Saturday, February 03, 2007

Must Read IMHO

Remember to never drink the Kool-Aid®.
Adelman is not optimistic of a positive outcome to the American occupation of Iraq. … He said if by July 4th there is no progress made, “then I will say it is hopeless.” [emphasis in original]

This is one of the people playing with the lives of millions of people.

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When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?

Bush was warned al-Qaeda was determined to attack US.

Bush was given detailed information about how to protect US after the 9/11 attack.

Bush was told our ports are not properly protected.

Bush was told he needed many more troops than planned in Iraq to have any chance for success.

Bush was given detailed information about how to handle the disaster in Iraq.

Bush was told a SURGE™ would not work.

Now Bush has been given information about the dangers of global warming.

Bush didn't use the information from the first six reports. Why does anyone think he would act on the seventh? Just asking.
The Bush administration says a new United Nations report on the dangers of global warming is very valuable, but stopped short of calling for mandatory government controls on greenhouse gasses.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] released a study Friday warning that human activities are 'very likely' to blame for global warming, and that the world can expect the trend to continue.

U.S. Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said the Bush administration welcomed the report, but repeated the administration's opposition to mandating caps on the emission of greenhouse gasses. Greenhouse gasses are produced by fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries.

I will post this slowly so even the most obtuse amongst us can understand.

Bush. Doesn't. Care. What. The. Fuck. The. Facts. Are.

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This story just gets more and more bizarre.
A convicted sex offender who posed as a 12-year-old boy to enrol (sic) in Arizona schools brought home children that had joined a skateboarding club he started, police said.

None of the children said they had been victimised, authorities said. But in a Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office report, a girl accused 29-year-old Neil Havens Rodreick III of grabbing her buttocks at a charter school in Prescott Valley, 90 miles north of Phoenix.

It was unclear whether the girl’s claims are related to an assault charge against him.


In all, [policeman] Tieman interviewed 12 children who either interacted with Rodreick as club members or as friends of club members. Although Tieman said all of the children and their parents were “disturbed” to learn Rodreick’s true age and background, he said none of the children said they had been victimised.

I'm hopeful the children are telling the truth and were not his victims although the the girl definitely qualifies.

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I don't blog about the Libby trial, but...

This is just too good to pass up.
Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby is fighting to keep his grand jury testimony about the leak of a CIA operative's name from being released and broadcast in the media.

Libby's grand jury testimony _ the sworn statements he gave to investigators about his conversations with Vice President Dick Cheney and journalists _ is at the heart of his perjury trial. Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald plans to play hours of recordings of that testimony in court next week to bolster his case that Libby lied and obstructed the investigation.

Trial evidence is normally public and all exhibits in Libby's case have been made public so far. Even though Fitzgerald successfully fought to get Libby's full grand jury testimony admitted into evidence, Libby's attorneys say the audiotapes should not be released outside the courtroom.

Libby defense attorney William Jeffress, who successfully argued a Supreme Court case that kept the Watergate tapes from being released, said in court Thursday that grand jury tapes are never meant to be made public.

He said he knew of no case when such recordings have been released. [emphasis mine]

A couple thoughts. The judge would probably not be willing to release the recordings had not the jury been impaneled already. The recordings could influence or prejudice them. But that isn't a problem since the jury has been chosen.

But what could prevent the judge from releasing the recordings is the highlighted sentence. Some judges are averse to setting legal precedent. I have no idea if this judge is one of them.

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Oh, it was just a sleep-over

Don't know why, but the first paragraph of this story cracks me up.
Muslim separatists in the southern Philippines denied on Saturday that they were holding Manila's military chief, a senior government official and over 20 soldiers captive, saying they had merely asked them to stay overnight.

Yeah I do have a weird sense of humor.

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Fidel Castro health watch

Now he's a party animal. Apparently reports of his impending/actual death were a bit off? Just asking.
Fidel Castro is having a party that has dampened his foes' plans to dance on his grave, supporters of the ailing Cuban president said as they celebrated his latest television appearance.

This is turning into quite the melodrama.

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Two killed as US helicopter lost

Read rangeragainstwar's take on such news.
A US army helicopter “went down” today north of Baghdad and two US soldiers were killed, the US military said.

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US reviewing space cooperation with China after anti-satellite test

This was gonna be a post on the order of "funny how this is leading to negotiations", but decided to include something else too.

First the negotiations angle.
The United States has said it is reevaluating possible space cooperation with China, including joint moon exploration, following Beijing's recent anti-satellite weapon test.

China's test of a satellite-killing missile last month was "inconsistent" with an agreement between US President George W. Bush and Chinese President Hu Jintao to forge cooperation in the civil space area, the State Department said.

"Any future civil space cooperation with China will need to be evaluated within the context of China's ASAT (anti-satellite) test," department spokesman Edgar Vasquez told AFP.

No real surprise there. And then these two paragraphs.
Washington has protested the test both to China's ambassador in Washington and to the foreign ministry in Beijing and has asked for an explanation of exactly what occurred.

It is concerned that the test, which destroyed one of China's own orbiting satellites with a ballistic missile, has scattered debris in space that could endanger the manned International Space Station and other orbiting satellites.

OK. Seems to make sense. A bunch of junk flying around probably isn't particularly safe for useful equipment flying around too. Of course the universe hasn't supplied its own junk like, oh I don't know, meteorites?

Ah, but then the irony kicks in.
The test made China only the third country in the world -- after the United States and the former Soviet Union -- to down an object in space.

Washington and Moscow stopped the practice in 1985, in part over concerns about the debris left in space.

Do what we say, not what we've done.

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Blogger has sent out this notice:
New Blogger will have a brief outage tomorrow, Saturday 2/3, at 11AM [PST] for 10 minutes. This will affect both new Blogger and Blog*Spot blogs on new Blogger.

This maintenance is to address the unscheduled outages and performance problems of the past week.

Posted by Pete at 16:47 PST

If it will only be 10 minutes, I'll be surprised. To take a system down, install a fix and bring the whole thing up again in 10 minutes is pretty fast.

Anyway, if you want to know what 11AM PST means in your part of the world, here's an excellent site to visit:

The World Clock.

Oh yes, Los Angeles is on PST.

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From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq

There's an excellent (and long) article in the March 2007 issue of Vanity Fair. If you want to know how the US has gotten into the debacle known as Iraq, Craig Unger lays it all out for you and names names.
The same neocon ideologues behind the Iraq war have been using the same tactics—alliances with shady exiles, dubious intelligence on W.M.D.—to push for the bombing of Iran. As President Bush ups the pressure on Tehran, is he planning to double his Middle East bet?

In the weeks leading up to George W. Bush's January 10 speech on the war in Iraq, there was a brief but heady moment when it seemed that the president might finally accept the failure of his Middle East policy and try something new. Rising anti-war sentiment had swept congressional Republicans out of power. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld had been tossed overboard. And the Iraq Study Group (I.S.G.), chaired by former secretary of state James Baker and former congressman Lee Hamilton, had put together a bipartisan report that offered a face-saving strategy to exit Iraq. Who better than Baker, the Bush family's longtime friend and consigliere, to talk some sense into the president?

By the time the president finished his speech from the White House library, however, all those hopes had vanished. It wasn't just that Bush was doubling down on an extravagantly costly bet by sending 21,500 more American troops to Iraq; there were also indications that he was upping the ante by an order of magnitude. The most conspicuous clue was a four-letter word that Bush uttered six times in the course of his speech: Iran.

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Pentagon official quits over lawyer remarks

Yeah, I'm sure his "resignation" was his idea. He made a stupid mistake and is now paying the price.
A senior Pentagon official has resigned, it was disclosed today, three weeks after he ignited a firestorm of controversy by casting fellow lawyers as dishonorable for offering free-of-charge legal service to U.S.-held captives at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Charles D. ''Cully'' Stimson, deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, submitted his resignation Thursday, said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

No replacement has been named.

But it comes at a crucial time. The Pentagon is gearing up to announce new charges and stage new war crimes tribunals called military commissions against at least a few of the 395 of so foreigners held in remote Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

And Stimson had been a major behind-the-scenes player, advocating Bush administration policy, shuttling special guests to the base and trying to promote a favorable image of the at-times controversial detention center.

It was unclear where he would go next.

Stimson, 43, is a Navy Reserves JAG officer and former federal prosecutor. He sparked a national legal controversy on Jan. 11, the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the prison camp, with some broadcast remarks on a Washington D.C. radio station, Federal New Radio.

Unprompted, during an interview, he rattled off a comprehensive list of leading U.S. law firms who let lawyers defend detainees -- and said corporate executives ``are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms.''

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Cat Blogging

Muahahah! If you're new here you probably expected to see a cat, right?


Must Read IMHO

You might want to save if for a lazy Sunday brunch because it is teh long article by David Swanson and Jonathan Schwarz. Those two authors' names should give you a clue.

To whet your appetite:
A recent ABC/Washington Post poll showed that the public (despite very little help from ABC News or the Washington Post) has it right. A majority picked the "should" option in response to both of these questions:

"Do you think Congress should or should not hold hearings on how the Bush administration handled pre-war intelligence, war planning, and related issues in the war in Iraq?"

"Do you think Congress should or should not hold hearings on how the Bush administration has handled surveillance, treatment of prisoners and related issues in the U.S. campaign against terrorism?"

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Congress is gearing up to investigate whether Halliburton might have cheated on its contracts a little. Hello?

Of course we need to investigate the war profiteers. But our top priority has to be the fraud that launched the war to begin with. Most readers of this article know it was fraud, but a third of the country still doesn't and won't until it's on their televisions for several days in a row. And unless there is accountability for it, the next president may feel free to lie us into a war of his or her choosing. In fact, unless there is enough exposure and accountability, the current war may never end.

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Ya just never know

SPIIDERWEB™ is now being referenced by the Havana Journal™.

I suppose with a post title of "Fidel Castro health watch" its not too surprising.

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Many thanks to all of you

SPIIDERWEB™ has exceeded 13,000 visitors.

I appreciate each and every one of you.

Around the water cooler at work its possible to pass on my opinions and "knowledge" to 3-4 people. The fact many thousands read what I have to say is humbling to say the least.

May you continue to enjoy my meager offerings.


The deaths just keep climbing in Gaza

Some headlines in the last few hours.

21 killed as Gaza fighting destroys truce

18 killed as Gaza fighting destroys truce

Thirteen dead as Palestinian truce in tatters

Is truce actually possible? Or are there some factions unwilling to buy into any truce? Just asking.

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Sen. Clinton: We must not permit Iran to acquire nuclear weapons

My opinion is fuck Senator Clinton (figuratively of course) and the horse she road in on (also figuratively of course). I take her off the table. I wouldn't vote for her under any circumstances.
Calling Iran a danger to the U.S. and one of Israel's greatest threats, U.S. Senator and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday no option can be taken off the table when dealing with that nation.

"U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal: We cannot, we should not, we must not permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons," the Democrat told a crowd of Israel supporters. "In dealing with this threat ... no option can be taken off the table."

My gawd they're making it so easy. Biden makes stupid remarks about Obama and now Hillary's remarks make it so simple to eliminate her.

I think I'll have more popcorn.

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Friday, February 02, 2007

Great ally ya got there, Bush

These are the dogs Bush decides to lie down with? Kewl. Perhaps you champion them because you would like the same protections.
The United Nations office in Afghanistan has voiced strong opposition to the Afghan parliament's approval of a bill granting immunity to war-criminals and exempting them from judicial proceedings.

The parliament, with a strong warlord presence and after a week of heated debates, approved a bill Wednesday that grants immunity to all individuals involved in atrocities in the past two-and-a-half decades, including the Taliban and war criminals from the country's 1992-1996 civil war.

No sane person thinks its right to excuse atrocities for Christ sake. Got it?

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A massacre and a new civil war

OK, now massacres are on the table? Just asking.

Folks, things are getting far too out of hand. Bush needs to bring the troops home now.
The massacre that occurred in Najaf, Iraq, last Sunday by now has been wildly deconstructed over the Arab press. What emerges has virtually nothing to do with the official Baghdad and Washington spin of Iraqi troops killing 250-odd heavily armed apocalyptic cultists dubbed "Soldiers of Heaven". They were said to be about to attack not only Shi'ite pilgrims but also the "Big Four" ayatollahs of Iraq - Ali al-Sistani, Bashir Najafi, Muhammad shaq Fayyad and Muhammad Said al-Hakim - who all sit in holy Najaf.

When the embattled Nuri al-Maliki government in Baghdad gloats in unison with the Pentagon and US President George W Bush about such a masterful display by the Iraqi army, supported by the lethal firepower of US tanks and F-16s, something is terribly off the mark. Especially as the "Iraqi army" in question is composed in its majority by the Badr Organization, the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq's (SCIRI's) paramilitary wing, which is peppered with death squads.

Najaf Governor As'ad Abu Gilel, a high-ranking SCIRI politician himself, has told Najaf Radio FM that no fewer than "300 terrorists were killed, 650 detained and 121 wounded, while 11 Iraqi soldiers were killed and 27 wounded". One thousand "terrorist" casualties suggest firepower comparable to the US raids in Tora Bora, Afghanistan, in December 2001.

The official Baghdad spin maintains that the battle was provoked by an evil mastermind, Ayatollah Ahmad al-Hasani al-Sarkhi, also called al-Yamani, born in Diwaniya, a charlatan with a background in fine arts and the leader of the Mahdi Mahdawiya millenarian movement (a splinter Sadrist movement). It's important to note that his offices in Najaf were closed 10 days before the massacre, and many of his aides arrested: this already suggests a government crackdown preceding the upcoming US surge/escalation.

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When is news just a headline?

Who, what, when, where and why?

No idea of casualties, mission or how many in crew. Thanks for the detailed report, MSM.
A U.S. military helicopter went down in Iraq Friday, the third in the past two weeks, an officer confirmed. Maj. David Small, a spokesman at U.S. Central Command in Tampa, Fla., said he had no details on possible casualties, what mission the helicopter was supporting, nor how many were in the crew.

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Fidel Castro health watch

Today he's on the mend: Chavez.
Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez said that Cuba’s Fidel Castro has visibly improved, describing how the ailing Cuban leader has gained weight and is walking around and studying.

“A notable improvement,” Chavez said yesterday, describing Castro’s condition when the two met recently in Havana.

“He has gained several kilograms, and I think he is walking about more than me, analysing, studying,” Chavez said at a news conference in Caracas.

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Ex-Guantanamo inmate to run in Australia election

Australian Mamdouh Habib speaks to the media
in Auburn February 2, 2007. REUTERS/Ed Giles

So far this story makes the US look pretty silly if not worse.

And what if he wins? That means Australians elect terrorists to office? Highly unlikely.
An Australian once detained in Guantanamo Bay on suspicion of helping al Qaeda said on Friday he would stand for election to the New South Wales state parliament.

Mamdouh Habib, released in January 2005, was held in Guantanamo Bay without charge for almost three years after he was arrested crossing from Pakistan into Afghanistan three weeks after the September 11 attacks on the United States.

"We're here in Australia, this has nothing to do with Afghanistan," Habib told a news conference in Sydney called to announce he would run as an independent in the March 24 contest.

"This has nothing to do with terrorism -- we have no terrorists in Australia. If you want to talk about terror then talk to the U.S.," he said.

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Scientists offered cash to dispute climate study

Now who in the world would do something like that? Can you say ExxonMobil through the American Enterprise Institute? I new you could.
Scientists and economists have been offered $10,000 each by a lobby group funded by one of the world's largest oil companies to undermine a major climate change report due to be published today.

Letters sent by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), an ExxonMobil-funded thinktank with close links to the Bush administration, offered the payments for articles that emphasise the shortcomings of a report from the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Travel expenses and additional payments were also offered.

The UN report was written by international experts and is widely regarded as the most comprehensive review yet of climate change science. It will underpin international negotiations on new emissions targets to succeed the Kyoto agreement, the first phase of which expires in 2012. World governments were given a draft last year and invited to comment.

The AEI has received more than $1.6m from ExxonMobil and more than 20 of its staff have worked as consultants to the Bush administration. Lee Raymond, a former head of ExxonMobil, is the vice-chairman of AEI's board of trustees.

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Abbas' guard occupies Gaza Islamic university as fighting rages

That truce in Gaza sure didn't last long now, did it? Just asking.
The guard of Palestinian Authority president Mahmud Abbas has occupied Gaza Islamic University, a bastion of Hamas, a security source said as new clashes threatened to destroy a three-day truce between warring factions Fatah and Hamas and shooting spread like wildfire through the Gaza Strip.

Several armed men were arrested and weapons and explosives were confiscated following a search of the campus, the source said.

The presidential guard decided to move in after Hamas militants there fired mortar shells and rocket propelled grenades at the offices of the Palestinian presidency in Gaza City.

Witnesses said heavy exchanges of fire broke out Thursday evening in several sectors of Gaza City.

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US Senate votes first hike in minimum wage in a decade

I'm gonna beat this dead horse one more time until I'm sure it can't get up.
The US Senate has voted overwhelmingly to raise the federal minimum wage for the first time in nearly a decade, a major promise of new Democratic congressional leaders.

Lawmakers voted 94 to three Thursday to raise the wages rate by 2.10 dollars per hour -- from 5.15 dollars an hour to 7.25 dollars.

That means the annual salary for a full-time minimum-wage worker would rise from about 11,000 dollars a year to about 15,000.

The House approved a similar measure on January 10, and the two bills will now have to be reconciled before going to the desk of
President George W. Bush, to be signed into law.

"We haven't resolved anything," cautioned Charles Rangel of New York, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.

One major difference to iron out is that the Senate's version provides 8.3 billion dollars in Republican-backed tax breaks to help small businesses compensate for the impact of the wage hikes.

Senate's new majority leader Harry Reid said after the vote that the bill's passage was a long-deferred victory for the common worker.

"Democrats in both the House and Senate have kept yet another one of their promises to move America in a new direction, and we will continue to do so," Reid said.

"For the first time in 10 years, Congress voted in a bipartisan fashion to increase the minimum wage. In the time since the last minimum wage increase, household costs have risen -- including the price of gas, the price of food and the price of health care," the Democratic lawmaker said.

"This increase is long over-due and with today's vote, we have given hard working Americans, struggling to get by, the raise they deserve," he said.

Wow! Fifteen thousand fucking dollars! That's gonna put huge spikes in new car, housing and appliance sales.

With all due respect, Senator Reid, what you should have said is "We should double or even triple the existing minimum, but don't have the cojones because businesses who contribute to our campaigns need their serfs."

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Free Scooter Libby!

U.S. intelligence report says Iraq perilous

I have no reason to doubt the new NIE report is correct. Although I believe they should have addressed the issue of civil war in Iraq.
The situation in Iraq is perilous, with Iraqi-on-Iraqi violence surpassing al Qaeda as the most immediate threat to U.S. goals, according to a long-awaited intelligence report, The Washington Post reported on Friday.

The 90-page document came to no conclusion over whether the conflict in Iraq has become a civil war, but the authors expressed uncertainly over whether Iraqi leaders would be able to transcend the sectarian divide to fight extremism and establish functioning national institutions, the Post reported.

Iran, which the White House has accused of fuelling the bloodshed, is mentioned in the document -- the National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq -- but it does not focus on Iran, the Post said.

Of course they don't really have a great track record, do they? Just asking.
The 2002 estimate said Iraq had arsenals of chemical and biological weapons -- a claim that proved to be false after the United States invaded Iraq in 2003.

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US Congress debates proposed bill rebuking Bush's Iraq strategy

This is a waste of lawmakers' time. How many days has this been going on? It feels like weeks.
Bush's decision to "surge" 21,500 additional troops into Iraq has met with fierce opposition from the Democratic-led Congress and increasingly from members of his own Republican party.

Critics of the president's plan received more ammunition on Thursday with a congressional report that suggested the troop hike would involve as many as 48,000 soldiers if non-combat support troops were taken into account.

The non-partisan Congressional Budget Office also said that the additional increase in troops could cost between 20 billion to 27 billion dollars over the first year of deployment.

In Congress, lawmakers had yet to forge a consensus on the precise wording of a non-binding resolution that would express opposition to the president's troop deployment. [emphasis mine]

Ya got that? Non-binding. The whole point is to make a hollow statement and get it into the Congressional Record.

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How bloggers worked the Boston 'bomb hoax'


Be afraid! Be very afraid!

Are you happy now, Bush? You've created a nation of Nervous Nellies.
The latest bomb scare to upset a major US city wasn't the handiwork of the Al Qaeda terror network. This time, it was the Cartoon Network.

It all began Wednesday morning when a transit worker spotted a wired device on a girder underneath Interstate 93. After police found similar devices across the city, they shut down key roads and subway stations and called in federal officials with Homeland Security.

It took most of the day before a worried public would learn that the suspicious devices were merely electronically lit signs depicting a cartoon character known as a Mooninite – and were part of a "guerrilla marketing" campaign by Turner Broadcasting, gone awry. But even as security officials labored to get to the bottom of the incident, a parallel investigation was under way and open to all – in the blogosphere.

Bloggers claim they were the first to suspect that the "suspicious packages" weren't bombs. In fact, some had been blogging about the Mooninite marketing campaign for weeks, given that similar Mooninite signs had been sighted in other cities over the past couple of weeks.

Online investigators

Boston police haven't said whether the blogs or bloggers played any role in their own investigation, but some security analysts say such online social networks ought to be a prime law-enforcement tool during emergencies – or perceived emergencies.

And there's no justice in Boston if the two guys hired to install the devices are prosecuted.

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China's film furor draws attention to changing mores

Photo from

And pictures like this are common in this online newspaper.
When Chinese director Zhang Yimou's latest blockbuster hit theaters here last month, it sparked just one topic of conversation, and a great deal of controversy.

The film's plot, aesthetics, and artistic ambitions, all those aspects of "Curse of the Golden Flower," were lost in a torrent of shocked comment on the eye-catching manner in which all the female characters' bosoms appear only a breath away from bursting out of their tightly laced bodices.

"A pile of steamed buns," fumed one establishment critic. A mother complained to China Daily newspaper that she had been obliged to repeatedly cover her 5-year-old son's eyes as they watched the movie. "I told him to do so with his own hands, but he wouldn't," she said.

The boy may have been wide-eyed with wonder at the unaccustomed sight of so much cleavage. But even as debate raged in the state-controlled media over whether the censor had been too lax, more evidence emerged pointing to the chasm that divides puritan official morality from real Chinese peoples' lives.

A survey of Beijing teens revealed that almost as many of them approve of living together before marriage as disapprove. And fewer than 1 in 5 of the girls said she would refuse outright if her boyfriend asked for sexual relations.

Still from "Curse of the Golden Flower"

Do you understand what all the flap's about? I sure don't.

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Warming 'likely' man-made, unstoppable

It looks like the new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is going to be as frightening as I anticipated.
The world's leading climate scientists said global warming has begun, is "very likely" caused by man, and will be unstoppable for centuries, according to a report obtained Friday by The Associated Press.

The scientists - using their strongest language yet on the issue - said now that world has begun to warm, hotter temperatures and rises in sea level "would continue for centuries" no matter how much humans control their pollution. The report also linked the warming to the recent increase in stronger hurricanes.

"The observed widespread warming of the atmosphere and ocean, together with ice-mass loss, support the conclusion that it is extremely unlikely that global climate change of the past 50 years can be explained without external forcing, and very likely that is not due to known natural causes alone," said the report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] - a group of hundreds of scientists and representatives of 113 governments.

The phrase "very likely" translates to a more than 90 percent certainty that global warming is caused by man's burning of fossil fuels. That was the strongest conclusion to date, making it nearly impossible to say natural forces are to blame.

And this should surprise no one. One of the scientists involved has gotten so frustrated he emailed a reporter about the problems the panel's encountering.
Scientists involved in the discussions said today that the U.S. delegation, led by political appointees [surprise!], was pressing to play down language pointing to a link between intensification of hurricanes and warming caused by human activity.

“They have tended to highlight uncertainties on certain issues,” a scientist involved in the negotiations said in an e-mail message sent to a reporter today. The scientist sent the message on the condition of anonymity.

On Wednesday night, the same scientist, frustrated with efforts by China and the United States to avoid language that might box them in on policy options, e-mailed that “this is becoming an impossible process.”

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The price of gasoline

Think its too high? You might well be right.
Oil giant Exxon Mobil topped its own record for the biggest annual profit by a U.S. company last year, racking up earnings that amounted to $4.5 million an hour for the world's largest publicly traded oil company.

Yes you read that right, earnings of $4.5 million an hour!
It reported the record net income - $39.5 billion - despite a 4 percent drop in earnings in the final three months of 2006, as prices for oil and natural gas fell from extraordinary levels earlier in the year.

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Thursday, February 01, 2007

Quotes of the day

Author: I don't know. Some of the edits don't really work for me. What do you think?
Editor: Well, speaking as a completely biased party, I think it's great.
Author: ... You're sure?
Editor: Absolutely, you bonehead. Can we put it to print now, or are you going to keep your thumb up your ass a while longer?

(via Overheard in the Office)

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Not seen in the MSM

I learn something new every day. I had no idea these tests were in the works.
Suspicious of government assurances that a planned desert explosion will not rekindle radioactive fallout from past events, Westerners and Native Americans want the plan halted.

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Pilgrims massacred in the 'battle' of Najaf

There is really nothing I can add to this except my bewilderment why this isn't being reported.

Update below
Iraqi government statements over the killing of hundreds of Shi'ites in an attack on Sunday stand exposed by independent investigations carried out by Inter Press Service (IPS).

Conflicting reports had arisen on how and why a huge battle broke out around the small village of Zarqa, just a few kilometers northeast of the Shi'ite holy city Najaf, which is 90km south of Baghdad.

One thing certain is that when the smoke cleared, more than 200 people lay dead after more than half a day of fighting on Sunday. A US helicopter was shot down, killing two soldiers. Twenty-five members of the Iraqi security forces were also killed.

"We were going to conduct the usual ceremonies that we conduct every year when we were attacked by Iraqi soldiers," Jabbar al-Hatami, a leader of the al-Hatami Shi'ite Arab tribe told IPS.

"We thought it was one of the usual mistakes of the Iraqi army killing civilians, so we advanced to explain to the soldiers that they killed five of us for no reason. But we were surprised by more gunfire from the soldiers."

Update: The death count is now three hundred fifty

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Iran Is Next

In case you had any doubts. Just see what Bushco is spewing out now.
Iran is supplying Iraqi insurgents with weapons technology used to kill US troops, a senior American diplomat said today as he warned Iran against interfering in Iraq.

"We have picked up individuals who we believe are giving very sophisticated explosive technology to Shia insurgent groups who then use that technology to target and kill American soldiers," said Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns.

"It's a very serious situation. And the message from the United States is, Iran should cease and desist."

Of course we can ignore this.
Since late August, British commandos in the deserts of far southeastern Iraq have been testing one of the most serious charges leveled by the United States against Iran: that Iran is secretly supplying weapons, parts, funding and training for attacks on U.S.-led forces in Iraq.

A few hundred British troops living out of nothing more than their cut-down Land Rovers and light armored vehicles have taken to the desert in the start of what British officers said would be months of patrols aimed at finding the illicit weapons trafficking from Iran, or any sign of it.

There's just one thing.

"I suspect there's nothing out there," the commander, Lt. Col. David Labouchere, said last month, speaking at an overnight camp near the border. "And I intend to prove it."

And this.
Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff, said today he has no evidence the Iranian government has been sending military equipment and personnel into neighboring Iraq.

On Monday, President Bush suggested Iran was involved in making roadside bombs, known as improvised explosive devices, that are being used in Iraq. And Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld last week accused Iran of sending members of its Revolutionary Guard to conduct operations in Iraq.

Today, Pace, the top U.S. military official, was asked at a Pentagon news conference if he has proof that Iran's government is sponsoring these activities.

"I do not, sir," Pace said.

And this.
For 18 months now, the George W. Bush administration has periodically raised the charge that Iran is supplying anti-coalition forces in Iraq with arms.

But in the past, high administration officials have always admitted that they have no real evidence to support it. Now, they are going further. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told reporters on her current Middle Eastern trip, "I think there is plenty of evidence that there is Iranian involvement with these networks that are making high-explosive IEDs [improvised explosive devices] and that are endangering our troops, and that's going to be dealt with."

However, Rice failed to provide any evidence of official Iranian involvement.

Got it, folks? No one can provide any evidence Iran is doing anything wrong. But Bush needs a bogeyman and Ahmedinejad fits the bill perfectly.

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Yeah, the world is mad

Jesus H Crist in remission, is there no limit to what people will do to others?

A young couple were beaten to death, their bodies hacked to pieces and burned on the orders of a village council in northern India that called their relationship incestuous, news reports said today.

Mahesh, 20 and his girlfriend Gudia, 19, had lived in neighbouring villages near the northern Indian city of Agra, 160 miles south-east of New Delhi, and fled their homes when their relationship was discovered.

Their families tracked them down and took them home where a village council was called, The Hindustan Times newspaper reported.

The council or “panchayat” of Naharra village told the couple to end what they said was an incestuous relationship.

When Mahesh and Gudia, who go by just one name, refused to separate, the council ordered their killing, the report added.

The couple were beaten to death by a mob on Tuesday and their bodies were dismembered and set on fire, the report said. It was not immediately clear how the two were related. [emphasis mine]

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US official: US not winning in Iraq

Doesn't this guy know how to operate under Bushco? This is what is called career limiting speech.
The US may have to lower expectations for Iraq as it embarks on a new war plan, a senior American military official has said.

William Fallon, George Bush's choice to become the most senior US military commander for the Middle East, told the senate armed services committee: "What we've been doing is not working."

His statement echoed that of other senior US government and military officials in recent months who have also said the US is not winning in Iraq.

As head of US central command, Fallon would have overall responsibility for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

That said, I'm happy to hear someone questioning Bush's policy. I'm also not surprised Bush fucked up again. He appointed a commander of CentCom who doesn't buy into his "plan".

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Rookie Sen. Claire McCaskill not shy in making her presence felt

I don't know about you, but I love this lady already.
Rookie senator Claire McCaskill couldn't have planned her first Senate subcommittee hearing any better if she'd scripted it herself.

Campaigning for the Senate last fall when she was still the Missouri state auditor, she vowed to go after waste at the Pentagon. So who turns up at her maiden Armed Services subcommittee hearing but the Pentagon's inspector general, who described a culture where buildings were built without cost controls and where contracts were worked out afterward.

"When I read this, I don't know whether to laugh or cry," McCaskill told him. "Does somebody get fired when that happens?"

This is what new blood is all about.

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bX-vjhbsj. Does this look familiar to you?


When I try to view my blog I get that error message from Blogger.

Ah, but there's hope. I can go to Blogger "help" and enter the error code to find out what is going on.

Except Blogger is as bad as Microsoft about helping anyone. They send me to a forum where others have the same problem and no clue why.

Yeah, I know I'm anal. Don't point it out to me.

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Lawmakers receive details of government surveillance program

Three things come immediately to mind.

1) I trust Gonzales about as far as I can throw my car.

2) Do the people who've been given access to this information have the security clearances to read "highly classified" documents.

3) What is the difference between classified and highly classified? Duh! Is this something like the difference between virgin and extra virgin olive oil?
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales Wednesday turned over to key legislators copies of a secret court's "highly classified" orders spelling out how the administration has stopped wiretapping suspected terrorists without warrants and is now spying with judicial supervision.

Gonzales disclosed the decision, which averts a confrontation that might have brought congressional subpoenas, during a news briefing at the Justice Department.

The classified documents lay out details of a secret arrangement approved by a judge on an 11-member national security court that puts the spying program under its jurisdiction. The material was delivered to members of the House and Senate intelligence committees late in the day, congressional aides said.

The documents also will be made available to Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and Pennsylvania Sen. Arlen Specter, the panel's ranking Republican, both of whom have asked to review the new arrangement.

Leahy, Specter and members of the intelligence committees have voiced concern that the eavesdropping on some Americans' overseas phone calls and e-mails may have violated their constitutional rights. Leahy and Specter praised President Bush for granting their requests to review details of the latest arrangement.

"The president has made the right decision in changing his previous course of unilaterally reauthorizing the warrantless surveillance program, to now following the law by seeking court approval for these wiretaps," Leahy said.

But he said he would "have to look at the court's order to determine whether the administration has reached that proper balance to protect Americans while following the law."

Oh yeah, please quit playing nice.

The president has made the right decision...

Don't give the ass credit for anything. K?

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Hip, hip, hooray!

This is a very deserving nomination although I have no idea why they chose the category of peace. Perhaps its the closest pertinent category available.
Former US Vice President Al Gore has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his climate campaign.

Gore had been nominated for his wide-ranging efforts to draw the world's attention to the dangers of global warming, a Norwegian politician said today.

“A prerequisite for winning the Nobel Peace Prize is making a difference, and Al Gore has made a difference,” said Boerge Brende, a former minister of environment in Norway.

Brende said he joined with a political opponent, Heidi Soerensen of the Socialist Left Party, to nominate Gore as well as Canadian Inuit activist Sheila Watt-Cloutier for the prize ahead of today’s nomination deadline.

(courtesy link)

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Oh baby!

Caesarean? No shit!
He is called "Super Tonio," and at a whopping birth weight of 14.5 pounds, the little fellow is causing a sensation in this Mexican resort city.

Cancun residents have crowded the nursery ward's window to see Antonio Vasconcelos, who was born early Monday by Caesarean section. The baby drinks 5 ounces of milk every three hours, and measures 22 inches in length.

"We haven't found any abnormality in the child, there are some signs of high blood sugar, and a slight blood infection, but that is being controlled so that the child can get on with his normal life in a few more days," Narciso Perez Bravo, the hospital's director, said on Wednesday.

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Love to watch them eat their own

Why oh why has it taken so long for people to wake up? Sigh!
Training the police is as important to stabilizing Iraq as building an effective army there, but the United States has botched the job by assigning the wrong agencies to the task, two members of the Iraq Study Group said Wednesday.

``The police training system has not gone well,'' said former Rep. Lee Hamilton, who co-chaired the bipartisan commission.

For a second day, a key Republican directly challenged President Bush to do more than pay ``lip service'' to this and other recommendations on how to resolve the troubled conflict in Iraq.

``As a nation we'd be much better off if the executive branch were not so insular,'' said Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa. ``I'd think the executive branch would be well advised to do more than have a meeting and a news conference to give in-depth consideration to what is being proposed here.''

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Blogger labels

Just an FYI. The "new and improved" Blogger includes labels. They are only attached to posts I've made after switching over, but they are pretty kewl.

Perhaps I could go through my archives and label past posts, but I'm far too lazy to do that.

If you click on a label, Blogger will display any posts I've made including that label.

Of course, this works for anyone else on Blogger who labels their posts.

You can also do a Google™ search using the search feature on the sidebar of SPIIDERWEB™. It will pick up all archived posts although I find it to be a PITA (pain in the ass). The results won't always take you to a post. Sometimes the results take you to a page that includes the archived post. So you have to click on the older archived dates.

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Iran is next

I sometimes get hysterical when it isn't appropriate. Its part of my nature, but I've been posting for months about Bush's intent to attack Iran here, here, here and here. For most of that time I was out in the cold alone. Not anymore.
As paranoid as it sounds, I find myself thinking exactly what Josh Marshall's thinking. It seems like the Bush administration is trying to provoke some sort of conflict with Iran.

As things stand now, there's no way the Bush administration could convince more than a handful of members of Congress to vote in favor of a force resolution against Iran. And I doubt that even this White House has the stones to launch an unprovoked attack on Iran in the absence of such a resolution. But what if Iran were to strike first? Certainly no one could blame the president for responding, right? The country might even rally around him.

Even Congress thinks Bush wants to attack.
Democratic leaders in Congress lobbed a warning shot Friday at the White House not to launch an attack against Iran without first seeking approval from lawmakers.

"The President does not have the authority to launch military action in Iran without first seeking congressional authorization," Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., told the National Press Club.

I gotta set up my think tank.

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Test your maths skills

Three men went to a motel. The man behind the desk said the room is $30, so each man put up $10 each and went to the room.

A little while later he realized the room was only $25, so he sent the bellhop back to the 3 guys' room with $5.

On the way to the room the bellhop couldn't figure how to split the $5 between the 3 guys so he just gave each one of them $1 and he kept the other $2.

That left the 3 guys paying $9 each for the room. 3x9=27+ the 2 that the bellhop kept =$29.



Russia backs plan for 'time-out' on Iran Nuclear dispute

OMG! Now Russia is agreeing with me.

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Strange bed fellows

I challenge you to get this picture out of your mind.
Former Secretaries of State Henry Kissinger and Madeleine Albright urged President Bush on Wednesday to go beyond a planned buildup of U.S. forces in Iraq to develop a comprehensive strategy for the area.

They called for wide-ranging talks with Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria, and increased autonomy for clashing Iraqi groups. The administration has brushed aside the proposal to engage Syria and Iran.

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A decent article about Molly Ivins

Well, he should be better than Gore and Hilliary at telling jokes

Al Franken throws in his hat.
Comedian Al Franken has decided to run for the U.S. Senate from Minnesota in 2008, a senior Democratic official from Minnesota said Wednesday.

Franken told the official, who did not want to be identified because Franken has not made an announcement, that he had decided to run in a recent conversation.

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How to parent

Ya just can't believe what people hear others say sometimes.
Boss: So, how was everybody's weekend?
Mother of the year, proudly: I got so drunk at my daughter's sixth birthday party that I passed out on the couch at three p.m. I think my husband kept an eye on all the kids, but either way, everyone was gone when I woke up at 5:30.

Lebanon, New Jersey
Overheard by: she was gone, too, from the sound of it.

Mother to child: No, we already have nine guns at home!
Wal-Mart Supercenter, Conneaut Lake Road
Meadville, Pennsylvania

Kid yelling: What are we doing after dinner? [Parents ignore him] What are we doing after dinner?!
Mom, calmly: Stop yelling, or I'll have to kill you.
--10th St, between Broadway & University
Overheard by: Calling the Morgue

(all via Overheard in New York or Overheard in the Office)

House approves huge spending bill

Those fucking Democrats!
A must-pass bill covering about one-sixth of the federal budget swept through the House on Wednesday. A sizable chunk of Republicans joined virtually all Democrats in approving spending increases for education, veterans and the AIDS battle in Africa.

The 286-140 vote — with 57 Republicans voting in favor — was a pleasant surprise for Democrats who expected far less GOP support. The $463.5 billion spending bill had much to please the rank and file, including Republican moderates, even though it contained no pet projects for their districts.

"The content is a heck of a lot better than most expected we'd come up with," said the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Rep. David Obey (news, bio, voting record), D-Wis. He worked with his Senate counterpart, Sen. Robert Byrd (news, bio, voting record), D-W.Va., to add money for initiatives popular with both Democrats and Republicans.

The winning vote would have been even higher had there not been such hard feelings over how Democrats powered the bill through the House: just an hour of debate time, no amendments allowed.

In truth, this is a good article. It admits the spending bill was necessary and even Republicans felt compelled to support it. Perhaps those Democrats aren't so bad after all?

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Not the TV program. The number of visitors I need to reach 13,000!

A huge thanks to all who visit here.

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Future Congress critter

Grabbed from Overheard in New York.
Attorney: Oh, god, not her. She is an insufferable hag. Tell her I'm not in the office.
Temp on phone: I'm sorry, ma'am, he's out of the office... Well, I apologize, but he's not here right now... Yes, I'm aware that lying to another attorney is unethical... Ma'am, you did not hear his voice in the background... No, I'm telling you, he's not here... Well, how do you know that was his voice? Couldn't it have been an intern or another attorney? ... Well if it sounded like him, who's to say his son isn't visiting today and that's whose voice you heard? Yes, I'll give him the message. Thank you.
Attorney: So... Have you considered law school?

Long Island law firm
Long Island, New York

Ya see, "grabbed" is a euphemism for "borrowed", "purloined", "found" or "stolen".

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50 Iraqis Die as Holiday Brings Spasm of Sectarian Killing

Does this look like your neighborhood? I sure as hell hope not.

Yeah, that commute was a bitch, huh? You have it so good and just don't know it.

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Blogger is driving me crazy!

OK, I switched to the "new and improved" Blogger which I kinda sorta liked.

But all of a sudden I lost all the neat bells and whistles, save for the labels for posts.

I get confused easily and Blogger isn't helping me retain my sanity at all. Is it a conspiracy? And if so, why target lil ol' me?


Idiot, moron, child, psycho? I have no idea which to call Bush

This is the leader of the free world?
Does President Bush have it in for the press corps? Touring a Caterpillar factory in Peoria, Ill., the Commander in Chief got behind the wheel of a giant tractor and played chicken with a few wayward reporters. Wearing a pair of stylish safety glasses--at least more stylish than most safety glasses--Bush got a mini-tour of the factory before delivering remarks on the economy. "I would suggest moving back," Bush said as he climbed into the cab of a massive D-10 tractor. "I'm about to crank this sucker up." As the engine roared to life, White House staffers tried to steer the press corps to safety, but when the tractor lurched forward, they too were forced to scramble for safety."Get out of the way!" a news photographer yelled. "I think he might run us over!" said another. White House aides tried to herd the reporters the right way without getting run over themselves. Even the Secret Service got involved, as one agent began yelling at reporters to get clear of the tractor. Watching the chaos below, Bush looked out the tractor's window and laughed, steering the massive machine into the spot where most of the press corps had been positioned.

Yes, but he's also a pathetic example of mankind.

ht to Watertiger.

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Out of Iraq ASAP

It isn't like Congress isn't trying, but they need your support.
Senator Feingold held a hearing on the topic yesterday and plans to introduce a bill today to end the war by denying the President the money to continue it. Congress Members Lynn Woolsey, Jim McGovern, and Jerrold Nadler have bills in the House to do the same. But the bills are not all the same.

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Vote with your butt

It really is that easy.

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Syndicated columnist Molly Ivins dies at 62

First off, I hate to have to post this. I loved Molly very much and always hoped to meet her.

But, this is all they could say about her? WTF? Molly was one of the bright lights of journalism. She might have, had she been listened to, prevented Bush from fucking up the world and particularly the US. She deserves more than a couple sentences.

The world of journalism is less because Molly is gone.

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Watada has balls Bush can only dream about...and probably does

Welcome to the new and improved SPIIDERWEB™ where I don't go off on profanity filled diatribes about my subject.

The first U.S. Army officer to refuse deployment to Iraq urged the public in a statement Wednesday to "stop the war so that the death and sacrifices of American soldiers will not be in vain" following a major legal setback in his court-martial proceedings.

First Lt. Ehren Watada, who is based at Ft. Lewis near Seattle, faces six years in prison for failing to deploy to Iraq last year with his Stryker brigade and for criticizing President Bush and the war in statements to the media and at a peace convention.

The 28-year-old Honolulu native has argued that the war is illegal because Bush did not obtain proper authorization for it, and that Army rules and the Nuremberg principles adopted after World War II required Watada to disobey orders to participate.

On Tuesday, however, Lt. Col. John M. Head, the military judge in the case, rejected Watada's request to debate the legality of the war at his court-martial next month. Although Watada's attorney, Eric Seitz, had sought to open the question so the soldier could explain why he defied his deployment orders, Head ruled that the war's legality was a political question irrelevant to the charges at hand. [emphasis mine]

Jesus H Christ in underwear, what the fuck is that? The war is political? The war is not illegal? Watada hasn't the right to refuse to kill people in this war of choice? He has to ignore international law? Bush isn't a fucking war criminal?

If you remember, Natzi war criminals were not allowed to use the defense they were "only following orders".

OK, perhaps I lied to you at the top of this post. I'm just a peon. Its not like I'm the fucking president who is telling you lies.

I really have to ask my doc to up my meds.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Indonesia declares bird flu a national disaster

Bird flu isn't going away whether you want it to or not. The WHO (World Health Organization) is predicting a world-wide pandemic.
Indonesia is set to declare bird flu as a national disaster, giving the government access to special funds to combat the disease that has killed 63 people nationwide, the planning minister said today.

“It has become an epidemic,” Paskah Suzetta said in the capital, Jakarta, where authorities are preparing for the compulsory slaughter of thousands of backyard chickens as part of high-profile efforts to fight the H5N1 virus.

“The president has indicated he will declare it a national disaster so money can be allocated from the state budget’s disaster fund,” he added.

Indonesia, which has suffered more than a third of the world’s human deaths from bird flu, has been criticised in the past for failing to crack down on the disease when it first appeared in poultry stocks nearly four years ago.

It is now endemic in chickens almost all over the country and, despite optimism late last year that it may have been contained, killed six people in the last month. Many of the 63 people who have died lived near Jakarta, home also to more than 100,000 backyard chickens, ducks, doves and song birds.

Authorities, who gave residents weeks to voluntarily get rid of their birds, will now go door to door in some neighbourhoods to make sure the order is carried out, said Jakarta Governor Sutiyoso.
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I'm at a loss here

Why is Germany the one to prosecute Rumsfeld and the CIA agents? Why doesn't the US take care of their own problems? Just asking.
Germany has ordered the arrest of 13 people believed to be CIA agents over the alleged kidnapping of a Lebanese-born German national, in one of the best-known cases of US "renditions" of terror suspects.

The prosecutor's office in Munich, southern Germany said in a statement that the city's administrative court had issued the arrest warrants on suspicion of abduction and grievous bodily harm.

German authorities are probing allegations by Khaled el-Masri that he was abducted by US agents in the Macedonian capital Skopje on New Year's Eve 2003 and flown to a prison in Afghanistan for interrogation before he was released five months later in Albania.

Masri has said he was tortured while imprisoned.

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Let's kill the Hagel meme right now

This guys is not someone anyone on the left should embrace. Get over him.

This post totally stolen from Licolnite.

I’m getting tired of this, I really am. A good chunk of Nebraska seems to think that Chuck Hagel is a liberal. Maggie Seeman is the latest:

Senator Betrayer (formerly Hagel) should register as a Democrat; he is a regular liberal. The terrorists really love liberals.

During World War II, his kind was held for treason.

Maggie—and everybody else out there who thinks that Chuck Hagel is a liberal—you’re a fool. Even if we accept the extremely dubious proposition that being against a war is an inherently liberal thing to do, one issue does not a liberal make. To wit:

  • Chuck Hagel is rated 0% by NARAL
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 87% by the US COC
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 36% by the NEA
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 0% by the LCV
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 100% by the Christian Coalition
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 92% by CATO
  • Chuck Hagel is rated A by the NRA
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 12% by APHA
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 0% by SANE
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 8% by the AFL-CIO
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 22% by the ARA
  • Chuck Hagel is rated 78% by the NTU
  • And last but not least, Chuck Hagel votes with President Bush 95% of the time

Senator Chuck Hagel is most certainly not a liberal.

'nough said?

No, not enough said at all. Folks, talk is easy and usually scripted for politicians. Hagel talks a good game, but check how he votes. Actions are the measuring stick and not words.


Must Read IMHO

How does this make you feel? Anything you do on the internets tubes is fair game to Bush and his hyenas.

So, if you have funny ideas about sex, cheat on your spouse or whatever, ya sure better not email about it. Ya never know what the perverts reading your missives might do with the info.
The legal justification? Federal law says that snoopers must "minimize the interception of communications not otherwise subject to interception," which means that even if you have a warrant to bug a criminal suspect, you must take pains not to eavesdrop on innocent people. There is, however, an exemption for intercepted communications "in a code or foreign language" -- and one DoJ functionary, quoted in the story below, claims that since all digital communications amount to a foreign language or code, it should be perfectly obvious that "federal agents are legally permitted to record everything and sort through it later":
Its Alice Through the Looking Glass time, folks. If we needed paintings of this fucking administration we'd have to commission Salvador Dali.

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Pakistani teenager "raped", paraded over "honour"

No one seems to be picking up this story and I've no idea why.
A group of Pakistani men has been accused of raping a teenaged girl and forcing her to parade naked through her village because one of her relatives eloped with a young woman from the men's family, police said on Wednesday.

Such attacks, known as honour crimes because they are committed in response to a perceived slight on a family's honour, are common in predominantly Muslim Pakistan, especially in backward, rural communities.

Police said the girl's father had filed a complaint on Saturday in Ubaro town, 530 km from the city of Karachi, saying a group of 11 men had kidnapped his daughter, raped her and forced her to parade naked.

The father told police the men were furious because the girl's cousin had eloped with and married a young woman from their family.

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Global warming: the 'spin'

Of course we all knew this. I've posted a few times on this suppression of information or outright false statements being fed to US.
Federal scientists have been pressured by the White House to play down global warming, advocacy groups testified Tuesday at the Democrats' first investigative hearing since taking control of Congress.

The hearing focused on allegations that White House officials for years have micromanaged the government's climate programs and has closely controlled what scientists have been allowed to tell the public.

"It appears there may have been an orchestrated campaign to mislead the public about climate change," said Rep. Henry Waxman D-Calif. Waxman is chairman of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and a critic of the Bush administration's environmental policies, including its views on climate.


At the House hearing, two private advocacy groups produced a survey of 279 government climate scientists showing that many of them say they have been subjected to political pressure aimed at downplaying the climate threat. Their complaints ranged from a challenge to using the phrase "global warming" to raising uncertainty on issues on which most scientists basically agree, to keeping scientists from talking to the media.

The survey and separate interviews with scientists "has brought to light numerous ways in which U.S. federal climate science has been filtered, suppressed and manipulated in the last five years," Francesca Grifo, a senior scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told the committee.

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Pentagon halts sale of F-14 parts

If you were planning to attack another country, wouldn't it make sense to make sure they couldn't keep their war planes in the air? Just asking.
The Pentagon has announced that it is to stop selling surplus parts for the F-14 jet fighter, saying it was the "right thing to do" given US congressional concerns that some parts could land in the hands of Iran.

Iran is the only country still flying the F-14 since the US military retired the plane in July.
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Global warming: the vicious cycle

Perhaps this study will be taken more seriously than the 3 earlier reports.

The effects of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide are being felt on every inhabited continent in the world with very different parts of the climate now visibly responding to human activity.

These are among the main findings of the most intensive study of climate change by 2,000 of the world's leading climate scientists. They conclude that there is now little doubt that human activity is changing the face of the planet.

In addition to rising surface temperatures around the world, scientists have now linked man-made emissions of greenhouse gases to significant increases in ocean temperatures, rises in sea levels and the dramatic melting of Arctic sea ice over the past 35 years.

A draft copy of the fourth report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that global temperature rises this century of between 2C and 4.5C [35F and 40F] are almost inevitable. Ominously, however, it also says that much higher increases of 6C [42F] "or more" cannot be ruled out.

The final version of the IPCC's latest report is to be published on Friday but a draft copy, seen by The Independent, makes it clear that climate change could be far worse than previously thought because of potentially disastrous "positive" feedbacks which could accelerate rising temperatures.

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US strike group transits Suez Canal

Does anything here sound at all familiar? Watch for the bold emphasis I placed at the end.

A US Navy strike group led by the assault ship USS Bataan steamed through the Suez Canal on Tuesday on its way to join the buildup of American forces in the Middle East.

The Bataan, which entered Egyptian waters Monday, spent the night at the Mediterranean harbor of Port Said and was expected to leave the Egyptian part of the Red Sea later Tuesday, a Suez Canal official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press.

The seven-vessel Bataan group includes 2,200 US Marines and sailors, helicopters and Harrier fighter jets, the Navy said in Bahrain.

The US Fifth Fleet, which is based in Bahrain, will be overseeing around 50 warships in the Mideast after the arrival of the Bataan and an American aircraft carrier group in February, said US Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown.

The Fifth Fleet normally commands a fleet of about 45 ships, about a third of them from US-allied navies, Brown said.

The Navy is in the midst of a regional buildup, with the group of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis on its way as well as 21,500 US soldiers being sent to Iraq. The carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower is already in the region.

The United States has not had two carriers in the Mideast since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

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Fidel Castro health watch

Today he's alive.

Fidel Castro has appeared on Cuban state television for the first time in three months.

The Cuban president was shown telling Hugo Chavez, his Venezuelan counterpart, that his recovery was "far from being a lost battle".

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Trust Me On This

I posted a while back on an airplane crash. Many thought it was a hoax, but...
Although the above-displayed photograph looks like the setup for a bit of humor to be displayed in the background of a film or as scenery at amusement park — an airplane crashed into a tree right next to a sign advertising a flight school — it is the product of a real (and non-deliberate) small plane crash.
I rest my case.

Truth be told, SPIIDERWEB™ has been wrong before. Only once and I posted a correction as soon as I discovered the error.

Hey, I have a better record than Bush.

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Still another quote of the day

We are not at war with Iraq. Got it?

I've stated this before, but I'll beat this horse until its pulp.
If you read the posts last week you now realize that we were never legally at war with Iraq. There is no war in Iraq aside from the civil war between Iraqis. What we have done is illegally invade and occupy a nation. Al Qeada was not known to be in Iraq while Saddam was in charge desspite the lies told by the Bush Crime Family prior to the invasion. He and bin Laden were enemies because Saddam was a secular ruler. The insurgency- which I like to refer to as the Iraqi resistence movement, began fighting back against what they soon saw were foreign troops invading their country.

Somewhere along the propaganda line the resistence fighters were equated with the 9/11 type terrorsists- who we abandoned our search for when we invaded Iraq, and suddenly it became the "war in Iraq".

Congress has never declared war on the nation of Iraq.

A careful read through of the 2002 resolution to use force clearly shows that it was specifically passed to combat Saddam Hussein and his army- not the Iraqi resistence or to peacekeep in the middle of a civil war. Our troops are sitting ducks and they are being used contrary to what the Constitution demands and without legal congressional approval. Yet we still hear people say "war in Iraq"; most alarmingly progressive radio talk hosts. This gives credence to Bush's claim that we are fighting some sort of war in Iraq- some noble cause straight out of a 1940's America war hero movie.

We are not doing any such thing. In fact the build up of troops and the naval increase in the Persian Gulf may be the thing that is convincing more and more Middle Eastern people and Iranians to join with either the Sunnis or the Shiites aginst us- the occupiers and invaders.

So I beg all of you to encourage everyone you know to stop calling this the war in Iraq- call it what it is- the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq.

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Smoke and mirrors

Don't know why I've ignored this nor why most others have.

George Bush proposes to deal with climate change by means of smoke and mirrors. So what’s new? Only that it is no longer just a metaphor. After six years of obfuscation and denial, the US government now insists that we find ways to block some of the sunlight reaching the earth. This means launching either mirrors or clouds of small particles into the atmosphere.

The demand appears in a recent US memo to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. It describes “modifying solar radiance” as “important insurance” against the threat of climate change(1). A more accurate description might be important insurance against the need to cut emissions.

The footnote(1) is in the original article.

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Must Read IMHO

Hey, I'm not being lazy or anything. These are posts you need to see. K?

From King of Zembla.

At least I went to the painstaking work to provide the picture.

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Here's the second one

A couple more quotes of the day

Quote of the day

Must Read IMHO

Be afraid. Be very afraid. Yeah, right.
Iran's efforts to produce highly enriched uranium, the material used to make nuclear bombs, are in chaos and the country is still years from mastering the required technology.

Iran's uranium enrichment programme has been plagued by constant technical problems, lack of access to outside technology and knowhow, and a failure to master the complex production-engineering processes involved.

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Must Read IMHO

Read what Jill at Brilliant at Breakfast has to say about Hagel.


America ‘poised to strike at Iran’s nuclear sites’ from bases in Bulgaria and Romania

This is a surprise to whom?

PRESIDENT BUSH is preparing to attack Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of April and the US Air Force's new bases in Bulgaria and Romania would be used as back-up in the onslaught, according to an official report from Sofia.

"American forces could be using their two USAF bases in Bulgaria and one at Romania's Black Sea coast to launch an attack on Iran in April," the Bulgarian news agency Novinite said.

OK, maybe I don't like the "new and improved" Blogger so fucking much.

I have no idea why the first sentence is underlined and don't know why a blockquote causes subsequent sentences to be part of the blockquote.

I had to jump through hoops to make my later comments not part of the blockquote.


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Must Read IMHO

If you haven't subscribed to Don to Earth, you should. Yeah, hes an old guy, but he is wise too.

Must Read IMHO

Bush defeated the Taliban? Yeah, right. This should piss him off big time.

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Be careful where you park

Another public service of SPIIDERWEB™. You're welcome.


Hey, I like the new Blogger

So far... That's it.


Must Read IMHO

I leave it to ONCE UPON A TIME... to explain.

Folks, we're not peaceniks. We just don't think killing thousands of people who pose no threat to US is ever justified.
War is sometimes required in a nation's self-defense, although very rarely. The vast majority of wars fought in human history have been entirely unnecessary. That is certainly true of most of the wars the United States has engaged in: from our imperialistic land grab in the Spanish-American War and the following occupation of the Philippines, through our avoidable and profoundly destructive entrance into World War I, on to Korea, through Vietnam, and in Iraq today, almost all of our overseas military attacks and invasions were prompted by goals that had nothing whatsoever to do with the legitimate, factually demonstrable requirements of our own defense.

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Interesting what people want

My latest hits have been from peeps looking for Saddam's hanging or the Washington peace rally?

Can you say irony? Yeah, I thought you could.

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Something light

Some offerings from a very good site. Well, maybe not all that light.

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