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Earl Bockenfeld's Radio Weblog

Monday, October 31, 2005



Date For Da Vinci Code Trial Set

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.

Two 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 religious thriller.

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.

The 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.

However, 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.

Commentators 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.

This 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.

Following 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 merit."



categories: Miscelleous
Other Stories according to Google: Date set for Da Vinci Code plagiarism trial - Yahoo! News | UK date set for Da Vinci Code plagiarism trial - Yahoo! News | UK date set for Da Vinci Code plagiarism trial - Yahoo! News | Guardian Unlimited Books | News | Date set for Da Vinci Code | Da Vinci Code :: Date set for Da Vinci Code trial | Da Vinci Code :: Date set for Da Vinci Code trial | Date set for Da Vinci Code trial | ENTERTAINMENT | NEWS | tvnz.co.nz | Date set for Da Vinci Code trial | ENTERTAINMENT | NEWS | tvnz.co.nz | Oddly Enough News Article | Reuters.com | eircom net Entertainment-International / Irish entertainment news.

1:07:37 AM    



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.

One right-wing talking point down, many more to go.

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?

Thank you for your time.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Vanity Fair's profile on Joseph Wilson and Valerie Plame | Political Animal: Comment on The Plame Affair: Damage Control Roundup | Outside The Beltway » Valerie Plame Affair | AlterNet: MediaCulture: The Top Nine Plamegate Lies | AlterNet: MediaCulture: The Top Nine Plamegate Lies | Think Progress » How To Talk To A Conservative About Karl Rove (If | Daily Kos: Plame Leaked by Fake News Source? Overview: Part IV | Daily Kos: My Magnum Opus on the Plame Scandal | Mark AR Kleiman

12:53:47 AM    


Saturday, October 29, 2005



This Has A Familiar Ring To It

And of course, Illinois Governor Ryan was a Republican, and his indictments did a lot to throw the state Republican party into fueding...and they still haven't recovered here.

From the AP August 27, 2003, Wednesday, BC cycle

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 indictment."

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 to Udstuen. 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 of Stanley's.

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?


categories: Outrages
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1:27:25 AM    


Wednesday, October 26, 2005



Hair Didn't Have Anything To Do With It

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. Coincidence?


categories: Miscelleous
Other Stories according to Google: I (RCS Song Titles Index) | iWon - Celebrity Gossip | My Way - Celebrity Gossip | No Hair Day, by Elsa Dorfman | was immediately taken, by the thought that she | The hairstyle hall of fame | ‘ It was your Grandad Peel. He didn’t have a heart attack. He | Essence: Hair -raising tales - hairstyles | his waist I decided, to do the same since

11:37:57 PM    


Tuesday, October 25, 2005



NYT:  Cheney Leaked Valerie Plame To Libby

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. Libby’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. Wilson’s husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration’s handling of intelligence about Iraq’s nuclear program to justify the war.

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.

(snip)

It would not be illegal for either Mr. Cheney or Mr. Libby, both of whom are presumably cleared to know the government’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.

(snip)

But the notes, now in Mr. Fitzgerald’s possession, also indicate that Mr. Libby first heard about Ms. Wilson — who is also known by her maiden name, Valerie Plame — 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)

(snip)

Mr. 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?"

I 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 testimony.

...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.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Cheney aide a key focus in CIA leak probe-lawyers - Yahoo! News | Blaming Media in Leak Case Not Working - Yahoo! News | New Questions Arise in CIA Leak Probe - Yahoo! News | Counsel Probed Miller on Classified Info - Yahoo! News | Cast of Characters Grows in CIA Leak Drama - Yahoo! News | Think Progress » 23 Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak | Role of Rove, Libby in CIA Leak Case Clearer | Role of Rove, Libby in CIA Leak Case Clearer | Cheney's Office Is A Focus in Leak Case | CNN.com - Jailed reporter reaches deal in CIA leak probe - Sep 30

1:59:36 AM    



Another Iraq Military Blogger Silenced

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.

He 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 silenced. He 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 Afghanistan.

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.

My stateside 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").

If 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:

For 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 retraction.

I 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?



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: The Tattered Coat » Blog Archive » Another Military Blogger Silenced | The Tattered Coat | The Tattered Coat » Blog Archive » Psycho: A Love Story | The Tattered Coat » Blog Archive » Another Military Blogger Silenced | memeorandum | AlterNet: Blogs: Start Making Sense: Another soldier silenced | AlterNet: Blogs: Deanna Zandt: Another soldier silenced | Suburban Guerrilla » War Stories | Suburban Guerrilla | BLACKFIVE: Simon & Schuster to Publish Anthology of Military

12:37:06 AM    


Monday, October 24, 2005



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 couldn’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.

Let's 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," 12/19/98]

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 friendly judge.

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 criminal!



categories: Outrages
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3:51:39 PM    


Friday, October 21, 2005



Nigeria To Put Spammers In Slammer

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 MantuRich 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 Spanish Prisoner."

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.

The 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/




categories: Internet
Other Stories according to Google: Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer | Virginia files felony spam charges | CNET News.com | Microsoft, Nigeria fight email scammers - Security - www.itnews.com.au | Microsoft, Nigeria fight email scammers - Security - www.itnews.com.au | Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer - TechSpot OpenBoards | Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer - TechSpot Troubleshooting | Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer - TechSpot OpenBoards | TechSpot OpenBoards - Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer | Nigerian spammer thrown in slammer - TechSpot OpenBoards | Winter-Spring 2004

9:02:40 PM    



Friday Cat Blogging














































categories: Humor
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12:01:39 AM    


Thursday, October 20, 2005



VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans
By Gene C. Gerard


Truthout Link

The 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.

Owing 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.

In 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."

Approximately 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.

The 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 seriously wounded.

Although 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.

The 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.

The 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.

It's 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.

Or, 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.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: truthout - Gene C. Gerard | VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans | Gene C. Gerard | VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans | VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans :: Alternative Press Review | VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans | VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans :: from www.uruknet.info | VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans | Voices - VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans | (DV) Gerard: VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans | Political Affairs Magazine - VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans | Gene C. Gerard: VA Seeks to Punish Iraq War Veterans

11:15:00 PM    



VFW Motorcycles Drown Out Protestors

Ahhh....

VFW motorcycles drown out Fred Phelps protest

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 overseas.

Couldn't be the opposing army who's killing em. People do tend to die in wars.

"Chelsea 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 anti-homosexual group.

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 FIRST STONE."

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 dead."

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.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Claremore Progress - Local News | Claremore Progress - Claremore Progress | VFW motorcycles drown out protestors | Wizbang | Wizbang: Discussion on VFW Bikers Drown Out Phelps Funeral Protest | VFW motorcycles drown out protestors | TBRNews.org | Personal Beavis - Good. | Bugles Across America :: Honoring America's Veterans and their | Bugles Across America :: Honoring America's Veterans and their

1:22:27 AM    


Tuesday, October 18, 2005



Viking Love Boat Boys Are Just Boys

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 start.

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.

At 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 of jokes.

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….

Employees 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??

The Viking's next game may be on CourtTV.



categories: Miscelleous
Other Stories according to Google: Viking | Bob Reno's BadJocks.com - Where COPS meets SPORTSCENTER ( Viking | George's Viking Saga | George's Viking Saga | Books for Boys | Cannery Row | A Chinese Dish | www.myspace.com/vikingmoses | Party Themes and Ideas | 96.9 viking fm

11:07:42 PM    



Latest Tidbit On The Plame Affair

Jeez...I know you can get an grand jury to indict a ham sandwich but I never knew you could get one to indict a file!

More happiness, from Larry Johnson (ex-CIA) and his blog No Quarter (thanks to Atrios):

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?

I guess we can call Rove "Free Time."

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:

Indiana jail running out of toilet paper

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 conditions!

The WH could always send them stacks of Presidential Daily Bulletins. They've never been used for anything else.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: TPMCafe || Having Plame Withdrawals? | TPMCafe || Incompetence on Senate Intel | TPMCafe || Wannabe Mothers | Valerie Plame - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia | Whiskey Bar: Latest on the Plame Game | Political Animal: Comment on The Latest on Plame | firedoglake: 10/02/2005 - 10/08/2005 | Susan B. Ralston - SourceWatch | Majikthise : Judith Miller, Valerie Plame , and Treasongate | World O'Crap

9:04:58 PM    



Dick Cheney's Office Is In The Cross-hairs

BREAKING NEWS:


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:

As 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.

In 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.

Before 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.


categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: TalkLeft: Lewis Libby and the Valerie Plame Investigation | Daily Alert - August 28, 2002 | Baghdad veers back into Washington's crosshairs | Deep Blade Journal | The Washington Monthly | Chris Floyd | Daily Kos: Analysis: Can Patrick Fitzgerald Indict Bush and Cheney ? | Rep. Henry Waxman Tightens the Evidentiary Noose Around Nat'l | 03.19.pitt | Robin Hoods or Legal Hoods?

12:29:45 AM    


Monday, October 17, 2005



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.

(snip)

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 first.

Judith Miller: Armstrong Williams in whiteface and a skirt. Stick a fork in the NY Times. They're done.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Judith Miller's WMD reporting - New York Times war reporting | Miller Time (Again) - The New York Times owes readers an | The Times Scoops That Melted - Cataloging the wretched reporting | Reassessing Miller - US intelligence on Iraq's WMD deserves a | Miller Time (Again) - The New York Times owes readers an | Together, Again - Judith Miller and Ahmad Chalabi. By Jack Shafer | Statements by Sulzberger, Keller, and Miller on Her Release | TalkLeft: Judith Miller and Fitzgerald's Agreement | New York Times reporter Judith Miller testifies on exposure of CIA | village voice > news > Press Clips by Sydney H. Schanberg

1:45:47 PM    



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."


categories: Miscelleous
Other Stories according to Google: .:: chuggnutt ::. | The Burger King creeps me out | The Infidel Guy Show / FreethoughtMedia.com :: Forums :: Burger | Vegan Porn: Hardee's introduces the Monster Thickburger. Omnivore | SPAWN.COM Message Board - The Burger King really freaks me out | "We commend the sensitive and prompt action that Burger King has | Now the king told the boogie man | November 8th - 14th 1999 | HalloweenForum.com - What spooks/ scares you? | Oh USAOh Canada | Not Only But Also: Ad Trend: Inanimate Spokeobjects

12:37:39 PM    


Saturday, October 15, 2005



This Is A Financial Friendly Fire

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.

The 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.

"I was 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 money."

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.

Army 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.

Part of 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.

Early this 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.

The 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.

Although 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.

So 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.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Class actions and friendly fire | AsiaSource: AsiaTODAY - A resource of the Asia Society | Friendly fire and continuing medical educationbyDr. Jay Brophy | Financial Planning : Friendly Fire : Are independent advisers | Friendly fire and continuing medical education | BlogShares - Premium Members | New DHS Cyber Alert System Draws Friendly Fire - Computerworld | MSN Money - 7 reasons to fire your financial adviser | Technology takes aim at friendly fire deaths / Devices are | Amazon.com: Friendly Fire : The Near-Death of the Transatlantic

12:54:19 AM    


Friday, October 14, 2005



Friday Cat Blogging
































categories: Humor
Other Stories according to Google: Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Winds of Change.NET: Friday Cat Blogging | Friday Cat Blogging | The Moderate Voice - Friday Cat Blogging | Carnival of the Cats | Schussman.com: Friday cat blogging | The Countess: Friday Cat Blogging | The Countess: Friday Cat Blogging | Where Worlds Collide: Friday Cat Blogging

12:25:59 AM    


Thursday, October 13, 2005



Bush's Photo-Op Hell

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...

MCCLELLAN: No.

QUESTION: Not at all?


MCCLELLAN: This is a back-and-forth.


And here's the Associated Press version:

It 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 -- North-Central Iraq.

THE PRESIDENT: Let me ask you something. Were you there when I came to New York?

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.

More here 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 (http://www.commondreams.org/headlines03/0122-10.htm)

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:

1) Why are we here, sir?

and

2) When can we go home, sir?

Oh, if only. If only.


categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: AlterNet: Bush Goes To England, Blair Goes To Hell | Think Progress » President Bush Diverts Critical Resources For | Bush Strummed While New Orleans Drowned | Democrats.com | LAURA BUSH AND THE PHOTO OP . | Democrats.com | Daily Kos: Bush : Can't someone else do it? | ANOTHER BUSH "LIE" AND PHOTO OP !!! | The Raw Story | San Diego hospital closed to accommodate Bush | The J-Walk Blog: Pre-Hurricane Photo Op (Comments) | What the Hell is the Downing St. Memo -- and Who Cares?

8:55:41 PM    



Only On Fox: USMC Captain Labeled "TRAITOR?

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 who 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 U.S. TV 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 a 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 distorting the news, and found nothing to stop him from joining. "I'm not condoning 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 region 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.

Time Link



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: The Jawa Report: 13 Zero Days Since Last | Captain's Quarters | Captain's Quarters | Captain's Quarters | News Hounds: Fox News: Military Recruitment is Up, "A Lot!" | News Hounds: Fox Displays Hypocrisy Once Again! | News Hounds: Proof That FOX News Hates Liberals | News Hounds: Sinclair Broadcasting, Fox News & An Election | Marines Use Low-Tech Skill to Kill 100 in Urban Battle (Falluja) | Eschaton

12:02:02 AM    


Wednesday, October 12, 2005



Bush Body Language During Matt Lauer Interview

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. S


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.

"I'm not going to talk about the case," Bush finally says after a three-second pause that, in television time, feels like a commercial break.

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 press."

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.

The 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 self-consciousness."

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."

[...]

Bush 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.
The 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.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: For President Under Duress, Body Language Speaks Volumes | Today Show: An Aging Nader Talks Policy as Katie & Matt Fret About | Today Show: A Brittle Condi Rice Defends President on WMDs | Townhall.com :: Columns :: Mud man? by John McCaslin | Rather to Kerry: Angry at Attacks from Vietnam-Avoiding Bush ? --7 | Rather to Kerry: Angry at Attacks from Vietnam-Avoiding Bush ? --7 | Roger L. Simon: Anchors Aweigh! | Blogcritics.org: Celebrity Death Match: Tom Cruise and Matt Lauer | FAMOUSIDIOT.COM :: The Art of Confusing Fame with Wisdom | onegoodmove: Incompetence

9:55:23 PM    



Sex Is A Fact Of Life Among Americans In Uniform

Salt Lake Tribune Link

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 does anyhow.”


TAQADDUM, 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.

It's 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."

And a 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.

[...]
By their 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.

Perhaps 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, but enforcing 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.

"Some 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 Ramadi 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 life."    Married 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."
[...]
Even 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.”


categories: Heart
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3:08:38 AM    


Tuesday, October 11, 2005



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: (from here)

"The 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," Robertson said.

"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 said.


"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 told."


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?"

I'm 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 follow me.":

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 me.

The 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:
There 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...

I've 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..."



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Earl Bockenfeld's Radio Weblog | Venezuela - Robertson's Chavez -bin Laden Link ' Crazy ' | Daily Kos: Chavez on ABC: Evidence Bush planned to invade Venezuela | I Hate Pat Robertson - Monitoring the Religious Right | Venezuela calls ' crazy ' Robertson's Chavez -bin Laden link | Democratic Underground - TV evangelist renews Chavez attacks | Sadly, No!: Who's Wingnutty Enough to Defend Pat Robertson , Pt II | AlterNet: Investigating Pat Robertson | Stupid Evil Bastard - Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of | Stupid Evil Bastard: Pat Robertson calls for the assassination of

1:26:25 AM    


Saturday, October 08, 2005




Rove and Gannon In Search of a Straight Story

The game in Plame lies mainly on the BLAME!


Oh my. This really is getting fun.
If Rove told the FBI agents the same story that he and McClellan were telling the 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.

Another intriguing possibility in the leaks case brings back the baroque personality of right-wing pressroom denizen Jeff Gannon, born James Guckert.

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 conspiracy charges, 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.

One 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?"

Gannon 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.

You know, 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 issue:
http://www.dailykos.com/story/2005/7/6/95341/90908



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Campaign Extra!: "Jeff Gannon " and Karl Rove -- one degree of | Daily Kos: CONFIRMED: Jeff Gannon was an adult porn webmaster | Daily Kos: LOOK OUT- WE'RE BEING FRAMED- It's About Propaganda | Daily Kos: MSM Picking Up on Gannon - Time to crank up OUR Framing | Daily Kos: Gannon Story is NOT over | Daily Kos: Rove , Bolton, DSM all one story | Daily Kos: For Immediate Release: The Jeff Gannon Controversy - A | Daily Kos: Gannon scoop shows White House Forged TANG/CBS memos?!?! | WorldNetDaily: Homosexual press hot to 'out' Bush figures | Jeff Gannon - A Voice of the New Media: General Archives

11:06:09 PM    



Missouri Spies on Drivers Through Cell Phones
The state of Missouri has begun a program to track individual movements on highways through cell phones.


The Missouri 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.

Delcan NET, 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."

A 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.


categories: Outrages
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9:32:44 PM    



20 Things That Only Happen In Movies

Nostalgia Central Link

1. It is always possible to find a parking spot directly outside or opposite the building you are visiting.

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 child inside.

 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 scuba diving.

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 pursuit).

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 feedback.

 19. Guns are like disposable razors. If you run out of bullets, just throw the gun away. you will always find another one.

20. If being chased through a city you can usually take cover in a passing St Patrick's Day parade - at any time of the year.

 




categories: Humor
Other Stories according to Google: 20 Things That Only Happen In Movies - Nostalgia Central | 40 Things That Only Happen In Movies | MetaFilter | Between thought and expression: 20 Things That Only Happen In | Andrea's Photo Blog: 20 Things That Only Happen In Movies | Tom McMahon: 20 Things That Only Happen In Movies | 40 Things That Only Happen In Movies | William Bragg » 20 Things That Only Happen In Movies | Holy Shmoly! :: 40 Things That Only Happen In Movies | AgBlog » Blog Archive » 20 Things That Only Happen In Movies | Media Studies Classroom: 20 Things that only happen in movies

12:05:34 AM    


Friday, October 07, 2005



The Winner Is... Fake Dog Testicle Creator

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 neutered dogs.

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.

"Considering 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."

The Ig 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.

"Most scientists -- no matter what they're doing, good or bad -- never get any attention at all," said Marc Abrahams, editor of the Annals of Improbable Research.

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.

Smith's 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 Wars."

-- 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."



categories: Humor
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9:33:48 PM    



Friday Cat Blogging
























































categories: Humor
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12:05:47 AM    


Thursday, October 06, 2005



The War On Contagious

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.
Giving 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 health system.

"The translation of this is martial law in the United States," Redlener said.
The extreme right wing (libertarian) Cato Institute also was critical:
And 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 well-justified."

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 here.

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 the heel."

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.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: War Liberal: Contagious Comet | VETE0028-1 : Legal Provisions in the war against contagious diseases | VETE0028-1 : Legal Provisions in the war against contagious diseases | Japan Sessions | The Gulf Bio War : How a New AIDS-like Plague Threatens Our Armed | 2005-2006 Bill 3380: Commencement of General Assembly's annual | 2005-2006 Bill 3380 Text of Previous Version (Feb. 23, 2005) - www | A | A | CONTAGIOUS

8:48:01 PM    



Woman Booted Off Flight For Anti-Bush Shirt
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?"


categories: Outrages
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7:15:30 PM    



Senate Supports Interrogation Limits

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 enemies." ...

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 call."

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.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Islam as interrogation tool: need for limits ? | csmonitor.com | Senator Dick Durbin on the Issues | Human Rights First | End Torture Now | HRF Supports Senator | Senate Amendment on Uniform Standards for Interrogation of Detainees | White House Aims to Block Legislation on Detainees | White House Aims to Block Legislation on Detainees | Overlawyered.com archives May 2003 pt. I | BORDC: Proposed Civil Liberties Legislation | truthout - Cheney Lobbying Against Anti-Torture Legislation | FSSR J. DGBJ 14, 2005

2:30:10 AM    



Florida Tourists Warned on Deadly Force Law

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.

From the  Washington Post:

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 to do."

The leaflets begin with the words "An Important Notice to Florida Visitors" in bold red type by the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence.

"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 gestures."

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?  


categories: Outrages
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1:59:12 AM    


Wednesday, October 05, 2005



Your Bike Seat Can Hurt More Than Just Your Butt

"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.

The studies add to earlier evidence that traditional bicycle saddles, the kind with a narrow rear and pointy nose, play a role in sexual impotence.

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?"

The 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 worry.

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 seats.

A spokesman for the industry said it was aware of the issue and added that "new designs are coming out."

"Most 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."

The 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 body parts.

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 bicycle saddle.

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.

In men, 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."

Today's 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.

Thick gels on saddles can also increase pressure to the perineum, the studies found, because the material can migrate and form clumps in all the wrong places.

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.

Dr. 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."



categories: Miscelleous
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12:14:29 AM    


Tuesday, October 04, 2005



Supreme Court Nominee Described As Very Loyal To The President

Harriet 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.

Once 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.

She 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.
 


categories: Politics
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1:24:22 AM    



Bennett's Big Gamble

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 alone.
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.

Remember 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.


categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Bill Bennett's Gambling "Problem" | Robert A. George on William J. Bennett & Gambling on National | Jonah Goldberg's Goldberg File on National Review Online | Latino Political Wires: Bennett loses gamble with preachy tone | Robert A. George on William J. Bennett & Gambling on National | Bill Bennett's "Virtuous Vegas" Website Big Internet Hit | Las Vegas Mercury: Backstory: Addicted to hypocrisy | FAD 04 | Single-Minded: An Independent Journal of Fact and Opinion | William Bennett : the secret high-stakes gambling life of a former

1:01:12 AM    


Monday, October 03, 2005



The Manchester Bobber Electric Generator

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 numerous ocean power projects 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 energy race.

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 megawatts:

[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 electricity."

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 uninterrupted.

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 value.

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 this year.

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.



categories: Mind
Other Stories according to Google: WorldChanging: Another World Is Here: The Manchester Bobber | The University of Manchester | Manchester develops new wave energy device: The Manchester Bobber | Manchester develops new wave energy device: The Manchester Bobber | The Engineer Online - Bobber swims into action | The Engineer Online - Bobber swims into action | The Manchester Bobber -- ComPaMED Portal | How to Save the World for Free | Iran Daily - Global Energy - 09/15/05 | Housing & buildings - Daily News

9:54:19 PM    



Cole Gets Shrill, BUSH DoneIt

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 Times.

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.

[snip]

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.



categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google:

10:42:06 AM    


Saturday, October 01, 2005



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 homes.

The fact is that American consumption needs to be lowered by 8% (=1.5 MMBPD GOM shut-in / 18 MMBPD pre-huricane consumption). In an egalitarian society, one would strive to spread this "suffering" across the population. However, in a market economy some will go on consuming like nothing ever happened--because they can afford $3/gasoline and $15/MMBtu nat'l gas. Others meanwhile will be forced to stop driving to work because what they earn and stop paying their heating bills because what they burn. They will lose their jobs and have their heating cut off. Their consumption may be reduced by ~100% then.

There is your demand destruction, which may very well be irreversible.

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. The point is, in the post-peak or near-peak world the old supply-side models do not work. And we should be worried when we only hear these as "solutions" to the present energy problem.

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 problems.

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 system.

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 for it.

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.
http://www.smartmoney.com/bn/on/index.cfm?story=ON-20050929-000767-1118&;nav=pf_hp
This is a link to the following story: "Energy Department Plans Conservation Push." The Bush Administration is launching an aggressive energy conservation campaign next week.

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 gasoline sales.

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.



categories: Politics
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10:59:04 PM    



Religious Right: The Immoral Majority

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.

Prominent Religious Right groups went days without saying a word in defense of Pat Robertson after his assassination gaffe.

But 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: "Today’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 America’s leading advocates of family values."

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 conspiracy… [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 with lawbreaking.

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.

Tom DeLay: 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.

Jack Abramoff: 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.

David Safavian: 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.

Timothy Flanigan: 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.

Bob Taft: 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.

Ernie Fletcher: 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.

George Ryan: 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 agents.

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


categories: Outrages
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2:47:07 AM    




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