freedoms of expression, thought and academic inquiry, and ... a desperate attempt to link Venezuela to terrorism."

Guess what triggered the questioning. Come on...guess.
Tinker Salas said two agents of an FBI-led Joint Terrorism Task Force [JTTF] questioned him this week at his offices about his contacts with the Venezuelan Embassy.

"The intent was to intimidate," the Venezuelan-born American citizen told Reuters.

An American citizen who was born in Venezuela, a country of no threat to us, visits the embassy of his birth nation and gets a visit from the FBI. And, not just any old FBI agents, but ones from the JTTF.
Like many U.S. political analysts critical of the Bush administration's policy toward Latin America, Tinker Salas believes the United States is stoking tensions with Venezuela by seeking to create the impression it is a threat.

I don't consider myself a political analyst, but came to the same conclusion quite a while ago.

(Read More)

Help The Readers In NOLA

Just want to spread the word. Not only homes, but libraries were decimated by Katrina.
In an effort to restock its shelves after Hurricane Katrina, the New Orleans Public Library is asking for donations of hardcovers and paperbacks for people of all ages. Library staff will decide which books should go into its collection; the rest will go to destitute families or be sold to raise funds for the library.

Please send books to: Rica A. Trigs, Public Relations, New Orleans Public Library, 219 Loyola Ave., New Orleans, LA, 70112.

Please follow the link for additional information over at Dependable Renegade.

(read more)

Senate Can Make President Bullet-Proof

This is a must read.

'Senate To Legalize Watergate Break-In' from Opinions You Should Have.

Just Hope They Are Right

A just released CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll. (Dec. 9-11, 2005. Nationwide), shows America isn't worried about a bird flu pandemic.

Cat Blogging


In my very first post I mentioned I had no cat and hoped it wouldn't hurt my chances of becoming a repectable blogger. I'd noticed many sites cat blogged or pudu blogged or bassett hound blogged.

How could I compete? Hahaha. I've found a way. I'll animal blog with variety. I start with a cat, but not your indifferent pet. This cat is a Democrat and is very, very dangerous.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Sandbagging Iran

Sandbagging v: 1: treat harshly or unfairly 2: compel by coercion, threats, or crude means

Since the start of this blog on January 23, 2006 I've posted more than 60 times about Iran. You can do a Google search on the right for "Iran" to see I'm not lying. I'd doubt me. I was shocked it had been so many.

Most of those posts have been about indicators I've spotted leading me to believe Bush is going to attack Iran. Sometimes my comments to that effect on other blogs have attracted people who don't agree. Imagine that!

Well, here is a very good article in which Ehsan Ahrari carefully lays out how Bush is doing exactly the same thing with Iran as he did with Iraq. Please read. A teaser follows.
Cheney continued, "For our part, the United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the irresponsible conduct of the regime. And we join other nations in sending that regime a clear message: we will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon."

Sound at all familiar? It should.
"All options are on the table," President George W. Bush said recently, "But one thing I will not allow is a nation such as Iraq to threaten our very future by developing weapons of mass destruction."

Unfortunately, whereas Saddam appeared to be cooperating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Bush attacked anyway, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plays right into Bush's hands by threatening, posturing and refusing to abandon nuclear enrichment work.

Humourus aside. I decided to Google "All options are on the table" to document how often Bushco has said that. The search found 190,000.000 items. Probably most are not comments uttered by Repugs. Or maybe they are.

Spotlight On Human Rights

Here's some information of which you may be unaware.
US on human rights: Laugh yourself to death

It's that time of year for the US State Department's annual comedy classic, the "Country Reports" on human rights. Funnily enough, Iran is now among the worst offenders, along with Cuba, home to the US's own Guantanamo Bay prison for those not charged with any crime. But Iraq - great news - has seen a significant improvement, Abu Ghraib and Shi'ite death squads notwithstanding. Rib-tickling stuff - especially, no doubt, for US captives who have been "rendered" for torture.

Maybe you knew all that already. Perhaps you also saw the humour in it. You could very well have anticipated Iraq's spectacular improvement, but that isn't the info I thought you might not know.

This is.
As in the past, this year's edition does not address rights conditions in the United States or in US-controlled facilities overseas, such as detention centers at the Guantanamo Bay naval base in Cuba and in Afghanistan where Washington has been holding suspects in its "war on terror" in conditions that some human-rights monitors, including several UN special rapporteurs, have said amount to "torture".

That's right. In all these years, the US has not been cited in the report because it is intentionally omitted. Rather arrogant, no?
"The United States government considers itself a moral leader on human-rights issues, but its record of indefinite and arbitrary detentions, secret 'black sites', and outsourced torture in the 'war on terror' turns it from leader to human-rights violator," Schulz [director of the US section of Amnesty International] said.

To be fair, the report has been published since 1976, so both political parties are to blame for the omission of the US. I agree with the critics who say the US is being hypocritical to produce such a report and not critically look inward.

(read more)

What Was That GOP Shit About Letting States Decide Things?

It seems Bush and his henchmen are really not for states rights if they see a way to grease the palms of insurance companies. Colour me amazed.
Senate legislation aimed at reducing health insurance expenses for small businesses carries with it what government watchdogs say is a poison pill for patients’ rights provisions passed by various states in recent years.

Sponsored by Senator Michael Enzi (R-Wyoming), the Health Insurance Marketplace Modernization and Affordability Act, permits small businesses and trade associations to pool resources with which to purchase employee health coverage. The bill would create a uniform national standard for group insurance purchasing. The Secretary of Health and Human Services would oversee the standards and coordinate state cooperation.

Sounds benign enough so far, but those in the know don't like it. Many of the rest of us just don't like it because we know Bush and are sure something is fishy.
According to FTCR [Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights] President Jamie Court, in creating a single standard, the measure "threatens the gains of the HMO patients' rights movement, which established standards such as requiring HMOs to provide patients access to second opinions, give women direct access to OBGYNs without having to go through HMO gatekeepers, and ensure patients have access to medically necessary care."

FTCR contends that Enzi’s bill would undermine "Patients’ Bill of Rights" laws enacted by 41 states. The laws carry varying provisions but generally include patient access to review boards, limits on out-of-pocket payments, state oversight of complaints against insurers, and medical-record protections, FTCR said.

Yep. Something is fishy.

(read more)

Makes Me Shudder

I've only seen this quote here. Frist is talking about DP World's announcement it would "transfer fully" its stake in the ports to a US "entity."
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, who was also ready to ignore Bush’s threats and kill the deal, said the company’s announcement ``should make the issue go away.” [emphasis mine]

Bush wants this to go away, so Frist's saying that it should really scares me. What sort of sneaky deal are they pulling? If this is just what Bushco wants, I'm very suspicious of the timing.

They have to have that "...vital $91-billion US bill providing money for the Iraq war, Afghanistan and hurricane-recovery efforts." and it has a no DP World amendment tacked onto it.

What Took So Long, Doctors?

More than 250 medical experts are calling for Guantanamo Bay prison doctors to stop force feeding inmates. They also are calling for "disciplinary action against their US counterparts" who are doing this.
The United States authorities are facing demands by doctors from around the world to abandon the barbaric method of force-feeding hunger strikers at Guantanamo Bay.

(snip)

Since August they have been routinely force-fed, an excruciatingly painful practice that causes bleeding and nausea. The doctors say: "Fundamental to doctors' responsibilities in attending a hunger striker is the recognition that prisoners have a right to refuse treatment.

In the past I've had doctors nonchalantly do some horrifically painful procedures on me. Required of course, not sadistically. I think. Anyway, when a doctor mentions excruciatingly painful practice, ya know that it must be almost unbearably painful.

(read more) Uh, about the force feeding, not about my medical procedures.

Smoke And Mirrors

With many individuals, countries and organisations including the UN calling for Bush to close Guantanimo Bay prison, he responds in typical idiot fashion and decides to close Abu Ghraib prison instead. He really does live in his own little world.

But it's all smoke and mirrors because the prisoners won't walk.

Abu Ghraib, the prison which will be forever linked with images of Iraqi detainees stripped naked and humiliated by their American jailors, is to be closed, US military officials said yesterday. The sprawling, low-slung prison in the western suburbs of Baghdad, a torture chamber under Saddam Hussein that gained even more notoriety with the photographs of abuse committed by US troops, is likely to close within three months.

Its 4,500 inmates will be transferred to other jails in Iraq - including Camp Cropper, the facility at the Baghdad airport where Saddam is being held. [emphasis mine]

In fact this is an attempt to make people forget about the torture. We won't, of course, and it is quite possible the torturing will happen again, but at new locations. Maybe there will be no torture at Camp Cropper.

Oops! Spoke too soon.
An American-run detention center outside Baghdad known as Camp Cropper was reportedly the site of numerous abuses of Iraqi prisoners several months before the mistreatment of prisoners unfolded last fall [of 2003] at Abu Ghraib prison, according to documents and interviews.

The detention facility, on the outskirts of Baghdad International Airport, appears to have served as an incubator for the acts of humiliation that were inflicted months later on Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib. [emphasis mine]

Conservatives? Not So Much

This is an absolute must read. Also a must email to my conservative friends post. 'Nuff said.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

There Is A God

This via WaPo.
The United Arab Emirates company that was attempting to take over management operations at six U.S. ports announced today that it will divest itself of all American interests.

The announcement appears to head off a major confrontation that was brewing between Congress and the Bush administration over the controversial deal.Sen. John Warner (R-Va.) announced on the Senate floor shortly before 2 p.m. that Dubai Ports World would "transfer fully the operations of U.S. ports to a U.S. entity." Warner, who had been trying to broker a compromise on the issue, said DP World would divest itself of U.S. interests "in an orderly fashion" so as not to suffer "economic loss."

It was not immediately clear how the divesture would be handled or what U.S. company would take over the operation.

Line Item Veto: Good Or Bad

In principle a line item veto makes perfect sense. If there is a funding bill for student loans for example, adding funding for a pedestrian walkway in San Francisco doesn't make sense. The walkway may be a good investment for America, although I don't see how, but it has nothing to do with student loans. The disparity and egregiousness of multiple items in one bill can be extreme.

But that veto power is fraught with danger if not used reasonably. In the hands of an idiot like Bush it would most likely be used to help corporations or punish anyone who disagrees with his policies. I don't trust Bush to walk my dog (if I had one) and certainly don't trust him to be cautious and reasonable in weilding his new weapon.

However, all that said, I found new info about this veto bill over at Capitol Hill Blue.
This newest version would allow the president to single out those spending items he wants killed and then Congress would have 10 days to say yea or nay. The president currently has rescission authority. He can ask Congress to revoke certain spending, but Congress can ignore him. This proposal would require a vote.

Even with Congress' being in Repug hands, this is something I can live with. This just asks for Congress to take one last look and they still have control unless Bush decides to veto the whole bill.

Encouraging US Poll on Muslim Religion

In this recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll (March 2-5, 2006. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3), it seems Americans look favourably on Islam as being a peaceful religion or they just aren't sure.


Unfortunately, one in three still believe Islam encourages violence. It wasn't asked, but I would wonder if they would poll the same numbers if this were the question.

"Do you think mainstream Christianity encourages violence against non-Christians, or is it a peaceful religion?"

Americans See Weak Security At Ports and Borders

This recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll (Feb. 28-Mar. 1), shows the public is not comfortable with ports and borders security.


Further, the public doesn't think things have improved since 9/11.


Finally, Americans are only slightly more likely to trust the Republicans to protect US than Dems. In fact the gap has gone from 19 points in 2002, to 11 points in 2005 and now stands at 5 points.


Most would agree you can't govern by poll, but you can get an idea how the public perceives things. Perception can win elections, so it is incumbent on the Dems to keep pounding away at the Repugs on security. Convince the public their perceptions are correct. Dems can do much better at protecting our country.

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Lapdog): A Real Tool

Over at Think Progress there is an excellent post outlining all the nefarious actions of the chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence. If there is any way he can support Bush, he will do it. And I mean any way.

Please go take a look. All weasily words and slimy deeds are detailed there. Just to list the items, with no detail, would take up more than one computer screen. The reporting is very thourough.

One item I will show you.
Roberts Claimed Other Senators Believe Bush Is A Greater Threat Than Osama Bin Laden. “I am concerned that some of my Democrat colleagues used this unique public forum to make clear that they believe the gravest threat we face is not Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida, but rather the president of the United States,” Roberts said. [Washington Post, 2/3/06]

Well, he's probably right about that one. Bin Laden took 3,000 lives and ruined thousands more. Just in Iraq alone, Bush has surpassed bin Laden's numbers if you count allied and Iraqi death tolls then count the number severely wounded, physically and mentally, and the families of the dead and wounded whose lives have been ruined. And using the Bill of Rights and Constitution for toilet paper makes him pretty fucking dangerous too.

Its About Time Someone Did This

This whole item was "borrowed" from the BuzzTHE BUZZ section of KansasCity.com.
Another Democratic Party?

A group of well-connected Democrats led by former President Bill Clinton aide Harold Ickes is raising millions to start a private firm that plans to compile huge amounts of data on Americans to identify potential Democratic voters.

Democratic National Committee officials reportedly are miffed because they think that’s their job.

Ickes, backed by financier George Soros, acknowledged that the creation of Data Warehouse is in part a vote of no confidence that the Democratic Party is ready to technologically compete with GOPers: “The Republicans have developed a cadre of people who appreciate databases and know how to use them.…”

Ya gotta love George Soros.

Perhaps WaPo Was NOT Wrong

Jeez! I wrote a post back on February 28th, reproduced here.
Perhaps WaPo Was Wrong

It seems some of the death counts are "slightly" inflated.

On Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that the Iraqi police said 1,020 people had been killed in the sectarian violence that followed the bombing of the Shia shrine at Sammara on 22 February, but officials at Baghdad's morgue told the newspaper they had logged 1,300 deaths.

The head of the Baghdad central morgue, Dr Qais Hassan, told BBC Arabic.com that the Washington Post's figures could not be correct. He told the BBC that the morgue's records for the 23 to 26 February showed that 249 people had died in the violence.


The fact is 249 is still bad enough.

(read more)

Now it seems WaPo may have been right after all.

ECHIDNE OF THE SNAKES
has a post titled The War That The Media Lost which includes this excerpt from WaPo.
The official, who spoke on the condition that he not be named because he feared for his safety, said a representative of the Shiite party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, ordered that government hospitals and morgues catalogue deaths caused by bombings or clashes with insurgents, but not by execution-style shootings.

A statement this week by the U.N. human rights department in Baghdad appeared to support the account of the Health Ministry official. The agency said it had received information about Baghdad's main morgue -- where victims of fatal shootings are taken -- that indicated "the current acting director is under pressure by the Interior Ministry in order not to reveal such information and to minimize the number of casualties."

...

On Sunday, as a Washington Post reporter briefly visited the morgue office, five bodies were brought in from a town just outside Baghdad. All were neatly dressed men, all had their hands bound, and all had been shot in the back of the head. Morgue officials took the bodies to one of the refrigerated trailers. No mention of the five appeared in news reports.

There is more and The Goddess has a link to the longer WaPo article.

In wars it is always difficult to accurately determine death tolls and it becomes more so when the "official" death numbers are manipulated for political reasons.

UAE Ports Deal In Trouble

You are probably well aware Rep. Jerry Lewis(R-clever) amended a finance bill so UAE could not get control of several US ports. If not, you can see the story over at CNN.com.

I've posted earlier how clever I thought it was for Rep. Lewis to choose the bill he did to amend. If Bush does veto it, as he has threatened to do, he will be withholding money for Katrina relief and our fighting forces in Afganistan and Iraq. Now wouldn't that make him look sillier than he already does?

Anyway, the story I linked to above had this in it.
Speaking Tuesday, before the House committee vote, DP World Chairman Sultan Bin Sulayem expressed confidence that the transaction will pass congressional muster and reiterated that security is a primary concern of the company.

(snip)

Bin Sulayem said Tuesday he has "no doubt" that the 45-day review will allay congressional concerns. And while Sulayem said he appreciates scrutiny from lawmakers, he also said Congress doesn't thoroughly understand the particulars of the deal, "even though the White House does." [emphasis mine]

OK, you don't know how long I took between pasting the quote from the article and writing this sentence. Well in between, I was rolling on the floor, laughing my ass off. I'm sure its impossible the intelligence of Bush and his administration is superior to our representatives.

The only way the White House could know more than Congress is if Bushco are behaving in their usual secretive way. They would have had to withhold information for them to know more.

Being a very lazy blogger, I'll suggest you Google Blog Search"uae ports bush"...nevermind, I actually did it and found an excellent starter article at MediaMatters. They explain many of the reasons for rejecting this ports deal. There also are some fine posts on progressive blogs about how stuff actually moves through ports and how simple it is to elude security.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What Is A Million Or Billion Dollars?

This post is inspired by something Big Shot Bob in Texas posted. This is something I did once with my college roommate. It will open your eyes.

Take a few minutes. Take some paper and a pen or pencil. Now, "spend" a million or billion dollars.

Buy a house or houses, cars, boats, TVs and stereo systems, computers. Put a big chunk of money in certificates of deposit or other "safe" investments so you'll never be poor again.

You will be shocked at how far such huge amounts of money go.

The American Public Is Finally "Getting It"

The latest CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll shows Americans are slowly coming to realise Bush is a lying bastard. That's one hell of a great way for any country to view its president.


Being self effacing, I'm sure I had little or no influence in this matter, but like to think the bigger progressive bloggers did wield some clout.

Bush The Sadist Masochist

Oh my, but this could prove amusing. Bush should be welcomed by people on the gulf coast like he's their personal savior with rose petals and cheering crowds. Sure. I'm not certain who hates Bush more, the gulf coast survivors or the prisoners at Gitmo.
Six months after Hurricane Katrina left its mark on the Gulf Coast, President Bush was returning again to the slowly rebuilding region Wednesday for another progress report.

Bush was to be updated on the rebuilding effort and tour part of New Orleans on his 10th trip to the region since the Aug. 29 storm. Afterward, he was flying east to view progress in the Biloxi-Gulfport area of Mississippi, another state hit hard by Katrina.

If the initial non-response from the Bush administration weren't enough, six months on the people are still suffering. No one even believes all the bodies have been found. Bush should be lucky to get out with his skin intact.

(read more)

EU Tells IAEA Iran Must Stop Enrichment Program

Unlike my earlier post, this is not going to be fun to watch.
Iran must stop uranium enrichment work and cooperate fully with United Nations inspectors if it is to avoid scrutiny from the UN Security Council, the European Union told a meeting of the UN nuclear watchdog, the IAEA.

Thomas Seltzer, Austria's representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that if Iran failed to comply, "the Security Council should now put its weight behind the (IAEA) board's requests and the IAEA's efforts to resolve outstanding questions."

And you just know Iran wants to fully comply and stop their enrichment program.

Don't make me laugh.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned western powers on Wednesday that they would regret their efforts to stand in the way of Iran acquiring nuclear capabilities.

(snip)

If anyone shows aggression to the Iranian nation’s rights, Iran will wipe the dark stain of regret on their foreheads,” he added.

This isn't gonna be pretty at all. Ahmadinejad is asking to be attacked and that's just what Bush wants to do.

(read more)

Update: It seems Ahmadinejad really does have a death wish.
Iran threatened the United States with "harm and pain" Wednesday for its role in hauling Tehran before the U.N. Security Council over its nuclear program.

Hyenas Always Attack Weak Animals

This is fun theater. I love to watch them turn on their own.
Leading members of George W Bush's Republican party are moving to block a deal which would give a Dubai-based firm control over six US ports.

Jerry Lewis, who chairs the powerful House of Representatives appropriations committee, is introducing emergency legislation to halt the takeover.

The move puts the president in direct conflict with his own party in Congress and has been called a slap in the face.

Well, a slap in the face isn't as serious as birdshot in the face.



But there's money involved here and an ally in the war on terror so, of course, Bush has to make sure it happens.
Mr Bush has strongly backed the $6.85bn (£3.94bn) deal, saying he would veto any law designed to block it.

That should stop Lewis, right? Not so much.
But Mr Lewis - in theory, at least, one of the president's key supporters - is making his legislation part of an emergency spending bill that provides extra funds for hurricane disaster relief and the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Aren't you just giddy Bush has no line item veto power? How can he veto a bill like that? If he does, it means he doesn't give a shit about Katrina victims (who are his fellow Americans) and he doesn't support our troops who are fighting his illegal war.

I need popcorn for this. Lots of it.

Do You Believe It?

What are those people in Texas smoking? This from Reuters via Yahoo! News.
Embattled U.S. Rep.
Tom DeLay won handily in the Republican primary for his congressional seat on Tuesday, taking 61 percent of the votes against three opponents.

South Dakota Abortion Ban

According to a recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll (Jan. 20-22, 2006. N=1,006 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3), only 25% of Americans favour overturning Roe v Wade.
"Turning to abortion: Would you like to see the Supreme Court overturn its 1973 Roe versus Wade decision concerning abortion, or not?"


In this recent FOX News/Opinion Dynamics Poll. (Feb. 28-March 1, 2006. N=900 registered voters nationwide. MoE ± 3), only 35% of those polled would agree with South Dakota's new law.
"Recently the South Dakota legislature passed a law that bans abortion in all cases other than to save the life of the mother. Would you support or oppose this law in the state where you live?"


Maybe someone out there can tell me where these pollsters find undecided/unsure people. How can anyone not have an opinion on abortion rights?

Democrats Need To Get Out The Vote

Democrats need to vote because, even if the polls show them with a slight lead, the Republicans win by being far better at getting voters to the poles.

And right now, according to this Gallup poll, the Democrats have a 14 point lead.

As you can see in the following graph, the gap is the widest it has been since before August of 2005.
It is also among the highest seen since the Republicans came into power more than a decade ago.


Equally important for Dems is to get out all registered voters because Dems are heavily favoured among Independents as this graph shows.


It is unlikely, however, that the Republican majority could survive in the face of a popular surge for the Democrats, evidenced by a double-digit Democratic lead on the generic ballot just before the election.

South Dakota's Abortion Ban

Molly Ivins is so, so good. I love her last paragraph.
For years, the women's movement has been going around asking, "Who decides?" as though that were the issue. Well, here's the answer. [South Dakota State Sen.] Bill Napoli(R) decides, and if you're not happy with that arrangement, well, you'd better be prepared to do something about it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Dead On Satire

Ya gotta read this. It would be so funny if it weren't so close to the truth.

Something Good To Tell You

This is the entire story from The Toronto Star.

Missing autistic teen found

Mar. 6, 2006. 12:20 PM
AMY BROWN-BOWERS
STAFF REPORTER

A 19-year-old autistic man with the mental capacity of a six-year-old who went missing from his Toronto home Sunday has been found.

Dwane Montaque was last seen leaving his residence near Western Rd. and Lawrence Ave. W. at 6:15 p.m.

He was located by CN police - who enforce safety and security along the Canadian National Railway - shortly before 11 a.m. Monday near Port Darlington, Ont. [50 miles or 80 km ENE of Toronto]

Toronto Police would like to thank the public for their assistance in the successful investigation.

Homeland Security Can Protect Our Ports?

Bullshit. They can't even protect their own headquarters.
The agency entrusted with protecting the U.S. homeland is having difficulty safeguarding its own headquarters, say private security guards at the complex.

The guards have taken their concerns to Congress, describing inadequate training, failed security tests and slow or confused reactions to bomb and biological threats.

For instance, when an envelope with suspicious powder was opened last fall at Homeland Security Department headquarters, guards said they watched in amazement as superiors carried it by the office of Secretary Michael Chertoff, took it outside and then shook it outside Chertoff's window without evacuating people nearby.

It turned out the powder was harmless, but it might not have been. The head of the security company says it wasn't a real problem because all mail entering the complex is irradiated to prevent harmful anthrax from getting inside.

But two congressmen are quite concerned by what they're hearing from these guards.
"If the allegations brought forward by the whistleblowers are correct, they represent both a security threat and a waste of taxpayer dollars," Democratic Senators Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Ron Wyden of Oregon wrote. "It would be ironic, to say the least, if DHS were unable to secure its own headquarters."

Even more disconcerting than the suspicious powder incident is unauthorised access to the headquarters.
Some guards who continue to work at Homeland, who would speak only on condition of anonymity because of fear of losing their jobs, said they knew of two instances in which individuals without identification got into the sensitive complex.

Oh, I don't know about you, but I've no problem with letting a foreign government, any foreign government, control some of our major ports. As long as Homeland Security is on the job, we can all sleep soundly at night. Did I say bullshit? Thought so.

Gitmo Is Small Potatoes

It was bad enough to read Bush was still detaining approximately 490 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay Prison, but that's nothing.

It seems the US and British forces are holding 14,000 prisoners [not a typo] in Iraq.
Detainees in Iraq are still being tortured and denied their rights three years after the Abu Ghraib scandal, Amnesty International says.

Amnesty said that more than 14,000 people were being held in custody by US and British forces without charges or being produced before courts - a breach of international law. [emphasis mine]

And, of course, there is torture. Saddam left behind some really nice people who are now in Iraq's Interior Ministry.
The report highlights recent cases of torture by Iraqi forces - especially by people linked to the Iraq Interior Ministry - as being of "concern".

The problem is, if they have evidence against these people they should be tried, but they aren't even being charged. They are just scooped up and held indefinitely.

(read more)

I Am Blushing

I don't know what the hell is going on, but I had to step out for a while and when I came back my site had exploded. Not like "BOOM" or anything. There was no damage. I think.

A few days ago (February 23rd) I had my 200th hit. That was my one month anniversary with this site.

So, being lazy as I am. I thought cool, but now I'll wait for my 500th hit before mentioning hits again. That way I can just relax for the next 5-6 weeks.

Today, twelve days later, my hits are over 550! Got caught with my pants down. Well, not really because I wasn't wearing any, but anyway...

I'm still lazy so I won't mention hits until number... hmmm let me see. Gotta make it large. Don't want to get there in another twelve days. Alright I think I have it. Two thousand will be the magic number.

As always I am grateful to all who have visted with special thanks to those of you who visit regularly. I do appreciate you.

The Fight For Freedom

However, US Marines in Iraq don't have freedom to surf the web. As you can see below, they may only access internets sites that spout Bush's party line. Very 1984.

This via Boing Boing.
Snip from an email sent by an anonymous US Marine to Wonkette:

Unfortunately anonomizers don't work out here (never have). Anyway, I had a few minutes today and thought I'd look and see what else was banned on the Marine web here. I think the results speak for themselves:

* Wonkette – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.wonkette.com/) is categorized as: Forum/Bulletin Boards, Politics/Opinion.”
* Bill O’Reilly (www.billoreilly.com) – OK
* Air America (www.airamericaradio.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
* Rush Limbaugh (www.rushlimbaugh.com) – OK
* ABC News “The Note” – OK
* Website of the Al Franken Show (www.alfrankenshow.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.airamericaradio.com/) is categorized as: Internet Radio/TV, Politics/Opinion.”
* G. Gordon Liddy Show (www.liddyshow.us) – OK
* Don & Mike Show (www.donandmikewebsite.com) – “Forbidden, this page (http://www.donandmikewebsite.com/) is categorized as: Profanity, Entertainment/Recreation/Hobbies [emphasis mine].”

Well, just in case their filters don't realise I post progressive ideas and often rage over that idiot Bush and his corrupt, vicious and uncaring administration, I'd better add some profanity.

What the fuck is going on? This is the US Marine Corp. These aren't the damn Boy Scouts. If these Marines don't use profanity themselves, highly unlikely, then they certainly can handle reading it. If not, they don't have to visit sites with profanity. As for the other, progressive sites, let them have access. These guys and gals are risking their fucking lives to fight Bush's immoral, shitty war and have every right to read what the folks back home are talking about.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Thank God They Didn't Pee

Bush and his handlers really have no fucking clue. They caused India "national shame" before he visited Mahatma Gandhi's shrine.

When I visit a Buddhist temple in Thailand, I know it's proper to remove my shoes. I'm not aware, but try to understand local customs, culture and tradition. The damn POTUS should do better at it than I. After all, he has minions who can study up on that shit.

Please read this very short article.

Gotta be completely fair here. I was in Malaysia shortly after Al Gore, the then Vice President, had spoken at the Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation (Apec) summit. His remarks enraged the country. He and his minions did not do their homework and it cost Gore and hurt America's image.

Such obtuse behavior is unacceptable in a politician regardless of party. They represent US.

Terrorism And Mid-Term Elections

Its tinfoil hat time.

Bush Administration officials will brief the U.N Security Council members soon on what they allege is evidence Iran is working to develop a nuclear bomb. And to add a little colour to it, they compare the evidence found to the design of Fat Man, the bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan.
As the U.N. Security Council prepares to debate Iran's nuclear ambitions--perhaps as early as next week--Bush Administration officials are readying a new intelligence briefing for council members on Tehran's weapons programs. It will rely mainly on circumstantial evidence, much of it from documents found on a laptop purportedly purloined from an Iranian nuclear engineer and obtained by the CIA in 2004. U.S. officials...concede they have no smoking gun.

Ok, circumstantial evidence should be enough. This is the evidence they will present.
...have diagrams that they believe show components of a nuclear bomb. According to a Western diplomat familiar with the U.S. intel brief, a Farsi-language PowerPoint* presentation on the laptop has "catchy graphics," including diagrams of a hollow metallic sphere 2 ft. in diameter and weighing about 440 lbs. Other documents show a sphere-shaped array of tiny detonators. No file specifically refers to a nuclear bomb, but U.S. officials say the design of the sphere--an outer shell studded with small chemical-explosive charges meant to detonate inward, which would squeeze an inner core of material into a critical mass--is akin to that of classic devices like Fat Man, the atom bomb dropped on Nagasaki during World War II. "Because of the size and weight and the power source going into it and height-of-burst requirements," says the diplomat, Western experts have concluded that the design "is only intended to contain a nuclear weapon. There's no other munition which would work." A report issued last week by Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), says Iranian officials have dismissed a number of the laptop documents as fabricated [emphasis mine].

The tinfoil hat question is just what audience are the the Bushaviks playing to? Are they just trying to get U.N. sanctions against Iran or are they playing to the American Congress and American people? Are they making their case for an invasion of Iran exactly like they did in the case of Iraq? Just asking.

Bush has already said all options are open in dealing with Iran.
In the interview, Bush said the U.S. & Israel "are united in our objective to make sure that Iran doesn’t have a weapon." But, he said, if diplomacy fails "all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president. You know, we've used force in the recent past to secure our country," he said.

Cheney has already nearly come out and said the administration will play the fear factor in the upcoming elections. Bush needs to scare the American people so they will elect Republicans if he is to keep his iron fisted control of government.
"And with an important election coming up, people need to know just how we view the most critical questions of national security, and how we propose to defend the nation..." Cheney said.

His comments reflected the emerging GOP plan to make national security and terrorism the centerpiece of House and Senate elections. White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove telegraphed the strategy last month when he told a Republican audience that "we are dealing with two parties that have fundamentally different views on national security."

Cheney's comments were the closest a top White House official has come to calling for the NSA program to be a political matter.

If this administration had a track record of nothing more than political spinning of fact, which is expected from any politician, I might be inclined to believe what they say. Hell, I believed them right after 9/11 although I didn't believe they had made a case for attacking Iraq. But this group of charlatans, and that is far too polite a term, lies to US every chance they get. They lie about big things and small. If they want to invade Iran and take control of their oil fields, they will lie through their teeth to justify it.

*A while back I read how Washington DC loves PowerPoint presentations. Can't find the source to link to, but the author suggested America would have a much better government if PowerPoint were removed from all DC computers. Then there is this PowerPoint: Killer App article.

Quick Take On Mine Safety Hearings

Both houses of Congress are holding hearings on mine safety although not making much progress. The important thing is to hear from all sides and gather facts, so going slowly may not be all bad. Or is it?
Last Wednesday, the head of the House Subcommittee on Education and the Workforce, Charles W. Norwood (R-Georgia), ended hearings half an hour early, before a second round of witness questioning, additionally snubbing a group of miners and family members who had come to speak.

The subcommittee did listen to statements from two Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) officials, as well as representatives from United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) union and the National Mining Association, an industry group. [emphasis mine]

Anyone else not surprised?

(read more)

Guantanamo Bay Prison

There's a story in the Kansas City Star about the prisoners at Gitmo. It includes the stories of and a couple quotes from 4 detainees.
Ahamed Abdul Aziz has been in the Guantanamo Bay prison for more than three years and says he has been interrogated 50 times without being charged with any crime. He waits with anguish for freedom but fears it will never come.

“We are in a grave here,” he told his lawyers, echoing the despair felt by many of the roughly 490 prisoners held as suspected terrorists at the U.S. naval base in eastern Cuba. Charges have been filed against only 10 of them.

(snip)

“I don’t want to spend any more time here. Not one more minute,” Afghan prisoner Mohammed Gul said at a combat status review tribunal.

Another unidentified Afghan man told his tribunal: “I was not a Taliban. I was not against the Americans. I want to go home.”

An Afghan man, identified only as Abdul in one of the transcripts, urged U.S. military officers overseeing his tribunal to free him so he could feed his family.

“I don’t know what they have to eat,” he said.

What Pentagon officials say just doesn't jibe with their actions. They have approximately 490 prisoners now, but have released or handed over to authorities in their native country, 270 prisoners since opening the prison in 2002. Yet...
U.S. officials say the camp houses only people who want to kill American troops or civilians.

Remember that quote the next time you hear of detainees' being released. None in custody now are innocent, right?

Further, remember the words "I was not against the Americans."

And finally, remember their stories. I don't know about you, but if I were treated as these men have been and then released, I would hate Americans. Bush is probably running his own little recruitment center for terrorists.

Thirty Percent For Bush Soon?

A new CBS News poll shows Bush's approval rating at an all-time low of 34%.
From Agence France-Presse via Yahoo! News - In a mid-term election year, the Bush administration is in a sorry state, according to many analysts. His poll numbers are now as low as Richard Nixon's just before he had to resign over the Watergate scandal in 1974.

Did Nixon hit 34% just before resigning? Having done a little research, I find the story is wrong. The Harris Poll puts Nixon much lower.
President Nixon however (29%) was significantly less popular than President Bush is now.

Even though higher than Nixon's, this number is causing Republicans to rapidly distance themselves from Bush by opposing some of his actions.
What worries Republican party chiefs is that even support within the party is ebbing away.

Bush had not even left India before lawmakers started queuing to oppose the president's nuclear deal with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that would lift US restrictions on sharing civilian nuclear technology with India.

Opposition to his nuclear deal with India comes on top of the resistance lawmakers show about rubber stamping a US ports management deal with UAE.
More seriously, opposition to Dubai Ports World's takeover of British firm P and O, whose assets include operations at six US ports, remains strong despite Bush's support for the deal.

And there's always that little "response problem" Bush has thanks to hurricane Katrina.

The truth is, it is amazing more than 3 out of 10 Americans approve of Bush at all. Is that number approaching the wealthiest segment of society? The segment with all the tax breaks and subsidies? Just asking.

John Hinderaker Is Assrocket

I emailed John Hinderaker at Powerline because he posted several incorrect items about John Murtha. I was quite cordial, but wasn't treated with nearly the same respect in his reply.

Original message:
Please go online and correct the misinformation in your post "Is Murtha Nuts?"

The correct information can be found here. [Think Progress]

Thank you,

spiiderweb

On 3/6/06, Power Line wrote:
Read the update, dummy.

My response:
I was trying to be cordial and that doesn't seem to work for you. I don't visit sites every couple minutes to see if corrections have been made. I'm sorry for missing your update.

My proper response:
Go fuck yourself, assrocket. You're an arrogant twit with the intelligence of a seashell who shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the alphabet. I'd swallow broken glass before I'd visit your site to read your update and give you another hit.

If you weren't a Republican sycophant, you wouldn't have posted those errors in the first place.

Now I feel much better. I think I'll be fine from here on out. Gotta remember not to email wingnuts.

What Is Down There?




This is happening far too often. And it started for Georgie at a young age. Yuck...

Just Shoot Me Now

Sometimes I worry about our future. No, not Indian nukes or dirty bombs coming thru our ports, but our young 'uns scare me.

From Overheard in New York.

Teen girl #1: Okay. Maybe I'm, like, retarded for not knowing this,
but...did you guys know that other countries have national anthems, too?
Teen girl #2: Duh! It's the same song, in different languages!

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Why I Blog

For a long time I was bothered by a nagging feeling something was wrong. Then I realised it was guilt. I don't usually tell how I voted although it is obvious, but I didn't, couldn't vote for Bush. Bush 41 was palatable, but not the son.

The guilt was caused by my feeling I wasn't doing anything. So now I blog. It isn't much, but provides two things. First is reasoned criticism of the administration. This comes from me or the fine blog sites and information sources I reference. And believe me when I tell you there are some very intelligent and knowledgeable people blogging and commenting on blogs.

Second may be more important. My international visitors to my site can see at least one American holds this president and his administration in as much contempt as they do. Bush and his fucking cohorts are not what Americans are about. We don't condone invasions of countries which aren't a threat to us. We certainly don't condone torture. We don't hate Muslims nor the Iraqi people and are sorry to see Bush kill them. We're not pacifists, but we aren't animals who savagely attack innocents.

This began as a comment on Bad Attitudes. Please go there to read Buck Batard's post.

Camel Jockeys Become Issue In Ports Deal

Before you get all hot and bothered by that title, which is lifted from the article, its not what you think. I would never use such a derogatory term in reference to people. In this case it is correctly descriptive.

It seems 3 years ago the US and UAE clashed over the issue of trafficking in young boys who were used as camel jockeys in races. As trafficking suggests, often the boys were kidnapped from neighboring countries.
One of Dubai's major investors in camel racing is Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum, the UAE defense minister and crown prince. He's also president of the holding company that owns Dubai Ports World, which would control operations at the six U.S. ports.

Suddenly this isn't just a business as usual situation, but has disturbing human rights implications.
State Department spokesman Tom Casey acknowledged the UAE has had a "bad track record on the issue of trafficking in persons and the camel jockeys."

But, he added, the country has made significant progress.

"The UAE has rescued 600 children, arrested 19 people for trafficking in providing child camel jockeys, and repatriated children to their own countries, and set up shelters for many," Miller said. "They are really trying this time.

Life and the world can be very complicated when you don't see everything as black and white, huh?

(read more)

Should We Stay Or Should We Go?

There is a fine article in the Seattle Times about the limited options available to Bush in Iraq.
The danger of a full-blown civil war — predicted 18 months ago by the CIA, but dismissed at the time by the Bush team — grows with each passing day.

(snip)
In the words of Juan Cole, a Middle East expert who blogs frequently on the war, "Iraq is a vial of nitroglycerine that can be set off with one shake."

And the American public is divided on what should happen next. That adds a huge political consideration for Republicans and Democrats alike.
In a new poll sponsored by Democratic strategists Stan Greenberg and James Carville, surveying 1,135 Americans during the last five days of February, 49 percent said they wanted to "start reducing the number of troops" (in the belief that we are impeding stability, and preventing Iraqis from standing up for themselves), while 48 percent wanted to "stay the course" and "finish the job" (in the belief that we are a positive force and a bulwark against global terrorism).

Now here is where it starts getting scary. Ex-senator Gary Hart (D) in a recent speach pointed out a major problem. My guess is it would have dire consequences.
"Our army is in danger," he said. "If all-out civil war breaks out, we could lose our army. If Sunnis and Shiites take to the streets by the thousands, it could literally be impossible to get [the soldiers] out. ... I know that sounds apocalyptic, but it's not out of the question.

"...we could lose our army." Think about that. We could lose thousands of troops quickly. If that weren't bad enough, we could lose all of our weapons and equipment. Now that military hardware is just what is needed in a country engaged in a civil war. And I haven't mentioned the huge military bases, permanent bases we have been building. It wouldn't be good for the different fighting factions to divvy up those.

With a withdrawl plan, we could get our people out in the safest possible manner. I'm not a military person. Someone else has to plan that one, but during a full-out civil war it would seem to be an impossible task. We could remove all our equipment and weapons. And, I would suggest, destroy those bases. Its becoming quite obvious to me we'll never get to use them.

(read more)

Secret Court Records

It seems we are getting closer and closer to 1984. Now courts are keeping more case information from the public and the practice is growing.
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Despite the Sixth Amendment’s guarantee of public trials, records are being kept secret for more than 5,000 defendants whose cases were closed over the last three years.

Instances of such secrecy more than doubled from 2003 to 2005.

Most are cooperative witnesses, but include murders and drug dealers and we don't know what "deals" they made or even if they have been released from custody.

As one might expect, in Washington DC the practice is even worse.
In the nation’s capital, the secrecy has reached another level: the use of secret dockets. For hundreds of such defendants, should someone acquire the case number for them and enter it in the U.S. District Court’s computerized record system, the computer will falsely reply “no such case” — rather than acknowledging that it is a sealed case.

We really do live in an alternate universe now.

(read more)

Thanks For Your Fine Work - Now Go Away

Over at Moderate Voters.org they have an interesting article about a proposal on Illegal immigration offered by Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Allowing the bill is not all bad, they have major concerns about it.
...Mr. Specter's proposal could create a huge class of permanent guest workers: Neither current illegal residents, nor future holders of the temporary work visa, would in practice be able to acquire green cards or citizenship if this bill became law, no matter how long they remained here. Still worse are the impractical enforcement measures that Mr. Specter has included, presumably to mollify the anti-immigrant wing of his party. These put huge new responsibilities on local and state law enforcement agencies for arresting and deporting illegal immigrants, as well as adding multiple bureaucratic obstacles to the citizenship and visa processes.”
“But if no compromise is reached, it's hard to see how this bill is even worth passing. Surely the worst possible solution is to accept that the United States will host a permanent underclass of foreign workers with no political rights, living in permanent fear of all legal authorities.”

Is this what Americans want? Are we no longer champions of the ideals expressed on the Statue of Liberty? We don't want to provide foreigners the opportunity to become Americans?

Further Control Of The Press

This is going to be touted as necessary to insure national security or to fight the war on terror, but that's all smoke and mirrors. Bush doesn't have the iron fisted control of the media he wants and he's going after it. This is the headline.
White House Trains Efforts on Media Leaks
Sources, Reporters Could Be Prosecuted

And some of the chilling story.
In a little-noticed case in California, FBI agents from Los Angeles have already contacted reporters at the Sacramento Bee about stories published in July that were based on sealed court documents related to a terrorism case in Lodi [CA], according to the newspaper.

Until recently, reporters cowered before the White House. They were so intimidated and fearful of losing access, they couldn't bring themselves to really investigate, ask hard questions or write penetrating stories.

Lately they have had balls and Bush has to cut them off, figuratively if not literally (his preference). If the media were afraid to report before, how much more afraid will they feel if they could be sent to prison for reporting info given to them.

(read more)

American Red Cross Wastes Donated Monies

I'm pretty sure this is gonna get a lot of play in newspapers and on the internets. It seems the Red Cross has been hiring PR types to improve their image and attract Hollywood stars to speak for them.
THE American Red Cross has come under fire over payments to publicists who recruited stars to add lustre to its image, even as funds ran short for victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Of course the Red Cross responds that it was money well spent and has brought in new financial donations, volunteers and donated blood.

A little aside - do you really think Proctor and Gamble, Toyota and Anheuser -Busch would throw away millions on advertising if it didn't pay off for them? Just asking.

But here it gets really good. This is the crux of this post and may save the Red Cross a little grief. Well it might if anyone reads this.
Some of the media sniping seems disingenuous, however. How many news organisations would really have sent reporters to cover the Red Cross’s campaign to vaccinate 13m children in Kenya? They did when Jane Seymour, the actress, went along.


(read more)

Now Please!


Stole this picture of Cheney from Dependable Renegade which I highly recommend (the blog, not stealing).