Saturday, September 30, 2006
why are we not surprised?
like lubricant on a butthole.
you've got to fight for your right to two parties
where's steve guttenberg when you need him?
those who flunk history are doomed to repeat it
bandar bush wants to unload his aspen property
...at the aspen property, owned by saudi prince bandar, the main residence, finished in 1990, has over 56,000 square feet (about 1,000 square feet bigger than the white House). that's set on a 95-acre site. think roughly twice the size of boston common. it even has its own car wash and gas pumps. - apnice to see what our $3.00+ at the pump builds.
free trade a myth, u.s. executive says
dan dimicco, chief executive officer of u.s. steel maker nucor corp., railed against u.s. trade policy during a speech at the union club in cleveland on thursday, saying the time is now to reverse a trend that has aided other countries, namely china, while hurting u.s. manufacturers.
he said the concept of free trade practiced by the united states is a myth because we allow other countries to manage trade to their advantage, creating an uneven playing field.
"we are a slave to theory in the face of reality," dimicco said. ". . . in short, we have lost our minds." - cleveland.com
why i won't vote for hillary
sen. hillary rodham clinton took a backhanded swipe at democratic national committee boss howard dean yesterday, saying dean's long-term party-building efforts should take a back seat to fundraising for the midterm elections. - newsday
another difficult aspect of the story is how the house republican leadership dealt with foley. according to a story in the washington post, house majority leader rep. john boehner (r-ohio) at the very least knew about foley's "inappropriate contact" with a minor months ago:
it was not immediately clear what actions hastert took. his spokesman had said earlier that the speaker did not know of the sexually charged online exchanges between foley and the boy."
addendum: if you ned to keep score, here's the rick santorum's republican child molesters site.
when you wish upon a star
when generals speak
we should take action...because we know that the 1600 crew isn't.
unless we discuss whose interests this war served, we cannot decide what to do. it served no u.s. interests. it served the interests of al qaeda and iran. al qaeda recruiting declined in 2002, odom said, but spiked after the u.s. invaded -- rose in asia as well as in the middle east. and iraq is a great training ground for terrorists now. in addition, odom said, a wedge is being driven between the united states and its european allies. "osama understands that; we seem not to." the invasion of iraq, odom said, probably saved al qaeda from ceasing to exist.and who is this general odom...general william odom, who served as head of the nsa under president reagan.
....odom again spoke about what would happen when/if the united states pulls out. the aftermath is going to be great, he said. it was going to be great the day you went in, but the longer you wait the greater it will be. and, odom added to noticable effect, this will be the greatest strategic defeat in american history.
....rep. hinchey asked odom "how do we get out?" odom's reply came without a pause: "well, the constitution gives the house the right to impeach."
visit the honorable congresswoman lynn woolsey's website for more info on these "basement" hearings.
Friday, September 29, 2006
we're not humming along to the doobie brothers
the world watched in horror when an iraqi mob killed four blackwater contractors guarding a convoy and dragged their mutilated bodies through the streets of fallujah in march 2004.does anyone know w.t.f. is going on over there?
on thursday, the army said that blackwater was not authorized to guard convoys or carry weapons.
...at the lowest level, blackwater security guards were paid $600 a day. blackwater added a 36 percent markup, plus overhead costs, and sent the bill to a kuwaiti company that ordinarily runs hotels, according to the contract.
that company, regency hotel, tacked on its costs and a profit and sent an invoice to ess. the food company added its costs and profit and sent its bill to kellogg brown & root, which also added overhead and a profit and presented the final bill to the pentagon.
in november 2004, rep. henry waxman of california, the ranking democrat on the committee, asked the army for an accounting of the costs and copies of all contracts and invoices. the army has not responded or provided documents, van hollen said. - the news & observer
(thanks to progressivesouth's kos diary for highlighting this article.)
raising the bar harbor
but then they took a guided tour thru town and thru acadia national park. they found that mount desert island, which the town and park are located on, was found by champlain, the french explorer the lake is named after. and there are and were plenty of famous folks who summer on the island, such as dick wolf, martha stewart, mark twain, annie oakley, edsel ford and every rockafeller, including oysters, since john g. across the harbor from the skippy's hotel room lies bar island, on which stands but one house, and that house belongs to famous voice personality jack perkins. and pulitzers, morgans and vanderbilts helped to make the island the popular attraction it is.
here's a pic of the skippy's hotel, the historic bar harbor inn. their room is the one furthest to the left, on the second floor!
tomorrow: a cruise thru the harbor!
coming to an nbc show soon....
don't panic...it wasn't organic
the nine bags of baby spinach now linked by dna testing to the national e. coli outbreak all held conventional rather than organic produce and all were sold under the dole label, state health officials said thursday.but we've got some good discussions going on about "food safety"
the nine bags were packaged by natural selection foods at the same facility in san juan bautista on aug. 15, officials said - latte times
outbreak reveals insufficient regulation. the deadly e. coli outbreak in bagged spinach should make us rethink our farming practices and reinvigorate our regulatory system. myrtle beach sun news, south carolina.
deadly harvest: industrial food brings death to our groceries. we want our children to eat their spinach and drink their milk. but because of the way we feed our cows and process our veggies, it can be deadly. salt lake tribune, utah
expert says u.s. needs to beef up protection of food supply. the united states needs to continue taking steps to protect its food supply from terrorism just as it would its buildings, airports and other elements of its infrastructure. associated press.
lawmakers call again for federal food safety agency. while the search continues for the origin of an e. coli outbreak in bagged spinach, lawmakers are renewing calls for the creation of a single government agency responsible for the safety of the nation's food supply. usa today
there's a seeker born every minute
when you've got hope (who is emo)?
on comic books, nudity and censorship
stick magnetic ribbons on your suv
mad about torture
more publican family values
a spokesman for foley, the chairman of the house caucus on missing and exploited children, said the congressman submitted his resignation in a letter late this afternoon to speaker of the house dennis hastert.
hours earlier, abc news had read excerpts of instant messages provided by former pages who said the congressman, under the aol instant messenger screen name maf54, made repeated references to sexual organs and acts.
the full details will be included in a report tonight on abc world news with charles gibson.
update: note: foley was co-chairman of the missing and exploited children caucus.
addendum: via firedoglake, the the inestimable howie klein has scads more details, more than you probably actually want.
yes, it's edited, but it's true!
(thanks, and a tip of the bush kangaroo hat to our buddy rmf!)
we love abbi
a few environmental stories
fertilizer from chile puts perchlorate on the table. new research published today is the first to quantitatively assess the magnitude of three major sources of perchlorate in the food chain, and it turns current assumptions on their head. environmental science & technology.
state's drinking water at risk? critics are now questioning whether a committee vote has crippled the state's ability to regulate dangerous chemicals in drinking water and whether monsanto played too large a role in the process. madison wisconsin state journal, wisconsin.
scientists urge action now to clean houston's air. concentrations of some carcinogens and respiratory irritants are much higher in Houston's air than in other major u.s. cities. houston chronicle, texas.
u.s. uses great lakes for weapons training. the drills have stunned environmentalists, boaters and mayors who are outraged that the u.s. government would jeopardize the safety of boaters and fishermen, and risk lead exposure to fish and drinking water. toronto globe and mail, ontario
pollutants linked to diabetes. people living near hazardous waste sites that contain persistent organic pollutants are more likely to be hospitalized for diabetes, new statistical research shows. environmental science & technology.
us blocked hurricane statement. us officials blocked the release of a statement by government climate scientists that explored possible links between global warming and stronger hurricanes. reuters.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
no wonder we can't get iraqi troops trained
the contractor that botched construction of a $75 million police academy in baghdad so badly that human waste dripped from the ceilings has produced shoddy work on 13 out of 14 projects reviewed by federal auditors, the top official monitoring Iraq's reconstruction told congress yesterday."symbol of a different sort?" you think?
in a report released yesterday, inspectors found that the baghdad police college posed a health risk after feces and urine leaked through the ceilings of student barracks. the facility, part of which will need to be demolished, also featured floors that heaved inches off the ground and a room where water dripped so heavily that it was known as "the rain forest."
the academy was intended as a showcase for u.s. efforts to train iraqi recruits who eventually are expected to take control of the nation's security from the u.s. military. but lawmakers said yesterday they feared it will become a symbol of a different sort. - wapo
the unbearable lightness of l l bean
skippy was dreading a day of outlet browsing with mrs. skippy who actually majored in shopping in college. but unlike the huge boring impersonal outlet malls of california, the outlet stores in freeport are all free-standing, and housed in marvelous colonial-style buildings along the thoroughfare.
the l.l.bean home store has not one, not two, but three huge stores on main street in freeport. the skippy's by-passed the kyak, canoe and ski store and parked in the lot of the hunting and fishing store. they walked across the street to the huge three story building that houses the flagship establishment including clothing, housewares and sundries.
the store was at least as large as a bloomingdales or macy's, and there's a large trout pool in the middle. the skippy's found bargains galore in the flannel shirt and ladies' petite depts. then, after a tasty lunch of lobster stew at jameson's tavern (the waitress insisted she made a better lobster stew herself, as her husband is a lobsterman, and she includes big bits of crab meat in her recipe), the skippy's hit the road.
the skippy's have eschewed the super-highway system this trip for the lovely and leisurely panoramas of highway one. a brief stop in the artisan town of rockland, and a rest stop in the beautiful port village of belfast led the skippy's eventually to their destination, the sumptuous bar harbor inn on the outskirts of acadia national park.
tomorrow: the park!
let me be clear about something—something that it seems few people are willing to say. this bill permits torture. it gives the president the discretion to interpret the meaning and application of the geneva conventions. no matter how much well-intended united states senators would like to believe otherwise, it gives an administration that lobbied for torture just what it wanted.
the only guarantee we have that these provisions really will prohibit torture is the word of the president. but we have seen in iraq the consequences of simply accepting the word of this administration. no, we cannot just accept the word of this administration that they will not engage in torture given that everything they’ve already done and said on this most basic question has already put our troops at greater risk and undermined the very moral authority needed to win the war on terror.
senator john kerry
number 10 with a bullet
help him climb the charts, give it a listen.
the latent witch hunters among us are gleefully rubbing their reptilian forepaws together in anticipation...
how about we bring this infernal carousel to a complete halt for a few minutes? lots of these paying customers need to get off and puke real bad. while they're doing that...
to those of you who think the passage of this bill is a good thing, indulge me. let's say you're a warden in charge of two prisoners of war. lat's also say you know beyond all doubt that one of your inmates is a known terrorist, and the other is an innocent person taken into custody by mistake. and finally, let's say you are required to choose between two options: giving both your inmates full protection under the geneva conventions, or denying both said full protection.
which option would you choose?
your answer to that question, when all is said and done, counts for one hundred percent of your final grade. so please, you mental, moral, and spiritual undergraduates, think this one over thoroughly before you answer -- your future hangs in the balance.
and so does everybody else's...
"same link, different story" update: it looks like two-thirds of the senate wish to play footsie with awol:
the senate on thursday endorsed president bush's plans to prosecute and interrogate terror suspects, all but sealing congressional approval for legislation that republicans untend to use on the campaign trail to asser their toughness on terrorism.
the 65-34 vote means the bill could reach the president's desk by week's end. the house passed nearly identical legislation on wednesday and was expected to approve the senate bill friday, sending it to the white house.
the bill would create military commissions to prosecute terrorism suspects. it also would prohibit blatant abuses of detainees but grant the president faexibility to decide what interrogation techniques are legally permissible...
trouble is, we're saddled with a chucklehead who likes to tell outrageous lies, grope german chancellors, use firecrackers to blow up frogs, wage war on a country that never attacked america, play guitar while new orleans drowns, and clear brush. and clear more brush. and clear even more brush. good heavens, does he enjoy clearing brush. must be the sight of a pile of brush going up in flames that thrills him. it's an apt way to symbolize what's happening to iraq...
best war evah
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
wonder if bushco will start threatening to bomb
a u.n. report released on wednesday said the iraq war provided al qaeda with a training centre and recruits, reinforcing a u.s. intelligence study blaming the conflict for a surge in islamic extremism. - reuters u.k.because they're threatening to retaliate against democrats who just wanted to have oversight hearings (the first in 5 years) on iraq with retired generals providing insight to mess'o potamia.
sen. trent lott (r-miss.) is threatening to punish democrats for using an appropriations committee room for an unofficial hearing on iraq oversight if it happens again.
“they better stop this,” the mississippi republican said. “this will be the last one or there will be retribution.”
lott suggested that republicans could hold gop-only hearings or seek other forms of payback. - the hill
pull the level, pull the finger
today, senators russ feingold and john kerry have introduced a resolution calling on state and local governments to have back-up systems in place on election day to ensure that every eligible voter who wants to vote is able to.
“we cannot allow the american people to lose faith in the most fundamental aspect of our democratic system – the right to vote,” russ feingold said. “some of the problems we saw this year, like voters in maryland being told to come back later because the machines weren’t working, are simply unacceptable. a back-up plan as simple as having emergency paper ballots on hand is essential to preventing election day disasters.”
but does the 'f' stand for 'macaca?'
here is where the story achieved sheer mawkishness. "on cnn," as the new york times reports it, "mr. allen recounted his mother's saying: 'i didn't want to tell you. do you love me? you won't love me as much.'
"mr. allen said he responded, 'i love you even more.'"
well, this non-virginian discloses that he loves the pair of them less.
let us, if only for the practice, weigh the considerations of a popular senator running for re-election.
as a republican, senator allen could reasonably assume that he would fare less well in the jewish community than his democratic opponent because of jewish voters' traditional disposition in favor of the democrat. in the last national election, jewish voters went for kerry 3-to-1 over bush.
so? what might allen do to appeal to reluctant jews? identify himself as a blood brother!
that thought may have figured in mother's calculations when she confirmed what was otherwise merely a hypothetical claim.
guess buscho had to keep up with their buddies...
i was held in solitary confinement in a saudi arabian prison for two years, seven months, three weeks and two days.
at the beginning of my incarceration, i was chained upright in my cell, 24 hours a day and subjected to sleep deprivation. i was punched, kicked, hung upside down from a metal bar and beaten with a bamboo cane on the soles of my feet.
i was tortured until i confessed to crimes i did not commit.
i was tried in secret without representation, convicted and sentenced to death by beheading. i am an innocent man and yet i nearly paid with my life for the crimes of others -- for the murder of british engineer christopher rodway, a man I did not know -- in a car bombing in the capital city of riyadh in november, 2000. i was tortured into confessing to being a spy for the british government. - william sampson. and the guardian
during a visit to riyadh in january last year, human rights watch saw young indonesians in a women’s prison for “illegal pregnancies”. in india and the philippines later that year, men told of torture in police stations and interior ministry interrogation rooms. they described beatings, sleep deprivation, and detention for months. they were forced to sign confessions in Arabic, which they could not read. “you won’t be brought to court; we’ll kill you right here,” one interrogator told a filipino truck driver. in the courts, judges called defendants “liars”, ignored complaints about torture, and handed down guilty verdicts without evidence. indian and filipino men were executed without their embassies being notified, and the bodies were never returned to their families. - human rights watch
and from the saudi arabia page on the website of the u.s. department of state :perhaps the wrong bush brother is being credited for destroying our democracy...perhaps bandar bush is behind it all.
human rights issues have not historically been the subject of public discourse but have become increasingly prominent during the year. the government's human rights record remained poor overall with continuing serious problems, despite some progress. the following human rights problems were reported:
• no right to change the government
• infliction of severe pain by judicially sanctioned corporal punishments
• beatings and other abuses
• arbitrary arrest
• incommunicado detention
• denial of fair public trials
• exemption from the rule of law for some individuals and lack of judicial independence
• political prisoners
• infringement of privacy rights
• significant restriction of civil liberties--freedoms of speech and press, assembly, association, and movement
• no religious freedom
• widespread perception of corruption
• lack of government transparency
• legal and societal discrimination against women, religious and other minorities
• strict limitations on worker rights.
oh...there's h**l to pay
the feud between newsroom employees and ownership at the santa barbara news-press intensified wednesday, with workers voting to join a union and management alleging employees may have been coerced.looks like some of the former employees of the snooze suppress (or as the mccaw probably calls them..."hired help") are actually heading to a "real newspaper"
...the workers voted to join the graphic communications conference of the international brotherhood of teamsters. attorney ira gottlieb, who represents the workers, said the tally was 33-6. a spokeswoman for nccaw would not confirm the total but acknowledged employees had voted for the union. - ap
could the los angeles daily news become the refuge for the santa barbara news-press staffers who have quit in protest of publisher wendy mccaw's alleged newsroom meddling?
at least two former news-press employees, both among the 23 who have resigned since july in protest of the paper's newsroom policies, have joined the daily news in recent weeks, according to daily news editor ron kaye. and he says he has talked to others. - editor & publisher
not as "pretty" as brad and angie
After a two-month international manhunt, the indicted former chief executive of leading voicemail-software maker Comverse Technology Inc. was captured on Wednesday in southwest Africa, U.S. officials announced Wednesday.
Authorities in the Republic of Namibia, acting on information from the FBI, arrested Jacob "Kobi" Alexander in the country's capital of Windhoek, where he was living as a fugitive with his family. U.S. officials were expected to ask for his extradition at a hearing on Thursday so he could face charges in Brooklyn alleging he hatched a scheme to pocket millions of dollars by secretly manipulating stock options. - ap
Among the allegations against the three executives was that they were involved in a scheme that in which stock options were granted to fictitious employees to create a secret account of options to dole out to favored employees.
The account was initially named “I. M. Fanton” by an assistant who had seen the Broadway show “The Phantom of the Opera.” Later, it was renamed “Fargo” for the movie directed by the Coen brothers. - nytimes
getting all foxed up
change of address limerick
wake up and smell the book
witch way is witch?
the skippy's drove their rented suburu outback (not what they wanted, hertz is going to get a nasty letter at the end of this vacation) up out of boston, and north to the salem, home of the witch hysteria in the early 1600's.
salem is a wonderful village riding high on its wiccan laurels. the pedistrian mall of essex street is lined with shops and storefronts that all grab ahold of the witchy heritage with gusto. costumes, incense, skull statuettes, stuffed cats, kitchen witches, tarot cards, bells, books, and candles all occupying every nook and cranny of every establishment for blocks and blocks. but it wasn't a feeling of merchandising a terrible moment in ameircan history as much as it was an oddball off-the-page celebration of those that dare to be different. not since the hidden pocket of hippies found in bisbee arizona or the mystic longhaired nature children of big sur california have the skippy's seen such a collection of misfits happily reveling in their willful insistance that they belong on earth as much, perhaps even more so, than anyone who tows the comformist line.
this being a mere month before halloween ("that's our christmas" said one shopkeeper, with definite mixed emotions as she looked towards the crowds that will fill the city) there were flyers and posters advertising at least a dozen different spook houses, haunted mazes and vampiric erotic balls (the dancing kind...we think). one coven of wiccans cheerfully sells wares just a few doors from a church that advertised itself as being "short on rules and long on relationships."
the skippy's made it to the "witch house," the residence of witch trial judge johnathan corwin. the house is the only extant building from those dark horrible years, and it's situated in a neighborhood where many famous americans resided over the years, including, right across the street from the witch house, the domain of captain william driver, the man who coined the term "old glory" for the us flag (yes! he coined that phrase!)
then the skippy's took a tour through the house of the seven gables. yes, there really is a house of seven gables, and it was once owned by nathaniel hawthorne's cousin, and thus giving him the inspiration for the book. skippy had forgotten how many estimable american authors lived, worked, created and died in the northeast, and, it turns out, most of them were neighbors! hawthorne, alcott, thoreau, longfellow, emerson, all lived and worked within hailing distance of each other.
finally, after a drive through the back coastal roads of maine, the skippy's ate a leisurely dinner of lobster and scallops just a mile or so from president george h.w. bush's summer home in kennebunkport. (it was dark by then, so it was pretty pointless to go see his walker compound). one of the waitresses said that the bush's live there pretty much all year round, and another said the secret service were around the town all the time. the skippy's were pretty impressed with the neighborhood, and they drove past president bush's favorite restaurant, mabel's lobster claw, just to see where former presidents like to hang out. skippy told mrs. skippy to roll down the window and holler out "bush is an asshole," and then tell the secret service "no, i meant junior, not senior," when she got arrested. mrs. skippy refused.
tomorrow: highway one up the coast to bar harbor!
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
ojai used to be shangra-la
41 percent contained, 134,000 acres and $36.7 million thus far.
Time to remind those politicians running on "tax cut" platforms that taxes go to pay these brave folks fighting these monster fires. Taxes go to paying for fire fighting equipment. You can't save lives and communities on the cheap. Have you gone to your local firestation and said "thanks" lately?
la daily news
like, what's next?
the youth-heavy online hangout myspace.com is launching a voter-registration drive to engage its members in civics.
in partnership with the nonpartisan group declare yourself, myspace is running ads on its highly trafficked web site and giving members tools such as a "i registered to vote on myspace" badge to place on their personal profile pages. - ap
Remarkable woman killed in Iraq
WEST POINT, N.Y., Sept. 26 -- They remember Emily Perez in her many bursts of motion: the diminutive young woman calling out orders to the freshman cadets on the castled military campus of West Point.
They see her sprinting the third leg for Army's 400-meter relay team. Or in the school's gospel choir, filling her lungs and opening her mouth to sing.
Emily J.T. Perez, a determined 23-year-old from Prince George's County, rose to the top of her high school class and then became the first minority female command sergeant in the history of the U.S. Military Academy.
Now she has another distinction. The second lieutenant was buried Tuesday at the academy, the first female graduate of West Point to die in Iraq. Perez, a platoon leader, was killed while patrolling southern Iraq near Najaf on Sept. 12 when a roadside bomb exploded under her Humvee.
How many more are going to die for aWol's lies?
everything wrong with corporate media pundits
But then he writes the sentence (hint, it's the sentence I'll bold for emphasis) that sums up the paternalistic, patronizing attitude that pundits like himself hold dear:
Ron Rosenbaum makes this point in his New York Times review of Daniel Mendelsohn's new book about the Holocaust, "The Lost." He cites, for instance, Mendelsohn's description of the murder of a single woman. "The Ukrainians and the Germans who had broken into her house found her giving birth. . . . When the birth pangs started she was dragged onto a dumpster in the yard of the town hall with a crowd . . . who cracked jokes and jeered and watched the pain of childbirth. . . . The child was immediately torn from her arms along with its umbilical cord and thrown. . . ." I stop here. The rest is more than you can bear.
That's like every column he wrote in the run up to the Iraq War and in defending the administration's repeated lies. And it's not just him. You see it in David Broder, David Brooks, etc., etc., etc. "We can't tell you the truth because it's more than you can bear."
He didn't write: "I stop here because it is more than I can bear." which I'm should would have been true of anybody. No, it's more than we can bear.
So go to Iraq and talk to the Iraqis about the babies killed by the hell unleashed by this president in a war that you had supported, Mr. Cohen. Or is that more than you can bear?
2 more dead after Sago mine disaster
i had no idea that our beloved badtux
and speaking of "nawhlins"...the must read nawhlins post of the day from the da po'blog : "jesus in cleats"
imagine 70,000 people on one city block, on one special day, all there for one purpose. imagine over $100 million going into bringing those people together. imagine a super bowl atmosphere, complete with the media frenzy and global interest in what is happening on that day on that block.go read the entire post.
sounds magical, doesn’t it?
now, imagine that the city block the masses have come to is in gentilly, or mid-city, or lakeview, or the 9th ward, or new orleans east. imagine that they are not there to sit in a comfortable seat and watch grown men play a game on artificial grass, but have come together to be part of the action and participate in the rebuilding of that neighborhood. imagine how much work could get done.
yeah, i know. i don’t believe in magic either.
the drought that is the federal "reserve"
Some Oklahoma Ranchers To Get Under $100 In Drought Aid.
Many small Oklahoma livestock producers will get less than $100 from the $6.5 million in federal grant money allocated to compensate state farmers and ranchers for losses linked to the prolonged drought, officials said Tuesday. CattleNetwork.com
Missouri governor seeks federal drought assistance
Gov. Matt Blunt asked Sept. 15 for federal help for Missouri farmers affected by drought. He is requesting the USDA declare 96 of Missouri's 114 counties natural disaster areas. Iowa Farmer - Sep 26
Farmers to discuss drought
With a serious drought threatening crops in the area, farmers will gather Tuesday to discuss the conditions. The Natchez Democrat - Sep 25
NDA Announces Start of Sign-up for Livestock Drought Assistance
Nebraska Department of Agriculture (NDA) Director Greg Ibach announced the opening of a sign-up period for livestock producers to apply for drought assistance. CattleNetwork.com - Sep 25
Texas Ranchers Struggle with Drought Conditions
Ranchers in Texas are suffering record losses in crops and livestock because of the hot, dry weather in several parts of the state. Day to Day, September 8, 2006
Drought Kills Crops on Great Plains
A drought has been lingering in the Great Plains for six years. A federal meteorologist calls it the third-worst U.S. drought on record. Farmers in some parts of the country have endured Dust Bowl-like conditions this summer. Morning Edition, September 5, 2006
Fires Scorch Nebraska Cattle Industry
The drought breaks soon. For those affected by the fires, donations of money, hay and fence supplies have started to arrive. And because of the drought, the federal government is offering. Weekend Edition Aug-13-2006
a strong constitution
then a quick ride on the t back to south station to pick up the old town trolley, which took the skippy's up to see the uss constitution, the flagship of the us navy. the constitution was one of the original 6 ships first built for the navy back in the late 1700's, and is the oldest commissioned ship in the country.
the frigate was set to be scraped in 1830, but a young hahvahd student by the name of oliver wendell holmes wrote the now-famous poem "old ironsides," which stirred a public outcry to save the ship.
the young lieutenant who was manning the constitution today said that his duty was "the best in the navy." the pretty young ensign by his side told the skippy's that she and the lieutenant have both been sailing on the constitution, as such duty "was mandatory." the ship sails at least twice a year to keep its commission active.
last but not least, the skippy's wound up back at ye olde union oyster house for dinner, and then another leisurely walk through boston commons and the public gardens to their hotel.
tomorrow: rent a car, head up to
Monday, September 25, 2006
like the news only sooner
after clearing security, travelers can now bring beverages and other items purchased in the secure boarding area on-board aircraft.no one could have imagined the war on soda™ was a trick to boost sales.
let them eat pie
then the skippy's had a great sirloin stew for dinner, topped off by boston cream pie. and where else do you get good boston cream pie, than the place that invented the dessert, the omni parker house hotel? also the home of parker house rolls, the omni parker house is the longest continuously operating hotel in america (since 1855).
the weather in boston is glorious, the streets are clean and the people are incredible. skippy was reminded even more of his other favorite city, san francisco, in how the city of boston is so alive with wonderful surprises around every corner. it's like a huge history amusement park.
tomorrow: the uss constitution!
one of these things is not like the other....
can you tell which thing is not like the others
by the time i finish my song?
did you guess which thing was not like the others?
did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
if you guessed the u.s. cover is not like the others,
then you're absolutely...right!
the carpetbagger, rising hegemon, and altenate brain have more on this story.
army escalates attack on iraq war resister lt. watada
the u.s. army announced on sept. 15 that it was charging lt. ehren watada, the first commissioned officer to refuse deployment to iraq, with an additional charge of conduct unbecoming an officer. lt. watada now faces 8 years in prison on charges overwhelmingly arising from public political statements of opposition to the war.read more | digg story
the pacific citizen has an interview up with lt. watada....
i gave my life to protect freedom and democracy — a sacrifice i am willing to make by doing the right thing.
in a way i’m already free. physically they can lock me up, throw away the key, leave me to rot and contemplate my “crimes.” for a long time i was in turmoil. i felt compelled to fulfill the terms of my contract despite what i knew to be utterly wrong. only when i realized that i served not men and institutions but the people of this country, did i believe there was another answer. that choice was to do what is right and just.
no child left unstripped searched
a bill approved by the u.s. house yesterday would require school districts around the country to establish policies making it easier for teachers and school officials to conduct wide scale searches of students. these searches could take the form of pat-downs, bag searches, or strip searches depending on how administrators interpret the law.
the student teacher safety act of 2006 (hr 5295) would require any school receiving federal funding--essentially every public school--to adopt policies allowing teachers and school officials to conduct random, warrantless searches of every student, at any time, on the flimsiest of pretexts. saying they suspect that one student might have drugs could give officials the authority to search every student in the building.
dpa supporters and others who opposed this outrageous bill called their members of congress this week to express their disapproval. however, house leaders circumvented the usual legislative procedure to bring the bill to a quick vote. it did not pass through the committee process, but went straight to the house floor. there, it was passed by a simple voice vote, so constituents cannot even find out how their representative voted. - drugpolicy.org
blog free or die
found on "the hill" by raw story:
and those fiesty new hampshirites posted up on kos about it, too. kos himself takes up the cause, too...and no...he didn't send out instructions to blog about this issue..gotta watch out for my "home state hommies"....(you can take the girl out of n.h., but ya can't take the n.h. outta the girl!)
liberal bloggers in new hampshire busted an aide to rep. charles bass (r-nh) who was posing as a liberal blogger on such blogs as blue granite, nh-02 progressive and others. bass’ office admitted culpability to hoh and said the staffer would be “appropriately disciplined.”
the unnamed aide to bass — who, like many others in his party, faces a tough re-election fight — was routinely trolling liberal new hampshire political blogs calling himself “indynh” and more commonly indienh, pretending to be a progressive.
...finally, after noticing that lots of things he said just didn’t add up, a couple of the bloggers traced indienh’s ip address to the house of representatives.
stop by and check out bluegraniteblog and give them a hardy roo "g'day".
Sunday, September 24, 2006
say a little prayer...or thought
if waterboarding isn't torture...
so...is waterboarding torture?
i'd say yes.
interestingly, the united states has long since answered that question. following the end of the second world war we prosecuted a number of japanese military and civilian officials for war crimes. including the torture of captured allied personnel. at one of those trials, united states v. sawada, here’s how captain chase nielsen, a crew member in the 1942 doolittle raid on japan, described his treatment, when he was captured, (and later tried for alleged war crimes by a japanese military commission):q: what other physical treatment was administered to you at that time?
a: well, i was given what they call the water cure.
q: explain to the commission what that was.
a: wthey poured water on this towel until i was almost unconscious from strangulation, then they would let me up until I'd get my breath, then they'd start over again.
q: when you regained consciousness would they keep asking you questions?
a: yes sir they did.
q: how long did this treatment continue?
a: bout twenty minutes.
q: what was your sensation when they were pouring water on the towel, what did you physically feel?
a: well, i felt more or less like i was drowning, just gasping between life and death.
the prosecutor in that case was vehement in arguing that the captured doolittle fliers had been wrongfully convicted by the japanese tribunal, in part because they were convicted based on evidence obtained through torture. "the untrustworthiness of any admissions or confessions made under torture," he said, "would clearly vitiate a conviction based thereon." - lawofwar.org
perhaps because awol never served overseas
josh has an action alert
from talking points memo:
call up your representative and senators -- republican or democrat, it doesn't matter -- and tell them you want the april national intelligence estimate ("trends in global terrorism: implications for the united states") released to the public. now. before the election. so the public can know what the white house has been keeping from them.
why not give the uber wealthy
the u.s. army's top officer withheld a required 2008 budget plan from pentagon leaders last month after protesting to defense secretary donald h. rumsfeld that the service could not maintain its current level of activity in iraq plus its other global commitments without billions in additional funding.
The decision by gen. peter j. schoomaker, the army's chief of staff, is believed to be unprecedented and signals a widespread belief within the army that in the absence of significant troop withdrawals from iraq, funding assumptions must be completely reworked, current and former pentagon officials said. - latte times
why detroit is "losing"
honda motor co. said on monday it has developed a new and simple diesel powertrain that is as clean as gasoline-fuelled cars, unveiling plans to mount it on a car for the u.s. market by 2009.
...honda's new diesel drivetrain generates and stores ammonia within a two-layer catalytic converter to turn nitrogen oxide into harmless nitrogen.
time is not on our side
and of course, he does:
also, the "conservative rightroots movement" pre-dated the leftist blogs by at least a year. instapundit, captains quarters, live from the wtc (now asymmetrical intelligence) were pulling in huge traffic four years ago, during the year directly after 9/11. the leftist blogs grew larger and more popular than the right blogs in the last three years, and the right blogs show no sign of catching up.
to say that the right's version of netroots activism is lagging behind the left's because it got started later, is again, dabadwaw (disengenuous at best, and downright wrong at worst).
bacon fries on:
it's rather like saying, that tom paine better stop printing up those pamphlets and actually start meeting with patriots if he wants a revolution. well, duh!
but what did you expect from the organization that hired an anal-sex obsessive for their official political blogger?
hello from beantown
they had a great "lazy man's lobster" dinner at ye olde union oyster house over by faneuil hall. the union oyster house is the oldest continuous serving restaurant in the united states. daniel webster used to hold court at the oyster bar, scarfing down 6 plates of the bivalves along with his brandy and water.
then a leisurely after-dinner walk around the quincy marketplace, including watching some break-dancing street performers. the sidewalks are lively, the people are friendly, and the town reminds skippy of his other favorite people-friendly town, san francisco, in its available scope and easily-transversed by-ways.
tomorrow the skippy's plan to visit the boston common and walk the freedom trail. later on in their new england lobster fest-fall foliage tour '06, they plan to visit with co-blogger pudentilla, and wind up with a breakfast at carnegie's deli in manhattan w/the best of the new york bloggers.
in the meantime, skippy noticed the multi-millionaire media is just now blathering about clinton's tet-a-tet w/chris "my dad was a journalist" wallace, which is something that is already six comment threads ago in blogtopia (and yes, we coined that phrase).
katie couric's a freaking idiot
she's not a rock star.
who cares if she has a sense of style. (she was buying shoes when people were drowning)
who cares how someone asks the secretary of state out on a date.
she's speaking for those who are voiceless? (ask some freaking democrats about having their voices heard up on the hill)
no....the world is not safer....hello....
this bimbo is getting $15 million a year for this sort of "journalism"?
hate to see what an exclamation mark looks like
blitzer asked the president to respond to the nightmare that iraq has become, but bush wouldn't hear of it. he dismissed the ongoing crisis as "just a comma."
wolfie: let's move on and talk a little bit about iraq. because this is a huge, huge issue, as you know, for the american public, a lot of concern that perhaps they are on the verge of a civil war, if not already a civil war…. we see these horrible bodies showing up, tortured, mutilation. the shia and the sunni, the iranians apparently having a negative role. of course, al qaeda in iraq is still operating.
awol: yes, you see — you see it on tv, and that's the power of an enemy that is willing to kill innocent people. but there's also an unbelievable will and resiliency by the iraqi people…. admittedly, it seems like a decade ago. i like to tell people when the final history is written on iraq, it will look like just a comma because there is — my point is, there's a strong will for democracy. (emphasis added)
in 2004, the american-run coalition provisional authority in iraq awarded a contract to a small firm known an taos inc. to ship military supplies into iraq to equip the new iraqi security forces [dod contract no. w914ns-04-d-0115]. among the supplies delivered were about 200,000 ak-47s from an arms stockpile in bosnia flown and shipped through a confusing labyrinth of subcontractors who do not exactly have the best record when it comes to following arms trade laws.
it is now 2006, and iraqis and americans in iraq say that they have not received any ak-47s from bosnia.
the big dog barks
and a note to those "foaming at the mouth" heads "interpreting" president clinton's "outrage"...."some people" as faux likes to say, are hellbent to continue smearing the clintons with lies and innuendos. if you were faced with constant lies, especially the blatent "commercial free" one broadcast to the nation under the guise of being "based on the 9/11 commission report", wouldn't you be upset too? wouldn't you be furious? wouldn't you want to address the falsehoods straight on? wouldn't you want to know who hides behind the "some people have emailed me this question?"
but i am sure that if the big dog wasn't outraged in the interview, "some people" would claim the big dog didn't have cajones and just rolled over.
now...if more dems could grow a pair and stand up to the slimemachine more often.
"now, (the guard) is part of the nation's response at home and around the world," said goodwater, now a lieutenant colonel.
..."i really think what's at stake is the health of the military and its ability to carry out the national strategy."
since the u.s.-led invasions of afghanistan in november 2001 and of iraq in march 2003, the military has deployed about 266,000 guard members to those wars.
..."it is clear that we are using the guard and reserves far more than we ever have," said wormuth. most experts agree that is likely to continue.
...active-duty troops "were to actually take the brunt of the fighting, stabilize, and then the rest of us would show up and do our thing," said goodwater, 48, commander of california's 579th engineer battalion.
while active-duty units received up-to-date training, goodwater's unit was trained to a level just short of what was necessary to go to war. also unlike its active-duty counterparts, his unit trained with obsolete equipment, including korean war-era tanks and boats.
as fighting in afghanistan and iraq has shown, the military has relied on the guard not only to contribute many forces to the fight but also for rebuilding or peacekeeping after major combat.
the military also has placed guard members in charge of active-duty troops. that includes the fairfield, calif.-based 49th military police brigade, which commanded three battalions of military police. - the daily herald
who the h**l is left to save national forests, land, communities, wineries? oh, yeah. inmates or more inmates. or fire "mercenaries" private contractor companies in oregon and washington (the pacific northwest region) are hired by government agencies under contracts for crews and contracts for engines and tenders. it is not an easy way to make a living. under these contracts, there are no work guarantees and crews are hired on an as-needed basis. to qualify for the contract, companies invest more than $30,000 per 20-person crew just for training and personal protective equipment in the event they might be dispatched. those costs do not include transportation, fringe benefits, workers compensation and taxes. ...your best hope for highly trained firefighters to protect your homes, your forests and your taxpayer dollar is the new “best value” contracting system. “best value” award rankings for dispatch are based on crew experience, past performance, safety records, and other stringent requirements.- pr web
private contractor companies in oregon and washington (the pacific northwest region) are hired by government agencies under contracts for crews and contracts for engines and tenders. it is not an easy way to make a living. under these contracts, there are no work guarantees and crews are hired on an as-needed basis. to qualify for the contract, companies invest more than $30,000 per 20-person crew just for training and personal protective equipment in the event they might be dispatched. those costs do not include transportation, fringe benefits, workers compensation and taxes.
...your best hope for highly trained firefighters to protect your homes, your forests and your taxpayer dollar is the new “best value” contracting system. “best value” award rankings for dispatch are based on crew experience, past performance, safety records, and other stringent requirements.- pr web
Saturday, September 23, 2006
(cross-posted from my place.)
is macaca kosher?
his ancestry became an issue in his quickly imploding bid for re-election as a virginia republican when allen was asked about his jewish heritage during a debate with his democratic opponent, jim webb. allen nastily chided the reporter who posed the question and dismissed it as irrelevant.
"my mother is french-italian with a little spanish blood in her," allen told the panelist. he said he had been raised as a christian and made no mention of any jewish heritage. on tuesday, allen acknowledged his jewish ancestry publicly for the first time, in a statement his campaign issued…
so, allen first makes a racial slur, then gets mad during the debate with webb and accuses his questioner of casting "aspersions." then he does a 180 and the next day issues a statement saying he takes "great pride" in his jewish heritage. later, he states in an interview: "i still had a ham sandwich for lunch. and my mother made great pork chops." jews who keep kosher don't eat pork.
shouldn't there be a limit, of say, one per week, for major campaign gaffes?
from reuters mouth to god's ears
polls show u.s. voters are overwhelmingly unhappy with the direction of the country.
in a new york times/cbs poll released on thursday, 77 percent of respondents said most members of congress did not deserve re-election. fifty percent said they would support a democrat in november, when control of congress is at stake, compared with 35 percent who said they would vote republican.
that discontent has convinced some that control of congress could change hands for the first time since 1994, when republicans gained 54 seats amid a wave of voter anger. democrats need to gain 15 seats in the house of representatives and six senate seats in november to win a majority.
"we're disgusted somewhat with some of the republicans, but we'd be in a whole lot worse shape with the democrats," said the rev. don wildmon of tupelo, miss., chairman of the conservative american family association. "so, if you can't get the whole loaf, take a half a loaf."
together, fiscal and social conservatives make up a significant segment of the gop faithful, and the republican party always needs them to vote in droves. that's especially important this year because turnout typically is low in a congressional election cycle and polls show the public favoring democrats to control congress.
bin laden dead, al sunnah leader wounded, war on terror over
rumor has it that bin laden is dead, or if he's not dead, he's dying, or if he's not dying, he's sick, or at least he's in the plague scene from "monty python and the holy grail." time is not on his side:
the source, speaking on condition of anonymity, says that saudi officials have received multiple credible reports over the last several weeks that bin laden has been suffering from a water-borne illness. the source believes that there is a "high probability" that bin laden has already died from the disease, but stressed that saudi officials have thus far received no concrete evidence of bin laden's death.
"this is not a rumor," says the source. "he is very ill. he got a water-related sickness and it could be terminal. there are a lot of serious facts about things that have actually happened. there is a lot to it. but we don't have any concrete information to say that he is dead."
chirac said he was "a bit surprised" at the leak and has asked defense minister michele alliot-marie to investigate how a document from a french foreign intelligence service was published in the french press.
the sunni militant group ansar al-sunnah (ahn'-sahr ahl-soo'-nah) has ties to al-qaida-in-iraq and has claimed responsibility for numerous attacks. among them is the december 2004 explosion at a u-s military mess hall in mosul that killed 22 people.