From January 2006 (actually earlier) until now, that really is many visitors although not up to the "big dogs'" hits, but then I don't have to pay for my hosting which is a godsend.
You make me want to continue. I appreciate it.
Rojak posts, mostly political.
"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." -- Thomas Mann
If so, I must be a writer.
Labels: cat blogging
The nation's top two law enforcement officials acknowledged Friday the FBI broke the law to secretly pry out personal information about Americans. They apologized and vowed to prevent further illegal intrusions.
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales left open the possibility of pursuing criminal charges against FBI agents or lawyers who improperly used the USA Patriot Act in pursuit of suspected terrorists and spies.
The FBI's transgressions were spelled out in a damning 126-page audit by Justice Department Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. He found that agents sometimes demanded personal data on people without official authorization, and in other cases improperly obtained telephone records in non-emergency circumstances.
The audit also concluded that the FBI for three years underreported to Congress how often it used national security letters to ask businesses to turn over customer data. The letters are administrative subpoenas that do not require a judge's approval.
In an official statement on Wednesday, NASA said U.S. Navy Capt. Lisa Nowak's position as a NASA astronaut has been terminated, effective March 8, by mutual agreement between the space agency and the U.S. Navy.
Nowak is charged with attempted kidnapping and burglary with assault after confronting Air Force Capt. Colleen Shipman at Orlando International Airport last month.
For months it's been a well-kept secret. But now Warren Township Schools confirm a disturbing case of sex in the classroom. The illicit activity has parents concerned and a district at a loss for words.
Shop class gives students a chance to learn outside of the book. But at Warren Township's Raymond Park Middle School, two students engaged in illicit acts in view of goggled eyes.
13 Investigates was tipped off by a disturbed resident who writes:
"...during school hours in a classroom with an experienced teacher present, two sixth graders completed the act of intercourse...at least ten students were witnesses. No disciplinary actions were taken against the teacher... All teachers were told to keep quiet."
A suicide attacker blew himself up in a cafe northeast of the capital Wednesday, killing 30 people as a wave of violence left 90 Iraqis dead throughout the country.
The bloodshed persisted as Iraqi security forces struggled to protect more than 1 million Shiite pilgrims streaming toward the holy city of Karbala for annual religious rituals that begin Friday. The pilgrims are facing a string of attacks along the way that have claimed at least 174 lives in two days — among 284 killed across
Iraq since Tuesday.
Gunmen kill two peacekeepers in Darfur
Ninety killed in Iraq suicide bombings
Suicide bombings death toll rises to 47
16 more Shia pilgrims killed in Iraq
Darfur gunmen kill 2 African Union peacekeepers
U.S. says Darfur genocide continues
An earthquake with an epicenter southwest of Concord was measured at magnitude 2.7 this morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.
Saudi authorities have warned foreign embassies that a group blamed for last month's killing of four French nationals could strike again, the Interior Ministry said on Wednesday.
"The warning was despatched by the (Saudi) Foreign Ministry to all embassies in the kingdom," said Mansour al-Turki, the Interior Ministry spokesman for security affairs.
Diplomats said the warning was sent after the Interior Ministry announced on Tuesday it had arrested some suspects in the killing of the four French nationals.
"Saudi authorities officially notified us on Tuesday that the group could attack again and urged foreigners to avoid travelling outside cities," a Western diplomat said.
The four French nationals were killed on Feb. 26 during a trip into the desert. No one has claimed responsibility.
The warning also advised embassy personnel not to travel in the area where the killing occurred, the Western diplomat said.
Some French residents in Riyadh said they received text messages from their embassy informing them of the Saudi warning.
"We have reacted immediately by informing our nationals of the warning which urged foreigners in general to be cautious and to call police as soon as they notice that they are being monitored," French embassy spokesman Alain Guepratte said.
Four months into his job, a police officer in Mississippi holds a gun to the head of an unarmed teenager and puts him in a chokehold. A novice officer in Illinois gets into a car chase that kills a driver. And a new campus policeman in Indiana shoots an unarmed student to death.
Some are blaming these harrowing episodes on what an Associated Press survey found is a common practice across the United States: At least 30 states let some newly hired local law enforcement officers hit the streets with a gun, a badge and little or no training.
These states allow a certain grace period — six months or a year in most cases, two years in Mississippi and Wisconsin — before rookies must be sent to a police academy. In many cases, these recruits are supposed to be supervised by a full-fledged officer, but that does not always happen.
The risks, some say, are high.
A recent GlobeScan survey conducted for the BBC World Service confirms what most people know but governments want to deny: Israel is an unpopular state whose role is seen as anything but benign in world opinion
By Dr. Sahib Mustaqim Bleher
A recent GlobeScan survey conducted for the BBC World Service confirms what most people know but governments want to deny: Israel is an unpopular state whose role is seen as anything but benign in world opinion. The poll rates countries as to whether there influence in the world is considered to be mainly positive or negative, and the results show Israel to be perceived the least positive and the most negative influence. Even Iran did slightly better in the perception of people around the world.
These results have to be viewed against the background of relentless negative propaganda against Iran whereas Israel is usually perceived in the dominant mass media as a beleagured democracy of victimised people fighting for survival in a despareate struggle against Arab and Islamic terrorism. So whilst many people in the world may have been hoodwinked into accepting the official line on Iran, they have not been fooled into believing the myth of Israel as the innocent home for persecuted Jews.
China, by the way, is seen as more positive than the USA, and the latter is perceived as more negative than Russia. It seems the people of the world do not share the American dream, but their clear vote against the role Israel is playing is most telling. Short of accusing the pollsters of anti-semitism in the design of their research methods, as the Israeli paper Haaretz does, Israel and its supporters have an evident image problem in spite of privileged access to the media. No doubt, in their typical arrogance they will respond by claiming that the world's inhabitants will need to be better educated.
This would make the Americans the best educated nation on earth: the Israeli national news service Arutz Sheva tells us that unlike other nations, the sympathies of Americans are still solidly with Israel. Who would have guessed!
-- Mathaba author Dr. Sahib Mustaqim Bleher is a German living in England, a Muslim and a pilot - in the oppressive neo-fascist climate of today, this means walking a tight rope. And it requires speaking out. He has done so through articles, pamphlets and books, many of which are available via his FlyingImam web site which you can visit at FlyingImam.com.
U.S. President George W. Bush was "saddened" by the jury's verdict on Tuesday that Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I Lewis "Scooter" Libby, was guilty in the leak case regarding the identity of Valerie Plame, a former covert agent of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the White House said.
"He said that he respected the jury's verdict, that he was saddened for Scooter Libby and his family," White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino said at a news briefing.
Genetically-modified rice containing human genes is about to be grown in the US for commercial production.
The laboratory-created rice which produces some of the proteins found in breast milk and saliva would be used for children’s medicines to help fight diarrhoea, dehydration and other illnesses.
The US government gave preliminary approval for Ventria Bioscience to grow over three-thousand acres of the GM rice in Kansas.
Iraqi insurgents killed nine more Shiite pilgrims on Wednesday as the toll from the previous day's suicide attack rose to 117, amid fears that a backlash could undermine the US-led Baghdad security plan.
At least two suicide bombers detonated explosive vests on Tuesday in a crowd of Shiites marching through the central town of Hilla on foot towards the holy city of Karbala for Friday's Arbaeen religious festival.
Doctor Saad al-Shemari of Hilla hospital told AFP that, along with the 117 dead, there were another 173 wounded -- many of them critically -- and that the number of fatalities was expected to rise still further.
"After every kind of attack, we're concerned about restarting the cycle of sectarian violence," said US spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Chris Garver.
"So we hope that people remain calm and don't play into the terrorists' hands, by restarting the cycle, and let the Iraqi security forces do their job. We're concerned about every attack," he said.
The killings continued on Wednesday as -- undaunted -- thousands of pilgrims continued their march of devotion, carrying banners and copies of the Koran and marching hundreds of kilometres to Karbala's revered shrines.
A "cancer of insurgency" in southern Afghanistan could drive the 2007 opium poppy harvest to record levels, the U.N. drug agency chief said Monday.
The U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime predicted that last year's harvest record would be broken by an increase in 15 provinces, including Helmand — the world's largest poppy-growing region and the scene of a growing number of attacks by Taliban fighters who use opium to fund their insurgency.
Housework was a woman's job in the family ... but one evening, Jenny arrived home from work to find the children bathed, one load of laundry in the washer and another in the dryer. Dinner was on the stove, and the table set. She was astonished!
It turns out that Ralph had read an article that said wives who work full-time and had to do their own housework were too tired to have sex.
The night went well. The next day, she told her office friends all about it. "We had a great dinner. Ralph even cleaned up. He helped the kids do their homework, folded all the laundry and put it away. I really enjoyed the evening."
"But what about afterward?" asked her friends.
"Oh, that ... well, Ralph was too tired."
Attorney General Alberto Gonzales has indicated he is too busy to answer letters from Democratic congressional leaders about his firing seven U.S. attorneys involved in probes of public corruption, though a lower-level Justice Department official rejected their proposals.
Labels: butt caulk
This is one of those questions that has lingered ever since things started going south in Iraq, which began almost immediately after "Mission Accomplished": will there be an Iraq Syndrome similar in kind to the Vietnam Syndrome? It is question that Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, Ira Chernus, delves into and it comes with the very sobering consideration that, just as Reagan-led Republicans fed off the Vietnam syndrome and turned into a political operating platform to argue for more militarism and gainful imperial missions, so too might our terrible adventure of imperialism in Iraq create an equal, perhaps even greater, flight to further military buildup and international meddling.
Scientists scanning the deep interior of Earth have found evidence of a vast water reservoir beneath eastern Asia that is at least the volume of the Arctic Ocean.
The discovery marks the first time such a large body of water has found in the planet’s deep mantle.
If the United States were a free country, its citizens’ mail, phone calls and electronic communications never would be subject to warrantless government snooping.
If the United States were a free country, citizens’ right to buy, own and bear firearms never would be infringed, save for convicted felons.
Moazzam Begg is one British national swept up in the post-invasion frenzy in Afghanistan and found himself imprisoned in Kandahar, Bagram air force base and finally Guantanamo Bay for years before US officials summarily released him and several other British citizens who had been held without charges since 2001. His book, Enemy Combatant: My Imprisonment at Guantanamo, Bagram, and Kandahar, details his time in these various hellholes.
It sounds like a sick joke about global warming, with a series of horrible punch lines:
How hot is it? So hot that Inuit people around the Arctic Circle are using air conditioners for the first time. And running out of the hard-packed snow they need to build igloos. And falling through melting ice when they hunt.
These circumstances are the current results of global climate change, according to Nobel Peace Prize nominee Sheila Watt-Cloutier, an Inuit born inside the Canadian Arctic, who maintains this constitutes a violation of human rights for indigenous people in low-lying areas throughout the world.
Watt-Cloutier and Martin Wagner, an attorney with the environmental law firm Earthjustice, argued this case on Thursday before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States in Washington.
"We weren't going to go to court," Watt-Cloutier said in a telephone interview after her testimony to the commission. "It wasn't about lawsuits and suing for damage or compensation.
"It was more about really trying to get the world to pay attention and see this as a human rights issue."
New Mexico Sen. Pete Domenici acknowledged Sunday that he called a federal prosecutor to ask about a criminal investigation, but insisted he never pressured nor threatened his state's U.S. attorney.
The prosecutor, David Iglesias, was fired by the Justice Department in December. Iglesias says he believes he was dismissed for resisting pressure from two members of Congress before last year's election to rush indictments in a Democratic kickback investigation.
Ethics experts said Domenici's conduct may have violated Senate rules, which generally bar communications between members of Congress and federal prosecutors about ongoing criminal investigations.
Iglesias, a Republican, has said he would not name the lawmakers unless asked under oath.
A House Judiciary subcommittee subpoenaed the prosecutor last week to appear Tuesday and testify under oath. He also was scheduled to appear before a Senate committee the same day. Domenici refused last week to say if he had contacted Iglesias, insisting in a brief interview with the Associated Press, "I have no idea what he's talking about."
But in his statement Sunday, the Republican senator said he called Iglesias last year and asked "if he could tell me what was going on in that investigation and give me an idea of what time frame we were looking at.
An explosives-rigged minivan crashed into a convoy of Marines that U.S. officials said also came under fire from militant gunmen Sunday. As many as 10 people were killed and 34 wounded as the convoy made a frenzied escape, and injured Afghans said the Americans fired on civilian cars and pedestrians as they sped away.
U.S. officials said militant gunfire may have killed or injured civilians, but Afghanistan's Interior Ministry and wounded Afghans said most of the bullets were American. Hundreds of angry Afghans protested near the blast site, denouncing the U.S. presence here.
As the Americans fled, they treated every car and person along the busy, tree-lined highway as a potential attacker, said Mohammad Khan Katawazi, the district chief of Shinwar in eastern Afghanistan's Nangarhar province.
"I saw them turning and firing in this direction, then turning and firing in that direction," Ahmed Najib, a 23-year-old hit by a bullet in his right shoulder, said of the U.S. forces. "I even saw a farmer shot by the Americans."
Lt. Col. David Accetta, the top U.S. military spokesman in Afghanistan, said gunmen may have fired on U.S. forces at multiple points during the escape. He said it was not yet clear how the casualties happened, though he left open the possibility that U.S. forces had shot civilians.
"It's not entirely clear right now if the people killed or wounded by gunfire were killed or wounded by coalition forces gunfire or enemy attackers gunfire," he said.
The accusation that U.S. forces killed or wounded so many Afghans was likely to cause an uproar in a country that has seen an untold number of civilians killed by international forces since the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. A high-level delegation was appointed to investigate.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai has pleaded repeatedly for Western troops to take care not to harm civilians, and in December wept during a speech lamenting civilian deaths at the hands of foreign forces.
Coalition troops killed eight civilians when they opened fire on a crowd after a suicide car bomb struck a military vehicle in eastern Afghanistan Sunday, provincial police said.
Elsewhere, the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) reported that two of its soldiers were killed Saturday in combat in the south of the country, which sees the most violence linked to a Taliban insurgency.
A large group of demonstrators gathered to protest the shooting of civilians after the bombing, in the eastern province of Nangarhar, witnesses said.
"Eight people have been killed and more than eight were injured. They were killed in coalition firing after the explosion," Nangarhar police spokesman Ghafoor Khan said.
The US-led coalition force, which operates alongside ISAF, confirmed a patrol had been struck by a suicide car bomb on the road between the provincial capital Jalalabad and the town of Torkham on the border with Pakistan.
A coalition spokesman did not have any information about casualties and would not say which troops were involved. US soldiers are deployed in the east of Afghanistan with ISAF and the smaller coalition. [emphasis mine]
US investigators have uncovered evidence that Arab Bank, one of the largest in the Middle East, has channeled tens of millions of dollars from wealthy Saudi Arabians to Palestinian groups that finance suicide bombers and their families, The Los Angeles Times reported on its website Saturday.
In 2005, the bank agreed to pay the federal government 24 million dollars in fines for violating US laws aimed at preventing terrorist financing, according to the report.
Each F-15 cost [Israel] approximately $84 million.
During the second intifada, the Israeli civil rights group, B'Tselem, has documented four ways in which Israeli soldiers have forced Palestinian civilians to act as human shields for IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] military activity: ...
1. By forcing them to enter buildings ahead of military personnel, in order to check if they are booby-trapped, or to remove the occupants. ...
2. By forcing them to remove suspicious objects from roads used by the army ...
3. By forcing them to stand inside houses where soldiers have set up military positions, so that Palestinians will not fire at the soldiers. ...
4. By forcing them to walk in front of soldiers to shield them from gunfire, while the soldiers hold a gun behind their backs and sometimes fire over their shoulders.
"Recognizing Israel's right to exist," the actual demand being made of Hamas and Palestinians, is in an entirely different league. This formulation does not address diplomatic formalities or a simple acceptance of present realities. It calls for a moral judgment.
There is an enormous difference between "recognizing Israel's existence" and "recognizing Israel's right to exist." From a Palestinian perspective, the difference is in the same league as the difference between asking a Jew to acknowledge that the Holocaust happened and asking him to concede that the Holocaust was morally justified. For Palestinians to acknowledge the occurrence of the Nakba – the expulsion of the great majority of Palestinians from their homeland between 1947 and 1949 – is one thing. For them to publicly concede that it was "right" for the Nakba to have happened would be something else entirely. For the Jewish and Palestinian peoples, the Holocaust and the Nakba, respectively, represent catastrophes and injustices on an unimaginable scale that can neither be forgotten nor forgiven.
To demand that Palestinians recognize "Israel's right to exist" is to demand that a people who have been treated as subhumans unworthy of basic human rights publicly proclaim that they are subhumans. It would imply Palestinians' acceptance that they deserve what has been done and continues to be done to them.