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Saturday, June 30

Saturday Sex Post

Well, two-thirds of it is Teh Sex.

We'll start with this little video from the Sydney Morning Herald, where Brooke Hemphill explores what is healthy and what's not in fetishes and bondage. Neat stuff, and not something you'll find on a stuffy old Yankee news site.

Moving on, this bit from Pakistan provides enough material for at least three Jerry Springer episodes. Seems this woman decided to become a man, did the hormones and such, and married her cousin. The high court in Lahore sentenced them to three years in prison and fined them 10,000 Pakistani rupees (about $165).

The Supreme Court in that country has ordered them released on bail (of 50,000 rupees each) pending an appeal.

Pakistan, it seems, has an attitude towards same-sex marriage that would gladden any wingnut's cinder-black little heart.

***

And finally, to cheer people up: Odd video clip

Definitely a Way to End a TV Show

No, it's not who you think it is. This is lovable Farfur, who was a regular on Al-Aqsa TV for the children's show Tomorrow's Pioneers. Farfur sang, danced, taught kids their letters and numbers, and regularly denounced Israel and called for violent jihad and martyrdom.

Disney objected (for obvious reasons).

Israel objected (for obvious reasons).

Fatah objected (their rivals, Hamas, ran the station).

Until today, when Farfur himself was martyred.

Yes, kiddie shows have changed a lot since the last time I watched Romper Room. Farfur was "killed by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfur's land. At one point, the mouse called the Israeli a "terrorist."

Ouch.

That's certainly one way to go out on a high note.

Here Kitty Kitty

Why Do Cats Hang Around Us? (Hint: They Can't Open Cans)
Genetic Research Suggests Felines 'Domesticated Themselves'
By David Brown Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, June 29, 2007; Page A03


Your hunch is correct. Your cat decided to live with you, not the other way around. The sad truth is, it may not be a final decision.

But don't take this feline diffidence personally. It runs in the family. And it goes back a long way -- about 12,000 years, actually.


Turns out that wild cats started hanging around humans at a time when mice were feeding on and contaminating graineries in the Near East. The cats were looking for mice as food and came out of the woods. They weren't looking to be petted by humans. That's all. It took about 12 millenia for natural selection to kick in and make cats tolerant of human contact.

Israeli President- Convicted Sex Offender

Not to mention that the whole state of Israel now looks like a big old sex offender. (oops, am I allowed to say that?)

From the independent-
"The outgoing President of Israel, Moshe Katsav, yesterday escaped jail by agreeing a plea bargain under which rape charges against him will be dropped. In return he is admitting charges of lesser sexual offences against former employees."
The AG said that
"there had been a "consideration of the public interest in reducing the harm caused to the presidency... and to the State of Israel's image due to a trial which would have been held for a long period of time with unflattering headlines to the presidency in Israel and in the world"."

Worried about Israel's worldwide 'unflattering' image? Gimme a break.
The whole thing stinks. If in fact he did rape former employees, which we won't know for certain unless there is a fair trial, and he got a plea deal, then this makes Israel look even more "unflattering" and just as barbaric as any third world country. feh.

Friday, June 29

So here's the deal

If the terrorists don't get you, god certainly will try.

The students who graduated from terrorist suicide camp 20 days ago have already gotten jobs. See Red State's post below. Should we freak out? Nah. Leave it to the "authorities" to freak out. You still have a better chance of being struck by lightning or a tree falling on you than being killed in a terrorist attack. Trees and lightning don't always kill you either.

Speaking of lighting and trees. In my tiny little corner of this neck of the woods on Long Island last evening, something freaky happened. We haven't had weather in my area like this in over 20 years. We were having day 2 of wicked thunder storms and these were more intense than even the night before. At one point, my family and I were in the kitchen looking out the window and there was nothing to be seen as it was white and all you could hear was clanking and creaking and then thunder clapping simultaneously with the lightning. Quite spectacular in the audio aspect anyway. I bolted the windows closed and considered putting boards in front of them. I was able to see out the back windows better and there were sticks flying across the yard like spears. I got askeered and backed away from the windows. My kitty cat bolted up the stairs so fast his tail looked like a comet's.

Soon afterward when we began to be able to see outside the front again, our street was like a river with all sorts of neat stuff flowing downstream- mostly garbage can lids. My lawn was strewn with branches from trees. The golf course across the street was under water. I expected to see boats. Then we heard sirens and more sirens and more sirens. Too hungry to find out what was going on, we ate dinner. My son makes killer homemade pizza. After din, I took a walk and starting from about 6 houses down from me, it appears that some sort of twister or cyclonic thingy touched down for an instant because for a few blocks there were uprooted trees galore and a few telephone poles were down. Pieces of houses were strewn about. No one was hurt. Some cars were bashed and some parts of houses too. Today was the cleanup. It was noisy. Chain saws and those machines that eat trees.

We were lucky. Weather much worse than this threatens communities all across the world every day. Should we all dig bomb shelters and storm shelters? Then what? Stay in them? Life is very risky. We should take precautions but we just can't live in fear. It would be very counterproductive.

Just some thoughts.

So Which Is It?

This is the lead article on MSNBC.com right now: On Edge: London Fears More Devices After Car Bomb

Here is the take in the NY Times: Stoic Londoners Shrug at Latest Threat

Someone should write to MSNBC.com and tell them to stop the fucking fear mongering.

Not surprising

Daily Show Viewers are more up on current events than Fox viewers, network news watchers, CNN watchers. Wired

Interesting...

Court Allows Student's Anti-Bush T-Shirt

Jun 29 10:22 AM US/Eastern

WASHINGTON (AP) - Putting its recent ruling on student speech into practice, the Supreme Court on Friday rejected a school district's appeal of a ruling that it violated a student's rights by censoring his anti-Bush T-shirt.

A seventh-grader from Vermont was suspended for wearing a shirt that bore images of cocaine and a martini glass—but also had messages calling President Bush a lying drunk driver who abused cocaine and marijuana, and the "chicken-hawk-in-chief" who was engaged in a "world domination tour."

After his suspension, Zachary Guiles returned to school with duct tape covering the offending images.

Williamstown Middle School Principal Kathleen Morris-Kortz said the images violated the school dress code, which prohibits clothing that promotes the use of drugs or alcohol.

An appeals court said the school had no right to censor any part of the shirt.

On Monday, the court said schools could regulate student expression if it advocated illegal drug use. Justice Samuel Alito cautioned that schools could not censor political speech.

The case is Marineau v. Guiles, 06-757.

Plane? What Plane?

Well yeah, there was a plane. But maybe more than one.
Caught these articles over at Signs-of-the-Times:
"New study from Pilots for 9-11 Truth: No Boeing 757 hit the Pentagon"

And then of course, there's that curious story about Norman Mineta:
Norman Mineta sticks to his story: Cheney in White House bunker before Pentagon hit on 9-11, "Of course the orders still stand".

UPDATE: From Conspiracy Planet: Pentagon Eyewitness: Official 9/11 Legend Exposed
"(Samuel D.) Danner, a civilian pilot and electrical engineer from Hagerstown, Maryland, has recently come forward and told American Free Press that he saw an aircraft that resembled a Global Hawk making a tight turn at high speed before leveling off near ground level and smashing into the Pentagon."

Lampoon Vacation

When I first read the story in the boston globe, it was reported that while taking his family on vacation from Boston to Ontario, Mitt Romney strapped the family dog in a cage (with a windshield) to the roof of the car. When the dog's diarrhea dripped onto the windows of the car, his kids alerted their dad (with ewwwws) who simply stopped at the next service station, hosed off the dog and the car and continued on his way. This story was to exemplify how very efficient and goal oriented Romney is. It was called, "emotion-free crisis management" as if this is always a good thing. They lost me when I read that he strapped the dog cage to the roof of the car... with the dog in it. I wondered if he killed animals when he was a child... for kicks.

In all my years of traveling the interstates, I have never seen a live animal, let alone the family pet, strapped to the outside of a vehicle. Maybe some Americans may find that macho and an example of good leadership without a bunch of gooey human emotions. I find it uncomfortable.

Turns out that it is illegal in the state of Massachusetts to do such a thing- even to travel with an animal in the open bed of a pickup truck is against the law. The animal rights activists are all over this story.

Thursday, June 28

The "Justices" Are On a Roll

Justices End 96-Year-Old Ban on Price Floors

WASHINGTON, June 28 — Striking down an antitrust rule nearly a century old, the Supreme Court ruled today that it is no longer automatically unlawful for manufacturers and distributors to agree on setting minimum retail prices.

The decision will give producers significantly more leeway, though not unlimited power, to dictate retail prices and to restrict the flexibility of discounters.

Five justices said the new rule could, in some instances, lead to more competition and better service. But four dissenting justices agreed with the submission of 37 states and consumer groups that the abandonment of the old rule would lead to significantly higher prices and less competition for consumer and other goods.

The court struck down the 96-year-old rule that resale price maintenance agreements were an automatic, or per se, violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act. In its place, the court instructed judges considering such agreements for possible antitrust violations to apply a case-by-case approach, known as a “rule of reason,” to assess their impact on competition.

The decision was the latest in a string of opinions this term to overturn Supreme Court precedents. It marked the latest in a line of Supreme Court victories for big businesses and antitrust defendants. And it was the latest of the court’s antitrust decisions in recent years to reject rules that had prohibited various marketing agreements between companies.

read more

The conservatives agree


Impeach Cheney

before he hurts someone else

Congressional Showdown?

Bush says no to subpoenaed documents.
No documents, no talking to Harriet Myers and Sara Taylor.
Executive privilege you know.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Desegregation Law

So much for Brown v Board of Education

Lacking empirical data and a sense of irony, activist judges Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Kennedy formed the majority that would rewrite history. Read it all at Think Progress.

Wednesday, June 27

Watch Conservative Senators Suck Ass On Purpose (pardon my french)



Trent Lott (R-MS): “The strategy of being obstructionist can work or fail… so far it’s working for us.”

How is being an obstructionist working for the American people? Who the hell cares?
Party before country.
Money before ethics.

The legislation being blocked by right-wing senators has broad public support:

  • – Conservatives blocked debate on raising the minimum wage (54-43, Roll Call Vote #23)
  • – Conservatives blocked debate ethics reforms (Rejected 51-46, Roll Call Vote #16)
  • – Conservatives blocked debate on funding for renewable energy (Rejected 57-36, Roll Call Vote #223)
  • – Conservatives blocked a vote on funding for the intelligence community (Rejected 41-40, Roll Call Vote #130)
  • – Conservatives delayed legislation fulfilling the 9/11 Commission recommendations (Passed 97-0, Roll Call Vote #53)
via Think Progress

The family jewels exposed




The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s, according to declassified documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.



It's all there at the National Archives for you to read online or download.
The highlights (if you want to call them that) are:
  • Top Ten Most Interesting "Family Jewels"
  • Released by the CIA to the National Security Archive, June 26, 2007
  • 1) Journalist surveillance - operation CELOTEX I-II (pp. 26-30)
  • 2) Covert mail opening, codenamed SRPOINTER / HTLINGUAL at JFK airport (pp. 28, 644-45)
  • 3) Watergate burglar and former CIA operative E. Howard Hunt requests a lock picker (p. 107)
  • 4) CIA Science and Technology Directorate Chief Carl Duckett "thinks the Director would be ill-advised to say he is acquainted with this program" (Sidney Gottlieb's drug experiments) (p. 213)
  • 5) MHCHAOS documents (investigating foreign support for domestic U.S. dissent) reflecting Agency employee resentment against participation (p. 326)
  • 6) Plan to poison Congo leader Patrice Lumumba (p. 464)
  • 7) Report of detention of Soviet defector Yuriy Nosenko (p. 522)
  • 8) Document describing John Lennon funding anti-war activists (p. 552)
  • 9) MHCHAOS documents (investigating foreign support for domestic U.S. dissent) (pp. 591-93)
  • 10) CIA counter-intelligence official James J. Angleton and issue of training foreign police in bomb-making, sabotage, etc. (pp. 599-603)
  • Plus a bonus "Jewel":
  • Warrantless wiretapping by CIA's Division D (pp. 533-539)

There is also information about:
  • Behavior modification experiments on "unwitting" U.S. citizens.
  • Assassination plots against Castro, Lumumba, and Trujillo (on the latter, "no active part" but a "faint connection" to the killers).
  • Surveillance of dissident groups between 1967 and 1971.
  • Polygraph experiments with the San Mateo, California, sheriff.
  • Fake CIA identification documents that might violate state laws.
  • Testing of electronic equipment on US telephone circuits.

None of this surprises me. I just have to make a few phone calls to apologize to people I accused of being paranoid conspiracy theorists way back when.

The Queen Wore a Beard

About 3,500 years ago (more than half the age of the planet, if you listen to the Yahoos) there was a ruler of Egypt named Thutmosis III. By all accounts he was a bit of a waste, so his stepmother put the move on him and took over the kingdom. The lady's name was Hatshepsut.

Since the Pharaoh had to be a man (after all, one of the titles was "Son of Amon") Hatshepsut was often portrayed in male clothing, complete with fake beard as a mark of nobility. Her reign was generally beneficent but after she died the stepson took over again and tried to erase her from memory.

Gotta love the patriarchy.

Her funerary temple, however, is one of the grandest and most visited monuments in Egypt's Valley of the Kings. However, her actual tomb was thought to be lost forever.

Until now, that is.

The Egyptian Department of Antiquities has announced that they have found Hatshepsut's mummy, and will be running a DNA test to prove the authenticity of their claims.

Now, why on earth, you may ask, am I going on about this?

Well, apart from applauding the continuing advances made in both archeology and in genetic science, I applaud the fact that there were strong-willed women leaders even that far back in our history.

I wonder how Hillary would look in a fake beard?

Priorities Please

My heart just bleeds for these poor football players who make millions but does Congress really have nothing more important to do than spend time on this? What with the millions having no medical coverage, making minimum wage, not to mention the veterans who won't begin to get the kind of care these football players have.

The honeymoon is over for the new Democratic Congress. They really need to get their act together quick. I can't possibly vote for a Republican ever again (yes I have) but I am not happy.

Tuesday, June 26

She's At It Again

Would someone please explain why this woman is still given a public platform? Is this really the dialogue the country needs? I had a long argument with some friends when Imus was kicked off the air. They were certain that was censorship. It is not censorship when consumers refuse to buy into a very bad product. Matthews claims he has Coulter on because she sells books. This is not a good reason for spreading more hatred. And those are not books they are ignorant, hateful screeds.

Six Years of this crap already

It's kind of ironic that I have been sending off faxes and emails to congresscritters and senatecritters of the republican persuasion calling for them to put their country before their party for a change and grow a set- get rid of Cheney. Now.

I was just now reading a story in WP about how the Republicans would get rid of Cheney. Of course, they wouldn't dare impeach one of their own, if they hinted strongly that he should step down, he'd just tell them to go fuck themselves so it's suggested that when Cheney goes in to get the batteries replaced on that organ that pumps blood, a replacement for him should be found. Then it can just be said that the doctor ordered him not to go back to work. A good save? Not really.

No matter what happens, the republican legislators have done a great disservice to the country by wringing their hands in back rooms and not joining up with the democrats in order to oust this monster. While they are fearing that Cheney's presence will ruin their chances for re-election, their counting on him retiring after a heart procedure doesn't quite cut it- the man needs to be charged with crimes and not simply allowed to go back to hunting birds in cages and shooting old men in the face.

What Year Is It Anyway?

This story is for all those who claim that racism no longer exists in the good ole US of A. It's one of the sickest stories I've read in a long, long time.

Teach Your Children Well

The parents of these high school graduates should be mighty proud today.

H/T to HuffPo.

Monday, June 25

Sucking It Up

It boggles the mind to think what productive things could be done with tax dollars if they weren't being squandered on wars for oil and abstinence programs. Now we have the Supreme Court insisting that we have no right to challenge the way our money is spent. Not that most people seem to care. After reading Michelle Goldberg's Kingdom Coming I am painfully aware of the many religious purposes to which our tax dollars go. But apparently I should not complain about it.

Speaking of our tax dollars do we know how many of them pay for Cheney and his staff. John Dean has a very good idea. Let's just stop funding them. I say we go for it. Impeachment does not seem to be going anywhere.

Finally, something I can't even begin to understand are the results of this poll. The number of Americans who believe Saddam was behind 9/11 has now gone up! How can it be possible that our fellow citizens are becoming even more uninformed?

Update: Looks like someone is taking up Dean's idea. What are the odds it will not pass?

I Love A Parade

Elizabeth Edwards went to the gay pride parade in SF yesterday. When interviewed about gay marriage, she spoke the truth.

"I don't know why someone else's marriage has anything to do with me. I'm completely comfortable with gay marriage."

She made the remark almost offhandedly in answering a question from reporters after she delivered a standard campaign stump speech during a breakfast hosted by the Alice B. Toklas Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Democratic Club, an influential San Francisco political organization. California's presidential primary is Feb. 5, one of the earliest contests in the nation.

She conceded her support puts her at odds with her husband, a former senator from North Carolina who she said supports civil unions among gay couples but not same-sex marriages.

"John has been pretty clear about it, that he is very conflicted," she said. "He has a deeply held belief against any form of discrimination, but that's up against his being raised in the 1950s in a rural southern town."

Well John, if you got over discrimination practices, then you can get over your hangup with gay marriage. The 1950's are over.

Free Press or Corporate Takeover

It just amazes me that an Australian guy can have so much control over what Americans read and watch. I am canceling my subscription to the WSJ.

Boo hoo. The number of black military enlistees have dropped

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of blacks joining the military has plunged by more than one-third since the Afghanistan and Iraq wars began. Other job prospects are soaring and relatives of potential recruits increasingly are discouraging them from joining the armed services.
And they also think that the daily death toll has been deterrent. Ya think?
And there was no mention that the war is fucking bogus. That might also be a factor.

According to Pentagon data, there were nearly 51,500 new black recruits for active duty and reserves in 2001. That number fell to less than 32,000 in 2006, a 38 percent decline.

When only active duty troops are counted, the number of black recruits went from more than 31,000 in 2002 to about 23,600 in 2006, almost one-quarter fewer.

The decline is particularly stark for the Army. Blacks represented about 23 percent of the active Army's enlisted recruits in 2000, but 12.4 percent in 2006.
Oh dear. Black people are smarter and better informed than the military bargained for. The article goes on to say that the poor recruiters have to spend a lot of time, more time with those who can influence students to join the war military than ever before. They still aren't having much luck.
Gilroy, the Pentagon official, said the improving economy is giving potential recruits more opportunities for better paying jobs outside the military.

But he said the growing dissatisfaction with the war among black political and community leaders, as well as parents and teachers, is a major factor, too.
Well I don't know about better paying jobs these days, but you don't have to be black to notice that the chimperor is naked.
And this is funny:
...it is up to the country's leaders, particularly members of Congress who have served in the military to "talk about the nobility of service."
Hahahahaha
Oh yes, young black people really look up to rich white men in Washington.
With detailed, color-coded graphs, the military can chart the erosion in support for the war among the adults who surround recruits of all ethnicities.

Hey most vets I know wouldn't let their kids go and fight in this ridiculous fiasco. I'd lock my son in his room if he even suggested a stint in the military under this clown commander in chief. It's graduate school, a job or the Peace Corps. Those are the options on the table and I don't care if he's 21.

Everyone's al Qaeda now

Glenn Greenwald notes (and I would guess that most of us noticed this) that the Iraqi insurgents are now referred to as al Qaeda in the press.

And note that even for the "smallest" group among those we are fighting in Iraq, the president described them not as "Al Qaeda," but as those "affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda." Claiming that our enemy in Iraq was comprised primarily or largely of "Al Qaeda" was too patently false even for the President to invoke in defense of his war.

But now, support for the war is at an all-time low and war supporters are truly desperate to find a way to stay in Iraq. So the administration has thrown any remnants of rhetorical caution to the wind, overtly calling everyone we are fighting "Al Qaeda." This strategy was first unveiled by Joe Lieberman when he went on Meet the Press in January and claimed that the U.S. was "attacked on 9/11 by the same enemy that we're fighting in Iraq today".
We know that al Qaeda are Sunni's and we know that trucks of money and supplies have been sent to Iraq from Saudi Arabia (Sunni) so how do we know which Sunni insurgents are al Qaeda?

I think that Darth Cheney is al Qaeda. Really.

Sunday, June 24

What the Hell Is

This guy's major godsdamned malfunction?

This, believe it or not, is not a raving psychopathic with a United States Embassy seal photoshopped behind him. This is the 46th Vice President of the United States, the "honorable" Richard Cheney.

This so-called honorable man, who has sworn - twice! - to uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States, has done more to circumvent that very Constitution and those very laws than all of his predecessors combined.

He has ramrodded Executive Orders past his all-too-willing dupe, the hapless Distracter George W. Bush, who has dutifully signed everything thrust under his nose.

He has snarled and hissed like a rabid wildcat at any who dare criticise or question His Supreme Authority.

He has had his underlings make the startling assertion that his office is not subject to oversight or scrutiny, and is essentially above the law.

He has had his underlings assert, beyond all good sense, that his office is not part of the Executive Branch but a fourth part of our government (something that would make James Madison spin in his grave if he weren't already).

This disgusting creature who dares sully our government deserves to be impeached and removed from all political office, then brought to criminal trial for treason and fraud.

Impeach Dick Cheney.

Cast the fucker out.

Saturday, June 23

Mandatory Service

Chris Dodd is proposing a system of mandatory community service for all high school students, among other points. What does everyone think of this? I think it is a good idea. I would like to see how it will be structured and funded. Instead of going shopping all the time, thereby polluting the planet even more with stuff we don't need, we could do something positive. Young people can always use a chance to feel useful. When I was in high school and college I belonged to a group called The Third Order (of St. Francis). I was still catholic. It was a large group composed of multifaith, multiracial, multigender young people. We were drawn from high schools and colleges in the Detroit Metro area. There was socializing and religious discussion but we also did work with orphans and the elderly. It remains one of the best memories of that time for me and gave me some confidence to face the world as an adult. My daughter is working for Americorps right now and it is saving her from despair while she tries to find a job in her field.

I think we can all agree that Dodd is a very long shot for the Presidency but this could be something we demand of whoever gets the nomination. There are so many positives inherent in the idea it needs a hearing.

Movie Review -1408 NO spoilers

O!M!G! 1408...if you like Hitchcock flavoured films you really do need to see this one. Light on the gore, heavy on the psychological twists and turns.

The scenes with S. Jackson are handled deftly; intense yet light; and leaving you wondering who is being played.

You need to be able to follow the plot, keep an open and curious mind and you'll still wonder if its real, a dream, a drug/alcohol induced hallucination, a concussion or a mental breakdown.

J. Cusack plays a once talented writer who switches genres and now debunks paranormal claims. Oddly enough, they make his atheism known fairly early into the storyline, and he wrestles with the untimely death of his ill daughter and whether it was 'right' to tell her 'lies and stories' about the afterlife. (something many atheists wonder themselves from time to time when dealing with the recently dead and dying). He is a no nonsense, NYC-er transplanted to L.A. and living a basically comfortable, if emotionally damaged life. The character is played extremely well by Mr. Cusack and at time brought tears to my eyes.

I took four tweenagers with me to see this. The boys loved it, one girl thought it was okay, and the last one was just plain confused. Although she thought it was pretty neat when I pointed out two scenes in the movie that she had missed.

1] 1408 = 1+4+0+8 = 13.
2] In an elevator scene, you are SPECIFICALLY shown the buttons with the floor numbers on them, and like many old NYC hotels (built at the turn of the 1900s) they omitted the 13th floor, going straight from 12 to 14.

Making room 1408 the 13th room on the 13th floor. (She finally started putting some pieces together after that.) Take a chance, catch a matinée and go see it. If nothing else I PROMISE you will never be able to listen to the Carpenters "We've Only Just Begun" the same way ever again. (^-^)

Religion: Still Screwing Over Women and Science

This goes SO FAR beyond 'get your rosaries out of my ovaries' that I can't even begin to verbalize how pissed off I am. Full article

Catholic and conservative Christian health care providers are denying women a range of standard, legal medical care. Planned Parenthood M.D.s report patients coming to them because other gynecologists would not dole out birth control prescriptions or abortion referrals. Infertility clinics have turned away lesbians and unmarried women; anesthesiologists and obstetricians are refusing to do sterilizations; Catholic hospitals have delayed ending doomed pregnancies because abortions are only allowed to save the life of the mother.

"It's obscene," says Jamie D. Brooks, a former staff attorney for the National Health Law Program who continues to work on projects with the Los Angeles advocacy group. "Doctors swear an oath to serve their patients. But instead, they are allowing their religious beliefs to compromise patient care. And too often, the victims of this practice are women."




Once again, I am so grateful to live in the liberal, reality-based, educated, North Eastern edge of the country. As some of you know I have been working within my hospital and state-wide community to help get a law passed which would mandate that ALL Pennsylvania hospitals offer emergency contraception to rape victims. And of course, being a proactive hospital, after the ban on intact dilation and extraction was signed my hospital suggested that all OB/GYN physicians conduct ALL abortions that are past 12 weeks WITHIN the hospital, as opposed to in the private offices. Why? Because the hospital has a stable of lawyers who can review, document and 'bullet-proof' each case. (Most of the procedures we are getting are chromosome based, between 12-16 weeks gestation) We are going to challenge the ban and show, in excruciating detail, who is getting these procedures and why.

Can you imagine having your water break at only 14 weeks gestation and knowing that the child is dead and STILL not be able to obtain an abortion, because the local hospital merged with a Catholic hospital which now refuses to perform the procedure for anything other than immediate risk to the mother's LIFE. Imagine being the doctor or patient who heard this: "I was told I could not admit her unless there was a risk to her life," Dr. Goldner remembers. "They said, 'Why don't you wait until she has an infection or she gets a fever?' They were asking me to do something other than the standard of care. They wanted me to put her health in jeopardy."

So, remember ladies, check to see if your local hospital, doctor, pharmacist or other health provider's superstitious beliefs may cost you your life, your health, your family or your fertility. The answer may horribly surprise you.

Sex Games of the Stone Age

No, I kid you not. (Granted a tad bit late for the traditional Friday Sex-Posts) This was a British research paper that looked at several stone age sites:

“The widespread lay belief that sex in the past was predominantly heterosexual and reproductive can be challenged,” said Taylor.

A quick and interesting read, although a few of the comments are a bit unkind.

Friday, June 22

All The Hullabaloo

I don't know if anyone at Blondesense is a Hullabaloo reader. I have been for years. Digby is one of the best writers on the internet. For those who are not aware of the recent 'hullabaloo' Digby finally revealed herself as a woman. As a longtime reader, I am sorry to say, I was surprised. I do think the choice of the name 'Digby' whether concious or not was intended to convey some masculine authority.

Today The Bag has a visual examination of the whole Digby hullabaloo. Some of this discussion is pertinent to those of us who blog. Does it really make a difference whether we are reading a male or female blogger. Would Digby have reached the level of respect she has if she had put a photo of herself on the blog from the beginning. Is it better to blog pseudonymously or with our own name.

Digby herself has promised to address some of these issues in the near future. As a woman, one who is short, small and blonde, not to mention named Candy, I can understand the desire to leave my name off. I wonder what her reason really was.

Finally! Everything's Gonna Be Okay:

From the New York Times no less comes this headline:
"C.I.A. to Release Documents on Decades-Old Misdeeds"
"The Central Intelligence Agency will make public next week a collection of long-secret documents compiled in 1974 that detail domestic spying, assassination plots and other C.I.A. misdeeds in the 1960s and early 1970s, the agency’s director, Gen. Michael V. Hayden, said yesterday."
I sure hope one of the documents to be highlighted is the one found at "Prison Planet which reads: "De-Classified Document Admits Oswald Was CIA".

Friday Sex Post, Part Deux

Ladies, is your vibrator "green"?


Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha!

Just one more rant on legalizing gay marriage...

Every time I talk about religion or morality with someone, the issue of gay marriage comes up. WTF?

I spent my formative years in religious schools and not once were we taught that homosexuals were a blight on society. My teachers were priests, nuns and brothers which might explain that. We were taught to be kind to one another and to oppose war unless of course we were in defense mode.

I just can't get worked up about the issue of "homosexuals ruining the sanctity of marriage." They don't ruin the sanctity of marriage if they marry each other. The only way a homosexual would destroy my marriage is if I married a closeted gay man who neglected to inform me that he had a hankering for sexual trysts with other men and I found out and it broke my heart. So I don't see how banning gay marriage would hurt me as a straight person who is married to a straight man.

If I am a straight person married to someone who is gay and gay marriage was suddenly made legal, then that could be a threat to my marriage should my spouse decide to leave me and marry someone else of the same sex. But my gay spouse could also just leave me to live with another gay person even if they don't get married. Hell, I could be a straight person married to another straight person and my spouse could hook up with another straight babe on the side and destroy our marriage. So where does it end? What is the point of this discussion anyway?

Guantánamo to close?

The AP reports that the Bushistas may be nearing a decision to close Guantánamo and move the "terror" suspects to other prisons like Fort Leavenworth in Kansas where they may face trial.
Officials familiar with the agenda of the Friday meeting said Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff, National Intelligence Director Mike McConnell and Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman Gen. Peter Pace were expected to attend.

It was not immediately clear if the meeting would result in a final recommendation to Bush.
What the hell does that mean? And if Cheney is there, can you imagine him being concerned about Geneva Conventions and the US Constitution, let alone any human beings other than himself and his cronies?

Candy linked to this article in Vanity Fair recently and if you haven't read it, Taking on Guantánamo, it's compelling and it sends chills up your spine because of what is being done in our name.

The whole purpose of setting up Guantánamo Bay is for torture. Why do this? Because you want to escape the rule of law. There is only one thing that you want to escape the rule of law to do, and that is to question people coercively—what some people call torture. Guantánamo and the military commissions are implements for breaking the law. Why build a prison here when there are plenty of prisons in Nebraska? Why is it, when we see photos of Abu Ghraib, we think that it is "exporting Guantánamo"? That it is the "Guantánamo method"? —Lieutenant Commander Charles Swift to the author, January 2007.
It's immoral to pay taxes to a government that tortures people. How the fuck dare they? It's against my religion- whatever that is. I can't seem to find a religion that is sufficiently outraged.

Friday Sex Post

First of all, let's bop on down to sunny Australia to look at this article where a Brisbane woman stabbed her boyfriend because he continually masturbated in front of her kids. After being stabbed twice, however, the man continued masturbating.

Now, a recent study from Down Under said that frequent masturbation is actually healthy and can reduce the chances of prostate cancer, but this guy took it a bit too far. The sentencing judge in the case gave the woman who stabbed him nine moths in jail, then immediately released her on parole, citing the fact that she was provoked and was defending her kids.

***

And now to Columbia, South Carolina where - well, you have got to read it:

Nude rooftop romp ends in tragedy
June 21, 2007 - 7:55AM

COLUMBIA, South Carolina - Police today were investigating how a naked couple fell 50 feet (15 metres) from the roof of a South Carolina office building to their deaths.

The bodies were found on the road by a passing cabdriver around 5am today.

Clothing was discovered on the roof, leading authorities to suspect the man and woman, in their early 20s, may have been having sex. Their identities were not released.

"It's too early to rule out anything," Columbia police Sgt Florence McCants said, but McCants said a preliminary investigation did not show any sign of foul play.

Thursday, June 21

Just What Is Civilized?

I watched Little Children a few days ago and I still don't know what I think of it. It underscores a problem that I don't believe anyone has yet answered in a satisfactory way. The problem is that of what to do with people whose perversions can cause harm to others, particularly children. The answer is not as simple as you might think as the film points out. Obviously children need protection from predators but where is the line drawn when people are mentally ill, as I think this is. Incarceration is not going to cure them and we cannot hold them forever. To me it is similar to a suicidal person. You try to protect them from themselves but there is only so far you can take that.

For those who have not seen the film, there is a character who has exposed himself and is now out of prison. He lives with his mother in a neighborhood with many children. I want to say the parents are ridiculously hostile but my children are adults. I might feel differently if they were small. By the end of the film you are well aware that this is a sick man.

So what does a civilized culture do to solve this problem?

Doesn't The Constitution Cover This?

The Big Dick says he's not a part of the executive branch of the government.

Huh?

H/T to AmericaBlog.

Ex-Presidents and Their Lackeys

The Secret Service is scrambling to train and plot security detail for ex-president Bush, when he leaves office. They consider Bush will be the most targeted by terrorists or other "crazy persons" ex-president in the history of US. (I wonder why?)
I guess the same goes for ex-vice president Cheney. Do ex-VPs get security detail also? If they do, that would be great for the Cheney family.
The looming question is, what about the lackeys who attract the same hatred as their bosses?
Are they all gonna move to Crawford Texas? Is Rove going to move in with the ex-president? Will he continue to be Bush's butler, or Bush will assign some of the 103 Secret Service people to guard Turdblossom?
We all know, that no republican will employ him as their brain.

Do you have any ideas for Turdblossom's retirement?

Happy Summer


I have so many favorite summer songs and so many favorite types of summer music that I can't decide what the definitive summer theme song is for me. I guess it depends where I am and what I'm drinking. Summer is more nostalgic than Christmastime.

Today's Musical Interlude

Touchy Subject

I had read that Jimmy Carter blasted the US on Palestine. So I looked it up further. A google search proved that right wingers are furious with him.

Far from encouraging Hamas' move into parliamentary politics, Carter said the U.S. and Israel, with European Union acquiescence, sought to subvert the outcome by shunning Hamas and helping Abbas to keep the reins of political and military power. "That action was criminal," he said in a news conference after his speech.

"The United States and Israel decided to punish all the people in Palestine and did everything they could to deter a compromise between Hamas and Fatah," he said. (Time Magazine)
Speaking of that section of the world... Israel's Indymedia reports that US, Israel Finalise Iran Strike Plan
Olmert also met with Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to obtain their broad support for military action against Iran.

Pelosi's comments welcoming the Prime Minister indicate that he is likely to get the backing he is seeking from the Congress.

“With the Republican and Democratic leaders gathered here, you see how strong the bipartisanship is for a great U.S.-Israel relationship," Pelosi said.

Meanwhile, Iran has formally complained to the United Nations about the planned strike by US and Israel.

A rape trial without using the word "rape"

A judge in Nebraska barred some words from his courtroom in an alleged rape trial. The banned words are: rape and sexual assault.

Read why the new trend is to ban certain words like "victim" in courtrooms.

Hat tip Eclectics Anonymous

"Light Up and Live"

Don't dump your tobacco company stock just yet.

"Researchers Light Up for Nicotine, the Wonder Drug"
"Smoking may be bad for you, but researchers and biotech companies are quietly developing pharmaceuticals that are decidedly good for brains, bowels, blood vessels and even immune systems -- and they're inspired by tobacco's deadly active ingredient: nicotine.
"Nicotine acts on the acetylcholine receptors in the brain, stimulating and regulating the release of a slew of brain chemicals, including seratonin, dopamine and norepinephrine. Not surprisingly, the first scientific work that identified these chemicals and how they affect the body came out of nicotine research -- much of it performed by tobacco companies.
"Now drugs derived from nicotine and the research on nicotine receptors are in clinical trials for everything from helping to heal wounds, to depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, Tourette Syndrome, ADHD, anger management and anxiety."

Full article at Wired.com and thanks to the good folks at the "Health & Wellness" section of Signs-of-the-Times, whose headlines this a.m. include:
"UK: A million children now suffer from mental health problems"
"Circumcision Fight: Profit, Pleasure, or Population Control?"

Good thing I'm not a conspiracy theorist; if I was, I'd speculate about how the smoking bans taking place all over the Earth are an attempt by the PTB to influence people's thinking that everything about smoking is bad for your health. Ah, for the good old days, when they put cocaine in coca-cola. Which is how it got its name.

Douchebag of the Week

Winner
Norman Podhoretz
Neocon

“Well, if we were to bomb the Iranians as I hope and pray we will,” Podhoretz says, “we’ll unleash a wave of anti-Americanism all over the world that will make the anti-Americanism we’ve experienced so far look like a lovefest.”

First runner up
GW Bush vetoed the stem cell bill:
"Destroying human life in the hopes of saving human life is not ethical."

Wednesday, June 20

I Am Speechless Yet Again

This should be a warning to any immigrants thinking to come back in after they pay their fine. I guess 'support the troops' is another instance of Orwellian doublespeak. Well we all knew that. Thanks to Americablog.

Wishful Thinking?

So I haven't felt too much like talking about politics, what with my liberal outrage fatigue and all, but something got me thinking last night. I was sitting there catching a buzz and vegging out watching the teevee. This commercial came on showing beautiful beaches, beautiful valleys, beautiful countryside and beautiful Asian people, and I knew before the final banner came on that the advertisement was for Vietnam tourism. And that's when it struck me.

The only good argument for keeping US troops in Iraq is that there will be a bloodbath if we leave. It's the same argument that was advanced against pulling out of Vietnam. When we left Vietnam, there was indeed a bloodbath, as there inevitably is in any civil war. Those South Vietnamese who could get out, got out; the communist North Vietnamese were victorious after the downfall of Saigon in 1975. There were mass killings and brutality, there were re-education camps, there was (and I assume still is) suppression of democratic ideals. There were years and years of international isolation. There were years of poverty.

Now, 35 years later, it appears that Vietnam is coming out the other side. While still relatively poor like many Asian nations, it is starting to prosper. The country is politically stable, and foreign investment (an affirmation of that stability) is thriving. I remember when I worked for an oil company in the 1990s, we couldn't wait for the US government to lift the trade embargo so we could get our asses in there to explore for oil. The country has transitioned from a planned to a market based economy, though Vietnam is still a communist country. And even though it is a communist country, the United States has normalized relations with Vietnam.

And it seems the Vietnamese have forgiven us, and more importantly, they seem to have forgiven each other. We had no business going there in the first instance. We killed a few million of their kin and millions more became refugees. We laced their countryside with herbicides and pesticides. We dropped millions of bombs and riddled the countryside with landmines. We attempted to impose our ideas of democracy at the point of a gun. Yet they have forgiven us. It took 35 years.

It is as sad to think of the Vietnamese who were killed in the bloodbath following the US withdrawal as it is to think of the Yankee and Confederate war dead in the 1860s. As sad as it is to think of the Yugoslav dead in their 1990s civil war. As sad as it is to think of the Rwandan dead in their 1994 civil war. As sad as it is to think of the Iraqis who will die in their own civil war following the US withdrawal. Yet there is nothing the US could have done, other than sacrifice the lives of more US soldiers, to forestall the Vietnamese civil war. Nor is there anything the US can do to forestall an Iraqi civil war, except to sacrifice the lives of more US soldiers. The North Vietnamese and Viet Cong would never have surrendered except through utter annihilation that would have destroyed the entire country. Nor will the Iraqi insurgency be suppressed through force without the further destruction of the Cradle of Civilization.

Dare we hope that in 35 years, the Iraqis will forgive us as the Vietnamese have? Maybe one day Little Red State Blues will be sitting on her couch catching a buzz and watching the teevee, and she'll see an advert encouraging her to come visit Iraq for a fabulous vacation. I hope so. It's just a shame it will take a generation or more to get there.

Pro-Choice By Default

Just caught this rather disheartening bit of news off ABC's Blotter:

Report: Iraq Violence Leading to Abortions, Drug Abuse Among Civilians
June 19, 2007 2:31 PM
Justin Rood Reports:

"Pregnant Iraqi women who have been forced from their homes by worsening violence are obtaining illegal abortions because they are unable to get medical care for themselves and their unborn, according to a new report by a national humanitarian group.

A record number of Iraqis -- most of them women and children -- are fleeing their homes to escape the bloodshed of sectarian violence and anti-U.S. attacks, according to a new report by the Iraqi Red Crescent organization, the largest aid group operating in Iraq.

Health care is inadequate and difficult to access for those people, according to the IRC report.

"Pregnant women, infants and children are unable to get...required medical care," states the report, which was translated from Arabic, "and criminal abortion became [sic] the norms."

Rape, theft and drug addiction have also become "commonplace" among the displaced, who live in government buildings, at relatives' homes, tents, or squat in abandoned homes or makeshift huts on empty land, according to the report, which was first noted on the Iraq news site Iraqslogger.com.

The number of "internally displaced persons" -- refugees who leave their homes but remain in the country -- has quadrupled since January, the group found. As of May 2007, 1,024,430 Iraqis have left their neighborhoods to live in safer regions, the group reported, with more than 400,000 people pouring out of the areas around Baghdad and Mosul, which have been plagued by sectarian violence and anti-U.S. attacks.

More than 1.8 million Iraqis have fled the country entirely, according to the United Nations.
The report by Iraqi Red Crescent, which says its personnel reach every village in Iraq, comes on the heels of a May report from the International Committee of the Red Cross, which warned of the "immense suffering" caused by the ongoing conflict.

"Shootings, bombings, abductions, murders, military operations and other forms of violence are forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and seek safety elsewhere in Iraq or in neighbouring countries," the group said, noting that food is scarce in some regions, and power shortages are worsening.

"The outlook is bleak," the Red Cross noted, and "likely to worsen."

***

You know a humanitarian catastrophe is in the making when pregnant women seek abortions rather than a) risk their health in a war-torn apocalyptic landscape, or b) when conditions are so parlous that they can not see when it will ever end, and don't want to have children in such a world.

Way to go, Bush.

US States Renamed For Countries With Similar GDPs

Fascinating stuff for geekozoids like myself. Andrew Sullivan notes that DC is equated with New Zealand. hmm. See all the details at Strange Maps.




From Strange Maps, via Andrew Sullivan via oddjob

Not so far fetched

After 5 Years In U.S., Terrorist Cell Too Complacent To Carry Out Attack
Excerpt
According to cell leader and boat owner Jameel al-Sharif, the potentially devastating operation, which involves breaching the station's reactor core and triggering a meltdown that could rival the Chernobyl disaster, "can wait."

"We remain wholly committed to the destruction of America, the Great Satan," al-Sharif said. "But now is not a good time for us. The season finale of Lost was such a cliff- hanger that we have to at least catch the first episode of the new season. After that, though, death to the infidels."

"Probably," added al-Sharif, who noted that his nearly $6,000 in credit-card debt from recent purchases of a 52-inch HDTV and a backyard gas grill prevents him from buying needed materials for the attack.
From the Onion.

Today's News

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is no longer a Republican. There is speculation that he may run for president. Maybe he is just fed up.

NYC's poor will get paid in cash for making good decisions. Interesting premise.

NY's state assembly approves gay marriage bill. Opponents say it will lead to more immoral bills. oy. I'm still waiting for a health care bill.

Say it isn't so. NH bans smoking in bars and restaurants.

When are we going to ban war profiteering? That's not healthy either.

Most Americans (7 in 10) believe the economy is getting worse according to a Gallop poll. If you ask rich people, they believe that it's fantastic. Talk about a great divide. Most Americans are pessimistic about the job market and face financial problems due to health care costs, low wages, high oil and gas prices.

The president will veto the stem cell bill today. On moral grounds. ha.

I just loved the Hillary and Bill clip that spoofs the Sopranos. A guest appearance by Johny Sack takes the cake.

Now they do it. Pentagon sends archaeological playing cards to troops in Iraq, Afghanistan. I wonder if there is anything left?

Tuesday, June 19

WWJD

The United States as a country is officially insane. When you have a Supreme Court Justice using a television character to justify his decisions what else can you call it? What would Jack do? Heaven help us all. (thanks to Think Progress)

How soon will it be $4-5 a gallon?

No, not for gas; for water.
The Chicago Tribune's headline reads:
Tensions rise as drought worsens, threatens to spread
North and South Carolina are fighting over a river. In Tennessee, springs are drying up, jeopardizing production of Jack Daniels whiskey. The mayor of Los Angeles is asking residents to take shorter showers. And in Georgia, the governor is praying for rain.
More than a third of the United States is in the grip of a menacing drought that threatens to spread before the summer ends.
While much of the West has experienced drought conditions for close to a decade, the latest system is centered over Alabama and extends to much of the Southeast, heavily affecting Georgia, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, North and South Carolina and Virginia as well as parts of Arkansas and West Virginia.


More

Without oil, we stand still.
Without water, we die.
Without Jack Daniels, life isn't worth living.
Although PoLT's pa would've said, "Gimme a Seagram 7; tall glass, lotsa ice, not much water". He used to hide his empty jugs in the vegetable bin of the Frigidaire until it wouldn't hold anymore and then haul them out to the curb in used grocery bags with a newspaper folded down over the top so the neighbors wouldn't see. Along comes the garbage truck the next day, which in those days was an open-top dump truck. The "pitcher" riding the running board jumps off, bumps one of the half-dozen or so sacks, and out spill at least a dozen bottles or more (I'm peeking through the blinds.) The "pitcher" just kinda stared for a while, then reached down and grabbed one of the jugs, held it up to the light, unscrewed the cap, and let the last few drops trickle down his throat. ('Jever notice how if you let an "empty" bottle stand for a while, what's stuck to the sides will accumulate in the bottom?) The driver finally notices, gets out and the two of them sat there on the curb for five minutes or more, sipping down the dregs from pa's empties. Bet they got the equivalent of two or three shots apiece. Hope they made to the end of the route okay.

UPDATE: "Lake Superior, the world's largest freshwater lake, has dropped to its lowest level in 81 years. The water is 20 inches below average and a foot lower than just a year ago."

UPDATE II: "The worst summer drought to hit northeast China's Liaoning Province in 30 years has left more than one million people short of drinking water, the provincial government said."

They don't call it a "concentration camp", "internment center", or "gulag"

No; they call it a "Communications Management Unit".
We're fucking doomed.
"Dr. Rafil A. Dhafir at Terre Haute Prison’s New Communications Management Unit" reads the headline.
Text begins: "AT PRECISELY 7 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 11, 2006, 17 federal prisoners across the country were taken out of their cells, held in isolation for two days, then bused to the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Terre Haute, Indiana. Here the government quietly began implementing the first stages of a secret new program, the Communications Management Unit (CMU). A completely self-contained unit housing almost exclusively Arab and/or Muslim inmates, it eventually will hold approximately 85 prisoners.
"Special new rules set out in a “CMU Institutional Supplement” dated Nov. 30, 2006 include severe restrictions on prisoner communication. Contact with family and friends is limited; outgoing and incoming mail is monitored and copied, with a one- to two- week delivery delay; and no contact visits are allowed. Instead of 300 minutes of phone time a month, prisoners may receive only one 15-minute call a week, which the warden has the power to reduce to just three minutes a month. Unlike the usual weekly or biweekly all-day contact visits, visits in the CMU are for two hours, just twice a month, and are restricted to non-contact only. Calls and visits must be conducted in English unless prior arrangement is made."


Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Didja catch that bit about Arab OR Muslim inmates?

No longer am I able to endure the shame, disgrace, and humiliation.

First, there's the news that former Iowa Congressman and unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Jim Nussle is replacing Rob Portman as White House Budget Director.

And now this: West Burlington Man Accused of Not Paying for Lap Dances: "A West Burlington man faces theft charges after police say he got eight lap dances at a strip club -- but didn't pay.
Joseph Parrott, 20, is charged with fifth-degree theft and public intoxication.
He's accused of failing to pay for the eight lap dances he got -- at $25 a piece -- at The Lumberyard II in Cedar Rapids this weekend."

Sy Hersh plays Hardball

Taliban graduation.


The Taliban's suicide bomb school will send forth graduates who are willing to carry out attacks on the United States, Canada, Great Britain and Germany.

ABC News has the story and lots of pictures.
hmmm. And the comments are worth the read.

Contempt of press

Tony Snow vs Helen Thomas, 6/14/07

Q I have one follow-up. Are there any members of the Bush family or this administration in this war?

MR. SNOW: Yes, the President. The President is in the war every day.

Q Come on. That isn't my question.

MR. SNOW: If you ask any President who is a Commander-in-Chief --

Q On the front lines --

MR. SNOW: The President

via TPM

Justice In The Bush Administration

I am abysmally behind on my periodical reading. Tonight I picked up the March issue of Vanity Fair to try and catch up. I began with this article, a fairly lengthy one but well worth the time.

Early in the article there is a quote by one of the JAG lawyers that is stunning in its simplicity and it pretty much sums up the whole situation with our country right now. "Justice is based on a simple idea: it can happen to you." Perhaps we could get that tattooed on the foreheads of the American public. It might get their attention. Or plaster it across their television screens. That statement reminded me immediately of the Nazis and the way their campaign of terror started. As someone pointed out in the comments recently we are the frogs being slowly brought to a boil.

A simple informational campaign could be started with the slogan 'It Can Happen To You'. Any takers?

I am not ignoring the ethics of the Guantanamo detentions or torture. The article takes those on and does an excellent job.

Monday, June 18

Farther Down The Rabbit Hole

I fear for my sanity's sake every time I read the news. There are more missing emails today (anyone suspect Rove), Afghanistan is a growing disaster with 100 killed there today, absolutely no one in this administration feels the need to tell the truth or stop dissembling for ANY reason.

And now we find Pakistan is experiencing a resurgence of al Qaeda. And whose fault is that? Apparently Darth has control of that policy (from Think Progress):

" Current and past U.S. officials tell me that Pakistan policy is essentially being run from Cheney’s office. The vice president, they say, is close to Musharraf and refuses to brook any U.S. criticism of him. This all fits; in recent months, I’m told, Pakistani opposition politicians visiting Washington have been ushered in to meet Cheney’s aides, rather than taken to the State Department."

Do You Feel Safer Now?

I, for one, most assuredly do not.

Everything they touch turns to shit

Iraq is rated second among the world's failed states. Sudan is first.

We're going to be in Iraq for many many years. That is, as long as they can recruit willing participants.
Asserting steady, albeit slow, military and political progress, Petraeus said that the "many, many challenges" would not be resolved "in a year or even two years." Similar counterinsurgency operations, he said, citing Britain's experience in Northern Ireland, "have gone at least nine or 10 years." He said he and Crocker would make "some recommendations on the way ahead" to Congress, and that it was realistic to assume "some form of long-term security arrangement" with Iraq. WP



US ATTORNEY FALLOUT
Fallout from the U.S. attorney scandal is “starting to hit the department in federal courtrooms around the country.” Defense lawyers are “raising questions about the motives of government lawyers who have brought charges against their clients,” and “are citing the furor over the U.S. attorney dismissals as evidence that their cases may have been infected by politics.” LA TIMES

Watergate

Yesterday was the anniversary of the Watergate break-in.
Simpler times.

Good morning America

In "Entertainment News" there's a report that NY weatherman, Sam Champion, of ABC received a suspicious letter, with mysterious powder, that mentioned "anthrax." He works at Good Morning America. Speaking of anthrax and reflecting on that time when we warned that terrorists would rent crop dusters and sprinkle the stuff all over us here in the NY metro area, and thinking about how Democrats and news anchors were targeted, it kind of makes you wonder about the lack of spine in the Dems and the media today. Death threats are serious business.

Speaking about threatening people into silence... The families of the four Blackwater contractors who were brutally murdered in Fallujah were told by Blackwater that they would have to sue Blackwater to find out why their loved ones were killed. So they get a lawyer and sue. How does Blackwater respond? By suing the families of the slain for $10 million dollars so that they would shut up. I know young men who were recruited by Blackwater. They looked at it as a well paying job which would help their families. They weren't greedy and they certainly wouldn't get rich from the job. It just paid better than re-enlisting. But God forbid if you die while being a contracted combatant.

The family of Pat Tillman still can't get to the bottom of how their son died. Everything's a big secret and if you ask, then you're unpatriotic, as if being a robot is a good thing. Speaking of robots, I have little or no respect left for military service, because the more I read and study history, the more I realize that it's not about defense at all. It's about brainwashing young people into doing the dirty work of bad men who accept no accountability. If you come home just a little bit psycho after fighting a war, and now it's a war where we are funding the bad guys, the VA has news for you- our services for mental patients suck.

Speaking of brainwashing in the military, I finished reading Seymour Hersh's latest offering in the New Yorker, The General's Report about General Taguba who produced the report about the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn't. His report was denied all the way to the top of the administration. Why he didn't resign earlier is a question not answered in the article. And yes, everything you imagined about the DOD, the pentagon and the CIA are all probably true. The young soldiers took the rap.

Everyone is discussing who the scariest candidate for president is. It depends on whether you're a christian war monger or not in how you determine your choice. They are all pretty scary to me.

This coming Fourth of July, or Independence Day, as some like to call it, will leave me thinking about how much killing was done to provide us with a false sense of freedom.

Saturday, June 16

Things haven't changed much.

"We meet in the midst of a nation brought to the verge of moral, political and material ruin. Corruption dominates the ballot box, the legislatures, the Congress, and touches even the ermine of the bench. These people are demoralized.... The newspapers are subsidized or muzzled; public opinion silenced; business prostrate, our homes covered with mortgages, labor impoverished, and the land concentrating in the hands of capitalists.
"The urban workmen are denied the right of organization for self-protection; imported pauperized labor beats down their wages; a hireling standing army . .. established to shoot them down... . The fruits of the toil of millions are boldly stolen to build up colossal fortunes. . .. From the same prolific womb of governmental injustice we breed two classes-paupers and millionaires...."
-- Ignatius Donnelly, The People's party national convention in 1892 in St. Louis

and

"Wall Street owns the country. It is no longer a government of the people, by the people, and for the people, but a government of Wall Street, by Wall Street and for Wall Street.... Our laws are the output of a system which clothes rascals in robes and honesty in rags. . .. the politicians said we suffered from overproduction. Overproduction, when 10,000 little children . .. starve to death every year in the U.S. and over 100,000 shop girls in New York are forced to sell their virtue for bread." -- Mary Ellen Lease, Populist party convention in 1890 in Topeka, Kansas

as quoted by Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States, Chapter 11 "Robber Barons and Rebels"

Summertime And . . . . . . . . .

I wrote about this last year. The past year has only added exponentially to the list of things that trigger it. It is sort of like an accident scene. You don't want to look, don't want to know, but you keep on reading - possibly until your head explodes.

To keep our heads on we sometimes need to take a break from heartache and worry. Summer is the perfect time and I am going to link to some book reviews I have done over the last year. If you are so inclined, pick one of them up and disappear for a few hours to the beach, the hammock, a tree house. Take a glass of lemonade and perhaps you will come up for air refreshed and ready to rejoin the fray. At the very least you may feel like this for a bit:

So here is a short, selective list. This is one of my favorites of all time. You may have read it but, if not, it is engrossing. If you are a foodie, try this, or anything by Ruhlman. If you just need to laugh (and who doesn't) at the insanity of the last six years, try this. Only Olbermann can do that. If you want to escape into another time and place for a few hours there are many great offerings such as this, this, this, this, this, this, or this.

I have mentioned before that I have been dangerously depressed. I was fortunate to learn from that and know what to do for myself when I feel it coming on. If you are feeling bad, try a book or a really funny film. If it starts to look like the end is near, as it does on a daily basis with Bush in the White House, I would rather go down laughing my ass off than cowering and afraid or hiding under the covers with depression. Take a tip from Bowie and Jagger and JC. Or even me.

Stuff I was reading and watching this week

Putin's Censored Press Conference.
Putin has a point too. Russia is being screwed over by the bushistas. You don't see much of what is happening between Russia and the US in the US media. Another Cold War may be on the horizon.

Things Your Momma Didn't Tell You
There is a movement to impeach Bush and Cheney. You wouldn't know it if you read the US media.

By Lieberman’s Logic, the US May Have to Bomb Itself
“The United States should launch airstrikes against any country which is supplying weapons or other support to insurgents in Iraq.”

How the Neocons Misread Machiavelli
It's funny the author should mention that. I was just reading The Prince. If you are going to go to war, make sure you win.

Another J. Edgar Hoover?
Almost 90 years later, today's war on terror exists in an echo chamber of the 1919 Red scare.

What Every American Should Know About Iraq
Professor David Green is right on with this no spin history that everyone should read.
Maybe I need to print this out and keep it with me in case the topic comes up.

The City of New Orleans Turns to International Aid
.
If you read between the lines of this story, you almost get the impression that the Feds failed NOLA on purpose to illustrate why "we need less government."

A Visual Glossary of Religious Symbols
Stuff I like to look at and know about.

Atomic Veterans History Project
Since we were speaking about the Cold War

If you like old movies, Check out Thermonuclear Tests at archive.org. I downloaded most of them and burned them to DVD so I could sit on the couch and eat popcorn as I trip down memory lane. I suppose it's time to wake up and smell the napalm, but on the other hand, you may want to bury your head in the hot southwestern sand or maybe go on vacay to some pacific island.

Friday, June 15

Sounded pretty good at the time

From Popular Science, November 1933 via Modern Mechanix Blog


Click image for larger view.

OIL PIPE LINE CROSSES PALESTINE
Crossing the Tigris, Jordan, and Euphrates rivers and winding for 1,180 miles across the birthplace of Christian civilization, a new pipe line will soon begin transporting oil from the rich fields of Iraq to the Mediterranean sea coast. At some points, the line descends into valleys more than 800 feet below sea level and at others has to rise over mountains. It is estimated that the twin ten-inch pipes of the line will transport 30,000,000 barrels of oil a year. In spite of dust storms, heat, and the rugged nature of the country, gangs of welders have been laying as much as four miles of pipe in an eight-hour shift. Many American methods are in use. Iraq, formerly Mesopotamia, is the site of some of the world’s richest oil fields and the new pipe line will cut the cost of getting this oil to outside markets.

A Modest Proposal: Victims of the Oil Crisis Can be used as Fuel for the survivors

Instead of hearing a report from the National Petroleum Council which is now headed by Lee "Fat Bastard" Raymond, formerly of Exxon/Mobil at the latest Gas and Oil Exposition in Calgary, Alberta, two trickster political activist duped the attendees at the keynote luncheon.

"Without oil, at least four billion people would starve. This spiral of trouble would make the oil infrastructure utterly useless" -- unless their bodies could be turned into fuel.

...

After noting that current energy policies will likely lead to "huge global calamities" and disrupt oil supplies, Wolff told the audience "that in the worst case scenario, the oil industry could "keep fuel flowing" by transforming the billions of people who die into oil," said a Yes Men press release.

Yes Man Mike Bonnano, posing as an Exxon representative named Florian Osenberg, added that "With more fossil fuels comes a greater chance of disaster, but that means more feedstock for Vivoleum. Fuel will continue to flow for those of us left."

...
The impostors led growingly suspicious attendees in lighting Vivoleum candles made, they said, from a former Exxon janitor who died from cleaning a toxic spill. When shown a mock video of the janitor professing his desire to be turned in death into candles, a conference organizer pulled Bonanno and Bichlbaum from the stage.



Wow. Hilarious.

When I first saw the headline:

"Gates makes surprise trip to Iraq"
I said to myself, "Omigawd, doesn't Bill know that the country has already been sacked and plundered for its riches? Why would he want to go over there on some capitalistic enterprise?"

It was only after hitting the link to the article that I realized that it's War Secretary Robert they're talking about, and folks in that line of work have an insatiable greed to inflict death, destruction, murder, and suffering. Maybe he's going to sow the ground with salt.

How we learned to stop having fun

I came across this article in the Guardian Unlimited Health and Wellbeing section a few months ago.

"We used to know how to get together and really let our hair down. Then, in the early 1600s, a mass epidemic of depression broke out - and we've been living with it ever since. Something went wrong, but what?"

Barbara Ehrenreich provides some well founded reasons for the causes of our unhappiness IN THIS EDITED EXTRACT from Dancing in the Streets: A History of Collective Joy by Barbara Ehrenreich.

First, let's set the mood with a video of one of my favorite songs, performed by two artists, who year after year continue to amaze me because, well... for all intents and purposes, should be dead!!

Here's Jagger and Bowie DANCING IN THE STREETS

I'm pretty sure they both live by this motto:

"Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming.... Wow, what a ride!"

This is also MY mantra and I am convinced it is what keeps me from being in a depressive state. It's hard work, but "you have to fight for your right to party!!"

From the article:

According to the World Health Organization, depression is now the fifth leading cause of death and disability in the world.

But to my knowledge, no one has suggested that the epidemic may have begun in a particular historical time, and started as a result of cultural circumstances that arose at that time and have persisted or intensified since.

if there was, in fact, a beginning to the epidemic of depression, sometime in the 16th or 17th century, it confronts us with this question: could this apparent decline in the ability to experience pleasure be in any way connected with the decline in opportunities for pleasure, such as carnival and other traditional festivities?

There is reason to think that something like an epidemic of depression in fact began around 1600, or the time when the Anglican minister Robert Burton undertook his "anatomy" of the disease, published as The Anatomy of Melancholy in 1621

And very likely the phenomena of this early "epidemic of depression" and the suppression of communal rituals and festivities are entangled in various ways. It could be, for example, that, as a result of their illness, depressed individuals lost their taste for communal festivities and even came to view them with revulsion. But there are other possibilities. First, that both the rise of depression and the decline of festivities are symptomatic of some deeper, underlying psychological change, which began about 400 years ago and persists, in some form, in our own time. The second, more intriguing possibility is that the disappearance of traditional festivities was itself a factor contributing to depression.

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

This is a fascinating analysis and I believe merits much consideration. So, get the calendar section of the paper out, look for what's happening in your area -- a fair, a parade, an outdoor concert; or grab a bunch of people in your neighborhood --

"This is an invitation
Across the nation
A chance for the folks to meet
There'll be laughin' and singin' and music swingin'
And dancin' in the streets!

Friday Obligatory Sex Post

The case of Wilson v Georgia is still raging on. It should be over by now.

When Genarlow Wilson was 17 he attended an orgy-like New Year's Eve party in a motel with other teens who engaged in consensual sex acts. He is now 21 and has served 2 years of a 10 year sentence in jail.

The party-goers were minors. The party was videotaped. The shit hit the fan when a 17 year old girl and Wilson had sex. The next morning she claimed that she was raped by Wilson. The videotape showed that the girl, while clearly buzzed, did not try to stop Wilson. He was not charged with rape. In Georgia, consensual intercourse between minor aged teens is a misdemeanor. On the other hand, consensual oral sex between teenagers was a felony in Georgia at the time.

Several young men at the party received oral sex from a willing 15 year old girl at the party. Genarlow Wilson was one of them. He did not accept a plea bargain and expected to be acquitted after a trial. He wasn't. If he had accepted the plea bargain, he would have had to have registered as a sex offender which would have prohibited him from going home because he has an 8 year old sister. He would have been deemed a threat to his little sister. Instead he ended up in jail.

The young African-American teenaged honor student who had the misfortune of living in Georgia was sentenced to 10 years in jail and was charged with aggravated child molestation. Had he "merely" had intercourse with her, he would have been charged with a misdemeanor and a much lighter sentence would have been imposed.

The law in Georgia was then deemed so ridiculous after this case that in 2006 that the legislature changed it so that oral sex between consenting teenaged minors is now a misdemeanor. Genarlow Wilson's lawyer, ironically named B.J. Bernstein, appealed the case recently. Because the law was changed after the fact, Wilson could not use that as a defense but Bernstein maintained that serving 10 years in jail is unconstitutional under Georgia's Eight amendment which prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. The judge agreed and ordered Wilson released from jail on Monday and would not have to register as a sex offender. His sentence was changed to 12 months. Since he was already in jail for 2 years, he could go home.

But not so fast. Georgia state Attorney General Thurbert Baker, has filed an appeal. He wants a higher court to decide whether it has the power to commute Wilson's sentence to a sentence that didn't exist at the time of the "crime."

While technically he has a point, I contend that he is nitpicking, he should drop it already and spend tax payer money on prosecuting those who commit dangerous crimes. He is using the justice system to ruin a young once promising life. While criminal cases should not be determined by popular opinion, and Georgians are outraged by this case, including Jimmy Carter, it is clear that the law on the books at the time of Wilson's trial was poorly framed in the first place or the legislature wouldn't have changed it.

Let this boy carry on with his life or Georgia will be the laughing stock of the country.

Blondesense Liz is not an attorney, nor does she play one on TV (although her dad was.) She's a former teenager who remembers what it was like and currently the mother of a son.