Saturday, May 20, 2006

Abuse of Religion

Any church that goes along with this request should immediately have its tax-exempt status revoked:
Churches are being asked to help gather signatures for an effort to overturn the state's new gay civil-rights law.

Referendum 65 asks voters whether they want to keep the law passed this year by the Legislature, which adds "sexual orientation" to a state law that bans discrimination in housing, employment, insurance and credit.

The amendment makes Washington the 17th state with laws protecting gays and lesbians, and the seventh to protect transgender people.

Referendum sponsor Tim Eyman has sent petitions to 5,400 churches in Washington for what he calls Referendum Sunday. He's asking the churches to help gather signatures and return the petitions the following Sunday, May 28.



Jesus, can't these people do anything even just a little bit right?
A draft investigative report by the House Judiciary Committee, obtained by ABC News, finds that terrorists could easily spot undercover federal air marshals because of airport boarding policies Homeland Security has "been oblivious to" or refused to change.

"Any procedure that could potentially compromise the anonymity of a federal air marshal is a risk to national security," concludes the report to be made public next week.

Current and former air marshals tell ABC News their own bosses are responsible for blowing their cover.

"I would say that any well trained terrorist organization could identify every air marshal at ever airport in the country," former air marshal supervisor Don Strange told ABC News for a program to be broadcast tonight on 20/20.

A three-month undercover investigation found five separate places at airports where air marshals are required to identify themselves in front of waiting passengers.

The investigation also found air marshals are required to stay in the same hotels, which often advertise their presence.


The Bosnification of Iraq

One more grand gift we have brought to the country: Ethnic cleansing:
The state of Iraq now resembles Bosnia at the height of the fighting in the 1990s when each community fled to places where its members were a majority and were able to defend themselves. "Be gone by evening prayers or we will kill you," warned one of four men who called at the house of Leila Mohammed, a pregnant mother of three children in the city of Baquba, in Diyala province north-east of Baghdad. He offered chocolate to one of her children to try to find out the names of the men in the family.


Friday, May 19, 2006

Homeless Vets

Just great. We never fucking learn:
The nightmare of Iraq was bad enough for Vanessa Gamboa. Unprepared for combat beyond her basic training, the supply specialist soon found herself in a firefight, commanding a handful of clerks.

"They promoted me to sergeant. I knew my job but I didn't know anything about combat. So I'm responsible for all these people and I don't know what to tell them but to duck," Gamboa said.

The battle, on a supply delivery run, ended without casualties, and it did little to steel Gamboa for what awaited her back home in Brooklyn.

When the single mother was discharged in April, after her second tour in Iraq, she was 24 and had little money and no place to live. She slept in her son's day-care center.

Gamboa is part of a small but growing trend among U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars -- homelessness.

On any given night the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) helps 200 to 250 of them, and more go uncounted. They are among nearly 200,000 homeless veterans in America, largely from the Vietnam War.


Blowhard Moron with Delusions of Grandeur

Guess who?
During the May 17 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor, host Bill O'Reilly threatened a boycott of Mexico if the country's foreign secretary, Luis Ernesto Derbez, makes good on a promise to sue the United States if evidence emerges that the National Guard is directly helping to detain Mexican citizens trying to illegally enter the United States. O'Reilly warned Derbez, "If the Mexican government files one lawsuit in the U.S.A., one, pertaining to the National Guard, I will call for a total boycott of Mexican goods and no travel to your country." Continuing, O'Reilly suggested that Derbez "give the French ambassador a call" so he could "fill" Derbez "in" on the effects of an O'Reilly-sponsored boycott, a conversation that might not go as O'Reilly suggests.


Guantanamo Inmates Resist Guards to Enable Prisoner...Suicide?

Yes, that's right; Guantanamo inmates resisted the guards in an attempt to allow a fellow prisoner to commit suicide. On skimming the article I initially thought that the prisoners were trying to prevent the suicide (the lead paragraph is poorly worded, using "they" without a clear antecedent), but then I realized that the guards successfully prevented the suicide, which means that the prisoners were fighting to allow someone to commit suicide.

That is how bad it is.

(The UN Committee Against Torture today also called for Gitmo's closure; the BBC has the text of the report here.)

UPDATE by rorschach: According to NPR, the suicide attempt was a ruse intended to help detainees attack guards. Who knows? At any rate, the story also mentioned that, that very day, two inmates actually did try (and fail) to commit suicide using hoarded prescription medications.



Ror's busy at a new job, so the cats are going to pick up a bit of blogging slack here. As you see, Gramsci has an ongoing love affair with our blinds.

...and if you're looking for Tista you can follow in El Gato Negro's footsteps and try to find him in here...


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Katrina Continues to Create WEALTH

Nothing like state-sponsored capitalism to make the most of an abhorrent disaster:
Tens of thousands of Hurricane Katrina victims remain without homes. The environment is devastated. People are disenfranchised. Financial resources, desperate residents are told, are scarce. But at least New Orleans has a Wal-Mart parking lot serving as a FEMA Disaster Recovery Center with perhaps the tightest security of any parking lot in the world. That's thanks to the more than $30 million Washington has shelled out to the Blackwater USA security firm since its men deployed after Katrina hit. Under contract with the Department of Homeland Security's (DHS) Federal Protective Service, Blackwater's men are ostensibly protecting federal reconstruction projects for FEMA. Documents show that the government paid Blackwater $950 a day for each of its guards in the area. Interviewed by The Nation last September, several of the company's guards stationed in New Orleans said they were being paid $350 a day. That would have left Blackwater with $600 per man, per day to cover lodging, ammo, other overhead--and profits.


Oh, Canada!

Absolutely fabulous!
In what may be Canada's highest profile gay wedding of the year two Mounties will wed next month in Nova Scotia.

It is the first same-sex marriage within the RCMP. and the couple will wear the distinctive scarlet dress uniforms the force is known for worldwide the Chronicle Herald newspaper reports.

Const. Jason Tree, 27, and Const. David Connors, 28, met while in high school. They've been a couple since their university days eight years ago.

In an interview with the Chronicle Herald Tee said they have never experienced a problem on the force. They are so well liked members of the force, also in their dress tunics, will form an honor guard at the wedding.


Another RNC Crook

It's the only way they know how to win:
"A former Republican National Committee official was sentenced Wednesday to 10 months in prison for his role in the jamming of New Hampshire Democrats' telephones on Election Day 2002," reports the Associated Press.

"Prosecutors said [James Tobin] helped arrange more than 800 hang-up calls that jammed get-out-the-vote phone lines set up by the state Democratic Party and the Manchester firefighters' union for about an hour," the article continues. "Republican John Sununu defeated then-Gov. Jeanne Shaheen for the Senate that day in what had been considered a cliffhanger."


Fox Is The White House

Just embarrassing:

At the White House press briefing today, White House press secretary and former FoxNews radio host Tony Snow suggested he was still a member of the Fox News team -- describing a senator's interview with ABC's "This Week" as being on a "competing network."


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

GOP: Desperados

They're out.

They've been out riding their fences for too long:
The Senate by an 83-16 vote backed fences on 595km of the 3,200-kilometre border, focusing on areas where there is a high volume of illegal crossings.

Bush urged Republicans at a party fundraiser on tonight to seize the chance to enact an overhaul of immigration laws that includes both a guest-worker program and stepped-up border enforcement.

"The immigration system is not working and we need to do something
it now," Bush said.


Home, Sweet Home

Have I ever been more proud to be from Arkansas?

I think not:
WALDRON, Ark. - Waldron's mayor was released on a signature bond Wednesday after being accused of soliciting two women for sex after they fell behind on their water bills.

Troy Anderson, 72, is accused of abusing the public trust and patronizing a prostitute. After hearing complaints about delinquent water bills, Anderson solicited sex from the women, authorities said.


Whole Lotta Stupid in Poland

Yes, right. Gay groups are "brutal" in their attacks:
A member of Poland's right wing coalition is demanding the government investigate links between gay rights groups in the country and what he calls "foreign agitators".

Wojciech Wierzejski, a leading member of the League of Polish Families, in a letter to Justice Minister Zbigniew Ziobro and Interior Minister Ludwik Dorn called for a criminal investigation into the "illegal sources of financing" of Polish gay groups.

"The homosexual movement in Poland, almost every day, launch attacks on the Polish government and its ministers. Deputy PM and Education Minister Roman Giertych is attacked in a particularly brutal way," Wierzejski's letter said.

He also accused gays of being pedophiles and having ties with drug dealers.

“Every police office department [in the country] will confirm that homosexuals are a circle that is nearly 100% identical to the circle of pedophiles. It is a fact that does not require any research,” Wierzejski's letter said.


Gilead, Missouri

BLACK JACK, Mo. - The city council has rejected a measure allowing unmarried couples with multiple children to live together, and the mayor said those who fall into that category could soon face eviction.

Olivia Shelltrack and Fondrey Loving were denied an occupancy permit after moving into a home in this St. Louis suburb because they have three children and are not married.
The current ordinance prohibits more than three people from living together unless they are related by "blood, marriage or adoption."


Iraq's Children Left Behind

I'm sure they are, though starving, ecstatic that Saddam is gone:
Malnutrition among Iraqi children has reached alarming levels, according to a UN-backed government survey showing people are struggling to cope three years after US-forces overthrew Saddam Hussein.

The report on food security and vulnerability in Iraq said almost one child in every 10 aged between six months and five years, suffered acute malnourishment.


Wal-Mart: A Parasite

That this megacorporation has a negative effect on poor Americans will come as no surprise to anyone who's being paying any attention:
A study focused on the effects of Wal-Mart stores on poverty rates found that an estimated 20,000 families nationwide have fallen below the official poverty line as a result of the chain's expansion.


Whatever Happened to the Last Throes?

Those "deadenders" sure do have a bit of staying power, it would seem:
US and coalition forces cannot yet be withdrawn from even Iraq's most stable regions, despite progress made in building up Iraqi security forces, the US military chief said.


Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Always on the Verge of Birthin'

Another brilliant plan by which can save all women languishing in dreadful straits (they might be! Who can tell with those deceitful victi-- I mean, vixens
New federal guidelines ask all females capable of conceiving a baby to treat themselves -- and to be treated by the health care system -- as pre-pregnant, regardless of whether they plan to get pregnant anytime soon.:


The NSA Aren't The Only Ones Secretly Watching...


Monday, May 15, 2006

Using Funding to Foster Ignorance

Which is, of course, just what the business sector wants:
Proposed budget cuts could cripple a nationwide system of Environmental Protection Agency libraries that government researchers and others depend on for hard-to-find technical information, library advocates say.

The $2 million cut sought by the White House would reduce the 35-year-old EPA Library Network's budget by 80 percent and force many of its 10 regional libraries to close, according to the advocates and internal agency documents.
The public has a lot at stake in the future of these libraries, said Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, a nonprofit advocacy group that obtained internal EPA documents on the proposed cuts.

"We view this as another example of the Bush administration marginalizing EPA research so that the agency scientists and other specialists can't do their jobs," Ruch said. "And then in the absence of information, plans by industries and others that have environmental implications go forward."


Venezuela Is on "The List"

Bush is getting cranky:
Washington banned all U.S. arms sales to Venezuela on Monday, punishing President Hugo Chavez for his ties with Cuba and Iran and for what it believes is his inaction against Colombian guerrillas.

The sanctions against a major U.S. oil supplier come after years of antagonism between the leftist leader and the Bush administration on issues ranging from trade to oil prices that have dragged ties to their worst state in decades.

Despite Venezuela's repeated assertions it works against terrorism, and particularly militants in the Andean region, the United States designated it on Monday as a country considered uncooperative in the U.S. war on terrorism.


Sunday, May 14, 2006

Crazy in Iraq

I'm sure this bodes well for the future of Iraq:
U.S. military troops with severe psychological problems have been sent to Iraq or kept in combat, even when superiors have been aware of signs of mental illness, a newspaper reported for Sunday editions.

The Hartford Courant, citing records obtained under the federal Freedom of Information Act and more than 100 interviews of families and military personnel, reported numerous cases in which the military failed to follow its own regulations in screening, treating and evacuating mentally unfit troops from Iraq.