Saturday, April 02, 2005

Time to Bomb Montana

They're just a bunch of traitors up there; they dare to question our Glorious Leader:
Montana lawmakers overwhelmingly passed what its sponsor called the nation's most strongly worded criticism of the federal Patriot Act on Friday, uniting politicians of all stripes.

The resolution, which already galloped through the Senate and passed the House 88-12 Friday, must survive a final vote before it officially passes.

Senate Joint Resolution 19, sponsored by Sen. Jim Elliott, D-Trout Creek, says that while the 2005 Legislature supports the federal government's fight against terrorism, the so-called Patriot Act of 2001 granted authorities sweeping powers that violate citizens' rights enshrined in both the U.S. and Montanan constitutions.


Iraq Is One Big Party

Good times:
One of the biggest private security firms in Iraq has created outrage after a memo to staff claimed it is 'fun' to shoot people.

Emails seen by The Observer reveal that employees of Blackwater Security were recently sent a message stating that 'actually it is "fun" to shoot some people.'

Dated 7 March and bearing the name of Blackwater's president, Gary Jackson, the electronic newsletter adds that terrorists 'need to get creamed, and it's fun, meaning satisfying, to do the shooting of such folk.'


Republicans Are Racist Idiots, Part 3202

I mean, really:
Colorado Gov. Bill Owens apologized for saying ''the natives are getting restless'' during a conference on tribal gambling.

Owens made the remark at the Western Governors' Association Summit after a participant's microphone wouldn't work and he urged it be fixed quickly.


Oh, the Inanity

Once again, morons equate gay marriage with bestiality:
Two Colorado lawmakers got into a shouting match when one of them marched into a news conference the other was holding to denounce same-sex marriage.

Rep. Kevin Lundberg (R-Berthoud) and Rep. Jim Welker (R-Loveland) called the news conference to tout their proposed amendment to bar gays and lesbian from marrying.

Colorado already has legislation that blocks same-sex marriage. But, Lundberg said that it could be overturned by judges. Lundberg called it "the most significant domestic issue of the decade."

At that point, Rep. Angie Paccione (D-Fort Collins) had enough. "We have over 700,000 Coloradans without health care," she said, her voice rising, she yelled as she marched up the podium.

"How could we possibly say that gay marriage is more important than health care?"

Paccione, who is half black, also reminded him that interracial marriage used to be illegal in Colorado. She said denying gay people the right to marry is no different.

Lundberg argued that they were two different issues.

Welker then interjected saying that gay marriage would open a "Pandora's box".

"Where do you draw the line?" he said. "A year and a half ago a lady in India married her dog."


The Panopticon Is a Growth Industry

The time to invest in surveillance equipment companies is now (if you don't, then the terrorists have won, or something):
The government requested and won approval for a record number of special warrants last year for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected terrorists and spies, 75 percent more than in 2000, the Bush administration disclosed Friday.
Since passage of the Patriot Act, the FBI can use such warrants in investigations that aren't mostly focused on foreign intelligence.

Operating with permission from a secretive U.S. court that meets regularly at Justice headquarters, the FBI has used such warrants to break into homes, offices, hotel rooms and automobiles, install hidden cameras, search luggage and eavesdrop on telephone conversations. Agents also have pried into safe deposit boxes, watched from afar with video cameras and binoculars and intercepted e-mails.


Friday, April 01, 2005

Adulterous Catblogging

My own Zora and Tista may never forgive me for this, but sometimes an old flame just comes a-callin'. This is Charleston, the cat who owns the small gay bar where I used to bartend in New Orleans, and who still rules the roost. This photo, in fact, is of him sleeping on the bar when we visited the place on our honeymoon a couple weeks back.


Answer: One in a Million

Question: What are the odds that the United States is still a functional democracy?

There’s a one-in-959,000 chance that exit polls could have been so wrong in predicting the outcome of the 2004 presidential election, according to a statistical analysis released Thursday.

Exit polls in the November election showed Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., winning by 3 percent, but President George W. Bush won the vote count by 2.5 percent.

The explanation for the discrepancy that was offered by the exit polling firm – that Kerry voters were more likely to participate in the exit polling – is an “implausible theory,'’ according to the report issued Thursday by US Count Votes, a group that claims it’s made up of about two dozen statisticians.

Twelve – including a Case Western Reserve University mathematics instructor – signed the report.

Instead, the data support the idea that “corruption of the vote count occurred more freely in districts that were overwhelmingly Bush strongholds.'’

The report dismisses chance and inaccurate exit polling as the reasons for their discrepancy with the results.




"Power to the People"

The Republicans, it must be said, have a novel interpretation of that phrase:

Those three "No Blood for Oil" types turned away from the Bush rally in Denver last week may have had their civil rights abused -- but at least they didn't try to get around the presidential motorcade.

They could have gotten some impromtu electroshock therapy.

That's what happened to an unfortunate soul here in the Philly area on Monday, when police wouldn't let him and his son drive the last half-block to his house or park his car and walk. The reason? Their street was blocked for Dick Cheney's motorcade, on his way to a fundraising event for Bucks County GOP congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.

Some words were exchanged, and the next thing you know Jay Saddington, of Warwick, Pa., was zapped with 50,000 volts from a police stun gun.

The apparently very threatening Saddington is 68 years old.

"I'm a fairly respectable citizen, and they treated me like I was a bank robber or killer," Saddington said. "I was really bent out of shape about this whole thing."


Like Thieves in the Night

That they feel the need to do this shows just how aware they are that Americans wouldn't support the war if they weren't kept in the dark:

Steeling against rain and cold night air, clutching candles and placards, a group of activists are standing nightly vigils at the entrance to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, protesting what they believe is the Pentagon’s attempt to hide the human toll of the war in Iraq.

With wounded troops arriving from Germany, where most receive treatment after being stabilized in the field, flights to the United States are arranged so that soldiers are admitted into Walter Reed for follow on care at night.

“When we first heard about this, we were appalled,” said vigil organizer Gael Murphy, part of nationwide grass roots women’s group dubbed Code Pink. “Why are they bringing them in only at night? Is it because they don’t want the media to cover it? Is it because they don’t want Americans to see the real cost of this war?”

Kevin McCarron, a former Marine intelligence specialist and a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, said he thinks the late-night admittances are a dishonor to the troops.

“They should be feted as they arrive, honored as heroes, not slipped through the back door like this,” he said


Republican Foodies

It's a veritable cornucopia for the right wingers these days:
Commentator and former presidential candidate Pat Buchanan cut short an appearance after an opponent of his conservative views doused him with salad dressing.

"Stop the bigotry!" the demonstrator shouted as he hurled the liquid Thursday night during the program at Western Michigan University. The incident came just two days after another noted conservative, William Kristol, was struck by a pie during an appearance at a college in Indiana.

After he was hit, Buchanan cut short his question-and-answer session with the audience, saying, "Thank you all for coming, but I'm going to have to get my hair washed."


Lautenberg Slaps DeLay

Good. DeLay's thuggery demands this sort of attention:
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) has issued a strongly-worded letter to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-TX) over his recent remarks threatening those involved with the Schiavo case, which Lautenberg takes to mean federal judges, RAW STORY has learned.

The letter leaked to RAW STORY follows, first in text form, then in a scanned format.


April 1, 2005

Tom DeLay
Majority Leader
House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515

Dear Majority Leader DeLay,

I was stunned to read the threatening comments you made yesterday against Federal judges and our nation’s courts of law in general. In reference to certain Federal judges, you stated: “The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior.”

As you are surely aware, the family of Federal Judge Joan H. Lefkow of Illinois was recently murdered in their home. And at the state level, Judge Rowland W. Barnes and others in his courtroom were gunned down in Georgia.

Our nation’s judges must be concerned for their safety and security when they are asked to make difficult decisions every day. That’s why comments like those you made are not only irresponsible, but downright dangerous. To make matters worse, is it appropriate to make threats directed at specific Federal and state judges?

You should be aware that your comments yesterday may violate a Federal criminal statute, 18 U.S.C. §115 (a)(1)(B). That law states:

“Whoever threatens to assault…. or murder, a United States judge… with intent to retaliate against such… judge…. on account of the performance of official duties, shall be punished [by up to six years in prison]”

Send the bastard up the river.


Thursday, March 31, 2005

I Am the Champion

The sceptre and tiara are mine!

I am the Hunk of the Week.


Too Much Death

Goddamn it. First Spalding Gray. Then Hunter S. Thompson.

And now I just heard that Mitch Hedberg is dead of a heroin overdose.

Goddamn it.

UPDATE: Official word so far says that he died of a heart attack, no mention yet of an OD.


Anti-Statue Statute

Once again, Americans prove what idiotic prudes they can be. Ashcroft must be very proud:
The Venus de Milo had better wear a top and Michelangelo's David should put on some pants if they're going to be seen at a yard art business.

Bartholomew County officials told the business near Interstate 65 that it must move cement copies of the classical statues — and about 10 others — out of public view because they are obscene under Indiana law.
Indiana's obscenity law prohibits the display of nudity where children might see it, he said.


Reason #359 Why One Ought Not Date Republicans

As if we needed another one:
An 18-year-old man has been sentenced to 90 days in jail for attacking his girlfriend for supporting Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry last fall.

Steven Soper pleaded guilty Wednesday to false imprisonment, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, battery and resisting arrest without violence.

Prosecutors said Soper pointed a knife at Stacey Silveira, 18, and threatened to kill her. The couple had been dating for two years.

Defense attorney Michael Salnick said the teenagers' sometimes-volatile relationship became violent when Soper learned Silveira planned to vote for Kerry instead of President George W. Bush.


"Dead Wrong"

And thus, tens of thousands are wrongly dead:
U.S. intelligence on Iraq was "dead wrong," dealing a blow to American credibility that will take years to undo, and spymasters still know disturbingly little about nuclear programs in countries like Iran and North Korea, a presidential commission reported on Thursday.

The commission's bluntly written report, based on more than a year of investigations, offered a damning assessment of the intelligence that President Bush used to launch the Iraq war two years ago and warned that flaws are still all too common throughout spy agencies.

"We conclude that the intelligence community was dead wrong in almost all of its prewar judgments about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction," the commissioners wrote.


The Latest Excuse for Abusing Native Americans

It's all in the name of Homeland Security! We must protect ourselves against the threat posed by those Indians, who have been practicing genocide against whites for centuries--oh, wait, did I get that backwards?

Ofelia Rivas, the “subject” of this article, has been advised to refuse to speak to the Press and that her life may be in jeopardy. We are placing the story - with her consent - in the hope that if more people are aware of her danger, that danger may cease.

Sells, Arizona – Internationally known Tohono O’odham border rights activist Ofelia Rivas, organizer of the “O’odham Voice Against the Wall” was handcuffed, roughed up, told to cooperate and then released by tribal police working closely with Homeland Security.

“They wanted to intimidate me, threaten me and abuse me to stop my voice,” said Rivas, who has taken the grassroots voice of traditional O’odham to the United Nations and human rights community.

“It is the voice of the elders, it is not my voice. I just carry the message.”

The incident began when the U.S. Border Patrol was driving back and forth in front of Rivas’ mother’s home, on tribal land in Arizona near the U.S. border on Dec. 27. Rivas began photographing the patrol units, which she considers unwarranted intimidation and harassment of tribal members on tribal land.

Border Patrol agents approached her and warned her that it was a violation of law to photograph the U.S. Border Patrol.

Rivas then began driving to the family’s other residence in the desert area, the equivalent of three city blocks, to deliver a prayer ribbon to her mother. As soon as she turned on to the paved road, she saw a tribal police car tailgating her.

“We weren’t doing anything, but driving in our community,” said Rivas, who was traveling with another woman who witnessed what happened.

After pulling off the road, non-Indian police officer J. Branshure, working for the tribe, accused her of failure to stop when he turned on his lights.

Then he twisted her arms up high behind her and began to handcuff her. “I started screaming because of my arthritis,” said Rivas, who has severe rheumatoid arthritis.

“He started pushing me up against the car and saying, ‘You are under arrest, get in, if you don’t get in, I’m going to charge you with threatening an officer.’”


Rivas documented the bruises with X-rays and attempted to file a federal complaint of abuse in Tucson. However, she was told that since a tribal police officer is the accused, no action could be taken.

“The U.S. Border Patrol has the tribal police carry out their dirty work. That way they can get away with anything,” Rivas said.

In the heavily militarized region, the U.S. Border Patrol is now under Homeland Security, and working in conjunction with the Tohono O’odham Nation Police Department. O’odham tribal members live in fear of arrest and entrapment by federal agents.

Rivas said O’odham can no longer walk freely on their land, explore their territory, as they once did, or gather their traditional cactus fruit because of the fear of the tribal police and federal agents’ harassments and arrests.

“People can’t go out on their homelands, the place they grew up. You step outside your yard and you have to have documents or you will be suspected of being as an illegal and harassed.”


Ohio Takes Care of Its (Straight) Citizens

Utterly vile:
A state lawmaker from northeast Ohio says he'll introduce a bill this week to close a perceived loophole in the domestic-violence law created by the constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. Democratic state Representative William Healy of Canton says his bill would define domestic violence as an act committed when individuals reside together, regardless of marital status.
Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Stuart Friedman said Wednesday that domestic violence charges cannot be filed against unmarried people because of the state's recently enacted definition of marriage.
However, the change in the law will only affect heterosexuals in non married relationships. The domestic abuse law will not apply to same-sex couples because of the constitutional amendment.


Just Pathetic

But this guy feigning a WMD is no worse than DeLay making use of Schiavo to try to weasel his way out of questions about his ethics:
A state lawmaker already awaiting trial for alleged ethics violations was charged today with making up a story that he received a suspicious white power in the mail and with retaliating against and harassing constituents who questioned his political finances.

State Rep. Jeffrey E. Habay, 38, a five-term Republican lawmaker from Allegheny County, faces 20 new counts as a result of the latest complaint, including a felony charge of possessing or using a facsimile weapon of mass destruction.


Wednesday, March 30, 2005


And don't take my wild-eyed, lefty word for it. Listen to this Republican:
One of the most respected figures in the Republican political establishment turned on his own party yesterday, accusing the leadership of falling hostage to the religious right.

In an opinion piece in yesterday's New York Times, John Danforth, a former senator and US ambassador to the United Nations, writes: "Republicans have transformed our party into the political arm of conservative Christians."

It's a dangerous road we are on, my friends.


Am I To Be Hunk of the Week?

It's up to you. Go over to LJ's place and vote!


Kristol Gets Pied

It's juvenile, sure, but I just had to laugh when I read this:

Neoconservative journalist and commentator William Kristol was about 30 minutes into his speech on international affairs when a slender young man crossed the stage of Goddard Auditorium and slung the ersatz pastry into his face.


Freedom from the Tyranny of Food

That's the only freedom we've brought to Iraq thus far:
Malnutrition among the youngest Iraqis has almost doubled since the U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein, a hunger specialist told the U.N. human rights body Wednesday in a summary of previously reported studies on health in Iraq.

By last fall, 7.7 percent of Iraqi children under 5 suffered acute malnutrition, compared to 4 percent after Saddam's ouster in April 2003, said Jean Ziegler, the U.N. Human Rights Commission's special expert on the right to food.

Malnutrition, which is exacerbated by a lack of clean water and adequate sanitation, is a major killer of children in poor countries. Children who survive are usually physically and mentally impaired for life, and are more vulnerable to disease.

The situation facing Iraqi youngsters is ''a result of the war led by coalition forces,'' said Ziegler, an outspoken Swiss sociology professor and former lawmaker whose previous targets have included Swiss banks, China, Brazil and Israeli treatment of Palestinians.

Overall, more than a quarter of Iraqi children don't get enough to eat, Ziegler told the 53-nation commission, which is halfway through its annual six-week session.

Link via left i on the news.


Sorry About the Years of Wrongful Imprisonment!

But not that sorry, apparently:
The Pentagon has announced that military tribunals have determined that 38 of 558 detainees at Guantánamo Bay were not "enemy combatants" and ordered them released without compensation from the navy base in Cuba.


Once Again: Abstinence-Only Programs Endanger Lives

You all know the words, so go ahead and sing along.
The policy shift towards "abstinence-only programmes" to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS could reverse significant gains made by Uganda in the fight against the pandemic, Human Rights Watch (HRW), warned on Wednesday.

In a new report, titled: "The Less They Know, the Better: Abstinence-Only HIV/AIDS Programs in Uganda", HRW said the Ugandan government had removed critical HIV/AIDS information from primary school curricula, including information about condoms, safer sex, and the risks of HIV in marriage.

"These abstinence-only programmes leave Uganda's children at risk of HIV," Jonathan Cohen, an HRW researcher, and co-author of the report, said in a press statement on Wednesday. "Draft secondary school materials state falsely that latex condoms have microscopic pores that can be permeated by HIV, and that pre-marital sex is a form of 'deviance'," the statement added.

Heard on BBC news this morning while doing laundry at 4 am, but this report is from Reuters.

Human Rights Watch has criticized abstinence-only programs in the past as not only dangerous but as human rights restrictions.


A Few Bad Apples?

The notion that incidents of torture and abuse were (and are) the result of a few isolated people behaving inappropriately never held water for me.

And now, it's been proven. Orders to torture Iraqis came straight from the top:
The top U.S. commander in Iraq authorized prisoner interrogation tactics more harsh than accepted Army practice, including using guard dogs to exploit "Arab fear of dogs," a memo made public on Tuesday showed.

The Sept. 14, 2003, memo by Army Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez, then the senior commander in Iraq, was released by the American Civil Liberties Union, which obtained it from the government under court order through the Freedom of Information Act.

"The memo clearly establishes that Gen. Sanchez authorized unlawful interrogation techniques for use in Iraq, and in particular these techniques violate the Geneva Conventions and the Army's own field manual governing interrogations," ACLU lawyer Amrit Singh said in an interview.
The ACLU said the Pentagon initially refused to release the Sanchez memo on national-security grounds.

"It is apparent that the government has been holding this document not out of any genuine concern that it will compromise national security but to protect itself from embarrassment," Singh said.

So, when will Sanchez be court-martialed? When we he be tried for war crimes?


Wednesday Doomblogging

Well, this is cheery:
The human race is living beyond its means. A report backed by 1,360 scientists from 95 countries - some of them world leaders in their fields - today warns that the almost two-thirds of the natural machinery that supports life on Earth is being degraded by human pressure.

The study contains what its authors call "a stark warning" for the entire world. The wetlands, forests, savannahs, estuaries, coastal fisheries and other habitats that recycle air, water and nutrients for all living creatures are being irretrievably damaged. In effect, one species is now a hazard to the other 10 million or so on the planet, and to itself.

"Human activity is putting such a strain on the natural functions of Earth that the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted," it says.

And the odds of us doing anything to change this disastrous situation? Approximately nil. Capitalism just isn't equipped to react to the big picture.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

This Is What Happens When You Are Homophobic

Take a lesson, homophobia is not merely wrong; it is self-destructive:
A long-time official with the Boy Scouts of America has been charged with receiving and distributing child pornography, the U.S. attorney's office in Dallas says.

In a charge filed by prosecutors last week, programming director Douglas Smith was accused of downloading photographs from the Internet that showed "minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct" and distributing them.

Just as with the Catholic Church, here we have an organization that excludes gay men, yet which invites pedophiles. I'd recommend avoiding both organizations, personally.


The Supremes Score Again

Sometimes, things just go as they should. Since Bush was elected, it's been hard to remember that, but here's a reminder:

The U-S Supreme court ruled today that a landmark gender-equity law protects whistleblowers who accuse academic institutions of sex discrimination.

Justices said coaches and teachers may sue for retaliation if they are fired for complaining on behalf of others.

The five-to-four decision sides with Ensley High School coach Roderick Jackson who said his girls' basketball team received worse treatment than the boys' team. It is a victory for women's advocates who say the legal protection will prompt reports of bias that would otherwise go unsaid or unheeded.


The ANWR Fiasco

An interesting editorial by Douglas Yates, which apparently required some measure of reader protest to make it into the online version of News Miner due to recalcitrant editors in Denver, points out the idiocy of drilling in Alaska's wildlife refuge:
Except for the refuge's coastal plain, the entire North Slope is already open to oil exploration. The final 5 percent is some of the most biologically significant and productive in the Arctic; that's why it's part of a wildlife refuge. To demand the final 5 percent can only be laid at the feet of greed and ignorance.

With the carrot leading the horse, the people driving this issue will make money even if no oil is found. Using state dollars to fund oil industry lobbyists is no more than rattling a stick in a swill bucket, but it pays well. (Alaska's Rep. Don Young has accepted $874,000 from oil and gas companies since 1989.)


Monday, March 28, 2005

The Bastards

The very same corporations that produce the bulk of our HIV/AIDS drugs are also behind the anti-gay, anti-AARP ads.


The largest pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in the country - among them the major makers of HIV/AIDS drugs - are the main sponsors of an attack ad that slams the AARP over Social Security by attempting to link the AARP to same-sex marriage.

The ads were produced for USA Next, a public advocacy group whose members have been linked to the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth ads that challenged the war record of last November's Democratic presidential nominee Sen. John Kerry.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) is one of USA Next's biggest financial supporters.


The Supremes Back Away

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal Monday to reinstate a state law requiring girls under age 18 to get parental consent for abortions except under the most dire of medical emergencies.

Without comment, justices let stand a lower court ruling that struck down the Idaho law because its provisions on emergency abortions were too strict.


Man Invents Anti-Idiocy Device

Seems to me that changing the channel would have been easier, but what the heck?
It's not that Sam Kimery objects to the views expressed on Fox News. The creator of the "Fox Blocker" contends the channel is not news at all. Kimery figures he's sold about 100 of the little silver bits of metal that screw into the back of most televisions, allowing people to filter Fox News from their sets, since its August debut.

The Tulsa, Okla., resident also has received thousands of e-mails, both angry and complimentary — as well as a few death threats.

"Apparently the making of terroristic threats against those who don't share your views is a high art form among a certain core audience," said Kimery, 45.

Formerly a registered Republican, even a precinct captain, Kimery became an independent in the 1990s when he said the state party stopped taking input from its everyday members.


Ignorance-->Homophobia-->Deeper Ignorance

It would appear that Wisconsin may finally be learning this lesson; perhaps they will do the right thing in the end, if only to stop the brain drain:

Karen Ryker is a star theater professor who wins praise for her teaching of Shakespeare's plays.

Larry Wu is a professor of sociology who generates millions of dollars in research funding. And Christine Saulnier is a talented academic administrator.

All three openly gay scholars left the University of Wisconsin System for other schools in recent years, each citing the state's policy to refuse health insurance coverage for domestic partners.

Warning that UW-Madison is at a competitive disadvantage for recruiting and retaining gay faculty, Gov. Jim Doyle has asked lawmakers for $1 million over the next two years to fund domestic partner benefits for system employees.

"This demonstrates exactly why we have to offer them," Doyle told The Associated Press. "It isn't only about doing the right thing. It's also about our ability to make sure that we can recruit and attract and maintain the best faculty possible."

UW-Madison last year became the only Big Ten school that does not offer such coverage when Penn State changed its policy. However, Republicans who control the Legislature said Doyle's plan faces opposition from members who say it is too costly and part of a liberal social agenda.


It Happens All the Time

One aspect of the whole Schiavo debacle that is generally overlooked is that gay couples face it all the time, and the gay partner of someone in Terri Schiavo's situation is in a much worse situation that Michael Schiavo has faced:
As the fight over Terri Schiavo's fate played out in court, gay and lesbian organizations watched quietly from the sidelines, aware that any outcome would speak to one of the key motivations in their quest for same-sex marriage: the right to make medical decisions for a partner.

It's an issue faced regularly by same-sex couples, and the battle that Michael Schiavo waged with his in-laws as he sought to remove his wife's feeding tube only underscored their difficulties, said David Buckel of the New York-based gay rights group Lambda Legal.

"It certainly resonates with us," said Buckel, director of marriage-related activities for Lambda Legal. "If folks look at this situation and see that a spouse is struggling to carry out the wishes of his loved one, imagine what folks face when they don't even have access to the spousal relationship because they can't get married."


The Kind of Help They Don't Need

American Indians have been under assault for many centuries now, but somehow I think this guy doesn't really have the answer to their problems:
A man dressed like an old-time pioneer and parked along Interstate 70 puzzled deputies with his claim that he was headed to South Dakota with Bibles and "supplies" for American Indian children.

Then the deputies noticed a smell of marijuana as the man argued with them, and they searched his vehicle and found a staggering arsenal, including loaded pistols and an assault rifle with a 30-round clip and a bullet in the chamber.

A double-edged knife with an 8-inch blade was in the sun visor above the man's head, and a loaded two-shot Colt Derringer pistol was in his pocket, authorities say. Searchers also seized about 400 rounds of ammunition.

"He said it was all self-protection and that it's dangerous out west," St. Charles Sheriff's Lt. Craig McGuire said of Thursday's traffic stop that authorities said also uncovered an array of drugs. "It's kind of bizarre, but it's all also kind of sobering."

The man was shirtless with military-style boots, cargo pants and an American Indian vest. "I've heard him described as looking like a frontiersman or pioneer; that's what he was dressed as," McGuire said.


Sunday, March 27, 2005


Even our closest ally in the Iraq misadventure is speaking out against the idiotic tendencies of American governance:

Religion should not play the same role in British politics that it does in America, Tony Blair has said.

Mr Blair said he did not want a system where politicians went out "beating their chests about our faith".


Doing the Right Thing?

I'm sure this will come as a tremendous consolation to all those innocent folks we've kept in cells for months and years without even the slightest hint of due process:
The Defense Department is considering substantial changes to the military tribunals that the Bush administration established to prosecute foreign terror suspects at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, military and administration officials say.

The proposed changes, many of which are detailed in a 232-page draft manual for the tribunals that has been circulating among Pentagon lawyers, come after widespread criticism from the federal courts, foreign governments and human rights groups.

Those changes include strengthening the rights of defendants, establishing more independent judges to lead the panels and barring confessions obtained by torture, the officials said.

What? No torture confessions? That's downright un-American.


Newsflash: DeLay's a Bloody Hypocrite

Shocking, I know. I apologize for any infarctions I've induced with this news.
A family tragedy that unfolded in a Texas hospital during the fall of 1988 was a private ordeal — without judges, emergency sessions of Congress or the debate raging outside Terri Schiavo's Florida hospice.

The patient then was a 65-year-old drilling contractor, badly injured in a freak accident at his home. Among the family members keeping vigil at Brooke Army Medical Center was a grieving junior congressman — Rep. Tom DeLay (R-Texas).

More than 16 years ago, far from the political passions that have defined the Schiavo controversy, the DeLay family endured its own wrenching end-of-life crisis. The man in a coma, kept alive by intravenous lines and oxygen equipment, was DeLay's father, Charles Ray DeLay.


The Inanity

I had no idea that patent law applied to marriage:
While the case for same-sex marriage works its way through California's courts conservatives have mounted a new challenge to the state's domestic partner registry.

"There is a patent on marriage," lawyer Robert H. Tyler told the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento on Friday, adding that the "patent" is held by opposite sex couples.