Saturday, February 10, 2007

Throwing hospital patients onto the street to die

This is an item I've run into several times, but failed to blog about. I apologize.
Even on Skid Row, where life and dignity are cheap, it was a shocking scene: a paraplegic man "sliding along his bottom using his hands," carrying his meager belongings in a plastic hospital bag he clutched in his teeth.

Police said the man, who was dragging a colostomy bag behind him, had been dumped out on the sidewalk by the driver of a hospital van.

The witnesses to the dumping, all homeless people, began shouting, "Where is his wheelchair, where is his walker," police detective Russ Long told the Associated Press on Friday. They told officers the driver responded that the man defecated in the van and had to be removed.

"It looks like a shocking case of neglect at this point," Long said. "If there is an explanation it just eludes me at this point. "He was sliding along on his bottom using his hands, "Long said. "He had a hospital property bag in his mouth, in his teeth, and he was trailing a colostomy bag, which was malfunctioning."

The witnesses told police a van from Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center pulled up to a tiny park in the grimy area near downtown at 10:45 a.m. Thursday, a side door opened, and a man, dressed in a green hospital gown and pants, began struggling to get out. The driver looked on.
"His pants fell around his ankles. He fell onto the curb with his legs dangling onto the street," Long said. "He reached down and grabbed his pants, pulled his legs onto the sidewalk. Witnesses said the van would have run over his legs if he hadn't have done that."

Other homeless people in the area helped the disoriented man into the park. A police bicycle patrol arrived by chance within a minute and called an ambulance.

The man, whose name was not released, was described as a 41-year-old Hispanic. He was wearing a bracelet from the hospital, Long said.

Jesus H Christ running a marathon, this is appalling. Let's break it down. Someone authorized this, maybe also destroyed medical records to hide the fact the man had been at the hospital. Undoubtedly a nurse was aware of what was happening, A hospital van driver was involved. Perhaps a second hospital van employee participated.

So, at the very least 3 people and probably more were involved. Three bastards with no souls who would toss a human being out on the street to die.

Other articles I've read mention the police have investigations ongoing involving as many as 12 different hospitals. Which means the bastards-with-no-soul count is up to at least 36.

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Woman Chosen to Lead Harvard

Why isn't this being picked up by women bloggers? I've seen nothing and read many blogs written by women. This is cause for celebration.
Harvard University is about to name its first woman president since its founding in 1636, tapping a Civil War historian to succeed Lawrence Summers, whose tumultuous tenure was marked by controversial remarks about women and clashes with faculty members.

Drew Gilpin Faust, 59, dean of the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and a leading historian on the American South, will be formally appointed president as early as this weekend, according to a source with knowledge of the decision.

With Faust's selection, half of the eight Ivy League schools will be run by women: Harvard, the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton University and Brown University.

Faust, a popular figure on campus known for her collegiality, will succeed the blunt Summers, an economist and former U.S. treasury secretary whose combative five-year tenure as president ended last year. His departure followed a faculty revolt after he suggested that the shortage of elite female scientists may stem in part from "innate" differences between men and women.

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Mad Max beyond Iraq

Why is it the following from Brilliant at Breakfast doesn't sound like tin-foil hat lunacy?
You'd better love your children now, folks, because the Bush Administration is making damn sure that if they even live to grow up, they're going to be living in a world that's a lot more like Mad Max than the one you grew up in.

Oh my, such a silly question. I forgot who the dictator-in-chief is.

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Putin accuses West of bid to force will on world

It is interesting to read what politicians say and don't say. Take Putin, rather than say Bush is a psychopath who is out to dominate the world through military conquest, he words it a little more politely.
Russian President Vladimir Putin sharply criticised the United States and its Western allies on Saturday for what he said was an attempt to force their will on the world.

Speaking at an annual gathering of top security and defence officials in Germany, Putin attacked the concept of a "unipolar world" -- implying the United States is the sole superpower -- and said U.S. actions abroad had made conflicts worse.

"What is a unipolar world? No matter how we beautify this term it means one single centre of power, one single centre of force and one single master," Putin said.

"It has nothing in common with democracy because that is the opinion of the majority taking into account the minority opinion. People are always teaching us democracy but the people who teach us democracy don't want to learn it themselves."

Putin said the United States had repeatedly overstepped its national borders in questions of international security, a policy that he said had made the world less, not more, safe.

Of course its also possible to say Bush is a fucking maniacal idiot who wants to control all countries in the world and will bomb the hell out of those he doesn't like. But that's just a SPIIDERWEB™ way of saying it.

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Explosion hits Red Cross office in north-west Pakistan

Its bad enough terrorists are killing innocent people, I don't understand it, but because of the various religious affiliations, it happens all the time.

But why in hell would anyone attack the Red Cross? It's a neutral organization merely trying to help anyone who needs them. This is really beyond my comprehension.

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Must Read IMHO

And must distribute as widely as possible.

via tristero.


Report: US will be ready for strike on Iran in the spring

Well, it looks like we may have our timetable. No silly, not for pulling out of Iraq, but to attack Iran.
Despite repeated denials by the US administration, preparations for a strike against Iranian nuclear sites are in "advanced" stages, according to informed sources in Washington quoted by The Guardian on Saturday.

According to the Londan-based Guardian's report, the deployment of forces to the Persian Gulf would allow the opening of an Iranian front by the spring, however the sources said an attack would most likely only come next year before US President George W. Bush finishes his term in office.

The sources said Bush had yet to make a final decision on the matter, but Vice-President Dick Cheney and Neo-conservatives, particularly at the Washington-based American Enterprise Institute, were reportedly pushing the need for action against Teheran for continuing to develop their nuclear capabilities.

Is it likely? You bet your sweet ass it is. That is exactly the sort of chicken shit thing Bush would do. Attack Iran, set the whole Mid-East aflame and walk away, leaving others to clean up his mess.

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US to reveal 'evidence' of Iran arming Iraqi militants

The operative word here is suggests, hence the quotation marks in the headline. I have no idea how one would go about proving Iran is involved.
Serial numbers and other markings on bombs suggest Iran is supplying deadly explosives to Iraqi militants, US defence secretary Robert Gates says.

His comments came in some of the Bush administration’s first public statements on evidence collected by the military.

The government and military chiefs have said repeatedly that Iran had been tied to terrorist bombings in Iraq, but up to now have said little about evidence to bolster those claims.

National security officials in Washington and Iraq have been working for weeks on a presentation intended to provide evidence for Bush administration claims of what they say are Iran’s meddlesome and deadly activities.

I would not be the least bit surprised if some of the serial numbers and markings found 'suggest' the US or Russia are supplying the explosives. These areas have had clashes going on for years. There has to be a huge underground/black market arms trade.

Even if Iran isn't supplying directly, they can sell to individuals and countries who might be.

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How to parent

More examples of how to parent.

First from Overheard in New York.
Mom to kid: Do you know that purse I stole from Grandma? Hide it. She's coming over.
20-something chick #1: ... So was she, like, dating that married guy?
20-something chick #2: No! Man, you can't date a married guy, he's married! You can only fuck a married guy.
Lady with kids: Do you mind?!
20-something chick #2: If you don't want your kids to hear about fucking married men, then don't raise them in New York!

--34th & Madison

Overheard by: I hate kids too...
Mother: Shit, girl. You ain't getting no more cheese for the rest of eternity if I got anything to do with it.
Young girl, crying: I hope I die.
Mother: Well, when you die, heaven help you, they know you lactose intolerant up there, too. So no funny stuff, understand?

--B63 bus, Park Slope

Overheard by: John Proctor
Little kid whispering: I don't have to pee.
Dad: Shut up.

--Men's room, MoMA

Overheard by: dues
Next we have an item from Overheard at the Beach.
Little boy: Dad, what kind of birds are these?
Dad: Those are pigeons, but at the seaside they will call them 'seagulls'!

--Ostseebad Damp, Germany

Overheard by: Pascal

And 2 more from Overheard in the Office.
Two-year-old girl: Up, Daddy.
Dad: No.
Two-year-old girl: Up, Daddy... P'ease?
Dad: No. C'mon, we taught you how to walk for a goddamned reason. Let's move it.

Avon, Indiana

Overheard by: Shatmandu
Child in stall: Mommy, where does that hole go?
Mother: It's not a hole, it's a pipe, and it goes to where the child-catcher lives. Now hurry up!

601 West Peace Street
Raleigh, North Carolina

And finally from MSNBC.
The 17-year-old murder suspect police say was urged by his mother to shoot a rival after a fist-fight turned himself in to police Friday.

Clarence Johnson had been sought by investigators since the fatal shooting of Robert Dawson, also 17, on Wednesday night.

Johnson initially walked away from what witnesses described as a routine fight with Dawson — but then, according to police, he returned with a gun his mother gave him, along with instructions to seek revenge.


This is your MSM

I find it hard to imagine MSNBC's seeing this as a victory. How irrelevant have they become? Just asking.


Rove on immigration

Why the hell is the administration spinning for Rove? He's of no use now that Bush has used up his rule-the-country tickets.
ABC News' Karen Travers Reports: White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove explained the Bush Administration's guest worker program and immigration policy at a luncheon Thursday by saying, "I don't want my 17-year-old son to have to pick tomatoes or make beds in Las Vegas."


Rove was not insulting those people in those jobs, the White House explained, he was, according to Perino, saying that every parent wants their child to have a high-skilled, high-wage job.

Uh OK, if that's what you say. But if I were Rove, I wouldn't expect nice smooth sheets in Las Vegas.

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Something to put in the back of your mind

I'm posting this so I can find it again in the future. I'm pretty sure these words will come back to haunt.
At a farewell reception at Blair House for the retiring chief of protocol, Don Ensenat, who was President Bush's Yale roommate, the president shook hands with Washington Life Magazine's Soroush Shehabi. A grandson of one of the late Shah's ministers, Soroush said, "Mr. President, I simply want to say one U.S. bomb on Iran and the regime will remain in power for another 20 or 30 years and 70 million Iranians will become radicalized."

"I know," President Bush answered.

"But does Vice President Cheney know?" asked Soroush.

The president chuckled and walked away.

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Beware of the...frogs?

(via Say No to Crack)


Bush administration: We don't have a problem with leftist regimes

Unless they're headed by someone by the name of Chavez.
A top U.S. official said Washington was willing to work with most of Latin America's leftist governments but criticized Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's moves to nationalize industries as a return to the “failed policies of the past.”

When they're talking about the industries Chavez is going to nationalize, take a guess which one really gets their underwear in a bunch. If you guessed the oil industry you would be right. There's almost always oil involved.

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Senator Clinton: I didn't vote for a 'pre-emptive war' in Iraq

This from Raw Story.
Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY), a Democratic presidential front-runner, said in an interview today that she did not vote for a 'pre-emptive war' in Iraq.

Clinton "insisted her 2002 vote for a resolution authorizing an invasion of Iraq was 'not a vote for a pre-emptive war,' but was instead a show of support for further United Nations-directed weapons inspections," writes Manchester Union Leader senior political reporter John DiStaso, who conducted the exclusive interview with the former First Lady.

From that 2002 resolution. You be the judge of what Clinton voted for.
This joint resolution may be cited as the "Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Iraq".


(a) AUTHORIZATION. The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate...

I've made my decision and its: bullshit you didn't! The title of that resolution isn't "Authorization for the Use of Weapons Inspections Against Iraq"

When are politicians gonna realize the US has pretty well educated people. We can read for Christ sake.

And does America want someone who won't admit a mistake, even before being elected president, in the presidency?

I just wrote about '08 and wasn't gonna do it for a few more months. Dammit. I'll try harder to resist the temptation.

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King Cheny

This guy really is mad for power and even claims his power greater than that of Bush.
An important legal ruling is pending over Vice President Cheney's refusal to disclose statistics on document classification and declassification activity. The Information Security Oversight Office, which is responsible for the policy and oversight of the government's security classification system, has asked Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to direct Cheney's office to disclose these statistics.


At issue is whether the office of the vice president is an executive branch entity when it comes to supporting the activities of the president and the vice president. The reporting requirements for disclosing classification and declassification activity fall under a presidential executive order. [emphasis mine]

Cheney claims the power to ignore a presidential executive order. Its nice to be the king.

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Fidel Castro health watch

Today the Cuban leader is recovering well.

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Who ya gonna believe?

Its your call. Do you believe an insurgent group with ties to al-Qaeda or the US military?
An insurgent group linked to al-Qaida posted a Web video Friday showing what it said was the downing of a U.S. military helicopter this week. Seven Americans were killed in the crash.

The U.S. military has said it did not believe the CH-46 Sea Knight helicopter was shot down in the crash Wednesday northwest of Baghdad.

But a U.S. official, who was not authorized to address the topic publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said "the video appears to be legitimate" - meaning that it shows a Sea Knight crashing.

The two-minute video - which says it shows the "downing of U.S. aircraft on Feb. 7" - shows a helicopter that appears to be a Sea Knight flying. An object trailing smoke is seen in the sky nearby, and then the craft bursts into orange and red flames, with a spray of debris emerging from it.

The linked site has the video, but I couldn't get it to work so omitted a link to it.

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Bush loses another terror case

You know, many more cases like this (see Hamdi, Rasul,and Hamdan) its gonna make it awfully dicey for the GOP to run on the terrorism issue. That's especially so if these people get their day in court and win.
What do you do with a U.S. citizen detained by the U.S. military in Iraq and accused of aiding terrorists?

The U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for D.C. said today in a decision eclipsed by the wall-to-wall coverage of Anna Nicole Smith’s death that if you’re the U.S. government, you must give him a chance to argue his innocence in a U.S. court.

That’s not what the Bush Administration wanted to hear, however. The administration had wanted to turn Ahmed Omar over to an Iraqi court for trial.

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Quote of the day

Cat Blogging

Your money or your life.


Very intersting

Check out this list of Republican child molesters, rapists and more.

The list sure surprised me. There are many more of these than I knew about.

(via Bad Attitudes)

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Will this kill the Pelosi Plane issue?

It would have been nice had this guy written his letter a little faster. That particular gem was booted around almost long enough to become an urban legend.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not request a larger plane for personal use to travel cross-country without stopping, Bill Livingood, the House sergeant at arms, said Thursday.

Livingood said the request was his, and he made it for security reasons.

"The fact that Speaker Pelosi lives in California compelled me to request an aircraft that is capable of making non-stop flights for security purposes, unless such an aircraft is unavailable," Livingood, who has been at his post for 11 years, said in a written statement.

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Friday, February 09, 2007

Bush's little "ranch"

This is an aerial view of Bush's "ranch" in Crawford Texas.

What jumped off the screen to me was, although there's a huge house and guest house, the staff have to live in trailers.

Gawd he's such an ass.

Oh yeah, why is aerial spelled that way? Why isn't it airial as in from the AIR? I'm so confused by this language.

Thank you to for all your help.


Hellraiser anyone?

The Hellraiser (Wikipedia) series of movies featured a guy called Pinhead.

Of course that was just fiction.

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To be fair...

My X always said I had a nasty habit of seeing or considering both sides of any argument. Its a character flaw, one of many I have, but that's for another post.

I repeatedly encourage a US withdrawal from Iraq. I have no doubt the US military presence is causing more harm than good. But some think differently.

Make up your own mind. Of course the correct decision is to champion withdrawing US troops as do I.


Iraq, US Advised To Avoid Offensive Against Militias

Two guesses what Bush will do. If you guessed attack the militias you win. No prizes, but don't you feel good about being right?
raqi and U.S. forces should not launch a military offensive against the militias - most of them Shiite - that are a major source of turmoil in Iraq, but should instead rely on nonviolent steps to bring militiamen into the political fold, according to an Iraqi report that draws largely on the views of prominent Shiite politicians.

"In the short-term at least, there can be no military offensive against the militias. Military confrontation, in the current climate, will only strengthen their appeal and swell their ranks," the Baghdad Institute for Public Policy Research concludes.

The institute said the 18-page report, "Dismantling Iraq's Militias," was based on a round-table discussion by six Shiite politicians, two Kurds and a Sunni Arab. Government officials said Thursday it would be considered in setting policy, but some here saw it as reflecting the private thinking of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as more U.S. troops arrive to try to end the violence.

Maliki has publicly declared that the joint effort will target all lawbreakers equally, regardless of sectarian affiliation but, late last year, his advisers said the prime minister was urging the Americans to combat Sunni groups while Iraqi forces focused on Shiite militias.

"The tense situation between the Mahdi Army militia and the U.S. military means that it would be unwise for multinational forces to go into Shia strongholds at this stage," says the report. The Mahdi Army is led by anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, a key Maliki supporter.

Many Iraqi officials say previous Baghdad security plans failed because Maliki did not take a tough stance against that militia.

How could there be a non-anti-American cleric or sectarian in Iraq at this point, excepting Maliki and he ain't very pro-American either.

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Problems with the "new and improved" Blogger

For the most part the "new and improved" Blogger hasn't been too bad. Its actually been much less problematic than most "upgrades", but...

Initially one was given the ability to format paragraphs as left justified, right justified or centered as in Word, but that seemed to disappear after a couple days. As did the ability to format the fonts. I loved that little bell. Or is that a whistle? Doesn't matter. Its gone too.

At first when I posted a comment to one of my posts, Blogger realized it was I and didn't demand I type in a verification word as is required of others. That too went up in a cloud of smoke.

Blogger still doesn't really show what a post will look like on the site when you preview it, but that may come in a later upgrade.

However my biggest beef is how the labels work. If one types in iran as a label, its stuck in there forever. There seems to be no way to replace iran with Iran or just delete iran entirely. Later, typing Iran as I should have the first time, it will change it to iran. Arghhh! I'm constantly having to edit the labels to put upper-case letters in there. I know, its my fault. I should never have typed iran in lower-case to begin with but it pisses me off.

To be fair, this isn't just a problem exclusive to Blogger. I've many menus offering me "s" because I started to type spiiderweb and accidentally hit the enter key. I often hit the enter key by mistake. Again, my fault, but why can't we fix such things.

So please forgive me if I just "accept" the incorrect labels and let Iran show as iran in future. I hate editing as you may have guessed by now because I'm trè lazy..

This is the end of my current rant. More to come, but now back to blogging.


File under: WTF?

Will this fucking meme ever go away? Al-Qaeda and Hussein were not connected.
Some of the Pentagon's prewar intelligence work, including a contention that the CIA underplayed the likelihood of al-Qaida connections to Saddam Hussein, was inappropriate but not illegal, a Defense Department investigation has concluded. [emphasis mine]

Downplayed the likelihood? There was no likelihood. Anyone knowledgeable about the Mid-East knew Hussein did not support al-Qaeda.

As to whether twisting, fudging and contorting intelligence to suit president idiot is a crime, I don't know what the legal system would say, but its a huge crime to my mind.

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Gunmen Open Fire on Illegal Immigrants

Are you fucking overjoyed, Bush? This is what you have foisted on US.
Gunmen stopped a pickup truck full of illegal immigrants, shot some and took the rest captive Thursday in an attack that left at least three men dead and two people wounded, authorities said.

Gangs of bandits are known to roam border areas preying on illegal immigrants as they cross into the country. Authorities were trying to determine who the gunmen were and said some of the immigrants remained missing.

The men shot three people, one fatally, along a known smuggling corridor near Tucson, then forced several other immigrants in the group to leave with them, Pima County sheriff's officials said.

The bodies of two of those immigrants were found about 10 miles north in the cab of the pickup truck that had been carrying the group.

Two men who were not injured were in custody and telling deputes what happened, and the other immigrants had not been found by midday Thursday.

Jesus H Christ running a marathon, but I'm a glutton for abuse. When I first posted about hate crime legislation I wasn't sure it was a good idea. My good fortune is no one attacked me about my position.

That said, this post is not advocating nor supporting hate crime legislation anymore than its advocating or supporting an all ice cream diet. K?

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Blogging visitors

Its interesting how many visitors to SPIIDERWEB™ (am I overdoing the branding thing?) are from the Northwest US, The Northeast US and Texas.

Perhaps my thoughts, opinions, discoveries, quirks and profanity resonate with these people. Not to discount visitors from the center of the US nor my frequent visitors from around the world, but most hits come from those three geographical areas.


Must Read IMHO

Yeah, its David Swanson again. Damn I'm in awe.

Oh yeah, not a short post.


Olbermann Calls Out Jonah Goldberg

Why in hell does anyone listen to Jonah Goldberg? I'm certain I could beat him in a game of "predictions". And I do this shit for free.
"Jonah Goldberg…less prophetic than pathetic"

via Crooks and Liars and yeah, John has video. Doesn't he always have video?

One of the great things about the internets tubes is you can find absolutely disgusting pix of people rather than just the nicely posed pix they want you to see. Hehehe. Would you buy a prediction from this guy? Just asking.


Cheney the ostrich

This from Helen Thomas.
Sometimes you wonder what planet Vice President Dick Cheney is living on.

Read the article. She gets to the ostrich part.

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Must Read IMHO

I'll let this little snippet speak for me.
If we do not impeach Bush, we will have established that it is acceptable for presidents to lie us into wars, to spy without warrants, to detain without charge, to torture, to reverse laws with signing statements, etc. For similar reasons, we must impeach Cheney too. These reasons go to the survival of our democracy, a matter of far greater significance than the person who next sits in the office of the presidency – or the office of the king if that is what it is to become.

That's the gist of it, folks. We are, without an impeachment, setting a precedent which will allow future world dictators to break any law they want to with impunity.

Personally I don't want to see such dictatorial powers in the hands of a Republican or a Democrat. What's the point of having a great Constitution and Bill of Rights if we allow anyone domain over US?

Sometime soon I hope the Democrats will "fix" signing statements. They have to be limited to a narrow interpretation of a bill and open to revision by Congress. This "oh well, its out of our hands because he issued a signing statement" shit is ridiculous. The president has no right to make a binding commitment that isn't subject to review.

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The whole idea is to wear you down

I Have no intent to be civil about this. The fucking Bush administration's screwing Americans and they seem to love it. Sure, they push back a little, but Bush, like a scroungy dog in more ways than one, will never give up a bone he wants. He wants to gut PBS and come hell or high water he will do it before leaving office.
President Bush is reopening the fight over government support of public television, unveiling a 2007 government fiscal year budget that would cut federal funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting by nearly 25 percent.
Story continues below...

There was some confusion on how to tally the exact cut, but public TV and congressional sources said at least $114 million of the $460 million CPB budget for the fiscal year that starts in October would be cut. The Association of Public Television Stations said the total impact could be $145 million when cuts in related programs are added, including a program to upgrade radio station satellite facilities.

"It's more of the same," said John Lawson, president and CEO of the Association of Public Television Stations, noting previous requests to cut funding for public TV, most of which were overturned by Congress.

U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee's telecom panel, ripped the cuts.

"In a 24-7 television world with content often inappropriate for young children, the public broadcasting system represents an oasis of quality, child-oriented educational programming," he said. "We owe America's children and their parents this free, over-the-air resource."

Government provides much of the financial support for PBS. That makes it, in that the government is "of the people", America's channel. If you want "your" channel, contact your Congress critter (check sidebar for contacts) and tell them you won't tolerate this.

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The ugly truth of Iraq

In keeping with the last post

Often my writing is simple. Its intentional and often caused by my inherent laziness. But there are a couple other reasons. My visitors are from many countries and the readers have limited English vocabularies (often) because English is not their native language. It just makes things easier for them. And the paramount reason to write is to communicate and the use of esoteric words can make understanding more difficult to the reader.

I used to keep a sign by my desk which read:
Sally forth and relieve yourself in a vertical trajectory in the immediate vicinity of a piece of hemp.

Many co-workers who understand the English language would ask what the hell it meant.
Go piss up a rope.


For those who love words

Go over to Balloon Juice. There's a lively discussion about the use or not of a thesaurus.

I guarantee most of you will have to consult your dictionary to comprehend the comments.

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Must Read IMHO

Forgive me for not posting this before.

Over at A Tiny Revolution there's a post Jonathan Schwarz keeps re-dating so you will see it. And you should.

It gives you information on how to stop Bush before he attacks Iran.

Once Bush has attacked it'll be like Iraq. You could mortgage your soul and the horror wouldn't stop.

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Forget about Iraq and the rest of the Mid-East



Must Read IMHO

It seems Edwards dodged this bullet well. He may cave later, but for now is showing some real backbone.
“The tone and the sentiment of some of Amanda Marcotte’s and Melissa McEwen’s posts personally offended me. It’s not how I talk to people, and it’s not how I expect the people who work for me to talk to people. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that kind of intolerant language will not be permitted from anyone on my campaign, whether it’s intended as satire, humor, or anything else. But I also believe in giving everyone a fair shake. I’ve talked to Amanda and Melissa; they have both assured me that it was never their intention to malign anyone’s faith, and I take them at their word. We’re beginning a great debate about the future of our country, and we can’t let it be hijacked. It will take discipline, focus, and courage to build the America we believe in.”

I'm impressed. He stated his position. He doesn't like the tone and sentiment, but is embracing their abilities. What more could one ask?

Edwards would have been a fucking loser had he 86ed Amanda and Melissa. I've worked with many people who swear like I do on my blog. The profanity doesn't diminish what they think.

One more thing, being critical of edicts/positions of the Pope or information from the Jewish Defense League doesn't make one anti-Roman Catholic nor anti-Semitic. Why can't they take a little scrutiny?

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Is there no end to the Bush corruption?

It seems anyone Bush is a crook. Oh yeah, Bush's uncle would be the brother of 41 or Babs. Great siblings ya got there.
President George W. Bush's uncle, William H.T. "Bucky" Bush, was part of a group of outside directors at a defense contractor who realized about $6 million in unauthorized pay from an options backdating scheme, according to U.S. securities investigators.

Bush and other non-employee directors who served on the board of Engineered Support Systems Inc., now owned by DRS Technologies Inc., are not accused of any wrongdoing in a civil complaint filed on Tuesday by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The SEC complaint, however, says the non-employee directors benefited from stock options not approved by shareholders.

"As a result, the company provided significant additional compensation to its outside directors beyond what shareholders had approved," the SEC complaint said. "These same directors later realized approximately $6 million from the exercise of their addtional stock options."

And the GOP and MSM was all over Jimmy Carter's ass because of his brother Billy.

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11 dead in two days while GOP Senators prevent debate

No comment.

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File under "no shit"

In an attempt to ensure no Democratic candidates will elicit my services in their races for office I chose the above title. I'm sure it will work.

OMG, what was I thinking? I could use the money.

Anyway, surprise, surprise. US forces are facing more sophisticated weapons. Duh!
A helicopter operated by a private security firm came down in Iraq last week, U.S. officials said on Thursday, an incident that marks the sixth downing of a helicopter in three weeks.

Reports of the January 31 incident, in which no one was killed, come a day after seven crew members and passengers aboard a U.S. Marine helicopter were killed when it crashed near Baghdad, possibly after being hit by ground fire.

The U.S. military, concerned that militants have changed tactics or are using more sophisticated weapons, has said it is adjusting its tactics.

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Thursday, February 08, 2007

New York hero

Sometimes I find my cynicism is uncalled for and I'm humbled.
Never mind diamonds- a New York cabbie was a Texas girl's best friend. The driver returned 31 diamond rings he found in his cab after dropping off the passenger, who had left him with a 30-cent tip on a $10.70 fare.

"All my life, I tried to be honest," said Osman Chowdhury, a native of Bangladesh. "Today is no different."

But the 41-year-old cabbie from Queens did have a message: "I'm proud of what I did so that people know New York taxi drivers are honest."

What he did started on Monday evening, when he picked up the woman at a hotel in midtown Manhattan and drove her to an apartment building several blocks away. She gave him $20 to pay the fare and asked for $9 back.

Hours later, at about 10 p.m., three other passengers with luggage discovered the woman's suitcase when Chowdhury popped the trunk open for them.

Chowdhury first drove to the building where he had dropped off the woman. But he had no idea in which of the many apartments she might be and didn't want to cause a disruption by knocking on doors.

He took the suitcase to the Manhattan headquarters of the New York Taxi Workers Alliance, a drivers' advocacy group to which he belongs. He and the alliance president looked inside and found two display cases with 31 diamond rings inside.

"I saw flashing, and I said, 'Oh my God! Diamonds!'" Chowdhury recalled. "I was shocked. I was trembling."

They also found a small luggage tag with a Texas telephone number they called - the home of the woman's mother in Dallas. Meanwhile, she called the number, too.

The woman, who said she was a jeweler, got back the gems on Monday when she arrived at the alliance office around midnight - incredulous at her luck. She offered Chowdhury a reward - a check for $100.

"I cannot take a penny for being honest," he said, but he reluctantly accepted the money to cover the fares he lost while trying to track her down.

He said it never occurred to him to keep the diamonds.

Ok, I'm not buying he didn't think about keeping the diamonds, most of us would have. But he could have claimed he had returned them and not done so. Thus he's proven he's an honest man.

OMG! He's a Bangladeshi? Aren't those guys sort of dark? Why didn't he get arrested as a terrorist?

So much for Homeland Security.

Now this is why the MSM often disappoints me, to say the least. Here's a headline.
Cabbie returns diamond rings to tightfisted tipper

The article goes on to say he had only received a 30¢ tip. But if you investigate a little further you find this.
What he did started on Monday evening, when he picked up the woman at a hotel in midtown Manhattan and drove her to an apartment building several blocks away. She gave him $20 to pay the fare and asked for $9 back.

Hours later, at about 10 p.m., three other passengers with luggage discovered the woman's suitcase when Chowdhury popped the trunk open for them.

Uh, pardon me s'il vous plaît, but asking $9 back on a $20 fare is hardly being tightfisted or cheap. That's one hell of a handsome tip.

Don't ya love the ostentatious way I spell French words? Truth is, I'm just trying to be accurate in using their language.

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Veterans Group Speaks Out on War

Maybe Soltz should be blogging. Hell, we can say anything we want, and frequently do, about the government in a world-wide forum.
When Iraq war veteran Jon Soltz accused Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) of "aiding the enemy," the Democratic senators gathered around him yesterday did not wince. Nor did Democrats object when Soltz, the chairman of a group called, called President Bush and Vice President Cheney "draft dodgers."

In the United States Congress, where decorum usually holds sway, Soltz and his small band of veterans are saying things many Democrats would like to express but can't. And as the politics heat up over the Iraq war, Democratic leaders increasingly are being drawn to Soltz and his angry soldiers.

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A question and some advice for Bush

Would you like to improve your image so the American people as well as the leaders around the world don't think you're a fucking idiot?

Attacking Iran is probably one of the most profoundly idiotic things you could do. If you want Armageddon, that's your choice, but don't cause it for the rest of the world.

That voice in your head isn't God. Its probably Barney channeling pastor Harry.

With all due respect. (snickers)

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7 GOP Senators Back War Debate

Will wonders ever cease? My head's spinning.
Senate Republicans who earlier this week helped block deliberations on a resolution opposing President Bush's new troop deployments in Iraq changed course yesterday and vowed to use every tactic at their disposal to ensure a full and open debate.

In a letter distributed yesterday evening to Senate leaders, John W. Warner (Va.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.) and five other GOP supporters of the resolution threatened to attach their measure to any bill sent to the floor in the coming weeks. Noting that the war is the "most pressing issue of our time," the senators declared: "We will explore all of our options under the Senate procedures and practices to ensure a full and open debate."

One wonders why they were against the proposed debate earlier and now are open to it.

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For your consideration

May I request you check out my blogroll on the right sidebar? Try to visit one or two when you have the time, especially the ones you've never heard of before. You will be pleasantly surprised quite often.

As soon as I hit a non-lazy streak I'll be updating that list because I visit many sites I've failed to include.


Must Read IMHO

An expansion on something I've posted about, done very well.
But take whichever descriptive transformation you prefer, for it makes little difference. Whether we're now a military empire that almost exclusively benefits the domestic rich, or a self-perpetuating playground for the wealthy backed by an overstretching military-industrial complex, the nut of it all is this: The nobler America we once knew is gone -- and possibly forever.

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Just for bloggers

Arrest prompts NASA selection review

There's nothing wrong with NASA reviewing how they screen astronauts nor in the support they provide them after being hired. Its unfortunate an alleged murder attempt prompted it.
A shocked NASA said on Wednesday it would review its screening process for mental and medical problems after astronaut Lisa Nowak's arrest on charges she tried to kill a romantic rival for another astronaut.

The U.S. space agency said it had no indication before Nowak was jailed on Monday in Orlando, Florida, that she was troubled. It said it would look for flaws in its selection and support system for astronauts.

However, I'm sure this sort of thing happens all the time. Most of us have heard of homicidal police officers. They're few, but do slip through. And that's because psychological tests can't uncover all the dark secrets in a person's soul. I also would guess such tests are even less effective at discovering who is likely to "lose it" when in love and jealous.

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Don't get stuck in traffic

First Lt. Ehren Watada: hero

Wow! I sure didn't see this coming, but am pleased it did. Bush's attack on Iraq was an illegal invasion and occupation and I admire Watada's courage to risk imprisonment rather than engage in it any longer.

From everything I've read quoting him, First Lt. Ehren Watada is no coward. He's not afraid of combat. He's in this predicament because of his conscience and convictions.
In a stunning defeat for military prosecutors, Lt. Col. John Head, the military judge presiding over Watada's court-martial, said he had no choice but to declare a mistrial because military prosecutors and Watada's defense attorney could not reach an agreement regarding the characterization of a stipulation agreement Watada signed before the start of his court-martial. The government characterizes the stipulation agreement as an admission of guilt by Watada for "missing movement" and making statements against the Iraq war that resulted in charges of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman.

Eric Seitz, Watada's attorney, said the stipulation Watada signed, however, was by no means an admission of guilt by his client. Rather, it was a statement of fact that his client believed the Iraq war was illegal, and that he refused to deploy to the region with his unit because of his beliefs.

Lt. Col. Head said he wanted to question Watada regarding the agreement to gain a better understanding of what Watada's state of mind was when he signed it, but Seitz would not allow the judge to question his client unless he knew the questions in advance. Head said if he could not question Watada to ensure the accuracy of the document he signed prior to the start of the court-martial, he would have to throw out the agreement, meaning the charges against Watada would become null and void.

Issues surrounding the stipulation agreement came up when military prosecutors asked the judge to provide the military panel (similar to a civilian jury) deciding Watada's fate with additional instructions before they returned a verdict.

Head said the basis of the additional instructions could result in questions about the "stipulation of fact" regarding Watada's reasons for refusing to deploy to Iraq. The judge did not indicate the substance of the additional instructions the defense asked him to provide.

Head excoriated military prosecutors in open court for producing the stipulation agreement hours before he declared the mistrial. He said he would allow the government to reopen the case against Watada, but it's unclear whether the military will do so. Even if the case is reopened, it could be months before it ends up in court.

Won't break out the champagne yet because my guess is the military will reopen the case. Watada would set a precedent for many others to follow. Other soldiers could do exactly the same things Watada did to avoid being sent to Iraq which would put a real crimp in Bush's planed SURGE™.

Hey, maybe it will be the soldiers and not Congress who kill Bush's plan.

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One reason Wal-Mart has so many customers

(via Jonco)


Must Read IMHO

Over at Balloon juice there's an excellent post by Tim F about health care with many sharp comments attached.

Oh yeah, did I mention lots of links too?


On Protecting Sources

I'm just gonna steal this whole item. But you need to know this.
Yesterday was a frustrating day for me. I had the opportunity, thanks to another of the significant think tanks in town, to pose a question to one of the more important international diplomats of the moment.

I asked this diplomat to make clear something that the neocons have alleged was a fabrication by a European government. I asked the question very carefully and asked it in front of about 300 people. The meeting was "entirely off the record."

The diplomat who responded before people like Helene Cooper of the New York Times and Jim Hoagland and Karen DeYoung of the Washington Post in the audience said some extremely interesting things. I connected with the diplomat later and tried to lift the veil on the "off the record" commentary -- without success.

Now, I know something that is extremely important about the conduct of American foreign policy and cannot report it. Helene Cooper actually chased me out of the room to ask what I was going to do with the info -- and we were both flummoxed -- realizing we were stuck but fearing someone else might scoop us in reporting the info that came after a question I posed.

I understand the realities here, and I won't write this up unless I find independent confirmation of what I learned. I have thoughts on how that might be possible.

But all this stuff about journalistic propriety came up yesterday as well on a second front when I hosted a meeting for the Cuba-diva herself, Anne Louise Bardach, who spoke both about her new book, The Prison Letters of Fidel Castro, but who gave a talk at the New America Foundation I chaired and co-hosted with The Nation Institute titled "Cuba, Castro, and What Comes Next?"

Bardach was terrific -- but she's been trying to connect to an anonymous source of mine for some years -- and that source has not been cooperative. I've lived up to my commitment to this person, who happens to be a soldier, but it's clear that Bardach would be an excellent person to run further with some information related to Cuba than what I have written.

Blogging is different than journalism -- but there are norms and best practices that I think serious bloggers need to live up to. The blog has grown so much and is read so widely among Washington types that I consider this both my own sandbox for oped-style commentary, but it is also a place that breaks some news. So, I have to maintain an approximation of journalistic standards.

I realize that this is a disappointing post. Perhaps you'll get a sense, however, as to how I feel sitting on some of the most interesting foreign policy information out there and am completely unable to write about it. ARGHH!

More later.

Note: Links are in original.

(courtesy link)

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The post-Bush era

I'm not usually much of a pessimist. Yeah, I don't think I'll win the lottery, know I'll never win Olympic gold and hold out no hope of becoming an alpha blogger, but I am pessimistic there may be no post-Bush era.
The city of Washington was blanketed in snow Wednesday and its inhabitants draped and hooded against the below-zero cold, but in politics and diplomacy there is more than a hint of spring in the air. Suddenly the words "post-Bush era" are being heard in the think-tanks and the media as attention shifts from the lame duck who now inhabits the White House to the extraordinarily early battle for the succession as Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards prepare for next year's primaries.

An attack on Iran, which would be cataclysmic could well make the future moot.

BTW, that little snippet of the article does indeed show a definite liberal bias. I don't often see such, but it's undeniable. Except for Bush and McCain (mandatory inclusion), no Republicans are mentioned anywhere in the story. Its United Press International if you're curious.

Please do read the article. It is nowhere nearly as negative as I am.

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This is a post about a display in a service station for York mints. The author mentions the model displayed is using feathers on her eyes that say nothing more than look at me!

Seems to me it worked.

Click the link. Its a good post.

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Watergate, Plamegate and Gatesgate

Don't headline writers realize there are two "significant" Gates guys out there?
[Bill] Gates: Secure Data Remain Key Challenge

[Robert] Gates Says U.S. Not Planning Iran War

Please be a little more specific. If Bill Gates says US isn't planning to attack Iran it might carry a little less weight than if Robert Gates says it.

Sorry, that last sentence may not be true at all. Only time will tell.

Hahaha. Like anyone working on a newspaper or newspaper website is reading SPIIDERWEB™.

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Wednesday, February 07, 2007

This can't be good news for the SURGE™ troops

What it amounts to is Bush's SURGE™ is sending all these young people into a meat grinder.
More American troops were killed in combat in Iraq over the past four months - at least 334 through Jan. 31 - than in any comparable stretch since the war began, according to an Associated Press analysis of casualty records.

Not since the bloody battle for Fallujah in 2004 has the death toll spiked so high.

The reason is that U.S. soldiers and Marines are fighting more battles in the streets of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, and other cities. And while hostile forces are using a variety of weaponry, the top killer is the roadside bomb.

In some respects it is the urban warfare that U.S. commanders thought they had managed to largely avoid after U.S. troops entered Baghdad in early April 2003 and quickly toppled the Saddam Hussein regime.

And with President Bush now sending thousands more U.S. troops to Baghdad and western Anbar province, despite opposition in Congress and the American public's increasing war weariness, the prospect looms of even higher casualties.

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Something on the lighter side for a change

Just enter your or anyone else's date of birth to find many (very many) useless facts about that day. Its kinda a nostalgia thing.

The birth date calculator.

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This story illustrates how boring the news is right now

Actually, boring isn't exactly right, but repetitive and silly (the astronaut love triangle?). Actually some of the reports of talks between various groups is boring. None have reached a point where anything of substance has come out.

(Update below)

I love this. if the purpose to marry is procreation, as fundies insist, there should be consequences if a couple doesn't and those incapable should be denied marriage. So an organization in Washington State has presented an initiative to the Secretary of State.

This will go down in flames at the polls, but its sorta fun to push fundie's buttons.
Ballot Title
Statement of Subject: Initiative Measure No. 957 concerns eligibility for marriage.

Concise Description: This measure would limit marriage to those couples who are biologically capable of having children together, and would invalidate the marriages of couples who fail to procreate children within three years after marrying.

Ballot Measure Summary
This measure would restrict marriage to a male and a female who are capable of having children together. Couples would be required to declare their ability to procreate children together in order to obtain marriage licenses. If a couple failed to procreate children within three years of marriage, their marriage would be subject to annulment. All other marriages would be defined as “unrecognized.” Persons in unrecognized marriages would be ineligible to receive any marriage benefits.

(read more)

From the the Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance press release>
The Washington Defense of Marriage Alliance (WA-DOMA) announced on Thursday that their proposed initiative to make procreation a requirement for legal marriage has been accepted by the Secretary of State and assigned the serial number 957. The initiative has been in the planning stages since the Washington Supreme Court ruled last July that the state’s Defense of Marriage Act was constitutional.

“For many years, social conservatives have claimed that marriage exists solely for the purpose of procreation,” said WA-DOMA organizer Gregory Gadow in a printed statement. “The Washington Supreme Court echoed that claim in their lead ruling on Andersen v. King County. The time has come for these conservatives to be dosed with their own medicine. If same-sex couples should be barred from marriage because they can not have children together, it follows that all couples who can not or will not have children together should equally be barred from marriage. And this is what the Defense of Marriage Initiative will do.”

Mr. Gadow also stated, “Our agenda is to shine a very bright light on the injustice and prejudice that underlie the Andersen decision by giving that decision the full force of law.

If passed by Washington voters, I-957 would:

* add the phrase, “who are capable of having children with one another” to the legal definition of marriage;
* require that couples married in Washington file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage automatically annulled;
* require that couples married out of state file proof of procreation within three years of the date of marriage or have their marriage classed as “unrecognized;”
* establish a process for filing proof of procreation; and
* make it a criminal act for people in an unrecognized marriage to receive marriage benefits.

Update: I need to clarify the use of the word "silly" in reference to the astronaut love triangle. This appears to be, at least, a case of stalking and possibly a case of intent to murder. Neither of those is silly at all. They are quite serious.

I used the word "silly" to reflect the fact every single news outlet is giving more attention to this than is deserved, probably because of the astronaut angle. I'm sure this sort of thing is happening all the time with other people and those incidences never get into national and international news sources.

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Hiroshima, after the atomic bomb pictures

I'm posting only one pic here because it shows no human victims and because many people won't want to see the the others. They are as horrific as you might imagine, or worse.

No, this is not a justification for bombing Iran. Its a plea to anyone reading this site to do anything in their power to prevent such weapons ever being used again.

(go to pix)

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Clinton, Edwards and Obama: Strike Iran

Doesn't look like "going Democratic" would make any difference in the Mid-East. So far it hasn't.
To put it bluntly, none of the front running Democrats are opposed to Bush's dubious "war on terror" or his bullying of Iran. They support his aggression in principle but simply believe a Democratic presidency could handle the job more astutely. All put Israel first and none are going to fundamentally alter U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East.

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60 nations, minus US, sign treaty banning governments holding people in secret detentions

Doesn't this just make you proud of Bush? Gawd, what an ass.
Nearly 60 countries have signed a treaty banning forced disappearances, capping a quarter-century of efforts by families of people who have vanished at the hands of governments.

The United States was notably absent among the signatories Tuesday. U.S. President George W. Bush's administration opposed an early draft of the treaty, which bars governments from holding people in secret detention.

"Our American friends were naturally invited to this ceremony; unfortunately, they weren't able to join us," French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy told reporters after 57 nations signed the treaty at his ministry in Paris.

"That won't prevent them from one day signing on in New York at U.N. headquarters — and I hope they will," he said.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack declined comment except to say that the United States helped draft the treaty, but that the final text "did not meet our expectations." [emphasis mine]

Of course it didn't meet expectations unless it gave Bush carte blanche to do as he pleases to people.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Stomp on the lies before they gain traction

I've written about this before on Hagel. Dems have to attack this stuff before it becomes "common knowledge". Before Hagel it was Obama. Now its Wesley Clark and the DNC.
The WaPo’s David Broder is frequently called the “dean” of the Washington media establishment. He’s moderate to a fault, tepid in his criticism, but influential enough to help reflect and shape the conventional wisdom.

With this in mind, it was disheartening to see Broder take a cheap and unnecessary shot at the Democratic Party in his column today.

Broder was reporting on the DNC winter meeting, held over the weekend in DC, at which the party’s many announced and likely presidential candidates tried to impress the party faithful. Broder gave a rundown of how the field of aspirants did, but added this observation:

One of the losers in the weekend oratorical marathon was retired Gen. Wesley Clark, who repeatedly invoked the West Point motto of “Duty, Honor, Country,” forgetting that few in this particular audience have much experience with, or sympathy for, the military.

I expect these kinds of dishonest smears from Limbaugh, Hannity, and O’Reilly, but Broder is supposed to be credible and serious. Why take such a gratuitous shot at the entire Democratic Party? Why intentionally perpetuate a right-wing lie? Why libel a political party with an observation that’s the opposite of the truth?

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Evangelicals try to keep ancient skeleton in closet

Turkana Boy

Well, yeah, if you just ignore science it may go away.
Deep in the dusty, unlit corridors of Kenya’s national museum, locked away in a plain looking cabinet, is one of mankind’s oldest secrets.

Turkana Boy, as he is known, is the most complete skeleton of a prehistoric human ever found, hailed by scientists as one of the world’s most famous fossil finds.

But his first public display later this year is at the heart of a growing storm - one pitting scientists against Kenya’s powerful and popular evangelical Christian movement.

The debate over evolution – once largely confined to the United States – has arrived in a country known as the cradle of mankind.

“I did not evolve from Turkana Boy or anything like it,” says Bishop Boniface Adoyo, head of the country’s 35 evangelical denominations, which he claims has around 10 million followers.

“These sorts of silly views are killing our faith.”

He’s calling on his flock to boycott the exhibition and has demanded the museum relegate the fossil collection to a back room – carrying some kind of warning that evolution is not a fact.

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

(read more)

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Bush wants biological weapons?

This is very disturbing news if correct. We don't need these illegal weapon, but scientists may be developing them.
Although no foreign power has threatened a bioterror attack against America, since 9/11 the Bush administration has allocated a stunning $43-billion to “defend” against one. Critics are now saying, however, Bush’s newest “biodefense” initiative is both offensive and illegal.

The latest development, according to the Associated Press, is that the U.S. Army is replacing its Military Institute of Infectious Diseases at Fort Detrick, Md., “with a new laboratory that would be a component of a biodefense campus operated by several agencies.” The Army told AP the laboratory is intended to continue research that is only meant for defense against biological threats.

But University of Illinois international law professor Francis Boyle charged the Fort Detrick work will include “acquiring, growing, modifying, storing, packaging and dispersing classical, emerging and genetically engineered pathogens.” Those activities, as well as planned study of the properties of pathogens when weaponized, “are unmistakable hallmarks of an offensive weapons program.”

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I learn something every single day

Amazing. In a country with 1.3 billion people, it seems an average of 300 thousand have the same surname.
Only 4,100 different Chinese surnames have been found to exist out of a sample of 300 million Chinese people, according to a survey by the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS).

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How the US Army's being worn down in Iraq

I've mentioned this before, but the US military has neither the "ready" troops nor equipment to wage additional war. I doubt that will stop Bush, however.
Recently, the Washington Post reported that US President George W Bush's "surge" of troops to Iraq by 21,500 "would create major logistical hurdles for the US Army and Marine Corps". That's a nice way of putting it, like calling a tsunami a maritime disturbance or an earthquake a tectonic-plate adjustment.

The truth is that after nearly four years of fighting in Iraq, the US military is deeply stressed and worn out by its operations there. While most dispassionate observers are aware of this, it is not

something the Bush administration likes to talk about. Nevertheless, the truth is that from a US military perspective, Iraq is increasingly burdensome.

Consider the following facts. Last year senior Marine Corps officials admitted that if the war in Iraq ended tomorrow and marine units were shipped home, it would cost US$12.8 billion to re-equip them with vehicles and gear lost in combat and through wear and tear. That outlay would take up a significant portion of the corps's yearly budget, which in 2004 stood at nearly $17 billion.

Last July, Democratic lawmakers sent a letter to Bush noting that up to two-thirds of the army's combat brigades were not ready for wartime missions, largely because they were hampered by equipment shortfalls.

Much of the equipment deployed in Iraq is beginning to wear out as a result of heavy use, harsh operating conditions, and the frequent attacks launched by insurgents. Furthermore, the quantity and quality of weapons in units away from the war zone are eroding as equipment is transferred to deploying units. The latter problem is particularly pronounced in the reserves, which already were functioning with a deficit of modern equipment when the war began.

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Marshals: Innocent People Placed On 'Watch List' To Meet Quota

Somehow this seems to be flying under the radar and it shouldn't.
You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they're reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.

The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they're required to submit at least one report a month. If they don't, there's no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.

"Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft ... and they did nothing wrong," said one federal air marshal.

These unknowing passengers who are doing nothing wrong are landing in a secret government document called a Surveillance Detection Report, or SDR. Air marshals told 7NEWS that managers in Las Vegas created and continue to maintain this potentially dangerous quota system.

"Do these reports have real life impacts on the people who are identified as potential terrorists?" 7NEWS Investigator Tony Kovaleski asked.

"Absolutely," a federal air marshal replied.

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Iranian Diplomat Kidnapped in Baghdad by Iraqis With Official ID

What am I miss-reading here or is this writer as bad as I with a poor proof-reader?
An Iranian diplomat was abducted Sunday evening when his convoy was stopped by men with official Defense Ministry identification in the Karrada neighborhood here, senior Iraqi and American officials said Monday.

Iraqi security forces captured several suspects after pursuing their vehicles through the streets of Baghdad, two of the Iraqi officials said.

The vehicle with the diplomat was not caught, though.


The men captured in the chase by Iraqi forces on Sunday were Iraqis with Defense Ministry identification, Iraqi and American officials said, raising serious questions about whether government forces themselves were involved in the abduction. [emphasis mine]

Here at SPIIDERWEB™, I read, edit, research, write, proofread and publish. So I expect a little more slack for typing Iraq instead of Iran and not catching it (until a reader does), but this is the New York Times.
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Republican Senators Block Debate on Iraq Resolution

Question: Did the Dems get exactly what they were after? Is that why they spent so much time drafting the resolution? After all, it was/is non-binding and thus unlikely to effect any change in Bush's head-long rush to attack Iran.

But they have forced 47 senators to go before the American public and admit they don't give a damn what the voters want. They will back the idiot-in-chief despite public opinion.
Forty-nine senators, almost all Democrats, voted to proceed with the debate, whereas forty-seven senators, nearly all Republicans, voted against - 11 short of the number needed under Senate rules on the issue.

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Compassionate conservative my ass

Bush always lays in wait for the people least able to fight back. Were only he so aggressive about taking things away from the wealthy.

I know. Its a pipe dream.
The Bush administration's proposed fiscal year 2008 budget imperils the health of millions of Americans with substantial cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other invaluable disease prevention initiatives and successful health insurance programs, the American Public Health Association (APHA) said today.

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Antarctica tsunami: correction

When we're wrong we admit it.
Actually it’s just frozen glaciers that look like a tidal wave. Still - very cool (and cold!) Link

The link above is to several such pix. Like neatorama says, kewl.

(via neatorama who got it from Outhouse Rag)

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Monday, February 05, 2007

Fighting big brother

It was coming sooner or later. Big brother just can't do whatever he wants.
A revolt against a national driver's license, begun in Maine last month, is quickly spreading to other states.

The Maine Legislature on Jan. 26 overwhelmingly passed a resolution objecting to the Real ID Act of 2005.

The federal law sets a national standard for driver's licenses and requires states to link their record-keeping systems to national databases.

Within a week of Maine's action, lawmakers in Georgia, Wyoming, Montana, New Mexico, Vermont and Washington state also balked at Real ID. They are expected soon to pass laws or adopt resolutions declining to participate in the federal identification network.

"It's the whole privacy thing," said Matt Sundeen, a transportation analyst for the National Conference of State Legislatures. "A lot of legislators are concerned about privacy issues and the cost. It's an estimated $11 billion implementation cost."

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Must Read IMHO

Have I done too many of these of late?

Its just so much fun watching them eat their own. this is an interview with Dick Armey former House majority leader.

I need popcorn.
When he was the GOP leader in a Republican-controlled House of Representatives, Dick Armey was never known to be a shrinking violet. But now that he's out of politics, Armey is indisputably even more plainspoken as the leader of a conservative grassroots network known informally as "Armey's army."

Since leaving Congress in 2003, the former House majority leader has served as chairman of FreedomWorks, which boasts more than 800,000 volunteer activists committed to fighting for less government and lower taxes, the same causes that often defined Armey's tenure as a congressman from Texas.

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This Should Surprise No One

Jailing people doesn't produce the sort of reform one might think.
Hot House, a documentary about Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails, was awarded a Special Jury Prize in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at this year's Sundance Film Festival. With a tremendous amount of competition from the 14 other contenders in the category, Hot House still stood out among the rest.


The film, whose creators had the opportunity to meet the highest security Palestinian prisoners held in Israel, examines the development of hierarchies and societies within prison walls. It reveals a prison system that acts more as a organizational center for crime than a location of meaningful reform.

And prison life eventually spreads its influence into society on the outside. This influence reaches its peak during the historic Palestinian parliament elections that brought Hamas to power in 2006.

The film shows prisoners following the elections and discussing the results. Given that the prisons have their own hierarchies and even elections among different factions (a system the wardens found makes riots and breakouts less likely), it's no wonder that politics are a point of interest.

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Not just Iraq anymore

The American people aren't too keen on being in Afghanistan either.
Many adults in the United States express dissatisfaction with the war on terrorism, according to a poll by Opinion Research Corporation released by CNN. 52 per cent of respondents oppose the U.S. conflict in Afghanistan, up four points since September.

It takes time. Far too much for me, but the people do come around.

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Iran steps up production of weapons-grade uranium

The title is the headline in the Compare the headline to the actual story.
The nuclear brinkmanship between Iran and the West is expected to step up a gear amid predictions that Tehran is about to announce that it has begun industrial-scale production of enriched uranium.

Iran has started installing about 3,000 centrifuges, the machines that can turn uranium into fuel for nuclear reactors or bombs, at a huge plant in Natanz - a prime target if the US or Israel conclude that there is no other way to stop Iran acquiring the bomb. [emphasis mine]

Omar goes into a department store and buys kitchen knives which can be used to prepare food for a meal or, OMG, stab his wife, kids and neighbors to death! He has to be stopped.

In this case I think "or" is the operative word.

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Something else the MSM won't tell you

Because things are just going so well in Iraq. However, people outside the Bush administration see things a little differently.
Arab diplomat Mokhtar Lamani has resigned, disillusioned and nearly drained of hope, after spending months in Iraq trying to coax Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish leaders into peace.

“I am no longer going to stand and watch Iraqis’ bodies being taken to the cemetery,” he said, after arriving in Cairo from Baghdad last week to tender his resignation.

The 54-year-old Moroccan’s mission was the Arab world’s main communal effort to try to help solve the turmoil in what was once one of its most powerful members - a response to criticism from Iraq and the US that Arabs were not doing enough.

But it was a failure, and Lamani blames feeble support from Arab countries, US policies and the unwillingness of Iraq’s deeply divided leaders.

“The help that (Iraq) should get was out of my hands,” Lamani said recently during an interview at a Cairo hotel. “I have no desire to lie to myself or to Iraqis” – confessing that he had “nothing to give.”

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Why isn't the MSM picking this up?

And how many other things are being kept from Americans. Americans aren't perfect and most know it. The government and the military aren't perfect and most know it. Be honest.

US attacks in Somalia killed al Qaeda fighters.
Attack helicopters strafed suspected al Qaeda fighters in southern Somalia on Tuesday, witnesses said, following two days of air strikes by U.S. forces — the first U.S. offensives in the African country since 18 American soldiers were killed here in 1993.

In Washington, a U.S. intelligence official said American forces killed five to 10 people in an attack on one target in southern Somalia believed to be associated with al Qaeda. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the operation's sensitivity, said a small number of others present, perhaps four or five, were wounded.

To be fair, the story does say "suspected".
There has been no confirmation so far of any targeted al Qaeda suspects being killed in Somalia, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi told the Financial Times in an interview published on Monday.

Ethiopia is working closely with the United States to identify Islamist fighters killed in neighbouring Somalia in recent clashes, including U.S. air strikes, Meles said.

"We do not have definite information on a number of the key al Qaeda targets. There are reports that one or two of them might have died but we have no confirmation," he told the FT.

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Here are a couple things the clergy is saying about minimum wage

No they aren't all crazy-nuts lunatics with a stick up their ass.

First this.

Then this.

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In an effort to be eclectic and help my readers

Perhaps people are wising up

This from a from a report from several British groups.
A military attack on Iran could unleash disastrous consequences for the Middle East and the wider world, a coalition of unions, faith groups and think tanks warned in a report released Monday.

The document, "Time to Talk," said a military strike, which many believe is being planned by the United States, could further destabilize neighboring Iraq, undermine hopes for Israeli-Palestinian peace and embolden hard-liners in Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's government. It said an attack on oil-rich Iran could also drive up fuel prices, harming economies around the world.

"The possible consequences of military action could be so serious that governments have a responsibility to ensure that all diplomatic options have been exhausted," the report said. "At present, this is not the case."

Maybe if enough people speak out about the horrors attacking Iran will cause it won't happen. Of course, with a psychopath running the US, you never know.

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This should cause you some concern

Because Bush has done so well "transforming" the Mid-East, he plans to continue his work after leaving office.
Bush wants his legacy to be the long-term defeat of Islamic extremism. Indeed, senior officials close to Bush who did not wish to be identified discussing private conversations with the president tell NEWSWEEK that Bush's plan after he leaves the White House is to continue to promote the spread of democracy in the Middle East by inviting world leaders to his own policy institute, to be built alongside his presidential library.

Or, put another way, he won't be satisfied until he's caused a world war.

And I just can't wrap my head around "Bush think tank".

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Must Read IMHO

The article is well written although the pic is crap.

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Sunday, February 04, 2007

Probably more true than you might think

I give you the slacktivist.


McDonald’s Beats Starbucks in Coffee Taste Taste [I think they meant Taste Test]

Sorry, but I don't give a damn. There are far more important things happening, like deaths in Iraq.

OK, I confess. This post is really about being able to post the pic above which I think is ingenious.

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Where is the EVIDENCE that Iran threatens the U.S. in Iraq or anywhere else?

I have little doubt Bush intends to attack Iran. Either directly or by his surrogate, Israel. I do hold out hope it won't happen.
I don't think it's at all out of line to criticize Iran, or even declare military force against them an option, IF that military force is directed against some PROVEN provocation or some assault on our nation, including against our forces. It's a separate issue (not an unimportant one) that Bush has placed our soldiers in harm's way in Iraq and elsewhere. They shouldn't be anyone's targets for unwarranted assault. The U.S. can never tolerate any LEGITIMATE outside threat to our nation or our citizens, and that includes from Iran.

That said, there has been absolutely NO EVIDENCE of any threat to our nation or our citizens from the GOVERNMENT of Iran as Bush and other U.S. politicians claim. Reports yesterday indicated that the Bush administration has "postponed" plans to publish a "dossier" of Iranian interference in Iraq because they were "divided over the strength of the US evidence."

Anyway, bear in mind Bush doesn't, up until now, have a reasonable rationale for doing so.

I do disagree with the author. When he says military assault is justified by "some PROVEN provocation" I have to call bullshit. Proven provocations are a dime a dozen. Provocations are not imminent danger.

It's the Department of Defense. It isn't a fucking Department of Offense.

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