Monday, July 31, 2006

When Is A Cease Fire Not A Cease Fire?

Well, it appears to be when the US announces one,

The announcement of a pause in airstrikes was made after midnight by State Department spokesman J. Adam Ereli to reporters traveling with Rice.

And, Israel ignores it.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert says there will be no cease-fire in coming days.

I guess this does disproves the argument that Israel is a puppet of the US, but it leaves open the debate over is the Bush administration a puppet of Israel.


Not So Intelligent Design, Exposed, Again

The latest tactic being used by supporters of Not So Intelligent Design is to argue that we need to both 'teach the argument' and learn to 'critically analyze' evolution. These points have even been rolled out by some of those promoting bad science in South Carolina, including Karen Floyd, the republican hopeful for State Superintendent of Education.

The fine folks at the discovery institute have tried to argue that teaching the argument and critically analysis of evolution doesn't mean teaching Intelligent Design (creationism for the new century). Unfortunately for the fine DI folks, they just can not resist running their mouths, and have admitted that these ploys are just more lies in the effort to destroy science education.

It really is ID in disguise. The entire purpose behind all of this is to shift it into schools...

A much more detailed explanation, and discussion will be going on at Dispatches From The Culture Wars.

After the beating these folks took in Dover, you would think they would learned this lesson.


This little slip has also been noticed at Pharyngula, and Pandas Thumb


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Busy Making More Terrorist.

Israel is continuing their efforts to increase the membership and support of Hezbollah

More than 54 civilians, at least 34 of them children, have been killed in a town in south Lebanon in the deadliest Israeli strike of the conflict so far. Displaced families had been sheltering in the basement of a house in Qana, which was crushed after a direct hit.

Israel had to respond to the capture of two of their troops, they did not have to respond in a manner that assure more respect and support for the very group they are trying to destroy.

And that is exactly what they are doing.


Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday Readings

That may interest you.

Over at Cannonfire a look at some more vote fraud news.

Pay day loan centers and South Carolina's Laissez-faire attitude are the target of Sacraments Wholesale.

Boston 1775 has a look at signing statements, law, veto, and George Washington's view on the issue.


Bush Administration Admits

They have committed a variety of war crimes.

OK, they have not admitted it, but their actions make it very clear that they know they committed them.

Senior officials have responded by drafting legislation that would grant US personnel involved in the terrorism fight new protections against prosecution for past violations of the War Crimes Act of 1996. That law criminalizes violations of the Geneva Conventions governing conduct in war and threatens the death penalty if US-held detainees die in custody from abusive treatment.

And since we have had dozens of prisoners die while in custody, a number of these have died as a direct result of physical abuse inflicted upon they while in our hands, it is clear that laws have been broken.

Instead of following the law and holding those guilty accountable, the Bush administration wants to change the law (since, in this case, they can no longer just ignore it). Typical disgusting behavior, that will, no doubt, get solid support from the majority of Republicans.


Thursday, July 27, 2006

Republican Superintendent of Education Hopeful

Has Endorsed Jim Rex for South Carolina's Superintendent of Education.

Elizabeth Moffly, business and community leader and former Republican candidate for State Superintendent of Education, endorsed Jim Rex in his bid to become South Carolina's next State Superintendent of Education. Moffly becomes the first high profile Republican to endorse Rex, a Democrat.

This is good news and it does make sense. What she wants to see in South Carolina's educational system does seem to dove tail very nicely with Jim Rex's goals.

Moffly ran on a platform of increasing choice within South Carolina's public school system, evaluating the volume of testing currently being done in our schools, raising teacher pay, smaller classes, and ensuring that parents have a voice at the table when it comes to making education policy.


A Little Too Much Testosterone

Tour de France winner Floyd Landis has had a drug test come out positive.

He was tested after his amazing run on stage 17, and the first sample tested positive for to much testosterone. His second sample will now be tested, and he may find himself is a heap of trouble in the coming days.


A Quick Look Back At Iraq.

While Israel's invasion of Lebanon, and the incursion in Gaza continue, the US is still busy trying to not get killed in Iraq, and today another three dozen Iraqis were killed.

In the past couple of day's the President has announced that, in an effort of avoid sending more troops into the area, he will ask the troops we currently have in place to play a little wack-a-mole.

Earlier this summer, with much fanfare, a new plan for Baghdad was announced. The Iraqi government and the US army would be putting tens of thousands of additional troops into the city to assure it's security.

We can all see how well that is working out.

So now we are going to pump more US troops into the meat grinder. To do this, without having to bring in more troops to Iraq (not that that is a viable option), we will pull forces out of the Anbar area. Even if this does have a positive effect in Baghdad, there can be little doubt that it will have a negative impact in Anbar, meaning that we will have to shift forces back there when we see a spike in activity pop up there, and then Baghdad can decay, and we can move troops back to Baghdad, then back to Anbar and so on and so on.

And, another point that no one appears to be mentioning, but should be noted.

There are, according to a number of reports, about 70,000 Iraqi troops tasked with securing Baghdad. This includes the 40,000 troops who were added in June. Their performance has been, at best, a total disaster. To correct this failure, we are now inserting an additional 4,000 men.

This is the Iraqi force that is be replacing the US, the force that must 'stand up so we can stand down'. Just another indicator that our efforts in that direction are not going so well.


Wednesday, July 26, 2006

You Have To Ask, Are Republicans Stupid,

Or, do they just really enjoy lying to us.

Sen. John McCain (R. Az) appeared on Fox News today. In the course of his interview, he blasted the democrats as 'not qualified to led' because they were pushing the visiting Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to condemn Hezbollah's actions, prior to his addressing a joint session of congress.

Sen. McCain's (R. Az) logic for his latest denouncement of the democrats is that "The Prime Minister of Iraq and others have condemned Hezbollah and say they do not support them."

The only trouble is, he hasn't.

In fact his political party in Iraq is very closely aligned with Hezbollah, with many shared roots. Of course, McCain, like to many republicans these days, refuses to lets details like facts and truth get in the way of trying to score political points.

And that leaves us to ask: Is he to stupid to know this, to lazy to look into the claims of the democrats, or does he just enjoy lying.


Republicans for Moore

The first of the expected vote for Moore bumper stickers have been spotted in the Lexington area. The anti-Sanford efforts, that included the Knotts petition effort, are continuing to flow down highway 378 into Columbia.

While I would love to see a Kansas Type split developing within the South Carolina republican party, this clearly doesn't have the intellectual heft to represent that. This looks a lot more like it is driven by personality conflicts and a buning desire to get a little revenge, than a true repudiation of policy and ideas.

It will be worth watching to see if the republican for Moore forces gain any real traction in this area. In 2002 Sanford won Lexington county by 22,000 votes, about 50% of his total victory margin. Tommy Moore still has a huge hill to climb, but if Lexington republicans pitch in and start throwing a little dirt, it could offer him some solid benefits.


UN Outpost Attacked

And up to four observers were killed.

The UN was rightly outraged, and Kofi Annan accused Israel of deliberately attacking the outpost. Israel was offended at the suggestion and basically said that the UN was lying.

Now it has come out that the UN post had contacted Israel ten times to ask them to stop attacking. They were assured that the attacks would stop, and they did, just as soon as the guided missile delivered by the Israeli airforce destroyed the bunker.

These four deaths will raise the total number of UN casualties in this invasion to over a dozen.


The Spam Will Hit The Fan

A Washington State Supreme Court ruling on same sex marriages is due today. No matter what the ruling is, expect howls of outrage.

Two lower courts have ruled that the current law against same sex marriage should not stand, saying it was unconstitutional in violating equal protect provisions.


The Washington State Supreme Court overturned two lower court rulings, and upheld the states restrictions on homosexual unions in a 5-4 vote.

Washington State appeared to accept an argument similar to the one New York used in it's recent defense of the New York gay marriage ban. A good, brief review of the New York ruling can be found at Dispatches From the Culture Wars. To me both of these decision feel like they were based more on a desire to avoid causing more political drama, than clear and logical law.

For democrats, this is sad, but good news. It weakens one of the republican wedge issues, and makes attacking the judiciary look a little more silly. It also makes it clear to me that homosexual unions will be legal for the vast majority of this nations population within a generation. The fact that so many states courts are so close to approving it is a clear indication that, in time, we will see equality for gay couples.


Pam also sees this ruling as very similar to New York's, and a bit of a cop out.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Lebanon, Waiting

Both Saudi Arabia and Egypt have now come out and called for a cease fire. Sec. of State Rice is said to be looking for a durable solution. The sad truth is, she is just stalling for time.

She want to give Israel as much time as possible for do as much damage as they can to Hezbollah. The US has clearly telegraphed that they are in no hurry to stop the violence, and see it as a positive development.

Once Israel has occupied the parts of Lebanon it wants to, the US will get busy formulating a solution that will have western armys moving into south Lebanon to play referee between the various Lebanese groups and Israel.

The US and NATO may well be asked to serve as a mercenary force protecting Israel.

I guess this means we will be official abandoning our roll as an honest broker in the middle east.


Midlands To Host Aryan Nations World Congress

It appears that the a racist group has set us shop right here in the midlands.

August B. Kreis III, the national director of Aryan Nations, is reported to be getting ready for us to host their World Congress. But, in the case of the Aryan Nation, maybe world congress is a bit of a overstatement. How about Northern Europe, North America and various post colonial white nations congress. For more information check out Columbia antifascist.

Aryan Nations brings with it a history of violence and murder, including the 1999 shootings of children and adults at a Los Angeles Jewish community daycare. The group blends racist Christian Identity and neo-Nazi ideology with the goal of establishing "a White Aryan homeland on the North American continent." The group was bankrupted in 2000. Their Idaho compound was seized in 2001. Their founder died in 2004. Although this faction is a pathetic shadow of its former self, the corpse Aryan Nations continues zombie-like in its mission to incite hatred and violence against Jews, homosexuals, people of color and all those deemed unfit for its master plan.

And some people said that Columbia could not attract national conventions.


The Medium

Monday included a joyfully lazy evening for me. I didn't feel like reading, or working, or doing anything more than fiddling on the computer and ignoring whatever was on television. During the 9 O'clock hour we watched Treasure Hunters, the game show version of the movie National Treasure.

At ten, The Medium came on.

In the opening set up of the episode, we got to see a young lady, tied down to a chair and immobilized, she then had her face sliced open with a surgical scalpel. It was a lovely close up, and technically very well done. You see the fine line being created as the blade passes, and the see the blood well up from the cut, quite believable.

The close up of a scalpel digging into skin is becoming quite popular, and was also featured in at least one other hit TV show this year.

I find this type of violence disgusting and indecent. So I do the rational thing, I grab the remote and turn it off. If I want the to watch murder and suffering CNN is only a click away

One thing I would not do is demand that NBC be fined $325,000.00 per station that aired it. I would not demand NBC be investigated or cry out for a boycott. It appears that others who feel as I do act in the same manner, violence is seldom the target of effective mass protest.

Now imagine what would happen with a different story presented.

Instead of Patricia Arquette viewing this murder, we see a morning scene, that starts with the husband and wife sharing a morning shower. No heavy mist, no well placed towels, just a husband, a wife and spraying water.

Can you hear the howls of outrage, the demands for justice, the congressional investigations?

One sector of our society is obsessed with and terrified of anything sexual. It is a safe bet that the news today would be awash with discussion of the show. There is little doubt that the FCC would be investigating and that fines would be handed out. I suspect that there would be serious talk of stripping NBC of it license to operate.

In our land the graphic torture and murder of a young lady is acceptable, a little eye candy for everyone is offensive.


Monday, July 24, 2006

Sometimes Bad, Sometimes, Well,

For Iran, a nuclear reactor, that's stated use is the production of electric power, is bad.

For Pakistan, a plutonium reactor, for the mass production of nuclear weapons, while not good, is acceptable.

Just a reminder about Pakistan. While it is, at this time, a military Dictatorship, it has a very strong political party that, if ever in power, will love having access to nuclear weapons. The MMA is a collection of political parties that express a strong desire for a theocratic Islamic nation, and oppose many of our actions in the region.

It can be argued that the MMA's power and organization has slipped in the past couple of years. This is a legitimate position. What has not changed is the dynamic that led it to massive electoral victories in the past couple of years, or the radical nature of it's policy that the people supported.

And in a few years, these fine folks, or a new version of these fine folks, may have a very nice nuclear arsenal to play with.

Now, lets get back to freaking out about Iran.


A Small Change

Once upon a time NASA had a mission statement. It was widely displayed, and outlined the goals of the agency.

To understand and protect our home planet; To explore the universe and search for life; To inspire the next generation of explorers, as only NASA can.

But, this winter it was changed.

To explore the universe and search for life; To inspire the next generation of explorers, as only NASA can.

The little bit about understanding our home planet has disappeared.

It is a small change, and an unannounced change, it is also an important change. Much of the science that is being done in the effort to understand global warming is being done by NASA scientist. One of the reasons that this was done was because it was part of the mission of NASA.

Now it appears it isn't.

I guess that the work of George C. Deutsch, his efforts to censor scientist, may have continued after his departure, and that desire to hide unpleasant science may have been behind this small change.


Saturday, July 22, 2006

Something Shiny

While the US media (and thus the US Population) is totally focused on Lebanon, the rest of the middle east (and other near by parts of the world) continue their decline.

The NATO commander in Afghanistan ( Lieutenant General David Richards ) notes that Afghanistan is now close to anarchy.

It appears that Ethiopian troops have entered a second Somali town.

The situation is Iraq continues to worsen, It's dying before our eyes.

In the north of Iraq, conflict along the border with Turkey is heating up, and Turkey is getting very unhappy.

And now I am going to leave this behind and visit a beautiful tall ship, and pretend all is well for the rest of the day.


Friday, July 21, 2006

Lebanon Is About To Get Real Nasty

Israel is into day 10 of their effort to destroy Hezbollah they are calling up the reserves and have advised civilians to head north. Clear indicators that a large scale invasion of Lebanon is in the works.

Of course, in one of the typical ironies of war, Israel has just spent the last 10 days destroying the roads and bridges leading away from the combat zone. So civilians will be trapped in the cross fire.

Another ironic reality of this type of war, Israel will end up creating more terrorist than they kill. Even those who are not Hezbollah, who don't support Hezbollah don't like being invaded and having their lovedones declared collateral damage. Some of these people will refill the ranks of Hezbollah, and assure it growth, not it's demise.

Another screwed up response to terrorism.


Sticking To A Theme

Here's another great example of the Right ignoring science and facts when they don't like them.

Peggy Noonan is pontificating on the failings of science in not reaching a consensus on Global Warming.

how sad and frustrating it is that the world's greatest scientists cannot gather, discuss the question of global warming, pore over all the data from every angle, study meteorological patterns and temperature histories, and come to a believable conclusion on these questions: Is global warming real or not?

Wow, what a great idea! Let's get the greatest minds in the world together, have them look at the situation and then offer us advice on what we should be doing. Heck, how about we call it the International Panel on Climate Change?

Well, guess what, Peggy, its' already been done. The world's experts have gotten together, studied each others work, tested models and even presented us with a report.

Most of the Right have rejected it because, and I'm quoting you, Peggy:

science too, like other great institutions, is poisoned by politics.

This is a statement that due to the nature of science can't be true.

This issue is not simple math, where 1+1 is quickly and easily understood. This problem is huge. Getting a complete grasp of the dynamics of the systems involved may be beyond what we are currently capable of. That doesn't mean the science is flawed, but you, like so many on the Right, use this natural limitation of science to raise doubts about any result that you don't like. Your agenda becomes not finding the truth, but protecting your position. To do this you slander the science and the scientists performing the studies.

The funny part is, so many on the Right are driven by a 'there is no Global Warming' and are busy denouncing the scientists involved as driven by an agenda. Guess what, Peggy, it doesn't matter if the scientists are or are not driven by an agenda. Good science can't be impacted by any agenda of those doing it.

Other scientists will study these findings, test them and build on them. In time, a consensus is reached and either the findings are valid or not valid. If the findings are not valid, then any agenda of the scientist is totally irrelevant. A single scientist, driven by agenda, could lie and cheat for a short while, but as his work was found to be flawed, his work (and his agenda) would be cast aside by the rest of the scientific community.

In the study of Global Warming, there is debate over mechanisms, meanings, long term projections and many of the small details. That Global Warming is actually occurring and mankind in a major factor in this process is no longer an issue for scientists.

And yet, Peggy, you and so many others on the Right pretend that the idea of Global Warming is still being debated. It's not.

You lie about the current state of affairs and then have the gall to say you can't trust scientists because they are driven an agenda and will lie to promote it.

Peggy, that is nothing but projection. You know you would lie (heck, you are doing it right here) to further *your* agenda, so you assume the scientists would also. But you seem to have forgotten some of the principals about science you should have learned in middle school.

You can't lie and do good science. If you try to do this, you will be exposed, removed, and made a laughingstock in the scientific community. It's a shame that the same thing can't be said of editorial writers.

For Your Friday

A few post worth reading

Tim at Sacraments Wholesale considers Bush's veto of the embryonic stem cell research bill.

Lies, and the human cost of war are the focus of Badtux, The Snarky Penguin. (Warning, includes distrubing image)

Juan Cole's Informed Comment has news roundups from Lebanon and Iraq


More Republican Lies About Science

When you don't like the facts, just make the up. That appears to be Rush Limbaugh's approach to science.

He was busy spinning a tinfoil cap theory about abortion and embryonic stem cells, he came out with this spectacular lie.

"because you need abortions to get these [embryos]."

The reality is the cells in question are formed in vitro (testtube) and are, at this time, a medical byproduct of fertility clinics. He spins this lie to convince his followers that these two subjects are somehow related, and trys to use this lie to weaken the support for stem cell research.

While only about 55% of the population are pro-choice, about two thirds of the population is in favor of embryonic stem cell research. It is clear that he is trying to tie the two together in an effort to sway public opinion, and is lying to do this.

Or he is just stupid, and to lazy to do thirty seconds of research.

Later in the show he then takes a page from Peggy Noonan ( see below ), and criticizes science. Another lie, and an attack on using an intellectual and non-ideological approach to an issue. Traditional acts from a play book that relies on lies, and distortion to motivate it's followers.


Thursday, July 20, 2006

Now I Have Something To Do

The U.S. Coast Guard bark Eagle will be in Charleston SC for a couple of days, and will be offering free tours.

Tall ships are fantastic, and worth working into a overloaded schedule. And clearly the price is right. In addition, I went to high school with the new skipper.

So, even with gas floating about $3.00 a gallon, a trip to the coast may be in order.


Israel Is Hinting That A

Major escalation in their current war may be coming.

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Israeli troops met fierce resistance from Hezbollah guerrillas Thursday as they crossed into Lebanon to seek tunnels and weapons for a second straight day, and Israel hinted at a full-scale invasion.

While Israel's attack on Beirut, the infrastructure, and the Armed forces of Lebanon was foolish and counter productive, if they are serious about hitting Hezbollah, this is the way to do it.

Israel's initial response only enraged the population against them, and played into Hezbollah's hand. Every day they are killing scores of civilians, and doing little to address the true threat to their nation. By moving into the area's that Hezbollah operates, they have an actual chance to hit at those who are hitting at them.

unfortunately, Israel has also made disengagement once they are in Lebanon more difficult. They can not leave a void when they pull out, and they don't dare stay. If they has not been busy doing so much damage to the country of Lebanon, and it's armed forces, the ideal solution would be to turn over cleansed areas to the army of Lebanon. If Israel goes in, and remembers is lesion from it last invasion of this area and pulls out quickly, they will have to get a UN mission in place very quickly. Otherwise, this whole mess, the deaths, the damage, the waste, will have to be done a gain as Hezbollah will move back in.

It looks official, Israel tells civilians you have 24 hours to flee. And the UN is calling for a cease fire


Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Jim Rex For SC Superintendent of Education

Democrats In The South has an excellent write up about him and his effort to become superintendent of education.

A few highlights:

Dr. Rex was a high school teacher, a football coach, Dean of Education at both Winthrop and Coastal Carolina Universities, Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations and Vice President of University Advancement at the University of South Carolina.


For a man who just became a politician in the last couple of months, Dr. Jim Rex is extremely articulate, polished, and level headed. He will be a tremendous asset to this state as our next Superintendent of Education.

He is what everyone claims they want in elected officials; Not a career party hack, but a citizen, who has solid knowledge about the area he will be working in.


The US Is Sheltering Terrorist?

well, at least, that may be the case from Turkey's perspective.

Turkish officials signaled Tuesday they are prepared to send the army into northern Iraq if U.S. and Iraqi forces do not take steps to combat Turkish Kurdish guerrillas there - a move that could put Turkey on a collision course with the United States.

Turkey is facing increasing domestic pressure to act after 15 soldiers, police and guards were killed fighting the guerrillas in southeastern Turkey in the past week.

The US has approved of Israel's reaction to the capture of two of it's soldiers. So if Turkey decides to attack Kurdish Iraq, will the US will be equally supportive?

Of course not.

Another example of why the US has so many problems with the populations of the middle east. There are different rules in play, everyone knows it, and those who are hurt by this quickly grow to hate the referee who refuses to not play favorites.

So, as Hizbullah attacks Israel, and Israel kills hundreds of Lebanese civilians in return; As Iraq continues to fall into chaos, and the war in Afghanistan continues to heat up; The people of Turkey are wondering, can we attack Iraq for sheltering terrorist, the way Israel has attacked Lebanon, and they know that a different set of rules apply to them.

Aren't the politics of the Middle East fun.


A Sad Day For Science

But a good day for Democrats.

Bush is getting ready to use his first ever veto on the stem cell research bill.

This is a real political win for the nations Democrats. Stem cell research is a topic that the vast majority (about 70%) of the people of the US support. This action can be used to paint Republicans as very anti science, and that political change is needed to get this much needed research on the fast track.

In the mean time, the research is ongoing. While governmental support is greatly needed, and would be invaluable in the quick development of medical advances, stem cell studies are already being aggressively perused.

With a few key election victories this fall, this bill will be law in less than a year, and the pace on investigation should then take off.


Tuesday, July 18, 2006

I Don't Favor Most Forms Of Gun Control

but the behavior of Wallace Scarborough (R-James Island SC), could sure be used against me in a debate.

A line of thunder storms pass through the area. SCE&G has their employees out and about making sure the power grid has not suffered any damage, and this gentleman, a fine representative of South Carolina manners and politics, threatens them with a fire arm.

Since he is a man of power, I suspect this will all very quietly go away in a few weeks. I also suspect, that if I had pulled this stunt a couple of weeks ago with the SCE&G guys in my back yard, I would still be in the Lexington County lockup.

Wallace has hit the big time, Jesus' General has written him a letter


More Signs Of Bush's Failures

If you had not noticed, being distracted by the bloodshed in Lebanon and Israel, The Taliban (the military force Bush claims to have destroyed 4 years ago) has captured two towns in Southern Afghanistan. We are mounting an operation to recapture them.

In Iraq, For the second day in a row, attacks at Iraqi markets have killed at least 50 people. The divisions are being driven deeper, and at least two different political parties have announced that they are boycotting participation in the government.

And, as a reminder, Bin Laden is still free and still calling for war.

The Republicans love to claim they are the ones who do security right, but based on what they have achieved in the last 6 years, they look a lot more like a low rent version of the Keystone Kops. Our nation can not survive much more of their continued incompetence.


Never Let The Truth Interfere

when you are on a moral crusade.

One of the more disgusting ploys of the antichoice crowd is the establishment of fake women's health clinics. They lure in women looking for information and help, then lie to them.

The report said that 20 of 23 federally funded centers contacted by staff investigators requesting information about an unintended pregnancy were told false or misleading information about the potential risks of an abortion.

87% of these centers, centers who are mostly run by self professed 'Christians', lied.

The right wing of our nation is amazing. If you don't like the science , ignore it. If you don't like the facts, make up new ones. The only truth that matters is not science, not fact, but being true to the agenda of the religious right or corporate masters.


Monday, July 17, 2006

Lunch Time, And Rumors

Two nice rumors were served up with my rice at lunch today.

It looks like Jake Knotts will have 12,000 to 14,000 names on his petition to run for the South Carolina governors office. It also looks like he is giving very serious consideration to not running.


Yep, he is not going to run.


Reaction Or Overreaction

When terrorist attack there has to be a swift and firm reaction. But when responding you have to remember that terrorist want to use your power to work for them. Just like many martial arts, their trick is to redirect the force that we are trying to use aginst them, to do damage to ourselves.

When Israel is attacked, they must respond, but in overreaction they play into the hands of the terrorist they are trying to defeat.

I can not see how blowing up power plants helps their cause. I don't see how denying clean water to children helps their cause. I don't see how attacking cities well outside the border area helps them. All it does is weaken the governments who you want to 'control' the terrorist groups, and further radicalize the population

If you want to stop the rockets flying into Israel, hit the areas where the rockets are. They have a limited range, and have to be within a few miles of the border. You you want to hit the terrorist, then hit them, these are all necessary reactions. When you start to hit the population, you end up helping the terrorist. The civilian population is already heavily supportive of them, and your efforts are just proving to this population that the terrorist are right, Israel is out to destroy them.

And that just assures the continued cycle of violence.


Sen. Graham (R.SC) Speaks

about his attempt to deceive the Supreme Court in a Sunday Op-Ed in the Charleston Paper, Not Very Bright has spotted a few holes in his argument.

I am still fascinated by the fact that almost all the focus is how the comments were inserted into the Senate minutes, and no one is paying any attention to how those minutes were later used to try to lie to the Court.


Sunday, July 16, 2006

New Poll Numbers Don't Look Good

for both Bush and the rest of the Republican party.

Less than four months before Election Day, the latest FOX News Poll finds that voters strongly favor the Democrats on key issues such as the economy and gas prices, and give the minority party a double-digit lead for control of Congress this fall. For most of President Bush's second term in office, more Americans have said they disapprove than approve of his job performance and that is again the case in this new poll.

One detail clearly indicates where much of the Republican emphasis will be placed in their campaigning this fall.

On terrorism, Republicans, who once had as much as a 34-point advantage in 2003, now top Democrats by 12 percentage points.

With only their terror numbers holding up as a political advantage, we can look forward to 4 months of terror warning, reports, arrests and god only know what else, in the effort to hold onto power in DC. Everyone go get your handy dandy, terror threat, rainbow decoder ready, the fun is about to begin.

The sad part is it may work. So many Americans are now so well conditioned that they wet themselves at the mention of terrorism, I can see the Republicans picking up a few percentage points in the coming elections from the members of the Sir Robin Brigade.


Saturday, July 15, 2006

A View From Baghdad That

You don't see on CNN, CBS, or presented by the White House.

A London Times reporter has returned to Baghdad after a few months absence and is shocked at how bad it has gotten.

There were cars full of gunmen prowling his mixed neighborhood, he said. He and his neighbor's were frantically exchanging information, trying to identify the gunmen.

Were they the Mahdi Army, the Shia militia blamed for drilling holes in their victims' eyes and limbs before executing them by the dozen? Or were they Sunni insurgents hunting down Shias to avenge last Sunday's massacre, when Shia gunmen rampaged through an area called Jihad, pulling people from their cars and homes and shooting them in the streets?

He is getting first hand reports of a state of total anarchy and open secular warfare.

Marauding Mahdi gunmen, seeking to drive all Sunnis from the area, were fighting Sunni Mujahidin for control of a nearby strategic position. I could hear the gunfire blazing over the phone.

We phoned the US military trainer attached to Iraqi security forces in the area. He said there was nothing to be done: "There's always shooting at night here. It's like chasing ghosts."

In fact the US military generally responds only to request for support from Iraqi security forces. But as many of those forces are at best turning a blind eye to the Shia death squads, and at worst colluding with them, calling the Americans is literally the last thing they do.

So, how exactly is the government we created, the government we are supporting with force of arms, money and prestige responding?

A local journalist told me bitterly this week that Iraqis find it ironic that Saddam Hussein is on trial for killing 148 people 24 years ago, while militias loyal to political parties now in government kill that many people every few days.
{bold mine}

And Bush, and Cheney, and Rumsfeld, and Rice, and Hassert, and Frist, and even Liberman keep saying it is getting better.


Another Clear Sign

Of how much disgrace Bush has brought to our nation and the office of the President.

While this story of kidnapping is not new, there is a story in salon that our government is at last investigating why we used kidnapping as a weapon.

Salon has obtained Army documents that show several cases where U.S. forces abducted terror suspects' families. After he was thrown in prison, Cpl. Charles Graner, the alleged ringleader at Abu Ghraib, told investigators the military routinely kidnapped family members to force suspects to turn themselves in.

This is a tactic that you can see the governments of Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, even Saddam Hussein using, and we may soon discover that it is one that our government, entrusted to George Bush, has not only used, but embraced.

If true, it demands harsh and severe punishment for all those involvded, all those who approved, and all those who should have known. We can not afford to be known as a nation that feels the rule of law doesn't apply to us.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday's Post Worth A Visit

deacon Tim, at Sacraments Wholesale covers a couple of points in one post. He first explains how our Senator Graham (R-SC) makes him proud, and them highlights Charlotte Aldebron's essay on how we can tell how very important our flag is.

Not Very Bright posts their quick chat with the invisible man.

In the run up to the Iraq war, many people, including most Americans and the whole of the Bush administration, got it wrong. Over at Hullabaloo it is pointed out that some got it right including France.


The Voting Rights Act Survives

Despite the efforts of a number of southern Republicans to kill or weaken it to the point of worthlessness.

If this had not been an election year, and the Republicans were not is so much trouble in so many districts, I suspect that this law may have died.


How High Can It Go

The continued record consumption, with the ever increasing instability if the middle east is driving oil to new record highs.

It makes my decision to trade in the Intrigue for a Prelude a very wise one.


Knotts For South Carolina Governor?

I saw one of the petition locations yesterday, and (as has been mentioned by others) it didn't leave the best impression. They were set up on Gervais Street, with a large posterboard sign written in freehand with what appeared to be Crayola markers.

Not the type of image I would want to project. There is a fine line between grass roots, and hopeless and childlike. The posterboard stand just looked a little sad.

It made this effort look a lot less serious than some in the republican party think it is. Some are now denouncing Jake's disloyalty demanding he repent or be excommunicated.

No one likes it when a party member wanders away from the pack, but at times these acts are not only justified, but vital. Jake Knott's current stand could be on very firm ground. If he honestly feels that our state is being led down the wrong path, and it can not risk to continue in this manner, he does have a moral responsibility to take action to correct it. If this is the case he need to quickly and clearly get his message out.


If he is mad because the Governor vetoed a redundant medical facility (as many suspect), he need to grow up a little, and put the petitions away.


Thursday, July 13, 2006

"This Business Will Get Out Of Control.

It will get out of control and we'll be lucky to live through it."

This line from "The Hunt For Red October" was denouncing a confusing escalation in a conflict with Russia that appeared to be leading to open war. Now in Lebanon, things continue to escalate, and if this continues we could face open, multinational warfare, in Israel, in a couple of days.

Early today Israel bombed the Airport in Beirut, now rockets have hit Haifa.

So it will not doubt continue; Israel will attack a power plant, or a few bridges, or maybe some governmental offices, then someone will respond with rockets or terrorist bombs. At some point this now lit match will hit a pool of gas, and a real explosion will occur.

Yep - Israel attacks Beirut's airport, again.



A terrorist group captures one of your soldiers, you blow up the only power plant in the region.

Another terrorist group then captures two of your soldiers, and you blow up an airport half a country away from the border.

In addition, your actions are killing scores of civilians in both areas.

Is there a chance that all you are doing is creating MORE terrorist (just like the current US policies are).

Just something to consider.


Finally, The Post and Courier

Starts to ask the right question.

some experts questioned whether the fact that Graham used the fabricated dialogue in a legal brief aimed at persuading the U.S. Supreme Court may have been misleading to the court.

And that is the important question that everyone is refusing to focus on.

Lindsey Graham (R.SC) and Jon Kyl (R.Az) were not breaking new ground inserting information into the Senate record. While the nature of the insertion was very odd, and the purpose was to deceive, it is not outside the bounds of accepted behavior in the Senate rules.

Focusing on this plays right into Graham's hands and allows the far more serious act to go unnoticed; Trying to provide fraudulent information to the Supreme Court of the United States.

And while the media is to focused on the legal but slimy altering of the Senate record they have failed to notice (or ask about) the attempted perjury.

But, at least the Charleston paper has at last noticed the event at all. Columbia, Greenville and Spartenburg have still not even bothered to cover this fraud.


Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More Republican Troubles Ahead

The Livingston Texas based Coushatta tribe are taking both Jack Abramoff (R-Confessed) and Georgia Lt. Gov. hopeful Ralph Reed (R-Ga) to court.

A Texas Indian tribe filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday alleging ex-lobbyist Jack Abramoff, former Christian Coalition leader Ralph Reed and their associates engaged in fraud and racketeering to shut down the tribe's casino.

A collection of other republicans (both elected, staff, and supporters) are also named in this case.


I Guess India Can Now Attack Pakistan

And the US should encourage this, if not directly aid them.

Yesterday a series of bombs were exploded in Mumbai India. This terrorist action was clearly directed at both the people and economy of India.

The likely suspects are no doubt involved in the conflict over Kashmir. A group that is uses Pakistan as both a safe hiding place and a training ground. Under the president we established, India has more than enough justification to invade Pakistan (and maybe Nepal and Bangladesh for good measure).

Iraq was not involved in terror attacks or our land. Iraq Was not harboring a terror group that was threaten us, and has no means to do us any harm. Yet, we still attacked them.

India has no choice, we have no choice. The standard for attack has clearly been met. They must invade now, and we must be a member of their coalition of the willing. Now is not the time for rationial thought, now is the time for war.


Israel, Hezbollah and Hamas

Are determined to start a total war in the middle east.

Hamas's Shia cousins, Hezbollah, has decided to join the fun, and has captured a couple of Israel's soldiers. Israel has responded in typical fassion, and launched an invasion, destroying villiages in territory belonging to others, and leaving 'colatrial damage' behind that will, in time, breed more terrorist.

Stupidity on top of stupidity, illegality on top of illegality, and more damage to any hope for a peaceful solution.


Uhh, Sen Graham (R-SC)

Sen. Graham has responded to the questions raised about his behavior related to the fake Supreme Court brief he filed.

When questioned by the Charleston Post and Courier he justified his insertion of fake discussion with Sen. Kyl (R-Az) into the Senate records by noting that everyone does it.

And he is correct, to a point. The habit of adding material into the Senate record is not new. The manner that Graham and Kyl used was highly unusual, and clearly outside the norm, but yes, Senators do add stuff to the record all the time.

The greater question, the question that the paper somehow missed, is how many people then try to present this faked material as real to a court.

You see, this is the real ethical failure on the part of Graham (a lawyer, who should know better). He presented this false information, trying to claim that the Senate debate that was completely opposite of the real debate that had occurred, in an effort to sway a judicial decision.

He lied to the court.

And the Charleston paper never asked that question.

But you have to give them some credit, they are the only paper in the state that has looked at this issue at all. Everyone else (Columbia, Greenville, Myrtle Beach, Charlotte, Florence, Augusta etc) has ignored it.

A tip of the hat to Not Very Bright.


Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Dare We Say Perjury?

Sen. Graham's (R-SC) questionable behavior has been noticed over at Outside the Tent. The reaction of the media and the right has also been noted.

Of course, there has been a wave of outrage from the Clinton-impeachment crowd over this latest example of lying to a court. Listen:

{deafening silence}

{more deafening silence}

{sound of pin dropping}

The standard rules apply here IOKIYAAR (It's OK If You Are A Republican)


Real Progress Now

Bush is thrilled, the national deficit is now just under a three hundred billion dollars. He thinks that having the 4th highest deficit ever is a success. Since the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd highest deficits also belong to George, I can see why he is claiming victory. Our spending 34 million dollars an HOUR more than we bring in is an improvement over his past performance.

Of course, when Bush came into office, we had a surplus of nearing 300 billion dollars.

A net reversial of over $500,000,000,000.00 dollars, and he thinks this is good news.


A Very Effective Means

of getting rich while in office.

Follow the lead of Rep. John Doolittle (R-Ca.). Just establish a Political Action Committee (or Charity) hire a family member to help 'fund raise' for that group and pay them a 'commission' on every contribution that comes in.

In the past two years, campaign and political action committees controlled by Rep. John Doolittle, R-Calif., paid ever-larger commissions to his wife's one-person company


Doolittle's wife, Julie, a professional fundraiser, has collected 15 percent of all contributions to Doolittle's leadership PAC and additional commissions on contributions to his campaign committee — a total of nearly $140,000 since 2003

Not a bad little one person enterprise, and a very effective way of skimming of contributions for personal enrichment. I wonder how many politicians in South Carolina have considered similar operations.


Interesting Note About Karen Floyd (R)

Gervais S. Bridges may be closing his blog, but he is making sure that the end of Barbecue & Politics is noteworthy.

All told, 47% of Floyd's contributions were from out-of-state. And 23% was from Howard Rich. I don't know if I mentioned that.

It is amazing how much money a New York multimillionaire is willing to invest in South Carolina politics. It is also interesting to note how little focus this story is getting.


Monday, July 10, 2006

It Appears That Our Sen. Graham (R-SC)

May have been involved in some very creative (and misleading) actions in the effort to deceive some members of the Senate and maybe the Supreme Court.

"So once this bill is signed into law, you anticipate that the Supreme Court will determine whether to maintain their grant of certiorari [in the Hamdan case]?" Graham asked Kyl. Kyl answered, "Yes, in my opinion, the court should dismiss Hamdan for want of jurisdiction. . . . I think that a majority of the court would do the right thing--to send Hamdan back to the military commission." (Emphasis added.)

In other words, after previously insisting - and to address Senator Levin's very specific concern on this score - that the revised language would in no way strip the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over Hamdan, Kyl was now maintaining exactly the opposite, with Graham's full cooperation.

Kyl continued, "As for legislative history" -- which he and Graham, his reference implied, were clearly making right then on the floor of the Senate -- "I think it usually is regarded as an element of the canons of [statutory] construction. It gives some indication of what Congress at least understood what it was doing--the context in which a law was enacted. Although, I understand that Justice Scalia does not read legislative history. I suppose that for his sake, we will have to strive to be exceptionally clear in the laws that we write." (Ironically, one reason Scalia disregards legislative history appears to be that he is well aware that Senators have been known to distort it.)

Those viewing C-Span's coverage of the Senate, and the Senators on the floor of the Senate, never heard this part, or any of the rest of, this lengthy colloquy between Graham and Kyl. That's because it never happened. No doubt aides of the Senators wrote this bogus and protracted dialogue, and either Graham or Kyl had it inserted in the record.

Another fine example of the moral and ethical standards the Republicans of our land now personify and embrace.


Firedoglake has a great review of this sham that Graham tried to pull and notes that no SC media outlet has touched this story.

As for Sen Kyl (R-Az), his first excuse for this little deception, everyone does it.


History Becomes Fantasy

D. James Kennedy desperately wants to portray George Washington as a great man, and a Christian saint. The trouble is he uses fantasy, not facts to defend his position on Washington's piety.

If the truth will set you free, there are a great number of self professed Christians who are looking at eons of bondage.


The Iraq Civil War Talk

Has reappeared in the news over the weekend. I guess the daily grind of bombings and murders

Masked Shi'ite gunmen rampaged through a west Baghdad neighborhood Sunday, dragging Sunnis from their cars, picking them out on the street and killing at least 41 in an escalation of sectarian violence.

Hours later, two car bombs exploded near a Shi'ite mosque in the city's north, killing 17 people and wounding 38 in what appeared to be a reprisal attack

make the cycle of violence hard to ignore, overwelming the bush administrations best efforts to stay positive about the results of our attack.

The daily update at Informed Comment is a must read and very sobering.

A quick sidebar about controlling the news.

Reuters is now reporting that the girl that us troops are accused of raping and killing was not 20-25 as US officials are claiming but only 14.


Sunday, July 09, 2006

Commercial Air Travel

Can be far to interesting in many parts of central Africa and Russia.

A Russian passenger plane skidded off a rain-slicked Siberian runway early Sunday and plowed through a concrete barrier and into some nearby garages, bursting into flames. At least 122 people were killed and 58 hospitalized, the Emergency Situations Ministry said.

The Airbus A-310 belonging Russian airline S7 was carrying 201 people on a flight from Moscow to Irkutsk. Airline spokesman Konstantin Koshman said there were 193 passengers, including 14 children under the age of 12, and eight crew.


Friday, July 07, 2006

Some Great Reading

For your Friday.

First is a sad story that should reinforce why the establishment clause is so vital to this country. The very un-christlike behavior of a few so-called Christians was noted at Bartholomew's notes on religion. This and other bad behavior was encouraged by the Stop the ACLU. Jesus' General could not let this opportunity pass by, and congratulated Stop the ACLU for their successful pogrom. As was noticed at Dispatches From The Culture War, Mr. Kareiva from Stop the ACLU totally missed the joke. This is not a real surprise, as the dishonesty and stupidity of the Stop of ACLU crowd has supplied hours of enjoyment at this blog.

Badtux, The Snarky Penguin introduces us to Coushatta, Louisiana, an area that, unfortunately, sounds a lot like parts of rural South Carolina.

A quick reminder from Outside the Tent IOKIYAAR (It's OK If You Are A Republican)


Interesting Combat In Baghdad Today

It appears that a top level Iraqi resistance leader has been captured.

The violence began around 2 a.m. and lasted until 6 a.m., police said. The U.S. military said the 30 to 40 casualties were the result of a 43-minute firefight.

According to the U.S. military, Iraqi forces "were immediately engaged by insurgents" when they entered the eastern Baghdad neighborhood.

No Iraqi or coalition forces were wounded or killed in the firefight, the military said.

What I noticed is that this leader has to have ties to the Mehdi army, a group controlled by Moqtada al-Sadr, a member of the government who is allied with the US in the fight against the insurgents (insurgents that he appears to, if not control, at least allows to operate in territory he controls).

In Iraq, the absurd is now the norm.


Thursday, July 06, 2006

DeLay (R-Tx) Hit With Loss In Court

No, not in his criminal cases, but in his effort to get off the ballot for the 2006 election.

The Texas Republican Party must keep Tom DeLay's name on the November election ballot, even though the former congressman has dropped his re-election bid, a federal judge ruled Thursday.

DeLay, the former House majority leader who resigned from office June 9, won the Republican primary for his district in March but decided against re-election a month later.

This is great news for the Democrats,a true win win. If DeLay doesn't appeal, or loses on appeal, then he has to say on, and the Dems have a relatively easy win. If DeLay wins the case on appeal, then the new Candidate (yet to be selected by the Republican party) has even less time to get his name out.

I guess Joe Wilson's (R-SC) golf buddy will have to spend some more time in court than he was expecting.

And the best part.

The judge who made this ruling is a Republican appointee.


Another Shia Shrine Attack

A car bomb has killed at least 12, (including pilgrims from Iran) at Kufa, Iraqi.

This will no doubt lead to another sweep of death squads through the Sunni areas of Baghdad, and this will lead to more counter bombings, and attacks.

More developments that give a clear indication that the last corner we turned may not have been the correct one.


A Few Local Notes

First, please give blood. The summer shortage is quite profound this summer.

Now, go over and wish Gervais S. Bridges the very best. It appears that they feel it is time to retire Barbecue & Politics.


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Ken Lay Is Dead

While awaiting sentencing at his $6,000,000.00 vacation home, he died of what appears to be a heart attack.

Enron founder Kenneth Lay died early Wednesday in Aspen, Colo., a family spokeswoman said. Lay, 64, was awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of conspiracy and fraud in the Enron trial in May.

He was facing over 20 years in prison for his part in the billion dollar theft from Enron.

Now he is facing another judge.


Kabul Goes Boom

Three bombs have hit the only part of Afghanistan that was ever under any real control.

KABUL Three bombs exploded on Wednesday in the Afghan capital, in attacks that targeted buses carrying government workers and security forces, killing one bystander and injuring at least 47 other people, police and witnesses said.

Another troubling indicator of what our years of distraction in Iraq may mean for Afghanistan.


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Reflecting On The 4th

Just consider the risks.

Creating a new nation. A nation that was to be built, not around the conventional systems, but with radical new ideas.

A government that was restrained. A government that was based on consent of the governed, not divine right or military might. A nation where the individual had rights, and the government was limited. They wanted a new enlightened land, where the rule of law, not passion or popular opinion, would dominate. There was no state religion, people could worship as they pleased. There was to be no King or hereditary rule, the leaders of this land would come from the people of the land.

There were great personal risks. They were traitors to their mother country. They would have died torturous deaths, their families ruined. They were committed, create a new land or die.

After the rule they had lived under, they wanted to make sure the policing power of the government was limited. The new government was expressed forbidden to use many of the tactics that the British government tried to use against the rebels. The individual, not the nation was to be served, and when the nation failed the individual, then the people of the land had not only the right, but the responsibility to refresh the tree of liberty.

230 years later it appears most of the people of this land have forgotten the reasons this land was founded, and the risks involved in it's creation. We are eager to trade our freedom for security. We willing abdicate our responsibility, and accept the erosion of our constitutionally provided protections. We have created myths that confuse our history, and are turning our back on reason.

Let us hope that we, as a nation, develop an appreciation for what our founders were trying to develop. A land, with self rule, and guided by the concepts of liberty and reason.

4th of July

This Should Surprise No One

Zarqawi death has 'little impact'

The US ambassador to Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, has said the death of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi last month has had no impact on the violence.

I just want to know if anyone actually thought it might end it.


Monday, July 03, 2006

This Will Get Very Ugly

Before it ends.

One US soldier is now facing charges in the Mahmoudiya rape murder case.

A 21-year-old former Army private has been charged with killing four members of an Iraqi family and raping one of the victims before shooting her, federal prosecutors and the Army said Monday.

Steven D. Green, a former member of the 101st Airborne Division, is accused of killing an Iraqi man, two women and a girl in Mahmoudiya, just south of Baghdad, in March.

One thing that I have found very distressing is just how easy it was for these men to cover up this crime.

Iraqis reported the killings to U.S. troops the day they occurred, but the deaths were blamed on insurgents or "other entities" at the time, according to an FBI agent's affidavit. (Watch how Army probe into deaths began -- 1:00)

But three months later, during combat stress debriefing sessions that followed the killings of two U.S. soldiers kidnapped from a checkpoint in Yusufiya, members of Green's platoon began recounting the killings.

Why did it takes months for these men to come forward?