Friday, September 22, 2006

Firedoglake Nails It Again

Firedoglake - Firedoglake weblog:
According to GOP-pushed media logic, someone who steals three of your hubcaps, strips your car down of all the valuable parts, take the license plate and steals your registration should not be charged for all of those crimes because someone else took the first hubcap a little earlier in the day.

Um…yeah. Try again. You lie repeatedly to a federal investigator, you pay the penalty, and no amount of after-the-fact ass-covering obfuscation gets around the fact that Libby lied, repeatedly. If he didn’t need to do so because he and those around him did nothing wrong, then why did he lie on multiple occasions? And why did a federal grand jury find it troubling enough to indict him on five felony counts for doing so?

It seems to me that someone is pushing awfully hard to keep Dick Cheney and Judy Miller and all the rest of Scooter’s peeps from having to testify publicly under oath.

Torture in Iraq worse now than before? - Conflict in Iraq -

Torture in Iraq worse now than before? - Conflict in Iraq -
"Reports from Iraq indicate that torture “is totally out of hand,” he said. “The situation is so bad many people say it is worse than it has been in the times of Saddam Hussein.”"

Way to go, BushCo! Now go away, please!

And Now For The Good News...

My Way News:
MONROE CITY, Indiana (Reuters) - In a dozen districts across the U.S. heartland, voter unhappiness has imperiled Republicans, setting the stage for what could be the biggest anti-incumbent midterm election since 1994.

Pat Wilkerson says U.S. troops and veterans are her first priority, believes family values are important and voted Republican in 2004. But in November she'll switch parties -- though not because Democrats have won her over.

'When I vote now, it's not who I'm voting for, it's who I'm voting against,' said the 59-year-old administrator, adding she is fed up with the war in Iraq and wants troops home.

'I think a lot of Republicans who are in office are at risk,' Wilkerson said as she watched sweating politicians work the crowd at a town festival in Monroe City in southwest Indiana.

Polls show U.S. voters are overwhelmingly unhappy with the direction of the country.
That's more like it. Keep thinking, people!


Claim 9/11 Terrorists Were Identified Is Rejected - New York Times

Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Kidding? Chapter 4

U.N. Finds Baghdad Toll Far Higher Than Cited - New York Times:
"BAGHDAD, Sept. 20 — A United Nations report released Wednesday says that 5,106 people in Baghdad died violent deaths during July and August, a number far higher than reports that have relied on figures from the city’s morgue."

I'm shocked, shocked to find that we're being lied to about the state of conditions in Iraq!

No Kidding? Chapter 3

Keep Away the Vote - New York Times:
"One of the cornerstones of the Republican Party’s strategy for winning elections these days is voter suppression, intentionally putting up barriers between eligible voters and the ballot box. The House of Representatives took a shameful step in this direction yesterday, voting largely along party lines for onerous new voter ID requirements. Laws of this kind are unconstitutional, as an array of courts have already held, and profoundly undemocratic. The Senate should not go along with this cynical, un-American electoral strategy."

No Kidding? Chapter 2

British Science Group Says Exxon Misrepresents Climate Issues - New York Times:
"LONDON, Sept. 20 — A British scientific group, the Royal Society, contends that Exxon Mobil is spreading “inaccurate and misleading” information about climate change and is financing groups that misinform the public on the issue."

No Kidding? Chapter 1

My Way News:
GENEVA (Reuters) - United Nations human rights investigators said on Thursday that legislation proposed by U.S. President George W. Bush for tough interrogations of foreign terrorism suspects would breach the Geneva Conventions.

In a joint statement to the U.N. Human Rights Council, meeting in Geneva, the five independent envoys also said that Washington's recent admission of secret detention centres abroad pointed to 'very serious human rights violations in relation to the hunt for alleged terrorists.'
This shouldn't be news. This should have been obvious. Why is Bush still in the White House?!

Who Ya' Gonna' Believe?

My Way News:
Former members of the data-mining unit code-named Able Danger and their Republican champion in Congress, Rep. Curt Weldon of Pennsylvania, have maintained for over a year that Able Danger uncovered intelligence on September 11 mastermind Mohamed Atta and others in 2000 that should have been a tip-off of the attacks.

The September 11, 2001 attacks killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania and prompted the Bush administration's war on terrorism.

A spokesman for Weldon's office acknowledged that a final draft of the report was 'imminent' but said he could not discuss the contents of the document.

Officials from Gimble's office were expected to brief Weldon about their findings on Thursday and then release the report on the Defense Department web site, officials said.

Two officials familiar with the contents of the report said it substantially undermines claims put forward by Weldon and former Able Danger members.

Weldon and former unit members including former Defense Intelligence Agency liaison officer Lt. Col Anthony Shaffer maintain that Able Danger identified Atta and three other hijackers as al Qaeda members in early 2000. But he said Pentagon lawyers prevented the team from warning the FBI.

Officials said the inspector general specifically investigated charges that the Defense Intelligence Agency retaliated against Shaffer for his public remarks about the Able Danger findings.

The inspector general began reviewing the case of Able Danger after Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld received a written request on October 20, 2005, from Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the Republican chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Armed Services.

Others associated with Able Danger, including the team's former leader, Navy Capt. Scott Phillpott, have made statements similar to Shaffer's.

But an earlier exhaustive Pentagon search of tens of thousands of documents and electronic files related to the operation failed to corroborate the claims.

Officials with House and Senate intelligence oversight committees have also said there is little substantiating evidence.
Let's see now: the people who were there, who were working on the project, who have nothing to gain at this point by saying so; or the people who stand to lose the most if the reports of prior knowledge are true? Gee! Let me think about it...hmmmmmm.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

We May Have Dodged The Bullet This Year, But...

Dozens killed in South Asia storms - Weather -
HYDERABAD, India - Storms caused by a weather depression in the Bay of Bengal have killed more than 60 people in eastern India and Bangladesh and left hundreds of fishermen missing at sea, officials said on Wednesday.

Thousands of people have been left homeless.
South Asia is getting the brunt of the bad weather this season for this year. The excess energy being generated by global warming has to work itself out somehow, somewhere. We've been lucky (so far) this year.

Whew! At Least That's One Less Worry...

Good news! Black hole won't destroy Earth - -

Actually, they don't know this for sure. The article is referring to the nano-blackholes that the new accelerator at CERN will (may?) produce when it comes on-line next year. Still, it's nice to know somebody did the math on this before turning on the switch.

Double Uh-Oh!

Study: Greenland ice sheet melting faster - World Environment -
Greenland’s massive ice sheet is melting much more quickly than scientists had estimated as recently as last year, according to research published on Wednesday.

An analysis of satellite observations shows the rate of ice loss increased by 2.5 times between the periods April 2002 to April 2004 and May 2004 to April 2006, most of it in southern Greenland.

The researchers calculated that Greenland lost roughly 164 cubic miles of ice from April 2004 to April 2006 — more than the volume of water in Lake Erie.
Looks like the wife and I will be moving to the seashore a little earlier than expected -- without leaving our current home!


Satellite views show big gaps in Arctic ice - World Environment -
"PARIS - A warm summer and late storms in the past few months briefly opened a channel in the Arctic ice big enough to allow a ship to sail to the North Pole, the European Space Agency said Wednesday."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Reasons We're Losing # 654

My Way News - U.S. War Prisons Legal Vacuum for 14,000:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - In the few short years since the first shackled Afghan shuffled off to Guantanamo, the U.S. military has created a global network of overseas prisons, its islands of high security keeping 14,000 detainees beyond the reach of established law.

Disclosures of torture and long-term arbitrary detentions have won rebuke from leading voices including the U.N. secretary-general and the U.S. Supreme Court. But the bitterest words come from inside the system, the size of several major U.S. penitentiaries.

'It was hard to believe I'd get out,' Baghdad shopkeeper Amjad Qassim al-Aliyawi told The Associated Press after his release - without charge - last month. 'I lived with the Americans for one year and eight months as if I was living in hell.'
And we're supposed to be "spreading democracy?" Showing other countries how to act and live? Yeah, right.

Way To Go, Pope

My Way News - Iraq al-Qaida Says Pope, West Are Doomed

Reactors Not Exactly Panacea

Reactors Prone to Long Closings, Study Finds - New York Times:
The heart of the problem, Mr. Lochbaum said, is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not good at assessing the ability of a reactor staff to keep the plant in good physical condition and maintain training and other requirements. As a result, he said, plants operate until serious problems accumulate and force a shutdown.

“This is the wrong way to do business, from a safety standpoint and an economic standpoint,” he said in a telephone interview.

Mr. Fertell, of the industry trade group, agreed.

The only reactor currently in an extended shutdown is the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Browns Ferry Unit 1, in Alabama. It last ran in 1985. The shutdown of more than a year that ended most recently was at Davis-Besse, near Toledo, Ohio, where workers found that an acid used in the plant, boron, had corroded a 70-pound chunk of steel in the reactor’s vessel head, leaving only a half-inch stainless steel liner.

Early in the era of commercial nuclear power, analysts theorized that shutdowns were what was known in the industry as “teething problems” and that with experience, reactors would run more smoothly. But most of the shutdowns came after the reactors were 10 years old. The Davis-Besse plant was more than 23 years old when it was closed in 2002. It was closed for more than two years. Besides the hole in the reactor head, engineers later found that crucial pumps that used water for lubrication were prone to break down because of debris in the water. Discovery of decades-old design problems is common during lengthy shutdowns.
It comes down to priorities, and this "govoration" doesn't have them in the proper order to achieve the efficiency and effectiveness we need. Down with the plutocracy!

Virginia Senate Race Heats Up

A Democrat Rises in Virginia - New York Times

Webb can win it!

Why BushCo And The Current System In Washington Can't Make Us Safer

Bid to Stockpile Bioterror Drugs Stymied by Setbacks - New York Times:
“The inept implementation of the program has led the best brains and the best scientists to give up, to look elsewhere or devote their resources to medical initiatives that are not focused on biodefense,” said Michael Greenberger, director of the Center for Health and Homeland Security at the University of Maryland.

Even some former department officials who helped create BioShield are dismayed.

“I find this all rather repugnant,” said D. A. Henderson, a former top bioterrorism official. “You have people here who, in the face of a problem of serious import, are using every tactic they can to line their own pockets.”
Unless the cycle of lobby/legislate/litigate is broken, Big Government and Big Business will continue to take the money and run, at the expense of everything America needs and pretends to be. The current system only works for the rich and greedy and does nothing to improve the general welfare and safety. It's broke, and nobody is fixing it!


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