Saturday, January 27, 2007

All Battlestar Galactica Geeks...

such as myself, should go here, immediately.



A welcome decision, but isn't it just sad that the judicial system has to force the Environmental Protection Agency to, you know, protect the environment?
The Environmental Protection Agency must force power plants to protect fish and other aquatic life even if it's expensive, a federal appeals court said in a ruling favoring states and environmental groups.

The decision late Thursday by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that it was improper for the EPA to let power plants circumvent environmental laws - for instance, restocking polluted water with new fish instead of paying to upgrade their technology.


Ask. Tell.

The word that springs to mind is: "Comeuppance!"
White House anxiety is mounting over the prospect that top officials—including deputy chief of staff Karl Rove and counselor Dan Bartlett-may be forced to provide potentially awkward testimony in the perjury and obstruction trial of Lewis (Scooter) Libby.

Both Rove and Bartlett have already received trial subpoenas from Libby’s defense lawyers, according to lawyers close to the case who asked not to be identified talking about sensitive matters.


Little Pink Toes!


Friday, January 26, 2007

Tallman Wins!

I blogged on this story a few days back and am very pleased at the outcome:
The Marine commandant reversed his earlier decision Wednesday and granted conscientious-objector status to Pvt. Ronnie Tallman, a 19-year-old Navajo from Tuba City, Ariz.


Tree Memorial Becomes Forest

Georgia's vivid reminder
of how much death Bush's war inflicts on our communities (not to mention how much more it inflicts on the Iraqis'):

Fort Stewart has planted a tree here for every member of the 3rd Infantry Division to die in the war, as well as for soldiers from other Army posts killed while serving with the division.

Jeff Fornshell, the post's ceremonies coordinator, said he wonders how many trees he'll have to plant this year. Expanded twice since its inception, Warriors Walk has room for only 72 more trees.

"Is 72 going to be enough? I hope it is," Fornshell said. "I hope we don't put any more out here. You're all the time thinking you don't want to have a new tree dedication."

Earlier this month, the 3rd Infantry began deploying its 19,000 troops for a third tour in Iraq. Hartman went separately from the division last year as an instructor training Iraqi security forces.

At least 3,058 troops have died in Iraq. Seven civilian contractors of the Defense Department also have been killed in the war. More than 10 percent are represented at Warriors Walk, which exhibits the war's cost in a way that's staggering in scale yet also intensely personal.

The trees already line both sides of two paved walkways flanking Fort Stewart's parade grounds, stretching nearly the length of three football fields. A third walkway had to be poured last year to start a new row.

Fornshell said he never expected Warriors Walk would grow so much when the first tree was planted. The 3rd Infantry lost 42 soldiers during the invasion to topple Saddam Hussein's regime. Trees honoring those soldiers were planted in single-file rows, about 13 feet apart.

But the division's second tour in 2005, when its troops faced shadowy insurgents rather than a stand-up army, proved more costly. The 3rd Infantry suffered 105 deaths, not counting those among supporting units. A second walkway of memorial redbuds had to be started.


Not a Satellite of Love, One Presumes

Iran is moving forward:

Iran has converted one of its most powerful ballistic missile into a satellite launch vehicle. The 30-ton rocket could also be a wolf in sheep's clothing for testing longer-range missile strike technologies, Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine reports in its Jan. 29 issue.

The Iranian space launcher has recently been assembled and "will liftoff soon" with an Iranian satellite, according to Alaoddin Boroujerdi, the chairman of the Iranian parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission.

The move toward an independent space launch capacity is likely to ratchet up concern in the U.S. and Europe about Iran's strategic capabilities and intents. Orbiting its own satellite would send a powerful message throughout the Muslim world about the Shiite regime in Tehran.


We Got the Power

Praise you, Democratic Senate and Democratic House!

It's long since time Bush's abuses be investigated, and this is a very good start:
At the turn of the new year, we dubbed 2007 "The Year of Accountability." So, let it begin.

Two announcements were released today concerning upcoming oversight and investigative hearings in Congress on Bush Administration policy. If you can imagine such a thing.

In the House, Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), chairman of the House Judiciary Committee --- the one which would lead the way concerning any Articles of Impeachment for a sitting U.S. President or Vice-President --- announced today that hearings would be held next Wednesday in the committee on "Presidential Signing Statements under the Bush Administration: A Threat to Checks and Balances and the Rule of Law?"...

In the Senate, Russ Feingold (D-WI) will chair Judiciary Committee hearings on "Congress' Power to End a War." In a media advisory just released, ... Feingold refers to Congress' "power of the purse to redeploy our troops safely from Iraq so that we can refocus on the global terrorist networks that threaten our national security."

"This hearing will help inform my colleagues and the public about Congress’s power to end a war and how that power has been used in the past," Feingold is quoted in the release. As well, he promises to to introduce new legislation to do exactly that in the Senate. "I will soon be introducing legislation to use the power of the purse to end what is clearly one of the greatest mistakes in the history of our nation’s foreign policy," the Senator said.

Neither of the Constitutionally mandated oversight hearings will be held in a basement broom closet, but rather in proper Congressional Hearing Rooms.


An Ingenious Policy

First, invade Afghanistan. Then, ensure that that operation will be entirely screwed up by invading Iraq. Leave it to founder for a few years, then throw loads of cash at it!

The White House announced a major shift in its strategy towards Afghanistan yesterday that will see more aid and military help for the country after four years in which it has suffered from Washington's overwhelming focus on Iraq.

Facing failure in Iraq, where violence is worsening, the US is anxious to avoid a similar catastrophe in Afghanistan.

Billions of dollars are to be pumped into Afghanistan to help build up the army and for reconstruction projects such as roads, water, schools and clinics.

About 3,200 US troops in Afghanistan from the 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division who were due to return home are to remain for a further 120 days to help Nato counter an expected Taliban spring offensive.

The White House is to ask Congress next month for $8bn (£4.1bn) in new funds, which is more than half the $14.2bn Washington has spent on Afghanistan since the US-led invasion in 2001.


Evil Shenanigans Afoot in Texas

Tommy Williams (R-The Woodlands) is looking to slash women's health services in favor of "clinics" run by anti-abortion zealots. Bloody hell, this is some evil legislation:
Williams' rider would remove $2.5 million for each of FY 06 and FY 07 from distribution among established health-care providers – a group that includes Planned Parenthood – that traditionally have been granted the funds to provide basic health-care services for indigent and uninsured women. In addition to yearly gynecological exams, the funding provides screenings for breast cancer, diabetes, hypertension, and sexually transmitted diseases, among other medical services, and also provides access to contraceptives and to comprehensive counseling designed to help women better plan their reproductive lives.
The Williams rider was not intended to support this health-care mission. Instead, it aimed to divert money to a nonprofit group that in turn would oversee a network composed mainly of "crisis pregnancy centers" that do not typically employ any medical professionals or even offer any real medical services.
Many of the health-care entities that would otherwise receive the funding are barred from seeking funds under the Williams rider, which provides that grantees pledge that they won't "promote, refer, or perform abortions," Williams told the Senate Finance Committee – although it is already illegal to use public money to provide abortions. In short, to be eligible for state funds, all groups funded under the rider would have to promise to provide only such counseling services that extoll the virtues of childbirth.
"Does your rider require that [the CPCs or other service providers] be licensed by the state?" Shapleigh asked.

No, Williams said, "This rider does not do that."

"Don't you want to license them, [to] make sure that the information being given out is accurate?" Shapleigh asked.

"Uh, you know, that wouldn't be proper," Williams responded. That might be the proper way to craft a "general law," he said, but not for a rider.

"Well, we could restrict [the funding to make sure it goes] to licensed agencies, couldn't we?" Shapleigh continued.

"No," Williams replied, that's "not necessary."


As a financial comparison, according to state health officials, if lawmakers had rejected Williams' $5 million set-aside for anti-abortion "counseling," Planned Parenthood and other providers would've served about 17,000 clients over two years, at a per capita cost of just less than $300 per client. By contrast, the per capita expenditure in FY 06 by TPCN – for those 11 clients – was $58,086 per client.


The Law of Unintended Consequences

Take a large, heavily populated country whose society continues to value sons much more than daughters. Then, attempt to resolve the population issues by imposing policies that strongly influence couples to have only one child. Watch as many female fetuses and infants are done away with. Wait a while. Suddenly, there happen to be a lot of men who cannot find women to marry.

The obvious solution?

Ghost brides:

Yang Donghai, a 35-year-old farmer in western China's Shaanxi province, confessed to killing a woman bought from a poor family for 12,000 yuan ($1,545) last year.

She thought she was being sold into an arranged marriage, but Yang killed her in a gully and sold her corpse for 16,000 yuan, the Legal Daily reported Thursday. He and two accomplices then killed a prostitute and sold her for 8,000 yuan before police caught them.

"I did it for the money; it was a quick buck," Yang said, according to the paper. "If I hadn't slipped up early, I planned to do a few more."

The women were victims of an old belief, still alive in the yellow-earth highlands of western China, that young men who die unmarried should go to their graves accompanied by deceased women who will be their wives in the afterlife. Often these women die natural deaths.

Police in Yanan, the poor and dusty corner of Shaanxi where Chairman Mao Zedong nurtured his Communist revolution, said the dark trade went beyond these cases.

"The actual number is far from just these," the paper said.

Yang and two helpers sold the bodies to Li Longsheng, an undertaker who police said specialized in buying and selling the dead women for "ghost weddings." It was unclear what happened to Li.


Thursday, January 25, 2007

These Two Deserve More Than This Slap on the Wrist

A year of house arrest?
That's all?
Two Mississippi Bureau of Narcotics agents, who were forced to resign after pleading guilty to beating two gay men in 2004 have been sentenced to house arrest.

Buitt and Mathis were stopped by the then officers Aug. 29, 2004 in a parking lot near a gay bar. They were pulled from their truck and called derogatory names and then beaten.

Buitt received a broken nose and a spiral fracture to his arm. Mathis got a broken hand in the assault.

Forman and Reynolds followed the victims to the hospital where they confronted them, and tried to get them to agree that they would not file a complaint against them if they would not charge Buitt with driving under the influence of alcohol.

Buitt ordered the agents to leave, and accordingly, Reynolds and Forman filed a DUI charge against him. Forman later testified falsely against the Buitt in Hinds County Justice Court in relation to the DUI charge.


The Adults Are in Charge Again

And some Republicans are throwing tantrums about it. I mean, this guy threw a hissy fit over where his chair was in the meeting!? (And remember, it was not too long ago that the GOP majority was actually refusing to let Dems use conference rooms to meet at all.)
A Florida Republican, who is the ranking minority member of the Transportation Committee in the House of Representatives, stormed out of a meeting last week, leading other Republican members with him. An article today in Roll Call reports that he was angry because he was not seated properly during an orientation session.

Ben Pershing writes in this morning's "Heard on the Hill" column that Rep. John Mica was not seated at the head of the room with the committee's Democratic chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) and two guests during the meeting. Instead, he was offered a seat in the audience section set up in the room. The gathered representatives and their staffs were to hear basic introductory information about the committee's work and remarks by former U.S. Ambassador Felix Rohatyn and ex-Transportation Chairman Bud Shuster (R-PA).

Mica was angered that he was not given a seat at the head. He asked for a new chair, and while waiting outside the room for it to arrive, asked all the Republicans to quit the meeting. "I was not pleased with the arrangement to sort of exclude the ranking member at the first meeting," he told Roll Call.

One of the Republican members pulled from the meeting was Rep. Bill Shuster, son of the guest speaker of the same last name.

Mica now claims he believes the matter was an unintentional mistake, and expected it would not happen again.


Anti-Gang Laws to Be Applied to Congress?

Because, you know, when two or more non-whites get together, they have got to be up to something sinister:
White House hopeful Tom Tancredo said Thursday the existence of the Congressional Black Caucus and other race-based groups of lawmakers amounts to segregation and should be abolished.


Fear of a Service Planet

Agriculture and industry on the wane. Global economic injustice going strong! Meanwhile, Europe and perhaps China will be picking up the slack as the economic health of the United States droops on:
The world's biggest source of employment is for the first time the services sector, rather than agriculture and industry, a U.N. report said Thursday.

Some 40 percent of the world's workers are now employed in the services sector, compared with 38.7 percent in agriculture and 21.3 in industry, the International Labor Organization said in its 12-page annual report. Ten years ago, 43.1 percent of employees worked in agriculture, and only 35.5 in services.
But she cautioned against interpreting the growth in services as an indicator of economic prosperity.

Overall employment numbers over the last 10 years have been outpaced by population growth, the report noted.

The global work force grew to 2.9 billion last year from about 2.5 billion in 1996. But the number of jobless increased by 33.8 million during that period to hit 195.2 million in 2006.


The report also focused on the world's 1.37 billion working poor _ people living on less than $2 a day. Improving their pay, the ILO said, is "a precondition for sustained economic growth."

Picking up on the frequently repeated theme of economic power shifting away from the traditional engine of global growth, the United States, the report predicts a "rebalancing" of the world economy toward Europe.

"If the U.S. economy does slow down slightly, the strength of the European marketplace may be able to cover this shortfall because of their strong demand," Lawrence Jeff Johnson, the ILO's chief of employment trends, told The Associated Press.

He also pointed toward a trend in some rapidly developing countries, such as China, which could face a shortage of skilled labor in future. Although it has a large number of highly specialized workers, a gap could open for midlevel technicians because the rural migrants streaming to the cities are not receiving any training.

"China will need to start looking at how they reallocate labor supplies in future," he said.


The Spirit of Texas

Every frakkin' year, in mid-January, young Texans hold their annual Racist Dumbass Festival. This year, the celebration apparently occurred in Stephenville:
Authorities at Tarleton State University said they plan to investigate a Martin Luther King Jr. Day party that mocked black stereotypes by featuring fried chicken, malt liquor and faux gang apparel.

"I feel like there is no excuse for this type of ignorance," said Donald Ray Elder, president of the Stephenville school's chapter of the NAACP.

Photographs posted on social networking Web site showed partygoers wearing Afro wigs and fake gold and silver teeth. One photo showed students "mocking how African-Americans do step shows," Elder said. In another picture, a student is dressed as Aunt Jemima and carries a gun.


Justice Deferred

But, hopefully, not utterly denied to the families of Dee and Moore:
A former Mississippi sheriff's deputy was arrested Wednesday in the 1964 slayings of two black teenagers who were long believed to have been kidnapped and killed by the Ku Klux Klan.

The former deputy, James Ford Seale, of Roxie, Miss., was named in a federal indictment charging him in connection with the teens' disappearance and deaths while they were hitchhiking in a rural area of the state east of Natchez.

Until recently, Seale was thought to be dead, and the investigation into the two deaths had long been abandoned.

Seale was taken into custody Wednesday afternoon and was taken to Jackson, Miss. He is expected to be arraigned Thursday on kidnapping charges stemming from the May 1964 disappearances of Henry Dee and Charles Moore.


Moore's older brother, Thomas Moore, worked with Canadian film producer David Ridgen for two years piecing together what happened in 1964. The effort led them to a brief confrontation with Seale, a former sheriff's deputy who had been reported as deceased in several newspapers.

In 2000, the Justice Department's civil rights unit reopened the case, the most recent in a string of civil rights-era killings that have been revived by state and federal authorities in the South.


Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The City That Care, and Bush, Forgot

One of the more infuriating aspects of the SOTU:

On the day before the State of the Union address, Senator James Webb said, "If we're putting all of this money into Iraq and ignoring New Orleans, then we're doing something wrong." He suggested that the city had "kind of fallen off the national radar screen over the last year."

Yesterday, as if to prove the Senator's point, President Bush delivered a 5,600-word speech without a single mention of the Gulf Coast recovery. In his last State of the Union address, just five months after what Senator Edward Kennedy described as "a disaster of biblical proportions," Bush devoted all of 156 words to the unprecedented devastation and tragic non-response.


Fighting Rape in Liberia

It's going be a long and difficult struggle, unfortunately:

Several women beside the grave held black and white photos of young Janjay and had written alongside each photo, "Stop rape".

Similar messages are splashed all over Monrovia on billboards.

"Seek free treatment now at Benson Clinic," reads another. It is run by the charity Médecins Sans Frontières.

With a queue outside her door, the head nurse told me that five to 10 people arrive there every day but half of them are not women. They are young girls between five and 12 years old.

And it gets worse.

Each month the clinic treats several babies for rape but, from all the cases that have been recorded by the clinic since 2003, you can count the number of men convicted on one hand.


Now, I have asked plenty of people here to try to shed some light on why a man would rape a five-year-old or even a baby and, after the initial shrug of the shoulders, there is often a whisper or two about superstition or belief.

They think it will bring them good luck, one man told me.

In South Africa people have struggled to dispel the belief that raping a baby helps prevent or cure HIV Aids. And it is possible that a similar belief exists here.

It is exactly a year since Africa's first female president, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, was sworn into office.

When she announced a war on rape, she broke new ground by saying that she too had been a victim of sexual violence.

There has been some legal reform and rape is no longer a bailable offence but little else has changed.


2004 Ohio Voting Fraud Convictions

Two election workers were convicted Wednesday of rigging a recount of the 2004 presidential election to avoid a more thorough review in Ohio's most populous county.

Jacqueline Maiden, elections coordinator of the Cuyahoga County Elections Board, and ballot manager Kathleen Dreamer each were convicted of a felony count of negligent misconduct of an elections employee. They also were convicted of one misdemeanor count each of failure of elections employees to perform their duty.

Prosecutors accused Maiden and Dreamer of secretly reviewing preselected ballots before a public recount on Dec. 16, 2004. They worked behind closed doors for three days to pick ballots they knew would not cause discrepancies when checked by hand, prosecutors said.



Well done, kids:
Dozens of street children have invaded a five-star hotel food tent and feasted on meals meant for sale at the World Social Forum in Kenya's capital.

The hungry urchins were joined by other participants who complained that the food was too expensive at the annual anti-capitalist get together.

The police, caught unawares, were unable to stop the free-for-all that saw the food containers swept clean.

The gathering in Nairobi is discussing social problems, including poverty.

A plate of food at the tent being operated by the prestigious Windsor Hotel was selling for $7 in a country where many live on less than $2 a day.

The children, who had been begging for food, launched the raid after being told they would have to pay for the food.


Blackwater Executions

Sigh. It just goes on and on:

Four of the five Americans killed when a U.S. security company's helicopter crashed in a dangerous Sunni neighborhood in central Baghdad were shot execution style in the back the head, Iraqi and U.S. officials said Wednesday.

A senior Iraqi military official said a machine gunner downed the helicopter, but a U.S. military official in Washington said there were no indications that the aircraft, owned by Blackwater USA, had been shot out of the sky. Two Sunni insurgent groups, separately, claimed responsibility for the crash.


Spreading the Gospel of Ignorance

A lovely use of our educational system:
Some suburban Washington, DC high schools are being forced to hand out anti-gay literature from a group that aims to "cure homosexuals," PageOneQ has learned.

The flyers, produced by Parents and Friend of Ex-Gays (P-FOX), will be the sole information distributed to students on February 1st. Wayne Besen (r.), president of Truth Wins Out an organization that dispels myths of the so-called 'ex-gay' movement, immediately condemned the move.

Besen called upon the Montgomery County, Maryland Board of Education to stop the flyer's distribution. "It is unacceptable that these schools are steering students to a website with strong ties to an organization that believes Africans were better off as slaves," Besen said in an interview with PageOneQ. He was referring to a controversy last year when an organization repeatedly referred to on the soon-to-be distributed literature as a credible source of information was roundly condemned for posting an apparent justification of slavery on its site.


The Latest Doom

Not good:
South Africa is considering forcibly detaining people who carry a deadly strain of tuberculosis that has already claimed hundreds of lives. The strain threatens to cause a global pandemic, but the planned move pits public protection against human rights.

The country's health department says it has discussed with the World Health Organisation and South Africa's leading medical organisations the possibility of placing carriers of extreme drug resistant TB or XDR-TB under guard in isolation wards until they die, but has yet to reach a decision.

Pressure to take action has been growing since a woman diagnosed with the disease discharged herself from a hospital last September and probably spread the infection before she was finally coaxed back when she was threatened with a court order.

More than 300 cases of the highly infectious disease, which is spread by airborne droplets and kills 98% of those infected within about two weeks, have been identified in South Africa.

But doctors believe there have been hundreds, possibly thousands, more and the numbers are growing among the millions of people with HIV, who are particularly vulnerable to the disease. Their fear is that patients with XDR-TB, told that there is little that can be done for them, will leave the isolation wards and go home to die. But while they are still walking around they risk spreading the infection.

Now a group of doctors has warned in a medical journal that if enforced isolation is not introduced XDR-TB could swamp South Africa and spread far beyond its borders. Regular TB is already the single largest killer of people with Aids in South Africa.


Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Catholics Are Stressing the Scare Quotes...

In the term "pro-life." This is absolutely vile:
The Catholic Church has upped the ante in its dispute with the British government over a gay rights bill, threatening to shut down its adoption agencies if the measure passes.


Other Countries Are Jerks

What other possible explanation could there be for this?
The view of the US's role in the world has deteriorated both internationally and domestically, a BBC poll suggests.

The World Service survey, conducted in 25 nations including the US, found that three in four respondents disapproved of how Washington had dealt with Iraq.

The majority of the 26,381 respondents also disapproved of the way five other foreign policy areas had been handled.

The poll, released ahead of President Bush's State of the Union speech, was conducted between November and January.

Or this?
A 17 percent drop in overseas travelers to the United States since the September 11 attacks has cost the country more than $15 billion in lost taxes and nearly 200,000 jobs, a study showed on Tuesday.

Since the September 11 attacks, the United States has tightened security measures and toughened its visa and entry requirements. As a result, the country was ranked as the world's most unfriendly to visitors in a survey conducted last year of travelers from 16 nations.


Oh, Jeebus

Just what Cruise needs, cuz Lord knows his ego was tiny up till now:
TOM Cruise is the new “Christ” of Scientology, according to leaders of the cult-like religion.

The Mission: Impossible star has been told he has been “chosen” to spread the word of his faith throughout the world.

And leader David Miscavige believes that in future, Cruise, 44, will be worshipped like Jesus for his work to raise awareness of the religion.

A source close to the actor, who has risen to one of the church’s top levels, said: “Tom has been told he is Scientology’s Christ-like figure.

“Like Christ, he’s been criticised for his views. But future generations will realise he was right.”



More good news
from the Middle East:
Hezbollah-led protesters paralyzed Lebanon Tuesday by burning tires and cars on major thoroughfares in and around the capital to enforce a general strike that aims to topple the government.


The GOP Abandoning the Nation

They are leaving the country in the hands of the sodomites:
Colorado's chief supporters of a federal constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage say they have no plans to bring up the issue this year.

Republican Sen. Wayne Allard and GOP Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave have been active in recent years, trying to win support for such an amendment.

But Democrats now control Congress, and both say prospects for the legislation are slim.


Monday, January 22, 2007

If Only He Were Gay

It'll be interesting to see what happens here:

Ronnie Tallman comes from a long line of Navajo spiritual leaders, but there also were soldiers among his kin.

At the age of 19, he decided to follow in the footsteps of the soldiers, joining the Marines in October 2004. Now he believes it was the wrong path, that his destiny lies in healing, not fighting.

The Navajo Nation and an organization of medicine men agree. The Marines do not, and now a federal court must decide a case that pits the spiritual beliefs of the Navajo against United States military rules.

It started in November 2005 while Tallman was on weekend leave on the Navajo Reservation in Arizona.

There, he says, he underwent a spiritual experience and discovered he had been given the gift of a sacred entity known as teehn leii, a rare form of spiritual diagnosing and healing celebrated among Navajos. Tallman is a hand trembler. While a simple definition is clouded in the translation from Navajo, hand tremblers are rare medicine men who can sense people's problems and illnesses and often restore physical, mental and spiritual well-being.

Because Navajo spiritual law holds that Tallman cannot keep the power and serve his people if he participates in killing, for almost three months he didn't rejoin Delta Company of the 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion stationed at Twentynine Palms, Calif. When he did, he applied for conscientious-objector status.


Post Hoc Ergo Propter...Oops.

Maybe all those who've been beating their chests about the liberal bias in academia ought to work on their own scholarship first...

Professors are all Democrats, except those who are communists. Professors all hate Bush. Professors favor like-minded students and love converting those who love God, country and the president. You’ve read all the claims and more, in right-leaning blogs and columns. Frequently, these claims are based on studies — many have been released in the last two years — of professors. Party registration is documented, or professors respond to surveys, or syllabus content is rated.

A new study being released today aims to debunk all of those studies. “The ‘Faculty Bias’ Studies: Science or Propaganda,” takes eight of the recent studies on faculty politics and judges them by five general tests of social science research. Today’s study finds that the eight all come up short in adhering to research standards....

The flaw Lee identifies most frequently with this theme is one in which researchers note a correlation and — in Lee’s opinion — then see a causal relationship without sufficient evidence that one exists. ...

Lee said that to test the validity of the studies, he wanted standards that could not be considered partisan, so he used a 2006 statement by the White House Office of Management and Budget about objectivity in research.... Using this framework, Lee gives the studies failing grades. Four studies had data that could be replicated, and he gave three studies acceptable reviews on clarity of terms, but it was downhill from there, and he argues that none of the reports can truly back up their contentions.


We Are Everywhere

Ah, America:
TOXIC gases blown across the Atlantic from America are pushing British cities over the legal limit for air pollution and damaging people’s health, an official study shows.

The study, by the Natural Environment Research Council (Nerc), suggests that up to 2,000 tons of ozone, originating in cities such as Chicago, Detroit and New York, are hitting Britain each day.


A New Plan!

Dems should shut up while Bush acts like a murderous jackass!

Wait... that's not really "new," is it?
KRISTOL: They’re playing — they’re leap-frogging each other in the degrees of irresponsibility they’re willing to advocate. And I really think people are being too sort of complacent and forgiving almost of the Democrats. ‘Oh, it’s politics, of course. One of them has a non-binding resolution. The other has a cap.’ It’s all totally irresponsible. It’s just unbelievable. The president is sending over a new commander, he’s sending over troops, and the Democratic Congress, in a pseudo-binding way or non-binding way, is saying, ‘It won’t work. Forget it. You troops, you’re going over there in a pointless mission. Iraqis who might side with us, forget it, we’re going to pull the plug.’ It’s so irresponsible that they can’t be quiet for six or nine months and say the president has made a decision, we’re not going to change that decision, we’re not going to cut off funds and insist on the troops coming back, so let’s give it a chance to work. You really wonder, do they want it to work or not? I really wonder that. I hate to say this about the Democrats. They’re people I know personally and I respect some of them. Do they want it to succeed or not?


Taking Back the Media

An interesting move

Concerns about monopolies and fears of a possible "fascist" takeover of the US media have prompted a Democratic congressman to push to restore the Fairness Doctrine, RAW STORY has learned.

"Media reform is the most important issue confronting our democratic republic and the people of our country," Representative Maurice Hinchey (D-NY) said at the Free Press National Media Reform Conference held in Memphis, Tennessee last weekend. "This is a critical moment in history that may determine the future of our country…maybe forever."

Hinchey told RAW STORY he plans to reintroduce the Media Ownership Reform Act (MORA) that would break up media monopolies and restore the Fairness Doctrine, which was eliminated by the Federal Communications Commission under the Reagan administration.

“If Rush shoots his mouth off, he must give equal access to our side,” Hinchey said. “The American public will begin to get both sides or all sides of an issue. That is basic – fundamental to a democracy.”

Last year, Hinchey introduced H.R. 3302 (MORA), but Republicans blocked the measure in committee. He also founded the Future of American Media Caucus in Congress in 2005. With Democrats now in control of Congress, a new media reform measure is expected to be assigned to the House Energy and Commerce Committee within the next couple of weeks, Hinchey’s staff confirmed.

“We’ll be trying hard to get the subcommittee and the full committee chairs to bring this to the House floor,” Hinchey pledged. A companion bill will be introduced on the Senate side by Bernie Sanders (D-VT), he added.


Sunday, January 21, 2007


Smarter than us, anyway:
As the Iraqi government attempts to secure a capital city ravaged by conflict between Sunni and Shiite Muslim Arabs, its decision to bring a third party into the mix may cause more problems than peace.

Kurdish soldiers from northern Iraq, who are mostly Sunnis but not Arabs, are deserting the army to avoid the civil war in Baghdad, a conflict they consider someone else's problem.