seeking support, cursed at for questioning
mother's war after Son
survived suicide bomb
Walker's son survived a suicide bomb in Iraq.
Her daughter spent a year in Kuwait last year, and
father is a former Marine reservist. She’s part
of a military family;
she and her sister went into
criminal justice because their father
from a military career. Marsha is a Blue Star mother, meaning a mother whose son is serving overseas.
So it came
as a bit of a surprise when an email exchange
with her local Blue
Star chapter concluded with an
The Ohio mom had contacted her local chapter after
across their website earlier this month. It’s
a plain, bright page,
one that doesn’t stand out at
But there was something that caught her eye: an animate montage of planes hitting the World Trade Center and
aftermath. In one image, a man in a
bloodstained shirt teeters on the
verge of collapse,
in another, a panicked crowd looks on in horror.
of the photographs reference current U.S. military
in Iraq or Afghanistan.
Beneath the graphic is a live clock: "War was declared
on the United States of America, 1,414
days, 15 hours,
49 minutes and 12 seconds ago," referring to the
of Sept. 11, 2001.
"They’re trying to make a connection between Iraq
she asserts. "I guess that's supposed to
make parents feel better in
some way but only the
uninformed ones–because if you're informed, it
After seeing the site, which was taken down after an inquiry by RAW STORY, she dispatched an
Hello. I am a blue star mom of
soldiers. My 20-year-old-son is "Soldier of the Month" and has been awarded the Purple Heart. He
is a reservist with
the Ohio National Guard.
not a “Spartan mother” and I feel no
need to sacrifice my children’s
lives for this war.
People willing to give their children’s lives for the war in Iraq are grossly misinformed, and I question
for their children and their country...
"I do not see any reference to groups that
blue and gold star families may not be aware
of. I realize you are
not a political organization,
but I am not going to stand by idle,
wearing a pin,
while my son's life and other soldier’s lives continueto be misused for a cause that is not reality based.
NOTHING to do with Iraq or Saddam-your website,
much like this
President’s talking points do not
balance with the truth of this
give your members something besides more hand
and a pin to wear.”
"...Military personnel have sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution, not an allegiance to this
own mother, of course, did not have
to endure being a "blue star" mom
for a similar
senseless war. This war is illegal, goes against
Constitution….a person of my background does
NOT make these
Marsha says she felt an obligation to correct
on the site. Just four months before, her
was part of a convoy outside Baghdad ambushed by a suicide bomber.
"I had just come home from protesting the war, in
she recalls. "When I heard that my son had
been injured, I called to
get the details."
An officer fielded the call.
"I said, 'It seems awfully ironic that I'm just coming
from a protest,'" she says. "And he said, 'Yes
ma'am.' I said, 'I
think it's pretty ironic, don't
you,' and he said, 'Yes ma'am, I'm
sorry I do.'"
"It was mostly cuts and abrasions," she adds. "The
were more injured than my son."
Two hours after her email came this anonymous
"Facts? Where are
"Im sorry to hear you
dont support the career
choices your sons have made, it must make
good about themselves that momma doesnt [sic] give
ass about them ." Maybe you should go join
up Code Pinko at
Walter Reed Medical Center they
are there every Friday jeering our
did indeed have to endure being
a Blue Star Mother, or have you
forgotten all of
John Kerry's accusations of him ditching his service during Vietnam, which was proven false he did serve
his full time.
You do not have to wring your hands
and wear a pin to be recognized
as a Blue Star Mother,
we honor all members of the US
Congress voted overwhelming to
go to war in
Iraq. "We are not obligated to
link to any other
website other than those we feel fit to link to, don't like it start your own website...
“The Democrats in Congress speak out of both
of there [sic] mouths Bush lied about WMD
yet when their man was in
charge these were there
The email listed roughly a dozen quotes from leading progressive politicians who believed Iraq had or was
of mass destruction. They indicate
Democrats believed Iraq’s weapons
program posed a
grave threat and were serious about eliminating it, but the context suggested Democrats had sought to
start a war with
equal fervor as President Bush.
was outraged. She didn’t take lightly to being told
she didn’t give a “rat’s ass” about her son.Nor was
she amused by the falsehood that Bush had “served
his full time.” So she fired off another letter.
Dear Nameless Bush worshipper, (idolatry, according
to the bible)
I got my “facts” from places like the CIA,
allies’ newspapers, ect. [sic] You see, I will not
set my kids out like lambs to slaughter –I am far
better informed than your “talking points.” I have
no time to start my own website and little to educate
you. But I am here to tell you-“Commie Pinko”- I
am the daughter of a Marine officer and have a background
in law enforcement so for you to imply I’m even
a Democrat is a joke. I am an informed person who
knows the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the Geneva
Our troops recently trained on what to
their camps are overran. Do you understand the implications of that? Our soldiers are greatly outnumbered, their
getting broken, and replacements are
behind. Do you
understand? If you continue to support
this war, you will eventually
be standing alone.
Educate yourself-do not take my word for it.
Funny you would think my SONS
My daughter just returned from a year in Kuwait.
children and other soldiers are proud of the
military but not proud
of politicians who have sent
them unprepared into a war of choice.
That is unacceptable.
My own family has spent thousands of dollars
equipment for my son-some of it needed JUST SO HE
COULD DO HIS
JOB IN THE WAR. I guess this is acceptable
to you. It is not to
So no, I am not willing
to shove my kids out
the door and say die for this war, because I
what this war is really about. Did you notice there
WMD in Iraq? Mr. Bush takes advantage
of people’s faith and
ignorance-they, like you,
will heatedly stand up for him-right or
examining facts or solid intelligence. He counts
the fact that you will take him at his word,
as obviously you have.
That is too bad; I find it
easier to live with the truth than to
justify this war.
She included a quote from the twenty-sixth president
United States, Theodore Roosevelt.
“That we are to stand by the president, right or
wrong is not
only unpatriotic and servile, but is
morally treasonable to the
It was this missive that earned the reply"fuckoff."
Marsha's frustration is palpable. She's against the
war and is not shy about it, and it's not simply about
the effort to tie Iraq to Sept. 11. It's about Chris.
Marsha tells how her father, a former Marine, supported
the war and maintained that the troops would have
everything they needed.
"My dad said, I know they're getting everything they
need," she recounts. "I thought, okay, what can you
say? He's your father."
"Six months later, he was having to send things to
his grandson to help assist in the war effort, that
he did not have."
Marsha says her father helped pay for body armor.
Her son, Chris, is a communications specialist.
"We've sent him extra armor," she says. "He did have
new armor when he left, it was military issued, it
was not the best – there are police officers on the
street who have better armor, and I know that because
I have a degree on criminal justice. We've had to
send him tools so he can literally do his job of repairing
Beyond armor, she says she's also sent basic tools
like sockets and wrenches. She laughs as she says
it, but she's obviously pained by how little support
she's seen from those who would send her son to fight,
and perhaps to die.
"I did send him a whole ratchet set," she recalls.
"It's outrageous. We have to pay to send him things,
and of course we have to send him things all the time,
hair gel even, for instance. It costs a lot of money
to send those packages. I took three small boxes to
the post office last week and spent $40."
Chris will be deployed until October–or at least
that's how long he's supposed to serve in Iraq. I
ask her when she thinks he'll be back.
"I don't know," she says wearily. "I told him, that
I have his orders here, and he better not volunteer
to go back there."
"He needs to get home, go to classes, and stop worrying
his mother," she continues. "I can hope."
"My son is someone who is going to contribute to
this world," she adds. "He was raised with public
service in mind. This is a gross misuse of his patriotism."
Scores of naked or scantily clad people wandered the museum, lured
by an offer of free entry to "The Naked Truth," a new exhibition of
early 1900s erotic art, if they showed up wearing just a swimsuit -- or
nothing at all.
With a midsummer heat wave sweeping much of
Europe, pushing temperatures into the mid-90s Fahrenheit (mid-30s
Celsius) in Vienna, the normally staid museum decided that making the
most of its cool, climate-controlled space would be just the ticket to
spur interest in the show.
Peter Weinhaeupl, the Leopold's
commercial director, said the goal was twofold -- help people beat the
heat while creating a mini-scandal reminiscent of the way the artworks
by Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka and others shocked the
public when they first were unveiled a century ago.
"We wanted to
give people a chance to cool off, and bring nakedness into the open,"
he said. "It's a bit of an experiment. Egon Schiele was a young and
wild person in his day. He'd want to be here."
Most of those who
showed up in little or no attire Friday opted for swimsuits, but a few
hardy souls dared to bare more. Among them was Bettina Huth of
Stuttgart, Germany, who roamed the exhibition wearing only sandals and
a black bikini bottom.
Although she used a program at one point
to shield herself from a phalanx of TV cameras, Huth, 52, said she
didn't understand what all the fuss was about.
"I go into the
steam bath every week, so I'm used to being naked," she said. "I think
there's a double morality, especially in America. We lived in
California for two years, and I found it strange that my children had
to cover themselves up at the beach when they were only 3 or 4 years
old. That's ridiculous."
For years, the Austrian capital has been
known for a small but lively nudist colony on the Donauinsel, an island
in the middle of the Danube River where people disrobe, often startling
the unsuspecting joggers, cyclists and rollerbladers who happen upon
Overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Austria has always been
somewhat more conservative than many other European countries. The
Viennese were scandalized when native art nouveau masters like Klimt --
best known for his sensuous "The Kiss" and the subject of an upcoming
film starring John Malkovich -- began producing works that some critics
panned as "indecency," "artistic self-pollution" and borderline
The 180 works on display at the Leopold through Aug.
22 include Klimt's "Nude Veritas," an 1899 painting of a naked young
woman with wildflowers in her hair, and Schiele's "Two Female Friends,"
a 1915 rendition of two nude women entangled in each other's arms.
Hollein, director of Frankfurt's Schirn Kunsthalle art museum, likened
the public uproar at the time to "the visible outcry at the live
transmission from last year's Super Bowl when, for a few seconds, CBS
broadcast shots of the singer Janet Jackson's exposed nipple."
Vorhemes, a 20-year-old Vienna resident who strode into the Leopold on
Friday wearing nothing but a green and black Speedo, was nonchalant.
the big deal?" he asked. "We're born naked into this world. Why can't
we walk around in it without clothes from time to time?"
Elina Ranta, a fully clothed tourist from Finland who checked out the art -- and the audience -- left amused.
thought, 'This is strange. How is this possible in a museum?"' Ranta
said. "We've been in many galleries and I've never seen people walking
around like this."
"In English, my name means 'beach,"' she added. "That's pretty funny under these circumstances, isn't it?"
This passage Armando quotes is embarrassing. I mean, if I were in
charge and surrounded by sycophants, really, it would be best if their
flattery were thoughtful and did not provoke immediate laughter.
Powerline disturbs me. It's the tone, really. They're like groupies.
must be very strange to be President Bush. A man of extraordinary
vision and brilliance approaching to genius, he can't get anyone to
notice. He is like a great painter or musician who is ahead of his
time, and who unveils one masterpiece after another to a reception
that, when not bored, is hostile.
Hyperbolic? Well, maybe. But consider Bush's latest master stroke: the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate.
The pact includes the U.S., Japan, Australia, China, India and South
Korea; these six countries account for most of the world's carbon
emissions. The treaty is, in essence, a technology transfer agreement.
The U.S., Japan and Australia will share advanced pollution control
technology, and the pact's members will contribute to a fund that will
help implement the technologies. The details are still sketchy and more
countries may be admitted to the group later on. The pact's stated goal
is to cut production of "greenhouse gases" in half by the end of the
What distinguishes this plan from the Kyoto protocol is that it will actually lead to a major reduction in carbon emissions! This substitution of practical impact for well-crafted verbiage stunned and infuriated European observers.
I doubt that the pact will make any difference to the earth's
climate, which will be determined, as always, by variations in the
energy emitted by the sun. But when the real cause of a phenomenon is
inaccessible, it makes people feel better to tinker with something that
they can control. Unlike Kyoto, this agreement won't devastate the U.S.
economy, and, also unlike Kyoto, the agreement will reduce carbon
emissions in the countries where they are now rising most rapidly,
India and China. Brilliant.
But I don't suppose President Bush is holding his breath, waiting for the crowd to start applauding.
Reminds me of a documentary I once saw in which they interviewed a guy
who was in a Russian gulag on the day Stalin died. He said all the
prisoners in the gulag were weeping at the announcement of the death of
the man who had sent them there -- because Stalin had made himself so
huge and important and synonymous with their country that they
literally could not imagine the world without him.
This is what the Right is trying to do -- and it scares me to death to see how close they come.
True believers (and there were plenty) said the same things about
Nixon. And, in fact, some of the same folks (e.g. Noonan) still do. But
it's important to distinguish those who rhapsodize over their chosen
demigod hypocritically, and those who are actual believers. The latter
will continue to redouble their fervor right up until the moment that
their faith evaporates, while the former never had any actual faith to
begin with, and will simply bend with the political tide.
differently, self-delusions are often clung to hardest when the
evidence supporting them is least. But once brought to the breaking
point, the delusions will evaporate, with some former believers
opportunistically joining the hypocrites (perhaps to save face as much
as any other form of self-interest) while others will flee to the
"enemy" camp. Such people do exist -- I know some of them -- and we need to be ready to welcome them.
28,2005 | SAN FRANCISCO -- A man who compared a woman's anatomy to a
carburetor won an annual contest that celebrates the worst writing in
the English language.
McKay, a computer analyst at Microsoft Great Plains, N.D., bested
thousands of entrants from the North Pole to Manchester, England to
triumph Wednesday in San Jose State University's annual Fiction Contest.
he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg
carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire," he wrote, comparing a
woman's breasts to "small knurled caps of the oil dampeners."
competition highlights literary achievements of the most dubious sort
-- terrifyingly bad sentences that take their inspiration from minor
writer Edward George Earl Bulwer-Lytton, whose 1830 novel "Paul
Clifford" began, "It was a dark and stormy night."
want writers with a little talent, but no taste," San Jose State
English Professor Scott Rice said. "And Dan's entry was just ludicrous."
was is in China and could not be reached to comment about his status as
a world-renowned wretched writer. He will receive $250.
said the challenge began as a worst paragraph contest, but judges soon
realized no one should have to wade through so much putrid prose --
such as this zinger, which took a dishonorable mention.
rising sun crawled over the ridge and slithered across the hot barren
terrain into every nook and cranny like grease on a Denny's grill in
the morning rush, but only until eleven o'clock when they switch to the
lunch menu," wrote Lester Guyse, a retired fraud investigator in
"That was the least favorite of the five I entered, but you win any way you can," Guyse said.
Aclin, of Shreveport, La., won the Grand Panjandrum's Award for his
shocking similes and abusive use of adjectives. He wrote that India
"hangs like a wet washcloth from the towel rack of Asia."
"I just saw that washcloth hanging in the shower and it looked like India," he said. "I'll be doggone."
The key section of Bush's National Security anti-terrorism manifesto discusses
the Cold War doctrine of deterrence and why it doesn't work in the age
of terrorism. The section makes three points. First, compared to the
old Soviet politburo, rogue-state leaders who sponsor terror are "more
willing to take risks, gambling with the lives of their people."
Second, whereas the Soviets saw weapons of mass destruction as a last
resort, today's rogues "see these weapons as their best means of
overcoming the conventional superiority of the United States." Third,
"deterrence will not work against a terrorist enemy whose avowed
tactics are wanton destruction and the targeting of innocents" and
"whose so-called soldiers seek martyrdom in death."
The British anti-terror policy of targeted killing which saw an
innocent Brazilian electrician Jean Charles de Menezes shot dead by
London undercover police officers who mistook him for a terrorist last
Friday, is a recipe for disaster.
Despite Police Commissioner Sir Ian Blair’s assurance that
"everything is done to make it right", the use of deadly force against
one’s perceived real or imagined enemy carries the huge risk of
backfiring and accomplishing the complete opposite — making Britain
even less safe than ever.
All one has to do is look at the chaos brought about by the liberal
use of targeted killing in the Middle East by Israeli Defence Forces in
Palestine and Coalition Forces in Iraq. Largely ignoring criticisms of
its strong arm tactics when it comes to dealing with Palestinians in
general and militants specifically, Israel employs the "shoot first and
ask questions later" policy.
Todate, according to the respected B'Tselem organisation which
keeps statistics on casualties from both sides of the conflict, 187
Palestinians were assassinated under the targeted killing policy since
The most highly visible of these killings were the assassinations
of Hamas founder and spiritual leader Sheik Ahmed Yassin on March 22,
2004 and less than a month later his replacement Dr. Abdel Aziz Rantisi
in a missile strike on his car on Saturday, April 17, 2004.
Naturally, there are criticisms from around the world of Israeli
tactic of targeted killing. British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw
condemned Israel's policy of targeted killings as "unlawful,
unjustified and counterproductive".
The reality check for Israeli, though, is the fact that suicide
attacks on civilians continues unabated — in fact, if anything, the
targeted killing appears to have inflamed the situation that has
claimed as many as 665 innocent Israeli civilians.
Much as the IDF would like to claim a higher moral ground vis-a-vis
the suicide bombers, it finds itself mired in a bloody tit-for-tat war
that it cannot win.
Meanwhile, employing targeted killing, Coalition Forces have
desperately attempted to push back Iraqi insurgents. Trigger-happy
Americans troops are quick to let out a round of automatic fire into
anything that moves that is not in a fortified Humvee.
Last month, for instance, Ahmad Wail Bakri, director for
Al-Sharqiya television, was reportedly trying to pass a traffic
accident in the Sayyidiyya district when US troops opened fire at his
car, killing him on the spot.
In March, Italian secret agent Nicola Calipari was killed while on
his way to Baghdad Airport after securing the release of Italian
journalist Giuliana Sgrena. The Americans claimed, and the Italians
disputed, that the car carrying Mr. Calipari did not stop even after
warning shots were fired.
Regardless of what really happened, Mr. Calipari was one of the
lucky ones in that his death made the news and the Americans were
forced to "look into the circumstances leading to his death".
Unfortunately, according to Iraq Body Count, thousands of Iraqis
have perished, not because of misdirected fire, but as a direct result
of US policy that targets the wrong person. And although the US loathes
to admit it, the targeting of anyone suspected of links to Iraqi
insurgency has made the job of the real insurgents very easy — not only
are civilians now reluctant to provide valuable intelligence to the
Coalition Forces, it is apparent that so-called fence-sitters are now
firmly taking the side of the insurgents.
In Britain where the Muslim community is in shock like everyone
else over the home-grown terror, there is united effort to help police
investigation of the terrorists.
Muslim leaders have openly condemned the attacks and have supported
initiatives to make the city safer. This, however, will change very
rapidly if another innocent person, a Muslim, is killed by London
The accumulated goodwill from the community will dry up like
morning dew, and in its place will grow hardened resentment that is
easily exploited by extremists.
True enough, in war, there is what former US Secretary of Defence
Robert McNamara called the fog of war -- a situation of confusion where
you hit innocent bystanders or take out the wrong neighbourhood.
Today it is known as collateral damage which is usually chalked up as the cost of doing the business called war.
However, targeted killing is a deliberate decision to shoot to kill
because of perceived threat that may or may not exist.
The person who pulls the trigger is the judge, jury and executioner.
What happened last Friday in Britain was therefore a targeted
killing where officers were acting under orders to take out a suspected
terrorist regardless of the possibility that the person could be
innocent -- which is what it turned out to be. Mr. de Menezes never
really knew what hit him, five bullets were pumped into his head at
His death and the insistence by London Police that sometimes the
innocents may have to die reinforces the obnoxious view expressed by US
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld who said in April 2003 after the
fall of Baghdad that, "Freedom's untidy."
Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad
One would prefer what Mr. Rumsfeld said in the next sentence
“They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things”. Mr.
Menezes was not given that chance.
According to the document, "History will judge harshly those who saw
this coming danger but failed to act. In the new world we have entered,
the only path to safety is the path of action." But this is a
backward-looking policy disguised as a forward-looking policy. It
focuses on what history has already judged harshly. Bush is afraid that
if we don't err on the side of shooting first and asking questions
later, what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, will happen again.
isn't the new world we're entering. The new world is the one
rationalized by Bush's manifesto: a world in which great powers wink at
each other's misconduct, every threat is imminent, self-defense means
pre-emptive action abroad, interests are dressed up as values, and
cooperation means cooperating with the United States. We don't know
what history will judge harshly about this era, but there's a good
chance it'll be the compromises we embraced to rectify the mistakes of
Sept. 11. Perhaps those compromises are necessary. Covering them up
The words appear
slowly, against the familiar powder-blue shape of the bird in flight --
the Dove soap symbol -- like soothing, watery poetry:
For too long beauty has been defined by narrow, stifling sterotypes [sic]. You've told us it's time to change all that. We agree. Because we believe real beauty comes In many shapes, sizes and ages. It is why we started the Campaign for Real Beauty. And why we hope you'll take part.
This is the lilting intro to the Web site
that Dove has dedicated to its "Real Beauty" advertising campaign, for
which it has picked six women who are not professional models -- each
beautiful, but broader than Bundchen, heftier than an Olsen twin -- to
model in bras and panties.
The campaign is
massive; these six broads are currently featured in national television
and magazine ads, as well as on billboards and the sides of buses in
urban markets like Boston, Chicago, Washington, Dallas, Los Angeles,
Miami, New York and San Francisco. And they've made quite an impact.
Apparently, this public display of non-liposuctioned thighs is so
jaw-droppingly revelatory that recent weeks have seen the Real Beauty
models booked on everything from "The Today Show" to "The View" to CNN.
All the hoopla is precisely what Dove expected. According to a
press release, Dove wants "to make women feel more beautiful every day
by challenging today's stereotypical view of beauty and inspiring women
to take great care of themselves." The use of "real women" (don't think
too hard about the Kate Mosses of the world losing their status as
biological females here) "of various ages, shapes and sizes" is
designed "to provoke discussion and debate about today's typecast
It's a great idea --- a worthy follow-up to Dove's 2004 campaign,
which featured women with lined faces, silver hair and heavy freckles,
and asked questions like, "Wrinkled? Or Wonderful?" and also got a lot
of attention, including a shout-out on the "Ellen DeGeneres Show."
As Stacy Nadeau, one of the Real Beauty models and a full-time student from Ann Arbor, Mich., says
on the campaign Web site, "I have always been a curvier girl and always
will be. I am proud of my body and think all women should be proud of
theirs too. This is my time to encourage and help women feel great
about themselves, no matter what they weigh or look like. Women have
surrendered to diets and insane eating habits to live up to social
stereotypes for too long. It's time that all women felt beautiful in
their own skin."
But let's hope that skin doesn't have any cellulite. Because no one wants to look at a cottage-cheesy ass.
That's right. The
one little wrinkle -- so to speak -- in this you-go-grrl
stick-it-to-the-media-man empowerment campaign is that the set of Dove
products that these real women are shilling for is cellulite firming cream.
Specifically, Dove's new "Intensive Firming Cream," described as "a
highly effective blend of glycerin, plus seaweed extract and elastin
peptides known for their skin-firming properties." It's supposed to "go
to work on problem areas to help skin feel firmer and reduce the
appearance of cellulite in two weeks." There are also the Intensive
Firming Lotion and the Firming Moisturizing Body Wash, which do pretty
much the same thing.
But as long as
you're patting yourself on the back for hiring real-life models with
imperfect bodies, thereby "challenging today's stereotypical view of
beauty and inspiring women to take great care of themselves," why ask
those models to flog a cream that has zero health value and is just an
expensive and temporary Band-Aid for a "problem" that the media has
told us we have with our bodies. Incidentally, cellulite isn't even a
result of being overweight!
It's the result of cellular changes in the skin. Skinny people have
cellulite. Old people have cellulite. Young people have cellulite. Gwyneth Paltrow has cellulite. All God's children have cellulite.
Why not run an ad that proclaims, "Cellulite: Uniquely MINE!"
Or, more realistically, why aren't these women selling shampoo? Or soap? Or moisturizer?
It's a great
gimmick -- one that few of us can take issue with. But just like Dove's
"love your ass but not the fat on it" campaign, much of this stuff
prompts grim questions about whether it's even possible to break the
feel-bad cycle of the beauty industry. Blanchett, after all, recently
signed on as spokeswoman for SK-II line of cosmetics. And while it's
all well and good to tell 8-year-old girls that real beauty is about
trust, it's sort of funny to think about doing it while selling them
minty lip shine or fruit-scented "My Way Styling Gel" for eight bucks a
Let them be. After
all, they have decades ahead of them in which to worry about
eradicating the cellulite from their really beautiful curves.
Below is a Bloomberg article which is reporting that Karl Rove,
senior adviser to the President and deputy chief of staff, and Lewis
Libby, chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, are being investigated
for having lied to a federal grand jury about how they learned the
identity of a covert CIA agent, Valerie Plame (Murray Waas at the
American Prospect wrote a similar story yesterday).
Rove, Libby Accounts in CIA Case Differ With Those of Reporters
By Richard Keil
July 22 (Bloomberg) Two top White House aides have given accounts to
the special prosecutor about how reporters told them the identity of a
CIA agent that are at odds with what the reporters have said, according
to persons familiar with the case.
Lewis "Scooter" Libby,
Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, told special prosecutor
Patrick Fitzgerald that he first learned from NBC News reporter Tim
Russert of the identity of CIA agent Valerie Plame, the wife of former
ambassador and Bush administration critic Joseph Wilson. Russert has
testified before a federal grand jury that he didn't tell Libby of
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove
told Fitzgerald that he first learned the identity of the CIA agent
from syndicated columnist Robert Novak, who was first to report Plame's
name and connection to Wilson. Novak, according to a source familiar
with the matter, has given a somewhat different version to the special
may be important because one issue Fitzgerald is investigating is
whether Libby, Rove, or other administration officials made false
statements during the course of the investigation. The Plame case has
its genesis in whether any administration officials violated a 1982 law
making it illegal to knowingly reveal the name of a CIA agent.
CIA requested the inquiry after Novak's July 14, 2003, article that
said Plame recommended her husband for a 2002 mission to check into
reports Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. Wilson, in a July 6
column in the New York Times, said the Bush administration "twisted"
some of the intelligence on Iraq's weapons to justify the war.
Luskin, Rove's attorney, said today that Rove did tell the grand jury
"he had not heard her name before he heard it from Bob Novak." He
declined in an interview to comment on whether Novak's account of their
conversation differed from Rove's.
There also is a discrepancy
between accounts given by Rove and Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper.
The White House aide mentioned Wilson's wife " though not by name" in
a July 11, 2003 conversation with Cooper. Rove says that Cooper called
him to talk about welfare reform and the Wilson connection was
mentioned later in passing.
Cooper wrote in Time magazine last
week that he told the grand jury that he never discussed welfare reform
with Rove in that call.
The leak case shows that
administration officials have in effect been using reporters as shields
by claiming that the information on Plame first came from them.
reporter, Judith Miller of the New York Times, has been jailed on
contempt of court charges for refusing to testify before the grand jury
about her reporting on the Plame case.
Cooper testified only
after Time Inc. said it would comply with Fitzgerald's demands for
Cooper's notes and reporting on the Plame matter, particularly
regarding his dealings with Rove.
Libby didn't return a phone call seeking comment.
various accounts of conversations between Rove, Libby and reporters
come as new details emerge about a classified State Department
memorandum that's also at the center of Fitzgerald's probe.
memo by the department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR)
included Plame's name in a paragraph marked "(S)" for "Secret," a
designation that should have indicated to anyone who read it that the
information was classified, the Washington Post reported yesterday.
memo, prepared July 7, 2003, for Secretary of State Colin Powell, is a
focus of Fitzgerald's interest, according to individuals who have
testified before the grand jury and attorneys familiar with the case.
three-page document said that Wilson had been recommended for a
CIA-sponsored trip to Africa by his wife, Valerie Wilson, who worked on
the CIA's counter-proliferations desk.
In his New York Times
article, Wilson said there was no basis to conclude that Iraq was
trying to buy nuclear material in Africa and that the administration
had exaggerated the evidence.
Bush had said in his State of the Union message in January, 2003 that Iraq was trying to purchase nuclear materials in Africa.
memo summarizing the Plame-Wilson connection was provided to Powell as
he left with President George W. Bush on a five-day trip to Africa.
Fitzgerald is exploring whether other White House officials who
accompanied Bush may have gained access to the memo and shared its
contents with officials back in Washington. Rove and Libby didn't
accompany Bush to Africa.
One key to the inquiry is when White
House aides knew of Wilson's connection to Plame and whether they
learned about it through this memo or other classified information.
Bush allies were hopeful that the Fitzgerald investigation, which
dominated the news in Washington for the first part of July, would
subside as the focus now is on Bush's nomination of Judge John Roberts
to fill the first vacancy on the Supreme Court in 11 years.
Yet special prosecutor Fitzgerald, not media coverage, will determine the outcome of this investigation.
It appears to me the more spin we hear from the White house, the more
stories come out totally refuting the spin doctoring, this
administration has been coasting too long with their veils of secrecy
and villifying anyone who questions their policies so it is about time
that they have finally got caught hopefully it will steamroll as watergate did, because this country is
becoming dangerously divided and our president and his band of
merrymakers is to blame!
Random searches are totally unacceptable. If these searches are
truly random, they are unlikely to detect, much less deter, suicide
bombers. How many million riders are there on the MTA on any given
weekday? How many transit cops would have to be diverted from more
pressing duties to search the bags of random subway riders? What
happens when we remember that many suicide bombers strap explosives to
their bodies? Maybe the next step will be random frisks or even random
Do we really think that these searches will be random? Mayor
Bloomberg insists that the police will make every effort to avoid
racial profiling. What will the subway cops actually do? Random searches will be very
unlikely to catch or deter anybody, as others have said. The police
know this. They also know that profile based searches are politically
unacceptable. So, the subway-riding public gets the worst of both
worlds: The police will do profile based searches. The police will also
do "affirmative action" searches so as to "equalize" adverse treatment.
"The police can and should be aggressively
investigating anyone they suspect is trying to bring explosives into
the subway," said Christopher Dunn, associate legal director at the New
York Civil Liberties Union. "However, random police searches of people
without any suspicion of wrongdoing are contrary to our most basic
constitutional values. This is a very troubling announcement."
This is not a serious counter-terrorism effort. This is a public
relations move by Mayor Bloomberg and the MTA. They want to convince
the public that they're doing something to prevent terrorism on the
subways. Random searches are much more telegenic than long term plans
to safeguard the subway's underwater tunnels.It might also be a good idea to increase the number of K-9 officers
and explosive-sniffing dogs, but that would cost money.
Bruce Schneier refers to this sort of thing as "security theater." It'd
be funny if it wasn't such an obvious invasion of privacy. Schneier's
newsletter is a must-read for anyone interested in security issues and
public policy. No bullshit, thoughtful, well reasoned, and to the
point. link : http://www.schneier.com/crypto-gram.html
Orgasm is literally a mind-blowing experience for a woman, scientists revealed on Monday.
Much of her brain shuts down when she reaches a sexual climax, including areas that deal with emotion.
discovery was made during a bizarre set of experiments in the
Netherlands in which couples were asked to stimulate each other while
undergoing brain scans.
It seems to explode the myth that while men switch off during sex, the part of women that is most turned on is in their heads.
By looking at the brain scans, researchers had no trouble telling when women were "faking it".
brains of volunteers who were asked to simulate orgasm after a period
of stimulation remained fully active and in conscious control.
Dr Gert Holstege, from the University of Groningen, who led the
research, said: "The main thing we saw in females is deactivation of
the brain, which was unbelievable; really very pronounced.
think that's the major outcome of the study. What you see is
deactivation of large parts of the brain, especially the emotional
brain, the fear centres."
The only part of a woman's brain that
was activated during orgasm was the cerebellum. Although chiefly
associated with the control of movement, scientists think it may also
play an emotional role.
The cerebellum was also active during fake orgasms, but elsewhere the picture was very different.
you look at the women who faked orgasm, we see the same kind of thing
in the cerebellum taking place, but the cortex, the conscious part of
the brain, is also active," said Dr Holstege.
"Women can imitate orgasm quite well, but in the brain it's not the same."
the body movements made during a real orgasm were unconscious and did
not involve the "thinking" part of the brain, hesaid. This was not the
case with a fake orgasm.
Shutting down the brain during orgasm ensured that obstacles such as fear and stress did not get in the way.
of these very important parts of the brain might be the most important
necessity for having an orgasm," said Dr Holstege.
"When you are
fearful or have a very high level of anxiety, then it's hard to have
sex because during sex you really have to give yourself and let go."
were studied in the same way. But because the male orgasm during
ejaculation takes such a short time - typically 20 seconds - it was
difficult to obtain meaningful brain scan data.
The scans showed
a similar activation of the cerebellum in men. Dr Holstege suspected
other parts of men's brains mirrored those of women and became
deactivated during orgasm.
However, another part of the study in
which couples stimulated each other for two minutes without reaching
orgasm showed distinct differences between men and women.
both, a "fear centre" called the amygdala was deactivated. But in men
alone, the scientists saw activation of an ancient, primitive part of
the brain linked to emotion called the insula.
There was also a
difference in the way touching the genitals affected the somatosensory
cortex of the brain. Women merely experienced a sensory feeling,
whereas in men emotions were involved.
"Men are seeing it as a
big deal, the interpretation of what is happening is important to
them," said Dr Holstege. "Women apparently do not have this idea that,
OK, this is so important. With women the primary feeling is there, but
not the interpretation."
Another odd observation was that the
hippocampus, which deals with memory, was deactivated in women. The
researchers have no idea why.
A total of 13 women and 11 men, ranging in age from 19 to 49, took part in the experiments at Dr Holstege's laboratory.
the findings today at the annual meeting of the European Society of
Human Reproduction and Embryology in Copenhagen, Denmark, he admitted
it was a not the easiest of studies to carry out.
The volunteers, all partners, were recruited through advertisements placed in Dutch magazines.
put participants in the right mood, members of Dr Holstege's team spoke
reassuringly to them, and dimmed the lighting in the scanning room.
it was vital to remain completely still in the scanner, volunteers had
to have their heads restrained while being sexually stimulated. The
rest of the body was free to move.
"We are neuroscientists, so we're only interested in the brain," said Dr Holstege.
men and women, who were all heterosexual and right-handed, stimulated
each others' genitals, but did not have full intercourse.
lay naked on a table with their head inside the scanner. Dr Holstege
said a major problem was that they got cold feet - literally. A
solution was found in the form of socks supplied by the scientists.
Dr Holstege added that the research could in future lead to better treatments for sexual dysfunction.
The key appeared to be to reduce fear and anxiety - as was illustrated by the aphrodisiac effect on alcohol.
"Alcohol brings down the fear level," said Dr Holstege. "Everyone knows if you give alcohol to a woman it makes things easier."
College-Type Hazing Interrogations Get Rougher, As Medical Doctors Join Interrogators.
Were Some Doctors Bad Apples Too, or Just Caught-up In Systemic Abuses
Last summer, an article in the Lancet charged that doctors at Abu Ghraib
knew about the abuse that was going on, and aided the process by not
providing adequate care, and by helping to design physically and
psychologically coercive interrogations. They also helped cover it up
by falsifying medical records and death certificates.That aspect of the
scandal is rarely mentioned, because it doesn't fit in the bad apple
At about the same time, the Washington Post
reported that doctors at Guantanamo were sharing prisoners' medical
records with interrogators. The Red Cross had complained that the
information was used to develop interrogation plans. Maj. Gen. Geoffrey
Miller, who commanded the prison at the time of the complaints, denied
Next month, an article will be published in the New England Journal of Medicine charging that doctors and mental health professionals didn't just hand over the records, they used the information to help interrogators develop methods of interrogation:
All of the evidence is fitting together into a pattern:
in a systemic fashion, health information and clinical judgment played
a role in developing interrogation strategies that included some pretty
harsh abuses," Mr. Bloche said.
According to the NEJM, there is a standing order,
dated August, 2002, and signed by Richard A. Huck, at that time Chief
of Staff of the U.S. Southern Command, which says that there is no medical confidentiality for
prisoners. The DOD memo requires medical personnel not only to hand
over prisoners' medical information on request, but to volunteer any
information that they think might be useful. The NEJM piece discusses
how this policy differs from that in American prisons, and how it
contradicts the laws of war:
Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions provides
that medical personnel â€śshall not be compelled to perform acts or to
carry out work contrary to the rules of medical ethics.â€ť
Although the protocol has not been ratified by the United States,
this principle has attained the status of customary international law.
International human rights law (most important, the 1966
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) provides
additional protection for privacy in general â€” in wartime and
peacetime. Although this protection isnâ€™t absolute, exceptions
must be justified by pressing public need, and they must represent
the least restrictive way to meet this need. Wholesale abandonment of
medical confidentiality hardly qualifies, especially when the â€śneedâ€ť
invoked is the crafting of counter-resistance measures that are
prohibited by international law.
In addition, the New York Times
has interviewed former interrogators who backed up the journal's
charges about the illegal blurring of the lines separating
interrogators from doctors:
The former interrogators said the military doctors'
role was to advise them and their fellow interrogators on ways of
increasing psychological duress on detainees, sometimes by exploiting
their fears, in the hopes of making them more cooperative and willing
to provide information. In one example, interrogators were told that a
detainee's medical files showed he had a severe phobia of the dark and
suggested ways in which that could be manipulated to induce him to
But there's a huge difference in emphasis between the NEJM piece and
the NYT report. The Times focuses on how psychologists and
psychiatrists are working with interrogators, but they fail to even
mention the 2002 memo requiring medical professionals to cooperate.
They only cite a more recent and vague "policy statement" that
"officials said was supposed to ensure that doctors did not participate
in unethical behavior." This is very odd because the NEJM emphasizes
The NYT also discusses the Behavioral Science Consultation Teams (or
BSCT, pronounced "biscuit" teams), which advise interrogators on
techniques, or, in the cruder terms of an interrogator interviewed by
the Times, "help us break them." But the Times leaves out an important
bit of information: The teams were created in 2002, and approved by
Major General Geoffrey Miller, who took command of Guantanamo at about
that time, specifically because of the "growing frustration with the
slow pace of intelligence production at Guantanamo."
Overall, the NEJM piece reads as a denunciation of a policy
of making caregivers accessories to intelligence gathering, putting
prisoners at greater risk for abuse. The NYT piece, in contrast, by
focusing on more amorphous ethical debates, and failing to discuss the
role of military officials in crafting this policy, leaves the
impression that the problem is a few caregivers put into a sadly
difficult ethical situation.
Conduct contrary to the laws of war is a bit more serious than a
vague ethical dilemma, but this is so typical of the corporate press,
which, even when it reports on abuses, manages to dance around the
direct responsibility of high level officials for that abuse.
As the VFW Commander-in-Chief Edward S. Banas has commented:
"The DVA [Department of Veterans Affairs] has been chronically
under-funded for decades, yet thousands of dedicated medical
professionals see to it that millions of veterans receive high-quality
DVA health care annually at 162 hospitals across the country." (link)
Currently, the VA (The Department of Veterans Affairs)
is coping with increasing demand, both from new veterans from Iraq and
Afghanistan as also from veterans now relying on VA benefits because of
the economic downturn. According to the OMB report:
"more veterans are seeking VA medical care services... This
increased demand has put pressure on VA's ability to care for its
core-mission veteran population (military disabled, lower income, and
those with special needs such as spinal cord injuries)."
Although the overall VA budget (as well as discretionary spending
for the VA) has gone up every year, budget increases are simply not
keeping up with this increase in demand.
Early this year, changes at the VA as well as the Bush
Administration's projected 2005 budget led to a storm of controversy.
As the Washington Post
reported in March, veterans groups have strongly criticized these new
policies and the planned budget. As yet, the budget has not been
introduced to Congress.
Here are some of the major issues that have concerned veterans groups.
Inadequate Increases in VA Health Care Budget
The VA's Under Secretary testified last year that the VA health care
system needs a 13-14% increase annually to maintain the services they
provide now. The Administration request of $27.4 billion for 2005
provided for an increase of about 1% over the last year, and fell $2.9
billion short of the amount recommended by veterans groups (including
AMVETS, the VFW, Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Disabled American
Veterans) in their Independent Budget. (See the Administration and
vets' groups budget numbers side-by-side here.) Following the Bush Administration's announcement, the House Committtee on Veteran's Affairs released a bipartisan plan
calling for at least $2.5 billion more than the Administration
proposal. On Feb. 4th, 2004, VA Secretary Anthony Principi admitted to
a House Committee that he had asked for "1.2 billion more than I
New Drug Co-Pays and Annual Fees
For veterans who are currently paying a small pharmacy co-pay (7$
per month per prescription), the co-pay would rise to $15. In addition,
these vets would have to pay a $250 annual fee.
New Eligibility Requirements
As of January, 2004, the VA has also announced new rules that exclude hundreds of thousands of vets whose incomes are now considered too high to qualify
for benefits. The income threshold depends on where a vet lives, but
ranges between about $26,000 and $40,000 per year. The VA has not
pushed any enrolled vets out of the system, but veterans who now wish
to enroll will be subject to the new rules.
The VA is planning a number of hospital closures as part of a larger
"restructuring" plan. Originally, the VA intended to close at least 7
hospitals, but outrage from veterans groups led to a revision of the
plan by an independent commission. Now, only three hospitals are slated
for closure, and two new hospitals are planned in Nevada and in Florida.
However, some smaller clinics are also going to be closed or cut down.
Some of these clinics are underserved. But other cutbacks, like those
at the clinic in Saginaw, Michigan, have angered local politicians and veterans groups. Read the article in USA Today or the AP story for details of specific clinic closures.
What about next year?
There is some speculation that the already stretched VA may be up
for cuts next year, according to White House documents released in May.
These planned cuts were covered by CNN.
What should be done for the VA?
Mandatory Funding of Health Benefits: Currently, VA health benefits
are part of the VA's discretionary spending. This means that the
federal government is not obliged to provide enough money for veterans'
health benefits. When the federal money is inadequate, the states are
left with the bill. Click here
to see the funding gap in your state. Making funding for health
benefits mandatory would ensure that the VA's budget would always cover
the demand. Bills have been introduced in both the House (H.R. 2318) and the Senate (S. 50) to make this possible.
Increased Funding: Click here to
view the recommended Independent Budget proposed by AMVETS, the VFW,
Paralyzed Veterans of America, and Disabled American Veterans, and
endorsed by 30 other groups, including Vietnam Veterans of America, the
Military Order of the Purple Heart and at least 15 medical
What can you do?
The next step is to spread the word. Encourage your friends to learn about the issues. Click here to spread the word about Operation Truth.
Stripping Off In The Name Of Art
Makes me think of those dreams I used to have where I'd go to school in my underwear . . . or less.
Yve Ngoo announced she was going to take part in this culturally
historic event, reactions ranged from "are you mad?" to "you pervert".
Even her mother feared she could suffer some sort of post traumatic
stress disorder - and be blighted by flashbacks for the rest of her
life. But all she wanted to do was experience what thousands of people
across the world had previously done - take part in a Spencer Tunick
What I had signed myself up for didn't really hit home
until I received the lengthy email containing my consent form, which
included the demands for sobriety and the banning of socks, hats and
Once undressed you had to leave your clothes,
possessions and dignity in an unidentifiable plastic carrier bag in the
middle of a car park.
After maybe 30 minutes, Spencer Tunick and his crew
welcomed us, addressing the crowds via megaphone, whilst perched
precariously on a step-ladder.
Spencer explained the "set ups". These would involve
walking three abreast (if you can have three breasts) across the
magnificent Millennium Bridge, along the Newcastle Quayside, up
historic Dean Street across the Swing Bridge, along the side of the
Sage Gateshead to return to the car park.
At advantageous points that would take in the exciting
and the fantastic surroundings of regenerated Quays, we would be asked
to stop and pose.
You could sense tension, excitement and apprehension in the air. There was also a final rush for the loos.
Finally, Spencer, spoke the words we all waited for: "OK, you can get naked now".
Everyone started stripping, very rapidly, as if it were a race - men were particularly quick at disrobing.
I took off my sweat top and jogging bottoms. I was naked.
Other naked people were appearing everywhere, some
balancing on one leg trying to remove socks and shoes without bending
over. I didn't look at either of my friends.
In less than two minutes, only naked bodies were
visible. People started looking at each other, friends and strangers,
seeing their bodies totally uncovered in the diffused early morning
light, in a Gateshead car park!
Then people began to whoop and cheer, laughing and talking like nothing had happened. Tunick had to call for quiet.
To be surrounded by hundreds of naked people is an
awesome, overwhelming sight. So many different shapes and sizes, in
varying hues, blending into a uniform mass.
Then we all started walking towards the bridge. The only people clothed were Spencer, his crew, security and the police.
When you're surrounded by total nudity in all its diversity, inhibitions gradually become less.
We dutifully fell into rank - full of the Dunkirk
Spirit, we marched triumphantly from Gateshead to Newcastle across the
magnificent Millennium Bridge to embark on cultural expedition that
would affect each and every one of us.
Three hours later, and it was a bit sad to dress again,
People dressed slowly - some holding onto their precious naked moment
as long as legally possible.
It was just after 7.30 am, and Newcastle Gateshead was beginning to wake up to lazy sunny Sunday morning.
Attention Homeland security and Police Security types. Don't you
realize this is a foolproof new method for avoiding suicide bombers.
These people could be commuters safe and without fear on their way to
work! A second benefit would also be protection against
pickpockets and pursesnackers. Wouldn't it also be great for the
sales of suntan-in-a-bottle and sunglasses.
He rose using tactics his foes are turning against him. But never bet against Karl Rove.
has always had good, but often deliberately whitewashing insight into
Karl Rove. But his latest is, I think, an excellent explanation of how
Rove's war on Joe Wilson came about:
Wilson had been obscured from view, peddling his story and his
doubts--but not his own name--to selected reporters, officials and Hill
staffers. The resulting stories had attracted the administration's attention. In May [The NYTimes' reporting dates this memo as June 10, UNLESS there is another memo!],
the State Department's intelligence unit had prepared a secret
memorandum about the provenance of Wilson's journey and its classified
results . . . But then Wilson went public.
Soon enough, Rove had drawn a bead on Wilson . . .
In the World According to Karl Rove, you take the offensive, and stay
there. You create a narrative that glosses over complex, mitigating
facts to divide the world into friends and enemies, light and darkness,
good and bad, Bush versus Saddam.
. . . You use the jujitsu of media flow to flip the energy of your
enemies against them. The Boss never discusses political mechanics in
public. But in fact everything is political--and everyone is fair game.
...they want us to be talking about Wilson. If you listen to what Mr.
Mehlman just did this morning, it's just more of the same: attack,
attack, attack. That's what got him in trouble two years ago. They
tried to smear Mr. Wilson. They tried to as one anonymous source, again
in the White House, said, it was about revenge back in 2003. And now
they're trying to change the subject, attack Democrats, attack their
critics. But the facts are that Mr. Rove said he wasn't involved.
Clearly, the one thing we know at the end of this week was that that
was a lie. McClellan's credibility is in shreds. I think Mr. Rove's
credibility is in shreds. He holds a senior-level national
security position, Tim. You know, they kind of make him out to be just
a political guy. He's the deputy chief of staff in charge of
coordinating the National Security Council, the Homeland Security
Council. He doesn't belong in the White House at this point.
MR. RUSSERT: He has, as you know, a security clearance. Do you believe he has violated that?
I think that you read the applicable paragraph, from both the Executive
Order 12958 and from this and from the briefings that he got, which is
that he had an affirmative obligation not to just repeat reporters what
information that he learned from reporters and, by the way, today we
learned from another source, probably Mr. Luskin, that he's not quite
sure whether he learned it first from another source or perhaps another
aide, and obviously the independent counsel, special prosecutor, is
looking at other people Ari Fleisher, Stephen Hadley and others and
Lewis Libby. So maybe he learned it from an aide, maybe he
learned it from reporters, but wherever he learned it, he shouldn't
have repeated it without affirmatively knowing that that information
had been declassified, and he couldn't have possibly known that.
that position, Rove is responsible for chairing meetings of the
Principals and Deputies Committees, which bring together high-level
representatives from various intelligence, law enforcement, and
homeland security agencies for regular and ad hoc briefings. Rove has
access to â€śall source intelligence,â€� meaning he has a Top
Secret/Special Background Investigation (SBI) clearance with access to
numerous compartments and special access programs (SAPs): Special
Intelligence (SI), COMINT, Byeman, ECI, Endseal, Gamma, H, Talent Keyhole (TK), Pearl, and VRK (Very Restricted Knowledge).
This means that Rove can access signals intelligence (SIGINT) information, including trancripts of domestic FBI wiretaps, human intelligence reports, reports on "black bag" and other "sneak and peek" operations, and internal CIA, NSA, DIA, FBI, and Homeland Security documents.
yeah. Rove's exactly the person we want with access to all that,
because we know how he always puts the interests of our country above
partisan politics. NOT!
How do you say, ROVE BIN LYIN!
And let's not forget this little nugget;
On Oct. 28, Talon News, a news company tied to a group called GOP USA,
posted on the Internet an interview with Wilson in which the Talon News
questioner asks: An internal government memo prepared by U.S.
intelligence personnel details a meeting in early 2002 where your wife,
a member of the agency for clandestine service working on Iraqi weapons
issues, suggested that you could be sent to investigate the reports. Do
you dispute that?
So a few questions. Who requested that
the memo be written? Who actually wrote it? Why does it contain
the inaccuracies the CIA
claims it does? Who were the administration officials who continued to
circulate the classified document to conservative news outlets even
after Plame's identity was initially revealed? And how did it get into the hands of Jeff Gannon?
Well, yes. That is a very, very good question. How did
this classified memo get into the hands of a male prostitute? Jeff Gannon, after basking in the spotlight about having access to this
secret memo, said later that he learned about it in the Wall Street
Journal. We know
Gannon testified before the grand jury; I wonder if he was truthful.
this just keeps getting better. No GOP outrage that Gannon was a gay
whore tied to outing a CIA agent, but godforbid he should ever try to
marry another gay!
Do you fucking believe these people? With the US mired in the Iraqi quagmire, Feith says My work here is done. What about the war in Iraq that was a Feith-based initiative.
"Our intelligence community made, apparently, an error,
as to the stockpiles" of weapons it assured President Bush existed in
2003, Feith said. Thus that part of the administration's argument for
why war was necessary was overdone, he said, adding, "Anything we said
at all about stockpiles was overemphasis, given that we didn't find
Our intelligence community made, apparently, an error. Yep, it was all the CIA's fault! Damn their lies!
This really takes some balls considering that it comes from the guy who was ultimately in charge of the Office of Special Plans,
the Pentagon outfit charged with ferreting out evidence of WMD and
al-Qaeda connections in Iraq that the squishy analysts at the CIA were
too reality based to acknowledge. The OSP was practically created to find WMD whether it was there or not. If the CIA did screw up, Feith's shop made them look like pikers.
Yeah, here's the quote from Feith's statement that got me
really howling. "Since it turned out we were caught in this lie, I wish
we'd not made such a big deal of it in the first place." And as you
say, not that they had much choice.
"Had Saddam Hussein not been a supporter of terrorism and a guy who
developed and used WMD, I don't think that simply saying he's a tyrant
and we have a chance to replace a tyrant would have motivated the war,"
NO SHIT, SHERLOCK. Right, Dougie, that's the whole goddamned point, we would not have
been bamboozled into this insane immoral and illegal war if you'd told
Check out this devastating quote from Krugman's latest:
"But Mr. Rove understood that the facts were irrelevant. For one
thing, he knew he could count on the administration's supporters to
obediently accept a changing story line. Read the before-and-after
columns by pro-administration pundits about Iraq: Before the war they
castigated the C.I.A. for understating the threat posed by Saddam's
W.M.D.; after the war they castigated the C.I.A. for exaggerating the
very same threat."
Ballsy indeed. Of course, Once Mr. Feith returns to the private sector, he'll need to update his
resume. I suggest that for the years 2001-2005, he can use General
Frank's endorsement. Feith is the guy that Gen. Tommy Franks memorably called "the fucking stupidest guy on the face of the earth."
Perhaps that's the perfect combination for this administration: ballsy and stupid.
Clearing Out The Downing Street Memo/Rove/Plame Cobwebs
In his op-ed on July
6th,2003, Wilson gave a straighforward account of who he is and why he went on
this fact-finding trip to Niger. He says "I was informed by officials at the
Central Intelligence Agency that Vice President Dick Cheney's office had
questions about a particular intelligence report." He does not say that Cheney
had sent him personally on the mission. He reports that he found no evidence
that Saddam had tried to buy uranium from Niger.
He says that he assumes
from working in the government for many years that his report had been forwarded
through channels. When he heard the president use the claim about African
uranium in the SOTU, he became alarmed and asked the State department about it. He concludes at
this time, based upon the fact that he had personally been involved in debunking
this claim, that the administration had been "fixing" intelligence as stated in the Downing Street Memo.
administration was now for the first time explicitly and openly being accused of
knowingly using false information to sell the war. And since Wilson had
specifically named the Vice president as having been the one to request
additional information that led to his trip, the White House was involved at a
very high level.
When it came out, exposing Valerie Plame as
an undercover operative, Wilson believed that it was an act of retaliation and a
signal to anyone else who might be thinking of coming forward. Novak was quoted
shortly after the column ran saying: "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me.
They thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it." (He has
since said that he used the term "operative" inappropriately, although he has
used that word very precisely throughout his career to mean "undercover.") In the
days after the column appeared there were reports that the administration was
actively pushing the column, claiming that Wilson's wife was "fair game."
I have no idea if Joe Wilson's wife or the ghost of Ronald Reagan was
involved in sending him on that trip and I don't care. It's irrelevant and it's
always been irrelevant and they were either incredibly malevolent or incredibly
negligent in settling on using her as the best way to discredit Wilson. But as I
wrote earlier, I think it was a P.R. decision, and it has the mark of Rove all
over it. Thuggishness is his hallmark. Any chance they have to portray a male
opponent as a milksop, they do it. I think the "wife" being involved in getting
her husband a job was central to their calculations.
That is what sent the administration into
overdrive --- Wilson merely mentioning Cheney in the context of fixing the
intelligence. Quite a panicked reaction, don't you think?
House response to Joe Wilson's report was that it was something cooked up in the
bowels of the CIA by his (gasp) wife and it was not very compelling and nobody
paid any attention to it, even there, and they never sent the information back
to the White House anyway.
If it weren't for the fact that Wilson's
conclusions about the uranium were right, you might even believe their tale. If
it weren't for the fact that Dick Cheney was knee deep in the intelligence, even
personally spending time at the CIA, leaning over the shoulders of desk
officers, you might believe it. If it weren't for the fact that the aluminum
tubes "evidence" was shown to be false, the drone plane "evidence" was shown to
be laughable and the mobile labs "evidence" was shown to be non-existent you
might even believe it. If it weren't for the fact that the meeting in Prague
between Mohammed Atta and the Iraqis was proven false, that we had chances to
take out Zarquawi and refused and that the inspectors were at the very moment of
the SOTU reporting that they were not finding any stockpiles, we might even
believe it. If it weren 't for the fact that the Downing Street Memos show
definitively that the US knew its intelligence was weak and decided to "fix" it
we might even believe it.
If we'd found even one scintilla of evidence
that Saddam had the stockpiles, the programs or the means to make weapons of
mass destruction, we might even believe it.
Unfortunately for the White
House, there have been so many revelations now aside from the "16 words" that
they no longer can claim credibility on this issue. It is quite clear to any
sentient being that they manipulated, misled and outright lied about the
intelligence. Joe Wilson knew back in 2003 that something was wrong. He had been
involved in one particular part of the intelligence gathering and he knew the
facts were being misrepresented. He spoke out. And the white house responded by
portraying him as a partisan loser whose report was so low level that nobody
ever saw it. In the course of that they also exposed his wife's covert status,
likely endangering national security.
If we knew then what we know now,
would there be any question as to who should get the benefit of the doubt about
And knowing what we've always known about how the Rove operation
works, is there really any question that they were smearing Wilson in the press
and were thoroughly capable of outing an undercover operative in retaliation for
attacking the white house? It occurs to me that all this talk about Valerie
Plame these last few days --- how she wasn't "credible" as an NOC, how she was a
"desk jockey," how her cover was thin etc --- I'm beginning to wonder if they
weren't retaliating against her as much as him. If she was involved in the
meeting in which it was decided to send Joe Wilson to Niger I wouldn't be
surprised if they decided to teach her a little lesson too. It's what Tony
Soprano would do.
Remember. It doesn't matter who sent Wilson on the
trip. What matters is that his questions in that op-ed, the questions they
didn't want anyone asking --- have been answered. As the drip, drip drip of new
evidence comes to the fore, we become more sure, not less, that the
administration took this country to war on false pretenses. That's what they are
trying to hide.
I think you'll find it amazingly
bracing to see in stark relief the two columns at the heart of this. You'll see
why it's so absurd that they tried to make these questions about Joe Wilson's
wife so central to the story. The story is about Dick Cheney. And they knew it.
If he hadn't defaulted to his patented South Carolina smear tactics,
Karl would be in a much safer place today.
To begin with the "War on Terror" is a ridiculous phrase. Terrorism is a tactic not an enemy.
The American Conservative has an interview with Associate Professor Robert Pape of the University of Chicago who has written the book Dying to Win on suicide terrorism. The interview points out how little we know about terrorism and terrorists.
Who originated modern suicide bombing? The Islamic terrorists, right. No, that would be wrong.
wealth of information creates a new picture about what is motivating
suicide terrorism. Islamic fundamentalism is not as closely associated
with suicide terrorism as many people think. The world leader in
suicide terrorism is a group that you may not be familiar with: the
Tamil Tigers in Sri Lanka. This is a Marxist group, a completely
secular group that draws from the Hindu families of the Tamil regions
of the country. They invented the famous suicide vest for their suicide
assassination of Rajiv Ghandi in May 1991. The Palestinians got the
idea of the suicide vest from the Tamil Tigers.
So what motivates them? Fundamentalist religion. Wrong again.
central fact is that overwhelmingly suicide-terrorist attacks are not
driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective:
to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the
territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to
Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major
suicide-terrorist campaign--over 95 percent of all the incidents--has
had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw.
I imagine we can figure out what motivates al-Qaeda.
suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not
Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform
Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase
the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.
Since 1990, the
United States has stationed tens of thousands of ground troops on the
Arabian Peninsula, and that is the main mobilization appeal of Osama
bin Laden and al-Qaeda. People who make the argument that it is a good
thing to have them attacking us over there are missing that suicide
terrorism is not a supply-limited phenomenon where there are just a few
hundred around the world willing to do it because they are religious
fanatics. It is a demand-driven phenomenon. That is, it is driven by
the presence of foreign forces on the territory that the terrorists
view as their homeland. The operation in Iraq has stimulated suicide terrorism and has given suicide terrorism a new lease on life.
So do you still think the Iraq war has resulted in more security at home?
bin Laden's speeches and sermons run 40 and 50 pages long. They begin
by calling tremendous attention to the presence of tens of thousands of
American combat forces on the Arabian Peninsula.
In 1996, he
went on to say that there was a grand plan by the United States--that
the Americans were going to use combat forces to conquer Iraq, break it
into three pieces, give a piece of it to Israel so that Israel could
enlarge its country, and then do the same thing to Saudi Arabia. As you
can see, we are fulfilling his prediction, which is of tremendous help
in his mobilization appeals.
There is much more and I suggest you go read the entire interview.
As many of us have suspected 911 is a direct result of the first Gulf
War and the Bush's invasion of Iraq has only fueled the fire.
what we are the Islamic terrorists hate, it's where we are.
PLAMEGATE: White House Gets Tangled In Web of Deceit
An e-mail sent by Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper on July 11, 2003, and recently uncovered by Newsweek
magazine reveals that White House deputy chief of staff and senior
political adviser to the president, Karl Rove, was a disseminator of
classified information. The e-mail states, "it was, KR [Karl Rove]
said, wilson’s wife, who
apparently works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip.”
The new revelation also contradicts Rove’s previous denial that he “had any knowledge”
of who in the White House leaked the classified, covert identity of a
CIA agent. It also disputes earlier assertions by the White House that
Rove was not involved in the outing of the agent and forces President
Bush to come to terms with his previous pledge to take this action
“very seriously” and “hold someone to account.”
ROVE IS DECEIVING THE PUBLIC WITH WORD GAMES:When asked in September 2003 if he "had any knowledge" or leaked "the name of the CIA agent"
to the press, Rove simply answered, "no." On July 4th, 2005, Rove
appeared on CNN and slightly amended his carefully parsed talking
point: "I'll repeat what I said to ABC News when this whole thing broke
some number of months ago. I didn't know her name and didn't leak her
name." But the question from ABC also asked whether he "had any
knowledge" of the leak. Now we know exactly what Rove told at least one
reporter -- Time magazine's Matt Cooper. Newsweek is reporting that an e-mail from Cooper to his editors at Time
stated, "it was, KR [Karl Rove] said, wilson’s wife, who apparently
works at the agency on wmd issues who authorized the trip." In the
context of the new revelation, Rove's duplicitous strategy has revealed
itself. In essence, by suggesting that he did not reveal Plame's actual
"name" (but instead mentioned her to be wife of Joseph Wilson), Rove is attempting to escape accountability for a national security violation.
ROVE'S REVISIONIST HISTORY CANNOT HIDE HIS TRUE INTENT: The most recent argument from Rove's lawyer, Robert Luskin, for Rove's behavior is that he was merely "discouraging Time from perpetuating some statements that had been made publicly and weren't true." That's a convenient explanation coming from an attorney who has already discredited himself by previously stating Rove "did nothing wrong,
did not disclose Plame's identity, and did not reveal any confidential
information." Luskin's newest assertions that Rove was merely trying to
correct the public record are completely at odds with what an
administration official quoted in the Washington Post candidly admitted
in 2003. That official said the leaking "was meant purely and simply for revenge." Columnist Bob Novak, the conduit for the leak, confirmed the leaker's intent in July 2003: "I didn't dig it out, it was given to me.... They
thought it was significant, they gave me the name and I used it." Rove
appears to be acting in revenge against a man who was undermining
Bush's case for attacking Iraq, and in doing so, acted in a manner
unbecoming of an adviser to the president.
WHITE HOUSE STANDARD SHOULD MEAN TROUBLE FOR ROVE:In the 9/29/03 WH press briefing,
Scott McClellan laid out the White House standard for dealing with the
leak. McClellan: "If anyone in this administration was involved in it,
they would no longer be in this administration." In the gaggle that
morning, McClellan was asked whether the leaker should be "fired" and
he answered, "If a source leaked information of this nature, yes."
Similarly, Ed Gillespie told Chris Matthews on 9/30/03 that if someone
in the White House leaked the information, "I do not believe it would
be hard for President Bush to ask that person to walk the plank." But
it has been and will likely continue to be hard for President Bush to
enforce some measure of accountability. The White House has stood
firmly behind Rove as more and more information has come forward to
suggest his growing involvement. McClellan, in the 9/29/03 briefing,
said that he had "spoken with Karl"
about the leak, but then added, "I didn't even need to go ask Karl,
because I know the kind of person that he is, and he is someone that is
committed to the highest standards of conduct." When Joe Wilson floated
the idea that Rove was behind the leak, McClellan responded
vigorously: "It is a ridiculous suggestion, and it is simply not true."
PZ Myers has gotten deluged again
by anti-feminists because he dared inject some actual scientific
understanding of genetics into the debate about whether or not men are
"naturally" smarter than women. In this case, of course, it's all about
men's big ol' math brains and women's superior diaper-changing brains.
It's a lengthy thread, but highly funny.
I won't quote at length, though, but I do want to address this
ridiculous belief that there is any socialization has anything with
differences between men and women's willingness to enter fields like
science or mathematics or compete at chess or any of these other
things. Of course it's pure genetics--that or you don't believe in
science and are a creationist or something. It's as simple as that.
I have never seen this particular biological theory advanced before,
so you can imagine how surprised I was to see it first on a T-shirt.
But that's okay--you can get first class biological thinking on the
inherent differences between men and women's intellectual capacity on
the op-ed page of the NY Times, so why shouldn't a T-shirt be a way to
publicize the cutting edge of biological thinking? While the
correlation between being female and being stupid has been proven
beyond a shadow of a doubt by male wannabe scientists, who are equipped
with the masculine ability to theorize about female inferiority without
having their thinking muddled by wishful thinking, I have never seen
anyone propose that there is a genetic link between prettiness and
inaptitude at math.
It is an interesting theory, of course. We all know that prettiness
is strictly a result of genes and has no enviromental component, or
what little it does is mere window dressing. (Sorry, ladies, but Mother
Nature is no feminist.) You can tell prettiness is pure genetics
because women put forth hysterical and emotional arguments about diet,
exercise, hair care, shaving, make-up and clothing--if women have an
emotional investment in having men believe that prettiness takes
effort, then clearly that demonstrates that it's nothing but ruthless
evolution that creates prettiness. And since prettiness is genetic like
intelligence, it's certainly possible and downright likely there is a
link between prettiness and intelligence.
And, as this T-shirt suggests, there is plenty of clothing-related
evidence that there is an inverse relationship between prettiness and
mathmatical aptitude. And of course, that makes perfect evolutionary
sense, if you understand that prettiness would be an indicator of
inability to challenge the male ego in primitive societies, and men
would select mates with traits we deem pretty so as best not to feel
that there's a chance they were with someone who might make more money
than them one day after money was invented.
Of course, this explains the ovary-infested temper tantrum that
female scientists threw when non-biologist but very much male and
intellectually superior Larry Summers indicated he was willing to face
the truth about female inability to do math. They weren't mad that he
was speaking the truth about the average woman's lack of aptitude--they
were simply angry, as women get in all their silliness, that they were
being told that they were never going to be Homecoming Queen. Frankly,
I think a nice pair of shoes is all it's going to take to calm them
down, or perhaps a dozen roses sent to each scientist to let them know
that certainly it's not them he was speaking about when he slurred
women, just every woman that's not them.
Show the world that we're not afraid of what happened in London, and that the world is a better place without fear.
Great collaborative photo blog with contributions from all over the world.
Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings
total obliteration, I will face my fear; I will permit it to pass over
me and through me, and when it has gone past me, I will turn to see
Fears' path. Where the fear has gone, there will be
nothing. Only I will remain. And live my life. Not
afraid. Frank Herbert's "Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear"
"Radical" Russnotes over at his pad that The Rotting CryptkeeperTM didn't wait for the dust to settle in London to comment.
And no, I'm not going to link to his website... just trust me that this is what is posted there in big bold letters:
God for the bombing of London's subway today - July 7, 2005 - wherein
dozens were killed and hundreds seriously injured. Wish it was many
Because, you see, God hates gay people and since
the UK government won't endorse the stoning of gay people, God lets
extremists kill people in the UK with bombs. If only there were no gay
people, all the terrorist activity would be stopped by God.
in case you're a new reader or you suffer from sarcasm impairment, Fred
Phelps is the former civil rights lawyer (!) who runs the Westboro
Baptist Church and the website GodHatesFags, who regularly shows up to
protest at gay pride events, memorials for AIDS victims, and even the
funerals of US soldiers. I'd say that he gives Christianity a bad name,
but that's plainly obvious. He gives humanitya bad name and is #1 on my list of Obituaries I Can't Wait To See.
*** I always feel compelled to point out a couple of things about Phelps,
however...it doesn't let anyone else off the hook, but it does help
keep things in perspective. "Westboro Baptist Church" is not just a
congregation - it is a denomination...that just happens to have only
one congregation in it. But they regard themselves as so theologically
distinct (and superior) to other Christians that they are the ONLY ONES
who will go to heaven.
is a pretty amazing statement when you consider that over half of
Phelps' congregants are his relatives by blood or marriage. And that
there are fewer than 200 members total. And that they pretty much all
live in a single compound.
All of which is to say that I always
wince when people point to Phelps as evidence of Christian homophobia.
Westboro Baptist is a cult, represents no one but itself, and really
has no other purpose or ideology but the whole "God hates fags" thing.
It is a church in name only.
Lord knows there's plenty of
homophobia and heterosexism in the church. But Phelps isn't a good
example of it, because he's not really "in the church". He is his own
church, I suppose you might say but since they're only 200 in number and mostly related, they're really a cult.
What is important is the uses to which the religion is put. Is it there
to support moral behavior, and flexible enough to feel that love is a
better moral behavior than hate? Then, cult or religion, it doesn't
matter. It is then a good thing.
Super Secret Terrorist Group Takes Credit for London Blasts
It's interesting that terrorism and Iraq was originally not on the agenda at G8. Guess it is now.
I guess I'm just sort of surprised that this kind of thing doesn't
happen more often. Also, it just seems sort of, well, small for
al-Qaeda, especially considering London's history of being a frequent,
smaller-scale terrorist target. At this point they're saying
it was 4 bombs-- 3 on the Underground, 1 on a doubledecker with 160
wounded and 40 or so deaths.
Regardless, it's tragic and my heart goes
out to Londoners everywhere. We're all Londoners Today!
So far the most interesting, honest thing I've heard anyone say was on
NPR this morning, from a former CIA-agent who used to work on the Osama
Bin Laden team. He pointed out that if it's al-Qaeda that this is
mutually embarassing for both British and American intelligence
operations because no one had any warning whatsoever. He said he hopes
it's a significant wake-up call for America, that this summer had
started shaping up like the summer of 2001-- with the news obsessed
with missing girls, shark attacks, etc. He said he was worried about
our complacency most of all because people aren't paying attention to
how little things have really changed
since the War on Terror began. He also had some heavy criticism for the
way the war on terrorism has been fought thus far.
A group calling itself "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe"
posted a claim of responsibility for Thursday's blasts in London,
saying they were in retaliation for Britain's involvement in Iraq and Afghistan.
The group al-Qaida in Europe claimed responsibility for the last
major terror attack in Europe: a string of bombs that hit commuter
trains in Madrid, Spain in March 2004, killing 191 people. Two days
after that attack, a video was found in a trash can outside a Madrid
mosque with a statement purported to be from the group's spokesman,
called by the nickname "Abu Dujan al Afghani."
In the new statement, the group said "the heroic mujahedeen carried
out a blessed attack in London, and now Britain is burning with fear
and terror, from north to south, east to west."
"We warned the British government and the British people repeatedly.
We have carried out our promise and carried out a military attack in
Britain after great efforts by the heroic mujahedeen over a long period
to ensure its success."
"We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all
crusader governments that they will receive the same punishment if they
do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan," the statement
It was signed "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe."
Three engineers are arguing about
what background a Creator must have to have built a human body. "He
must have been a mechanical engineer," said one, "because, look at the
joints, the hydraulics of circulation!" A second nerd disagreed
vehemently: "Nonsense! He was a chemist! Look at the subtlety of nerve
transmission and of oxygenation of the blood!" The third, I think, was
closer to the truth, though: "He was a civil engineer. Who else would
put a sewer line through a recreational area?"
David Barash wipes the floor with "intelligent design" in the LA Times:
Current believers in creationism, masquerading in its
barely disguised incarnation, "intelligent design," argue similarly,
claiming that only a designer could generate such complex, perfect
But, in fact, the living world is shot through with imperfection.
Unless one wants to attribute either incompetence or sheer malevolence
to such a designer, this imperfection — the manifold design flaws of
life — points incontrovertibly to a natural, rather than a divine,
process, one in which living things were not created de novo, but
evolved. Consider the human body. Ask yourself, if you were designing
the optimum exit for a fetus, would you engineer a route that passes
through the narrow confines of the pelvic bones? Add to this the tragic
reality that childbirth is not only painful in our species but
downright dangerous and sometimes lethal, owing to a baby's head being
too large for the mother's birth canal.
This design flaw is all the more dramatic because anyone glancing at
a skeleton can see immediately that there is plenty of room for even
the most stubbornly large-brained, misoriented fetus to be easily
delivered anywhere in that vast, non-bony region below the ribs. (In
fact, this is precisely the route obstetricians follow when performing
a caesarean section.)
Why would evolution neglect the simple, straightforward solution?
Because human beings are four-legged mammals by history. Our ancestors
carried their spines parallel to the ground; it was only with our
evolved upright posture that the pelvic girdle had to be rotated (and
thereby narrowed), making a tight fit out of what for other mammals is
nearly always an easy passage.
An engineer who designed such a system from scratch would be
summarily fired, but evolution didn't have the luxury of intelligent
Admittedly, it could be argued that the dangers and discomforts of
childbirth were intelligently, albeit vengefully, planned, given
Genesis' account of God's judgment upon Eve: As punishment for Eve's
disobedience in Eden, "in pain you shall bring forth children." (Might
this imply that if she'd only behaved, women's vaginas would have been
where their bellybuttons currently reside?)
On to men. It is simply deplorable that the prostate gland is so
close to the urinary system that (the common) enlargement of the former
impinges awkwardly on the latter.
In addition, as human testicles descended — both in evolution and in
embryology — the vas deferens (which carries sperm) became looped
around the ureter (which carries urine from kidneys to bladder),
resulting in an altogether illogical arrangement that would never have
occurred if, like a minimally competent designer, natural selection
could have anticipated the situation.
There's much more that the supposed designer botched:
ill-constructed knee joints that wear out, a lower back that's prone to
pain, an inverted exit of the optic nerve via the retina, resulting in
a blind spot.
And what about the theological implications of all this? If God is
the designer, and we are created in his image, does that mean he has
back problems too?
In a letter to the editor, Ben Akerley asks (what should be) the obvious:
David P. Barash's scathing indictment of oxymoronic ID
(Intelligent Design) immediately brought to mind one of the favorite
stories that America's great agnostic orator, Robert Ingersoll
(1833-1899) used to tell his audiences: A devout clergyman one day
pointed out a crane to his young son explaining that God, in his
infinite wisdom, had designed his short legs and long, slender bill to
enable him to catch fish easily. Then the little boy protested
quizzically, "I understand God's goodness as far as the crane is
concerned, but father, don't you think the arrangement a little tough
on the fish?"
Of course ID also begs the unanswerable question that if creationism explains all origins, who designed the designer?
It concerns me a great deal that the issue of "first cause" is never
given a second thought. Who made me? cannot be answered, since it
immediately suggests the further question, Who made God?"
GLENEAGLES, Scotland - President Bush collided with a local police
officer and fell during a bike ride on the grounds of the Gleneagles
golf resort while attending a meeting of world leaders Wednesday.
suffered scrapes on his hands and arms that required bandages by the
White House physician, said White House spokesman Scott McClellan.
police officer was taken to a local hospital as a precaution, McClellan
said. The extent of the officer's injuries was not known, but he might
have an ankle injury, the spokesman said.
It was raining lightly at the time.
The officer was on a security detail. He is a member of the police department of Strathclyde, a nearby town, McClellan said.
president was concerned about the officer's condition, and talked with
him for some time after the collision, McClellan said. The president
also asked White House physician Richard Tubb to monitor the officer's
condition at the hospital.
The fall did not affect the
president's schedule. Dressed in a tuxedo, he attended a dinner hosted
by Queen Elizabeth at the annual Group of Eight economic summit. He
showed no signs of distress. (link)
He falls off a couch chokes bruises? and one or two other time bruises,
the first thing he hits with a hammer is his finger, he falls off the
Segway and once before on a bike and now; KLUTZ stirkes again.
I'm sending him ice skates for xmas - pretty white ones.
Once you learn how to fall off a bike, you never forget.
appalled that anyone would dare question President Bush's statements
about the imminent collapse of Social Security or our triumphant
success in Iraq. Blue state crybabies don't seem to understand that
Americans trust the president to do what he wants, because what he
wants is the right thing. It's obvious that if you criticize Bush,
you're against the truth.
All of Bush's past predictions have
proved true, including his prediction about WMD in Iraq. Remember, just
because you can't see them, doesn't mean they aren't there. Many
Americans believe in angels, which are also invisible, except when they
appear in TV shows.
Just listen to Sean Hannity and Rush
Limbaugh - they'll give you the unvarnished truth. Fox News is also an
unbiased source of the truth. It even says so on their Web site, which
proves that modern technology stands for what's right.
you can be sure that when President Bush decides to invade France, or
slay dragons, or woo the fair Dulcinea, whatever reasons he gives for
doing so will be true, even when they change repeatedly. If something
is true and honorable, then it's also right.
only support the truth, and President Bush is an honorable man. I don't
know how anything could be clearer than that.
It's interesting how Jesus never uttered one peep about homosexuality,
yet evangelical "Christians" have decided that an anti-gay hate
campaign should be the centerpiece of their faith. Helping poor people?
Fostering peace? It all been forgotten in their zeal to bash the fags.
the first mainline Christian denomination to support same-sex marriage.
The vote was overwhelming and likely won't lead to the schisms that
have rocked the Episcopal Church worldwide for its more ginger steps.
just the latest vanguard movement by UCC, which was among the first
churches in America to condemn slavery (in 1700) and the first to
ordain a woman in 1853.
And yes, the people who oppose equal
rights for gays are the same people who opposed equal rights for women
and equal rights for blacks. And they will be proven just as wrong and
fifty years from now their opposition will seem a dim, silly memory.
This what Lush Bimbo tells his listeners: "The religious left in
this country hates and despises the God of Christianity and Catholicism
and whatever else. They despise it because they fear it and it's a
threat, because that God has moral absolutes, that God has right and
wrong, that God doesn't deal in nuance." (via good article in Yahoo today)
Good christians... the Jesus
christians, must not allow the fundies to steal Christianity. It's
been done for thousands of years to instigate wars and oppression and I
am fed up with it. I'm fed up with evil right wingers proclaiming that
their belief in war and imperialism is both pro-american and
pro-christian. It's neither.
I am simply saluting the real Christians in the UCC for this moral values stand and I want them to be heard. Real Christians can put the fake ones
back in their places better than non believers can in this political
climate.Take your pick, Lush Bimbo, James Dobson,
Pat Robertson, Jerry Falwell, Dr. Laura, all the gay bashers, they suck
as human beings and they suck about their use of religion. Real
Christians believe in separation of church and state and
we aren't hearing from them. Real Christians don't support war
and war profiteering.
Ron Kovic served two tours of duty during the Vietnam War. He was
paralyzed from the chest down in combat in 1968 and has been in a
wheelchair ever since. Along with Oliver Stone, Kovic was the
co-screenwriter of the 1989 Academy Award-winning film based on his
book, Born on the Fourth of July (Akashic Books). The following is the
introduction to the new edition of the book.
exactly forty years ago this past September that I left my house in
Massapequa, New York to join the United States Marine Corps and begin
an extraordinary journey that was to lead me into a disastrous war
which would change my life, and others of my generation, profoundly and
forever. There are times in the lives of both individuals and nations
when we cross certain thresholds where there is no going back, no
return to the innocence we once knew; the change is utter and
irreconcilable. We often sense these moments. I know I did that day.
Happy 4th of July to Ron Kovic and all the other veterans and servicemen and servicewomen today!
You have to love a nation that celebrates its independence every July
4, not with a parade of guns, tanks, and soldiers who file by the White
House in a show of strength and muscle, but with family picnics where
kids throw Frisbees, the potato salad gets iffy, and the flies die from
happiness. You may think you have overeaten, but it is patriotism.
PAUL HARVEY: AH, GENOICDE AND SLAVERY, NOW THAT'S A GOOD DAY!
Syndicated radio newsman / reactionary pundit Paul Harvey said on
his segment Thursday (heard on WGN-AM 720) that he'd been "choking on
something for weeks" and decided to "get it up and get it out for what
Now it's our turn to choke on it.
Here's a transcript of what he said, beginning about 12 minutes into a 15-minute broadcast (Audio clip):
the attack on Pearl Harbor, Winston Churchill said that the American
people ...he said, the American people, he said, and this is a direct
quote, "We didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy."
That was his response to the attack on Pearl Harbor. That we didn't come this far because we are made of sugar candy.
And that reminder was taken seriously. And we proceeded to
develop and deliver the bomb, even though roughly 150,000 men, women
and children perished in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. With a single blow,
World War II was over.
Following New York, Sept. 11, Winston Churchill was not here
to remind us that we didn't come this far because we're made of sugar
So, following the New York disaster, we mustered our humanity.
We gave old pals a pass, even though men and money from
Saudi Arabia were largely responsible for the devastation of New York
and Pennsylvania and our Pentagon.
We called Saudi Arabians our partners against terrorism and
we sent men with rifles into Afghanistan and Iraq, and we kept our best
weapons in our silos.
Even now we're standing there dying, daring to do nothing
decisive, because we've declared ourselves to be better than our
terrorist enemies -- more moral, more civilized.
Our image is at stake, we insist.
But we didn't come this far because we're made of sugar candy.
Once upon a time, we elbowed our way onto and into this continent by giving small pox infected blankets to native Americans.
Yes, that was biological warfare!
And we used every other weapon we could get our hands on to grab this land from whomever. And we grew prosperous.
And, yes, we greased the skids with the sweat of slaves.
And so it goes with most nation states, which, feeling
guilty about their savage pasts, eventually civilize themselves out of
business and wind up invaded, and ultimately dominated by the lean,
hungry and up and coming who are not made of sugar candy.
Harvey's evident approval of slavery, genocide and nuclear and
biological warfare would seem to put him at odds with Disney's
family-friendly image. The media conglomerate syndicates Harvey to more
than 1,000 radio stations, where he reaches an estimated 18 million
listeners. Disney recently signed a 10-year, $100 million contract with
the 86-year-old Harvey.
In 2004, Disney forbid its Miramax subsidiary to distribute Michael
Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11, even though Miramax was the principal
investor in the film. A Disney executive told the New York Times
(5/5/04) that it was declining to distribute the film because, in the
paper's words, "Disney caters to families of all political stripes and
believes Mr. Moore's film...could alienate many."
One wonders whether Disney executives are worried about alienating
families who oppose slavery, nuclear war and Native American genocide.
Ask Disney why it finds Paul Harvey's nostalgia for slavery and
genocide and his calls for nuclear war acceptable, but deemed Michael
Moore's film unacceptable.
Seemed like he was more than guessing. He also said Novak has surely
testified who it was, and Fitzy's going after Cooper and Miller to
Below is the text of Lawrence O'Donell's revelatory statement on
McLaughlin Group today. He began talking about Time having to pay for
holding the documents/emails, and not serving its shareholders by
defying a (Supreme) court order. He ended with this:
"What we're going to go to now in the next stage, when Matt Cooper's
emails-within Time Magazine, uh, are handed over to the grand jury is
the ultimate revelation, probably within the week of who his source is.
And I know I'm going to get pulled into the grand jury for saying this
but the source of-for Matt Cooper was Karl Rove, and that will be
revealed in this document dump that Time Magazine's going to do with
the grand jury."
After O'Donnell said that about Rove, then McLaughlin and I think
also Buchanan (sp?) and Blankley ALL talked about Rove's connection to
this case for several minutes. They all seemed completely accepting
that Rove is the WH source, and their take on it is that there is
perjury as the jackpot.
And O'Donnell was STELLAR!!
And the delicious dessert to end this gourmet-fest ...would be that the originator of the leak, the one who told Rove in
the first place... was John Bolton... and he got the info from looking
at those cables they won't release to the Senate Foreign Relations
He provides plenty of carefully crafted information -- for example see p. 443-445.
indicates that the work up on him beginning March, 2003, turned up the
information on Valerie -- which was then shared with Karl Rove who then
circulated it through Administration and neo-Conservative circles. He
cites conservative journalists who claimed to have had the information
before the Novak column.
So the question is -- in the work-up process beginning about March 2003, who had the information re: Plame?
think it was John Bolton. At the time he was State Department Deputy
Secretary with the portfolio in WMD and Nuclear Proliferation. Assuming
that Valerie Plame's identity was that of a NOC (No Official Cover) the
information about her would have been highly classified,
compartmentalized, and only those with a need to know would know.
Bolton's Job probably gave him that status. However to receive it he
would have to sign off on the classification -- that is he would have
to agree to retain the security the CIA had established.
the time, Bolton had two assistants who also worked in the White House
in Cheney's office, David Wurmser and John Hannah. Their names have
been around as the potential leakers -- Hannah if you remember is the
guy who kept putting the Yellow Cake back in Bush's speeches even
though Tenet had demanded it be removed.
So -- I think we have
a game of catch going on here -- or maybe some version of baseball, and
the scoring is Bolton to Wurmser and Hannah, to Cheney (and/or Libby)
I suspect getting Rove on Perjury is more or less step one in walking back the path of the ball.
the way, reading about some of the prosecutions of al-Qaeda, I just
read the cross examination Fitzgerald did on witnesses in the E.
African Bombing prosecution in Southern District of NY. Smart Court
Room Lawyer in my mind.
GO, BROOKE SHIELDS! In the New York Times, no less.
By BROOKE SHIELDS
Published: July 1, 2005
WAS hoping it wouldn't come to this, but after Tom Cruise's interview
with Matt Lauer on the NBC show "Today" last week, I feel compelled to
speak not just for myself but also for the hundreds of thousands of
women who have suffered from postpartum depression. While Mr. Cruise
says that Mr. Lauer and I do not "understand the history of
psychiatry," I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has
never suffered from postpartum depression.