Friday, June 20, 2008

Zora's On The Nip

...literally. She's sitting on fresh 'nip from the garden, because she is a little odd and likes to roll around on it and it took her months to figure out that dried 'nip could be eaten, so... yeah, she's lying on it.

And of course, Gramsci can smell that.

Perhaps being casual and mellow will work? Hey, I'm just sitting here licking my paw... don't you want to get up and go somewhere else?

OK, if casual doesn't work, how about edging weirdly over to Zora? Yeah, that might work.

Yep. Weirding Zora out: Definitely a success strategy.

Awwwwwwwwwwwww yeahhhhhhhhhhhh.


Posted, of course, by Miriam, who may have been responsible for the presence of the 'nip.


We Got Lucky Last Week

Unlike a lot of people here in town:
Oshkosh was also hit hard by Thursday’s storms.

It’s the second time in a week the area was hit, and it was hit hard.

Seventy-five percent of roads were closed Thursday night because they were impassible due to flooding. Fifty percent of homes have damage to them as a result of the storms.


Thursday, June 19, 2008

Cheney Wins Again

He's managed to make his bullshit argument fly:

Vice President Dick Cheney has won his battle to withhold records from the public despite efforts by Congress and other critics who say they should be open to scrutiny.

The Democrats are conceding defeat. The party’s top investigator in the House of Representatives acknowledges that there is nothing more he can do to force the vice president’s hand.

“He has managed to stonewall everyone,” said Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. “I’m not sure there’s anything we can do.”

Waxman said that despite Cheney’s turning this administration into “one of the most secretive in history,” there’s not much he or anyone else can do because the administration has only a few more months left in office.

Cheney argues that, as the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, he is not exclusively part of the executive branch and therefore not subject to the public-records standards that have been applied to past administrations.


Former General Speaks Out

Bush, indeed, is a war criminal:
The Army general who led the investigation into prisoner abuse at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison accused the Bush administration Wednesday of committing "war crimes" and called for those responsible to be held to account.

The remarks by Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba, who's now retired, came in a new report that found that U.S. personnel tortured and abused detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, using beatings, electrical shocks, sexual humiliation and other cruel practices.

"After years of disclosures by government investigations, media accounts and reports from human rights organizations, there is no longer any doubt as to whether the current administration has committed war crimes," Taguba wrote. "The only question that remains to be answered is whether those who ordered the use of torture will be held to account."

The answer, sadly, is no.


Poor Judgment

This is downright ridiculous:
As summer vacation begins, 17 girls at Gloucester High School are expecting babies—more than four times the number of pregnancies the 1,200-student school had last year. Some adults dismissed the statistic as a blip. Others blamed hit movies like Juno and Knocked Up for glamorizing young unwed mothers. But principal Joseph Sullivan knows at least part of the reason there's been such a spike in teen pregnancies in this Massachusetts fishing town. School officials started looking into the matter as early as October after an unusual number of girls began filing into the school clinic to find out if they were pregnant. By May, several students had returned multiple times to get pregnancy tests, and on hearing the results, "some girls seemed more upset when they weren't pregnant than when they were," Sullivan says. All it took was a few simple questions before nearly half the expecting students, none older than 16, confessed to making a pact to get pregnant and raise their babies together. Then the story got worse. "We found out one of the fathers is a 24-year-old homeless guy," the principal says, shaking his head.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008


At least one vendor is pandering to good old fashioned American racism:
At the Republican state convention, a booth hosted by Republicanmarket was selling a pin Saturday that says: If Obama is President will we still call it the White House.


Good Luck with That

Iraq continues to labor under the delusion that it has any sort of sovereignty:
Iraq is insisting on the right to veto any US military operations throughout its territory under a "status of forces" agreement currently being negotiated between Baghdad and Washington, according to a senior member of the Iraqi government.


Erasing Disabilities

An oversight? Rather implausible:
The parents of twin autistic boys left out of a yearbook are accusing the school of discrimination.

Darla Granger said her sons Holden and Hunter were purposely left out of their Roseville, Calif., school yearbook -- along with the rest of the school's special needs children.
The Placer County superintendent who oversees the special needs program at Quail Glen Elementary said she thinks the incident was an oversight, not a malicious act.

"I do have a hard time understanding how they could have not noticed that every autistic child from their campus was missing," Darla Granger said.


Worst Ever

More Americans are waking up:

Less than one-quarter of Americans think President George W. Bush is doing a good job, giving him the worst marks of his two-term presidency, a poll showed Tuesday.

The poll also showed 80 percent think the United States is on the wrong track.



More evidence of the unclean conscience of the US:
The U.S. military hid the locations of suspected terrorist detainees and concealed harsh treatment to avoid the scrutiny of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to documents that a Senate committee released Tuesday.

"We may need to curb the harsher operations while ICRC is around. It is better not to expose them to any controversial techniques," Lt. Col. Diane Beaver, a military lawyer who's since retired, said during an October 2002 meeting at the Guantanamo Bay prison to discuss employing interrogation techniques that some have equated with torture. Her comments were recorded in minutes of the meeting that were made public Tuesday. At that same meeting, Beaver also appeared to confirm that U.S. officials at another detention facility — Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan — were using sleep deprivation to "break" detainees well before then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved that technique. "True, but officially it is not happening," she is quoted as having said.


Monday, June 16, 2008

One McCain Supporter

A real class act. And McCain is keeping the money this guy raised for him:
Questions from the media prompted Republican John McCain to cancel a fundraiser at the home of a Texas oilman who once joked that women should give in while being raped.

The Texan, Republican Clayton "Claytie" Williams, made the joke during his failed 1990 campaign for governor against Democrat Ann Richards. Williams compared rape to the weather, saying, "As long as it's inevitable, you might as well lie back and enjoy it." He also compared Richards to the cattle on his ranch, saying he would "head her and hoof her and drag her through the dirt."

Williams' comments made national news at the time and remain easy to find on the Internet. Even so, McCain's campaign said it hadn't known about the remarks.

"These were obviously incredibly offensive remarks that the campaign was unaware of at the time it was scheduled," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said. "It's positive that he did apologize at the time, but the comments are nonetheless offensive."

The campaign said it would not return money Williams had raised for McCain because the contributions came from other individuals supporting McCain and not from Williams. Williams told his hometown newspaper, the Midland Reporter-Telegram, that he had raised more than $300,000 for McCain.


The flap comes as McCain's campaign reaches out to women and to backers of Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton. McCain began a women-focused outreach effort in recent days, sending a well-known female supporter, former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, to campaign in Ohio and Pennsylvania.


The Beginning of the End

Sorry, Californian heterosexuals. Your marriages are all doomed!
Dozens of gay couples were married Monday after a landmark ruling making California the second state to allow same-sex nuptials went into effect.

At least five county clerks around the state extended their hours to issue marriage licenses, and many same-sex couples got married on the spot.


Wages on the Rise

For some. Guess who?
As the American economy slowed to a crawl and stockholders watched their money evaporate, CEO pay still chugged to yet more dizzying heights last year, an Associated Press analysis shows.

The AP review of compensation for the heads of companies in the Standard & Poor's 500 index finds the median pay package added up to nearly $8.4 million. That's a comfortable gain of about $280,000 from 2006.

The 3 1/2 percent pay increase for CEOs came even as the landscape for both workers and shareholders darkened considerably and the economy was choked by a housing market in free fall, layoffs and soaring prices for fuel and food.


Slander Worse Than Torture

In Bush's twisted mind (in which political discussions are "slander"):

During an interview with President Bush on Britain’s Sky News yesterday, Sky political editor Adam Boulton noted that while Bush talks “a lot about freedom,” there are many who say that some of the Bush administration’s torture and detention policies represent “the complete opposite of freedom.” But Bush quickly snapped back, saying those criticizing his policies are slandering America:

BOULTON: There are those who would say look, lets take Guantanamo Bay, and Abu Ghraib, and rendition and all those things and to them that is the complete opposite of freedom.

BUSH: Of course, if you want to slander America.


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Committed to Accuracy

As though there is any surprise that the Election Assistance Commission had no friends in Congress from the very start:
It was not an auspicious beginning. The year was 2004 and the newest federal agency had no desks, no computers, and no office to put them in. It had neither an address nor a phone number. Early meetings convened in a Starbucks near a Metro stop in downtown Washington.

Somehow, Congress had neglected to fund the Election Assistance Commission, a small group with a massive task: coordinating one of the most sweeping voter reform packages in decades.

Not helping matters was the fact that nearly a year had passed from enactment of the reform legislation in 2002 to selection of the commission that would oversee it. That meant the clock had already started clicking on some deadlines before the commission members were even confirmed by the Senate.

Eventually, Congress gave the commission a fiscal 2004 operating budget of about $700,000, including salaries, an insufficient sum that limited members from the beginning, commissioners said.

Though funding and staff have increased this year to $115 million and more than 20 positions, election activists say neither is sufficient to keep up with all the work the commission must produce.

"They started out with their legs cut out from under them," said Tova Wang, a research vice president for Common Cause. "It's taken them a long time to catch up with the learning curve. And they're still learning."


Wave of the Future?

Are bugs the answer?
To be more precise: the genetic alteration of bugs – very, very small ones – so that when they feed on agricultural waste such as woodchips or wheat straw, they do something extraordinary. They excrete crude oil.

Unbelievably, this is not science fiction. Mr Pal holds up a small beaker of bug excretion that could, theoretically, be poured into the tank of the giant Lexus SUV next to us. Not that Mr Pal is willing to risk it just yet. He gives it a month before the first vehicle is filled up on what he calls “renewable petroleum”. After that, he grins, “it’s a brave new world”.


Lip-Service Environmentalism

Sure, polar bears are threatened and need protection, but, eh, whatever:
Less than a month after declaring polar bears a threatened species because of global warming, the Bush administration is giving oil companies permission to annoy and potentially harm them in the pursuit of oil and natural gas.


A Brand New Army

Sadr is at it again:
Iraq's hardline Shiite leader Moqtada al-Sadr announced on Friday that he plans to form a new armed group to fight US forces in Iraq.

In a statement issued to his nearly 60,000 strong Mahdi Army militia, the anti-American cleric said the fight against US forces will now be waged only by the new group.

"The resistance will be carried out exclusively by a special group which I will announce later," Sadr said in a statement which was read out at a mosque in the holy Shiite town of Kufa.

"We will keep resisting the occupier until the liberation (of Iraq) or (our) martrydom."

Sadr said the group will direct its operations against US forces and will be banned from fighting Iraqis.