Saturday, April 22, 2006

Chernobyl Kills On

The nightmare continues:
It is 20 years this week since the world's worst nuclear accident shot huge amounts of radiation into the Ukraine sky. Now hospital wards there, in Belarus and in Russia are filled with sick youngsters who are the latest, but not the last, casualties of the disaster.
Only two people were killed in the explosion, but the lethal legacy of the accident could scarcely be grasped at the time. Within a few months 31 emergency workers - the 'liquidators' - had died. Two decades later, Chernobyl is blamed for thousands of deaths and has blighted the health, economic prosperity and social fabric of millions of people, especially in Belarus.

A report by the International Atomic Energy Agency and seven other United Nations bodies estimated 4,000 people would die as a result of Chernobyl. The report was greeted by relief and disbelief. Many studies from the World Health Organisation, independent scientists and campaign groups had predicted a far more catastrophic impact. In response, a group of disbelievers, led by the European Green party, commissioned their own study, The Other Chernobyl Report, or Torch, which estimated a toll of between 30,000 and 60,000 premature deaths. Last week the international Greenpeace campaign group released another study by 50 scientists claiming 200,000 lives would be lost, nearly half from cancers.


They Must Have Voted for Bush

I mean, really. Such gullibility boggles the mind:
A 76-year-old man claiming to be a doctor went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering free breast exams, and was charged with sexually assaulting two women who accepted the offer, police said on Thursday.

One woman became suspicious after the man asked her to remove all her clothes and began conducting a purported genital exam without donning rubber gloves, investigators said.


Oil Self-Sufficiency

We should be so lucky:
Brazilians honor an 18th century independence hero on Friday with a new sense of liberation — from dependence on foreign oil.

When President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva throws the switch to start production on the P-50 rig off Brazil's south Atlantic coast, Brazil will begin producing as much oil as it consumes.

The milestone marks an end to decades of dependence on foreign oil, and fuel bills that plunged Brazil into debt when petroleum prices soared in the 1970s.

It was no surprise that Silva chose to make the announcement on April 21, a national holiday when Brazilians honor Tiradentes, the martyr of independence who was executed for plotting a 1789 revolt against Portuguese colonizers.


Our Cowardly President

So recently having hidden from the gay families on Easter, now he's sneaking around to avoid anyone who might have the temerity to question his judgment:
President Bush's visit to Stanford University's Hoover Institution was quickly moved to another location after more than 1,000 protesters converged around the Hoover tower.

The White House said the protesters blocked the only road into the central areaof the campus where Hoover is located, which forced a meeting with several Hoover fellows to be moved to the campus home of former Secretary of State George Shultz, a Hoover fellow who organized the gathering.

The motorcade instead traveled to the house, which is on the outer edge of campus.

The change in plans delayed the president's arrival by about 15 minutes.

Protesters said they were disappointed that the President would not see them and accused the President of sneaking around to avoid them.


Friday, April 21, 2006

Burn Him!!

This Cardinal is ripe for an excommunication with such talk:
One of the Roman Catholic Church's most distinguished cardinals has publicly backed the use of condoms among married couples to prevent Aids transmission.

Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini said that in couples where one had HIV/Aids, which could pass to the partner, the use of condoms was "a lesser evil".

The Vatican says condoms should never be used, even to stop Aids spreading from one married partner to another.


Late Friday Catblogging!


Thirty Percent

And if they admit to thirty, you have to assume more. And remember, these are human beings, like you and me, who've lost up to four years of their lives for no real reason at all. No due process. No charges. No convictions.

Imagine being abducted and held for four years. Or imagine having your spouse being abducted and held for four years. Or your mother, or your father, or your brother, or your sister. How would you feel?
Nearly 30 percent of the Guantanamo detainees have been cleared to leave the prison but remain jailed because the U.S. government has been unable to arrange for their return to their home countries, the Pentagon said on Friday.
"It's just an outrageous situation where people have gone through this system that has been established, such as it is, and the (U.S.) government itself has found there's no reason for them to be held any longer, and yet they continue to be held," said Curt Goering, a senior Amnesty International USA official.

"It makes a mockery of any kind of system of justice," Goering added.


You Have to Admit It's Getting Better

Better all the time.
In a report to be released next week, US government figures will show that the number of terrorist attacks in the world jumped sharply in 2005, totalling more than 10,000 for the first time. That is almost triple the number of terrorist attacks in 2004 -- 3,194.


Thursday, April 20, 2006

Heartland Values

Once again, what the fuck is wrong with Kansas:
RIVERTON, Kan. (AP) — Five teenage boys accused of plotting a shooting rampage at their high school on the anniversary of the Columbine massacre were arrested Thursday after details of the alleged scheme appeared on the website

Sheriff's deputies found guns, ammunition, knives and coded messages in the bedroom of one suspect, Sheriff Steve Norman said. Authorities also found documents about firearms in two suspects' school lockers.

"What the resounding theme is: They were actually going to do this," Norman said.


Bush: Now Less Than Ever

2 out of 3 Americans can't be wrong.


The Company You Keep

The US is among the elite:
More than 2,000 people were known to have been executed around the world last year, the vast majority of them in China, followed by Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United States, Amnesty International said on Thursday.


Pederasts R Us

The Catholics just keep on going:
Cardinal Roger M. Mahony acknowledged to Los Angeles Catholics in his 2004 "Report to the People of God" that he left five priests in ministry despite complaints that they had molested children.

But a Times analysis of church records released since then shows that he left 11 other priests in ministry for periods up to 13 years after parishioners raised concerns about inappropriate behavior with children.


International Vigilantism

It's heartwarming to see citizens taking the law into their own hands:
Minuteman border watch leader Chris Simcox has a message for President Bush: Build new security fencing along the border with Mexico or private citizens will.

Simcox said Wednesday that he's sending an ultimatum to the president, through the media, of course - "You can't get through to the president any other way" - to deploy military reserves and the National Guard to the Arizona border by May 25.


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Shocked, I Tell You!

Who could have anticipated that US corporations operating in war-torn Iraq might be involved in bribery?
An American businessman who is at the heart of one of the biggest corruption cases to emerge from the reconstruction of Iraq has pleaded guilty to conspiracy, bribery and money-laundering charges, according to documents unsealed yesterday in federal court in Washington.

As part of the plea, Philip H. Bloom admitted his part in a scheme to give more than $2 million in cash and gifts to U.S. officials in exchange for their help in getting reconstruction contracts for his companies. Bloom's firms won $8.6 million in reconstruction deals, with an average profit margin of more than 25 percent.


Bush "Can't" Fire Rumsfeld

Our Invincible Leader is, once again, helpless and weak, according to Russert:
And then, someone very close to the President said to me, you know, he won’t fire Rumsfeld because it would be the equivalent of firing himself. He can’t acknowledge that it was such a big mistake, in so many ways. And so Rumsfeld will stay.


Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Disturbing Headline and Photo

"Bush, After Some Changes, Vows More Coming"


Opening Government Records

Not here, of course. (Maybe a few decades down the line...)

In Germany:
Germany agreed Tuesday to help clear the way for the opening of Nazi records on some 17 million Jews and enslaved laborers who were persecuted and slain by the Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust more than 60 years ago.

At a news conference at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries said her country would work with the United States to assure the opening of the archives held in the German town of Bad Arolsen and allow historians and survivors access to some 30 million to 50 million documents.

Until now, Germany resisted providing access to the archives, citing privacy concerns. "We always put it forward that way in meetings," Zypries said.


The Bushes Hide from Gay Families

Our pathetic First Family does it again:
More than 100 gay and lesbian families, decked out in rain ponchos and rainbow-colored leis, sloshed their way Monday morning onto the soggy South Lawn to take part in a quintessential American family event, the White House Easter Egg Roll.

For their kids, it was a chance to meet the Easter Bunny and scoop eggs across the rain-soaked grass using big plastic spoons. But for the parents, it was a deliberate effort to show that millions of children across America are being raised in homes with two moms or two dads.

"We are making a statement that we are families just like everyone else," said Susan Mathis, an elementary school music teacher from Chevy Chase, Md., who came to the event with her partner and their two children, Lele, 10 and NaNa, 8.

"I look forward to the day when reporters won't have to cover a group of families who just want to bring their kids to the White House so they can roll some Easter eggs," she added.

More than 16,000 people attended the traditional event, but it was the participation by gay and lesbian couples and their children that drew the attention.

President Bush briefly appeared in the morning to blow a whistle and start the first egg roll race, while first lady Laura Bush appeared for photos with children from Gulf Coast states hit by Hurricane Katrina.

Both left the event before the first gay and lesbian families arrived.


Bush: Decider-in-Chief

He should be impeached for what he does to the English language:
President Bush on Tuesday emphasized once again his support for his defense secretary, saying Donald Rumsfeld "is doing a fine job."

At a Rose Garden ceremony announcing his nominees for budget director and trade representative, Bush referred to the controversy in which six retired generals recently have called for Rumsfeld's resignation.

"I hear the voices, and I read the front page and I know the speculation," the president said. "But I'm the decider, and I decide what's best. And what's best is for Don Rumsfeld to remain as the secretary of defense."


Because Freedom of Assembly Isn't Free

Again, Florida doesn't disappoint when it comes to ludicrous, unconstitutional ideas:

Lee County commissioners are expected today to discuss whether to make organizers of last week's protest march pay for additional costs the county incurred, but they may be wasting their time.

The county has no legal standing to charge organizers anything based on rulings from similar court battles, said Howard Simon, executive director of the Florida chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Governments don't tax the exercise of constitutional freedoms, that's why we have municipal budgets and publicly funded police departments," Simon said. "People don't pay to exercise their First Amendment rights, that is contradictory to how the Constitution works."