Saturday Bitter Blogging
Argh. I want to be in Germany, dammit.
Political blog from the radical left, because the Invisible Hand is giving you the finger. rorschach782003 at yahoo dot com
"rorschach, have I told you how good your blog is? You find stories nobody else does." --Echidne of the snakes
We Won! Wait, I'm Part Of The "We"!?
The Mirror reports that Lake Brancholinskie in Wielkopolska was transformed from freshwater to 30% alcohol from the spillage. "Farmers and workers from Wielkopolska. in in Poland rushed to fill their boots with the brew - three times the strength of wine. A 71-year-old woman, who lives near Lake Bracholinskie, said: "If God doesn't help, everyone will be a drunkard with only a hole where the lake was."
Big Government Run Amok!
Louisiana has joined 21 other states in banning Internet hunting, the practice of using a mouse click to kill animals on a distant game farm.
The cyber-shooting idea was the brainchild of Texan John Lockwood, who started the web site Live-Shot.com.
The idea was this: Hunters sign up on the web site and pay some $1,500 or more. They schedule a session, then log on at their appointed time to watch a feeding station on the computer screen. The animal that was ordered—from wild hogs to antelope—is in the area, and when it approaches the food, the hunter moves on-screen crosshairs into place. A click of the mouse fires a rifle to kill the animal.
Homophobic Bigotry Is Not Hate
FBI investigators probing a cross burning in front of the home of a gay couple said Friday that even if the people responsible are caught they cannot be prosecuted under federal law.
The flaming cross was discovered by Brandon Waters on his front lawn earlier this week. (story)
Waters said that the cross was about 7 feet tall and a hate message bearing homophobic epithets was found nearby.
He said he has no doubt that the cross burning was a hate message, targeting him because he is gay.
Meigs County Sheriff's Department called in the FBI along with state police to investigate.
The federal officers said that under federal hate crime law there is no provision for crimes against gays, lesbians or the transgendered.
Legislation that would have included crimes against gays and lesbians in federal hate crime laws was been dropped in the Senate in May. (story)
The ceremonial burning of the diary of Holocaust victim Anne Frank by far-right extremists in eastern Germany was condemned by the German government on Friday amid calls to intensify efforts to stamp out neo-Nazi activity.
"This act was beneath contempt and could scarcely have been more primitive," the German Interior Ministry said in a statement to Reuters.
The ministry was reacting to an incident in which three men in the eastern state of Saxony-Anhalt used a copy of the diary of the Jewish teenager to re-enact the Nazis' infamous incineration of 'un-German' literature in 1933.
State prosecutors are investigating the men, who also burned an American flag in front of a crowd estimated to have numbered more than a hundred, on suspicion of inciting racial hatred.
According to news reports, one of the men cast the diary into the flames and said: "I commit Anne Frank to the fire," borrowing words used by the Nazis in 1933.
"All of us in Saxony-Anhalt are put to shame by this," Wolfgang Boehmer, premier of Saxony-Anhalt, told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily on Friday.
Blood for No Oil
More than three years after the U.S.-led invasion, no big oil company has stepped forward to spend the huge sums necessary to tap Iraq's giant oil reserves and get crude flowing and revenues pouring into Iraq's government to help pay for food, jobs and even medical care.
"It will take a lot more to bring in the big guys," said Sharif Ghalib, a senior analyst with Energy Intelligence Research in New York.
None is likely to start prospecting until company chiefs feel reasonably assured that their workers won't be sent home in coffins and that their investments have legal protection that won't be taken away by a new government.
I'm Sick of Colin Powell
"Guantanamo ought to be closed immediately," Powell said. He said the value of holding prisoners there was unclear, but the price we were paying around the world for doing so was obvious. He said we should not release the prisoners and dismissed the objection there was no other alternative. "We have ways of dealing with this population" that do not require Gitmo, he said.
Zero for Three
"When history looks back, I'd rather be judged as solving problems and being correct, rather than being popular," Bush said.
Thursday morning the court in a 4 - 2 ruling issued Thursday morning (story) said that defining marriage is an issue for the Legislature. But, the majority opinion did not stop there, saying that the Legislature could rationally decide that, for the welfare of children, it is more important to promote stability, and to avoid instability, in opposite-sex than in same-sex relationships.
Bad, Getting Worse
An Australian terror suspect being held at Guantánamo Bay today told relatives that conditions at the prison camp had worsened.
Our Fascist Military
A decade after the Pentagon declared a zero-tolerance policy for racist hate groups, recruiting shortfalls caused by the war in Iraq have allowed "large numbers of neo-Nazis and skinhead extremists" to infiltrate the military, according to a watchdog organization.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks racist and right-wing militia groups, estimated that the numbers could run into the thousands, citing interviews with Defense Department investigators and reports and postings on racist Web sites and magazines.
"We've got Aryan Nations graffiti in Baghdad," the group quoted a Defense Department investigator as saying in a report to be posted today on its Web site, www.splcenter.org. "That's a problem."
Do They Really Spell It "Utahns"?
Utahns React to High Court Rulings on Gay Marriage
The New York Court of Appeals ruled this morning in favor of marriage as the union of man and a woman, not the union of two persons. And the Georgia Supreme Court upheld the validity of Georgia's Marriage Amendment, passed overwhelmingly by Georgia voters.
Now a Utah law firm is celebrating the rulings as victories.
Your Tax Dollars at Work
The federal government will pay a Texas law school $1 million to do research aimed at rolling back the amount of sensitive data available to the press and public through freedom-of-information requests.
The Texas Republican Party must keep Tom DeLay's name on the November ballot, even though the former congressman has dropped his re-election bid, a federal judge ruled Thursday.
DeLay, the former House majority leader who resigned June 9 and is under indictment, won the Republican primary for his district in March but decided against re-election a month later.
He is awaiting trial on money laundering and conspiracy charges connected to the financing of Texas legislative campaigns in 2002 with alleged illegal corporate money.
GOP leaders want another Republican to replace DeLay on the ballot and say state election law allows them to select one because DeLay has moved out of Texas. Democrats sued the Republicans to try to block them from picking a replacement nominee.
Lawyers for Texas Democrats argued that DeLay still owns a Houston-area home, where his wife Christine lives and where DeLay spends time. The Democrats also argued that it couldn't be shown conclusively whether DeLay would be an "inhabitant" of Texas on Election Day on Nov. 7.
Democrats want to keep DeLay and his legal troubles on the minds of voters and hope to win his former seat in the 22nd congressional district, where Democrat Nick Lampson is running.
"Now he's on the ballot, now he's off the ballot," said Lampson spokesman Mike Malaise. "We're just campaigning as if we have an opponent."
What a Mess
A woman who traveled the lecture circuit with her account of being raped and infected with AIDS as a child has been charged with defrauding the state of Pennsylvania of $66,000 by falsely claiming to have the disease.
Cassey Weierbach, 27, was arraigned Friday on charges of theft by deception, forgery, tampering with records and making false statements.
She has told her story for years to news reporters, churches, youth groups and medical conferences. But in June, The Morning Call newspaper of Allentown published a story in which a pastor accused Weierbach of duping her congregation.
Weierbach told the newspaper for that story that the pastor, the Rev. Lois Randolph, was lying about her because the pastor was upset to learn that Weiberch was romantically involved with another woman.
"It seems like she is going to make my life living hell," Weierbach said. "Do you hate me so much because I'm gay that you are willing to destroy my life?"
Randolph denied Weierbach's allegation.
Won't Someone Think of the Children?
The nation's largest pediatricians group said Wednesday that children would benefit from the legalization of same-sex marriage.
In a 16-page report the American Academy of Pediatrics found that children of same-sex parents do better in areas of the country which recognize their parents' relationships.
Mexico's leftist presidential candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador had an early, narrow lead over his conservative rival on Wednesday in a recount of a contested election.
Two people are reported dead after Islamist gunmen in central Somalia opened fire in a cinema where people were watching a banned World Cup match.
The cinema owner and a young girl were reportedly killed by militia loyal to the Union of Islamic Courts, who seized control of parts of Somalia last month.
The courts have introduced Sharia law in areas under their authority, including a World Cup broadcast ban.
Racism: A Thing of the Past
African-Americans' share of U.S. national income has narrowed in recent years as a weak job market helped unwind earlier strides, according to a report published on Wednesday.
A black family's median income was 62 percent of the earnings of their white counterparts, down from 63.5 percent in 2000, the Economic Policy Institute said.
"The racial gap widened by 2004 as a result of the recession and the jobless recovery that followed," said Jared Bernstein, economist at the Washington think-tank.
Tobacco for Life
In the perfectly controlled atmosphere of a brick-proof, hermetically sealed greenhouse deep in the Kent countryside, a fresh crop of tobacco plants is beginning to flourish.
There is nothing unusual about the plants' appearance, but they are nonetheless extraordinary. A genetic tweak ensures that every cell of every plant churns out tiny quantities of an experimental drug. When harvested, they could bring cheap medicine to millions.
Scientists say the £8m project could provide a powerful weapon against Africa's HIV pandemic.
Another Reason for Stem Cell Research
UCLA AIDS and Stem Cell Researchers Discover Way to Develop T-cells From Human Embryonic Stem Cells, Raising Hopes for a Gene Therapy to Combat AIDS
Researchers from the UCLA AIDS Institute and the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Medicine have demonstrated for the first time that human embryonic stem cells can be genetically manipulated and coaxed to develop into mature T-cells, raising hopes for a gene therapy to combat AIDS.
Um, a Possible Hate Crime?
The Meigs County Sheriff's Department is investigating a possible hate crime after someone burned a cross at the home of a gay man.
The cross, between 6 and 8 feet tall, was discovered by Brandon Waters, along with a derogatory message late Thursday at his home.
"There are a lot of people that don't approve of it," the 23-year-old Waters told The Daily Post-Athenian, referring to being gay. "They are always bashing us. It makes me fearful of what could happen. I just want to live my life."
When Will Women Learn?
A woman who said she was offended when Victoria's Secret staff asked her to nurse her baby in an employee restroom organized a nursing protest in front of the store as part of a national nurse-in.
About 20 women and children came out in support of Rebecca Cook in front of the Victoria's Secret store at the Regency Mall in Racine on Saturday.
Cook said she was shopping at the store with a friend last week when she asked to use a dressing room to nurse her daughter. When she was told no room was available, she offered to sit in the rear of the dressing room hallway but was told that was unacceptable, she said.
"They opened up their employee restroom, which is disgusting," she said. "I said, 'No, I don't eat in the bathroom and my daughter doesn't eat in the bathroom."'
Time to Take a Stand
The American Society of Anesthesiologists called on its members not to attend executions of death sentences by lethal injection, even if called to do so by a court.
In a letter addressed to some 37,000 members, association president Orin Guidry recalled the American Medical Association's code of ethics, which says: "A physician, as a member of a profession dedicated to preserving life when there is hope of doing so, should not be a participant in a legally authorized execution."
Injection of a lethal cocktail is by far the most widely used method to execute death sentences in the United States.
However, the procedure has come under scrutiny. If the condemned is not correctly anesthetized by the first of the three drugs, the final two, which paralyze the muscles and stop the heart, are extremely painful.
Whoever it was probably lived a few thousand years ago, somewhere in East Asia — Taiwan, Malaysia and Siberia all are likely locations. He — or she — did nothing more remarkable than be born, live, have children and die.
Yet this was the ancestor of every person now living on Earth — the last person in history whose family tree branches out to touch all 6.5 billion people on the planet today.
That means everybody on Earth descends from somebody who was around as recently as the reign of Tutankhamen, maybe even during the Golden Age of ancient Greece. There's even a chance that our last shared ancestor lived at the time of Christ.
"Had you entered any village on Earth in around 3,000 B.C., the first person you would have met would probably be your ancestor," Hein marveled.
It also means that all of us have ancestors of every color and creed. Every Palestinian suicide bomber has Jews in his past. Every Sunni Muslim in Iraq is descended from at least one Shiite. And every Klansman's family has African roots.
Allowing very little migration, Rohde's simulation produced a date of about 5,000 B.C. for humanity's most recent common ancestor. Assuming a higher, but still realistic, migration rate produced a shockingly recent date of around 1 A.D.
Some people even suspect that the most recent common ancestor could have lived later than that.
That Sounds about Right
Britons have never had such a low opinion of the leadership of the United States, a YouGov poll shows.
As Americans prepare to celebrate the 230th anniversary of their independence tomorrow, the poll found that only 12 per cent of Britons trust them to act wisely on the global stage. This is half the number who had faith in the Vietnam-scarred White House of 1975.
Most Britons see America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, riven by class and racism, crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite.
Politicians and religious leaders opposed to holding World Pride in Jerusalem next month are pressuring police to ban the event on the grounds it could lead to violence.
The Pentagon Knows That Bush Is a Military Moron
In his speech, Bush also talked about “freedom for the Iranian people,” and he added, “Iran’s leaders have a clear choice.” There was an unspoken threat: the U.S. Strategic Command, supported by the Air Force, has been drawing up plans, at the President’s direction, for a major bombing campaign in Iran.
Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and officials. The generals and admirals have told the Administration that the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States.
A crucial issue in the military’s dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners are not sure what to hit. “The target array in Iran is huge, but it’s amorphous,” a high-ranking general told me. “The question we face is, When does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?” The high-ranking general added that the military’s experience in Iraq, where intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed, has affected its approach to Iran. “We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq,” he said.
“There is a war about the war going on inside the building,” a Pentagon consultant said. “If we go, we have to find something.”
Time's Getting Snarky
5% of Gitmo detainees no longer face regular questioning
In a sign that the press' relationship with President Bush continues to erode, a major Time Magazine news article in Monday's editions will tell Bush five ways they believe the jail could be fixed. Their Sunday press release to RAW STORY includes the subheadline: "There's Only So Much You Can Glean from Someone Who's Been Interrogated for Four Years."
The magazine, it seems, has decided they can no longer get through to the Administration with news articles.
"The era of Guantánamo as a fount of intelligence may already be ending. There is only so much intelligence you can glean from a man who's been interrogated for four years," the release says. "The base commander at Guantanamo, Navy Rear Admiral Harry Harris, Jr., told TIME shortly before this week's Supreme Court Hamdan decision that 75% of detainees currently held at Gitmo no longer face regular questioning, and some haven't faced it for six months or longer.