Saturday, May 03, 2008

Air Marshals Grounded by Government's No-Fly List

Could this administration be any more fucked up than it already is?

BTW, that's a rhetorical question.
False identifications based on a terrorist no-fly list have for years prevented some federal air marshals from boarding flights they are assigned to protect, according to officials with the agency, which is finally taking steps to address the problem.

Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) familiar with the situation say the mix-ups, in which marshals are mistaken for terrorism suspects who share the same names, have gone on for years — just as they have for thousands of members of the traveling public.

One air marshal said it has been "a major problem, where guys are denied boarding by the airline."

"In some cases, planes have departed without any coverage because the airline employees were adamant they would not fly," said the air marshal, who asked not to be named because the job requires anonymity. "I've seen guys actually being denied boarding."

A second air marshal said one agent "has been getting harassed for six years because his exact name is on the no-fly list."

Note: Headline links to source.


McCain clarifies remark about oil, Iraq war (AP)

One thing you should expect of a Presidential hopeful or a President is carefully worded statements. Preferably these should be written comments so they're very precise with absolutely no ambiguity.

John, baby, there are no "do overs" in the Presidency. Say what you mean the first time.
Republican John McCain was forced to clarify his comments Friday suggesting the Iraq war involved U.S. reliance on foreign oil. He said he was talking about the first Gulf War and not the current conflict.

To be fair, which I really hate to do, all the candidates from the start of this protracted campaign season have made similar statements on this or that subject. This just happens to be one of the most recent. It still holds. What you say should not need later "clarification" if that's really what it is rather than spin.

Note: Headline links to source.


Israeli army blames militants for Gaza deaths (AP)

This is spin that just doesn't fucking cut it.

Even if this were true, what are the chances the ammunition would have detonated without the air strike?

Israel killed those people just as surely as if they had put guns to their heads.
The Israeli army blamed militants for the deaths of a Palestinian woman and her four young children, saying Friday that they died in secondary blasts when the Hamas fighters' ammunition detonated in an Israeli air strike.

Note: Headline links to source.


All salmon fishing banned on US West Coast

Chinook or King salmon

This is what happens when you don't have "big" government judicially regulating an industry. Thousands will be economically devastated.

Here is what could have happened.

1. Limit takes. Don't let the trawlers over-fish the salmon to the point they are decimated.

2. Set a limit on the number of boats allowed to fish through licensing.

3. Establish a waiting list of captains who want to fish and dole out licenses as other captains retire or die.

4. Set limited seasons on when boats can take salmon.

These steps, had they been implemented earlier could have prevented this catastrophe. Everyone would suffer to some extent, but not been deprived of their livelihoods completely.
Salmon fishing was banned along the West Coast for the first time in 160 years Thursday, a decision that is expected to have a devastating economic impact on fishermen, dozens of businesses, tourism and boating.

Commerce Secretary Carlos Gutierrez immediately declared a commercial fishery disaster, opening the door for Congress to appropriate money for anyone who will be economically harmed.

Note: Headline links to source.


Secret Bush "Finding" Widens War on Iran

I personally have no problem accepting this article at face value, but I do want to point out there is no corroboration nor are there verifiable facts in the article. It amounts to "they said". Ye old anonymous sources.

That said, the neocons, through the conduit of the moron, have a hard on for the Mid-East and are determined to shape it to their vision. And that can be verified quite easily.
Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, "unprecedented in its scope."

Bush's secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area - from Lebanon to Afghanistan - but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines - up to and including the assassination of targeted officials. This widened scope clears the way, for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department's list of terrorist groups.

Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or "army of god," the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan - just across the Afghan border -- whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports cutting his brother in law's throat.

Other elements that will benefit from U.S. largesse and advice include Iranian Kurdish nationalists, as well the Ahwazi arabs of south west Iran. Further afield, operations against Iran's Hezbollah allies in Lebanon will be stepped up, along with efforts to destabilize the Syrian regime.

All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees. That has not proved a problem. An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the U.S. economy.

Until recently, the administration faced a serious obstacle to action against Iran in the form of Centcom commander Admiral William Fallon, who made no secret of his contempt for official determination to take us to war. In a widely publicized incident last January, Iranian patrol boats approached a U.S. ship in what the Pentagon described as a "taunting" manner. According to Centcom staff officers, the American commander on the spot was about to open fire. At that point, the U.S. was close to war. He desisted only when Fallon personally and explicitly ordered him not to shoot. The White House, according to the staff officers, was "absolutely furious" with Fallon for defusing the incident.

Fallon has since departed. His abrupt resignation in early March followed the publication of his unvarnished views on our policy of confrontation with Iran, something that is unlikely to happen to his replacement, George Bush's favorite general, David Petraeus.

Though Petraeus is not due to take formal command at Centcom until late summer, there are abundant signs that something may happen before then. A Marine amphibious force, originally due to leave San Diego for the Persian Gulf in mid June, has had its sailing date abruptly moved up to May 4. A scheduled meeting in Europe between French diplomats acting as intermediaries for the U.S. and Iranian representatives has been abruptly cancelled in the last two weeks. Petraeus is said to be at work on a master briefing for congress to demonstrate conclusively that the Iranians are the source of our current troubles in Iraq, thanks to their support for the Shia militia currently under attack by U.S. forces in Baghdad.

Interestingly, despite the bellicose complaints, Petraeus has made little effort to seal the Iran-Iraq border, and in any case two thirds of U.S. casualties still come from Sunni insurgents. "The Shia account for less than one third," a recently returned member of the command staff in Baghdad familiar with the relevant intelligence told me, "but if you want a war you have to sell it."

Even without the covert initiatives described above, the huge and growing armada currently on station in the Gulf is an impressive symbol of American power.

Note: Headline links to source.


Irish Christian leaders barred from Western Wall for wearing crosses

Apparently tolerance/acceptance is a uni-directional thingy.
The rabbi of the Western Wall says officials barred visiting Irish church leaders from praying there because they were wearing crosses.

Note: Headline links to source.


Friday, May 02, 2008

US plan to protect right whale from shipping blocked by Cheney

This should come as no surprise. This administration rarely makes decisions based on the advice of scientists. They do what the fuck they want and to hell with the facts or, in this case, the expert knowledge of government scientists.
Efforts to protect the critically endangered North Atlantic right whale from being killed by ships are being blocked by Vice President Dick Cheney according to leaked documents.

A behind the scenes struggle is raging between the White House and US government scientists who want to force ships to slow down near the calving grounds of the almost extinct right whale.

The right whale controversy is the latest example of the Bush Administration sidestepping the advice of its on scientists which are aimed at protecting endangered species or threats to the environment. On Monday, a judge had to order the administration to release its much-delayed decision aimed at protecting the polar bear under the Endangered Species Act.

Only 350 of the whales remain in Atlantic waters off America's eastern seaboard and they are considered one of the most endangered species on Earth. Government scientists warn that the loss of just one more pregnant female is enough to doom the species, which was almost hunted to extinction in the 19th century.

Every year around three right whales are either injured or killed in collisions with ocean-going vessels like containerized cargo ships even though they are protected under the Endangered Species Act. Right whales frequently wash up on shore bearing deep scars from being struck by ships propellers.

To reduce ship strikes the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) decided that ships should restrict their speed to 10 knots or less near whale feeding and calving grounds during parts of the year.

But Mr Cheney's office, which tends to operate in secrecy, sent letters repeatedly questioning whether the rule was needed according to leaked documents. Flatly contradicting the scientific research Mr Cheney's staff argued, "that we have no evidence that lowering the speeds of 'large ships' will actually make a difference."

A critique of the scientists analysis by the administration led to a strongly worded reply in which they said: "The basic facts remain that there is a direct relationship" between a vessel's speed and the likelihood of death or serious injury to the whale, and "at vessel speeds at or below 10 knots, the probability of death/serious injury is greatly reduced."

There was, the scientists wrote, "no basis to overturn our previous conclusion that imposing a speed limit on large vessels would be beneficial to whales."

Congressman Henry Waxman who publicised the correspondence said it was "the latest instance of the White House ignoring scientists and other experts."

Note: Headline links to source.


D.C. Madam Found Dead: Was it Really Suicide?

I'm just throwing this out for you to contemplate. BTW, there are links to CNN and ABC News if you click on the headline.

Sometimes it doesn't pay to know where the bodies, uh, are buried.
Deborah Jeane Palfrey, who was convicted of running a high-end prostitution ring in the nation’s capital (her nickname is the "D.C. Madam"), was found dead of an apparent suicide today (CNN and ABC News have the story)

Now, just how many of you believe that it was a suicide?

Interestingly enough, the image comes from NavyTimes.

Les Madame claimed she had used freelance military women in her business.

Note: Headline links to source.


The Accomplisher

"Queen of Hearts" by Shirley Holt

The headline links to a great post by Eli. He of the Google fixation.
Is it possible to be so wrong that you end up in a different dimension altogether? I give you… Richard Perle, 5/2/03:

From start to finish, President Bush has led the United States and its coalition partners to the most important military victory since World War II. And like the allied victory over the axis powers, the liberation of Iraq is more than the end of a brutal dictatorship: It is the foundation for a decent, humane government that will represent all the people of Iraq.

This was a war worth fighting. It ended quickly with few civilian casualties and with little damage to Iraq’s cities, towns or infrastructure. It ended without the Arab world rising up against us, as the war’s critics feared, without the quagmire they predicted, without the heavy losses in house-to-house fighting they warned us to expect. It was conducted with immense skill and selfless courage by men and women who will remain until Iraqis are safe, and who will return home as heroes.

That the troops might well return home as heroes is not beyond possibility. They have been brave, persevered and sacrificed, but there has been no victory. There couldn't be a victory.

I really would like to know what the neocons are on. They have a grasp of reality only matched by the queen of hearts.

Of course, I could have gone with the image of Bettie Page. We are talking fantasy here.

Note: Headline links to source.


Shut down! ILWU shuts down West Coast ports

As in ALL West Coast ports.
It wasn't over higher wages or more benefits but to protest the war in Iraq, and in solidarity with immigrants' rights.

It can be a fucking bitch when Americans act like Americans.

Please click on the headline for more.

Note: Headline links to source.



I was watching a story on CNN about the economic crunch. A story I might add which will be seen on cable and satellite stations around the world.

They were talking to a family somewhere in the US. Some things happened in the report before it dawned on me the significance of it all.

They live in a fairly large brick home.

The family drives a [a or an? I never know] SUV. I believe I saw a new model sedan in the driveway too.

The teenage daughter in the family has her own SUV. She complains about having only enough money to keep it in fuel.

As they were talking about how badly they're being squeezed by the crunch of the economy, the father/husband was putting what appeared to be about 4 lbs (9 kg) of beef steaks on an outdoor grill.

These people are supposed to elicit fucking sympathy? From whom?

Didn't work for me.


The TIME 2008 World's 100 Most Influential People

Grand Theft Auto San Andreas*

Such lists are always controversial, but they're harmless diversions.

I'm not sure I agree about Stephen Colbert. Ya think he carries much weight outside the US? Just asking.

However, I do agree about Shigeru Miyamoto. That guy has revolutionized wasting time.

I'll make a couple admissions here. I referred to wasting time because I believe that's what video games are. I've never played one, but seen others obsess over them to the point of avoiding responsibilities, sleep, work, school, family.

My second confession here is that I never in my wildest dreams believed the gaming industry had a chance of surviving when it was just beginning. Boy was I wrong on that!
TIME asked who you thought should be on the list of the 100 most influential people of the year. Over 200 candidates were given a rating of 1 to 100. And your #1 choice? Shigeru Miyamoto! The video game designer had almost 2 million votes, over 300,000 more than runner-up, Rain. After a tight race at the top, Stephen Colbert came in third place with close to 900,000 votes.

* Yeah, I know Grand Theft Auto IV is out; I'm no Luddite, but I liked this graphic.

Note: Headline links to source.


The ultimate act of sportsmanship

If you haven't heard about this, you need to. Perhaps its not the "ultimate", but its right up there.
Two NCAA Division II schools were playing softball. Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky had never hit a home run in her college career, but with the score tied 0-0, she hit one out of the park. Two players on base ran home, and Tucholsky ran toward first base, missed it, then turned around. Her knee suddenly gave out and she collapsed. Tucholsky could not reach first base.

If she received any help from her coach or teammates, she would be out. The coach could replace her with another runner and keep a two-run single, but that would rob Tucholsky of her only possible collegiate homer.

That’s when the opposing team stepped in. Central Washington senior and scoring leader Mallory Holtman asked if she and her teammates could carry Tucholsky to each base.

“Honestly, it’s one of those things that I hope anyone would do it for me,” Holtman said. “She hit the ball over her fence. She’s a senior; it’s her last year. … I don’t know, it’s just one of those things I guess that maybe because compared to everyone on the field at the time, I had been playing longer and knew we could touch her, it was my idea first. But I think anyone who knew that we could touch her would have offered to do it, just because it’s the right thing to do. She was obviously in agony.”

Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace lifted Tucholsky off the ground and supported her weight between them as they began a slow trip around the bases, stopping at each one so Tucholsky’s left foot could secure her passage onward. Even with Tucholsky feeling the pain of what trainers subsequently came to believe was a torn ACL (she was scheduled for tests to confirm the injury on Monday), the surreal quality of perhaps the longest and most crowded home run trot in the game’s history hit all three players.

And the sportsmanship goes even further because of another rivalry.

Sara is decked out in Nike® gear and the other team is in Adidas®.

Thanks to Bits and Pieces from whom I stole this whole post.

Note: Headline links to source.


Quote of the day

"A man who is good enough to shed his blood for the country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled to, and less than that no man shall have."

-- Theodore Roosevelt
-- 26th President of the United States
-- (1858-1919)

Note: Headline links to source.


Thursday, May 01, 2008

The GOP don't need help

No links because you can easily find tons of them your own self.

Why the fuck is the left promulgating the meme that HRC would obliterate Iran if it attacked Israel. The GOP will push this meme out on a regular basis and the left should be challenging them rather than assisting.

She said the US is capable of doing so. She didn't say she would do it.


US: High-Level Officials Warn of Fake Terror

Does this sound all tinfoil hat like?

Well the author makes a pretty strong case for the assertion with abundant links.
A variety of current and former high-level officials have recently warned that the Bush administration is attempting to instill a dictatorship in America, and will itself carry out a fake terrorist attack in order to obtain one.


Sounds nuts, right?

Sorry to have to tell you, but "false flag terror" -- that is, state-sponsored terrorism, blamed on the "bad guys" of choice -- is an age-old trick which has been used by governments around the world for thousands of years to consolidate power and create support from their people. See this article on the Reichstag fire, and this article on the perennial ploy of those grabbing power.

Note: Headline links to source.


Time Warner plans to break off cable as profits slide

Time Warner Center

File under greed.
Time Warner, the world's largest media company, said Wednesday that it planned to divest its lucrative cable TV unit as first quarter profits slid by 36 percent to $771 million.

Oh the poor fuckers. Only $771 million. And that wasn't sales but profits.

Of course their management or lack thereof had nothing to do with the slide.

Note: Headline links to source.


Plea to world: 'Keep nation's image separate from crime'

Austria's president appeals to world not to equate his country with the crimes of Josef Fritzl.

Dear Mr president,

No problem.

Note: Headline links to source.


McCain's $5,000 Promise

Do you think this is just a matter of fudging on the issue or is it a matter of deliberate deception? If the latter, does the US really need someone who is willing to deceive the American public? Just asking.

According to, his new ad only tells half the story of what his health proposal could mean for U.S. workers.
McCain says in a new TV ad: "Let's give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit" to buy health insurance.

Sounds good. But McCain failed to mention how existing employer-sponsored health benefits would be affected.
* Employers could no longer deduct the cost of health plans for their workers, which several experts say is likely to cause companies to reduce or eliminate health benefits for their employees.

* Workers would be taxed on the value of any employer-paid health benefits, partially offsetting the $5,000 credit for those now covered by such plans.

The aim of the McCain plan is to reduce health care costs through increased competition, by encouraging individuals to shop around for health insurance and medical care. There are many who favor such an approach, and we take no position on it one way or the other. But McCain's simplistic ad misleads viewers by promising to give "every American family" a $5,000 benefit while failing to mention what he would also take away.

Note: Headline links to source.


"Mission Accomplished" 5 Years Later

Just check out the emphasis which is mine. You decide. Was the banner put there by the administration or the captain of the Abraham Lincoln?
The White House said Wednesday that President Bush has paid a price for the "Mission Accomplished" banner that was flown in triumph five years ago but later became a symbol of U.S. misjudgments and mistakes in the long and costly war in Iraq.

Thursday is the fifth anniversary of Bush's dramatic landing in a Navy jet on an aircraft carrier homebound from the war. The USS Abraham Lincoln had launched thousands of airstrikes on Iraq.

"Major combat operations in Iraq have ended," Bush said at the time. "The battle of Iraq is one victory in a war on terror that began on Sept. 11, 2001, and still goes on." The "Mission Accomplished" banner was prominently displayed above him _ a move the White House came to regret as the display was mocked and became a source of controversy.

After shifting explanations, the White House eventually said the "Mission Accomplished" phrase referred to the carrier's crew completing its 10-month mission, not the military completing its mission in Iraq. Bush, in October 2003, disavowed any connection with the "Mission Accomplished" message. He said the White House had nothing to do with the banner; a spokesman later said the ship's crew asked for the sign and the White House staff had it made by a private vendor.

"President Bush is well aware that the banner should have been much more specific and said `mission accomplished' for these sailors who are on this ship on their mission," White House press secretary Dana Perino said Wednesday. "And we have certainly paid a price for not being more specific on that banner. And I recognize that the media is going to play this up again tomorrow, as they do every single year."

The WH sounds guilty to me.

Note: Headline links to source.


City GOP chair led piracy ring?

This is rich. Or most likely Tony Krvaric is.
Any job applicant knows that background checks are routine - especially for jobs involving authority or oversight of money. So why didn't the San Diego Republican Party do a simple Google search before naming Tony Krvaric as its chairman? Online research reveals that Krvaric is the co-founder of Fairlight, a band of software crackers which later evolved into an international video and software piracy group that law enforcement authorities say is among the world's largest such crime rings. After co-founding Fairlight in Sweden, Krvaric established U.S. operations for the organization, including an arm headquartered in Southern California-a major center for the computer and video game industry. Krvaric has also been appointed by California Republican Party Chairman Ron Nehring to head up the state party's budget committee. RAW STORY's investigation reveals the California GOP has put an alleged pirate in charge of its treasure trove.

OK, Google isn't definitive and hardly irrefutable evidence, but should be adequate for determining someone is probably not qualified to be in charge of your budget.

Note: Headline links to source.


The moron and his family

I just don't understand, but I may have mental issues.

Don't the moron and his family have a clue about how to behave when in public with ever present cameras?

I mean, if you're at someone's house, especially your in-law's house, don't you act prim and proper? If a picture is taken of you wouldn't it show you smiling or laughing and otherwise exhibiting apt comportment?

OK, I'm not referring to the time after three bottles of Cold Duck©. That was an aberration, an anomaly if you will and I still wasn't as silly looking as the ol' bro-in-law who was riding his young daughter's tricycle. At least there are no pictures showing otherwise.

No, that's not a picture of the ol' bro-in-law, but its just as goofy.

Note: Headline links to source.


Wolfowitz: Iraq occupation ended in 2004

Jesus H Christ on LSD (RIP Albert Hofmann) what drugs are these assholes on and can I get some of them?

Let's just see what has to say.

Occupation n. [T]he seizure and control of an area by military forces, esp. foreign territory.

Or. [T]he term of control of a territory by foreign military forces: Danish resistance during the German occupation

Damn, he's right. This is no fucking occupation at all.
Former US Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz has claimed that the occupation of Iraq by American forces 'ended in June 2004'.

"I'm afraid that the label occupation sticks to us even to this day, although the occupation ended in June of 2004," said the Iraq war architect at Hudson Institute Monday.

Note: Headline links to source.


Condoleezza Rice admits biofuel production contributing to food shortages

Ya think?
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has admitted that the decision to set aside American farmland for the production of corn for biofuels may in part be driving up world food prices.

"There has been apparently some effect, unintended consequence from the alternative fuels effort," Rice told a gathering of the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C.


Nearly one-third of the US corn harvest is currently being funnelled [sic] into biofuel production.

She goes on to say she doesn't believe it is the dominate factor, but one of many causing an increase in world food prices. One can't argue with that, but...

Let me get this straight. Diverting food crops for biofuels only marginally affects world food prices? Doesn't she understand any fucking thing about supply and demand? Just asking.

Note: Headline links to source.

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Cakewalk In Iran

My take on all this is as follows. The neocons are scared shitless of a Democrat in the White House who they won't be able to influence. They want an attack on Iran (Syria? NKorea?) before the moron-in-chief leaves office.

Don't get me wrong. The neocons won't put their tails between their legs and quietly shamble off. They'll retrench and wait for the next village idiot they can ensconce in the White House.

Badgers*. Every one of them. They make look harmless, but don't fool yourself.
George Bush may have been intent upon invading Iraq long before 9/11 gave him the opportunity to do so, but the neoconservative ideologues who have been so influential in his administration always hoped that toppling Saddam would be merely the warm-up for regime change in Iran. Baghdad was attacked first because it was low-hanging fruit, but everyone knew that "Real men go to Tehran".

As time runs out on the Bush Presidency, the administration's rhetoric about why we must attack Iran is heating up. We seem to be witnessing a determined final push to squeeze in one more war before they leave.

Just as we were once told the Iraqis would greet foreign invaders as liberators, we are now told that Iranians can't wait to overthrow their government. A little Shock and Awe™ will supposedly be the catalyst that sets off a pro-U.S. revolution. In fact, our President and Vice-President think Iranians are so intent on having a government amenable to us, that they might just throw out their current leadership even without our bombs raining down on them.

Which is all well and good, until you actually factor in what Iranians themselves say about their current leadership.

* Badger: A particularly ferocious, tenacious animal that will rarely let go of its prey. (Wikipedia).

Note: Headline links to source.


Questions requiring answers

Why did HRC and Obama go on Faux "We distort, you decide." News? I just don't get it.

Is it because they aren't invited on the real network news programs? That seems highly unlikely.

They see no problem in legitimizing the cesspool broadcast arm of the wingnuts?

They are masochistic?

Most people who watch Faux News for their political news fix are never going to buy what HRC and Obama are pedaling.

An aside you might be able to relate to.

I've had occasion to visit some foreign countries (not on my dime) and been quite disheartened to find many TV stations use Faux News as their exclusive source for what is going on in the US. Its the equivalent of using the Imperial Wizard of the KKK as a source for the state of race relations in America.

No, I'm not equating Faux News to the KKK. I'm merely pointing out the prevalence of preposterous bias in both organizations.

Note: Headline links to source.



I'm trying something completely new for me.

I have a Mont Blanc fountain pen I bought years ago on eBay. I always wanted one but couldn't afford it. Finally I had the USD $385 I could spare and treated myself to one fantastic writing instrument. Yeah, I could only afford a cheaper model. If I had such disposable income to spare today I'd blow it on a computer to replace the piece of shit I have now.

So I'm creating this post in longhand. Its actually fun. Its also necessary because someone else is using the PC. It is a bit of a challenge because pen and paper don't have spell check. Arghhh!!!1!!

There are two programs on TV I recommend. The first one, Top Gear, I've recommended before. It's hands down the funniest program out there. The other is Fifth Gear. I guess the UK can't produce a program involving vehicles without the word "Gear" in the title.

Both programs are fun and will introduce you to hundreds of cars you can never afford, but might be willing to give your first born or soul to own. Note: I would do neither.

I won't but should scan these pages. Only I can interpret what I've written. I NEVER write anymore and with my fucked up wrist I find it nearly impossible. Yes, after all this time it is still fucked up and hurts all the time. Such are the agony and dedication I bring to this blog.


Austria case revives European debate on light prison terms

Come on now. Cart/horse anyone?

I'm no barrister nor psychologist, but the first order of business it seems to me is to determine the mental health of Fritzl before there is any debate about how long he should be imprisoned.

Jesus H Christ in a mental ward, if he doesn't qualify as a mentally disturbed individual I don't know who does. Perhaps Jeffery Dahmer, but then he was imprisoned rather than given psychiatric help?

Its hard to contain the public when they're out for blood.
Police say Josef Fritzl left a lot of human wreckage in his wake: the daughter he imprisoned and raped for 24 years, the seven children he fathered with her and the wife whose life he shattered.

Yet, for an atrocity that has stunned the world, he may wind up serving just 15 years in prison if charged, tried and convicted.

Practically speaking, that may translate into a life sentence for Fritzl, 73. But his case has revived a debate over Europe's lenient penal system — and whether harsher, U.S.-style sentencing guidelines might help deter such heinous crimes.

"Fifteen years for destroying human lives is unacceptable," said Harald Vilimsky, a public safety policy official with Austria's conservative Freedom Party. "Any punishment that falls a single day short of a life sentence is a mockery of the victims."

Many Europeans abhor the death penalty, and capital punishment is illegal across the 27-nation EU. But in many countries, even convicted murderers handed life sentences seldom serve more than 25 years.

Note: Headline links to source.


What the hell is going on here?

More and more websites are showing posts with missing information. I just don't get it.
Hamas had been declared a terrorist organization by the ??????
and ??????
, and the elected Palestinian government was forced to dissolve. Eventually, Hamas gained control of ??????
, and Fatah is "governing" the Israeli-dominated ??????
. Opinion polls show Hamas steadily gaining popularity. [question marks mine]

It almost looks like ??????
is censoring them.

The headline links to the source.


Wednesday, April 30, 2008

FEATURE-"Falafel fuel" powers cars in petrol-starved Gaza


There seems no end to what the Palestinians have to endure. And this man is probably ruining his car for the sake of feeding his children.

Besides that, he's constantly feeling hungry for falafel.
When Hassan Amin al-Bana gingerly steps on the gas pedal of his bright yellow taxi, a strange smell wafts from the exhaust: deep-fried fast food.

Faced with chronic fuel shortages due to an Israeli blockade and a strike by Palestinian distributors protesting supply caps, taxi drivers in the Gaza Strip are filling their tanks with cooking oil, often scrounging leftover fat from street vendors.

"It's not like driving with diesel -- it takes time to get it going in the morning," said Bana, 40, at Gaza City's main taxi stand. "I know it's bad for my car, but I have to pay for food for my kids so what can I do?"

The pumps at Gaza's petrol stations have been deserted for several weeks but brightly-coloured cartons of soya bean cooking oil, some smuggled from Egypt, are piled high at the taxi rank in the impoverished territory's main city.
The headline links to the source.


US accuses Iran and Syria of trying to destabilize Iraq (AP)

And the administration is pissed off because of the competition.
The United States is accusing Iran and Syria of trying to destabilize Iraq.

U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad told the U.N. Security Council on Monday that Iranian-backed groups have launched numerous attacks on Iraqi civilians and multinational forces this year.

If any of this sounds at all familiar, just think pre-attack on Iraq.

The headline links to the source.


Global famine? Blame the Fed

One way or another the US is going to bring the whole world down. It doesn't just require bombs.

At least that's the contention of Mike Whitney writing in the Online Journal.
The stakes couldn't be higher for Ben Bernanke. If the Fed chief decides to lower rates at the end of April, he could be condemning millions of people to a death by starvation.

The situation is that serious. Food riots have broken out across the globe destabilizing large parts of the developing world. China is experiencing double-digit inflation. Indonesia, Vietnam and India have imposed controls over rice exports. Wheat, corn and soya are at record highs and threatening to go higher still. Commodities are up across the board. The World Food Program is warning of widespread famine if the West doesn't provide emergency humanitarian relief.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said it best: "It is a massacre of the world's poor. The problem is not the production of food. It is the economic, social and political model of the world. The capitalist model is in crisis."

Right on, Hugo. There is no shortage of food; it's just the prices that are making food unaffordable. Bernanke's "weak dollar" policy has ignited a wave of speculation in commodities which is pushing prices into the stratosphere. The UN is calling the global food crisis a "silent tsunami," but its more like a flood; the world is awash in increasingly worthless dollars that are making food and raw materials more expensive. Foreign central banks and investors presently hold $6 trillion in dollars and dollar-backed assets, so when the dollar starts to slide, the pain radiates through entire economies. This is especially true in countries where the currency is pegged to the dollar. That's why most of the Gulf States are experiencing runaway inflation. This doesn't mean that oil depletion, biofuel production, over-population, and giant agribusinesses don't add to the problem. They do. But the catalyst is the Fed's monetary policies; that's the domino that puts the others in motion.

I don't know if I'm convinced the "weak dollar", though exacerbating this and other world problems, is the tail wagging the dog. Its a factor of course, but taking food stocks and arid lands to produce biofuels quickly and directly affects food costs.

The headline links to the source.

Labels: ,

Bush: Tapping ANWR would help lower gasoline prices

Jesus H Christ throwing a temper tantrum, but the moron just won't give up on anything he wants.
In the face of surging gasoline prices, President Bush clung Tuesday to his long-term remedies for solving the nation's energy problems, renewing his call to drill in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, build more U.S. oil refineries and expand America's use of nuclear energy.

I really can't wait until that asshole is out of office and can't do any more harm.

Unfortunately, between now and then I suspect there are several more things he will do.

1. Give additional considerations to big oil, big pharma, military contractors and anyone who supported him.

2. Invade Iran and Syria. Not sure if NKorea is at risk or not.

3. Install more tax breaks for the wealthy.

4. Appoint judges who have no right sitting on the bench.

5. Appoint more incompetents as heads of various government agencies.

6. Alienate the few countries still willing to treat the US as a friend.

7. Kill many more Americans and foreigners.

8. Break the military to the point it might not rebound.

9. Continue to insult returning service people, especially those physically, mentally or psychologically injured.

10. Pardon people from his inner circle who are convicted of crimes.

11. Declare any evidence against him or his administration as inaccessible to scrutiny by the American public including the courts and Congress.

12. Allow more and more torture and renditions.

13. Trash anything in the US Constitution and Bill of Rights he hasn't already destroyed.

14. And he and his advisors will get creative and surprise us all. Which will take a lot of effort.

The headline links to the source.


Cheney's Total Impunity

Checks and balances? We don't need no stinkin' checks and balances.
How far will Vice President Cheney go to shield himself and his office from public scrutiny?

Last spring, Cheney asserted that he wasn't subject to executive-branch rules about classified information because he wasn't actually part of the executive branch.

Now his office argues that he and his staff are completely immune from congressional oversight. That's right: Completely immune.

Cheney's latest claim came in a response to a House Judiciary Committee request for vice presidential chief of staff David S. Addington to testify about his central role in developing the administration's torture policies.

Cheney lawyer Kathryn L. Wheelbarger wrote back: "Congress lacks the constitutional power to regulate by a law what a Vice President communicates in the performance of the Vice President's official duties, or what a Vice President recommends that a President communicate in the President's performance of official duties, and therefore those matters are not within the Committee's power of inquiry."

As it happens, that was only one of three startling responses in Wheelbarger's letter.

She also wrote: "The Chief of Staff to the Vice President is an employee of the Vice President, and not the President, and therefore is not in a position to speak on behalf of the President."

Disregard, for a moment, the fact that Addington wasn't actually asked to speak on behalf of the president - but about his "unique information and perspective." Contrary to Wheelbarger's central assertion, Addington actually does work for the president. When he took over the job previously held by Scooter Libby -- who has since been convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case -- Addington also inherited Libby's title as "assistant to the president." See, for instance, his official White House profile.

Cheney's office somehow managed to omit Addington from the White House staff list submitted to Congress. But Addington isn't on Cheney's public Senate payroll either.

Finally, Wheelbarger cites, "separate from any question of immunity from testimony," questions of privilege "protecting state secrets, attorney-client communications, deliberations, and communications among Presidents, Vice Presidents, and their advisers."

In a letter to Addington, Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers yesterday lamented Wheelbarger's "legalistic and argumentative response" and warned that if Addington refuses to appear voluntarily, he may be subpoenaed. (Conyers issued the same threat to former Attorney General John Ashcroft and former Justice Department lawyer John Yoo, both of whom also declined to appear voluntarily.)

The headline links to the source.


Its a cult

You can join a cult

Buckaroo Banzai Across the Eight Dimension is an acquired taste with a cult following.

The lineup of actors is impressive.

Peter Weller
John Lithgow
Ellen Barkin
Jeff Goldblum
Christopher Lloyd
Lewis Smith
Rosalind Cash
And others


Now, US outsourcing debt collection to India

Now debt collectors will become even more anonymous.

You can, if able to afford it, always take a holiday in India and look up the source of the fucking telephone calls you get at all hours.

Bear in mind, debt collections take place for some debts which are disputed, but just try arguing your case with someone in India.

Meanwhile, postpone paying up as long as possible because its only a matter of time until the money you give them will be worthless anyway.
US debt collection agencies are the newest to start outsourcing their work to India and are satisfied with the results produced by the polite but persistent Indian callers. After insurance claims and credit card sales, debt collection is a growing business for outsourcing companies at a time of downturn in the US economy when consumers struggle to pay for their purchases, The New York Times reported Thursday.

Debt collectors in India may cost as little as one-quarter the price of their US counterparts and are often better at the job, debt collection company executives say.

“India will be the only place we grow this year,” said J. Brandon Black, chief executive of the Encore Capital Group, a San Diego based debt collection company.

The company has half its collection force of more than 300 in India, including at a Gurgaon call centre.

Credit card, auto and other debt are prime candidates for collection overseas but mortgage loans, which involve complex state and national laws, are almost always handled by agents within the US.

Delinquent consumer debt up for collection in the US amounted to $141 billion in 2005, as estimated by PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Debt collection agencies collected $51 billion that year, keeping almost a quarter of that in profits [emphasis mine}.

So why not just cut out the middle men/women? Tell the debtors they can settle for 75¢ on the dollar. Make it a one time offer to stimulate the economy. Muhahaha.

The headline links to the source.


Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The road less traveled…

I'm guessing "Shopped",
but its still pretty clever.

The headline links to the source.


What does Eisenhower, Bush Jr, and Obama have in common?


The author thinks almost nothing.

The headline links to the source.


In government, nothing is sacred

It really is depressing to see how similar to the novel 1984 the US is becoming.
Signed into law April 24, 2008, the oh-so innocent sounding Newborn Screening Saves Lives Act of 2007 establishes a national database of newborn DNA.

This law establishes collection and warehousing of newborn DNA for scientific research and requires no parental consent or knowledge.

As reported by Minnesota state health department, 42,210 of the 780,000 children whose DNA have been taken have been subjected to genetic research.

As usual, the government tells us that they are looking out for our best interests and have the utmost concern for our health and safety.

In this age of bio-engineering and designer diseases engineered to attack individuals or groups based on genetic differences, is this the kind of wholesale control of the population's genetic makeup we want to transfer to the government?

Well, it is too late. It is the law now, and no hospital will forego the government largesse that accompanies their complicity.

As usual, as we continue to be transfixed by the hysterical presidential campaigns, the Democrat Congress and the Republican President joined forces to strip away the most personal of privacies. The very essence of your being.

I particular liked that part about not requiring parental consent or knowledge. Your children aren't actually yours. They belong to the state, but don't expect the state to feed them and buy their clothes.

The headline links to the source.


B'desh raises storm alert, urges swift rice harvest

I keep watching out for some good news on the increasing food shortages, but I only find stories like this.
Bangladesh on Tuesday asked farmers to speed up their rice harvest as the country braces for a powerful cyclone likely to hit in two or three days.

Cyclone Nargis is about 1,200 km (750 miles) southwest of Bangladesh's Chittagong coast and likely to gain strength in the Bay of Bengal as it nears the coast.

British-based storm tracking service Tropical Storm Risk ( rated Nargis as a category 2 storm on Tuesday and it was expected to reach category 4 strength in 36 hours. Category 5 is the maximum category for tropical cyclones.

The Bangladesh government issued a local number 2 storm warning at Chittagong and other ports and urged residents along the coast to be ready for quick evacuation.

Bangladesh has been facing serious food shortages after last year's floods and a cyclone, which together damaged nearly 3 million tonnes of rice, the country's main staple.

The headline links to the source.


Analysts predict $10.00 a gallon gas

So how much do ya heart your SUV now?
Get ready for another economic shock of major proportions — a virtual doubling of prices at the gas pump to as much as $10 a gallon.

That's the message from a couple of analytical energy industry trackers, both of whom, based on the surging oil prices, see considerably more pain at the pump than most drivers realize.

Gasoline nationally is in an accelerated upswing, having jumped to $3.58 a gallon from $3.50 in just the past week. In some parts of the country, including New York Cityand the West Coast, gas is already sporting a price tag above $4 a gallon. There was a pray-in at a Chevron station in San Francisco on Friday led by a minister asking God for cheaper gas, and an Arco gas station in San Mateo, Calif., has already raised its price to a sky-high $4.62.

In Manhattan, at a Mobil gas station at York Avenue and East 61st Street, premium gas is now $4.03 a gallon. Two days ago, it was $3.96. Why such a high price? "Blame the people at STOPEC (he meant OPEC) and the oil companies," an attendant there told me.

These increases are taking place before the all-important summer driving season, signaling even higher prices ahead.

That's also the outlook of the Automobile Association of America. "As long as the price of crude oil stays above $100 a barrel, drivers will be forced to pay more and more at the gas pump," a AAA spokesman, Troy Green, said.

The headline links to the source.


Syria bristles at US charges

I love the phrase a "convenient inaccuracy".
Washington's accusations that Syria and North Korea cooperated on a nuclear site that was allegedly destroyed by an Israeli air strike last September, are being laughed off in Damascus as another "convenient inaccuracy".

But, as the author goes on to say.
The charge would be downright funny if it didn't come with the dangerous potential of mushrooming into war, as happened when Iraq was accused of developing weapons of mass destruction.

The headline links to the source.


UN condemns biofuels growth

Now this is taking the food crises, biofuels seriously and its about time.
The United Nations is expected to reveal a new battle plan to tackle the growing crisis in global food provision.

Monday's meeting in Switzerland follows a warning from the UN's Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food, who says developed countries and the biofuel industry are largely to blame for the current food shortages.

"Bioethanol is one of the reasons why food prices have exploded. Last year the US burned 138 million tons of maize and transformed it into bioethanol and biodiesel," Jean Ziegler told Al Jazeera.

"Burning food today, so as to serve the mobility of the rich countries, is a crime against humanity." [emphasis mine]

The headline links to the source.


Now that’s convenient…

Oh yeah?

The headline links to the source.


Vietnam to halt American adoptions after damning US report

Five-month-old baby girls, are held by workers at an orphanage in Bac Ninh province, near Hanoi,Vietnam, Wednesday, April 23, 2008. Vietnam has failed to police its adoption system, allowing corruption, fraud, and baby-selling to flourish, according to a new report from the U.S. Embassy.
(AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki)

Doesn't this just warm the cockles of your heart.

Jesus H Christ wrapped in swaddling clothes, is there no end to human greed?
Vietnam - Vietnam, where growing numbers of Americans have turned to adopt a baby, announced Monday it is halting all U.S. adoptions following allegations of baby-selling, corruption and fraud.

The abrupt cutoff cast a cloud of uncertainty over pending adoptions in the Southeast Asian country, which have surged in the face of tightened restrictions in China, Guatemala and elsewhere.

The announcement came days after The Associated Press published details of a U.S. Embassy report that outlined rampant abuses, including hospitals selling infants whose mothers could not pay their bills, brokers scouring villages for babies and a grandmother who gave away her grandchild without telling the child's mother.

"It is tragic for children that the U.S. government has not been able to find ways to work with the Vietnamese government to prevent adoption abuses while at the same time processing legitimate adoptions," said Tom Atwood, president of the Washington-based National Council for Adoption, a research and advocacy organization.

"Many hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children will not have families as a result of this failure of leadership."

The headline links to the source.


Monday, April 28, 2008

The Myths and Harsh Effects of Bush's Economic Class War

This may be totally implausible to most Americans who are lounging in the lap of luxury and feeling no pain whatsoever as they stock up on rice and other staples.

Hahaha. Some times I fucking crack myself up.

Those unpaid credit card accounts, repossessed houses and cars and pink slips from employers are mere figments of your imaginations. So go buy that HD flat screen plasma TV that is larger than your car. All is right with the world don't ya know?
George Bush came into office. There was a recession almost immediately. Officially it began in March of 2001 and, officially, it ended eight months later.

The causes of that recession are vague and amorphous, generally credited to the "business cycle."

There is, in addition, a minor Republican industry dedicated to back-dating the onset by five months, to November, 2000, in order to make it a Clinton recession. Or, to inadvertently to say that the very election of George Bush screwed up the economy, he didn't even have to come to power.

Bush came in with a plan for tax cuts. Originally, that was based on the government having a surplus and it was packaged as giving people their own money back. When the surplus disappeared, due to the recession and the tax cuts, he kept pushing the tax cuts as a jobs and stimulus package. The economy went into "recovery" by 2003.

The administration claimed that the recovery was due to the tax cuts. It was an odd and rather limp recovery. Indeed, it was a mysterious one and the mystery was that the US was still losing jobs. This was considered inexplicable.

The administration claimed that the weakness in the economy was due to 9/11 and being in a war. The very same people who used that story would have been the first to say that Roosevelt and the New Deal did not bring the US out of the depression, it was World War II that did it. Historically, wars have produced booms. But their war was somehow different.

Nonetheless, the five years from 2003 to 2007 are now routinely described as having been a "boom," a time of "robust" growth, low inflation, and low unemployment. Now we are in, or facing, a recession.

This recession was brought about by a specific over-expansion, the "sub-prime lending bubble."

This has caused turmoil in the credit markets.

The cure is a "stimulus package." It consists of two parts. Low interest rates and giving cash out to every American, in the hopes that we will "consume" our way out of trouble. It's hard to tell how much anyone believes this will work, but Republicans and Democrats have all signed on, no one is saying it's nonsense, or pointing out the obvious, that's the horse that brought us here. Here's the reality.

The recession of 2001 never ended.

At least not for ordinary Americans.

The headline links to the source.

Our Political Leaders Are to Blame in World Water Crisis

This isn't a new topic here at SPIIDERWEB™. Its a dead horse we continually beat because its a serious issue which isn't treated as such by most and especially the media.
As Barlow's new book shows, the world does not lack the knowledge about how to build a water-secure future; it lacks the political will. This piece originally appears in Maude Barlow's Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water and is published here with the permission of The New Press. Available now at good book stores everywhere. © 2007 by Maude Barlow. So here, then, is the answer to the question, Can we run out of freshwater? Yes, there is a fixed amount of water on Earth. Yes, it is still here somewhere. But we humans have depleted, polluted and diverted it to such an extent that we can now actually say the planet is running out of accessible, clean water. Fast. The freshwater crisis is easily as great a threat to the Earth and humans as climate change (to which it is deeply linked) but has had very little attention paid to it in comparison [like climate change does get a lot of attention -ed].

The headline links to the source.


Defending detainees

This post really isn't directly about the article in question, but something else.

Forget all the fucking lawyer jokes you know. Some out there are altruistic and they sacrifice in pursuit of justice. They could just be playing golf, but they're trying to help Gitmo detainees and should be applauded.
Beatings and torture. Imprisonment without charges. Writs of habeas corpus. Five years ago, none of these figured into the daily lives of most Northwest lawyers. But for about a dozen Portland attorneys representing men detained by the United States in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, it's all routine. Lawyers who work in securities law, antitrust litigation, wills, probate and other traditional areas have become well versed in constitutionally granted rights. Defending men held in Cuba has cost the firms, whose lawyers have involved plenty of hours and money.

OK, I'm off the damn soap box.

The headline links to the source.


Top Neocon Calls For Destruction Of Constitution

So neocons don't frighten you? Have you been paying attention? They are why the US is occupying Iraq for Christ's sake.

The really scary part of all of this is they... never... give... up. They're like fucking badgers. Only rabid.
In a recent edition of the Austin-American Statesman a book review of Phillip Bobbitt's new book Terror and Consent goes into how the book calls for the shredding of the Constitution. The article written by James E. McWilliams features an image of the Constitution being torn with a big bold headline that states "Everything must go." The words "How to Fight Terrorism", are put in place of where the Constitution is torn. The article is blatant propaganda to make people think that the answer to fight terrorism is to destroy the Constitution. As disgusting as this is, the contents of Bobbitt's book advocates exactly what the picture depicts. Bobbitt endorses using nongovernmental organizations and multinational corporations to take over the roles and functions of nation states. He also endorses giving the United Nations the authority to wage war without approval from the Security Council and the use of non-lethal chemical weapons to fight terrorism. If he really wanted to end terrorism using non-lethal chemical weapons, he should be endorsing the use of non-lethal chemical weapons on the headquarters of the CIA, British Intelligence and Mossad because that's where the majority of terrorism comes from. Of course, Bobbitt won't mention that fact.

Another frightening thing is how their persistence might win out. Its like raising kids. They nag and nag and plead and whine and eventually most parents say, "Enough already." And they give in to the little shits. Only in this case, it means people die.

The headline links to the source.


Taking Common Painkiller (acetaminophen) with Coffee is Extremely Toxic to the Liver

Just in case you're still concerned about your liver.

Mine's probably completely shot already.
Combining caffeine with the active ingredient in Tylenol (acetaminophen) may be extremely dangerous for the liver, according to new research conducted at the University of Washington (my alma mater so it has to be credible) and reported in the journal Chemical Research in Toxicology.


The headline links to the source.


Breaking the Silence - Israeli Soldiers Speak

I like that "Refuseniks" term. Sort of reminds me of old school Russia.

This is the side of the issues you never hear about.
They're called "Refuseniks" but not for refusing to serve. They've done it proudly and courageously, and here's how "Courage to Refuse" members state their position: "We, reserve officers and soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF)....have always served in the front lines....were first to carry out any mission, light or heavy, (and we did it) to protect the State of Israel and strengthen it. We....served....long weeks every year, in spite of dear cost to our personal lives, have been on reserve duty all over the Occupied Territories, and were issued commands and directives that had nothing to do with the security of our country (but were only given to perpetuate) our control over the Palestinian people. We('ve)....seen the bloody toll this Occupation exacts from both sides. ....the commands issued to us in the Territories (have) destroy(ed) all the values (we learned) growing up in this country. ....the (way) the Occupation (undermines the) IDF's human character and (exposes) the corruption of the entire Israeli society. We....know that the Territories are not Israel, and that all settlements are bound to be evacuated in the end. We hereby declare that we shall not continue to fight this War of the Settlements. We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people. We hereby declare that we shall continue serving the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel's defense. The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose - and we shall take no part in them."

The point is, they've had it. Everyone has had it. Everyone is just so fucking tired of all the killing.

The headline links to the source.


About The Signs

The Signs (of the times) is a good source of information, generally.

Oh sure, sometimes it goes off into wild eyed, tinfoil hat speculation and conspiracy theory territory, but its my job to ferret out those posts which lack credulity and bring you only the most plausible information. If I fuck up, so be it.

Headline links to site.


Israelis Claim Secret Agreement With US To Expand Illegal Settlements On Stolen Palestinian Land

Its pretty hard to look innocent when there's written evidence your an asshole, huh?
A letter that President Bush personally delivered to then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon four years ago has emerged as a significant obstacle to the president's efforts to forge a peace deal between the Israelis and Palestinians during his last year in office.

Personally, I think the idiot should be trusted about as far as I can throw my car. My personal best in that endeavor is now up to 1.0 millimeters. Or it might have just rolled. Not sure if I really tossed it.

Headline links to source.


"The US is the common denominator" in the increase of terrorism around the world - Think Tank

First of all, why actually write posts when you can just steal from The Signs? Duh.

Next, this should come as no surprise to any of you. The US GWOT (global war on terror, which is a ridiculous appellation) does nothing to make the US safer, but does much to make the rest of the fucking world more dangerous.
The US "war on terror" has backfired, strengthening extremists in Afghanistan and Somalia and turning them into legitimate political actors in the eyes of their local populations, a thinktank [sic] said today.

Please follow link for more.

Via The Signs.


Rice Rationing Hits UK

This on top of Costco and Sam's Club rationing rice in the US.

Fortunately I was able to stockpile tons of rice before the hoarders got hold of it. Muhahaha!
Rice is being rationed in Britain as shopkeepers limit supplies to their customers to prevent hoarding. Restrictions on sales in Asian neighbourhoods are reported as emergency measures are taken by governments worldwide to combat the soaring cost of rice and prevent outbreaks of food rioting.

Now to get fucking serious. There are people who spend almost every goddamn cent of their income to feed themselves and can't survive on rice prices which are double normal. Its no fucking joke and many will die or turn to crime to keep food on the table.

There is enough food on this planet to feed everyone. It just isn't distributed equitably. And, yes, I do what I can to feed those who need it. I'm not being hypocritical here. My cost for food is roughly five times what it would be if my wife and I didn't feed so many others.

Yeah, don't mention it. I'm a goddamn saint.

Via The Signs.


Is an Attack on Iran Imminent?

Jesus H Christ in an F-16; do you really need an answer here?

This administration has done everything except saying explicitly "We are going to attack Iran."

I guess the petulant child wants to exit with a BANG! And it will be.
George W. Bush is poised to order a massive aerial bombardment - possibly including tactical nuclear weapons - of up to 10,000 targets in Iran. The attack would be justified on grounds that Iran is interfering with U.S. efforts in Iraq and that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon, a charge that was debunked last fall in the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE). According to international experts, the U.S. declared economic war against Iran on March 20. On that day, the U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) called on the world's financial institutions to stop doing business with Iran, making it much more difficult for Iran to engage in global commerce. Now the Bush administration is preparing to drop the other shoe.

The link has much more on this.

Via The Signs.


US military ship shoots at Iranian boats, navy says

Ya caught that, right? This isn't some fucking loony with a goddamn tinfoil hat. This is the US admitting to this.
A ship contracted by the US military fired warning shots towards two Iranian boats, American defence officials said today. The Westward Venture, a cargo vessel chartered by the US department of defence, was travelling north in international waters in the central Gulf at around 8am local time yesterday when the incident took place, the US navy said.

And why the hell does a cargo vessel have guns?

Via The Signs.


Hundreds of EPA scientists report political interference

I have no idea why this isn't getting more exposure.

This is fucking with your lives and it keeps happening.

Sit back. More "The Signs" to come.
An official with the independent group that conducted the survey says it indicates the widespread nature of the problem. More than half of the scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency who responded to a survey said they had experienced political interference in their work. The survey results show "an agency under siege from political pressures," said the Union of Concerned Scientists report, which was released Wednesday and sent to EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson.

Via The Signs.


Sit down for this one

Maybe we are all interconnected? Who the hell knows?

I learn something new every fucking day.
I'm sure this is old news for this crowd:

DNA has been found to have a bizarre ability to put itself together, even at a distance, when according to known science it shouldn't be able to. Explanation: None, at least not yet.

Before i continue, i must credit this post to Rebecca Sato @
let's continue, shall we?

Scientists are reporting evidence that contrary to our current beliefs about what is possible, intact double-stranded DNA has the “amazing” ability to recognize similarities in other DNA strands from a distance. Somehow they are able to identify one another, and the tiny bits of genetic material tend to congregate with similar DNA. The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.

Even so, the research published in ACS’ Journal of Physical Chemistry B, shows very clearly that homology recognition between sequences of several hundred nucleotides occurs without physical contact or presence of proteins. Double helixes of DNA can recognize matching molecules from a distance and then gather together, all seemingly without help from any other molecules or chemical signals.

In the study, scientists observed the behavior of fluorescently tagged DNA strands placed in water that contained no proteins or other material that could interfere with the experiment. Strands with identical nucleotide sequences were about twice as likely to gather together as DNA strands with different sequences. No one knows how individual DNA strands could possibly be communicating in this way, yet somehow they do. The “telepathic” effect is a source of wonder and amazement for scientists.

“Amazingly, the forces responsible for the sequence recognition can reach across more than one nanometer of water separating the surfaces of the nearest neighbor DNA,” said the authors Geoff S. Baldwin, Sergey Leikin, John M. Seddon, and Alexei A. Kornyshev and colleagues.

This recognition effect may help increase the accuracy and efficiency of the homologous recombination of genes, which is a process responsible for DNA repair, evolution, and genetic diversity. The new findings may also shed light on ways to avoid recombination errors, which are factors in cancer, aging, and other health issues.

Via (as in stolen entirely from IntentBlog.


Courage under pressure

Just watched a blurb on CNN showing the attack on Hamid Kazai, and the Afghan troops running for cover like so many children.

Yeah, they're ready to protect the fucking country.


One word PLASTIC!

Use 'em if you must, but you've been warned.
Despite more than 100 published studies by government scientists and university laboratories that have raised health concerns about a chemical compound that is central to the multibillion-dollar plastics industry, the Food and Drug Administration has deemed it safe largely because of two studies, both funded by an industry trade group.

The agency says it has relied on research backed by the American Plastics Council because it had input on its design, monitored its progress and reviewed the raw data.

The compound, bisphenol A (BPA), has been linked to breast and prostate cancer, behavioral disorders and reproductive health problems in laboratory animals.

I love Jerome's term "pigmy president". So fucking apt.

Via Bad Attitudes.


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Protection on the cheap

Hey, I can afford this deterrent.
Via Jonco.


U.S. Weighing Readiness for Military Action Against Iran

This is beyond bullshit. The US military has been decimated to the point of being nothing more than a paper tiger. To contemplate an invasion anywhere is idiocy.

The nation's top military officer said yesterday that the Pentagon is planning for "potential military courses of action" as one of several options against Iran, criticizing what he called the Tehran government's "increasingly lethal and malign influence" in Iraq.

Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said a conflict with Iran would be "extremely stressing" but not impossible for U.S. forces, pointing to reserve capabilities in the Navy and Air Force. [links in original].

Will that stop the idiot-in-chief? Not a chance.

Via WaPo.


A Spiiderweb public service announcement

Via Jonco.


Flower blogging


Its just a guess on my part, but that sucker is probably 14" across.