Saturday, July 22, 2006

I'm Sorry Repugs, But I Do Want Success For The Iraqi People

Finally some encouraging info out of Iraq. Where it goes from here is a complete crap shoot, but it sounds like the least insane people are finally working toward a solution to the civil war and the killing.
Iraq held the first meeting of a homegrown peace initiative, with the country's top leaders vowing to reconcile the warring factions amid protests over US meddling.

"This is an Iraqi initiative for those who are part of the political process," Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki told reporters Saturday, while the speaker of parliament urged US-led coalition forces not to interfere.

Maliki said the Supreme Committee for National Reconciliation had already received positive signals from some of the insurgent groups battling security forces and US troops, including one led by a former army officer.

Imagine that. The Iraqies want to govern themselves without the "help" of the US. I'm shocked.

That said, I'm very very afraid what this means to Bushco. They'll see this as vindication for their illegal war and it will convince them another illegal war, with Iran, is just what the doctor ordered.

Why is it we're fucked no matter what happens. Horrible bloodshed in Iraq, we lose. Reasonable dialogue in Iraq and possible truce, we lose.

Maybe the imbecile isn't a total fool.

(read more)


The Real Story Within The Story

The story is about Rice's visit to wherever (it says Israel, but other reports say Italy). Its about bringing "lasting peace" to the area as if it can be magically ordained. But that's not what I'm interested in.
Daniel Ayalon, Israel's ambassador to Washington, told The Associated Press that Israel has destroyed about 40 percent of Hezbollah's military capabilities.

"Most of the long-range (missiles) have been hit, a lot of the medium range, but they still have thousands and thousands of rockets, short-range and others," Ayalon said in an interview.[emphasis mine]

My question dear reader is, how do they know? Who's conducting the census of arms? Do they have pix?

My opinion is this is just bullshit the "folks back home" need to hear. No one knows what's been destroyed. Americans attack a building in Beirut. People are killed. How hard is it to count the bodies? But the count will vary from report to report and day to day. That's how chaos affects things.

(read more)


Maybe We Need a Pool on Where the Next Insane War Will be

I love to travel, but where can you go? Israel, Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, NoKorea, Palistine, Syria, Sierra Leon, Ehiopia, Congo, Sri Lanka, Turkey...all out of the question. The list goes on forever.

We're definitely gonna need more map tacks for our pool at the rate Bushco's stirring up things.
Somalia's Islamic council has vowed a "holy war" against its neighbors [sic], Ethiopia. In retaliation, Ethiopia is moving troops into lawless areas of Somalia from fear of invasion by powerful Islamists.

Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys said Somalia will not overlook further incursions from Ethiopia. He was supported by hundreds of people demonstrating for support of Islamists in the capital.

Aweys said on a nationwide radio, "The Somali people have to fight against Ethiopia, this is a holy war in which we are defending our country... The Ethiopians have invaded our country and we must force them out of the country and this will be a holy war of Jihad."

Aweys, the supreme leader of Supreme Islamic Council of Somalia (SICS), is also a hardline cleric designated a terrorist by the U.S. He is believed to have links to Osama bin Laden's Al-Queda network.

Somalia has been characterized by lawlessness since the 1991 ouster of dictator Mohamed Siad Barre, which pushed the nation of about 10 million people into unruly killings.

(courtesy link)


Girl Off to a Good Bad Start

You'll want to read the story. I'm only giving you part of the story here.
Scotland's youngest mother - a 12-year-old girl - has been arrested after a night out, just one month after giving birth to her child.

It is understood the girl, from West Lothian, was detained earlier this week following a drunken incident.

Lothian and Borders Police confirmed they had arrested the girl, but did not say what the charges were.

The girl, who has not been named, became pregnant aged 11 after having sex with a 15-year-old on a drunken night out with friends in Edinburgh last August.

Both the girl and the child have since been put into foster care.

(read more)

Why Not Bushco?

Why are other countries' leaders doing what Dim Son, ruler leader of the free world, should be doing? Oh yeah, I forgot Bushco is a bunch of war-mongering jackals.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been lobbying Muslims to be more active in seeking an end to Israel's continuing assault on Gaza and Lebanon, his office said.

"The silence of the United Nations... and some Western countries' support for Zionist atrocities against defenceless children and women calls for a more active role by Muslim nations to put an end to these attacks," Ahmadinejad said.

The president, a fierce opponent of Israel's existence, also held telephone talks with leaders from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, and called for for an emergency meeting of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC).

Hey, I didn't notice a hit recently from Iran. So how could Ahmadinejad have seen my earlier post about "The Plan"?
But Ahmadinejad said Israel had used the incident as a "pretext for a pre-planned plot for a wide-ranging assault against Lebanon aimed at destroying its infrastructure and killing innocent civilians."

Although in my post I didn't say anything about Israel targeting civilians.

(read more)

Some Good News Out of Washington


At this point it would be foolish to hand the moron a line-item veto. He has already usurped ridiculous powers and doesn't need another club with which to hit opponents over the head.
President Bush may be pushing hard for Congress to give him line-item veto power to remove wasteful spending from the bills it passes, but the idea seems to be sinking on Capitol Hill.

Even though lawmakers are increasingly sheepish about the "pork barrel" projects the line-item veto is designed to fight, Democrats and some old-school Republicans in the Senate are so resistant to the idea that legislation to grant Bush this authority may not even get a Senate vote.

(read more)

"American Idol" at White House

Bush to greet Taylor Hicks, the "American Idol"
President Bush will come face to face with a man who got more votes than he did. Bush will play host to “American Idol” Taylor Hicks and the other Top 10 finalists Friday. Hicks won after 63 million votes were cast for him. That’s more than the 59 million Bush got in 2004 — although “American Idol” voters can cast more than one ballot.

Of course voters can cast more than one ballot for president only in Ohio and Florida. (rim shot!)

Come On Tony, Just Punch Him

© TimesSelect image

You know you want to. Yo!

Talk About Mixed Messages

Its a race. Will Condoliar Rice or the precision-guided bombs get to Israel first?
The Bush administration is rushing a delivery of precision-guided bombs to Israel, which requested the expedited shipment last week after beginning its air campaign against Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, American officials said Friday.

The decision to quickly ship the weapons to Israel was made with relatively little debate within the Bush administration, the officials said. Its disclosure threatens to anger Arab governments and others because of the appearance that the United States is actively aiding the Israeli bombing campaign in a way that could be compared to Iran’s efforts to arm and resupply Hezbollah.

The bombs were purchased last year by Israel and they belong to them, but...

Oh nevermind. She's going to Rome and not the Middle East. Say, don't they sell really good shoes in Italy?
WHEN SECRETARY of State Condoleezza Rice heads to the Middle East next week, she'll be coping with a lot of pressures: a Lebanese government desperate for help to end the current fighting there, an Israeli government determined to smash Hezbollah's military structure before it stops the conflict, and Arab allies so fearful of their own publics' anger over the fighting that they have decided to meet Secretary Rice in Rome rather than in an Arab capital.

Most surprising, though, is one kind of pressure she won't be feeling: There is little public outcry back home in the U.S. to compel Israel to pull back. This is the dog that isn't barking in the current crisis, giving President Bush and his secretary of state a considerably freer hand in responding -- and in pursuing their staunch support of Israel -- than they might have expected.

This stands in stark contrast to the situation the last time this script played out, when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982. At that time, President Ronald Reagan -- like Mr. Bush, no slouch when it came to supporting Israel -- felt enormous domestic political pressure to force Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin and his defense minister, Ariel Sharon, to pull back.

So there's really gonna be no problem negotiating a truce from Rome? Hell, why doesn't she just work her miracles from Washington? Israel and Lebanon have email don't they?

I guess the messages aren't mixed at all. Its really only one clear message. Israel, bomb Lebanon back to the stone age.

Why Israel Ultimately Will Lose in Lebanon

"The irony in all this is that Israel has an interest in a multicultural Lebanon and not an Islamist Lebanon, and the high hopes for the former are being dashed."

--Chuck Cogan
Former Chief of CIA's Near East Division
Speaking from Harvard

"For decades now Israel has established buffer zones, occupation zones, red lines, blue lines, green lines, interdiction zones, killing fields, surrogate army zones, scorched earth, and every other conceivable kind of zone between it and Arabs who fight its occupation and colonial policies -- all without success. Here is why: Protecting Israelis while leaving Arabs to a fate of humiliation, occupation, degradation and subservient acquiescence to Israeli-American dictates only guarantees that those Arabs will regroup, plan a resistance strategy, and come back one day to fight for their land, their humanity, their dignity and the prospect that their children can have a normal life one day."

--Rami G. Khouri
Editor-at-large of the Beirut-based Daily Star
July 20, 2006


Guesting Over At Bad Attitudes

That is I will be guest posting over at Bad Attitudes if I can hang onto my connection long enough. Its hit or miss right now.

Anyway, why not drop by and see what the boys are posting with or without me. I recommend them highly.

Oh yeah, a big HELLO to visitors from Bad Attitudes. Hope you find my site interesting too.


Israel Plans to Invade Lebanon

Most of the various news mediae keep reporting "Israel is saying it won't rule out a full-scale invasion of Lebanon" or "the Lebanese, and many others, fear a full-scale invasion".

What I don't understand is why the uncertainty? This is and has been the plan from the start. Israel finalized just such a plan over a year ago.

Its beyond me how anyone who's thought it through could believe such a retaliation possible without significant pre-planning.
Israel's military response by air, land and sea to what it considered a provocation last week by Hezbollah militants is unfolding according to a plan finalized more than a year ago.

In the years since Israel ended its military occupation of southern Lebanon, it watched warily as Hezbollah built up its military presence in the region. When Hezbollah militants kidnapped two Israeli soldiers last week, the Israeli military was ready to react almost instantly.

"Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared," said Gerald Steinberg, professor of political science at Bar-Ilan University. "In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal, when it became clear the international community was not going to prevent Hezbollah from stockpiling missiles and attacking Israel. By 2004, the military campaign scheduled to last about three weeks that we're seeing now had already been blocked out and, in the last year or two, it's been simulated and rehearsed across the board."

More than a year ago, a senior Israeli army officer began giving PowerPoint presentations, on an off-the-record basis, to U.S. and other diplomats, journalists and think tanks, setting out the plan for the current operation in revealing detail. Under the ground rules of the briefings, the officer could not be identified.

In his talks, the officer described a three-week campaign: The first week concentrated on destroying Hezbollah's heavier long-range missiles, bombing its command-and-control centers, and disrupting transportation and communication arteries. In the second week, the focus shifted to attacks on individual sites of rocket launchers or weapons stores. In the third week, ground forces in large numbers would be introduced, but only in order to knock out targets discovered during reconnaissance missions as the campaign unfolded. There was no plan, according to this scenario, to reoccupy southern Lebanon on a long-term basis. [emphasis mine]


Friday, July 21, 2006

On The Ground In Lebanon

So much here such as losing a leg in the line at work to bring us the news. Gawd, I respect such people.

Then there's the reference to tourism. This's been bothering me for some time. I'm sure tourism is an important industry in Lebanon as it is in many countries and their's is shot to hell.
But our work together came to an abrupt end when I stepped on a hidden anti-personnel landmine while we were filming an abandoned Iraqi trench dug into a grassy hill. I lost my leg below the knee in the accident. Our cameraman, the Iranian photojournalist Kaveh Golestan, lost his life.

Back in Britain doctors decided by leg was too badly damaged to be saved. Over the months that followed I came to terms with the loss of my limb – and the reality of life with an artificial limb.

My apprehension of working in a war zone diminished when Jim sauntered into the Beirut office grinning broadly. I phoned my wife Aileen – who’s five months pregnant – and told her that Jim and I were working together again.

“Just don’t go wandering into any minefields with him again,” – she scolded – “and make sure you’re back before the birth.”

Over the last week I’ve watched the hopes of a generation of Lebanese people collapse. It’s supposed to be the height of the tourist season here. Hotel owners were looking forward to their best year yet.

Would you like a nice vacation here? I know I would.

Or would you prefer vacationing here?


(read more)

Dim Son Could Learn Some Class From Nasrallah

The moron certainly would never take responsibility for killing Afgan and Iraqi children.
Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah apologized for an attack that killed two Israeli Arab children in northern Israel, saying the youngsters were "martyrs for Palestine."

In a Thursday interview with Arabic-language news network Al-Jazeera, Nasrallah accepted responsibility for the Wednesday attack, while conceding that an apology to the family was not sufficient.

"To the family that was hit in Nazareth -- on my behalf and my brothers', I apologize to this family," he said.

"Some events like that happen. At any event, those who were killed in Nazareth, we consider them martyrs for Palestine and martyrs for the nation. I pay my condolences to them."

I don't support Nasrallah nor Hezbollah, nor Israel for that matter, but this was a classy move.

My title says Dim Son could learn some class from Nasrallah. Hell, he could learn some class from Mr Bean.

(read more)

Making The Case For Invading Iran

Or maybe Bushco's just feeling left out because they weren't invited to the launch party. Nah, they're setting Iran up for the kill.
IRAN accused the United States today of trying to obstruct talks to end a stand-off over Tehran's nuclear program, while Washington said its fears had risen because Iranians had witnessed North Korean missile tests.

Both sides traded the accusations as the UN security council wrangled over a resolution to make legally binding demands Iran halt uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for power stations or bomb material. Iran again rejected international calls for it to scrap nuclear fuel production.

A senior US official said today US worries about Iran's nuclear capabilities had deepened because one or more Iranians witnessed missile tests on July 4 in North Korea, which experts say is a key partner in Tehran's missile program.

Washington, which has accused Iran of having a secret program to build nuclear arms, says the two nations have been collaborating and has expressed concern cash-strapped Pyongyang was keen to sell missiles and possibly also atomic material.

(read more)

Cat Blogging

Photo: Donita Clausen

Via Neatorama.

Is This Religious Cleansing In Lebanon?

It sure looks like it. Why are mostly Shiite Muslim areas under ferocious attack?
Nine days of powerful Israeli air attacks have reduced most of Beirut’s vast Shiite Muslim suburbs to uninhabitable rubble and left a smoldering hole in Hezbollah’s urban heartland.

The militant Islamist group’s spokesman, Hussein Naboulsi, led foreign reporters Thursday through a maze of dangling electrical wires, smoking ruins and charred remnants of the lives of 500,000 Lebanese who once called the capital’s southern suburbs home.

(read more)

These Guys Are Smart Because They Agree With Me

The reality of what Israel, backed by the US, is after in Lebanon.

As the onslaught against Lebanon enters its tenth day, Israeli troops are poised for a full-scale invasion that has been prepared by murderous aerial bombardment and the far-reaching imperialist aims of the war have become all too clear.

With the full political, financial and military backing of the United States, the Zionist regime is attempting to transform Lebanon into an Israeli protectorate. This military operation is a continuation and escalation of the imperialist geo-political restructuring of the Middle East and Central Asia that began with the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq, and whose goal is the establishment of US domination of the entire region.

The immediate aim of this war—the elimination of Hezbollah as a military and political force within Lebanon—is directed against all mass resistance to Israeli and American domination of the country. The Bush administration and its allies in Jerusalem see this as an essential step toward: 1) the removal of the Syrian Baathist regime, and 2) the launching of a full-scale war against Iran.

While the Israeli government and the Bush administration endlessly repeat propaganda claims that the attack on Lebanon is an act of “self defense” prompted by the seizure of two soldiers, this assertion enjoys no credibility among knowledgeable observers.

As the Financial Times of London wrote in its lead editorial of July 17, “Israel’s massive bombardment of Lebanon by land, sea and air in response to Hezbollah’s cross-border raid last week is now about a great deal more than recovering two Israeli soldiers seized by Islamist guerrillas—and it probably always was.”

Before you click on the link, be warned the URL is the World Socialist Web Site. Maybe you don't want Bushco knowing you visited it.

(read more)

In Mideast Strife, Bush Sees a Step To Peace

That's the headline in the WaPo. There you have it, folks. War is Peace.

That's so last century.

Its About Time A Judge Stood Up To Bushco

©Photo: Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Finally a judge takes his responsibilities seriously and tells Bushco they be not gods.
A federal judge denied a demand by US officials that a domestic spying lawsuit against telecom giant AT and T be thrown out in the interest of national security.

"While the court recognizes and respects the executive's constitutional duty to protect the nation from threats, the court also takes seriously its constitutional duty to adjudicate the disputes that come before it," US District Court Justice Vaughn Walker wrote in his ruling.

"To defer to a blanket assertion of secrecy would be to abdicate that duty, particularly because the very subject matter of this litigation has been so publicly aired."

Walker noted in his decision that the government and AT and T had referred publicly to the US government using electronic eavesdropping as a tool to combat terrorism after the attacks of September 2001.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) filed its suit against AT and T in February, charging the company with helping to spy on millions of customers by sharing telephone and email data with the US National Security Agency.

Federal lawyers urged Walker to reject the suit on the basis that it was groundless and that its hearing could threaten national security by revealing how authorities gather intelligence.

Walker said during hearings and repeated in his ruling that the state's secret privilege "is not unlimited." [emphasis mine]

(read more)

Fine Idea

This snippet from Thers.
To put this another way, a difficult conflict, like the one in Northern Ireland, or in the Middle East, can really only be achieved when the true goal is shifted from that of victory to that of peace.

Sounds banal, I know. But I don't think this argument is widely understood, let alone accepted. Certainly not by this administration.

Fewest corpses wins. How about that as a foreign policy objective?

File Under: Get Your Geek On

By Jove I think he's onto something.
And speaking of phones, last week Yahoo and Microsoft supposedly connected their instant messaging systems in a move that will eventually allow full interoperability, which was viewed almost universally as a defense against the threat of Google. Not so. It is all about phones.

There are a dozen or more healthy startups that already enable users to send instant messages from one IM system to another. What MSN and Yahoo quite specifically announced was the interoperability of their VOICE chat products, which of course also include text capabilities. Google is a small player in this space and not doing an especially good job of competing. What Microsoft and Yahoo care about far more than market share (which they've shown they can maintain -- IM users rarely migrate even for free services) is REVENUE. They want to be your phone company. And between them their IM operations touch a third of the Internet homes in both the United States and the world. That's an important statistic, because it means that through this simple (in a business, if not a technical sense) interconnection they have the prospect of carrying a substantial percentage of world phone traffic at almost zero cost.

People are still willing to pay for phone service, but profit margins in that often-regulated industry are historically around 10 percent. If Microsoft and Yahoo can get into the phone business and can convert their IM customers into phone customers, they will not only steal business from the telcos, they'll do so with profit margins that are on average 300 percent higher. THAT's why the telcos hate net neutrality. [emphasis in original]

Holy shit! Three thousand percent profit? No wonder they wanna play.

Now how they're gonna charge the customers isn't clear to me and the article doesn't say. I have both IMs and both have voice. I can talk to someone with either IM half way 'round the world for free now. So how they'll get those obscene profits escapes me.

BTW, isn't it interesting Microsoft and Yahoo account for 1/3 of the IM users worldwide? That's some market penetration.

(read more)

Another Great Quote

"They're calling for wars against people that never attacked us. I don't care how bad they are. There are wicked people all over this world but you don't go after people unless they come after you."

--Pat Buchanan
Speaking about Bushco
July 20, 2006

Great Quote

"I was a Republican - until they lost their minds"

-- Charles Barkley
Former NBA player
July 20, 2006

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Can You Say Escalation? Yeah, I Thought You Could

I apologize. That's a flippant title. This's about as serious as life gets. I do know that.

It's worsening.
At least 72 people were killed in Lebanon Wednesday, the highest single-day toll since the offensive was launched nine days ago, sending thousands of Lebanese streaming from their homes to find safe havens.

And the humanitarian crisis is growing.
The international community was bracing for a humanitarian disaster in Lebanon, where food and medical supplies are running short because of an Israeli air and sea blockade and the bombing of the international airport and most roads out of the country.

"The most basic human rights of the population are at risk or are being violated, including their rights to life, health and food," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour said, warning that perpetrators in the conflict could be held to account for war crimes.

Note: The image is of people (refugees) trying to escape the bloodshed and destruction. Most likely they've left most to all of their material possessions behind. Yes American citizens, possessions don't mean shit! They're running for their lives.

(read more)

For Your Diversion

The world's largest cookie. Chocolate chip, of course!

That red thing in the center is a guy standing on the cookie. Yuck!!!!1!!

Stem Cell Veto

The only recourse for a moron is to try to bring everyone else down to his level of stupidity. Thus the idiot-in-chief can't embrace science and scientific advancement.
Scientists have reacted with anger to US President George W Bush's decision to veto a bill allowing federal funding for new embryonic stem cell research.

They argue it will damage a promising field of medical research.

Leading researchers labelled Mr Bush "hypocritical", "out of touch" and "selfish" over his decision not to sign into law a bill approved by Congress.

Mr Bush argued that the law "crossed a moral boundary that our decent society needs to respect".

Polls suggest most Americans back the research, which scientists hope will lead to cures for serious illnesses such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes.

Good. Its about time people start speaking out about this ass's reluctance to accept sound scientific advice. This isn't the 14th century after all.

(read more)

Can't They Just Build Great Electronics?

Have you ever read something and thought OMG!? Then you put it in the back pocket of your mind and hope you can just forget about it? Well, I did that recently and damn if it didn't fall out of my pocket onto the floor in plane view.
The leader of Japan's largest opposition party on Wednesday denounced government officials' argument of "ensuring (Japan's) capability to attack overseas enemy bases" as a baseless fallacy, Kyodo News reported.

Ichiro Ozawa, chief of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), made the remarks when he was asked by reporters about his view on the argument that Japan should consider building the capability to attack foreign bases in case a missile attack was imminent.

Ozawa said the viewpoint, which was put forward recently by government and ruling camp figures, was too "rude" and "extreme."

He described the argument as "dangerous," which he said was intended to legitimize any preemptive attack whenever Japan named an area as "overseas enemy bases."

Japan's constitution was written to define a passivist nation. Since WWII they have, by design, not fought in any world confrontations. To believe they might now re-write their constitution to allow them to attack others, possibly preemptively, is mind boggling.

I see this as a big brother thing. Ever notice how younger children will try to emulate their big brother or sister? They don't even have to be brother/sister. It could be an older cousin or neighbor.

The ruler leader of the free world is the big brother. In this case almost literally. So leaders of other countries observe the moron's actions, no matter how ill-advised or simply outrageous and they think, hey he can do that and we could do that too. Blair is practically moving in lockstep with the idiot-in-chief.

Right now the world's in near total chaos. The Middle East and many African nations are warring. The countries not hit by war at home are in the Middle East and Africa to add to the mayhem. And this is all happening because the world's stabalizing force and moral compass, the US, has gone completely batshit insane.

(read more)

Makes You Sort Of Wonder Now

The following is from BuzzFlash. I just liked the heading of their entry.
Republicans claim anti-gay constitutional amendment is actually "God's idea." Funny that God can't muster the 2/3 vote he needs to get it passed.

Smack Those Sinful Manifestations Out Of Your Kid

This is the latest fundie crap. I wonder if they were some of the ones complaining back in 1994 when Michael P Fay, an American, was caned in Singapore for theft and vandalism?
A Christian group urging parents to smack their children, using discipline sessions lasting up to 15 minutes, has been accused of promoting what amounts to child abuse.

Family Integrity has produced a controversial eight-page booklet on how to use physical punishment under the present law.

Parents are told that smacking can be a "10-to-15-minute process" and that if a child reacts angrily, such as by slamming doors or "pouting", they should be smacked again.

"Smacking is meant to drive the foolishness, the sinful manifestations, out of the child's personality so that they do not become permanent fixtures," it says.

Smacking is justified because children younger than age eight "do not think straight" and lack a developed sense of fair play and duty.

(read more)

The Fundies Are Gonna Love This

Not sure what stand to take on this. As a parent I'm not too keen on teen sex. On the other hand, its gonna happen and they need "protection" just as much as older sexually active people. Okay, I guess I just did take a stand, right?
CONDOMS for 13-year-olds could soon be on sale in Britain — sparking outrage.

The new-style contraceptives hit the shelves in Germany yesterday and makers Durex want to launch them in the UK next year.

But campaigners were furious last night over the move, claiming it will fuel an under-age sex boom.

The condom is 49mm wide — compared to the 52mm standard version — and is easier to put on.

Durex say it is designed for the younger, less experienced users.

A spokesman said: “It is aimed at youths between 13 and 16, where a not insignificant number engage in unprotected sex.”

(read more)

Separation Of Powers

Separation of powers? We don't need no stinking separation of powers.
Legislation to bar federal courts from ruling on constitutional issues arising from the Pledge of Allegiance, including the "one nation, under God" reference, passed the House after lawmakers argued that the pledge is linked to the nation's spiritual history.

Opponents countered that such a law, a priority of social conservatives, would undercut judicial independence and deny access to federal courts to religious minorities seeking to defend their rights.

The measure faced an uncertain future in the Senate after the House voted 260-167 on Wednesday.

BTW, the children in the photo are pledging allegiance using the Bellamy salute, conceived by the man who wrote the Pledge of Allegiance as a marketing ploy to sell flags to schools.

Just for kicks and giggles, I'll throw in another image I ran into. No comment.

(read more)

Awsome Photo

Some More Chilling News Concerning Lebanon

Its not about what's happening there, although it did happen there, but is about what this little incident may portend.
A missile attack on some trucks in Achrafiyeh, an upscale Christian neighborhood in the center of the city, was the first time the Israelis had bombed there, and my driver Ali and I raced there to see the aftermath. We expected to see what was now a familiar scene: a devastated city block, with shattered glass and the crumbled masonry of what used to be apartment homes. Instead, we found a couple of well-digging trucks that had been hit by four missiles so precisely that not even the windows in buildings just two dozen yards away had been shattered. The trucks themselves were probably targeted because they looked almost like rocket launchers, but something didn’t make sense: why would the Israelis think Hizballah would try to park rocket launchers in broad daylight in the neighborhood that one would think would be the most hostile to them in Beirut?

Politics, as usual, provided the answer. On Tuesday, Michel Aoun, a Maronite Christian and one of the most popular politicians in Lebanon, made a call for national unity in the face of Israel’s assault. Long a foe of Syria during the latter days of the 1975-90 civil war, he has since made a political alliance with Hizballah in a bid for the country’s presidency.

Within the context of Aoun’s statement, the attack made more sense. Speaking with some of the neighborhood’s residents, who were all Christians, I found a deep well of resentment toward Hizballah and Hassan Nasrallah, the group’s leader. A precisely targeted attack in a hostile neighborhood was a way of “reminding” Hizballah’s enemies in Lebanon just who started this mess and undercut the Shi’ite group’s alliance with Aoun, who is perhaps the only politician in Lebanon with appeal beyond his sectarian group. (He’s widely admired by Sunnis and Shi’ites as well as Christians.)

This, however, is a dangerous game. By stirring up anti-Hizballah feelings, Israel risks stoking anti-Muslim feelings as well, which are barely below the surface in some Christian communities with strong ties to the militias of the Lebanese Forces. Appealing to those sentiments could send Lebanon back into full-scale civil war when the bombing stops and the finger-pointing begins.

No, this wasn’t a real attack; there were no casualties and almost no real property damage (aside from the trucks). Instead, the Israelis were sending a little message to the Christians in Beirut: Remember your real enemy. Judging from neighborhood sentiment, I think they got the message. [emphasis mine]

Remember the last civil war ran from 1975-1990. Damn I hope Christopher's wrong about this.

(read more)

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Another Dispatch From Lebanon

Read how desperate people are becoming there. Christopher is better off than most because he has the ability to leave anytime he wants to, but he chooses to stay.
Despite the relative quiet in Beirut on Tuesday, the jittery sense of desperation is getting worse. The Westerners are being evacuated, but that’s not necessarily good news for the Lebanese staying put. Once the Westerners are gone, people on the streets wonder what will hold the Israelis back. The lull in bombing, in fact, is widely seen as a deliberate break by the Israelis to allow the foreign nationals to get out.

And yet for all the press that the Western evacuation is getting, there’s another group of refugees that isn’t being noticed. Lebanon has a large population of Iraqis, Sudanese and Somalis, as well as guest workers from the Philippines and Sri Lanka, who are too poor to pay their way out. And their governments are either ineffective (Iraq, Sudan) inattentive (the Philippines, Sri Lanka) or non-existent (Somalia) to offer any resources for these people.

People are suffering and the one person who has a chance, no matter how slight, of bringing an end to this suffering is AWOL as usual. Can you say the moron? Yeah, I thought you could.

Should I not post Christopher's latest article (fat chance) be sure to check out his site. We have to know what's happening "on the ground" as they say.

(read more)


Its just gonna keep escalating in Lebanon. This just in.
At least 54 civilians were killed as Israeli jets and gunboats pummelled towns and villages across Lebanon and tens of thousands fled an increasingly bloody conflict both sides defiantly warned would have no limit.

Israeli ground troops headed back across the border to strike Hezbollah outposts as another volley of rockets fell on northern Israel on the eighth day of an offensive that the international community has so far done little to end.

(read more)

What In Hell Is Going On With The Weather?

There's this from London.
Central London schools are adopting continental hours this week in a bid to keep children cool during the heatwave.

Ten primary and secondary schools will be closing at 1.30pm, two hours earlier than usual, and others have called off their traditional summer sports days.

The plans are part of several measures being taken to prevent people falling ill during the hot weather, Westminster Council said.

Then this from the US.
Amid a heat wave that has gripped much of the nation with temperatures in the 90s and 100s since the weekend, cities took steps Tuesday to ease the health threat and conserve energy. At least five deaths have been blamed on the heat, and the weather was suspected in at least three others.

In New York City, the mayor ordered city offices to turn off unnecessary lights. As the temperature rose to almost 100, an electrical cable failed at LaGuardia Airport, knocking out power to one terminal and part of a second terminal, forcing the cancellation of dozens of flights.

This from Korea.
More than 100 people are dead or missing in North Korea due to floods and landslides, an aid group operating in the communist nation said Wednesday.

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies said heavy rains last week and this week had caused flash floods that totally or partially destroyed 11,524 houses, leaving more than 9,000 families homeless.

Israel Begins Limited Ground Invasion Of Lebanon

It just keeps escalating. The only "good" thing that can be said here is its possible fewer civilians will be killed. Troops can be more discriminate in selecting their targets than can bomber aircraft. But you never know.
Israeli troops conducted a limited ground assault across the Lebanese border to carry out "pinpoint" raids against Hezbollah outposts, a military source said, as hundreds of foreigners fled and the UN warned civilians left behind faced a humanitarian "catastrophe."

"Our forces have been operating since this morning over our border with Lebanon. These are limited and pinpointed actions aimed at eliminating the threat of Hezbollah near the border," an Israeli military source said.

"The forces are penetrating into Lebanon and pulling out when their mission is accomplished... We're not talking about any large-scale incursion," the source added.

"The situation is both alarming and catastrophic. There are about 500,000 people displaced already. The situation is extreme," the representative of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) in Beirut, Roberto Laurenti, told AFP.

(read more)

I Told You So

Well, I kinda told you so, if you happened to read my comment on someone else's site, but I forget whose site it was. Anyway, someone asked where's Bushco in the Israel-Lebanon conflict? My comment was Bushco is involved. They're involved because they are staying out of it and implicitly giving Israel a green light to keep up the assaults.

Its now explicit.
The outlines of an American-Israeli consensus began to emerge on Tuesday in which Israel would continue to bombard Lebanon for about another week to degrade the capabilities of the Hezbollah militia, officials of the two countries said.

Then, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice would go to the region and seek to establish a buffer zone in southern Lebanon and perhaps an international force to monitor Lebanon’s borders to prevent Hezbollah from obtaining more rockets with which to bombard Israel.

American officials signaled that Ms. Rice was waiting at least a few more days before wading into the conflict, in part to give Israel more time to weaken Hezbollah forces.

The strategy carries risk, partly because it remains unclear just how long the rest of the world, particularly America’s Arab allies, will continue to stay silent as the toll on Lebanese civilians rises. [emphasis mine]

That "carries risk" part is putting it mildly. Bushco has few friends/allies left and this ain't gonna help one damn bit.

(read more)

What's Happening In Lebanon

Everyone should go to this site and see the pictures.

Oh My! It Gets Better Worse

The idiot-in-chief just can't keep his hands to himself.

The Moron In The White House

Jill says it all quite well.

Dim Son At It Again?

It certainly would explain a lot. Check out the pic over at Big Shot Bob's.

Also check out these cool pics at the same site.

Sad Lebanon Newspaper Headline

Twilight Zone Time

Judging by what's going on right now, my guess is this guy's doing a bang-up business selling The Kosher TFHs. That's a new acronym for ya.

For foreign readers who don't know of what I say, The Twilight Zone was an old TV (and movie and radio) show that dealt with bizarre stories and things most unusual.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Another (sweet/sad) Face Of War

This post via Dependable Renegade.

This is so wrong.

Too Cool

Spudware cutlery:

Mission: to provide economic, sustainable alternatives to disposable plastic kitchenware

Introducing SPUDWARE™ cutlery

* fully biodegradable

* made from 80% potato starch and 20% vegetable oil

* high-heat resistant

* durable

* lovely feel and weight

* utensils approx 15cm (6")

(read more)

This Girl Kills Me

I don't usually do videos. They load so slowly for me that I cancel them, but this one from Ava Lowrey is quick and good. The girl is something else. So glad she's progressive.

Finally Some Independent Views Among GOP Senators

Watch as they debate.

Here and here.

My position is simple (simplistic?). We would be using embryos that would be destroyed anyway. We don't know, but are sure these stem cells will eventually prove invaluable in fighting nerve damage and many other medical problems. I also don't believe using such embryos equates to "taking a life".

Timely Quote

Ed Rollins, former strategist for Katherine Harris, on her staff turnover: She “has her own guest worker program.”

Save Net Neutrality

You can check out this site to see where your senator stands. Call your senator(s) if they still aren't "For". Please.

Oh yeah, a couple things. Only one (1) Repug is "For". That would be Olympia Snow (R-ME). If she represents you, you might wanna give her a call to say thanx.

And I wasn't at all surprised to see Lieberman is Waffling.

And So It Goes

Bushco has done so much to de-stabalize a huge portion of the world. In addition to Pakistan and Iraq, they have helped terrorist organizations recruit more and more members. And here's how the neocons see the future. They want to attack Iran, Syria and Lebanon at least and probably NoKorea too. And then there's Somalia.
Sitting astride key sea lanes on the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean and not far from the Arabian Peninsula's oil fields, Somalia on the east coast of Africa is not an obscure piece of real estate.

This country of roughly 9 million people represents an increasingly dangerous problem to its neighbors in the form of international piracy and the potential for outside forces to meddle.

Lacking an effective central government since the downfall of the Siad Barre regime in 1991, it appears Somalia could be hitting another turning point as the Council of Islamic Courts of Somalia (CICS) has gained control over much of the south, including the capital Mogadishu.

Considering probable past linkages to Osama bin Laden and a
clear sympathy to the objective of creating a society built around sharia or Islamic law, the CICS has prompted the return of international attention to Somalia, with concerns this war-torn land could be following the same path as Afghanistan did under the Taliban.

You may not have realized Africa is also coming into the picture.

Did I mention China?

Point of fact, the US cannot take over the world and anything short of that won't fit with the neocon's plans. This is really becoming an absolutely insane way to run a country. Insane enough to annihilate all the people in the world.

It Just Keeps Getting Better Worse in Middle East

Firt we have that "forgotten" country of Afganistan.
Taliban forces have captured two towns in southern Afghanistan.

Taliban insurgents entered Naway-i-Barakzayi, a Helmand town north of Garmser, and clashed briefly with police before the security officials fled, an Afghan police official said.

The official said Taliban forces were now moving freely around the town and district.

In the Helmand town of Garmser, close to the Pakistan border, scores of Taliban insurgents overran Afghan policemen holed up in a compound on Sunday, driving the security forces and a handful of government officials to flee, another Afghan official said.

Major Scott Lundy, a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan, said: "We are in contact with lots of people to build an accurate picture of the two districts in southern Helmand which are under control of the Taliban."

You remember the Taliban. That group we defeated already.

Then there's that thing in Iraq.
At least 54 people were killed and 90 wounded as a car bomb exploded in the centre of Iraq's Shiite shrine city of Kufa, killing a group of day labourers, a security source said.

Several witnesses said the car bomb blew up in the middle of the crowd across the street from the city's grand mosque.

This came a day after gunmen opened fire on a market, killing 48.
A deadly coordinated assault of car bombs, mortar rounds and a shooting rampage by masked gunmen on a market south of Baghdad has killed 48 people believed to be Shiites, including women and children.

Police also found 22 bodies across Iraq, 20 of them in Baghdad, of men tortured and shot dead in apparent sectarian attacks as the inter-confessional violence that has dogged Iraq for the past months showed no sign of abating.

The latest violence came a day after a suicide bombing in a coffee-shop in the northern town of Tuz Khurmatu killed 28 people.

What about Lebanon?
At least 23 people have been killed in the latest air strikes by Israeli warplanes in Lebanon, raising the toll there to more than 220.

Israeli aircraft struck targets across Lebanon on Monday, hitting many areas north and east of Beirut that have so far been quiet.

Nine civilians, all from one family and including children, were killed and four wounded in an air strike that destroyed a house in the south Lebanese village of Aitarun. Four others died in strikes elsewhere in the south.

Another strike at a Lebanese army barracks at Jumhur area, east of Beirut, killed 10 Lebanese soldiers and wounded 30.

Aljazeera television reported that Israeli forces had also attacked targets around Zahle, a mainly Christian town in central Lebanon, and attacked ambulances on nearby roads.

I'll comment on that last one. Israel destroyed a house killing children and attacked ambulances. That's by definition terrorist acts. That isn't defence.

And, in case you missed it, Mother Nature is doing her part in Indonesia.
Rescuers have desperately shifted through wreckage for survivors of a tsunami that killed more than 330 people and left dozens missing when it slammed into Indonesia's Java coast.

In a harrowing reminder of the 2004 disaster that left 220,000 dead across Asia, walls of water up to three metres (10 feet) high smashed ashore Monday, toppling buildings and sending thousands of terrified residents fleeing.

The tsunami was triggered by a 7.7-magnitude undersea earthquake off the south coast of Java island, where no early warning system had yet been put in place and many residents had no inkling of the tragedy to come.

That's a lot of death and destruction in the Middle East. We don't need more in Syria and Iran.

Bushco: Always Looking Out For Their Buddies

Imagine this. Bushco draws up legislation to "improve" medical care and viola! Big pharma gets a huge windfall. Unexpected consequence I assume.
The pharmaceutical industry is beginning to reap a windfall from a surprisingly lucrative niche market: drugs for poor people.

And analysts expect the benefits to show up in many of the quarterly financial results that drug makers will begin posting this week.

The windfall, which by some estimates could be $2 billion or more this year, is a result of the transfer of millions of low-income people into the new Medicare Part D drug program that went into effect in January. Under that program, as it turns out, the prices paid by insurers, and eventually the taxpayer, for the medications given to those transferred are likely to be higher than what was paid under the federal-state Medicaid programs for the poor.

The truth is, I wanna just slap that face every time I see it.

(read more)

Camp Casey Moving

Just a reminder Camp Casey will move to the Washington Mall in September. Click this link if you want to participate.

The Anonymous Liberal: A Quick Guide to the Plame Civil Suit

Lebanon: Eye Witness

This guy is one lucky son-of-a-bitch. Somehow he survives in the midst of all the devastation.
There is a real sense of panic here among people. The foreigners and young people who have never experienced war are freaked out. And the Lebanese who lived through the civil war and remember it well are freaked out. I seem to be the only one walking around, noting the closed stores and subdued traffic and thinking, “hm, compared to Baghdad, this isn’t so bad.”

I think I was in Iraq too long.

(read more)

Monday, July 17, 2006

So Sorry. Will Post When Possible

I've had multiple problems limiting my posting ability. Perhaps all will be fine soon.

Why Can't I Just Relax?

I have to disagree.
can't get no worse...

It always does.

(read more)

Update Your Virus Protection

Just a friendly reminder. This is a major problem and you're playing with fire if you get lazy.
A survey by Harris Interactive and sponsored by antivirus developer Eset Software found that while most home computer owners have antivirus software, the majority are not updating it because the update process is too clumsy and intrusive.

In a survey of 2,097 adult computer users ages 18 or older, 88 percent had an antivirus program, but 65 percent have postponed updating their antivirus program. The end result was 42 percent of the surveyed had suffered some form of malware infection as a result.

(read more)

Lebanon Accepts One Of Israel's Demands

But can they do it? We'll have to wait and see. At least it's movement of a non-military type.
Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora said his country was “a disaster zone” and he was ready to accept one of Israel’s central demands and extend the national Government’s authority to the border area with Israel that are controlled by Hezbollah.

“It’s a good plan,” said a senior Israeli diplomatic official. “The question is whether he has the ability to implement it.”

(read more)

Must Read IMHO

A good post over at Wiskey Bar. Just a snippet:
The Israelis are too close to what they really want (full and total control of the land and resources between the Jordan and the sea) and the Palestinians are too far away from what they really want (for the Jews to go back where they came from) for there to be any basis for meaningful negotiations. Not without a disinterested outside party to crack skulls on both sides if and when necessary.

The problem is that all strategies for peace rest on the simple proposition that the Israelis and the Palestinians both wage war with certain policy goals in mind -- and that the key to getting them to stop fighting is to make them (particularly the Palestinians) understand that they can achieve those goals more successfully through negotiations.

(read more)

Its All About The Oil

Now this should come as no shock to anyone. Amid massive chaos there's bound to be corruption. I wouldn't be at all surprised to find out upon further investigation that US companies have pretty dirty hands in this.
U.S. Comptroller General David M. Walker told Congress last week that "massive corruption" and "a lot of theft going on" in Iraq's government-controlled oil industry is hampering the country's ability to govern itself.

"It took me about, you know, a second and a half to realize that, obviously, there was massive corruption going on, because the numbers just didn't add up," Walker said, referring to a trip he took to Iraq this year in which he was shown figures on oil production and revenue.

Walker, who heads the Government Accountability Office, made his remarks at a House Government Reform subcommittee meeting last Tuesday called to examine implementation of the Bush administration's 2005 "National Strategy for Victory in Iraq." He said one of the failures of the U.S. program was related to the prewar assumption that Iraq would be able to pay for its reconstruction "in large part through oil revenues."

He said about 10 percent of Iraq's refined fuels and 30 percent of its imported fuels are being stolen, in part because the subsidized Iraqi price of gasoline, about 44 cents a gallon, is less than half the regional price of 90 cents a gallon. "That provides a tremendous incentive to be able to steal these fuels and be able to sell them for whatever purposes, corruption or otherwise," Walker said. [emphasis mine]

And don't you just love the gas prices over there compared to the US? Of course you could get blown to pieces getting that gas or shot by the US coalition if you drive in the wrong area. No liesurely Sunday drives for Iraqis even if they could afford it.

Sorry, but I forgot the link earlier.

Dammit All To Hell

This is reality in Lebanon.
“The planes scared my children,” Nanou said as he waved his hands around the family’s new quarters in a Beirut school.

One of his children lay on a foam mattress without moving, staring straight up.

“My 3-year-old is in shock and can’t walk.” [emphasis mine]

Christopher's posts from the Middle East are always interesting although disturbing. Right now he's in Beirut.

One result of the Iraq war...

...and as a mother, I cannot bear to look into the eyes of this Iraqi child knowing that the leaders of my country WANTED this war, so they could line the pockets of their corporate Swines. Who is protecting the Iraqi children? Who! And how the hell can a woman in this country who calls herself a republican or a democrat look at this child's face and eyes and say, "You deserved it!". How?!!? How is it possible that after years of being a compassionnate country (who would come to the aid of others across this beautiful planet) our nation is now filled with people who can look at a child suffering and be proud of it? It is so incredibly infuriating and sad.