Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Missing: Marbles. Return to Judge.

A judge in London KY has lost his mind. This guy is letting those found guilty of some crimes to have a choice. They can choose to go to church instead of rehab or jail. Of course, he thinks he gets out of the church/state issue because he uses the phrase, "worship services."

Oh. Well. That makes it all better. Why is it that we have so many goofballs in our state. Sentence the guy to community service. Include a church affiliated soup kitchen or food/clothes dropoff on the list. Someone there will offer to take the guy to church. It is indirect, with guaranteed interactions, and involves none of the red flags that ensure your town will end up paying the court costs of the ACLU.

How hard is this to understand?

When you do something this dumb, you will end up getting sued. The ACLU will take the case. You will lose and you will pay the legal fees associated with the case and the ACLU's involvement. And it has not one damn thing to do with activist judges, except for the numbskull that is sentencing people to church! That is judicial activism! It is that simple.

What a dumbass. It sounds like a plot line off the Simpsons.

by Robster @ 5/31/2005 11:13:00 PM PERMALink
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Tuesday headlines

Amnesty internationally report on rights abuses makes Cheney mad. Cheney mad! Cheney crush!

"Frankly, I was offended by it," Cheney said in the videotaped interview. "For Amnesty International to suggest that somehow the United States is a violator of human rights, I frankly just don't take them seriously."

Cheney is the latest Bush administration official to object to the report. On Sunday, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Richard Myers called the Amnesty International report "absolutely irresponsible."

Of course. We'd never do anything wrong. Just go back to your reality television. Everything will be OK. We don't send captives to other nations for torture. We don't hold people indefinitely without review. We don't use radiological warfare to poison the nation we went to liberate.
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Speaking of DU, there is a bill in front of congress,
that calls for medical and scientific studies on the health and environmental impacts from the U.S. Military's use of depleted uranium (DU) munitions in combat zones, including Iraq. The McDermott bill also calls for cleanup and mitigation of sites in the U.S. contaminated by DU.
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Raw Story has the lead on the latest smear on Hillary Clinton. They will attack the Law and Order show for including mention of how fundamentalist racist judge haters might have been inspired by Delay. Then they will attack Pelosi and Clinton. Here is the strategy. See if it shows up on te talking head shows.
"Then he suggested some '“zingers' for GOP Members to use on the subject," Akers adds. "Criticize NBC'’s Katie Couric for one. And secondly and most importantly, he said, "“Turn the tables for a minute: You never see TV shows depicting a 15-year-old teenage girl driving across the state border to get an abortion with a Nancy Pelosi or Hillary Clinton T-shirt on."
Just as a note, abortion rates went down during the Clinton presidency, and have gone up during Bush. Why? There are a host of reasons, some political, some economical. Why do these jerks want to attack Clinton? Because Hillary Clinton believes in rare but legal abortions. This is what the majority of the nation believes in. They need to make her an extremist if they want to beat her.

She believes in using programs that reduce teen pregnancies. Acting like they don't happen, or that kids can be scared away from sex by scary pictures and stories... These things don't help.

I'd expect even more crazy attacks on Hillary from the Bush team.

by Robster @ 5/31/2005 05:03:00 PM PERMALink
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BBC explains French Non

The BBC does what our press won't even bother with. Explaining the consequences of the French vote of no to the EU constitution. Will it affect the US? Of course not. How could the destabilization of an ally, trading partner and influential pan-national group even affect the UltraPower of the US. Of course, the real effects of this vote will be unknown for a while.

by Robster @ 5/31/2005 04:47:00 PM PERMALink
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Monday, May 30, 2005

Some headlines, some outrages, some hope

Via Buzzflash, a NYT article mentions death squads operating in Iraq.
Dr. Jaafari, 57, heads an administration dominated by two Shiite religious parties, a watershed for a country ruled for generations by the Sunni Arab minority. Meeting reporters this week, he acknowledged that he was particularly alarmed by reports that Shiite death squads have been singling out Sunni Arabs as targets, including clerics and tribal leaders, in revenge for the persecution of Shiites under Mr. Hussein and attacks in the past two years by Sunni Arab insurgents.
Isn't Negroponte, of Honduras/Nicaragua death squad fame our ambassador in Iraq? Weren't there reports from the White House and Pentagon on how death squads could be used in Iraq to bring democracy? I think it was called the Honduras Option. Wonder if Negroponte will say he had no information that there were death squads operating in Iraq.
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More on the environmental effects of military base closing. This article (again via Buzzflash) mentions the SuperFund cleanup fund. This fund is now running dry because polluters are no longer required to pay into it. Guess which party is responsible for that?
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WaPo (again by Buzzflash) on how Orthodox Judaism disagrees with Bush on stem cells. I have previously mentioned that Hebrew law does not consider embryos to be people. Hopefully this will be one of many widening cracks in the conservative empire.
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Radioactive waste leak unnoticed for 9 months (Buzzflash again) in the UK. No excuse. None at all. Could it happen here? It already has.
DOE has released its annual environmental report for 1999. The report does not show any "“statistically significant"” increase or decrease in levels of radiation and toxic chemicals in comparison to previous years, Don Seaborg, DOE’s site manager, sums up. DOE maintains that technetium 99 is still 2000 feet from the Ohio River, but Craig Jones, one of the report’s authors, admitted that the highest level of technetium 99 in any waterway in the vicinity of the plant was found downstream of the plant in the Ohio River. The impact of USEC'’s operations at the plant is not covered in the report. A copy can be obtained by calling 270-462-2550. Seaborg expects the report for 2000 to be released in September. (Angie Kinsey, Paducah Sun, 1/19/01; James Malone, Courier Journal, 1/19/01)
Here is a great pdf on the waste materials, their origin, their health effects, safety abuse of emplyees at these sites and some shocking photos of how these materials are stored. Go. Read.
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Bouphonia, nudibranch fan extroardinaire, has a post on new antibiotics from deep sea sources. Phila points out the importance of this discovery to medicine re: antibiotic resistant bacteria.

by Robster @ 5/30/2005 10:24:00 AM PERMALink
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Amazing editorial

This editorial, by way of buzzflash and AmericaBlog, is a damning statement regarding the Bush Administration and it's abuse of trust towards our troops and our nation.

Nothing young Americans can do in life is more honorable than offering themselves for the defense of their nation. It requires great selflessness and sacrifice, and quite possibly the forfeiture of life itself. On Memorial Day 2005, we gather to remember all those who gave us that ultimate gift. Because they are so fresh in our minds, those who have died in Iraq make a special claim on our thoughts and our prayers.

In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country. In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.

This took guts to do on Memorial Day. Its what the media should have been saying a few years ago. All the media should be saying this now that the Downing Memo has been out there for weeks, along with the new info on how the US was bombing Iraq to provoke an excuse for war.

by Robster @ 5/30/2005 10:17:00 AM PERMALink
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Memorial Day

A few links to other blogs on this solemn day.

Booman
Echidne
Pandagon
Pandagon again

Thanks to those who served.

by Robster @ 5/30/2005 10:13:00 AM PERMALink
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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Nice day of grillin, chillin, headlines too

Had family over so only a couple headlines, but not much happened.

On the other hand, I got to grill, so all is well. Burgers, dogs, and my famous grilled provolone sticks. Amazing how some heat and smoke completely change the character and flavor of a cheese.

Also got some great key lime pie, courtesy of Mother in law. Yum.

The White House has refused to share documents that may incriminate Bolton. Democrats have asked for the docs before they allow a vote.
White House officials declined yesterday to give senators the extra documents they are seeking regarding John R. Bolton, President Bush's choice to become ambassador to the United Nations, setting up a major standoff with Senate Democrats over the long-troubled nomination.
Blue states slated for nuclear waste dumping grounds. How? More military base closings will occur in blue states than in red, and according to the Boston Globe,
Closed military bases could become repositories for nuclear waste under a little-noticed section of a spending bill that was passed by the House this week, exacerbating the fears of local lawmakers who are fighting the scheduled closure of four of New England's biggest bases.
...

Environmental activists are also concerned about language in the Department of Defense authorization legislation making its way through Congress. The DOD is required by law to clean up closed military sites, many of which have accumulated toxins from handling radioactive material and lead paint among other substances, said Phil Clapp, president of the National Environmental Trust.

The Senate version of the Defense Department's bill says the fund for realignment and closures should be the ''sole source" of funds to clean up the sites. Such language could be interpreted to mean that the Pentagon isn't responsible for cleanup once the BRAC funds are exhausted, or the fund is retired, Clapp said.

''There is literally no way of calculating how many billions -- or even up to a trillion dollars -- how much liability would be dumped on state and local governments for clean-up," Clapp said. ''It's saying, 'once it's [depleted], that's your problem'," he said.

Thats what we get for not voting for the bastard. WTF? I mean seriously, W! T! F! What will it take to convince people that the man in the White House has gotten a taste of corrupting power. Like I always say, power corrupts, but absolute power is even better.

In other news, Bush did say that if you aren't with us, you are with the terrorists. Unless you are a terrorist who is with us, and then you aren't a terrorist.
The Bush administration on Friday rejected Venezuela's request for the arrest of Cuban exile Luis Posada Carriles so he can be returned to the South American country for trial.

Posada, a foe of Cuban President Fidel Castro, is wanted by Venezuelan authorities for his alleged role in the bombing of a Cuban passenger plane in 1976 that killed 73 people. The United States and Venezuela have had a strained relationship recently, with disagreements including the U.S. war in Iraq and Venezuela's decision to buy Russian assault rifles.

Republicans have very high standards. All of them double.

by Robster @ 5/28/2005 09:10:00 PM PERMALink
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Friday, May 27, 2005

Off to see Ep III after a long day of writing and kitty adopting.

But first, some Friday Night headlines!

Trent Lott calls Dobson un-Christian (also here. Look at the post ID. ha ha). Dobson turns Lott into pillar of salt.

Coingate co(i)n artist may have skimmed a cool 10 million from state funds...

M$oft breaks deal with Devil, says Devil's spokesman Ralph Reed gives them the willies.

Breaking News! Bush claims that Iraq war will be looked back on as "America's golden moment." Actual copy of speech included word gilded.

Interesting toxicological study on how industrial chemical family called phthalates may lead to the loss of the "taint" in American men, as well as smaller penises. Unrelated news, Porn industry is shaken.

Clear Channel tries to break into pirate radio business. Now searching EBay for eyepatches and parrots.

Get your "I won't use stem cell medicine and you can't make me," pledge cards now! Pandagon says this is a good compromise. I'll be passing them out at the park, along with these wonderful little flags.

by Robster @ 5/27/2005 03:40:00 PM PERMALink
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Great science piece at DKos

Read about vger, I mean Voyager leaving the solar system. To boldly go where no one has gone before...

by Robster @ 5/27/2005 03:05:00 PM PERMALink
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Quick morning news before work

I have lots of writing to do today, so here are a few news stories of note, and a couple that aren't.

WaPo and Yahoo report that the DOD has confirmed Quran mishandling.
Pentagon officials said yesterday that investigators have identified five incidents of military guards and an interrogator "mishandling" the Koran at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, but characterized the episodes as minor and said most occurred before specific rules on the treatment of Muslim holy items were issued.

Brig. Gen. Jay W. Hood, commander of Joint Task Force Guantanamo, said investigators have looked into 13 specific allegations of Koran desecration at the prison dating to early 2002 and have determined eight of them to be unfounded, lacking credibility or the result of accidental touching of the holy book. Of the five cases of mishandling, three were "very likely" deliberate and two were "very likely accidental," he said. But Hood declined to provide details, citing an ongoing investigation.

Commentary from AmericaBlog.


More on the ongoing Coingate scandal in Ohio. Apparently some coins are missing. Oops. From AmericaBlog,
The state of Ohio has announced it is immediately pursuing additional civil and criminal measures against Tom Noe after his legal counsel informed the state that a substantial amount of assets from the Capital Coin Funds are missing.

Mr. Noe's legal counsel advised that $10 to $12 million of Capital Coin's assets are unaccounted for.
Echidne has this to say,
I know that this is all old news and has been widely discussed in the lefty blogosphere. But the sum of ten million dollars is new and makes even a goddess perk up her ears. I have an excellent collection of U.S. quarters, the new ones. Could I interest some other state government in it, what do you think? If not that, then what about genuine goddess toenail clippings?


From the Government at Work department, with props to Booman,

A Canadian province will shut its 24-hour suicide hotline and replace it with one that operates only during business hours.
I'm not even sure what to say. I have a feeling that this will be overturned.


Tom Delay is a whiney little brat. No surprise there.


Another one from Funcentral, with a link to jam.canoe.ca, Lucas does think that Ep III includes some important messages for the US.
Star Wars is a wakeup call to Americans about the erosion of democratic freedoms under George W. Bush, filmmaker George Lucas said yesterday.

Lucas, responding to a question from the Sun at a Cannes Film Festival press conference, said he first wrote the framework of Star Wars in 1971 when reacting to then U.S. President Richard Nixon and the on-going events of the Vietnam War. But the story still has relevance today, he said, and is part of a pattern he has noticed in his readings of history.

"I didn't think it was going to get quite this close," he said of the parallels between the Nixon era and the current Bush presidency, which has been sacrificing freedoms in the interests of national security. "It is just one of those re-occurring things. I hope this doesn't come true in our country. Maybe the film will awaken people to the situation of how dangerous it is ... The parallels between what we did in Vietnam and what we are doing now in Iraq are unbelievable."
And all this time I thought the freepers were just experiencing a little too much of the "if the shoe fits" complex. You know, they might see a little too much of themselves in the power hungry nature of imperialism. I can see how those who haven't had a complete consciencectomy might be a little mad.


Darth Vaders in Training... Robbing stores and flashing women... I guess you have to start somewhere. Small does the fall to the dark side begin.

by Robster @ 5/27/2005 08:17:00 AM PERMALink
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Little Cleo. Soon to join our little family. Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 5/27/2005 06:37:00 AM PERMALink
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June in the sun. Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 5/27/2005 06:33:00 AM PERMALink
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Bobbie at rest. Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 5/27/2005 06:32:00 AM PERMALink
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Thursday, May 26, 2005

Cross burning in Durham

I'm sure you have heard of this by now. Pam's House Blend (by way of DKos) has a very good analysis of this renewed expression of hatred. I am truly saddened by this. I hope they catch the bastards that did this. At least this isn't being covered up. We need to know so we can confront this evil and show it that we will not be cowed.

A little history of burning crosses in the eyes of the Supreme Court.

As one of Scottish descent, I am depressed that this symbol of being prepared for invasion and communal reliance has been perverted (circa 1915) into such a sign of cruel and stupid hate. A burning cross of St. Andrew (an X shaped cross) was carried by a runner or was set alight on a hilltop as a call for the people to come together to face a threat.

by Robster @ 5/26/2005 10:38:00 PM PERMALink
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Evening news. (AKA why 3 short posts instead of 1 long one...

President Bunnypants Bush needs to learn to quit saying what he really means (1, 2), and more of what he want people to believe. C'mon, that's how you get good at propaganda.
See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda.
At least he's finally being straight with us.

Limbaugh accuses Maryland of fascism (what is fascism? why is the left not fascist? why is the far right a tighter fit for fascism? read this) for passing legislation that would require Wal-Mart to pay its fair share of Medicaid. It was vetoed by Maryland's republican governor. He then accuses them of socialism (a system of economics and government diametrically opposed to fascism).

Fascism would be forcing the taxpayers of Maryland to subsidize Wal-Mart's low wages. The low wages and lack of affordable employee health care force employees to rely on government assistance. The government forces the citizen down to support a massive business. That sounds like corporatism/fascism to me.

Attytood has a good post on how al-Zarqawi regrew his leg (replaced in Saddam era Iraq), switched accents, and is now maybe/maybe not wounded. Hope he is. Hope he's out of the picture. But killing him won't fix Iraq. The only way to "fix" Iraq will be to get the water and electricity back on, get crime to go down, let them form their own government without our meddling, and leave. If we have to keep a garrison there, out of the way and out of sight would be best.

And for fun, space aliens will come to earth between June 1 and July 15. From Newshounds,
Last night's guest during the third hour of Alan Colmes' radio show last night was Prophet Yahweh (his legal name, he said). Mr. Yahweh claims to have discovered that he has the ability to summon "on my cue" objects from space. Now he is "being told to" share this with the rest of the world. Sometime between June 1 and July 15, a spaceship is "going to descend and sit up over Las Vegas for about a day and a half" in order to prove to the media "once and for all the answer to the question, 'are we alone in the universe?'"
Don't miss the press release!

Book your Vegas trip now, see a show or two, play a couple hands of poker and meet the aliens. Of course, the aliens are optional since Mr. Yahweh will probably just claim that a passing jet during the night are his friends. Most of the time, cults like this make grand pronouncements, nothing happens, they make a claim about how it is the fault of non-believers. You would think this would ruin the cult game for them, but it often makes their followers believe even more.

by Robster @ 5/26/2005 10:08:00 PM PERMALink
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Have I mentioned the 1st ammendment lately?

If you ever needed to know how an activist judge thinks, this story comes from Echidne, with the original story here,
An Indianapolis father is appealing a Marion County judge's unusual order that prohibits him and his ex-wife from exposing their child to "non-mainstream religious beliefs and rituals."

The parents practice Wicca, a contemporary pagan religion that emphasizes a balance in nature and reverence for the earth.

Why would the judge do this?

The parents' Wiccan beliefs came to Bradford's attention in a confidential report prepared by the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau, which provides recommendations to the court on child custody and visitation rights. Jones' son attends a local Catholic school.

"There is a discrepancy between Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones' lifestyle and the belief system adhered to by the parochial school. . . . Ms. Jones and Mr. Jones display little insight into the confusion these divergent belief systems will have upon (the boy) as he ages," the bureau said in its report.

So, what is really important isn't the religion of the parents, but the religion of the school the kid goes to. The parents have to exclude their child from their faith to prevent confusion. Excuse me while I go bang my head against the wall.

by Robster @ 5/26/2005 08:32:00 PM PERMALink
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Lost and found.

Ill let this one speak for itself,
The “suspicious package” that caused Interstate 75 and Daniels Parkway to be shut for more than an hour Monday was not an explosive pipe bomb — but rather wrapped-up plastic foot-long penis.

“Someone took construction-grade plastic, molded it into a penis and wrapped it with duct tape,” said Lee County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Charles Ferrante.

“They wrote ‘Happy Father’s Day’ on the duct tape.”
Wow. I wonder if anybody will come to claim their present. Would they have to describe it?

by Robster @ 5/26/2005 08:33:00 AM PERMALink
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Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Denmark to tax wankers

Had to post this one before I called it quits. From Booman Tribune,
Denmark, with the world's highest income tax levels, wants sperm donors to pay tax on the 500 crown ($84.59) reimbursement men receive for their services.
WTF? I just can't imagine filling out a W2 form and putting "wanker" on the job title line.

by Robster @ 5/25/2005 10:28:00 PM PERMALink
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Can't trust Halliburton or Rumsfeld

Blah3 has the first story. Rumsfeld is being sued by veterans for cutting funding for a vet retirement home. Shows how much the right values the sacrifices of the bravest our nation has to offer. Apparently the residents feel that this has cut down on medical care. Of course, the admin says that things just got more efficient. Bullshit.

Halliburton doesn't just rip off American taxpayers. It screws its workers too! Because it doesn't actually have that many employees, and acts as a contractor, Halliburton by way of KBR can ignore injured workers in Iraq. It certainly doesn't let them know that they have rights. Wouldn't want to cut into the profit margins.

by Robster @ 5/25/2005 09:55:00 PM PERMALink
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It was a dream. You were there, and you!

What a wonderful dream. The right wing press, the White House, the whole republican cess pit. The FBI has testimony from inmates that the Quran desecration and flushing did occur (WaPo had the initial story, from the ACLU's source, here are the blogs, ODub, AmericaBlog, Blah3, DKos, Think Progress).

From the Washington Post,

Nearly a dozen detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba told FBI interrogators that guards had mistreated copies of the Koran, including one who said in 2002 that guards "flushed a Koran in the toilet," according to new FBI documents released today.

The summaries of FBI interviews, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an ongoing lawsuit, also include allegations that the Koran was kicked, thrown to the floor and withheld as punishment and that guards mocked Muslim prisoners during prayers.

It must have been like pulling teeth for the ACLU to get this from the government. Thing is, it still isn't enough proof to get the freepers to quit claiming that the 1st amendment must die to save Amerika. I am very concerned with the attitude that keeping abuse hidden from the American people protects our soldiers.

Holding the moral high ground by respecting the religion of detainees protects our soldiers.

Releasing improperly held innocents protects our soldiers.

Not torturing prisoners (never mind that torture is known to produce unreliable intel in the first place) protects our soldiers.

Actually fixing the water and electric supply in Iraq protects our soldiers.

Hell, protecting our soldiers with armor vests and armored hummers protects our soldier.

Invading Iraq when we hadn't finished the job in Afghanistan would have protected our soldiers.

Guess that means Bush isn't very good at protecting our soldiers.

by Robster @ 5/25/2005 09:51:00 PM PERMALink
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Newsweek to recieve apology from White House

What a wonderful dream. The right wing press, the White House, the whole republican cess pit. The FBI has testimony from inmates that the Quran desecration and flushing did occur (WaPo had the initial story, from the ACLU's source, here are the blogs, ODub, AmericaBlog, Blah3, DKos, Think Progress).

Update!
From Blah3, An inmate interviewed in the FBI report says that the desecration never happened. I wonder if he got anything for it.

From the Washington Post,

Nearly a dozen detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba told FBI interrogators that guards had mistreated copies of the Koran, including one who said in 2002 that guards "flushed a Koran in the toilet," according to new FBI documents released today.

The summaries of FBI interviews, obtained by the American Civil Liberties Union as part of an ongoing lawsuit, also include allegations that the Koran was kicked, thrown to the floor and withheld as punishment and that guards mocked Muslim prisoners during prayers.

It must have been like pulling teeth for the ACLU to get this from the government. Thing is, it still isn't enough proof to get the freepers to quit claiming that the 1st ammendment must die to save Amerika. I am very concerned with the attitude that keeping abuse hidden from the American people protects our soldiers.

Holding the moral high ground by respecting the religion of detainees protects our soldiers.

Releasing improperly held innocents protects our soldiers.

Not torturing prisoners (never mind that torture is known to produce unreliable intel in the first place) protects our soldiers.

Actually fixing the water and electric supply in Iraq protects our soldiers.

Hell, protecting our soliers with armor vests and armor for hummers protects our soldiers.

Having enough troops to do the jobs protects our soldiers.

Not invading countries based on lies protects our soldiers.

Finishing the Job in Afghanistan would have protected our soldiers.

I guess that means that Bush hasn't done much of a job protecting our soldiers.

by Robster @ 5/25/2005 09:50:00 PM PERMALink
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Wednesday humpin!

Not much in the way of news to speak of. Frist is still angry that someone took away his new toy. Children shouldn't play with nukes. They could go off my mistake. The Bolton nomination is on its way for a Senate vote. This suggests that the Dems are laying down (what other bloggers think) or that Reid knows that he has 7 Republicans ready to vote with him (or more likely, 8, since one will need to make up for Lieberman).

UPDATE!
Lieberman gives us a preview of the Bolton vote. Owen got her Senate approval. Party line vote. Except for Joe. Will somebody just change his D to an R and get it over with.
End Update.

Alternet suggests that biology teachers have fun with ID. I would do this if I were in Kansas. But that ain't gonna happen. I like my states to be less flat than a pancake and with a school system not under attack from wingnuts. My favorite piece follows,
The biology teacher should offer students creationism as a possible explanatory theory of the origins of life. And, of course, subject it to the same rigorous scientific analysis the teacher uses to evaluate the accurateness of evolution. The students will learn that the scientific evidence for the-heavens-and-the-earth-and-all-life-was-formed-in-six days theory of the origins of life is virtually nonexistent.

Moreover, substantial empirical evidence exists to demonstrate that the Bible has the order of the origination of life wrong. On day three, for example, the Bible tells us (Genesis 1:6-10) that God created "vegetation, plants yielding seed and fruit trees...." On the fifth day He made "birds fly above the earth" and "the waters teem with swarms of living creatures." On the sixth day He created the "beasts of the earth."

But geology teaches us that fish were in the seas hundreds of millions of years before a tree was on the ground. Birds did not appear until well after beasts of the field. And if a dinosaur is a beast of the field, then flowering and fruit-bearing plants did not appear until after beasts of the field.

If a Christian God as described in the Bible was not the agent of the origin of life, who, or what, was the intelligent designer? Here the diligent science teacher should offer a series of alternatives. One of the most compelling should command the attention of teenagers almost as much as sex: space aliens.

Echidne of the Snakes tells you about how conservatives get trained to be such nasty bastards. Most enlightening is how they learn to warp polling places. Can anyone remember how there weren't enough voting machines in black communities or colleges in Ohio and Florida?

by Robster @ 5/25/2005 09:04:00 AM PERMALink
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Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Stem cell research bill

Stem cell research bill passes. America joins the 21st millennium. From AmericaBlog,
Bush actually had the gonads to say: "We should not use public money to support the further destruction of human life." Yeah, that's his policy.
More from AmericaBlog,
At his press conference today, Bush said "every life is a priceless gift of matchless value."

Wow, where to begin. This White House talking about morals when it comes to life.

Didn't see any comment from Bush on the deaths of 8 American soldiers in Iraq over the past 24 hours. Update: It's nine now.

Bush is morally bankrupt.
Love the zygote, love the fetus, hate the born. I'll stick with a world where mental midgets don't get to dictate my health choices based on a view of abortion that was not accepted by either the puritans or founding fathers, and is a non-Judeo-Christian interpretation of life. From www.wordwiz72.com,
American Founding Fathers
Even in the time of the Puritans and the founding fathers of the American Revolution, abortion was accepted prior to "quickening" (feeling fetal movement). To quote Lawrence Tribe, professor of Constitutional Law at Harvard, "In early post-Revolution America, abortion, at least early in pregnancy, was neither prohibited nor uncommon." (Abortion: The Clash of Absolutes, p. 28) He documents with scholarly references to original and secondary research sources the COMMON practice of abortion prior to the mid-1800's when evangelical Protestants, soon followed by Catholics, instituted prohibitions.
...
Early Hebrew Views
Talmud: The following are exact quotes from p. 238 of the Steinsaltz Edition of the Talmud, translated by Rabbi Israel V. Berman, 1989 edition (published by Random House):

"A fetus is [considered as] the thigh of its mother, i.e., it is like a limb of the mother, and is not a separate entity."

"A human fetus [is] less than a fully undependent human being."

"A fetus cannot inherit property until it is born."

Hopefully, the Congress will see what the voters want, and only the Fristians will vote to uphold President Bunnypants Bush's veto. Think Bunnypants can deal with his one and only veto being reversed? He'll probably get all pouty and attack Syria or Iran for his ego.

by Robster @ 5/24/2005 10:53:00 PM PERMALink
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Results of the Karzai visit.

Afghanistan. Bush. Karzai.

Bush and Karzai sign security contract for Afghan Pipeline. The low price bidder is the US military.

On the bright side, Bush won't be returning any prisoners to the Afghan government. I suppose Karzai couldn't convince Bush that they would be safer in the US supervised Afghan run prison. Wait, that was the bright side. Crap.

In fact, the CBC says that Karzai stuck out. Maybe he got to eat while he was here.

Hopefully, the British soldiers being mobilized to prevent a civil war in Afghanistan will help get the situation under control. If only we had concentrated on Afghanistan instead of the non-threatening Iraq.

by Robster @ 5/24/2005 10:52:00 PM PERMALink
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Nuclear Option update

That amazing compromise was worth the paper it was printed on, nearly nothing. Frist is going nuclear (or constitutional if you understand republispeak) regardless of not having the support of the moderates. Why? Because Democrats might use the filibuster to stop extremist judges. Completely fine with the compromise. But Frist didn't sign the compromise, so it never happened.

What a bastard.

by Robster @ 5/24/2005 10:37:00 PM PERMALink
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Tuesday headlines of doom

Bush is truly an idiot. In an age when Russia could accidentally wipe out life on earth by mistake, we try to up the ante. I'm talking about the space based weapon platforms the administration is suggesting. Tungsten rods dropped from orbit to be used as bunker busters (no rads, but toxic metal exposure is certain downwind), lasers, and hypersonic bombers, Oh my! Do we need another superexpensive invulnerable bomber? I'm not so sure. Besides, first strike capacity makes other nations nervous. Nervous nations that don't trust us not to use our first strike capacity (because we have said we reserve the right to use it) might get jittery. I don't like jittery nations with WMD. No sir. Not one bit.

Newsweek isn't at fault, according to White House, for the riots in Afghanistan. Good Lord, it took them long enough. Just long enough for it to not matter. Couldn't have been planned better...

Scott McClellen dares you to read the Downing Street Memo and compare it to the evidence about the lead up to the war. Think Progress will get you started...

Senator Hillary Clinton is in trouble. An ex DA and maybe Senate candidate is getting free air time on Fox News. Imagine, They must be reaching an audience of thousands. Tens in NY state alone. Wow.

by Robster @ 5/24/2005 10:27:00 PM PERMALink
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morning edition

NZHerald says that desertion is a problem for the US military. This sure as hell won't make it into our news cycle.

Blah3 writes - Fascists try to get Bill Maher off of HBO. Doesn't like that he said investigations of prisoner abuse should go higher than Lindie England. Boy, those republicans sure love accountability.

Why I am afraid of the Real ID act. Idnetity theft made easy. Will the ID system be run by the government, or by lowest bidders with lax security. Looks like a problem to me. I'd prefer that nobody get my info, especially since declaring bankruptcy will be harder than ever, regardless of the cause.

by Robster @ 5/24/2005 07:58:00 AM PERMALink
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A truce. It won't last.

But we got a compromise. Isn't that Good?

Not really. Here is the compromise. via buzzflash. (BTW. I hate CNN. Some retired Brig Gen is on and is pushing the lie that Newsweek killed people. Soledad even set him up.)

Of course, the far right extremists are going bonkers. That's good at least. And they are way more angry than I am. I'm not even angry, just sort of concerned with the future. I just don't trust the repubs not to do something to provoke this fight again. I'm not the only one to think this way. From David Sirota,
And that brings me to what I fear: that this whole entire filibuster fight may have never actually been about ending the filibuster. It may have been about keeping the concept of a filibuster around for political purposes, but ending it for actual, real-world policy purposes. Here's what I mean:

The "deal" on the filibuster essentially lets Bush have a number of his most extreme judicial nominees, meaning policy-wise, Democrats agreed to let the filibuster as a regularly-used tool be weakened, or at least be frightened into a corner. It also could be eliminated (or severely reduced) in practice because now Democrats may refrain from using it for fear of raising another "nuclear" debate. The effect of all of this could be to kill/weaken the filibuster IN PRACTICE - one of the GOP's big objectives, so they can ram their agenda through Congress, and fire up their right-wing base.
I think that in a few days, Bush will send 30 extremist judges to the Senate. He does have a right to do this, and he has held back 30 slots. If we had lost the nuclear option, he would have gotten them. If we had won, we would have tied Bush's hands. This way, we only delay the inevitable.

If Bush has proven anything to us, he will move to the right, even when it seems he can't go any further. If Rove has proven anything to us, he is Stalinist in his view that compromise is weakness. The republican party will cut the moderates off from campaign funds and will run nutjobs against them. We haven't won this by far.

Update. Others agree (1, 2, 3, 4)

by Robster @ 5/24/2005 07:13:00 AM PERMALink
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Monday, May 23, 2005

Cloning and Geno-Luddites

As you know, the US is being left behind in the field of therapeutic cloning. There is tremendous potential for medicine coming from this new science.

My personal opinion as a scientist: It is also not outside of the realm of possibility that once all the Histocompatibility complexes (major and minor (these are the cell proteins that determine if a person is compatible with implanted organ)) are replicated in stem cell lines, there will cease to be a need for more embryos to be used in the cloning process. Except for maintenance of cell lines, of course, and special procedures (whatever those might be...)

Most Americans are in favor of embryonic stem cell research. At least that's what the poll that some Republicans commissioned determined. Biggest problem with the poll was that it was a national poll, and not every republican knew about it. The ones that didn't (and would have either said don't do it, or make it a push poll if they had their way) are in the process of throwing a fit.

These are the same schmucks that want their (minority) beliefs to trump your life threatening disease. Don't believe in abortion? Don't have one. Or lie about having one... Don't like gay marriage? Then stick to the opposite sex. Don't want stem cell therapy? Don't get it.

What if 60 years ago, the Christian Scientists got control of the legislature and cut all funds for research into antibiotics. Since they believe that prayer is how diseases should be treated, the US wouldn't have antibiotics. We wouldn't have the genetics that came from the study of antibiotics, or damn near any of our modern medical science. All because they believe that faith healing is the only way to go. The Christo-Geno-Luddites want to keep modern medical science where it is. No advances, no therapies. But you can bet that they will be going to South Korea for "tourism." Not a one with Parkinsons, miraculous recoveries from spinal injuries, no juvenile diabetes... And they'll use your donations to go there. For mission work, of course.

by Robster @ 5/23/2005 09:47:00 PM PERMALink
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Evening news you can lose. I mean use.

If it bleeds, it leads. And Santorum is a bloody bastard, so lets get started.

Whenever someone says that gay marriage will ruin marriage for the straights, I always ask them if they would leave their husband or wife if they could get together with someone of their own sex. I have always gotten an astonished NO! Santorum, however, says that his marriage would be in danger if gays could marry. Hmmm. You don't think he could be? Naah. An anti-gay gay Republican? Not in a million years. More from Wonkette.

The US may be relying on a terrorist group with cultish tendencies for Iran intel. Can anybody say "Curveball?"

Republicans are trying to figure out if the filibuster is worth it.

A compromise may have been reached over the filibuster. This means one of two things. One, the real Republicans are taking their party back from the Theocrats. Two, the Fristians (followers of Senator Jesus Frist) saw the writing on the wall.

In the human interest section, the story that just keeps giving, the guy that killed and skinned his mother in Vlaardingen, Holland is making the rounds again. Apparently he went into town to direct traffic while quoting from the Bible. Nothing says safe roads like a man comfortable in his own skin. Sorry, I love puns.

by Robster @ 5/23/2005 07:31:00 PM PERMALink
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Lunchtime links

'ello. 'eres the scoops, straight from the poop.

Bush supports the march of freedom, but only where we don't have oil contracts or allies in the War on Terror...(1, 2)

Karzai says Afghanistan needs more help to fight opium trade, and turns the blame back on Bush. Karzai's only hope is that he is in... the oil industry.

Want to see what a Theocracy is like? Iran's clerics bar pro reform presidential candidates. Reform groups cry foul. Not all clerics think this is a good idea. Imagine the Southern Baptist Convention saying that Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Howard Dean and Dennis Kucinich can't run for Prez, but Lieberman can. See they are inclusive...

Head shrinkers (for whom I have great respect, but I fell snarky) support gay marriage. Prediction => Fundies go nuts!

From USNews and World Report (which I grew up reading. Get a subscription and get your wonklets started early!) reports bipartisan mourning at death of Eleanor Clift's husband, Tom Brazaitis , of Cleveland Plain Dealer. Wonkabout sends it's regards.

On good news, Aussie
singer Kylie Minogue came through surgery for breast cancer fine. Best of luck to her. I'm a passive admirer rather than rabid fan, but as my mother is a breast cancer survivor, as her mother was before her, and every woman that I know has, or has had breasts, this is of interest to me. Actually, even men get breast cancer, and incidence rates are increasing.

by Robster @ 5/23/2005 11:09:00 AM PERMALink
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Sunday, May 22, 2005

Three more to read overnight

Did US soldiers or corporate interrogators disrespect the Qu'ran? Evidence would suggest yes. New guidelines on treatment of detainees and POWs require proper treatment. Will we learn from our actions or will we keep putting ourselves up for bigger and bigger falls. When stories like this hit the airwaves, we look like occupying barbarians. So do we silence the stories, or do we make our position the moral highground, so that no one believes that we would do such things. 60 years ago, German soldiers preferred to be captured by Americans because we treated our POWs with honor.

The amazing Eleanor Clift has a great article on the coming Theocracy and what needs to be done to stop it.

The Nation has an article about Hillary Clinton. I honestly don't know as much about her as I would like. I do know that much of what has been said about her are lies. For instance, she is derided for claiming to be an evangelical Christian. Truth is, she is a lifelong Methodist, a faith tradition that considers itself to be, you guessed it, evangelical. She is called an out of control liberal, but her stances are closer to the middle than just about any of the republican theocratic or corporatist names floated for 2008. Since there is constant speculation about her running for President, I figured this would be a good place to start.

by Robster @ 5/22/2005 10:55:00 PM PERMALink
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Sunday reading

Ah, a lazy Sunday morning. What is worth reading this morning?

The US government demonstrates how to win friends and influence people. How? Blaming the US installed Afghan government for the increase in opium poppy trade. Couldn't have anything to do with the lack of agricultural aid? There is a reason why tobacco farmers in Kentucky grow pipe-weed. No other legal crop brings as much money per pound to the farmer. Afghan poppies, legal or not, can be grown with little interference from the authorities. Does this make the US memo correct? Or is the lack of Karzai's power outside of Kabul, and the influence of warlords and Taliban supporters who profit from opium trade (both the fault of the US) more to blame? Anybody think this is reprisal for his request for control (DKos) over US troops in his nation? Or his statement that he plans to take Bush to task over prisoner abuse? (last 2 links from Buzzflash) Karzai must not know his history. Puppets who talk back get ousted. Noriega of Panama? Anybody? Beuller? Beuller?

Attytood has a good piece on the Santorum article (via Atrios)in the NYT Sunday magazine. Did the article mention Santorum's wingnuttery? His pandering to big business to the demise of the working class? How about any of his other storied examples of odd behaviors? Not so much.

Christian conservatives are pro-cancer (via Buzzflash again). They think that papiloma virus caused cervical tumors should not be prevented by vaccine. It is too important to them to have a frightening cancer available to scare kids away from sex. That makes sense, since fear appeals don't work well, and if kids were afraid of cancer, they wouldn't smoke. Yep. Makes all kinds of sense.

The media is beginning to realize that they got hoodwinked by the admin over the Newsweek story. Maybe it will make it off the op ed pages and onto the front page. Or at least A8...

Abuse scandals are finally taking in some officers (other than Karpinski, scapegoated for being in charge of Abu Ghraib, but not the cell block where abuse and torture occurred). Will they be prosecuted, or more likely promoted?

Execution is more important than letting a condemned man find out if he can donate part of his liver to his ailing sister. Liver donations are risky, and he could die in the process of donation, but that wouldn't sate the bloodlust of the state.

Lieberman should go home. So should any Dem who thinks Bolton would be acceptable as an ambassador.
Four Democrats in the U.S. Senate could be prepared to support Undersecretary of State John Bolton’s appointment as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Bloomberg News reported today (see GSN, May 19).

The undecided Democrats are Mary Landrieu (La.), Joe Lieberman (Conn.), Ben Nelson (Neb.) and Mark Pryor (Ark.).

Especially when North Korea is running out of food aid. If nobody has noticed, when the going gets touch, Kim Jong Il gets out his nukes and threatens his neighbors.

And for shits and giggles, the British Ministry of Defense had a network crash because of this video.

by Robster @ 5/22/2005 12:32:00 PM PERMALink
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Friday, May 20, 2005

Good line from Conan

Watching rerun of Conan on CNBC. He said that Bush was still mad about Newsweek posting the story about the Qu'ran being flushed. Newsweek was mad too, and wanted to know who read the story to Bush.

Oh, and the Red Cross (via AmericaBlog) says that Qu'ran desecration did occur, and that they had told the US government about it. If you don't understand why this is a big deal to Muslims, think about these examples...
  1. Fits thrown over 10 commandments monuments being removed from courthouses.
  2. Anger over flag burning.
  3. Some people who write God as G_d, so that if the paper it is written on is destroyed, a name of God is not.
  4. Two words, Janet Jackson.
Also, all a protest needs to become a mob is an agitator. People don't think the same in a group as they do on their own. And the English language signs we all have seen at protests aren't meant for al Jazeera, but for CNN-international (and the like). This isn't to say that there isn't anyone in the crowd that can read English, but rather that the whole world will be able to see it, read it, and understand what the issue at hand is. Does anyone remember the revolution in Iran? Crowds only chanted when the little light on the TV cameras was on...

by Robster @ 5/20/2005 06:03:00 PM PERMALink
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June in her favorite Pyrex accessory. Hey, its warm! Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 5/20/2005 10:38:00 AM PERMALink
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Woohoo! Friday! Kitten Bobbie!  Posted by Hello

by Robster @ 5/20/2005 10:34:00 AM PERMALink
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Attack of the Therapeutic Clones

She Flies on Her Own Wings has a good piece on therapeutic cloning. The US used to be where massive medical advances occurred. But with Embryotic-Luddites pulling the strings in DC, we will fall behind. I suppose being a has-been won't be that bad. More from DKos.

Update.

DKos has report that Bush will veto any bill that allows therapeutic cloning. Story also at AmericaBlog.

by Robster @ 5/20/2005 09:59:00 AM PERMALink
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Will the Secret Service investigate Darth Vader?

From Wonkette, Hayden Christensen, who plays Annikin/Vader in EpIII (duh!), says that there is some political commentary in EpIII aimed at the White House. Apparently, the fictional character had this to say, too,
Anakin Skywalker admitted to an interviewer that he "wouldn't mind giving George Bush a good shaking with my light-saber."
Fictional characters threatening the US President with a non-existent weapon is against the law. Lord Vader needs to watch what he says about our current Sith Lord.


by Robster @ 5/20/2005 09:52:00 AM PERMALink
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Thursday, May 19, 2005

Hey Santorum, who you callin a Nazi?

Everyone (here, here, here, here, and Update, here) is talking about the raw story article in which Sen Rick Santorum (R Pa) refers to Dems not lying down to be walked over on a handful of extremist judges. This is the same Santorum who a few months ago played the false outrage over Sen Byrd's commentary that the Repubs were taking steps toward absolute power, ignoring minority rights, similar in route to what Hitler did (here and here).

Update
Santorum has apologized (sort of) and says he meant no offense. Hannity refuses to discuss Santorum's remarks.

From Media Matters,
Hannity responded on the March 2 edition of Hannity & Colmes by calling Byrd "unhinged," condemning his Hitler remarks as "atrocious" and "disgraceful," asking, "Could a Republican ever get away with comparing Democrats to Adolf Hitler?"
I suppose not, but no thanks to you Sean.

End update.

Another update!

Santorum compares NYTimes to fascists and Nazis, via Atrios. This sort of game isn't new to him, and it makes his no offense comment ring hollow.

Just want to point out that fascist Italy had Catholicism as a state religion, and Nazi Germany involved an odd version of Christianity tainted with racism and revisionist history.

End Update

Some say that nobody should mention Nazis or Fascists (of which Nazis were an offshoot) because of the horror they inflicted on the world in the last century. Others say that its just a way for politicians to get attention.

I feel that some politicians invoke Hitler for attention, which is despicable, but declaring the word fascist or Nazi off limits ignores the fact that neo-Nazis still exist, and fascism must be prevented from returning. Fascism didn't end in the 40s. It exists still today. It can progress slowly, and those involved in its promotion may not even recognize what they are doing until they have reached the precipice.This was Sen. Byrd's point.

So what is Fascism? Should we be concerned that some of our leaders our developing fascistic tendencies?

From Wikipedia,

The word fascism has come to mean any system of government resembling Mussolini's, that

Hmmm. Lets look at if we can match these up with the leadership of the Republican party. I am by no means saying the Repubs are all fascists. The leadership may not even recognize that it has begun to cross the line. For the most part, politicians aren't mature enough to take a hard look at themselves and ask hard questions. But back to the matter at hand.
  • Rampant and unfettered nationalism? (just look around) Check.
  • Violence? (can be verbal or physical. threats toward and attacks on judges and activists) Check.
  • Propaganda? (government produced news) Check.
  • Censorship? (vote fraud in Ohio, Newsweek story, Downing St. Memo, all the times someone in the administration has told the press to watch what they say) Check.
  • Economic and social regimentation? (Tax systems that reward wealth over hard work) Check.
  • Corporatism? (lobbyists writing law, corporations evading taxes, politicians and judges for sale) Double check.
  • Totalitarianism? (Patriot Act, Nuclear Option) Check
Umberto Eco wrote 14 characteristics of a fascist. Does the shoe fit? Another 14 from Laurence Britt. Much closer.

Most disturbing of all is Thom Hartman's essay on the rise of Hitler. I recommend reading this and then having a stiff drink. If you read no other link on this site, read this one.

If you consider yourself a Republican, you have a few choices.
  1. Assume that this won't concern you. They won't come for me...
  2. Join the opposition party. We'd be happy to have you. After all, we balance budgets, grow economies, and can actually win wars!
  3. Take your party back. The leadership of the party aren't Republicans, and don't stand for what the party used to stand for.

by Robster @ 5/19/2005 07:53:00 PM PERMALink
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Thursday bleah

Spent morning working on electric motor. Mmmm. brushes, carbon residue... Nothing like fixing it yourself.

Apparently there is more to come in the way of memos and minutes from across the pond. The Downing Street memo was just the start of it. Anyone surprised?

The start of the story is at DKos. I'll let someone who has more time track all this down. For now, must publish or perish. I hate the writing part of research.

Posts will probably come less often, involve more links to stories and less commentary over the next few weeks. It has come time to dissertate (is that a word?). Hopefully I will hear from a big journal on acceptance of one of my papers in a couple days.

by Robster @ 5/19/2005 09:47:00 AM PERMALink
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Bad numbers for Fox

FauxNews ratings are dropping. This after learning that O'Reilly's numbers are dropping too.

Hopefully, the same will happen with Glenn Beck. From Media Matters,
BECK: Hang on, let me just tell you what I'm thinking. I'm thinking about killing Michael Moore, and I'm wondering if I could kill him myself, or if I would need to hire somebody to do it. No, I think I could. I think he could be looking me in the eye, you know, and I could just be choking the life out -- is this wrong? I stopped wearing my What Would Jesus -- band -- Do, and I've lost all sense of right and wrong now. I used to be able to say, "Yeah, I'd kill Michael Moore," and then I'd see the little band: What Would Jesus Do? And then I'd realize, "Oh, you wouldn't kill Michael Moore. Or at least you wouldn't choke him to death." And you know, well, I'm not sure.
First, Jesus would turn over the tables of the money lenders who sold icons of self-righteousness. Then, he would probably side with the man who was against a war based on lies.

More importantly, this guy should be off the air by morning. Clear Channel should can this guy for hate speech or inciting violence. At least see if the guy can be put on something and get some therapy to deal with his anger issues.

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 11:36:00 PM PERMALink
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Stone the woman

Via Buzzflash, the Star Tribune has a story about a young woman in Montgomery, Alabama, who because of her pregnancy, was not allowed to walk in her Catholic HS graduation. The father of her child was allowed to walk. This prompted me to think of a certain young woman, who was presented to Jesus as an adulterer. Jesus said that he who was without sin should throw the first stone. Perhaps the leaders of the school are without sin. The other thing I thought of were Muslim women who were beaten, stoned or imprisoned for adultery, while their partners, or in some cases rapists, walked free. I'm not attempting a comparison, just noting my stream of consciousness.

What happened to the young woman? She announced her own name and walked. Her fellow students applauded her

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 10:58:00 PM PERMALink
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Frist was for the filibuster before he was against it.

Have I mentioned yet, today, how much I hate these people (apologies to Mike Malloy). Great post on Think Progress about Frist getting flustered when confronted about his voting for a filibuster of a Clinton Nominee. If you were lucky enough to see it on the SPAN, you can even do your own sound effects. "Umm, uhh..."

Update, DailyKos has commentary on this event.

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 03:50:00 PM PERMALink
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Bush press club rules

Two great pieces on Consortium News about how the Bush family deals with disrespect from the press. The first is a report on the history of Newsweek as a powerhouse for attacking Democrats and progressives. They seem to agree with an earlier post of mine where I suggest that this is a standard Rove assault on truth and the free press. The second is a story on how the the press has become timid about criticizing Republicans.

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 02:55:00 PM PERMALink
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Baseball without umpires

Did you ever play baseball when you were a kid? Ever not have enough people? Did you have "Ghost Runners?" Did you ever have someone claim they had been safe when you thought they were out? Of course you did. Did you ever see someone on one team or another bully the other side into agreeing on a play? Sure you did. Maybe you were the bully? Maybe not. But you know it happened.

This is what is happening right now in the Senate. The kids playing don't have an umpire right now. They have chosen to ignore the parliamentarian's judgment that the "nuclear option" is against the rules of the senate. Lets call one team the Banana Republicans, the other will be the Donkey Democrats. The Banana Republicans got to home base after the ball got to the catcher. They are out. First they argued with the other team that they scored a run. The Donkey Democrats didn't budge. The Banana Republicans are now trying to bully the Donkey Democrats. It isn't working. As the minority, the democrats hold the ball. They can choose to not play the game if the Banana Republicans try to change the rules in the middle of the game. If they have to, they can take the ball home, and shut down senate business. Fighting back is the best way to deal with schoolyard bullies like this. I'm glad the Donkey Democrats are finally learning this.

Update!

Jami at Hillary Now has a review of the day's events.

Update!
John at AmericaBlog has comments about Frist talking about assassinating judges. This struck me as insane while I was watching the hearings, but figured this was an attempt to make it look like the Dems were the ones hostile to judges.

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 02:03:00 PM PERMALink
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Repub accuses (sort of) Gonzalez of lying under oath

EXTRA EXTRA!
Sen. Sam Brownback (R Kansas) accuses (sort-of) Att. Gen. Gonzalez of lying before the Senate!
I'm watching C-SPAN2, and Brownback just said that Gonzalez testified before the Senate that he never had said that Judge Priscilla Owen was a judicial advocate. It has been documented that he said this.

From Senator Schumer's .gov website,

- In re Jane Doe B Judge Owen's dissent came under fire from her colleagues of the Texas Supreme Court. They referred to her legal approach as an effort to "usurp the legislative function." Then Justice Alberto Gonzalez, now U.S. Attorney General, wrote a separate opinion chastising the dissenting judges - including Justice Owen: He said that to construe the law as the dissent did "would be an unconscionable act of judicial activism."

- In Montgomery Independent School District v. Davis B the majority, which also included Judge Gonzales, ruled in favor of a teacher who had been wrongly dismissed by her employer. Justice Owen dissented, siding against the employee.
The majority, including Judge Gonzales, wrote that Athe dissenting opinion's misconception Y stems from its disregard of the [rules] the Legislature established."

- In Texas Department of Transportation v. Able B Justice Gonzales also took Justice Owen to task for her activism, indicating that she had misunderstood the plain intent of the state legislature.

Lets bring him up on charges...

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 01:35:00 PM PERMALink
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Tom the Dancing Bug!

Great visual take on the silliness of the standpoint of evolutions wearing a thin veneer of "Intelligent Design." Go see it while you still can!

*Links update to come soon. Blogs, online comics, activist groups to add.*

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 11:54:00 AM PERMALink
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Christians against Bush

AmericaBlog mentions a story how some of the faculty of a small Christian College are taking out an add in protest of Bush coming to speak at their graduation. He then links to the story in (gasp) the Washington Times.
"As Christians, we are called to be peacemakers and to initiate war only as a last resort," the ad will say. "We believe your administration has launched an unjust and unjustified war in Iraq."
The 130 signatories, which include 20 staff members, work at Calvin College. Founded in 1876 as a school for pastors of the Christian Reformed Church, it now is one of the nation's flagship schools for a Christian liberal-arts education.
"No single political position should be identified with God's will," says the ad, which also chastises the president for "actions that favor the wealthy of our society and burden the poor."
Christians are to be characterized by love and gentleness, it adds, but "we believe that your administration has fostered intolerance and divisiveness and has often failed to listen to those with whom it disagrees."
Moreover, says the letter, set to run in the Grand Rapids Press, the Bush administration's environmental policies "have harmed creation," and it asks the president "to re-examine your policies in light of our God-given duty to pursue justice with mercy."
...
"Some think we should be honored to have the president here," religion professor David Crump said. "We're excited by the opportunity to show people that evangelical Christianity is represented by a much broader spectrum of opinion than is depicted by the religious right and the media."
Of course, the far right, and it's pretty boy Hannity, just couldn't deal with this. From Newshounds,
Hannity entered in attack mode going after Jelk for a past protest of Renquist."Were you part of an effort to accuse him of being a racist?" Jelk calmly told Hannity that he thought some of Renquist's early decision reflected some racial bias.

Then Hannity let loose raving that if both of them had their way Saddam's torture and rape rooms would still be there and dead babies would be lying in the streets. Accusing them of appeasing evil, he shouted them down refusing them any opportunity to respond. Of course, the environment was ignored because even Hannity has no defense for Bush on that issue.

The religious right is only interested in it's own narrow interpretation of Christianity. A co-worker once said he didn't think I was a Christian, that he wasn't sure what I was. One of my brothers doesn't understand that you can be a liberal and a Christian. Hannity is offended as though he was confronted with high Heresy.

From my point of view, the "religious right" prefers the law to the love, more a pharisee than a disciple. In his day, and in this day, Jesus was a liberal, calling for change, compassion, forgiveness and tolerance. The Apostles extended Jesus's message to the pagan Roman Empire, spreading through non-violence instead of conquest. They portrayed a loving God, who respected morals, forgave sin, and worked through flawed people instead of self-righteous greed-mongers. He called for people to help the poor, the sick, the outcast and the prisoner. The religious right calls for an end to welfare, medicaid, embrace racism and homophobia, and demand severe penalties and capitol punishment. This is why I am proud to be a member of the Religious Left.

Of course, the Constitution declares that people can believe as they see fit. The religious right has a right to be hypocrite. They have the right to call for oppression. They have the right to seek to be heard. They do not have the right to declare law. They do not have the right to oppress. They do not have the right to demand that everyone agree with them.

I have always said that I preferred to be a Heretic than Blasphemer. One is declared by men. The other is only determined by God.

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 09:53:00 AM PERMALink
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Is Isikoff a stooge?

I think I smell a rat. Isikoff is one of the bunch that was thrilled to attack the Clintons (Jami at Hillary Now has the details). He as been a tool for the far right before, and seems to be one now. Now we learn that the "mainstream media" is passing over Isikoff in the blame game, and is choosing to attack Newsweek's editors, instead. I have previously linked to posts, articles and stories that mentioned that the Pentagon had the opportunity to fix any factual issues in the article before it went to press. They had no problems with the article. They had no problem with the article after it went to press. Only when unrelated riots became violent, did the administration settle on the Newseek article as a scapegoat for their poor handling of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the unconscionable support of the Uzbekistan government.

Is it a conspiracy theory to think that Rove might have asked Isikoff to pull the story after it became embarrassing to the White House? I'm not saying this is a planted story, as the Bush AWOL story was. That is to say, true but with falsified (by Rove ops) evidence. No, the evidence is that the Qu'ran desecration occurred. The only question is what government document it was verified in. So how would Rove get into this game? By casting doubt on one factor of the abuse issue, he hopes to make the people (at least in this nation) doubt that any abuse occurred. If Isikoff told his editors (at Rove's prompting) that he thought the story should be retracted, the editors may have given in. It is certainly within the standard book of tricks for Rove and those he has trained.

Stranger at Blah3 calls for the press to stand up for itself. I couldn't agree more.

by Robster @ 5/18/2005 08:14:00 AM PERMALink
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Tuesday, May 17, 2005

More on Depleted Uranium (DU)

I was looking through the Operation Truth site, and came across a page describing DU as an issue affecting our troops.
While the U.S. government insists these weapons are perfectly safe, anti-DU activists have called DU use "genocide." The truth, as usual, is probably somewhere in between the extremes. But without the government committing to increased openness and funding for thorough, widespread, and long-term studies, the vital questions surrounding DU will not be resolved.

...

How does the military use DU? Why?

The military uses DU in bullets and artillery, as well as in some tank armor.

Depleted uranium is 70% denser than lead, which allows it to penetrate armor easily. Additionally, when DU hits a tank's metal armor, the heat of impact can melt the armor. This makes DU bullets and artillery an extremely effective force. Because of its density, DU is also used in some tank armor.

DU has the added advantage of being extremely cheap. Because it would otherwise have to be stored as low-level radioactive waste, the government is happy to "dispose" of DU in weapons.

So DU makes the best bullets for tank-busting. There are other materials that can be used, but they include some heavy metals that can be toxic as well.

What is DU exposure?

DU is only slightly radioactive, and most experts believe is not a danger as long as it stays outside the body. A single sheet of paper is generally considered capable of blocking the radiation. But when DU weapons explode, fragments can become lodged in the body of soldiers or civilians, and a cloud of DU dust can be inhaled or ingested. In these instances, DU becomes a health issue.

The radiation from DU is alpha wave radiation, and is not detectable by a standard Geiger counter. Specialized detectors are more expensive and fragile. From www.epa.gov,

Alpha particles can be shielded by a sheet of paper or by human skin. However, if radionuclides that emit alpha particles are inhaled, ingested, or enter your body through a cut in your skin, they can be very harmful.
Back to OpTruth

Although the health effects of DU are disputed, anti-DU activists claim that DU is linked to a number of conditions, including leukemia, lymphoma, kidney damage, birth defects, and Gulf War Syndrome. While there are many individual cases of people exposed to DU who have suffered from these diseases, more study is needed to determine if they are related or naturally occurring illness.

One of the Iraq war veterans profiled at Operation Truth has tested positive for depleted uranium. Spc. Gerard Matthew has suffered a number of mysterious illnesses since his return for Iraq, and his newborn daughter has severe birth defects. Read his story here.

Iraqi doctors have been reporting an increase in childhood cancers since the first Gulf War, as well as an increase in birth defects after the second Gulf War. When I first heard of this (late 90s) I assumed that it was Iraqi propaganda. I'm not so certain anymore. Is it possible that Spc. Matthew's daughter's illnesses are unrelated to DU? Yes. But there are two things we need to be sure about. This is happening to real people. This affects our soldiers as much as it affects the people of the Balkans, Iraq and Afghanistan.

  1. Our troops must have health care for themselves and their families. They need that care now. We promised our soldiers health care and it is our responsibility to follow through. This needs to extend to being able to visit a local hospital for care, not just the VA, which is under constant threat of having hospitals shut down
  2. We can't put this off for a decade like we did with agent orange. We need to investigate, study and honestly determine the risk we have put our soldiers in. We owe it to both our troops, their families and those we set out to "liberate" not to inflict lasting and severe damage. If we have, we owe it to them to make things right.
I don't normally go for this kind of extreme illustration, and you don't have to go to this site, as the images are very graphic, but these are Iraqi children with severe birth defects that may be due to DU exposure. We need to make certain that this is not the legacy of our war on terror.

by Robster @ 5/17/2005 06:21:00 PM PERMALink
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Found item

Just to prove that Kentucky is a place like no other... On the way to work this morning, we saw a young woman driving a Lexus, blasting country music.

She was also wearing a hijab. Again, not so odd for Lexington.

But a Muslim woman listening to loud country music?

Just goes to show that not all country music fans are redneck racists.

by Robster @ 5/17/2005 05:06:00 PM PERMALink
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Fascist takeover at PBS

No wonder the right wants to take over PBS. Complete control of the media will let the fascists currently running the Republican party convince the public that our next enemy has WMDs, is involved with Qaeda and that we have the support of the world. You may remember this report on how people who get their news from PBS and NPR are better informed than Fox viewers.

If the facts are against the right, then facts are not facts. The facts are liberal talking ponts. Thats how the media is biased. Thanks, CNN. Your 3 minute debates-as-news really helped move us closer to a corporatist state.

Because of this, the right wants to decrease the amount of news and increase the classical music. I'm sure this will lead to cuts of a music subsidy with low ratings. Either that or lots of Wagner.

by Robster @ 5/17/2005 10:12:00 AM PERMALink
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Newsweek not at fault for riots.

First this, from the International Information Program from the US government.

The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff says a report from Afghanistan suggests that rioting in Jalalabad on May 11 was not necessarily connected to press reports that the Quran might have been desecrated in the presence of Muslim prisoners held in U.S. custody at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Air Force General Richard Myers told reporters at the Pentagon May 12 that he has been told that the Jalalabad, Afghanistan, rioting was related more to the ongoing political reconciliation process in Afghanistan than anything else.

According to initial reports, the situation in Jalalabad began on May 10 with peaceful student protests reacting to a report in Newsweek magazine that U.S. military interrogators questioning Muslim detainees at the Guantanamo detention center “had placed Quran s on toilets, and in at least one case flushed a holy book.” By the following day the protests in the city had turned violent with reports of several individuals killed, dozens wounded, and widespread looting of government, diplomatic and nongovernmental assets.

However, Myers said an after-action report provided by U.S. Army Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, commander of the Combined Forces in Afghanistan, indicated that the political violence was not, in fact, connected to the magazine report.

Got that? Not connected. Our invasions that have not done much to improve life of Afghans, Iraqis, and our support of brutal regimes in the region have done far more damage than a weekly news mag could do.

But that doesn't keep the White House and Faux News from piling on. The White House apparently wants Newsweek to take over patrols of Kabul. From the yahoo news story linked above,

The White House says Newsweek took a "good first step" by retracting its story that U.S. investigators found evidence interrogators at Guantanamo Bay desecrated the Quran, but it wants the magazine to do more to repair damage caused by the article.

...

"The report had real consequences," White House press secretary Scott McClellan said Monday. "People have lost their lives. Our image abroad has been damaged. There are some who are opposed to the United States and what we stand for who have sought to exploit this allegation. It will take work to undo what can be undone."
Well, shit, Scotty. Did Newsweek fix the intel on Iraq? Did Newsweek let Bin Ladin go at Tora Bora? Did Newsweek arrest scores of Afghans, put them in a makeshift prison, abuse them and then let them go with no charges? Dumbass. AmericaBlog has similar commentary.

Keith Olberman, who may be the only sane person on MSNBC had this to say,

I smell something - and it ain’t a copy of the Qu’ran sopping wet from being stuck in a toilet in Guantanamo Bay. It’s the ink drying on Scott McClellan’s resignation, and in an only partly imperfect world, it would be drifting out over Washington, and imminently.

Last Thursday, General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Donald Rumsfeld’s go-to guy whenever the situation calls for the kind of gravitas the Secretary himself can’t supply, told reporters at the Pentagon that rioting in Afghanistan was related more to the on-going political reconciliation process there, than it was to a controversial note buried in the pages of Newsweek claiming that the government was investigating whether or not some nitwit interrogator at Gitmo really had desecrated a Muslim holy book.

But Monday afternoon, while offering himself up to the networks for a series of rare, almost unprecedented sit-down interviews on the White House lawn, Press Secretary McClellan said, in effect, that General Myers, and the head of the after-action report following the disturbances in Jalalabad, Lieutenant General Karl Eikenberry, were dead wrong. The Newsweek story, McClellan said, “has done damage to our image abroad and it has done damage to the credibility of the media and Newsweek in particular. People have lost lives. This report has had serious consequences."

Ah, the party of personal responsibility.

by Robster @ 5/17/2005 09:47:00 AM PERMALink
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Monday, May 16, 2005

Novak's compares fillibuster to selecting victims for nazi gas chamber

Oliver Willis had this one.

Bob "Human Douchebag" Novak recently tried to outdo Pat Buchanan on offensiveness. From the Anti Defamation League,
Mr. Novak argued that for Senate Republicans to consider reaching a compromise with Democrats on judicial nominees would be, "… like going to a concentration camp and picking out which people go to the death chamber."
Wow. Novak is truly scum. Of course this is easily in line for a guy that thinks committing treason as a favor to the White House is an act of free speech.

by Robster @ 5/16/2005 09:47:00 PM PERMALink
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Lou Dobbs keeps up with pro creationism game

Lou Dobbs just finished another segment displaying his bias against science (previous post on this topic). In an interview of three school board cantidates, he continued to push the idea that science and creationism/intelligent design should be taught side by side in science classrooms. The ID proponent actually said that he had not reached his position based on religion and that ID was a legitimate scientific theory. Nobody, especially not Dobbs stated that there was no evidence for ID, making it non-scientific Nobody mentioned the huge amounts of evidence in favor of evolution. The two pro-science cantidates said that their religion did influence their stance, as they felt that the pro-ID side had insinuated that everyone anti-ID was an atheist.

Personally, I think that ID should be mentioned in schools, putting me on the side of the anti-ID cantidates. Their opinion was that it belonged in a social studies class or a section on comparative religion. Then we could point out how evolution shaped social theory for the worse (social darwinism as favored by BushCo) and how the fundamentalism has repeatedly attempted to fight evolution over the years.

How creationists
  • Peddle ignorance, lies and distort discussion in the scientific community as a lack of evidence.
  • Change their group's names every few years, and recruit people from every field but paleontology, anthropology and genetics.
  • Send activists to graduate schools so that they can get PhDs and claim to have some level of scientific knowledge.
  • Fear becoming irrelevent to society.
  • Believe in a culture war against their faith, that they are being opressed.
  • Feel that their children being taught one of the unifying theories of science is an assault on their religion.
  • Have a superstitious belief that being taught evolution will magically bring all forms of woe upon their family and our nation.

Of course, Lou Dobbs gave the last word to the pro-ID cantidate.

by Robster @ 5/16/2005 06:50:00 PM PERMALink
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