LEFT is RIGHT (blogging against The Bush-war)
### Iraq War Cost
Buy it Here for $12.95
::::: MY PROFILE :::::
When the Good Guys Do NOTHING
Welcome to the New World Order
Truth, War & Consequences
In the Name of Freedom
Army of One
Bush's 40/IRAQ/SOTU/OTHER Lies
A Declaration of Progressive Principles
A Declaration of Impeachment
World's Leading Terrorist
Why Bush Invaded Iraq
Coalition Deaths in Iraq
Altruism is Out of Focus
Official Bush Lie Outlet
The Devil's Handbook
Third World Traveler
Paying for Wal-mart
Those Elusive WMDs
The Bush Record
I reserve the right to publish your e-mail.
My Ecosystem Details
Who's Linking to Left is Right
Who links to me?
Who's on Left is Right right now
# Visits by day of month
Most Recent Visitors
Recent Visitors by Location
United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Humanist Manifesto III
The Brand New Bag
Books about the Iraq War
Front Pages / 10 x 10 / Open Secrets / VillageVoice / The New Standard / The Hill / Washington Note
|....The anti-war movement must lead and hopefully, the Democratic Party will follow. But there is much the Democratic Party can do:|
First, stop marginalizing those Democrats who are calling for immediate withdrawal or a one-year timetable. Encourage pubic hearings in Congressional districts on the ongoing costs of war and occupation, with comparisons to alternative spending priorities for the one billion dollars per week.
Second, call for peace talks between Iraqi political parties and the Iraqi resistance. Hold hearings demand to know why the Bush Administration is trying to squash any such Iraqi peace initiatives. (Bush Administration officials are hoping the new Iraqi government will "settle for a schedule based on the military situation, not the calendar." New York Times, Jan. 19, 2005).
Third, as an incentive to those Iraqi peace initiatives, the US needs to offer to end the occupation and withdraw our troops by a near-term date. The Bush policy, supported by the Democrats, is to train and arm Iraqis to fight Iraqis--a civil war with fewer American casualties.
Fourth, to further promote peace initiatives, the US needs to specify that a multi-billion dollar peace dividend will be earmarked for Iraqi-led reconstruction, not for the Halliburtons and Bechtels, without discrimination as to Iraqi political allegiances.
Fifth, Democrats could unite behind Senator Rockefellers's persistent calls for public hearings on responsibility for the torture scandals. If Republicans refuse to permit such hearings, Democrats should hold them independently. "No taxes for torture" is a demand most Democrats should be able to support. The Democratic Senate unity against the Bolton appointment is a bright but isolated example of how public hearings can keep media and public attention focused on the fabricated reasons for going to war.
Instead of such initiatives, the national Democratic Party is either committed to the Iraq War, or to avoiding blame for losing the Iraq War, at the expense of the social programs for which it historically stands. The Democrats' stance on the war cannot be separated from the Democrats' stance on health care, social security, inner city investment, and education, all programs gradually being defunded by a war which costs $100 billion yearly, billed to future generations....
|....In typical digital projection displays, increasing image resolution requires increasing the number of pixels in the spatial light modulator (SLM). This significantly increases the complexity and cost of the SLM and therefore the final product. Because the SLM is usually the most expensive component in a digital projection display, HP's "wobulation" technology is an economical method of increasing the resolution of digital projection displays without changing the SLM.|
"Wobulation" technology works by generating multiple sub-frames of data while an optical image shifting mechanism then displaces the projected image of each sub-frame by a non-integral number of pixels. The sub-frames are then projected in rapid succession to appear as if they are being projected simultaneously and superimposed. The resulting image has significantly higher resolution than images produced by conventional digital projection devices.
The resolution enhancement technology is applicable to both front projection and rear projection applications. HP's "wobulation" technology is not dependent on a particular SLM technology and is expected to work with future SLM technologies. HP plans to introduce front projection and rear projection products in 2005 based on the "wobulation" technology....
|"Republicans are just going insane with frustration these days. If they're mad because their candidates are being filibustered, they threaten to change the filibuster rule by fiat. If they don't like what the courts are doing, they threaten to defund the courts. If their candidate for UN ambassador is likely to get voted down in committee, they plan to report him out anyway. If they don't like your amendments to their pet bill, they unilaterally rewrite them in a display of juvenile pique.|
I can hardly wait to see what's next. Are we going to have fistfights on the floor of Congress again? Or is the Republican caucus simply going to explode in purple cheeked rage? Stay tuned." - - - Kevin Drum
|...The White House is toughening-up its support of Bolton, even to the point of anticipating a stalemate or even negative vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Bolton. Lawyers are now considering various mechanisms by which the Senate Foreign Relations Committee might be circumvented to take the nomination directly to the floor of the Senate, this making a mockery of the Committee, its findings, and any vote it might take.|
This is incredible. The Bush administration is willing -- it seems -- to gamble everything on behalf of Bolton, even to the point of emasculating the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Senators like Richard Lugar, Chuck Hagel, Lincoln Chafee, George Voinovich, and others need to say enough is enough. This is no longer about Bolton being a "loose cannon" or irresponsible manager of intelligence, or an agent in a guerilla war against Secretary of State Colin Powell's diplomacy. This is about an incredible abuse of power not by Bolton, but by the White House.
If it stays on its present course, the White House is saying that not only was Bolton's wide berth of disturbing, reckless behaviors not appropriate, White House officials are celebrating Boltonianism and mimicking it in its treatment of Lugar and his committee.
Because the White House is willing to go to such incredibly perverse lengths on this battle, I think it's increasingly clear that Bolton's opponents can and may just possibly win. The manner and style of White House pressure on its caucus is forcing the Senate to accept the unacceptable.
Dick Cheney's team is canvassing the Republican caucus to see how solid or weak support will be for Bolton in a full Senate vote -- but they are taking the vote before anyone has seen the NSA intercepts.
If Bolton played loose with the nation's most secret secrets and was spying on his superiors and passing on information to others in government, Bolton's behavior may have violated bounds of legality. The Senate will switch in a heart-beat if that is the case, despite any pre-NSA Intercepts ring-kissing operation that Cheney has going on among the Republicans in the Senate chamber....
|Tomorrow the administration will receive a letter co-signed by Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Richard Lugar and Ranking Member Joseph Biden requesting that the 10 NSA intercept transcripts requested by John Bolton during his tenure as Under Secretary of State be made available to Senators and cleared senior Committee staff.|
This is a very important step because if the administration fails to comply, it is now not only defying Senator Chris Dodd who has been trying to get a response on these transcripts for weeks, it is defiance of Chairman Lugar.
There are two theories as to why the NSA transcripts have not been provided yet. The first is that there are complicated protocols and precedence issues involved with the NSA providing these materials. I do not have evidence just yet of the case, but I have heard that there is in fact a precedent of the NSA providing intercept material to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in another circumstance. These kinds of intercepts are among America's most secret kind of secrets -- and this request for a rather large number of intercepts is significant. There may also be genuine concerns about protecting sources and methods of intelligence collection -- and not having certain kinds of information leak out that could conceivably endanger national security.
The second is that this is a smoke screen that the State Department and Condoleeza Rice and others are manipulating to drag out the process of getting vital information on Bolton's interest in the various U.S. officials named in the transcripts.
Sources tell TWN that the State Department has not signed off on NSA providing the transcripts and that the issue involved is not only resolving the logistics of making the transcripts available -- but also working with State collaboratively so as not to inadvertently harm various diplomatic agendas or people mentioned.
The bottom line is that Dodd and others have worked for a very long time to get into the transcripts -- and the administration has hid behind drag-their-feet protocol matters. NSA also had the audacity to claim that they would provide information only to the Senate Intelligence Committee. I'm sure that as miffed as Senator Lugar was with some Members of his Committee that the Bolton matter was dragged out an extra three weeks, such a response from the NSA and State Department would be equally irritating, if not more.
|"There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people for a purpose which is unattainable." - - - Howard Zinn|
|More than 100 days into this congressional session, and into George W. Bush's second term, a federal government controlled entirely by Republicans is wandering off into a wilderness of political extremism and policy negligence that's becoming alarming to anyone worried about the future of the country. |
The House of Representatives, controlled by Republicans as though it were a private country club, is focused on ramming through interest-group favored legislation remote from the real challenges facing America. House GOPers are openly bickering over strategy and tactics with their Senate colleagues and with the White House. Meanwhile, the Senate is on the brink of a nasty and pointless fight over the alleged "right" of the president to get every federal judge he wants, which is likely to paralyze Senate action on its real business for much of the session. And the president himself remains obsessed with barnstorming around the country to promote an ill-defined but fundamentally irresponsible Social Security privatization scheme that is steadily losing support every day he talks about it.
With all due respect to House Speaker Dennis Hastert, House Republicans are now publicly identified to an irreversible degree with the man who has actually led them from the day Newt Gingrich stepped down, Tom DeLay of Texas. DeLay's ethics recidivism and blunt advocacy of the crudest sort of alliances between legislators and lobbyists is bad enough. But his chronic habit of treating any and all criticism as just another front in an apocalyptic partisan, ideological, cultural, and religious war is damaging to our entire political system....
|"The Senate is not a majoritarian institution, like the House of Representatives is. It is a deliberative body, and it's got a number of checks and balances built into our government. The filibuster is one of those checks in which a majority cannot just sheerly force its will, even if they have a majority of votes in some cases. That's why there are things like filibusters, and other things that give minorities in the Senate some power to slow things up, to hold things up, and let things be aired properly."|
|The Associated Press|
Updated: 9:24 p.m. ET April 25, 2005WASHINGTON - In his final word, the CIA’s top weapons inspector in Iraq said Monday that the hunt for weapons of mass destruction has “gone as far as feasible” and has found nothing, closing an investigation into the purported programs of Saddam Hussein that were used to justify the 2003 invasion.
“After more than 18 months, the WMD investigation and debriefing of the WMD-related detainees has been exhausted,” wrote Charles Duelfer, head of the Iraq Survey Group, in an addendum to the final report he issued last fall.
“As matters now stand, the WMD investigation has gone as far as feasible.”
|"Many Iraqis can hear me tonight in a translated radio broadcast, and I have a message for them. If we must begin a military campaign, it will be directed against the lawless men who rule your country and not against you. As our coalition takes away their power, we will deliver the food and medicine you need. We will tear down the apparatus of terror and we will help you to build a new Iraq that is prosperous and free. In a free Iraq, there will be no more wars of aggression against your neighbors, no more poison factories, no more executions of dissidents, no more torture chambers and rape rooms. The tyrant will soon be gone. The day of your liberation is near."|
- - - George Bush, in speech broadcast March 17, 2003
|So Frist says:|
"Reacting to a Democratic offer in the fight over filibusters, Republican leader Bill Frist said Tuesday he isn't interested in any deal that fails to ensure Senate confirmation for all of President Bush's judicial nominees."
Reid just engaged Frist in a game of chicken, and Frist blinked first.
Reid has been extrememly effective in whipping up opposition to the Nuclear Option, garnering strong grass- and netroots support, editorial board support, and popular support (as the latest polls show scant appetitite for ending the filibuster).
But in order to avoid looking like obstructionists, Demcorats had to make efforts to "find a compromise", lest the chattering class get the vapors from such Democratic intransigence.
Had Frist accepted the offers for compromise, Bush would've gotten the majority of his judges through, and Democrats would've gotten -- who knows what. All published compromise offers didn't seem to give our side anything.
So Democrats would've faced a sea of criticism from our own side for snatching defeat out of the hands of victory. Frist and Co. would've finally gotten a procedural victory against Reid (who has run circles around them thus far). And all that good will Reid had built in the netroots over the past four months would've evaporated in one fell swoop.
It was one heck of a gamble, but the Senator from Nevada played his cards right.
Frist painted himself into a corner, having whipped up the forces of wingnuttery into a froth, he could not back down without damaging his White House aspirations for 2008. He's banking on the crazies to get him the nomination.
So Reid got the Democrats to look conciliatory, forcing Frist and his Republicans to look even more inflexible than before.
Damn the guy is good. I'm glad he's on our side.
|....Of course there's going to be a draft, if for no other reason than George Bush has steadfastly promised there wouldn't be one. |
They're coming after our children -- sweeping them all up -- bullying them at schools, stalking them, offering them big bucks to join the military. And there's no one to stop them. Servile Americans, even those who can still see, feel helpless. When faced with the decision to stand up and speak up, or give up their children, they are bombarded from all sides with strident demands for patriotism so, like their counterparts of empirical Rome, Americans await their fate -- their children's fate -- in silent despair.
There is nowhere to hide -- no one to turn to. The mainstream media has dropped all pretense of objectivity and has become a worthless tool of the state. The media's once envied "public service" to the people has become little more than applauding each new atrocity of this warmongering administration in the hopes of earning a share of the spoils. Vigilant no longer, the watchdog media has become, in the words of Czech novelist Milan Kundera, "a parade of people marching by with raised fists . . . shouting identical syllables in unison."
We can forget the Congress suddenly realizing it has a Constitutional mandate for oversight and restraint. Ain't gonna happen. The elected members of both parties are far too busy struggling under the weight of their own corruption to worry about the relentless dismantling of the republic or the worldwide chaos their lack of attention is causing. There's no indication that the injury, maiming or death of thousands of US servicemembers, or as Henry Kissenger describes them, "dumb, stupid animals" will appear on their radar as long as the media can prevent it from appearing on ours. They're not only cold, they're evil. Rotten to the core. Rotten from the core -- on in...
On February 8, President George Bush proudly bragged to Tim Russert on Meet the Press, "I'm a war president. I make decisions here in the Oval Office in foreign policy matters with war on my mind."
Do you hear that, moms and dads? If your president's juvenile, paranoid announcement doesn't cross your minds whenever you're loading up your sons and daughters and sending them off to Iraq -- perhaps it will as you unload their flag-draped coffins at your cemeteries when they return home...
Many foolishly believed Bush's signature legislation, the No Child Left Behind Act, meant that all children in this country -- all children -- would have equal opportunity for education. However, it didn't take long for those paying attention to realize that, as with anything Bush tells us, the opposite is true. The No Child Left Behind Act is little more than an increasingly harsh and punitive testing apparatus, the funding of which has been pushed off on states in a Catch-22 requirement -- either fund the program and meet the testing standards or face sanctions and, ultimately, closure.
Other than underfunding it, putting sanctions on schools, and wreaking havoc throughout the public school system, Bush has mostly ignored the Act's provisions -- with one exception. Buried deep within its 670 pages is a requirement that secondary school officials must provide provide contact information for every student as well as allow military recruiters unlimited access to their facilities, or lose federal aid. From the various sites these uniformed child abusers are setting up shop, primarily in minority neighborhoods and lower socio-economic areas, it's obvious whose children are being targeted. If Bush succeeds, none of them will be left behind....
|....There is no excuse for not knowing the consequences of DU. Scores of reports have been written based on studies and investigations conducted since 1991. Physicians, physicists, scientists, researchers, and even some media -- mostly foreign -- continue to sound the alarm. We are witnesses to the most egregious war crimes in the history of the world, orchestrated by three mass murderers, yet we continue to play a deadly game of "Kings-X" with the Pentagon and the media, primarily cable outlets CNN and Fox News. Until this axis of corruption admits that DU is a death sentence to all who come in contact with it -- a crime against both God and man -- apparently we are not "allowed" to speak out. Wouldn't be prudent... |
The term, "Depleted Uranium," sounds innocuous, even weak. Actually, DU is radioactive waste left over from manufacturing nuclear fuel and bombs. It is anything but "weak." DU is 1.7 times heavier than lead and boasts a half-life of 4-1/2 billion years. It never goes away. The US has more than 10 million tons of DU -- an abundant nuclear-waste product which is given free to weapons manufacturers who make a tidy profit on their genocidal bullets and bombs.
In a March 9 report, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, former Chief of the Naval Staff, India, writes, "DU burns intensely and is very hard. It releases Uranium Oxide. The aerosol contains particles of 0.5-5 microns in size, once they are in the air or dust they are inhaled or ingested, including from contaminated soil. Once in the lungs one such particle is equivalent to having one X-Ray per hour, for life. (emphasis added) Because it is impossible to remove, the victim is gradually irradiated. Still births, birth defects, leukemia, damaged central nervous systems and other cancers have been common in children born since 1991."
Getting the attention of the American people is, for the most part, a futile exercise -- like screaming into the wind. One wonders how many birth defects, such as babies born with no internal organs, fused organs, no brains, no eyes in empty sockets, will it take before Americans join their international counterparts and cry, "Enough!" When will we realize we are the terrorists, and our *weapon of mass destruction is Depleted Uranium?
No one has screamed louder or longer than Dr. Doug Rokke, former Major and health physicist for the US Army. Rokke, the Army's nuclear expert, was sent to Iraq after Gulf War I to salvage tanks contaminated by DU. He admits he went into the project "with the total intent to ensure they could use uranium munitions in war," but says what he and his team of 100 found there cost one-third of them their lives, cost Rokke his job because he refused to remain silent about his discovery, and continues to wreak havoc with the team's health, the health of millions of civilians in the Gulf, and the health of hundreds of thousands of Gulf War I, and now Gulf War II, veterans.
"We can't do it," Rokke says fervently. "We can't keep sending our citizens into that toxic mess. It's a crime against God. It's a crime against humanity to use uranium munitions in a war, and it's devastating to ignore the consequences..."
Rokke's conclusion is that DU must be banned from the planet, for eternity, and medical care be provided for everyone, not just the US or the Canadians or the British or the Germans or the French but for citizens from Afghanistan and Iraq to Kosovo and Okinawa to Maryland and Indiana, and other US states where DU munitions are tested.
For Americans to remain silent as Bush hands down death sentences for their children and their unborn grandchildren is a war crime in itself. Arthur Bernklau, executive director of Veterans for Constitutional Law in New York cites a study done by eminent scientist Leuren Moret which names DU as the definitive cause of Gulf War Syndrome. Bernklau says of the 580,400 US Gulf War I soldiers, 11,000 are now dead. By the year 2000, when Bush and his draft-dodging warmongers were already planning Gulf War II, there were 325,000 military personnel on permanent medical disability. Currently, more than half of those who served in Gulf War I have pemanent medical problems.
This scandal is threatening to erupt, even as US officials continue to deny there are any long-lasting effects from DU radiation. Bernklau believes the Moret study may be the reason behind Veterans Administration Secretary Anthony Principi's recent and sudden departure. Bernklau says Principi was "aware that DU was causing illness and death as far back as 2000. He and the Bush administration has (sic) been hiding these facts, but now, thanks to Moret's report, is far too big to hide or to cover up."
Moret works tirelessly on the issue of depleted uranium and its effects upon the planet and its inhabitants, especially children. She wrote the Forword to Discounted Casualties:The Human Cost of Depleted Uranium, by Hiroshima journalist Akira Tashiro. The book can be read online, and should be required reading for all Americans, especially those who still possess half sense and one eye.
Moret says the use of DU by the United States defies all international treaties, and will slowly annihilate all species on earth, including the human species. She describes DU as "the Trojan Horse" of nuclear war -- the weapon that keeps on killing for billions of years." There's no way to turn DU off. There's no way to clean it up.....
|But, is the real deep conviction just about having the filibuster, so you can say you have it?|
If you suddenly let radical right nominees go through, in order to “save” the filibuster, you have signaled that you are happy to junk principle in order to protect your own personal procedural powers.
We are standing with Democrats to save the filibuster so it can be used on behalf of the public interest.
If you’re not going to use it here, to block the craziest of the crazy, what’s the point in having it?
|Apr 25, 7:30 AM EDT - By DEE-ANN DURBIN, Associated Press Writer|
DETROIT (AP) -- The lure of the Toyota Prius and other hybrid cars helped drive healthy sales of electric and alternative-powered vehicles last year, according to new data that shows the hybrid market has grown by 960 percent since 2000. New hybrid vehicle registrations totaled 83,153 in 2004, an 81 percent increase over the year before, according to data released Monday by R.L. Polk & Co., a Southfield-based firm that collects and interprets automotive data.
Even though hybrids still represent less than 1 percent of the 17 million new vehicles sold in 2004, major automakers are planning to introduce about a dozen new hybrids during the next three years.
Lonnie Miller, director of analytical solutions for Polk, said federal and state tax credits for fuel-efficient vehicles have helped spur hybrid sales. More people also are buying into the idea that driving a hybrid is socially responsible. "What's different about this than other types of vehicles is that hybrids are about what people want to give back and what they want to feel they're doing with their vehicles," Miller said.
Despite the arrival of Ford Motor Co.'s Ford Escape hybrid in showrooms last year, Japanese automakers continued to control the vast majority of the U.S. market, Polk said. Japanese brands accounted for more than 96 percent of the hybrid vehicles registered.
Toyota Motor Corp., which was the first automaker to commercially mass-produce and sell hybrid cars, continues to dominate the market. The Toyota Prius, which went on sale in the United States in 2000, occupied 64 percent of the U.S. hybrid market last year, with 53,761 new Prius cars registered, Polk said.
Toyota is on track to double Prius sales again this year. The company sold 22,880 Prius cars in the first three months of the year, more than double the number it sold in the first three months of 2004, according to Autodata Corp. Toyota has said it plans to produce 100,000 Prius cars for the North American market this year.
The Honda Civic hybrid was second with 31 percent market share. Honda Motor Co. also sold several hundred Accord and Insight hybrids, which each commanded 1 percent of the market. Ford sold 2,566 Escape hybrid sport utility vehicles, or about 3 percent of the market, Polk said.
Automakers are introducing hybrid versions of several models this year, including the Lexus RX400h, Mercury Mariner and Toyota Highlander SUVs. General Motors Corp. and DaimlerChrysler AG already sell hybrid pickups, but the system they use is less fuel efficient.
Hybrid vehicles are powered by internal combustion engines but also are equipped with batteries that are recharged while driving and an electric motor to assist with power. They typically cost $3,000 to $4,000 more than traditional models.
Miller said hybrids could make up 30 to 35 percent of the U.S. market by 2015 as long as automakers remain committed to producing them and market to people who are passionate about driving them. While some analysts believe there's a limit to the number of consumers who will pay more for a hybrid, Miller said the cost of hybrids eventually will come down. "Some people are thinking there's absolutely no reason that all vehicles shouldn't be hybrid. The technology is there," Miller said.
Polk said California was once again the top state for growth in hybrid vehicle registrations. More than 25,000 new hybrids were registered in California, a 102 percent increase over 2003. Virginia, Washington, Florida and Maryland rounded out the top five states for hybrid registrations, the same as in 2003.
|"You're not to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who does it or says it." - - - Malcolm X|
|Ace Hardware Corporation 0% |
Best Buy Co., Inc. 0%
California Pizza Kitchen, Inc. 0%
Cintas Corporation 0%
CSS Industries, Inc. 0%
Dollar General Corporation 0%
Domino's Pizza, Inc. 0%
Fruit of the Loom 0%
Kohl's Corporation 0%
Lowe's Companies, Inc. 0%
Nordstrom, Inc. 0%
PETsMART, Inc. 0%
Russell Stover Candies Inc. 0%
Pier 1 Imports, Inc. 1%
Raley's Inc. 1%
Outback Steakhouse, Inc. 2%
Kelly Services, Inc. 3%
Williams-Sonoma, Inc 3%
CBRL Group, Inc. 4%
McDonald's Corporation 4%
Hershey Foods Corporation 5%
Urban Outfitters, Inc. 6%
Wendy's International, Inc. 6%
Darden Restaurants, Inc. 9%
Circuit City Stores, Inc. 10%
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, The 11%
Saks Incorporated 11%
Dell Inc. 12%
J. C. Penney Company, Inc. 12%
Kroger Co. 12%
Office Depot, Inc. 12%
OfficeMax Incorporated 12%
Publix Super Markets, Inc. 12%
Zale Corporation 12%
Ahold USA, Inc. 13%
Hallmark Cards, Inc. 14%
American Greetings Corporation 15%
Oracle Corporation 15%
Brinker International, Inc. 16%
EarthLink, Inc. 16%
Helzberg Diamonds 16%
Limited Brands, Inc. 16%
Molson Coors Brewing Company 16%
Staples, Inc. 16%
Marriott International, Inc. 17%
Shell Oil Company 17%
Target Corporation 17%
Winn-Dixie Stores, Inc. 17%
Home Depot, Inc. 18%
Southwest Airlines Co. 18%
Campbell Soup Company 20%
|"How do you sleep at night Mike knowing that your pacifist inaction directly results in innocent people all over the world fighting for survival from tyrants, dictators, and blood thirsty bands of thugs killing in the name of Allah. That type of murder though is OK with you and your final comment is so fucking typical of you liberal morons is unbelievalbe. You people are the biggest hypocrites of all time. When you can't win on debate you resort to name calling and silencing of the opposition. Taking the conservative viewpoint off of the blog is FACISM you moron. You are guilty of everything you blame the neocons of and you can't even see it, how fucking blind and ignorant you are."|
|If you've got something to hide in Washington, the best place to bury it is in the federal budget. The spending plan that President Bush submitted to Congress this year contains 2,000 pages that outline funding to safeguard the environment, protect workers from injury and death, crack down on securities fraud and ensure the safety of prescription drugs. But almost unnoticed in the budget, tucked away in a single paragraph, is a provision that could make every one of those protections a thing of the past. |
The proposal, spelled out in three short sentences, would give the president the power to appoint an eight-member panel called the "Sunset Commission," which would systematically review federal programs every ten years and decide whether they should be eliminated. Any programs that are not "producing results," in the eyes of the commission, would "automatically terminate unless the Congress took action to continue them."
The administration portrays the commission as a well-intentioned effort to make sure that federal agencies are actually doing their job. "We just think it makes sense," says Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at the Office of Management and Budget, which crafted the provision. "The goal isn't to get rid of a program -- it's to make it work better."
In practice, however, the commission would enable the Bush administration to achieve what Ronald Reagan only dreamed of: the end of government regulation as we know it. With a simple vote of five commissioners -- many of them likely to be lobbyists and executives from major corporations currently subject to federal oversight -- the president could terminate any program or agency he dislikes. No more Environmental Protection Agency. No more Food and Drug Administration. No more Securities and Exchange Commission.
"Ronald Reagan once observed, 'The closest thing to immortality on this earth is a federal government program,' " says Rep. Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas who has been working for the past nine years to establish a sunset commission. "We need it to clear out the deadwood."
Without many of those programs, however, American consumers, workers and investors would be left to the mercy of business. "This is potentially devastating," says Wesley Warren, who served as a senior OMB official in the Clinton administration. "In short order, this could knock out protections that have been built up over a generation."
Others note that the provision goes beyond anything attempted by conservatives in the past. "When you look at this," says Marchant Wentworth, a lobbyist for the Union of Concerned Scientists, "it's almost like the Reagan administration was a trial run." ....
|MICROSOFT CAVES ON GAY RIGHTS|
In a move that angered many of the company's gay employees, the Microsoft Corporation, publicly perceived as the vanguard institution of the new economy, has taken a major political stand in favor of age-old discrimination.
The Stranger has learned that last month the $37-billion Redmond-based software behemoth quietly withdrew its support for House bill 1515, the anti-gay-discrimination bill currently under consideration by the Washington State legislature, after being pressured by the Evangelical Christian pastor of a suburban megachurch. The pastor, Ken Hutcherson of Antioch Bible Church in Redmond, met with a senior Microsoft executive in February and threatened to organize a national boycott of the company's products if it did not change its stance on the legislation, according to gay rights activists and a Microsoft employee who attended a subsequent April 4 meeting where Bradford L. Smith, Microsoft's senior vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, told a group of gay staffers about Hutcherson's threat. Hutcherson also unsuccessfully demanded that the company fire two employees who had testified in favor of the bill....
|In just two days, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist will appear with the Radical Religious Right’s James Dobson and Tony Perkins in a telecast to churches nationwide. The “Justice Sunday” event will enlist their followers in Frist’s fight to eliminate the Senate filibuster...the last, best check on one-party domination. |
They’re calling it “Filibuster Against the Faithful.” It’s a shameful attempt to manipulate religion for political gain, and to suggest that anybody who doesn’t share their political point of view can’t be a person of faith.
It’s an outrage. It must not go unanswered...
|"A front-page New York Times story the other day referred to Sen. John McCain as "the most popular national political figure in the country." McCain built his career in politics while news accounts routinely described him as a "war hero," with frequent references to the captivity and torture that he withstood for years after a North Vietnamese missile brought him down from a plane he was piloting over Hanoi. Media outlets rarely put a fine point on the fact that McCain had been dropping bombs on civilians."|
- - - Norman Solomon
|"In this restive, despairing time, if governments do not do all they can to honor nonviolent resistance, then by default they privilege those who turn to violence. No government's condemnation of terrorism is credible if it cannot show itself to be open to change by nonviolent dissent. |
"But instead nonviolent resistance movements are being crushed. Any kind of mass political mobilization or organization is being bought off, or broken, or simply ignored.
"Meanwhile, governments and the corporate media, and let's not forget the film industry, lavish their time, attention, technology, research, and admiration on war and terrorism. Violence has been deified.
"The message this sends is disturbing and dangerous: If you seek to air a public grievance, violence is more effective than nonviolence.
"As the rift between the rich and poor grows, as the need to appropriate and control the world's resources to feed the great capitalist machine becomes more urgent, the unrest will only escalate.
"For those of us who are on the wrong side of Empire, the humiliation is becoming unbearable.
"Each of the Iraqi children killed by the United States was our child. Each of the prisoners tortured in Abu Ghraib was our comrade. Each of their screams was ours. When they were humiliated, we were humiliated. The U.S. soldiers fighting in Iraq - mostly volunteers in a poverty draft from small towns and poor urban neighborhoods - are victims just as much as the Iraqis of the same horrendous process, which asks them to die for a victory that will never be theirs.
"The mandarins of the corporate world, the CEOs, the bankers, the politicians, the judges and generals look down on us from on high and shake their heads sternly. "There's no Alternative," they say. And let slip the dogs of war.
"Then, from the ruins of Afghanistan, from the rubble of Iraq and Chechnya, from the streets of occupied Palestine and the mountains of Kashmir, from the hills and plains of Colombia and the forests of Andhra Pradesh and Assam comes the chilling reply: "There's no alternative but terrorism." Terrorism. Armed struggle. Insurgency. Call it what you want.
"Terrorism is vicious, ugly, and dehumanizing for its perpetrators, as well as its victims. But so is war. You could say that terrorism is the privatization of war. Terrorists are the free marketers of war. They are people who don't believe that the state has a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence.
"Human society is journeying to a terrible place."
- - - Arundhati Roy
|"Though Bush and the modern GOP have reaped extraordinary rewards from an iron-disciplined command-and-control system, they also benefitted from sheer obstinacy and viciousness. They've been lucky with Bush; somehow, that faux-cowboy smirk of his distracts about half of America from the vicious, mean underbelly of the party.|
"Tom DeLay and Bolton have no such appeal. They're mean, they're petty, and they constantly use the system to benefit themselves and their cronies. They didn't get where they are by backing down, either, so they'll go down with guns blazing; they don't know any other way. The longer it takes, the better; America needs to get a good, long look at what they've been voting for."
|The Vatican's Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has suggested that a campaign is under way against the Church, judging by the way scandals involving priests have been reported in the United States.|
The prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith shared his views last weekend with a group of journalists attending a conferencein Rome.
He said: "I am personally convinced that the constant presence in the press of the sins of Catholic priests, especially in the United States, is a planned campaign, as the percentage of these offences among priests is not higher than in other categories, and perhaps it is even lower."
"In the United States, there is constant news on this topic, but less than 1% of priests are guilty of acts of this type," he said. "The constant presence of these news items does not correspond to the objectivity of the information nor to the statistical objectivity of the facts.
"Therefore, one comes to the conclusion that it is intentional, manipulated, that there is a desire to discredit the Church. It is a logical and well-founded conclusion."
Though charity may begin in the House, few have so brazenly blended the altruistic with the self-serving as Tom DeLay.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
By Joe Conason - April 15, 2005 |
"The time has come that the American people know exactly what their representatives are doing here in Washington. Are they feeding at the public trough, taking lobbyist-paid vacations, getting wined and dined by special-interest groups? Or are they working hard to represent their constituents? The people, the American people, have a right to know. I say the best disinfectant is full disclosure."
That populist polemic was delivered on the House floor in November 1995 by well-known reformer Tom DeLay, R-Texas. Now nationally notorious for his own lobbyist-paid luxury trips to Scotland, Russia and South Korea, among other places, where he has been wined and dined by a bewildering variety of special-interest groups, the House majority leader is no longer quite so strict about full disclosure, either. Even the trait often described as his most admirable -- his concern for abused children -- has been tainted by his penchant for backroom influence peddling.
|"I’m not a pacifist. I’ve worked in places where I’ve wanted UN peacekeepers to come. I think there are problems in the world for which a military response might be appropriate.|
"But I think that in my country, in particular among the leaders of my country, there is a grossly inadequate understanding of what a horrible thing war is, and all the misery and suffering that goes with it. My country went to war much too flippantly. Our data strongly supports that.
"I went to Iraq hoping I’d find fewer deaths. It certainly never occurred to me that I’d find more deaths caused by coalition forces than by non-coalition forces. Listening to the press in my country that would have been an unbelievable thing.
"I’m convinced that the war has been a dismal failure. People in my country might not know that for years to come. But we’ve sown the seeds of hatred to an enormous extent."
- - - US-based scientist Dr. Les Roberts, who led a survey in 2004 into deaths caused by the invasion of Iraq. His results showed that approximately 100,000 Iraqis had been killed after the invasion.
|....It seems as if nobody knows anything except the names of a few popular songs and perhaps the names of some popular bands. To see this sort of mass ignorance you can catch Jay Leno's once-every-week-or-so Jaywalking segment, where the late-night entertainer goes on the street to ask people who are out and about the simplest of questions. The answers are absurd and jaw-dropping. He'll ask someone who says he or she is a college student, "Can you name one state that borders California?" The person will look puzzled and respond, "Chicago?" Over the years I have to assume that this segment has been subverted by its own popularity and some people just goof on the answers to get on the show, but to act like a brain-dead dingbat just to be on TV is pathetic in itself.|
Other TV shows have been done with a similar theme, focusing on students at Harvard and elsewhere. Few knew that the earth goes around the sun. Fewer still know even rudimentary geography, and nobody knows history or current events, although kids do know the names of band members....
|Posted 4/15/2005 - Marc Lipsitch, D. Phil|
The world faces a new influenza pandemic about 3 times each century. The 1918 pandemic killed at least 20 million people. We don't know when the next one will hit, but flu experts agree that we are now at high risk for a serious pandemic. H5N1 flu has become endemic in Asian birds, and at least 74 human cases, including 49 deaths and probable human-to-human transmission, have occurred since the beginning of 2004.
We are unprepared for a new pandemic. International health officials lack the resources to monitor avian flu in a human population of hundreds of millions in affected parts of Asia, including some countries with almost no public health systems. Asia needs a significant stockpile of the anti-influenza drug oseltamavir, on-site, to treat and stop transmission of the early cases that could give rise to a pandemic.
If a pandemic reached the United States today, we could manufacture only enough vaccine for perhaps a quarter of our population. Our planned domestic stockpile of oseltamavir would leave over 99% of the country unprotected. Proportionally, Great Britain's stockpile will be 25 times greater, and some authorities suggest that even that isn't enough. To make a dent in a pandemic, vaccines and antivirals will be needed in much greater quantities than current plans allow.
Pandemic flu is an enemy that we know will return. Indeed, of the 12 disaster scenarios recently assessed by the US Department of Homeland Security, it is the most likely and perhaps the most deadly. Our surveillance and countermeasures abroad are inadequate, and current response plans won't do much to slow a pandemic once it is under way. The United States, and the world, must meet this enemy with the seriousness, the investment, and the urgency that it demands.
That's my opinion. I'm Dr. Marc Lipsitch of the Harvard School of Public Health. To contact the author: firstname.lastname@example.orgMarc Lipsitch, D. Phil , Associate Professor of Epidemiology, Department of Epidemiology and Department of Immunology and Infectious Diseases, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts
Medscape General Medicine. 2005; 7 (2): ©2005 Medscape
|BAGHDAD, 19 April (IRIN) - Students and government employees say that tight security on the streets of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, is preventing them from going to school and work. Some teachers say the situation is having a serious impact on education in the country.|
According to the Ministry of Education (MoE), four colleges and 10 schools are suffering from road closures as a result of meetings called by the new national assembly. Some schools haven’t opened since the first assembly meeting two weeks ago.
“Every day I try to get to my college, but policemen have blocked the streets and it’s impossible to get there through other roads. Most of the main avenues in the capital have been closed and it is just delaying progress and our studies,” Mahmoud Obeid, 22, a medical student, told IRIN in Baghdad.
The national assembly is meeting inside the fortified green zone in Baghdad, situated in the heart of the city, where many main roads meet. Road closure here can affect transportation throughout the busy metropolis.
Dr Sabah Kadham, deputy minister of interior, told IRIN that these security measures were needed to ensure safety during the meetings and prevent car bombings in the area.
“We understand that it may be affecting people, but it’s the only way to guarantee some security and permit the development and construction of the new constitution of the country,” Kadham added.
“The main problem is that they [the new assembly] just care about the meetings and don’t look at how security is affecting ordinary Iraqi lives. It is not right to conduct meetings without taking into consideration the chaos being caused to the education of our children,” a senior officer at the MoE, Bilal al-Shehkly, told IRIN.
In addition, government employees, especially those who work inside the green zone, complain that their work is piling up and this is delaying essential work related to reconstruction in the country.
“They have to organise their meeting somewhere which doesn’t affect daily life and permit all employees to work without difficulties, as they depend on our work,” Ziad Mashadany, a senior employee at the national assembly, told IRIN.
Since the start of the meeting of the 275-member national assembly on 5 April, the capital has suffered many attacks, especially in areas where government buildings and embassies are located.
In addition, insurgent groups have distributed leaflets in some areas of the capital, warning that they will carry out attacks against US troops and any police cars giving them protection, along with foreign journalists.
“This country has turned into a mess, you cannot reach your college due to insecurity or you have too much security. I hope life returns to normal so we can get on with our lives,” Sahar Ibraheem, 21, a dentistry student in Baghdad, told IRIN.
|This past weekend, at the California State Democratic Party Convention in Los Angeles, the largest gathering of state-party Democrats in the nation, activists with Progressive Democrats of America led by PDA Executive Director Tim Carpenter successfully lobbied 2,000 delegates to pass a resolution calling for the termination of the occupation of Iraq. The resolution included specific language demanding the withdrawal of American troops from that country.|
The Resolution on IRAQ:
WHEREAS: The Bush Administration, using false intelligence estimates, misled the country into an illegal, unnecessary and unwise invasion and occupation of Iraq, against a country that had neither attacked nor posed an immediate threat to the United States, thus jeopardizing our national security; and
WHEREAS: As a result of that action, more than 1,500 American troops have been killed and more than 10,000 other brave Americans have been maimed or injured, and tens of thousands of Iraqis, including many innocent civilians, have also lost their lives, been injured, and seen their property and country’s infrastructure destroyed; and
WHEREAS: The invasion and occupation have created a severe burden on our economy, stretched the capacity of our armed forces including Reserve and National Guard troops who are serving unexpectedly long and difficult tours in Iraq, and continues to cause deep concern at home and abroad about the policies and intentions of the United States to the point where the United States is widely regarded with suspicion, hostility and distrust, and elections in Iraq confirmed that Iraqis wish the United States to withdraw
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That the California Democratic Party calls for termination of the occupation at the earliest possible time with the withdrawal of American troops, coupled with the creation of an international body that can assist the Iraqi people in freely and peacefully determining their own future, and that we participate in multi-lateral reconstruction.
Adopted by the California Democratic Party At Its 2005 State Convention
Los Angeles Convention Center
April 17, 2005
|BOLTON BATTLE...the real fight|
If the fight over John Bolton's UN nomination were just about John Bolton, he'd be history already. But this isn't about Bolton, it's about the exercise of power. Same thing with House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. If this was even 5 years ago, hed be toast.
We are at the point now where the Republican Leadership refuses to allow the possibility of a loss on anything, regardless of the merits. This renders "debate" meaningless, since nothing said actually matters, so truth is irrelevant.
"Science" depends on faith; everything is a test of power. Oppose something the President wants, and you aren't just wrong, you are betraying the Party. The underlying message is that you are also offending a very particular definition of God.
The sad, sorry Bolton/DeLay spectacles are about total war, the kill-the-prisoners exercise of power that national US politics has become since the 2000 election. If it were merely about power, it wouldn't be so terrifying. Washington is used to that. . .it's what we exist for. But the fear, the self-loathing, the pathetic, cowardly, sniveling, excuse-making drivel from such "leaders" as Lugar, Hagel, Chafee, the entire House Republican Leadership under DeLay. . .and the ever-so-very carefully expressed angst of the Democrats. . .is about something far more dangerous to the Republic than mere political power.
What we are seeing is a fight for the political soul of the nation. We've had these before, in the existential sense. . .in my political lifetime, the civil rights movement, the anti-Vietnam war movement, the women’s rights versus, to a certain extent, the right to life movement. But this time it's totally and completely a fight about God. . .specifically, whether God is going to rule in the United States.
The Constitution says that would be illegal, and any serious expert can tell you that not only were the Founders liberal in their interpretation of the Deity, but they intentionally enshrined a purely secular civic government, including the courts. They didn't think that Jesus had an official plan for us, much less did they think that politicians who defined their duties in secular terms were defying the word of God.
Tom Delay manifestly believes this, and it sounds like any number of Senate Republicans either agree, or lack the imagination or moral courage to disagree. . .why else would some endorse threats against Republican-appointed judges who dare to interpret the law in secular terms? This is what the Bolton fight is really about: you can't dump him, because that lets the Democrats win on both the facts and principle. . .fatal notions to a desire to pack the courts with religious and secular policy extremists.
Why else would there be the constant drumbeat of attacks on the "liberal media", except to undermine public trust in the Constitutionally provided mediator between the politicians and the people?
The Founders knew how to protect what they intended; this crowd has figured out how to undermine the very rule of law in the United States. Listen to what DeLay is arguing...that his excesses have nothing to do with his "persecution", interesting choice of word, by the Democrats and their "liberal press allies". If a majority of Congressional Republicans don't, in their hearts, see the hypocrisy of all this, the Republic is doomed.
The real story behind Bolton and DeLay is obvious, to anyone not already seduced by the dark side. Connect the dots. There's still time.
|....As John Paul's doctrinal overseer, Ratzinger disciplined Latin American "liberation theology" theologians, denounced homosexuality and gay marriage and pressured Asian priests who saw non-Christian religions as part of God's plan for humanity. |
In a document in 2000, he branded other Christian churches as deficient -- shocking Anglicans, Lutherans and other Protestants in ecumenical dialogue with Rome for years....
|April 16, 2005|
It was not your usual judge's order in a case about the potential termination of parental rights. Last October, Judge Barry Tatum of Wilson County, Tennessee, gave a Mexican woman, who is accused of neglect, six months to learn English up to the fourth-grade level or else he would proceed with the trial that could force her to relinquish her 11-year-old daughter.
The six-month period is up on Monday, April 18, and the judge has set a hearing on Monday to determine whether the woman, who speaks Mixteco, has learned enough English. "The court specially informs the mother that if she does not make the effort to learn English, she is running the risk of losing any connection--legally, morally, and physically--with her daughter forever," the judge wrote in his original order, according to news accounts. "If the mother is able to learn English, she will be able to speak with her daughter for the first time in a substantive manner and will show her that she loves her and is willing to do anything necessary to connect with her."
The woman's attorney, Jerry Gonzalez, told The Progressive that the ruling was "outrageous and unconstitutional." He added, "It's in violation of every juvenile rule, every statute, and the constitution--no matter how you want to interpret it."
In a similar case in January, Judge Tatum ordered a woman from Mexico to learn English and use birth control or risk losing custody of her child. In court, he said he was trying to avoid a "Tower of Babel" situation, the Lebanon Democrat reported. The judge was evidently referring to Genesis Chapter 11, where God punishes man for having the arrogance to build a tower into the skies. Before the punishment, everyone was speaking the same language. But then God decided to "confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."
Gonzalez says it was not proper for the judge to invoke the Tower of Babel. "We don't live in a biblical theocracy," he says. "The judge doesn't take an oath to obey the law and the bible, but the law and the Constitution." (Gonzalez also points out that, according to the Bible, it's God's will that people now speak different languages, so Judge Tatum is misinterpreting the Tower of Babel story.)
Judge Tatum has made similar rulings in three other cases, according to NewsMax.com and the Los Angeles Times....
|Doctors in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, fear an outbreak of hepatitis, following an increase in cases reported by the Infectious Diseases Control Centre (IDSC) last week. Officials said the increase was due to poor sewage control, particularly in suburbs of the city.|
Dr Abdul Jalil, director of the IDSC, told IRIN that there had been a 30 percent increase in hepatitis cases in March 2005 compared to the same period in 2004, and that open sewers and polluted water were exacerbating the problem.
Staff at the IDCC said that in March 2004, there were 615 cases of hepatitis registered, compared to 899 cases in the same month this year. In addition, last August, 1,298 cases were diagnosed, a sharp rise due to the weather conditions. Jalil added that there had also been an increase in typhoid, tuberculosis (TB) and other water-borne diseases. He called for immediate action to control the situation. "The system of sanitation in the capital should be fixed quickly. The Ministry of Public Works is moving slowly to solve this problem and it’s affecting the health of Iraqis," Jalil explained.
In addition, Baghdad still has old sewage and water channels which haven't been repaired. The channels often run beside each other and lack of electricity has caused water to be pumped at low pressure, causing sewage to seep into the fresh water delivery system.
According to Dr Haydar Shamari, director of the Iraqi National Centre for Blood Donation (INCBD), hepatitis was the first disease detected in contaminated blood samples. He added that hepatitis C, was very common, followed by type B, which is worrying doctors....
|Dear PDLA: |
From Karen Indreland, PDLA Election Protection organizer, comes an urgent request for your participation and attendance at the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, April 19th, 10 AM, 500 West Temple, LA, 90012 (#57 on the agenda). Plan to spend the day, agendas are not reliable.
PDLA will ask supervisors to vote to secure the Ink-a-Vote System and Micro Tally System. Ink-a-vote is the current county voting system, where you darken in the ovals on paper ballots. PDLA will also support upgrades for audio/keypads for the blind and Second Chance voting to alert those who have under-voted (not voted for a candidate) or over-voted (voted for more than one candidate).
LA County Registrar Conny McCormack is advocating the use of Ink-a-Vote System, which we support. But just as urgently and importantly we must make a public plea to block a two-year struggle to replace our existing tabulation machines (Micro Tally System) with Diebold GEMS-2. Diebold's CEO promised to deliver Ohio to Bush. We do not want to invest our millions or our faith in such a partisan company.
On the question of upgrades, there is no contest. Will it be ES&S or Unisyn (Carlsbad)? Unisyn is the only company offering a print out ballot from our audio/keypad. The ES&S is a tally-only system. PDLA supports Unisyn for the upgrades.
In addition we will put on record our request to remove the Touch Screen Voting machines, which do not provide a paper trail. We want the county to replace these machines with Ink-a-Vote system upgrades to meet the HAVA requirements for tabulation. If the Governor is successful in calling for a special election next year, we want to make sure we have a paper trail for all votes.
Please spread the word and ask as many activists to show up so we can secure our Micro Tally System along with our Ink-a-Vote. Even if you do not testify, your attendance will be a show of support. When PDLA takes a stand against paperless machines or Diebold tabulators, you, too, can take a stand by literally standing to show your support.
Although the meeting will be televised, we need the media to cover it. Please email or call with suggestions or assistance.
Thank you, Karen Indreland - email@example.com
|"The governor has declared war on the state of California. He declared war on us, and I declare war on him." - - - Assemblywoman Judy Chu|
"Hi, I'm Don Perata, and I'm a girlie-man." - - - Senate President pro Tempore Don Perata
"We're right and he's just far-right." - - - State Treasurer Phil Angelides
"… We are the party of innovation, we are the party of accountability, and we are the party of investing in this state's future." - - - State Controller Steve Westly
"Voters gave Arnold Schwarzenegger a chance when he became governor … now they see that what they thought they were getting is something quite different." - - - U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi
"We will say no to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's attempt to take $2 billion out of the education budget. Governor, keep your promise to the children of California and fund public schools. We don't need any more corrupt Republicans in office in this country." - - - DNC Chairman Howard Dean
|Some administration staffers were not allowed to be interviewed by investigators looking into Armstrong Williams' paid role.|
By Tom Hamburger
Times Staff Writer
April 15, 2005
WASHINGTON — Education Department investigators looking into the administration's controversial hiring of commentator Armstrong Williams were denied the opportunity to interview some White House personnel because of a White House claim that such interviews could breach long-standing legal traditions.
"By statute, an inspector general's jurisdiction is limited," White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Thursday. "An IG can request information from other federal agencies but not from the White House office."
She said the White House did allow the investigators to interview one White House employee who had been on loan to the Education Department when Williams was hired. But it has not granted permission for other interviews.
The White House refusal came to light Thursday after Rep. George Miller (D-Martinez) said he was told about it by Inspector General Jack Higgins. Miller wrote to the White House asking that investigators have full access to White House personnel so they could get to the bottom of the hiring of Williams.
Williams, a television and newspaper commentator, received $240,000 in federal funds last year to promote the president's No Child Left Behind initiative. Williams did not disclose the payments made to him through a public relations firm hired by the Education Department, even as he appeared on television promoting the president's work....
|Ibuprofen May Protect Against Parkinson's Disease|
Paula Moyer, MA
April 14, 2005 (Miami Beach) — Ibuprofen taken daily or weekly may protect users from developing Parkinson's disease, according to investigators who presented their findings here today at the 57th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.
"Ibuprofen users were 35% less likely to develop Parkinson's disease than nonusers," said senior investigator Alberto Ascherio, MD, DrPH, during a press briefing. He stressed that he and his coinvestigators only saw this effect in patients who took ibuprofen and not in those who took aspirin or other nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Dr. Ascherio is an associate professor of nutrition and epidemiology at Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts.
Earlier research has shown that neuronal inflammation is involved in the pathogenesis of Parkinson's disease and that, conversely, NSAIDs may be protective.
Therefore, in a study funded by the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research and the National Institute for Neurologic Diseases and Stroke, the investigators examined the relationship between ibuprofen use in the 146,565 participants of the American Cancer Society's Cancer Prevention Study II Nutrition Cohort. They also attempted to determine if the benefit extended to aspirin, other NSAIDs, and acetaminophen.
The investigators identified patients who had developed Parkinson's disease between 1992, the year of the study's commencement, and 2000. The participants self-reported the diagnosis, and the investigators either contacted the treating neurologists or reviewed the participants' medical records to confirm the diagnosis.
During 1.25 million person-years of follow-up, 413 people developed Parkinson's disease. Compared with nonusers, ibuprofen users had a relative risk (RR) of 0.65 (P = .005). These results were maintained when the investigators adjusted for age, sex, and smoking status.
Those who used ibuprofen less frequently than two times per week were 27% less likely to develop Parkinson's disease; those who used it two to fewer than seven times per week had a risk reduction of 28%. Daily users had a 39% risk reduction (P trend = .03). The duration of treatment with ibuprofen was not significant.
When the investigators analyzed the relationship between the development of Parkinson's disease and aspirin, other NSAIDs, and acetaminophen, they found no significant associations between these medications and the development of Parkinson's disease.
When asked why the benefits did not extend to aspirin or other NSAIDs, Dr. Ascherio acknowledged that considerably more people could be using ibuprofen than other medications, and that the finding could be a statistical anomaly. However, he also suggested that there may be an ibuprofen-specific effect against Parkinson's disease, such as protection against glutamate toxicity or amyloid deposition. He and his coinvestigators will continue to follow the patients for at least two years to see if they can elucidate the specific protective mechanism.
Physicians should not be surprised that ibuprofen was protective, but rather that the benefit was specific to this drug and was not found with other NSAIDs, according to Walter Rocca, MD, professor of epidemiology and neurology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
"The literature suggests that inflammation and inflammatory processes are involved in Parkinson's disease," said Dr. Rocca, who was not involved in the study. "So the idea that an anti-inflammatory could slow or interfere with that process makes sense. When the mouse model of Parkinson's disease is used, an inflammatory process is evident."
One study limitation is that because ibuprofen is an over-the-counter medication, the so-called nonusers "could have taken ibuprofen years ago," Dr. Rocca said. "Therefore, a short-term clinical study might not give complete data." Long-term data would be necessary to more fully discern users and nonusers, he said.
Reviewed by Gary D. Vogin, MD
|Alon Barlevy, PhD.|
President, Hubert Humphrey Democratic Club
Back in the 1980s, one fast food chain used the phrase "where is the beef?" in its advertising campaign to emphasize that it has more (literal) beef in its burgers than the competitors. As a testament to the success of the ad campaign, politicians started using that question against their opponents, making use of the figurative meaning of the word "beef" to mean "substance".
Today, in the post-Terri Schiavo world, we should ask the Republicans "Where is the culture of life"? During Terri's final days, the president and other Republican leaders kept repeating the phrases "to err on the side of life" and "culture of life". Such phrases sound like guidelines for a broad policy. It appears, though, that for the Republicans the "culture of life" phrase is applicable in only two
cases: Terri Schiavo, and unborn fetuses. The law that the Republicans pushed through Congress to allow Schiavo's parents to appeal to the federal courts applies only to Terri Schiavo, and no other person. The name Theresa Marie Schiavo appears no fewer than six times in the language of the bill (a clear violation of the 14th amendment equal protection clause).
After the bill became law, it was discovered that Republican House Leader Tom DeLay pulled the tube from his own comatose father back in 1988. It was also discovered that while George W. Bush was governor of Texas, he signed a bill into law allowing Texas hospitals to disconnect life support if a physician, in consultation with a hospital bioethics committee, concludes that the patient's condition is hopeless.
When it comes to pregnancies, the Republicans have shown time and time again lots of compassion towards the unborn fetuses, but not as much for the babies after the birth. They do not like to give assistance to poor families with children (doesn't it take a village to raise a child?), nor do they like to provide healthcare to the poor. In fact, in May 2004, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican from Huntington Beach, proposed an outrageous bill to withhold emergency room services from patients who cannot prove their legal immigration status. That sounds more like "err on the side of death" than "err on the side of life".
On second thought, perhaps the applicability of the "culture of life" phrase is even more restrictive than just Terri Schiavo and unborn fetuses. During the war in Iraq, in which by some estimates, 100,000 innocent civilians were killed (exact numbers are impossible to determine), there must have been (at least) several hundred innocent pregnant Iraqi women among the casualties. We have not seen the Republicans mourn the loss of those women and their fetuses. Perhaps the "culture of life" is restricted only to Terri Schiavo and unborn fetuses inside the wombs of mothers who have legally entered American soil?
|April 14, 2005|
M. Mike Stabile
12345 XXXXXXXX Street
XXXXXXXXXXXXX, California 9XXXX
Dear M. Stabile:
Thank you for writing to me regarding the Bush Administration's requests for additional funding for continuing operations and reconstruction of Iraq. I appreciate hearing from you.
Given the uncertainty regarding the true cost of our military operations, I believe the Administration should provide detailed plans to Congress and the American people describing how these funds will be spent. I believe the United States has assumed an enormous responsibility in Iraq and see this war through to victory. I look forward to working with the Administration to arm and support our troops so that they accomplish the mission on the battlefield and return home as soon as possible.
Please know that I will keep your comments in mind when the Senate considers the Presidents request. Again, thank you for writing me regarding this important issue. If you have any additional comments or questions please contact my office at (202) 224-3841.
United States Senator
|ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - An estimated 1.4 million cubic feet of natural gas and an unknown quantity of crude oil spewed from a leak in a pipeline at the Prudhoe Bay oil field on Alaska's North Slope, state environmental regulators said on Tuesday. The resulting mist of crude oil coated an area nearly a mile long and averaged about 300 feet wide, the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation said in a statement. |
Field operator BP Exploration (Alaska) Inc. discovered and reported the leak, the state agency said. BP was trying to calculate the amount of oil spilled. The leak came from a failed weld in a pipe that carries natural gas for injection into a well. BP immediately shut down production at the affected drill site to control the situation, said company spokesman Andrew Van Chau. Production at the site, typically 10,000 barrels per day, resumed late in the afternoon. The cleanup will be conducted "as long as it takes," Van Chau said.
Prudhoe Bay is Alaska's biggest oil field. Along with operator BP, major field owners are ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil.
|The Long Emergency |
What's going to happen as we start running out of cheap gas to guzzle?
By JAMES HOWARD KUNSTLER
A few weeks ago, the price of oil ratcheted above fifty-five dollars a barrel, which is about twenty dollars a barrel more than a year ago. The next day, the oil story was buried on page six of the New York Times business section. Apparently, the price of oil is not considered significant news, even when it goes up five bucks a barrel in the span of ten days. That same day, the stock market shot up more than a hundred points because, CNN said, government data showed no signs of inflation. Note to clueless nation: Call planet Earth....
....It has been very hard for Americans -- lost in dark raptures of nonstop infotainment, recreational shopping and compulsive motoring -- to make sense of the gathering forces that will fundamentally alter the terms of everyday life in our technological society. Even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, America is still sleepwalking into the future. I call this coming time the Long Emergency.
Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. It is no exaggeration to state that reliable supplies of cheap oil and natural gas underlie everything we identify as the necessities of modern life -- not to mention all of its comforts and luxuries: central heating, air conditioning, cars, airplanes, electric lights, inexpensive clothing, recorded music, movies, hip-replacement surgery, national defense -- you name it.
The few Americans who are even aware that there is a gathering global-energy predicament usually misunderstand the core of the argument. That argument states that we don't have to run out of oil to start having severe problems with industrial civilization and its dependent systems. We only have to slip over the all-time production peak and begin a slide down the arc of steady depletion.
The term "global oil-production peak" means that a turning point will come when the world produces the most oil it will ever produce in a given year and, after that, yearly production will inexorably decline. It is usually represented graphically in a bell curve. The peak is the top of the curve, the halfway point of the world's all-time total endowment, meaning half the world's oil will be left. That seems like a lot of oil, and it is, but there's a big catch: It's the half that is much more difficult to extract, far more costly to get, of much poorer quality and located mostly in places where the people hate us. A substantial amount of it will never be extracted....
....Now we are faced with the global oil-production peak. The best estimates of when this will actually happen have been somewhere between now and 2010. In 2004, however, after demand from burgeoning China and India shot up, and revelations that Shell Oil wildly misstated its reserves, and Saudi Arabia proved incapable of goosing up its production despite promises to do so, the most knowledgeable experts revised their predictions and now concur that 2005 is apt to be the year of all-time global peak production. It will change everything about how we live....
....Some other things about the global energy predicament are poorly understood by the public and even our leaders. This is going to be a permanent energy crisis, and these energy problems will synergize with the disruptions of climate change, epidemic disease and population overshoot to produce higher orders of trouble. We will have to accommodate ourselves to fundamentally changed conditions.
No combination of alternative fuels will allow us to run American life the way we have been used to running it, or even a substantial fraction of it. The wonders of steady technological progress achieved through the reign of cheap oil have lulled us into a kind of Jiminy Cricket syndrome, leading many Americans to believe that anything we wish for hard enough will come true. These days, even people who ought to know better are wishing ardently for a seamless transition from fossil fuels to their putative replacements.
The widely touted "hydrogen economy" is a particularly cruel hoax. We are not going to replace the U.S. automobile and truck fleet with vehicles run on fuel cells. For one thing, the current generation of fuel cells is largely designed to run on hydrogen obtained from natural gas. The other way to get hydrogen in the quantities wished for would be electrolysis of water using power from hundreds of nuclear plants. Apart from the dim prospect of our building that many nuclear plants soon enough, there are also numerous severe problems with hydrogen's nature as an element that present forbidding obstacles to its use as a replacement for oil and gas, especially in storage and transport....
....If we wish to keep the lights on in America after 2020, we may indeed have to resort to nuclear power, with all its practical problems and eco-conundrums. Under optimal conditions, it could take ten years to get a new generation of nuclear power plants into operation, and the price may be beyond our means. Uranium is also a resource in finite supply. We are no closer to the more difficult project of atomic fusion, by the way, than we were in the 1970s.
The upshot of all this is that we are entering a historical period of potentially great instability, turbulence and hardship. Obviously, geopolitical maneuvering around the world's richest energy regions has already led to war and promises more international military conflict. Since the Middle East contains two-thirds of the world's remaining oil supplies, the U.S. has attempted desperately to stabilize the region by, in effect, opening a big police station in Iraq. The intent was not just to secure Iraq's oil but to modify and influence the behavior of neighboring states around the Persian Gulf, especially Iran and Saudi Arabia. The results have been far from entirely positive, and our future prospects in that part of the world are not something we can feel altogether confident about....
....Most of all, the Long Emergency will require us to make other arrangements for the way we live in the United States. America is in a special predicament due to a set of unfortunate choices we made as a society in the twentieth century. Perhaps the worst was to let our towns and cities rot away and to replace them with suburbia, which had the additional side effect of trashing a lot of the best farmland in America. Suburbia will come to be regarded as the greatest misallocation of resources in the history of the world. It has a tragic destiny. The psychology of previous investment suggests that we will defend our drive-in utopia long after it has become a terrible liability....
The circumstances of the Long Emergency will require us to downscale and re-scale virtually everything we do and how we do it, from the kind of communities we physically inhabit to the way we grow our food to the way we work and trade the products of our work. Our lives will become profoundly and intensely local. Daily life will be far less about mobility and much more about staying where you are. Anything organized on the large scale, whether it is government or a corporate business enterprise such as Wal-Mart, will wither as the cheap energy props that support bigness fall away. The turbulence of the Long Emergency will produce a lot of economic losers, and many of these will be members of an angry and aggrieved former middle class....
....The successful regions in the twenty-first century will be the ones surrounded by viable farming hinterlands that can reconstitute locally sustainable economies on an armature of civic cohesion. Small towns and smaller cities have better prospects than the big cities, which will probably have to contract substantially. The process will be painful and tumultuous. In many American cities, such as Cleveland, Detroit and St. Louis, that process is already well advanced. Others have further to fall. New York and Chicago face extraordinary difficulties, being oversupplied with gigantic buildings out of scale with the reality of declining energy supplies. Their former agricultural hinterlands have long been paved over. They will be encysted in a surrounding fabric of necrotic suburbia that will only amplify and reinforce the cities' problems. Still, our cities occupy important sites. Some kind of urban entities will exist where they are in the future, but probably not the colossi of twentieth-century industrialism....
....These are daunting and even dreadful prospects. The Long Emergency is going to be a tremendous trauma for the human race. We will not believe that this is happening to us, that 200 years of modernity can be brought to its knees by a world-wide power shortage. The survivors will have to cultivate a religion of hope -- that is, a deep and comprehensive belief that humanity is worth carrying on. If there is any positive side to stark changes coming our way, it may be in the benefits of close communal relations, of having to really work intimately (and physically) with our neighbors, to be part of an enterprise that really matters and to be fully engaged in meaningful social enactments instead of being merely entertained to avoid boredom. Years from now, when we hear singing at all, we will hear ourselves, and we will sing with our whole hearts.
Adapted from The Long Emergency, 2005, by James Howard Kunstler, and reprinted with permission of the publisher, Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
|Between his return Friday from Pope John Paul II's funeral in Rome and his meeting Monday with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon of Israel, President George W. Bush spent an hour and a half Saturday riding a mountain bike at his Texas ranch. With him, as usual, was his indispensable new exercise toy: an iPod music player loaded with country and popular rock tunes aimed at getting the presidential heart rate up to a chest-pounding 170 beats per minute.|
Which brings up the inevitable question. What, exactly, is on the First iPod? In an era of celebrity playlists - the New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady recently posted his playlist on the iTunes online music store - what does the presidential selection of downloaded songs tell us about Bush?
First, Bush's iPod is heavy on traditional country singers like George Jones, Alan Jackson and Kenny Chesney. He has selections by the folk-rock singer Van Morrison, whose "Brown-Eyed Girl" is a Bush favorite, and by John Fogerty, most predictably "Centerfield," which was played at Texas Rangers games when Bush was an owner and is still played at ballfields all over America. ("Oh, put me in, Coach - I'm ready to play today.")
The president also has an eclectic mix of songs downloaded into his iPod from Mark McKinnon, a biking buddy and his chief media strategist in the 2004 campaign. Among them are "Circle Back" by John Hiatt, "(You're So Square) Baby, I Don't Care" by Joni Mitchell and "My Sharona," the 1970s song by The Knack that Joe Levy, a deputy managing editor in charge of music coverage at Rolling Stone, cheerfully branded "suggestive if not outright filthy" in an interview last week.
Bush has had his $300 Apple iPod since last July, when he received it from his twin daughters as a birthday gift. He has some 250 songs on it, a paltry number compared to the 10,000 selections it can hold.
Bush, as leader of the free world, does not take the time to download the music himself; that task falls to his personal aide, Blake Gottesman, who buys individual songs and albums, including greatest hits by Jones and Jackson, from the iTunes music store.
Bush uses his iPod chiefly during bike workouts to help him pump up his heartbeat, which he monitors with a wrist strap. The strap also keeps track of calories expended for the intensely weight-focused president, who has recently lost 8 pounds, or 3.6 kilograms, after eating a lot of doughnuts during the 2004 campaign. Bush burned up 1,300 calories on his bike ride Saturday, McKinnon reported.
As for an analysis of Bush's playlist, Levy of Rolling Stone started out with this: "One thing that's interesting is that the president likes artists who don't like him." Levy was referring to Fogerty, who was part of the anti-Bush "Vote for Change" concert tour across the United States last fall. McKinnon, who once wrote songs for Kris Kristofferson's music publishing company, responded in an e-mail message that "if any president limited his music selection to pro-establishment musicians, it would be a pretty slim collection."
Nonetheless, McKinnon said that Bush had not gone so far as to include on his playlist "Fortunate Son," the angry anti-Vietnam war song about privileged draft dodgers that Fogerty sang when he was with Creedence Clearwater Revival. ("Some folks are born silver spoon in hand. ... I ain't no senator's son.") The song seems to be about the president in all but name: As the son of a two-term congressman and a U.S. Senate candidate, Bush won a coveted spot with the Texas Air National Guard to avoid combat in Vietnam.
Meanwhile, Levy sized up the rest of the president's playlist. "What we're talking about is a lot of great artists from the 60s and 70s and more modern artists who sound like great artists from the 60s and 70s," he said. "This is basically boomer rock 'n' roll and more recent music out of Nashville made for boomers. It's safe, it's reliable, it's loving. What I mean to say is, it's feel-good music. The Sex Pistols it's not."
Jones, Levy said, was nonetheless an interesting choice. "George Jones is the greatest living singer in country music and a recovering alcoholic who often sings about heartbreak and drinking," he said. "It tells you that the president knows a thing or two about country music and is serious about his love of country music."
The songs by Jackson indicate that the president "has a little bit of a taste for hard core and honky-tonk," Levy said, adding that both Jackson and Jones "are not about cute and pop, and they're not getting by on their looks." And while Chesney "is about cute and pop and gets by on his looks," Levy said, "he's also all about serious country music."
McKinnon, who has downloaded "Castanets" by Alejandro Escovedo and "Alive 'n' Kickin"' by Kenny Loggins into Bush's iPod, said that sometimes a presidential playlist is just a playlist, nothing more.
"No one should psychoanalyze the song selection," McKinnon said. "It's music to get over the next hill."
| The doubling of child malnutrition in Iraq is baffling - Terry Jones - Tuesday April 12, 2005 - The Guardian |
A report to the UN human rights commission in Geneva has concluded that Iraqi children were actually better off under Saddam Hussein than they are now.
This, of course, comes as a bitter blow for all those of us who, like George Bush and Tony Blair, honestly believe that children thrive best when we drop bombs on them from a great height, destroy their cities and blow up hospitals, schools and power stations.
It now appears that, far from improving the quality of life for Iraqi youngsters, the US-led military assault on Iraq has inexplicably doubled the number of children under five suffering from malnutrition. Under Saddam, about 4% of children under five were going hungry, whereas by the end of last year almost 8% were suffering.
These results are even more disheartening for those of us in the Department of Making Things Better for Children in the Middle East By Military Force, since the previous attempts by Britain and America to improve the lot of Iraqi children also proved disappointing. For example, the policy of applying the most draconian sanctions in living memory totally failed to improve conditions. After they were imposed in 1990, the number of children under five who died increased by a factor of six. By 1995 something like half a million Iraqi children were dead as a result of our efforts to help them.
A year later, Madeleine Albright, then the US ambassador to the United Nations, tried to put a brave face on it. When a TV interviewer remarked that more children had died in Iraq through sanctions than were killed in Hiroshima, Mrs Albright famously replied: "We think the price is worth it."
But clearly George Bush didn't. So he hit on the idea of bombing them instead. And not just bombing, but capturing and torturing their fathers, humiliating their mothers, shooting at them from road blocks - but none of it seems to do any good. Iraqi children simply refuse to be better nourished, healthier and less inclined to die. It is truly baffling.
And this is why we at the department are appealing to you - the general public - for ideas. If you can think of any other military techniques that we have so far failed to apply to the children of Iraq, please let us know as a matter of urgency. We assure you that, under our present leadership, there is no limit to the amount of money we are prepared to invest in a military solution to the problems of Iraqi children.
In the UK there may now be 3.6 million children living below the poverty line, and 12.9 million in the US, with no prospect of either government finding any cash to change that. But surely this is a price worth paying, if it means that George Bush and Tony Blair can make any amount of money available for bombs, shells and bullets to improve the lives of Iraqi kids. You know it makes sense.
·Terry Jones is a film director, actor and Python. He is the author of Terry Jones's War on the War on Terror
|“This business of burning human beings with napalm, of filling our nation’s homes with orphans and widows, of injecting poisonous drugs of hate into veins of peoples normally humane, of sending men home from dark and bloody battlefields physically handicapped and psychologically deranged, cannot be reconciled with wisdom, justice and love." - - - Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.|
|If you could say something -- in a big way -- to the people of Congressman Tom DeLay's district in Texas, what would it be? |
We're looking for a slogan -- something short, something memorable, and something that lets the people of his district know that it's time for him to go.
We're buying billboards in the 22nd Congressional District, and if your slogan is selected, it will be part of Democracy for America's big splash in Tom DeLay's backyard.
- - - Lt Gen William Boykin, speaking of G. W. Bush, New York Times, 17 October 2003
"God gave the savior to the German people. We have faith, deep and unshakeable faith, that he was sent to us by God to save Germany."
- - - Hermann Goering, speaking of Hitler
|"Our country has been overtaken by murderous thugs....gangsters who lust after fortunes and power; never caring that their addictions are at the expense of our loved ones, and the blood of innocent people near and far. We've watched these thugs parade themselves before the whole world as if they are courageous advocates for Christian moral values....and for the spread of democracy. Yet we all know that they are now putting in place, all across this country, a system of voting that provides no way to validate the accuracy of the counting of the votes. Our loved ones have been buried in early graves even as these arrogant thugs parade themselves before the entire world, insisting that democracy is worth dying for, killing for, and destroying entire cities for, all the while they are busy here at home overseeing the emplacement of an electronic voting system that invites fraud at every turn, an electronic vote-counting system that provides no way to validate the votes cast, and that, by it's very design, prohibits recounting the votes. |
"For these men to not see to it that our own system of voting and vote-counting is accurate, understandable and verifiable...all the while sending our loved ones to kill and to die so as to establish a democracy in some far away place......this is just one more staggering piece of evidence that the US government is now ruled by murderous hypocrites...criminals who should be arrested, charged appropriately, confined behind bars, and then tried in a court of law...not only here in our own country, but also in all the other countries which have suffered their incomprehensible greed. In their secret hiding places, while celebrating newly won fortunes with their fellow brass, these men must surely congratulate themselves with orgies of carnal pleasure as they mock the dwindling multitudes who are yet so blind as to mistake them for God's devoted servants." - - - Cindy Sheehan, a founding member of Gold Star Families For Peace