Wednesday, November 30, 2005
From the Agape press we learn that a father is 'outraged' by 2 adults living together without the blessing of either church or state. It appears that the dorm supervisor is living with his girlfriend. This offends his 'faith and family values' so he wants it stopped.
He can be offended all he wants, but it is not his life, and (in this case) he is not effected by how others live theirs.
This is the biggest trouble with the religious right. They demand the right to impose their standards of behavior and lifestyle on everyone else. This father and his daughter, a resident assistant in the dorm, are offended. As a result they demand that everyone accept their standards of behavior and dignity.
The concept of live and let live is alien to them. The school was not imposing any hardship upon them, yet they are still offended. The only way to make them happy is if the school make impositions upon others in their name.
a hat tip to Bartholomew's notes on religion, a great blog.
The Vatican issued a long-awaited document Tuesday on the explosive issue of homosexuality in the priesthood, but the document banning men with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies" added more heat than light to the controversy.
Almost immediately, there was heated debate and stark disagreement about the potential impact of the document in Catholic seminaries, to whom the "instruction" from the Congregation for Catholic Education is addressed.
In addition to barring those with "deep-seated homosexual tendencies," the document says ordination to the priesthood should not be allowed for those who have had homosexual encounters during the prior three years or those who support the "gay culture."
That last category is very interesting, and should be more than a little troubling for thinking Catholics.
This latest church action is seen as being driven by the abuse cases that have been discovered nation wide. The majority of abuse was preacher assaulting boys, but there were also attacks on girls and women. This response from Rome does not appear notice that girls (and women)were also assaulted. Since there is little doubt that the are aware of this, it adds more ground for speculation that the anti-homosexual forces within the church are using the US abuse coverup as an excuse for an assault on gays, and gay Catholics.
I have my one ideas about why there is such a high level of abuse within the church (Religious driven sexual repression at a young age, seeking shelter in celibacy) and have to marvel at the direction the church has taken. The issue that needs to be addressed by the world church is not so much the abuse, or homosexuality, but the nationwide efforts at coverup.
I note, the church has done little to nothing about that.
Catholic Church Homosexuality
Hours before President Bush is scheduled to deliver a speech Wednesday morning, the White House went on the offensive by releasing a declassified document that it says outlines strategy for victory in Iraq.
But does it outline what victory (or defeat) actually is? Is victory defined? Is it defined only as a stable and peaceful Iraq? Is defeat only defined by battlefield standards, or is what a defeat may be even considered? If not, the end result may be we end up with a conflict that is unending.
The White House said on Wednesday that Iraq was likely to struggle with violence for many years, but as its forces increasingly take over security, U.S. troops can eventually withdraw.
President George W. Bush, in a speech at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, is expected to try and counter criticism that his administration lacks a clear Iraq strategy.
So, how many is many? When do we look for a new policy, after 5 years, 10 years, 20 years? When Bush gets advice that runs counter to what he wants to hear, how will the administration respond. In the past Bush has ignored contrary opinions, and has actually fired those who present information they don't want presented.
Bush said any decisions he makes will be based on the recommendations of top U.S. commanders.
"If they tell me we need more troops, we'll provide more troops," he said. "If they tell me we've got a sufficient level of troops, that'll be the level of troops.
So here we get the big lie that makes most of what Bush will say today irrelevant. Bush claims he listens and will change as commanders advise. But the past has shown that those who dare to present information or plans outside of what the administration wants are ignored or fired. So in the end, the dying will continue, and what is victory is still undefined.
I think history records another leader who ignored negative battlefield information, and was eventually destroyed.
National strategy for victory in Iraq Iraq Bush
|Your Power Color Is Indigo|
At Your Highest:
You are on a fast track to success - and others believe in you.
At Your Lowest:
You require a lot of attention and praise.
You see people as how you want them to be, not as how they are.
How You're Attractive:
You're dramatic flair makes others see you as mysterious and romantic.
Your Eternal Question:
"Does This Work Into My Future Plans?"
Tuesday, November 29, 2005
He still wants his guest worker program, but he is now playing to his base, and talking tough.
"We're going to secure the border by catching those who enter illegally, and hardening the border to prevent illegal crossings," Bush said. "We're going to strengthen enforcement of our immigration laws in this country."
The sad reality is, as long as there are people willing to hire them, the workers will come across. If he wants to get serious, all he has to do is slightly tweak the laws holding employers accountable, and then enforce them. If an industry can prove a true dependence on labor far below market level, they can write exceptions into the law.
There is no reason for huge governmental cost for new fences and an army of new border patrol forces. Just like drugs, as long as there is a demand, there will be a market response. Close off the demand, and the flow will cease.
Make it so expensive to be caught using illegal labor, and not just the sub-contractors, that no company dare do it. Hold the parent corporation accountable, and make them pay in huge fines.
This is the cost effect way of dealing with illegal immigration, and one Bush will never consider.
Mexico Immigration Labor
Same as the old boss
In Iraq, the names have changed, the sect has changed, but it sure likes like the game remains the same.
As the American military pushes the largely Shiite Iraqi security services into a larger role in combating the insurgency, evidence has begun to mount suggesting that the Iraqi forces are carrying out executions in predominantly Sunni neighborhoods.
Hundreds of accounts of killings and abductions have emerged in recent weeks, most of them brought forward by Sunni civilians, who claim that their relatives have been taken away by Iraqi men in uniform without warrant or explanation.
Some Sunni men have been found dead in ditches and fields, with bullet holes in their temples, acid burns on their skin, and holes in their bodies apparently made by electric drills.
This Frankenstein's monster we are creating in Iraq sure looks a lot like the one we deposed. Both are equally charming.
The eight-term Republican congressman could get up to 10 years in prison at sentencing Feb. 27 for conspiracy to commit bribery and fraud, and tax evasion.
Cunningham, 63, was released on his own recognizance. In his statement, Cunningham said he will cooperate with authorities in the investigation.
Impressive, this Republican leader took over $2,400,000.00 in just 5 years.
It is clear that they will now go after those who were paying the bribes. At that point it could get real interesting for some other elected officials in DC. Will those who paid out the bribes to Cunningham admit to paying off others?
For an elected official to admit to accepting bribes the evidence must be rock solid. Can Wade, and other, put up an effective defense with both the evidence and a cooperating witness. In a few months we will know.
Back to Cunningham, just how disgusting is 'The Duke'? Just consider this:
The tax evasion charge came after Cunningham reported joint income with his wife of $121,079 and claimed he was due a refund of $8,504. Prosecutors said his income was $1,215,458 and he owed $385,077 in taxes.
He declared just 10% of his income one year, and got a refund, when he owed almost four times what he claimed he earned.
Culture of Corruption Cunningham Wade Harris
| You scored as The Beast. Your alter ego is The Beast! But that is only a name... you are kind hearted and sweet, people just misunderstand you. |
Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
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Monday, November 28, 2005
Admitting to a judge that he took bribes, Cunningham entered pleas in U.S. District Court to charges of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud and tax evasion for underreporting his income in 2004.
Wow, he admitted to accepting bribes, I didn't expect that. Just more evidence of the Republican Culture of Corruption.
Cunningham Corruption Republican
Beijing - The H5N1 strain of bird flu seen in human cases in China has mutated as compared with strains found in human cases in Vietnam, state press said on Monday, citing a health ministry spokesperson.
This little bit of bad news was not unexpected, but is surely not welcome. The World Health Organization is trying to develop a plan to mount an effective resistance to any outbreak of a transmittable flu, but they know they face a hard battle.
The current threat is influenza A/H5N1, a strain of avian influenza that emerged in Hong Kong in 1997, was extinguished and emerged again. Since late 2003, it has killed 150 million birds and, by WHO's official count, has infected 125 people and killed 64.
No flu pandemic has ever been stopped or even controlled. GOARN's attempt would be the first.
When fully adapted to humans, by contrast, influenza is easily passed by breathing and coughing, and the virus can survive for hours on surfaces such as doorknobs and subway poles. Its victims tend to be up and around -- and infecting others during their peak infectiousness early in the illness. The virus thrives in cool, dry environments of the sort found indoors in winter.
H5N1 does not have those traits now. If it acquires them, they may not come rapidly or suddenly. Instead, H5N1 may stagger toward human transmissibility in steps
If it does fully mutate, we can hope that it's mortality numbers do decline. At currently over 50% it is terrifying.
Bird Flu WHO
The European Union's justice commissioner warned Monday that any EU countries found to have operated secret CIA prisons could have their EU voting rights suspended.
His comment came as the Council of Europe - the continent's main human rights watchdog - investigates reports that the CIA set up secret jails in some European countries and transported terror suspects by covert flights. It has urged governments to fully provide information on the issue.
"I would be obliged to propose to the council serious consequences, including the suspension of voting rights," Franco Frattini said at a counterterrorism conference.
The EU leadership appear to know that claiming to support liberty and freedom and justice mean nothing it your actions prove this claim to be a lie. Either you do believe in these concepts, and embrace them. Or you don't, and build secret prison systems, and try to subvert constitutional protections, and try to imprison persons forever, at the whim of the administration.
I know where I stand,I just am not sure where my nation stands.
CIA EU CIA Prisons
Go over to Firedoglake for a good look at the latest developments in the Plame case.
Abramoff Scanlon Fitzgerald Plame
Sunday, November 27, 2005
A west coast visitor has delivered 2 pounds of very good candy here. One Small Piece is worth a case of anything you find at the Circle K.
Unfortunately, this treat comes only once or twice a year.
And now I learn that this family vice of the last half century is now one of the hot products of the season.
BAGHDAD -- Car bombs killed 10 people yesterday in Baghdad and elsewhere in central Iraq, while one person died when gunmen opened fire on campaign workers putting up posters in the run-up to next month's parliamentary elections.
This flow of bodies is unstopping, and it is clear that there is no end in sight. It has gotten so bad that the Iraqi rulers are telling us that the must become Saddam to defeat the insurgency.
The leader of Iraq's most powerful political party has called on the United States to let Iraqi fighters take a more aggressive role against insurgents, saying his country will only be able to defeat the insurgency when the United States lets Iraqis get tough.
"The more freedom given to Iraqis, the more chance for further progress there would be, particularly in fighting terror," said Abdul Aziz Hakim, head of the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, the Shiite Muslim religious party that leads the transitional government and whose armed wing is the most feared of Iraq's many factional forces.
So, we evicted a government using torture and murder to maintain it power, to establish a government that wants to use torture and murder to grasp it's power.
So if we didn't fight over nuclear weapons, and we didn't fight over chemical weapons, and we didn't fight over biological weapons, and we didn't fight because of 9-11 or ties to Bin Laden, and we didn't fight to establish a citizen friendly democracy;
Why did we attack Iraq?
| You scored as Moya (from Farscape). You are surrounded by muppets. But that is okay because they are your friends and have shown many times that they can be trusted. Now if only you could stop being bothered about wormholes.|
Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
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Saturday, November 26, 2005
More names are coming out, John T. Doolittle of California and Conrad Burns of Montana appear to have joined Tom DeLay, Robert Ney and others on the list of bought and paid for criminals.
WASHINGTON: Justice Department prosecutors investigating former lobbyist Jack Abramoff are beginning to move on evidence pointing to possible corruption in Congress and executive-branch agencies, lawyers involved in the case said.
Prosecutors have told one lawmaker, Rep. Robert Ney, R-Ohio, and his former chief of staff that they are preparing a possible bribery case against them, according to two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
The 35 to 40 investigators and prosecutors on the Abramoff case are focused on at least a half-dozen members of Congress, said lawyers and others close to the probe.
I have noticed that in this wide spread case of corruption, with politicians at both the national and state level involved, to date every one of those invovled are Republicans. One can only speculate how many more Republicans would be implicated if we only had a viable investigative force somewhere in the congress.
Republincans, the offical party of crime and corruption.
| You scored as Existentialism. Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.|
?Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.?
?It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.?
?It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.?
More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...
What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
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Friday, November 25, 2005
It is a terrible thing to tell someone he or she is risking death in a mistaken cause. But it is more terrible actually to die in that mistaken cause.
In an op-ed by Michael Kinsley this echo from the end of the Vietnam War is heard. Now that the administration has been forced to concede that criticizing the decision for, or the course of, war is acceptable, we may at last hear this point debated.
What is less ignoble, to die for a false and failing cause, or to be brought home in the withdraw from that false and failing cause.
The courage of Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa) has changed the dynamic of the debate. Now there is a chance that the sloganeering of the republicans will no longer be automatically accepted. Their position must now be defended with facts and logic, not bluster and overt nationalism. Maybe, just maybe, the debate can move into a reality based discussion, and the Bush administration will stop wrapping themselves up in the flag when challenged.
|The Movie Of Your Life Is A Black Comedy|
In your life, things are so twisted that you just have to laugh.
You may end up insane, but you'll have fun on the way to the asylum.
Your best movie matches: Being John Malkovich, The Royal Tenenbaums, American Psycho
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Marly Sturkie had a tradition to uphold and she succeeded on a morning that retailers hope will kick off a bright holiday season.
"We never went to sleep last night," Sturkie said shortly before 5 a.m. Friday at the Wal-Mart in northwest Columbia.
Sturkie, of Swansea, couldn't remember what time she arrived at the store, opened 24 hours. She and her friends were buying three television-DVD combos, where they saved $50 each.
There is almost nothing that could induce me to join that swarming mass.
Scott Brown is opening a consulting firm.
"If I can help people focus on preparedness, how to be better prepared in their homes and better prepared in their businesses" because that goes straight to the bottom line "then I hope I can help the country in some way," Brown said in Denver.
"I'm doing a lot of good work with some great clients," he said. "My wife, children and my grandchild still love me. My parents are still proud of me."
This is good news, Brown is no longer of the payroll of the federal government, and only those who go out of their way to get his advice will be screwed.
Now, all we have to do is find the hundreds of other 'Brownies' Bush has installed in various places in the government, and get them out before they find way to do hundreds in billions in damage.
Thursday, November 24, 2005
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Uzbekistan has told NATO allies they can no longer use its territory or airspace to support peacekeeping missions in neighboring Afghanistan, an official of the alliance said Wednesday.
Uzbekistan's hard-line President Islam Karimov in July ordered the U.S. troops to leave the air base within six months, after Washington joined international condemnation of a bloody government crackdown in the eastern city of Andijan that human rights groups say killed hundreds of civilians.
Uzbekistan became an important ally in the war on terrorism after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and granted permission for the United States to establish an air base in the country.
Of course, when you are justifying starting a war because of the cruelty of the despot in charge, you have to question our wisdom cutting deals with a dictator who has boiled his political foes to death.
At least a rational person does, it didn't appear to bother George or the rest of his administration.
There is good reason to think that Sen. Obama's call may be answered. The Pentagon is currently drafting plans to remove about 15 percent of the combat force in Iraq in 2006. If this information is correct, we will still have well over 100,000 men in Iraq in 12 months.
And there is good reason for this.
The situation isn't getting any better. American troops are still being killed, suicide bombers are still striking, and fuel is still being added that will explode into a full scale civil war.
And then we can seen more troops back in.
We are hosting the family and friends thanksgiving dinner this year. Last night we started to check our count, and we were somewhere between 28 and 30 guests.
Time to call people to check and see if they are really coming, and maybe buy another turkey.
Fortunately for the cook (me) the number has moved into a more rational area, maybe 22-24.
We still might need that other bird.
Here is how you matched up against all the levels:
|Purgatory (Repenting Believers)||Very High|
|Level 1 - Limbo (Virtuous Non-Believers)||Low|
|Level 2 (Lustful)||High|
|Level 3 (Gluttonous)||Moderate|
|Level 4 (Prodigal and Avaricious)||Very Low|
|Level 5 (Wrathful and Gloomy)||Low|
|Level 6 - The City of Dis (Heretics)||Very Low|
|Level 7 (Violent)||Moderate|
|Level 8- the Malebolge (Fraudulent, Malicious, Panderers)||Moderate|
|Level 9 - Cocytus (Treacherous)||Low|
Take the Dante's Divine Comedy Inferno Test
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
A federal grand jury in Miami returned an indictment against Padilla and four others, accusing them of attempting to "murder, kidnap and maim".
"The defendants, along with other individuals, operated and participated in a North American support cell that sent money, physical assets and mujahideen recruits to overseas conflicts for the purposes of fighting a violent jihad," the indictment said.
"Padilla was recruited by the North American support cell to participate in violent jihad and travelled overseas for that purpose," it stated.
But, please note:
The papers, however, made no mention of the central charge on which Padilla was detained in May 2002: he was originally accused of being part of a plot to detonate a radioactive 'dirty bomb' on American soil.
This man has a record of being a less than honorable citizen. If he is guilty lets lock him up, but there is no justification for trying to strip an American Citizen of his constitutionally guaranteed rights, and this message still need to be sent to this corrupt administration.
Reaching out to the Sunni Arab community, Iraqi leaders called for a timetable for the withdrawal of U.S.-led forces
But what should be very frightening to the Bush administration is the second part of the statement.
Iraq's opposition had a "legitimate right" of resistance.
This is a defacto approval of continued attacks against American forces.
President Dick Cheney has denied trying to stifle dissent over the Iraq war by attacking the Bush Administration's critics, but he says Democrat claims that the President intentionally twisted prewar intelligence go too far.
"This is revisionism of the most corrupt and shameless variety. It has no place anywhere in American politics, much less in the United States Senate," Mr Cheney said.
Two Paragraphs, Two Lies.
Of course he is trying to quiet dissent; Heck he is trying to destroy the dissenter. That the standard operating procedure in the Bush White House. If you speak out, break from the pack, dare to utter the truth, you are attacked to the point of destruction.
And, the unfortunate reality for Dick is the administration did work to craft the view of intelligence to create a demand for war that never existed. Administration officials made claims about chemical weapons, biological weapons, nuclear weapons, and ties to Bin Laden, that were questionable at best, and in a number of cases actually disproved long prior to the time the administration went public with the claim.
Dick, if you do want to talk about revisionism, why don't we start here.
They lied, we went to war, and now there is no clear way out. Nice job Dick.
Michael Scanlon, a former associate of lobbyist Jack Abramoff, pleaded guilty to conspiring to corrupt public officials and defraud clients, clearing the way for his cooperation in an investigation of his one-time partner.
And that is the best part, he has turned states evidence. A top man on the inside will soon be turning on all his old past buddies. There are a lot of DC Republicans who are now able to clearly define the term pucker factor.
| You scored as Postmodernist. Postmodernism is the belief in complete open interpretation. You see the universe as a collection of information with varying ways of putting it together. There is no absolute truth for you; even the most hardened facts are open to interpretation. Meaning relies on context and even the language you use to describe things should be subject to analysis.|
What is Your World View? (updated)
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Monday, November 21, 2005
WASHINGTON -- Back in the mid-1990s, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, aggressively delving into alleged misconduct by the Clinton administration, logged 140 hours of sworn testimony into whether former president Bill Clinton had used the White House Christmas card list to identify potential Democratic donors.
In the past two years, a House committee has managed to take only 12 hours of sworn testimony about the abuse of prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison.
140 hours on speculation about the fundraising use of a White House mailing list, and 12 hours on one of the most obscene crimes in the US Army's history. Another disgusting example of the complete lack of the basic understanding of ethical behavior that exist within the Republican leadership in DC.
We have deposed him, and for 30 months have been rebuilding his old society into a new one. A society that will suppress the bad and enable the good to grow;
It seems the police that the British have trained have perfected a new skill; How to slowly kill a person by torturing them with an power drill.
British-trained police operating in Basra have tortured at least two civilians to death with electric drills, The Independent on Sunday can reveal.
John Reid, the Secretary of State for Defence, admits that he knows of "alleged deaths in custody" and other "serious prisoner abuse" at al-Jamiyat police station, which was reopened by Britain after the war.
Militia-dominated police, who were recruited by Britain, are believed to have tortured at least two men to death in the station. Their bodies were later found with drill holes to their arms, legs and skulls.
and the US contribution to this "change" in Iraq:
"This ceremony -- this same music -- it makes us remember the old army," marveled Fathi, standing on the top tier of a reviewing stand south of Baghdad. Next to him was Capt. Khudhair Alwan, whose contact with U.S. forces began by trying to kill them as they invaded the southern city of Basra in 2003.
But this is 2005, not 2003, and this is the new army, not the old one. Fathi and Alwan, switching allegiances if not uniforms, are enlisted man and officer in the new Iraqi army, at the same rank they held in the old one.
GM said the plants that will close are in Oklahoma City, Lansing, Mich., Spring Hill, Tenn., Doraville, Ga., and Ontario, Canada. Wagoner said GM also will close three service and parts operations facilities.
"The decisions we are announcing today were very difficult to reach because of their impact on our employees and the communities where we live and work," Wagoner told employees. "But these actions are necessary for GM to get its costs in line with our major global competitors. In short, they are an essential part of our plan to return our North American operations to profitability as soon as possible."
I note that the Saturn Plant, the plan to change the way US companies do business, appears to be slated for shutdown.
Major companies seem to love to create new companies within their larger company, only to close them later. You see this all the times with the airlines (Delta's Song as an example) and here is what may be a case with heavy industry.
This also leads one to ask; When we no longer have a workforce who can afford to purchase GM Cars (or Fly on Delta, or get medical care), what will become of GM (and the rest of the US economic base) .
Tha depressing part is it is dead on; We no longer expect the President to do anything of worth, and that is exactly what he delivers.
BEIJING, Nov. 20 -- When President Bush was flying toward Asia a week ago, his national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, predicted to reporters in the back of the plane that the four-nation trip would yield no "headline breakthroughs." He turned out to be right.
As Bush wrapped up his stay in Beijing on Sunday and prepared to head home Monday after a brief stop in Mongolia, the trip has produced no real breakthroughs of any sort. On a wide variety of issues, from trade to security to human rights, Bush won no concrete agreements from any of his summit partners.
Over at Think Progress they have two interesting notes about the trip; First they note the lack of interest that Bush and many of his advisers have in experiencing the places they visit, then they also post this from the South China Morning Post:
It was President George W. Bush's unilateral and belligerent foreign policy that poisoned the wellspring of global sympathy for America after the September 11 terrorist attacks. Â Through its rash actions, the Bush administration squandered, in just a couple of years, half a century of AmericaÂs hard-earned reputation as a responsible, generally benevolent, superpower. Â Chinese leaders, to their credit, seem well aware of the lesson in all this: that a distrusted superpower runs the risk of being ganged up on by the rest of the world.
Sunday, November 20, 2005
We are now in the middle of a civil war, fighting for the Shia against the Sunni. The question that it appears no one can clearly answer is why.
It is good to see that the war in Iraq is again in the center stage, I do hope that some of the defenders of the war can rise above the worn-out slogans about not cutting and running, and making the sacrifice matter; We have to have a reasonable and achievable goal. Without a clear examination of where we are, where we are going, and what our final objective is, we are doomed to spend decades bleeding into the sand.
Just like the absurd Global War on a Battle Tactic, the war in Iraq must be redefined or abandoned.
In September 2002, nearly a year after an American-led coalition deposed the Taliban, the United States launched what would become an aggressive effort to build or refurbish as many as 1,000 schools and clinics by the end of 2004, documents show. However, design flaws and construction errors caused the initiative to fall far short.
Yes, along came the war of choice in Iraq, and the war that had to be fought was forgotten.
a $73 million U.S. Agency for International Development program -- had produced only 100 finished projects, most of them refurbishments of existing buildings. As of the beginning of this month, only about 40 more had been finished and turned over to the Afghan government.
The whole story is worthy of reading, but the lesson is one that we should have learned ages ago. Good intentions, without understanding the history and cultures involved, are bound to fail. Just another indication that those who are a part of the reality based community were right, and those neo-imperialist who thought that they could create their own reality are again, like the British in the 1800s, clueless, and will fail.
|Your Career Type: Enterprising|
You are engertic, ambitious, and sociable.
Your talents lie in politics, leading people, and selling things or ideas.
You would make an excellent:
Auctioneer - Bank President - Camp Director
City Manager - Judge - Lawyer
Recreation Leader - Real Estate Agent - Sales Person
School Principal - Travel Agent - TV Newscaster
The worst career options for your are investigative careers, like mathematician or architect.
Chapel Hill., N.C.; Gary, Ind.; dozens of towns in Vermont; and, perhaps no surprise, such famously liberal municipalities as Berkeley, Calif., and Cambridge, Mass. The resolutions typically call on the U.S. government "to commence an orderly and rapid withdrawal of United States military personnel from Iraq," while also shipping nonmilitary aid "necessary for the security of Iraq's citizens and for the rebuilding of Iraq."
It is just so many words, but as more cities sign on, it will at least send a message.
One real positive if we did show the wisdom to do this, we would then have the resources to go back into Afghanistan and do the job right. Of course, to expect this administration to do anything wise, is to set yourself up for disappointment
Saturday, November 19, 2005
WASHINGTON - The House on Friday overwhelmingly rejected calls for an immediate troop withdrawal from Iraq, a vote engineered by the Republicans that was intended to fail.
So instead of taking this opportunity to make a clear evaluation of our current position, our true goal, and it's opportunity for success, the republicans turn to name calling.
Typical, sad but typical.
| You scored as Beowulf. Heroic, strong, and maybe a little on the proud side--not that you don't have a reason to be. After all, you defeat THREE major evils that ravage the countryside as well as many minor beasties that get in the way before you're done in. You simply don't give up. Without you, Hrothgar's Golden Hall would still stand empty.|
If You Were in Beowulf...
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Friday, November 18, 2005
In filings obtained by Reuters on Friday, Fitzgerald said "the investigation is continuing" and that "the investigation will involve proceedings before a different grand jury than the grand jury which returned the indictment" against Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, Lewis "Scooter" Libby.
I wonder how many new names will get the honor of making an appearance, and who is the next to face indictment.
Plame Libby Treason
At Bartholomew's notes on religion, The effect that the power of a mega-church can have on some and it potential for sexual abuse is looked at.
Voting machines again, Suburban Guerrilla has 20 facts, and I again ask why does it appear that all the errors favor the right?
The Woodward mess is the focus of firedoglake, it's a great read, and includes a picture of a rugby scrum (so I had to include it).
Badtux, the Snarky Penguin has spotted the flying monkeys, responding to Bush and Cheney's call.
And, at Alfred Glenstein , a dicection of some of the defense of the treason that is the Plame Outting
Faith Voting Woodward
If is a very valid concern.
In today's NY Times there is a very enlightening story.
The military is falling far behind in its effort to recruit and re-enlist soldiers for some of the most vital combat positions in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to a new government report.
The report, completed by the Government Accountability Office, shows that the Army, National Guard and Marines signed up as few as a third of the Special Forces soldiers, intelligence specialists and translators that they had aimed for over the last year.
Both the Army and the Marines, for instance, fell short of their goals for hiring roadside bomb defusers by about 20 percent in each of the last two years. The Army Reserve, meanwhile, failed to fill about a third of its more than 1,500 intelligence analysts jobs. And in the National Guard, there have been consistent shortages filling positions involving tanks, field artillery and intelligence.
Just more evidence that Bush's war of choice, the war in Iraq, is doing great harm to the basic infastructure of the armed forces. This damage runs deeper that a shortfall of manpower it is also effecting very roots of our reserve manpower infrastructure.
The IRR (involuntary Ready Reserve) was to be the talent pool of last resort. When we were facing a national emergency, and needed skilled warriors fast, these are the men who were obligated to respond. We have tried to tap into this pool for out adventure in Iraq, and the result was at best poor. As a result of this effort, and the backlash it has created, a new policy now exists;
The policy change affects an estimated 15,000 officers in the Individual Ready Reserve, a segment of the reserve that consists mainly of soldiers who left active duty but still have time remaining on their eight-year military obligation.
The 15,000 have completed their eight-year obligation but chose to stay in the Individual Ready Reserve. The IRR differs from other reserve categories such as the National Guard by not requiring regular training.
Under a new policy adopted Nov. 4, IRR officers can avoid being called to active duty, but only if they resign their commission.
Just a little more harm done to our nation by Bush and his cronies.
IRR Draft Iraq Army
Of course, we have face about 10 weeks of political antics and television commercials, but in the end, this is about privacy.
And he has seen enough.
"I feel very passionate about this," Murtha said in an emotional interview hours after his remarks. "I see a kid blown apart, and it breaks my heart."
The media-shy congressman rarely speaks from the House chamber or gives interviews. But he still holds court regularly.
"People line up to seek his counsel," said Rep. Mike Doyle, D-Pa., who says no one dares sit in the last seat in the last row in the House chamber area known as "the Pennsylvania corner." That seat belongs to Murtha.
Murtha's military credentials, including two Purple Hearts for wounds in Vietnam, mean that "when he says something in regards to defense, people listen," Doyle said. "Unlike some of the people on the Republican side, he's seen bullets."
The response of the Bush Backers was predictable.
he was called a coward.
A man who has put his life on the line for his nation, a man who has decades of history of supporting the troops is called a coward.
Of course it is predictable who did this (aside from being members of the Zombies for Bush brigade).
House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) accused Murtha of delivering "the highest insult" to the troops. "We must not cower," Hastert lectured the old soldier.
Majority Leader Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) informed Murtha that his views "only embolden our enemies"
Rep. J.D. Hayworth (R-Ariz.), who like Hastert and Blunt does not have military service on his rsum, alerted the 73-year-old Murtha that "the American people are made of sterner stuff." And Rep. John Carter (R-Tex.) said the likes of Murtha want to take "the cowardly way out and say, 'We're going to surrender.' "
Murtha, whose brand of hawkishness has never been qualified by the word "chicken," was expecting the attacks. "I like guys who've never been there to criticize us who've been there. I like that," the burly old Marine said, hands in pocket. Referring to Vice President Cheney, he continued: "I like guys who got five deferments and never been there, and send people to war, and then don't like to hear suggestions about what needs to be done."
It appears, that when it doesn't involve the risk of physical harm, the Chicken Hawks do have the courage to get into the fight.
Iraq Murtha Antiwar
Thursday, November 17, 2005
By extending this interesting logic, it is now legal to rob a bank, as long as you are not the first to rob that bank.
Now a new line of false talking points have come up, and the republican lie machine is busy repeating Libby's lawyers lie. All of this an effort to try to spin this story to defend Libby's indefensible action.
Libby's lawyers have asked whether Fitzgerald will correct his statement that Libby was the first administration official to leak information about Plame to a reporter.
The only trouble is:
there is no reason for the prosecutor to correct the record, because he specifically said at his news conference Oct. 28 that Libby was the "first official known"
And that is why he investigation continues after the Libby indictment. There is more to know, and it appears there is now another White House CIA assassin to hunt down.
Plame Woodward Libby
Of course, when this disaster is global warming that isn't surprising. We still have many here in the US who claim that there is no such thing as global warming.
LONDON, Nov 16 (Reuters) - Global warming poses an enormous ethical challenge because countries that produce the least amount of greenhouse gases will suffer the most from climate change, scientists said on Wednesday.
Whether it is an increase in poor health from diseases such as malaria or shrinking water supplies, nations in sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and South America are vulnerable to the consequences of changes in global temperatures.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that climate change leads to more than 150,000 deaths every year and at least 5 million cases of illness.
Lacking the powerful photographic images, and alarming video tape, no one will notice, and little will change.
Global Warming WHO Natural Disaster
WASHINGTON -- House and Senate negotiators have struck a tentative deal on the expiring Patriot Act that would curb the FBI's investigative power and require the Justice Department to more fully report its secret requests for information about ordinary people.
Of course there is a major drawback to this plan, the rest of the act may be made permanent. These little steps, while good to see, are not yet sufficient to assure proper protection of our civil liberties. The end result of this is an issue that will remain with us for a while, and now each provision will have to be attacked one at a time.
but, with time, they will be changed to be more inline with American ideals.
There is no doubt that they do exist, and there is no doubt that they do contribute to the instability. The question is, to what extent. The Bush administration like to spin this aspect of the story to place most of the blame for the fighting on foreign elements, and tends to include stopping the influx of these forces in their justifications for missions. The trouble is, the numbers of foreign fighters found never appears to justify this lie.
BAGHDAD - Before 8,500 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers methodically swept through Tall Afar two months ago in the year's largest counterinsurgency offensive, commanders described the northern city as a logistics hub for fighters, including foreigners entering the country from Syria, 65 miles to the west.
When the air and ground operation wound down in mid-September, nearly 200 insurgents had been killed and close to 1,000 detained, the military said at the time. But interrogations and other analyses carried out in recent weeks showed that none of those captured was from outside Iraq.
Please note, a mission that was specifically designed to round up those foreign fighters found not a single one.
Today we are in the middle of operation steel curtain. This was designed, in part, to cut off and round up more foreign fighters. In this operation more troops are dying, and unfortunately, if the past proves out, only a few foreign fighters will be found. The rest of those we are fighting are Iraqi's, you know, the people who would greet us with praise and flowers.
Iraq Steel Curtain
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
So, for some Republicans, it is time to create a little distance between themselves and Bush.
For the past three years, President Bush has set the course on U.S. policy in Iraq, and Republicans in Congress -- and many Democrats, too -- have dutifully followed his lead. Yesterday the Senate, responding to growing public frustration with the administration's war policy, signaled that those days are coming to an end.
The rebuff to the White House was muffled in the modulated language of a bipartisan amendment, but the message could not have been more clear. With their constituents increasingly unhappy with the U.S. mission in Iraq, Democrats and now Republicans are demanding that the administration show that it has a strategy to turn the conflict over to the Iraqis and eventually bring U.S. troops home.
The democratic version, that placed more demands on the administration, was voted down. In the past that would have been the end. Now, with the Bush presidency in the crapper, some republicans are starting to think for themselves (or at least are scared to death about their election chances).
Beijing (dpa) - China's health ministry confirmed for the first time Wednesday that three people were sick with bird flu in the country, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
The H5N1 virus was detected in two patients in the central province of Hunan and one sick person in the eastern province of Anhui, the ministry said.
All three were believed to have caught the virus through contact with sick birds.
The World Health Organization (WHO) had earlier confirmed in Beijing that blood taken from a sick nine-year-old boy contained bird-flu antibodies, a "clear sign" of an infection with the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.
If China is confirming three cases, it is very safe to assume there are a number more out there. If this mutates to a virus that transmit easily human to human we are in deep trouble.
A White House document shows that executives from big oil companies met with Vice President Cheney's energy task force in 2001 -- something long suspected by environmentalists
OK Here is where it gets really good. Remember last week Democrats wanted oil Company executives speaking at congress to be put under oath, and the republicans refused to do this; here is why.
but denied as recently as last week by industry officials testifying before Congress.
Republicans, all they do is lie, cheat, steal and screw the American public.
The end result is a whole sector of the economy, who are seeing record profits, are also getting super sweet tax breaks and greatly eased regulations.
and US home owners face heating cost up to twice what they paid in 2004.
Oil Corruption Cheney Republican
The Iraqi government is returning to Saddam's old habits.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - More than 170 malnourished Iraqi detainees found at an Interior Ministry detention center appear to have been tortured, the prime minister said Tuesday. He said an investigation had been launched.
An Iraqi Interior Ministry official also said Monday that an investigation will be opened into allegations that ministry officers tortured suspects detained in connection with the country's insurgency.
``I was informed that there were 173 detainees held at an Interior Ministry prison and they appear to be malnourished. There is also some talk that they were subjected to some kind of torture,'' Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari told reporters.
Quite a charming little government we have built there, isn't it. This may also explain why so many dead and tortured bodies keep showing up rotting in the sun. The only other question that comes to mind is; Does the US still have the moral authority to denounce this case of abuse?
Tuesday, November 15, 2005
The compromise links legislation written by Sen. Lindsey O. Graham, R-S.C., which would deny detainees broad access to federal courts, with a new measure written by Sen. Carl M. Levin, D-Mich., that would grant detainees the right to appeal the verdict of a military tribunal to a federal appeals court. The deal will come to a vote today, and the authors say they are confident it will pass.
Graham and Levin indicated they would then demand that House and Senate negotiators link their measure with the effort by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., to clearly ban torture and abuse of terrorism suspects being held in U.S. facilities.
Not perfect, in fact not very good, but clearly a step in the right direction.
Torture Graham Military Tribunal
The GAO probe found that high-level FDA officials were more involved than is usually the case in decisions to approve drugs for over-the-counter use. Also, investigators found conflicting accounts as to whether the decision to reject the application for OTC use was made before the agency's reviews were finished, the report said.
Also, three FDA directors who normally would have been responsible for approving the decision to reject the application did not do so because they disagreed with it, the report found.
The report said there were no age-related marketing restrictions for any prescription or OTC contraceptives previously approved by FDA, nor had the agency required pediatric studies for them. Also, "FDA identified no issues that would require age-related restrictions in the review of the original prescription Plan B new drug application," the GAO report said.
The FDA approved Plan B for prescription use in 1999.
Congressional critics have charged that FDA abandoned scientific principles in rejecting the OTC application, bowing instead to political pressure.
And that is precisely what is important, the Republicans made the decision not on science or established procedure, but on personal whim, that they then imposed upon everyone else in the nation.
Plan B FDA
Did US troops use chemical weapons in Falluja? The answer is yes. The proof is not to be found in the documentary broadcast on Italian TV last week, which has generated gigabytes of hype on the internet. It's a turkey, whose evidence that white phosphorus was fired at Iraqi troops is flimsy and circumstantial. But the bloggers debating it found the smoking gun.
The first account they unearthed in a magazine published by the US army. In the March 2005 edition of Field Artillery, officers from the 2nd Infantry's fire support element boast about their role in the attack on Falluja in November last year: "White Phosphorous. WP proved to be an effective and versatile munition. We used it for screening missions at two breeches and, later in the fight, as a potent psychological weapon against the insurgents in trench lines and spider holes when we could not get effects on them with HE [high explosive]. We fired 'shake and bake' missions at the insurgents, using WP to flush them out and HE to take them out."
White phosphorus is not listed in the schedules of the Chemical Weapons Convention. It can be legally used as a flare to illuminate the battlefield, or to produce smoke to hide troop movements from the enemy. Like other unlisted substances, it may be deployed for "Military purposes... not dependent on the use of the toxic properties of chemicals as a method of warfare". But it becomes a chemical weapon as soon as it is used directly against people. A chemical weapon can be "any chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm".
So, yes we used chemical weapons, but since we are not talking sarin here, will anyone notice, and are we still using them?
WMD Chemical Weapons Iraq
WASHINGTON Nov 14, 2005 — Foreign investors will likely tire of bankrolling the bloated U.S. trade deficit but the economy's flexibility should help temper any fallout, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Monday.
Greenspan's remarks delivered via video link to a conference in Mexico referred to the broadest measure of U.S. trade called the current account deficit, which swelled to a record $668 billion last year. The shortfall is financed mostly by foreign investors.
Of course, almost everyone knows that shipping over half a billion dollard overseas, year after year, will eventually have a less than desirable impact. The fact that some, like Greenspan, seem to think being indebted to foreign governments is a good ideas is a little harder to understand.
Monday, November 14, 2005
MIAMI -- A tropical depression that formed in the southeast Caribbean Sea was expected to become Tropical Storm Gamma either Monday or Tuesday, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center said.
Tropical Depression 27 formed late Sunday, and was expected to be south of Jamaica by the end of the week, over Caribbean waters still warm enough to feed a major hurricane, said hurricane specialist Stacy Stewart.
WOW, 27 in one year.
Weather Warming Gamma
Mexico said it will sever diplomatic ties with Venezuela if that country's president doesn't apologize Monday for warning Mexican leader Vicente Fox: "Don't mess with me."
"President Fox left bleeding from his wound," Chavez said Sunday during his weekly radio and TV show, echoing remarks last week in which he accused Fox of being a "puppy" of the U.S. government for supporting its plans for the free trade zone.
Chavez then warned Fox: "Don't mess with me, sir, because you'll get stung."
I think the Chavez has oversteped the bounds of diplomatic decency, everyone knows President Fox isn't Bush's puppy, that is Tony Blair's job. President Fox will have to find another way to serve George.
unfortunately for me, my mornings don't slowly unfold, they explode.
There is the 80 minute long frantic ballet of movement. The first act ending when we get the little man loaded in the van for Pre-K, with a transformer in one hand, and a weekend art project in the other. The second ends when the daughter is loaded in my car for delivery to the high school, after making sure the ID and the Physics Textbook are both in the book bag this time.
But, as I am walking out the door, making sure it is locked, checking that I rememberd my work (and my lunch) I stop, and I notice, what a beautiful morning, and think, wouldn't it be nice to sit on the back deck, read the paper, and just watch the morning slowly unfold.