Saturday, February 11, 2006


Massive insult added to injury:
Today, legions of wide-bodied mobile homes sit empty at Hope's Municipal Airport, a sprawling former military base. After all these months, storm victims can't seem to get the trailers, which are proving a mixed blessing to Hope and Arkansas.

"It just boggles the mind in this day and time," said Mark Keith, director of the Hope-Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce. "There are 10,770 trailers at Hope Airport. That's one for every man, woman and child in Hope, with a few left over to send to Emmet, down the road."


Screw You Guys, You're Going Home

This is just lovely:
Hundreds of New Orleans police officers -- possibly as many as 500 -- will be without a home when they finish their shifts on Mardi Gras if FEMA continues to have problems either supplying trailers or ensuring those trailers have power and other necessities, the director of the New Orleans Police Foundation said Friday night.

The cruise ship Ecstasy, where the officers are residing, is scheduled to leave New
Orleans sometime after midnight on Feb. 28 because of prior contractual obligations, said Robert Stellingworth, president of the nonprofit police group. He estimated there are between 300 and 500 police officers on the Ecstasy who are still unable to get FEMA trailers. And many who have managed to get the trailers are still struggling to get electricity, hot-water heaters, keys or other necessities to occupy them, he said.


Pleasant Surprise

For a change. This administration might do something to help the environment?

Confusing, but good:
THE Bush Administration may declare the polar bear a threatened species, amid growing concern that global warming is melting away the Arctic ice sheet.

In a surprise move that delighted environmentalists, the Administration, which is reluctant to accept that global warming is a man-made phenomenon, said yesterday that it had initiated a 60-day study to determine whether polar bears should be deemed engangered because of the drastic reduction of their habitat.


Whale Meat for Dogs

Beyond belief:
Meat from whales caught under Japan's "research" programme is so abundant that it is being sold as pet food, according to a UK conservation group.

Thousands of tonnes of whale meat has been stockpiled as more animals are killed each year, says the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society (WDCS).

The Japanese government has attempted to sell the whale meat to schools but the price has continued to fall.

A company is selling meat on the web as "healthy and safe natural" dog food.


Friday, February 10, 2006

Got Wood?

They do:
An Israeli LGBT rights group is planting a forest dedicated to tolerance.

The planting of trees has been a tradition in Israel since its founding in 1948 - part of the quest to turn the desert into useable land.

Tu Bishvat, or Jewish Arbor day, may be a minor festival but has taken on major flare with celebrations in schools and parties throughout the country.

Next week to celebrate Tu Bishvat the Gay in Galilee Society will plant Pride Forest next to Kibbutz Tuval, just off the road that leads from Carmiel to Ma'alot.

It is likely the first gay forest anywhere in the world.


Anti-Abortion Vatican Topples Slovakia

The Vatican has inadvertently triggered the collapse of the government in Slovakia, one of the economic stars of the 10 entrants to the EU, in a row over abortion rights.

The parliament in Bratislava voted on Thursday to hold elections early, on June 17, after Christian Democrats quit Mikulas Dzurinda's centre-right minority coalition government.

The party is angry with the prime minister after he refused to endorse a draft treaty with the Vatican that would have allowed healthcare workers in hospitals founded by the Catholic church to refuse to carry out abortions on conscience grounds.


Sorry for the Stupidity

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele apologized this morning for telling a Baltimore Jewish group yesterday that he believes stem cell research could be comparable to Nazi medical testing on Jews during World War II.



This incident is symbolic of the entire Bush administration, and indeed of Bush as a person. He cannot stand to be questioned.

These administrators should be ashamed of themselves:
Laura Berg is a clinical nurse specialist at the VA Medical Center in Albuquerque, where she has worked for 15 years.

Shortly after Katrina, she wrote a letter to the editor of the weekly paper the Alibi criticizing the Bush Administration.

After the paper published the letter in its September 15-21 issue, VA administrators seized her computer, alleged that she had written the letter on that computer, and accused her of “sedition.”


Levy Smacks the American Left

Or the lack thereof:
The fact is: You do have a right. This right, in large part thanks to its neoconservative battalion, has brought about an ideological transformation that is both substantial and striking.

And the fact is that nothing remotely like it has taken shape on the other side--to the contrary, through the looking glass of the American "left" lies a desert of sorts, a deafening silence, a cosmic ideological void that, for a reader of Whitman or Thoreau, is thoroughly enigmatic. The 60-year-old "young" Democrats who have desperately clung to the old formulas of the Kennedy era; the folks of who have been so great at enlisting people in the electoral lists, at protesting against the war in Iraq and, finally, at helping to revitalize politics but whom I heard in Berkeley, like Puritans of a new sort, treating the lapses of a libertine President as quasi-equivalent to the neo-McCarthyism of his fiercest political rivals; the anti-Republican strategists confessing they had never set foot in one of those neo-evangelical mega-churches that are the ultimate (and most Machiavellian) laboratories of the "enemy," staring in disbelief when I say I've spent quite some time exploring them; ex-candidate Kerry, whom I met in Washington a few weeks after his defeat, haggard, ghostly, faintly whispering in my ear: "If you hear anything about those 50,000 votes in Ohio, let me know"; the supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton who, when I questioned them on how exactly they planned to wage the battle of ideas, casually replied they had to win the battle of money first, and who, when I persisted in asking what the money was meant for, what projects it would fuel, responded like fundraising automatons gone mad: "to raise more money"; and then, perhaps more than anything else, when it comes to the lifeblood of the left, the writers and artists, the men and women who fashion public opinion, the intellectuals--I found a curious lifelessness, a peculiar streak of timidity or irritability, when confronted with so many seething issues that in principle ought to keep them as firmly mobilized as the Iraq War or the so-called "American Empire" (the denunciation of which is, sadly, all that remains when they have nothing left to say).
If I were an American writer, I would try to ponder the lessons of the totalitarian century and those of democracy, Tocqueville-style, all at once, in the same breath, and with the same rigor.



More evidence that this war is going to be with us for a long, long time, regardless of when we finally pull out of Iraq:
Escaping the attention of the mainstream media at the end of January was a panel held by mental-health professionals at the National Press Club in Washington, in which it was revealed that up to one-third of Iraq war Veterans will suffer from some degree of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Speaking on the panel was Antonette Zeiss, deputy chief consultant for mental health services at the Department of Veterans Affairs, who said that up to 40,000 soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan show symptoms of PTSD.
The National Center for PTSD also reports the following alarming statistics that map directly to increased rates of PTSD among Iraq war Veterans:

--94 percent of soldiers in Iraq reported receiving small-arms fire
--86 percent reported knowing someone who was seriously injured or killed
--68 percent reported seeing dead or seriously injured Americans
--51 percent reported handling or uncovering human remains


Friday Catblogging!

If these pictures do not garner comments, Miriam will poke me with a broom. Or a mop.

Whichever is handy.


Is It Hot in Here, or Is It Just me?

No, it's not me:
In the late 20th Century, the northern hemisphere experienced its most widespread warmth for 1,200 years, according to the journal Science.

The findings support evidence pointing to unprecedented recent warming of the climate linked to greenhouse emissions.

University of East Anglia researchers measured changes in fossil shells, tree rings, ice cores and other past temperature records or "proxies".


New Orleans Free Clinic

It makes me happy to see my old workplace helping the people of New Orleans (yes, that was me driving the little train and talking over the speaker system about the animals. And yes, I was making it all up):
The New Orleans Health Department is providing a week of free healthcare for city residents at a clinic in the Audubon Zoo. There is free dental care, eye exams and other outpatient procedures for whomever shows up -- and there have been a lot of people showing up.


Girls Gone Wild

I don't know what to make of this, but it is surprising to me:
Even as teen drug use is declining overall, a new government analysis shows that teenage girls are trying marijuana, alcohol and cigarettes at higher rates than boys — a reversal of past trends that is causing alarm among experts.


Slashing and Burning the EPA

So much for the environment:
Grants to state and local governments for land and water conservation would be cut 40 percent, and money for the Environmental Protection Agency's network of libraries for scientists would be slashed severely under President Bush's proposed budget.


Bush's Economy Sets More Records

Biggest deficit ever:
The U.S. trade deficit soared to an all-time high of $725.8 billion in 2005, pushed upward by record imports of oil, food, cars and other consumer goods. The deficit with China hit an all-time high as did America's deficits with Japan, Europe, OPEC, Canada, Mexico and South and Central America.
The increased foreign competition has helped to keep the lid on prices in this country, but critics say the rising trade deficit is a major factor in the loss of nearly 3 million manufacturing jobs since mid-2000 as U.S. companies moved production overseas to lower-waged nations. Many economists believe those manufacturing jobs will never come back.

"Such a huge trade gap undercuts domestic manufacturing and destroys good U.S. jobs," said Richard Trumka, secretary-treasuer of labor's AFL-CIO. "America's gargantuan trade deficit is a weight around American workers' necks that is pulling them into a cycle of debt, bankruptcy and low-wage service jobs."


They Knew

The lying sons o' bitches knew about the levees very early on:
The earliest official report of a New Orleans levee breach came at 8:30 a.m., hours after Hurricane Katrina roared ashore. Word of the possible breach surfaced at the White House less than three hours later, at 11:13 a.m.

In all, 28 federal, state and local agencies reported levee failures on Aug. 29, according to a timeline of e-mails, situation updates and weather reports — a litany at odds with the Bush administration's contention that it didn't know the extent of the problem until much later. At the time, President Bush said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees."

After the levees gave way, thousands of people were left stranded on rooftops and hundreds died of the flooding and its aftermath.


Funding the Bigotry

Now this is a fine use for our tax money, unlike such atrocities as, say, welfare:
With leaders of some of America's leading anti-gay marriage groups looking on President Bush has signed legislation giving $500 million to faith-based programs to promote and strengthen opposite-sex marriage.


Thursday, February 09, 2006

Jesus: Shelved

We must await the decision. I have to say, I hope perversely that they pursue the slander case:
An Italian atheist lost his legal crusade against the Catholic Church on Thursday when a judge rejected his attempts to sue a priest for saying that Jesus existed 2,000 years ago, the priest's lawyer said.

Luigi Cascioli, 72, had argued his hometown priest and former schoolmate had effectively broken an Italian law meant to protect the public from being conned.

But instead of granting Cascioli his request to bring the case to court, the judge recommended magistrates investigate him for slandering priest Enrico Righi, Righi's lawyer, Bruno Severo said.
Asked about the possibility he would be tried for slander, Cascioli chuckled, saying that to prove he lied, prosecutors would have to prove that Jesus existed.

"They don't have any proof," he said.


Bush: Just Making Things Up

Either that, or his administration is once again criminally incompetent:
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday he was blindsided by President Bush's announcement of new details on a purported 2002 hijacking plot aimed at a downtown skyscraper, and described communication with the White House as "nonexistent."

"I'm amazed that the president would make this (announcement) on national TV and not inform us of these details through the appropriate channels," the mayor told The Associated Press. "I don't expect a call from the president - but somebody."


Cheney Authorized Leaks

Libby says so:
Vice President Dick Cheney's former chief of staff, I. Lewis (Scooter) Libby, testified to a federal grand jury that he had been "authorized" by Cheney and other White House "superiors" in the summer of 2003 to disclose classified information to journalists to defend the Bush administration's use of prewar intelligence in making the case to go to war with Iraq, according to attorneys familiar with the matter, and to court records.
Beyond what was stated in the court paper, say people with firsthand knowledge of the matter, Libby also indicated what he will offer as a broad defense during his upcoming criminal trial: that Vice President Cheney and other senior Bush administration officials had earlier encouraged and authorized him to share classified information with journalists to build public support for going to war.


DeLay's Parachute

No felony goes unrewarded among these people. The second appointment is laughably absurd:
Indicted Rep. Tom DeLay, forced to step down as the No. 2 Republican in the House, scored a soft landing Wednesday as GOP leaders rewarded him with a coveted seat on the Appropriations Committee.

DeLay, R-Texas, also claimed a seat on the subcommittee overseeing the Justice Department, which is currently investigating an influence-peddling scandal involving disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff and his dealings with lawmakers.


For the Science-Historian Geek in All of Us

This is just cool:
A long-lost 17th century manuscript charting the birth of modern science has been found gathering dust in a cupboard in a Hampshire home. Filled with crabby italics and acerbic asides, the 520 or so yellowing and stained pages are the handwritten minutes of the Royal Society as recorded by the brilliant scientist Robert Hooke, one of the society's original fellows and curator of experiments.

The notes describe in detail some of the most astounding and outlandish scientific thinking from meetings of the society between 1661 to 1682. There is the very earliest work with microscopes, confirming the first sightings of sperm and micro-organisms. There is correspondence with Sir Isaac Newton and Sir Christopher Wren over the nature of gravity, with the latter's proposal to fire bullets into the air to see where they might drop. And there is a page that lays to rest the bitter controversy over who designed the watch that would eventually lead to the first measurements of longitude.


Chávez Still a Charmer

Ah, that silver-tongued devil!
When Tony Blair left the Commons chamber after question time, he probably thought David Cameron's accusation that he was "flip-flopping" over school reform was the worst verbal jab he would face this week.

Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan president, had other ideas. In a characteristically forthright tirade, he described the prime minister as "a pawn of imperialism" and told him to "go right to hell".

Mr Chávez was inveighing against comments on Venezuela's attitude to democracy made by Mr Blair in the chamber. The prime minister's observation that Venezuela should abide by the rules of the international community if it wanted to be respected by it showed that he believed "we're still in times of imperialism and colonialism", Mr Chávez said.


Brownie Sticking It to Bush?

Looks like Brown is in heavy-hitting cover-his-ass mode:
Former disaster agency chief Michael Brown is indicating he is ready to reveal his correspondence with President Bush and other officials during Hurricane Katrina unless the White House forbids it and offers legal support.
In a Feb. 6 letter to White House counsel Harriet Miers, Brown's lawyer wrote that Brown continues to respect Bush and his "presidential prerogative" to get candid and confidential advice from top aides.

The letter from Andrew W. Lester also says Brown no longer can rely on being included in that protection because he is a private citizen.

"Unless there is specific direction otherwise from the president, including an assurance the president will provide a legal defense to Mr. Brown if he refuses to testify as to these matters, Mr. Brown will testify if asked about particular communications," the lawyer wrote.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Morales Spells It Out

And it is about time that someone speaking with authority (which he has both as an indigenous former coca farmer and as, well, leader of Bolivia) told the real story of America's "War on Drugs" from a different perspective and what it really means, culturally, socially, economically, and militarily to the nations that grow coca:
Evo Morales is standing before an adoring crowd, a garland of coca leaves draped around his neck, a straw hat layered with more coca shielding him from the searing heat of the Bolivian sun.

"The fight for coca symbolises our fight for freedom," he yells. "Coca growers will continue to grow coca. There will never be zero coca."

The crowd of mainly coca growers - or cocaleros - goes wild. There are easily 20,000 people from all over the tropical region of Chapare here to welcome the new president of Bolivia, their favourite son. Only a couple of years ago, their crops - the raw material, of course, in the production of cocaine - were faced with eradication under a zero-tolerance policy intended to mollify the United States.
"You have to realise that, for us, the coca leaf is not cocaine and as such growing coca is not narco-trafficking," he says. "Neither is chewing coca nor making products from it that are separate from narcotics. The coca leaf has had an important role to play in our culture for thousands of years. It is used in many rituals. If, for example, you want to ask someone to marry you, you carry a coca leaf to them. It plays an important role in many aspects of life."

Unlike other coca-producing countries, such as Colombia, there is here a genuine history and tradition associated with coca use. To the Amerindians, Mama Coca is the daughter of Pachamama, the earth mother. "Before you go to work, especially in agriculture, you will chew some coca leaf," Morales continues. "After lunch, after a nap, you might have some. If you drive long distances for your work, you will chew it to help you stay awake. During the night, you will see police officers on patrol with their cheeks full of coca leaves.

"It is used as tea to combat altitude sickness and made into herbal remedies, including cough mixtures, for a variety of ailments. In the past, popes have used it, kings of Spain, Fidel Castro. In your culture, you might have a cocktail or a glass of wine when we would chew some coca. During the republican era, miners used coca to work harder to send more tin to the US.

"For us, it is a way of life, but coca is not cocaine. Traditionally, Bolivians have not processed it into the narcotic drug cocaine. We completely oppose that. I am saying no to zero coca, but yes to zero cocaine."


German Gay Separatist Penguins

You heard me:
Six gay penguins at a German zoo are still refusing to mate with females of the species flown in from Sweden in 2005, the zoo said.


Gitmo Report

It would seem that, of the "enemy combatants" in Guantanamo, only 8% are both enemies and combatants:
1. Fifty-five percent (55%) of the detainees are not determined to have committed any hostile acts against the United States or its coalition allies.

2. Only 8% of the detainees were characterized as al Qaeda fighters. Of the remaining detainees, 40% have no definitive connection with al Qaeda at all and 18% are have no definitive affiliation with either al Qaeda or the Taliban.


Surveillance Society

Even as Gonzales weasels his way through hearings about the illegal surveillance that has already gone on, the US is continuing to develop bigger and better ways of keep and eye on you and me. The question again becomes: If this program is not a threat to privacy, and is a good way of thwarting terrorists, then why are its details shrouded in secrecy?
The US government is developing a massive computer system that can collect huge amounts of data and, by linking far-flung information from blogs and e-mail to government records and intelligence reports, search for patterns of terrorist activity.

The system - parts of which are operational, parts of which are still under development - is already credited with helping to foil some plots. It is the federal government's latest attempt to use broad data-collection and powerful analysis in the fight against terrorism. But by delving deeply into the digital minutiae of American life, the program is also raising concerns that the government is intruding too deeply into citizens' privacy.
The core of this effort is a little-known system called Analysis, Dissemination, Visualization, Insight, and Semantic Enhancement (ADVISE). Only a few public documents mention it.

ADVISE is a research and development program within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), part of its three-year-old "Threat and Vulnerability, Testing and Assessment" portfolio. The TVTA received nearly $50 million in federal funding this year.
ADVISE "looks very much like TIA," Mr. Tien of the Electronic Frontier Foundation writes in an e-mail. "There's the same emphasis on broad collection and pattern analysis."

Foucault and Bentham ain't got shit on these people.


Seizing Power in New Orleans

Quite literally. It's a shame that people are being forced into this; I expect more than a few people will end up electrocuted in their desire to restore power to their homes. Their blood will be on the hands of the bureaucracy. (On a related note, a reminder: oppose the Baker Bill and other actions like it!)
Tired of waiting in the dark for the lights to come back on, Walter Vine took matters into his own hands: He unscrewed his electrical meter and rigged it to bring power into his flood-damaged home.

Vine, a building contractor, broke the law and risked serious injury or death. But like so many others in this hurricane-ravaged city, he figured it was the only way to avoid the red tape and hair-pulling frustration so many have faced in trying to get their electricity restored.

"People cannot possibly do this by the book and stay in the city," said Vine, who lives a block from one of the city's former mayors in the upper-middle-class Broadmoor neighborhood.

Five months after Katrina plunged New Orleans into darkness, roughly 124,000 homes and businesses — or more than 66 percent of the city's structures — still have no electricity, according to the utility, Entergy New Orleans.

The really frustrating part is that since December, power has been restored to 90 percent of the electrical grid — and the street lights are back on in many neighborhoods — yet only one-third of homeowners can draw juice into their homes.

That is largely because the city requires a permit before the utility can reconnect a meter at any home whose wiring was damaged by flooding. Getting that permit from one of the city's few electrical inspectors has been a bureaucratic nightmare involving phone calls, waiting in line at city offices and waiting some more at home.


Fanatic Gets Twelve Years

A member of an ultra-Orthodox religious group has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for the attempted murder of three people at Jerusalem's gay pride parade.

In handing down its sentence Wednesday the court called Yishai Schlissel a fanatic.

"He has no semblance of tolerance in his heart for those who took part in the march… and there is no compromise in his world view," the ruling said.

"The accused was prepared, out of full awareness, to pay a heavy price for his acts… and was in control his movements."

Schlissel was found guilty last month of attempted murder, sabotage and injury. (story)

The sentence was stiffer than the ten years sought by the prosecution.


Stopping the Benedictine Terrorists

That's funny, I always thought it was the Jesuits who were the secret-society style conspiracists aiming to take over first America and then the world:
The nuns of the Holy Name Monastery say they have been swept into the net cast by the nation's antiterrorism laws.

The sisters say the monastery's main bank account was frozen without explanation in November, creating financial headaches and making the Benedictine nuns hopping mad. They were told the Patriot Act was the cause.

"I think the Patriot Act is unwise, let's say, and that if it happened to us, it can happen to anybody," said Sister Jean Abbott, the monastery's business manager. "I think people need to know that nobody is safe from, in some cases, really ridiculous scrutiny."

The nuns didn't know anything was amiss until Nov. 10, when their checks started bouncing without warning and the account wouldn't accept deposits, including paychecks from state agencies where some of the sisters hold jobs.
Abbott said she was told the troubles started because one 80-year-old nun who is a signatory to the account didn't have her Social Security number and photo ID on file.

"Clearly an international spy," Abbott said wryly.

None of the nuns has given the bank that information, Abbott said. "We've been in business 116 years. No one's ever asked."

Against the Patriot Act from the start, the sisters have members of Congress on speed dial, Abbott said. "They'll be hearing from us now that this is all settled."

My advice to the government: Be afraid, be very afraid.

As a twelve-year veteran of Catholic schools, I am here to tell you that you don't want a bunch of pissed-off nuns on your ass.


Time to Move to Sweden

As usual, they are way ahead of us:
Sweden says it aims to completely wean itself off oil within 15 years -
without building new nuclear plants.

The attempt is being planned by a committee of industrialists, academics, car manufacturers, farmers and others.

The country aims to replace all fossil fuels with renewables before climate change damages economies and growing oil scarcity leads to price rises.

According to the Guardian newspaper, a Swedish minister said oil dependency could be broken by 2020.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences is worried that oil supplies are peaking, shortly to dwindle, and that high oil prices could cause global economic recession.

So, Sweden has a government seriously committed to getting off oil.

And we have, well, this:
A group of 85 evangelical Christian leaders on Wednesday backed legislation opposed by the White House to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, kicking off a campaign to mobilize religious conservatives to combat global warming.

The group which included prominent pastors, Christian college presidents, religious broadcasters and writers, also unveiled a full-page advertisement to run in Thursday's New York Times and a television advertisement they hope to screen across the country.

"With God's help, we can stop global warming for our kids, our world and our Lord," the television spot declared.


Monday, February 06, 2006

Save New Orleans: Stop the Baker Bill

This bill is a travesty and will go a long way toward destroying the city:
It's a two-pronged attack, and it's gaining momentum. Both the federal "Baker Bill" and the local Bring New Orleans Back Commission plan put the burden on displaced residents to prove that they can come back and rebuild their neighborhoods on their own, with no help. A critical mass of residents must start within four months. If they don't, the federal government (through an agency created for this purpose) can buy their property and sell it to developers who will turn around and build new, higher-priced housing--making huge profits, while pricing out the original residents.[1]

It's unfair and it makes no sense. Katrina scattered working class and poor people across the country. Many of them want to return. But it's outrageous for politicians to expect them to come back to New Orleans under these conditions--where there are no jobs, no opportunities, not even the electricity to power a drill!--and rebuild their homes on their own, with no support. It's a set-up, and it will push these people out of New Orleans forever.


Freedom from Water

The consequences of the lack of this basic necessity are obvious, including malnutrion and disease. Without basic infrastructure, talk of building a functional democracy in Iraq is more than a little absurd:
Residents of Baghdad's suburbs have been experiencing serious water shortages for a month due to poor infrastructure, leaking pipes and wastage, according to experts.

"Water wastage in the capital, along with bad infrastructure, has increased," said Saleh Ra'ad, a senior official at the Ministry of Water Resources.

"Now Iraqis are suffering the consequences and have only a few hours of water daily."

Nearly half a million people have been affected by the scarcity. In some areas, water is available for only a few hours at night and for less than two hours during the day in other areas.


Another Sign of the Apocalypse

Pop star Michael Jackson could sing some of the prayers written by the late Pope John Paul, the head of the music company coordinating the project said on Monday.

Father Giuseppe Moscati of the Edizioni Musicali Terzo Millennio, which specializes in church music and organizes musical events at the Vatican, said his company had the rights to 24 of Pope John Paul's prayers and wanted to put together a group of international artists to set them to music.

"We have been contacted by people close to Michael Jackson who have expressed interest and we are thinking about it," Moscati said.

He dismissed the recent controversy surrounding Jackson, who is living in Bahrain after a Californian court acquitted him of child molestation charges last June.
The Catholic Church has been rocked by a U.S. priestly sexual abuse scandal that began in Boston in 2002, when it emerged that priests who had abused children and teenagers were transferred from parish to parish instead of being defrocked.


The Path We Are On: Assassination May Be Legal

It's becoming ever more apparent the direction this nation is heading:
In the latest twist in the debate over presidential powers, a Justice Department official suggested that in certain circumstances, the president might have the power to order the killing of terrorist suspects inside the United States.


Tracking What We've Created

I'm glad that the Pentagon is pragmatic enough to realize that American actions are likely generating terrorist activities. I wish, of course, that this realization would have influence American policy before this starting happening...
A new counterterrorism strategy devised by the Pentagon will measure and review military operations to determine whether or not more terrorists are being stopped or "created," according to a New York Times article slated for Sunday's edition, RAW STORY has learned.

The Times obtained an unclassified version of the plan that "for the first time orders the military to focus on nine areas identified as necessary for any terrorist network to operate."

According to an unnamed Pentagon official quoted in the article, since September 11, 2001 more than thirty new Qaeda-affiliated terrorist organizations have emerged.



The GOP really has lost touch with what "left-wing" means:
The chairman of the Republican National Committee, Ken Mehlman, offered a broad attack on Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York today, describing her as a Democrat brimming with anger and a representative of the far-left wing of her party.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Illegal, Ineffectual

That's the Bush strategy in a nutshell. They may just as well be inviting the next attack, for all they're doing:
Intelligence officers who eavesdropped on thousands of Americans in overseas calls under authority from President Bush have dismissed nearly all of them as potential suspects after hearing nothing pertinent to a terrorist threat, according to accounts from current and former government officials and private-sector sources with knowledge of the technologies in use.