Friday, June 15, 2007
A Republican senator blocked a vote in the Judiciary Committee on whether to
authorize subpoenas to the Justice Department to obtain secret legal opinions and other documents related to the National Security Agency’s program of domestic eavesdropping. The action by Senator Jon Kyl of Arizona will block the vote for a week.
A resident of a Hamas-dominated neighborhood, identifying himself only as Yousef for fear of reprisal by his neighbors, said Gazans would always back the winner, regardless of ideology.
"Today everybody is with Hamas because Hamas won the battle. If Fatah had won the battle they'd be with Fatah. We are a hungry people, we are with whoever gives us a bag of flour and a food coupon," said Yousef, 30. "Me, I'm with God and a bag of flour."http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070615/ap_on_re_mi_ea/israel_palestinians
The failure to negotiate a viable Palestinian state has dragged on for decades. When Hamas won parliamentary elections last year, there was hope that they would move away from militancy. That has not happened.
The stage for the struggle between Fatah and Hamas was set last year, when Hamas
won parliamentary elections. Hamas reluctantly brought Fatah into a coalition government in March to quell an earlier round of violence, but the uneasy partnership began crumbling last month over control of security forces.
Abbas just disbanded the government, announced the State of Emergency ( HUGE
SIGNIFICANCE) and called for early elections as soon possible….
as for the confederation, I have to tell you that now, from official sources, i have confirmations! It’s ready… They are building roads connecting the West Bank to Jordan PLUS … i received news from a source in a West Bank municipality about what is happening and they apparently received orders to clean the grounds for the arrival of the Badr Brigades ( under Jordanian rule) …. You can’t possibly imagine what is happening over here! I am seeing it and not believing it ….
As for Gaza…it will be Egypt’s business from now on … Pre 1967 coming back ? I don’t know …but it looks much like it! Nobody can wait anymore and everything
can happen in hours! IN HOURS… i repeat, i’m not analysing anymore, i’m just
watching …. http://olehgirl.com/
Thursday, June 14, 2007
This column has no particular favorite and will make no predictions. Even so, it’s not necessary to be a prophet to know how Beltway pundits will handle the so-called character issue. The Republican nominee will be a virile, decisive straight-shooter who’s 100 percent “authentic” and “comfortable in his own skin.” The Democrat will be an indecisive phony, uncertain of his / her identity, but willing to strike any pose or pander to any constituency in a self-serving bid for power. That was the basic script for the media’s astonishing “War on Gore” in 2000, the campaign of falsehood and vilification that helped elevate George W. Bush, an ex-preppie cheerleader and bicycling enthusiast dressed up in rugged “Texas Rancher” costumes, to the presidency over then-Vice President Al Gore.http://www.nwanews.com/adg/Editorial/192900/
It's so true. How often have we been told how "manly" shrub is? Never mind that in the real world Helen Thomas would kick his ass in about 2 minutes.
Look, an American presidential election is essentially a long-running reality TV show. So there’s definitely something in what they’re saying. “Hardball” has very low ratings outside of D. C., but it and programs like it are where the Beltway group narrative gets worked out, the basic story line that pundits use to sell themselves as experts without studying tedious issues like health care or foreign policy. The brilliant blogger “Digby” asks a penetrating question: “Why do so many male Washington courtiers have giggling mancrushes on... Republican politicians ?” Personally, I blame “heterosexual panic.” Half the insulting e-mails and all the anonymous phone calls this column generates deal in sexual insult. Whether it’s fear of terrorism, uneasiness at the prospect of a woman president or cultural change generally, the GOP base responds like trained seals to tough-guy poses. It follows that Democrats must play the foil: John Edwards a foppish girlyman, Hillary Clinton an unnatural woman, Barack Obama a racially confused Oreo—well, you get the picture. Yes, it’s pathetic. And no, it has nothing to do with reality or the nation’s problems, but it’s nevertheless something Democrats can’t afford to ignore.
So how do we fight this crap?
66 beer bottles = one cheap rooftop solar water heater
Take 66 beer bottles. Fill them with water and connect so that it flows slowly from bottle to bottle. Place apparatus on roof (or better yet, build it in place) and voila, you have the ultimate in DIY solar thermal hot water systems. Not only do you get the pleasure of consuming 66 bottles of beer on the way, you also get the joy of providing hot water for your mother to shower in comfort.
That's Ma Yanjun, a farmer in Qiqiao village, Shaanxi province--the heartlandhttp://blog.sciam.com/index.php?title=66_beer_bottles_one_cheap_rooftop_solar&more=1&c=1&tb=1&pb=1
of China. He built the contraption for his mother, according to Weird Asia News, making him both a devoted son and one of the numerous backyard enthusiasts who have discovered a simple way to harness the power of the sun. From the cold
of Vermont to the baking heat of South Africa, such solar water collectors--whether made from beer bottles, soda cans, or anything else--are a cheap and simple way
to heat water for your home--a different type of recycling if you will. You do need to remember, however, that the sun doesn't always shine and plan accordingly.
Actually, I'll have to wait. My landlord keeps saying he's going to replace our leaky roof soon.
An internal FBI audit has found that the bureau potentially violated the law or agency rules more than 1,000 times while collecting data about domestic phone calls, e-mails and financial transactions in recent years, far more than was documented in a Justice Department report in March that ignited bipartisan congressional criticism.
The new audit covers just 10 percent of the bureau's national security investigations since 2002, and so the mistakes in the FBI's domestic surveillance efforts probably number several thousand, bureau officials said in interviews. The earlier report found 22 violations in a much smaller sampling.
The vast majority of the new violations were instances in which telephone companies and Internet providers gave agents phone and e-mail records the agents did not request and were not authorized to collect. The agents retained the information anyway in their files, which mostly concerned suspected terrorist or espionage activities.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/06/13/AR2007061302453_pf.html
I wonder how much was collected for political purposes, rather than security.
And the corporations are willing to break the law, too.
AT&T agreed to allow large portions of sealed documents that sit at the heart of an anti-spying case against the telecom giant which alleges the company illegally installed secret surveillance rooms in its internet facilities at the behest of the National Security Agency. The case brought by the Electronic Frontier Foundation in January 2006 relies on documents provided to the group by Mark Klein, a retired AT&T technician who took three documents home with him when he retired in 2004.
AT&T acceded to the disclosure only after the EFF threatened to ask a federal appeals court to unseal documents that had been published by Wired News and Frontline, which would have forced the company's lawyers into the embarrassing position of arguing that documents available on the internet for more than a year were secret, according to Cindy Cohn, the EFF's legal director.http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2007/06/att_spy_room_do.html
But is there a point where the amount of information collected becomes overwhelming?
Half a Million Terrorists
Thank goodness our government is so committed to the "War on Terror" that they've managed to track all these evil people down and put them on a list!A terrorist watch list compiled by the FBI has apparently swelled to include more than half a million names. Privacy and civil liberties advocates say the list is growing uncontrollably, threatening its usefulness in the war on terror.The bureau says the number of names on its terrorist watch list is classified. A portion of the FBI's unclassified 2008 budget request posted to the Department of Justice Web site, however, refers to "the entire watch list of 509,000 names," which is utilized by its Foreign Terrorist Tracking Task Force.
The corporatocracy has been mining data for years, in an attempt to target marketing. They have access to every non-cash transaction we make.
The question becomes: How afraid should we be?
Added: Of course, based on the whole DOJ investigation, nobody will remember anything anyway.
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Item# 1098 $5,870.00
In 1943, some American troops were stationed in Iraq. Here is a PDF of a War Department handbook introducing them to the country, and providing some dos and don'ts when interacting with the Iraqi people. Some highlights:~
- NEVER discuss religion or politics or women with Moslems.
- Don't stare at anyone. Remember the fear of the "evil eye".
- Knock before entering a private house. If a woman answers, wait until she
has had time to retire.
- If you see grown men walking hand in hand, ignore it. They are not
- You can usually tell a mosque by its high tower. Keep away from mosques. [Emphasis in the original] If you try to enter one, you will be thrown out, probably with a severe beating.
- There are four towns in Iraq which are particularly sacred to the Iraq Moslems: Kerbala, Najaf, samarra, and Kadhiman. Unless you are ordered to these towns it is advisable to stay away from them.
- Moslems here are divided into two factions something like our division into
Catholic and Protestant denominations -- so don't put in your two cents when
Iraqis argue about religion.
- There are also political differences in Iraq that have puzzled diplomats and
statesmen. You won't help matters any by getting mixed up in them.
then there's this:
- American success or failure in Iraq may well depend on whether the Iraqis
(as the people are called) like American soldiers or not. It may not be quite
that simple. But then again it could.
Wish somebody read it in 2002.
"These are guys who are pretty much going straight from deployment to the streets," added Rachel Feldstein, associate director of New Directions, a residential care centre for homeless veterans inside the VA complex in West Los Angeles. She says veterans of the Iraq war are becoming homeless much more quickly than Vietnam vets.
While about half of the estimated 400,000 homeless veterans served during the Vietnam years, Feldstein said most did not usually become homeless until nine to 12 years after their discharge.
Already, she said, Iraq war vets are living on the streets of Los Angeles, getting seriously addicted to drugs and falling into criminal behaviour, she said.
Firm estimates of the number of homeless Iraq war veterans are hard to come by. In June 2005, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans reported the number of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) veterans seeking assistance from community-based homeless services
providers had exceeded 400.
The group Veterans for America, formerly the Vietnam Veterans of America Foundation, estimates that 10,000 veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are now living on the street.
"What's unique about the men and women coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan is that they're not able to integrate with their family," Feldstein said. "They've seen horrible things. They've been in horrible places and their family can't relate. And so you become homeless in the last place you lived."
Activists concerned about increases in the number of homeless veterans argue for greater federal investment in affordable housing and social services. Of particular concern is the wait for mental health care, which can run as long as six months.
A recent study by Harvard's Kennedy School of Government found that by the time the Iraq and Afghanistan wars end, there will be at least two and a half million vets. Because of that, the Harvard study concluded, Congress will have to double the VA's budget simply to avoid cutting services.
I'm sure that more yellow magnets can address this.
The mosque, one of the four most revered in Iraq, has been heavily guarded by Iraqi troops ever since the 2006 attack. No one ever asserted responsibility for that blast. But it was blamed on the Sunni extremist group al-Qaeda in Iraq, which over the years has launched attacks on both Shiite and Sunni targets in an effort to fuel religious battles and push the country into civil war.
The real question comes down to how soon will al-Maliki's government collapse, and what will follow.
Bombers returned overnight to finish off the Askariya Shiite shrine, the same one that was badly damaged in 2006, and Al-Sadr’s bloc suspended its participation in Parliament in protest over the al-Maliki’s government inability to provide basic security. This occurred in the midst of a coordinated insurgent campaign to destroy Iraqi bridges and other infrastructure in and around Baghdad, and while the Americans plead with the Iraqis to do more.
I also have questions about the timing. One day after Moqtada al-Sadr received Sistani's blessing for his attempts to end Sunni-Shia violence, the Shia shrine bombing seems to be an attempt to inflame sectarian conflict.
Al-Sabah carries on page 3 a 560-word report entitled "Muqtada al-Sadr Visits
Grand Religious Authority in His House in Al-Najaf; Al-Sistani Blesses Al-Sadr
Trend's Efforts To Bring Shiites, Sunnis Together." . .
"Sayed Muqtada refuses all kinds of violence and he refuses to answer violence with violence," Obaidi said. "Sayed" is an honorific used for descendents of the Prophet Muhammad.
As I've said before, al-Sadr has positioned himself to be a real power broker in the future of Iraq. He could be our best hope or our worst fear in Iraq.
The reaction was swift in Shiite-dominated southern Iraq. Black banners were
hoisted outside the Najaf residence of radical cleric al-Sadr, who called for three days mourning and peaceful demonstrations to mark the minarets' destruction and criticized the government for not doing enough to protect the site.
He also said the U.S. occupation is "the only enemy of Iraq" and "that's why everyone must demand its departure," or a timetable for its departure.
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
A warehouse renovation project set for the historic Pearl Brewery site will also be a "learning laboratory" for "green" building and energy efficiency, featuring the largest solar energy installation in the state, announced CPS Energy and Silver Ventures, which is renovating the historic brewery in an adaptive re-use project.
The $1.35 million solar energy joint project will install a 200-kilowatt array of solar panels atop a 67,000 square-foot former warehouse facility
From today's NYT:
The top American military commander for the Middle East has warned
Iraq’s prime minister in a closed-door conversation that the Iraqi government needs to make tangible political progress by next month to counter the growing tide of opposition to the war in Congress.
In a Sunday afternoon discussion that mixed gentle coaxing with a sober
appraisal of politics in Baghdad and Washington, the commander, Adm.
William J. Fallon, told Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki that the Iraqi government should aim to complete a law on the division of oil proceeds by next month.
4. Iraq: axis of evil, lack of preparation for occupation, looting, including the National Museum, too few troops, lack of training, lack of equipment, lack of securing loose Iraqi munitions, disbanding the Iraqi army, banning the Baathists, the CPA, cronyism, Paul Bremer, losing tons of money literally, lack of international inclusion in reconstruction and security, weak Constitution, formation of sectarian parties, weak government, denial of actual conditions in Iraq, ignoring 4 years of failed policies and the basic proposal of the Iraq Study Group to withdraw, escalating instead, continuing lack of any discernible
Monday, June 11, 2007
Jeannette Rankin (June 11, 1880 – May 18, 1973) was the first woman elected to the United States House of Representatives and the first female member of Congress. A Republican and a lifelong pacifist, she was the only member of Congress to vote against United States entry into World War II and one of fifty to vote against World War I. Additionally, she led resistance to the Vietnam War.
Were there more like her today.
BAGHDAD, June 10 — With the four-month-old increase in American troops
showing only modest success in curbing insurgent attacks, American commanders
are turning to another strategy that they acknowledge is fraught with risk: arming Sunni Arab groups that have promised to fight militants linked with Al Qaeda who have been their allies in the past. [...]
... In some cases, the American commanders say, the Sunni groups are suspected of involvement in past attacks on American troops or of having links to such groups. Some of these groups, they say, have been provided, usually through Iraqi military units allied with the Americans, with arms, ammunition, cash, fuel and supplies.
Of course, arming both sides of a conflict helps promote peace, right?
It's the least we could do after helping establish Shi'ite death squads in the Iraqi Interior Ministry and arming the
Badr BrigadeIraqi Army, which is often comprised primarily of Shi'ites, except in Northern Iraq where the Kurds predominate.
I liked Boomans take on it:http://www.boomantribune.com/
So, when does Bush announce we're going to use tactical nukes to take out the
United States military? That's the next logical step for dealing with a state sponsor of terrorism, isn't it? And isn't what these US commanders are now doing the raison
d'être for Our Dear Leader's order authorizing US forces to kill or capture Iranians in
Iraq? Namely, the arming and training of Iraqi insurgents who are killing Americans? Well, wasn't it?
If all this makes your head spin, imagine how it feels to be an American soldier in Iraq this morning. Must be nice to know that the very people who blew off your buddy's arms and legs, or crushed his skull in an IED attack yesterday, are now the recipients of US Government largesse. Especially since the US government has been sooo good about taking care of our disabled vets, once they can no longer serve as target practice for many of these same insurgents.
While in Italy on Saturday, Bush was asked whether there needs to be a deadline for action by the United Nations in establishing independence for Kosovo.
"In terms of the deadline, there needs to be one," Bush said emphatically. "This needs to come _ this needs to happen. Now it's time."
That must not have been a memorable statement for the president.
By the time he got to Albania the next morning, he was befuddled when a reporter asked for more detail on the deadline.
"First of all, I don't think I called for a deadline," he said Sunday in his latest European stop. That drew a curious reaction, and Bush picked up on it.
"What exactly did I say? I said, 'Deadline?'" Bush asked.
Someone signaled that he did, in fact, say the word.
"OK, yes, then I meant what I said," Bush said to laughter.
He went on to explain that Kosovo should not continue adrift through endless
"That's what I meant," Bush declared. [WaPo]
How did this clown end up in power? (that's meant rhetorically- I know all the corrupt history)
American cable news has been fixated on the jailing of socialite Paris Hilton for the past week, on grounds that she twice violated the probation sentence she earlier received for drunk driving. They interrupted coverage of world leaders at the G8. They briefly spliced in Gates's decision not to reappoint Peter Pace as chairman of the joint chiefs of staff. A new frenzy broke out with every tiny twist . She was brave, she was weeping, she was mentally fragile. She was released, she was rejailed, she shouted it was unfair and cried, she was undergoing psychiatric evaluation.
Just for a little perspective, we could consider the news from Iraq on Saturday. Incoming mortar fire from guerrillas hit Bucca prison, killing 6 inmates and wounding 50.
The US military is holding 19000 Iraqis, 16000 of them at Bucca. Although most are guerrillas or their helpers, a lot of them were picked up because they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Once arrested, an inmate often cannot clear himself for months or years. I don't think they have access to attorneys. No one cares if they are depressed. At Abu Ghraib earlier on, some inmates were systematically tortured. It is unlear if all such practices have ceased.
Some Iraqi women have been held in this way. Some were essentially hostages, taken to make them reveal where their husbands or fathers were or to guarantee their good behavior. Their reputations were shot, since Iraqis think Americans are sex fiends and wouldn't trust the virtue of a woman who had been in their custody. The unmarried among them are likely doomed to be spinsters.
American television never mentions that the US has 19000 Iraqis in jail, or that some have been women, or that some are innocent, or how they feel about being in
So is Paris Hilton being given special treatment by our media? We all are, folks.
Not that you'll hear this in the nightly news.
Sunday, June 10, 2007
In a meeting with reporters, Lynch said contacts with the Sunnis, who make up the bulk of the insurgency, were a matter of pragmatism.
``They say: 'We hate you because you are an occupier, but we hate al-Qaida worse and we hate the Persians (Iranians) even worse' ... you can't ignore that whole population,'' Lynch said.
There is NO winning. We need to leave.
Just credit the folks doing the real work.
added: I did a lot of work leading up to this:
A Flagstaff couple already in the beer business is ready to brew up a different kind of fuel. Diane and David Williamson, owners of Mogollon Brewery, have formed a private company to build and operate an ethanol refinery at Camp Navajo.
The company, called Earth Friendly Fuels, would produce about 50 million gallons of ethanol per year.
The plant would produce corn-based ethanol. Then, ideally, it would transition to consuming tree scraps from a waferboard wood plant proposed in Winslow, if technology improves.
That product is called cellulosic ethanol, and it is still in the developmental stage.
The fuel refinery could consume about 200,000 tons of woody debris, or about half the output of the proposed biomass from the Winslow plant, said Pascal Berlioux, president of Arizona Forest Restoration Products, the company proposing the oriented strand board plant in Winslow.
Added: I should just calm down. The local newspaper went with the story, despite a lack of research or informed sources.
Diane Williamson declined to discuss details, saying there was no signed lease yet for the property at Camp Navajo.
The plans for the plant are a long way from fruition, which is why I haven't posted about it.
Yeah, the ones that Jeb!'s buddies supplied. They were messed-up to begin
with, and are still dysfunctional. The Corps embargoed the report while the
National Media was in NOLA for the start of the Hurricane season, and are still
holding back the truth.
http://first-draft-blog.typepad.com/ has the rundown:
Beginning with what Oyster says for the overview...
In a blockbuster post, Matt McBride outlines his initial impressions about the Army Corps of Engineers' internal investigation on the floodgate pumps. In short, New Orleanians are at risk because the pumps haven't been fixed properly. Please read the whole thing; it's mega-important.
Then on to the post by Matt at Fix the Pumps for details. First he states..."The report is stunning in its breadth and depth. Things are way worse than I knew. [...] The amount of crap this investigation uncovered is breathtaking." Matt then details what is wrong with the pumps among other things. There is this regarding what has been known...
Colonel Bedey, Jim St. Germain, and Dan Bradley have been lying to us in New Orleans and Jefferson Parish, all of the media (local and national), and the entire nation for a year, right up to and including Bedey's assurances during General Van Antwerp's "Truth & Honesty" tour last Thursday. There is a critical fix (as in, the pumps could fail without it) that needs to be applied to the drive units. The New Orleans Corps has known about it and has not performed that fix since June of 2006! I don't see how these men can keep their jobs.
And this regarding the pump contract...
The contract administration has been a travesty - perhaps even criminal - and there appears to have been an active effort to cover that up. MWI was writing change orders - including prices - and the Corps was sending them back to MWI with a bow on them. Duplicate payments have been made to MWI. There appears to be no written justification for most of the payments. There appear to be millions of dollars unaccounted for.
This whole administration has been one massive ripoff. Profits are more important than lives to these assholes.
Between 20 March 2007 and 20 March 2008 (the fifth year of the war), we will attempt to
sign up One Million Blogs for Peace. By signing up, a blogger is stating his or her agreement with The Pledge below. They will then be able to participate in various challenges launched by One Million Blogs for Peace. They will also be listed on this website with a link to their blog.
I hope to see this button show up on other blogs I admire. Spread the word!
LOS ANGELES — A meat supplier has expanded a voluntary recall of ground beef
that may be contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
United Food Group said in a statement this week that it expanded the recall of 75,000 pounds of ground beef to include an additional 370,000 pounds based on "unspecified concerns" raised by the California Department of Health Services.
The recalled products were shipped to grocery stores in Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. They were sold under brand names Moran's, Miller Meat, Stater Bros., Inter-American Products and Bashas'.
What really infuriates me is the timing. Notice the "sell by" dates:
The products have "sell-by" dates from April 29 to May 6 and may have "freeze-by" dates of April 28, April 30 or May 7. The establishment number "EST. 1241" is stamped inside the USDA mark of inspection or is printed on the package.
I'm a simple bachelor, and I usually eat what I buy within a few days. It's now June, so ground beef that had "April 29th" as a "sell by" date has been consumed. Guess I got lucky.
It would be nice to know that the groceries I buy today are safe TODAY, dammit.
Thanks to Monkeyfister for the tip.