Saturday, July 21, 2007

Pushers Fined

I'm sure it was an honest mistake on the part of the fine people who produced OxyContin:
Purdue Pharma L.P., the maker of OxyContin, and three of its executives were ordered Friday to pay a $634.5 million fine for misleading the public about the painkiller's risk of addiction.


Bush Loves to Hate and Love the Troops

Yet one more bit of hypocrisy.
Or dare we say, "flip-flopping"?

In his Rose Garden address this morning, President Bush criticized the decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to pull the Defense Authorization bill from consideration, saying the move would deny a pay raise to soldiers serving in Iraq. “Congress has failed to act on” a bill that would “provide funds to upgrade our equipment, for our troops in Iraq and provides a pay raise for our military,” said Bush. Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl made a similar argument on Wednesday.

“Even members of Congress who no longer support our effort in Iraq should at least be able to provide an increase in pay for our troops fighting there,” Bush added.

Bush’s use of the the military pay raise as a cudgel to bash his political opponents is dishonest and hypocritical. In May, he threatened to veto a House defense spending bill over the exact same 3.5 percent pay increase that he is now touting:

Bush budget officials said the administration “strongly opposes” both the 3.5 percent raise for 2008 and the follow-on increases, calling extra pay increases “unnecessary.”

Democratic leaders in the House wrote to Bush at the time urging him to reconsider his veto threat.

In a speech, Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-PA), an Iraq war veteran, said that Bush’s veto threat was tantamount to the President of the United States saying, “Thank you for your service to your country, but that’s too much of a pay increase.”


Those Who Forget History

Yes, I'm sure this strategery will work now, just as well as it did when we armed the mujaheddin in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Nothing bad ever came of that, did it?
CNN on Thursday showed graphic footage of a pro-US Sunni militiaman beating and threatening to kill a suspected al-Qaeda member and of another al-Qaeda member being executed by a militia group.

"In Anbar Province," President Bush recently boasted, "Sunni tribes that were once fighting alongside al-Qaeda against our coalition are now fighting alongside our coalition against al-Qaeda. We're working to replicate the success in Anbar in other parts of the country."

According to CNN, American commanders say they do not condone the violence and summary executions, but they appear to accept them as an "ugly but effective" aspect of the war. Although "the Shia-dominated government in Baghdad is not happy, wary of US support for armed Sunni groups," this is also unlikely to carry much weight with US commanders.

In a followup pice on Friday, Baghdad correspondent Michael Ware commented on the "unseemly" nature of the strategy, saying, "Does it have some ugly edges? Yeah. And American commanders knew this when they commissioned this project. ... They're putting the fear into al Qaeda, and that's why we're seeing such an enormous change in the attacks in Anbar Province."


Friday, July 20, 2007

Home Again

The whirlwind tour is over, but the house-buying process has only just begun. We've found the One that we want above all others and are beginning negotiations ASAP. It's absolutely gorgeous and stands within two blocks of the lake.

Meanwhile, we're exhausted. And the cats are glad to have us home.

Tomorrow, packing resumes.


Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Day in Oshkosh

Drove all around town with the realtor, looked at a lot of houses, found a few we like quite a lot.

Also, drank some beer and ate some fried perch.


Tuesday, July 17, 2007

In Oshkosh

Eating cheese, drinking beer, looking at houses.

Light posting for a few days.


Madness Winning Again

Just great:
The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.

The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo."


The vice-president, Dick Cheney, has long favoured upping the threat of military action against Iran. He is being resisted by the secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, and the defence secretary, Robert Gates.

Last year Mr Bush came down in favour of Ms Rice, who along with Britain, France and Germany has been putting a diplomatic squeeze on Iran. But at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him. "The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern," the source said this week.



It's long since past time that someone should have called Bush's "abstinence-only" programs the failures that they are:
The Chairmen of two Committees in the House of Representatives have opened a probe into the effectiveness of President George W. Bush's 'abstinence-only' policies for preventing the spread of HIV/AIDS globally.

Reps. Henry Waxman (D-CA) and Tom Lantos (D-CA, chairs of the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform and Foreign Affairs, respectively, wrote with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) to Mark Dybul, the US Global AIDS Coordinator, in a Monday letter. It warned that the administration's current approach to HIV/AIDS prevention was coming up short.

"[A] recently completed impact evaluation that the Administration commissioned suggests that U.S.-funded 'abstinence and be faithful' programs are failing to meet the needs of sexually active youth," the three Congressmembers wrote. "According to the study, many of the evaluated programs lack age-appropriate, skill-based lessons on partner reduction, mutual fidelity, and cross-generational and transactional sex....most of the programs do not seem to have procedures in place to refer sexually active or 'at-risk' youth to more comprehensive programs, despite your office's direction that they do so."


Fighting Them Over There, So That They Can Fight Us Here

Once again, heckuva job, Bushie:
The terrorist network Al-Qaida will likely leverage its contacts and capabilities in Iraq to mount an attack on U.S. soil, according to a new National Intelligence Estimate on threats to the United States.


The "Everybody's Doing It" Defense

Sexual abuse of children is not just a Catholic Church problem and other institutions should take steps to acknowledge and deal with such "wickedness" within their own ranks, the Vatican said on Tuesday.


Monday, July 16, 2007

All Hail Dr. Miriam!

She rocked the house at her defense today.



Sunday, July 15, 2007


Wow. This story rather blows my mind. The notion that nation states would consider canceling debts in order to save six people would never have occurred to me:
Several eastern European countries would forgive Libyan debt dating back to the Cold War under a proposal to compensate families whose children were allegedly infected with the AIDS virus by five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian doctor, a victims' advocate said Saturday.

The six foreign medics have been sentenced to death in the case, and Libyan officials have said a settlement could pave the way for their release.

Jailed since 1999, the six deny having infected more than 400 children and say their confessions were extracted under torture. Experts and outside scientific reports have said the children were contaminated as a result of unhygienic conditions at a hospital in the northeastern coastal city of Benghazi. Fifty of the infected children died.


Our Pro-Life President

Once they're out of the womb, they're on their own:
The White House said Saturday that President Bush would veto a bipartisan plan to expand the Children's Health Insurance Program, drafted over the last six months by senior members of the Senate Finance Committee.

That puts Bush at odds with the Democratic majority in Congress, with a substantial number of Republican lawmakers and with many governors of both parties, who want to expand the popular program to cover some of the nation's 8 million uninsured children.

Tony Fratto, a White House spokesman, said: "The president's senior advisers will certainly recommend a veto of this proposal. And there is no question that the president would veto it."


Cranking Up the Violence

It's a novel theory. Beat enough Iraqis, and they'll form a stable, pro-American democracy:
A Marine corporal, testifying Saturday at the murder trial of a buddy, said that Marines in his unit began routinely beating Iraqis after being ordered by officers to "crank up the violence level."


Retro Catblogging

I've been seriously remiss with the catblogging lately, but that's because I finally turned in my dissertation and am now preparing for my defense, so I've been, you know, a tad busy. However I just came across this picture of Gramsci from when he was a wee kitten, and this particular shot is from when he fell asleep upside down while nibbling my finger...


That Other War

Remember? The one that we so handily "won"?

Well, think again:
Britain's most senior generals have issued a blunt warning to Downing Street that the military campaign in Afghanistan is facing a catastrophic failure, a development that could lead to an Islamist government seizing power in neighbouring Pakistan.


V for Vendetta

Life imitates art:
One of Britain's most senior police officers has demanded a return to a form of internment, with the power to lock up terror suspects indefinitely without charge.

The proposal, put forward by the head of the Association of Police Chief Officers (Acpo) and supported by Scotland Yard, is highly controversial.