Search This Blog

Loading...

Tuesday, May 31

Why has 'Downing Street memo' story been a 'dud' in US?

CSM posted May 17, 2005

"In a piece published on the Political Gateway, a website which "tries to bring input from all sides of the political arena to allow free and open discourse on a range of subjects," columnist Bud Beck writes that the British memo story "isn’t news by any stretch of the imagination.."

This is not the Watergate burglary and it is not a fabricated Gulf of Tonkin incident. It is nothing new, just a new version of something that is old - so old it has become all but too boring.

The critics of the war, all of them Democrats, have accused Bush and his top aides of misusing what has since been shown as limited intelligence in the prewar period. The notes of the meeting between Dearlove and Blair now prove it. So what? The same critics have been unsuccessful in getting an investigation into the misuse of the intelligence and as long as they are in the minority they never will. What are they expecting to happen here that didn't happen in Britain?”

There’s lots more in this article in the Christian Science Monitor.

News

Deep Throat comes forward.

Bush lies again: "It's an absurd allegation. The United States is a country that promotes freedom around the world," Bush said of the Amnesty International report that compared Guantanamo to a Soviet-era gulag.

The Big Brass Alliance is Formed

Please spread the word and take action.
You may see this plea on hundreds of blogs today.

AfterDowningStreet.org is a Coalition of veterans' groups, peace groups, and political activist groups, which launched on May 26, 2005, a campaign to urge the U.S. Congress to begin a formal investigation into whether President Bush has committed impeachable offenses in connection with the Iraq war. The campaign focuses on evidence that recently emerged in a British memo containing minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting with British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

The name is a reference to the Downing Street Memo, a British memo recently made public in the London Times, which contained the minutes of a secret July 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair and his top national security officials.

The recent release of the Downing Street Memo provides new and compelling evidence that the President of the United States has been actively engaged in a conspiracy to deceive and mislead the United States Congress and the American people about the basis for going to war against Iraq. If true, such conduct constitutes a High Crime under Article II, Section 4 of the United States Constitution.’"

Congressman Conyers is now seeking 100,000 signatures to sign a letter on the Downing Street Inquiry. Please sign it now, if you haven't already. Write to your Congresspeople here.

Another important piece of information that has been overlooked in this story, as reported in a recent Salon article by Juan Cole, is that Tony Blair had to convince George Bush to go after al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and Bush would only do so in exchange for Britain’s support of the Iraq invasion:

“Astonishingly, the Bush administration almost took the United States to war against Iraq in the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11. We know about this episode from the public account of Sir Christopher Meyer, then the U.K. ambassador in Washington. Meyer reported that in the two weeks after Sept. 11, the Bush national security team argued back and forth over whether to attack Iraq or Afghanistan. It appears from his account that Bush was leaning toward the Iraq option.

Meyer spoke again about the matter to Vanity Fair for its May 2004 report, "The Path to War." Soon after Sept. 11, Meyer went to a dinner at the White House, "attended also by Colin Powell, [and] Condi Rice," where "Bush made clear that he was determined to topple Saddam. 'Rumors were already flying that Bush would use 9/11 as a pretext to attack Iraq,' Meyer remembers." When British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Washington on Sept. 20, 2001, he was alarmed. If Blair had consulted MI6 about the relative merits of the Afghanistan and Iraq options, we can only imagine what well-informed British intelligence officers in Pakistan were cabling London about the dangers of leaving bin Laden and al-Qaida in place while plunging into a potential quagmire in Iraq. Fears that London was a major al-Qaida target would have underlined the risks to the United Kingdom of an "Iraq first" policy in Washington.

Meyer told Vanity Fair, "Blair came with a very strong message -- don't get distracted; the priorities were al-Qaida, Afghanistan, the Taliban." He must have been terrified that the Bush administration would abandon London to al-Qaida while pursuing the great white whale of Iraq. But he managed to help persuade Bush. Meyer reports, "Bush said, 'I agree with you, Tony. We must deal with this first. But when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.'" Meyer also said, in spring 2004, that it was clear "that when we did come back to Iraq it wouldn't be to discuss smarter sanctions." In short, Meyer strongly implies that Blair persuaded Bush to make war on al-Qaida in Afghanistan first by promising him British support for a later Iraq campaign.”

We must inquire if this underreported outrage is true.

-----------------------


BIG BRASS ALLIANCE ASKS FOR YOUR ACTIVISM

Be A Political Activist From Your Computer Chair!

Other information that may be useful:

Memorial Day/Praise bravery, seek forgiveness, By the Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Smoking Bullet in the Smoking Gun?
Bloggers Support Call for Resolution of Inquiry
A plea from Military Families Against the War in Britain to friends in America
$1000 Reward for Getting Bush to Answer Question
.
Thanks to Shakespeare's Sister for her dedication to this cause.

Love Makes You Crazy

Or vice versa. Or both.
But it's perfectly natural and we are wired that way. So don't commit suicide yet.

Scientists can actually watch, via brainscans, the mechanics of new love. "It is closer in its neural profile to drives like hunger, thirst or drug craving, the researchers assert, than to emotional states like excitement or affection," according to an article in the NY Times called Watching New Love as It Sears the Brain.

Scientists suggest that the desire to love can be more powerful than the reason to live. People need love as much as they need food and shelter! It's no wonder that people can act so crazy when they are falling in love and even become suicidal when the love isn't returned. Thankfully, new love progresses to a more sane state where affection, companionship and possibly a long term commitment take the place of the blind desire to fall in love. There is a long term commitment part of the brain. Who knew? The part of the brain that registers passionate love is distinct from the part of the brain that registers sexual arousal and attractiveness.

I've read in this article and others, that being dumped heightens romantic love. If you have come to the place where you have internalized some of your beloved's character traits/flaws and it is suddenly removed, it plays havoc, according to scientific findings, with one's "emotional, cognitive and deeper reward-driven areas of the brain." Most of us can relate to that. With time and hopefully without having to see the object of your affection after being dumped, we can recover from this and our passion center in the brain will allow us to find someone new. It's rare for love relationship to go from that to a mutual platonic friendship unless both people are involved with another love. So don't bet on being just friends with your former lover if you've found someone new and your former "other" feels dumped. It is scientifically and biologically not going to happen.

My thoughts after reading some of these articles (see below for links) and still not fully digesting these findings seem to prove that the old adage of "not shitting where you eat" is a good one. If a relationship should end and the object of your desire is still in your life, it will take much longer to heal and it can bring you to temporary (hopefully temporary) insanity. Conversely if you move on without the consent of your once beloved, be prepared to be stalked. Now they tell me. It's a chemical thing. They can't help it. When you haphazardly play with such a strong biological and chemical reaction, you ARE playing with fire.

When they say, Love is real. They aren't kidding.

More Reading
THE Biochemistry Of What You Feel
Brain in Love and Lust
The Chemistry of Love
Learning to See Things From Your Partner's Point of View
The Science Of Love
.

Satirical Bush Poster Banned After Complaint

Posters that depicted Presnut bush with a Groucho Marx-style mustache and cigar were ordered torn down at a high school after a student complained. Seems the theater students, who had created the posters to advertise a satirical play, countered with new posters with a First Amendment message.

The principal ordered 100 posters removed from the campus of El Camino Real High School in Woodland Hills tow weeks ago on grounds that they promoted smoking and "endorsing one ideology over another." Gee, didn't Groucho Marx smoke cigars?

The school-funded posters were advertising the student's play, "The Complete History of America (Abridged), " which satirizes the U.S. history.

A senior who supports the presnut wrote a complaint letter to the administration, teachers. The principal asked the drama students to come up with new posters. The new designs all feature a silhouette of bush and a burning cigar, along with inscriptions such as "Free Expression for All (unless you are in high school)" and "What First Amendment?"

This story warmed my heart. Maybe the youth of America aren't as ready as our government thinks to live in a police state. [link to story]

Bush Joke Prompts Yearbook Recall

From the Associated Press

"Winfield, Colo.---High school yearbooks were recalled so that administrators could black out a joke caption under one student's picture: "Most likely to assassinate President Bush."

Mesa Ridge High School officials recalled about 100 yearbooks earlier this month and had staffers use markers to obscure the words in them and in the still-un-distributed copies. The Secret Service even launched an investigation.

"They kind of ruined our yearbook," said Christina Tredway, who just graduated from the school just south of Colorado Springs. Most Students thought the blacking-out was a bad idea because the caption obviously was a joke, she said.

Widefield School District officials called the caption a prank that wasn't caught before the yearbooks were printed, district spokesman James Drew said.

Lon Garner, special agent in charge of Secret Service's Denver District, said that all threats against the president must be investigated."


Give me a break! Do you really consider this a serious threat to the presnut?

There were several other joke captions in he book, including "most likely to forget his gown at graduation." Am I crazy or what? Wait, don't answer that. But seriously, dose this make ya kinda wonder if the secret service doesn't have to much time on their hands?

Monday, May 30

Memorial Day

I have been really angry lately. May be it is all the pressure on me to study and retake the Bar in July. May be it is the war, President Bush, the Senate. May be it is every time I look at television someone else says something incredibly stupid. (Note to Tom Cruise. Leave Brooke Shields alone.) I am so pissed that I am pissed!

Anne Lamott's new book Plan B is a must. No, it won't help you with your anger, but at least you won't be alone with your anger. She is really angry, too.

____

Memorial Day. When my dad went to work for himself and couldn't afford health insurance, I had a come to Jesus with him about his service to his country. Dad was eligible for V.A. benefits.

When he was in his early twenties, he had a friend at the draft board who told him he was going to be drafted and sent to either Korea or Southeast Asia and that he should join the National Guard. So he did. President Kennedy then called my dad's unit to active duty for the Berlin Wall Crisis and then the Cuban Missile Crisis. My parents had just bought a new house and new furniture and found that they were going to have me. My dad lost his job, they lost the house and furniture but the Army paid for me.

So, I convinced my dad to get to the V.A. for his health care because, while he considered it charity, I told him I thought it was pay back for his sacrifice. Our sacrifice.

It is difficult for me to remember my dad's status as a veteran. I can't really sympathize with it. He never really talked about his experiences, except to tell me that even though I had two college degrees in political science and foreign service, I didn't know anything about war. Even though I had studied the Cold War in the Soviet Union in 1983, that I was just ignorant about war. Once because my dad was angry with me over my voiced opposition to our conflict of the month in Panama, before my husband could stop him, he beat me in my own home, after he kicked in my locked bedroom door. That wasn't the first time, but it was the last and I remember it more vividly than the other incidents. And there were more than I can recall. My marriage, my college degrees, my integrity as another human being were no match for his military training and his untreated rage at his horrific childhood.

When the police got to my and my husband's home, my father told them that I had been seeing a psychiatrist and was on medication. The cop told him, "I don't care if she is certifiable, you have no right to hit her. Ever."

Somehow the fact that I was trying to cope with his rage gave him, in his mind, the ability to beat me with no shame. He confessed to the police that he was beating me because I was getting treated for depression?

His parents stole money from him when he was a boy that he raised selling seeds for a school project and allowed the school to tell him he would go to jail. They abandoned him and his younger brothers in a house until an older brother defied his father and went back for them. The floors in his childhood homes were dirt and he washed and ironed and rotated his two shirts so he would have clean clothes for school.

He told me about those things, but not how he felt about them. He beat me regularly and never once apologized for the rage or how I triggered it.

I didn't want for anything material as a child. Just safety from the fear of him threatening me in front of my friends, beating me for not picking up my toys when I was eighteen months old, the migraines I had at five because I was so afraid. Afraid that I would get in trouble at school and he would beat me when I got home. Afraid of going to school because he beat me the night before. Afraid of my mother going to work because I told her he had choked me when she left me with him.

This Memorial Day, I wish I could talk to my father about how the V.A. could help him with his anger. When he got cancer, he went to therapy groups, and he even makes public speeches about his survival. But he never sought help for his cancerous rage. We kept it a secret and told no one.

I now wonder how I survived him. I never thought about surviving him then. I just never knew when it was going to happen. May be I sneezed and the mucus through my fingers before I could grab a tissue would set him off. May be I didn't sweep the grass off the sidewalk right. There are times now, even when I know that he is eight hours by car away from me, I think I see him when I am out and about living my life. He haunts me. I see him. And then I realize that it isn't him, just a man that looks like him. And sometimes it doesn't even really look like him.

A few days ago, when the local paper reported that a man was sentenced to prison for beating his daughter to death with his belt, I disassociated for several hours. My psychologist once asked me if I was aware that my dad could have killed me. I said no. I didn't know that he could. I really wasn't present for the beatings. I told my doctor of how when I was small I was playing with some children and I imagined that I was a dog. I took my dad's belt off the door nob on his bedroom door and bit it and shook it. I was two and I was trying to kill that evil snake.

He took one of my dogs away one day. I don't know what triggered that episode, but the dog was so afraid of him, he urinated every time my dad touched him. I can't let a stray animal alone now. I can't go in pet stores without wanting to bring them all home with me.

Today, on this Memorial Day, I am thinking of my mother's brother's wife's brother. My mother's brother in law. His body was found in a parked car on a construction site in California a few weeks ago. We are still awaiting the tox report, we don't know what killed him. He was a Viet Nam vet. He wasn't ever comfortable after the war. I wish I was one of those people who could say that he is comfortable now. But I am not. He is just dead. He died alone.

Outrageous

'What would happen in this country if the young women would say no [to sex] until they're 20?' he asked. 'Disease would go down, the pregnancy rate for unwed mothers would go down, the social costs for the next two generations would go down.'
-Sen. Tom Coburn in a slide show shown to Capitol Hill staffers about the ravages of STDs. Washington Times

Early starts, late nights and endless meetings may be good for the bank balance, but professional women beware. You could be making your husband sick.

Research will this week say that the more committed and successful a woman is at work, the worse her partner feels. The findings blame a syndrome called "unfulfilled husband hypothesis" for making men feel inadequate when women stray too far beyond their traditional roles. The man of the house, it seems, is still not cut out for domesticity.
- A New Report via Feministing

They [Muslim women] are there for hymenoplasties, or the repair of hymens, which, when intact, are widely recognized as evidence of virginity. The surgeries could save their lives, noted the physicians who perform them, because, according to some interpretations of Islamic law, if a male relative suspects them of having premarital sex, the woman is a criminal. In some countries, such as Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, the penalty could be death.
- From: Restoring Virginity Becomes Risky Business

Fascism Anyone? A Reminder

The 14 characteristics of Fascism
by Dr. Lawrence Britt
Free Inquiry magazine, Spring 2003

Dr. Britt, a political scientist, studied the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile). He found the regimes all had 14 things in common, and he calls these the identifying characteristics of fascism. ]

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism -- Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights -- Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need." The people tend to 'look the other way' or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause -- The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military -- Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism -- The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Opposition to abortion is high, as is homophobia and antigay legislation and national policy.

6. Controlled Mass Media -- Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or through sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security -- Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined -- Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected -- The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed -- Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts -- Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts is openly attacked, and governments often refuse to fund the arts.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment -- Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses, and even forego civil liberties, in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption -- Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions, and who use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections -- Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against (or even the assassination of) opposition candidates, the use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and the manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

In Memoriam

Break out those white shoes, baby. It's Memorial Day. It's time to remember those who died on behalf of their country. To commemorate the occasion, Jones Beach State Park will charge $8 admission for the next 3 months. Payless is having a sale on white shoes. The boyscouts are marching with the few vets left from WWII.

Yesterday, Jones Beach presented the Thunderbirds, an aerial demonstration of millions of dollars of flying war machines to dazzle the youngsters and old alike. I did not attend as the planes flew over my house for most of the morning anyway whereby I could contemplate the speed of sound, the Doppler effect and sonic booms... not to mention how much fuel these babies were burning. I was busy with my pre-cookout preparations and icing the beer. Boom!

I read in Newsday this morning that military recruiting booths were also set up at the beach yesterday. I'm now sorry I missed that as harassing recruiters is one of my favorite pastimes. I'd pay $8 for that. I can picture the used car salesmen of the military telling the children that flying planes in loop the loops is but the least of the magnificent opportunities available to those willing to sign up to fight in America's undeclared wars and kill the terr'rists from Iraq (heh) who changed our view to the west. "See that nothingness over yonder? You used to be able to see the WTC's from the beaches back in the day. Now you can kill those who removed our symbols of freedom."

Last evening as our friends got drunker in my backyard, we spent several moments remembering 'dubya dubya too' as was recounted by our parents. That was a time of sacrifice in our country. Everyone did their part, unlike today when we are told to go shopping.

My dad "fought" the great war from St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands watching out for submarines from under a lime tree wearing binoculars around his neck. Don't ask. He told me about his discovery of "Cuba Libres" (rum and coke with lime) which eventually became my favorite cocktail. I recalled how my dad brought the family to St Thomas years later to show us the 'battle grounds'. Daddy, let's see if we can find the lime tree that prevented you from getting scurvy.

My father in law stormed the beaches at Normandy but lost track of his platoon because his jeep was AWOL. He was in charge of arranging food and artillery for the troops. He, uh, was the only one to survive from his platoon.

My mother in law was an Army nurse in London. She saw more devastation and death than any of our fathers. I once asked her if she ever wanted to visit Europe again and she said, "No, everything is so old there. Too much rubble."

My dad married a woman he met on St Thomas (she later died in childbirth). My father in law met my mother in law at a USO dance in London. He was a hep cat and digging the band. She was a country girl from Massachusetts and thought he was a pompous New Yorker, but oh could he dance. My mom was doing her patriotic duty by dancing with the GI's who came to Manhattan during the war. She was engaged to a man who never returned.

That was a different war. No one wants to talk about the Vietnam war though. It's funny though, how in retrospect, Nixon doesn't seem like such a bad guy afterall. He didn't hide from the protesters like some people. A lot of men and women never returned from wars. After Vietnam, many of us believed that something like that would never happen again.

There's a good editorial at the Mn Star Tribune today. An excerpt:
In exchange for our uniformed young people's willingness to offer the gift of their lives, civilian Americans owe them something important: It is our duty to ensure that they never are called to make that sacrifice unless it is truly necessary for the security of the country. In the case of Iraq, the American public has failed them; we did not prevent the Bush administration from spending their blood in an unnecessary war based on contrived concerns about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction. President Bush and those around him lied, and the rest of us let them. Harsh? Yes. True? Also yes. Perhaps it happened because Americans, understandably, don't expect untruths from those in power. But that works better as an explanation than as an excuse.

What're They Trying To Sneak Past Us This Weekend?

Rant, rave, inform.
Here's an interesting thought I came across somewhere:
It's not a war about oil.
It's not a war about money.
It's not a war about empire.
Or, maybe it's a war about all of the above.
It's a war of genocide.

Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
One entry found for genocide.
Main Entry: geno·cide
Pronunciation: 'je-n&-"sId
Function: noun
: the deliberate and systematic destruction of a racial, political, or cultural group

Sunday, May 29

Quote for the Day--Memorial Day, 2005

"Only among men is Nature's Law of 'Survival of the Fittest' thwarted
and indeed, reversed; for in almost every generation the fittest are sent forth to be
slaughtered by orders of the stunted, the twisted, and the senile". -- Sidney J. Harris

The Fascists Try to Take Over the Weather

Santorum tries to privatize the freaking weather in order to help the private weather companies in his state. So now the whole senate has to be involved in this nonsense while the middle class is being systematically eradicated before our eyes.

Saturday, May 28

President said Another Darnedest Thing

“Asked if the Iraqi insurgency was getting more difficult to defeat militarily, Bush answered with a classic Dubya-ism.

"No, I don't think so," he said, "I think they're being defeated. And that's why they continue to fight."


It's the sort of answer that makes you pause and scratch your head for just long enough to give him a chance to change the subject. He's quite masterful at doing this, which made me wonder if he hadn't taken Karzai aside before the press conference and whispered in his ear, "Listen, Hammie, these reporters are tricky. You better let me handle 'em. I've got 'em wrapped around my finger with this whole newspeak war-is-peace idea Karl found in some book from the 1980s."

Sun Times There’s some great stuff in this article

Under the heading of, read it and weep, today.

Analysts Behind Iraq Intelligence Were Rewarded

“Two Army analysts whose work has been cited as part of a key intelligence failure on Iraq -- the claim that aluminum tubes sought by the Baghdad government were most likely meant for a nuclear weapons program rather than for rockets -- have received job performance awards in each of the past three years, officials said.”

The film US TV networks dare not show

If you don’t know about this film you absolutely must read the entire article. This ought to get you going.

“The Power of Nightmares” by Adam Curtis
“But the film is even more incendiary for its analysis of what Curtis controversially insists is the largely illusory fear of terrorism in the west since 9/11. Curtis argues that politicians such as Bush and Blair have stumbled on a new force that can restore their power and authority - the fear of a hidden and organised web of evil from which they can protect their people. In a still-traumatised US, those with the darkest nightmares have become the most powerful and Curtis's film castigates the media, security forces and the Bush administration for extending their power in this way. "It has really touched a nerve with people who realise something is not quite right with the way terrorism has been reported."

For these reasons, one might well think that The Power of Nightmares would provide a usefully chastening corrective to the prevailing orthodoxy if it were shown on US television. But it seems extremely unlikely that it will be. While a two-and-a-half -hour film version is to be given a prime-time Cannes screening, and while the original three-hour series will be shown tonight on al-Jazeera along with a live interview with the director, US telly has run scared from showing it. "Something extraordinary has happened to American TV since September 11," says Curtis.”

Childless Couples Need To Try Having Sex If They Want To Start A Family

From Ananova:

Childless couple told to try sex
A German couple who went to a fertility clinic after eight years of marriage have found out why they are still childless - they weren't having sex.

The University Clinic of Lubek said they had never heard of a case like it after examining the couple who went to see them last month for fertility tests.

Doctors subjected them to a series of examinations and found they were both apparently fertile, and should have had no trouble conceiving.

A clinic spokesman said: "When we asked them how often they had had sex, they looked blank, and said: "What do you mean?".

"We are not talking retarded people here, but a couple who were brought up in a religious environment who were simply unaware, after eight years of marriage, of the physical requirements necessary to procreate."

The 30-year-old wife and her 36-year-old husband are now being given sex therapy lessons while the university clinic undertakes a study to try to find out if there are more couples with a similar lack of sex education.


Thanks to astute reader Paul A. for the heads up on this most interesting story. I find it especially puzzling because this couple knew about fertility clinics but didn't know about sex? C'mon. Really now.

Should I Talk Into It?

Most Media Activists Are Over 40

Interesting article in alternet.org on this subject. It claims "Getting young people to give up their school breaks for a policy conference is not an easy task, though Free Press should be commended for attracting as broad a range as it did. The Youth Caucus that gathered about 40 partakers, revealed a broad cross-section from different sides of the map. There were 14-year-old high school students who in some cases heard about media reform for the first time, as well as 30-year-old veteran student organizers."

Getting young people together for a policy conference? yawn. Progressives suck at marketing compared to the Rovian genius that sucks millions of Americans into its yaw. Progressive parents can do a lot to get their kids involved in the movement but to get most kids involved you need to have a marketing strategy and stage a multimedia event with today's top politically active bands and musicians. Keep the message short... keep it simple... keep it free. It can be done. A movement can be started on campuses across America when the marketing majors over 40 put their heads together.

DeLay angry at Law & Order, but not Boston Legal

"WASHINGTON -- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay is upset that a popular NBC crime drama used his name as part of its show.DeLay wrote NBC to complain that one of the characters on "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" invoked his name in a story line about the shooting death of a federal judge.

"Maybe we should put out an APB for somebody in a Tom DeLay T-shirt," the fictional [female] police officer [sic, detective] said.

DeLay, in a letter to NBC Universal Television chief Jeff Zucker, called that reference a "slur."

"This manipulation of my name and trivialization of the sensitive issue of judicial security represents a reckless disregard for the suffering initiated by recent tragedies and a great disservice to public discourse," he said.DeLay, R-Texas, criticized the federal judiciary after the courts refused to stop the death of Terri Schiavo. "The time will come for the men responsible for this to answer for their behavior," he said in a statement on March 31, hours after Schiavo died."

--snip--

It was not a trivialization of judicial security, DeLay's remarks were the insensitive remarks which appeared to open season on judges that follow the law and not DeLay.

Notice, however, when William Shatner's character, the eccentric if not unbalanced Denny Crane, said in an ABC episode, "Boston Legal": "Tom DeLay always told me to keep a gun in my office," DeLay didn't fire off a letter. While, arguably ABC's shot at DeLay was, while made by a male character, more sarcastic because Shatner's character is considered the "Boston Legal"'s less than stable legal eagle.

Message. DeLay has no sense of humor. Kathryn Erbe's character said what millions of Americans are thinking. He also doesn't understand a subversive attack on how idiotic he is. He wasn't upset that William Shatner's character said that his character, a loose cannon, takes security advice from DeLay who is a dare I say it, a loose pop gun. He also doesn't understand that he has a negative impact on the culture he so desperately wants to dictate. He has become a household word for "out of control" and an associate of "the lunatic fringe."

Of course the "Law and Order" episode ran this week when yet another DeLay associate finds himself in trouble with the law. Seems a treasurer of one of DeLay's tentacle like political action committees didn't report hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. DeLay gets that off the front page by fighting with a fictional television show.

Ask Dan Quayle how successful it was for him to fight fictional television character, Murphy Brown. You can catch Candice Bergen on "Boston Legal". There is a whole generation of young people who wouldn't know Dan Quayle if he appeared as a guest villain on "Law and Order".

Friday, May 27

Letter to Pres Bush Concerning "Downing Street Memo"

In addition to other statements, the letter which can be signed and e-mailed by those who so choose, contains these questions:

"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?"

Access the entire letter HERE.

"Love Is Blind" for real this time:

Some Viagra users report blindness-Pfizer
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health regulators said on Friday they have received more than 40 reports of a type of blindness in men taking impotence drugs, mostly involving Pfizer Inc.'s Viagra, but have not determined if the medicines were responsible.

Here's the rest of the article for those of us who can still see.

Presidents Say the Darnedest Things

May 25, 2001

“Another 3,800 sailors and Marines stand guard nearby with the Boxer amphibious ready group, deterring and mischief Saddam might contemplate. The USS Enterprise is in the Mediterranean, along with the Kearsarge amphibious ready group. They're supporting NATO efforts to maintain peace in the Balkans and deterring those who would break the peace. And in the Pacific, the USS Kitty Hawk is on call, ready, if needed, to defend America's interests.”

--George W. Bush—

Commencement Speech to Naval Academy Whitehousenewsreleases

(Note this was months before 9-11-01 but he was already talking about Saddam’s “mischief”)


Today

The Commencement Speech to Naval Academy Foxnewslink

“The U.S. military is on the offensive in the War on Terror to prevent terrorists from reaching America's shores, President Bush said Friday, adding that 20 years from now, historians will look back on the Iraq war as "America's golden moment."

(Someone please define “America’s golden moment”. Is it like the moment when we are pissing on the world?)


May 26, 2005

Rose Garden with President Abbas Whitehousereleases:

“And so I'm -- I think there's something healing about asking people to vote. And hopefully, as more people participate and more people see progress on the ground, in terms of real tangible benefits when it comes to democracy -- like being able to make a living, or being able to send your child to a school that works, or being able to get good quality health care -- that more and more people will reject the notion that the only state based upon violence is a positive state.”

--George W. Bush--

(Okay, I just tossed this one in because it’s so bush-like)

Clinton Finance Director Acquitted of Fundraising Charges

From Foxnews:

Another Clinton Hunting Trip comes back empty. How many have there been?

All those hunting trips and all they have found is a lie about a sexual encounter. Either they aren’t good hunters or there is nothing for them to find.

Friday Goddess Blogging


Some bitchy repressed scientist lady says:

"...female orgasms are simply artifacts -- a byproduct of the parallel development of male and female embryos in the first eight or nine weeks of life. ...In boys, the penis develops, along with the potential to have orgasms and ejaculate, while "females get the nerve pathways for orgasm by initially having the same body plan."

Mark Morford says:

"Woman's orgasm has no evolutionary purpose? Bull. Woman's orgasm is proof of evolution, baby. Spiritual, karmic, celestial evolution. It is what propels us forward, brings us light and awareness and deep laughing cosmic moan and makes much of life worth living. And if we lose our grip on that notion and insist on devolving at our current rate, we will be in deep trouble indeed."

Mark's got it going on.

Friday Florida Cat Blogging


Fred the Cat, Listens for the Sound of the Ocean

What do you hear when you read this sentence?

“The problem was signaled when the 9/11 attack on America did not generate the enlistments expected.”

I lifted the sentence from a piece by Robert Novak (Chicago Sun-Times).

He’s writing about recruitment being down. It’s worth reading the entire article.

I'LL BE REMEMBERING THIS STORY ON MEMORIAL DAY:

TITLE: The FBI, the Torture and Murder of Kenneth Trentadue and Advanced Knowledge of the Oklahoma City Bombing

SUBTITLE: Uncovering a DOJ Coverup

AUTHOR: Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration

OPENING PARAGRAPHS: "In 1995 Kenneth Trentadue was murdered by federal agents in a federal prison in Oklahoma City. A coverup immediately went into effect. Federal authorities claimed Trentadue, who was being held in a suicide-proof cell, had committed suicide by hanging himself, but the state coroner would not buy the story.

"Prison authorities tried to get family consent to cremate the body. But Trentadue had been picked up on a minor parole violation, and the story of suicide by a happily married man delighted with his two-month old son raised red flags to the family.

"When the Trentadue family received Kenneth's body and heavy makeup was scraped away, the evidence (available in photos on the Internet--GRAPHIC!) clearly shows a person who had been tortured and beaten. His throat was slashed and he may have been garroted. There are bruises, burns and cuts from the soles of Trentadue's feet to his head, wounds that obviously were not self-inflicted".

REST OF STORY: In Counterpunch

Slain Soldier's Mom Rejected by Gold Star

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) -- Everyone agrees that Ligaya Lagman is a Gold Star mother, part of the long line of mournful women whose sons or daughters gave their lives for their country. Her 27-year-old son, Army Staff Sgt. Anthony Lagman, was killed last year in Afghanistan, but American Gold Star Mothers Inc., has rejected Lagman, a Filipino, for membership because - though a permanent resident and a taxpayer - she is not a U.S. citizen. Rest of AP article:


And how do we treat our own citizens?: (From Tom Feeley at ICH)
Charge Him or Release Him
Jose Padilla : U.S. Citizen Imprisoned Without Trial or Charges
for 3 Years and 18 Days

Thursday, May 26

Play Nice

What’s wrong with us? Why can’t our side ever win? I’ll tell you why. Everything that makes us liberal also makes us just too damned honest and nice. We don’t aspire to confrontations. We try to play by the rules. We aren’t comfortable telling lies. That, my dears, is why we are getting our liberal asses kicked daily. We are lying and cheating challenged.

The game is no longer played by a set of rules, but we continue to obey the rules of the old game. We all cringed when President Clinton went on TV and told us he had in fact gotten a bj. We didn’t give a good damn about what he had done, it was his lying that made us angry or sad or both. None of us saw it as the unforgivable transgression the Repubs did, but rather, damn it, he told a story, a fib, a lie. So we tried to rationalize why he did it and so forth. At least I did. I always felt his punishment was the morning he confessed to his wife. I would think that would be one of the most difficult situations any man could have to face. But see, it wasn’t enough for the Republicans. They made it the transgression of all evil transgressions, and ergo an impeachable offense. I swear that if bush had not totally screwed our country and had been even a half decent human being, and if he were to be caught lying about a bj, there is no way in hell I would think he should be impeached.

Now we are in a disastrous war that was entered into based upon, shall we say lies. We aren’t raising hell because we aren’t by nature hell raisers. Sure we spout and spurt our unhappiness about the insanity, but that’s all we do. Everything inside us knows that bush should be impeached because he has ventured out way beyond lying about sex. He lied about life and death issues. Sure he knew he was lying when he repeated information that Tenet had told him was wrong. That’s a lie. He lied. He did the very same thing that Clinton did except the stains left behind are blood stains on the sands of Iraq. That’s bush’s blue dress and the stains are only too visible.

They tell us to question the war is to tell the families of the fallen soldiers that their sons and daughters died in vain. No it’s not. To question the war is to tell the families that their fallen sons and daughters died because the president of the United States lied to them. Tell them the truth. Tell them it was all bullshit. Let them get mad too. They should. They deserve to be allowed to get mad and raise holy hell about the wool that was pulled over their eyes. Remind them of the speech on the Abraham Lincoln and all the other sleight of hand that has been choreographed by this administration. Tell them we support the troops and not just by slapping a magnet on the ass end of our car. Tell them we support bringing their kids back home, not sending more to die. I call that support, don’t you? We support the culture of life that keeps kids from dying in war. Couldn’t be any simpler that that.

We don’t slap anti-war magnets on our cars, because the good Christian followers of the bush doctrine would most likely key the hell out of our cars. Do we key the cars with their magnets? Hell no! Why? Because we are just too damned nice. We respect other people’s property and rights and opinions, as misguided as we may see them to be. We’ll stand up for someone else’s right to call us unpatriotic assholes because we still believe in free speech. We play by the rules and we think if we play that way long enough we can win the game. That’s the way it used to be. Used to be that honesty and fair play was rewarded. Now honesty and fair play seem to result in getting your butt kicked royally and repeatedly. Meanwhile, the other team makes their own rules and breaks them on a whim. There’s no honesty or fair play involved, but they just keep on scoring. Is it time for us to come up with new rules or shall we just keep playing nice and getting our asses kicked? We’ll keep playing nice because we can’t play any other way. We’re liberals.

What Really Scares Me

At Corrente there are some dots and when you connect them the picture is worse than frightening.

What picture do you see after reading this post?

Almost All Life is Precious

US forces have shot dead a child which they say was being used as a human "shield" during an exchange of gunfire near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul”.

But no fetuses or embryos were harmed.

Well At Least it Wasn’t a Bomb

(LINK)
Hey, this is a story from Florida, do you think it’ll be sorta weird? I know, you answered “yes” without even thinking, and you were damned sure right.

See someone was driving down the road. They saw something in the road that looked like a pipe bomb. Well holy shit, they go into full panic alert. The mental threat level goes above red, it’s some color we haven’t even given a name to yet. Alerts go out. Alerts come in. We have alerts flying all over the place. People sweat. People cry. Families huddle together and watch their lives flash before them like a family picture book in the wind. Mothers kiss their babies good bye. Fathers actually turn the TV from ESPN to the news station. Life is in turmoil. What to do? What to do? Do we bring in fighter jets? Do we alert george Jr. during his bike ride? Hell, what do we do?

Wait, someone has been brave enough to approach the “pipe bomb” Wait, what the hell is that? Ah, it doesn’t look like anything most of us have ever seen. We’ve heard men speak of them but we’ve never seen one. What the hell is it? Oh my god, look at that!

“"Someone took construction-grade plastic, molded it into a penis and wrapped it with duct tape," said Lee County Sheriff's Chief Deputy Charles Ferrante. "They wrote 'Happy Father's Day' on the duct tape."

The device — discovered by a motorist shortly after 3 p.m. Monday — was first described by the sheriff's office as a prosthetic penis. However, it was later released that it was plastic that had been molded to look like a penis.

Ferrante later spoke with a member of the bomb squad who described it in more detail.”

Some one spoke with a “member”? The damned thing talks?

"Somebody molded it to look like a penis," Ferrante said. "It was not detected until the suspicious package was removed."

A motorist called the sheriff's office about a suspicious package on the side of the road under the northbound I-75 overpass.

The object was more than a foot long and looked like a pipe bomb.”

Did he really say “suspicious package”?

I guess for a guy, a penis over a foot long would be da bomb.

Both lanes of I-75 were closed for about an hour during the capture of the pretend plastic pee-pee.

ACLU Says Not So Fast

Maybe Scotty should apologize to Newsweek now. Maybe Scotty should be asked by Newsweek to say something nice about them. Seems it’s Scotty’s turn to check his sources. According to the FBI files obtained by the ACLU, somebody has some splanin’ to do. Scottyyyyyyy?
Click here for some fascinatin' readin'

Bill Maher answers Congressman Bachus

...a congressman, there's someone who can actually DO SOMETHING to help our troops. In fact, a case could be made that it's a lot more treasonous for someone in his position to be wasting his time yelling at a comedian. Shouldn't he be training his outrage at such problems as troops not having enough armor? Wouldn't that ACTUALLY support our troops more? And citizens of this country who claim to support our troops should write this man and tell him GET BACK TO WORK! DO SOMETHING THAT ACTUALLY COULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE TO SOLDIERS IN IRAQ!


full story

Not surprising news

Not only is Gitmo the Gulag of our Times, according to the FBI files, the Koran was reported as being flushed down the toilet. Of course the Pentagon says that it's not true.

Here's some more stuff that was reported in this Washington Post article (I wonder if they will have to retract it?):


About a dozen of the FBI interviews included allegations that guards or interrogators at Guantanamo Bay either mishandled the Koran to outrage prisoners or engaged in religiously offensive behavior that included, in one instance, throwing a prisoner's prayer cap in the trash.

The records also include numerous allegations that guards or interrogators at Guantanamo Bay used sexually suggestive techniques designed to humiliate Muslim men. One said he was forced to stand naked in front of a female interrogator. Another said he was "touched sexually" by male guards.

The government has said two female interrogators at Guantanamo Bay have been reprimanded for sexually related techniques, including one for smearing ink on a detainee and telling him that it was menstrual blood.

The FBI records also include at least 19 separate allegations of beatings or other severe violence on the part of guards or others in control of the prisoners in Afghanistan or at Guantanamo Bay. One captive said he was kicked in the stomach, back and head by U.S. military personnel at an unknown location and suffered a broken shoulder.

"The evidence that there was systemic and widespread abuse of detainees in U.S. custody continues to mount and the government continues to turn a blind eye to this evidence," said Amrit Singh, an ACLU lawyer.


.

New Leads In The Johnny Gosch Case

Breaking News in the Gosch/Guckert/Gannon Case
Here's some quotes:

"A cold case is heating up. Iowa paperboy Johnny Gosch vanished without a trace in 1982. But, now, after KWWL's story last month on Johnny's disappearance, there is new information on the case.

"A private investigator working Johnny's disappearance believe his kidnapping was part of a government conspiracy....Rothstein now believes the CIA was involved and tried cover it up.

"This man has told us that at the end of their investigation that there were 834 kids involved that were kidnapped," says James Rothstein."

Here's the link: KWWL CHANNEL 7 WATERLOO, IOWA


I'm beginning to slightly revise my estimate of NBC, of which KWWL is an affiliate. I guess we'll have to see if the politicos start running for cover. Sure have been a lot of outages lately.

Wednesday, May 25

US Gulag? You Bet!

Scotty Says, Am Not, Am Not, Am Not.

LONDON May 25, 2005 — “ Amnesty International castigated the U.S. prison camp in Guantanamo Bay as a failure Wednesday, calling it "the gulag of our time" in the human rights group's harshest rebuke yet of American detention policies.

Amnesty urged Washington to shut down the prison at the U.S. Navy's base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where some 540 men are held on suspicion of links to Afghanistan's ousted Taliban regime or the al-Qaida terror network. Some have been jailed for more than three years without charge.

White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Amnesty's complaints were "ridiculous and unsupported by the facts." He said allegations of prisoner mistreatment are investigated.”



More here


.

Culture of Life, Indeed.

By Aikane
(Blondesense reader and POP's brother in love)

I have long held that the "culture of life" is actually the "culture of Republicanism," which is nothing beyond the detestable human trait of feeling superior to someone else.

Find a group to hate--the interchangeable liberals, socialists and communists, gays and lesbians, baby-killers, welfare cheats, the godless, foreigners in all their manifestations (immigrants, the French)....

Republicanism is simple: If you're not with us, you're the enemy. If you don't vote Republican, you're the enemy. If you oppose anything we want, you're the enemy, even if you're a "pretend Republican" like warhawk John McCain.

Anything going wrong is not my fault; it's the liberal Democrats' fault.

Ultimately, my bank account is bigger than your bank account and my god is bigger than your god. If I can't use my money to kill your "agenda," I'll have my goons kill you politically if you're a traitorous American; I'll have my army kill you if you're a foreigner. Otherwise, god will do the dirty work.


Thank you for your rant, Aikane.

Irony Watch

The headline of my local paper, Newsday, caught my attention this morning. A very disabled looking little girl is caught up in Medicaid red tape. It seems that the battery needed for her automatic bath chair has been repeatedly denied by Medicaid. A doctor said, "many more requests for specialized equipment have been delayed or denied, leaving thousands of disabled people in the area without equipment that means independence for many." (Story) But isn't this what Medicaid is for? It could happen to any of us or to people we care about. What's the story?

You may remember from a post I submitted earlier this week that Medicaid pays for Viagra... even for sex offenders. For the life of me, I can't understand why Medicaid should pay for erectile dysfunction drugs for anyone. If you're on Medicaid, a limp one is the least of your problems. But President Bushie made it clear that he doesn't mind if Medicaid pays for Viagra just as long as it isn't for sex offenders. I mind. From this article: "The Bush administration is warning states they face federal sanctions if they don't end Medicaid coverage of Viagra for convicted sex offenders, according to a directive obtained Tuesday." The article also states that $38million a year is spent on erectile dysfunction drugs by Medicaid. That money could be used to help immobilized people to become productive.

$38 million is a drop in the bucket in the grand scheme of things. Medicaid is ripped off repeatedly by well to do seniors who use it as an inheritance protection program... so that they can get free nursing care. We're all paying for it. Where's the outrage? Most of us won't reap any benefits. Are they deliberately screwing up so that tax payers will revolt and call for an end to social services?

Medicaid and Social Security are needed safeguards for our citizens but it's got to be overhauled. You've got drug addicts collecting SS and men with limp dicks getting viagra for free... as far as I am concerned Bushies's exhortation didn't go far enough. SS could be saved if wasteful spending was eliminated. Medicaid funds could be better used helping handicapped and poor people. Period.

How many times have people bragged to you that they hid all their assets so they could collect? Think about it.

We Shouldn’t Have Ordered the Freedom Fries

Remember Freedom Fries and Freedom Toast?

Who started that silliness? It was Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina. (guardian)

“It was a culinary rebuke that echoed around the world, heightening the sense of tension between Washington and Paris in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. But now the US politician who led the campaign to change the name of French fries to "freedom fries" has turned against the war.”


The insanity with the name change continues to this day. But what of Rep. Jones today?

“Walter Jones, the Republican congressman for North Carolina who was also the brains behind French toast becoming freedom toast in Capitol Hill restaurants, told a local newspaper the US went to war "with no justification".
“…an idea Mr Jones said at the time came to him by a combination of God's hand and a constituent's request - he replied: "I wish it had never happened."

Although he voted for the war, he has since become one of its most vociferous opponents on Capitol Hill, where the hallway outside his office is lined with photographs of the "faces of the fallen".

"If we were given misinformation intentionally by people in this administration, to commit the authority to send boys, and in some instances girls, to go into Iraq, that is wrong," he told the newspaper. "Congress must be told the truth."

Senfronia Thompson is the one telling you the way that it is

Molly Ivins reports that Senfronia Thompson, Houston Democrat and member of the Texas House gave her fellow members a piece of her mind and a side order of truth. Of course the Lege, not the one I want to jump from, but the one that runs the State of Texas ignored her and passed laws banning cheerleading ass shaking and gay marriage. Are they not the embodiment of "someone is having fun somewhere and those persons must be stopped?"

Representative Thompson said, "I have served in this body a lot of years, and I have seen a lot of promises broken... So... now that blacks and women have equal rights, you turn your hatred to homosexuals, and you still use your misguided reading of the Bible to justify your hatred. You want to pass this ridiculous amendment so you can go home and brag -- brag about what? Declare that you saved the people of Texas from what?

"Persons of the same sex cannot get married in this state now. Texas law does not now recognize same-sex marriages, civil unions, religious unions, domestic partnerships, contractual arrangements or Christian blessings entered into in this state -- or anywhere else on this planet Earth.

"If you want to make your hateful political statements then that is one thing -- but the Chisum amendment does real harm. It repeals the contracts that many single people have paid thousands of dollars to purchase to obtain medical powers of attorney, powers of attorney, hospital visitation, joint ownership and support agreements. You have lost your way. This is obscene...

"I thought we would be debating economic development, property tax relief, protecting seniors' pensions and stem cell research to save lives of Texans who are waiting for a more abundant life. Instead we are wasting this body's time with this political stunt that is nothing more than constitutionalizing discrimination. The prejudices exhibited by members of this body disgust me.

"Last week, Republicans used a political wedge issue to pull kids -- sweet little vulnerable kids -- out of the homes of loving parents and put them back in a state orphanage just because those parents are gay. That's disgusting.

"I have listened to the arguments. I have listened to all of the crap... I want you to know that this amendment [is] blowing smoke to fuel the hell-fire flames of bigotry."

If Democrats don't get off their asses, get in the street, get out the vote, they are going to hurt themselves, their friends, their neighbors. Gays should boycott the state, take their money out of Texas investments and institutions, refuse to attend Texas colleges and universities, pull up roots and get the hell out of this wasteland. Anyone with any sense needs to say this is wrong, say it loud, and say it at all those polite social gatherings like church. People should stand up in church and say, "I will not support an institution that supports this evil," and walk out.

Democrats need to stop socializing with the enemy. No one is going to change anyone's mind. Tell your friends if they don't act to stop this, you can't be their friend. This friendly fascism has gone too far.

Civil disobedience is the answer. Jam the streets, boycott businesses, and write to newspapers and television stations and ask them to cover these church sermons and anti-gay protests. Let's have some pro-civil rights protests. I believe in the rule of law, but Hitler used the law to discriminate and to murder.

When your congressmember or statehouse member speaks somewhere, go ask them how they could vote for such discrimination. Get arrested. If protesters can be in front of abortion clinics, why can't protesters be in front of fundamentalist churches? That is where the evil originates in the name of religion.

When is it ever going to be enough? These Christians were the same people who wanted to impeach Earl Warren, go to nuclear war with the Russians, wouldn't vote for a man because he was Catholic, believed Joe McCarthy, hated Roosevelt, hated civil rights, cheered when Kennedy and King were murdered. They have never changed their minds. And all the civil rights laws on the books and in the courts didn't change them at all. Decent people must vote and act. It is the only thing that ever changes anything.

Are You Opposed to Embryonic Stem Cell Research? Put It in Writing

Are you opposed to embryonic stem cell research? If so, I challenge you to draw up a directive similar to a living will. Please create a form and sign it. This form would direct all medical personnel to deny you or your family any medication or treatment derived from embryonic stem cell research whether developed in this country or any other country. Please have your wishes witnessed and notarized. Give a copy to your lawyer and to several friends and family members whom you trust.

The first person I would ask to do this would be George W. Bush, the President of the United States. I would then ask all Senators and Representatives who vote against embryonic stem cell research to do the same thing. This way they may display their sincere dedication and free their conscience of any guilt. They may protect themselves and their families from benefiting from something they say creates life to destroy life, something they condemn as morally wrong. Unless and until they do this, they must allow the research to continue.

To profess to be against embryonic stem cell research but to refuse to sign such a form would display the ultimate hypocrisy.

Senate Deal on Judges May Help Environment

BushGreenWatchLink

This is a must read article for those of us who believe the environment is
worth fighting for.

“But environmentalists appear to have cemented a landmark victory
in the so-called "Gang of 14" deal, reached by a bipartisan
coalition of Senators: namely, the defeat of William Myers, a
long-time grazing and mining lobbyist nominated for the Ninth
Circuit Court of Appeals. If the Democratic filibuster on Myers
holds, as it should, this will mark the first time in history a
judicial nominee has been defeated primarily on environmental
grounds.”


(You might want to sign up for their daily newsletter while you’re there. I did a long time ago)

House Approves a Stem Cell Research Bill... but

By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG
May 25, 2005
NY Times
WASHINGTON, May 24 - The House passed a bill on Tuesday to expand federal financing for embryonic stem cell research, defying a veto threat from President Bush, who appeared at the White House with babies and toddlers born of test-tube embryos and warned the measure "would take us across a critical ethical line."

The vote, 238 to 194 with 50 Republicans in favor, fell far short of the two-thirds majority required to overturn a presidential veto, setting up a possible showdown between Congress and Mr. Bush, who has never exercised his veto power. An identical bill has broad bipartisan support in the Senate; moments after the House vote, the Senate sponsors wrote to the Republican leader, Bill Frist, urging him to put it on the agenda.
The article gets weirder and weirder with comments by Frist and Delay...

Tuesday, May 24

Bush Receives well-known Accomplice of Posada at the White House

"On Friday, May 20 at the White House Oval Office, US President George Bush received a small Cuban-American delegation headed by terrorist Luis Zúñiga Rey, founder of the Cuban-American National Foundation’s paramilitary committee in Miami, which for years assured the financing and logistics of Luis Posada Carriles’ terrorist activities".

Here's the rest of the article.

A Mental Timeout

I am mentally tired. I don’t know for sure what the compromise in the Senate meant last night but I do know that the two women who were the sisters of evil yesterday afternoon are today very likely to be approved by the Senate. Not sure what changed there. But, it’s happened and there isn’t a whole hell of a lot I can do about it.

There’s not a whole hell of a lot I can do about anything today. I’m whipped out. My brain is on overload trying to understand Iraq, Afghanistan, the president, the congress and all the other questions whirling around in the world we live in today. I know one thing for sure, I don’t like any of it, I’m burned out, and I’m of little good if I’m burned out. Having become literally sick this morning after staying up too late last night and munching on too much chocolate, I have been riding low in the saddle today. When I try to think, I draw a blank.

Here’s my plan for tonight. When Mr. Pop comes home we’ll have a cocktail and then dinner. Later after the pets are fed and in for the evening I’ll get a shower, put on a comfy nightie and get ready to watch to see who wins American Idol. I’m going to sing along with them if I know the words. Maybe I’ll even have another cocktail while my brain runs free. I’m going to put all the ills of the world out of my head tonight. I have to.

That’s how I handle things. When I was in school and the stress got to me, I would buy a copy of MAD magazine and read it just for the hell of it and for the fun of it all. It was like a mental timeout.

So forgive me if tonight I don’t know the important things happening in the world. Forgive me if I don’t pay attention to the news. Forgive me if tomorrow I’m way behind on current events. It’s not that I don’t care, it’s that I care too much.

Maybe you want to join me tonight. You too get your dinner and your shower. Put on something comfy. Then snuggle in on the couch or the bed and let’s have a drink and sing along with TV, it might be fun for a change. You might need a mental timeout too.

Things Look Bad In Afghanistan, and Familiar


Will There be Two Civil Wars?


“DEFENCE chiefs are planning to rush thousands of British troops to Afghanistan in a bid to stop the country sliding towards civil war, Scotland on Sunday can reveal.

Ministers have been warned they face a "complete strategic failure" of the effort to rebuild Afghanistan and that 5,500 extra troops will be needed within months if the situation continues to deteriorate.

An explosive cocktail of feuding tribal warlords, insurgents, the remnants of the Taliban, and under-performing Afghan institutions has left the fledgling democracy on the verge of disintegration, according to analysts and senior officers.”


And

“But American military experts last night claimed an increase in the British presence in Afghanistan would inevitably threaten the numbers committed to Iraq.

Charles Heyman, a senior analyst with the defense information group Jane's, told Scotland on Sunday: "There's no doubt whatsoever that Afghanistan is caught in a very difficult position, where it is very hard to progress without committing more forces.”


There’s more.

Is it just me or does this sound just like the news coming out of Iraq now?

The unknown unknowns of the Abu Ghraib scandal

Seymour Hersh: The 10 inquiries into prisoner abuse have let Bush and Co off the hook
Saturday May 21, 2005 Guardian
Here's a tidbit...
Three days later the army began an investigation. But it is what was not done that is significant. There is no evidence that President Bush, upon learning of the devastating conduct at Abu Ghraib, asked any hard questions of Rumsfeld and his own aides in the White House; no evidence that they took any significant steps, upon learning in mid-January of the abuses, to review and modify the military's policy toward prisoners. I was told by a high-level former intelligence official that within days of the first reports the judicial system was programmed to begin prosecuting the enlisted men and women in the photos and to go no further up the chain of command.

Pre-marriage counseling hits the conservative churches

According to the LA Times in a good article, "It Must Be Love, but Let's Be Sure":
All over the country, social conservatives are examining marriage with a scientific eye. While the Bush administration touts traditional marriage as a centerpiece of its social policy, the country's highest divorce rates are in Bible Belt states such as Alabama, Tennessee and Arkansas. The lowest rate — 2.4 divorces a year per 1,000 inhabitants — is found in Massachusetts.

A movement is afoot to rethink the structures around marriage. Lawmakers in Arkansas, Louisiana and Arizona have passed bills creating "covenant marriage," a contract between bride and groom that limits grounds for divorce to extreme conditions including adultery and abuse. Lawmakers in Florida, Arizona, Tennessee, Maryland and Minnesota have passed bills offering a financial incentive for couples who attend counseling or marital education before they marry. In the conservative heartland, couples counseling, offered at many churches, has become ordinary.

Southern churches highly recommend counseling to engaged couples because the divorce rate is much higher among conservative Christians than atheists, agnostics and main stream religions such as Catholic and Lutheran. Gay marriage seems to be the least of conservative Christian's problems. The Catholic church has had counseling before marriage for as long as I can remember. It's a good idea. I took the classes and it really made me think. We ended up postponing our marriage for a year while we got our shit together. It was still no fairy tale.

ReligiousTolerance.org has some very interesting statistics about marriage and divorce by faith/or not. The lowest divorce rate is in the Northeast-probably because most religious people belong to mainstream churches. There are also good reference articles at the bottom of the page. The national divorce rate doesn't appear to be 50% however.

As far as I am concerned:
  • Just because you're in love at the time doesn't mean that your marriage is going to work.
  • Banning gay marriage isn't going to make a marriage work.
  • Avoiding pregnancy before marriage would eliminate some doomed marriages.
  • Sow those wild oats before you get married.
  • Fairy Tales lie. "They got married and lived happily ever after..." is bogus. It should be "They got married and after the party was over they had to deal with reality and the stresses of life for ever after..."
.

Where's The Beef

From Newswriter's website

The letter your News Writer sent to Ari Rabin-Havt in Sen. Harry Reid’s office upon receiving a copy of Reid’s statement on the compromise:

Dear Sen. Reid,

Sadly, the emasculation of the Democratic party shines through on this deal. True, the right to filibuster judicial nominees remains, a good thing, but I suppose as Democrats can now decide when to filibuster “in extraordinary circumstances,” so can the Republicans decide it’s not “extraordinary circumstances” and invoke the nuclear option.

And watching the number of nominees that will be kept out dwindle was saddening … particularly that in the end, the worst of them all will get a vote, and, most likely, a permanent seat on the appellate court.

Sad, Ari, even recognizing that the alternative was the disastrous handing over of the entire country to one political party. Sad to see that this is the best we can do, and STILL the extremist right screams bloody murder.

Still, it’s good to see Bill Frist and the White House lose one, even if it was a narrow loss.

I counsel my fellow progressives constantly to recognise that there are times when we can’t always get what we want (oh for some Stones tickets), and that we must see the small victories. But it doesn’t mean we don’t keep pushing for more and better, nor that we are not disappointed, or even alarmed, at how much we must give up to make even small gains.

Thanks for your efforts, though. I still have hope we will survive this drive toward theocracy.



.

Found, The Holy Grail of Why Our Country is in so Much Trouble

Check out these USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup poles
Note they tell you exactly how the questions were asked and also check out the number for those who gave “neither” or “”never heard of” responses. I’m fairly sure the “no opinion” numbers could be added to the “never heard of” numbers. The “no opinion” folks probably didn’t want to admit they had no idea who the questioner was talking about.

Example taken from the results on the page. I highlighted the numbers that appear here in bold print
.
“Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of these people -- or if you have never heard of them.”

F. Senate Republican Leader Bill Frist




















FavorableUnfavorable Never heard of No opinion
2005 May 20-2226243218
2005 APR 29-May 1 32213116
2005 APR 1-2 26243119
2003 Jan 3-536113023

Senate Democratic Leader, Harry Reid











FavorableUnfavorableNever heard ofNo opinion
2005 May 20-2222194217
2005 APR 29-May 1 21184417

The Senate Calls a Ceasefire a Compromise

A good compromise means that each side gives up something and neither side is completely happy. The devils lay down their pitchforks and the angels lay down their halos. Neither side is what it used to be and both look more alike.

Sponge bottom Bob’s nemesis is not happy. We are not happy. So maybe we have a compromise. The nuclear option has had a parachute strapped on it’s future and the filibuster can take a deep breath for now but it has to ask permission to move in the future. Seems this part is more of a ceasefire than a compromise in many ways. One thing seems apparent, we will get judges who we don’t like and they won’t get some judges that they do like.

Meanwhile, this happened in Iraq.

A 4-year-old is treated at a hospital Monday after a car bomb exploded outside a mosque in Mahmudiya.

The Old Double Standard

If you're for the fascists, then it's ok to say whatever you want on the air, but "A congressman says comedian Bill Maher's comment that the U.S. military has already recruited all the "low-lying fruit" is possibly treasonous and at least grounds to cancel the show."

Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., takes issue with remarks on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher, first aired May 13, in which Maher points out the Army missed its recruiting goal by 42 percent in April.

"More people joined the Michael Jackson fan club," Maher said. "We've done picked all the low-lying Lynndie England fruit, and now we need warm bodies."

"I think it borders on treason," Bachus said. "In treason, one definition is to undermine the effort or national security of our country."
read story

What Do You Think?

Was the filibuster compromise a sellout?

Judicial nominee Priscilla Owen gets the vote she's been awaiting for more than four years, the most immediate beneficiary of a deal worked out by Senate moderates to avoid a debilitating fight over filibusters. ugh


I'm with Talk Left on this: "All this compromise did was pass the buck to another day, while allowing three extremist judges to be elevated to lifetime appointments on federal appeals courts."

Crooks and Liars has the rundown on views from the right and left.


Forum on Media Bias

Air America will be broadcasting this today. Be sure to listen at airamericaradio.com

NEWSWEEK FALLOUT
House Dems to hold forum on media bias Tuesday with Franken, Brock, others
By John Byrne | RAW STORY

In the wake of a firestorm on the House floor over a Newsweek article about desecrating the Quran, a dozen members of Congress have planned a forum next Tuesday on media bias, RAW STORY has learned.

Among those scheduled to testify are Air America Radio host Al Franken, Media Matters chief David Brock, AmericaBLOG's John Aravosis, a Washington bureau BBC reporter, Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting's Steve Rendell and Mark Lloyd, from the progressive thinktank Center for American Progress. Wonkette's Ana Marie Cox has also been invited.

The panel will be hosted by ranking House Judiciary Committee Democrat Rep. John Conyers, Jr (D-MI). [raw story]

Monday, May 23

SIGN PETITION: Don't Let Republican Leadership "Go Nuclear" on Supreme Court

We could lose our fight against a right-wing Supreme Court takeover before a vacancy and nomination occur if Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist can get 50 votes to pass the “nuclear option,” which would target the 200-year-old Senate filibuster – a tool that empowers 41 or more senators to prevent a narrow majority from abusing its power.

Frist needs the votes of half the Senate plus Vice President Cheney’s tie-breaker to succeed. That means we must win the votes of all 44 Democratic senators, the one Independent, and at least six courageous Republicans to stop him. That’s why we need you to sign the petition that will go to senators whose vote we need to win this fight – and then pass it on!

To get and sign the petition CLICK HERE.

What Tomorrow May Bring

“All presidents seek power, but President Bush is setting a new standard with his efforts to consolidate and expand presidential authority.

He may be on the verge of his biggest victory yet as the Senate debates whether to change its rules for dealing with judicial nominations. A decision to bar Senate filibusters - unlimited debate - against judicial nominees effectively would give Bush a free hand in picking judges. It also would reduce the inherent power of every senator, and the Senate itself, to exert leverage against any president.”

Please read the rest by Ron Hutcheson, here

Rhiannon rings like a bell through the night...

and wouldn't you love to love her...

The Pope Slept Here

I mentioned the other day that a Doritos chip resembling the Pope's hat was auctioned last month on eBay for $1,209. Today I learned that the pope's old apartment in Bonn is listed on German eBay.
Also featured on the site is a copy of a page from a 1962 phone directory, listing a Joseph Ratzinger at the address of the apartment house, "Wurzerstrasse 11" in Bad Godesberg, which is now part of greater Bonn. The pope is said to have lived there from July 1959 to May 1963 when he was a professor at the University of Bonn.

Prisoner Abuse Makes Karzai “Sad”

“President Bush and Afghan President Hamid Karzai have signed an agreement calling for increased U.S.-Afghan cooperation on political, economic and security matters.

The White House has yet to release details of the agreement, but both men spoke of a "strategic partnership" during a news conference that followed their meeting at the White House Monday.

Mr. Bush said American troops in Afghanistan will remain under U.S. control despite indications from Mr. Karzai that he would like more authority over them. Mr. Karzai said he was "sad" about recent reports of abuse of Afghan prisoners by U.S. troops, but that it does not reflect on the American people.”


whole story

This is what they say


Novak and O’Reilly speak

Pat Tillman's Death

I Got In A Big Fight With Someone Over This


We were pretty good friends up until then. He knew I was anti-war all the way but we didn't argue over it until one day I got an Email from my friend when Tillman was killed and I thought that he knew Tillman personally the way he went on and on about what a great American he was. I told my friend I was sorry to hear it. That still didn't stop me from saying that it was such a shame that this guy died for nothing. Then I was informed that Tillman was such a patriot that he gave up his lucrative football career to kill the "bad guys". I was still not impressed and perhaps I said something to the effect that he must have been dumb or something like that. I was then accused of being a football bigot. That was pretty much the end of our cordial relationship.

Now I read that Tillman was killed by "friendly fire" which is about the stupidest thing you could ever call this. People who signed up for the military out of anger or fear after 9/11 are not what I would call friendly... but nevertheless, my sympathy goes out to the family of Pat Tillman. Maybe he didn't die in vain afterall. Maybe we learn from this.

More than a year after their son was shot several times by his fellow Army Rangers on a craggy hillside near the Pakistani border, Tillman's mother and father said in interviews that they believe the military and the government created a heroic tale about how their son died to foster a patriotic response across the country. They say the Army's "lies" about what happened have made them suspicious, and that they are certain they will never get the full story.

...

"After it happened, all the people in positions of authority went out of their way to script this," Patrick Tillman said. "They purposely interfered with the investigation, they covered it up. I think they thought they could control it, and they realized that their recruiting efforts were going to go to hell in a handbasket if the truth about his death got out. They blew up their poster boy."

...

"Every day is sort of emotional," Mary Tillman said. "It just keeps slapping me in the face. To find that he was killed in this debacle -- everything that could have gone wrong did -- it's so much harder to take. We should not have been subjected to all of this. This lie was to cover their image. I think there's a lot more yet that we don't even know, or they wouldn't still be covering their tails.

"If this is what happens when someone high profile dies, I can only imagine what happens with everyone else."[Read Story]


Indeed.

They Are Killing Each Other Over There

... and there's not a damn thing we can do about it.

They would go on killing each other whether our troops are there or not. It's a civil war now and it's religious. Our troops are getting killed for nothing. This is not about WMD's, Saddam Hussein being a bad man, their freedom, our freedom or anyone's freedom. It's time to bring them home.

Call your representatives today. Tell them that enough is enough.

Someday, It Will be Us

I am about three quarters of the way through the book, “The Kite Runner”, by Khaled Hosseini.

If you haven’t read it, please do. It’s out in paperback now, so you can save a few bucks. This is the most amazing novel I have read in years, maybe ever. You learn what the Russians and then the Taliban did to Afghanistan. I don’t know if the book is going to address what we did to the country or not. As I said I’m not to the end yet. I will tell you that as you read about the destruction of that country, you will be thinking about not only what we did there, but you’ll be thinking about what we are doing to Iraq.

The book isn’t only about the destruction of Afghanistan. There is a second intertwined story. The other story is about relationships and lives. There are so many parts to this other story. I would absolutely recommend this book to anyone, but especially men. When you read it, you’ll understand why. If you are a gentleman who might shed a tear while reading, be prepared.

Yesterday morning I read several blogs and news items. I found myself in a funk as I thought about the war and all it encompasses. My post yesterday told you where my head was at the time. Mid-morning Mr. Pop said he would be trying to catch up with some work and he would be using this computer. That’s when I decided to read more of “The Kite Runner”. As I read my way through the story, I found there were tears streaming down my face. At that point the story wasn’t sad, what I was crying about was that I fear someday someone in Iraq will write a book just like this one only they will speak of the crimes and destruction my country caused theirs. We will be the villains. They will tell of our awful treatment of their country. They will tell of our atrocities and our evil ways. The fear and sadness of someday reading that book is what made me cry.

Mr. Pop wanted to take a break from his work about mid-afternoon, and I needed a break from the impact that reading the book had on my emotions. We decided to drive up to our local Target store and pick up a couple of things. As Mr. Pop was driving I tried to explain to him the emotional fallout of the book. I tried, but I couldn’t because the tears began again. They seemed to freely roll down my face and would not stop. I don’t recall a book ever doing that to me before. I would try to talk, but the tears messed up my conversation. Maybe I don’t recall a book ever having that kind of influence on me, because I have never found myself so deeply fearsome of what I see our country becoming. We are becoming the country that other countries will despise for years to come. That’s new to me and I’m not handling it very well emotionally.

I think I was crying for about a million reasons and the story was the straw that broke the salty dam.

Last night I had nightmares. I can’t recall the details but when I awoke at three o’clock this morning I was glad to be awake. Fearful of going back to sleep and reentering the same nightmare zone, I forced myself to get out of bed. I would rather be up and sleepy than asleep and frightened.

Today, no matter what, I will finish reading “The Kite Runner”. I’m almost afraid to begin reading again because I don’t know what to expect. But I know one thing, reading this book has had a profound effect on my life. Not only because it is so beautifully written, not only because the two parallel stories of the book are so amazing, not only because the author is truly gifted, not only because he has the ability to draw you away from reality and right into the story with him, but because it made me realize that I am so very deeply ashamed and afraid of what the future holds for my country. We will suffer for what we have done. I’m sure of that now.