Friday, October 19, 2007

More Retro Kitties

Digital camera still MIA.


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Homophobes Must Pay an Extra $199,999

Well done, Philadelphia:

The city has decided that the Boy Scouts chapter here must pay fair-market rent of $200,000 a year for its city-owned headquarters because it refuses to permit gay Scouts.

The organization's Cradle of Liberty Council, which currently pays $1 a year in rent, must pay the increased amount to remain in its downtown building past May 31, Fairmount Park Commission president Robert N.C. Nix said Wednesday.

City officials say they cannot legally rent taxpayer-owned property for a nominal sum to a private organization that discriminates. The city owns the land and the Beaux Arts building constructed by the Scouts in 1928.


Land Grab

The British are making a move that portends ill for the future. This will be the struggle of our age:

The United Kingdom is planning to claim sovereign rights over a vast area of the remote seabed off Antarctica, the Guardian has learned. The submission to the United Nations covers more than 1m sq km (386,000 sq miles) of seabed, and is likely to signal a quickening of the race for territory around the south pole in the world's least explored continent.

The claim would be in defiance of the spirit of the 1959 Antarctic treaty, to which the UK is a signatory. It specifically states that no new claims shall be asserted on the continent. The treaty was drawn up to prevent territorial disputes.

The Foreign Office, however, has told the Guardian that data is being gathered and processed for a submission to the UN which could extend British oil, gas and mineral exploitation rights up to 350 miles offshore into the Southern Ocean.

Much of the seabed there is at such a depth that extraction of gas, oil or minerals is not yet technically feasible, but the claim may still anger neighbouring South American countries who believe they have more entitlement to the potentially valuable territory.

The Antarctic submission reflects the UK's efforts to secure resources for the future as oil and natural gas reserves dwindle over the coming decades.



Now here's an idea that the United States should, without a doubt, adopt:
President Hugo Chavez has proposed slashing Venezuela's working day to six hours to turn its socialist revolution into a paradise of leisure - with one exception.

Under a new draft constitution debated in congress this week everyone will have more time for recreation and relaxation.


Wednesday, October 17, 2007


Um, Larry Craig, no. That's not what "profiling" means:

Police said Craig's actions -- peering into an officers stall, tapping his foot and reaching beneath a divider -- were identical to the secret choreography engaged in by men looking for anonymous sex.

"I now know that this cop, this officer, is a profiler," Craig said. "He said looking into a stall is part of it, and then a hand gesture or a foot tap is part of it. Now I know all about profiling. I know what people feel like when they're profiled, when innocent people get caught up in what I was caught in as an innocent person, it's very angering at times."


They're Going In

I suppose we might as well have told the truth about the Armenian genocide after all, given that Turkey is (as I predicted) just doing whatever it wants anyway:
Turkey will defy international pressure on Wednesday and grant its troops permission to enter northern Iraq to crush Kurdish rebels based there, though it has played down expectations of any imminent attack.


The Man Has Issues

I mean, really. Do we want this man, with his sadistic fantasy life and his inability to think logically, anywhere near real power?
Retired General James "Spider" Marks, who has just been named a new national security adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign, asserted in a 2005 interview that he would readily torture prisoners to save a soldier's life or stop a terror bomb, saying: "I'd stick a knife in somebody's thigh in a heartbeat."
TOM FOREMAN (voice-over): If you could save the life of a soldier, rescue the hostage children; stop the next terrorist bomb by torturing a prisoner for information, would you do it?

JAMES "SPIDER" MARKS, MAJOR GENERAL, U.S. ARMY (RET.): I'd stick a knife in somebody's thigh in a heartbeat.

FOREMAN (on camera): Retired General "Spider" Marks, a CNN consultant, worked for U.S. Army Intelligence, teaching interrogation.

MARKS: The kinds of enemies we're fighting have no sense of right or wrong. They will go to any depths to achieve their ends.

FOREMAN: Do we have to go with them?

MARKS: We don't need to go with them. We need to preclude them from going there. And that might include some use of torture in order to prevent it.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Polls have shown that more than 60 percent of Americans think torture can sometimes be justified. But here is the catch. Experts, including General Marks, are convinced with the vast majority of prisoners, it just doesn't work.

In addition to seeming to suggest that we should torture even though it doesn't work in the "vast majority" of cases, Marks also added this later in the same broadcast:

FOREMAN: ...So in your experience and in your view, torture as a policy should be against the law?

MARKS: True.

FOREMAN: And yet, we might still have to use it.

MARKS: True.

That would appear to be an explicit endorsement of illegal torture.


Non-Combat Deaths Spike

Perhaps 15-month deployments aren't the best idea:
For several weeks, E&P has documented what appears to be a surge in non-combat deaths among U.S. troops in Iraq. These fatalities come from vehicle accidents, illness, suicides and friendly fire. The military always states that they are under investigation and it is local newspapers that usually first get word, often from families, about what might have really happened.

Now today comes confirmation of these concerns.

A team of U.S. army safety experts are in Iraq studying this trend, which has coincided with extended 15-month deployments for troops, a senior military official said this week.

Lt. Gen. Carter Ham, operations director of the Joint Staff, said commanders in Iraq were concerned enough about the spike in non-combat deaths that it has asked for an assessment by the army team, according to an Agence France Press report.

According to Pentagon figures, 29 soldiers died in August for non-hostile reasons, and another 23 died of non-combat causes in September. Shockingly, this compares with seven in August last year and 11 in September 2006.

The military has official confirmed more than 125 suicides in Iraq with many others under investigation.

"We don't yet know what may have caused an increase in the non-battle casualties," Ham said.


Above the Law

Surprise, surprise:

A defiant Blackwater Chairman Erik Prince said yesterday he will not allow Iraqi authorities to arrest his contractors and try them in Iraq's faulty justice system.

"We will not let our people be taken by the Iraqis," Mr. Prince told editors and reporters at The Washington Times.


Monday, October 15, 2007

Survivor: Uganda

The twist is, nobody wins:
Uganda's leading Muslim cleric has proposed to President Yoweri Museveni that gays be rounded up and marooned on an island in Lake Victoria until they die.

Sheikh Ramathan Shaban Mubajje told reporters of his plan following a much publicized meeting with Museveni.

"I asked President Museveni to get us an island on Lake Victoria and we take these homosexuals and they die out there," Mubajje told a news conference.

"If they die there then we shall have no more homosexuals in the country."

Pure, twisted evil.


Good Riddance

And please don't run for governor:

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison told a Texas magazine she will not seek re-election after this term and may leave the Senate as early as 2009, according to excerpts published on the magazine's blog Monday.

Hutchison told Texas Monthly in an interview to be fully published in December that she would end her Senate career in 2012, whether or not she runs for governor.

Stepping down in two years "has to be considered," the Texas Republican senior senator is quoted as saying in the excerpts.



Um, yeah. It was "research."
A Vatican official suspended after being caught on hidden camera making advances to a young man said in an interview published Sunday that he is not gay and was only pretending to be gay as part of his work.

In an interview with La Repubblica newspaper, Monsignor Tommaso Stenico said he frequented online gay chat rooms and met with gay men as part of his work as a psychoanalyst. He said that he pretended to be gay in order to gather information about "those who damage the image of the Church with homosexual activity."

Vatican teaching holds that homosexual activity is a sin.

"It's all false; it was a trap. I was a victim of my own attempts to contribute to cleaning up the Church with my psychoanalyst work," La Repubblica quoted Stenico as saying.