We am everywhere. And we're prolific.
Note: Headline links to source.
Rojak posts, mostly political.
"A writer is a person for whom writing is more difficult than it is for other people." -- Thomas Mann
If so, I must be a writer.
For centuries, this pretty Dorset village has enjoyed a special place in the Gazetteer of Britain. But now, there’s a stirring behind the hedgerows, and some of its residents are (whisper it) rebranding their community. Things may never be quite the same... in Shitterton.
"The only annoying thing is that the Shitterton sign is always being stolen. Three have gone so far this year"
The government is undermining our rights by making laws in secret. Surprise, surprise.
Labels: must read
Doing nothing about global warming would cost America dearly in the rest of this century because of stronger hurricanes, higher energy and water costs, and rising seas that would swamp coastal communities, according to a new study by economists at Tufts University.
Labels: climate change
The Homeland Security Department, which wants to move research on highly contagious animal diseases from an island lab to the mainland, never fully assessed the move's safety, an official of Congress' investigative arm told lawmakers on Thursday.
Labels: Homeland Security
The photographer was waiting for the bride and groom when the ground began shaking. Then they were enveloped in dust thrown up by the mighty earthquake, and the photographer kept shooting, documenting a remarkable wedding day.
The White House on Tuesday flatly denied an Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term. It said that while the military option had not been taken off the table, the administration preferred to resolve concerns about Iran's push for a nuclear weapon "through peaceful diplomatic means." Army Radio had quoted a top official in Jerusalem claiming that a senior member in the entourage of President Bush, who visited Israel last week, had said in a closed meeting here that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for.
1. The Japanese eat very little fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
2. The Mexicans eat a lot of fat and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
3. The Chinese drink very little red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
4. The Italians drink a lot of red wine and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
5. The Germans drink a lot of beer and eat lots of sausages and fats and suffer fewer heart attacks than Americans.
Eat and drink what you like. Speaking English is apparently what kills you.
"For, you see, so many out-of-the-way things had happened lately, that Alice had begun to think that very few things indeed were really impossible."
-- Alice in Wonderland
-- by Lewis Carroll
A judge has ruled that the Summit County Medical Examiner's Office must change its autopsy findings to remove all references to the Taser stun gun as a contributing cause of death in the cases of three men who died during encounters with county law enforcement officers.
Two heart specialists told an inquiry into the use of Tasers on Tuesday that a jolt from the weapons can "almost certainly" cause heart problems and possibly even sudden cardiac arrest.
Sadly, progressive champion, Senator Ted Kennedy, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor.
I just signed a card from the entire MoveOn community wishing him well and I thought you might want to add your name, too.
Senator Kerry will hand deliver the card with all the signatures and well wishes to Senator Kennedy.
All you have to do to add your name to the card is click
Big Shot Bob (In Texas)
Labels: health care
"Greta, I hope I can return when we have a president who knows what he's doing."
-- The Donald (Trump)
-- New York icon
China is grappling with the next massive task in the aftermath of its earthquake — how to shelter the 5 million people left homeless.
Many were living Tuesday in tent cities like one at the base of Qianfo mountain in the disaster zone, offering some stability — along with food and medical care — to those whose lives were upended.
"After the quake, we couldn't sleep for five days. We were really, really afraid," said Chen Shigui, a weathered 55-year-old farmer who climbed for two days with his wife and injured father to reach the camp from their mountain village. "I felt relieved when we got here. It's much safer compared to my home."
But there's not enough room to go around.
When I got home last night, my wife demanded that I take her out to some place expensive..................
So I took her to a gas station !!!!!!
every hidden scar is just to find, so,
just breathe, let it out, and breathe. Come on and breathe.
Myanmar's junta, facing global outrage for spurning international assistance, appeared to relent Monday, saying it would allow its Asian neighbors to oversee the distribution of foreign relief to cyclone survivors.
It also approved a visit by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and prepared to host a meeting of aid donors, while claiming that losses from the May 2-3 disaster exceeded $10 billion.
A three-day official period of mourning was to begin Tuesday for the dead, which numbered more than 78,000, according to official figures. Another 56,000 people are missing.
South Korea's foreign minister will summon the Japanese ambassador on Monday to protest at what is seen as a renewed Tokyo campaign to claim disputed islands, officials said.South Korea's foreign minister will summon the Japanese ambassador on Monday to protest at what is seen as a renewed Tokyo campaign to claim disputed islands, officials said.
On a day when Deng Xiaoping's widow gave her entire life savings to China's earthquake relief, it didn't pass unnoticed here that sporting icon Yao Ming was a little less generous with his own donation.
China's richest celebrity donated 500,000 yuan (70,000 dollars) to a relief fund, sparking fierce criticism on the Internet that it was too little from a basketball hero known for his charity work.
"A bit stingy isn't it?" one fan wrote.
The 7.9-magnitude quake in China's southwest Sichuan province likely killed some 50,000 people, according to government estimates, with the official toll already nearly 29,000 but countless thousands missing or believed buried under the rubble of devastated towns.
Yao, the 2.26-metre (seven-foot-six-inch) Houston Rockets centre, has been at the top of the Forbes magazine list of richest Chinese celebrities for the past five years.
Last year he earned some 55 million dollars from basketball and sponsorship activities.
His initial offer of 500,000 yuan triggered its own "earthquake of protest,' Maopu (www.mop.com), a top entertainment website, said.
Critics maintain that the donation was loose change to a man who makes more than that with one promotional photo shoot.
"If 500,000 dollars -- not to mention 500,000 yuan -- disappeared from his bank account, he wouldn't even notice," said one fan.
Internet criticism of Yao forced the basketball star to up his donation to 2,000,000 yuan later in the week, according to media reports.
Criticism of sporting heroes is unusual in China where they are often seen as national icons.
Yao is known for his charity work, raising more than a million dollars for under-privileged Chinese children last year and devoting time and energy toward helping stage the 2007 Special Olympics in his home city of Shanghai.
But some Chinese are not slow to attack Yao when it comes to money, accusing him of not giving enough of his enormous wealth back to his home country.
"He's been drinking milk and eating bread (like an American) for a while and he's forgotten where he comes," one posting said. "You are Chinese!"
Though supporters were outnumbered by critics, many people agreed with one commentator who said that contributions were a personal matter, and "whatever Yao gives is his business."
On Friday, China's state media reported that Zhuo Lin, 92-year-old widow of China's late leader Deng, had emptied her life savings totalling 100,000 yuan to give to earthquake victims.
It said she found it hard to sleep and eat after hearing of the tragedy.
Note: Headline links to source.Grave by mass grave, South Korea is unearthing the skeletons and buried truths of a cold-blooded slaughter from early in the Korean War, when this nation's U.S.-backed regime killed untold thousands of leftists and hapless peasants in a summer of terror in 1950.
With U.S. military officers sometimes present, and as North Korean invaders pushed down the peninsula, the southern army and police emptied South Korean prisons, lined up detainees and shot them in the head, dumping the bodies into hastily dug trenches. Others were thrown into abandoned mines or into the sea. Women and children were among those killed. Many victims never faced charges or trial.
The mass executions - intended to keep possible southern leftists from reinforcing the northerners - were carried out over mere weeks and were largely hidden from history for a half-century. They were "the most tragic and brutal chapter of the Korean War," said historian Kim Dong-choon, a member of a 2-year-old government commission investigating the killings.
Hundreds of sets of remains have been uncovered so far, but researchers say they are only a tiny fraction of the deaths. The commission estimates at least 100,000 people were executed, in a South Korean population of 20 million.
That estimate is based on projections from local surveys and is "very conservative," said Kim. The true toll may be twice that or more, he told The Associated Press.
In addition, thousands of South Koreans who allegedly collaborated with the communist occupation were slain by southern forces later in 1950, and the invaders staged their own executions of rightists.
Through the postwar decades of South Korean right-wing dictatorships, victims' fearful families kept silent about that blood-soaked summer. American military reports of the South Korean slaughter were stamped "secret" and filed away in Washington. Communist accounts were dismissed as lies.
Only since the 1990s, and South Korea's democratization, has the truth begun to seep out.
Gas prices have set record highs in Arizona and across the country for each of the past seven days. According to AAA, the nationwide average for a gallon of regular unleaded hit $3.76 Wednesday morning, up nearly 3 cents from Tuesday's record high.
Labels: gas prices
"Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" seems to be more of a sequel to "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" than to the last film in the adventure series 19 years ago.
A man shapes a ball of C4 plastic explosive like a child with playdough, carefully inserts it into a hole at the side of the road, attaches an electric detonator, and walks away.
It's all in the name of saving lives.
He's not a soldier -- the war here in Laos ended more than 30 years ago -- but an explosives disposal expert trying to rid his country of the conflict's deadly legacy, which still kills and maims.
During the Vietnam war, neighbouring Laos, something of a sleepy Southeast Asian backwater, suddenly became the world's most heavily bombed country per head of population.
US bombers targeting Vietnamese and Lao communist forces flew about 80,000 missions over the country in the 1960s and 70s.
In fact, more explosives were dropped here than in Europe during World War II, over two million tonnes, according to UN data. And many failed to explode, leaving the poverty-stricken country littered with countless de-facto landmines.
Most of these devices -- some 260 million, experts suggest -- are cluster munitions, tennis ball-sized bomblets that were dropped in loads of 300 to 400 each to kill enemy troops over areas as large as several football fields.
Up to a third of these failed to explode, often because their impact was cushioned by tree foilage and muddy rice fields.
On May 5th, many Chinese locals noticed thousands of frogs on the move. They were seen traveling without fear of traffic as they crossed streets in mass floods. Many Chinese sensed the migration as a bad omen of a coming natural disaster, but the Chinese government told them that it was just a natural migration for the purpose of propagation. This calmed the people and no one took the omen very seriously.
Anyone who has kept half an eye on the proceedings at the Military Commissions in Guantánamo -- the unique system of trials for "terror suspects" that was conceived in the wake of the 9/11 attacks by Vice President Dick Cheney and his close advisers -- will be aware that their progress has been faltering at best. After six and a half years, in which they have been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, derailed by their own military judges, relentlessly savaged by their own military defense lawyers, and condemned as politically motivated by their own former chief prosecutor, they have only secured one contentious result: a plea bargain negotiated by the Australian David Hicks, who admitted to providing "material support for terrorism," and dropped his well-chronicled claims of torture and abuse by US forces, in order to secure his return to Australia to serve out the remainder of a meager nine-month sentence last March. In the last few weeks, however, Cheney's dream has been souring at an even more alarming rate than usual. Following boycotts of pre-trial hearings in March and April by three prisoners -- Mohamed Jawad, Ahmed al-Darbi and Ibrahim al-Qosi -- the latest appearance by Salim Hamdan, a Yemeni who worked as a driver for Osama bin Laden, spread the words "boycott" and "Guantánamo" around the world.
Labels: questions requiring answers
President Bush sought to assure Arabs on Saturday that he is committed to securing an Israeli-Palestinian peace deal by the end of the year, as he arrived at this Red Sea resort for a quick round of consultations with key allies.
The Air Force wants a suite of hacker tools, to give it "access" to -- and "full control" of -- any kind of computer there is. And once the info warriors are in, the Air Force wants them to keep tabs on their "adversaries' information infrastructure completely undetected."
The government is growing increasingly interested in waging war online. The Air Force recently put together a "Cyberspace Command," with a charter to rule networks the way its fighter jets rule the skies. The Department of Homeland Security, Darpa, and other agencies are teaming up for a five-year, $30 billion "national cybersecurity initiative." That includes an electronic test range, where federally-funded hackers can test out the latest electronic attacks. "You used to need an army to wage a war," a recent Air Force commercial notes. "Now, all you need is an Internet connection."
According to Obama supporters and his allies in the media, Hillary is finished and the nomination is securely in Obama’s hands. David Broder laments that “If Clinton weren’t still challenging, [Obama] could easily devote a week to a swing through Hispanic enclaves from California to New York.”
CNN personality Richard Quest was busted in Central Park early yesterday with some drugs in his pocket, a rope around his neck that was tied to his genitals, and a sex toy in his boot, law-enforcement sources said.
One of Britain's largest estate agents has fallen victim to the slowdown in the housing market, prompting fears for thousands of jobs around the country. Shares trading was suspended in Humberts, which has 80 branches from Central London to Hampshire, amid doubts about its viability. The group's demise would be the first high-profile estate agency casualty of the housing market squeeze.
But Washington, Wall Street, and ethanol and oil and gas companies want you to think there is, says automotive expert Ed Wallace"They see speculation in the market, I see decline in global inventories. I don't think this is a big surprise, that we've had a jump in price when there has been a decrease in crude inventories." - Energy Secretary Sam Bodman, Bloomberg News, Mar. 5, 2008
"It should be obvious to you all that the [gasoline] demand is outstripping supply, which causes prices to go up." - President George W. Bush, Associated Press, Mar. 5, 2008
One wonders if verifiable facts ever get in the way of this administration's statements on issues that are critical to the average American's wellbeing. After all, last time I checked, when politicians are elected to public office, or appointed, as is Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman, they must take an oath to the American people before assuming their new positions. How can they forget a sacred oath so quickly? Were they daydreaming when they took it, so it never meant anything to begin with? Maybe it's just another promise you have to make to get into office: When you're securely incumbent you can ignore even solemn oaths you took.
Obviously, the two quotes that led this article came from discussions concerning the current high price for oil on the futures market. Bodman appears to be protecting the speculators in oil, as opposed to looking after the interests of all Americans. President Bush, apparently, has never talked to the Energy Dept.'s Energy Information Agency to see whether gasoline demand is actually up. More troubling, the writer of that particular Associated Press article obviously didn't look up the EIA's numbers to verify the President's assertions. They weren't accurate.
Labels: gas prices
The U.S. military on Saturday formally apologized to an Iraqi village after a soldier admitted using the Quran, Islam's holy book, for target practice.
The longstanding tensions between the two largest organizations in Burma (Myanmar) - the military and the Buddhist clergy - are finding new outlets as both groups confront the devastating aftermath of cyclone Nargis.
The monks have temples sheltering victims in the delta - and have begun to organize funding and supplies for victims, which they hope to deliver via an underground network of sympathetic citizens and exiles worldwide and in Thai border areas such as Mae Sot.
But nearly two weeks since the storm struck, the military, unquestionably, has the upper hand, with guns, helicopters, and relief supplies. And now, it is starting to force cyclone victims out of monasteries into tent camps, prompted by concern that the monks could help spur protests.
Benjamin Zawacki, a researcher in Bangkok with Amnesty International, says the government has the right to relocate people for their well-being in an emergency. "But if they are being moved on account of being associated with the monks," he says, "it's emblematic of the last 40 years, where the government is putting its survival over the survival of their people. Their rights are already being violated. As good Buddhists, people are used to hanging out in monasteries."
A 6.1-magnitude earthquake shook Sichuan province in China on Saturday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported, five days after a massive tremor killed tens of thousands of people. USGS reported the latest earthquake, which follows scores of slightly less strong aftershocks during the week, was nearly 50 miles deep and hit 49 miles west of Guangyuan.
A coalition of community leaders from Texas on Friday sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) over construction of a controversial fence on the Southwest border, saying the DHS trampled the rights of property owners in acquiring land for the project. The class-action suit, filed in a federal district court in Washington, accuses Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and DHS officials of violating numerous laws and regulations and effectively coercing Texas property owners to turn over land for the fence without consultation.
Labels: Bill of Rights
I've been meaning to write a post about Strokes and Head Injuries (sometime after the long-delayed Trauma And You, Part IV), and this isn't going to be it. It'll just be a few quick notes.
Labels: Ted Kennedy
Sen. Edward Kennedy was rushed to Cape Cod Hospital in Massachusetts Saturday morning, a well-informed, prominent Democratic source in that state told CNN.
The source said the 76-year-old senator had “symptoms of a stroke.”
Kennedy was taken to the hospital around 8 or 9 a.m. from the Kennedy family compound in Hyannis, according to the source. The source said the senator would be transferred to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
That hospital said it had no information on Kennedy.
Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the Senate since 1962. He is one of only six senators in U.S. history to serve more than 40 years. He is known as a liberal champion of social issues such as health care, family leave, and the minimum wage.