Lawyers acting for Dan
Brown, the world's highest-paid author, and the two men who claim he
stole their ideas, met at the High Court in London yesterday to agree
details of a trial scheduled to begin on February 27.
historians, Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, are suing Brown's
publishers, Random House, claiming that Brown lifted "the whole
architecture" of the research from their 1982 book, The Holy Blood and
the Holy Grail, for The Da Vinci Code, Brown's global hit of a
Baigent and Leigh's
non-fiction work presents the theory that Jesus and Mary Magdalene
married and had a child, and that their descendants have carried on
their bloodline to the present day. This theme forms the basis for the
action in Brown's novel, which has sold 29m copies worldwide, earning
its author £45m in the last year alone.
novel's suggestion that the Catholic church has spent the last 2,000
years working tirelessly to cover up the relationship between Jesus and
Mary Magdalene has roused the ire of the Vatican, which was driven in
March to appoint a cardinal to rebut what it calls the "shameful and
unfounded errors" contained in the book.
the combination of the central conspiracy theory and the clues,
anagrams and puzzles that litter the pages are central to the appeal of
the book, which has been translated into over 40 different languages.
have already pointed out that the name of one of the major characters,
Sir Leigh Teabing, is an anagram of the names Leigh and Baigent,
although there is no sign of Henry Lincoln, the third author of the
1982 book, who has chosen not to take part in this suit.
is not the first time that Dan Brown has been called to defend himself
over the provenance of his novel. In August, he won a court case
brought by another author, Lewis Perdue, who claimed that The Da Vinci
Code reproduced elements from two of his novels, Daughter of God and
The Da Vinci Legacy. Perdue had sought damages of $150m (£84.2m), and
had requested that the court block further distribution of the book and
stop work on the movie adaptation currently in production, starring Tom
Hanks and the French actor Audrey Tautou in the lead roles.
yesterday's discussions between the lawyers, Random House says that a
"substantial" part of the claim by Baigent and Leigh has been dropped.
The publishing house adds that it is "delighted with this result, which
reinforces [its] long-held contention that this is a claim without
Ground Control to Fox: Valerie Plame Wilson Was Covert
For Hannity and Hatch and all the other liars, Fitzy said this: I am
the umpire and Scooter threw sand in my eyes just as I was going to
call a strike.
Last night, Sean Hannity said this:
I don’t think anybody exposed anything. I think everybody knew in town what [Valerie Wilson] did for a living. There’s no evidence that she was covert. None.
And two nights ago, Ann Coulter said:
She hadn’t been a covert agent for six years, and everyone in Washington knew she worked for the CIA.
Special Prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald knocked that talking point down hard today in the Libby indictment:
At all relevant times from January 1, 2002 through July 2003, Valerie Wilson was employed by the CIA, and her employment status was classified. Prior to July 14, 2003, Valerie Wilson’s affiliation with the CIA was not common knowledge outside the intelligence community.
OK. These are several really simple questions for any Republican here who does not support this investigation.
1. If Mrs. Wilson was not a covert agent, and thus no
crime was committed by revealing her name (no matter WHO did it), then
why did the CIA request the investigation to begin with? No guesses;
please cite sources backing up your answer(s).
2. If Mr.
Wilson lied about his findings, and an honest Bush Admin. surely would
have known it if he did (and thus should have hammered home the true
facts with the American people), then why did administration officials
even remotely consider discussing his wife amongst themselves and
others? Especially if her status in the CIA was not truly not covert?
What do you suppose they hoped to accomplish?
When asked, Fitzgerald would not comment on whether "Official A" was Ryan.
From the Chicago Daily Herald April 3, 2002, Wednesday All
But despite branding two of Ryan's former top aides and his
campaign committee as corrupt, Fitzgerald would not say if the
investigation will eventually reach Ryan. The vast majority of the
corruption uncovered so far happened under his watch when he was
secretary of state from 1990 until 1998. The governor has not been
accused by prosecutors of any wrongdoing in the past, and Tuesday's
indictments did not include him.
"I cannot answer that question," Fitzgerald said when asked about
any Ryan involvement. "We cannot discuss people not charged in the
Sun Times June 20, 2002
Stewart would send bills to Stanley and Doyle for bogus
legal work Stewart never performed. Stanley and Doyle would "pay" for
the work, when in fact they were passing along bribes through Stewart
Stanley also allegedly passed bribes to Udstuen through another
person, dubbed "Individual A" in the indictment, in a similar scheme.
Individual A was a close friend of Udstuen's and a social acquaintance
Ryan was indicted four months after the previous indictment had been
issued referring to him as "Official A". By the time Ryan was
indicted, Fitzgerald had indicted 65 other officials and gotten
convictions on 59. One thing's for sure: when it comes to Ryan
you can't say it's over until the investigation is officially closed.
Now this year, we have Ohio and Kentucky and the DeLay-Frist-White
House Axis of Evil. . .why is it that everything the self-righteous
fundies attach themselves to ends up in a corrupting mess?
To superstitious athletes, hair is a big thing. They'll grow good-luck
beards, carve out funny-looking goatees, shave their heads bald.
Somehow, this is supposed to improve their chances of winning. So, what
are we to make of this year's World Series? The Astros were the ones messing about with their hair,
and they're just got swept four games to none. (They grew beards, then shaved
them. Who knows what they'll do now that it's over.) The White Sox, meanwhile, have a
more unusual superstition -- they think it's a good thing to have Journey's Steve Perry follow them around. Hair is less important. Or is it? Back on Sept. 2, the team did host a Mullet Night
promotion at U.S. Cellular Field. It seemed like no big deal. But
before Mullet Night, the Sox had lost 15 of 22 games at home, and they
had a losing record overall for August. After Mullet Night, they picked
things up, steamrolled the Indians, the Red Sox, the Angels and the
Astros, and now they just won their first world championship in 88 years.
According to the NYT,
somebody got ahold of notes from a "previously undisclosed
conversation" between Scooter and the Veep on June 12, 2003 that
"appear to differ from Mr. Libbyâ€™s testimony to a federal grand jury
that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson,
from journalists, the lawyers said."
The notes, taken by Mr.
Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in
the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilsonâ€™s
husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administrationâ€™s
handling of intelligence about Iraqâ€™s nuclear program to justify the
Lawyers said the notes show that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms.
Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was
made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated
column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003.
would not be illegal for either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby, both of whom
are presumably cleared to know the governmentâ€™s deepest secrets, to
discuss a C.I.A. officer or her link to a critic of the administration.
But any effort by Mr. Libby to steer investigators away from his
conversation with Mr. Cheney could be considered by Patrick J.
Fitzgerald, the special counsel in the case, to be an illegal effort to
impede the inquiry.
But the notes, now in Mr.
Fitzgeraldâ€™s possession, also indicate that Mr. Libby first heard about
Ms. Wilson â€” who is also known by her maiden name, Valerie Plame â€” from
Mr. Cheney. That apparent discrepancy in his testimony suggests why
prosecutors are weighing false statement charges against him in what
they interpret as an effort by Mr. Libby to protect Mr. Cheney from
scrutiny, the lawyers said. (my emphasis)
Cheney was interviewed under oath by Mr. Fitzgerald last year. It is
not known what the vice president told Mr. Fitzgerald about the
conversation with Mr. Libby or when Mr. Fitzgerald first learned of it.
"So those must've materialized recently. Where did they come? And when?
Is Scooter trying to play "Let's Make a Deal?" And is the fact that
they were leaked to the press -- with all their damning implications
for Cheney -- an indication that Scooter is no longer willing to fall
on a sword for his boss?"
can't see Fitz getting libby's notes from anyone BUT Libby...and he
must be in deep, deep shit to provide notes that undercut his own
...Just fantasizing for a minute: imagine if Fitz had been in charge of
the 9/11 Commission -- can you imagine how the heads would've rolled?
Kindasleezy wouldn't have gotten away with all her pretty little lies;
Cheney and Bush would not have been allowed to testify together like
the fuckin' ventriloquist and his overstuffed dummy, and maybe, just
maybe, someone would have been declared criminally negligent and
punished accordingly, and the families of the victims would have had
some sense of justice served.
Imagine: after two years of dragging lies and half-truths out of these
miserable suckers, he can now sit back and enjoy a steady stream of
primo grade evidence just dropping in his lap, tying all the loose ends
together and wrapping his case up like a great fitzmas gift. Man, if Fitz just could sit still for another month, he wouldn't have
anything left to do except mop the blood off the White House floor.
This could be me. This could be you. In the Amerika that is Now.... Fred Bieling
Daniel Goetz is a stop-lossed soldier whose tour in Iraq was supposed to end seven months ago. ("Stop-loss" means a soldier can
still be retained in a unit's tour of duty even if his/her enlistment
time is up.) Via Tattered Coat,
we learn that he's been blogging to vent his frustrations; yet in spite
of the fact that he's taken great care to play by the rules of being a
military blogger, he will no longer be posting on his blog due to some
extra attention he received last week.
went on to express his concern on his own blog that this widespread
attention might cause some ire with the military censors. What's
brilliant of him is to end his blog tenure with this bit of is the Orwellian language -- he even titles the post "Double Plus Ungood".
The rules, to my knowledge, have nothing to say about disagreeing with
policy in general or expressing frustration with a rotten
situation. This appears to be exactly the reason that Daniel was
disagreed with a policy, and was forced to publicly admit to a position
he had previously been opposed to. This dramatic of a shift indicates
the intent of the government to control private thoughts or personally
held beliefs, which they cannot do. This is only a move by them to
maintain public support for the war by silencing the opposition to it.
If you read his previous posts, it is apparent this had nothing to do
with operational security.
Censor Senseless? Post on Friday, October 14, 2005
Operation Truth has published my story as their Veteran of the Week
profile. I am excited and nervous for the extra attention this will
attract. Excited because the army is trying very hard to muffle the
cries of battered soldiers, abused by the system they are sworn to
protect. Each time our story is heard by someone new, the country comes
that much closer to understanding what is happening to us in Iraq and
I'm also nervous, though. Every time I add a new
writing to my site, I ask myself if I've gone too far. I have a pretty
good grasp on what constitutes a violation of the laws I am bound to;
in specific, I am very familiar with the sections of the Uniform Code
of Military Justice that strips every servicemember of his or her First
Amendment rights. Unfortunately, the laws are purposely vague; designed
to muzzle even those of us who tread with caution.
housemate, Ben, has unfortunately made himself into an icon of military
censorship. He has written on subjects that violate neither operations
security nor military law. He has, however, incurred the wrath of his
commander nonetheless. Although Ben acquiesced and removed the
offending material, he went on to write - much more eloquently than I
could - about the experience. More can be read at his site, Doce Meses de Soledad ("twelve months of solitude").
you are visiting this site because you were linked from the Operation
Truth website, you can respond to my biography by commenting on the
post below (entitled "A Brief History of Mine"). I also encourage you
to sift through some of the archives. Most of my writing is just me
whining about how much I hate the army; but I have linked to several
which I find to be the most entertaining of my work.
Club Fed is the best of satire. In it, a persuasive argument is made for the benefit of being deployed to Iraq. Baath Time is a light-hearted entry about how glad I was to move into a toilet. In Black Hole, I explain my frustrations over the seemingly inexhaustible waste of tax dollars here in Iraq. Remember Petey
is a story about a school (in a way); it might be about something else
completely, but I would be forbidden to say so if it were. I'm not much
of one to tell war stories, but Crude Reaction is the tale of one of my adventures on the streets of Baghdad.
For more fact and fiction from the banks of the Tigris, browse through the archives. Also, don't forget to check out Holly's site,
and those that are linked to the right; the ones linked beneath the
title "friends" are all especially good reading. Finally, at the bottom
of this page, there is a disclaimer; please read it before you seek or threaten legal action against me.
Double Plus Ungood Posted on Saturday, October 22, 2005
I thank all of you
who have been so supportive recently. I have never before received so
much positive feedback, and it was very heart-warming to know that so
many people out there care. Having said that, it breaks my heart to say
that this will be my last post on this blog. I wish I could just stop
there, but I can not. The following also needs to be said:
the record, I am officially a supporter of the administration and of
her policies. I am a proponent for the war against terror and I believe
in the mission in Iraq. I understand my role in that mission, and I
accept it. I understand that I signed the contract which makes stop
loss legal, and I retract any statements I made in the past that
contradict this one. Furthermore, I have the utmost confidence in the
leadership of my chain of command, including (but not limited to) the
president George Bush and the honorable secretary of defense Rumsfeld.
If I have ever written anything on this site or on others that lead the
reader to believe otherwise, please consider this a full and complete
apologize for any misunderstandings that might understandably arise
from this. Should you continue to have questions, please feel free to
contact me through e-mail. I promise to respond personally to each, but it may take some time; my internet access has become restricted.
Goetz's "full and complete" retraction - which at first reads like the
painful scene in Cool Hand Luke in which Paul Newman breaks down,
pleading for beatings to stop and claiming he's "got his mind right" -
is totally undercut and undone by the headline of yesterday's same
retractive post: Double Plus Ungood.
One pictures military censors standing over Goetz's shoulder as he
types, shaking their heads and shrugging, completely oblivious of this:
"Double-Plus Un Good - (another NewSpeak term from 1984). In NewSpeak, there is no word for bad or evil, there is only ungood. Modifiers are also ambiguous. One uses the modifier plus for emphasis, so plus ungood means especially ungood. The most emphatic modifier is double-plus, so double-plus ungood is the worst thing you can say about something.
Hard not to suspect Goetz's mind - from the military point of view, of course - is still not quite "right."
Maxim, of all magazines, has an article this month (Nov 05) called
"No End in Sight." It is the first time this publication has truly
delved into the dark side of the soldiers experience. In the past,
Maxim has treated the whole war thing like a video game. What this new
article makes clear is that being a soldier in Iraq should not be
confused with playing SOCOM 3: Navy SEALs Edition.
In a nutshell, the article says that if you serve in Iraq, you might
get killed. If you don't get killed, you'll get maimed. If you don't
get maimed, you'll get injured. If you don't get injured, you'll get
PTSD and commit suicide. If you don't get PTSD, you won't get a job
when you get out and you will be 4 to 6 years behind your high school
buddies financially. If you need any help with any of your problems,
the government won't help.
Dwight D. Eisenhower, a good soldier, warned us about the military
industrial complex. Welcome to the nightmare. Cross the corporation,
you get fired. Cross the military, you get muzzled. Either way, you
belong to the machine. I salute all the brave men & women who
continue to assert their right to their voice, to their own ideas, to
their own opinions. Where else is the battle for democratic principles
won, but in the mind?
Perjury, Rule Of Law, and The Trivialization of Treason
Sen. Kay Baily Hutchison and other GOPs were "Against perjury before being for it."
We see Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-TX) is of two
minds when it comes to politicians lying under oath. Where
are all those enraged Republicans who loudly proclaimed: "It's
not the sex, it's the lying under oath." Kay Bailey Hutchison, Sunday on Press the Meat:
I certainly hope that if there is going to be an indictment that
says something happened, that it is an indictment on a crime and not
some perjury technicality where they couldnâ€™t indict on the crime so
they go to something just to show that their two years of investigation
were not a waste of time and dollars.
revisit what was said during the Clinton Era of Peace and Prosperity:
Sen. Hutchison: "The edifice of American jurisprudence rests on the foundation of the
due process of law. The mortar in that foundation is the oath. Those
who seek to obstruct justice weaken that foundation, and those who
violate the oath would tear the whole structure down.
Sen. Frist: "There is no serious question that perjury and obstruction
of justice are high crimes and misdemeanors...Indeed, our own Senate
precedent establishes that perjury is a high crime and
misdemeanor...The crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice are
public crimes threatening the administration of justice."
[Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Kyl: "...there can be no doubt that perjurious, false, and
misleading statements made under oath in federal court proceedings are
indeed impeachable offenses...John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the
United States, said `there is no crime more extensively pernicious to
society' than perjury, precisely because it `discolors and poisons the
streams of justice.'" [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. DeWine: "Obstruction of justice and perjury strike at the very
heart of our system of justice...Perjury is also a very serious
crime...The judiciary is designed to be a mechanism for finding the
truth-so that justice can be done. Perjury perverts the judiciary,
turning it into a mechanism that accepts lies-so that injustice may
prevail." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Talent: "Nobody else in a position of trust, not a CEO, not a
labor union leader, not a principal of a school could do half of what
the president has done and stay in office. I mean, who would have said
a year ago that a president could perjure himself and obstruct justice
and tamper with witnesses... and stay in office." [CNBC, "Hardball,"
Sen. McConnell: "I am completely and utterly perplexed by those who
argue that perjury and obstruction of justice are not high crimes and
misdemeanors...Perjury and obstruction hammer away at the twin pillars
of our legal system: truth and justice." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Voinovich: "As constitutional scholar Charles Cooper said, `The
crimes of perjury and obstruction of justice, like the crimes of
treason and bribery, are quintessentially offenses against our system
of government, visiting injury immediately on society itself.'"
[Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Craig: "There is no question in my mind that perjury and
obstruction of justice are the kind of public crimes that the Founders
had in mind, and the House managers have demonstrated these crimes were
committed by the president. As for the excuses being desperately sought
by some to allow President Clinton to escape accountability, it seems
to me that creating such loopholes would require tearing holes in the
Constitution-something that cannot be justified to protect this
president, or any president." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
Sen. Brownback: "Perjury and obstruction of justice are crimes against
the state. Perjury goes directly against the truth-finding function of
the judicial branch of government." [Congressional Record, 2/12/99]
The same KBH who managed to avoid indictments previously by Ronnie
Earle purportedly with legal shenanigans, evidence tampering and a
I'd love to hear KBH expound on how Clinton's grand jury testimony
about blowjobs was false, willful, and material to Starr's 7-year,
$70,000,000 investigation into a failed land deal, yet the testimony
(under oath or not) from Bush and myriad administration officials in
Fitzgerald's short and focused investigation into the outing of an
undercover CIA agent doesn't tear the whole edifice of American
jurisprudence down. Should we alert Bill Clinton that Kay Bailey Hutchinson's note of apology is on its way?
Ya just gotta stand in awe of such majestic hypocrisy.
My other favorite line is the one about the "criminalization of
politics". Hey, guys, the way these guys practice politics, it IS
Nigeria, home to some of the world's most
notorious cyber crimes, has proposed a law making spamming a criminal
offence for which senders of unsolicited e-mails could be jailed for at
least three years.
Is this the end of an era? Nigeria is cracking down on its best-known
export - email scams - by putting a law up for vote that would finally make
these scams a criminal matter. The move is the latest by the government
there to project a tough stance on the issue - back in August, the
country even hosted a conference on how to crack down on spam.
According to this Reuters story,
spammers who are caught could face up to five years in prison, and
possibly have to give up the proceeds derived from their, uh,
entrepreneurship. But sadly, if effective (although we kinda doubt the
practice will entirely cease), it will deprive us of some of the
best - if inadvertent - humor online. On the other hand, if the Nigerian
spammer goes the way of the 20 gigabyte iPod, it could boost sales of Tuesdays with Mantu, Rich Siegel's book about his email correspondence with a Nigerian con artist, for nostalgia value alone.
The advance fee e-mail scam, known as "419" after the relevant
section of the Nigerian Criminal Code, is a computer age version of a
con game dating back hundreds of years and is sometimes called "The
Typically spammers send millions of
unsolicited e-mails around the world promising recipients a share in a
fortune in return for an advance fee. Those who pay wait in vain for
the promised windfall.
President Olusegun Obasanjo has been keen
to clean Nigeria's image as a country of spammers and one of the
world's most corrupt nations since he was elected in 1999, ending 15
years of military rule in Africa's top oil producer. He set up the
Economic and Financial Crimes Commission in 2003 to crack down on
e-mail fraudsters who had elevated scamming to one of the country's
main foreign exchange earners after oil, natural gas and cocoa,
according to campaigners.
The anti-fraud agency is investigating hundreds of suspects and prosecuting over 50 cases involving about 100 suspects.
agency got its first major conviction in July when a court sentenced a
woman whose late husband masterminded the swindling of $242 million
from Brazilian Banco Noroeste S.A. between 1995 and 1998, one of the
world's biggest e-mail scams.
This is a link to one of my favorite
online videos, Ze Frank's request, in which he dramatizes a Nigerian
scam e-mail, verbatim: http://www.zefrank.com/request/
Veterans Affairs Department is currently reviewing approximately
one-third of the cases of veterans who are receiving disability
benefits for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After conducting an
internal study, the VA believes that they were too lenient in deciding
which soldiers were eligible for PTSD benefits. Last year, the VA spent
$4.3 billion on PTSD disability payments, and the VA hopes to reduce
these payments by revoking PTSD benefits for many veterans. This will
be the final insult to soldiers who were asked to fight a war in Iraq
on false premises.
to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, the number of veterans receiving
compensation for PTSD has increased by almost 80 percent in the last
five years. By comparison, the number of veterans receiving
compensation for all other types of disabilities increased by only 12
percent. Under the guidelines of the current review, soldiers who
cannot prove that a specific incident, known as a "stressor," was
sufficient to cause PTSD, their benefits will be revoked. Given the
nature of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's not surprising that
many returning soldiers are suffering from mental illness.
the July 2004 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, Colonel
Charles W. Hoge, MD, the chief of psychiatry at Walter Reed Army
Institute, published a preliminary study of the effects of the war in
Iraq and Afghanistan on military personnel. The study concluded that
close to 20 percent of soldiers who served in Iraq and approximately 12
percent of those who served in Afghanistan returned home suffering from
PTSD. The study found that there is a clear correlation between combat
experience and the prevalence of PTSD. The study determined that "Rates
of PTSD were significantly higher after combat duty in Iraq."
86 percent of soldiers in Iraq were involved in combat, as were 31
percent in Afghanistan. On average, soldiers engaged in two firefights
for each tour of duty.
study indicated that 95 percent of soldiers had been shot at. And 56
percent of soldiers had killed an enemy combatant. An estimated 28
percent were directly responsible for the death of a civilian. Equally
grim, 94 percent had seen or handled corpses or bodily remains.
Additionally, 68 percent witnessed fellow soldiers being killed or
the number of soldiers suffering from PTSD is high, Dr. Hoge's study
found that a majority of veterans are not seeking treatment. Only 40
percent of returning soldiers acknowledged that they need mental health
care, and only 26 percent were actually receiving care. Therefore, the
number of veterans approved for PTSD compensation by the VA is
relatively small. Yet the VA believes that too many soldiers were
approved for PTSD disability compensation and is now seeking to deny
soldiers this benefit.
lack of pre-war intelligence also likely contributed to a rise in PTSD
disability claims. Studies of the Vietnam War have indicated that when
soldiers can't anticipate the nature and intensity of warfare that they
ultimately encounter, they are psychologically unprepared, leading to
PTSD in many instances. During the early phase of the war in Iraq, many
soldiers were almost certainly unprepared for what they encountered.
Bush administration initially indicated that the war would be quick and
easy. Vice President Cheney, only a few days after the invasion of
Iraq, infamously stated that soldiers "will, in fact, be greeted as
liberators." Ahmed Chalabi, a close advisor to the Bush administration
prior to and immediately following the invasion said, "American troops
will be greeted with flowers and candy" by the Iraqi people, and the
administration repeated this many times. President Bush flew onto a US
aircraft carrier in May 2003 and, while standing beneath a banner
proclaiming "Mission Accomplished," announced that major combat
operations had ended.
easy to understand why the VA has seen an increase in soldiers seeking
benefits due to post-traumatic stress disorder. What is difficult to
comprehend is why the very agency responsible for meeting the needs of
our veterans is now turning its back on them. Perhaps it's attributable
to money. The Bush administration may be seeking to reduce compensation
to soldiers for PTSD so that more money can be diverted to the ongoing
war in Iraq.
perhaps this is simply a public relations issue. The effort to revoke
PTSD benefits may be an attempt to assert that the war has not been
that devastating. What is certain is that the very people asked to
sacrifice their lives, if necessary, for the nation are now being
punished for doing so.
CHELSEA: God spoke with the roar of revving motorcycle engines during a
protest Tuesday by six members of a Kansas church that believes God is
punishing the U.S. for protecting homosexuals by killing soldiers
Couldn't be the opposing army who's killing em. People do tend to die in wars.
residents, however, believed God spoke on their behalf as the engines
of more than 100 Veterans of Foreign Wars motorcycles drowned out the
voices of the Westboro Baptist Church members who were allowed to
protest from 1-1:30 p.m. before the 2 p.m. funeral services for Staff
Sgt. John Glen Doles."
But the No. 1 reason was to show support for Staff Sgt. Doles and
his family and to oppose Fred Phelps, who is the leader of the
The bikers succeeded in keeping the protesters out of sight and
sound of the Doles family but for anyone else close enough to see their
brightly colored signs spoke loud and clear: "GOD IS YOU OR ENEMY; GOD
HATES THE USA; GOD IS AN AMERICAN TERRORIST; TOO LATE TO PRAY; THANK
GOD FOR DEAD SOLDIERS; YOU'RE GOING TO HELL; GOD HAS SPOKEN IT'S NOT A
BLESSING IT'S A CURSE and AMERICA IS DOOMED."
The locals had a couple of signs of their own. Three older
women held up a white sheet that said "SHOW AMAZING GRACE" and two
young people held a cardboard sign saying "YE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE
John B. Milam, a Chelsea native, said of his feelings about the
protest, "I have no respect for anyone who has no respect for the
Not only was it a pathetic protest in the first place - six
people? Doesn't this guy have like 80 kids? - but veterans on
motorcycles drowning them out? It doesn't get much sweeter than this.
Although I would prefer to just attribute it to karma. But that's me. I think "God Hates Fred Phelps" myself.
If the allegations are true, it’s awful. We
understand that athletes aren’t necessarily role models, but we at
least expect them to abide by the basic laws of the state. Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
How sad is it when the biggest news about the team you grew up dying to beat is about something that didn’t even happen on the
football field? Of course, with the Vikings mailing in their first four
games this year, a good sex scandal might be just what the team needs
to divert the attention of fans and the media from their miserable 1-3
Personally, I don’t much care what adults do in their spare time.
It’s a free country, and when you have a collection of large men hopped
up on testosterone and possessing more money than sense, what do you
think is going to happen? Of course, If laws were broken, then the
legal system should be allowed to do what it does. If not, then those
folks who in the meantime all falling all over themselves in fits of
righteous, moralizing indignation need to just shut the hell up.
Of course, given that the Vikings were a team in disarray before
this alleged incident occurred, it’s not as if this is going to make
putting Humpty Dumpty back together again any easier.
The names of 17 Minnesota Vikings who were
identified as being aboard two charter boats last week where sex
parties allegedly took place have been given to Vikings officials in a
controversy that has put the team’s bid for a new stadium and its
standing among fans and community leaders in jeopardy.
least six crew members who allege they were confronted with
out-of-control Vikings players on the boats met Wednesday with Hennepin
County Sheriff’s detectives who are investigating allegations of
prostitution and lewd behavior….
The claims involve
players aboard two boats on Lake Minnetonka. Because of the ongoing
investigation, the repercussions are hard to gauge. But what is known
is this: The NFL once again is monitoring a legal issue involving the
Vikings, anti-stadium opponents are having a field day, public
relations is at its lowest point in memory and the Vikings are the butt
At the time of the party, Vikings officials
were heavily lobbying state legislators to convene a special session to
get public funding for a stadium….
No one has been
charged with a crime in connection with the charter boat cruises, which
occurred last Thursday night on Lake Minnetonka….
of the boat company and a resident of the lake community of Mound
described players having public sex, drinking heavily, urinating on a
lawn and aggressively propositioning female crew members.
Yep, just a bunch of rich, randy, spoiled athletes having some good,
clean fun during their bye week…or breaking a few laws along the way.
Who knows what actually happened? Hey, you must as well get your fun in
now. Before too much longer, winter will descend on the Frozen Tundra,
and the only things on Lake Minnetonka will be snowmobiles. Kinda tough
to have a sex party on one of those, eh??
Had lunch today with a person who has a direct tie to one
of the folks facing indictment in the Plame affair. There are 22 files
that Fitzgerald is looking at for potential indictment . These include
Stephen Hadley, Karl Rove, Lewis Libby, Dick Cheney, and Mary Matalin
(there are others of course). Hadley has told friends he expects to be
indicted. No wonder folks are nervous at the White House.
Yes folks, the National Security Advisor expects to be indicted for
activities he allegedly undertook while he was Number Two to our
current Secretary of State. So can someone tell me how Condi skates if
Hadley gets nailed?
Juggling appearances before a grand jury and conservative
admirers didn’t seem to make sense, so presidential adviser Karl Rove
has canceled three such outings as he waits to hear whether he or
anyone else will be indicted in the leak of a CIA officer’s identity.
Rove canceled plans to attend two Republican fund-raisers,
the national party confirmed Tuesday. And he did not give his scheduled
speech to the conservative Hudson Institute think tank on Oct. 11.
Republican National Committee spokesman Brian Jones said
scheduling conflicts kept Rove from an RNC fund-raiser Monday night in
Greenwich, Conn., and a Virginia Republican Party fund-raiser Saturday.
Jones said that Rove, who is Bush’s top political aide, currently has no plans to appear at upcoming RNC events.
For a man who is supposedly innocent, he sure is radioactive all of a sudden.
With the pending indictments of numerous Bu$hCo cronies, not
excluding according to some reports pRedzident of Vice Richard Bruce
Cheney, this item should be of serious concern to those who helped
Bu$hCo gut the country's local governments of operating funds:
The Monroe County Jail is within 10 days of running out of
the most basic supplies, including toilet paper and cleaning materials,
the jail commander says... Council President Mark Stoops said Monday
that a majority of the Council felt there was enough money in the jail
budget to stretch things to the end of the year on supplies.
Indiana is a solid Red State. If this is the financial status of a
Good Red State, in what condition will the Federal Prison that receives
Big Time Dick and Scooter and Karl be like? Many lurid images come to
mind as to how these Topper$ will deal with personal hygiene under such
The WH could always send them stacks of Presidential Daily Bulletins. They've never been used for anything else.
Dick Cheney and George Bush have left the
Whitehouse in a white Bronco and are reported to have a large sum of
cash, fake mustaches and a case of tequila and glycerince pills.
They are headed toward Gualajara Mexico and are reportedly handed the keys to the Whitehouse over to the ghost of Richard Nixon.
MORE NEWS AS IT DEVELOPS.
The Washington Post has a major story tonight that puts Vice President Cheney's office at the center of the Fitzgerald investigation:
the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an
apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has
zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to
lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor
has assembled evidence that shows Cheney's long-running feud with the
CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.
grand jury sessions, including with New York Times reporter Judith
Miller, Fitzgerald has pressed witnesses on what Cheney may have known
about the effort to push back against ex-diplomat and Iraq war critic
Joseph C. Wilson IV, including the leak of his wife's position at the
CIA, Miller and others said. But Fitzgerald has focused more on the
role of Cheney's top aides, including Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter"
Libby, lawyers involved in the case said.
Cheney, a longtime proponent of toppling Saddam Hussein, led the White
House effort to build the case that Iraq was an imminent threat because
it possessed a dangerous arsenal of weapons.
the war, he personally traveled to CIA headquarters for briefings, an
unusual move that some critics interpreted as an effort to pressure
intelligence officials into supporting his view of the evidence. After
the war, when critics started questioning whether the White House
relied on faulty information to justify war, Cheney and Libby were
central to the effort to defend the intelligence and discredit the
naysayers in Congress and elsewhere.
The New York Daily News is set to report in Tuesday editions that a
well-placed source interviewed by the newspaper believes a senior White
House official has flipped and may be helping the prosecutor in the case.
Also under a microscope is the White House Iraq Group, an ad-hoc
strategy group started by Bush chief of staff Andrew Card aimed at
selling the war in Iraq.
Two officials close to Fitzgerald say
they have seen documents obtained from the White House Iraq Group which
state that Cheney was present at several of the group's meetings. They
say Cheney personally discussed with individuals in attendance at least
two interviews in May and June of 2003 Wilson gave to New York Times
columnist Nicholas Kristof and Washington Post reporter Walter Pincus,
in which he claimed the administration “twisted” prewar intelligence
and what the response from the administration should be.
For what it's worth, someone named "Larry Johnson" posted the following on the Raw Story
message board. I am wondering if its the same Larry Johnson who is a
former CIA agent and trained with Valerie Plame. He's been quite
outspoken about the case:
The word for the past year has been that
John Hannah, a deputy to Libby, was the initial guy to cop a deal. I've
also heard thru a separate source who is talking directly to a person
involved in the case that several folks in the White House are
frantically scrambling to cut a deal with Fitzgerald. The life boats
for the Titanic are being put to sea and the band is playing Nearer My
God to Thee.
Judith Miller Claims "Deep Throat" Title
Miller, in the process of praising Mark Felt, sought to merge herself with him, in an act of innocence by association.
In a ceremony utterly unaware its own self-consuming ironies, Mata
Whori yesterday presented an award to Mark Felt on behalf of the First
Amendment Coalition. Joining her on the panel was her long-time
apologist Floyd Abrams:
Both Abrams and Miller attempted to equate her with Woodward, Bernstein
and Felt as a courageous defender of the First Amendment.
In his keynote address, Floyd Abrams delivered a combination of tight legal argument and sweeping generalizations. In
addition to accusing unnamed blogs of being "vile beyond words" during
his speech, Abrams concluded the question and answer session lamenting
"the level of bile... the level of personal cruelty... the level of
near madness" directed against Miller. Yet, he never seriously
addressed the reasons why many hold Miller in contempt, simply waving
them off as having to do with her earlier work. In effect, Abrams
pretended there were no connection between Miller's false,
propagandistic reporting on Iraq's non-existent weapons of mass
destruction, and her involvement-however tangential or stillborn-in the
counter-attack on Joseph Wilson for exposing part of that lie.
Hey, Floyd: Didn't you get the boot? If you're not still on the clock, why are you peddling this shit?
Floyd's irrational anger would indicate
that he is still in the throes of a wee bit of denial. He's probably
spent the past twenty-four hours hugging the porcelain throne after
reading Judy's self-serving justifications and obfuscations in the Times and getting a glimpse into how this is all going to play out for him.
I wonder how Big Lou Dobbs is going to feel when the real story comes out. She does have her way with men, doesn't she.
I feel bad for Mark Felt. If I were he I'd have spit at her and refused
the award unless someone else gave it to me. And they'd better wash it
Judith Miller: Armstrong Williams in whiteface and a skirt. Stick a fork in the NY Times. They're done.
The Burger King King Guy Scares Me Alot The Spot: It's morning. Birds are chirping. A man
wakes up in his bed … and discovers he's not alone! Next to him on the
mattress there is some sort of royal personage: a king, clad in
burgundy robes and a crown. But the king's head appears to be made of
plastic and is perhaps three times too large for his body. He hands the
stunned man a breakfast sandwich. They laugh together.
How did the fast-food wars become a frightfest? A while ago, we wrote about Ronald McDonald and coulrophobia—aka, fear of clowns. But in recent months, it's Burger King’s mascot
who's been giving people the willies. Check out the fear and loathing
that a quick blog search pulls up: "If I were to ever chop down a tree
to find the creepy King standing behind it with a nasty sandwich on a
silver platter ... well I would all of a sudden have a new use for my saw."
• "If I saw the Burger King standing at my bedroom window, behind a
tree or at the other end of a log, I think I can safely say I would freak out completely. I would never eat anything he gave me." • "If that sumbitch just appeared out of nowhere, I'd 1) mess myself; 2) kick him in the jimmy; 3) run like hell." • "The reason why I have guns
is in case I wake up and some creepy guy in a Burger King mask is
looking in my window." • "I had a nightmare last night that he was in
league with the gophers in my backyard on a mission to mock me and
destroy my lawn. He was standing at the back of my lot line with that
disturbing permagrin and sending forth squadrons of the creepy little vermin
to dig holes relentlessly." • "If someone stalked me at work, was
wearing a costume, wouldn't say a word and then tried to offer me a
sandwich, I'd call the police." • "It's just scarey [sic] to look at, especially when he pops up in all the wrong places." • "He's just a creepy S.O.B. I fear him like a clown."
But there's more to it than that. Using a ridiculous plastic head, and
an absurd situation, gives this ad an edgier mood—more ironic and
wink-wink—than that of your average fast food campaign. And that's the
goal. CPB thinks Burger King can differentiate itself with a hipper
vibe. Its competitors (namely McDonald's and Wendy's) have more
family-friendly images and thus couldn't (or wouldn't) go as far. More
Burger King marketing in this edgier mode: the Subservient Chicken Web site.
Meanwhile, when McDonald's tries to get hip, they show us kids playing
basketball on rollerblades. BK's stuff is just far more subversive. CPB
says the core market for fast food is 18- to 35-year-old males, and
these are "the most cynical" consumers out there. In setting the mood
for the campaign, CPB tries to keep in mind "the cool uncle—the uncle
who tells you how things really are, and lets you get away with a
little bit more than your mom and dad do."
Turns out that soldiers who have been
wounded in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are now facing combat once
they have arrived home -- except this time the battle is with credit agencies sent by the US Government according to this article in the Washington Post.
His hand had been blown off in Iraq, his body pierced by
shrapnel. He could not walk. Robert Loria was flown home for a long
recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he tried to bear up
against intense physical pain and reimagine his life's possibilities.
last thing on his mind, he said, was whether the Army had correctly
adjusted his pay rate -- downgrading it because he was out of the war
zone -- or whether his combat gear had been accounted for properly: his
Kevlar helmet, his suspenders, his rucksack.
But nine months after Loria was wounded, the Army garnished
his wages and then, as he prepared to leave the service, hit him with a
$6,200 debt. That was just before last Christmas, and several lawmakers
scrambled to help. This spring, a collection agency started calling. He
owed another $646 for military housing.
shocked," recalled Loria, now 28 and medically retired from the Army.
"After everything that went on, they still had the nerve to ask me for
Although Loria's problems may be striking on their own, the Army has
recently identified 331 other soldiers who have been hit with military
debt after being wounded at war. The new analysis comes as the United
States has more wounded troops than at any time since the Vietnam War,
with thousands suffering serious injury in Iraq or Afghanistan.
"This is a financial friendly fire," charged Rep. Thomas M.
Davis III (R-Va.), chairman of the House Committee on Government
Reform, which has been looking into the issue. "It's awful." Davis
called the failure systemic and said military "pay problems have been
an embarrassment all the way through" the war.
officials said they are in the process of forgiving debts for 99 of the
331 wounded soldiers, all now out of the military. The other cases have
not been resolved, said G. Eric Reid, director of the U.S. Army Finance
Command. Complex laws and regulations govern the cancellation of debts
once soldiers leave the service, he said.
the problem is that the government's computerized pay system is
designed to "maximize debt collection" and has operated without a way
to keep bills from going to the wounded, Reid said. In the past seven
months, a database of injured troops has been created to help prevent
that. Now, he said, the goal is to make "a conscious decision . . . on
the validity of that debt" in every case.
year, the Army reported that, in looking at a two-month period, it had
identified 129 wounded soldiers -- still active in the military -- who
had debts. Those were resolved. But the Army cannot pinpoint the full
number of wounded active-duty troops with debts.
House Government Reform Committee has for several years been looking at
pay problems among service members. Last spring, the committee asked
the Government Accountability Office to investigate debt among the
war's wounded and whether troops were being reported to collection and
credit agencies. The findings are due early next year.
efforts are being made to correct such problems, Rep. Todd R. Platts
(R-Pa.) said that for some troops, "we've so mismanaged their pay that
. . . we've sent debt notices while they're still in combat, in harm's
way." Hounding wounded troops is unfathomable, he said. "For even a
single soldier, this is unacceptable," he said.
It took intervention by Sens. Hillary
Clinton and Chuck Schumer, and Rep. Maurice Henchey (all Dems. from NY
where Loria lives) to intervene with the Pentagon to get this cleared
up, after Loria and his wife spent months dealing with this mess. The
man lost his hand and his biggest worry was losing his car or house
because of these extra payments, instead of worrying about the therapy
required to get better. That is so wrong! And
it should not take phone calls from Senators to get it through
someone's head that our wounded veterens deserve better treatment than
being treated like a deadbeat. For shame!
All of a piece, my dear. Recall that Bush and the Pentagon fought
vehemently to cut both combat pay and family survivor benefits right
after the invasion of Iraq. Remember that Bush and the Pentagon wanted
to slash veteran's benefits--particularly medical and disability--based
on the idea that the soldiers could just use the private sector like
everyone else. Remember that the Pentagon was billing wounded soldiers
for their meals while in hospital.
the fact that the Pentagon is sending collection agencies after wounded
soldiers is no surprise whatever. It's all part of how Bush has always
supported the troops.
They were talking about this as the "videoconference scandal" on CNN a
bit ago. "
Maybe people will start to believe what we've known for years.. bush
and his cohorts are lying sacks of shit. I guess it's safe to say that the Bush Admin has jumped the shark now. Was today's presidential videoconference with some soldiers in Iraq staged and scripted? Let's find out! Here's the White House version:
QUESTION: How were they selected, and are their comments to the president pre-screened, any questions or anything...
was billed as a conversation with U.S. troops, but the questions
President Bush asked on a teleconference call Thursday were
choreographed to match his goals for the war in Iraq and Saturday's
vote on a new Iraqi constitution.
"This is an important time," Allison Barber, deputy assistant
defense secretary, said, coaching the soldiers before Bush arrived.
....A brief rehearsal ensued. "OK, so let's just walk through this,"
Barber said. "Captain Kennedy, you answer the first question and you
hand the mike to whom?"
"Captain Smith," Kennedy said.
...."If the question comes up about partnering — how often do we
train with the Iraqi military — who does he go to?" Barber asked.
"That's going to go to Captain Pratt," one of the soldiers said.
"And then if we're going to talk a little bit about the folks in
Tikrit — the hometown — and how they're handling the political process,
who are we going to give that to?" she asked.
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Good morning, Mr. President. I'm Master Sergeant
Corine Lombardo, with the Headquarters 42nd Infantry Division and Task
Force Liberty, from Scotia, New York. First, I'd like to say that this is
a pleasure to speak with you again. We had the honor of your visit in New
York City on November 11th, in 2001, when you recognized our Rainbow
Soldiers for their recovery and rescue efforts at Ground Zero.
THE PRESIDENT:Were you there?
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: We began our fight against terrorism in the wake of
9/11, and we're proud to continue it here in North-Central New York --
THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you something. Were you there when I came to
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Yes, I was, Mr. President.
THE PRESIDENT:I thought you looked familiar.
SERGEANT LOMBARDO: Well, thank you.
THE PRESIDENT:I probably look familiar to you, too.
about drilling the troops to make sure their answers were suitably
soothing for His Bubbleness. As Atrios says, it's a sad day when the
Bush administration can't even produce a photo-op competently. That's
always been the one thing they were good at.
But Atrios, theres nothing new here:
a) the toppling of Sadam's statue,
b) the "Mission Accomplished" mess on the aircraft carrier (prolonged
circling offshore, putting the president in a flight suit, and blaming
the banner on the Navy),
c) tearing down the relief station in New Orleans after one photo-op,
d) turning off the power after another New Orleans photo op,
e) halting all relief flights in New Orleans during his visit to New Orleans,
f) putting "Made in USA" labels over a bunch of boxes labelled "Made in
China" for a photo op on American manufacturing prowess
This stuff is endless. The benefits to the
mainstream media of making a noise about this crap has finally exceeded
the benefits of not making a noise about it.
Now if they could ask the questions they wanted to ask, they'd all ask one of two questions:
During the October 11 edition of Fox News' Hannity & Colmes,
the network suggested that former Marine Corps captain Josh Rushing may
be a "traitor" for taking a job with Qatar-based news network Aljazeera.
While co-host Alan Colmes was promoting Rushing's upcoming appearance
on the show, saying that "a former U.S. Marine captain will be here to
defend his decision to take a job at a television network that is
frequently criticized for its anti-American coverage," a picture of
Rushing appeared on the screen, with text below it asking, "TRAITOR?"
Josh Rushing, former Marine captain and an accidental star of the movie Control Room made news of his own last week when he signed on to become the American face of
the controversial Arab news network Al Jazeera-International. Top U.S. officials,
including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, have repeatedly complained
that Al Jazeera's coverage is unfair or untrue. Yesterday, Rushing sat down with TIME for his first interview on why he
took the job and what the new network will cover.
The 33-year old Rushing came to fame in Control Room,
a movie critical
of media coverage of the Iraq war as a military public affairs officer
increasingly questions how the war was being portrayed by the Pentagon.
In the movie, Rushing is articulate and passionate in defending the
troops and never directly criticizes the war. And his honesty draws
viewers to his side—he describes his different reactions to seeing on
Al Jazeera images of Iraqi casualties one
evening and dead U.S. soldiers the next. "It upset me on a profound
level that I wasn't bothered as much the night before," Rushing
explains at one point in the movie. "It makes me hate war. But it
doesn't make me believe we can live in a world without war yet." He
admits—then and now—to being troubled by
the "politicization" of the military command and what he describes as
networks being "co-opted" by the Bush Administration.
One reason he wanted to leave the Marine Corps, says
Rushing, is that his superior officers had forbidden him to speak to the press. He
was torn between his loyalty to the Corps and his duty as a citizen. "I felt
like I had a platform and something to say. I thought it
would be a missed opportunity to say, take a public relations job in Houston,
which I was about to do."
The journalists at Al Jazeera-International, says Rushing, are
mix of nationalities and most in the Washington Bureau come from
established outlets like CNN, BBC, Britain's ITN and even Fox News.
Rushing thinks that
diversity will be part of Al Jazeera-International's appeal. "I'm an
American and proud of it. If that affects my objectivity, then so be
it," said Rushing.
Rushing will be based in Washington for Al Jazeera, which is backed by the
government of Qatar and headquartered its the capital, Doha. Al
Jazeera-International, which Rushing compares to the international versions of CNN and BBC,
plans to start broadcasting in the U.S. in the spring of 2006. Rushing will
likely do set pieces on issues, interviews and perhaps even have a 30-minute
international affairs show. The format is still being finalized, but Rushing
knows who he considers models: NBC's Tim Russert and Bob Costas, and National
Public Radio's Terry Gross. The target audience, Rushing says (while recording
our interview on his iPod) is global, English-speaking and
owns iPods— people who have turned off the TV news in favor of the Internet.
Rushing says he looked into the accusations about Al Jazeera
the news, and found nothing to stop him from joining. "I'm not
everything they do but the Arab media is a key part of national
security and how to
deal with Arab world. The network has long been the only one in the
with a point-counterpoint approach, where many others are
'point-point-point.' Al Jazeera, for example regularly has Israeli
spokespeople on." Rushing says the State Department and Pentagon have
both shown interest in working with the new network.
Rushing thinks part of his mission is to educate the American public on the reality of
war. "War in America has its own branding—it's the American flag, it's that Lee
Greenwood song, it's a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square. But Americans need to be aware of the consequences."
Like it or not, "Al Jazeera is the most
influential Arab voice outside of mosques. It is the largest shaper of ideology,"
says Rushing. And if American voices are not heard in that venue, then they have
no chance of having virtually any influence. "I've dedicated my adult life to
the health and security of the United States and to representing the best of
American ideas. I will maintain my credibility by continuing to do that."
Rushing may discover that being a Marine might have been the easy part.
Having framed houses for a living for several years early in my
professional life, I can say for sure that Dubya holds his hammer like
a pussy and wears his nail apron backwards. Stingray
WashPost Dana Milbank Link
"Does it worry you," NBC's Matt Lauer is asking him at a
construction-site interview in Louisiana, that prosecutors "seem to
have such an interest in Mr. Rove?"
Bush blinks twice. He touches his tongue to his lips. He blinks twice more. He starts to answer, but he stops himself.
not going to talk about the case," Bush finally says after a
three-second pause that, in television time, feels like a commercial
Only the president's closest friends and family know (if
anybody does) what he's really thinking these days, during Katrina
woes, Iraq violence, conservative anger over Harriet Miers, and legal
trouble for Bush's top political aide and two congressional GOP
leaders. Bush has not been viewed up close; as he took his eighth
post-Katrina trip to the Gulf Coast yesterday, the press corps has
accompanied him only once, because the White House says logistics won't
permit it. Even the interview on the "Today" show was labeled "closed
But this much could be seen watching the tape of NBC's
broadcast during Bush's 14-minute pre-sunrise interview, in which he
stood unprotected by the usual lectern. The president was a blur of
blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts. Bush has always been an
active man, but standing with Lauer and the serene, steady first lady,
he had the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere.
fidgeting clearly corresponded to the questioning. When Lauer asked if
Bush, after a slow response to Katrina, was "trying to get a second
chance to make a good first impression," Bush blinked 24 times in his
answer. When asked why Gulf Coast residents would have to pay back
funds but Iraqis would not, Bush blinked 23 times and hitched his
trousers up by the belt.
When the questioning turned to Miers,
Bush blinked 37 times in a single answer -- along with a lick of the
lips, three weight shifts and some serious foot jiggling. Laura Bush,
by contrast, delivered only three blinks and stood still through her
entire answer about encouraging volunteerism.
Perhaps the set
itself made Bush uncomfortable. He and his wife stood in casual attire,
wearing tool belts, in front of a wall frame and some Habitat for
Humanity volunteers in hard hats. ABC News noted cheekily of its rival
network's exclusive: "He did allow himself to be shown hammering
purposefully, with a jejune combination of cowboy swagger and yuppie
Perhaps, too, the president's body language
said nothing about his true state of mind. But the White House gave
little other information that might shed light on this. A White House
spokesman, Trent Duffy, entered the press cabin on Air Force One to
brief reporters at 1:58 p.m. He left two minutes later, after answering
the only question by saying, "We don't have anything to announce."
joked about his state of mind when Lauer asked Laura Bush about the
strain on her husband. "He can barely stand!" the president said,
interrupting. "He's about to drop on the spot." But the first lady had
a calming influence on the presidential wiggles. When Laura Bush spoke
about her husband's "broad shoulders," the president put his arm around
her -- and the swaying and shifting subsided.
The president, now
on more comfortable terrain, delivered a brief homily about "the
decency of others" and "how blessed we are to be an American." Through
the entire passage, he blinked only 12 times.
Did everyone notice how he NEVER answers a question? Lauer asks him why
our citizens have to pay back the rebuilding loan and the Iraqis don't
and he goes off on some tangent about how generous Americans are, blah,
blah, blah (yea, George, we're generous because your government has
decided to write off the poor and needy). He's such a pathetic, foolish
little man. My grandad had a saying (I'm paraphrasing), "I prefer an
evil man to a stupid man." Unlucky for us, George is both.
misery this clown and his creatures have brought to our country and the
world is legendary. If Fitzgerald is able to bring them down the
service he will have performed for his country will be of the same
calibre as some of the great patriots in our history. If this long,
hideous nightmare ends and we can go to work restoring our country,
then the lessons learned will serve us well in the future.
The Army's rules on sexual activity is not covered
in General Order No. 1A, but the chain of command instructed
married troops not to fool around, “and if you're not married, just
don't get caught.” The General Order does say that members of the
military can't drink alcohol or possess pornography, “which everyone
Iraq - If every male soldier here were having as much sex as he claims,
his female comrades would hardly have time to fight the war. Still, sex happens. And in Iraq, it happens a lot.
hardly a national secret that male and female soldiers have been
mingling for as long as both sexes have been in uniform. And, some
soldiers are wont to point out, some male warriors have been finding
comfort in each others' arms for as long as wars have been fought.
But with limited exceptions in other conflicts, there has
never been a time in which American men and women have served, side by
side and in such numbers, in units engaged in combat. And troops
here appear to be making the best of that situation.
Male and female soldiers in four Iraqi cities were eager to
speak about what goes on when uniforms come off, but as sex at the
front remains such a taboo with commanders, most asked for
confidentiality, noting their careers were at stake. In the plywood hallways lining the spaces between the steel
shipping containers that serve as a dormitory, of sorts, for most of
the enlisted soldiers of the 146th Transportation Company, soldiers
meet and mingle and sometimes find a partner.
It is, they note, only natural for the teens and
20-somethings who make up the majority of U.S. forces in Iraq to do
what civilians of their age back home are doing.
"They can try to keep us apart as much as they want, but they miss the
point," said one female enlisted soldier, a Utahn.
It's about being young and having sex. "And that's what people this age do."
spokesman said the military is not keeping statistics on the number of
women who return home from the battlefield because they become
pregnant. Though, in all commands, soldiers note, the military's
machinery does seem to understand that sex happens within the concrete
walls and razor wire that surround each forward operating base: Base
exchanges sell trashy lingerie, medics hand out condoms and, in some
places, have a supply of pregnancy test kits available.
sheer numbers, most male soldiers are not regularly having sex, despite
some male braggadocio to the contrary. But testosterone-induced swagger
being what it is, word of others' exploits tends to get around.
Male soldiers figure anywhere from a quarter to three-quarters of their
female comrades are accepting of sex while on deployment.
surprisingly, many female soldiers say those guesses are probably
low. "If you include all the girls who are having sex with girls,
it's much closer to every one of us," said one female enlisted soldier
from the 146th. The military still bans homosexual conduct,
that policy in a world where men berth with men and women berth with
women is a practical impossibility.
The same soldier boasts she's made no less than seven of her
comrades "feel a little less at war and a little more at home" since
arriving in Iraq about three months ago. Not everyone is simply trying to bolster morale, though.
girls here say, if you just flirt with a guy you can get whatever you
want from them," said Sgt. Emily Zike, one of two female soldiers with
the Utah-based 222nd Field Artillery. But such exploits have
consequences for female soldiers who do not make themselves available
for conquest. Zike, one of the senior soldiers in a barracks at Camp
comprising women from other units, says she walks to and from the mess
hall with her hat pulled low over her eyes. "You make eye contact with
them and they'll be all over you,"
says Zike, a resident of Indianapolis. "I try to look as unapproachable
as possible." Zike, who is married, feels fortunate to have
fallen in with the 222nd. "It's unlike any other battalion
I've ever been in," she says. "It's like I inherited 500 big brothers -
I've never seen that many happily married men in my
women, on the other hand, are considered "up for grabs" until they
demonstrate otherwise, at which point, many female soldiers bitterly
say, they are considered to be "bitches."
anonymously, female soldiers are reluctant to speak about sexual
harassment. "They won't demote you, because that would be too obvious,
but you can forget about being promoted, or even treated like a human
being, if you make those kinds of waves," said one female soldier in
Mosul. The other choice to being a bitch, writes Operation Iraqi
Freedom veteran Kayla Williams in her recently published memoir, is
"slut." "If you're a woman and a soldier, those are the only two choices you get," Williams writes in Love My Rifle More Than You: Young and Female in the U.S. Army.
About 15 percent of the Army is female. "And that whole 15 percent is trying to get past an old joke,"
Williams writes. "''What's the difference between a bitch and a slut?'"
A slut will have sex with anyone. A bitch has sex with anyone but you. "So if
she's nice, friendly, outgoing or chatty - she's a slut. If she's
distant or reserved or professional - she's a bitch," she writes.
But, one female Marine officer stationed in Ramadi notes, this is not a
problem unique to the military. "What a lot of these women don't
understand, because they are
young or inexperienced with sex before they came out here, is that it
is the same back home, too," she says. "Men want a girl to be easy, but
they don't respect a girl who is easy. So whether we're in Iraq, or
Salt Lake City, or New York or wherever, this is our reality.
"You have two choices: You can keep your pants on and be
miserable and be harassed or you can take your pants off and you'll
still get harassed, but you'll be a little less miserable."
Kayla Williams, a former Army sergeant and author
of a new book, talks frankly about an often taboo subject relating to
the American experience in Iraq: sex. As for male soldiers taking an interest in her (she
is unmarried), “I just couldn't believe that guys would hit on me when
I was the dirtiest that I ever was in life.” In her book, she describes
soldiers tossing rocks at her, aiming for her breasts, but she points
out that they “also throw rocks at each other's penises for fun. It was
very strange to see.”
Pat Robertson's Crazy Claim: Chavez Has Links To Osama How does a televangelist obtain so-called top secret intelligence that our own FBI/ CIA doesn't have?
Pat Robertson's obsession with Hugo Chavez gets funnier and funnier.
Now, he's saying that after 9/11 Chavez gave a million dollars to Osama
bin Laden and that Chavez is trying to buy nuclear materials from Iran:
truth is, this man is setting up a Marxist-type dictatorship in
Venezuela, he's trying to spread Marxism throughout South America, he's
negotiating with the Iranians to get nuclear material and he also sent
1.2 million dollars in cash to Osama bin Laden right after 9/11,"
"I apologized [for, I assume, calling for
Chavez's head] and I said I will be praying for him, but one day we
will be staring nuclear weapons and it won't be (Hurricane) Katrina
facing New Orleans, it's going to be a Venezuelan nuke," Robertson
"So my suggestion was, isn't it a lot cheaper sometimes
to deal with these problems before you have to have a big war," he
added. Asked how he had obtained information on Chavez giving money to
bin Laden, Robertson said: "Sources that came to me. That's what I was
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez has a new best friend: television evangelist Pat Robertson.
I love "Sources that came to me." -- you
know, Pat Robertson's extensive sources in the intelligence community
that told him and no one else ... pure gold.
But Mr. Robertson's slide from the mountain peak of evangelical
pontification was not because of his politics but because of his mouth.
When his words were not ill-advised, they were moronic; when not
callow, downright loopy, as in: predicting God would curse Orlando with
a hurricane if gay-pride events were celebrated at Disney World;
wishing a nuclear bomb would be dropped on the State Department; and
suggesting that America had it coming on Sept. 11 because God had been
insulted "at the highest level of our government."
Anyway, on the
subject of Robertson's apparent disdain for all forms of government to
the left of the Libertarian Party, I wish just once someone would ask
him something like, "Hey Pat, you know how you hate socialism and all,
did you ever notice that that guy who founded the religion you're
supposed to represent, was kind of, you know, a big fucking socialist?"
not even just talking about the obvious stuff that everyone brings up
like the time the rich guy asked Jesus what he should do the get
eternal life and Jesus told him, "Give all your money to the poor and
19 Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit
adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud
not, honor thy father and mother. 20 And he answered and said unto him,
Master, all these have I observed from my youth. 21 Then Jesus
beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go
thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou
shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow
above is often commented on ... it immediately precedes Christ's
well-known dictum "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a
needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God." Less
well known, however, is that in the later books of the New Testament
there are direct descriptions of the organization of the early
Christian community that sound pretty damn socialistic. Take for
instance this quote from Acts:
was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses
sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at
the apostles' feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need.
There was a Levite, a native of Cyprus, Joseph, to whom the apostles
gave the name Barnabas (which means "son of encouragement"). He sold a
field that belonged to him, then brought the money, and laid it at the
apostles' feet. (Acts 4:34-37)
"It was distributed to each as any had need"-- Someone should ask Pat Robertson if that reminds him of another famous quotation...
never understood why Christians of Robertson's ilk are hell-bent on
using every little line of every weird old myth in the Old Testament
literally, but when it comes to the actual words of the founder of their
religion and the material dealing with the structure of early Christian
society, it's, "Well, you know, Jesus liked to talk in parables..."
If Rove told the FBI agents the same story that he and McClellan were
press, then he might have set himself up for a felony charge of lying
to a federal law enforcement official. And if he lied, then he need not
have been under oath to have committed a crime.
intriguing possibility in the leaks case brings back the baroque
personality of right-wing pressroom denizen Jeff Gannon, born James
The New York Times reported
Friday that in addition to possible charges directly involving the
revelation of Valerie Wilson's identity and related perjury or
Fitzgerald is exploring other possible crimes. Specifically, according
to the Times, the special counsel is seeking to determine whether
anyone transmitted classified material or information to persons who
were not cleared to receive it -- which could be a felony under the
1917 Espionage Act.
such classified item might be
the still-classified State Department document, written by an official
of State's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, concerning the CIA's
decision to send former ambassador Joseph Wilson to look into
allegations that Iraq had tried to purchase uranium from Niger.
Someone leaked that INR document -- which inaccurately indicated that
Wilson's assignment was the result of lobbying within CIA by his wife,
Valerie -- to right-wing media outlets, notably including Gannon's
former employers at Talon News. On Oct. 28, 2003, Gannon posted an
interview with Joseph Wilson on the Talon Web site, in which he posed
the following question: "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?"
later hinted, rather
coyly, that he had learned about the INR memo from an article in the
Wall Street Journal. He also told reporters last February that FBI
agents working for Fitzgerald had questioned him about where he got the
memo. At the very least, that can be interpreted as confirming today's
Times report about the direction of the case.
James Guckert's return to the scene is an interesting twist. The
man-whore-in-the-White-House story never really got any play in
the mainstream press. It's going to be hard NOT to talk about it if he turns out to be a major witness.
e Pluribus Media published an
analysis of Gannon's contradictory statements on the memo
Missouri Spies on Drivers Through Cell Phones The state of Missouri has begun a program to track individual movements on highways through cell phones.
Department of Transportation will spend $3 million annually on a
program to monitor the movements of individuals on highways via their
cell phones -- without their knowledge or consent.
a Canadian company, developed the system which triangulates the
location of each driver by monitoring the signal sent from the cell
phone as it is handed off from one cell tower to the next. Each phone
is uniquely identified and the information is compared with a highway
map to record on what road each motorist is traveling at any given
time. The system also records the speed of each vehicle, opening up
another potential ticketing technology.
Missouri rejected the
simpler solution used by other states of embedding sensors in the
pavement that record how many vehicles pass over a stretch of pavement
without uniquely identifying them. Missouri wanted a program that
required less equipment.
"The traffic community has been really
excited for quite some time about the possibility of being able to use
cell phones to track vehicles," Valerie Briggs, program manager for
transportation operations at the American Association of State Highway
and Transportation Officials told the Associated Press. "Almost
everyone has a cell phone, so you have a lot of potential data points,
and you can track data almost anywhere on the whole (road) system."
pilot program in Baltimore only tracks Cingular cell phones on 1,000
miles of road. AirSage Inc. has contracted with Sprint to spy on
motorists in Norfolk, Virginia and Atlanta and Macon, Georgia.
1. It is always possible to find a
parking spot directly outside or opposite the building you are
2. When paying for a taxi, don't look at your wallet as you
take out a note. Just grab one out at random and hand it over.
It will always be the exact fare.
3. Television news bulletins usually contain a story that
affects you personally at the precise moment it's aired.
4. Creepy music (or satanic chanting) coming from a
graveyard should always be closely investigated.
5. Any lock can be picked with a credit card or paperclip
in seconds. UNLESS it's the door to a burning building with a
6. If you decide to start dancing in the street, everyone
you bump into will know all the steps.
7. All bombs are fitted with electronic timing devices with
large red digital displays so you know exactly when they are
going to explode.
8. Should you wish to pass yourself off as a German
officer, it will not be necessary to learn to speak German.
Simply speaking English with a German accent will do.
Similarly, when they are alone, all German soldiers
prefer to speak English to each other.
9. Once applied, lipstick will never rub off. Even while
10. The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window of any
building in Paris.
11. Any police officer about to
retire from the force will more often than not die on their
last day (especially if their family have planned a party).
(Caveat: Detectives can only solve a case after they
have been suspended from duty).
12. Getaway cars never start first go. But all cop cars do. (They will also slide to a
dramatic stop in the midst of a crime scene).
13. If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate
any strange noises wearing their most revealing underwear.
14. On a police stake-out, the action will only ever take
place when food is being consumed and scalding hot coffees are
perched precariously on the dashboard . .
15. All grocery shopping involves the purchase of French
loaves which will be placed in open brown paper bags (Caveat:
when said bags break, only fruit will spill out).
16. Cars never need fuel (unless they're involved in a
17. If you are heavily outnumbered in a fight involving
martial arts, your opponents will wait patiently to attack you
one by one by dancing around you in a threatening manner until
you have defeated their predecessor.
18. If a microphone is turned on it will immediately
19. Guns are like disposable razors. If you run out of
bullets, just throw the gun away. you will always find another
20. If being chased through a city you can usually take
cover in a passing St Patrick's Day parade - at any time of
I wonder what would happen if we sent some of these to our friendly, progressive, democratic leaders in Congress and the Senate!
BOSTON Link --Gregg Miller mortgaged his home and maxed out his
credit cards to mass produce his invention -- prosthetic testicles for
What started 10 years ago with an experiment on an unwitting
Rottweiler named Max has turned into a thriving mail-order business.
And on Thursday night Miller's efforts earned him a dubious yet
strangely coveted honor: the Ig Nobel Prize for medicine.
my parents thought I was an idiot when I was a kid, this is a great
honor," he said. "I wish they were alive to see it."
Nobels, given at Harvard University by Annals of Improbable Research
magazine, celebrate the humorous, creative and odd side of science.
Miller has sold more than 150,000 of his Neuticles, more than
doubling his $500,000 investment. The silicone implants come in
different sizes, shapes, weights and degrees of firmness.
The product's Web site says Neuticles allow a pet "to retain his natural look" and "self esteem."
Although the Ig Nobels are not exactly prestigious, many recipients are, like Miller, happy to win.
scientists -- no matter what they're doing, good or bad -- never get
any attention at all," said Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of
Some, like Benjamin Smith of the University
of Adelaide in Australia, who won the biology prize, actually nominated
their own work. "I've been a fan of the Ig Nobels for a while," he said.
team studied and catalogued different scents emitted by more than 100
species of frogs under stress. Some smelled like cashews, while others
smelled like licorice, mint or rotting fish.
He recalled getting
strange looks when he'd show up at zoos asking to smell the frogs.
"I've been turned away at the gate," he said.
This year's other Ig Nobel winners include:
PHYSICS: Since 1927, researchers at the University of Queensland in
Australia have been tracking a glob of congealed black tar as it drips
through a funnel -- at a rate of one drop every nine years.
PEACE: Two researchers at Newcastle University in England monitored the
brain activity of locusts as they watched clips from the movie "Star
-- CHEMISTRY: An experiment at the University of Minnesota
was designed to prove whether people can swim faster or slower in syrup
than in water.
The Ig Nobel for literature went to the Nigerians
who introduced millions of e-mail users to a "cast of rich characters
... each of whom requires just a small amount of expense money so as to
obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled."
The Bush suggestion at his press conference Monday that the military
was the public health weapon of choice to combat bird flu is getting a
lot of press, some of it pretty negative. (Picture from Jesus' General)
CNN and other newspapers (e.g., The Boston Globe)
quoted Dr. Irwin Redlener, associate dean of Columbia University's
Mailman School of Public Health and director of its National Center for
Disaster Preparedness, that Bush's suggestion was "dangerous." Pretty
strong words for an academic.
the military a law enforcement role would be an "extraordinarily
Draconian measure" that would be unnecessary if the nation had built
the capability for rapid vaccine production, ensured a large supply of
anti-virals like Tamiflu and not allowed the degradation of the public
"The translation of this is martial law in the United States," Redlener said.
The extreme right wing (libertarian) Cato Institute also was critical:
Gene Healy, a senior editor at the conservative Cato Institute, said
Bush would risk undermining "a fundamental principle of American law"
by tinkering with the act, which does not hinder the military's ability
to respond to a crisis.
"What it does is set a high bar for the
use of federal troops in a policing role," he wrote in a commentary on
the group's Web site. "That reflects America's traditional distrust of
using standing armies to enforce order at home, a distrust that's
Healy said soldiers are not trained as police
officers, and putting them in a civilian law enforcement role "can
result in serious collateral damage to American life and liberty."
He might add it is also fruitless. If you live in community or region X
and the rumor is loose you will be quarantined, a good proportion of
your neighbors will head for the hills before you can say "Karl Rove."
The hammer will fall (as it did in Katrina) on those who didn't get the
word or couldn't leave. Historically "quarantines" of this type have
translated some of the worst nativist instincts of our country into
disproportionate burdens on minorities and immigrants. Expect the same
The lesson Bush learned from Katrina was that here was yet
another instance with a military solution. The lesson most of the rest
of us learned from Katrina was that the Bush Administration was a bunch
of incompetent clowns, who, in Lyndon Johnson's wonderful description
about Gerald Ford, "couldn't dump shit out of a boot if they had it by
By the way---former President Gerald Ford did have the integrity and
character to risk all in protecting Americans from flu. He
did the RIGHT thing with the 1976 swine flu vaccination campaign. It
was a political disaster----but he was trying to protect Americans.
Most importantly, using the military is a phony terror. First,
Bush-league has screwed up everything he's touched; why should this be
any different? Second, the problems with using the military to enforce
quarantines are the same as they were in 1918: one, most of the
soldiers are overseas; two, finding enough soldiers who aren't sick to
do the job. In the end, I can see Bush-league becoming completely
irrelevant during and after a pandemic just as easily as I can see a
totalitarian regime on the other side. The only certain upside I can
see is if the pandemic hits just before next year's elections.
Did anybody notice what happened to the US Constitution? It seems to have gone missing!
RENO Link -- A Washington state woman was bounced
from a Southwest Airlines flight in Reno for wearing a T-shirt with the
pictures of President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney and
the F-word.The shirt was a play on words taken from the movie
"Meet the Fockers." It had the title of the movie, with the last word
changed to a curse word, according to KRNV-TV in Reno.Lorrie
Heasley said she plans to press a civil-rights complaint against the
airline over Tuesday's action at Reno-Tahoe International Airport.
Heasley said the airline offered to let her continue her flight if she
were to change her shirt, which she refused to do. "I didn't
feel that I should have to change my shirt, because we live in the
United States, and it's freedom of speech and it was based on the movie
'The Fockers,' and I didn't think it should have offended anyone,"
Heasley told KRNV.Southwest officials said other passengers
complained about her shirt, and that rules prohibit offensive
clothing.But the American Civil Liberties Union said Heasley's T-shirt
is "protected" free speech under the Constitution.
The big question is "Does the ACLU have enough lawyers, to keep up with those 'Fockers' in the White House?"
Dares the White House to veto it. Forty-three Republican Senators joined forty-three Democratic Senators to sign the bill:
...Senate GOP leaders had managed to fend off the
detainee language this summer, saying the Congress should not constrain
the executive branch's options. But last night, 89 senators sided with
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former prisoner of war in Vietnam who led
the fight for the interrogation restrictions. McCain said military
officers have implored Congress for guidelines, adding that he mourns
"what we lose when by official policy or by official negligence we
allow, confuse or encourage our soldiers to forget . . . that which is
our greatest strength: that we are different and better than our
The Senate's 90 to 9 vote suggested a new boldness among Republicans to challenge the White House on war policy.The amendment by McCain, one of Bush's most significant backers at the
outset of the Iraq war, would establish uniform standards for the
interrogation of people detained by U.S. military personnel,
prohibiting "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment while they are in
U.S. custody...In its statement on the veto threat, the White House said the
measure would "restrict the president's authority to protect Americans
effectively from terrorist attack and bringing terrorists to justice."
But as new allegations of abuse surface, the chorus of McCain supporters is broadening.
McCain read a letter on the Senate floor from former secretary of state
Colin L. Powell, who endorsed the amendment and said it would help
address "the terrible public diplomacy crisis created by Abu Ghraib."
Powell joins a growing group of retired generals and admirals who blame
prison abuse on "ambiguous instructions," as the officers wrote in a
recent letter. They urged restricting interrogation methods to those
outlined in the U.S. Army Field Manual on Intelligence Interrogation,
the parameters that McCain's measure would establish.
McCain cited a letter he received from Army Capt. Ian Fishback, who
has fought in Afghanistan and Iraq. "Over 17 months he struggled to get
answers from his chain of command to a basic question: What standards
apply to the treatment of enemy detainees?"
McCain said. "But he found
no answers. . . . The Congress has a responsibility to answer this
Despite his victory last night, McCain has two major obstacles
remaining: House GOP leaders object to attaching it to a spending bill,
and Bush could veto it. However, senior GOP Senate aides said they
believe the differences could be bridged, either by tweaking the
measure or by changing the field manual.
The Maryland and Virginia senators voted for the McCain amendment...
Sen. Joseph R. Biden
Jr. (Del.) was among several senior Democrats who told reporters that
Bush risks a further erosion in public support unless he talks more
openly about the challenges in Iraq and realistic plans to overcome
them. "It's time the president tell us how he plans on getting us out
of the hole he's dug us so deeply into," Biden said.
It used to be that to claim self-defence you had to have tried removing
yourself from the threat by the simple act of running away/backing off
(unless you were at home) if running off was feasible. Well now you don't have to do that;
you can "stand your ground". The most likely effect of this new law is to legalise gunfights.
Clark Ramm sees shades of the Wild West in Florida's new law giving
greater legal protections to people who shoot or use other deadly force
when threatened or attacked.
"It seems like everybody ought to be
packing a piece," said Ramm, a visitor from Ukiah, Calif., who found
out about the law Monday from a gun control group handing out leaflets
at Miami International Airport. "I don't know if that's the right thing
The leaflets begin with the words "An Important Notice to
Florida Visitors" in bold red type by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun
"Do not argue unnecessarily with local people," it
says. "If someone appears to be angry with you, maintain to the best of
your ability a positive attitude, and do not shout or make threatening
Good for the the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence,
which was the gun control group handing out the flyers. Nothing says
"we're serious" louder than taking aim at a state's tourism industry.
Obviously Florida is super-vulnerable on that front. Jebby complains loudly:
"It's pure, unadulterated politics," Bush said last week of the Brady Campaign's tactics. "Shame on them."
Hell yeah. 'cause kissing the NRA's ass isn't about politics at all, right Jebby?
"We make kids wear helmets and knee pads," Dr. Goldstein said. "But no one thinks about protecting the crotch."
A raft of new studies suggest that cyclists, particularly men, should be careful which bicycle seats they choose.
studies add to earlier evidence that traditional bicycle saddles, the
kind with a narrow rear and pointy nose, play a role in sexual
Some saddle designs are more damaging than others, scientists say.
But even so-called ergonomic seats, to protect the sex organs, can be
harmful, the research finds. The dozen or so studies, from
peer-reviewed journals, are summarized in three articles in September's
Journal of Sexual Medicine.
In a bluntly worded editorial with
the articles, Dr. Steven Schrader, a reproductive health expert who
studies cycling at the National Institute for Occupational Safety and
Health, said he believed that it was no longer a question of "whether
or not bicycle riding on a saddle causes erectile dysfunction."
Instead, he said in an interview, "The question is, What are we going to do about it?"
studies, by researchers at Boston University and in Italy, found that
the more a person rides, the greater the risk of impotence or loss of
libido. And researchers in Austria have found that many mountain bikers
experience saddle-related trauma that leads to small calcified masses
inside the scrotum.
This does not mean that people should stop cycling, Dr. Schrader
said. And those who ride bikes rarely or for short periods need not
But riders who spend many hours on a bike each week should
be concerned, he said. And he suggested that the bicycle industry
design safer saddles and stop trivializing the risks of the existing
A spokesman for the industry said it was aware of the issue and added that "new designs are coming out."
people are not riding long enough to damage themselves permanently,"
said the spokesman, Marc Sani, publisher of Bicycle Retailer and
Industry News. "But a consumer's first line of defense, for their
enthusiasm as well as sexual prowess, is to go to a bicycle retailer
and get fitted properly on the bike."
Researchers have estimated
that 5 percent of men who ride bikes intensively have developed severe
to moderate erectile dysfunction as a result. But some experts believe
that the numbers may be much higher because many men are too
embarrassed to talk about it or fail to associate cycling with their
problems in the bedroom.
The link between bicycle saddles and
impotence first received public attention in 1997 when a Boston
urologist, Dr. Irwin Goldstein, who had studied the problem, asserted
that "there are only two kinds of male cyclists - those who are
impotent and those who will be impotent."
Cyclists became angry
and defensive, he said, adding: "They said cycling is healthy and could
not possibly hurt you. Sure you can get numb. But impotent? No way."
bicycle industry listened, said Joshua Cohen, a physical therapist in
Chapel Hill, N.C., and the author of "Finding the Perfect Bicycle
Seat." Manufacturers designed dozens of new saddles with cut outs,
splits in the back and thick gel padding to relieve pressure on tender
Scientists also stepped up their research. Since
2000, a dozen studies have been carried out using sophisticated tools
to see exactly what happens when vulnerable human anatomy meets the
The area in question is the perineum, between
the external genitals and the anus. "When you sit on a chair you never
put weight on the perineum," Dr. Schrader said. "But when you sit on a
bike, you increase pressure on the perineum" sevenfold.
a sheath in the perineum, called Alcock's canal, contains an artery and
a nerve that supply the penis with blood and sensation. The canal runs
along the side of a bone, Dr. Goldstein said, and when a cyclist sits
hard on a narrow saddle, the artery and the nerve are compressed. Over
time, a reduction of blood flow can mean that there is not enough
pressure to achieve full erection.
In women, Dr. Goldstein said,
the same arteries and nerves engorge the clitoris during sexual
intercourse. Women cyclists have not been studied as much, he added,
but they probably suffer the same injuries.
Researchers are using a variety of methods to study the compression
caused by different saddles. One method involves draping a special pad
with 900 pressure sensors over the saddle. The distribution of the
rider's weight is then registered on a computer. In another technique,
sensors are placed on the rider's penis to measure oxygen flowing
through arteries beneath the skin. Blood flow is detected by other
sensors that send a "swoosh" sound to a Doppler machine.
The research shows that when riders sit on a classic saddle with a
teardrop shape and a long nose, a quarter of their body weight rests on
the nose, putting pressure on the perineum. The amount of oxygen
reaching the penis typically falls 70 percent to 80 percent in three
minutes. "A guy can sit on a saddle and have his penis oxygen levels
drop 100 percent but he doesn't know it," Mr. Cohen said. "After half
an hour he goes numb."
Dr. Goldstein added, "Numbness is your body telling you something is wrong."
ergonomic saddles have splits in the back or holes in the center to
relieve pressure on the perineum. But this may make matters worse: the
ergonomic saddles have smaller surface areas, so the rider's weight
presses harder on less saddle, Dr. Schrader said. The perineum may not
escape injury because its arteries run laterally and they are not
directly over the cutouts. The arteries can come under more pressure
when they come into contact with the cutouts' edges.
on saddles can also increase pressure to the perineum, the studies
found, because the material can migrate and form clumps in all the
Just as many smokers do not get lung cancer,
many cyclists will never develop impotence from bicycle seats, the
scientists said. What makes one person more vulnerable than another is
not known. Body weight seems to matter: heavier riders exert more
pressure on saddles. Variations in anatomy may also make a difference.
Goldstein said he often saw patients who were stunned to learn that
riding a bicycle led to their impotence. One middle-aged man rode in a
special cycling event to honor a friend and has been impotent since. A
28-year-old who came in for testing, Dr Goldstein said, showed the
penile blood flow of a 60-year-old. A college student who had competed
in rough cycling sports was unable to achieve an erection until
microvascular surgery restored penile blood flow.
"We make kids wear helmets and knee pads," Dr. Goldstein said. "But no one thinks about protecting the crotch."
Supreme Court Nominee Described As Very Loyal To The President
Miers, at the time staff secretary, is seen on Aug. 6, 2001, briefing
President Bush at his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Someone at MSNBC
is a wee bit subversive. Accompanying this AP article about Miers was this picture and caption:
Among a host of qualities that White House
counsel Harriet Ellan Miers shares with new Supreme Court Chief Justice
John Roberts is the apparent lack of any personal legal agenda. Known
for an exacting, no-nonsense style, Miers — like Roberts — tends to
avoid the limelight.
described by White House chief of staff Andrew Card as “one of the
favorite people in the White House,” Miers has been there for President
Bush at every turn for more than a decade.
was Bush’s personal lawyer in Texas, took on the thankless job of
cleaning up the Texas Lottery when he was governor, and followed him to
Washington to serve as staff secretary, the person who controls every
piece of paper that crosses the president’s desk.
In 2004, Bush appointed her White House counsel, calling her “a
talented lawyer whose great integrity, legal scholarship and grace have
long marked her as one of America’s finest lawyers.” He articulated his
high regard for her more memorably during a 1996 awards ceremony when
he called her “a pit bull in size 6 shoes.”
Gee, August 6, 2001. I wonder what could be on the cover sheet of that
memo Bush is pretending to read. Maybe it was, oh, I don't know... BIN LADEN DETERMINED TO STRIKE IN US
2001. Staff Secretary.
2005. Justice, United States Supreme Court.
Never let it be said that the GOP is not in favor of affirmative action. Priceless.
Let me get this straight. You mean to tell me that they had a
rascist, compulsive gambler sitting as Chairman of a private,
right-wing, home-schooling company? With a beautiful little African-American girl on its home page...
MCLEAN, Va., Oct. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- K12 Inc. today announced that
William J. Bennett has resigned as an employee, and as Chairman and
member of the company's Board of Directors, effective immediately. K12
Inc. said the Board accepted his resignation, thanking him for his
contributions to the company. K12 Inc. said that it has no
relationship with, or involvement in, Dr. Bennett's radio program. The
opinions expressed by Dr. Bennett on his radio program are his and his
Dr. Bennett, in a separate statement said: "I am in the midst of a
political battle based on a coordinated campaign willfully distorting
my views, my record, and my statements. Given the controversy
surrounding the remarks I made on my radio show, I am stepping down
from my positions at K12, so that neither the mission of the company,
nor its children, are affected, distracted, or harmed in any way."
a coordinated campaign willfully distorting my views, my record, and my statements.
how they hooted at Hillary when she said, correctly, that there was a
vast right-wing conspiracy to bring down her husband? I'm sure Tweety
will demand that Bennett provide proof of this coordinated campaign
this very evening.
I suppose I could say that those ill-advised coments were the most expensive mistake Bennett's made since he lost $500,000 at the Bellagio, but that would be ridiculous and morally reprehensible.
A Newly Electric Green – Sustainable Energy, Resources and Design
Power generation based on the "motion of the ocean" offers
significant long-term value, and arguably could eventually displace
solar and wind generation for large-scale renewable energy projects.
Hydrokinetic power (encompassing wave, current and tidal power) doesn't
have the "intermittency"
problems facing solar and wind, nor are there as many issues about
ruined views and overrun landscape. Costs remain high, however. There
are numerousoceanpowerprojects in testing,
and while most show promise, I don't believe we've yet seen the real
breakout project putting ocean power at the front of the renewable
The latest contender is the "Manchester Bobber,"
an ocean power platform design from the University of Manchester. The
up-and-down motion of the water surface drives a generator; a full-size
unit should be able to produce a mean power output of around 5
[Professor Peter Stansby, co-inventor of
the Manchester Bobber :] "Energy from the sea may be extracted in many
ways and harnessing the energy from the bobbing motion of the sea is
not a new idea. It is the hydrodynamics of the float employed by the
Manchester Bobber that provides the vital connection to generating
The devices unique features include:
The vulnerable mechanical and
electrical components are housed in a protected environment well above
sea level, which makes for ease of accessibility. All mechanical and electrical
components are readily available, resulting in high reliability
compared to other devices, with a large number of more sophisticated
components. The Manchester Bobber will respond to waves from any direction without requiring adjustment.The ability to maintain and
repair specific 'Bobber' generators (independent of others in a linked
group) means that generation supply to the network can continue
One interesting proposal
is that the Bobbers be built on decommissioned oil rigs. Aside from
reducing the construction costs, this idea has a significant symbolic
Phase 1 tests of a 1/100th working model completed early this year,
and Phase 2 tests of a 1/10th scale version are now underway. The
university group is working on a preliminary design of the full-size
version, and hope to have a time frame for construction by the end of
I believe that hydro energy production is even more promising than wind
or solar because it is more concentrated energy source. It is also a
steady source of power as opposed to the intermittancy of wind and
solar. Another benefit is the proximity of large urban centres to large
bodies of water.
Juan Cole gets all hot and bothered over Stephie's Sunday revelation.
The implication is that Bush and Cheney took part in discussions with
Karl Rove, Lewis Libby and other administration spinmeisters about what
to do about that pesky Joseph Wilson IV, former acting ambassador to
Iraq who had stood up to Saddam in fall of 1990. So the Bush team
ordered an investigation into Wilson after his editorial in the NY
The whole point of Bushism is to punish dissidence within the ranks
immediately and ruthlessly. Wilson, a former State Department official,
had to be destroyed for having stepped out of line. It didn't matter to them that Wilson had been proved right. In their
world, you only lose if the public sees the truth. The mere discovery
of the truth in some obscure quarter is irrelevant. They had to prevent
the public from seeing Wilson's truth.
Rove and Libby were chosen as the hatchet men who would actually talk
to the reporters and put the information around. But of course Bush and
Cheney were part of the deliberations that set the plan in motion. It
involved outing a career CIA operative (and likely getting her contacts
in the third world killed). It was very serious business. Bush would
have had to have signed off on it, at least orally.
I have long been frustrated by the US press's tendency to talk about
Bush's cabinet officers as though they were independent agents, and to
put Bush on a pedestal. Let me just follow through on some further
assertions in the spirit of Stephanopoulos's remark.
It is fruitless to speculate about who dissolved the Iraqi army
in May of 2003, and why. (This move contributed to the rise of the
Sunni Arab guerrilla movement). Bush did it!
Who ordered the Marines, against their better judgement, to launch a
reprisal attack on Fallujah after four Western private security guards
were killed and their bodies desecrated there? Bush did it!
Who authorized torture at Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib? Bush did it!
Who appointed Michael Brown, a man with no experience in emergency management, head of FEMA? Bush did it!
Who let Bin Laden escape from Tora Bora? Bush did it!
Who completely destroyed the fiscal health of the US government and
forced us into massive debt, squandering Clinton's surplus and
endangering social security? Bush did it!
Bush is the president. He makes the decisions. If there has been a major bad decision, it has been his.
Who outed Valerie Plame as an undercover CIA operative? Bush did it!
As long as the Republicans control both houses of congress, Bush is
probably safe. I'm not sure a special counsel like Fitzpatrick could by
himself bring down a president. But if the Democrats can take the
Senate in 2006, this scandal could turn into an impeachment trial.
Urban Survival And The Gulf Of Mexico Oil Situation
The fact is that capitalism drove the GDPs and with it, the demand for
oil & gas, all they way up the Hubbard peak. On the way down, it
is no longer part of the solution-- it is part of the problem.
Reporting from The Oil Drum already shows
that the situation is worse than the MSM have admitted (though they're
starting to come around). The situation is still very murky, and more hard data is needed. But don't trust the happy
talk, especially after you eyeball these numbers.
Let me sum up: Hurricane Ivan destroyed 7 platforms and 100 piplines and 0 rigs.
Katrina & Rita destroyed (so far) 90 platforms and (who knows) pipelines and 100(?) rigs.
There are typically around 130 rigs working in the Gulf. Today, there are 23.
There will be virtually no new exploration in the Gulf for the next
year or so, assuming everything stays the way it is right now. Plus,
with the rigs left in operation, there are several countries bidding to
have them work in their waters. Guess who wins? Highest bidder.
Gasoline was up $0.40 at my test location just since last night.
Expectations are that it will rise over $1.00 by Sunday night. Two
years ago, I could fill my SUV (26 gal tank) for $28. Today, it cost me
$28 to fill my buzzie with a 10 gal tank.
Service companies are strained to the max. There is very little
equipment available. Dive equipment, generators, winches and the whole
lot were destroyed in the storms. Rentals are going out all over the
world to get the equipment to do the job. Right now, everything is on
an even keel, but one more surprise could put the whole remediation
effort over the edge, as well.
It's not only bad, it's very bad.
We may not take too long getting there...nobody likes lines any
more than you do. Now let me add it up: A tenuous political situation in DC, New Orleans
clusterfibbit, quakes pending west, and oil outages on the horizon.
That means rationing and restrictions on travel.
It's pretty funny how "free market" folks
keep talking about "demand destruction" as a market-driven solution to
this energy crisis. Sure, an expensive product becomes cheaper as it
becomes less popular. But for most Americans gasoline and electricity
are not luxuries--they are necessities like food and water. "Demand
destruction" means that some people cannot drive to work or heat their
I'm kind of in-between on this question. On the one hand, it really
bugs me that poor folks are having to scramble to deal with this change
while rich folks can go on filling their SUVs without a second thought.
On the other hand, though, there's a middle ground between
driving as normal and losing jobs: There's carpooling. There's mass
transit. There's bicycling and walking. There's moving closer to
work. Many of these strategies are more available to poor folks (who often don't have to sell a house before they can move closer to work, for example).
The best we can hope for is that things get bad in the right
way: a shock, so that people decide early to make these changes, and
then a period where things get a bit better to give them time to make
the changes (but not so long that the early adopters feel like they've
made a mistake). Thrashing about with prices high enough to crush the
poor followed by six months where prices are cheap again, combined with
politicians saying things will go back to normal, would cause worse
What we need are aggressive government-sponsered programs in
coal-gasification and Fischer-Tropsch synfuels (or similar
"alternative" but demonstrated technologies). The "market forces"
won't make this happen becuase they are afraid that LNG imports will
make coal-gasification uncompetitive.
There is this myth in America that all great technologies were
developed without government help. The reality is that the most
successful technologies in the fuels and petrochemicals were developed
during WWII with aggressive government help-- fluidized cat-cracking
for high octane gasoline and synthetic rubber being just two examples.
For personal travel - plug-in hybrids are the best way to curtail
transportation demand for gasoline and diesel in the medium term (5-10
yrs). Fuel cells for autos still seem to dominate the popular press
and US auto makers as the likely solution, but the technical
improvements necessary to make plug-in hybrids in real numbers are far
less of a challenge. Plus beefing up the US electrical grid is a lot
less daunting than thinking about building a hydrogen distribution
The US would be better off using North American coal reserves to
generate electricity (and thus displace natural gas consumption) than
using the F-T process to generate diesel. I read in the papers a few
days ago that GE and Bechtel agreed to begin engineering and design for
a 600-megawatt coal-gasification plant in Ohio - finally! This is by
far the largest plant to date. Coal gasification doesn't help much
with our global warming problem but it greatly reduces particulate,
sulfur dioxide and heavy metals emissions. In the Pacific NW
and much of their air pollution and the mercury in their tuna come from
coal fired electric generation plants in China. I wonder what the
cost-benefit calculation would look like to pay the Chinese to replace
their existing plants with coal gasification plants. GE would be all
The President needs to take a step beyond conservation and put
significant DOE money for plug-in hybrid development. His oil company
constituency might not be thrilled, but it wins point on the fuel cost
/ national security fronts.
By the way, the WSJ had a story today about how major oil companies are
holding down the price of gasoline, because of fears of a political
backlash. However, it is having a very negative effect on independent
dealers. I think that I saw this in effect earlier this week.
An independent on one side of the street had gasoline at $3.21 for
regular. ExxonMobil across the street was at $2.89--basically a 10%
difference. The independent lowered his price the next day. He may
have lowered it to the point that he was actually losing money on
It's possible that the majors may be using the fear of a political backlash to drive independents out of business.
I don't think that it is a coincidence that the Bush Administration is
launching an aggressive nationwide cappaign next week to encourage
energy conservation. My prediction: no outside Christmas lights this year.
The only question is when George dons a Cardigan sweater and gives us the Jimmy Carter speech--better late than never.
It may be too much to hope that the former House
majority leader -- and
how good it feels to write "former" -- will actually be convicted and
do jail time. The indictment for criminal conspiracy returned by a
Texas grand jury on Wednesday is for alleged campaign finance
violations that are the rough equivalent of money laundering, which is
not the easiest crime to prove in court.
But DeLay's problems are bigger than Texas. His golf-buddy relationship
with Jack Abramoff, a fat-cat lobbyist under federal indictment, will
face months of scrutiny. DeLay's resignation from the House leadership
is supposed to be temporary, but Republicans ignored his wishes and
picked a strong successor who could serve out the rest of this Congress
if necessary. Clearly they believe their former leader will be
distracted for some time.
Now, it's no secret that the radical right loves Tom Delay, and it's easy to see why; he supports them politically. But this piece on far-right groups' statements on the indictment is just fascinating.
when Tom DeLay gets in trouble, the response is immediate. Clearly,
people like James Dobson and Tony Perkins know where their bread is
buttered. When DeLay gets hurt, so does their right-wing agenda.
Family Research Council
Robertson: No comment. DeLay: "Tom DeLay is a great leader for pro-family public policies of enduring importance to the nation."
Focus on the Family
Robertson: No comment. DeLay:
"Todayâ€™s indictment of Majority Leader Tom DeLay bears all the signs of
a trumped-up, political witch-hunt. The extreme left has seized this
chance to take a swipe at one of Americaâ€™s leading advocates of family
Traditional Values Coalition
Robertson: No comment. DeLay:DeLay is "a Christian man" and prosecutor Ronnie Earle is exacting "political retribution."
Christian Coalition of America
Robertson: No comment. DeLay:"Yesterday's indictment of House Majority Leader Tom DeLay on an
unsubstantiated charge of conspiracyâ€¦ [has] been a major objective for
the past several years of the extreme left wing and enthusiastically
supported by their sychophants in the 'Old Media.'"
I don't expect them to be happy, but wouldn't part of a Christian view
of government be that breaking the law is wrong, and wouldn't a
sensible response be something like "Tom Delay has been a good
supporter of our views, and we hope that the charges will be found to
be baseless" or something like that?
Instead, groups that support him from the religious right have (without
evidence) decided that the charges are wrong, picked up Delay's talking
points, and - if he is found to be guilty - will have basically sided
The 12-member grand jury that indicted U.S. Rep. Tom Delay, R-Sugar
Land, faces scrutiny from critics who say they are lackeys for Travis
County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. It
wasn't Mr. Earle that indicted the man. It was the 12 members of the
grand jury," the grandjury foreman Willaim Gibson said. Gibson is a former sheriff's deputy and a former investigator for what is now the Texas Department of Insurance."We would not have
handed down an indictment. We would have no-billed the man, if we
didn't feel there was sufficient evidence," said Gibson.
I don't think he took too kindly to the fact that the Ken Mehlman talking point is that "You can indict a ham sandwich."
UPDATE: From Texas to Florida to Ohio, from K Street
to Congress to the inner circles of the Bush administration itself, the
Republican Party is suddenly -- or maybe not so -- looking like the
party of scandal. You can't keep up without a scorecard. Here's ours.
The House majority leader was indicted today on a felony charge that he
conspired to launder corporate campaign contributions through the
national Republican Party in Washington and back to legislative
candidates in Texas.
Bill Frist: The Justice Department
and the Securities and Exchange Commission are both investigating the
Senate majority leader's sale of shares in his family's healthcare
business just before the stock's value plummeted in June.
The Republican super-lobbyist, known to have bragged about his contacts
with Karl Rove, was indicted in Florida last month along with his
business partner on wire fraud and conspiracy fraud charges related to
their purchase of a fleet of gambling boats. This week, three men were
arrested -- including two who received payments from Abramoff's
business partner -- in the Mafia-style killing of the man from whom
Abramoff and his partner purchased the gambling boats.
The president's chief procurement officer stepped down two weeks ago
and was arrested last week on charges of lying to investigators and
obstructing a separate federal investigation into Abramoff's dealings
in Washington. Some Republicans who received campaign contributions
from Safavian are divesting themselves of his money now.
The president's nominee to serve as deputy attorney general has
announced that he will have to recuse himself from the Abramoff
investigation if he is confirmed because he hired Abramoff to help the
company where he works -- scandal-ridden Tyco International Ltd. --
lobby DeLay and Rove on tax issues.
Michael Brown: The
president's FEMA director resigned earlier this month amid complaints
about his handling of Hurricane Katrina and charges that he and other
FEMA officials got their jobs based on political connections and
cronyism rather than competence or qualifications.
The Republican governor of Ohio pleaded guilty last month to criminal
charges based on his failure to report gifts as required by state law,
among them golfing trips paid for by Tom Noe, a major Republican
fundraiser who is the subject of his own scandal regarding the state's
investment in $50 million in rare coins, some of which have
mysteriously gone missing.
Randy "Duke" Cunningham: A
federal grand jury in San Diego is investigating allegations that the
veteran Republican congressman received financial favors from a defense
contractor who allegedly bought Cunningham's house at an inflated price
and let him live for free on the contractor's 42-foot yacht.
The Republican governor of Kentucky has refused to answer questions
from a grand jury investigating whether his administration based hiring
decisions on political considerations rather than merit. Fletcher has
pardoned nine people in the probe -- including the chairman of
Kentucky's Republican party -- and fired members of his staff.
Federal prosecutors made their opening statements this week in the
criminal trial of the former Republican governor of Illinois. Ryan and
a friend, Chicago insurance adjuster Lawrence Warner, are charged with
racketeering conspiracy, mail fraud, tax fraud and lying to federal
And then there's Karl Rove and Scooter Libby.
The grand jury investigating the outing of Valerie Plame is scheduled
to complete its work in late October. While neither Rove nor Libby is
apparently a "target" of the investigation -- and while the
"corruption" in Plamegate is moral rather than financial -- both men
are known to have played a role in revealing or confirming Plame's
identity in conversations with reporters, which may be a crime under
federal law. SOURCE