Saturday, August 18, 2007

spiiderweb™: Feeling secure? Well don't #18

File under WTF?

This is too fucking good to pass up. Unbelievable!!!1!!

Police were hoping for a good turnout at their "Kicks for Guns" program to exchange weapons for sneakers, but they weren't expecting a surface-to-air missile launcher.

There are surface-to-air missile launchers floating around America? That's just peachy.

Note: I have no idea if the Redeye, pictured above, is the missile launcher in the story, but its an approximation at the least. Sue me.

UPDATE/CORRECTION: It isn't a Redeye. Turns out it was actually an anti-tank weapon. Link includes picture of the actual weapon.

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Diplomacy effort reaches out to Muslim youths

In the back of my mind I seem to recall government doing this, except it was on a much larger scale. One not limited to Muslim youths.
The State Department is launching what it says will be the first comprehensive public diplomacy effort targeting children, hoping to shape the views of Muslim youths ages 8 to 14 with a series of summer camps and enrichment programs designed to counter negative images of the United States.

Oh yeah, now I remember:

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A Plan for Iraq

Does this sound like Ayad Allawi is politicking? That he's running for office?
Next month, Gen. David Petraeus, commander of U.S. forces in Iraq, and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will report to Congress on the situation in my country. I expect that the testimony of these two good men will be qualified and nuanced, as politics requires. I also expect that their assessment will not capture the totality of the tragedy -- that more than four years after its liberation from Saddam Hussein, Iraq is a failing state, not providing the most basic security and services to its people and contributing to an expanding crisis in the Middle East.

Short answers: Yes and yes.

That's exactly what he's doing and it probably won't be long before the Bush administration starts backing his bid. Hell, the WaPo is already endorsing him just by giving him a forum.

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Soccer tourney named after terrorist

I guess not everyone's down with this "war on terror".
A school in the West Bank town of Tulkarm this week organized a soccer tournament named after Ziyad Da'as, a Fatah terrorist, Palestinian Media Watch reported on Thursday.

Da'as planned a 2002 attack in Hadera in which a gunman opened fire with an M-16 rifle at a bat mitzva, killing six and wounding 30.

He was also behind the kidnapping and murder of two Israelis in Tulkarm in 2001.

Da'as was killed in an IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] operation in August 2002.

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'Al-Qaida' hijacks Cyprus plane

This story is pretty old, technically, but it was just a matter of time before al-Qaeda got mentioned.

The hijacking itself is not why I'm posting. Notice the quote marks in the headline. That's goodness.
Hijackers claiming to have bombs and to be members of al-Qaida today hijacked a Turkish passenger plane heading from northern Cyprus to Istanbul.

The hijackers had asked that the plane be diverted to Iran or Syria, but the pilots landed the plane at Antalya airport, near the Mediterranean coast, chief executive of the private Atlas-Jet airline company Tuncay Doganer said.

Most of the passengers managed to escape from the rear exit of the plane while the hijackers were releasing the women from the front exit, one passenger told private NTV television.

The reason the quote marks are important is because one passenger said the hijackers were al-Qaeda whereas a second passenger said the hijackers did not make an announcement about who they were.

So there you have it. Two diametrically opposed witnesses and the reporter went with one of them. And the most dramatic one at that. The person writing the headline obviously read the story first.

Shoddy reporting, but good headline writing.

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Run on banks in Los Angeles

This can't be good. People are already panicking and the worst most likely is still to come.
Anxious customers jammed the phone lines and website of Countrywide Bank and crowded its branch offices to
pull out their savings) because of concerns about the financial problems of the mortgage lender that owns the bank.

Countrywide Financial Corp., the biggest home-loan company in the nation, sought Thursday to assure depositors and the financial industry that both it and its bank were fiscally stable. And federal regulators said they weren't alarmed by the volume of withdrawals from the bank.

The mortgage lender said it would further tighten its loan standards and make fewer large mortgages. Those moves could make it harder to get a home loan and further depress the housing market in California and other states.

The rush to withdraw money -- by depositors that included a former Los Angeles Kings star hockey player and an executive of a rival home-loan company -- came a day after fears arose that Countrywide Financial could file for bankruptcy protection because of a worsening credit crunch stemming from the sub-prime mortgage meltdown.

Should they panic? Ya bet your sweet ass they should. Look at this:
Last Tuesday, Andy Parker got a telephone call he wasn't expecting.

It was the Millersburg tax collector, who informed him that the check from his mortgage company to pay school taxes had bounced.

Like many people, part of the mortgage payment Parker makes every month goes into an escrow account that the lender uses to pay property taxes. Parker's mortgage lender, Melville, N.Y.-based American Home Mortgage Investment Corp., is required to hold the escrow money and pay the taxes when they are due.

American Home Mortgage filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in Delaware on Aug. 6. The bankruptcy protects the company from creditors while it continues to operate and restructures.

That matters little to Parker, whose school taxes haven't been paid.

"Bottom line, I am worried about my credit score and how it will be reported," Parker said. "Ultimately, it remains my responsibility no matter what happens."

He's not alone.

As I posted as a comment somewhere, there's gonna be a bear market for vans and cardboard boxes as more and more people become homeless.

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Va. Tourism Pitch Mimics Gang's Sign

Jesus H Christ with a Blackberry. This is just ridiculous.
Virginia is still for lovers, but the state's tourism agency will eliminate images of people making heart symbols with their hands in its upcoming advertising campaign because the gesture is also used by a violent street gang.

The Virginia is for Lovers "Live Passionately" campaign will remove images of models making the hand gesture, one of several signs associated with the Gangster Disciples, Virginia Tourism Corp. officials said Friday. The gesture shows thumbs and index fingers formed into a heart.

So now street gangs are determining what Virginia can't do in an advertising campaign? Bullshit!!!1!!

Wonder what the Jews are gonna do.

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Michael Ledeen's Dangerous Iran Obsession

This is a pretty long snippet, but I need you to get a sense of the whole article.
Michael Ledeen -- who once told me that he only supported the Iraq War because it provided momentum and pre-positioning of American military forces to then go after Iran -- is not going to feel self-actualized until America unleashes a considerable portion of its arsenal against the nation and people of Iran.

I'm not a pacifist. I have to admit that there might be circumstances in which war with Iran is our last and only option -- but we are far, far away from that situation.

I'm particularly worried that there are bad guys in Iran who so desperately want to consolidate their political positions inside Iran that they see a hot conflict with the U.S. and/or Israel as "helpful". It's also clear that Vice President Cheney as well as his followers inside the administration and his ideological following in Washington's think tank sector want war to pump up their eroding political position.

But Ledeen, James Woolsey, Norman Podhoretz, and others want war now with Iran. They want the bombs to fly. They are obsessed with delegitimating [sic] the important diplomatic efforts of Undersecretary of State R. Nicholas Burns, US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker, Ambassador to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad, and others. They despise Defense Secretary Bob Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice -- and they are increasingly offering defamatory comments about George W. Bush himself at their small dinner parties and neocon gatherings.

For those unaware, Ledeen along with Woolsey and Podhoretz, definitely have Cheney's ear and, thus, considerable clout.

He may look harmless enough and, perhaps even intelligent, but don't be fooled because he's as loony as they come and far more dangerous than most.

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Quote of the day

This sounds about right.

"Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed."

-- Elbert Hubbard
US author (1856 - 1915)

Via: Quotes of the day


Sky marshal held for 'harassment'

Ya ain't even safe from sky marshals, apparently.
A sky marshal on a flight out of Indian Kashmir was arrested on Friday for allegedly sexually harassing a female passenger, police said.

Angry passengers who witnessed the incident refused to let the plane take off from Srinagar, the main city in Indian Kashmir, until the man was removed from the plane, G. M. Dar, a senior police officer at Srinagar airport, said.

Only after he was arrested did they discover he was an air marshal.

Good for the passengers who demanded his removal. They could have ignored the incident, but didn't.

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Mistaken Ark. Law Would Let Toddlers Wed

File this under "oops". I just couldn't pass up this story. Too bizarre.
A law passed this year allows Arkansans of any age - even infants - to marry if their parents agree, and the governor may have to call a special session to fix the mistake, lawmakers said Friday.

The legislation was intended to establish 18 as the minimum age to marry but also allow pregnant teenagers to marry with parental consent, bill sponsor Rep. Will Bond said. An extraneous "not" in the bill, however, allows anyone who is not pregnant to marry at any age if the parents allow it.

So if ya live in Arkansas and want to marry off that obnoxious three year old, ya better do it before the legislature can act.

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Soldier to Face Court-Martial in Deaths

Master Sgt Timothy Hennis

This has come about because of new DNA evidence which couldn't be test 18 years ago with available technology. Because he was cleared in civilian court, he couldn't be tried there again, but not so with the Army.
A soldier cleared of a triple murder in civilian court 18 years ago will face a military court-martial for the same crimes, an Army general ordered Friday.

I couldn't find an antonym for whitewash so I'll just have to make up my own. Let's call this a blackwash.

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Judges to Consider Request for Spy Docs

Why is it some news is only available in foreign (non-US) news media?
The government must answer a watchdog group's demands to release records about the nation's classified terrorist spying program, the chief judge of a secretive national security court has ruled.

The American Civil Liberties Union, which announced the order Friday, said it was the first time the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court had responded to a request filed by the public.

In her two-page order, dated Aug. 16, Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly called the ACLU's demand "an unprecedented request that warrants further briefing."

At least I haven't read about this anywhere else.

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WH to Offer Troop Cuts, Sorta

Yes its basically a shell game. They'll remove some troops, but it only means the number will fall back to before the SURGE™ began.
The scoop of the day award goes to The New York Times for breaking the story of what the White House plan will be in September after Gen. David H. Petraeus delivers his report [wink, wink] on progress in Iraq.


Steven Lee Meyers and Thom Shanker pen the front-page scoop for the Times with the news that the White House will propose gradual troop cuts beginning next year, but they're expected to fall well short of Congress' demands. The goal is not to end the war, but to counter public pressure for a quick and total withdrawal and try to win support for "a sustainable footing" at least through the end of President George W. Bush's term in office. Although it will be billed as a new strategy -- what is that, the seventh now? -- it doesn't much sound like it, as it would probably return troop levels to the 130,000-strong force in Iraq before the surge, which is unsustainable past April 2008 anyway because of deployment requirements, according to the Pentagon. It is a new strategy in order to keep wavering Republicans in Congress on board, however. What's unclear is how the mission for the remaining troops might change.

So basically they are saying, "Hey, Amurcins are too stoopid to unerstan' what we're reely doin'."

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A new energy pessimism emerges

Being the lazy ass blogger I am, I won't be hunting down the other links I should include here, but the author of this article isn't the only one saying we'll be in deep shit (instead of oil) within a very few years.
Opinions may differ over whether the world's oil production has peaked, but Michael T Klare argues there is no doubt that the world has entered the era of "tough oil". Because oil demand is likely to keep rising and the development of new oilfields is not expected to keep pace, significant shortfalls will emerge within the next five years. The world can scrape by with the right policies - and a lot of luck.

And why do people use the word "energy" when they mean "oil"? Just asking.

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US marches closer to war with Iran

I've posted many times about how I believe Bush will invade Iran. This from December 2006. And there are earlier posts going back to my first mention of it in January 2006.
From Bosnia to Afghanistan to Iraq, the US military and intelligence have cooperated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, which Washington now wants to declare a terrorist outfit. This collaboration will end, leaving the US "unfettered" for a strike on Iran. And despite what some may think, a "war of attrition" with low-intensity clashes is not possible. It can only be all-out war. - Kaveh L Afrasiabi

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Friday, August 17, 2007


Need a good laugh? Sure ya do. We all do. Well I've got just the thing for you here from Kevin Drum.
A couple of days ago James Fallows dispensed some advice to Michael Gerson regarding his new op-ed perch at the Washington Post. Boiled down, he suggested that Gerson needed to reduce his output of vague, feel-good columns and instead write sharper, more pointed pieces that acknowledged his six years as George Bush's chief speechwriter and made that experience a core part of his narrative, warts and all.

Today Gerson did just that, writing a column about Karl Rove. Here's his pitch:

Rove's main influence on the Republican Party has not been a series of tactical innovations but a series of strategic arguments. In this way, Rove is the opposite of a cynical political operator.

....Rove argues that Republicans win as activist reformers, in the tradition of Lincoln, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. "We were founded as a reformist party," he said in our conversation this week, "not to be against something, but to help the little guy get ahead." The models he cites are 401(k)s and the mortgage interest deduction — government policies that encouraged individual wealth and ownership.

Ya gotta read the article because it gets funnier as Kevin eviscerates Gerson.

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Congrees, Bush Clash Over Children's Health Insurance

Yes, this is an old story from back in July, but...
If anything looked like a sure thing in the new Congress, it was that lawmakers would renew, and probably expand, the popular, decade-old State Children's Health Insurance Program [SCHIP] before it expires this year.

But the future of the $5 billion-a-year program, which serves 6.6 million children and has long enjoyed bipartisan support, has become mired in an ideological fight over the proper role of government in health care and in more mundane legislative arm-wrestling over how to fund the effort in a tight budget climate.

Key members of the Senate Finance Committee announced a bipartisan deal late last week that would raise the federal excise tax on cigarettes by 61 cents, to $1 a pack, to expand the program by $35 billion over the next five years. That would create total program funding of $60 billion over the period -- enough, lawmakers said, to cover 3.3 million additional kids while keeping the focus on children of the working poor. The committee is expected to vote on the plan as early as this week.

The program, which will expire on Sept. 30, "has helped millions upon millions of low-income, uninsured American kids see doctors when they're sick," Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said in a statement. "This agreement will make sure that even more children get the health care they need."

I bring it up now because it seems Bush has no problem finding all the money he needs to give to Israel for arms.
The United States offered Israel an unprecedented $30 billion military aid package yesterday, bolstering its closest Mideast ally.

Can you say hypocrite? Yeah, I knew you could.

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NASA says no fix needed to shuttle

Pray to your God that this is so because the consequences if wrong could be dire.
NASA decided yesterday that no repairs are needed for a deep gouge in Endeavour's belly and the space shuttle is safe to fly home.

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Did these Marines deserver harsher treatment? Were three of them innocent? I have no idea, but the US in future has no right to condemn others for whitewashing, torturing, invading, ignoring the Geneva Convention, kidnapping, etc.

This administration has set such horrid precedents it will take years if not decades to get the US back to anything remotely resembling moral authority.
In recent months, the senior Marine commander on the West Coast has dismissed charges against three Marines implicated in the deaths of 24 Iraqis and reduced the sentences of three others in the kidnapping and killing of an Iraqi man.

Lt. Gen. James Mattis' actions in two of the war's highest-profile criminal cases underscore one of the wild cards in the military justice system: the sweeping powers of a commanding general to decide the fate of those accused of war crimes.

Mattis, who commands the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, decided who was charged, who got immunity, who will stand trial and, in the case of convictions, whether clemency should be granted.

Wow, those powers sound hauntingly similar to the powers Bush has assumed. I guess Bush felt envious.

Now correct me if I'm wrong, but it seems to me there is no such thing as "war crimes" for the US military if commanding officers can grant immunity. Am I missing something here? Is Bush, as commander in chief, capable of granting immunity to anyone below him? Why didn't Hitler think of this?

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Quote of the day

"Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do with themselves on a rainy Sunday afternoon."

-- Susan Ertz
Anger in the Sky

Via: Quotes of the day


US citizen Padilla guilty of aiding Al-Qaeda

Jesus H Christ on a unicycle. I saw this coming as did most of you. The fucking government is going to destroy José Padilla if its the last thing Bush does.
A federal jury on Thursday found US citizen Jose Padilla guilty of aiding Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaeda terror network and conspiring to commit murder outside the United States.

And don't get me wrong. Bush is entirely responsible for this.

I wonder how the jury members will sleep. Absolutely nothing I've read over the last few months was anything except sympathetic of José. Everyone believed the guy was tortured into a vegetative state and needed mental care, not incarceration.

Previous posts.

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House cleaning desktop

Some images I needed to purge:

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bush Pushes Agenda Without Congress

This is really a non-story. I have no idea why so many news sources are reporting about it. And here is why:
Outgoing presidents often unleash a flurry of executive orders and regulations in a last-minute attempt to leave their mark on U.S. policy. Frustrated by Congress' inability or unwillingness to pass the president's agenda, the administration already is taking steps to do it through executive action. [emphasis mine]

So this isn't at all unusual for an outgoing president. But I guess they have to fill in the space around the adverts.

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Powerful quake hits Peru, sparks tsunami warning

By now everyone knows a powerful 7.9 magnitude earthquake hit Peru. Initially no injuries were reported.

Unfortunately, now the reports are coming in that 15 people were killed and more than 200 injured. Numbers that will both probably increase in the next few hours/days.
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UPDATE: Wish I'd been wrong about the numbers. Its now at least 115 killed and more than 1,000 injured.

UPDATE: This will be my last update of this rising death toll. Its too depressing. Its now at least 330 killed. Just watch CNN.

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Cat blogging

A young tapir (Copyright: Holger Ehlers)

Yes it is early in the week for cat blogging, but...

I have no idea what you with cats and small children can do about this problem, but here it is.

Study: Dust With Retardant May Harm Cats
A new federal study suggests that household dust containing a common flame retardant may be linked to an increase in cats getting sick from overactive thyroids. That could be a warning sign for how young children could get exposed to the chemical, said Linda S. Birnbaum, director of experimental toxicology at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and co-author of the study.


The small study looks at chemical flame retardants called polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), which were used in foam, plastics, furniture, electronics, fabrics and carpet padding. The sole American manufacturer in 2004 agreed to phase out the types of PBDEs included in the study because of concern about toxicity in animals.

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Flood-weary Texas prepares for more rain as new Tropical Storm Erin begins to lash coast

So just as the idiot-in-chief is vacationing in Crawford this Tropical Storm Erin comes in. Why did I recall the above Al Capp cartoon character?
South Texas braced Wednesday for Tropical Storm Erin to bring torrential downpours to a state that already has had one of its rainiest summers on record.

Oh yeah, its because the idiot is always under a cloud.

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Coalition Forces Discard Guns, Throw Bullets

I can't do this justice. You just have to go over to Jil in Pattaya to see it for yourself.

However, just a minor correction. only the tip of a shell or cartridge, the piece that actually flies out of the gun barrel, is a bullet. She is displaying unspent shells.

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Career limiting quotation

"No American President Can Stand Up to Israel."

-- Admiral Thomas Moorer
United States Navy

H/T Mathaba

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Toy industry challenged by disposal plan

The second shoe drops. What to do with the recalled toys?
Now that toy companies have issued recalls for millions of Chinese-made toys that are either tainted with lead or otherwise hazardous to children, they are scrambling to figure out what to do with them.

Mattel Inc., which on Tuesday recalled about 19 million toys worldwide, said it was working on a "responsible approach" but could not provide details.

Amid the lack of clarity, many parents are confused about how to dispose of the toys. That may mean many of them will end up in the trash and eventually in landfills, where they could possibly leach toxins into the groundwater.


Lead-painted toys fall under the category of products that would need to be destroyed or properly disposed of, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington, D.C.

But plenty of other toys — like the millions of toys including Batman and Polly Pockets recalled this week by Mattel because of hazardous magnets — don't necessarily have to be destroyed.


The magnetic toys were recalled because their small, powerful magnets could harm children if they're swallowed.


For toys that don't pose an environmental hazard, such as the recalled magnetic toys, a manufacturer has more leeway. A company may even seek to ship the items for sale abroad.

"Some companies do request to re-export their products to another country," Wolfson said.

In such cases, the manufacturers are required to tell the CPSC, which alerts the country where the product is slated to go and gives them the opportunity to deny entry. [emphasis mine]

Scott Wolfson, a spokesman at the CPSC, said that a recalled product like a lead-laced toy cannot be exported for resale.

Come on now. If the toys aren't safe for American children then they aren't safe for any children. Just bite the bullet toy sellers and don't export unsafe toys.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

China watchdog bans tainted Indonesian cookies

What goes around comes around. It was tainted dog food and toothpaste being banned by the US from China. And Mattel toys too. Well, it looks like the ol' US isn't all that innocent.

Yes, I know it says Indonesian cookies, but watch for my emphasis.
China's quality watchdog has banned the import of children's cookies produced by PT. Arnott's Indonesia, a subsidiary of U.S. food giant Campbell Soup Company , after tests detected excessive levels of aluminium, the watchdog said.

The move comes as China's exports are itself placed under heightened international scrutiny following the recall of millions of toys made for Mattel because of excessive lead and unsafe magnets, and a series of scandals involving pet food, toothpaste and tyres.

Hope you read the label on the soup can. Snicker.

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Gazing Back From the Abyss

This can't be good. In fact it is more likely catastrophic.
Writing in the Washington Post, Susan Landau points out that one of the real dangers of the recently passed FISA law is that it might enable private hackers to get into the government’s systems and spy on private citizens as well.
Avoiding warrants for these cases sounds simple, though potentially invasive of Americans’ civil liberties. Most calls outside the country involve foreigners talking to foreigners. Most communications within the country are constitutionally protected — U.S. “persons” talking to U.S. “persons.” To avoid wiretapping every communication, NSA will need to build massive automatic surveillance capabilities into telephone switches. Here things get tricky: Once such infrastructure is in place, others could use it to intercept communications.

Grant the NSA what it wants, and within 10 years the United States will be vulnerable to attacks from hackers across the globe, as well as the militaries of China, Russia and other nations.

Just how much safer is this making you feel? Just asking.

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Death toll from suicide bombings in NW Iraq rises to 500

This isn't a positive trend at all. Initially, and still with some news agencies, the reported number killed was at least 175. Then the reports started coming out the number was 200 as more bodies were found. Xinhua was told the number was 250. Now its double that and could rise higher.
The death toll from four apparently coordinated suicide car bombings near Iraq's northwestern town of Sinjar late Tuesday rose dramatically to 500, while 375 others injured, hospital official told Xinhua on Wednesday.

"We have received 500 corpses and 375 others injured people," said Dr. Kifah Muhammad, the manager of the hospital in Sinjar, a town in western Nineveh province.

He added that the death toll could rise further as rescue workers continue to ferry the victims to the hospital. The newly obtained figure from the hospital doubled the death toll Xinhua earlier got from a local police source, which said that 250 people were killed and 300 others injured.

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Gonzales to Get Power In Death Penalty Cases

This is something I find truly amazing. It's the rare case where the media is reporting the story everywhere, but where are the bloggers? Perhaps wingers are picking up the torch (I rarely read them), but I've not seen any mention of this on the left.

Gonzales should be kicked out of office and not rewarded with more powers. So I have no idea why there seems to be no outrage.
Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, under political siege for his handling of the U.S. attorney firings and other issues, is to get expanded powers to hasten death penalty cases under regulations being developed by the Justice Department.

The rules would give Gonzales the authority to approve "fast-track" procedures by states in death penalty cases, enabling them to carry out sentences more speedily and with fewer opportunities for appeal if those states provide adequate representation for capital defendants.

Such powers were previously held by federal judges, but a provision of the USA Patriot Act reauthorization bill approved by Congress last year hands the authority to the attorney general.

And just why does the Attorney General need such power? If federal judges already have the power, isn't that adequate? What does the AG bring to the table?

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The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products

Map of European Union

This is a fascinating story. Its long, but gets heavily into economics and economic power. Most American's have no idea how strong the European Union (EU) is becoming. Think of it as the British Empire on steroids.
American industry would have you believe that taking potentially hazardous and toxic chemicals out of everyday consumer products -- removing phthalates from children's toys and cancer-causing coal tar from hair dye -- would damage our economy and result in a loss of American jobs. In his latest book, Exposed: The Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products, Mark Schapiro busts this myth and reveals the grim fact that some companies, whether American or international, often have two production lines: one that manufactures hazard-free products for the European Union and another that produces toxin-filled versions of the same items for America and developing countries.

Oh yeah, isn't that cute how the EU lumps America in with developing countries?

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Sweden: Rocket Targeted Iraq Flight

Swissair Airbus A-330

What is surprising about this story is that it isn't happening frequently.
Sweden has suspended commercial flights to and from Iraq, the aviation authority said Tuesday, contending one of the country's passenger jets was targeted by a rocket last week as it left the northern Iraqi city of Sulaimaniyah.

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Dark places: Those secret prisons

The article is lengthly, but very informative.
Jane Mayer pulls together everything that can be learned about the off-the-record, off-the-books, classified detention and interrogation sites the Central Intelligence Agency has been operating around the world. She cites the European reports on the prisons, interviews former CIA and Defense officials and the lawyers of former Black Site detainees now held in Guantanamo Bay.

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Who's editing Wikipedia? Diebold, CIA & Wal-Mart

Now this may shock you, but some entries (or deletions) in Wikipedia are manipulations by sources with vested interests.
On November 17th, 2005, an anonymous Wikipedia user deleted 15 paragraphs from an article on e-voting machine-vendor Diebold, excising an entire section critical of the company's machines. While anonymous, such changes typically leave behind digital fingerprints offering hints about the contributor, such as the location of the computer used to make the edits.

In this case, the changes came from an IP address reserved for the corporate offices of Diebold itself. And it is far from an isolated case. A new data-mining service launched Monday traces millions of Wikipedia entries to their corporate sources, and for the first time puts comprehensive data behind longstanding suspicions of manipulation, which until now have surfaced only piecemeal in investigations of specific allegations.

Wikipedia Scanner -- the brainchild of Cal Tech computation and neural-systems graduate student Virgil Griffith -- offers users a searchable database that ties millions of anonymous Wikipedia edits to organizations where those edits apparently originated, by cross-referencing the edits with data on who owns the associated block of internet IP addresses.

You can use the Wikipedia Scanner and share your findings with others. Its in beta now, so don't be surprised if there are a couple glitches here and there.

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I'll beat this dead horse as long as necessary

Anonymous Liberal picks up the Padilla story.
Marty Lederman highlights a truly stunning document, a government declaration submitted to a federal court back in 2003 in defense of Jose Padilla's processless incommunicado detention. In it, Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, argues that permitting Padilla any process whatsoever would interfere with the government's goal of convincing Padilla that he has no hope of ever being freed.

And that, my dear friends is how you break a person and turn them into a vegetable. But, hey, its in an effort to keep you and I safe, right?

Don't get me wrong. If Padilla is guilty of the charges leveled at him I'm all for trying him and, if found guilty, imprisoning him. If...he were mentally healthy. But this guy is completely lost and needs mental health care, not another cell.

Referring to beating a dead horse is both metaphorical and literal as I've posted about this poor man many times. A quick Google® search for "Padilla" on SPIIDERWEB™ generated 25 hits.


Giuliani vows to stop illegal immigrants (AP)

Immigration problem solved. Giuliani, in Dirty Harry mode, will grab shotgun and stop them fucking brown people cold.

Just what we need. Another fucking cowboy.
Republican presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani vowed Tuesday to stop the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States by closely tracking visitors to the country and beefing up border security.

Perhaps I misread the story, but it sure sounds like a "bring 'em on" moment.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Last post about Rove until...

"Chaos, Panic & Disorder. My Work Here Is Done."

-- Karl Rove
Bush's brain

Just joking, but he could have said it.


Really lazy ass blogging

Wherein we have:

Anything they say where the Bhc points out how free elections in the Mid-East don't quite go the way the West would like.

John Cole at Balloon juice. Nader is always an option given the sorry ass options.

Jonco offers you the idiot test.

Over at Hullabaloo, Digby delves into the world of idiocy occupied by the wingers.

Some of the saddest news coming out of Iraq, reported by Iraqslogger, is the percentage of US troop deaths which are suicides.

Another of my favorite blogs, Left I on the News, takes a look at the Padilla case. That poor sucker has no chance.

Ya know what? I forgot just how difficult lazy ass blogging is.


Must read IMHO

Sue me. I'm being lazy here.

From the Crone speaks.

You would think that a 107 year old woman that is wheel-chair bound isn’t a threat. But, no, in order to get her money that is in the US, she must leave Cuba, where she has lived since before the Castro takeover. Because she lives in Cuba, in the house she and her now deceased husband had lived, the US has frozen her assets.

Not much amazes me, but...

One hundred seven years old!!!1!!

I just hope these bureaucrats face similar treatment when they are about, oh let's say 70, bed ridden and coughing up their lungs. Sweet revenge, huh?


Must read IMHO

This from Brilliant at Breakfast.
And what's making it harder for recruiters is the reality that African-Americans aren't signing up to join the Army like they used to.

And you thought black people were dumb? You fucking silly ass. Time for a reality check.

A chance at the "good life" which is usually denied blacks isn't worth the risk of death offered in the Mid-East. They realize it and that's the fact, Jack.


Must read IMHO

Via Big Shot Bob in Texas. It says it all.


Read it and weep

Why doesn't Bushco just kill all the NOLA survivors and quit fucking them? Is it a fetish?
While Willie Ann Williams waited for federal aid to rebuild her home in the hurricane flooded 9th Ward, it was demolished — apparently by mistake.

There was nothing left but bare dirt.

A city official told her family that the wood-frame house should not have been torn down, but no one has told them why it happened or what happens next.

Imagine this happening to you. Please, imagine.

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Karl Rove will resign at the end of August

To spend time with the family. Wink, wink, nod, nod.

Its true if you believe the 480+ blogs I've read, AP, AFP, Reuters, NYT, etc...

Perhaps I'll investigate to verify its true, but probably not because I'm too damn lazy. Guess I could just call Karl.

Personally, I would have preferred to see him frog marched out of the WH to jail.

Shit!!!1!! Now I've posted about it. I'm such a follower.


Monday, August 13, 2007

We will prevail

Do you have any idea what is going on?
’Hanlon also seemed practically eager to admit that every encounter in his Iraq junket was carefully pre-screened by the DoD. You would expect him to put a little more effort into defending his own credibility.

Pre-fucking-screened? You're shitting me.

As for Bush.
Anybody who thinks that we can go on waiting for Godot progress for the next ten years is mailing it in from some fantasy world where the army is made up of infinite numbers of little plastic men who never get tired.

We don't have an infinite number or little plastic men? Whoda thought?

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Sometimes I feel like an asshole

Don't we all?

I'm a lurker. I read many many blog sites from Bloglines which lets me read blogs without going to them.

I may have opinions about the posts, but feel I can add nothing to their excellent posts, so I keep my thoughts to myself.

All bloggers on my blogroll offer exceptional information. Read many or all of them. I do and encourage you to do the same.

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Sunday, August 12, 2007

US doles out millions for street cameras

Big Brother just keeps getting bigger.
The Department of Homeland Security is funneling millions of dollars to local governments nationwide for purchasing high-tech video camera networks, accelerating the rise of a "surveillance society" in which the sense of freedom that stems from being anonymous in public will be lost, privacy rights advocates warn.

Well, if its good enough for China and Britain, its gotta be OK in the US, right?
Some civil rights activists contend the cameras in China and Britain violate privacy entitlements contained in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

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US Declares Lebanese Group Terrorists

Eurasian Badger (Meles meles)
Also works as cat blogging

Another catch 22?

The story itself isn't that interesting. Soon Greenpeace will be labeled a terrorist group.
The Bush administration has blacklisted as a "foreign terrorist organization" a Lebanese Islamist group blamed for major fighting at a refugee camp, the Associated Press has learned.

The State Department is expected to announce the designation against al-Qaida-inspired Fatah al-Islam, which is suspected of having links with Syria, on Monday.


The officials said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice signed off on the decision to place the radical group on the international terror list on Friday. The sanctions took effect with her signature. [emphasis mine]


The designation freezes the assets of the group in U.S. jurisdictions, bars its members from U.S. soil and makes it illegal for U.S. citizens or those subject to U.S. laws to provide it with "material support or resources."

Nope. The story here is this is being reported to US now. So what happens if you emailed Fatah al-Islam and sent off a check to them Friday night not realizing you are providing "material support or resources" to a terrorist organization? You are unaware you're dealing with a terrorist group, right? Are you in trouble?

Inquiring minds want to know.

Oh yeah, don't ya love the way they had to work al-Qaida (al-Qaida-inspired) in there? They never give up. Its like a Hydra. Ya just can't kill the thing.

Or perhaps a badger is more appropriate. Once it latches on to something it won't let go. Yeah. I vote for the badger.

Clarification: By "you" in the above post I don't mean me. The first time I encountered the activities of Fatah al-Islam, they were already doing things I could never support in any fashion. I'm talking about the little old couple in Dubuque who were hoodwinked into thinking they were supporting a humanitarian organization.

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Computer glitch causes delays at LAX

Each of those 4 black screens is a monitor
displaying computer provided flight data

This is an interesting story and a PITA (pain in the ass) for these passengers, no doubt.
About 6,000 international passengers were stranded for as long as six hours Saturday at Los Angeles International Airport because a computer failure prevented them from passing through customs, authorities said.

But I wonder how many of the passengers considered the fact computer programs, subject to glitches, control many systems on the airplane they would eventually board? Just asking.

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Cat blogging

Black backed jackal

A little late with this, but...

No, I'm not sure its a member of the current administration, but I'll bet it is. Doesn't that ground look like it could be in Crawford, TX?

For new readers, I almost never post a cat picture and have no cat.


I'm back and not dead...yet

Sort of...

Got called out of town suddenly and was gone over a month. By suddenly, I mean the airline ticket was delivered to my house (I didn't know it was coming) and I had 14 hours until I had to board. I had time to throw some things into my backpack, double check I was remembering everything and get some sleep. I took the backpack and no luggage because I expected to be gone one week only.

The project turned out to be much more complicated than expected because of bureaucratic delays, but worked out fine eventually.

Probably will have few posts over the next couple days. Have many loose ends to tie up as is expected being absent for a month. Such as explaining why I didn't pay the cable bill because the dog ate it I never saw it.

If I have a few minutes here and there I'll try to find interesting items to pass on to you.