Friday, July 07, 2006

Times' Editor Agrees With Cosmogenium

Gay Marriage Setback - New York Times:
"The ruling involved some twisted legal reasoning. Judges on both sides agreed that marriage is a fundamental right entitled to the highest level of constitutional protection. But the majority decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith, an appointee of Gov. George Pataki, said this fundamental right applies only to heterosexuals. It said limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples could be based on a sense that children benefit from being raised by two natural parents, even without any hard evidence to show that."

Gun Lobby Pulls House's String

Eager Helpers for the Gun Lobby - New York Times:
"The rate of firearm death for children 14 years and under is almost 12 times higher in this country than in 25 other industrialized nations combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet there was the law-and-order majority caving in to the gun lobby."

Gun Lobby Controls House

Eager Helpers for the Gun Lobby - New York Times: "The rate of firearm death for children 14 years and under is almost 12 times higher in this country than in 25 other industrialized nations combined, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Yet there was the law-and-order majority caving in to the gun lobby."

Save The Voting Rights Act!

Don't Dismantle the Voting Rights Act - New York Times:
"No one disputes that our nation has come a long way since the Voting Rights Act was first signed into law. But while it would be nice to think we don't need this legislation anymore, we do. We still struggle with the legacy of institutionalized racism. If either of the act's two sections under attack is weakened or allowed to expire, the door will be opened to a new round of discriminatory practices."

Feeling Safer? You're Delusional!

FBI Losing Top Anti-Terror Talent, New Hiring Rules And Lure Of Private Industry Are Prompting Exodus - CBS News:
The FBI's National Security Branch, which leads the war on terrorism, is on its sixth director in four years. Bald lasted just eight months. Chris Swicker, the head of the bureau's law enforcement division, is also leaving — after just three months. The head of the FBI lab and its cyber-crime chief say they're leaving as well.

It gets worse in middle management. A new headquarters mandate that experienced supervisors must apply for jobs in Washington or be demoted has prompted an exodus estimated in the hundreds.

Economists Disagree With Bush

Employers Show Lack Of Confidence, Only 121,000 New Jobs In June; Unemployment Rate Steady At 4.6% - CBS News:
'This is a very sub par economic recovery and it looks like the labor market is actually decelerating,' Ron Blackwell, chief economist of the AFL-CIO, told CBS Radio News. 'The only bright spot in this report was an eight-cent increase in the average wage, which, if it were to persist, and again, it's against the trend, would represent a real increase in income.'

Workers' average hourly earnings jumped to $16.70 in June, a sharp 0.5 percent increase from May. Economists were expecting a more modest rise of 0.3 percent. For the last 12 months, wages have gone up by 3.9 percent, the largest annual increase since June 2001.


'In terms of growth and in terms of profits, it's a very strong recovery. But in terms of jobs and in terms of wages, it's the weakest labor market recovery of any since the end of World War II,' said Blackwell.
Having been one of the millions affected by the "tech bubble bust" of '01, I can speak from experience that finding a good (i.e., non-retail, higher than minimum wage, stable, etc.) job these days is nowhere near as easy as it once was, if not impossible in some parts of the country. If you're not willing to move to high-cost-of-living areas to ply your trade, you're in deep doo-doo. And even then you have to compete with thousands of other professionals in the same situation for each and every job you try for. It's nuts, and people ought to realize by now that this is what happens when the governments are doing everything for the corporations and less and less for the people who have to make a living somewhere/anywhere.

Lamont Wins Debate With Turncoat Joe

Lieberman Jousts With Anti-War Foe, Connecticut Senator Faces Stiff Challenge In Democratic Primary - CBS News: "The race has garnered national and international attention. The debate was televised by MSNBC and C-SPAN. About 50 reporters were on hand at the WVIT-TV studios Thursday night, ranging from the Times of London to the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Scott McLean, chairman of the political science department at Quinnipiac University, said he believed both candidates, especially Lamont, accomplished their respective goals in what may be the only debate of the primary race.

'I do think what this debate has done is it has solidified Ned Lamont. These types of situations only help the challenger,' McLean said. 'The bottom line is, Ned Lamont gained more from this debate. He went toe to toe. He gave as good as he got. He didn't make any huge mistakes.'

You Mean It Isn't Because Of Too Many Trees?

Study: Global Warming Fuels Wildfires, Increase In Wildfires Part Of 'Chain Of Reactions' From Climate Changes - CBS News

Another Bush Ally Indicted

Judge orders Berlusconi to stand trial in fraud case

House Finds Some Backbone

My Way News - House Wants Abu Ghraib Whistleblower Info:
WASHINGTON (AP) - Lawmakers have issued a subpoena seeking Pentagon information on a soldier who says he suffered retaliation for reporting abuses at Abu Ghraib prison.


The subpoena, issued Friday, was necessary because lawmakers got no response from a March 7 letter to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld requesting the information, according to a statement from Rep. Christopher Shays, R-Conn., chairman of the panel's national security subcommittee.
At least a few vertebrae, anyway.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

On A Brighter Note...

Judge: DeLay Must Stay On Ballot, GOP Wants Another Republican To Replace Indicted Former Congressman - CBS News

With Ken Lay dying and making settlement for the victims of the Enron collapse unlikely, two high courts refusing to do the right thing re: marriage, and other courts refusing to do the right thing re: tobacco victims, at least we can look forward to The Hammer's loss in November. There just had to be one silver lining out there for today.

N.Y. Court Displays Homophobia

N.Y. Court Upholds Gay Marriage Ban - New York Times:
The majority decision, written by Judge Robert S. Smith, who was appointed by Gov. George Pataki, found that limiting marriage to opposite-sex couples could be based on rational social goals, primarily the protection and welfare of children.
'Plaintiffs have not persuaded us that this long-accepted restriction is a wholly irrational one, based solely on ignorance and prejudice against homosexuals,' Judge Smith wrote in his 22-page opinion. For example, he wrote, it could be argued that children benefit from being raised by two natural parents, a mother and a father, rather than by gay or lesbian couples.
Chief Judge Judith Kaye wrote a dissenting opinion and was joined by Judge Carmen Beauchamp Ciparick, both appointed by Gov. Mario Cuomo, a Democrat. Judge Kaye warned that future generations would look back at yesterday's decision as 'an unfortunate misstep,' and would consider the barring of gay marriage as an injustice akin to the laws that once barred interracial marriage, an analogy the majority on the court rejected.
What can I say? This sucks! The appellate court majority is living in the past. It's been shown that recognizing same-sex marriage not only gives all citizens equal rights (remember those?), but also helps the children of same-sex parents. If this decision was made for the sake of the children, it was horribly miss-directed. Shame on them all!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Experts Concur

The Washington Monthly:
Despite today'?s highly politicized national security environment, the index results show striking consensus across political party lines. A bipartisan majority (84 percent) of the index'?s experts say the United States is not winning the war on terror. Eighty-six percent of the index'?s experts see a world today that is growing more dangerous for Americans. Overall, they agree that the U.S. government is falling short in its homeland security efforts. More than 8 in 10 expect an attack on the scale of 9/11 within a decade.

These dark conclusions appear to stem from the experts'? belief that the U.S. national security apparatus is in serious disrepair. "?Foreign-policy experts have never been in so much agreement about an administration'?s performance abroad,"? says Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations and an index participant. "?The reason is that it'?s clear to nearly all that Bush and his team have had a totally unrealistic view of what they can accomplish with military force and threats of force." (emphasis mine)

Monday, July 03, 2006

Uh, Wow

Crooks and Liars » Bush told Cheney to go after Joseph Wilson:
President Bush told the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case that he directed Vice President Cheney to personally lead an effort to counter allegations made by former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson that his administration had misrepresented intelligence information to make the case to go to war with Iraq, according to people familiar with the president’s statement.

Bush also told federal prosecutors during his June 24, 2004 interview in the Oval Office that he had directed Cheney, as part of that broader effort, to disclose highly classified intelligence information that would not only defend his administration, but also discredit Wilson, the sources said.
Holy crap! If this is accurate, my non-lawyerly guess is that GWB has a lot of explaining to do if he hopes to finish his term and stay out of jail. This story is going to be hard to sweep under any size rug!

And If That Wasn't Enough...

Avian Flu Tends to Kill Youths as in 1918 Wave, Study Finds - New York Times:
Fatalities from the virus have almost tripled this year compared with last year. Indonesia, with 39 deaths, is close to surpassing Vietnam as the hardest-hit country with 42. Vietnam has not had a human death or poultry outbreak this year.

The typical avian flu victim is sick enough to be hospitalized four days after falling ill, and dies five days later, the report said. People over 50 have the lowest death rate, but it is still 18 percent, which is a huge impact compared with seasonal flu.

'The more we see what H5N1 is doing, the less we know about what's really happening with it,' Dr. Osterholm said.
The world is becoming more inhospitable with every passing second. We really don't need this administration to make things any worse, but that's what it's doing politically, environmentally, socially. The only people who should be happy with BushCo are the CEO's of large companies, and even many of them are worried.

We Are Losing The War On Terrorism

The Terrorism Index Methodology - Center for American Progress:
Surprising consensus exists among the experts about terrorism and U.S. national security. A vast majority think that the world today is more dangerous for the American people. Fewer than two in 10 believe the United States is winning the war on terror. More than eight in 10 believe we are likely to face a terrorist attack on the scale of September 11 within the next 10 years. Over half list Islamic animosity and the Iraq war as the main reasons why the world is becoming more dangerous. The experts put nuclear weapons and materials as the top threat followed closely by weapons of mass destruction (WMD) as a whole and then terrorism. Only four percent rank Iran as the greatest threat.

The experts also have serious concerns about the effectiveness of the U.S. national security apparatus and sharply criticize the U.S. government's efforts in numerous areas of national security, including public diplomacy, intelligence, and homeland security. They give the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) a score of 2.9 out of 10 in its functions related to national security, and more than 80 percent of the surveyed experts characterize efforts at intelligence reform to date as 'fair' or 'poor.'

The major correctives suggested by the experts for defeating terrorist networks and enhancing U.S. national security are increasing the budget for the Department of State (87 percent), reducing dependence on foreign oil (82 percent), and improving intelligence capabilities (76 percent).

Furthermore, specific U.S. policies are cited by experts as contributing to our lack of progress in winning the war against terrorist networks. Majorities believe that the war in Iraq (87 percent), the detention of terrorist suspects in Guantanamo and elsewhere (81 percent), U.S. policy towards Iran (60 percent), and U.S. energy policy (64 percent) have had a negative impact on our national security.
This kind of says it all, don't you think? Follow the link above for more and for the full report. Scary stuff, and BushCo is making things worse.

The Brits Get It

Britons tire of cruel, vulgar US: poll - Yahoo! News:
The United States is no longer a symbol of hope to Britain and the British no longer have confidence in their transatlantic cousins to lead global affairs, according to the poll published in The Daily Telegraph.

The YouGov poll found that 77 percent of respondents disagreed with the statement that the US is 'a beacon of hope for the world'.
Now, if only the rest of us can step outside the box long enough, we might have some real change here. I said might.


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