Thursday, June 30, 2005
Recruiting hard too hard? Just lower the goal.
[Number of new recruits] fell about 25 percent short of its target of signing up 6,700 recruits in May. The gap would have been even wider but for the fact that the target was lowered by 1,350.
The Army said it lowered the May target...knowing that the difference will have to be made up in the months ahead. The Army also missed its monthly targets in April, March and February — each month worse than the one before.
And why might the Pentagon be having a hard getting new recruits?
U.S. troops are dying at a rate of two a day in Iraq, more than two years after President Bush declared that major combat operations had ended.
Ever the ones to smile:
Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty...said...the Army remains cautiously optimistic that it will make up the lost ground this summer...and reach the full-year goal of 80,000 enlistees.Ok, maybe not so optimistic in light of the real numbers,
[T]hat with only four months left in the budget year, the Army is at barely 50 percent of its goal. Recruiters would have to land more than 9,760 young men and women a month, on averageRecall, only 5025 recruits in May. Or almost double this number for each of the next four months. But wait, there may be a solution!
[T]he Army's recruiting woes are likely to persist until the children of upper-class America begin to enlist more readily.They aren't referring to the children of the upper-class Republician Bush supporter are they? Not the sweet children of the ones who so proudly adorn their high-end SUVs with (temporary) magnetic "Support the Troops" stickers?
42% of Voters Ready For Impeachment
In a sign of the continuing partisan division of the nation, more than two-in-five (42%) voters say that, if it is found that President Bush did not tell the truth about his reasons for going to war with Iraq, Congress should hold him accountable through impeachment.
Among those living in the Western states, a 52% majority favors Congress using the impeachment mechanism while just 41% are opposed; in Eastern states, 49% are in favor and 45% opposed. In the South, meanwhile, impeachment is opposed by three-in-five voters (60%) and supported by just one-in-three (34%); in the Central/Great Lakes region, 52% are opposed and 38% in favor.
Impeachment is overwhelmingly rejected in the Red States—just 36% say they agree Congress should use it if the President is found to have lied on Iraq.
I love the last part. I think even having 36% for impeachment in the Red States is quite something. Of course, I would have phrased things as "when the President is found to have lied on Iraq", but that is just me.
Moreover, Bush's general polling is pretty bad too:
Just one week ago, President Bush’s job approval stood at a previous low of 44%—but it has now slipped another point to 43%, despite a speech to the nation intended to build support for the Administration and the ongoing Iraq War effort.
100 Years Ago Today, Einstein showed us the truth
By A. Einstein
June 30, 1905
It is known that Maxwell's electrodynamics -- as usually understood at the present time -- when applied to moving bodies, leads to asymmetries which do not appear to be inherent in the phenomena...[T]he unsuccessful attempts to discover any motion of the earth relatively to the "light medium", suggest that the phenomena of electrodynamics as well as of mechanics possess no properties corresponding to the idea of absolute rest. They suggest rather that...the same laws of electrodynamics and optics will be valid for all frames of reference for which the equations of mechanics hold good. We will raise this conjecture (the purport of which will hereafter be called the Principle of Relativity) to the status of a postulate, and also introduce another postulate, which is only apparently irreconcilable with the former, namely, that light is always propagated in empty space with a definite velocity c which is independent of the state of motion of the emitting body. These two postulates suffice for the attainment of a simple and consistent theory of the electrodynamics of moving bodies based on Maxwell's theory for stationary bodies. The introduction of a "luminiferous ether" will prove to be superfluous inasmuch as the view here to be developed will not require an "absolutely stationary space" provided with special properties, nor assign a velocity-vector to a point of the empty space in which electromagnetic processes take place.
As far as kinematics go, Prof Einstein assumed "a universal constant--the velocity of light in empty space." From this comes the important conclusion (his emphasis):
So we see that we cannot attach any absolute signification to the concept of simultaneity, but that two events which, viewed from a system of co-ordinates, are simultaneous, can no longer be looked upon as simultaneous events when envisaged from a system which is in motion relatively to that system.
This leads to the relativity of time. The faster you go, the slower time passes:
hence we conclude that a balance-clock at the equator must go more slowly, by a very small amount, than a precisely similar clock situated at one of the poles under otherwise identical conditions.
After developing the kinematics for comparing motion between observers moving at different speeds, Prof Einstein examined electrodynamics under this (at the time) new viewpoint. He found
[W]e have the proof that, on the basis of our kinematical principles, the electrodynamic foundation of Lorentz's theory of the electrodynamics of moving bodies is in agreement with the principle of relativity.
And the kicker:
Thus, when v=c, [the energy of motion of the electron] becomes infinite. Velocities greater than that of light have--as in our previous results--no possibility of existence.
This expression for the kinetic energy must also, by virtue of the argument stated above, apply to ponderable masses as well.
Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Rumours of Secret US Prisoner Ships
The UN has learned of "very, very serious" allegations that the United States is secretly detaining terrorism suspects in various locations around the world, notably aboard prison ships, the UN's special rapporteur on terrorism [Manfred Nowak] said.
"There are very, very serious accusations that the United States is maintaining secret camps, notably on ships," the Austrian UN official told AFP, adding that the vessels were believed to be in the Indian Ocean region.
"They are only rumours, but they appear sufficiently well-based to merit an official inquiry," he added.
The use of prison ships would allow investigators to interrogate people secretly and in international waters out of the reach of US law, British security expert Francis Tusa said.
"This opens the door to very tough interrogations on key prisoners before it even has been revealed that they have been captured," said Tusa, an editor for the British magazine Jane's Intelligence Review.
Tusa said the Americans may also be using their island base of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean as a site for prisoners.
New York Times on Bush Address
President Bush told the nation last night that the war in Iraq was difficult but winnable. Only the first is clearly true. Despite buoyant cheerleading by administration officials, the military situation is at best unimproved. The Iraqi Army, despite Mr. Bush's optimistic descriptions, shows no signs of being able to control the country without American help for years to come. There are not enough American soldiers to carry out the job they have been sent to do, yet the strain of maintaining even this inadequate force is taking a terrible toll on the ability of the United States to defend its security on other fronts around the world.
We did not expect Mr. Bush would apologize for the misinformation that helped lead us into this war, or for the catastrophic mistakes his team made in running the military operation. But we had hoped he would resist the temptation to raise the bloody flag of 9/11 over and over again to justify a war in a country that had nothing whatsoever to do with the terrorist attacks. We had hoped that he would seize the moment to tell the nation how he will define victory, and to give Americans a specific sense of how he intends to reach that goal - beyond repeating the same wishful scenario that he has been describing since the invasion.
Sadly, Mr. Bush wasted his opportunity last night, giving a speech that only answered questions no one was asking. He told the nation, again and again, that a stable and democratic Iraq would be worth American sacrifices, while the nation was wondering whether American sacrifices could actually produce a stable and democratic Iraq.
Given the way this war was planned and executed, the president does not have any good options available, and if American forces were withdrawn, Iraq would probably sink into a civil war that would create large stretches of no man's land where private militias and stateless terrorists could operate with impunity. But if Mr. Bush is intent on staying the course, it will take years before the Iraqi government and its military are able to stand on their own. Most important of all - despite his lofty assurance last night that in the end the insurgents "cannot stop the advance of freedom" - all those years of effort and suffering could still end with the Iraqis turning on each other, or deciding that the American troops were the ultimate enemy after all. The critical challenge is to gauge, with a clear head, exactly when and if the tipping point arrives and the American presence is only making a terrible situation worse.
Mr. Bush has been under pressure, even from some Republicans, to come up with a timeline for an exit. It makes no sense to encourage the insurrectionists by telling them that if their suicide bombers continue to blow themselves up at the current rate, the Americans will be leaving in six months or a year. It is Iraq's elected officials, who desperately need an American presence, who have to be told that Washington's support isn't open-ended.
The elected government is the only hope, but its current performance is far from promising. While the support of the Shiite's powerful Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for the democratic elections was heartening, the Shiite majority in Parliament is mainly composed of religious parties competing to demonstrate that they have the ayatollah's ear. The Kurds continue to put broader national interests behind their own goal of an autonomous ministate that would include the oil fields of Kirkuk. The Sunnis, who boycotted the election, are only now being brought into the constitution-writing effort and so far have made no real effort to mobilize against the terrorists in their midst.
Pressure from the Bush administration for the government to do better has increased since the State Department took control of Iraq policy from the Pentagon. But there is much more to do, and the president needed to show the American people that he is not giving the Iraqi politicians a blank check to fritter away their opportunities.
Listening to Mr. Bush offer the usual emotional rhetoric about the advance of freedom and the sacrifice of American soldiers, our thoughts went back to some of the letters we received in anticipation of the speech. One was from the brother of a fallen Marine, who said he did not want Mr. Bush to say the war should continue in order to keep faith with the men and women who have died fighting it. "We do not need more justifications for the war. We need an effective strategy to win it," he wrote. Another letter came from an opponent of the invasion who urged the American left to "get over its anger over President Bush's catastrophic blunder" and start trying to figure out how to win the conflict that exists.
No one wants a disaster in Iraq, and Mr. Bush's critics can put aside, at least temporarily, their anger at the administration for its hubris, its terrible planning and its inept conduct of the war in return for a frank discussion of where to go from here. The president, who is going to be in office for another three and a half years, cannot continue to obsess about self-justification and the need to color Iraq with the memory of 9/11. The nation does not want it and cannot afford it.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
The rats are leaving the sinking GOP ship
From The Register-Guard of Eugene OR, The party's over for betrayed Republican:
As of today, after 25 years, I am no longer a Republican...
My problem is this: I believe in principles and ideals which my party has systematically discarded in the last 10 years.
My Republican Party was the party of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Barry Goldwater, and George H.W. Bush. It was a party of honesty and accountability...
Fifty years from now, the Republican Party of this era will be judged by how we provided for the nation's future on three core issues: how we led the world on the environment, how we minded the business of running our country in such a way that we didn't go bankrupt, and whether we gracefully accepted our place on the world's stage as its only superpower. Sadly, we have built the foundation for dismal failure on all three counts. And we've done it in such a way that we shouldn't be surprised if neither the American people nor the world ever trusts us again.
My party has repeatedly ignored, discarded and even invented science to suit its needs, most spectacularly as to global warming...
We have mortgaged the country's fiscal future in a way that no Democratic Congress or administration ever did, and to justify the tax cuts that brought us here, we've simply changed the rules...
Our greatest failure, though, has been in our role as superpower. This world needs justice, democracy and compassion, and as the keystone of those things, it needs one thing above all else: truth.
...The Blair government's internal documentation only confirms what has been suspected for years: Americans are dying every day for Republican lies first crafted in 2002, expanded and embellished upon in 2003, and which continue to this day. This calculated deception is now burned into the legacy of the party, every bit as much as Reagan's triumph in the Cold War, or Nixon's disgrace over Watergate.
We're poisoning our planet through gluttony and ignorance.
We're teetering on the brink of self-inflicted insolvency.
We're selfishly and needlessly sacrificing the best of a generation.
And we're lying about it.
Enough is enough. I quit.
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Pentagon Wants To Know Your Children
The Defense Department began working yesterday with a private marketing firm to create a database of high school students ages 16 to 18 and all college students to help the military identify potential recruits in a time of dwindling enlistment in some branches.
The new database will include personal information including birth dates, Social Security numbers, e-mail addresses, grade-point averages, ethnicity and what subjects the students are studying.
"The purpose of the system . . . is to provide a single central facility within the Department of Defense to compile, process and distribute files of individuals who meet age and minimum school requirements for military service."
Under the new system, additional data will be collected from commercial data brokers, state drivers' license records and other sources, including information already held by the military.
"This program is important because it helps bolster the effectiveness of all the services' recruiting and retention efforts."
Oh yeah, no problems with private companies collecting and maintaining personal data. They never lose track of the data, it never gets stolen. Please do note
The Pentagon's statements added that anyone can "opt out" of the system by providing detailed personal information that will be kept in a separate "suppression file." That file will be matched with the full database regularly to ensure that those who do not wish to be contacted are not, according to the Pentagon.They are not saying they will not collect data on people that "opt-out", only that they will note the additional data you provide to "opt-out."
Of course, keep in mid, the Pentagon already is getting some information about high school students:
Some information on high school students already is given to military recruiters in a separate program under provisions of the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act. Recruiters have been using the information to contact students at home, angering some parents and school districts around the country.
School systems that fail to provide that information risk losing federal funds, although individual parents or students can withhold information that would be transferred to the military by their districts.
I wonder if they will include the data they are starting to collect via Mandatory Mental Health Screening for Public Schools?
The bottom line on Iraq
If you will not serve in Iraq, and no one you know will serve, stop expecting someone else to do what you will not.via kos.
Therefore, it is time to stop calling for more troops, or the US to make Iraq safe. We cannot do this and even Americans are refusing to join the fight. It is time to look at your actions and realize, that despite your ideals, you oppose continuing this war. In practical terms, you have decided that this war is not worth your life or anyone you know. And million of Americans have joined you in this decision.
So, with this fact evident, it is time to call for US troops to withdraw from Iraq. Not save it, not add more boots on the ground. You have already voted by your actions. It is time that you match it with your words.
Iraq, by the Numbers
1,724 US Service Members
"If you MOUSE OVER any flag, the name, age, and date of death will be displayed. These men and women have given their lives."
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
Mandatory Mental Health Screening for Public Schools
The scheme concocted by the pharmaceutical industry and pushed forward by the Bush administration to screen the entire nation's public school population for mental illness and treat them with controversial drugs was already setting off alarms among parents all across the country. But in the state of Indiana, the alarm just got louder.
Taxpayers better get out their checkbooks because school taxes are about to go up as the lawsuits against school boards start mounting over the TeenScreen depression survey being administered to children in the public schools.
The first notice of intent to sue was filed this month in Indiana by Michael and Teresa Rhoades who were outraged when they learned their daughter had been given a psychological test at school without their consent...
There's also a diagnosis for those children who like to argue with their parents, they may be afflicted with a mental illness known as oppositional-defiant disorder...
Ok, that's the part to scare us about our kids. Now is the part where we find out how much all this will cost.
While promoting TeenScreen to Congress, its executive director, Laurie Flynn, flat out lied when she told members of Congress that TeenScreen was free and its website statement that "The program does not receive financial support from the government and is not affiliated with, or funded by, any pharmaceutical companies."
Last Oct 21, Bush authorized $82 million for suicide prevention programs like TeenScreen...
University of South Florida Department of Child & Family Studies said $98,641 was awarded to expand the TeenScreen program in the Tampa Bay area...
In Ohio, under the governor's Executive Budget for 2006 and 2007, the Department of Mental Health has specifically earmarked $70,000 for TeenScreen for each of those years.
170 Nashville students had completed a TeenScreen survey...the survey was funded by grants from AdvoCare and Eli Lilly.
That might not seem like a whole lot of money. That money is only the grease, the article's author points out:
The New York Times in May 2003 reported that national sales of antipsychotics reached $6.4 billion in 2002...See how a little "grant" money goes a loooong way in generating profit for the pharmaceutical industry. The point to keep in mind here: the testing can become mandatory. I'm assuming with mandatory testing comes mandatory drug use (What ever happened to "Just say no!"?) I am sure all this will not effect my insurance costs the slightest. Thinking it might only lets the terrorist win.
A list of drugs that must be prescribed for kids is already set up, modeled after a list used in Texas since 1995, called the TMAP...
in Texas, Pfizer awarded $232,000 in grants to the Texas Department of Mental Health to "educate" mental health providers about TMAP, and in return, the Texas Medicaid program spent $233 million tax dollars on Pfizer drugs like Zoloft.
February 9, 2001, an article in the Dallas Morning News, titled State Spending More on Mental Illness Drugs, reported: "Texas now spends more money on medication to treat mental illness for low-income residents than on any other type of prescription drug."
In 2002, Missouri Medicaid spent $104 million on three TMAP drugs alone. The three topped the list of all other medications covered by Medicaid, including HIV, cancer, and heart drugs.
This article continues by exploring the corruption present in this scheme.
Something to explore some more...
Other articles on a similiar theme:
Big Brother in Your Medicine Cabinet
Bill would force mentally ill to take their meds
South Bend Tribune (Indiana)
And, from the White House: New Freedom Initiative for People with Disabilities
Monday, June 20, 2005
British help "spread" Democracy to the Uzbeks
British soldiers helped to train the army of Uzbekistan, which last month slaughtered hundreds of pro-democracy protesters, The Scotsman can reveal.
The government of the central Asian republic has admitted that its troops killed 173 civilian demonstrators on 12 and 13 May in the city of Andizhan - and the true toll is believed to have been much higher. Human rights groups have condemned the massacre.
Last year, about 150 British Army veterans of the Iraq war travelled to Uzbekistan to train with the army responsible for the killings. According to one independent witness, the British soldiers "shared tactics" with the Uzbeks.
Bombing Iraq before UN or Congress consulted
It was a huge air assault: Approximately 100 US and British planes flew from Kuwait into Iraqi airspace. At least seven types of aircraft were part of this massive operation, including US F-15 Strike Eagles and Royal Air Force Tornado ground-attack planes. They dropped precision-guided munitions on Saddam Hussein's major western air-defense facility, clearing the path for Special Forces helicopters that lay in wait in Jordan. Earlier attacks had been carried out against Iraqi command and control centers, radar detection systems, Revolutionary Guard units, communication centers and mobile air-defense systems. The Pentagon's goal was clear: Destroy Iraq's ability to resist. This was war.
But there was a catch: The war hadn't started yet, at least not officially. This was September 2002--a month before Congress had voted to give President Bush the authority he used to invade Iraq, two months before the United Nations brought the matter to a vote and more than six months before "shock and awe" officially began.
Friday, June 17, 2005
Any idea how long a 'last throe' lasts for?
(Please finish all food before continuing)
Insurgents have taken over much of the Iraqi city of Ramadi and used it to launch attacks against US forces while terrorising the population with public beheadings.Or have they just figured out how to use the explosives from al-Qaqaa. You do remember the lose of 350 tonnes of RDX and HMX during the rush to Baghdad?
A huge bomb killed five American marines yesterday and showered body parts on to rooftops, fuelling suspicion that armour-piercing technology is being developed and tested in Ramadi.
US troops recovered the remains and withdrew to their base outside the Arab Sunni stronghold, leaving masked gunmen to erect checkpoints and carry out what residents said was the latest of many executions.
A man described as an Egyptian spy was beheaded and his body dumped on a busy shopping street. Warned by the killers to leave it for five days, shoppers pretended not to notice the figure in the brown robe, its head resting on its back.
Four days ago two suspected Shia militiamen were beheaded in the marketplace in full view of traders, said a senior police officer who asked not to be identified. Two boys played football with one of the heads, he added.
Residents said they were frightened of the insurgents but most dreaded a US-led offensive similar to that which flattened Falluja. They said the rebels were Iraqi Sunnis, not foreign Islamist radicals.
Ok, this really sucks, but that is not my point. What is truly troubling about this madness is how all those in charge can think to do is hide their head in the sand. From The Whitehouse,via E&P, Terry Moran vs. Scott McClellan on 'Last Throes' of Insurgency in Iraq:
Q Scott, is the insurgency in Iraq in its 'last throes'?
McCLELLAN: Terry, you have a desperate group of terrorists in Iraq that are doing everything they can to try to derail the transition to democracy. The Iraqi people have made it clear that they want a free and democratic and peaceful future. And that's why we're doing everything we can, along with other countries, to support the Iraqi people as they move forward….
Q But the insurgency is in its last throes?
McCLELLAN: The Vice President talked about that the other day -- you have a desperate group of terrorists who recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq. A free Iraq will be a significant blow to their ambitions.
Q But they're killing more Americans, they're killing more Iraqis. That's the last throes?
McCLELLAN: Innocent -- I say innocent civilians. And it doesn't take a lot of people to cause mass damage when you're willing to strap a bomb onto yourself, get in a car and go and attack innocent civilians. That's the kind of people that we're dealing with. That's what I say when we're talking about a determined enemy.
Q Right. What is the evidence that the insurgency is in its last throes?
McCLELLAN: I think I just explained to you the desperation of terrorists and their tactics.
Q What's the evidence on the ground that it's being extinguished?
McCLELLAN: Terry, we're making great progress to defeat the terrorist and regime elements. You're seeing Iraqis now playing more of a role in addressing the security threats that they face. They're working side by side with our coalition forces. They're working on their own. There are a lot of special forces in Iraq that are taking the battle to the enemy in Iraq. And so this is a period when they are in a desperate mode.
Q Well, I'm just wondering what the metric is for measuring the defeat of the insurgency.
McCLELLAN: Well, you can go back and look at the Vice President's remarks. I think he talked about it.
Q Yes. Is there any idea how long a 'last throe' lasts for?
McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve....
Video here at Crooks & Liars.
Looking to the top, all we can see the President deciding needs to be done is convince the home audience that all is fine.
From CNN, Bush shifts focus to Iraq
Facing growing pressure to bring troops home from Iraq, President Bush is launching a public relations campaign to try to calm anxieties about the war.
The president also plans a series of radio addresses and appearances outside Washington.
He has his work cut out for him
An Associated Press-Ipsos poll this month found just 41 percent of adults supported his handling of the Iraq war -- an all-time low.
Gallup poll released Monday found that six in 10 Americans say they think the United States should withdraw some or all of its troops from Iraq.
Wednesday, June 15, 2005
The GOP loves Porn, at least it's $$$$
Cable Companies Provide Porn While Funding Politicians:
Feb. 8, 2005 - While its previous owners considered adult entertainment "immoral," Adelphia Communications Corp....last week became the first to offer hard-core adult films on pay-per-view to its subscribers.
Adelphia's programming decision is being applauded by the adult film industry. "I think they made a really smart business decision," said Tim Connelly, publisher of Adult Video News, the trade journal of the adult entertainment industry. "So today Adelphia, tomorrow Wal-Mart."
Comcast Cable has given millions in political donations since 1998. The national Republican Party committees are its biggest organizational recipient, with donations totaling $851,000. President Bush is its biggest individual recipient with $109,000 in donations.
Adelphia has given $166,000 to Republican committees, $17,000 to conservative Rep. John Peterson, R-Pa., and $12,000 to Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., one of the most conservative members of the Senate.
Santorum would not comment on Adelphia's decision.
Conservative activist Donna Rice Hughes: "If their business practices, whatever they are, do not line up with the values of the politician, I think it's important to walk the talk."
Conservative activists say Adelphia's decision...is hypocrisy fueled by billions in corporate profits.
Bush, the Porn Star and the American Taliban
Bush speaks at the 2005 President's Dinner
From the AP, Bush Helps Republicans Raise $23 Million:
President Bush stepped up his efforts to boost Republicans' political fortunes by headlining...[a]t an evening congressional gala in Washington...
Among those attending the $2,500-per-ticket dinner was Mary Carey, a blond porn star...
A few hours before the dinner, Carey met with reporters to talk about a Republican lunch she and her boss, adult film executive Mark Kulkis, attended where presidential adviser Karl Rove spoke.
From Reuters, Bush blasts Democrats for 'agenda of road block':
"On issue after issue, they (the Democrats) stand for nothing except obstruction," Bush said at the annual President's Dinner, a $23 million fund-raiser attended by Republican leaders, party donors, and a blond porn star and former California gubernatorial candidate named Mary Carey.
The Religious Convervative WorldNetDaily has the following exchange with the White HouseWhite House won't address porn star dining with Bush:
WND: What is the president thinking about the propriety of the Republican Party accepting $5,000 from a pornographer and the example that is set for the moral climate of this nation, and I have a follow-up.
McCLELLAN: I think you need to direct those questions to the committee itself.
WND: Among the evangelical protestant leaders that so helped the president win re-election, the Rev. Don Wildmon of the American Family Association said, "The Republicans need to go public with an explanation. Just doing nothing is the worse thing they can do." And my question: Do you think tomorrow night none of the TV cameras at all will focus on Mary Carey, who was arrested in Tacoma last month for publicly touching herself in a sexual manner?
McCLELLAN: You've asked this question before –
WND: No, no, no – this is a new question. It's newly worded –
McCLELLAN: It's another question to direct to the event's sponsor.
WND: But do you agree with [Wildmon] or not?
The WorldNetDaily continues to ponder this matter, Bush fete with porn star to raise $23 mil for GOP:
Pornographer Mark Kulkis says tonight's presidential fund-raiser...will make pop-culture history.
But the National Republican Congressional Committee seems more intent on using President Bush's $2,500-a-plate speech to make political fund-raising history.
Kulkis, who says he was personally invited to the dinner, has been using the opportunity to promote...the pornography industry.
The presence of two high-profile pornographers at an event to honor the president hasn't concerned the organization hosting the event.
Communications Director for the National Republican Congressional Committee Carl Forti told WND: "They've paid their money. No matter what they do, the money is going to go to help elect Republicans to the House."
In closing, what Mary Carey has to tell John Aravosis, There's Something About Mary:
She pauses for a minute then asks, "Do you think I should shave my vagina tonight or tomorrow?"
Perhaps Tom DeLay might enjoy a fine Cuban cigar.
For a whole alot of fun, check out AMERICAblog for the fruit's of John Aravosis' hard work blogging this story.
Thanks to RandyMI for pointing out the Bush photo. And yes, that is a real Reuter's photo from the dinner.
[Update: 6/15/05] Check out my next entry: The GOP loves Porn, at least it's $$$$.
[Update: 6/15/05] Also, for a video of Mary Carey on Olberman, jump on over to Crooks and Liars.
"Republician can almost party as much as porn stars."
Tuesday, June 14, 2005
Osama bin Laden still alive
It's very easy for a person to hide," Musharraf told an Australian Press Club lunch in Canberra.
"I know that he is alive. Most likely he is alive, yes, because of our information and interrogation of various Al-Qaeda operatives that we have apprehended.
"Maybe he is in the border region in hiding wherever he sees a vacuum."
"Beating a political stake in your black heart will be the fulfillment of my life"
Sheehan ridiculed Bush for saying that it's "hard work" comforting the widow of a soldier who's been killed in Iraq.
"Hard work is seeing your son's murder on CNN one Sunday evening while you're enjoying the last supper you'll ever truly enjoy again. Hard work is having three military officers come to your house a few hours later to confirm the aforementioned murder of your son, your first-born, your kind and gentle sweet baby. Hard work is burying your child 46 days before his 25th birthday. Hard work is holding your other three children as they lower the body of their big (brother) into the ground. Hard work is not jumping in the grave with him and having the earth cover you both," she said.
Since her son's death, Sheehan has made opposition to the Bush administration a full-time job.
"We're watching you very carefully and we're going to do everything in our power to have you impeached for misleading the American people," she said, quoting a letter she sent to the White House. "Beating a political stake in your black heart will be the fulfillment of my life ... ," she said, as the audience of 200 people cheered...
Quoting scripture and Franklin D. Roosevelt, [Baptist Seminary of Kentucky Professor Glenn] Hinson suggested the nation is greedy and morally bankrupt and warned that America's fear of terrorism is excessive and unhealthy. Denouncing "fear that immobilizes, fear that causes you to lash out mindlessly, fear that prompts a nation to launch a preemptive strike against an imagined enemy, fear in excess," Hinson said
Monday, June 13, 2005
"Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party"
This starts with Dean's comment that the GOP is "pretty much a white, Christian party." As pointed out by John Aravosis over at AMERICAblog "99 percent of all Republican legislators across the country and in Congress are white." Markos Zúniga over at DailyKos provides this quote from a Ohio Bush supporter, "'We love the President. He's a Christian and these people are evil,' said Ms. Brandon, referring to the protesters."
Anyway, as reported in the Star Tribune, Cheney calls Howard Dean 'over the top':
"I've never been able to understand his appeal. Maybe his mother loved him, but I've never met anybody who does. He's never won anything, as best I can tell," Cheney said in an interview to be aired Monday on Fox News Channel's Hannity & Colmes.Didn't Dean win the Governorship of Vermont five times?
The Kansas City Star then records Gov Dean's response, Dean criticizes GOP courting of black voters:
"My view is that Fox News is a propaganda outlet of the Republican Party and that I don't comment on Fox News." The response drew applause from the room.
Here's hoping Dean keeps calling it as it is. Why care if the GOP and their Kool-aid kids get pissed. They have already made it clear they have no interest in anything other than the politics of attack. Stop playing defense and just start speaking the truth.
Sunday, June 12, 2005
Proof Rumsfeld approved of torture at Gitmo
Posted Sunday, Jun. 12, 2005
New York – TIME has obtained the first documented look inside the highly classified realm of military interrogations since the Gitmo Camp at Guantanamo Bay opened. The document is a secret 84-page interrogation log that details the interrogation of ‘Detainee 063’ at Guantanamo Bay. It is a remarkable look into the range of techniques and methods used for the interrogation of Mohammed al Qahtani, who is widely believed to be the so-called 20th hijacker, a compatriot of Osama bin Laden and a man who had tried to enter the U.S. in August 2001 to take part in the Sept. 11 attacks. TIME’s report, by Adam Zagorin and Michael Duffy, appears in this week’s issue (on newsstands Monday)...
A Pentagon official who has seen the log describes it as the “kind of document that was never meant to leave Gitmo.”...
Winter 2002-03 – Additional Techniques Approved:...It spans 50 days in the winter of 2002-03, from November to early January, a critical period at Gitmo, during which 16 additional interrogation techniques were approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld for use on a select few detainees, including al-Qahtani, TIME reports.
These techniques include, but not limited to,
standing for prolonged periodsAnd so on...
isolation for as long as 30 days
removal of clothing
forced shaving of facial hair
playing on “individual phobias” (such as dogs)
“mild, non-injurious physical contact such as grabbing, poking in the chest with the finger and light pushing.”
Invasion of Space by Female
...medical corpsman reports that al-Qahtani is becoming seriously dehydrated, the result of his refusal to take water regularly. He is given an IV drip, and a doctor is summoned. An unprecedented 24-hour time out is called, but even as al-Qahtani is put under a doctor’s care, music is played to “prevent detainee from sleeping.”
Let me re-iterate: "additional interrogation techniques were approved by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld". Are we clear? Ok, al-Qahtani is most likely a bad man. But if this country is to be about anything worthwhile, then we must show we believe in the rule of law and the value of humanity by acting that way, not just talking about it.
See also, via Time, Extracts from an Interrogation Log.
Bush's new "Agents"
“But, America is safer, thanks to the Patriot Act,” Mr. Bush continued, “and thanks also to these fine young men and wo… er… young men about to begin their careers in enforcement… law that is. With the powers of the Patriot Act in hand, these fine officers will be able to form a… a ‘matrix of security’ in which all of America can be safe, happy, and energetic members of society.”
Friday, June 10, 2005
Intelligent Design and the WatchMaker
One thing that has puzzled me about the intelligent design movement is its ignorance of how actual design happens. They claim that the existence of a pocket watch in a field implies a watchmaker, but it in fact doesn't - it implies the existence of thousands of watchmakers and a vast industrial system for making watches. It isn't an argument for God, but a nice example of how artifacts themselves evolve.
No one person invented the pocket watch. It came about gradually, through hundreds of small innovations. No one person even invented its core mechanism, the escapement. It first appeared in monastary clocks in the 13th century, was substantially improved by Huygens and Robert Hooke in the 18th, and has been tweaked ever since. There are dozens of hits on escapement even in the current US patent database, 700 years after its invention.
No one person even could invent a pocket watch. Its features are determined by a constant interaction between its makers and its users. Even simple things like how big it should be cannot be known in advance. Some users like it large so that it can be shown off or is easy to read, and some like it small to minimize weight. Some makers find it cheaper to build large because the tolerances are looser, and some to build small to save material. Even Robert Hooke, one of the smartest people of all time, didn't come up with the final form of the escapement, and that's only one part of a watch.
Watches aren't examples of blinding flashes of inspiration. They change gradually over time from one shape to another as their mechanisms change and tastes change. Hmmm, a constant play between form and function, with popular features getting fast widespread adoption - what other process does this remind one of?
/jlr (John Redford, http://www.theworld.com/~jlr)
Hat tip to goatchowder
Thursday, June 09, 2005
Iraq: "How bad a mess can we afford to leave behind?"
June 13 issue - Two years ago I went to Iraq as an unabashed believer in toppling Saddam Hussein...What went wrong? A lot, but the biggest turning point was the Abu Ghraib scandal. Since April 2004 the liberation of Iraq has become a desperate exercise in damage control.
The most shocking thing about Abu Ghraib was not the behavior of U.S. troops, but the incompetence of their leaders...That's why you need competent officers, who know what the men and women under their command are capable of—and make sure it doesn't happen.
Living and working in Iraq, it's hard not to succumb to despair. At last count America has pumped at least $7 billion into reconstruction projects, with little to show for it but the hostility of ordinary Iraqis, who still have an 18 percent unemployment rate. Most of the cash goes to U.S. contractors who spend much of it on personal security. Basic services like electricity, water and sewers still aren't up to prewar levels. Electricity is especially vital in a country where summer temperatures commonly reach 125 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet only 15 percent of Iraqis have reliable electrical service. In the capital, where it counts most, it's only 4 percent.
The four-square-mile Green Zone, the one place in Baghdad where foreigners are reasonably safe, could be a showcase of American values and abilities. Instead the American enclave is a trash-strewn wasteland of Mad Max-style fortifications...Some of the worst ambassadors in U.S. history are the GIs at the Green Zone's checkpoints. They've repeatedly punched Iraqi ministers, accidentally shot at visiting dignitaries and behave (even on good days) with all the courtesy of nightclub bouncers—to Americans and Iraqis alike. Not that U.S. soldiers in Iraq have much to smile about. They're overworked, much ignored on the home front and widely despised in Iraq, with little to look forward to but the distant end of their tours—and in most cases, another tour soon to follow.
I can't say how it will end...and there are so many ways for things to get even worse. I'm not one of those who think America should pull out immediately. There's no real choice but to stay, probably for many years to come. The question isn't "When will America pull out?"; it's "How bad a mess can we afford to leave behind?" All I can say is this: last one out, please turn on the lights.
Wednesday, June 08, 2005
Comrade Amerika, as seen on the rails
See Articulatory Loop for a lively debate as to whether it is offical or not. Seems it is.
Our borders are so much safer now
BOSTON - On April 25, Gregory Despres arrived at the U.S.-Canadian border crossing at Calais, Maine, carrying a homemade sword, a hatchet, a knife, brass knuckles and a chain saw stained with what appeared to be blood. U.S. customs agents confiscated the weapons and fingerprinted Despres. Then they let him into the United States.
The following day, a gruesome scene was discovered in Despres' hometown of Minto, New Brunswick: The decapitated body of a 74-year-old country musician named Frederick Fulton was found on Fulton's kitchen floor. His head was in a pillowcase under a kitchen table. His common-law wife was discovered stabbed to death in a bedroom.
Despres, 22, immediately became a suspect because of a history of violence between him and his neighbors, and he was arrested April 27 after police in Massachusetts saw him wandering down a highway in a sweat shirt with red and brown stains.
At a time when the United States is tightening its borders, how could a man toting what appeared to be a bloody chain saw be allowed into the country?
Bill Anthony, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, said the Canada-born Despres could not be detained because he is a naturalized U.S. citizen and was not wanted on any criminal charges on the day in question.
Monday, June 06, 2005
Please Sign Rep. Conyers Letter to GWBush
We the undersigned write because of our concern regarding recent disclosures of a Downing Street Memo in the London Times, comprising the minutes of a meeting of Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top advisers. These minutes indicate that the United States and Great Britain agreed, by the summer of 2002, to attack Iraq, well before the invasion and before you even sought Congressional authority to engage in military action, and that U.S. officials were deliberately manipulating intelligence to justify the war.Rep Conyers promises he "will personally insure that this letter is delivered to the White House."
As a result of these concerns, we would ask that you respond to the following questions:
1)Do you or anyone in your administration dispute the accuracy of the leaked document?
2) Were arrangements being made, including the recruitment of allies, before you sought Congressional authorization to go to war? Did you or anyone in your Administration obtain Britain's commitment to invade prior to this time?
3) Was there an effort to create an ultimatum about weapons inspectors in order to help with the justification for the war as the minutes indicate?
4) At what point in time did you and Prime Minister Blair first agree it was necessary to invade Iraq?
5) Was there a coordinated effort with the U.S. intelligence community and/or British officials to "fix" the intelligence and facts around the policy as the leaked document states?
[W]e would ask that you publicly respond to these questions as promptly as possible.
Recall from the Downing Street Minutes:
Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.
Teen Actress' breats too big for Disney
Teen actress Lindsay Lohan's breasts have been digitally reduced for forthcoming Disney film Herbie: Fully Loaded, to avoid offending family audiences. Test screenings for the new movie...indicated that some parents felt Lohan's character Maggie Peyton was too raunchy for a children's film.
Disney technicians were forced to plough through numerous scenes - especially those showing the busty actress jumping up and down at a motor racing track, reducing her breasts by two cup sizes and raising revealing necklines on her T-shirts. Amused at her digital bosom reduction, Lohan says, "I don't know how Renee Zellweger kept swelling and shrinking for Bridget Jones. It's no fun. Bring on the computer guys."
In completely unrelated news, this is the top result for this Google image search:
4th25 - 'Live From Iraq'
Sunday, June 05, 2005
People start to notice the torturing...
Start with Rights group leader says U.S. has secret jails.
The chief of Amnesty International USA alleged Sunday that the Guantanamo Bay detention camp is part of a worldwide network of U.S. jails, some of them secret, where prisoners are mistreated and even killed.
Combine with Sen Biden urges Guantanamo closure.
A leading Senator and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee has said that the US should close its detention centre at Guantanamo Bay.
Democrat Senator Joseph Biden said the controversy over the camp put Americans at risk from terrorism rather than protecting them from it.
Guantanamo "has become the greatest propaganda tool that exists for recruiting of terrorists around the world and it is unnecessary to be in that position", Mr Biden said.
his words reflect an anxious debate here about the treatment of detainees and how it reflects on America's image in the world.
Add to that, tonight's 60 Minutes, Justice At Guantanamo?.
Two months after 9/11, President Bush issued a military order that said that any foreigner he believes might be a terrorist or might help a terrorist could be tried for war crimes by military commissions.This guy gets it
They have been shut down because of a suit filed against the president by a member of what may seem like an unlikely group of opponents: U.S. military lawyers.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Swift is one of the team of military lawyers appointed by the Pentagon to defend those accused of being the nation’s worst enemies.
Does he believe that the prisoners in Guantanamo are getting a fair shake? "Under the rules, as they're written right now, no way," says Swift. "The rules are written from the -- to make every possible accommodation for the prosecutor, with no thought to, 'Does this jeopardize a right of the accused?'"
"You disobeyed your commander-in-chief," says Correspondent Ed Bradley.
"Yeah, I did," says Swift. "But I didn't do so lightly. I did it because there was no other choice."
Last November, a federal judge agreed with Swift, ruling the commissions are unlawful because they are "fatally contrary" to established standards of justice. The government is appealing.
Gunn, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, Harvard Law School, and a former White House fellow, says
"We have a system, we have a system of justice. We hold ourselves up as the greatest nation on earth, because we say we are controlled by law as opposed to men," says Gunn. "If we can stand by that, but also live it out when we're threatened, then we've done a great thing."
Fox seems to be trying to get Amnesty International to sound like they might
ease up a little,
Amnesty International USA said on Sunday the group doesn't "know for sure" that the military is running a "gulag."
Executive Director William Schulz recently dubbed Rumsfeld an "apparent high-level architect of torture" in asserting he approved interrogation methods that violated international law.
"It would be fascinating to find out. I have no idea," Schulz told Fox News Sunday.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Is it getting drafty around here?
Wed Jun 1 -- The Pentagon on Wednesday postponed by more than a week the release of military recruiting figures for May, as the Army and Marine Corps struggle to attract new troops amid the Iraq war.i.e., "We need time to cook the numbers and develop a way to spin the bad news".
The military services had routinely provided most recruiting statistics for a given month on the first business day of the next month.
"Military recruiting is instrumental to our readiness and merits the earliest release of data. But at the same time, this information must be reasonably scrutinized and explained to the public, which deserves the fullest insight into military performance in this important area," Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, a Pentagon spokeswoman, said.
The regular Army missed its recruiting goals for three straight months entering May, falling short by a whopping 42 percent in April. The Army was 16 percent behind its year-to-date target entering May, with a goal of signing up 80,000 recruits in fiscal 2005, which ends Sept. 30.I want to stop by a local recuiting office and pick up a box of their business cards. Then as I travel about town, I want to stick them under all the yellow magnetic stickers on cars.
Remember when people were willing to at least stick a real sticker on their car? One that would be on for good. I guess they thought this "situation" in Iraq would be a temporary; no need to commit my car's paint job, let alone my civilian status.
Meanwhile, back at the U.S. House of Representatives, Congressman Rangel had this to say:
May 26, 2005 -- Congressman Charles Rangel today announced the reintroduction of his legislation to reinstate the military draft.
"I oppose the war in Iraq, but I support the military and the men and women who serve in it," Congressman Rangel said. "What is happening now indicates to me that the entire volunteer system is in danger of collapse under the weight of the burden being placed on those who are serving."
According to the WashPost, people in the DC area are getting nervous, After 30 Years, Draft Fears Rise:
Rarely in the more than 30 years since the draft was abolished has the Selective Service triggered such angst. Two years into the Iraq war, concern that the draft will be reinstated to supplement an overextended military persists -- no matter how often, or emphatically, President Bush and members of Congress say it won't...
On a recent Friday night, McNeil, executive director of the Center on Conscience and War, brought her presentation on how to win conscientious objector status to the Sandy Spring Friends Community House. She told the audience of about 25 that there is a "perfect storm" of conditions that could lead to conscription: low recruiting numbers and the strain that Iraq has placed on the all-volunteer military, especially the National Guard and reserves...
She also warned the group that the Selective Service shares names and addresses with military recruiters...
But if there were to be one, it could be of specific skilled professionals rather than general conscription, Flahavan, associate director of Selective Service for public and intergovernmental affairs said.
The "special skills" draft could give the government the option of calling up people in a variety of specialties, such as linguists, computer experts, police officers or firefighters, Flahavan said.
Other government agencies besides the Department of Defense could draft those workers, the report states. They could include U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.