Saturday, July 16, 2005


That's Antonio Gramsci to you.



What conspiracy?
A member of Ohio's Franklin County election board said Friday that prosecutors are investigating whether a GOP political consultant tried to bribe the board's director to buy voting equipment made by his client, Diebold Inc, the (information-restricted) Cleveland Plain Dealer reports Saturday.


Friday, July 15, 2005

Naming Thread

Here's your chance to help name the new sibling of Tista and Zora. Its gender is as yet unknown, so feel free to give it a couple of tries...




Mad Kitten


Timely Kittenblogging!


Thursday, July 14, 2005



The Drugging of America

You know this is just the tip of the iceberg:
Forty-four government scientists who also worked as consultants for drug companies violated agency regulations designed to prevent conflicts of interest, a review by the National Institutes of Health shows.


WTF Is Wrong With...

A 21 year old Tampa man is charged with murder after his 3-year old son was pummeled into unconsciousness and then died.

Ronnie Paris Jr. went on trial for his own life this week in a Tampa courtroom. The toddler's mother, Nysheerah Paris, testified that her husband thought the boy might be gay and would force him to box.

South Africa?
South African police have fired teargas and rubber bullets into a peaceful demonstration by 700 health activists and people with AIDS, injuring 40.

Less than a week after a United Nations official criticized Nigeria for sentencing a gay man to death by stoning two other gay men have been dragged into court to face the same sentence.

Interrogators called a suspected terrorist a 'homosexual' and subjected him to abusive and degrading treatment, forcing him to wear a bra, dance with another man and behave like a dog, military investigators reported Wednesday, saying that justified their call for disciplinary action.



Again, just cool:
A newly discovered planet has bountiful sunshine, with not one, not two, but three suns glowing in its sky.

It is the first extrasolar planet found in a system with three stars. How a planet was born amidst these competing gravitational forces will be a challenge for planet formation theories.


Good Morning, Kitten


Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ouch: Dems Demand Revocation of Rove's Security Clearance

That's gotta hurt:

Massachusetts Rep. John Tierney (D) just announced that all Democrats on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence today sent a letter to President Bush demanding that White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove's security clearance be revoked in the wake of revelations that he was involved in the leak of a covert CIA operative's name.

This is a major development - Democrats of all stripes on the committee are coming together to do what's right. And as I wrote yesterday, historical precedent shows that the absolute least the White House must do is make sure a security risk like Rove is not allowed access to anymore classified information. Let's see what President Bush's formal response to this letter will be.


FoxNews: "Beneath Contempt"

So says the head of BBC Television News, and with damn good reason:
A contributor to Fox said after the London bombings that "the BBC almost operates as a foreign registered agent of Hezbollah and some of the other jihadist groups". On the Fox website today there is an opinion piece, "How Jane Fonda and the BBC put you in danger". I am writing this in a building which was bombed by Irish terrorists. My colleagues and I are living in a city recovering from the wounds inflicted last week. If I may leave our customary impartiality aside for a moment, the comments made on Fox News are beneath contempt.


Cheapskate Democrats!

Don't they know that (to coin a phrase) what's good for Halliburton is good for America?
Twenty eight Democratic U.S. Senators, led by U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), are calling for a formal Department of Defense investigation into what they described as “alarming” reports of fraudulent, wasteful and abusive practices by Halliburton in providing food to U.S. troops in Iraq, RAW STORY has learned.

In May, despite concerns by the Army's own auditors about billing practices, the firm received a $72.2 million performance bonuses for its work in Iraq. The bonus was the largest ever received by the firm.

Halliburton has billed the government more than $10.5 billion to date under a contract to provide aid for the military in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Although, I suppose, what's "good for America" in this scenario isn't all that good for the troops:
Witness Rory Mayberry, a former food production manager at Halliburton subsidiary KBR, testified that troops were given food that had expired as much as a year earlier. He described a scene in which, after a convoy was ambushed, he and other employees were instructed to remove the bullets and shrapnel from the food supplies and serve them to U.S. soldiers.

Halliburton also charged the U.S. government for tens of thousands of meals that were never served. Mayberry testified that Halliburton managers instructed employees not to speak to government auditors, and punished those who did by sending them to more dangerous camps.


Not Exactly the Spirit of Aloha

Bigotry on the islands:
Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle has vetoed two LGBT civil rights bills passed by the legislature and allowed a third to go into effect without her signature.

The two bills vetoed by Lingle would have added protections based on gender identity and expression to the state's employment discrimination law. Despite passing the bill by large margins, the legislature took no action to override the veto before adjourning for the summer.

The Governor did allow a bill prohibiting discrimination in housing discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression to become law without her signature.


More Kitten!

You got a problem with that?


Ugly Americans

So these are the sort of people we're sending over to win hearts and minds in Iraq? Wow. I wonder why it's not working:
Islamic leaders and peace groups are criticizing the California National Guard for a flier posted in its headquarters suggesting the United States execute Islamic terrorists with bullets dipped in pig's blood to deny them entry to heaven.
A second flier showed the wings and tail of a bomber forming a peace sign with the slogan, "Peace the old fashioned way."

Also posted was a cartoon from a Web site showing a Red Crescent ambulance stuffed with weapons and a caricature that looks like the late-Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat unloading the weapons.

Guard spokesman Lt. Col. Doug Hart at first defended the postings to the San Jose Mercury News, which reported them Tuesday, but Hart later said they had been removed.


Poll: Iraq War Made Britain More Vulnerable

Will we have to learn the same lesson, the same way?
Many adults in Britain believe their government’s backing of the coalition effort may have made their country a target, according to a poll by YouGov published in the Daily Telegraph. 72 per cent of respondents believe Britain’s role in Iraq made the country more vulnerable to attack by Islamic terrorists.


Early Kittenblogging

Who can wait till Friday to show off the brand new foster kitten? Not I.

More pictures to come, but if you are impatient, you can always check them out over at No Aura.


South Africa: Number Five?

We'll know shortly:
South African same-sex couples are anxiously waiting for a court ruling that could make the country the fifth in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.

The Constitutional Court heard arguments for and against same-sex marriage in May and a decision could come at any time.

The case was brought by Marie Fourie and Cecilia Bonthuys, who have been partners since 1994 but are unable to marry.

Meanwhile, here in the states, they've finally decided to stop prosecution of New Paltz Mayor Jason West.


The Seeds of Free Enterprise Have Been Planted

Why am I reminded of Karl Marx? "Capital is dead labor, which, vampire-like, lives only by sucking living labor, and lives the more, the more labor it sucks."

Now, we seem to have transcended the metaphor, and gone straight to money for blood:
Iraqis are selling their own blood to people who are buying supplies for relatives in need, due to a shortage, doctors say. This has caused concern over the spread of disease since the supplies are not checked for blood-bourne infections.
"Every week I come here to sell my blood. It is very easy to get someone to buy it because many families are desperate to help their loved ones who are injured in the hospitals," Nazaare Ammar from Baghdad said, as he stood in the queue to donate blood.

"I was searching for a job for a long time but they pay very little or they ask for typing or English skills and I don't have this so selling blood is easier," he added.


Monday, July 11, 2005

Allawi: Finally Right

More's the pity:
IRAQ’S former interim prime minister Iyad Allawi has warned that his country is facing civil war and has predicted dire consequences for Europe and America as well as the Middle East if the crisis is not resolved.

“The problem is that the Americans have no vision and no clear policy on how to go about in Iraq,” said Allawi, a long-time ally of Washington.

In an interview with The Sunday Times last week as he visited Amman, the Jordanian capital, he said: “The policy should be of building national unity in Iraq. Without this we will most certainly slip into a civil war. We are practically in stage one of a civil war as we speak.”


Congrats to Carlos and Emilio!

They are the first:
Two gay Madrid area men Monday became Spain's first same-sex couple to legally marry.

Carlos Baturin German and Emilio Menendez Menendez exchanged vows as family, friends and a bevy of news photographers looked on in the council chamber in the Madrid suburb of Tres Cantos.


Honesty. Brutal.

I'm still amazed at the historical weirdness of Israel sporting a wall in its oppression of Palestinians. The fessing up is refreshing, though:
Israel's separation barrier in Jerusalem is meant to ensure a Jewish majority in the city and not just serve as a buffer against bombers, an Israeli Cabinet minister acknowledged Monday.

The statement by Haim Ramon, the minister in charge of Jerusalem, confirmed Palestinian claims that demographics _ and not only security _ determined the barrier route.
The plan would separate 55,000 Palestinians from the city both sides want as a capital _ bringing to the fore an explosive disagreement over who controls the holy city and where its boundaries should be. The government approved its final details Sunday.

The 40-mile Jerusalem segment is part of a complex of walls, trenches, fences and electronic devices Israel is building along the entire West Bank, dipping into the territory in some places to enclose main settlement blocs. Palestinians see the project as a land grab, not a security measure.



If you have a few minutes, check McClellan's song and dance routine. And, yes, those are, in fact, reporters posing tough questions. Weird.



That's the only word for it:
Nine building workers have died in Iraq after being arrested on suspicion of insurgent activity and then left in a closed metal container.

Three men survived the ordeal, police sources said, despite being left for 14 hours in the burning Iraqi summer heat.

They had apparently been caught up in a firefight between US troops and Iraqi gunmen, and were detained after taking an injured colleague to hospital.


Hate Ain't Welcome in Houston

The local Catholic archbishop and immigrant rights activists want to roll up the welcome mat before the Minutemen arrive to patrol for illegal immigrants in Houston.

The Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, an organization working to stop the flow of illegal immigrants, announced this week that it would send observers to watch day laborers in Houston beginning in October. Previous plans called for placing patrols only along the Mexican border.

But Archbishop Joseph A. Fiorenza said the Minutemen would not be welcome in Houston.

"We stand against any attempts of outsiders to come into Houston to abuse and intimidate our immigrant communities," Fiorenza said in a statement issued Friday.

Separately, immigrant rights organizations announced that they would fight fire with fire by forming an organization to counteract the Minutemen.

"For every Minuteman patrolling, we will have at least 10 people patrolling them," said Maria Jimenez, a longtime local activist now associated with the Central American Resource Center, or CRECEN.


Still a Poodle

Blair once again proves himself to be a worthy Bush ally, going immediately into See No Evil mode:
Tony Blair will on Monday reject Conservative demands for a government inquiry into last week's London bomb attacks, insisting such a move would distract from the task of catching the perpetrators.

As police and security services continued searching for the bombers - thought to be Islamist terrorists - Downing Street said the prime minister believed an inquiry now into the outrage which killed at least 49 people would be a "ludicrous diversion."

Instead, in a statement to the Commons on Monday following last week's Group of Eight summit, Mr Blair is expected to focus on the direction the government must take to ensure future terrorism is defeated.


Sunday, July 10, 2005


One more thing about which Bush has been lying:
A leaked document from Britain's Defense Ministry says the British and U.S. governments are planning to reduce their troop levels in Iraq by more than half by mid-2006, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.


Our Pakistani Allies

A Pakistani man and some of his relatives chopped off his wife's feet after accusing her of being promiscuous, police said yesterday.

The woman survived the gruesome attack, the latest in a wave of assaults that have raised international concern about the plight of women in rural Pakistan.

'It is a shameful act of cruelty against a woman,' said Talat Ali, a senior police official in Punjab.'

The 32-year-old woman told police her feet were chopped off on 24 June by her husband, her father-in-law, a brother-in-law and two others after they accused her of being 'of bad character', a euphemism for promiscuous.