Friday, December 29, 2006
Watch this closely. It may show what is to come
In a move which threatens the First Amendment rights of journalists, the U.S. Army has subpoenaed journalist Sarah Olson to testify at the January 4 pre-trial hearing in the court-martial of Lt. Ehren Watada. The Army placed another journalist, Dahr Jamail, on the prosecution witness list.
Both journalists are fighting back, saying the Army’s attempt to compel their participation in the court-martial threatens press freedom and chills free speech.
U.S. Army 1st Lt. Ehren Watada became the first commissioned officer to refuse his orders to deploy to Iraq on June 22, 2006. In his upcoming February court-martial Lt. Watada faces one charge of missing troop movement, and four counts of conduct unbecoming an officer. Each of the later four charges relates to Lt. Watada’s public explanations of his refusal to deploy to Iraq. If convicted of all charges Lt. Watada faces six years in prison, four of which would be for speaking to the press.
Independent journalist Sarah Olson interviewed Lt. Watada last May. The Army says statements Watada made during Olson’s interview constitute one charge of conduct unbecoming an officer, and wants Olson to verify those statements in a military court. Olson says: “It’s my job to report the news, not to participate in a government prosecution. Testifying against my source would turn the press into an investigative tool of the government and chill dissenting voices in the United States.”
Independent journalist Dahr Jamail reported on Lt. Watada’s address to the Veterans for Peace convention last August. The Army says it wants him to authenticate his reporting of the event. Jamail says: “I don’t believe that reporters should be put in the position of having to participate in a prosecution. This is particularly poignant in this case, where journalists would be used to build a case against free speech for military personnel.”
Ehren Watada is probably guilty of all the charges brought against him. He would most likely admit so, but the prosecutors have to find another source of information to convict him. Trashing the First Amendment ain't an option.
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Bush is gay?
Lawyer Ends Up Dead After Taking On Rove
Sometimes a tinfoil hat seems appropriate attire.
It’s fishy as hell.
Paul Sanford, a prominent Aptos, California, attorney, who accused Karl Rove of treason in the Plame outing case, took a leap from the Embassy Suites Hotel in Monterey Bay on Christmas Eve. Police describe it as “probable” suicide, even though it appears Sanford was not depressed.
“Friends and associates expressed disbelief at the news of Sanford’s death and that it was ruled a suicide, saying Sanford seemed happy and had made many plans for this week and in coming months. [Business associate and friend Shawn Mills] said he and Sanford recently decided to open a shared law office to serve Monterey and Santa Cruz counties, something Sanford was looking forward to doing,” reports the Monterey Herald. “Mills said he had spoken to Sanford’s wife, Paula, and that she also was in shock. He said Sanford, a father of two, was a devoted family man.” Sanford “would never have intentionally put his family through that trauma. Something’s not right, it doesn’t make sense.”
A useful link.
I'm no expert on depression, but I've suffered it and known some people who were suicidal. The complete absence of symptoms or indications of depression make this man's death very suspicious.
This Is Disgusting
Christmas is past. You've cleaned up the wrapping paper and settled down to enjoy your new toys, but for millions of Americans its quite different and next year you could be one of them.
Doubled and tripled up in cramped studios. Scrunched into uninsulated garages disingenuously dubbed "family apartments." Sneaking a few hours of sleep between shifts cleaning hotel rooms and slinging fast food. The realities of poverty in America are far from our minds as we primp for our neighbors' New Year's party or watch our kids play with their new Nintendo Wiis. The sobering truth just doesn't carve a place in polite conversations over celebratory champagne.
But as a new report by the Brookings Institution shows, poverty is now increasingly a major problem on the brightly lit lanes of our nation's suburbs, not just in the urban areas. For the first time ever, there are now more people living in poverty in America's suburbs than in her cities - 1 million more - while, at the same time, the poverty rate nationwide has leveled off at 12.6 percent after increasing each year for a decade. That poverty bleeding was somewhat staunched throughout California, with the metro regions of Los Angeles, Riverside, Fresno, San Diego and Stockton among only a handful nationwide to boast an actual decrease in poverty rates since 1999. But the Bay Area went in the opposite direction.
Nearly 1 in 11 people in Bay Area suburbs are living in poverty - an increase of 15 percent since 1999. The poverty rate is still higher in the large cities (18.8 percent) than it is in the suburbs (9.4 percent) but the trend toward suburban poverty is accelerating. For families living in poverty, the financial struggles go far beyond whether they can afford the hot, new, gotta-have gadget for their kid this Christmas. They can't. Essentials - food, rent, clothes - are hard enough to afford. Throw in to the mix a balky, too-old car they need to get to work, and this Winter Wonderland is no such thing.
Did that catch your eye? The part about nearly 1 in 11 people in the Bay Area suburbs are living in poverty? That's the disgusting part.
Yeah, the streets are paved with gold.
When is disbanded not disbanded?
Saddam Hussein’s Baath Party threatened Wednesday to retaliate if the ousted Iraqi leader is executed, warning in an Internet posting it would target U.S. interests anywhere. The statement appeared on a Web site known to represent the party, which was disbanded after U.S.-led forces overthrew Saddam in 2003. The site is believed to be run from Yemen, where several exiled Baathists are based.
(via True Blue Liberal)
Very informative post...no, not this one
To put it another way, our system attributes to people in their capacity as voters the very truth-detection skills that it assumes they do not have in their capacity as consumers.
That is, we have laws to protect the public from lying sellers, but not lying politicians.
We live in an era where the outcomes of elections often hinge on the effectiveness of political advertising. For reasons I discussed in my previous post, however, it is simply not feasible (or advisable) to regulate the truthfulness of political advertising in the same way we regulate the truthfulness of commercial advertising.
But that doesn’t mean we have to resign ourselves to a system that actually encourages deceptive political advertising.
Quote of the day
Am in the dark here...well not literally
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
The only one Bush listens to...SPIIDERWEB™
The Bush administration has decided to propose listing the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, putting the U.S. government on record as saying that global warming could drive one of the world's most recognizable animals out of existence.
The administration's proposal -- which was described by an Interior Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity -- stems from the fact that rising temperatures in the Arctic are shrinking the sea ice that polar bears need for hunting. The official insisted on anonymity because the department will submit the proposal today for publication in the Federal Register, after which it will be subject to public comment for 90 days.
But just maybe? Then again maybe he does?
Hey, I report, you decide.
Must Read IMHO
A little different take on the British attack on the Iraq jail
Hundreds of British and Iraqi soldiers assaulted a police station in the southern city of Basra on Monday, killing seven gunmen, rescuing 127 prisoners from what the British said was almost certain execution and ultimately reducing the facility to rubble.
More than 800 British soldiers, supported by five Challenger tanks and roughly 40 Warrior fighting vehicles, began their assault at 2 a.m. on Monday. They were aided by 600 Iraqi soldiers.
So this is the story, huh? It took 5 tanks, approximately 40 fighting vehicles and 1400 troops to kill seven gunmen.
I'm all for competition, but how do you lose with 200 to 1 odds, plus tanks and fighting vehicles? At least they didn't need an air-strike too.
Is that a little too snarky?
Some good news
The majestic symbol of America is no longer in danger.
Seven years after the U.S. government moved to take the bald eagle off the endangered species list, the Bush administration intends to complete the step by February, prodded by a frustrated libertarian property owner in Minnesota.
The delisting, supported by mainstream environmental groups, would represent a formal declaration that the eagle population has sufficiently rebounded, increasing more than 15-fold since its 1963 nadir to more than 7,000 nesting pairs.
The next challenge is to ensure the national symbol's continued protection.
"By February 16th, the bald eagle will be delisted," said Marshall Jones, deputy director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. "We'll be clear so people won't think, 'It's open season on bald eagles.' No way."
The smoking gun Bush needs to justify an attack on Iran?
The American military said Tuesday that it had credible evidence linking Iranians and their Iraqi associates, detained here in raids last week, to criminal activities, including attacks against American forces. Evidence also emerged that some detainees had been involved in shipments of weapons to illegal armed groups in Iraq.
In its first official confirmation of last week’s raids, the military said it had confiscated maps, videos, photographs and documents in one of the raids on a site in Baghdad. The military confirmed the arrests of five Iranians, and said three of them had been released.
The Bush administration has described the two Iranians still being held Tuesday night as senior military officials. Maj. Gen. William Caldwell IV, the chief spokesman for the American command, said the military, in the raid, had “gathered specific intelligence from highly credible sources that linked individuals and locations with criminal activities against Iraqi civilians, security forces and coalition force personnel.”
Let's see, primarily Saudis attacked Americans on 9/11, but Bush invaded Afghanistan. Then he invaded Iraq just to make sure he got 'em all. Now he has evidence Iranians have attacked Iraqi civilians so its probably OK to attack Iran. Maybe its just me, but all this logic is going right over my head.
Another death to report
Again, as concerned James Brown, I'm sorry if this is the first you've heard of this.
Gerald R. Ford, who picked up the pieces of Richard Nixon's scandal-shattered White House as the 38th president and the only one never elected to nationwide office, has died. He was 93.
"My family joins me in sharing the difficult news that Gerald Ford, our beloved husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather has passed away at 93 years of age," former first lady Betty Ford said in a brief statement issued from her husband's office in Rancho Mirage. "His life was filled with love of God, his family and his country."
He died at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday at his home in Rancho Mirage, about 130 miles east of Los Angeles, his office said in a statement. No cause of death was released. Funeral arrangements were to be announced Wednesday.
Ford had battled pneumonia in January 2006 and underwent two heart treatments — including an angioplasty and a pacemaker implant — in August at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
Maybe I do believe in Christmas afterall
I was very fortunate to get two very nice and very unexpected Christmas gifts this year.
Both Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast (while guest posting at Firedoglake) and Skippy at Skippy the Bush Kangaroo gave me links that jacked up the visits to my site many times over.
I'm grateful to both of them and grateful for all the people who came here to sample my offerings. May many of the new visitors return. I'm always putting scraps out there for you.
I think I'll survive my visit to wingnutia, but its too soon to tell
It had a link to the Captains Quarters and I followed it. I won't put the link here. You're welcome.
This is the part that caught my eye because it is so wrong. It also was at the Dao Report so I didn't have to visit the actual winger site, but didn't know that.
I agree with Michael van der Galien at TMV -- this should prompt us to pay more attention to Africa, at least in terms of building stronger democracies where we can. At one point, this was the thrust of the so-called neocon strategy: ending terror by ensuring the liberation of people from oppression.
1) You don't build democracies. They are organic or they just don't work. When will the wingers get that through their thick skulls.
2) "...the so-called neocon strategy"? Why so-called? It was and is their strategy. It isn't a hypothetical.
3) They believe liberation of people from oppression will end terror. They may be right, but liberation ≠ democracy necessarily.
Damn I never thought of this before
Bush fucks America.
Congress investigates him.
Perhaps they bring criminal charges or impeach him.
Americans pick up the tab for his defense!
Is that beyond bizarre? Just asking.
Maybe the Democrats should go after his ass after he leaves office.
Nukular materials, the new crack cocaine
Annual incidents of trafficking and mishandling of nuclear and other radioactive material reported to U.S. intelligence officials have more than doubled since the early 1990s, says the director of domestic nuclear detection at the Department of Homeland Security.
Also up: scams in which fake or non-existent nuclear or radioactive material is offered for sale, often online, says Vayl Oxford, nuclear detection director at the department.
"We sense that people have recognized the value of nuclear material as a useful way of making money," Oxford said. "Nuclear material is becoming a marketable commodity."
And all this lovely activity happened while who was making the world safer? Just asking.
Yeah I know, no real cause and affect there, but I just have to dump on Bush whenever I see an opening. Otherwise I have to resort to killing puppies, forcing teenagers to get abortions and burning the flag. Come to think of it, where did I put that flag? And the matches?
The falling dollar
A little logo love
Warriors breed dontcha know
I want to be one of the first to say I hope to hell Jimmy doesn't have to pay for his father's opinions.
As the Iraq Study Group issued its long-awaited report on the war, declaring that the United States should not dispatch more troops, Sen. John McCain reacted with his long-held and contrary view: It will take more boots on the ground, or the nation faces "sooner or later, our defeat in Iraq."
Then the Arizona Republican discreetly flew to San Diego, where the next day, Dec. 8, he sat under a hot sun to watch a skinny 18-year-old in military-issue glasses graduate from boot camp and become a Marine. His son Jimmy.
Quite interesting juxtaposition of items
For growing numbers of international business travelers, visa and customs regulations are making trips to the U.S. a thing of the past.
Companies say U.S. rules have become so onerous in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks that it's often simpler to meet customers, business partners and employees elsewhere. Exxon Mobil Corp. has resorted to customer meetings in a London branch office; Ingersoll-Rand Co. says it took one of its Indian engineers three 18-hour trips to get his U.S. visa.
Problems created by the entry requirements have become so evident that the man who initially helped enforce them -- Tom Ridge, the first U.S. secretary of Homeland Security -- is now working with a business group to change them.
Ah, but there is another path.
The armed forces, already struggling to meet recruiting goals, are considering expanding the number of noncitizens in the ranks -- including disputed proposals to open recruiting stations overseas and putting more immigrants on a faster track to US citizenship if they volunteer -- according to Pentagon officials.
Foreign citizens serving in the US military is a highly charged issue, which could expose the Pentagon to criticism that it is essentially using mercenaries to defend the country. Other analysts voice concern that a large contingent of noncitizens under arms could jeopardize national security or reflect badly on Americans' willingness to serve in uniform.
Oh yes, as always, Muslims need not apply.
Yes, I'm attempting to be facetious.
For those who need a good laugh
Read about Steve's excursions into the world of food which shouldn't be eaten. And I mean even by a dog which Steve isn't.
Must Read IMHO
Again, it would be a mistake to dismiss the ISG Report because it had no direct impact on Bush policy. It doesn’t really matter that they proposed a weak withdrawal with a division-sized loophole because it would never he implemented anyway. It doesn’t have to, it just has to move the Window enough to make withdrawal talk cool and course staying (especially escalation) very uncool. [link in original]
(via Balloon Juice)
This isn't working out as planned
In an editorial on about.com discussing the ineffectiveness of the UN and sanctions and the likely responses of the US and Israel, "albaniach" had posted the following comment, which I think deserves a wider hearing:
Just to put this all into perspective,
Countries attacked or invaded by Iran since WW2:
Countries attacked or invaded or by Israel since WW2:
Countries Attacked by US supported terrorists or Invaded by the USA:
A reasonable person might suggest a better start on the problem might be made by flattening Washington and Tel Aviv.
Posted by: John Caruso at December 26, 2006 12:06 PM
I believe the list for the US is a bit short. I notice Cuba is missing for instance.
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
The water level in the middle reaches of China's longest river, the Yangtze, hit a record low on Tuesday, said local hydrology authorities.
The water level of the Jiujiang section of the river in east China's Jiangxi province was 8.53 meters, 1.87 meters lower than normal for the time of year and was falling at a rate of five to ten centimeters each day, said the Jiujiang Hydrology Bureau.
There are many stories. Just look here and here and
Oh yeah, you can check out the island that no longer exists.
I could add many such links, but they all point to the inevitable conclusion. We're destroying our home.
Saddam Hussein death sentence ratified
A panel of Iraqi judges has upheld the death sentence passed against Saddam Hussein, in a decision that could see the former dictator hanged within 30 days.
"The appeals court has ratified the sentence of the execution of Saddam," Judge Raed Jouhi told AFP.
Under Iraqi law a death sentence, once confirmed at appeal, should be carried out within a month.
Mr Jouhi would not confirm this would be the case, however, saying that this was a matter for "the executive".
In theory, Iraq's head of state President Jalal Talabani must ratify all capital sentences, but he has previously said he would leave such a job to his vice presidents because of his personal opposition to the death penalty.
Saddam was sentenced to death in November for his role in the execution of 148 Shiites as part of a revenge campaign launched after an assassination attempt against him in the town of Dujail in 1982.
Must Read IMHO
Chapter 1 of Circuit Judge Robert H. Dierker Jr.’s book, “The Tyranny of Tolerance: A Sitting Judge Breaks the Code of Silence to Expose the Liberal Judicial Assault,” has circulated via e-mail since last month and been widely read in legal circles, lawyers and judges say.
The sentiments expressed in that chapter, which frequently uses the term “femifascists” and is titled “The Cloud Cuckooland of Radical Feminism,” have already prompted a complaint with the state body that can reprimand or remove judges.
Other judges and lawyers have said that Dierker may have violated a state rule against a judge using his or her position for personal profit. One judge said it would be surprising if Dierker was not removed, calling the book “professional suicide.”
(read more if you can)
Quote of the day
This Should Anger You
Jesus H Christ on a zebra, is there anything these asses won't do to turn the US into a police state? Whatever happened to innocent, as in not guilty, until proven guilty.
The Justice Department is building a massive database that allows state and local police officers around the country to search millions of case files from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal law enforcement agencies, according to Justice officials.
The system, known as "OneDOJ," already holds approximately 1 million case records and is projected to triple in size over the next three years, Justice officials said. The files include investigative reports, criminal-history information, details of offenses, and the names, addresses and other information of criminal suspects or targets, officials said.
The database is billed by its supporters as a much-needed step toward better information-sharing with local law enforcement agencies, which have long complained about a lack of cooperation from the federal government.
But civil-liberties and privacy advocates say the scale and contents of such a database raise immediate privacy and civil rights concerns, in part because tens of thousands of local police officers could gain access to personal details about people who have not been arrested or charged with crimes.
Let us now return to the Bill of Rights for a little refresher.
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Algeria becomes sixth biggest oil provider of U.S.
Algeria has become the sixth biggest oil provider of the United States during the first three quarters in 2006, with a daily export of 649,000 barrels, local media have reported.
The worth of Algerian oil exports to U.S. has reached 9.14 billion dollars from January to September, representing 22. 82 percent of the country's total oil exports, the report said on Monday.
In the period, the total volume of U.S. oil imports has reached 12,496 million barrels per day, nearly one quarter of the world oil production.
Apart from Algeria, Canada, Mexico and Saudi Arabia are also major oil suppliers of the United States, representing respectively 16.9 percent, 12.1 percent and 11.7 percent of U.S.total oil imports.
Bush trying to recruit more terrorists?
It appears so if this guy's analysis is accurate. He is talking about the fighting going on in Somalia. Its a good refresher course on what its all about there.
The Bush administration views this as another battle in the global war on terrorism. But while US officials have claimed that Al-Qaeda-like fighters are now in Somalia and that Islamist forces are planning to establish a Taliban-like state, it is far from clear whether this assertion is true. Although there are undoubtedly some members of Al-Qaeda and other radical Muslim groups fighting with the Islamists, it remains uncertain how much influence they actually have.
Several articles that I've read indicate that there are both extreme and moderate factions within the ranks of the Islamists. While the goal of the Islamist forces is the establishment of an Islamic state, it would likely not be nearly as radical as Afghanistan under the Taliban. Some prominent Islamist leaders, in fact, such as the moderate cleric Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, have already expressed their willingness to engage with the West. As The Economist pointed out in a recent article, the Islamists "are not uniformly extreme."The comparison to the Taliban, though superficially attractive, is somewhat misleading. Some elements are abhorrent, ordering rough justice, summary execution of criminals and issuing severe religious decrees. But for the moment they are a minority.
Furthermore, since the dominance of the Islamists in Somalia is looking increasingly inevitable, the Bush administration should make the best of it. Even with direct American aid to the anti-Islamist forces, it seems unlikely that the Somali government will ever regain control of the country. While the Bush administration has pursued a strategy of "anyone but the Islamists," (first through aid to warlords and now through tacit support for Somali and Ethiopian forces) this is the wrong approach. The US, along with its European allies, should realize that the war is unwinnable and try instead to reach a power-sharing deal between members of Somalia's Baidoa-based government and the Islamists. By using our influence to negotiate a peace agreement between the two sides, we could encourage the formation of a more moderate government that respects human rights.
While allowing a non-elected government to come to power in Somalia is far from ideal, the alternative is much worse. Continued American support for the disliked Somali government will only increase the popularity of the Islamist groups and further their efforts to gain control of the country. Moreover, American attempts to stabilize the Somali government may lead to a broader and more deadly regional war as Ethiopia, Eritrea, and other regional powers enter the conflict.
Instead, we should cut our losses, negotiate with the Islamists, and make the best of the situation. [links in original] [emphasis mine]
Does any of that sound at all familiar? Just asking.
Update: The guy may be right.
As fighting between a Muslim militia in Somalia and an Ethiopian intervention force has intensified over the past few days, Western diplomats and experts warned that U.S. policy in the Horn of Africa — intended to curb Islamic radicalism — may not only be fueling this newest conflict, but also may be making it easier for al-Qaida to gain a foothold in the strategic region.
The number of deaths connected with the WTC attack on 9/11 was finally set at 2752.
The number of deaths connected with the Pentagon attack was finally set at 189.
The number of deaths from the airliner crash on 9/11 was finally set at 44.
So the total for the WTC and Pentagon come to 2941.
And the grand total for all 9/11 attacks is 2985.
The deaths of US troops in Iraq alone, not counting Afghanistan, are more than 2975 as of 25 December, 2006.
So Bush is responsible for as many deaths as the WTC and Pentagon attacks combined and he's within 10 body bags of exceeding all 3 attacks on 9/11.
And that's ignoring all the Iraqis and Afghans who've generously given their lives for Bush's illegal invasions and occupations.
When is enough enough? Just asking.
Oh the irony
When the chips are down, some just want out of the game.
Dr. Michael DeBakey says he was reluctant to undergo the very heart operation he pioneered because, at his age, he feared it might leave him mentally or physically crippled, if he survived it.
"I'd rather die," he told The New York Times in a rare interview for its Monday editions.
OK, here's the good part of the story. Don't wanna leave you hanging.
Nearly a year later, DeBakey, 98, is the oldest survivor of the operation he developed to repair a damaged aorta, the main artery from the heart. He is back to working nearly full days and walks increasingly longer distances, but he mainly gets around with a motorized scooter.
"It is a miracle," DeBakey said. "I really should not be here."
There are things I don't even want to think about
12,000 Iraqi Policemen Killed Since 2003
Some 12,000 Iraqi policemen have been killed since the ouster of Saddam Hussein, the country's interior minister said Sunday, as clashes, a suicide bomber and weekend explosions killed more than a dozen Iraqi officers and six American soldiers.
At a news conference in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone, Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said despite the thousands of police deaths "when we call for new recruits, they come by the hundreds and by the thousands." [emphasis mine]
Why do Bush and GOP Congress critters hate America's children?
Personally, I'm surprised a study like this wasn't already under way, but that could just be me.
In private conversations across the country this holiday break, pediatricians are buttonholing their congressmen and making a heartfelt plea: Save the National Children's Study.
This is the latest attempt to rescue the most important study of children's health and the environment in the United States.
Hundreds of scientists have helped plan the project since 2000. The scope is enormous: Researchers are set to track 100,000 children from birth to age 21, collecting genetic material and blood samples and recording kids' exposure to everything from pesticides to chemicals and air pollution. Enrollment activities were scheduled to begin in 2007.
But earlier this year, President Bush's proposed budget called for terminating the $2.7 billion study instead of allocating the $69 million requested for fiscal 2007. "The issue is really an issue of prioritization" of limited research money, Elias Zerhouni, director of the National Institutes of Health, told a Senate hearing in May.
The administration's move provoked an outcry, and the House and Senate appropriations committees responded by affirming strong support. But neither committee set aside new funding for the National Children's Study, leaving the project's future in limbo.
What's the problem? They only need $69 million. Hell, that'll buy Bush just one two-seat EA-18G Growler electronic warfare platform ($66 million). Can't they give up one damn plane for the kids?
We need more sex education in schools
Teen chick #1: So, like, how come you always hear about how they do tests and stuff to find out who babies' dads are, but you never hear about dads checking who the mother is?
Teen chick #2: I guess the dads just never care that much.
Overheard by: please stop talking
(via Overheard in New York)
Very interesting representative information
The new Census Bureau 2006 state population estimates are out and the numbers offer some insight into the post-2010 Census reapportionment of congressional seats. While it’s still too early to predict exactly which states are gainers and losers, a few things are already clear.
According to an analysis by Polidata, a political data consulting firm, seven states are all but certain to lose at least one seat: Iowa, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Another six states are all but certain to gain at least one seat: Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, Texas and Utah.
A few other interesting projections from Polidata: Texas could pick up as many as 4 congressional seats; New York and Ohio could lose 2 seats. California, for the first time since statehood, may not pick up any seats.
Polidata’s Clark Bensen also observes that Florida (currently with 25 seats) is now poised to replace New York (29 seats) as the third most populous state – and that both states might end up with 27-member delegations when the dust settles after reapportionment.
Do you hear what I hear?
Actually its more like do you NOT hear what I DON'T hear?
The link is to a site giving times in major cities around the world. You will notice in many cities its 26 December. In the others it is late in the day on 25 December.
My point? I have one ya know. Be patient.
Where were all the terrorist attacks everyone warned about? Huh?
Guess they have to change their game plan and start saying New Years is when the attacks will come. In reality, the only attacks on most people will come in the form of alcohol.
This is rich. Iran is "meddling" and the US isn't?
The Bush administration said on Monday the arrest in
Iraq of alleged Iranian provocateurs, including two diplomats, underscored U.S. concerns about "meddling" amid rising U.S.-Iranian strains.
Iran-US relations are strained because of Bush's "meddling".
A different view of Oxfam
By the bridge at Ulee-Lheue, the Ground Zero of the tsunami where the giant wave smashed into Banda Aceh and made the city look like a nuclear wasteland, stands the shell of a ruined house.
It has become an icon of the destruction, partly because of its location and partly because of the graffiti that have been painted on its cream walls.
The first, days after the deluge, defiantly proclaimed the owner still alive against all the odds. Later a more philosophical admonition, "Remember we will all die", followed. The most recent, in dark blue paint, alleges: "Oxfam bandit".
According to Ian Small, the charity’s senior programme manager for Aceh and Nias, the inscription was the work of a single disgruntled individual, who believed he had been promised a cash grant by one of its staff in a livelihood programme later transferred to another agency. "We weren’t able to communicate with that individual," he said.
But Faisal Hariandi, head of a barracks where 150 people live a few yards away from the house, said: "Oxfam have made a lot of promises but it hasn’t come. They always ask people to have meetings, so we lost patience and we protest.
At the time of the disaster, the overwhelming sentiment among the Acehnese victims was to accept their fate. Comments along the lines of "If people want to help we will be grateful and say thank you, if they do not that is our destiny" were ubiquitous.
But when $7 billion are pledged to a devastated province, and hundreds of aid agencies establish themselves in the area, expectations are inevitably created. Those who feel the wave of benevolence has passed them by have become more critical.
Down the road from Ulee-Lheue, in Deah Geulempang, Oxfam quickly built scores of semi-permanent houses, but time has taken its toll on the structures.
Muktar Rachmani, 63, the oldest survivor in the village, said: "Oxfam built quite fast in the early days after the tsunami so the people just accepted it at that time. We feel embarrassed to live in that house and disappointed because other houses are much better. "If it rains the water will come in - the wind takes the water into the house. They said they have a plan to rebuild the house better. It’s been a while now and nothing has happened.
"Some of the NGOs fight each other to claim a village is occupied by them, but then build something bad and other NGOs cannot come in and build something better because that NGO has occupied it."
The fact is, everyone wants to help those in need...initially, but when it gets messy or too much time passes (think NOLA), they really don't give a shit. Aceh province is now suffering from flooding from heavy rains and it hasn't recovered from the tsunami.
Monday, December 25, 2006
The SPIIDERWEB™ person of the year award
This is a no-brainer. It has to be George Walker Bush. In keeping with TIME magazine's tradition of naming people who were positive influences or negative, he qualifies.
It can't be disputed, among intelligent people, no one else in the last year had a greater impact on the world.
George Walker Bush's actions and policies will change the makeup of the world for generations to come. Especially this is so in the US and Mid-East.
Thousands of American people will suffer for years because family and friends were sacrificed for Bush's hubris.
NKorea and Iran may well have nukular weapons soon as may Japan. Welcome to the new cold war.
None of this may matter because Bush has rejected the evidence of global warming and we may have much larger problems to worry about.
And I've not even bothered to remind you he is passing on his exorbitant spending to you, your children and grandchildren if not your great-grandchildren.
On top of all of this he has trashed the Constitution, Bill of Rights and personal privacy.
By torturing prisoners (forget that enemy combatant shit), he's alienated most of the countries of the world and humiliated the US. He's also guaranteed new legions of terrorists who want to harm the US and any country aligned with her.
Would all of these actions fly as platform planks in a bid for office? Just asking.
BUSH, YOU ARE NOT LISTENING, hello?
A CNN opinion poll conducted in mid-December showed only 11 percent of respondents supported the plan of boosting the US contingent in Iraq.
That is, if my math is correct, 89% opposed to your "plan". I put plan in parens because it isn't really a plan. Its an action without a plan attached. Sort of like the initial invasion of Iraq.
Most outrageous comments of 2006
No I didn't compile them. I'm lazy, remember? But Media Matters did.
How extreme were conservative commentators in their remarks this year? How about calls to nuke the Middle East and an allegation that a "gay ... mafia" used the congressional page program as its own "personal preserve." Right-wing rhetoric documented by Media Matters for America included the nonsensical (including Rush Limbaugh's claim that America's "obesity crisis" is caused by, among other things, our failure to "teach [the poor] how to butcher a -- slaughter a cow to get the butter, we gave them the butter"), the offensive (such as right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel's question about "Barack Hussein Obama": is he "a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?"), and the simply bizarre (such as William A. Donohue's claim that some Hollywood stars would "sodomize their own mother in a movie"). Since there were so many outrageous statements, we included a list of honorable mentions along with the top 11, which, if not for Ann Coulter, we might have limited to 10.
Of course including Ann Coulter and Rush Limpbaugh probably made it nearly impossible to finalize this list.
Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast has a good catch
Check out her take on the Pope's Christmas address.
The cartoon is a hint. Wink. Wink. Nudge. Nudge.
Curious about the name of this site?
Well, I'm gonna bore you with the story anyway. Think of it as a Christmas gift you needn't bother returning. In fact you couldn't return it if you wanted to.
Think of a spider who has spun a web. It sits in the center and waits. Waits for hours in anticipation of a ripple somewhere on the web. It then runs out to the source of the ripple to see if its just flotsam and jetsam or something it can sink its fangs into. If it does prove to be "meaty", the spider spins it in silk and preserves it. The spider can then devour it at leisure.
Fortunately, unlike your garden variety spider, I share the tasty silk preserved items I've discovered. That's the difference between a spider and a SPIIDER.
Wish to hell I could figure out how to get the above graphic on this site as a masthead, but how eludes me.
So much for Iraq sovereignty
US forces have detained two Iranians who were invited to Iraq by President Jalal Talabani as part of an agreement to build better security links between the countries, according to an Iraqi spokesman.
"Two people who were invited by the president to Iraq have now been apprehended by the Americans, and the president is unhappy with the arrests," Hiwa Osman, President Talabani's media adviser, told AFP.
"The invitation was within the framework of an agreement between Iran and Iraq to improve the security situation," he added.
Talabani's confirmation of the arrests came after the New York Times, citing senior US officials, reported that a total of four Iranians were arrested by US forces in Iraq last week on suspicion of planning attacks on Iraqi troops.
A special Christmas treat
A nice all chocolate cubist Christmas tree.
Christmas Cat Blogging
I think that's two times in a row I've actually posted a cat pic when cat blogging.
(more cat pix)
Try if you can
She arrived in Los Angeles with $600 in borrowed cash, a failing heart and arthritis in both knees. She spoke no English. She had not seen her firstborn son, Tuan, in the 20 years since he fled Vietnam for the United States as a teenager.
Grab some tissues first before clicking the link.
'Godfather of Soul' James Brown Dies
(AP Photo / Dita Alangkara)
If you haven't heard yet, I'm sorry to have to be the one to tell you.
James Brown (Wikipedia), the dynamic, pompadoured "Godfather of Soul," whose rasping vocals and revolutionary rhythms made him a founder of rap, funk and disco as well, died early Monday, his agent said. He was 73.
Brown was hospitalized with pneumonia at Emory Crawford Long Hospital on Sunday and died around 1:45 a.m. Monday, said his agent, Frank Copsidas of Intrigue Music. Longtime friend Charles Bobbit was by his side, he said.
The War On Christmas™
And I mean war and we be packin'.
Not really a must read, but certainly many ideas to discuss
A 'Limp Dick' is an expression that I learned while serving in the Army cavalry back in the 1980s, it is generally applied to someone that is seen as ''impotent,'' in daily life, a non force, or someone that isn't taken seriously by others, thus the application to the US' squirrelly President
This Can't Be Good
This is what Bush has brought to the world. He's pushed Japan to re-write its pacifist constitution and now they're investigating nukular warhead development.
The Japanese government recently looked into the possibility of developing nuclear warhead, a news report said Monday, citing an internal government document
International Herald Tribune (AP) - TOKYO: The Japanese daily Sankei reported that experts at government organizations concluded that it would be impossible for Japan to develop nuclear weapons within a year or two, and that it would take at least three to five years to make a prototype nuclear warhead.
The experts also estimated that Japan would need to spend about 200 billion yen (US$1.68 billion; €1.27 billion) to 300 billion yen (US$2.52 billion; €1.91 billion) and mobilize several hundred engineers to produce a prototype nuclear warhead, according to Sankei.
The experts did not say whether Japan should develop nuclear weapons, according to the summary of the document titled "On the Possibility of Developing Nuclear Weapons Domestically," dated Sept. 20 and carried by the paper.
The Rising Prospect Of Japan Remilitarization
US Pressures Japan to Change Its Pacifist Constitution to Support Military Action Againstafghanistan (sic)
Addendum: I was remiss for not explicitly spelling out why Bush would want Japan to militarize. Just think US military-industrial complex. At least in the short term, until Toyota, Mitsubishi, Kawasaki, Fuji, Tsuji and other Japanese manufacturers can start building Hummers, Tanks and such, the US will sell a lot of military hardware to Japan.
Note: Fuji Heavy Industries already has the ability to produce the AH-64D Apache Longbow multi-role combat helicopter, but its in partnership with an American defense contractor.
global warming claims victims
and in 5 more years the island has completely disappeared.
I really don't wanna upset people too much over the next couple days, but...
Rising seas, caused by global warming, have for the first time washed an inhabited island off the face of the Earth. The obliteration of Lohachara island, in India's part of the Sundarbans where the Ganges and the Brahmaputra rivers empty into the Bay of Bengal, marks the moment when one of the most apocalyptic predictions of environmentalists and climate scientists has started coming true.
As the seas continue to swell, they will swallow whole island nations, from the Maldives to the Marshall Islands, inundate vast areas of countries from Bangladesh to Egypt, and submerge parts of scores of coastal cities.
Eight years ago, as exclusively reported in The Independent on Sunday, the first uninhabited islands - in the Pacific atoll nation of Kiribati - vanished beneath the waves. The people of low-lying islands in Vanuatu, also in the Pacific, have been evacuated as a precaution, but the land still juts above the sea. The disappearance of Lohachara, once home to 10,000 people, is unprecedented.
It has been officially recorded in a six-year study of the Sunderbans by researchers at Calcutta's Jadavpur University. So remote is the island that the researchers first learned of its submergence, and that of an uninhabited neighbouring island, Suparibhanga, when they saw they had vanished from satellite pictures.
A sense of the human factor involved.
They saw the shore pushing in closer every day. Yet, Shamila and her mother never thought the sea would completely devour their tiny island of Lohachara in the Sundarbans. And then one day, it did. The family of four was forced to pack its modest belongings and head for Sagar, the largest island in west Sundarbans. In the late 1990s, more such families followed suit.
“There’s nothing any more where our island once was. It’s just a huge stretch of sea where vessels ply,” says Shamila’s father Seikh Abdullah, among the first batch of envirogees (environment refugees) who have now settled in Sagar. Nearly 7,000 of his former island mates are his neighbours again.
Quote of the day
Sunday, December 24, 2006
See, I knew I'd be back
Abe Lincoln's Premonition of his own Death
"About ten days ago, I retired very late. I had been up waiting for important dispatches from the front. I could not have been long in bed when I fell into a slumber, for I was weary. I soon began to dream. There seemed to be a death-like stillness about me. Then I heard subdued sobs, as if a number of people were weeping. I thought I left my bed and wandered downstairs. There the silence was broken by the same pitiful sobbing, but the mourners were invisible. I went from room to room; no living person was in sight, but the same mournful sounds of distress met me as I passed along. I saw light in all the rooms; every object was familiar to me; but where were all the people who were grieving as if their hearts would break? I was puzzled and alarmed. What could be the meaning of all this? Determined to find the cause of a state of things so mysterious and so shocking, I kept on until I arrived at the East Room, which I entered. There I met with a sickening surprise. Before me was a catafalque, on which rested a corpse wrapped in funeral vestments. Around it were stationed soldiers who were acting as guards; and there was a throng of people, gazing mournfully upon the corpse, whose face was covered, others weeping pitifully. 'Who is dead in the White House?' I demanded of one of the soldiers, 'The President,' was his answer; 'he was killed by an assassin.' Then came a loud burst of grief from the crowd, which woke me from my dream. I slept no more that night; and although it was only a dream, I have been strangely annoyed by it ever since."
One last rant
Do you as an American:
Value your freedom?
You have almost none
Value your privacy?
Get real. You have none.
Value your status as an American?
Among most peoples of the world you are preceived as the enemy.
Value your rights?
Surely you jest. Americans have no more rights than Osama bin Laden.
Value your leadership?
You need therapy.
Value your right to vote?
So did 18,000 in Florida.
Value your home?
A couple more "outsourcings" and you can kiss hour home goodbye.
Value hard work?
That's no prevention for outsourcing.
Value your SUV?
How will you drive it with no gasoline?
Value your money?
Hahaha. You have to be kidding.
And you allow Bush and his thugs to remain in office?
Value the rule of law?
And you refuse to prosecute the worst criminal ever to be POTUS?
Value all people?
And you sit on your ass while the government fucks the people whose lives were destroyed by Katrina and Rita?
Value the truth?
And you listen to Rush Limpbaugh, Faux news and Bush and his minions?
Value fair treatment for people?
And you condone torture?
And you condone the deaths of nearly 3,000 US troops and many more thousand Iraqis?
Value the Constitution and Bill of Rights?
Doesn't matter if Bush doesn't value them.
Value your nuclear family?
With Bush they may well become your nuculear family, complete with radiation poisoning.
Come over and join us in the world of reality and quit thinking the things Bush tells you are true. Things are not good in the US and certainly not good in Iraq.
If you ignore what's happening you just may find yourselves attacked with nukular weapons from NoKorea and you can thank Bush if you survive.
Peace on Earth.
I hate George W Bush
Now I do want to make something crystal clear. My hatred for Bush is justified and I'll not document why. Further, should Clinton, Obama, Gore, Dean or any other Democratic candidate be elected to the POTUS and should the Senate and House become Dem I'm fine with that.
But and this is a but bigger than J-Lo's butt, should that president commit half the heinous crimes (HCs) Bush has, hell, one fourth the HCs Bus has, I'll ride his ass until s/he has hemorrhoids.
We just need a POTUS and Congress who will take care of US and quit screwing US because they can.
Gotta love HTML
Thousands bid farewell to Turkmen leader
Not that I would ever make such a silly mistake.
The War On Christmas™
Turn on speakers, please.
Play background music
Merry Christmas to all.
Must Read IMHO
I'm ready for Leno
Couldn't resist it. Sorry
The governor of the U.S. state of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, broke his right leg when he was skiing with his family for Christmas fun in Sun Valley, Idaho, a spokesman said late Saturday.
I realize English is a second language for Mr Schwarzenegger so I'll help him out.
When someone tells you to "break a leg" they are wishing you good luck and not suggesting you actually, like, break...a...leg, dude.
Must Read IMHO
Interview with Professor Francis Boyle
Francis A Boyle says 9/11 was allowed to happen, war on terror is facilitating the downfall of The Republic, concentration camps are in place and US citizens are the targets
"After the September 11th 2001 Terrorist attacks, the Bush administration tried to ram the USA PATRIOT Act through Congress, that would have, if already had not, set up a police state. And we know for a fact that the PATRIOT Act had already been drafted and was sitting on Ashcroft's desk as of September 10th.
Senators Daschle and Leahy were holding it up because they realised what this would lead to, indeed the first draft of the Patriot Act, they would have suspended the writ of habeas corpus. And all of a sudden out of nowhere come these anthrax attacks. And at the time I myself did not know precisely what was going on, either with respect to September 11th or the anthrax attacks, but then the New York Times revealed that the technology behind the letter to Senator Daschle. A trillion spores per gram, special electro-static treatment.
This is super-weapons grade Anthrax that even the United States government, in its openly proclaimed programs, and we had one before Nixon, had never developed before. So it was obvious to me that this was from a US Government lab, there is no where else you could have gotten that."
So it was to be that the patriot act was rammed through, because the opposition from Leahy and Daschle, whom they had tried to kill, disappeared. Congress and even the House itself officially shut down for the first time in the history of the Republic. The Senate refused to shut down. Dr Boyle commented that he believes this to be one of the biggest political crimes in the history of America.
The professor agreed that actions such as this and legislation such as the Patriot act and the new Military Commissions act are the precursors to a military dictatorship.
The professor pointed out that it is now being argued by lawmakers that the 14th amendment does not mean what it has been taken to mean and that under the Military Commissions Act any US citizen can be stripped of their citizenship and thus be labeled an enemy combatant.
"So in other words they are taken the position that in some point in time if they want to, they can unilaterally round up United States native born citizens, as they did for Japanese Americans in World War Two, and stick us into concentration camps. That is correct. They haven't actually yet done it but my guess is that the papers have been drawn up... and we know that the FEMA camps are out there.
So it's clear that the Bush people, I guess they are waiting for some other terrorist attack, another anthrax attack, who knows what, and then they will proceed to invoke these emergency orders."
And others have there old tinfoil hats on too.
One of the last acts of Congress was to send President Bush a bill that establishes a $38 million program of National Park Service grants to preserve Japanese POW internment camps in Hawaii, California, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and Idaho. Is this really in the name of historical interest or does it dovetail with programs on the books to intern hundreds of thousands of dissidents in a time of crisis?
That last from the Honolulu Adviser.
I'll see your UN sanctions and raise the stakes by 3,000 centrifuges
Iran will on Sunday start putting in place 3,000 uranium enriching centrifuges at a key nuclear plant in an immediate response to a UN sanctions resolution, top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani told the hardline Kayhan newspaper.
"Our immediate response to the UN Security Council is that, as of today, we will start the activities at the site of the 3,000 centrifuge machines in Natanz and we will go ahead with full speed," Larijani told the paper.
Doesn't anyone realize yet, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad isn't gonna be the first one to blink?
Oh yeah, Merry Christmas. Peace on Earth and goodwill for all.