Saturday, April 15, 2006

And Now For Something Completely Different

I'll be going out of town for 2-3 days. It'll be difficult or impossible to blog, so I've asked Jill over at to guest blog in my absence.

If you like my posts, I'm sure you'll enjoy hers. We often blog about the same items we see or hear about and have similar sensibilities although sometimes different "takes" on items. Her posts may consist of copies of posts on her own site or they may be completely different. I've given her that option. For 2-3 days this blog is all her's.

So have fun reading her posts and please don't abandon me for her when I return. Just add her to your daily visits too. You'll be glad you did.

Oh Yeah. We're Staying In Iraq

This embassy sounds like a military outpost.

Update: I went searching. Guess who the company awarded the work sub-contracts for. Yep, Halliburton.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The fortress-like compound rising beside the Tigris River here will be the largest of its kind in the world, the size of Vatican City, with the population of a small town, its own defense force, self-contained power and water, and a precarious perch at the heart of Iraq's turbulent future.


The embassy complex — 21 buildings on 104 acres [not a typo], according to a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee report — is taking shape on riverside parkland in the fortified "Green Zone," just east of al-Samoud, a former palace of Saddam Hussein's, and across the road from the building where the ex-dictator is now on trial.


"The presence of a massive U.S. embassy — by far the largest in the world [10 times larger than average] — co-located in the Green Zone with the Iraqi government is seen by Iraqis as an indication of who actually exercises power in their country," the International Crisis Group, a European-based research group, said in one of its periodic reports on Iraq.

No shit! Bushco is so fucking blatant it boggles the mind. And get this. Bushco essentially stole the land the embassy will sit on.
Iraq's interim government transferred the land to U.S. ownership in October 2004, under an agreement whose terms were not disclosed.

Yes, the interim government installed by Bushco generously supplied the land. Kinda makes you proud of these guys, right?

Easter Greetings

Cat Blogging

I keep telling you...I have no cat.

Don't Miss This By Billmon

Chilling News

All the deaths of 9/11 were tragic enough, but it may not have ended there.
In the cold, clinical language of the autopsy report of a retired New York City detective that was released this week, there were words that thousands of New Yorkers have come to anticipate and to fear.

"It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident," stated the report from the medical examiner's office in Ocean County, N.J.

That "reasonable degree of medical certainty" — coroner language for "as sure as I can be" — provides the first official link made by a medical expert between the hazardous air at ground zero after the trade center collapse and the death of someone who worked in the rescue effort.

(read more)

Friday, April 14, 2006

Disillusionment On Iraq

Read what someone who's been there thinks.
Three years ago, I was a Marine Corps captain on the Iraqi/Kuwaiti border, participating in the invasion of Iraq. Awestruck, I heard our howitzers thunder and watched artillery rockets rise into the night sky and streak toward Iraq — their light bathing the desert moonscape like giant arc welders.

As I watched the Iraq war begin, I completely trusted the Bush administration. I thought we were going to prove all of the left-wing antiwar protesters and dissenters wrong. I thought we were going to make America safer. Regrettably, I acknowledge that it was I who was wrong.

This isn't a James Cameron film, folks. This is American children dying for neocon wet dreams. This is trying to force the Middle East into adopting western ways and it ain't gonna happen.

(read more)

And Another Must Read IMHO

Guest poster at Firedoglake.

Another Must Read IMHO

Damn the Guardian Unlimited has good articles.

Am I morphing into Eschaton or the DaoReport?

Why Blogs Matter

This story is why blogs be good. Bloggers search all over for info the MSM doesn't tell you or they point out why the info is important. As news sources consolidate, real info falls by the wayside. It is tentamount to criminal how highly respected reporters are fired (sacked) or feel they need to resign.

For my foreign readers, correct English is "This story is why blogs are good. I don't want to make the language any harder to learn or understand.

Must Read IMHO

No need for comment. This is good stuff.

Playing With Armagedon

Jesus H Crist on methamphedamines the neocons are hell bent on starting WWIII.
Led by a familiar clutch of neoconservative hawks, major right-wing publications are calling on the administration of President George W. Bush to urgently plan for military strikes – and possibly a wider war – against Iran in the wake of its announcement this week that it has successfully enriched uranium to a purity necessary to fuel nuclear reactors.

In a veritable blitz of editorials and opinion pieces published Wednesday and Thursday, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, and National Review warned that Tehran had passed a significant benchmark in what they declared was its quest for nuclear weapons and that the administration must now plan in earnest to destroy Iran's known nuclear facilities, as well as possible military targets, to prevent it from retaliating.

Comparing Iran's alleged push to gain a nuclear weapon to Adolf Hitler's 1936 march on the Rhineland, Weekly Standard editor William Kristol called for undertaking "serious preparation for possible military action – including real and urgent operational planning for bombing strikes and for the consequences of such strikes."

No, no, and I repeat no! Iran is years away from having the bomb. There's no need to be rash and attack a country with no nuclear weapons. We can wait until we have a sane person in the White House who might be able to defuse the situation without resulting to bloodshed.

(read more)

Michelle Malkin - Anchor Baby

Don't know how I missed this. It's really, really good.
But the timing of Malkin's birth is what's important. She was, in fact, what the Right likes to call an "anchor baby" or "jackpot baby":
Put simply, an anchor baby is the offspring of an illegal immigrant who, under current legal interpretation, becomes a U.S. citizen at birth and, in turn, is the means by which parents and relatives can also obtain citizenship for themselves by using the family reunification features of immigration law.


What does Ms. Malkin have to say about "anchor babies"? Here's what:

During my book tour across the country for Invasion, this issue came up time and again. In the Southwest, everyone has a story of heavily pregnant women crossing the Mexican border to deliver their "anchor babies." At East Coast hospitals, tales of South Korean "obstetric tourists" abound. (An estimated 5,000 South Korean anchor babies are born in the US every year). And, of course, there's a terrorism angle.

Ouch. Okay, but Malkin's dad came over legally, right? So she's not technically an "anchor baby," is she?

Wrong. According to the Right-wing talking points on immigration, a baby born to immigrants here on work or travel visas is still an anchor baby, because the baby lubricates the "guest" worker's path to premature citizenship, and immediately heaps a load of Federal benefits on the baby-- all of which Michelle herself took advantage of, we can assume. Take a look:

Whole industries have now developed around abusing the Fourteenth Amendment. Pregnant Korean tourists come to the U.S. on travel visas to have their "anchor" babies. Coyotes dealing in human traffic are paid $1,500.00 to $25,000.00 per person to shuttle pregnant illegal aliens across our southern border. Our politicians and elites wink at this blatant law breaking and do nothing. The colonization of our country continues with the cooperation of our government. That means your senator and representative aid this illegal baby invasion. None dare call it treason. Most Americans mistakenly trust their politicians to do the right thing. Congressional members from every state betray that trust daily.

(read more)

In Response To Something Billmon Said

Over at the Whiskey Bar (Billmon) has this little gem that triggered me to make this post.

Of course, you could argue that the neocons don't give a flying you-know-what whether the New York Times falls into rank for the march on Tehran, but they certainly seemed to care about the Gray Lady's views in the runup to the Iraq war...

Its a very good post he has there and you might want to read all of it.

The thing I have to say is, Bush and the neocons don't care what the Times, Post or Americans think. The tipping point was when Bush admitted he was spying on Americans and he intended to keep doing it. At that point he abandoned any desire to get anyone's approval on anything. You may have noticed how fairly quickly he admitted he was the leaker. I was what!

Now he replies to charges that he's planning to attack Iran by brushing aside such speculation as foolish and won't even try to get approval. He does intend to attack, but he isn't going to bother justifying it. Some in his administration still need justification, Condi comes to mind, but the idiot doesn't. When he says Iran is the most dangerous threat to US, he couldn't care less if you buy it.

Bush Rates Low On Energy

In a recent Newsweek Poll Americans approval of Bush falls even lower if asked about his energy policies.

Learning To Hate Islam

In a recent CBS News Poll. April 6-9, 2006. N=899 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3 it appears Bush's building up hatred of Islamists pretty effectively in Americans' minds.

Americans Not Ready To Impeach...Yet

In a recent ABC News/Washington Post Poll Americans say they aren't ready to impeach the idiot-in-chief.

Disturbing Poll

In a recent Gallup Poll, Americans don't show much charity for aliens.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

A Good Post IMHO

Take a look at this post. Eli makes some good points.

If You're Into The Libby Case, This Is A Must Read

Christy Hardin Smith (ReddHedd) has an excellent post.

When it comes to legal issues, firedoglake has the straight scoop. Always check them out.

Who Would Have Guessed?

Hey folks, lets see a little respect now for librarians. Stereotypically viewed as meek, they have more balls than Congress.
After fighting ferociously for months, federal prosecutors relented yesterday and agreed to allow a Connecticut library group to identify itself as the recipient of a secret F.B.I. demand for records in a counterterrorism investigation.

The decision ended a dispute over whether the broad provisions for secrecy in the USA Patriot Act, the antiterror law, trumped the free speech rights of library officials. The librarians had gone to federal court to gain permission to identify themselves as the recipients of the secret subpoena, known as a national security letter, ordering them to turn over patron records and e-mail messages.

Camelot Anyone?

So, the way I see it, progressives turn left (think JFK) while the Repugs choose the right. Yep, time to invade Afganistan Iraq Iran.

You Have Got To Be Kidding

As you read this, watch for the italics.
Incoming White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten is said to be leaning toward selecting an outsider with strong fiscal conservative credentials to take his spot as director of the Office of Management and Budget, according to some insiders.

"It would be a savvy move," said one official. Previous reports from the West Wing were that Bolten would pick an insider for the post, possibly Deputy OMB Director Joel Kaplan; Al Hubbard, director of the National Economic Council; or trade czar Rob Portman. But new indications are that Bolten might use the opening to send Congress a signal that he means business when he says the president wants to cut costs.

"This job gives him the ability to curry favor with Congress," said one insider. Sources said that he is considering former and current House members for the post. One associate even suggested that retiring Rep. Tom DeLay was being considered, though the most likely pick would be from a conservative budget association. [emphasis mine]

Tom DeLay? Give us a break. And yes, that's his mug shot.

(read more) Actually just a courtesy link. I stole every word over there.

Not Hard To Believe Really

It seems a returning reservist's name is on the terror watch list. Fortunately it only caused him about an hour's delay. They need a better system.
A Marine reservist returning home after eight months in
Iraq was told he couldn't board a plane to Minneapolis because his name appeared on a watch list as a possible terrorist.

Staff Sgt. Daniel Brown, who was in uniform and returning from the war Tuesday with 26 other Marine military police reservists, was delayed briefly in Los Angeles until the issue was cleared up.

Hold on there. Daniel Brown? Dan Brown? Danny Brown? Come on now. that means hundreds of people are going to find it inconvenient in airports. Yeah, they do need a better system.

NoKo Does A Little Sabre Rattling

Not ready to hold those nuclear talks? Ok, you can find us over here building more nukes when you're ready.
North Korea threatened Thursday to use the delay in six-party nuclear talks to bolster its military "deterrent force," a phrase the isolated communist nation often evokes in reference to its nuclear weapons program.

"It's not bad that the resumption of nuclear talks are delayed. During that period, we will make more deterrent force," said North's top nuclear envoy Kim Kye Gwan, speaking at a news conference in Tokyo. "We will react in an ultra hardline manner if the United States continues to apply pressure and sanctions. We will never yield to pressure."

Oh yes, don't forget to bring our $24 million with you.
North Korea has refused to restart the talks unless the financial restrictions — imposed on a Macau bank and North Korean companies — are lifted, but Washington has maintained the sanctions are unrelated to the nuclear talks and will stay in place.

The assets total about $24 million, which Washington says is linked to money laundering and counterfeiting. "I will go to the negotiating table the moment I seize the assets with my hands," Kim said at a news conference, hours before he was scheduled to leave Tokyo.

Ransom For Jill Carroll's Freedom?

This isn't gonna go over well at all. The story isn't clear, but apparently some ransom will be paid.
The man behind Jill Carroll's release tells ABC News in an exclusive interview that kidnapping the American journalist was a mistake. Sheikh Sattam al-Gaood reveals what it took to free her — and why he supports the insurgency.


"There was a demand for $8 million," al-Gaood said.

Instead, at the kidnappers' request, he said he agreed to arrange payment to widows and orphans tied to the resistance.

"We did good donations," he said. "I don't want it to go into the wrong hands, the money."

And al-Gaood claimed he could ensure the money, where he intended it to go, "because I know names."

He did not specify how much was given but says he was willing to arrange payment for as much as $1 million.

So we now know the minimum price for a captive's release?

Good News For NOLA?

By accepting more lenient building requirements, the government opens up the way for NOLA's residents to get on rebuilding their homes and their lives. But is the government doing them any favours?
Federal officials issued unexpectedly lenient guidelines on Wednesday for rebuilding the flood-damaged homes of New Orleans, potentially allowing tens of thousands of homeowners to return to their neighborhoods at costs far less than they had feared.

Under the guidelines issued here by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, huge swaths of homes might still have to be rebuilt at least three feet off the ground, or risk getting no federal reconstruction money or insurance.

But the announcement, anxiously anticipated as a critical step in rebuilding this still-ravaged city, was nonetheless greeted with some relief by local officials and residents. They had feared that, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina's catastrophic flooding, the government would demand that some houses be raised as much as 10 feet, at enormous expense.

Well, the feds aren't helping NOLA's people too much if this guy's right.
Now, the federal government — by making rebuilding requirements less stringent than had been anticipated — appears to have concurred, though FEMA officials did not say specifically why they chose the three-foot figure. Some experts were critical of the decision. "It's wacky," said J. Robert Hunter, a former director of the federal flood insurance program. "Three feet — where did that come from? Why are we building up three feet, when the water was up over the roof?

"What's that three feet going to do?" Mr. Hunter asked. "Instead of coming up with real science, they're making it up. Which means that people are going to be at risk, they're going to die again, and taxpayers are subsidizing unwise construction with very cheap insurance."

I believe we can all agree, we want Hunter to be dead wrong.

Nanny Dropped Britney's Baby

Here's the link if you want to read about it. I didn't.

Now I've never been a professional nanny, but I'm pretty certain that rule #1 is:
Do not drop baby

Now This Doesn't Look Good

This has to be embarrassing. Well, it would be for a government that could feel shame.
A CBS News investigation shows that some companies with federal contracts are hiring illegal immigrants. As Armen Keteyian reports, many of them are near highly sensitive military bases.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Bush Just Can't Surprise Me Anymore

There's new evidence that Bush knew damn well he was lying to the American public and he did it anyway.
On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.


The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

Ya see, back then Bush had to lie to get what he wanted. He felt he needed America's approval. Of course today he wouldn't worry about that. As in the NSA spying, he says he is already doing it and will keep on doing no matter what we think. Sort of like a dictator would behave, huh?

Saved The Best For Last...For Now

Yeah, I know its still only 1 in 3 Americans, but its a start. My guess is a poll right now might well pump that up to 40-50%. This poll was done before the idiot-in-chief admitted he was the leaker all the while he was saying he would fire anyone in his administration who had leaked info. And before we knew he might nuke Iran.

We Need Someone Who Isn't Clinton

I actually find this interesting. I have no fear of strong women. Hell, I married a couple. What I find of interest is people generally liked and approved of Bill Clinton. Don't they realise he will influence his wife if she's elected? Gawd, to get an intelligent president with an ex-president at her side? What's the down-side? Unfortunately, I don't think she can win.

Immigration Is Good

Take a look Bush. Your people (who pwn your ass) are speaking out. Listen to them.

No Big Deal

I'm becoming so blasé. Just surpassed 3,000 hits. Yawn.

Who am I kidding? WOW!!!11!! Dance for joy! 3,000 fucking hits! Did I say WOW?!!!1!!??

Ok, that's way too many exclamation marks, but WOW!!!1!!

About that picture. It has nothing to do with this post. I searched for an image for 3000 and it popped up. I kinda like it.

Bush Took A Leak And Public Disapproves

Cheap shot for the title, but I couldn't help myself.

(read more)

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

In Support Of SUVs

I'm ready. Take your shots. But please consider my position.

I've driven an SUV for many years. A while back I was rear-ended by a smaller truck at about 50+ mph (about 80 km). I walked away with no injuries. If my vehicle had been less substantial, I might have died.

The thing is, you can't drive an SUV like a compact car. You have to use it judiciously and make each trip count. You plan all your stops on each trip so, when you get home, you don't have to drive again. On Friday night my SUV went into the garage and wasn't brought out until Monday morning. I walked all weekend.

Will Wonders Never Cease?

Ok, this is a small thing, but I doubted I'd ever read about it.
Saying "we have learned from our mistakes," Mr. Bush urged elected Iraqi leaders to stop squabbling and form a government, reflecting the administration's frustration with the halting political progress in Iraq. [emphasis mine]

What is going on? First Condi mentions mistakes and now the idiot-in-chief. They're playing a game on US and someone has to figure out what it is very soon.

Very Good Post - Not Mine - :^(

This is a good (very) post you might enjoy.

Not A Very Good Idea At All

There are some things that should be obvious and showing this movie to inmates should be pretty near the top of that list. Yep its the one you just thought of.
A US prison officer is to be disciplined for showing the gay cowboy movie Brokeback Mountain to inmates.

Correctional authorities in Massachusetts said the film was unsuitable for a prison setting because of its "sexually explicit scenes".

A spokesman said the officer failed to follow guidelines requiring films to be vetted for violence, nudity or sex.

Guidelines. Who needs guidelines in this case? He didn't follow common sense.

This Can't Be Good

Sounds like free trade is working in Afganistan.
Hard drives stolen from the computers of the U.S. military in Afghanistan are for sale just 200 yards from the main gate of the biggest base -- many of those drives containing CLASSIFIED MILITARY SECRETS as well as the personal information of soldiers and others. [emphasis in original]

Now without inside help, how secure are the military bases there if someone has time to open up computers and steal the hard drives? Couldn't they just as easily be opening up computers and planting explosives inside? Just asking.

If you want you can see the original story, but I just gave you the whole thing. They do have a picture though.

Update: Originally the story I linked to said hard drives. The title still does, but the story now calls them pen drives (the correct term) and has changed the picture to show a handful of pen drives. This is in explanation of my story above where I talk about "opening up computers". You don't open up anything to remove a pen drive.

I Knew This Was Coming

When I read Iraqi troops were going out into the streets of Baghdad without allied support, I figured it wouldn't last long and it didn't.
American soldiers have again hit the streets of dangerous neighborhoods in western Baghdad that had been handed over to Iraqi forces, trying to keep a lid on sectarian attacks that have raged since the February bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra.

The U.S. military has refocused its mission to confront death squads that have tortured and killed hundreds, a tacit acknowledgment that Iraqi troops have not been able to control violence between Shiites and Sunnis on their own.

State Doesn't Like To Fly Coach

It seems about half the cost of air travel for the State Department is due to purchases of premium fares. But they waste your money in other ways too.
The State Department wastes tens of millions of dollars a year on premium airline tickets, congressional auditors said Monday.

About two-thirds of premium tickets — mostly business-class — were not properly authorized nor justified, the Government Accountability Office said.

As I always say, ya gotta love the GAO.

Trent Lott Is Crying Like A Baby

It seems he doesn't like to be treated the same as those, uh ordinary folks.
A lawyer for U.S. Sen. Trent Lott (news, bio, voting record) said Monday that State Farm Insurance Co. is destroying documents that could show the insurer has fraudulently denied thousands of claims by Lott and other policyholders whose homes were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

Zach Scruggs, one of Lott's attorneys, says his client has a "good faith belief" that several State Farm employees in Biloxi are destroying engineering reports that gave conflicting conclusions about whether wind or water was responsible for storm damage.


In an interview Monday, Scruggs said corporate "whistleblowers" who are cooperating with Lott's attorneys have provided evidence that State Farm employees are destroying or moving those "initial favorable" engineering reports.

"We believe that this is a systematic practice," said Scruggs, who is Lott's nephew by marriage.

BTW, I'm sure you caught that last sentence. Gawd the inbreeding of these people...

To be fair about this, if its true, State Farm should be hammered. They should be hammered for all the "little" people too. You know them, the ones who can't afford to replace their homes without the insurance money. I've never dealt with State Farm in any way and have no opinion on their tactics nor their ethics.

Congress Job Approval Polls

The two latest polls show Americans aren't thrilled with the work of Congress.

CBS poll 4/6-9/06 - approval 27%, disapproval 61%

AP-Ipsos poll taken 4/3-5/06 - approval 30%, disapproval 67%

Bush Approval Polls

Here's a sample. There are tons of polls here. Pew at 33% approval is the lowest, but all are bad (for Bush).

Monday, April 10, 2006

Can You Help?

This guy needs any assistance he can get.

Japan Hunts Whales And One Whale Hunts Japanese

This is pure irony. Unfortunate, of course, but still. Ok, they can't rule out it might have been some other large marine animal, but they think it was a whale.
Japan's coast guard searched for a giant whale on Monday that they suspect collided with a passenger ferry -- injuring 97 people -- or any other clues about the cause of the accident.

Three patrol vessels and a helicopter were deployed to investigate Sunday's accident, in which the high-speed ferry is believed to have hit a whale or another large sea animal near Kagoshima Bay, according to Coast Guard official Hidehiro Yamada.

(read more)

This Can't Be True Now, Can It?

Inflate al-Zarqawi's importance for political reasons? Nah, they'd never do that.
The US military is exaggerating the role of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of Al-Qaeda in Iraq, possibly to help tie the war to the group blamed for the September 11, 2001 attacks, The Washington Post reported.

Citing internal military documents and unnamed officers, the Post said Zarqawi's profile had been raised in a way that some military intelligence officials believe may have overstated his importance.


Although Zarqawi and other foreign insurgents have conducted deadly bombing attacks, they remain "a very small part of the actual numbers," the paper quoted Colonel Derek Harvey, who served as a military intelligence officer in Iraq, as telling an army meeting at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, last summer.

Of course there's always this where I posted about al-Zarqawi's demotion.

(read more)

Bushco Downplaying Plan For Iran

Bushco keeps insisting they are trying for a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear enrichment program, but are they really? In this story, a foreign policy professor says it is just contingency planning and not something that's gonna be implemented.
Stephen Cimbala, a Pennsylvania State University professor who studies U.S. foreign policy, said it would be no surprise that the Pentagon has contingency plans for a strike on Iran. But he suggested the hint of military strikes is more of a public show to Iran and the public than a feasible option.

"If you look at the military options, all of them are unattractive," Cimbala said. "Either because they won't work or because they have side effects where the cure is worse than the disease." [emphasis mine]

That's all well and good and I'd accept the good professor's assessment...IF we had a reasonable leader instead of the idiot-in-chief. I would bet the farm Bush was warned before Iraq that things would turn out just as horribly as they have. It didn't stop him then and won't stop him now.

Oh yeah, does that side effects where the cure is worse than the disease stuff sound familiar?

And what about this quote two paragraphs earlier in the same story?
"The threat from Iran is, of course, their stated objective to destroy our strong ally
Israel," the president said last month in Cleveland. "That's a threat, a serious threat. It's a threat to world peace; it's a threat, in essence, to a strong alliance. I made it clear, I'll make it clear again, that we will use military might to protect our ally."

Maybe it is just sabre rattling and Bush is too stupid to realise he can do it with a little more subtlety.
(read more)

Jill Carroll's Family Says Thank You

From the Christian Science Monitor. In its entirety.
We cannot begin to properly thank all of the individuals and organizations who made significant efforts to free Jill. We may never be certain which steps actually led to her release. And we can never be aware of all the people who devoted their time and resources - and took risks - to find her. The most significant reward we can offer them is the picture of Jill back in the arms of her family, and the indescribable joy and relief so evident on our faces.

We know that they shared in our joy. We can only hope that the families of the other hostages in
Iraq will soon feel the same joy. We also deeply mourn the loss of Jill's friend and interpreter, Allan Enwiya.

We wish to express our gratitude to the many people and organizations whose contributions we were aware of, and acknowledge those that cannot be named, for their own safety, and due to the continuing nature of their important work.

First we thank the staff of The Christian Science Monitor for their efforts in Baghdad and Boston, as well as the security consultants who worked with the newspaper in Iraq.

We also thank (in alphabetical order) Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and all his American Embassy staff in Baghdad; CNN and the many Western and Iraqi media organizations that kept Jill in the public eye, and reinforced her credentials as a journalist; the Committee to Protect Journalists; the government of Iraq; the many Iraqi political parties who called for Jill's release; Mr. Jassim Boodai; the Kingdom of Jordan; the many religious organizations that voiced moral appeals; Reporters Without Borders; Sheikh Sattam Al Gaood; and US military forces in Iraq and Germany.

Jill's friends and family, who have been so supportive, and the millions of people around the world who prayed for Jill's release, should take great comfort in knowing that their prayers - and ours - have been answered.

In gratitude, Jim, Mary Beth, and Katie Carroll

Must Read IMHO

I'm going for lazy blogging for now. Sometimes there are just such good posts out there I have to acknowledge them.

This is one of 'em.

Oh Canada...

Must Read IMHO

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Excuse me, but I don't think Bush is capable of psychological warefare. That supposes just too much.
British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has dismissed reports of a possible US nuclear strike against Iran as "completely nuts".

He told the BBC there was no basis for any military action despite suspicions over Iran's nuclear programme.

US press reports say Washington is drawing up plans for attacks on Iran's nuclear sites. One article suggests the possibility of a nuclear strike.

Iran has said the reports are no more than a form of "psychological warfare".

The UN's top nuclear inspector Mohamed ElBaradei is to visit Iran this week, amid growing international pressure on Tehran to end the enrichment of uranium, which it restarted in January.

In the BBC interview, Mr Straw was responding to a report by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine that the Pentagon was stepping up plans for a possible air strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The Washington Post has also reported that the US may be considering military action, although it said no attack was likely in the short term.

Jack Straw
Mr Straw says there is not enough basis for an attack on Iran
The paper said the US wants to show Iran it is ready to use force if necessary.

But Mr Straw told BBC One's Sunday AM show there was "no smoking gun" to justify an attack on Iran despite "high suspicion" over its nuclear work.

"We can't be certain about Iran's intentions and that is therefore not a basis for which anybody would gain authority to go to military action," he said.

Iran's foreign ministry dismissed the US media reports as a form of intimidation "stemming from America's anger and helplessness".

Completey nuts? Yeah that's Bush.

Why does anyone think Bush will not attack? Why does anyone think Bush won't use nukes? Why don't you all realise Bush won't listen to his military advisors (as opposed to KR)? Iran is next and there is no doubt about it.

Liberal Biased MSM - Sure They Are

This is such bullshit. Dear leader can do no wrong? He just doesn't do the good thing quite the way he should have? Spare me.
PRESIDENT BUSH was right to approve the declassification of parts of a National Intelligence Estimate about Iraq three years ago in order to make clear why he had believed that Saddam Hussein was seeking nuclear weapons. Presidents are authorized to declassify sensitive material, and the public benefits when they do. But the administration handled the release clumsily, exposing Mr. Bush to the hyperbolic charges of misconduct and hypocrisy that Democrats are leveling.

Rather than follow the usual declassification procedures and then invite reporters to a briefing -- as the White House eventually did -- Vice President Cheney initially chose to be secretive, ordering his chief of staff at the time, I. Lewis Libby, to leak the information to a favorite New York Times reporter. The full public disclosure followed 10 days later. There was nothing illegal or even particularly unusual about that; nor is this presidentially authorized leak necessarily comparable to other, unauthorized disclosures that the president believes, rightly or wrongly, compromise national security. Nevertheless, Mr. Cheney's tactics make Mr. Bush look foolish for having subsequently denounced a different leak in the same controversy and vowing to "get to the bottom" of it.

I'm so bored with this subject, but we need to go over it once again.

Folks, the asshole-in-chief endangered a naked CIA agent and anyone she had contact with. These are life and death issues and not simple swift-boating games.

So why does the WaPo feel the need to kiss Bush's ass? They need access? They need Repug talking points to fill their pages? They have no balls? I'm leaning toward the have no balls explanation.

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It Isn't Peak Oil, But It Still Looks Bad

If this Frenchman is correct, and he quite possibly is considering who he is, oil is going to be a problem soon. And, if the industry can't meet demand, you know what the price will do.
THE world lacks the means to produce enough oil to meet rising projections of demand for fuel over the next decade, according to Christophe de Margerie, head of exploration for Total and heir presumptive to the leadership of the French energy multinational.

The world is mistakenly focusing on oil reserves when the problem is capacity to produce oil, M de Margerie said in an interview with The Times. Forecasters, such as the International Energy Agency (IEA), have failed to consider the speed at which new resources can be brought into production, he believes.

Great, higher prices for oil and most probably even more wars over it. I'm still not so sure potable water won't become a crisis before oil, but we'll just have to see.

Acceptance Of Gays And Lesbians

It seems a couple recent polls (I show one) indicate Americans are still sharply divided over the gay and lesbian communities.

Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey conducted by Princeton Survey Research Associates International. March 8-12, 2006. Adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

Global Warming Opinion Poll

A recent poll shows Americans might be awakening to the problem of global warming.

Gallup Poll. March 13-16, 2006. N=1,000 adults nationwide. MoE ± 3.

Vermont Democrats Vote To Impeach Bush

It really is pathetic when state politicians have to do what the federal politicians should be doing.
Leaders of the Vermont Democratic Party voted Saturday to urge Congress to begin impeachment proceedings against President Bush.

The vote makes Vermont's Democratic Party committee the fifth to do so, following New Mexico, Nevada, North Carolina and Wisconsin, party officials in Vermont said.

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Bush, Just Don't Do It

A reminder about what you're considering.

Testimony of Akihiro Takahashi - A Bomb Survivor

Akihiro Takahashi was 14 years old, when the bomb was dropped. he was standing in line with other students of his junior high school, waiting for the morning meeting 1.4 km away from the center. He was under medical treatment for about year and half. And even today black nail grows at his finger tip, where a piece of glass was stuck.

"We were about to fall in on the ground the Hiroshima Municipal Junior High School on this spot. The position of the school building was not so different from what it is today and the platform was not positioned, too. We were about to form lines facing the front, we saw a B-29 approaching and about fly over us. All of us were looking up the sky, pointing out the aircraft. Then the teachers came out from the school building and the class leaders gave the command to fall in. Our faces were all shifted from the direction of the sky to that of the platform. That was the moment when the blast came. And then the tremendous noise came and we were left in the dark.

I couldn't see anything at the moment of explosion just like in this picture. We had been blown by the blast. Of course, I couldn't realize this until the darkness disappeared. I was actually blown about 10 m. My friends were all marked down on the ground by the blast just like this. Everything collapsed for as far as I could see. I felt the city of Hiroshima had disappeared all of a sudden. Then I looked at myself and found my clothes had turned into rags due to the heat. I was probably burned at the back of the head, on my back, on both arms and both legs. My skin was peeling and hanging like this.

Automatically I began to walk heading west because that was the direction of my home. After a while, I noticed somebody calling my name. I looked around and found a friend of mine who lived in my town and was studying at the same school. His name was Yamamoto. He was badly burnt just like myself. We walked toward the river. And on the way we saw many victims.

I saw a man whose skin was completely peeled off the upper half of his body and a woman whose eye balls were sticking out. Her whole baby was bleeding. A mother and her bady were lying with a skin completely peeled off. We desperately made a way crawling. And finally we reached the river bank.

At the same moment, a fire broke out. We made a narrow escape from the fire. If we had been slower by even one second, we would have been killed by the fire. Fire was blowing into the sky becoming 4 or even 5m high. There was a small wooden bridge left, which had not been destroyed by the blast. I went over to the other side of the river using that bridge.

But Yamamoto was not with me any more. He was lost somewhere. I remember I crossed the river by myself and on the other side, I purged myself into the water three times. The heat was tremendous . And I felt like my body was burning all over. For my burning body the cold water of the river was as precious as the treasure. Then I left the river, and I walked along the railroad tracks in the direction of my home.

On the way, I ran into an another friend of mine, Tokujiro Hatta. I wondered why the soles of his feet were badly burnt. It was unthinkable to get burned there. But it was undeniable fact the soles were peeling and red muscle was exposed. Even I myself was terribly burnt, I could not go home ignoring him. I made him crawl using his arms and knees. Next, I made him stand on his heels and I supported him. We walked heading toward my home repeating the two methods. When we were resting because we were so exhausted, I found my grandfather's brother and his wife, in other words, great uncle and great aunt, coming toward us. That was quite coincidence. As you know, we have a proverb about meeting Buddha in Hell. My encounter with my relatives at that time was just like that. They seem to be the Buddha to me wandering in the living hell.

Afterwards I was under medical treatment for one year and half and I miraculously recovered. Out of sixty of junior high school classmates, only ten of us are alive today. Yamamoto and Hatta soon died from the acute radiation disease. The radiation corroded the bodies and killed them. I myself am still alive on this earth suffering after-effect of the bomb. I have to see regularly an ear doctor, an eye doctor, a dermatologist and a surgeon. I feel uneasy about my health every day.

Further, on both of my hands, I have keloids. My injury was most serious on my right hand and I used to have terrible keloids at right here. I had it removed by surgery in 1954, which enabled me to move my wrist a little bit like this. For my four fingers are fixed just like this, and my elbow is fixed at one hundred twenty degrees and doesn't move. The muscle and bones are attached each other.

Also the fourth finger of my right hand doesn't have a normal nail. It has a black nail. A piece of glass which was blown by the blast stuck here and destroyed the cells of the base of the finger now. That is why a black nail continues to grow and from now on, too, it will continue to be black and never become normal. Anyway I'm alive today together with nine of my classmates for this forty years.

I've been living believing that we can never waste the depth of the victims. I've been living on dragging my body full of sickness and from time to time I question myself I wonder if it is worth living in such hardship and pain and I become desperate. But it's time I manage to pull myself together and I tell myself once my life was saved, I should fulfill my mission as a survivor in other words it has been and it is my belief that those who survived must continue to talk about our experiences. The hand down the awful memories to future generations representing the silent voices of those who had to die in misery. Throughout my life, I would like to fulfill this mission by talking about my experience both here in Japan and overseas.

Feeling Secure? Well Don't #5

It can't happen here and if it did it won't happen to me. Bullshit.
During a hearing before the House Judiciary Committee today, Rep. Adam B. Schiff (D-CA) questioned Attorney General Alberto Gonzales about the NSA's secret domestic wiretapping program.

The Administration has cited the Authorization to Use Military Force and the commander in chief powers as authorizing the NSA to intercept international communications into and out of the U.S. of persons linked to al Qaeda or related terrorist organizations.

After citing his concerns that there was no limiting principle to the Administration's claim of authority in the War on Terror, Rep. Schiff asked the Attorney General whether the Administration believes it has the authority to wiretap purely domestic calls between two Americans without seeking a warrant.

"I’m not going to rule it out," responded the Attorney General.

"This is very disturbing testimony," Rep. Schiff commented later, "and represents a wholly unprecedented assertion of executive power. No one in Congress would deny the need to tap certain calls under court order -- but if the Administration believes it can tap purely domestic phone calls between Americans without court approval, there is no limit to executive power. This is contrary to settled law and the most basic constitutional principles of the separation of powers." [emphasis mine]

Just why isn't every American outraged by this stuff?

A Taste Of Theocracy

Ok, the Republic of the Philippines(RP) is not a theocracy, but the Roman Catholic Church is very influential.
THE Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines’ (CBCP) repudiation of current efforts to change the 1987 Constitution through a people’s initiative has been dealt a “fatal blow” on the administration’s Charter change efforts, Senate Minority Leader Aquilino Pimentel said on Saturday.

“The anti-Charter change statement of the CBCP puts the last nail into the coffin of Cha-cha efforts of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr., [Interior] Secretary Ronaldo Puno, et al.,” Pimentel said.

He expressed doubts the administration’s Cha-cha campaign “could withstand the deadly impact” of the CBCP’s pastoral statement.

The CBCP issued a pastoral letter on Friday warning that the move to amend the Constitution for a shift to a parliamentary system was “dangerously unclear and open to manipulation by groups and self-serving interests” and that “vigilance, education, [and] principled opposition may be necessary steps to take.”

Pimentel said that the Arroyo administration could not afford to lose the support of the Catholic Church or go into an open confrontation with its hierarchy.

This is a taste of what could happen in the US. It isn't unusual for lawmakers in RP to scuttle planned laws if the Church comes out against them. And the Church often does pass judgement on pending legislation.

How Would A Patriot Act?

Glenn's book is up on Amazon for pre-sale.