Saturday, December 31, 2005


A Total of 24 hours in a truck, about 1,600 miles and to many meals at Cracker Barrel; Now I am home.

And I got the chance to take about 800 sideline shots at the Independence Bowl.

It was worth every second on the road. It has almost 2 decades since I last shot any sporting events, and with great digitial equipment it was a total blast



I Will be on the road for much of this week, and blogging will be light. I encourage you to visit some of the blogs linked on the right in my absence

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Chalabi Ignored.

It appears the man this administration selected as the savior of Iraq has been ignored at the polls.

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Unexpectedly low support from overseas voters has left Ahmed Chalabi — the returned Iraqi exile once backed by the United States to lead Iraq — facing a shutout from power in this month's vote for the country's first full-term parliament since the 2003 invasion.


Monday, December 26, 2005

Third Time The Charm?

It has failed twice, but the US Army is getting ready to turn over the protection of Samarra to the local Iraqi police and Armed Forces.

These steps have to work if we are to have any hope of being able to leave this nation, but there are good reasons to be slightly skeptical. The Iraq police still appear to have little success against determined attacks, we see that 8 SWAT team members were killed today, and there is still widespread unrest over the election results.

Not the kind of situation that leads one to have confidence about our Vietnamization of Iraq.


Yep, it still look kinda bad.


Sunday, December 25, 2005

Tag, I'm It

Lynn got me, so here we go

7 things to do before I die:
1. Visit all the world heritage sites
2. Sail across an ocean
3. Coach
4. Learn to Relax
5. Earn a doctorate
6. Play some musical instrument
7. Get my kids through college

7 things I can't do:
1. Visit all the world heritage sites
2. Write well
3. Learn a second language
4. Higher Maths
5. Deal with the religious right
6. Accept my own aging
7. Learn to love opera

7 things that attract me to blogging:
1. The need to vent
2. Anger at the mainstream news
3. Focusing on facts
4. Exchanging ideas
5. Expressing myself
6. Frustration with about everything
7. The opportunity to contact new people

7 things I say most often:
1. You must be kidding
2. I'm Tired
3. Get off the phone (I do have a 16 year old daughter)
4. Good Morning, thank your for calling ......
5. Put that down ( the four year old son )
6. Where did I leave .....
7. Amen

7 books I love:
1. A confederacy of Dunces, Toole
2. A Stranger In A Strange Land, Heinlein
3. A Midsummer's Night Dream, Shakespeare
4. Brave New World, Huxley
5. The Stand, King
6. The Count Of Monte Cristo, Dumas
7. 1984, Orwell

7 movies I watch over and over:
1. Monty Python's Quest For The Holy Grail
2. Blazing Saddles
3. M*A*S*H
4. Father Goose
5. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington
6. Amadeus
7. Raising Arizona

7 people I want to join in too - Underdevelopment



Right On Target

You Are a Traditional Christmas Tree

For a good Christmas, you don't have to re-invent the wheel.

You already have traditions, foods, and special things you bring out every year.


Saturday, December 24, 2005

Christmas Eve

We have the childs service at 5:00pm, the little man is a sheep. The Daughter is singing at the 11:00pm Mass. Prior to that I have to cook 1 turkey, 2 cheese cakes (one with splenda and low fat, the other traditional) a few dozen cookies and god only knows what else.

Have a very merry christmas one and all.


Friday, December 23, 2005

How Can You Tell It's An Election Year?

Washington to withdraw two brigades from Iraq by next Spring - Rumsfeld

It is that simple.

But it is a step in the right direction, politically motivates, but a start.


Bush's Acts Unlawful, But To Continue

Since the judge can think of no way to stop it.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A federal judge ruled Thursday that the continued detention of two ethnic Uighurs at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is "unlawful," but he decided he had no authority to order their release.

U.S. District Judge James Robertson criticized the detention of A'Del Abdu al-Hakim and Abu Baker Qassim.

The men have been jailed at Guantanamo for four years and have been cleared for release because the government has determined they are not enemy combatants and are not a threat to the United States.

But Robertson said his court has "no relief to offer" because the government has not found a country to accept the men and because he does not have authority to let them enter the United States.


Interesting Result

You scored 76 masculinity and 56 femininity!
You scored high on both masculinity and femininity. You have a strong personality exhibiting characteristics of both traditional sex roles.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 82% on masculinity

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 41% on femininity
Link: The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test written by weirdscience on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test


Thursday, December 22, 2005

Damn, It Sucks When A Handy Urban Myth

Gets busted.

The story of the vicious leak that destroyed a valuable intelligence operation was first reported by a best-selling book, validated by the Sept. 11 commission and then repeated by the president.

But it appears to be an urban myth.

This old saw was used just last week when the administration was busy denouncing the leaking of the Presidents illegal spying in the US. It is just to good to drop, even when it is factually flawed.

It will be interesting to see if it continues to rolled out in talking points, or if it will now be retired.


Was Bush Wired Again?

Cannon Fire sure thinks so, and make a good case.


Court Slams Bush Administration Over Padilla

The court didn't like the way the Bush administration has tried to avoid having it policy reviewed, and has refused to allow them to change his status until the case review is finished.

The appeals court said moving him now made it appear as if the government was seeking to evade the judicial review.

Mr Padilla was arrested in Chicago in May 2002 and is one of only two US citizens to be held as an enemy combatant.


The government said his transfer to a civilian prison would mean his appeal to the Supreme Court over his indefinite military detention was moot and should be dismissed.

However, the Virginia appeals court said on Wednesday that the hearing should take place.

It also turned down a request by the government to overturn a ruling by a lower court in September which upheld the government's right to hold Mr Padilla indefinitely - the basis of his appeal to the Supreme Court.

Sounds like another judge is a little upset with the Bush administration. Their habit of ignoring law and legal protections of US citizens is becoming very worrisome to many. Yesterday Judge James Robertson resigned in protest of the NSA listening in on conversations without warrants. This action has force the Bush administration to finally brief his court on the nature of this domestic spying, and the scope of it's operations.

If he is able, it would be interesting to hear his opinion of this operation. I wonder if we may have another judge damning the Bush White House.


Thanks to Brad (a reader) I have a link to the PFD of the 4th circuit's ruling.

His review after reading it: "In my career as a lawyer I have never seen a court come so close to calling the government a pack of liars as I have here"


Wow, Republicans Can Compromise

The Anti-Patriot act, as it now exists, has been extended for six months, while a viable alternative is considered.

WASHINGTON -- The Senate voted last night to extend the USA Patriot Act for six months and give Congress time next year to revise the anti-terrorism law that is set to expire Dec. 31.

The surprise deal capped a tumultuous day as senators tried to wrap up their work for the year and head home for the holidays. Earlier, Senate Democrats blocked oil drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, and Republicans eked out the narrowest of victories on a deficit-cutting measure.

Now they Democrats and republicans who want this act revised now must stay unified, and make sure their proposals pick up the few votes they need to make it happen.


I Don't Know How They Know.

You Are Blitzen

Always in good spirits, you're the reindeer who loves to party down with Santa.

Why You're Naughty: You're always blitzed on Christmas Eve, while flying!

Why You're Nice: You mix up a mean eggnog martini.

Well, maybe that use to be me, maybe 10-15 years ago. Now it is mostly beer but not even much of that. Last night was a heavy night, a Fiddlers Elbow with dinner, and a Guiness while baking the 4 year old his Birthday Cake.

2 beers in one night, and it was a very heavy night of drinking. I think I may have lost my edge a bit.


Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Chalk's Airways Loses One

A World War Two Era sea-plane went down, killing 20.

The Chalk's Ocean Airways plane -- a twin-engine Grumman G-73T Turbine Mallard -- went down around 2:30 p.m. after taking off from Miami for the island of Bimini in the Bahamas.

The Coast Guard said 19 bodies were found. The 1940s-era plane was carrying two crew members and 18 passengers, including three infants, authorities said.

Chalk's has been offering this unique service for decades. Founded prior to the great depression, it has had a solid safety record, and has to considered among the legends in the US Airline industry.


The investigation is moving quickly, failure of the right wing.


No ANWR Drilling yet

The US Senate has again voted down attempts to approve drilling in ANWR, this time it was hidden in a defense appropriations bill.

The Senate today failed to pass a major defense appropriations bill after a Democratic-led bloc stymied it with a filibuster in an effort to force removal of a controversial provision on oil drilling in an Alaskan wildlife refuge.

With 60 votes needed to overcome the filibuster and cut off debate on the bill, its backers fell short by four votes. The tally on a motion to invoke cloture so the Senate could move to a vote on the bill itself was 56-44.

With this route cut off, expect to see more even more creative attempts to pass this law.


Patriot Act Still Held Up

And as long as Craig, Hagel, Murkowski and Sununu, four member of the GOP, stand their ground there is a chance a better bill can be produced.

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 (UPI) -- Four Republican members of the U.S. Senate have joined the bulk of the Democratic caucus in stopping votes making the USA Patriot Act permanent.

While the Republican Party leadership has been pointing to Democrats seeking extra time to discuss reauthorization of the act, it is the Republican holdouts who have control over the measure.

Those senators, The Washington Post points out, cannot be pigeonholed: Larry Craig is a strong conservative from Idaho, and Chuck Hagel is a Nebraskan thought to have his sights set on the presidency while Alaska's Lisa Murkowski and New Hampshire's John Sununu come from families that have long served their states.

In light of the recently exposed cases of our own government spying on American citizens, it is clear that this much power leads to abuse. Let this deeply flawed law die, and develop a better one.


The Attack On The Poor Continues

And Dick Cheney was the deciding vote.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Republican-controlled Senate passed legislation to cut federal deficits by $39.7 billion on Wednesday by the narrowest of margins, 51-50, with Vice President Dick Cheney casting the deciding vote.

The measure, the product of a year's labors by the White House and the GOP in Congress, imposes the first restraints in nearly a decade in federal benefit programs such as Medicaid, Medicare and student loans.

I am very much in favor of restraint on budget matters. Heck, under the right set of circumstances, I might even see supporting some of these cuts.


In a time when we are spending hundreds of billions of dollars in extra defense spending, and when we are giving the rich billions in dollars in tax cuts, forcing the poor to be the only group involved in fiscal restraint is simply immoral.


How Can You Tell When Bush Is Lying

His lips are moving, and in this case, Think Progress has the video.

King George appears obsessed with amassing power, and it is clear that he is more than willing to lie to do so. This desire for power and secrecy extends beyond the realm of national security. It includes almost all areas of policy development and operations.

They lied about Iraq, but the also lied about the prescription drug benefit program. The did secrete, unproved spying on US citizens, but the also held secrete energy policy meetings.

At least some people appear to understand the damage that King George is doing to what our nations stands for. One of the judges who make up the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has resigned in protest. It is a small act, but maybe a few will notice and understand the depths that this administration is willing to go to.


Republican Culture Of Corruption - DC

It look like the Republican Bagman, Jack Abramoff, may be ready to cop a plea.

WASHINGTON - Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist who may be facing an array of fraud and corruption charges, has been talking with prosecutors about a deal that would grant him a reduced sentence in exchange for testifying against former political and business associates, people with knowledge of the case said.

Since he was the boss, it is clear that the target will now be politicians. The pucker factor inside the republican offices must be at an all time high.

Now, I know that some of the true koolaid addicts will try to claim that he gave equally to both parties, but that talking point should be dead.

Dec. 21 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President George W. Bush calls indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff ``an equal money dispenser'' who helped politicians of both parties. Campaign donation records show Republicans were a lot more equal than Democrats.

Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show. At the same time, his Indian clients were the only ones among the top 10 tribal donors in the U.S. to donate more money to Republicans than Democrats.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A New Link

Check out The First Church Of The Neocon


ID Fails In Dover Case

If you followed this trial is was obvious that those supporting intelligent Design were having their butts cut. The judges ruling makes it official, in Dover, Intelligent Design has failed

"Intelligent design" cannot be mentioned in biology classes in a Pennsylvania public school district, a federal judge said Tuesday, ruling in one of the biggest courtroom clashes on evolution since the 1925 Scopes trial.

The Dover Area School Board violated the Constitution when it ordered that its biology curriculum must include "intelligent design," the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III ruled Tuesday.

The school board policy, adopted in October 2004, was believed to have been the first of its kind in the nation.

"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy," Jones wrote. "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."

The lying by those on the right is not so much ironic, but sadly typical. They know if they speak the truth, their objectives will not be accepted, so they disguise their intentions with lies.

Since this ruling only applies to the Dover district, it will be interesting to see if the ID supporters will appeal. A ruling against them at a higher court would have much greater impact, and should discredit this idea nationally.


I Am Not A Fan Of PETA

I think that in many areas they are very much over the top.

But, do we really need the FBI spying on them?

Citing hundreds of pages of heavily-censored documents it obtained from the FBI under the Freedom of Information Act, lawyers for the ACLU described this disputed use of terrorism resources as the latest illustration of intensified surveillance aimed toward Americans.

"Using labels like domestic terrorists to describe peaceful protest activity can chill robust political debate in this country,'' ACLU lawyer Ben Wizner said in New York. The ACLU said it will publish the FBI reports it obtained on its Web site Tuesday.

The gross overreach of the FBI is in no way a suprise. That is why the Patriot act was a bad idea in 2002, and is a bad idea today. PETA, Quaker groups, Vegans, and Catholics are not major threats to the US population, but they may represent political threats to one party.

Maybe that is why the FBI is spending so much time, energy and money. Thank god we have the ACLU working to try to keep them in check.


Early Election Results, More Bad News

As expected it appears that the Shi'ite Islamists may have won a majority in the new Iraqi parliament.

BAGHDAD, Dec 19 (Reuters) - Iraq's ruling Shi'ite Islamists, at odds with Washington over human rights and ties to Iran, may hold on to a slim parliamentary majority despite a big turnout by minority Sunnis, partial election results showed on Monday.

At any rate it will be by far the biggest party.

Leaders of the United Iraqi Alliance, whose performance in government has been criticised by U.S. officials and by Sunni Arab rebels who accuse them of backing sectarian militias, said they would start informal talks on Tuesday with Sunnis, Kurds and other groups to try to form a national unity coalition.

These are the people who have reestablished torture centers, and want close relations with Iran; now they are in charge.


The Sunnis are not happy with the early results, and are demanding new elections.


Monday, December 19, 2005

Remember The Deck Of Cards

Fifty-two high value targets, Dr. Germ, Mrs. Anthrax, the personification of evil within the Iraqi government?

We just let some of them go.

The detainees were released Saturday as part of an ongoing review process, said Lt. Col. Barry Johnson, the U.S. military spokesman.

"We no longer had cause to hold them since they are no longer under investigation for crimes," Johnson said in a statement. He would not release further details.

Persons of such high value, that they were never even put on trial.


Dumbing Down South Carolina

South Carolina is not a state with a great reputation in the education field. We are small, poor, and have to many who are undereducated. One area that has received praise has been our state's educational science standards, where we received top marks in 2005.

Rep. Mike Fair is working to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Fair's latest volley deals with how South Carolina's public schools teach biology. Specifically, Fair wants students to be taught to analyze and question the theory of evolution. That has led critics to say Fair wants to open the door to religious-based theories on the history of the earth and human beings, such as intelligent design or creationism.

After the Dover case, and the political fallout for some of those who have pushed this false science, you would hope that our political leaders would have the wisdom to not try to mix education and religion.

But in South Carolina, that is clearly to much to ask.


The Logical Result Of Domestic Spying

President Bush approved domestic spying, the Pentagon has seen it's intelligence authority widen to include spying on US citizens, and the result is predictable.

The anti-intellectual forces are again making waves. People who are curious, people exploring ideas and studying history end up being investigated by US agents.

NEW BEDFORD -- A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."

Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.

The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.

It does make one wonder how many people have been visited, and not spoken out, how many don't even know they have been spied on. It has taken only 5 years to place all the tools of repression in place in this country. You have to ask how many years it will be till the Government feels they have to start to use these tools to repress dissent, and we do become a police state.


Bush's Stumping To Support His War Goes On

Last night he commandeered network TV in his continuing damage control efforts in defense of his war. His tone was maybe a little softer, but in the final review, all he did was again repeated his 'victory or defeat' mantra.

What he never appears to consider is we did have a great many more option prior to his decision to start this war, and others are still offering solutions that go beyond 'victory or defeat'.

Bush doesn't understand or refuses to accept the hard reality: We will be fighting and dying in Iraq till we find another path, and this President is not looking for that different route. So we are left, marching down a path to defeat, and hearing the echoes of propaganda from 60 years ago.


Sunday, December 18, 2005

Person's Of The Year, From Time

Time has named 3, Bill and Melinda Gates, and Bono.

The good deeds of an activist rock legend and one of the world's richest men and his wife carried the day in 2005, as Time magazine on Sunday named U2 frontman Bono and philanthropic couple Bill and Melinda Gates as its "Persons of the Year."

It is a good choice, if not the persons, at least the cause.


Elections Over, Killing Continues

While the vote count goes on, the killing has started up again.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Gunmen killed two relatives of a senior Kurdish official and 17 others died in a string of attacks overnight and on Sunday, piercing three days of relative calm that followed the country's first election for a full-term parliament.

This is tragic, expected, and at this point unimportant. The important information will come later; who won the election.


Friday, December 16, 2005

Another Bush Lie Exposed

Of course this is one that everyone should know was a lie.

He and his people have been bleating that Democrats in the House and Senate had the same intelligence that he did. That was clearly untrue, just on the basis of how the intelligence apparatus is structured.

Bush runs the administration. They are the ones who produce the intelligence that is presented to the congress. Bush's administration had access to all the data, they then selected what to present to congress.

So based on operational structure alone, the statement about having the same information was clearly a lie. Now more evidence is coming out that confirms this.

A congressional report made public yesterday concluded that President Bush and his inner circle had access to more intelligence and reviewed more sensitive material than what was shared with Congress when it gave Bush the authority to wage war against Iraq.

Democrats said the 14-page report contradicts Bush's contention that lawmakers saw all the evidence before U.S. troops invaded in March 2003, stating that the president and a small number of advisers "have access to a far greater volume of intelligence and to more sensitive intelligence information."

Like the old joke goes: How can you tell when Bush is lying?

His lips are moving.


The Anti-Patriot Act Again Blocked

Most of the Democrats in the Senate, with the aid of a few Republicans, were able to block a motion to close debate. The vote was 52-47, so it is unlikely that the act will survive, unless compromise is reached on some key areas.

This act was driven by panic, is poorly written and guilty of unnecessary overreach in a number of areas. I am glad that 47 people had the courage to stand up for what is right.

To those who are screaming about this, the answer is simple, just fix the flaws, and they pass a reasonable version of this law.


Novack Is Heading Home

And joining the rest of the kool-aid corp at Faux News.

NEW YORK -- Commentator Robert Novak, who hasn't been seen on CNN since swearing and storming off the set in August, will leave the network after 25 years and join Fox News Channel as a contributor next month.


The suspension actually served to eliminate a delicate problem for CNN, which had received some criticism for keeping the political columnist on the air with his involvement in the CIA leak case.

If I was CNN I would be saying good riddance to bad rubbish. The Plame leak just confirmed that he was a willing propagandist for the Bush White House, with no journalistic integrity. Faux news, the home for faux journalism, is the perfect place for him.


Christmas Padgent, Christmas Shopping

Maybe a visit with Santa.

But, not much posting today.


Thursday, December 15, 2005

Election Day In Iraq

Turn out was heavy, and there is no doubt that Bush will try to say this is a positive step.

Only when we see the results will we know if that is the case. The reality is, if the religious shia parties win a majority or even a plurality, we will be facing the creation of an Islamic state.

Is this what we invaded Iraq to create?


It may be close

Iraq's southern provinces -- the battleground between Islamist and secular Shi'ites -- produced a mixed picture.

The UIA, made up of the three Islamist Shi'ite parties, appeared to have retained a clear majority in its traditional strongholds.

In the holy city of Najaf, about 90 percent had voted for the Shi'ite Islamists and in the city of Hilla, 70 percent of those polled also said they had chosen the UIA.

But the Shi'ite bloc looked to command only about half the vote in Basra, Iraq's second largest city, in the south.

Since the Kurds will align with any party, as long as they are left alone, it could be the same Pro-Iranian, Shia religious party with the Kurds leading the new Iraq.


Bush Knows All

Some Washington Post headline made me chuckle as I glanced over them. It appears that this man is an underappreciated genius. Without the aid of looking at evidence or even bothering with a trial, he knows Tom DeLay isn't guilty of any of the crimes he has been charged with.

And we also get confirmation that Bush knows who the traitor in the White House is.

That last one dose raise at least a couple of questions. If he knows who did it, isn't it aiding and abetting treason if he doesn't turn him in. And, since he knows, and promised to remove the person responsible, his inaction points to his total lack of integrity.


Republican Culture Of Corruption - California

Could he be following the path of Duke Cunningham (R-Ca)? It appears that Duncan Hunter (R-Ca) may have a few questions to answer.

Congressman Duncan Hunter (R-CA), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, has come under fire from constituents for accepting nearly a quarter million dollars in campaign contributions from missile defense contractors over the past five years. Hunter has also drawn criticism for accepting $46,000 from un-indicted co-conspirators implicated in bribing Hunter’s friend and San Diego colleague, Randy “Duke” Cunningham, who resigned from Congress after pleading guilty.


House Endorses Torture Ban

Doing what most think is obvious, and standing with McCain (R-Az) against the White House, the house approved the specific language that Sen. McCain has gotten passed in the Senate.

Washington -- The House gave strong support Wednesday to a measure that would ban torture and limit interrogation tactics in U.S. detention facilities, agreeing with senators that Congress needs to set uniform guidelines for the treatment of prisoners in the war on terror.

On a 308-122 vote, members of the House supported specific language proposed by Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., that prohibits "cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment" of anyone in the custody of the U.S. government.

What is amazing is that 122 people could actually vote against a proposal that just demands that we act human. It is note worthy that of the 122 who voted against this, 121 were republicans.



Ford Flip Flops

After bowing down to the American Taliban, and announcing they would be pulling the limited advertising aimed at the gay market, Ford has now announced they will expand advertising in gay targeting publications.

responding to complaints from several gay-rights activists that it had cut Jaguar and Land Rover advertising in gay publications due to pressure from an antigay group, said Wednesday it would instead run corporate-wide ads featuring all of its brands.

Earlier, Ford had pulled is Land Rover and Jaguar ads from these publications. Ford said it was a business decision, but some of the Taliban leadership and a few Ford dealers indicated that the decision was driven by demands from religious fringe groups.

Now, we get to see how the American Family Association and these other groups respond to this move, and if Ford will flip flop again.


A Columbia Winter Storm

34 degrees, and a steady rain. Today, the weather outside is frightful.


Wednesday, December 14, 2005

It's A Record

We keep shipping money overseas at rates never before seen.

Dec. 14 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. trade deficit unexpectedly widened to a record $68.9 billion in October, as imports of crude oil, automobiles and televisions increased, a government report showed.

The gap in goods and services trade reported by the Commerce Department today exceeded even the highest estimate in a Bloomberg News survey of economists.

We are shipping 93 million dollars an hour off shore, money we then have to borrow back. We hit news highs (lows?) with China, Europe, Mexico and Canada, and overall we are about 15% ahead (worse off?) of last year.


What Does Your Church Find important?

We can learn a lot about the real values of a church by where they spend their resources. In today's Washington Post we again see where the hearts of the religious right really lie.

Conservative Christian groups such as Focus on the Family say it is a matter of priorities, and their priorities are abortion, same-sex marriage and seating judges who will back their position against those practices.

"It's not a question of the poor not being important or that meeting their needs is not important,"

These churches know that they key to their being the money making machines is to focus on DC based projects, and not on their hometown streets. A culture war (especially a false one) is highly profitable, and doesn't require much physical work or fiscal sacrifice. You get to wear your nice suites, attend lunches and fund raising dinners, meet with politicians, and spout dogma on TV.

So keep the culture war up, Attack those you claim are attacking Christmas, denounce gay unions, holler and shout, and let the poor starve and suffer, get sick and die.

I am sure that is what Jesus would do.


More Nut Speak From The Middle East

Iran's current president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has decided that the Jewish Holocaust is a myth.

TEHRAN, Iran (CNN) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has described the Holocaust as "a myth" and suggested that Israel be moved to Europe, the United States, Canada or Alaska.

What is depressing is this man will soon have more influence in Iraq than we do.


Controlling Immigration Is Like Controlling Drugs

It will not work by trying to block the pipeline, you have to reduce the demand.

In the case of Immigration, that means cutting off jobs, and holding companies accountable who employee illegal workers. There is a new bill working it's way through the system that, while greatly flawed, does try to raise this bar a little. Of course business lobbyist groups, like the US Chamber of Commerce don't like this, and still want access to the cheap labor that illegal immigration provides.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has criticized the bill for lacking a guest worker mechanism. Republicans are split on the issue, with some pro-business lawmakers pushing for a temporary worker plan and others adamantly opposed to giving visas to people who have entered the country illegally.

Other provisions of the bill do appear costly, and will do little to address the root cause of illegal immigration, but the idea of holding companies accountable is a good one.

The most effective and inexpensive way to address illegal immigration is to end the demand for the labor. There is no reason to come to the US, if you can not make more money than you do at home. To do this, just make sure that the economic risk to any company who has illegal workers employed on their property so great, that they will actually verify employee and contractor status. With great enough penalties and enforcement, companies will no longer turn a blind eye to illegal workers, despite the economic advantage illegal labor gives.


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Iraq, More US Dead

An IED in Baghdad is reported to have killed Four U.S. Army soldiers on patrol on the last day of campaigning in Iraq. For one Sunni politician, it was also the last day of his life.

Gunmen killed a Sunni Arab candidate for parliament and militants tried to blow up a leading Shiite politician in separate attacks Tuesday, the last day of campaigning for Iraq's election.

Gunmen in the insurgent stronghold of Ramadi, west of Baghdad, killed Sunni Arab candidate Mezher al-Dulaimi while he was filling up his car at a gas station.

The polls will open Thuresday. Everyone hope this will be a step on the path to peace, but the likely result just assures more violence. The Shia religious parties are will continue to hold the majority, and that assures more Sunni resistance.

With the elections acting as a backdrop, more details are emerging about the torture at the detention centers run by the Shia controlled Interior Ministry.

Iraqi and U.S. officials found more than 120 victims of abuse in inspections of two Interior Ministry detention centers, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad said Tuesday. He said the number of torture victims was far greater than authorities earlier disclosed.

Khalilzad also rejected suggestions from the Interior Ministry that the abuse found at the second prison in an inspection last week was relatively mild. The abuse was "far worse than slapping around," Khalilzad said.

According to an Iraqi official who U.S. authorities say had first-hand knowledge of the second Interior Ministry detention center, at least 12 detainees there suffered torture. Prisoners had their bones broken and their fingernails pulled out, were subjected to electric shocks and had burning cigarettes crushed into their necks and backs, said the Iraqi official. A 13th detainee there was starved to "bones and skin," the official said,

No wonder some of the Sunni population refuse to accept the new government.


The Execution Of Tookie Williams

Overall, I do not oppose the death penalty. I do have grave concerns about how we use it in this nation (but that is another post).

I do not think the death penalty acts as a deterrent, I don't think is has any impact in reducing crime. I just think that there are some people that mankind would will be better off without, and who's actions have earned them this most drastic of punishments.

I am not sure that is the case with Tookie Williams.

We can debate his guilt (he professed his innocence till the end), but there appears little debate about his current impact on society. He is seen by many as having been a positive force for change. He was determined to try to prevent others from following the path he had taken.

With his death, this effort has been stopped. This raises the final question, did our nation gain or lose with the death of Tookie Williams?

For that is how you have to analyze the death penalty.


1 Year Old

It is the Green Knight's first blogiversary. Go wish him well.


High Court To Review DeLay's Redistricting

It was expected, but it is now official, the Supreme Court will hear congressional redistricting case from Texas.

This was Tom DeLay's baby. He broke campaign finance law to fund local republicans so they could take over the Texas Statehouse. His office then redrew the states districts, and forced his plan through the Texas Hosue and Senate.

In doing this, he abused his power, by trying to get the FAA and other federal officials involved in the political battle in Texas. But, he was not alone. The Bush administration was very helpful. The Department of Justice political appointees ignored and over ruled staff opinions about the legality of this (and other republican led plans), and the redistricting went on.

In 2004, republican gained 5 seats in the house, the exact number of seats the Texas plan changed from Democratic to Republican. DeLay was cited for ethics violations, and has since been indicted for crimes related to this effort. Records have become public exposing the actions within the DOJ. Actions that Gonzales is still busy defending, trying to justify his choice to over rule the unanimous decision of the non political staff.

One additional point needs to be made. This is about more than the Texas case. The actions of the Bush camp is also having the effect of destroying the effectiveness of the voting rights act, and that clearly was another of the goals of the Bush administration.


Monday, December 12, 2005

Riots, Again

Last month is was Paris, now Sydney.

SYDNEY erupted in a second night of racial violence last night as Middle Eastern mobs fired shots into the air, attacked women and smashed shops around Cronulla, while up to 600 young men - armed with guns and crowbars - prepared for a battle.

In a terrifying escalation of the conflict, up to 70 cars from Hurstville and possibly Lakemba invaded Cronulla and Brighton-le-Sands to launch revenge attacks, following the vicious attacks by Cronulla locals on people of Middle Eastern appearance on Sunday.

The first night appeared to be fueled by neo-nazi types, but the second clearly belonged to the middle eastern side, who refused to be bullied, and appears to not trust the government to provide protection and justice.

The 12th harmonic has some execelent coverage


Soar Throat, Ear Ache

and Christmas.

The 16 year old can't talk, she went to the Doctor yesterday and is trying to survive exams today. The 3 year old has decided he has an ear ache, and is going to the doctor's office this afternoon.

In addition, I have work, a plumber coming into the house to fix the shower, furniture being delivered, and have to sell Christmas trees this evening.

as a result, I don't expect to get much posting done.


They Learn So Fast

Iraq is still working on getting democracy right, but they appear to have a full understanding of how to torture.

Baghdad -- An Iraqi government search of a prison in Baghdad operated by Interior Ministry special commandos found 13 prisoners who had suffered abuse serious enough to require medical treatment, U.S. and Iraqi officials said Sunday night.

An Iraqi official with firsthand knowledge of the search said at least 12 of the 13 prisoners had been subjected to severe torture, including electric shocks and episodes that left them with broken bones.

"Two of them showed me their nails, and they were gone," the official said on condition of anonymity because of security concerns.

My bet is the prison was run by Shia, and those now missing finger nails and sporting broken bones are Sunni.

Just another step on our path so civil war, this time with direct governmental involvement.


Sunday, December 11, 2005

No Time For The News

We all Slept in a little, then headed off to church. We dropped off our angle tree gifts, then off to wonderful Lunch at Motor Supply Co.

From Lunch, we came home, and have started to put up our tree, and some outside lights.

So, there has been no time for news, and since I have not seen the news, I have not been driven to vent. The world may have ended today, but, joyfully, I have not noticed.

Tomorrow, I will wake to the news, read the news, and will no doubt need to express my anger at the current state of affairs. But right now, there is a tree that could use another stand of lights, and a 3 year old who is having the time of his life getting in the way.


Saturday, December 10, 2005

US Again Blocks Climate Efforts

A deal was reached, but it is not what the vast majority wanted.

MONTREAL -- Weary delegates, politicians and lobby group members cheered early this morning as the United Nations climate change conference finally passed its last two major decisions after two days and nights of gruelling talks.

The main negotiating logjam broke around midnight, when the United States agreed to a watered-down declaration that all 189 countries at the conference will start an open-ended “dialogue” aimed at finding new ways to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

So, why was this so hard?

The U.S. had objected to several increasingly weak versions of the dialogue agreement during the two week conference, and walked out of the talks Thursday night.

But under intense pressure from most other countries represented here, it finally relented, signing on to a final version after yet more revisions.

Again, in important nomilitaryry matters, the US bring up the rear, having to pulled along kicking and screaming.


Bush Appointees Show True Purpose

The Political Manipulation of the justice department is being made public, and it is disgusting.

To ensure that preclearance decisions are based on what the Voting Rights Act requires, DOJ has always relied heavily on the experience and expertise of its career staff. Since the enactment of Section 5, the career staff has been responsible for conducting the factual and legal analyses of all submitted election changes.


we now know that it was the unanimous conclusion of the career staff that the redistricting plan discriminated against minority voters, and it was their unanimous recommendation that the Justice Department use its authority under Section 5 to block the state from implementing the plan.


the plan failed to pass muster under each and every factor the Supreme Court has established for gauging whether or not a redistricting plan will reduce minority electoral opportunity. This was not a close case, the career staff informed the AAG. Nonetheless, the plan was precleared.


based on what we know today, the evidence points to a single conclusion: the Justice Department did not serve the interests of minority citizens in this case, but, instead, served the political interests of the Republican Party

And now we learn The Justice Department has barred staff attorneys from offering recommendations in major Voting Rights Act cases.

The policy was implemented in the Georgia case, said a Justice employee who, like others interviewed, spoke on condition of anonymity because of fears of retaliation. A staff memo urged rejecting the state's plan to require photo identification at the polls because it would harm black voters.

But under the new policy, the recommendation was stripped out of that document and was not forwarded to higher officials in the Civil Rights Division, several sources familiar with the incident said.

Now, the very people who are hired to keep politics out of the process, the people retained for their experience, knowledge and dedication are muted in the name of political gain for the Republicans.


Let The Blackmail Begin

Poland has been less than consistant in what direction their continued participation in the occupation of Iraq would be. They are now hinting that all it will take is lots and lots of money.

WARSAW, Poland - Poland's new defense minister on Friday suggested that additional U.S. aid would be a crucial factor in determining whether to continue playing an active role in the war on terror.

A day before heading to Washington, Defense Minister Radek Sikorski said meetings with top U.S. military officials would help Poland reach a decision within the next few weeks whether to keep its 1,500 soldiers in central Iraq or stick to the last government's plan to bring them home next month.

And since this invasion has already cost hundreds of billions more than once promised by Bush and his cast of clowns, why not just toss a few more billion at Poland.

UPDATE - 10 December

The demand for aid has become much more direct.

Poland has asked for additional U.S. military assistance to modernize its own forces as it considers whether to extend the presence of Polish troops in Iraq next year, according to Polish and U.S. officials.

Although Warsaw has stopped short of conditioning its Iraq decision on the request for aid, it has made it clear that the two are linked, saying the $600 million it has spent on the Iraq operation has siphoned funds from plans to upgrade its own military.


Friday, December 09, 2005

Hop Over And Check These Posts Out

A little Friday reading.

With the news that some Mega-churches will be closed on Christmas, the Green Knight notes, these enterprises appear to be more about profit than faith.

Creative story telling appears to be a Bush family skill. Outside the Tent has spotted another Bush lying to create an excuse.

Crack the Bell, in the telling of his story, reminds us what a joy holiday travel can be.

A slightly different view of the end times, complements of I am a Christian Too.

Slip into the Whiskey Bar and learn a little more about the Lincoln Group.


Above The Law

When the US invaded Iraq, they established a system where the various security contractors could not be held accountable for their actions.

the legal status of contractors in war zones is murky. Soldiers are accountable to the military code of justice wherever they are, but contractors are civilians -- not formally part of the military and not part of the chain of command. They cannot be court-martialed.

Normally, an individual's crimes would then fall under the local nation's laws. But, of course, there are few established Iraqi legal institutions


because the acts were committed abroad, and also reportedly involve some contractors who are not U.S. citizens, the application of U.S. domestic law in an extraterritorial setting is unclear and has never been tested. This appears to leave an incredible vacuum. Indeed, as Phillip Carter, a former Army officer now at UCLA Law School, says, "Legally speaking, [military contractors in Iraq] actually fall into the same gray area as the unlawful combatants detained at Guantanamo Bay."

The end result has been 30+ months of rumors. There have been complaints and whispers about actions of various mercenaries in Iraq. These acts that are illegal everywhere, but not for these people, there is no law that applies to what they do in Iraq.

Now a video has forced the US Government to at least appear to investigate one incident.
Framed as if on a movie screen by the outline of a sport-utility vehicle's rear window, those scenes and others show what appear to be private security contractors firing on Iraqi civilians. The video footage has prompted an investigation by the U.S. military, a spokesman said Thursday, and by the company linked to the incidents. It even has a soundtrack: Elvis Presley's upbeat "Mystery Train."

But as this investigation continues, remember this: It was the Bush administration that has created the environment where this could happen.

many Iraqis complain that the force used by contractors, who are immune from prosecution under an order signed into Iraqi law last year, is often excessive.

and the Bush administration must also be held accountable.


Republican Culture of Corruption - Ohio

It appears that one of Abramoff's associates is about to plead guilty and start to help in the investigation.

This should be very bad news for Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who appears to be a top target of the investigation.

Maybe he can room with 'Duke' Cunningham, they appear to have a lot in common.


Southwest Goes Long, Again

This time killing a 6 year old boy.

CHICAGO Dec 9, 2005 At first, the passengers aboard the Southwest Airlines flight trying to land amid heavy snow at Midway International Airport thought it was a normal landing. Then there was a bump and the plane was in the street.

Southwest loves the older smaller intown airports, but this is the second time in 5 years that a Southwest plane has overrun the runway. You have to wonder if public pressure will start to effect their business model.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

It's Alive

The Republican efforts to crush civil rights and protections continue, with an agreement in place to extend, by four years, the Patriot Act.

WASHINGTON (AP) - House and Senate negotiators reached an agreement Thursday to extend the USA Patriot Act, the government's premier anti-terrorism law, before its major provisions expire at the end of the month.

We can hope that one day we can actually kill this Frankenstein's monster born in fear in 2001.



Mr. Bush spent yesterday morning defending his war in Iraq, and telling us just how much progress we have made.

In particular, Mr. Bush cited Najaf, 90 miles south of Baghdad, and Mosul in northern Iraq once the sites of some of the bloodiest battles of the war as two cities where headway is being made, giving Iraqis more of a stake in their country's future.

"In places like Mosul and Najaf, residents are seeing tangible progress in their lives," Mr. Bush said. "They're gaining a personal stake in a peaceful future and their confidence in Iraq's democracy is growing. The progress in these cities is being replicated across much of Iraq."

Progress, of course, is relative. But, if these are the successes, it is clear why this insurgency keeps growing.

Najaf is a largely peaceful Shiite city 100 miles south of Baghdad that has not suffered from the sectarian attacks ravaging other parts of the country. But rivalries between Shiite factions have occasionally become violent, and many complain that militant political parties and militias dominate city government and security forces.


the militiamen who were from Najaf never left the city. They just stopped carrying weapons around the shrine area. In the summer, a fistfight in Najaf between followers and opponents of Sadr triggered battles throughout southern Iraq between the cleric's supporters and followers of the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, a major party in the ruling Shiite coalition.

and in Mosul

residents and officials take precautions in Iraq's third-largest city. People still avoid going out after dark. Reconstruction projects are dormant. The provincial governor has said authorities had to move large amounts of cash into the nearby Kurdish region.

More significantly, ethnic tensions still simmer between the majority Sunni Arab and Kurdish populations in the city that is some 225 miles northwest of Baghdad. U.S. commanders have said they plan to hand control of Mosul to Iraqi police sometime next year, and many worry that attacks on civilians could spread as a result.

No security incidents were reported Wednesday in Mosul, a day after U.S. jets bombed targets in the city. But daily small-scale insurgent attacks still kill and maim Iraqi security forces, and Westerners also find themselves targets. The Mosul area is where a German archeologist was kidnapped Nov. 25.

2 and a half years after we took control, oil production, clean water delivery, electric power production are, in many cases, below the levels that existed on the day before we started bombing. Unemployment still runs near 50%, and bombings still occur daily.



Spend, Spend, Spend

The Republicans continue their efforts to destroy the government, and have passed more tax cuts, almost 100 billion more.

WASHINGTON -- The House passed three tax cuts yesterday and plans to approve a fourth today, trimming the federal revenue by $94.5 billion over five years -- nearly double the budget savings that Republicans pushed through the House last month.

This is a key point, 'nearly double the budget savings', in effect raising the deficit and debt of the nation. In addition, Iraq may cost us another 100 billion next year.

In a time of huge deficits, unprecedented debt levels, and record borrowing from other nations, the Republicans want to give the rich more tax breaks.

Typical but disgusting


The Rove Case Is Back In Session

Patrick Fitzgerald and some of his document laden staff were spotted heading into the grand jury area of the court.

In the last grand jury activity in the probe, a month ago, Libby, a top aide to Vice President Dick Cheney, was indicted on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI. Libby has pleaded not guilty.

President Bush's top political adviser, deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, remains under investigation.

And just in time for Christmas. I suspect Mr. Rove's holiday spirit may have just taken another hit.


Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Gov. Carol Campbell (SC 87-95)

has died at the age of 65.


A Day Of Infamy


Now, Even The Bush's Hate Christmas

I hope there is space on O'Riley's enemy list to include George and Laura.

WASHINGTON -- What's missing from the White House Christmas card? Christmas.

This month, as in every December since he took office, President Bush sent out cards with a generic end-of-the-year message, wishing 1.4 million of his close friends and supporters a happy "holiday season."

Many people are thrilled to get a White House Christmas card, no matter what the greeting. But some conservative Christians are reacting as if Bush stuck coal in their stockings.

Maybe, just maybe, this absurd right wing media created 'war on Christmas' can come to an end.


Happy Holidays to everyone.


We Admit We Did It Once (since we got caught)

We admit we have kidnapped the wrong person , and still Rice tries to defend this illegal and immoral action.

Rice, in an unusual concession to critics of American policy, acknowledged yesterday that mistakes have been made in the murky war against Islamic terrorists. She also pledged that the United States will make amends when it commits errors.

''Any policy will sometimes have errors," Rice told a news conference in the German capital, first stop on a four-nation swing through Europe that is meant, in part, to secure support for the secret campaign against terror groups. ''When that happens, we will do everything we can to rectify it."

So how do you make right the kidnapping and torture of an innocent person? How do you make right the pain, the fear, the lost day or weeks or months; how do you make right the loss of a life?

Now we are trying to cover our collective rears by saying that the US has finally barred all of its personnel from engaging in cruel or inhumane interrogations of prisoners. That leaves us to ask, why did it take so long to do this? How many prisoners have we used 'cruel or inhumane interrogations' on to date?

And does it even matter, since we ship our prisoners to nations that do use torture. Sure, US personal will not torture, but they are glad to let Egyptians, or Morricians, or maybe even private contractors. That way we can say,: we have 'barred all of its personnel from engaging in cruel or inhumane interrogations of prisoners' , while at the same time our allies and contractors are torturing the hell out of them.

Nice little loop hole Ms. Rice is trying to construct. This is why judicial oversight is part of the US judicial system, and should apply to anyone being held by any governmental agency anywhere in the world.


Very Nice On-Line Advent Calendar

Can be found at the web site of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington

Thanks to Father Jake, a real nice find.


Tuesday, December 06, 2005

A Great Idea

Let Rumsfeld Go.

An Op-Ed worth you time, and it brings up this great point.

His mistakes, miscalculations and arrogant dismissal of dissent have cost American (and Iraqi) lives and prolonged the conflict. If there has been a worse secretary of defense, it could only be Robert McNamara. History has hung Vietnam around his neck like a noose.

Similarly, Iraq will be Rumsfeld's constant companion.


As promised, My Christmas Top 10 (2005)

Inspired by Laurin, and her list, I have my list of the top ten Christmas songs, at least the top ten as of right now.

1. For Unto us a Child is Born, by Rias Chamber Chorus
2. I'll be Home for Christmas, by Bing Crosby
3. The Holly and the Ivy, by Chior of Kings College
4. O'Come O'Come Emmanuel, by Various
5. Bring a torch Jenette, Isabella, by NY Coral
6. Good Christian Men Rejoice, by Variuous
7. I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, by Various
8. God Rest you Merry, Gentlemen, by Various
9. The Christmas Song, Nat King Cole
10.Silent Night, the 7 O'clock News, Simon and Garfunkle

On some of these I have included the artist, since a song done well by one can suck when performed by another.

Other fun songs I didn't include but do love to hear:

Santa Baby, E. Kite (or My Daughter who nails this)
Snoopy vs. The Red Baron, Royal Guardsman
I Want A hippopotamus For Christmas ?


Tom DeLay's Felony Trial Marches On

One conspiracy charge has been dropped, but the more serious money laundering and conspiracy charge will go to trial.

The decision moves DeLay and his co-defendants, the Republican fundraisers John Colyandro and James Ellis, a big step closer to facing trial, perhaps as soon as January.

The charges involve $190,000 that the state says was collected from corporate donors in 2002 and, in violation of Texas election and money-laundering laws, routed through Republican political action committees to seven Republicans running for the Texas House. The judge ruled that the conspiracy provisions of the state election code did not take effect until a year after the charged violations. But he rejected defense challenges to the money-laundering charges and ruled that they could go to trial.

And in a case on interesting timing, this ruling came out just as a $500.00 plate Tom DeLay fundraiser was about to start, with featured guest speaker, Dick Cheney.


40 Years, An Anniversary

Charley Brown's Christmas is 40 this year. A classic that rings true decades after it's creation. I know my 3 year old son will want to see this one, and I suspect that there is a good chance his children will be watching it in time.


Bush, The Security President.

That is the image that he has tried to create about him. Bush is the man for safety, security, protection. While I never thought Bush had any skill in this area, ( he was the man who responded to a direct warning about Bin Laden by go staying on vacation) the American public have always seemed very willing to accept this view of his presidency.

You would hope that the 9-11 Panels latest statements will wake up the American public.

WASHINGTON A final report from the former 9/11 Commission on Monday gave Congress and the White House a blistering review of their work to secure the nation, warning that terrorists will strike again and could cause catastrophic destruction with nuclear weapons.

Now for those on the right, who's knee jerk reaction is to defend the Administration, The group making this statement were appointed by the president. They were funded by the Republican controlled congress. DC is owned by the Republicans, who corntol every sector of our government. The blame for these failings are the sole property of the Republican party.

In an emotional meeting after nearly three years of investigating and promoting recommendations for heightened security, members of the now-disbanded commission released a final "report card" filled with D's and F's.

Monday, December 05, 2005

What A Joke Our Sec. Of State Has Become

Running about Europe, defending torture, and imprisonment without judicial oversight.

The US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, has defended US treatment of terror suspects and refused to either confirm or deny the existence of CIA-run secret prisons in eastern Europe. Ms Rice said European countries should trust the US because information gathered by the CIA had "prevented terrorist attacks in Europe ... and other countries".

Yes; We are the grown-up adult nation, and our cute little European children should just shut up and let your betters do what is so obviously right.

Of course, she holds the party line, and lies, lies, lies.

"The US does not use the air space or airport of any country for the purpose of transporting a detainee when we believe he or she will be tortured," she said.

"The United States does not transport, and has not transported, detainees from one country to another for the purpose of interrogation using torture."

Unless the detainees they are held by the CIA, or the Army, or by other nations, or private contractors.

This leads us to ask:

If we stand so strongly for justice and truth, why did this administration work so hard to redefine torture, why did they work so hard to find a legal basis to ignore the Geneva Accords? Why do they still fight restrictions on torture being proposed in congress, and why do they run a network of prisons outside of oversight by anyone concerned about justice and truth?

A Perfect Cartoon

A Hat Tip to Bobs Links and Rants

Christmas Songs

Laurin started me thinking. What are my favorite Christmas songs?

This list seems to change every year, but sometime in the next couple of days I will have the definitive list of top Christmas songs for 2005. Can you think of any that have to be included?

More Information Being Mined Out From

The Louisiana state hurricane response documents.

Thus began what one aide called a "full-court press" to compel the first-term governor to yield control of her state National Guard -- a legal, political and personal campaign by White House staff that failed three days later

It is clear that Louisiana and DC were not able to agree on much of anyting. It also appears that a major part of this argument centered around control. I have to wonder is there any real reason why the state should be forced to give up control to get promised federal backup.

Typical Business Behavior

Trying to get a new product approved? Notice a minor issue that could delay the roll-out?

Well Mentor shows us how big business fixes this little glitch.

NEW YORK ( - The maker of a silicon breast implant awaiting final approval from the Food and Drug Administration allegedly sought to limit leaks of silicon oil from sample implants sent to doctors' offices, but no adjustments were made to devices that would actually be implanted in women, according to a published report.

The allegation, printed in the Washington Post Monday, comes from a former senior engineer with the company, who has made his concerns known to the FDA, to a women's health group critical of the breast implants, as well as to the paper.

How sadly typical. Don't fix the problem, jut appear to fix the problem. Now that this has been noticed, there is little doubt that Mentor will claim that there was never any problem. If that is the case, then why the efforts to 'fix' the samples.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Money Money Money, Money

In the finest tradition of American Free Market Capitalism, GM and Ford want a little welfare.

WASHINGTON - With Michigan flailing in the wake of Delphi Corp.'s bankruptcy filing and General Motors Corp.'s decision to lay off thousands, there are growing questions about whether the federal government is pulling its weight when it comes to engineering a rescue.

As Congress returns for its final two weeks of session Tuesday, many in Michigan will be looking for a sign that federal lawmakers are willing to help the auto industry instead of letting it founder like the U.S. steel and airline industries have.

I would like to point out that the Airlines were, in fact, the recipients of billions in aid in 2001, and since then all most everyone of them has fled into bankruptcy.

Gov. Blanco Releases Katrine Records

and while the don't shine the light of greatness on either the Federal of State governments, they do appear to defend the position of Gov. Blanco, and further condemn the Bush White House.

Among more than 100,000 pages of records released late Friday, which ranged from after-action reports to notes written at the height of the storm, are memos showing that Blanco was frustrated and angered over delays in evacuations and the slow delivery of promised federal aid.

''We need everything you've got," Blanco is quoted in a memo as telling President Bush on Aug. 29, the day Katrina made landfall. But despite assurances from the Federal Emergency Management Agency that 500 buses were ''standing by," Blanco's aides were compelled to take action when the FEMA buses failed to materialize,

With over 100,000 pages of documents to review, it will be a while before they are fully reviewed, but it does appear the biggest failings came from DC, not Baton Rouge.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Some Real Evidence Iraqi's May Be

Taking the lead; 10 were killed while on patrol.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Ten Iraqi army soldiers were killed Saturday and five others wounded when their patrol was attacked on a main highway, a U.S. military official told CNN.

An 11th soldier, a major, was kidnapped by the attackers and his body was later found, said a second official, with Diyala's provincial Joint Coordination Center.

This report presents both good and bad news. The good news is it is evidence that the Iraqi forces are trying to stand up and fight. The bad news is that the report also makes it clear that this patrol was defeated and overrun, not just bombed.

When the Iraqi Resistance attacks US troops it is normally in a hit and run operation, or a bomb attack (like Thurdays that killed ten). This attack also involved armed insurgents, who clearly fought and defeated this Iraqi army unit.

But, at least they are trying to 'stand up'.

The Republican Adversion To The Truth

and it's continued war on science is again making the news.

It appears that the EPA slanted it's work to favor a Bush administration proposal over 2 presented by members of Congress.

WASHINGTON -- Researchers who work for the U.S. Congress say the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) skewed its analysis of air pollution legislation to favour President George W. Bush's plan.

EPA's analysis "works in favour of" Bush's plan by overstating some costs of competing bills, said a report yesterday by the Congressional Research Service. The 2002 Bush plan remains stalled in Congress.

The EPA says it isn't so, but after the latest news about the Bush Justice Department, the ongoing war on science, the various Armstrong Williams events and the current actions by the Pentagon, admitting they have paid to file covert pro US stories in the Iraqi news, those claims ring very hollow.

Friday, December 02, 2005

More Sorrow From Iraq

10 US Marines killed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ten U.S. Marines conducting a foot patrol outside the Iraqi city of Falluja were killed in the explosion of an insurgent bomb on Thursday, the U.S. military announced on Friday.

In a statement released in Falluja, the military said another 11 Marines were wounded in the blast caused by an "improvised explosive device" fashioned from several large artillery shells. Seven of those wounded have been able to return to duty, the military said.

This was in Falluja? In recently attacked, destroyed and pacified falluja. We should never have started this war, and many more will die before Bush will learn that victory, as he appears to define it, can never be achieved.

Friday, A Few Great Places To Visit.

Badtux the Snarky Penguin is looking at history, and reminds us of the latter days of a dying empire.

And more fun with history, It is alarming how much 1969 Nixon sounds like 2005 Bush, and Timothy at Without A Map points sit out.

Geoff at American Entropy is stunned, it appears that Bush has admitted that we are fighting an Iraqi insurgency, and not just foreign terrorist.

Cunningham is out, But, who were the folks who bribed him? Cannon Fire is looking into it, and thinks it is fishy.