November 2008 Archives

Chickens about to roost?

| | Comments (0)

Maybe if we hadn't spent the last 60 years arming the entire planet with WMDs or the materials and intelligence necessary to produce them, we would be facing a situation where we are now threatened ourselves by that dissemination.

The stupidity of this congressional report is that its conclusions have been obvious for decades and there is absolutely no way to prevent what it is worried about. Its simply too late. Its going to happen. But it will not be the end of the world...just another huge mess to clean up.

Panel Fears Use of Unconventional Weapon

By Eric Schmitt

An independent commission has concluded that terrorists will most likely carry out an attack with biological, nuclear or other unconventional weapons somewhere in the world in the next five years unless the United States and its allies act urgently to prevent that.

In a report to be released this week, the Congressionally mandated panel found that with countries like Iran and North Korea pursuing nuclear weapons programs, and with the risk of poorly secured biological pathogens growing, unconventional threats are fast outpacing the defenses arrayed to confront them.

"America's margin of safety is shrinking, not growing," the bipartisan panel concluded.

See: Experts say little can be done to stop trained gunmen from attacking hotels, the new magnets for terrorists.

The US Founded as a Christian Nation?

| | Comments (0)

I think not.

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries."

- Treaty of Tripoli, written by Joel Barlow in 1796, unanimously approved by the Senate and signed by President John Adams on June 7, 1797

Regarding the separation of Church and State we have some choice quotes from anoher President who was also a signatory of the US Constitution:

"It may not be easy, in every possible case, to trace the line of separation between the rights of religion and the Civil authority with such distinctness as to avoid collisions and doubts on unessential points. The tendency to unsurpastion on one side or the other, or to a corrupting coalition or alliance between them, will be best guarded agst. by an entire abstinence of the Gov't from interfence in any way whatsoever, beyond the necessity of preserving public order, and protecting each sect agst. trespasses on its legal rights by others."

- James Madison, "James Madison on Religious Liberty", edited by Robert S. Alley, ISBN 0-8975-298-X. pp. 237-238

"What influence, in fact, have ecclesiastical establishments had on society? In some instances they have been seen to erect a spiritual tyranny on the ruins of the civil authority; on many instances they have been seen upholding the thrones of political tyranny; in no instance have they been the guardians of the liberties of the people. Rulers who wish to subvert the public liberty may have found an established clergy convenient auxiliaries. A just government, instituted to secure and perpetuate it, needs them not."
- James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785

"Experience witnesseth that ecclesiastical establishments, instead of maintaining the purity and efficacy of religion, have had a contrary operation. During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution."
- James Madison, "A Memorial and Remonstrance", 1785

"Religious bondage shackles and debilitates the mind and unfits it for every noble enterprise."
- James Madison, letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

"Ecclesiastical establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects."
- James Madison, letter to Wm. Bradford, April 1, 1774

"The purpose of separation of church and state is to keep forever from these shores the ceaseless strife that has soaked the soil of Europe in blood for centuries."
- James, Madison, 1803 letter objecting use of government land for churches

And further, as signed by the 2nd President of the United States, whom also was a signatory on the Constitution:

"Art. 11. As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion; as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquillity, of Mussulmen; and, as the said States never entered into any war, or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties, that no pretext arising from religious opinions, shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries." - Treaty of Tripoli, written by Joel Barlow in 1796, unanimously approved by the Senate and signed by President John Adams on June 7, 1797

hat tip Vodka

I hear it all the time that

| | Comments (0)
Jesus Rocks


Two essential reads

| | Comments (2)

Both by new literary hero Terrance Heath

"Drop Dead" Conservatism, Part One

Drop Dead. That's the best answer that some conservatives have been able to offer to a country in teeth of the worst financial crisis we've faced in a generation. When the Wall Street crisis loomed and the bailout was being debated: let the market fail, and risk another Great Depression, "for the sake of the altar of the free market." Now, the economic downturn having worsened -- and in ways that are more deeply felt in parts of the country far from centers of financial or political power -- their response to rescuing the largest remnant of our manufacturing sector? "Drop Dead," and devil take the hindmost.

"Drop Dead" Conservatism, Part Two

Two phenomena define the "Drop Dead" conservatism that's arisen in response to the current financial crisis -- a failure of vision that distorts the reality in front of us, and an anger that is not merely destructive, but self destructive. Contemplating the abyss, "Drop Dead" conservatives respond by flinging themselves --and the rest of the country -- into it.

Thankful? Yes.

| | Comments (0)

Besides having made it thus far in my long life with all my fingers and toes still attached and all but one member of my loving family still with us, there is the joy of knowing that a man named Obama will soon be President and a man named Bush will not.

A Command of the Law

by Roger Cohen

It's Thanksgiving. I'm thankful for many things right now, despite the stock market, and first among them is the fact that the next U.S. commander in chief is a constitutional law expert and former law professor.

Before I get to why, allow me to add two other reasons for thankfulness. The first is that Barack Obama is a man of sufficient self-confidence to entrust the critical job of secretary of state to his former rival, Hillary Rodham Clinton. She has the strength and focus to produce results.

The second is that he's a man of sufficient good sense to retain the remarkable Robert Gates as defense secretary.

President Bush had one overriding criterion in choosing his inner circle: loyalty. The result was nobody would pull the plug on stupidity. Obama wants the kind of competence and brainpower that challenge him. The God-gut decision-making of The Decider got us in this mess. Getting out of it will require an Oval Office where smart dissent is prized.

But back to the law, which is what defines the United States, for it is a nation of laws. Or was until Bush, in the aftermath of 9/11, unfurled what the late historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. called "the most dramatic, sustained and radical challenge to the rule of law in American history."

There is no need to rehearse here the whole sordid history of the Bush administration's work on Vice President Dick Cheney's "dark side:" the "enhanced" interrogation techniques in "black sites" outside the United States justified by invocation of a "new paradigm" that rendered the Geneva Conventions "quaint."

When governments veer onto the dark side, language always goes murky. Direct speech makes dirty deeds too clear. A new paradigm sounds bland enough. What it meant was trashing habeas corpus.

I doubt least not right away. As is pointed out in the Rachel Maddow video below, Obama has an incredible amount on his plate right now. On the other hand, its essential to the fabric of the country that the Bush administration be eventually called to task for their war crimes in order to prevent their actions from becoming a matter of legal precedent.

So it goes.

For the second time this year, a Florida Circuit Court Judge has ruled that Florida's 30-year-old adoption ban is unconstitutional.

Today, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Cindy Lederman declared Florida's anti-gay adoption ban unconstitutional. In the 53-page ruling, Judge Lederman said, "It is clear that sexual orientation is not a predictor of a person's ability to parent.''

As a result of today's ruling, Frank Gill, a gay man from North Miami, will move forward with the adoption of his two foster sons, 8 and 4 year-old half brothers, whom he has raised since 2004.

Gill was represented by the ACLU of Florida while the Florida Attorney General's Office, representing the Department of Children and Families, opposed the adoption. Representatives of the Attorney General said they would file an appeal.

This past September, Florida Circuit Court Judge David J. Audlin Jr. also ruled Florida's infamous, anti-gay adoption ban "unconstitutional."

In his ruling, Judge Audlin said the ban violates the Constitution's separation of powers by preventing decisions from being made on a case-by-case basis, and for the betterment of each child. He added that the ban contradicts state law by singling out one group for punishment. Most importantly, Judge Audlin declared that this adoption was clearly in the child's best interest.

The adopted 13 year-old, who also has special needs and learning disabilities, has been raised in Key West by his openly gay foster parent since 2001 when the Department of Children and Families placed him there. Social work studies highly recommended the adoption, stating it was a "loving and nurturing home" with fair discipline and financial security. The boy has also testified at a recent hearing himself, saying that he wants the man to be his "forever father."

Equality Florida has been working with our legislative allies in Tallahassee for the past 3 year to undo the harm caused by Florida's anti-gay adoption ban. We are working toward the day when "best interest of the child" is the only criteria judges use to place children in loving, nurturing homes.

Today's ruling adds one more crack to the crumbling, bigoted foundation on which Florida's disgraceful, 30-year-old anti-gay adoption ban rests.

And the adult world view that is guiding Obama to select his cabinet members from both sides of the matter how much it grinds my "liberal-in-a-hurry" ass.

How does technology evolve?

| | Comments (0)

Like we did.

Tech enthusiast Kevin Kelly asks "What does technology want?" and discovers that its movement toward ubiquity and complexity is much like the evolution of life.

Hand Held Waterboarding

| | Comments (0)

Ever had 10,000 volts applied to your flesh for 5 seconds? How about repeatedly?
So how is being tasered like being waterboarded? Neither is supposed to leave any permanent damage.

Cops Raise Taser Safety Claims

by Abigail Goldman

Several cops got on their knees on a rubber gym mat (not gay porn, I promise). Kneeling in a line, they linked arms, interlaced hands, and looked up. All they knew of what comes next is this: It's going to smart.

TaserBadge.jpgThis was called the "daisy chain." It was part of the Metro Police Taser training program, the alternative to hitting a single individual with thousands of volts from the weapon. It was the option officer Lisa Peterson chose, a decision she regrets.

The officers were at a training seminar in November 2003 to learn how to use the newest weapon on their belts, a device the manufacturer claimed would incapacitate a person but not do permanent harm. You can't really comprehend the Taser, they were told, until you're Tasered.

So an instructor attached alligator clips to each end of the daisy chain. Two officers became electrical bookends, strung at the shoulder by wires feeding back into a Taser gun. Pull the trigger and the daisy chain shudders, seizes and pitches forward, the pile of police officers becoming a portrait of Taser's selling point: neuromuscular incapacitation.

In the middle of the chain, hands locked at her sides, Peterson had only her face to absorb the impact. She fell hard on her neck and fast into the rabbit hole - traumatic internal disc disruption, steroid injections, surgical reconstruction, temporomandibular derangement, persistent dizziness, cognitive defects, numbness, vertigo.

Officer Peterson sued Taser International Inc.

( ok, have it your way...for BAD gay porn!)

The New Barbie?

| | Comments (0)


Thinking caps on,, who would be the new Ken?

The Long Now Clock

| | Comments (0)

The Long Now Foundation

"When I was a child, people used to talk about what would happen by the year 2000. For the next thirty years they kept talking about what would happen by the year 2000, and now no one mentions a future date at all. The future has been shrinking by one year per year for my entire life. I think it is time for us to start a long-term project that gets people thinking past the mental barrier of an ever-shortening future. I would like to propose a large (think Stonehenge) mechanical clock, powered by seasonal temperature changes. It ticks once a year, bongs once a century, and the cuckoo comes out every millennium." - Stewart Brand



Saints of the Lesser Evil Terrain

| | Comments (0)

Shaking Hands with the Devil

Samantha Power tells a story of a complicated hero, Sergio Vieira de Mello . This UN diplomat walked a thin moral line, negotiating with the world's worst dictators to help their people survive crisis. It's a compelling story told with a fiery passion.

Power studies US foreign policy, especially as it relates to war and human rights. Her books take on the world's worst problems: genocide, civil war and brutal dictatorships.

Sergio Vieira de Mello : A Complicated Hero

Barrack and Evo

| | Comments (2)

Obama would do well to heed the moves of this guy...but will he?

"The world where the southern hemisphere of this continent lived and died according to the whims of the Yankee dollar no longer exists. Unfortunately, political buffoons in the U.S. government, still operate under this bankrupt assumption. Thus they are quite shocked (shocked!) to discover that there are plenty of countries in our own backyard who willing to say Thanks but No thanks, to our idiotic drug wars, and our idiotic trade policies. Is Barack Obama mature enough to come to grips and accept reality? Or will he be the latest in a long line promoting hegemonic hubris?" - thebeerdoctor

A View From the South

By Amy Goodman

Evo Morales knows about "change you can believe in." He also knows what happens when a powerful elite is forced to make changes it doesn't want.

Morales is the first indigenous president of Bolivia, the poorest country in South America. He was inaugurated in January 2006. Against tremendous internal opposition, he nationalized Bolivia's natural-gas fields, transforming the country's economic stability and, interestingly, enriching the very elite that originally criticized the move.

Yet last September, the backlash came to a peak. In an interview in New York this week, Morales told me: "The opposition, the right-wing parties ... decided to do a violent coup. ... They couldn't do it."

In response, presidents from South American nations met in Chile for an emergency summit, led by the two women presidents, Michelle Bachelet of Chile and Cristina Kirchner of Argentina. The group issued a statement condemning the violence and supporting Morales.

Morales continued in our interview: "The reason why I'm here in the U.S.: I want to express my respect to the international community, because everybody condemned the coup against democracy to the rule of law--everybody but the U.S., but the ambassador of the U.S. It's incredible."

After the attempted coup, Morales ejected U.S. Ambassador Philip Goldberg, declaring, "He is conspiring against democracy and seeking the division of Bolivia." Morales went on: "He used to call me the Andean bin Laden. And the coca growers, he used to call them Taliban. ... Permanently, from the State Department of the U.S., I have been accused of being a drug trafficker and a terrorist. And even now that I'm president, that continues on the part of the embassy. I know it does not come from the American people."

Black and Gay Civil Rights

| | Comments (0)

Some argue for dissimilarities saying, "Gays were not's not the same..."..

Others reply,"I guess gay people on their way to Auschwitz probably said to themselves, "well at least I won't have to pick cotton for no wages."

Re-Enchanting da Woild

| | Comments (0)

In Place Names, Old Meanings Made New

By Graham Bowley

Many of us may often possess an urge to see the world in fresh ways.

Two German cartographers have produced a set of maps -- The Atlas of True Names -- that claims to return many of the world's place names to their original linguistic meaning and renders that meaning into English, according to a report in the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel.

New York? "New Wild Boar Village."
(Apparently, York, in England, derives from the Old English eofor for wild boar and the Latin vicus for village.)
Great Britain? "Great Land of the Tatooed."
Halifax? "Remote Corner Where Rough Grass Grows."

According to Stephan Hormes, one of the creators of the atlas, "the names give you an insight into what the people saw when they first looked at a place, almost with the eyes of children."

Some of the translated names are more convincing than others, and The Lede does not vouch for the maps' accuracy, although a few of the equivalences have a ring of truth to them.

Chicago? "Stink Onion," after a Native American term for the smell of rotting marshland onions.
"City of Boatmen?" Paris, after an original Celtic word.
Grozny? "The Awesome."
Zimbabwe? "House of Stones."

What's the appeal of such renaming now? At turning points in history, such as this one, people may want to see and write the world afresh. Certainly, many critics of the Bush administration around the globe are hoping the world will look differently in a post-Bush glow.

Mr. Hormes, though, says his inspiration was more mundane: the resonant language of J.R.R. Tolkien's Middle Earth, the setting of "The Lord of the Rings," which seemed to translate the world into clearer, more simple terms.

Of course, that may be exactly the wish of the many Bush critics around the world for the Obama era.

"It's like some kind of re-enchantment of the world," said Mr. Hormes in an interview by phone from Lübeck ("The Lovely One"). "The world is connected via the internet. Everything is technical. There are big financial problems. Everybody seems exhausted. This gives back some of the childhood feeling."

More translated names:

Sahara? "Sea of Sand" (unsurprisingly).
Seine?"The Gentle One."
London? "Hill Fort."
Hong Kong? "Fragrant Port."
"Land of the Fire Keepers"? That would be Azerbaijan.

Who is Mr X?

| | Comments (0)

I can discern 3 of 4 characters in this sketch by Obama. From left to right, Mr X, Harry Reid, Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy. Who the heck is Mr X?

obamadoodle.gifIt looks like a $2,075 investment in a sketch by then-no-name artist and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama could really have paid off. The doodle, drawn as part of a 2007 "National Doodle Day" charity event, is now said to be worth in the six figures.

The Chicago Tribune:

This doodle by then-U.S. Sen. Barack Obama sold for $2,075 last year in a charity auction. Pictured are fellow Sens. Charles Schumer (from left), Harry Reid, Dianne Feinstein and Edward Kennedy.

Barack Obama has many talents, but only the most generous of critics would include art among them. Still, this doodle by the president-elect could be worth an amount many professional artists would envy.

Memorabilia collector Wayne Berzon of Northbrook paid $2,075 for the sketch during a 2007 online auction to benefit Neurofibromatosis Inc., a charity dedicated to the genetic research of tumors that form on nerves.

Now that Obama is set to be sworn in as the nation's 44th president in January, Berzon says an attorney tried to buy the piece this week on behalf of an unnamed client and told him it could fetch six figures on the open market.

A Lovely Thought

| | Comments (0)

...especially on this anniversary of JFK's assassination.

Time for Him to Go

By Gail Coillins

Thanksgiving is next week, and President Bush could make it a really special holiday by resigning.

Seriously. We have an economy that's crashing and a vacuum at the top. Bush -- who is currently on a trip to Peru to meet with Asian leaders who no longer care what he thinks -- hasn't got the clout, or possibly even the energy, to do anything useful. His most recent contribution to resolving the fiscal crisis was lecturing representatives of the world's most important economies on the glories of free-market capitalism.

Putting Barack Obama in charge immediately isn't impossible. Dick Cheney, obviously, would have to quit as well as Bush. In fact, just to be on the safe side, the vice president ought to turn in his resignation first. (We're desperate, but not crazy.) Then House Speaker Nancy Pelosi would become president until Jan. 20. Obviously, she'd defer to her party's incoming chief executive, and Barack Obama could begin governing.

As a bonus, the Pelosi presidency would put a woman in the White House this year after all. On the downside, a few right-wing talk-show hosts might succumb to apoplexy. That would, of course, be terrible, but I'm afraid we might have to take the risk in the name of a greater good.

Can I see a show of hands? How many people want George W. out and Barack in?

A little light in a huge darkness

| | Comments (0)

Besides the use torture itself, nothing has so besmirched the reputation of the US worldwide and among its own citizenry than the existence of the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp. The NY Times has done its homework not just with the following article but also in revealing just who the detainees are.

Judge Declares Five Detainees Held Illegally

By William Glaberson

A federal judge issued the Bush administration a sharp setback on Thursday, ruling that five Algerian men have been held unlawfully at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp for nearly seven years and ordering their release.

It was the first hearing on the government's evidence for holding detainees at Guantánamo. The judge, Richard J. Leon of Federal District Court in Washington, said the government's secret evidence in the case had been weak: what he described as "a classified document from an unnamed source" for its central claim against the men, with little way to measure credibility.

"To rest on so thin a reed would be inconsistent with this court's obligation," Judge Leon said. He urged the government not to appeal and said the men should be released "forthwith."

The habeas corpus case was an important test of the administration's detention policies, which critics have long argued swept up innocent men and low-level foot soldiers along with hardened fighters and terrorist commanders.

The judge also ruled that a sixth Algerian man was being lawfully detained because he was a facilitator for Al Qaeda, arranging travel for others to fight the United States, and planned to become a fighter himself.

The six men are among a group of Guantánamo inmates who won a 5-to-4 Supreme Court ruling in June that the detainees had a constitutional right to seek their release in federal court. The decision said a 2006 law unconstitutionally stripped them of their right to contest their imprisonment in habeas corpus lawsuits.

A weeklong hearing for the Algerians, in which all of the evidence was heard in proceedings that were closed to the public, was the first in which the Justice Department was required to present its full justification for holding specific detainees since the Supreme Court ruling.

Judge Leon, in a ruling from the bench, said the information gathered on the men had been sufficient for intelligence purposes but not for the court.

Persuadable by Evidence

| | Comments (0)

If anything makes for a good administrator and was (is) completely lacking by Bush and his dismal coterie of Should-Be-Cons. its the ability to alter policy based on new evidence. Bush's damn-the-facts and stay-the-course-even-as-the-death-meteor-is-impacting-the-planet routine has clearly failed us in the biggest ways possible. Is there a president or administration that can be brought to mind which has caused more ruin to everything it has touched? The entire problem with conservative thought is that it is based on a rigid set of principles that attempts to block change no matter how desperately it might be needed.

when the lights go out in the city
don't the future come to mind
if those bureau-cats seem so thoughtless
well, we should not be so surprised
they'll tell us "Let the bridges fall down,
the best is yet to come!
Just sit and wait for the great quake,
now, wouldn't that be fun?"
-- culheath "Talkshow"

The contrast between Bush and Obama in this regard could not be greater. David Brooks points to this fact below.

The Insider's Crusade

by David Brooks

Jan. 20, 2009, will be a historic day. Barack Obama (Columbia, Harvard Law) will take the oath of office as his wife, Michelle (Princeton, Harvard Law), looks on proudly. Nearby, his foreign policy advisers will stand beaming, including perhaps Hillary Clinton (Wellesley, Yale Law), Jim Steinberg (Harvard, Yale Law) and Susan Rice (Stanford, Oxford D. Phil.).

The domestic policy team will be there, too, including Jason Furman (Harvard, Harvard Ph.D.), Austan Goolsbee (Yale, M.I.T. Ph.D.), Blair Levin (Yale, Yale Law), Peter Orszag (Princeton, London School of Economics Ph.D.) and, of course, the White House Counsel Greg Craig (Harvard, Yale Law).

This truly will be an administration that looks like America, or at least that slice of America that got double 800s on their SATs. Even more than past administrations, this will be a valedictocracy -- rule by those who graduate first in their high school classes. If a foreign enemy attacks the United States during the Harvard-Yale game any time over the next four years, we're screwed.

Already the culture of the Obama administration is coming into focus. Its members are twice as smart as the poor reporters who have to cover them, three times if you include the columnists. They typically served in the Clinton administration and then, like Cincinnatus, retreated to the comforts of private life -- that is, if Cincinnatus had worked at Goldman Sachs, Williams & Connolly or the Brookings Institution. So many of them send their kids to Georgetown Day School, the posh leftish private school in D.C. that they'll be able to hold White House staff meetings in the carpool line.

And yet as much as I want to resent these overeducated Achievatrons (not to mention the incursion of a French-style government dominated by highly trained Enarchs), I find myself tremendously impressed by the Obama transition.

The fact that they can already leak one big appointee per day is testimony to an awful lot of expert staff work. Unlike past Democratic administrations, they are not just handing out jobs to the hacks approved by the favored interest groups. They're thinking holistically -- there's a nice balance of policy wonks, governors and legislators. They're also thinking strategically. As Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute notes, it was smart to name Tom Daschle both the head of Health and Human Services and the health czar. Splitting those duties up, as Bill Clinton did, leads to all sorts of conflicts.

Most of all, they are picking Washington insiders. Or to be more precise, they are picking the best of the Washington insiders.

About those CEO Bonuses

| | Comments (1)

Not only are they intuitively wrong, but they apparently don't work the way you might think.

What's the Value of a Big Bonus?

by Dan Ariely

BY withholding bonuses from their top executives, Goldman Sachs and UBS may soften negative reaction from Congress and the public if their earnings reports in December are poor, as is expected. But will they also suffer because their executives, lacking the motivation that big bonuses are thought to provide, will not do their jobs well?

Of course, there are many reasons to be disgusted with executive pay. It feels unfair that so many people make so much money managing our money, and it is often difficult to see how their talent and abilities justify their compensation. We find it particularly offensive when executives receive high bonuses after disastrous performances. But doesn't the promise of a big bonus push people to work to the best of their ability?

To look at this question, three colleagues and I conducted an experiment. We presented 87 participants with an array of tasks that demanded attention, memory, concentration and creativity. We asked them, for instance, to fit pieces of metal puzzle into a plastic frame, to play a memory game that required them to reproduce a string of numbers and to throw tennis balls at a target. We promised them payment if they performed the tasks exceptionally well. About a third of the subjects were told they'd be given a small bonus, another third were promised a medium-level bonus, and the last third could earn a high bonus.

We did this study in India, where the cost of living is relatively low so that we could pay people amounts that were substantial to them but still within our research budget. The lowest bonus was 50 cents -- equivalent to what participants could receive for a day's work in rural India. The middle-level bonus was $5, or about two weeks' pay, and the highest bonus was $50, five months' pay.

What would you expect the results to be?

Does God Have a crew cut?

| | Comments (2)

Those fundies that pick and choose the Bible verses they keep squirting at us in order to rationalize their various hates and phobias can use a dose of the following Bible imperatives:

Bible verses that even fundamentalists don't take literally

This one's for Palin:

  • "Women should be silent in the churches, for they are not permitted to speak, but should be submissive, as the law also says." (1 Corinthians 14:34)

Didn't Jefferson and Jesus had long hair? I've never pictured God with a crew cut.

  • "Judge for yourselves: Is it proper for a woman to pray to God with her head uncovered? Does not even nature itself teach you that if a man has long hair it is a disgrace to him, but that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her as a covering." (1 Corinthians 11:13-15)
  • How many couples marry as virgins today?

  • "If any man takes a wife, and goes in on her, and detests her, and charges her with shameful conduct, and brings a bad name on her, and says, 'I took this woman, and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin..." (Deuteronomy 22:13,14)
  • "But if ... evidences of virginity are not found for the young woman, then they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death with stones..." (Deuteronomy 22:20,21)
  • For the masturbators among us, male and female alike

  • "If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off. It is better for you to enter into life maimed, rather than having two hands, to go to hell, into the fire that shall never be quenched." (Mark 9:43)
  • What...the Bible sanctions slavery?

  • "Slaves, obey your human masters with fear and trembling, in the sincerity of your heart, as to Christ." (Ephesians 6:5)

  • "Slaves, obey your human masters in everything; don't work only while being watched, in order to please men, but work wholeheartedly, fearing the Lord." (Colassians 3:22)

  • "Slaves are to be submissive to their masters in everything, and to be well-pleasing, not talking back ." (Titus 2:9)

  • "Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel." (1 Peter 2:18)
  • There are hundreds more, but I rest my case.

    Naomi Klein: Disaster Capitalism

    Zinn: Bailout is trickle-down theory magnified

    What I find interesting is the idea that the "shock" of the financial crises allowed for the transition to Obama's election and a turn toward acceptance of more socialistic approach.. In other words what the neo-con and free marketers unleashed came back to bite them.

    Klan Loses Law Suit

    | | Comments (6)


    Watch the video at the end of the article to see how these morons think. Its sad and pathetic.

    Jury awards $2.5 million to teen beaten by Klan members

    By Ann O'Neill

    A jury awarded $2.5 million in damages on Friday to a Kentucky teenager who was severely beaten by members of a Ku Klux Klan group because they mistakenly thought he was an illegal Latino immigrant, the Southern Poverty Law Center said.

    klanvictim.jpgThe jury found that the Imperial Klans of America and its founder wrongfully targeted 16-year-old Jordan Gruver, an American citizen of Panamanian and Native-American descent.

    The verdict included $1.5 million in compensatory damages and $1 million in punitive damages against "Imperial Wizard" Ron Edwards.

    The law center said before the verdict that a large damage award could break the Klan group, allowing the teen and the law center to seize the group's assets, including its headquarters, a 15-acre compound in Dawson Springs, Kentucky.

    "We look forward to collecting every dime that we can for our client and to putting the Imperial Klans of America out of business," said SPLC founder and chief trial attorney Morris Dees, who tried the case.

    Gruver, backed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, filed the personal injury lawsuit last year seeking up to $6 million in damages from the Imperial Klans of America and two of its leaders -- Edwards and "Grant Titan" Jarred R. Hensley.

    An all-white jury of seven men and seven women deliberated for five hours after three days of testimony. The suit alleged that Edwards, Hensley, and the Imperial Klans of America as a whole incited its members to use violence against minorities.

    "The people of Meade County, Kentucky, have spoken loudly and clearly. And what they've said is that ethnic violence has no place in our society, that those who promote hate and violence will be held accountable and made to pay a steep price," Dees said.

    klan2.jpgAccording to testimony, three members of the Klan group confronted Gruver in July 2006 during a recruiting mission at the Meade County Fair in Brandenberg, Kentucky. They taunted him with ethnic slurs -- inaccurate ones -- spat on him and doused him with alcohol .Two of the men, including Hensley, knocked Gruver to the ground and repeatedly struck and kicked him.

    "All I could see was a bunch of feet," Gruver, now 19, told the jury. "As they were kicking me, I prayed to myself. I said, 'God, just please let me go. Please let me make it home.' "

    When the blows stopped, Gruver had a broken jaw, broken left forearm, two cracked ribs and cuts and bruises.

    He testified that he has suffered permanent nerve damage and psychological trauma. He doesn't leave his house and rarely sleeps more than two hours at a time because he has nightmares.

    Blood from Stone

    | | Comments (0)

    American workers having been taking it up the ass so long by their employers that most don't even notice it anymore.

    Wage Theft Exposed

    Isaiah J. Poole

    Millions of workers are being robbed every payday, and the federal watchdogs that are supposed to be keeping this from happening are snoozing on the job.

    Kim Bobo, the executive director of Interfaith Worker Justice, took her fight against what she calls "wage theft" this week to the Department of Labor, where she said the Bush administration has failed to enforce laws that safeguard worker salaries and prosecute offenders.

    In this interview, she explains how wage theft happens and what the next administration and Congress has to do to undo the neglect of the Bush administration, which Bobo said has refused to seek adequate federal resources to police violations.

    The Delta 32 Cure for Aids

    | | Comments (1)

    In 10 years AIDS will likely have been conquered by a genetic mutation in the human genes that causes resistence to the HIV virus.

    Rare Treatment Is Reported to Cure AIDS Patient

    By Donald G. McNeil Jr

    Doctors in Berlin are reporting that they cured a man of AIDS by giving him transplanted blood stem cells from a person naturally resistant to the virus.

    But while the case has novel medical implications, experts say it will be of little immediate use in treating AIDS. Top American researchers called the treatment unthinkable for the millions infected in Africa and impractical even for insured patients in top research hospitals.

    "It's very nice, and it's not even surprising," said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. "But it's just off the table of practicality."

    The patient, a 42-year-old American resident in Germany, also has leukemia, which justified the high risk of a stem-cell transplant. Such transplants require wiping out a patient's immune system, including bone marrow, with radiation and drugs; 10 to 30 percent of those getting them die.

    "Frankly, I'd rather take the medicine," said Dr. Robert C. Gallo, director of the Institute of Human Virology at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, referring to antiretroviral drugs.

    Moreover, the chances of finding a donor who is a good tissue match for the patient and also has the rare genetic mutation that confers resistance to H.I.V., the virus that causes AIDS, are extremely small. Nonetheless, the man has been free of the virus for 20 months even though he is not using antiretroviral drugs, and the success in his case is evidence that a long-dreamed-of therapy for AIDS -- injecting stem cells that have been genetically re-engineered with the mutation -- might work.

    The cure was announced Wednesday by Dr. Gero Hütter and Dr. Eckhard Thiel, blood-cancer specialists at Charité Hospital in Berlin. The case was described last week in The Wall Street Journal.

    World Joy: Obama President

    | | Comments (0)

    Countdown to Victory Blog

    A fun site which provides videos of CNN's countdown to Obama's win triggering the same reaction at parties around the world.

    The Republicans have taken too much of their own kool aid.

    Americans OK with Democrats in charge, poll suggests


    In a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday, 59 percent of those questioned think that Democratic control of both the executive and legislative branches will be good for the country, with 38 percent saying that such one-party control will be bad....

    Suing Supremacists Silly

    | | Comments (4)

    I love this. Its hard to believe that morons like the Klan still exist.
    Its time to put them to rest in whatever way possible.

    Lawsuit seeks to bankrupt the Ku Klux Klan

    (CNN) -- It was a mismatch from the start: a 16-year-old boy, 5-feet, 3-inches tall and 150 pounds, against two reputed Ku Klux Klansmen, the biggest standing 6-feet, 5-inches and tipping the scales at 300 pounds.
    Jarred Helmsley is shown in Klan garb in a photo posted on the Southern Poverty Law Center's Web site.

    Jordan Gruver, an American citizen of Panamanian descent, took a beating that July day in 2006 at the Meade County fair in Brandenberg, Kentucky. He was called names, spat upon, doused with alcohol, knocked to the ground and punched and kicked.

    When the blows stopped, Gruver had a broken jaw and left forearm, two cracked ribs and cuts and bruises.

    Now, with the weight of the Southern Poverty Law Center behind him, Gruver is fighting back in a civil courtroom. Gruver and the center are suing the Imperial Klans of America, and they hope to win damages large enough to put the supremacist group out of business.

    An all-white jury -- seven men and seven women -- was chosen Wednesday to hear Gruver's lawsuit against the Klan and two of its members. They are identified in court papers as "Imperial Wizard" Ron Edwards, and Jarred R. Hensley, the Ohio Klan's "Grand Titan."

    Two others -- Joshua Cowles, the Klan's "Exalted Cyclops," and Andrew W. Watkins, the Klan's "Imperial Gothi" and webmaster -- have settled out of court, according to a pretrial brief.

    The lawsuit identifies Cowles, Hensley and Watkins as the men who confronted Gruver and insulted him with ethnic epithets while on a recruiting mission at the fair. Hensley and Watkins, the suit alleges, knocked Gruver to the ground and repeatedly struck and kicked him.

    The two men already have gone through the criminal courts, striking plea bargains and serving time in the Kentucky state prison system, according to court documents. The others were named as defendants because the Montgomery, Alabama-based center identified them as Klan officers at the time.

    Opening statements began under tight security. The center's co-founder, Morris Dees, alleged that Edwards "sent his agents out on a mission," adding, "It was while that mission that Jordan was hurt."

    * PDF: Read the lawsuit

    Edwards, who is representing himself, told the jury he would prove he had nothing to do with the attack.

    "I'll prove that I teach them not to go out and commit violence," he said in his opening statement. "I'll prove I did not know they were there."

    He added, "I stay within the law. I don't break the law."

    At an earlier court deposition, Edwards demonstrated his contempt for the center and its lawsuit by tattooing a profane reference to it on his freshly shaved head.

    Hensley, who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, told CNN affiliate WAVE on Wednesday that he already has paid a price for something he didn't do. He said the legal system was "corrupt," but that he was at the trial "because the law told me." He also is representing himself. Video Watch what Hensley has to say »

    The lawsuit alleges that Edwards, the supremacist group's founder, uses money from Klan dues, contributions and merchandise sales "as his own personal funds."

    He lives in a trailer on the Klan's heavily guarded, gated compound in rural Dawson Springs, Kentucky. The compound is the site of the Klan's annual white power rally and music festival, know as "Nordic Fest," according to the suit.

    It was at the compound, the suit alleges, that the Klan incited its members to use violence against minorities.

    The center is seeking to win a judgment that would allow it to seize up to $6 million in assets.

    "We want to win justice for Jordan to compensate him for his injuries and put this group out of business," said center spokesman Booth Gunter. "We've won a number of these suits in the past."

    In 2000, for example, the center won a $6.3 million jury verdict that forced Aryan Nations leader Richard Butler to give up the group's Idaho compound. In 1987, a $7 million verdict in Mobile, Alabama, targeted the United Klans of America.

    Richard Cohen, the law center's president, said, "The Imperial Klans of America is one of the largest Klan organizations in the country. It promotes violence and intimidation against racial and ethnic minorities, homosexuals and so-called 'race traitors.' While on a recruiting mission, members of this organization targeted and viciously beat our client solely because he has brown skin.

    "Our lawsuit seeks justice and compensation for the victim of this brutal hate crime. We also hope that the monetary damages will be sufficient to put the organization out of business and send a strong message to other hate groups and their followers that this type of racial violence will not be tolerated."

    The center says the Imperial Klans of America is the second largest KKK group after the Brotherhood of Klans, based in Marion, Ohio.

    Estimates of its total membership vary widely, but the center says it has about 23 chapters in 17 states.

    Gunter said Edwards' son, Steve, runs another group called the Supreme White Alliance, which has ties to two supremacists accused in a plot to don white tuxedos and assassinate Barack Obama.

    Today's quote

    | | Comments (0)

    ...comes from one of my favorite beings of all time... greensmile:

    Those tears you saw in Jesse Jackson's eyes Tuesday night in Chicago were one eloquent moment of video worth a thousand books that made me forgive TV its generally pandering to least common denominator viewer.

    There is a constituency, not precisely defined by their skin color, but by the tears they too had in their eyes at America finally living up to it's potential to do the right thing. This is a constituency to watch.


    Which is exactly why I ignore most of the mainstream punditry. The immediate post-election crap from the conservative pundit camp has been their insistence that Obama's win doesn't equal a mandate because America is still a center-right constituency is a prime example of their desperation to cling to the old myths. The founding of America itself was a progressive act, not a conservative one.

    The election of Obama is "proof in the pudding" that most Americans want progress not fearful restraint. Hopefully, the election indicates that Americans are becoming more aware of the conservative hype and propaganda of the last 50 years that has brought the country to near ruin.

    America Is a Center-Left Country No Matter How Much the Corporate Media Say Otherwise

    By Joshua Holland, AlterNet

    The American people are center-left (or at least firmly in the center) on the primary matters over which government presides: taxation and debt, public services, the regulation of the economy and America's role in the world.

    But that hasn't stopped a lot of bloviating to the contrary. Only moments after the networks declared Barack Obama the winner of a dramatic realignment election, William Bennett, the conservative icon, declared on CNN that "America is still a center-right nation, no matter what anybody says."

    Implied was that it also didn't matter what exit polls, mountains of public opinion data, shifts in partisan identification and changes in the country's demographics say. That stuff's apparently for the "reality-based" community to worry about.

    Reality: an Election Day poll by the Center for American Progress and the Campaign for America's Future asked whether Republicans had lost because they were too conservative or not conservative enough. By a twenty point margin, voters chose "too conservative", including independents who agreed by a 21 point margin. Seven out of ten said they wanted the Republicans to work with Obama and "help him achieve his plans," while fewer than a quarter of respondents thought the GOP should try to keep him from implementing a progressive agenda.

    That didn't prevent conservatives, desperate to spin a shellacking at the ballot box, from insisting that the contrary is true. House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) wrote a letter to his despondent -- and shrinking -- GOP caucus insisting that "Democrats should not make the mistake of viewing Tuesday's results as a repudiation of conservatism." And Republican Senator Jim DeMint (North Carolina) had the chutzpah to say that the lopsided election results only proved that "the American people agree with our ideas..."

    These are nonsensical talking-points, but as journalist Matt Taibbi told Bill Maher at the height of the campaign, "You can run just about any bullshit up the flag pole, and the mainstream media will simply stand there and salute it, and repeat it seemingly within minutes."

    That didn't prevent conservatives, desperate to spin a shellacking at the ballot box, from insisting that the contrary is true. House Minority Leader John Boehner (Ohio) wrote a letter to his despondent -- and shrinking -- GOP caucus insisting that "Democrats should not make the mistake of viewing Tuesday's results as a repudiation of conservatism." And Republican Senator Jim DeMint (North Carolina) had the chutzpah to say that the lopsided election results only proved that "the American people agree with our ideas..."

    These are nonsensical talking-points, but as journalist Matt Taibbi told Bill Maher at the height of the campaign, "You can run just about any bullshit up the flag pole, and the mainstream media will simply stand there and salute it, and repeat it seemingly within minutes."

    Related: The Center-Left Nation

    Future Engineers

    | | Comments (0)

    Hat tip to Mr Baker:

    Kids at play

    What could be less true?

    | | Comments (0)


    U.S. Ambassador Says Canadians Will Miss Bush More Than They Think

    Canadians are going to miss President George W. Bush, says David Wilkins, U.S. ambassador to Canada.

    Bush has done much for Canada while in office, said Wilkins who will return home to South Carolina after President-elect Barack Obama takes over on Jan. 20.

    Calling Bush a personal friend, Wilkins said Canadians have benefited because Bush has kept North America safe, strongly supported free trade, and responded to issues, including Canada's softwood lumber exports and border security.

    Polls show Canadians overwhelmingly supported Obama and thought that Bush was "not necessarily a friend of Canada."

    A longtime Republican state legislator, Wilkins said that Canadians "are going to miss George Bush more than they think they are."

    Prime Minister Stephen Harper called Obama's victory a "truly inspiring moment" signifying an "era of possibility."

    He spoke with Obama by phone to offer his congratulations and mentioned the "strong friendship" between the two countries.

    "Our most important international relationship is always with the United States for all kinds of reasons, whether it's on environment and energy, the economy and the financial crisis, or on international peace and security issues, particularly Afghanistan," Harper said.

    Act Quickly, Go Big

    | | Comments (0)

    Krugman urges Obama to out do FDR's New Deal.

    Franklin Delano Obama?

    By Paul Krugman

    Suddenly, everything old is New Deal again. Reagan is out; F.D.R. is in. Still, how much guidance does the Roosevelt era really offer for today's world?

    The answer is, a lot. But Barack Obama should learn from F.D.R.'s failures as well as from his achievements: the truth is that the New Deal wasn't as successful in the short run as it was in the long run. And the reason for F.D.R.'s limited short-run success, which almost undid his whole program, was the fact that his economic policies were too cautious.

    About the New Deal's long-run achievements: the institutions F.D.R. built have proved both durable and essential. Indeed, those institutions remain the bedrock of our nation's economic stability. Imagine how much worse the financial crisis would be if the New Deal hadn't insured most bank deposits. Imagine how insecure older Americans would feel right now if Republicans had managed to dismantle Social Security.

    Can Mr. Obama achieve something comparable? Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama's new chief of staff, has declared that "you don't ever want a crisis to go to waste." Progressives hope that the Obama administration, like the New Deal, will respond to the current economic and financial crisis by creating institutions, especially a universal health care system, that will change the shape of American society for generations to come.

    But the new administration should try not to emulate a less successful aspect of the New Deal: its inadequate response to the Great Depression itself.

    Now, there's a whole intellectual industry, mainly operating out of right-wing think tanks, devoted to propagating the idea that F.D.R. actually made the Depression worse. So it's important to know that most of what you hear along those lines is based on deliberate misrepresentation of the facts. The New Deal brought real relief to most Americans.

    That said, F.D.R. did not, in fact, manage to engineer a full economic recovery during his first two terms. This failure is often cited as evidence against Keynesian economics, which says that increased public spending can get a stalled economy moving. But the definitive study of fiscal policy in the '30s, by the M.I.T. economist E. Cary Brown, reached a very different conclusion: fiscal stimulus was unsuccessful "not because it does not work, but because it was not tried."

    And you wonder how we got here

    | | Comments (0)

    "Those who don't know their history are doomed to repeat it." - George Santayana

    Let's look back 20, 40 and then 60 years to understand how 9/11 and the Bush administration came to be.

    Christian Love

    | | Comments (0)

    Monks brawl before religious ceremony

    monks.jpgJERUSALEM (CNN) -- An unusual sight greeted Jerusalem police as they entered one of Christianity's holiest sites Sunday morning: dozens of monks punching and kicking each other in a massive brawl.

    Monks from the Greek Orthodox and Armenian denominations were preparing for a ceremony at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in the Old City when a disagreement led to a full-fledged fist fight.

    Many among the dozens of monks came away with cuts and bruises, said police spokesman Mickey Rosenfeld.

    Officers were called to the scene to break up the brawl. They detained two monks, one from each denomination, Rosenfeld said.

    The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem is thought to be built on the site of Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection.

    Rivalries between the different sects that share control of the church often lead to tensions between the sides.

    From CNN's iReport

    I said this back in March of 2004:

    The Solution to the Gay Marriage Debate

    The problem is a semantic one; a problem of meanings; a problem of language.

    The transitive verb:

    mar-ry v. -ried, -ry-·ing, -ries.

    1. To join as spouses by exchanging vows.
    2. To take as a spouse.
    3. To give in marriage.
    4. To perform a marriage ceremony for: The rabbi married the couple.
    5. To obtain by marriage: marry money.
    6. Nautical: To join (two ropes) end to end by interweaving their strands.

    7. To unite in a close, usually permanent way: "His material marries the domestic and the exotic".

    Note that none of the above definitions speak to either gender nor religion

    But the term ceremony itself can be used without religious context; a "graduation ceremony" for example. Therefore a marriage ceremony can be based on either a religious (sacred) or a non-religious (secular) premise.

    This distinction is at the heart of the argument...along with the constitutional clause demanding separation of church and state.

    Simple enough.

    However, there is third concept involved which causes confusion and tends to make the distinctions less clear.

    Two people cannot be considered married just because they exchange vows or sign a piece of paper which gives them licence or allows them to marry getting a marriage licence does NOT make you married). Nor can they be considered married even if those vows are witnessed by kith and kin. The marriage contract occurs legally only when a person who has been invested with the authority by the state declares the couple married.

    For a majority of Americans who get married, this person invested with the state authority to make their marriage legal will be a member of the clergy of some recognized religion. This means that the two otherwise distinct forms of marriage are blended into one ceremony; both the sacred and the bureaucratic are combined.

    This investment of state authority is in itself is a breach of the separation of church and state clause, but because it has gone on for so long, it seems completely normal and is almost never questioned.

    If the religious aspect of marriage is removed from the equation and we are speaking only of civil marriages, all of the arguments used by the religious right or by those proposing a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage, as when Dubya referenced "cultural, religious and natural" traditions, are meaningless. And without those arguments, there is simply no rational reason not to allow same-sex couples to marry in a civil ceremony to make their relationship contractually legal in order, if for no other reason, that they be eligible to fulfill their legal responsibilities and pursue whatever advantages marriages bestows on married heterosexual couples, as citizens equal under the law.

    The solution then is to remove the investment of state authority from the clergy and reclarify the distinctions between the two types of marriage.
    Let all those who desire to be married legally to do so through a state appointed bureaucratic agent.

    Those who desire to add a layer of sacredness according to the lights of their religion may do so freely.

    Nothing will change or threaten the institution of marriage at all if this were done.
    As it is heterosexual people who get married in civil ceremonies, such as the Las Vegas weddings, are not seen as threatening to the institution of marriage, so why should the civil marriage ceremony of same-sex partners be considered any more of a threat?

    Also read about why "Civil Unions" are NOT equal to "Civil Marriage" :
    Civil Unions vs Civil Marriage

    A New New Deal

    | | Comments (0)

    Krugman asserts that Obama should ignore the naysayers of his progressive policies.

    The Obama Agenda

    By Paul Krugman

    Tuesday, Nov. 4, 2008, is a date that will live in fame (the opposite of infamy) forever. If the election of our first African-American president didn't stir you, if it didn't leave you teary-eyed and proud of your country, there's something wrong with you.

    But will the election also mark a turning point in the actual substance of policy? Can Barack Obama really usher in a new era of progressive policies? Yes, he can.

    Difference Map

    | | Comments (0)

    Showing blue where Obama made significant increases over 2004 votes for Kerry.

    election map.jpg

    Everybody Loves Obama

    | | Comments (0)

    Bill Maher says he thinks the liberal, diverse America may now be the real America.

    A pleasant thought. One that can be used to dampen the dread that some part of America would have him shot dead.

    But no. I'd rather bask in the historic glow of ideals defeating fear. And so I promise myself to deflate that killing image and practice it out of my world view.

    Am I paranoid?

    | | Comments (14)

    Its not a big leap to wonder if the "foreign entity as hacker" is not a ruse that the Republicans used to front a desperate grab for tactical info. Of course they would hack both campaigns as a diversion.

    Obama, McCain campaigns' computers hacked for policy data

    (CNN) -- Computers at the headquarters of the Barack Obama and John McCain campaigns were hacked during the campaign by a foreign entity looking for future policy information, a source with knowledge of the incidents confirms to CNN.

    The source said the computers were hacked mid-summer by either a foreign government or organization.

    Another source, a law enforcement official familiar with the investigation, says federal investigators approached both campaigns with information the U.S. government had about the hacking, and the campaigns then hired private companies to mitigate the problem.

    U.S. authorities, according to one of the sources, believe they know who the foreign entity responsible for the hacking is, but refused to identify it in any way, including what country.

    The source, confirming the attacks that were first reported by Newsweek, said the sophisticated intrusions appeared aimed at gaining information about the evolution of policy positions in order to gain leverage in future dealings with whomever was elected.

    The FBI is investigating, one of the sources confirmed to CNN. The FBI and Secret Service refused comment on the incidents.

    The sources refused to speak on the record due to the ongoing investigation and also because it is a sensitive matter involving presidential politics.

    As described by a Newsweek reporter with special access while working on a post-campaign special, workers in Obama's headquarters first detected what they thought was a computer virus that was trying to obtain users' personal information.

    The next day, agents from the FBI and Secret Service came to the office and said, "You have a problem way bigger than what you understand ... you have been compromised, and a serious amount of files have been loaded off your system."

    One of the sources told CNN the hacking into the McCain campaign computers occurred around the same time as the breach into those of Obama's campaign.

    Representatives of the campaigns could not be reached for comment on the matter.

    He is a great man

    | | Comments (0)

    who has made our country greater by defeating what made us smaller.

    'Change has come to America'

    Martin Luther King, Jr., who helped start the campaign that made this possible, used to note progress in Birmingham by telling supporters of a former slave who once said:

    "We ain't what ought to be, and we ain't what we want to be and we ain't what we're going to be. But thank God, we ain't what we was." That's a useful assessment of the nation's progress as well.

    It is this

    | | Comments (0)

    Ballot Study


    How safe are your children?

    | | Comments (0)

    How could this not be understandable?

    | | Comments (0)

    The New Poll Tax

    | | Comments (2)

    An excellent read

    | | Comments (0)

    The deliberate dumbing down of america
    by Charlotte Thomas Iserbyt
    ( a pdf book )

    A good genetic explanation

    | | Comments (1)

    ...for why a majority of smokers DON'T develop lung cancer even after a life time of smoking.

    Two lung cancer genes identified

    Scientists find genetic variations that hike risk of the disease by 60 percent

    Reuters - An international research team has identified two genetic variations that appear to increase a person's risk of developing lung cancer by up to 60 percent, they reported on Sunday.

    In April the same researchers identified another gene that raised lung cancer risk and they said their latest finding was relevant for both smokers and non-smokers.

    "We are looking at differences in the DNA that makes you more or less likely to develop lung cancer," said Paul Brennan, a cancer epidemiologist at the World Health Organisation's International Agency for Research on Cancer.

    H.R. 811

    | | Comments (0)

    Who's Getting Rich Off Prohibition?

    | | Comments (0)

    Besides all the international big cartels and banks that launder all the money...

    Just Look Who Opposes CA's Prop. 5

    by Paul Armentano

    You can learn a lot about the merits of a proposal by taking a good, hard look at who's lobbying against it.

    Take California's Proposition 5, the Nonviolent Offender Rehabilitation Act, which would require the diversion of certain non-violent offenders to drug treatment and increase funding for state-sponsored rehabilitation programs. The measure seeks to expand upon the alternative sentencing programs initially enacted by Proposition 36, which is estimated to have saved taxpayers some $1.7 billion dollars and reduced the number of people incarcerated for simple drug possession by one-third. So who would oppose this proposal?

    If you guessed: the folks who make their living arresting non-violent drug offenders, you'd be right! According to the 'No on 5' website, the California State Sheriff's Association, the California Narcotics Officers Association, the California Peace Officers Association, the Police Chiefs of California, and the California District Attorneys Association all oppose Prop. 5.

    However, even more disturbing is who's bankrolling the 'No on 5'campaign. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, California's powerful prison guards union has spent close to $2 million dollars to lobby against the passage of Prop. 5.

    After all, overcrowded prisons -- In 2007, California declared a 'state of emergency' in the prison system because of the lack of bed space -- and more prison construction (in lieu of building additional public high schools and state colleges) are a financial windfall for prison guards, even if they spell disaster for everyone else.

    In addition to expanding drug treatment in California, Prop. 5 would also reduce minor marijuana possession penalties from a misdemeanor (punishable by a $100 criminal fine with a criminal record) to a non-criminal infraction (punishable by a $100 civil fine with no criminal record). Now who would be against that?

    If you answered: the folks who make their living by possessing a monopoly on the sale of legal intoxicants, you'd be correct! According to the DPA, the California Beer and Beverage Distributors have donated $100,000 to the 'No on 5' campaign. Could it be that the alcohol lobby is fearful of the day when they will have to legally compete with a natural product that is remarkably safe, non-toxic, and won't leave you with a hangover? Do we even have to ask?

    So now that you know who's against Prop. 5, why not examine who is lobbying for it. That list would include the California Nurses Association, California Society of Addiction Medicine, the California League of Women Voters, and the California Academy of Family Physicians.

    In short, those who have dedicated their lives to helping others in need are backing Prop. 5, while those who have dedicated their careers to destroying people's lives (or who promote a product that does) vehemently oppose it. You do the math.

    Jail Bush and Cheney for Gitmo Alone

    | | Comments (0)

    If there were no other reason to put Bush and Cheney on trial for war crimes, the fact and legacy of Guantanamo is reason enough. To my mind, Bush and Cheney should be sentenced to the same punishment they have meted out to 6 innocent Algerians still being held there after charges against them have been dropped. As a start, 6 x 7 yrs = 42 years of incarceration for both of them.

    Six Held at Guantanamo After Plot Claim Is Dropped

    by Robert Fisk

    In the dying days of the Bush administration, yet another presidential claim in the "war on terror" has been proved false by the withdrawal of the main charge against six Algerians held without trial for nearly seven years at Guantanamo prison camp.

    George Bush's assertion in his 2002 State of the Union address - the same speech in which he wrongly claimed that Saddam Hussein had tried to import aluminium tubes from Niger - was that "our soldiers, working with the Bosnian government, seized terrorists who were plotting to bomb our embassy [in Sarajevo]." Not only has the US government withdrawn that charge against the six Algerians, all of whom had taken citizenship or residence in Bosnia, but lawyers defending the Arabs - who had already been acquitted of such a plot in a Sarajevo court - have found that the US threatened to pull its troops out of the Nato peacekeeping force in Bosnia if the men were not handed over. According to testimony presented by the Bosnian Prime Minister, Alija Behman, the deputy US ambassador to Bosnia in 2001, Christopher Hoh, told him that if he did not hand the men to the Americans, "then let God protect Bosnia and Herzegovina".

    That such a threat should be made - and the international High Representative to Bosnia at the time, Wolfgang Petritsch, has also told lawyers it was - shows for the first time just how ruthless and unprincipled US foreign policy had become in Mr Bush's "war on terror". By withdrawing their military and diplomatic support for the Bosnian peace process, the Americans would have backed out of the Dayton accord which they themselves had negotiated. Then the Bosnian government would have lost its legitimacy and the country might have collapsed back into a civil war which claimed the lives of tens of thousands of civilians and involved mass rape as well as massacre. The people of Bosnia might then have endured "terror" on a scale far greater than the attacks of al-Qa'ida against the United States.

    When the Bosnian court was preparing to release their six prisoners, Prime Minister Behman was informed that Mr Bush, Vice-President Richard Cheney and the Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, had been personally briefed and the White House had decided that, if they were freed, US troops in the Nato Stabilisation Force in Bosnia would seize them, using "whatever force is necessary". So, despite a three-month investigation by the Bosnian police, their clearance and a specific demand by the Dayton-established Bosnian Human Rights Chamber that they should not be forced to leave Bosnia, US forces seized all six, shackled and blindfolded them and put them on a plane to Guantanamo.

    The Damage to Come

    | | Comments (0)

    It seems impossible that Bush could do much more damage than he already has to the country. But look out! Like someone scorned, he seems to be on a path of vengance that knows no bounds.

    Bush Will Soon Be Free To Do Just What He Wants

    The raid on Syria is a dark portent. The current president has three long, unaccountable months to cement his legacy

    By Jonathan Freedland

    We are about to enter the twilight zone, that strange black hole in political time and space that appears no more than once every four years. It is known as the period of transition, and it starts a week from today, the time when the United States has not one president but two. One will be the president-elect, the other George Bush, in power for 12 more weeks in which he can do pretty much whatever he likes. Not only will he never again have to face voters, he won't even have to worry about damaging the prospects of his own party and its standard bearer (as if he has not damaged those enough already). From November 5 to January 20, he will exercise the freest, most unaccountable form of power the democratic world has to offer.

    How Bush might use it is a question that gained new force at the weekend, when US forces crossed the Iraqi border into Syria to kill Abu Ghadiya, a man they said had been funnelling "foreign fighters" allied to al-Qaida into Iraq. That American move has touched off a round of intense head-scratching around the world, as foreign ministers and analysts ask each other the time-honoured diplomatic query: what did they mean by that? To which they add the post-Nov 4 question: and what does it tell us about how Bush plans to use his final days in the White House?

    The Parting Theft

    | | Comments (0)

    While congress is on vacation and most everybody else has been focused on the election, BushCo and other wealthy conservatives have been busily raiding the treasury and adding a slew of deregulation of various industries.

    But the real rip-off has come from the Paulson bailout which has the potential to screw the US taxpayer for years to come. Congress needs to put a stop payment on the check already handed to the finance industry and take a good look at the treasury raiding Paulson has pulled off so far.

    The Bailout: Bush's Final Pillage

    by Naomi Klein

    In the final days of the election, many Republicans seem to have given up the fight for power. But that doesn't mean they are relaxing. If you want to see real Republican elbow grease, check out the energy going into chucking great chunks of the $700 billion bailout out the door. At a recent Senate Banking Committee hearing, Republican Senator Bob Corker was fixated on this task, and with a clear deadline in mind: inauguration. "How much of it do you think may be actually spent by January 20 or so?" Corker asked Neel Kashkari, the 35-year-old former banker in charge of the bailout.

    When European colonialists realized that they had no choice but to hand over power to the indigenous citizens, they would often turn their attention to stripping the local treasury of its gold and grabbing valuable livestock. If they were really nasty, like the Portuguese in Mozambique in the mid-1970s, they poured concrete down the elevator shafts.

    The Bush gang prefers bureaucratic instruments: "distressed asset" auctions and the "equity purchase program." But make no mistake: the goal is the same as it was for the defeated Portuguese--a final frantic looting of the public wealth before they hand over the keys to the safe.

    The Quagmire Obama Will Inherit

    | | Comments (0)

    Go watch Front Line's new program The War Briefing for a view of what sort of pressures and complexities will confront the next president. It will also make you realize just how much trouble we would be in if McCain were to be the guy in charge.


    How True How True

    | | Comments (0)

    Love the bean spilling...

    Concentrating the Wealth, Pt. 2

    by Terrance Heath

    A funny thing happened on the way to the bailout. A number of the members of the bucket brigade -- that's us, taxpayers -- realized that for all the billions of dollars worth of bailing we're doing, we still appear to be sinking. Our task seems to be keeping things afloat long enough for first class passengers to fill the lifeboats. And as the water rises, more of us are less content with apparent the "brokers and bankers first" rule.

    And let there be no doubt, as the U.S. economy looks like it's going down for the first time, "brokers and bankers first" is the rule.

    In the waning days of, well, everything from the George W. Bush era, to the Reagan era and 30 years of conservative rule -- as is often the case in a disaster -- men's true characters reveal themselves, and they reveal their intentions when they have little left to lose.

    It's heard in back channels, on conference calls when they believe no one from steerage class can hear them.

    How do you know that the Wall Street types were trying to steal from us, other than the fact that they said that the refusal to hand over money was akin to a terrorist act? Treasury officials had a secret conference call with Wall Street executives. Unfortunately for them, some bloggers were on the call. The 'Treasury boys' on the call made it clear that "the tranching is a mere formality, and the Treasury boys as much as said so. They could take the $700 billion max as soon as the bill has passed." That was always obvious.

    And they admitted that "the exec comp provisions sound like a joke, They DO NOT affect existing contracts, they affect only contracts entered into during the two years of the authority of this program and then affect only golden parachutes." Both of these provisions were 'concessions' sought by Democrats. Of course, no one could have predicted this bill's 'concessions' to Democrats were farcical. No one at all.

    And it can be heard in committee meetings, where there's strangely little concern that the news will drift down to steerage, when they essentially ask "How much do you think the take will be?"

    You really should read The REST

    Cheney backs McCain

    | | Comments (0)

    Tell me the Obama camp is not rejoicing.

    About this Archive

    This page is an archive of entries from November 2008 listed from newest to oldest.

    October 2008 is the previous archive.

    December 2008 is the next archive.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.