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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

YEARLYKOS Con :Ep. 2: Peace Takes Courage/remix

A promo created by patriotic teen sensation Ava Lowery to support the YearlyKOS convention
(las vegas riviera June 8-11 yearlykos.org).

Thats awsome, truly, fifteen! at fifteen, I was not proactive, in fact it took many years. These are the kind of people the rest of our so called adult population should find inspiration from.

Funny how you never hear of death threats to the wingnuts from libs.

categories: Outrages
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2:26:30 PM    

Sunday, May 28, 2006


All gave some. Some gave all.

On Fame's eternal camping-ground
Their silent tents are spread,
And Glory guards, with solemn round,
The bivouac of the dead.

Nor shall your glory be forgot
While Fame her record keeps,
Or Honor points the hallowed spot
Where Valor proudly sleeps.

People wander amongst the crosses at the Arlington West Iraq war memorial display on beach next to the Santa Monica Pier.
(Stefano Paltera / AP)

categories: Outrages
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9:01:06 PM    

The Daily Show

if you knew anything about the morning after pill, you would know that it doesn't cause an already implanted embryo to be aborted, rather it prevents implantation at all if there even is an fertilized egg to begin with. ergo, no abortion & no "murder", by your standards.

categories: Outrages
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8:51:33 PM    

Murtha on the Haditha Massacre

Rep. Jack Murtha speaking on the massacre in Haditha, including footage from Iraq with an interview of a 9 year old child who was the lone survivor of one of the murdered Iraqi families. The video then ends with Murtha's appearance on Hardball.

Rep. Murtha touches on many of the problems with the war, and for the troops. I think it's also worth noting that before this war, the Marines were never used for long-term fighting the frontlines of battle.

The chilling aspect of this story is that it happened over a period of several hours, so some of the killing wasn't in the heat of the moment.

It is an example ( I hope! I assume!) of aberrant behavior, but the aberrant behavior is what people notice, not the routine stuff.

Murtha linked it to stress over extended tours and inadequate troops. I don't know if this particular incident is related to those factors or not. There is another pattern which, while less publicized , is probably worse in terms of the success of our involvement in Iraq: the lack of routine positive contact between Americans and Iraqis. In Assassin's Gate the writer describes the extraordinary, noble efforts of American service people to rebuild basic services in neighborhoods and the way that kind of interaction with Iraqis forged the kind of links which could have contributed to the successful development of a pro-American government in that country.

Unfortunately he also describes how those efforts where underfunded and unsupported by the Bush administration and how lack of troops, money, and support eventually undercut those sorts of efforts. As time when on and the troops got more stressed and more isolated, the routine, ordinary interactions between troops and Iraqis became more fear based and hostile. The policy now is to pull troops back to bases, leaving the Iraqis to literally fight things out themselves. This policy, it seems to me, will guarantee that further encounters between Americans and Iraqis will be hostile and fearful and quite likely more trgedies will occur.. It is a de facto admission of failure. We can't help in a situation where our peple and theirs can't interact cooperatively.

categories: Outrages
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4:08:01 PM    

Shame of America

I wanted to share this video with you. It was made by a woman Lisa and she posted it on the C&L's Late Night Music Club, which has a great video up by Peter Gabriel. The music in this video is also by Peter Gabriel and the title is "Here Comes the Flood."

Waiting your time, dreaming of a better life...

I wonder about the death toll in New Orleans. Will we ever know the accurate death toll? After the great fires and earthquake of San Francisco in 1906 the government and big business intentionally lied about the death toll because they wanted investors and people to stay in the city.

categories: Outrages
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2:30:16 PM    

Global Warming

George Bush on Global Warming

Ferrell rocks

categories: Outrages
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2:15:55 PM    

Kosovo, or is it Kokomo

Some Norwegian Soldiers in Kosovo having fun and making a music video spoofing the old 80s hit Kokomo. The video is very well done and pretty funny.

As seen on Break.com

The Norwegian Special forces are actually one of the absolute elite top special forces in the world. They have a very good reputation on their skills, knowledge and experience. However, these on this video are not special forces. These are soliders from the Telemark Bataljon. But they are skilled soliders. By far.

categories: Outrages
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1:51:07 PM    

Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

categories: Humor
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9:40:48 AM    

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Ramadi Rap - Two U.S. Soldiers Pen New "War" Tune

Insurgents, body armor, and even Jello. It's all included in a new rap song by two U.S. soldiers.

The songs lyrics include

"The cowboy sensation as I stifle a yawn,"
"We ain't got time for that, better get your gear on."
"Cause out in the city, IBA's are required."
"We check out our soldiers before we leave the wires."

Staff sergeants Matt Wright and Josh Dobbs, both Indiana natives, put together the Middle East 'rap' response to Saturday Night Live’s "Lazy Sunday."

If the above Link doesn't work. Try this.

Click here to watch their video.

categories: Outrages
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11:00:46 AM    

Monday, May 22, 2006

Spying On Americans Using Statistics

If indeed "freedom" is just another word for 'nothing left to lose'...then we're not exactly free yet. We're at the precipice of having nothing left to lose - Losing the freedom from warrantless searches, freedom of association, freedom to express ourselves, freedom to demand probably cause prior to having warrants issued, freedom to visit "questionable" websites or check out certain periodicals/books from our public libraries, etc.

The NSA spying program raises plenty of sensitive issues, but at least one of them hasn't received the close scrutiny it deserves: it's fundamentally a system for identifying criminals by statistical analysis. Americans need to come to grips with whether they approve of this.

Take a different, but equally incendiary example. Suppose that we could semi-reliably create a statistical portrait of child molesters: their age, geographical location, gender, and calling and buying patterns. Suppose they tend to rent certain kinds of videos, make phone calls to certain kinds of chat lines, and call up other known child molesters.

Needless to say, the FBI could track these patterns using the same methods as the NSA and then exploit the results to create lists of "possible child molesters." And it might work. But would we be OK with the FBI tapping someone's phone just because they fit a statistical profile? Or staking out their house? Or investigating their friends?

And if we can do it for suspected terrorists and child molesters, how about tax evaders and unlicensed gun owners? Can we tap their phones too because they're the "kind of person" who might be breaking the law? Should a court grant a search warrant based on a statistical pattern rather than a showing of specific fact?

And if not, why not? After all, if you're not doing anything wrong, why would you object to being investigated? And if the statistical patterns just happen to target lots of wealthy Republicans or rural white gun collectors — well, that's how the cookie crumbles. If that's what the profiling turns up, then that's what the profiling turns up.

Any problems with that?

BTW, its hardly speculation that this might be extended beyond just "terrorism" when the Attorney General has already said this same technique is being used to look to identify leakers of classified information to the media, and to gather evidence for potential prosecution of the leakers and the reporters.

Its not something that could happen, or even that will certainly happen in the future, its something that has already, openly happening.

There are lies, damn lies, and statistics. When the government starts using stats to determine who is a terrorist, criminal, or political donor, we're all in trouble. Remember, statistically the average American has one testicle and one boob.

And who decides what "patterns" are authentic indicators of criminal behavior or intent?
The Decider, of course

"After all, if you're not doing anything wrong, why would you object to being investigated?"

On the other hand, why did your parents tell you not to give information about the household to strangers?

Where's the guarantee that your personal information will not be used by/sold to child molesters, identity traffickers, thieves (personal and corporate), kidnappers, conmen, etc. Remember that guy, 3 or 4 at the Dept of Homeland Security, who was making dates with 14 year-olds. Who is watching the watchers?

After all, if you're not doing anything wrong, why would you object to being investigated? If I'm not doing anything wrong, then why do you want to investigate me?

categories: Outrages
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11:14:54 PM    

Friday, May 19, 2006

One Guess! Who Paid For This Ad?


I knew we should have burned them all down when we had the chance.

So, you're against carbon dioxide, huh? WHY DO YOU HATE TREES?


It's so far out of the park, it could almost pass as a parody...

I say lock these assholes in a room filled with CO2 until they cry for mercy! ;)

categories: Outrages
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10:13:19 PM    

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

categories: Humor
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10:47:15 PM    

Protecting Our Privacy and Our Liberty

Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.
BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Pennsylvania Assembly:

The most common retort against privacy advocates -- by those in favor of ID checks, cameras, databases, data mining and other wholesale surveillance measures -- is this line: "If you aren't doing anything wrong, what do you have to hide?"

Some clever answers: "If I'm not doing anything wrong, then you have no cause to watch me." "Because the government gets to define what's wrong, and they keep changing the definition." "Because you might do something wrong with my information." My problem with quips like these -- as right as they are -- is that they accept the premise that privacy is about hiding a wrong. It's not. Privacy is an inherent human right, and a requirement for maintaining the human condition with dignity and respect.

Two proverbs say it best: Quis custodiet custodes ipsos? ("Who watches the watchers?") and "Absolute power corrupts absolutely."

Cardinal Richelieu understood the value of surveillance when he famously said, "If one would give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest man, I would find something in them to have him hanged." Watch someone long enough, and you'll find something to arrest -- or just blackmail -- with. Privacy is important because without it, surveillance information will be abused: to peep, to sell to marketers and to spy on political enemies -- whoever they happen to be at the time.

Privacy protects us from abuses by those in power, even if we're doing nothing wrong at the time of surveillance.
We do nothing wrong when we make love or go to the bathroom. We are not deliberately hiding anything when we seek out private places for reflection or conversation. We keep private journals, sing in the privacy of the shower, and write letters to secret lovers and then burn them. Privacy is a basic human need.

A future in which privacy would face constant assault was so alien to the framers of the Constitution that it never occurred to them to call out privacy as an explicit right. Privacy was inherent to the nobility of their being and their cause. Of course being watched in your own home was unreasonable. Watching at all was an act so unseemly as to be inconceivable among gentlemen in their day. You watched convicted criminals, not free citizens. You ruled your own home. It's intrinsic to the concept of liberty.

For if we are observed in all matters, we are constantly under threat of correction, judgment, criticism, even plagiarism of our own uniqueness.
We become children, fettered under watchful eyes, constantly fearful that -- either now or in the uncertain future -- patterns we leave behind will be brought back to implicate us, by whatever authority has now become focused upon our once-private and innocent acts. We lose our individuality, because everything we do is observable and recordable.

How many of us have paused during conversation in the past four-and-a-half years, suddenly aware that we might be eavesdropped on? Probably it was a phone conversation, although maybe it was an e-mail or instant-message exchange or a conversation in a public place. Maybe the topic was terrorism, or politics, or Islam. We stop suddenly, momentarily afraid that our words might be taken out of context, then we laugh at our paranoia and go on. But our demeanor has changed, and our words are subtly altered.

This is the loss of freedom we face when our privacy is taken from us. This is life in former East Germany, or life in Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And it's our future as we allow an ever-intrusive eye into our personal, private lives.

Too many wrongly characterize the debate as "security versus privacy." The real choice is liberty versus control. Tyranny, whether it arises under threat of foreign physical attack or under constant domestic authoritative scrutiny, is still tyranny. Liberty requires security without intrusion, security plus privacy. Widespread police surveillance is the very definition of a police state. And that's why we should champion privacy even when we have nothing to hide.

Some broad surveillance, in limited circumstances, might be warranted as a temporary measure. But we need to be careful that it remain temporary, and that we do not design surveillance into our electronic infrastructure. Thomas Jefferson once said: "Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty." Historically, liberties have always been a casualty of war, but a temporary casualty. This war -- a war without a clear enemy or end condition -- has the potential to turn into a permanent state of society. We need to design our security accordingly.

categories: Outrages
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9:08:31 PM    

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Unmarried Mo. Couple Can't Live In Their Home

The city of Black Jack is playing with semantics in order to discriminate. 3 kids 2 adults and 5 bedrooms. I don't see a problem, even if it would be a persons per square foot issue. Black Jack can spout all the ordinances they want, but judging by the "Why didn't you marry him when you had the chance" remark smells like someone didn't like their lifestyle, which is really no one else's business.

When Olivia Shelltrack saw the yellow house with green shutters, she loved it right away. It had a yard, a deck, a finished basement and five bedrooms — plenty of space for Shelltrack, her partner of 13 years, Fondray Loving, and their three children. It was in their price range.

But the house is in Black Jack, Mo., where anyone moving into a house must get a permit of occupancy. When Shelltrack and Loving went to get theirs, the city said no.

Black Jack prohibits more than three unrelated people from living together. City officials ruled that Shelltrack and Loving, who are not married, and the three kids, one of them Shelltrack's from a previous relationship, fit that description.

"This ordinance is outdated. We are a family," says Shelltrack, 31. "There's a mom, there's a dad, there's three children. We are a family." Whether Shelltrack, a stay-at-home mom, and Loving, 33, who works for a payroll-administration company, are married "should not be anybody's business, if I pay my taxes, if I'm able to buy the house," she says.

Now, under threat of a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union and an investigation by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city is set to vote today to broaden the law just enough to allow the Shelltrack-Loving household to live in town.

"It's nothing unusual to have these particular type of laws. Basically it's to prevent overcrowding," Mayor Norman McCourt says. Legislating morality, he says, "was never the intention."

Nationally, definitions of "family" in zoning laws are widespread and are generally designed to prevent fraternity houses and boarding houses in single-family neighborhoods. Black Jack city attorney Sheldon Stock says more than 80 of the 91 municipalities in St. Louis County, which surrounds the city of St. Louis, have similar restrictions.

Few enforce them, however, says Tony Rothert, legal director of the ACLU of Eastern Missouri. "We're not aware of any other city that has recently tried to deny an occupancy permit to a family," he says. "It's been happening in Black Jack a couple times a year."

In 1999, an unmarried couple with 3-year-old triplets, Duane Carpenter and Doris McKinney, were denied an occupancy permit in the town. "The easiest resolution to cure the situation would be for them to get married," McCourt wrote to the ACLU at the time. "Our community believes this is the appropriate way to raise a family."

In 1986, a Missouri appeals court upheld a similar law in Ladue, an affluent St. Louis suburb, after it was challenged by Joan Kelly Horn and partner Terrence Jones, who lived there two years with seven children from previous marriages before the city ordered them out.

"It was, 'Get married or move out,' " says Horn, who later served in Congress in 1991 and 1992. "We were both pretty appalled." The couple married in 1987 — on their own timetable, Horn says. They divorced in 1999.

Missouri housing laws, like those of at least 18 other states, do not prohibit discrimination based on marital status.

Manassas, Va., adopted a law in December defining family as immediate family members only — not nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles and cousins. Enforcement was suspended after public protest and objections from the ACLU.

The Provo, Utah, City Council is debating whether to define a family as people related by blood, marriage, adoption or other legal ties.

In Black Jack, the proposed new law would include in its definition "two unrelated persons" with children belonging to either or both.

Black Jack residents who oppose changing the law say Shelltrack and Loving should have done their homework before buying a house.

"They've gotten into a situation and it doesn't fit them," longtime resident Corliss Bonner says. "So their solution is, change the situation. That's not an adult approach."

Larry Hensley says Shelltrack and Loving should conform or move. He says that's what he did 20 years ago when he moved from neighboring Florissant, which barred him from keeping bees in his backyard.

"Any law that can prevent the morality of the towns from going down is good. You might have a house with 10 or 15 people living in it. Two or three different so-called families in one house," he says. "I don't know what the big deal is about getting married."

The topic of marriage has come up between Shelltrack and Loving. About three years ago, he proposed, and she said yes. But the couple has set no date for the wedding. Instead, they saved for a bigger house.

"We're happy with the way our lives are," Shelltrack says. "We don't feel that a piece of paper is going to change it. It's not going to make us better parents. It's not going to make us better neighbors."

UPDATE: The town's planning and zoning commission proposed a change in the law, but the measure was rejected Tuesday by the city council in a 5-3 vote.

"I'm just shocked," Shelltrack said. "I really thought this would all be over, and we could go on with our lives."

The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption." The defeated measure would have changed the definition of a family to include unmarried couples with two or more children.

Mayor Norman McCourt declined to be interviewed but said in a statement that those who do not meet the town's definition of family could soon face eviction.

First, I believe that the real estate agent DID contact the city of Black Jack and asked specifically about the occupancy requirements and was not told about the definition of family. If you go to Black Jack's web-site, you'll also see that there is information about occupancy permits but not a word about their definition of family.

Secondly, I believe that the family meets Black Jack's definition of  "Family" since everyone in the household is related by blood. If you take the youngest child, you'll see that he is related to his biological father, his biological mother, his biological sister and his biological half-sister.

Thirdly, I believe that it's time to change these outdated ordinances so that we can have more inclusive definitions of "family". In the coming months, the Equal Housing Opportunity Council hopes to draft model language for a more inclusive definition of family, and we'll need help getting ordinances introduced into municipal governments.

Black Jack doesn't want to hug the tarbaby.

categories: Outrages
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11:34:52 PM    

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Joe Lieberman, The Ladies Man NOT

Joementum (jō-mĕn’təm) n., 1. neologism coined to indicate momentum where none was obvious to anyone but the candidate.
2. a portmanteau referring to the perceived lack of potential for success of a campaign or endeavor.

Like so many men who suffer under the delusion that they are catnip to chicks, Enrique Suave Lieberman likes to boast what a friend he is to women. As is often the case, the ladies do not agree.

First prominent women in the Connecticut pro-choice community came together to form Connecticut Choice Voice for the express purpose of backing Lamont. Then Carollyn Treiss, current head of NARAL-CT, came out in support of Ned. And now the National Organization for Women has endorsed him, too.

How many pro-choice groups have come out and endorsed Holy Joe on the heels of both his Alito vote and his friendly advice to rape victims about the "short trip" they all ought to be wiling to take to get emergency contraception? Let me get my pencil out, do a bit of quick addition, that would be…none.

Bush's favorite Democrat is that dweeb at the bar who finds himself irresistible. Which is I suppose a good thing, since it looks like the ladies seem to be leaving him to enjoy his own company.

Midnight swinger, how can the last living Casanova be home alone. Saturday nights mean a stack of Playboys and a bottle of Ripple.

Its great that Lamont is challenging Joementum. And I hope he gets the 15% delegate count at the convention and goes on to win the primary.

What's a shame is that there are so few primary challenges to the DINOs and Dems without courage of conviction and Dems that are willing to sabotage the party to be seen as "centrist" when they are really stooges for the big money campaign donors.

categories: Outrages
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9:47:36 PM    

Monday, May 15, 2006

Pink Bats Help Benefit Breast Cancer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - Hulking Jim Thome. Rugged Manny Ramirez. Brawny Adam Dunn. "The thought of these big macho men, swinging pink bats to help women with breast cancer ... what a novel idea," Louisville Slugger president John Hillerich said Tuesday.
Major League Baseball granted special permission for players to use the colorful bats - baby pink, at that - for Mother's Day. They're part of a weeklong program to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation

Baseball granted special permission for players to use the colorful bats for Mother's Day as part of a weeklong program to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation. (Brian Bohannon / Associated Press)

Derek Jeter, David Eckstein and Marcus Giles are among dozens of players who intend to try them Sunday. This is the first time pink has been approved for bats - dyed at the Louisville Slugger factory, they're usually black, brown, reddish or white.

Kevin Mench was among several Texas players who wanted their mother's names burned on the bats. The Rangers slugger, who homered in seven straight games earlier this season, also planned to have a bat for his grandmother, who died from breast cancer.

"My mom is the glue of our family, and I just want to do something to thank her for all that she has done," Mench said before Tuesday night's game against Minnesota. "At the same time, we are raising money for a great cause."

Howard Smith, senior vice president for licensing for MLB, said the idea for the pink bats struck a chord with commissioner Bud Selig and other executives. The question was how many players would use the sticks.

"It takes a big man to swing a pink bat in a major league game," Smith said.

More than 400 bats were being made for 50-plus players. David Ortiz, Jim Edmonds, Mark Teixeira, Michael Young and Hank Blalock were also on the list.

The Louisville Slugger factory started making the bats last week. Players were still placing orders as of Tuesday, and bats will probably be made and shipped overnight until Thursday or Friday.

"The response has been phenomenal," Hillerich said.

The bats posed something of a logistical problem for Louisville Slugger. Each player uses a different model and size, so coloring, branding and shipping them for Sunday's game has been a challenge, company spokesman Dan Burgess said.

Along with the pink bats, players and all on-field personnel will wear pink wristbands and a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness on their uniforms. The pink ribbon logo will appear on the bases and on commemorative home plates, and the lineups will be written on pink cards.

The bats, along with the home plates and lineup cards, will be autographed by the teams and will be auctioned off later with the proceeds going to the Breast Cancer Foundation.

As promotions go, this was (forgive the pun) a home run, not only because of the impactful use of color, but also for the unusual placement in the macho world of pro sports. Louisville Slugger is now selling the "Going to Bat for Breast Cancer" bats on its site, and the company and Major League Baseball are donating $15 to the cause for each bat sold.

categories: Heart
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1:07:19 PM    

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Do You Feel Safer Now?

categories: Outrages
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6:13:06 PM    

Friday, May 12, 2006

Friday Cat Blogging

categories: Humor
Other Stories according to Google: Carnival of the Cats | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Watermark: Friday Cat Blogging | Schussman.com: Friday cat blogging | Friday Cat Blogging | Eschaton | Bibi's box: Friday Cat Blogging | The Countess: Friday Cat Blogging

2:15:22 AM    

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Can You Hear Me Now? Good!

Welcome to the Police State. I had no idea so many Americans were talking to Al Qaeda.

Remember that little canard about making sure a terrorist was on one end of the line, and making sure it was an international call? Not so much. In fact, the government's goal is to get every phone record in the country - we're talking a record of every phone call you ever make or receive.

I'm going to say it again. Encrypt your emails NOW:

- Encrypting Mac emails

- Encrypting Windows emails

THE NSA AND YOU.... USA Today's Leslie Cauley has a major story today about the NSA's program to collect data not just on international calls, but on purely domestic calls as well. It started right after 9/11:

"It's the largest database ever assembled in the world," said one person, who, like the others who agreed to talk about the NSA's activities, declined to be identified by name or affiliation. The agency's goal is "to create a database of every call ever made" within the nation's borders, this person added.

....Last year...Bush insisted that the NSA was focused exclusively on international calls. "In other words," Bush explained, "one end of the communication must be outside the United States."

....Sources, however, say that is not the case. With access to records of billions of domestic calls, the NSA has gained a secret window into the communications habits of millions of Americans. Customers' names, street addresses and other personal information are not being handed over as part of NSA's domestic program, the sources said. But the phone numbers the NSA collects can easily be cross-checked with other databases to obtain that information.

The rules for collecting data about phone calls are different from the rules about listening in on the content of phone calls, so I don't know what the legal situation here is. However, although most domestic carriers cooperated with the NSA, one of them didn't: Qwest.

According to sources familiar with the events, Qwest's CEO at the time, Joe Nacchio, was deeply troubled by the NSA's assertion that Qwest didn't need a court order — or approval under FISA — to proceed. Adding to the tension, Qwest was unclear about who, exactly, would have access to its customers' information and how that information might be used.

....The NSA told Qwest that other government agencies, including the FBI, CIA and DEA, also might have access to the database, the sources said. As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information — known as "product" in intelligence circles — with other intelligence groups. Even so, Qwest's lawyers were troubled by the expansiveness of the NSA request, the sources said.

....Unable to get comfortable with what NSA was proposing, Qwest's lawyers asked NSA to take its proposal to the FISA court. According to the sources, the agency refused.

This should add even more excitement to Michael Hayden's confirmation hearings to run the CIA, shouldn't it?

There is a simple solution. If the White House will allow all of us to listen to all of their calls, then they can listen to ours. 

Seems fair and balanced to me.

Above the Law: Security Issue Kills Domestic Spying Inquiry NSA won’t grant Justice Department lawyers required security clearance

AP: The government has abruptly ended an inquiry into the warrantless eavesdropping program because the National Security Agency refused to grant Justice Department lawyers the necessary security clearance to probe the matter.

The inquiry headed by the Justice Department’s Office of Professional Responsibility, or OPR, sent a fax to Rep. Maurice Hinchey, D-N.Y., on Wednesday saying they were closing their inquiry because without clearance their lawyers cannot examine Justice lawyers’ role in the program...

Great. We're going to need voice scramblers in BushWorld. Fantastic. "Hello", "Yeah, Delivery", "I wanna large pepperoni"

categories: Outrages
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2:41:19 AM    

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Recruiting Abuses Mount as Army Tries to Meet Goals

Jared Guinther is 18. Tall and lanky, he will graduate from high school in June. Girls think he's cute, until they try to talk to him and he stammers or just stands there -- silent.

Diagnosed with autism at age 3, Jared is polite but won't talk to people unless they address him first. It's hard for him to make friends. He lives in his own private world.

Jared didn't know there was a war raging in Iraq until his parents told him last fall -- shortly after a military recruiter stopped him outside a Portland strip mall and complimented his black Converse All-Stars.

"When Jared first started talking about joining the Army, I thought, `Well, that isn't going to happen,"' said Paul Guinther, Jared's father. "I told my wife not to worry about it. They're not going to take anybody in the service who's autistic."

But they did. Last month, Jared came home with papers showing that he had not only enlisted, but signed up for the Army's most dangerous job: cavalry scout. He is scheduled to leave for basic training Aug. 16.

Officials are now investigating whether recruiters at the U.S. Army Recruiting Station in southeast Portland improperly concealed Jared's disability, which should have made him ineligible for service.

What happened to Jared is a growing national problem as the military faces increasing pressure to hit recruiting targets during an unpopular war.  Tracking by the Pentagon shows that complaints about recruiting improprieties are on pace to again reach record highs set in 2003 and 2004. Both the active Army and Reserve missed recruiting targets last year, and reports of recruiting abuses continue from across the country.

A family in Ohio reported that its mentally ill son was signed up, despite rules banning such enlistments and the fact that records about his illness were readily available.

In Houston, a recruiter warned a potential enlistee that if he backed out of a meeting he'd be arrested.

And in Colorado, a high school student working undercover told recruiters he'd dropped out and had a drug problem. The recruiter told the boy to fake a diploma and buy a product to help him beat a drug test.

Violations such as these forced the Army to halt recruiting for a day last May so recruiters could be retrained and reminded of the job's ethical requirements.

The Portland Army Recruiting Battalion Headquarters opened its investigation into Jared's case last week after his parents called The Oregonian and the newspaper began asking questions about his enlistment.

Maj. Curt Steinagel, commander of the Military Entrance Processing Station in Portland, said the papers filled out by Jared's recruiters contained no indication of his disability. Steinagel acknowledged that the current climate is tough on recruiters.

"I can't speak for Army," he said, "but it's no secret that recruiters stretch and bend the rules because of all the pressure they're under. The problem exists, and we all know it exists."

Military rules prohibit enlisting anyone with a mental disorder that interferes with school or employment, unless a recruit can show he or she hasn't required special academic or job accommodations for 12 months.

Jared has been in special education classes since preschool. Through a special program for disabled workers, he has a part-time job scrubbing toilets and dumping trash.

Jared scored 43 out of 99 on the Army's basic entrance exam -- 31 is lowest grade the Army allows for enlistment, military officials said.

After learning Jared had cleared this first hurdle toward enlistment, Brenda said she called and asked for Ansley's supervisor and got Sgt. Alejandro Velasco.

She said she begged Velasco to review Jared's medical and school records. Brenda said Velasco declined, asserting that he didn't need any paperwork. Under military rules, recruiters are required to gather all available information about a recruit and fill out a medical screening form.

"He was real cocky and he says, `Well, Jared's an 18-year-old man. He doesn't need his mommy to make his decisions for him."'

When they asked Jared how long he would be in the Army, he said he didn't know. His enlistment papers show it's just over four years. Jared also was disappointed to learn that he wouldn't be paid the $4,000 signing bonus until after basic training.

During a recent family gathering, a relative asked Jared what he would do if an enemy was shooting at him. Jared ran to his video game console, killed a digital Xbox soldier and announced, "See! I can do it!"

"My concern is that if he got into a combat situation he really couldn't take someone's back," said Mary Lou Perry, 51, longtime friend of the Guinthers. "He wouldn't really know a dangerous thing. This job they have him doing, it's like send him in and if he doesn't get blown up, it's safe for the rest of us."

Steinagel, the processing station commander, told The Oregonian that Jared showed up after passing his written exam. None of his paperwork indicated that he was autistic, but if it had, Jared almost certainly would have been disqualified, he said.

On Tuesday, a reporter visited the U.S. Army Recruiting Station at the Eastport Plaza Shopping Center, where Velasco said he had not been told about Jared's autism.

"Cpl. Ansley is Guinther's recruiter," he said. "I was unaware of any type of autism or anything like that."

Velasco initially denied knowing Jared, but later said he'd spent a lot of time mentoring him because Jared was going to become a cavalry scout. The job entails "engaging the enemy with anti-armor weapons and scout vehicles," according to an Army recruiting Web site.

After he'd spoken for a few moments, Velasco suddenly grabbed the reporter's tape recorder and tried to tear out the tape, stopping only after the reporter threatened to call the police.

The Guinthers said that on Tuesday evening, Cpl. Ansley showed up at their door. They said Ansley stated that he would probably lose his job and face dishonorable discharge unless they could stop the newspaper's story.

Ansley, reached at his recruiting office Thursday, declined to comment for this story.  S. Douglas Smith, spokesman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command, in Fort Knox, Ky., said he could not comment on specifics of the investigation in Portland. But he defended the 8,200 recruiters working for the active Army and Army Reserve.

Last year, the Army relieved 44 recruiters from duty and admonished 369.

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Great Falls Tribune - www.greatfallstribune.com - Great Falls, MT | cleveland.com: News | San Francisco Bay View - National Black Newspaper of the Year | TomDispatch - Tomgram: Nick Turse on Cyberstalking the Recruitable | The Black World Today | alternative news & media sources for current events today | Daily Kos: My Army Recruitment Horror Story | Informed Comment : 09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004 | WorkingForChange-TomGram: An army of (no) one | CDI Russia Weekly #125 October 27, 2000

12:27:32 AM    

Monday, May 08, 2006

Great Presidential Moments In History

Hat tip to Fuzzy & Blue for a great fishin pix, and to The Huffington Post Contagious Festival..

Do you enjoy Rumors on the Internets, Mr. Pibb + Red Vines, and brilliant political strategy?

Do you want to be the first one at work to discover the next JibJab, Detroit Project or Black People Love Us?

Each month, the Contagious Festival features original work by talented designers, activists, filmmakers and comics. You determine who wins the contest by deciding which entries to forward to your friends and which ones to ignore. Then the most popular sites rise to the top of our live rankings and get the attention of our panel of esteemed judges.

"his own lake", would that be Lake New Orleans in the background? Bush can take credit for that one too.

Catching the big perch is a substitute, in Bush's mind, for not catching that other big fish Osama Bin Laden. Interesting that the Bush presidency's biggest moment didn't involve the least benefit to any of his fellow citizens. In all fairness, I suspect that most historians will come to agree that this was indeed the high point of his presidency.

What is it with these he-men in in White House? The vice-president shoots domesticated, caged birds and helpless lawyers, while the president angles for fish he's previously tossed in his own pond!

Are the really so scared of maybe having to work at killing something?

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Writing For Multimedia: Great Moments In Multimedia History | Internet Archive: Details: Dwight D. Eisenhower Speech, January 17 | White House Briefing -- News on President George W Bush and the | American History - 1930-1939 | The Seattle Times: Sports: 10 great moments in baseball | Amazon.com: Salute to Reagan - A President's Greatest Moments : DVD | Sound Ideas Great Moments of the 20th Century | Radio Blogger | The Freshmen Connection | Great Moments in Stanford History | Great Moments in Presidential History 56, from Shmater.com

10:04:12 PM    

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Dance, Monkey, Dance!

If the above video won't play for you, click on this link.   Monkey Blogging Video

It's worth watching again even if you've seen it before.

categories: Mind
Other Stories according to Google: That Funny Steve Ballmer Video Thing | Julie Mallozzi Productions | macboy.com: Ballmer's iPod | Funny Monkey Dance - Jokaroo.com | Dance , Monkeys , Dance - Flash animation | | MonkeyFilter | Dance Monkey Dance | MilkandCookies - Dance Monkey Boy | MacComedy - Dance Monkey Boy! | BBspot - Ballmer Monkey Dance Explained

4:55:20 PM    

Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday Dog Blogging

categories: Humor
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12:06:26 AM    

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Moussouai Gets Life Sentence For Small Part In 9/11

Punishing wrongdoers is a neccessary function of government. However, this is America, and here the punishment must be proportional to the crime. He is a lunatic and a fool and an attention whore, who can now waste away the rest of his life in obscurity.

Zacarias Moussaoui, the only person prosecuted in connection with the worst terrorist attack in American history, did not get the death penalty because some jurors concluded that he had little to do with Sept. 11.

Yet two presumed key planners of the Al Qaeda plot, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh, have not been charged, though they have been in U.S. custody for more than three years.

A central contradiction in the Bush administration's fight against terrorism is that bit players often have been put on trial, while those thought to have orchestrated the plots have been held in secret for questioning.

The difference in treatment, government officials say, stems from the view that gathering intelligence from suspected terrorists is more important than publicly punishing them.

Though the Moussaoui jury seemed to indicate that he had not been directly responsible for the Sept. 11 attacks, Mohammed has told investigators about the plot in great detail.

Current and former intelligence officials have said that the CIA has used aggressive interrogation techniques — including "waterboarding," which makes a suspect feel as if he is drowning — on captured Al Qaeda leaders. As a result, many legal experts say it may be too late to try Mohammed and Binalshibh in a regular court of law.

"They cannot be prosecuted because of the way they have been interrogated," said University of Maryland law professor Michael Greenberger, a terrorism expert who served in the Clinton administration. "They have been subjected to very aggressive questioning, and any statements they made now can't be used against them."

An open trial for the Al Qaeda leaders could reveal that U.S. agents used harsh methods, even torture, to extract information, he added.

"That has been the irony of the Moussaoui case from the beginning. We have prosecuted a marginal character who appeared unmoored from reality, while the real planners of the crime will not be brought before justice in the United States," Greenberger said.

Deborah Pearlstein, a lawyer for Human Rights First, said: "After the World Trade Center attack in 1993, there was a successful prosecution. We got information, and we got justice. Now, in this case, I fear we have lost the opportunity to bring the real terrorists to justice."

It is time that the government proves to America that they have been protecting us by producing those alledged criminals and putting them on trail immediately.

It MUST be a Real Old Fashioned Public American Trial, where we all get to see the evidence.

I was inspired to write this in part because of what I saw many of the 9/11 family members say today after the Moussaoui verdict. Pretty much all of them were happy that this trial was over; expressed gratitude to the jurors even when some wanted the death penalty; and most went on to talk about how little has really been done including trials for the real 9/11 planners.

None seemed to want revenge. They seemed to simply want truth and the corrections that that truth could possibly bring to making America stronger and safer. They all referenced the secrecy surrounding that day that the government continues to protect so intensely.

It is time to let the sun shine in on the facts and it is high time that if we have wrongly imprisoned anyone that we let them go free.

UPDATE: Michael Isikoff is a reporter I have had many problems with, but he did make some sense on Hardball yesterday.

Isikoff: This entire Moussaoui trial was a side show. The Justice Department indicted him at the time, they thought he might have been the 20th hijacker. They later learned he was not. But there was a feeling, that for altogether understandable reasons, that the country needed a trial, the cathartic effect of a trial to deal with the most horrific crime in American history. What this trial ought to do at this point provoke a debate and discussion and concentration on why we haven`t tried the people who were responsible for 9/11. But there was a feeling, that for altogether understandable reasons, that the country needed a trial, the cathartic effect of a trial to deal with the most horrific crime in American history.

But the point is that after the time that they indicted Moussaoui, we came to get into custody the people who were directly responsible for that crime, the architect, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed (pictured here at top), Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who was Mohammed Atta`s collaborator at every step of the way -- twice in 2001, Atta leaves the country to consult with Ramzi bin al-Shibh about the for the attack -- the financier who was also in custody, Qualli bin Atassh (phonetic) who helped planned it at the Malaysia meeting.

But the government has been completely stymied about what do to with these people. Why -- and this is the one where it is really worth connecting the dots. It goes straight into the White House, the Oval Office and the vice president`s office because key decisions were made about aggressive interrogation techniques that were going to be used on these people.

Kristen Breitweiser was poignantly on target as to why we can't prosecute the other three--something that I don't think the public in general wants to realize. Our rendition and torture policies have made it impossible to prosecute them. So while Bush decides that he doesn't need to follow laws, his extra-legal activities prevent us from justice for this tragedy. Thanks Kristen.

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3:24:55 AM    

$100 Bucks & Forget You Ever Saw Any Of This

categories: Politics
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1:25:18 AM    

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Women Against Bush's Favorite Democrat

"I doubt that anybody will call me 'George Bush's favorite Democrat.'" --
Ned Lamont, www.nedlamont.com
We do not want a pro-war senator representing Connecticut. Joe Lieberman’s insistence that the war in Iraq is worth all the lives lost and our national resources drained is out of step with the majority.

Remember when Joe Lieberman wanted rape victims to climb off the gurney and go some place where their unreasonable demand for emergency contraception would be honored? (Providing, that is, that they knew about the existence of emergency contraception — Catholic hospitals may receive public funding, but they won't tell you that you might need it because you might wind up in hell and all.)

Anyway, leaders within the Connecticut pro-choice and GLTB community — equally disgusted with both Lieberman and with NARAL and Planned Parenthood's refusal to call bullshit on his claims to be "pro choice" — have banded together to form Connecticut Choice Voice, "a website sponsored by Connecticut Women Standing Up for Choice and Equality."

Their number one agenda: the election of Ned Lamont to the US Senate to replace Joe Lieberman.

1)Joe Lieberman voted for cloture and would not support the Democrat-led filibuster which would have challenged the nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court. [Recall that Planned Parenthood and NARAL told their members to thank Lieberman for his Alito vote ]

2)Joe Lieberman is on record as opposing the proposed legislation in Connecticut that would require all Connecticut hospitals to offer emergency contraceptives to rape victims.

3)Joe Lieberman believes it was proper for the U.S. government to intervene in the Terry Schiavo case. He claimed it was "justified to give this woman, more than her parents and husband, the opportunity for one more chance before her life was terminated," and that government "must honor life."

4)Joe Lieberman has steadfastly supported the war in Iraq. He has been a vocal, public defender of the Bush-Cheney administration's decision to continue to wage war and cites the need to "finish the job," going so far as to suggest that anyone who opposes the war is unpatriotic.

5)Joe Lieberman opposes the right of all women—and men—to marry the person of their choice. Even though he has stated that he supports civil and human rights, he does not support marriage for same-sex couples.

New Cook Report just out..

Bottom line. Dems have a decent chance of winning the senate (it all comes down to Tennessee) and a better chance of winning the house - but it will come down to money where the goopers expect to have a huge advantage that they think will overcome a strong anti Clusterf*ck and anti gooper sentiment.

Very interesting reading.

Back in December, Senate Dem Leader Harry Reid had this to say about Joe Lieberman:

"I've spoken to Joe Lieberman and he knows he's out there alone. I mean, literally alone. Joe is a fine man, he has strong feelings, but he's just alone. Even Republicans don't agree with Joe."

Now he's letting Joe feel the love. Read and weep.

I write to urge you to support my friend, Joe Lieberman, when you convene with your fellow delegates on May 20th, and then when you cast your vote in the August 8th primary.

I know that there's been a lot of discussion among you and your fellow Democrats about Joe, and I'd like to share my thoughts with you. Let me be clear: as the leader of the Democratic Party in the United States Senate, I need Joe to be reelected. We have many battles in the future and his presence in the United States Senate is essential.

The Difference Between Reid and Lieberman...

...is that Harry Reid can be counted on to support the winner of the Connecticut Primary come the November General Election.

I think it's fabulous that people are stepping forward to challenge the interest groups who purport to speak for the causes of those they have abandoned (and in doing so give the public seal of approval to candidates who don't deserve it). And it's also great that they have come out and supported Ned, who truly deserves it.

You can donate to Ned here.

categories: Outrages
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1:22:55 AM    

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Flame Was Working On Iran Nukes

Didn't Bob Woodward say that his "sources" indicated that the Plame outing was no big deal. That an assessment was done and it wasn't bad. Woodward is such a tool.

You're telling me that BushCo. outed Valerie Plame to get back at Joe Wilson AND to kill the intelligence about Iran's nuclear capabilities? How better to muddy the waters about the "reasons" for striking Iran? Sounds like treason to me.

David Shuster is reporting that Valerie Plame Wilson was working on Iran nukes at the time she was outed (Crooks & Liars has the video).

Says Shuster:

Early in the case, Rove admitted to investigators that he outed Valerie Wilson's identity to columnist Robert Novak -- Novak was the first journalist to publish Wilson's identity and the first to talk about it to investigators.

And last week, Karl Rove testified again he may have spoken about the Wilsons with Time Magazine's Matt Cooper.

Rove said he denied that under oath for the first year of the investigation because of memory problems. A case of bad memory is Scooter Libby's defense.

But in regards to Karl Rove, lawyers in the case say prosecutor Fitzgerald is still troubled by the timing of Rove's rolling disclosures: it seems that Rove's memory perks up with every new indication someone else will expose him. When Rove finally began to update his testimony in October 2004, it was just days after Cooper was first held in contempt for refusing to disclose confidential sources. And Rove did not give Cooper a clear waiver to testify until after Cooper's appeals had been exhausted 9 months later.

Didn't John Gibson say that Karl Rove deserved a medal for outing Valerie? Another question needs to be asked of this President. If Iran is such a threat, why does Bush still have on his staff a man (Rover) who betrayed the identity of a CIA agent that was working on this very serious issue.

Harald Hardrada 20, some neocons were trying to sell america's nuclear technology on the black market & not just to iran -- There have been suggestions that that's part of what Sibel Edmonds' gag order prevents her from talking about.

MSNBC has learned new information about the damage caused by the White House leaks.

Intelligence sources say Valerie Wilson was part of an operation three years ago tracking the proliferation of nuclear weapons material into Iran. And the sources allege that when Mrs. Wilson's cover was blown, the administration's ability to track Iran's nuclear ambitions was damaged as well.

Raw Story also reported this in February of this year. Add this to Judge Hogan's contention that there were definitely underlying crimes committed in the CIA leak case and I'd say the "nothing to see here, no damage done, move on, it's just a little perjury" crowd are on the ropes.

Remember those Aspens, Scooter to Judy:

You went into jail in the summer. It is fall now. You will have stories to cover - Iraqi elections and suicide bombers, biological threats and the Iranian nuclear program. Out West, where you vacation, the aspens will already be turning. They turn in clusters, because their roots connect them. Come back to work - and life. Until then, you will remain in my thoughts and prayers.

It was already reported then that Plame specialized in tracking and securing nuclear materiel from the Soviet bloque and the CIA was livid that BushCo had ruined such an important CIA cover company - 20+ years, with all the contacts that longevity entailed - as well as degrading our ability to fight the GWOT by wrecking an important part of our ability to track nuclear materials in old Soviet bloque and the -stans.

All to smear the former ambassador to Iraq (who served with real courage in the first Gulf War) for speaking out and telling the truth.

Do you feel safer with Bush? He's a war president and makes decisions with war on his mind. What war, the war against America or the war against his legacy?

categories: Outrages
Other Stories according to Google: Shahab-4 | Taep'o-dong 2 (TD-2) - North Korea | The Theroxylandr in Flame » Valerie Plame | The Theroxylandr in Flame » Plamegate | The Theroxylandr in Flame » Karl Rove | Jihad Watch: Iran has missiles to carry nuclear warheads | IRAN : Oil, not nukes , Washington's concern | Chris At Home - by Chris | Heather Gray: Working with Coretta Scott King | Steppingstone to War- by Justin Raimondo

12:02:58 AM    

Monday, May 01, 2006

May 1, 2003, "Misery Accomplished"

The third anniversary of the U.S.-led war in Iraq drew tens of thousands of protesters around the globe, from hurricane-ravaged Louisiana to Australia, with chants of "Stop the War" and calls for the withdrawal of troops.

More than 7,000 people marched through Chicago on Saturday in one of the largest U.S. protests, saying the war diverts money from domestic needs and demanding the U.S. pull out of Iraq. One sign read "Bush is a category 5 disaster."

"I'm against this war, I'm against the torture," said protester Martha Conrad, 54. "We're doing this for the people of Iraq."

Protesters also gathered in Boston, San Francisco and Pittsburgh, and more than 1,000 packed into New York's Times Square on Saturday chanting: "Stop the U.S. war machine, from Iraq to Korea to the Philippines."

About 200 war veterans, hurricane survivors and demonstrators gathered Sunday at the Chalmette National Cemetery to protest how the military conflict overseas had hurt the country's ability to help the Gulf Coast recover from last year's hurricanes.

"We attacked a country who never did anything to us," said Philadelphia resident Al Zappala, whose 30-year-old son was killed in Iraq in April 2004.

categories: Outrages
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1:29:54 AM    

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