Out of the Mountains
Ramblings from a relocated and under-employed Southeastern Kentuckian. Liberal politics, art, music, movies, books,sports, games, whatever else strikes my fancy....Sad and strange the days that are no more...
Sunday, December 31, 2006
Dubya and "Fair Trials"
Funniest thing I've read today(so far). Dubya talking about Saddam Hussein and the lack of fair trials under his regime. Yes dubya, the man who's spent virtually his entire administration trying to seize the power to throw both US citizens and others in jail and throw away the keys. With no "trials", no appeals, no... Well, here's Glenn Greenwald who can state it much better than I.
The President's praise of fair trials and the rule of law
By Glenn Greenwald - President Bush today hailed the critical importance of fair trials and the rule of law . . . . in Iraq:
Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial -- the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.
Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein's tyrannical rule. It is a testament to the Iraqi people's resolve to move forward after decades of oppression that, despite his terrible crimes against his own people, Saddam Hussein received a fair trial. This would not have been possible without the Iraqi people's determination to create a society governed by the rule of law.
The President is certainly right that it is is a good thing that Saddam Hussein was given a trial, represented by lawyers, with an opportunity to contest his guilt, before being deemed to be guilty. That is how civilized countries function, by definition. In fact, allowing people fair trials before treating them as Guilty is one of the handful of defining attributes -- one could even say (as the American Founders did) a prerequisite -- for countries to avoid tyranny.
Continue at Unclaimed Territory:
Saturday, December 30, 2006
Riverbend: You Know Your Country is in Trouble
I don't have much to say about the Saddam hanging. He got what he's long deserved. Just another former US client. Most don't get EVER get a deserved accounting(witness Pinochet). Saddam Hussein deserved what he got. But personally it wasn't worth the hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis killed by dubya and the thousands of US troop's deaths brought on by dubya to avenge his daddy's honor from his daddy's own former henchman and nemesis. Since I don't watch much cable "News", if I can help it, I will assume that the hanging covered up news of the Iraqi civil war and other points not favorable to Bushco for a few days. This is from Baghdad Burning:
End of Another Year...
You know your country is in trouble when:
1. The UN has to open a special branch just to keep track of the chaos and bloodshed, UNAMI.
2. Abovementioned branch cannot be run from your country.
3. The politicians who worked to put your country in this sorry state can no longer be found inside of, or anywhere near, its borders.
4. The only thing the US and Iran can agree about is the deteriorating state of your nation.
5. An 8-year war and 13-year blockade are looking like the country's 'Golden Years'.
6. Your country is purportedly 'selling' 2 million barrels of oil a day, but you are standing in line for 4 hours for black market gasoline for the generator.
7. For every 5 hours of no electricity, you get one hour of public electricity and then the government announces it's going to cut back on providing that hour.
8. Politicians who supported the war spend tv time debating whether it is 'sectarian bloodshed' or 'civil war'.
9.People consider themselves lucky if they can actually identify the corpse of the relative that's been missing for two weeks.
A day in the life of the average Iraqi has been reduced to identifying corpses, avoiding car bombs and attempting to keep track of which family members have been detained, which ones have been exiled and which ones have been abducted.
Friday, December 29, 2006
Myths About Atheism
Joe "Mo-mentum's" need for more troops in the Iraqi meatgrinder
In an editorial in the Washington Post "Independent" Joe Liebermann. The Republican's favorite Democrat has(surprise!) come out in favor of a US troop surge in Iraq. BarbinMD at Daily Kos does an excellent job of dissecting Joe's stance and noting his previous comments.
It's well worth the read. As for Joe's op-ed I haven't read it, and honestly don't really feel a need to read it. It's Holy Joe after all, with a call for more US troops to die for dubya's lies.
To turn around the crisis we need to send more American troops while we also train more Iraqi troops and strengthen the moderate political forces in the national government.
Joe, Today's Washington Post
If all goes well, I believe we can have a much smaller American military presence there by the end of 2006 or in 2007.
I believe, that we will be able to withdraw a significant number of our men and women in uniform from Iraq by the end of this year and even more by next year.
Joe, six months ago
DownWithTyranny also has a great take on Joe Smoe's Bushco kissing.
Project Censored's Top Unreported Stories of 2006
Would our "News" Media not tell us what's actually going on? Would a bear do it in the woods?
Top 25 Censored Stories of 2006
#1 Bush Administration Moves to Eliminate Open Government
#2 Media Coverage Fails on Iraq: Fallujah and the Civilian Death
#3 Another Year of Distorted Election Coverage
#4 Surveillance Society Quietly Moves In
#5 U.S. Uses Tsunami to Military Advantage in Southeast Asia
#6 The Real Oil for Food Scam
#7 Journalists Face Unprecedented Dangers to Life and Livelihood
#8 Iraqi Farmers Threatened By Bremer’s Mandates
#9 Iran’s New Oil Trade System Challenges U.S. Currency
#10 Mountaintop Removal Threatens Ecosystem and Economy
#11 Universal Mental Screening Program Usurps Parental Rights
#12 Military in Iraq Contracts Human Rights Violators
#13 Rich Countries Fail to Live up to Global Pledges
#14 Corporations Win Big on Tort Reform, Justice Suffers
#15 Conservative Plan to Override Academic Freedom in the Classroom
#16 U.S. Plans for Hemispheric Integration Include Canada
#17 U.S. Uses South American Military Bases to Expand Control of the Region
#18 Little Known Stock Fraud Could Weaken U.S. Economy
#19 Child Wards of the State Used in AIDS Experiments
#20 American Indians Sue for Resources; Compensation Provided to Others
#21 New Immigration Plan Favors Business Over People
#22 Nanotechnology Offers Exciting Possibilities But Health Effects Need Scrutiny
#23 Plight of Palestinian Child Detainees Highlights Global Problem
#24 Ethiopian Indigenous Victims of Corporate and Government Resource Aspirations
#25 Homeland Security Was Designed to Fail
Thursday, December 28, 2006
Support Bluegrass Report
The tragic squandering of Jack Black
My sentiments exactly:
The tragic squandering of Jack Black's awesomeness.
Jack Black in High Fidelity
Labels: Jack Black
The $2 Trillion Dollar War
Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize for economics, estimates the true cost of the war at $2.267 trillion. That includes the government's past and future spending for the war itself ($725 billion), health care and disability benefits for veterans ($127 billion), and hidden increases in defense spending ($160 billion). It also includes losses the economy will suffer from injured vets ($355 billion) and higher oil prices ($450 billion).
Full Report [PDF]
Thanks to Woods Lot.
Labels: Iraq War
End of the Neo-Con Dream
Sitting on the 5 Year $43 Million anti-drug Study
A White House Drug Deal Gone Bad
Sitting on the negative results of a study of anti-marijuana ads.
..."The White House Office of National Drug Policy paid for a 5-year, $43 million study which concluded their anti-drug ad campaigns did not work -- but it refused to release those findings to Congress..."
--Thanks to Slate and TPM Muckraker, go for the full report.
Polar bear "threatened"
Say goodbye to the polar bear.
The Bush administration has decided to propose listing the polar bear as threatened under the Endangered Species Act, putting the U.S. government on record as saying that global warming could drive one of the world's most recognizable animals out of existence.
Just another sacrifice:
For A Coming Extinction
Now that we are sending you to The End
That great god
That we who follow you invented forgiveness
And forgive nothing
I write as though you could understand
And I could say it
One must always pretend something
Among the dying
When you have left the seas nodding on their
Empty of you
Tell him that we were made
On another day
The bewilderment will diminish like an echo
Winding along your inner mountains
Unheard by us
And find its way out
Leaving behind it the future
When you will not see again
The whale calves trying the light
Consider what you will find in the black garden
And its court
The sea cows the Great Auks the gorillas
The irreplaceable hosts ranged countless
And fore-ordaining as stars
Join your word to theirs
That it is we who are important
Anyway: Go to Polar Bear Central and adopt a polar bear today.
Most Outrageous Right Wing Comments of 2006
You know them and they love themselves. From AlterNet here's the Rightwingnuts on parade.
Most Outrageous Right Wing Comments of 2006
"OK. No offense, and I know Muslims. I like Muslims. … With that being said, you are a Democrat. You are saying, 'Let's cut and run.' And I have to tell you, I have been nervous about this interview with you, because what I feel like saying is, 'Sir, prove to me that you are not working with our enemies."
--CNN Headline News host Glenn Beck (to Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, D-Minn)
"Because we are sympathetic, we are compassionate people, we have responded by letting our government literally feed these people to the point of obesity. At least here in America, didn't teach them how to fish, we gave them the fish. Didn't teach them how to butcher a -- slaughter a cow to get the butter, we gave them the butter. The real bloat here, as we know, is in -- is in government."
Rush Limbaugh, blaming America's "obesity crisis" on "the left," "liberal government," and "food stamps".
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
RIP Gerald Ford
Only a few words on Gerald Ford's passing. Many others will be far more elequant. Gerald Ford was and is really the only Republican President of my memory that I respected as an intelligent man who actually meant what he said and did what he did for the good of the country. Of course I was VERY young then so bear with me. My big memories of Gerald Ford sadly are the SNL's Chevy Chase impersonations. President Ford lead into Carter and the wacky days of Ronald Ray-gun, but I still remember Gerald Ford as a decent seeming guy with a nice wife and family.
Rest in peace President Ford.
Labels: Gerald Ford dies at 93
The Top 100 2006
The Top 100 of 2006. This is a bit different than the usual 100's since it's CBC but there's some good stuff in here.
Just highlights of some of the good stuff:
9. Stephen Colbert at the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner....
34. Overheard in New York ....
40. Leah Angutimarik in The Journals of Knud Rasmussen....
72. MSTRKRFT’s Work On You video....
80. When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts. Spike Lee’s HBO documentary....
Labels: Top 100 of 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
James Brown Dies
A sad start for continued posts. James Brown died Christmas morning. He'll lie in state at the Apollo Theater and the Reverend Al Sharpton will give the eulogy .
Being James Brown by Johnathan Lethem at Rolling Stone.
The hardest working man in show business, James Brown has died at the Emory Crawford Long hospital in his home state of Georgia at 1.45am, Christmas morning. Although the official cause of death is still unknown, Brown was admitted to the hospital over the weekend from pneumonia.
The 73 year old star released his first single 'Please Please Please' in 1956, and over the next 50 years would help revolutionize soul music.
He earned the title "The Hardest Working Man In Show Business" from his tour schedules, playing hundreds of shows every year.
Labels: James Brown
Sunday, December 24, 2006
Happy Holidays to Bill O'Really, and everyone! As anyone stopping by my little domicile here in Blogtopia will notice I haven't posted much at all in the last few days. It's been very hectic. I don't know how people get done all they do during the Christmas season. We're leaving today around 3pm to spend it with relatives of the Mrs. Dean and won't be back till Tuesday evening.
It'll be at least around the middle of the week before I post again. No computer where I'm going and no Internet if there was one. Since you are reading this you're here(for the moment) so mi casa, su casa. Look around, watch a few of the videos,read some.
I hope your Christmas and Holidays are Great ones no matter your religion, the Winter solstice was an ancient festival and celebration long before there was even a legend called Christ. Be good to all and stay safe
If you're looking for more recent posts from good sites try Firedoglake, Americablog, Hullabaloo, and of course there's always Dailykos, Atrios and ol' Bartcop who got me through some tough times around 2001 or so. Check them out and any of the other good sites to the right. Give to some of them this holiday season if you can. Some of these Bloggers actually do this for a living. So throw a buck or two to any, or all of them, especially digby, or Shakespeare's Sister could use some love, and of course Suburban Guerilla is another good cause. They're all very worthy. Me, I'd starve to death if I did this for a living, but I have another kind of full time job so it's okay. Not that I'd turn down a nice laptop(Hi Michael Dell!).
Well time to load presents and bags. Feliz Navidad! I'll be watching A Christmas Story tonight!
I'll also try to catch my favorite Christmas Carol the 1951 version with Alistair Sim as Scrooge. A story that's basically about a miserly Republican who overnight is turned into a loving generous Liberal. BOO-YAH!
Here's Bob Geiger's cartoons. Check them out.
See you about the middle of the week.
Friday, December 22, 2006
Bowie Meets Bing
Free Copies of "Inconvenient Truth" For Teachers
This is a few days old but well worth posting. The NAtional Science Teachers Association in their debt to big oil and other corporations turned down free copies of this Al Gore documentary but now teachers can still get copies for their classrooms at least till they run out.
Thanks to Boingboing and Participate.
Free copies of "An Inconvenient Truth" for educators
50,000 copies of the climate change documentary An Inconvenient Truth which were rejected by the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) after apparent pressure from Exxon and oil industry advocates are now offered free of charge to teachers via Participate.net.
The giveaway ends January 18, or when the DVDs run out. The website is the social activism arm of Participant Productions, the company behind this film and others including Good Night, and Good Luck, North Country, and Syriana. Teachers can request a copy at this link.
Link at participate:
Thursday, December 21, 2006
The Onion - Top Stories of 2006
Is it real or is it satire?
Here's the Onion's top ten of 2006.
A few of my favorites that made the list:
Thousands More Dead in Continuing
Ken Lay's Children Inherit 4,000 Pensions.
Karl Rove Accused Of Throwing Midterm
Coretta Scott King's Wiretap ends.
Bush "Developing Illegal Bioterror Weapons" for Offensive Use
Anyone out there think that Bushco had sunk as low as they could go? That their thuggish behavior had finally slowed down and/or been stopped, no new lows they could descend to? Is that what you thought? Well Auh Contraire Mes Amis, you've once again "misunderestimated" these evil clowns. How about "First Strikes in chemical and Biological Agents", does that make you sit up? Dubya with first strike capabilities with chem & bio agents. Feel better now? Didn't think you would. When these guys go as low as they can they start digging.
Bush "Developing Illegal Bioterror Weapons" for Offensive Use
-By Sherwood Rosst, tr u t h o u t
In violation of the US Code and international law, the Bush administration is spending more money (in inflation-adjusted dollars) to develop illegal, offensive germ warfare than the $2 billion spent in World War II on the Manhattan Project to make the atomic bomb.Continue:
So says Francis Boyle, the professor of international law who drafted the Biological Weapons Anti-Terrorism Act of 1989 enacted by Congress. He states the Pentagon "is now gearing up to fight and 'win' biological warfare" pursuant to two Bush national strategy directives adopted "without public knowledge and review" in 2002.
The Pentagon's Chemical and Biological Defense Program was revised in 2003 to implement those directives, endorsing "first-use" strike of chemical and biological weapons (CBW) in war, says Boyle, who teaches at the University of Illinois, Champaign.
Terming the action "the proverbial smoking gun," Boyle said the mission of the controversial CBW program "has been altered to permit development of offensive capability in chemical and biological weapons!" [Original italics.]
The same directives, Boyle charges in his book Biowarfare and Terrorism (Clarity Press), "unconstitutionally usurp and nullify the right and the power of the United States Congress to declare war, in gross and blatant violation of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 11 of the United States Constitution."
For fiscal years 2001-2004, the federal government funded $14.5 billion "for ostensibly 'civilian' biowarfare-related work alone," a "truly staggering" sum, Boyle wrote.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Get Out of Iraq
Carl Sagan: 1934-1996
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Things don't seem as bad for Internet neutrality since the infamous Bush Rubber stamp gang, AKA the "109th do nothings" got kicked out but we in the reality community must stay vigilant:
Here's a video Independance Day from YouTube.
From the good people at Savetheinternet.
Pot is Now the Biggest Cash Crop in the Nation
From LA Times comes the results of decades of federal scorched earth marijuana laws, and the War on Drug(users)s. Marijuana is now the number one cash crop in the nation. Of course you won't be hearing that on CNN, MSNBC, etc. Or even your local "News" for that matter.
Pot is called biggest cash crop
The $35-billion market value of U.S.-grown cannabis tops that of such heartland staples as corn and hay, a marijuana activist says.
SACRAMENTO — For years, activists in the marijuana legalization movement have claimed that cannabis is America's biggest cash crop. Now they're citing government statistics to prove it.
A report released today by a marijuana public policy analyst contends that the market value of pot produced in the U.S. exceeds $35 billion — far more than the crop value of such heartland staples as corn, soybeans and hay, which are the top three legal cash crops.
California is responsible for more than a third of the cannabis harvest, with an estimated production of $13.8 billion that exceeds the value of the state's grapes, vegetables and hay combined — and marijuana is the top cash crop in a dozen states, the report states.
The report estimates that marijuana production has increased tenfold in the past quarter century despite an exhaustive anti-drug effort by law enforcement.Jon Gettman, the report's author, is a public policy consultant and leading proponent of the push to drop marijuana from the federal list of hard-core Schedule 1 drugs — which are deemed to have no medicinal value and a high likelihood of abuse — such as heroin and LSD.
He argues that the data support his push to begin treating cannabis like tobacco and alcohol by legalizing and reaping a tax windfall from it, while controlling production and distribution to better restrict use by teenagers."Despite years of effort by law enforcement, they're not getting rid of it," Gettman said. "Not only is the problem worse in terms of magnitude of cultivation, but production has spread all around the country. To say the genie is out of the bottle is a profound understatement."
PBS Nova - The Elegant Universe
Monday, December 18, 2006
Colin Powell joining the Reality Community?
Oh look, apparently Colin Powell is finding his small shriveled up conscience since leaving office. To bad it wasn't before he did his little lying shtick at the UN on Feb. 2003.
"So whenever I get orders I take my conscience and cram it into a little box, kinda like this."-Colin Powell(paraphrasing)
U.S. forces 'losing' in Iraq, Powell says
WASHINGTON: The former secretary of state Colin Powell said Sunday that badly overstretched U.S. forces in Iraq were losing the war there and that a temporary U.S. troop surge probably would not help.Continue:
In one of his few commentaries on the war since leaving office, Powell quickly added that the situation could be reversed. He recommended an intense coalition effort to train and support Iraqi security forces and strength in the government in Baghdad. Powell was deeply skeptical about increasing troop levels, an idea that appears to be gaining ground as president George W. Bush weighs U.S. strategy options.
"There really are no additional troops" to send, Powell said, adding that he agreed with those who say that the U.S. Army is "about broken."
Sunday, December 17, 2006
Daily Show's "Holiday Barney Cam"
Saturday, December 16, 2006
From Astronomy Pic of the Day.
"Last Saturday, the Space Shuttle Discovery lit up the night as it climbed into orbit above planet Earth. From Oak Hill, Florida, USA - about 30 miles north of the Kennedy Space Center - design engineer Andrew Arigema tracked the shuttle and recorded a four minute time exposure of the exhaust plume along Discovery's path against the background of the starry sky. At the upper left, the end of the drifting plume is punctuated by Alnitak, Alnilam, and Mintaka in a vertical line, the belt stars of Orion. To the right of the belt stars, the pinkish jewel in Orion's sword is not a star at all, but the great Orion Nebula. Still farther to the right, at the foot of the hunter, lies Rigel, the brightest star in view. Rigel is a hot supergiant star some 700 light-years in the distance.
Friday, December 15, 2006
On The Healthy Americans Act
Senator Wyden's health care plan for all Americans was released a few days ago. It has some big possibilities but also some questions. Here's some of Ezra Klein's take on it
The Healthy Americans Act
..."Wyden, a gangly goofball of a Senator who last turned heads for his tax reform ideas, must have decided fully restructuring the tax code was thinking too small, so this morning, he took over the Senate Finance Committee's hearing room, brought in an array of union leaders, CEOs, and health wonks, and argued to totally scrap the employer-based health system.Continue at Ezra Klein with comments:
Here's how it would work:The Healthy Americans Act of 2007 would begin by dissolving all employer-based insurance. Instead, it would mandate that every employer who had covered his employees in 2006 convert the total they spent on insurance into salary
increases creating, in one day, the single largest pay raise America has ever seen. Now, why would employers go along with that? Well, legislatively they'd have to, but, as Len Nichols explained to me, they'll also want to: Health costs are accelerating, every year costs 10 or so percent more than they ear before. By freezing the total at what employers paid in 2006, Wyden's plan would exempt them from 2007's increase.
Meanwhile, an individual mandate would be implemented, forcing every American to purchase one of the options offered by their state's newly formed Health Help Agency (HHA). The HHA's will have a menu of private insurance plans, all of which must provide coverage equal to or better than the Blue Cross Blue Shield Standard Plan used by Congress. All plans will be community rated by the state, meaning an end to adverse selection and preexisting condition problems. The only acceptable variables for price will be geography, family size, and smoking status. Subsidies will be offered up to 400 percent of the poverty line, will full coverage provided to those below 100 percent. Employers will contribute through a set equation related to business size and yearly profits. There's quite a bit more, but that's the basic outline..."
Learn more about the plan(PDF file):
More at Senator Wyden's web site:
More from Faux..Oops, Fox News
Thursday, December 14, 2006
Physician says Sen. Johnson needs no more surgery
This is from Reuters. Maybe the Faux News Trolls can stop their heavy breathing for a bit.
Sen. Johnson needs no more surgery: physician
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Sen. Tim Johnson will not need additional surgery, the U.S. Capitol physician said on Thursday, adding the South Dakota Democrat was having an "uncomplicated post-operative course."
Adm. John Eisold, the attending physician at the U.S. Capitol, said, "No further surgical intervention has been required." He gave no further details on Johnson's condition following surgery late on Wednesday for bleeding in his brain.
Labels: Sen. Tim Johnson
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
Peter Boyle RIP
Drug War horrors
The insanity of the War on Drug(Users) continues. This also tells you a lot about our supreme court.
Man to serve 55 years in prison for marijuana
Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court let stand the mandatory 55-year prison sentence that a lower court imposed on a man who was convicted of carrying a handgun during three marijuana deals in Utah.
By refusing to hear the case, the U.S. Supreme Court ensured that 27-year-old Weldon Angelos will spend just about the rest of his life behind bars for selling three eight-ounce bags of marijuana to an undercover informant. As his attorneys noted, the sentence he will serve is harsher than the sentence for raping a child — or the sentence for detonating a bomb aboard an aircraft.
Even the federal judge who was required to issue the mandatory minimum sentence called it “unjust, cruel, and even irrational.” Yet, the U.S. Supreme Court let the sentence stand without comment. You can read more about this abrogation of justice here.
Want a few more?
1. Mitchell Lawrence: This 17-year-old high school student with no prior record received a two-year prison sentence for selling $20 worth of marijuana to a Massachusetts undercover police officer.
2. Unnamed Florida college student: The 19-year-old was raped by his cellmate — a violent sexual offender — as he served the first of four weekend sentences for delivering marijuana, a felony offense.
3. Ryan Wilson: The 22-year-old died after being shot with a Taser stun gun by Colorado police, who were investigating whether Wilson was cultivating marijuana plants.
4. Anthony Diotaiuto: The 23-year-old was shot 10 times in the head, chest, and limbs by a Florida SWAT team that later found a little over an ounce of marijuana in his home.
5. Clayton Helriggle: The 23-year-old died in the arms of his roommate after being shot in a “no knock” raid by Ohio police, who later found a small amount of marijuana in his house.
6. Jonathan Magbie: The 27-year-old quadriplegic died in a Washington, D.C., jail while serving a 10-day sentence for marijuana possession because the facility could not provide the medical care he needed.
7. Tyrone Brown: The 33-year-old received a life sentence from a Texas judge for testing positive for marijuana while on probation for a $2 stickup committed when he was 17.
8. Lester Siler: The 44-year-old was brutalized by five rogue Tennessee police officers who suspected him of selling drugs. Siler was beaten and held at gunpoint, had his head held underwater in a toilet, and was threatened with shooting and electrocution.
9. Accelyne Williams: The 75-year-old retired minister died from a heart attack that was induced by the stress of a Massachusetts SWAT team entering his apartment during a “no knock” raid. No drugs were found.
10. Kathryn Johnston: The 88-year-old was shot and killed in a “no knock” raid by Georgia police, who allegedly later attempted to pay an informant to lie about the circumstances of the drug raid.
These individuals are not rare examples. Rather, they are just 11 examples of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who are detained, beaten, harassed, tortured, arrested, prosecuted, jailed, imprisoned, and/or killed each year by the government in the name of marijuana prohibition.
From MPP:(Give them a donation if you can)
Krugman | The Great Wealth transfer
"...The public remains deeply unhappy with the state of the economy. In a recent poll, only a minority of Americans rated the economy as "excellent" or "good," while most consider it no better than "fair" or "poor."Continue:
Are people just ungrateful? Is the administration failing to get its message out? Are the news media, as conservatives darkly suggest, deliberately failing to report the good news?
None of the above. The reason most Americans think the economy is fair to poor is simple: For most Americans, it really is fair to poor. Wages have failed to keep up with rising prices. Even in 2005, a year in which the economy grew quite fast, the income of most non-elderly families lagged behind inflation. The number of Americans in poverty has risen even in the face of an official economic recovery, as has the number of Americans without health insurance. Most Americans are little, if any, better off than they were last year and definitely worse off than they were in 2000.
But how is this possible? The economic pie is getting bigger -- how can it be true that most Americans are getting smaller slices? The answer, of course, is that a few people are getting much, much bigger slices. Although wages have stagnated since Bush took office, corporate profits have doubled. The gap between the nation's CEOs and average workers is now ten times greater than it was a generation ago. And while Bush's tax cuts shaved only a few hundred dollars off the tax bills of most Americans, they saved the richest one percent more than $44,000 on average. In fact, once all of Bush's tax cuts take effect, it is estimated that those with incomes of more than $200,000 a year -- the richest five percent of the population -- will pocket almost half of the money. Those who make less than $75,000 a year -- eighty percent of America -- will receive barely a quarter of the cuts. In the Bush era, economic inequality is on the rise.
Hunter S. Thompson - The last Gonzo
Homer Simpson on "Trainwreck"
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
Gary Webb/ 1955- Dec.2004
When Americans ask me what happened to the vaunted U.S. press corps over the past three decades – in the decline from its heyday of the Watergate scandal and the Pentagon Papers to its failure to challenge the Iraq WMD lies or to hold George W. Bush accountable – I often recall for them the story of Gary Webb.
Tom Tomorrow | Year in Review I
Being Columnist Not all Glamour For Wingnut Jenean
The world of columnists was blessed this past Sunday with another work of art by Jenean Mcbrearty. Last one apparently(so she says, Waaah!). We wicked leftists won't have poor Jenean to kick around anymore. I wouldn't attempt to describe a Mcbrearty column(here's a perfect example). You have to read to believe, it's like looking into politics from another era. A somewhat twisted era of 1964ish John Bircherism.
I'll give Jenean a wingnuttary grade, with Cal Thomas being a 5 of Wingnut perfection, and David Brooks being a 1 of mediocre Wingnut, Mean Jenean gets a SIX in the alternate universe of wingnut pantheon.
If you're masochist enough go here to wallow in jenean's newest alternative universe. Where eviiil Liberals are 60% of the population, "looney leftists" are destroying the country, dubya is a man of Gawd, hippies lost the Vietnam war, and sooo much more.
My favorite line from this latest:
"anti-militarism of morphed Marxists."
Now is that a work of art or what?
At least 60 killed in Suicide Bomb Blast in Baghdad
Suicide truck bomb kills at least 60 in Baghdad
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Many of the 60 killed and 220 wounded by a suicide truck bomb blast in central Baghdad Tuesday morning were unemployed Iraqis lured toward the explosion by an offer of work, according to an official with the
Iraqi Interior Ministry.
A pickup truck, loaded with about 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of explosives, pulled into Tayaran Square at 7 a.m., a time when hundreds of unemployed Iraqis were gathered with their picks and shovels seeking a day's work.
The driver signaled to the would-be workers that he had jobs for them -- causing a crush of people around the truck -- and he detonated his bomb, the official said.
The U.S. military said Monday that four American soldiers were killed and three wounded by two roadside bombs Sunday in Baghdad as suspected sectarian violence cost another 51 Iraqis their lives.
A roadside bomb exploded near a late-night combat patrol in northern Baghdad, killing three U.S. soldiers and wounding two others, the military said.
Earlier Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded as a U.S. Army patrol was completing a security mission west of the city, killing one soldier and wounding another, the military said.
The number of U.S. troops killed in the Iraq war stands at 2,925. Seven American civilian contractors of the military also have died in the conflict.
Fifty-one bullet-riddled bodies were collected Sunday across the Iraqi capital, victims of what an Iraqi Interior Ministry official said was sectarian retribution between Sunnis and Shiites.
Monday, December 11, 2006
The Fighting First Family
Sunday, December 10, 2006
Bob Geiger's Cartoon Page
Rumsfeld Remembers Abu Ghraib
Donnie "torture" Rumsfeld is reeeaaallly sorry for the Abu Ghraib victims, and the moon is made of green cheese and other fables.
"Clearly the worst day was Abu Ghraib and seeing what went on there and feeling so deeply sorry that that happened."
--departing Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, remembering his "best and worst days in office" in response to a question at his final Pentagon "town hall meeting" yesterday
(Photo: I believe this is Rumsfeld looking at photos from Abu Ghraib(as visions of electrodes on nipples and testicles, and waterboarding dance in his head).
The ONLY thing Donald is sorry about is that someone was taking pictures. And so the BIG question is when does crazy Donald get his Medal of Freedom, after all the torture was his baby.
Colbert fathers Virgin Mary's baby?
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Medical Sponsorships For Iraqi Children
Watch a 15 minute video and discover how you can help restore an injured Iraqi child to health.
Its time we did something to help repair the broken bodies of children who have been injured by U.S. bombs and bullets. Our government has spent hundreds of billions to destroy Iraq and hundreds of thousands of children have been injured.
No More Victims works to find medical sponsorships for war-injured Iraqi children and to forge ties between the children, their families and communities in the United States. We believe one of the most effective means of combating militarism is to focus on direct relief to its victims.
From R.W. Behan at CommonDreams.org
The Surreal Politics of Premeditated War
George W. Bush, who proudly claimed the mantle of “war president,” was keenly rebuked in the recent mid-term election. The event was notable, but it merely continued the surreal politics of premeditated war—a politics that has dominated the last six bizarre, hideous years of our nation’s history.
Two elements of the repudiation seem unreal, indeed. Not the fact of it, but the amazing length of its gestation period—those six years—and how tepid it was. Given the documented record of the Bush Administration—lying us into war, torturing
prisoners, rewarding cronies with no-bid contracts, spying secretly on the nation’s citizens, selling public policy to Jack Abramoff’s clients, stating even their intent to ignore laws with dozens of “signing statements”—one would expect the political about-face to have occurred far sooner, and the protest to have been a firestorm. Bush loyalists in Congress (and George Bush) should have been turned out angrily and en masse two years ago.
The victorious Democrats’ response was even more surprising, and also unreal. “Impeachment is off the table” quickly became the mantra: let us instead proceed with raising the minimum wage. Apparently the Bush Administration’s record is flawless, showing nothing remotely approaching a high crime or a misdemeanor. Impeachment would be a “waste of time.”
There is a good reason for these strange results: we practice a politics of surrealism, and have done so since George Bush was first put in office.
Ron Suskind of the New York Times learned how the Bush Administration works, from a “senior advisor to Bush” (Karl Rove is a suspect): “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.” They have done that, incessantly, and it is the source of the surrealism. Spins, evasions, omissions, jingoisms, distortions, “perception management” (i.e., propaganda), and deliberate lying all contribute to a political discourse adrift from what is honest, true, and reliable.
The Clear Skies Act allowed more pollution, the Healthy Forests Act caused more trees to be cut down, the Patriot Act scarred the Bill of Rights, No Child Left Behind was a step toward privatizing public education, the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act was a bonanza for the pharmaceutical industry and began the process of dismantling Medicare, the Military Commissions Act fostered torture and suspended habeas corpus.
But no such manufactured reality is more misleading, fraudulent, and damaging than the “global war on terror.”
It took six years for a tardy and mild electoral protest of the Iraq war to surface, because the trusting American people believed the “war on terror” was the just and moral response of an innocent nation to a brutal terrorist attack. They handily reelected the President who was prosecuting it, proudly supported the troops, and accepted as necessary evils the Bush Administration excesses. But gradually that acceptance weakened, and on November 7, 2006 it was withdrawn.
The recent electoral turnaround was generated largely by the horrific conditions in Iraq today, the savage bloodletting of insurgency and civil war suffered by Americans and Iraqis alike. These conditions finally exceeded public tolerance. But the rationale for the war, its purpose, went unquestioned, because the Bush Administration obscurantism has been so successful.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
GOP can have the South
A good article on the future of the Democrats and Republicans in American politics by Harold Meyerson .
The GOP's Southern Exposure
By Harold Meyerson
You've seen the numbers and understand that America is growing steadily less white. You try to push your party, the Grand Old Party, ahead of this curve by taking a tolerant stance on immigration and making common cause with some black churches. Then you go and blow it all in a desperate attempt to turn out your base by demonizing immigrants and running racist ads against Harold Ford. On Election Day, black support for Democrats remains high; Hispanic support for Democrats surges. So what do you do next?
What else? Elect Trent Lott your deputy leader in the Senate. Sure locks in the support of any stray voters who went for Strom in '48.
In case you haven't noticed, a fundamental axiom of modern American politics has been altered in recent weeks. For four decades, it's been the Democrats who've had a Southern problem. Couldn't get any votes for their presidential candidates there; couldn't elect any senators, then any House members, then any dogcatchers. They still can't, but the Southern problem, it turns out, is really the Republicans'. They've become too Southern -- too suffused with the knee-jerk militaristic, anti-scientific, dogmatically religious, and culturally, sexually and racially phobic attitudes of Dixie -- to win friends and influence elections outside the South. Worse yet, they became more Southern still on Election Day last month, when the Democrats decimated the GOP in the North and West. Twenty-seven of the Democrats' 30 House pickups came outside the South.
The Democrats won control of five state legislatures, all outside the South, and took more than 300 state legislative seats away from Republicans, 93 percent of them outside the South. As for the new Senate Republican caucus that chose Mississippi's Lott over Tennessee's Lamar Alexander to be deputy to Kentucky's Mitch McConnell, 17 of its 49 members come from the Confederacy proper, with another three from the old border states of Kentucky and Missouri, and two more from Oklahoma, which is Southern but with more dust. In all, 45 percent of Republican senators come from the Greater South.
More problematic, so does most of the Republican message. Following the gospel according to Rove (fear not swing voters but pander to and mobilize thy base), George W. Bush and the Republican Congress, together or separately, had already blocked stem cell research, disparaged nonmilitary statecraft, exalted executive wartime power over constitutional niceties, campaigned repeatedly against gay rights, thrown public money at conservative churches and investigated the tax status of liberal ones. In the process, they alienated not just moderates but Western-state libertarians.
Iraqi Study Group | To dubya's rescue
Photo: CBS News
The first thing I saw when I came in the office this morning was the front page of the Lexington-Herald Leader boldly proclaiming the results of Poppy Bush's "Iraqi Study Group". One day after 10 more US soldiers died in dubya's Iraqi fantasy.
The decision from Bush consiglieri James Baker's panel of Iraqi experts and scholars is - but wait, there were no Iraqi experts, and no one on this panel who saw the insanity of this war to begin with. Only more conservative dinosaurs and "go along to get along" Democratic Right of Center yes-men, and Sandra Day O'Conner? Sandra Day O'Conner, WTF is this old white bread beeyach doing on ANYTHING remotely to do with Iraq?
Their wise proclamation, US troops need to be out of Iraq by, let's see, Oh, okay 2008. Yes that's 2008! In their wisdom-since dubya's great Iraq adventure has turned to shit for all concerned(other than the corporations and arms manufacturers of course). We'd better start setting a process up to allow our troops out of this meat grinder as soon as possible, but you know there's really no hurry. A few years should do the trick. And we'll even leave a few bases there to tidy up, can't leave a mess lying around there you know, Halliburton can still make money.
Just another Poppy Bush posse riding to his son the pisant's rescue once again. In one more failed adventure. Only this time it's not a company dubya's turning to shit, It's my country, my soldiers. Hell it's the whole world.
Screw this! Impeach that little dilettante bastard, and impeach that evil freak CheneyBorg. The rest of this band of thugs, throw them in jail or better yet send 'em to Gitmo! Yeah, I'm looking at you Condi, and you Hadley and the rest of you Neo-Con bastards.
Go here for a voice of sanity with Russ Feingold and Keith Olbermann. Thanks to Crooks and Liars and Atrios. Thank the Flying Spaghetti Monster for the Internets to give me some sanity from our traditional "News" Media.
Here's a bit of an excerpt of Feingold From Countdown:
The fact is this commission was composed apparently entirely of people who did not have the judgment to oppose this Iraq war in the first place, and did not have the judgment to realize it was not a wise move in the fight against terrorism. So that's who is doing this report. Then I looked at the list of who testified before them. There is virtually no one who opposed the war in the first place. Virtually no one who has been really calling for a different strategy that goes for a global approach to the war on terrorism. So this is really a Washington inside job and it shows not in the description of what's happened - that's fairly accurate - but it shows in the recommendations. It's been called a classic Washington compromise that does not do the job of extricating us from Iraq in a way that we can deal with the issues in Southeast Asia, in Afghanistan, and in Somalia which are every bit as important as what is happening in Iraq. This report does not do the job and it's because it was not composed of a real representative group of Americans who believe what the American people showed in the election, which is that it's time for us to have a timetable to bring the troops out of Iraq.
Music to the years. A BIG message from the American people in this past election was get us out of this Iraqi meatgrinder. Try to give the Iraqi's something to stand on but get us out of Bushopotamia. Quit covering dubya's ass and DO SOMETHING! By the way I'm not interested in this civil war/not civil war debate. It's bullshit and just intended as a distraction.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
The World of the Bush Follower
Regarding those disappearing civil liberties Glenn Greenwald has more on serial adulterer Newt Gingrich's latests attack on the first amendment. And the Unbearable (Never)Rightness of Bush Followers
Today's tour around the world of the Bush follower
Even in light of all the radical and tyrannical conduct Pursued as part of the "War on Terror," I would have thought that most every american could agree that having Newt Gingrich re-write the free speech clause of The First Amendment -- really abolish it -- would be an idea so grotesque, stupid And dangerous that it would merit no debate. I was very wrong.
Gingrich followed up his speech last week calling for "a serious debate about the first amendment" so that we can "break up [the terrorists'] capacity to use free speech," with a new article that goes even further. Titled "The First Amendment is Not a Suicide Pact," Gingrich said that suspected terrorists should be "subject to a totally different set of rules" and called for "international rules of engagement on what activities will not be protected by free speech claims."
I need one of these. Or do I really need to be reminded every stinking morning?
Hey, Have You Seen My Civil Liberties Recently?
DISAPPEARING CIVIL LIBERTIES MUG
Drink your decaf in this dazzling mug - and watch your civil liberties disappear and reappear! Simply pour in your coffee or any hot beverage and watch the painstaking work of the founding fathers vanish before your eyes and then reappear after drinking up or cooling down.
"I have bad news for you. Those trips you had planned in January, forget 'em. We will be working almost every day in January, starting with the 4th."
--House Majority Leader-to-be Steny Hoyer, to Capitol Hill reporters
"Keeping us up here eats away at families. Marriages suffer. The Democrats could care less about families--that's what this says."
--Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Georgia, right), "who typically flies home on Thursdays and returns to Washington on Tuesdays"
Poor Jackie, he's gonna have to put in a five day week for a while like most of us. To cleanup the mess he and his Republican (former)majority left. On the other hand I bet there's a LOT of poor(or middle class) Georgians who'd gladly trade places with Lil' Jack so he could go home for good.
Labels: Republican slackers
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Bible Study for Atheists
Thanks to Skippy: When you need to contact someone at a corporation here's the gethuman database with how to reach a human being through the phone systems at the top corporations.
Here's the list, according the ghd, of the top ten items that consumers want from a corporate phone menu:
1. don't make it difficolt to connect to a human.
2. don't disconnect on errors-- connect to a human.
3. provide humans that i can understand and that don't have heavy accents.
4. don't waste my time and confuse me with verbose prompts.
5. do not advertise to me.
6. if i have to wait in a queue for a human, tell me what the wait time will be.
7. if i provide information to the ivr, don't ask me to repeat it to the human.
8. don't attempt to entertain me with a persona.
9. ask me occasionally what i think of your service.
10. provide the option to call me back.
On our "Liberal Media"
From Mike's Blog Roundup at Crooks and Liars , the short rant below is Such a quick and excellent debunking of that ol' "Liberal media" meme that I just had to throw
it in here.
Our 'liberal media' ignores domestic terrorism, while trumpeting faux controversies, defending rank assholery, and winking at plain insanity. Meanwhile, ABC, CNN, FOX and the rest are all safe havens for belligerent bigots and pathological liars. I am heartily sick of the utter uselessness of the grotesquely dubbed Mainstream Media.
Octopus escaping through a 1 inch hole
This is amazing. I've watched it about three times.
|Octopuses have an amazing ability to squeeze through tiny crevices, cracks and holes. My fall BIOS independent studies student, Raymond Deckel is investigating just how small a hole Octopus macropus can fit through as well as how long it takes them to squeeze through different sizes of holes. CAABS intern Rowena Day, NSF-REU intern Jared Kibele as well as teaching assistant Abel Valdivia help wrangle the 232 g octopus, Ray times it’s escape through a 1 inch hole while I shot video clips for later analysis. Location: Whalebone Bay, St. George’s, Bermuda.|
Dr. James B. Wood - BIOS
The Cephalopod Page
Monday, December 04, 2006
Libya: Execute foreign health workers
Here's my post from a few months ago regarding the health workers tortured, and apparently to be executed by Libya for, well I'm not sure what for.
Because they can?
Here's an update on this from Daily Kos.
This Wednesday afternoon, as a representative from the U.S. Department of Commerce takes the stage to give a talk titled "Doing Business with US Companies", Valya Chervenyashka, Snezana Dimitrova, Nasya Nenova, Valentina Siropulo, Kristiana Valceva, and Ashraf Ahmad Jum'a sit in their cells.More:
In those cells they have been tortured, beaten, electrocuted through their tongues, breasts, and genitals, and raped. The American company Booz Allen Hamilton based in McLean, Virginia donated about $13,000 to help sponsor the conference to bring more foreign workers to Libya.
The five Bulgarian nurses and one Palestinian doctor went to Libya in 1998. The symposium this week is meant to "bring much needed technology and expertise to Libya." One year after arriving in Libya, the doctor and nurses were imprisoned on false charges and have been held in jail for the last seven years. They were sentenced to death by firing squad.
Most. corrupt. Administration. Ever.
From Suburban Guerrilla. All I can say is the obvious. As soon as you think Bushco has reached the lowest of the low. They dig deeper.
Worst. President. Ever.
Most. corrupt. Administration. Ever.
The new chief of the U.S. General Services Administration is trying
to limit the ability of the agency’s inspector general to audit contracts
for fraud or waste and has said oversight efforts are intimidating the
workforce, according to government documents and interviews.
GSA Administrator Lurita Alexis Doan, a Bush political appointee
and former government contractor, has proposed cutting $5 million
in spending on audits and shifting some responsibility for contract reviews
to small, private audit contractors.
That ol' GOP Do-Nothing Congress"
I'm SO glad these losers lost the majority. Will the Dems be worse? How could they, "two days a week at a salary of $165,000"
Operating most weeks on a Tuesday-through-Thursday schedule, Congress is poised to finish this year with just 100 working days under its belt — the fewest since 1948, when then-President Harry Truman famously blasted what he
called a "do-nothing Congress."
The year is likely to end with no final action on a number of major issues, including Social Security and immigration reform and tighter ethics standards for lawmakers. . . . This year, Congress will probably end up meeting for about 100 days — an average of about two days a week in return for a salary of $165,000.
Found at Crooks and Liars
It can happen here-Listen
Like bees to honey
Listen to this MP3 file. Very scary and disturbing. Don't shut it off. Listen to the whole thing for the ending. If you don't think there's people in this country who'd gladly accept gulags and concentration camps you're in for a shock. Be sure to let it load and finish it.
Go here for file and comments.