Saturday, August 19, 2006


Israel continues doing what it will:

The ceasefire in Lebanon was holding by a thread last night after Israel sanctioned a commando raid in the east of the country. Kofi Annan, the United Nations secretary general, said Israel had violated the truce, and he was 'deeply concerned' about it.


Sweet Virgin Mary!

Wrap that in a tortilla and say a rosary!
As a chocolatier to the rich and famous, Martucci Angiano has posed with many celebrities — but on Thursday she held in her hand a figure that dazzles her more than any Hollywood star.

Workers at Angiano's gourmet chocolate company, Bodega Chocolates, discovered under a vat a 2-inch-tall column of chocolate drippings that they believe bears a striking resemblance to the Virgin Mary.

Since the discovery Monday, Angiano's employees have spent much of their time hovering over the tiny figure, praying and placing rose petals and candles around it.

"I was raised to believe in the Virgin Mary, but this still gives me the chills," Angiano said as she balanced the dark brown figure in her hand. "Everyone should see this."


Rapist Army

Shouldn't these recruiters be deployed to Iraq, so they can rape the enemy?

More than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams.

A six-month Associated Press investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country.

"This should never be allowed to happen," said one 18-year-old victim. "The recruiter had all the power. He had the uniform. He had my future. I trusted him."



The anti-gay bigots
will stop at nothing:
A criminal investigation has begun into allegations of election fraud in connection with the collection of signatures on a referendum to repeal Cincinnati's LGBT rights ordinance.

The probe was launched by the Hamilton County Prosecutor's Office.

Equal Rights Not Special Rights had collected thousands of names on petitions to have a repeal measure put to voters in November. But Tuesday when it emerged that many of the signatures were fake the group voluntarily withdrew the measure.


Suffer, Children

Breastfeeding mothers are being separated from their babies for several days in the government's drive to deport failed asylum seekers, Guardian Unlimited can reveal today.

Immigration officials have been accused of flouting several UN conventions by detaining mothers away from pre-weaned infants in at least two cases this spring.

In March this year a Vietnamese mother was seized from her Birmingham home without notice. She was then locked up at the immigration removals centre at Yarl's Wood in Bedfordshire, without her six-month-old baby.


Friday, August 18, 2006

Friday Catblogging


Georgie Throws a Tantrum

Gimme mah toys!
President Bush on Friday criticized a federal court ruling that said his warrantless wiretapping program is unconstitutional, declaring that opponents "do not understand the nature of the world in which we live."

"I strongly disagree with that decision, strongly disagree," Bush said, striking his finger on a podium to underscore his point. "That's why I instructed the Justice Department to appeal immediately, and I believe our appeals will be upheld."

U.S. District Judge Anna Diggs Taylor in Detroit on Thursday was the first to find the National Security Agency surveillance program unconstitutional. The program involves monitoring international phone calls and e-mails to and from the United States involving people with suspected ties to terrorists.

"If al-Qaida is calling in to the United States, we want to know why they're calling," Bush said.

Critics say the surveillance program skirts the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which requires court warrants for domestic eavesdropping. The administration has argued that obtaining warrants from a secret court set up under FISA is a time-consuming process unsuited for the government's fast-moving war on terror.

The judge said the government, in defending the program, appeared to be saying the president had the "inherent power" to violate laws of Congress.


"Crazier" Is Right

They can't go crazy, because you can't go where you already at:
Raúl Castro, in his first public comments since temporarily taking over power in Cuba from his ailing brother, said in an interview published Friday that he had mobilized the country’s armed forces in the hours after Fidel Castro’s illness was announced, to fend off any invasion that might have been planned by Washington.

“We could not rule out the risk of somebody going crazy, or even crazier, within the U.S. government,” Raúl Castro, the country’s defense minister, said in an interview with the editor of Granma, the Communist Party newspaper.


Thursday, August 17, 2006

Festive Felines

Happy birthday, Rorschach!

(Photos from today's festivities. Unwrapping presents is, for cats, a present in and of itself.)


Reality TV

Anything for some good footage, eh? Even O'Reilly hasn't sunk this low yet:
A group of Indian television journalists gave a man matches and diesel to help him commit suicide in order to get dramatic footage which was later broadcast on the news, police said on Thursday.

The man died from severe burns to his body in hospital in Gaya town in the eastern state of Bihar on August 15, India's Independence Day.


Learning Curve

ain't all it's cracked up to be, eh?

It became near impossible for the Canton school board to ignore the unintended by-products of its abstinence-only program when 13 percent of Timken High School's female student population became pregnant last year. Thanks to Feministing for pointing us in the direction of this ridiculous-but-true story about an Ohio school board which has, to its credit, finally seen the light of sex education.

Of course it took 65 of the 490 female students becoming pregnant within a year to adequately deliver that message, but as Jessica of Feministing queried, "I guess better late than never?"


Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!

I gots me my miriam.

I win!


MFing Moron on a MFing Motorcycle


Bladder Inflammation Overturn!

Cycling in Wales has some peculiar perils, it would seem:
Council officials in Wales were left red-faced after discovering cyclists were being confused by a road sign telling them they had a bladder problem.

Officials had translated the command "cyclists dismount" from English into Welsh for the sign between Penarth and the capital Cardiff.

However, the result had been the baffling phrase: "Llid y bledren dymchwelyd" which roughly translates as "bladder inflammation overturn."


Senator "Macaca" Has Always Been a Jerk

Just ask his sister; she'll tell you:

Senator George Allen’s racial remark to a 20 year old Indian man last week, has re-highlighted accusations that the Senator is a bully and a bigot. Senator Allen’s sister, Jennifer Allen, documents many cases of her brother’s bullying in her book Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter. Read the excerpts below.

Explaining why she is scared of heights, Ms. Allen writes that “Ever since my brother George held me over the railing at Niagara Falls, I’ve had a fear of heights.” [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 43]

Referring to George’s relationship with one of her boyfriends: “My brother George welcomed him by slamming a pool cue against his head.” [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 178]

Referring to George’s early leadership skills, Jennifer wrote: “We all obeyed George. If we didn't, we knew he would kill us. Once, when Bruce refused to go to bed, George hurled him through a sliding glass door. Another time, when Gregory refused to go to bed, George tackled him and broke his collarbone. Another time, when I refused to go to bed, George dragged me up the stairs by my hair.” [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 22]

Referring to George’s early career aspirations, Jennifer wrote “George hoped someday to become a dentist. George said he saw dentistry as a perfect profession - getting paid to make people suffer.” [Fifth Quarter: The Scrimmage of a Football Coach's Daughter, page 22]


"Sex-Based Clubs"

North Carolinans display their stupidity without any reflection or hesitation. Good for them!
Without discussion the Rowan-Salisbury School System has banned the formation of a Gay Straight Alliance at South Rowan High School.

The Board of Education voted unanimously to bar what it called sex-based clubs at the school and to declare the Alliance fit that criterion.

The move followed a April decision by the board to block the club pending an examination of the issue by the board's attorney. The recommendation to amend the policy and define the GSA as a sex club was based on the school district's existing mandate for abstinence-only sex education.


The national Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network said Wednesday that it is outraged by the board decision to equate a GSA with a sex club.

“It is disheartening and painfully obvious that the Rowan-Salisbury School Board does not have the best intentions of its schools and students at heart,” said Kevin Jennings, a North Carolina native and GLSEN Founder and Executive Director.

“The ridiculous claim that GSAs are sex clubs proves that the Rowan-Salisbury School Board is not only disconnected from reality, but also purposefully trying to undermine students’ right to a safe environment in which to learn.”


Bed-Wetting Pampered Gay Liberals Love Bestiality

The Colorado gubernatorial race is doing its part to raise our political discourse:

Guess it's safe to say the gloves - and perhaps the rubber sheets - are off in the governor's race.

Democrats took after GOP running mate Janet Rowland for comments she made equating homosexuality with bestiality, reports Lynn Bartels.

Rowland's comments on gays came in March, during Colorado State of Mind, Rocky Mountain PBS' public affairs show, during a discussion on gay marriage.
"Homosexuality is an alternative lifestyle. That doesn't make it a marriage." Rowland said.
"For some, bestiality is an alternative lifestyle. Do we allow a man to marry a sheep? At some point, we have to draw a line," she said.

Now she says she regrets saying that.

Michael Huttner, director of the liberal, sugested GOP gubernatorial candidate Bob Beauprez drop Rowland from the ticket.

That prompted Beauprez campaign manager John Marshall to call Progress Now "bed-wetting, pampered liberals."

Apparently tree-huggers just doesn't resonate as much these days.


Boomtime in Afghanistan

Opium for everyone!
Opium cultivation in Afghanistan has hit record levels -- up by more than 40 percent from 2005 -- despite hundreds of millions in counternarcotics money, Western officials told The Associated Press.

The increase could have serious repercussions for an already grave security situation, with drug lords joining the Taliban-led fight against Afghan and international forces.


Cut Is Good

Circumcision as HIV prevention
At a conference often dominated by high-tech research from the world's most sophisticated labs, a medical practice dating back to biblical times is emerging as potentially the most powerful weapon available to curtail the modern scourge of AIDS.

Male circumcision -- the surgical removal of the foreskin from the penis -- has been shown in at least one major clinical trial in Africa to reduce the chance of female-to-male transmission of HIV by 60 percent, and policymakers and leaders as prominent as Bill Gates and Bill Clinton have begun to consider ways to vastly expand the practice in regions of the world hardest hit by AIDS.

"If research shows it saves lives, we have to be prepared to deal with it,'' Clinton said to a packed hall of over 6,000 delegates at the 16th International AIDS Conference in Toronto, and to thousands of others who filled overflow rooms to watch him on video screens.


Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Erratic Blogging

Sorry, dears, but potent drugs were injected into my jaw and then bone spurs were pulled via pliers out of my body.

Great day! Great and dizzy day.


Blanks on a Blank

In honor of Samuel Jackson's The Daily Show appearance, have a look at some of the planned sequels.


Twelve Planets

I do hope that "Xena" becomes official:
The nine planets of the solar system are about to be transformed into 12.
The International Astronomical Union (IAU) is planning to add three new members to the exclusive club of large celestial objects orbiting our Sun.
Astronomers are about to vote on an official proposal to extend the definition of a planet to include at least three more objects that are known to be big enough to warrant planetary status.
It will mean that astronomy textbooks will have to be rewritten with the names Ceres, Charon and UB313 being added to the more familiar names of the classical planets.



The queen of the Maori has passed on:
Dame Te Atairangikaahu lay inside the main marae at Turangawaewae in Ngaruawahia this morning, surrounded only by direct family members.
On the road outside, Maori friends and wider family from other hapu within the Tainui waka gathered to lament their leader's death.
Dame Te Atairangikaahu, the Maori Queen, died last night aged 75.
Some mourners arrived as early as 7am, and seats were provided to the growing throng of kuia on the footpath, dressed in thick, black clothing, in bright morning sun.
Many also wore reefs of greenery around their heads, or dark glasses to shield their wet eyes.
The crowd outside were told their Queen was lying in peace, surrounded by about 300 whanau.
Her body was due to be brought out on to the Marae forecourt at midday, at which time the gates would be open to members of the wider Tainui iwi.
The mood at Turangawaewae was subdued, calm and patient, reflecting the air of respect and mana that Dame Te Ata commanded among her people.


Sorry About the Bullets to the Head

The UK pardons WWI deserters:
All 306 British first world war soldiers executed for desertion or cowardice are to be pardoned, Des Browne, the defence secretary, will announce today.

For 90 years, families, friends and campaigners for the young soldiers have argued that their deaths were a stain on the reputation of Britain and the army.

In many cases, soldiers were clearly suffering from shellshock but officers showed no compassion for fear that their comrades would have disobeyed orders and refused to go "over the top".


The Dating Game, Aussie Style

Australian scientists have called on the country's farmers to report any ugly sheep found in their flocks.


The Pakistani Disappeared

I'm sure the government is doing its best to find these people. Right:
Mr. Sarki, 42 years old, is one of hundreds of political activists who have gone missing in Pakistan over the past decade. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, a nongovernmental organization that tracks human-rights issues, says 57 political activists have "disappeared" in the past two years, including prominent figures such as Asif Baladi, a young scholar, and Nawaz Zaunr, a journalist and poet. When asked about the claim of such "disappearances," the spokesman for Pakistan's embassy in Washington said authorities in Pakistan are investigating the cases but have no information on them.


Screwing the Katrina Victims, Again

The insurance companies continue to weasel their way out of their responsibilities:
A federal judge ruled Tuesday that an insurance company's policies do not cover damage from flood waters or storm surge in a decision that could affect hundreds of upcoming cases related to property damage from Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter Jr. ruled that a Mississippi Gulf Coast couple cannot collect damages from storm surge caused by Katrina because Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co.'s policies do not cover wind-driven water damage.

Senter said Paul and Julie Leonard of Pascagoula could be compensated for damage that they could prove was caused by high winds, however.

"Almost all the damage to the Leonard residence is attributable to the incursion of water," Senter wrote in the 13-page decision.

Senter's ruling could set a precedent for hundreds of other court challenges to the insurance industry for denying billions of dollars in claims after the Aug. 29 hurricane ravaged the coasts of Louisiana and Mississippi.


Here's to the Media Monopoly

Thank god the media are there to protect us from scary, disturbing opinions:

As the conflict has gone on, the media interpretation of it has only hardened. Essentially, the line touted by cable news hosts and their correspondents - closely adhering to the line adopted by the Bush administration and its neoconservative supporters - is that Hizbollah is part of a giant anti-Israeli and anti-American terror network that also includes Hamas, al-Qa'ida, the governments of Syria and Iran, and the insurgents in Iraq. Little effort is made to distinguish between these groups, or explain what their goals might be. The conflict is presented as a straight fight between good and evil, in which US interests and Israeli interests intersect almost completely. Anyone who suggests otherwise is likely to be pounced on and ripped to shreds.

When John Dingell, a Democratic congressman from Michigan with a large Arab American population in his constituency, gave an interview suggesting it was wrong for the US to take sides instead of pushing for an end to violence, he was quickly - and loudly - accused of being a Hizbollah apologist. Newt Gingrich, the Republican former House speaker, accused him of failing to draw any moral distinction between Hizbollah and Israel. Rush Limbaugh, the popular conservative talk-show host, piled into him, as did the conservative newspaper The Washington Times. The Times was later forced to admit it had quoted Dingell out of context and reprinted his full words, including: " I condemn Hizbollah, as does everyone else, for the violence."

The hysteria has extended into the realm of domestic politics, especially since this is a congressional election year. Republican have sought to depict last week's primary defeat of the Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman of Connecticut, one of the loudest cheerleaders for the Iraq war, as some sort of wacko extremist anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli stand that risks undermining national security. Vice-President Dick Cheney said Lieberman's defeat would encourage "al-Qa'ida types" to think they can break the will of Americans. The fact that the man who beat Lieberman, Ned Lamont, is an old-fashioned East Coast Wasp who was a registered Republican for much of his life is something Mr Cheney chose to overlook.


Land Reform in South Africa

Interesting and drastic move

South Africa has told its white farmers they will risk losing their land if they fail to agree on acceptable selling prices for black resettlement within the next six months, the first time the country has set down such stringent rules for land reform policy.

Lulu Xingwana, the new agriculture minister, said the government would no longer spend time negotiating with white farmers of whom she accused of not being committed to the empowerment of black people.

Speaking at a weekend agricultural briefing, Ms Xingwana said white farmers had a deadline of six months, by which time they should negotiate fair prices for their land or risk compulsory eviction.

"We are now going to negotiate for six months and no more ..." said Ms Xingwana. "We will no longer waste time negotiating with people who are not committed to transformation."


Breaking Records in Iraq, Again

It's always darkest before...something or other:
July appears to have been the deadliest month of the war for Iraqi civilians, according to figures from the Health Ministry and the Baghdad morgue, reinforcing criticism that the Baghdad security plan started in June by the new Iraqi government has failed.

An average of more than 110 Iraqis were killed each day in July, according to the figures. The total number of civilian deaths that month, 3,438, is a 9 percent increase over the tally in June and nearly double the toll in January.

The rising numbers indicate that sectarian violence is spiraling out of control and seem to bolster an assertion that many senior Iraqi officials and American military analysts have been making in recent months: that the country is already embroiled in a civil war, not just slipping toward one, and that the American-led forces are caught between Sunni Arab guerrillas and Shiite militias.


Another Attack on the Judiciary

Haven't these people heard of the notion of "separation of powers"?

A state senator responsible for some of Utah's most anti-gay legislation says that the vote of the people should not be the final say in who sits on the bench.

Chris Buttars (R) wants the state Senate to confirm all judges, even though they are subject to election. He also proposes giving the Senate the power to fire judges whose rulings it doesn't like.


Sick F*cks

Cage them up for a good long while:
The kidnapping and repeated beating of a gay Santa Fe man to "scare him straight" was sparked by the belief he had touched the behind of one of the accused assailants court documents show.

William York, 21, Leroy Segura, 19, and two minors - a boy and a girl - are charged with kidnapping, aggravated battery causing great bodily injury, false imprisonment and conspiracy.

The 18-year old victim and a female friend - their names have not been released for their own security - had gone to a party at a local home but when they tried to leave the four became verbally abusive. When they managed to get outside the group jumped them.

They were held and the gay man was beaten by the suspects who said that they were going to beat him straight. The beatings continued throughout the night and into the next morning.

The victim suffered bleeding on the brain and a concussion as well as facial lacerations and bruising. He has since been released from an area hospital.

A statement of probable cause, filed by the prosecutor in state District Court says York told police that he was told by Segura that the victim had tried to grab his butt.

York said he had not felt a grope but was upset by what Segura had told him.

The statement also says York told police that everyone at the party was making fun of the 18-year-old man because he was gay and that he wanted to "scare [him] to make him straight and to get him to stop acting the way he was.''

The statement goes on to quote from an interview given to police by the minor male in the case where the youth said he, York and Segura tied down the victim, placed a torn T-shirt over his face, dragged him to a deserted field and began beating him.


Oh, Lord

Doesn't Bush have one or two things slightly more important than this that he should be taking care of?
President Bush on Monday signed a bill designed to save the cross atop Mt. Soledad here from being removed, but both sides in the 17-year court battle predicted more politicking and litigating before the fate of the cross is finally decided.

Bush signed a bill sponsored by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-El Cajon) that designates the 43-foot cross and the city land beneath it as a federal war memorial under control of the Department of Defense.

A federal judge in May declared the cross a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state and ordered it removed by Aug. 2. That order was stayed last month by the U.S. Supreme Court until other legal issues can be resolved.

Cross proponents believe that shifting ownership of the land to the federal government will invalidate the judge's ruling and make it more difficult for opponents to prevail because the U.S. Constitution is more flexible about religious icons on federal property than the state Constitution is about city land.

"We've gone from a sure victory for the opponents to what is now a long shot for them," said Hunter soon after the closed Oval Office ceremony in which Bush signed the bill.


Monday, August 14, 2006

And Where Is Bush, Praytell?

That fucker doesn't care about millions of people dying, of course:
The event was described as a double-Bill: Microsoft founder Bill Gates and former U.S. president Bill Clinton shared the stage Monday at the International AIDS Conference, calling on the world to make the fight against HIV/AIDS a priority.

``It's a breathtaking human tragedy,'' Clinton told a panel discussion that was one of the highlights of the conference.

He noted that most people in rich countries who get the disease now don't die, but those in poor countries do.

By far, he said, the biggest problem is that in developing countries, 90 per cent of people who are HIV positive don't know it.


Revoke It

If you don't feel comfortable with a team called the "Nashville Niggers," you should support this move:
Six American Indian young people from across the country will file a joint petition with the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on Aug. 11 for the cancellation of the Washington Redskins football organization (Pro-Football Inc.) trademarked term, “Redskins.”

In 1992, a group of prominent American Indian leaders filed a similar petition that is still pending 14 years later. Both petitions call for the cancellation of the federal government’s registration of the Washington “Redskins” trademark because its use is disparaging to American Indians. The petitions cite extensive evidence concerning the history of the use of the term “Redskin” and public perception of the objectionable term.


Good While It Lasted

All of four hours:

A CEASEFIRE to end a month of fighting between Israel and Hezbollah lasted less than four hours yesterday before shooting broke out in the town of Hadata, in southern Lebanon.

A spokesman for the Israeli Army said soldiers had shot and killed a Hezbollah militant. The spokesman said the soldiers opened fire at a group of militants who approached a patrol about 11am.


I Get It...

But it's still downright embarrassing to have these people on "my side."

People dressed as Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and President Bush walked around peace activist Cindy Sheehan peace camp near Crawford, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 13, 2006.


More Nurses Needed

Now!!! Train more, pay them more, and give them more voice:

Nurses are the ``linchpin'' of front-line workers in the battle against HIV/AIDS around the world, yet their voices too often go unheard and their needs unmet, a forum for the health-care providers was told Saturday in the run-up to the International AIDS Conference.

``As nurses, you play a pivotal role in creating safe environments for people living with HIV to access the care, the treatment and the support that they need to be as healthy and productive as possible,'' federal Health Minister Tony Clement told about 250 nurses gathered for the International Nurses Forum at the University of Toronto.

``As the world's largest group of health-care providers, nurses are really an essential human resource in all of our health-care systems,'' said Clement. ``The world needs your dialogue and debate on this issue.''

Yet shortages of nurses have had a profound effect on health care in Canada and other countries worldwide, he said, noting that nations must focus on ratcheting up nurse-training programs to bolster the workforce and improve patient care _ especially where HIV/AIDS has decimated populations and the health sector.

Stephen Lewis, UN special envoy for AIDS in Africa, said the acute shortage of nurses has been felt perhaps most in sub-Saharan Africa, where their numbers have been decimated both by HIV/AIDS and through ``poaching'' by other countries.

With the disease also killing and disabling other key health providers, such as doctors and pharmacists, those nurses left often must do triple-duty - testing and diagnosing, dispensing drugs, and counseling and caring for patients.

``It's the ultimate irony,'' said Lewis, the keynote speaker at the forum. ``You finally get fixed-dose generic (drug) combinations, you have the drugs in the pipeline, they're flowing freely - and you don't have the people to roll out the treatment.''


Scary, Hot-Dog Eating X-Men

Not pretty:

Everyone knows hot dogs aren't exactly healthy for you, but in a new study chemists find they may contain DNA-mutating compounds that might boost one's risk for cancer.

Scientists note there is an up to 240-fold variation in levels of these chemicals across different brands.

"One could try and find out what the difference in manufacturing techniques are between the brands, and if it's decided these things are a hazard, one could change the manufacturing methods," researcher Sidney Mirvish, a chemist at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, told LiveScience.

Mirvish and his colleagues examined hot dogs because past research had linked them with colon cancer. Hot dogs are preserved with sodium nitrite, which can help form chemicals known as N-nitroso compounds, most of which cause cancer in lab animals.

Extracts from hot dogs bought from the supermarket, when mixed with nitrites, resulted in what appeared to be these DNA-mutating compounds. When added to Salmonella bacteria, hot dog extracts treated with nitrites doubled to quadrupled their normal DNA mutation levels.


A Stupid Poll for Stupid People

I say just quit struggling:

"The poll results indicate that 50% of all Christian men and 20% of all Christian women are addicted to pornography," said Clay Jones, founder and President of Second Glance Ministries.

The group defines "addicted" as applied to pornography as use on an ongoing basis.

"We are seeing an escalation to the problem in both men and women who regularly attend church," said Bill Cooper, President of

The poll, conducted at, used a self-selected sample, and is therefore not a scientific study. Over 1,000 users responded to the survey.

Additionally, 60% of the women who answered the survey confessed having "significant struggles with lust." 40% admitted to being "involved in sexual sin" in the past year.


Update: You Go, Gateses!

Not only do they have money, sense, and compassion, they're not afraid to bash Bushite stupidity:
Bill and Melinda Gates have come off the political fence and publicly backed key causes of Aids campaigners, criticising the abstinence policies beloved of the US government and calling for more rights for women and help for sex workers.

Making the keynote speech of the opening session of the 16th International Aids Conference in Toronto, on Sunday, the Microsoft billionaire and his wife, who have previously largely confined themselves to discussing and funding non-political scientific research, spoke with passion and commitment about the social changes necessary to stop the spread of HIV/Aids.

The "ABC" programme - abstinence, be faithful and use a condom - had saved many lives, Mr Gates told the conference of more than 20,000 delegates. But, departing from his government's line, he added that for many at the highest risk for infection, ABC had its limits.

"Abstinence is often not an option for poor women and girls, who have no choice but to marry at an early age. Being faithful will not protect a woman whose partner is not faithful. And using condoms is not a decision that a woman can make by herself; it depends on a man.

"We need to put the power to prevent HIV in the hands of women. This is true whether the woman is a faithful married mother of small children or a sex worker trying to scrape out a living in a slum. No matter where she lives or what she does, a woman should never need her partner's permission to save her own life."


American Stupidity

A protester staked out the home of a Muslim candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates, holding a sign and wearing a T-shirt that mocked Islam.

Timothy Truett sat in a folding chair Saturday on the cul-de-sac outside Saqib Ali's home in Gaithersburg with a sign reading "Islam sucks," and a shirt with the slogan, "This mind is an Allah-free zone."

Montgomery County police sent a trespass notification form to Truett warning that he would be subject to arrest on trespassing charges if he steps onto Ali's property within the next year.

Truett called his protest "an experiment," explaining: "I had heard that Muslims were generally intolerant of views other than their own, and so I thought I would put it to the test."


You Go, Gateses!

It's good to hear people with money talking with sense and compassion:
All the money in the world will not be able to defeat HIV/AIDS unless great strides are made in preventing new infections - and that can only be achieved by giving women and other high-risk groups the ability to protect themselves, Bill and Melinda Gates said on the opening day of the International AIDS Conference.

At a news conference Sunday prior to the opening ceremonies, Bill Gates said that despite growing access to antiretroviral drugs in countries hard-hit by HIV/AIDS, between four and five million people worldwide will become infected in the next year.

``I want to emphasize we're going to have to do a much better job of prevention to stop the spread of HIV,'' said Gates, whose foundation just donated $500 million US to the Global Fund on AIDS. ``We'll never be able to deal with the numbers of people that would have to go on treatment if we don't make a dramatic breakthrough in prevention.''

The Microsoft founder said he would call on the world to accelerate research into microbicides and oral drugs that would prevent acquisition of HIV. ``We hope and expect that this could be the next breakthrough.''



Sunday, August 13, 2006

I'm Sure We'll Do Better Now

So much has changed with regard to prisoners' rights in the past few decades, right?
An influential federal panel of medical advisers has recommended that the government loosen regulations that severely limit the testing of pharmaceuticals on prison inmates, a practice that was all but stopped three decades ago after revelations of abuse.
Until the early 1970’s, about 90 percent of all pharmaceutical products were tested on prison inmates, federal officials say. But such research diminished sharply in 1974 after revelations of abuse at prisons like Holmesburg here, where inmates were paid hundreds of dollars a month to test items as varied as dandruff treatments and dioxin, and where they were exposed to radioactive, hallucinogenic and carcinogenic chemicals.

Dr. A. Bernard Ackerman, a New York dermatologist who worked at Holmesburg during the 1960’s trials as a second-year resident from the University of Pennsylvania, said he remained skeptical. “I saw it firsthand,” Dr. Ackerman said. “What started as scientific research became pure business, and no amount of regulations can prevent that from happening again.”

Others cite similar concerns over the financial stake in such research.

“It strikes me as pretty ridiculous to start talking about prisoners getting access to cutting-edge research and medications when they can’t even get penicillin and high-blood-pressure pills,” said Paul Wright, editor of Prison Legal News, an independent monthly review. “I have to imagine there are larger financial motivations here.”


Welcome to WTF U

If liberals cannot even say crazy liberal things on crazy liberal campuses, then the world truly has gone...mad:
It used to be said that academic rows were vicious because the stakes were so small. That's no longer true in America, where a battle is underway on campuses over what can be said about the Middle East and US foreign policy.

Douglas Giles is a recent casualty. He used to teach a class on world religions at Roosevelt University, Chicago, founded in memory of FDR and his liberal-inclined wife, Eleanor. Last year, Giles was ordered by his head of department, art historian Susan Weininger, not to allow students to ask questions about Palestine and Israel; in fact, nothing was to be mentioned in class, textbooks and examinations that could possibly open Judaism to criticism.

Students, being what they are, did not go along with the ban. A young woman, originally from Pakistan, asked a question about Palestinian rights. Someone complained and Professor Giles was promptly fired.


The System Works!

Media conglomerates need ever-greater profits, so they hire fewer reporters.

The American government needs ever-greater secrecy, and so they get it, with fewer reporters around to muck things up:

The idea that Bush could travel across the country without a full contingent of reporters, especially in the middle of a war, highlights a major cultural shift in the presidency and the news media. In the four decades since the assassination of John F. Kennedy, presidents traditionally have taken journalists with them wherever they traveled on the theory that when it comes to the most powerful leader on the planet, anything can happen at any time.

But increasingly in recent months, Bush has left town without a chartered press plane, often to receptions where he talks to donors chipping in hundreds of thousands of dollars with no cameras or tapes to record his words for the public. Barred from such events, most news organizations will not pay to travel with him. And so a White House policy inclined to secrecy has combined with escalating costs for the strapped news media to let Bush fly under the radar in a way his predecessors could not.

Hooray for the media monopoly!