Saturday, September 08, 2007

Another F***ing Psycho Fascist

Fred Thompson begins revealing his views, and it ain't pretty:
In his first interview since declaring his presidential candidacy, Fred Thompson repeatedly warned against the perils of a "weak and divided" nation, raised the specter of unspecified terrorists with suitcase bombs, and expressed a willingness to employ nuclear weapons against Iran.

"If you're politically committed against this war and to do something to further harm the president, the way the Democrats seem to be in Congress, then anything [in the Petraeus Report] that's a mixed message is going to be seized upon in a negative way," Thompson told Fox News on Thursday.

"If we look weak and divided in this country, we're going to pay a heavy price for it in the future," he went on. "We're living in the era of the suitcase bomb. And they're not going to go away. They're here now, they're armed and dangerous, and they're trying to get weapons of mass destruction."

When asked about Iran, Thompson replied, "They're killing our people as we speak. ... We cannot allow this to go on forever. ... Within the next few years, most experts think, well on their way to making a nuclear weapon. ... I don't know how much stark the situation could be. They perceive us as being weak, they perceive us as being divided, and they think they could get away with anything."


The Whiner Is Also a Quitter

This guy just has it all, doesn't he?

A Boston man has asked a federal court to dismiss his lawsuit in which he claimed that his refusal to answer a Massachusetts bar exam question related to gay marriage caused him to fail the test.

Stephen Dunne, 30, maintained that answering the essay question would have violated his Irish Catholic beliefs and First Amendment rights, because it would imply his support of gay marriage and parenting.

Filed in June against the Massachusetts Board of Bar Examiners and the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, his lawsuit sought to prohibit the question from being used to compute his exam score and to have the question removed from future exams.

The New England School of Law grad took the bar exam in February, scoring a 268.866 when a score of 270 was needed to pass.

In court documents, Dunne said he wanted to drop his suit because the July bar exam didn’t include what he called the “patently offensive and morally repugnant” gay marriage question. He characterized that as a “corrective action” by the board.

But in court documents filed yesterday, the board’s attorney said the board has “not agreed to limit the content” of any future bar exams. The board’s decision not to include the same question on the July exam “merely reflects their standard practice of not repeating questions on successive bar examinations,” the court filing said.

Anyone who would have wound up with this guy representing them would have been doomed.


Friday, September 07, 2007

Another Bushie Slacking Off

Does he ever hire anybody who cares about getting the job done?
The head of the U.S. federal government agency that doles out benefits to disabled veterans is under fire for saying Bible study is "more important than doing [my] job."

Two organisations, Veterans for Common Sense (VCS) and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF), demanded an investigation Tuesday of Daniel Cooper, President George W. Bush's undersecretary for benefits at the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Their complaint stems from an appearance Cooper made in a fundraising video for the evangelical group Christian Embassy, which carries out missionary work among the Washington elite as part of the Campus Crusade for Christ.

In the video, Cooper says of his Bible study, "it's not really about carving out time, it really is a matter of saying what is important. And since that's more important than doing the job -- the job's going to be there, whether I'm there or not."
Since Cooper was appointed the head of the Veterans Benefits Administration, the number of veterans waiting on their disability claims has increased dramatically, from 325,000 in 2002 to 600,000 today.

On average, a U.S. war veteran must wait six months for an answer to their application. If a vet decides to appeal a denial, the process often drags on as long as three years.

In addition, Veterans Administration hospitals, clinics and counseling centres report that more than 52,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But under Cooper's leadership, only 19,000 of those veterans were approved for service-connected disability compensation for PTSD, a significant discrepancy.

The groups are also upset that Cooper gave his top aid, Ronald Aument, the deputy secretary for benefits, a 33,000-dollar cash bonus while the claims backlog grew larger.

"He's prostituting his position," argued Mikey Weinstein, the head of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. "We could have done just as poorly as he's done by sticking a German Shepard or a cactus in that job."


Plugging Away in California

Of course, Arnold will terminate equality once again, but it's still good that they are keeping the issue alive out there:
A second showdown between the California legislature and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger looms following the passage Friday in the Senate of a second bill to allow same-sex couples to wed.

The measure already has passed the Assembly and now heads to the governor's desk.

Schwarzenegger in 2005 vetoed the first bill.



Where's that "Bush Boom" again?

The world's largest economy was hit with surprise job losses in August as the housing downturn and a credit crunch sparked increased layoffs, a government report revealed Friday.

The Labor Department said US employers unexpectedly shed 4,000 jobs in August, marking the first drop in payrolls since August of 2003.

The unexpected decline in nonfarm payrolls caught Wall Street off guard as most economists had expected around 110,000 new jobs to be created in August.

The report, one of the best indicators of economic momentum, suggests the US job market has been jolted by a housing slump and rising mortgage defaults which have triggered a credit squeeze that has roiled financial markets.


Pope Says "Make Some Babies!"

I say
, "If you want babies so bad, make 'em yourself!"
Pope Benedict rejected the concept that abortion could be considered a human right on Friday and urged European leaders to do everything possible to raise birth rates and make their countries more child-friendly.



A sad loss:
Author Madeleine L'Engle, whose novel "A Wrinkle in Time" has been enjoyed by generations of schoolchildren and adults since the 1960s, has died, her publicist said Friday. She was 88. L'Engle died Thursday at a nursing home in Litchfield of natural causes, according to Jennifer Doerr, publicity manager for publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux.


Brief Update

The Hell of Endless Meetings seems to have drawn to a close, as classes started yesterday. Things went well, though teaching three classes back to back did wear me out a bit.

It's good to be back in the classroom.

Further, the absurd heat finally broke, and today is a lovely, cool, cloudy day, the trees blowing back and forth outside my office windows.



Seven more today:
Four U.S. Marines were killed in fighting in Anbar province, and three soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in northern Iraq, the military said Friday.


One Less Bastard on the Streets

A 21 year old man has been sentenced to two consecutive live terms for the killing of a gay man in 2004.

Robert Holly Lofton Porter pleaded guilty Wednesday to intentional murder in the slaying of Scotty Joe Weaver.

Prosecutors said the murder was motivated in large part because Weaver was gay.

Lofton was the second of three people to be sentenced.

In May, Christopher Gaines, 22, was sentenced to life without parole after pleading guilty. (story)

Holly Lofton Porter, the third person charged, is awaiting trial.

Weaver was attacked and murdered in his trailer home in July 2004. He was 18 years old.

His body was then carted to a quiet dirt road where his killers set it on fire and then casually drove off, after robbing him of between $65 and $80.

A man driving an all-terrain vehicle discovered Weaver's severely burned and decomposed body

Two of the accused, Gaines and Kelsay were Weaver's roommates. Porter is described as a friend of the pair who spent a considerable amount of time at Weaver's home.

Police said all three suspects were out of work, and Weaver was paying the bills at their home.

Gaines and Kelsay apparently had a romantic relationship with each other, investigators said, adding that it appeared the trio plotted Weaver's death several days before the killing.


The Death of Net Neutrality

It's well underway, unfortunately:
The US Justice Department has said that internet service providers should be allowed to charge for priority traffic.

The agency said it was opposed to "network neutrality", the idea that all data on the net is treated equally.

The comments put the agency at odds with companies such as Microsoft and Google, who have called for legislation to guarantee equal access to the net.

The agency submitted its comments to the Federal Communications Commission, which is investigating net access.

Several US internet service providers (ISPs), including AT&T and Verizon, have previously said that they want to charge some users more money for certain content.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Common Sense in Arkansas

Strange, but true:
Arkansas's attorney general said Wednesday he will reject a proposed voter-backed initiative aimed at barring unmarried couples from adopting or fostering children. A conservative group hoped to use the ban to keep gay couples from becoming foster parents.
But don't celebrate just yet, because the bigots are being given a mulligan:

Attorney General Dustin McDaniel said the proposal submitted by the Arkansas Family Council is inconsistent. He said the group would be allowed to redraft and resubmit it.

"I strongly suspect they will incorporate our changes and maybe a few of their own, resubmit it, and I'll ultimately certify it. But it did not meet the legal requirements to certify it right now," McDaniel said.


A True Media Whore Speaks Out

Gannon/Guckert is still cashing in on the lies:
Two years after he became a famous, or infamous, White House correspondent, Jeff Gannon is back with a book excoriating his former colleagues, and recounting his days of reporting "behind enemy lines" at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

In a publication announcement, Gannon says his book, "The Great Media War," names names of the liberal activists with press passes he says dominates the Washington press corps -- and he takes aim at those who made him the center of a sensational scandal that included getting daily White House access with an assumed name, allegations he advertised himself on a gay escort service, and maintained Web sites including

"The basic premise, which is revealed in the title, 'The Great Media War,' is that for decades liberals controlled the media," Gannon said in a telephone interview Wednesday, "and when conservatives tried to at least get a fair representation in the major media, they had to fight to get there. And now the liberals are fighting to hold onto their once-exclusive franchise.

"I'm a casualty of that conflict," Gannon added.
Poor dear.


Justice Roadshow

Now that we've wrecked our own judicial system in the name of the war on terror, it's time to go mobile!
The U.S. military is building a mobile courtroom complex on an unused runway at the Guantanamo Bay naval base and plans to be ready by March to conduct as many as three terrorism trials at a time.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

The Hack Is Hacked

Once again, Bush proves himself to be the ineffective leader that he has always been, as China continues to flex its muscles:

When the presidents of the world's remaining superpower and the nation fast challenging for the title, George Bush of the United States and Hu Jintao of China, meet in Sydney tomorrow they had been scheduled to be talking about matters of mutual interest: trade and global warming.

Now, even if not on the formal agenda, both sides are likely to be considering the prickly issue of cyber warfare, following the revelation that the Pentagon suffered a major breach by hackers reportedly working for the Chinese military earlier this year.

Disclosure by the Financial Times that the People's Liberation Army, or PLA, assaulted part of the Pentagon's system used by policy advisers to the defence secretary, Robert Gates, is the latest and potentially most serious breach and set alarm bells ringing across the US military.


More Hypocrisy Soon to Be Revealed?

Could be:

In the wake of closeted Sen. Larry Craig’s self-outing in an airport men’s room this summer, Mike Rogers, the Washington-based publisher of blogActive who outed Craig, is threatening to reveal the secret sexual identities of two leading GOP senators, while two allegedly gay Republican congressmen are making headlines and drawing unwelcome attention to themselves, the timing of which could not be worse.

The senators are Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, from Kentucky. More about them below but first let’s look at two allegedly closeted members of the House, representatives Patrick McHenry and David Drier, who have been in the news lately.


Homophobia Causes Stupidity and Evil

Or perhaps vice versa. At any rate these traits do correlate strongly:
An Oregon man has been sentenced to 25-years behind bars for raping his step son to get revenge on the boy's mother.

Following his arrest William Gerald Collins, 44, told police he wanted to force the boy into being gay so that his ex-wife would not have any grandchildren.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Courageous at Any Age...

This is quite extraordinary; Loraine Barr, an 88-year-old woman who had never talked about her sexuality with anyone, decided to finally come out - and did so by writing an essay for Newsweek. She was with her life partner for 44 years, and while some of their friends and family guessed they were more than just friends, no one ever spoke about it. For 44 years, the two women even maintained separate bedrooms, for the sake of appearances.
I was born at a time when to have romantic feelings for another woman was known as "the love that dare not speak its name." I first read Radclyffe Hall's "The Well of Loneliness" around 1938, in my impressionable teens. The book was a heartfelt cry for understanding and acceptance of the "invert." Now we say "gay" and "lesbian," and nobody faints, although we still lack the same rights as other citizens. In how many ways have attitudes changed? And how have they not?

...Finally, after almost nine years since my beloved partner's death, I am able to do what I could never have braved in earlier years: present myself herewith to the world as a lesbian, along with all the women who ask to be judged by the full facet of our characters.
It's quite a story, and worth reading in its entirety.


Sunday, September 02, 2007

Our Victory in Afghanistan

It just goes on and on:
Over the past six weeks, the Taliban have driven government forces out of roughly half of a strategic area in southern Afghanistan that American and NATO officials declared a success story last fall in their campaign to clear out insurgents and make way for development programs, Afghan officials say.


They Know How to Pick 'Em

The Republicans are preternaturally astute when it comes to running campaigns:
An organizer for a Rudy Giuliani presidential event plans to step down amid revelations of his arrests for allegedly extorting an FSU student in a sex case and his conviction for dealing in stolen state computers.

According to a Florida State University arrest affidavit: Edwards was first charged after a 19-year-old FSU political science intern claimed Edwards, then an adjunct professor, plied him with beers, trolled briefly for prostitutes, watched ''heterosexual'' pornography and then exhorted him to masturbate in a game.

The intern said Edwards threatened him with bad grades if he didn't ''get into it.'' He declined to press charges. Edwards said the claims were ''lies'' but he didn't ''want to revisit it.'' Edwards was fired from FSU.

Shortly after his extortion arrest, state Capitol police then arrested Edwards on charges of theft, burglary and dealing with stolen property after the cops said he stole at least $10,000 worth of computer equipment from offices of the Florida Legislature.


Church + State = Missouri

This is really rather shocking, even for a state like Missouri. I mean, dismissing your own attorney general and going with a Christian legal group? That's beyond strange for a public official:
In a tone befitting a pubescent spat, the director of Missouri's Department of Health and Senior Services last week informed the state Attorney General Jay Nixon that she would not be using his services in a lawsuit filed against the state by Planned Parenthood seeking to have a restrictive abortion law declared unconstitutional. It was a highly unusual move, since the attorney general is the state's lawyer, and it is his job to defend the constitutionality of state statutes when they are challenged in court.

"I did not believe I could trust you to defend me and my department vigorously," wrote Jane Drummond, general counsel to Republican Gov. Matt Blunt (son of the House Republican Whip Roy Blunt). "You," Drummond accused the state's chief law enforcement officer, Nixon, who happens to be the Democrat challenging Blunt in Missouri's gubernatorial race next year, "are radically pro-abortion."

In a final talk-to-the-hand flourish, Drummond demanded, "Please have your counsel contact my department related to this case through my new attorneys."

Those new attorneys are with the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the radically anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-separation-of-church-and-state legal powerhouse at the forefront of just about every real and imagined battle in the culture wars. Remember the "War on Christmas?" Gov. Blunt helped ADF fight it last year, when he sent a memo to directors of state agencies, telling them they shouldn't fear "official reprisal" for saying "Merry Christmas," and reassuring them that "[t]his holiday season should not give state employees reason to feel as though they must check their religious views at the door of a government building." ADF, which is dedicated to "protecting our heritage of prayer," praised Blunt's action, calling him one of "several highly visible public officials [who] also gave the efforts of ADF even greater momentum."

The abortion law in question is HB 1055, which, among other things, changes the definition of "ambulatory surgical center" to include any clinic that performs five or more abortions a month. It requires those centers to retrofit their facilities to meet the same requirements imposed on facilities performing other surgical procedures, even if the clinic only performs medication-induced abortions. Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri (PPKM) challenged the law, which was slated to take effect Tuesday, because it would effectively close two clinics for extensive and possibly cost-prohibitive renovations and leave only one abortion clinic in the entire state, in St. Louis. Late Monday, the court granted PPKM's motion for a temporary restraining order, preventing those provisions of the law from taking effect until September 10, when the court will hold another hearing.


Mission Still Accomplished!

We just keep on winning. It's really rather astonishing how consistently victorious we are:
Civilian deaths rose in August to their second-highest monthly level this year, according to figures compiled Saturday by The Associated Press. That raises questions about whether U.S. strategy is working days before Congress receives landmark reports that will decide the course of the war.

At least 81 American service members also died in Iraq during August — an increase of two over the previous month but well below the year's monthly high of 126 in May. American deaths surpassed the 80 mark during only two months of 2006.

U.S. military officials have insisted that the security plan launched early this year have brought a decrease in attacks on civilians and sectarian killings, especially in the Baghdad area, which was the focus of the new strategy.

The top American commander, Gen. David Petraeus, is expected to cite security improvements when he and Ambassador Ryan Crocker submit reports on progress toward stability and national reconciliation to Congress during the week of Sept. 10.

However, figures compiled by the AP from police reports nationwide show that at least 1,809 civilians were killed across the country last month compared with 1,760 in July. That brings to 27,564 the number of Iraqi civilians killed since AP began collecting data on April 28, 2005.


Why Is Bush Encouraging the Terrorists?

Iraq's embattled prime minister defended his government Sunday against American critics, saying they underestimate the problems facing this country and fail to appreciate his achievements "such as stopping the civil and sectarian war."

Criticism of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's leadership has been growing in the run-up to this month's series of reports to Congress on political and security progress since President Bush dispatched nearly 30,000 more American troops to Iraq.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Sen. Carl Levin, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, have called for al-Maliki to be replaced.

"Regrettably these statements made by U.S. officials sometimes exceed reasonable limits and at the same time send regrettable messages which help terrorists think that the security situation in the country is weak and the political forces are not cohesive," al-Maliki told reporters.

He added that critics are sending "negative messages that encourage terrorism."


Stupidity = Death

Thabo Mbeki, South Africa's president hailed his embattled health minister as a heroine and blasted her critics as "wild animals" in a remarkable display of support that dismayed AIDS activists demanding the dismissal of the woman who advocated beets and garlic as remedies for the disease.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, a Nobel laureate often regarded as the moral conscience of the nation, weighed into the debate about South African AIDS policy by lambasting the health ministry. In a speech late Friday, he called the ministry inefficient and said it "has presided over the vast deterioration in health standards of our land."

Health Minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang has been condemned at home and abroad for her unorthodox views on the AIDS virus, which has infected an estimated 5.4 million South Africans - the highest number for any country in the world.

At news conferences, she has made plain her mistrust of antiretroviral medicines, repeatedly espousing a diet heavy on garlic, beetroot, lemon and olive oil as more effective in treating HIV/AIDS. The comments have earned her ridicule and the nicknames "Dr. Beetroot" and "Dr. Garlic."

South Africa's stand at the international AIDS conference in Canada last year included garlic and other foodstuffs, prompting international scientists to write an unprecedented joint letter of protest to President Thabo Mbeki.

For years, Mbeki has been accused of downplaying the extent of the AIDS crisis and he has steadfastly stood by his health minister.

But his weekly ANC Today online newsletter, published Friday, took his support to new heights.