Thursday, March 31, 2005

Bush hardliner Wolfowitz wins international backing to helm World Bank

Business Centre - network: "Bush hardliner Wolfowitz wins international backing to helm World Bank
Jeannine Aversa
Canadian Press
Thursday, March 31, 2005
WASHINGTON (AP) - The World Bank approved Paul Wolfowitz as its new president Thursday, affirming the U.S. administration's choice of a George W. Bush loyalist to take the helm of the 184-country development bank."

MSNBC - December quake was longest on record

MSNBC - December quake was longest on record

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Would-be sex tourist, 87, jailed

BBC NEWS | Americas | Would-be sex tourist, 87, jailed: "A 87-year-old Californian man has been sentenced to 20 years in jail for attempting to travel to the Philippines to have sex with two little girls.

Wheelchair-bound John Seljan admitted to police he had been visiting young girls in the Philippines for the last 20 years.

The judge said his term in prison was 'tantamount to a life sentence'. He is the first person convicted at trial under the Protect Act, aimed at curbing sex tourism.

The former country singer and businessman was caught at Los Angeles international airport in 2003, where agents found child pornography, sex aids, sexually explicit letters to the two girls, aged nine and 12, and 45kg (100lb) of chocolate in his bags."

Guess who's coming to dinner
Top Worldwide
: "Laura Bush Says Karzai Urges U.S. Not to Abandon Afghanistan

March 31 (Bloomberg) -- U.S. President George W. Bush's wife, Laura, said Afghan President Hamid Karzai urged her not to let America abandon Afghanistan as the U.S. military shifts its mission from war to reconstruction and NATO takes a greater role."
and another article:
"I Just feel like the federal government has to be involved," she said, her first public remarks on the case. "It is a life issue that really does require government to be involved."

Just a question: since when has Laura Bush ever had anything to say about current affairs? Seriously, I was shocked to see her in the news. Are Rove, etc. getting desperate to put a pretty face in light of their declining popularity?! : Latest News! : Latest News

59 Ex-Diplomats Oppose Bolton for UN

Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Airline limits crews' North Pole exposure amid cancer fears. 27/03/2005. ABC News Online

Airline Cathay Pacific has limited air crews' flights on the non-stop Hong Kong-New York route after it was found the journey could increase the likelihood of cancer.

Airline staff say they have been limited to just two of the ultra long-haul flights per month since it was found the route exposed passengers and crew to high levels of cosmic radiation when they flew over the North Pole.

Union chiefs have told the South China Morning Post that radiation levels increase markedly at 8,000 metres above the pole.


March 29, 2005 -- An upstate man and teenager have been charged with forcibly tattooing an obscenity on the forehead of a 17-year-old boy, police said yesterday.

Norwich Police Officer Craig Berry declined to describe the tattoo, which is an extremely obscene phrase and a diagram.

Kenneth Peer, 23, of South New Berlin and a 17-year-old boy from Earlville were charged with felony assault and unlawful imprisonment.

The victim, whose name is being withheld, told cops he had been held down by a man and a teen at a Norwich residence while they forcibly tattooed his head.

National Survey Shows Americans Are In The Dark Regarding Genetically Modified Foods

Americans pay little attention to genetically modified foods, have difficulty separating fact from fiction when it comes to the science behind them and are willing to believe unsubstantiated rumors about them. According to a national study of 1,200 Americans commissioned by the Food Policy Institute (FPI) at Rutgers-Cook College, while most Americans say they are interested in the technology and have opinions about it, most lack the tools and background needed for an informed assessment.

Bush faces decline in approval ratings

Bush faces decline in approval ratings

From Social Security to Terri Schiavo to sinking polls, Bush fights for public faith amid the perils of a second term.
Several major polls have shown Bush's job approval declining into the mid-40s, a drop of 5 to 7 points in just a week - in some cases, at or near an all-time low for his presidency. The latest Gallup Poll also shows the highest public pessimism over the economy in two years, with 33 percent saying it is getting better and 59 percent saying it is getting worse.

10 unusual accidents

"Figures published by the Department of Health have revealed a huge range of unusual accidents which put people in hospital in England in 2004. Here is just a small sample.

1. Two people were admitted after being in contact with venomous spiders. Both stayed in hospital for five days.
2. 22 people suffered from exposure to ignition or melting of nightwear, most of them men.
3. 1,481 people, most of them children, were injured by hot drinks, and most needing an overnight stay in hospital.
4. Two people needed five days' treatment after contact with centipedes or venomous millipedes.
5. 15 people were admitted after contact with a marine animal, needing an average of two days in hospital.
6. Four people had an average of two days' treatment after exposure to vibrations.
7. 1,839 people - 78% of them children - fell out of trees.
8. 4,533 people fell when using ice-skates, skis, roller-skates or skateboards. 57% of them were under 15.
9. One girl needed an overnight stay after being "bitten or struck" by an alligator. (By comparison, 3,508 people were bitten or struck by dogs.)
10. One child was admitted to hospital after "prolonged stay in a weightless environment". He or she did not stay overnight. There are no further details about who this person was or how they had come to need treatment."

Monday, March 28, 2005

Human Rights Film Series

For those of you in the Urbana area, you might want to check this out. The film on Thursday night is by the director of "Three Kings," and "I heart Huckabees."

Genetically Modified Food Is EVIL (sarcasm)

UK scientists have developed a new genetically modified strain of "golden rice", producing more beta-carotene.

The human body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, and this strain produces around 20 times as much as previous varieties.

It could help reduce vitamin A deficiency and childhood blindness in developing countries.

The New York Times > Arts > Frank Rich: The God Racket, From DeMille to DeLay

The New York Times > Arts > Frank Rich: The God Racket, From DeMille to DeLay: "All this is happening while polls consistently show that at most a fifth of the country subscribes to the religious views of those in the Republican base whom even George Will, speaking last Sunday on ABC's 'This Week,' acknowledged may be considered 'extremists.' In that famous Election Day exit poll, 'moral values' voters amounted to only 22 percent. Similarly, an ABC News survey last weekend found that only 27 percent of Americans thought it was 'appropriate' for Congress to 'get involved' in the Schiavo case and only 16 percent said it would want to be kept alive in her condition. But a majority of American colonists didn't believe in witches during the Salem trials either - any more than the Taliban reflected the views of a majority of Afghans. At a certain point - and we seem to be at that point - fear takes over, allowing a mob to bully the majority over the short term. (Of course, if you believe the end is near, there is no long term.)

That bullying, stoked by politicians in power, has become omnipresent, leading television stations to practice self-censorship and high school teachers to avoid mentioning 'the E word,' evolution, in their classrooms, lest they arouse fundamentalist rancor. The president is on record as saying that the jury is still out on evolution, so perhaps it's no surprise that The Los Angeles Times has uncovered a three-year-old 'religious rights' unit in the Justice Department that investigated a biology professor at Texas Tech because he refused to write letters of recommendation for students who do not accept evolution as 'the central, unifying principle of biology.' Cornelia Dean of The New York Times broke the story last weekend that some Imax theaters, even those in science centers, are now refusing to show documentaries like 'Galápagos' or 'Volcanoes of the Deep Sea' because their references to Darwin and the Big Bang theory might antagonize some audiences. Soon such films will disappear along with biology textbooks that don't give equal time to creationism.

James Cameron, producer of 'Volcanoes' (and, more famously, the director of 'Titanic'), called this development 'obviously symptomatic of our shift away from empiricism in science to faith-based science.' Faith-based science has in turn begat faith-based medicine that impedes stem-cell research, not to mention faith-based abstinence-only health policy that impedes the prevention of unwanted pregnancies and diseases like AIDS.

Faith-based news is not far behind. Ashley Smith, the 26-year-old woman who was held hostage by Brian Nichols, the accused Atlanta courthouse killer, has been canonized by virtually every American news organization as God's messenger because she inspired Mr. Nichols to surrender by talking about her faith and reading him a chapter from Rick Warren's best seller, 'The Purpose-Driven Life.' But if she's speaking for God, what does that make Dennis Rader, the church council president arrested in Wichita's B.T.K. serial killer case? Was God instructing Terry Ratzmann, the devoted member of the Living Church of God who this month murdered his pastor, an elderly man, two teenagers and two others before killing himself at a weekly church service in Wisconsin? The religious elements of these stories, including the role played by the end-of-times fatalism of Mr. Ratzmann's church, are left largely unexamined by the same news outlets that serve up Ashley Smith's tale as an inspirational parable for profit."

Sunday, March 27, 2005

Joke of the day

Fun & Games: "Why are we there?
Every day there are news reports about more deaths. Every night on TV there are photos of death and destruction. Why are we still there?
We occupied this land, which we had to take by force, but it causes us nothing but trouble. Why are we still there?
Many of our children go there and never come back. Why are we still there?
Their government is unstable, and they have loopy leadership. Why are we still there?
Many of their people are uncivilized. Why are we still there?
The place is subject to natural disasters, which we are supposed to bail them out of. Why are we still there?
There are more than 1000 religious sects, which we do not understand. Why are we still there?
Their folkways, foods and fads are unfathomable to ordinary Americans. Why are we still there?
We can't even secure the borders. Why are we still there?
They are billions of dollars in debt and it will cost billions more to rebuild, which we can't afford. Why are we still there?
It is becoming clear..


Funny Picture Photos - Strange, Bizarre Pictures and Funny Photos

Funny Picture Photos - Strange, Bizarre Pictures and Funny Photos

Gov. Bush: I can't help Terri Schiavo

"I cannot violate a court order," Bush said after attending Easter Sunday church services. "I don't have powers from the United States Constitution or -- for that matter from the Florida Constitution -- that would allow me to intervene after a decision has been made."

*duh* CDC

UnitedLeft - Daily Show Comments On The Schiavo Media Frenzy -- Video

Stewart does what the others don't. His deconstruction of our irresponsible media is priceless. This Schiavo case, specifically all the attention it gets, represents another elementary error in the media's priorities.

Frenchwoman rows to Pacific first

BBC NEWS: "France's Maud Fontenoy has become the first woman to row solo across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesia.
The 27-year-old was carried ashore and garlanded with flowers after she reached the island of Hiva Oa at the end of her 8,000km (5,000-mile) trip.
She said her fingers were aching and back sore after rowing her 7m (23ft) boat across the ocean for 72 days."

Saturday, March 26, 2005

The Long Emergency

t r u t h o u t - James Howard Kunstler | When We Run Out of Cheap Gas to Guzzle: "    Carl Jung, one of the fathers of psychology, famously remarked that 'people cannot stand too much reality.' What you're about to read may challenge your assumptions about the kind of world we live in, and especially the kind of world into which events are propelling us. We are in for a rough ride through uncharted territory.

    It has been very hard for Americans - lost in dark raptures of nonstop infotainment, recreational shopping and compulsive motoring - to make sense of the gathering forces that will fundamentally alter the terms of everyday life in our technological society. Even after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, America is still sleepwalking into the future. I call this coming time the Long Emergency.

    Most immediately we face the end of the cheap-fossil-fuel era. "

I think this is an important read, especially for my generation. As graduation looms, I know most of us our turning our thoughts towards our future and what lies ahead in terms of career and our desired lifestyles etc., and what we are expecting from the world is more of the same. We've been coddled in the most opulent era of human history; we know cars at sixteen, dinners at Applebee's, and comfortable jobs for mom, pop, and all the kids. Kunstler is arguing that this dreamy bubble isn't going to be popped, but rather the air is going to slowly be let out until we're choking on the plastic. That valve has been opened - 2005 is "apt to be the year of all-time global peak production" of oil. "We will not believe that this is happening to us, that 200 years of modernity can be brought to its knees by a world-wide power shortage." Who will be standing, and who will be brought to their knees when the oil economy burns out?

Friday, March 25, 2005

Most tsunami dead were female

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | Most tsunami dead female - Oxfam: "Most tsunami dead female - Oxfam

In four villages in Aceh Besar district 189 of 676 survivors were female
More women than men were killed by the Asian tsunami, Oxfam figures from India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka suggest.

In some regions the disaster claimed four times as many women as men.

The charity says women were worst-hit because they were waiting on beaches for fishermen to return, or at home looking after children at the time."

Amy Goodman Touring


Amy is starting her 50-city tour, Un-Embed the Media!, in celebration of
Pacifica Radio, community media, and the paperback release of The Exception
to the Rulers.

More information for each event is below and at Please
e-mail listings to friends, listservs, organizations, etc., and post on

Mar 28: New York, WBAI benefit
Tour Kickoff! Featuring Phil Donahue fired by MSCNBC for airing anti-war
voices, Juan Gonzalez, Amy and David Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Bernard White,
and Sgt. Camilo Mejia, first court-martialed Iraq war objector, just
released from prison. ASL interpreted.

To buy tix, call 212-431-9090 or go to our website

Mar 29: Houston, TX
Special guest Javier Couso, brother of Spanish journalist killed when US
forces opened fire on the Palestine Hotel in Iraq. ASL interpreted

Mar 30: Washington, DC
5:30 WPFW benefit reception Mimi's Restaurant
2120 P St NW
7pm event: All Souls Church 1500 Harvard St

Mar 31: Los Angeles, CA KPFK benefit, see below
Special guest Javier Couso, brother of Spanish journalist killed at the
Palestine Hotel in Iraq.

ASL interpreted

Apr 1: San Francisco, CA KPFA benefit (see below)
Special guest Javier Couso, brother of Spanish journalist killed at the
Palestine Hotel in Iraq.

Native Americans Criticize Bush's Silence

Soft tissue found in T-rex fossil

Fibrous regions of the fossil may be elastic soft tissue like ligaments.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For more than a century, the study of dinosaurs has been limited to fossilized bones. Now, researchers have recovered 70-million-year-old soft tissue, including what may be blood vessels and cells, from a Tyrannosaurus rex.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Number of Iraqi's Killed

Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting
Media analysis, critiques and activism

Counting the Iraqi Dead

March 21, 2005

On the weekend of the two-year anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion of
Iraq, media outlets took stock of the war's death toll. But the national
newscasts undercounted the most dramatic loss of life: the deaths of Iraqi

On the March 18 CBS Evening News, reporter Byron Pitts gave these figures:
"Today, U.S. deaths number more than 1,500. There are no exact figures for
Iraqi fatalities, but estimates are for every American killed, 11 Iraqis
died." In other words, more than 16,500 Iraqi deaths.

NBC's Brian Williams (3/18/05) offered a slightly higher estimate: "So
far, 1,513 American military personnel have been killed, 11,344 injured,
and many of those are amputees. Estimates of the Iraqi death toll are hard
to come by officially, but the civilian toll is thought to range from
17,000 to nearly 20,000 dead and beyond." ABC's World News Tonight did
not appear to offer a similar count, but earlier this month (3/3/05)
anchor Peter Jennings reported: "There are no official numbers of Iraqi
civilian casualties, but Iraqi Body Count, an independent web-site that
compiles media reports of the deaths there, says as many as 18,000 Iraqis
may have been killed."

With his "and beyond" comment, NBC's Williams seemed to be referring to an
estimate of Iraqi civilian casualties that none of the networks saw fit to
mention: According to a study published in the respected British medical
journal The Lancet (10/29/04), about 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died as
a result of the war. The majority of deaths were due to violence,
primarily as a result of U.S.-led military action. One of the researchers
on the project said that the estimate is likely a conservative one (New
York Times, 10/29/04). It's certainly a more scientific estimate than the
Iraq Body Count figure cited by ABC, which is, as that project's website
notes, a "compilation of civilian deaths that have been reported by
recognized sources.... It is likely that many if not most civilian
casualties will go unreported by the media."

Recent polling (ABC/Washington Post poll, 3/16/05) indicates that the vast
majority of the American public believes that U.S. casualties in Iraq are
unacceptable. One can only wonder what Americans think about the level of
Iraqi civilian casualties; unfortunately, the media's count dramatically
minimizes that death toll.

ACTION: Contact the network newscasts and ask them to include the Lancet
study in their reporting about Iraq's civilian casualties.

ABC World News Tonight
Phone: 212-456-4040

CBS Evening News
Phone: 212-975-3691

NBC Nightly News
Phone: 212-664-4971

As always, please remember that your comments have more impact if you
maintain a polite tone. Please send a copy of your correspondence to

Q&A: was the Government sure Iraq war was legal?

I would argue that the Iraq War was illegal. In addition, the US has violated the Geneva Convention. For instance, you cannot attack reporters or civilians (when the US attacked the Palistanian Hotel, killing 2 reporters). In addition, I think Guantanamo Bay speaks for itself.

MSNBC - Californian finds finger in bowl of fast food chili

MSNBC - Californian finds finger in bowl of fast food chili

Gov. Bush Is Rebuffed in Schiavo Case

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Nut strike cracks after 13 years

BBC NEWS: "Striking workers at a walnut processing plant in California have voted to bring their 13-year walkout to an end.
The 600 members of the Teamsters Local 601 union went on strike at the Diamond of California plant in September 1991 in a dispute over pay.
They have now finally ratified a new five-year contract, clearing the way for their return to work."

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Woman Finds Freedom Laws Mean No Free Man

Oddly Enough News Article | "LONDON (Reuters) - When Britain introduced its new freedom of information laws, Angela Wright seized on them as a chance to find an unattached man in uniform.
Wright sent an email to her local police force asking about 'eligible bachelors within Hampshire constabulary between the ages of 35 and 49 and details of their email addresses, salary details and pension values,' the Guardian reported Saturday.
But police said the names and addresses were personal and exempt from the laws, which came into force in January. They were prepared to tell her, however, that the Hampshire force had 266 eligible bachelors, of whom 201 were in uniform.
'I was amazed that I was told that the information could not be practically released,' said Wright, adding she had two reasons for making her request.
'The first was to amuse the (freedom of information) team. The second was to see what response I could get.' "

Iran and the U.S. have one thing in common

In an unadorned conference center of the Ministry of Finance, the United States and Iran discovered that they have something in common. They are both passionate cheerleaders for nuclear power.

Alcohol Without Liquid

Get drunk without drinking. No hangover either.
Whats that you say? This is too good to be true? This is so good that it must be illegal? Well, you are probably right. The Federal government is in the process of making this illegal. Read the bill here...

H.R. 613

Monday, March 21, 2005

Right-to-Die Case Rocks U.S. Political Scene

WASHINGTON -- The fate of a brain-damaged Florida woman went back to the courts early on Monday after U.S. President George W. Bush signed emergency legislation aimed at prolonging the life of Terri Schiavo.

Buffalo News - Sen. Clinton goes right

Buffalo News - Sen. Clinton goes right

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Lost and Found: Tsunami reveals a town's ancient ruins

MAHABALIPURAM, India (AP) -- For a few minutes, after the water had receded far from the shore and before it came raging back as a tsunami, the fishermen stood along the beach and stared at the reality of generations of legends.

Shark tears man in half

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) -- Authorities were hunting Sunday for a six-meter (20-foot) shark that tore a man in half as he snorkeled off Australia's west coast, an official said.

Geoffrey Brazier, the skipper of a pleasure cruiser, was snorkeling with two tourists when he was attacked Saturday. He died instantly off the Abrolhos Islands, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the Western Australia state capital, Perth, p

Two Years Later, Iraq War Drains Military (

Two Years Later, Iraq War Drains Military (

Friday, March 18, 2005

Why Iraq Withdrawal Makes Sense

Why Iraq Withdrawal Makes Sense By Norman Solomon t r u t h o u t Perspective
Friday 18 March 2005

President Bush just told reporters that he has no intention of setting any timetable for withdrawal. "Our troops will come home when Iraq is capable of defending herself," he said. Powerful pundits keep telling us that a swift pullout of U.S. troops would be irresponsible. And plenty of people have bought into that idea - including quite a few progressives. Such acceptance is part of what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the madness of militarism."

Sometimes, an unspoken assumption among progressive activists is that the occupation of Iraq must be tolerated for tactical reasons - while other issues, notably domestic ones, are more winnable on Capitol Hill. But this acceptance means going along with many of the devastating effects of a militarized society: from ravaged budgets for social programs to more authoritarian attitudes and violence in communities across the country.

"The bombs in Vietnam," King said in 1967, "explode at home; they destroy the hopes and possibilities for a decent America." He rejected the insistent claims that it would be more prudent to avoid clear opposition to the war in order to concentrate on domestic issues. "I speak for those whose land is being laid waste, whose homes are being destroyed, whose culture is being subverted," he said. "I speak for the poor in America who are paying the double price of smashed hopes at home and death and corruption in Vietnam."

As spring 2005 begins, many who like to praise Martin Luther King are going out of their way to evade the fundamental destructiveness of this war. Of course, throughout the 1960s and into the 1970s, a prevailing argument was that removing U.S. troops would be a betrayal of U.S. responsibility to the people of South Vietnam. Today, likewise, opposition to a swift U.S. pullout from Iraq is often based on the idea that the American military must stay because of a responsibility to the people of Iraq.

But most Iraqis want the U.S. military out of their country - pronto. As Newsweek reported in its Jan. 31 edition: "Now every major poll shows an ever-larger majority of Iraqis want the Americans to leave." Yet we hear that U.S. troops must stay for the good of the Iraqi people - even though most of those people clearly want U.S. troops to leave. (Are we supposed to believe that Americans know better than Iraqis whether American troops should stay in Iraq?)

To paper over such illogic, a media-stoked myth tells us that getting out of Iraq is a notion remaining outside the boundaries of what the U.S. public could take seriously. Most politicians and pundits insist that it's off the table. But polls are telling a different story.

"According to a recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll taken after the Iraq elections, 59 percent of the public believes the United States should pull its troops out of Iraq in the next year," Amy Quinn of the Institute for Policy Studies wrote in early March. "Yet the ranks of those actively demanding that the president produce an exit strategy from Iraq are slim."

In mid-March, an ABC News/Washington Post poll found that a large proportion of the U.S. population has a negative view of the war. For instance, the poll asked: "All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war with Iraq was worth fighting or not?" Only 45 percent said "worth fighting," while 53 percent said "not worth fighting."

Such nationwide poll numbers hardly indicate a country where few people are interested in proposals for extricating U.S. troops from Iraq. But the point is not only that political space exists in the United States for a grassroots movement to effectively organize for a swift pullout. It's also the best alternative for Iraq.

Consider the perspective of David Enders, a brave American journalist who has been in Iraq most of the time since the invasion. While writing for such outlets as, the Nation magazine and the British daily Independent, he actually covers Iraqi society firsthand rather than staying behind American lines. Days ago, responding to my questions via email from Iraq, Enders provided some of the reasons for his assessment that American troops should leave rather than stay. For instance:

"It is the will of the Iraqi people." Enders cites a recent survey by Iraqi pollster Saadun Al-Dulaimie, who found that 85 percent of Iraqi people want U.S. troops out of their country as soon as possible.

"The U.S. does not provide security for the average Iraqi, and it never has."

"The U.S. has not prevented a civil war from taking place. If anything, it has exacerbated it."

"It is not morally derelict to pull out; it's morally derelict to stay. Returning real control and sovereignty to Iraqis is the most effective way to prevent the country from breaking apart. U.S. troops complain Iraqis don't want to stand up and fight for themselves, and a big part of the reason is the occupiers' presence."

Meanwhile, Enders voices enthusiasm for the resolution sponsored by more than two dozen members of the House of Representatives "expressing the sense of Congress that the President should develop and implement a plan to begin the immediate withdrawal of United States Armed Forces from Iraq" (House Concurrent Resolution 35.)

This spring, as U.S. activists work to build a strong movement against the war, the need to pressure Congress is clear. What's less apparent is the need to also push - and, if necessary, confront - hesitant progressive organizations that are taking the easy way out by refusing to challenge the ongoing war.

Fortunately, some national organizations are providing forthright leadership to pursue the goal of getting U.S. troops out of Iraq. Those groups - including United for Peace & Justice, Progressive Democrats of America, Military Families Speak Out, TrueMajority, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Code Pink, Campus Antiwar Network, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Pledge of Resistance, American Friends Service Committee, Democracy Rising and U.S. Labor Against the War, to name just a dozen - inspire as they organize.

Only clear opposition to the war can change the terms of the national debate. Taking the paths of least resistance won't get us very far.

in the spirit of keeping the analysis going...

Latest News and Financial Information | "Bush moves to put mark on World Bank, U.N.

Thu Mar 17, 2005 07:01 PM ET
By Carol Giacomo, Diplomatic Correspondent

WASHINGTON, March 17 (Reuters) - President George W. Bush's move to put leading conservative advocates of U.S. power in key international institutions is an attempt to impose his activist foreign policy agenda on the world, analysts say, but administration partisans are playing down this interpretation.

'I don't think there is any grand design or message here' except picking strong candidates who share Bush's vision and merited reward with second-term jobs, one Republican insider insisted.

Still, after playing it safe with his initial second-term nominations, Bush's appointments of Paul Wolfowitz as World Bank president and John Bolton as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations were extremely controversial."

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Wolfowitz for World Bank

"President George W. Bush on Wednesday chose Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, a lightning rod of controversy as an architect of the Iraq war, to become the new president of the World Bank."

Not good, Wolfowitz makes decisions prematurely.

Update: Senate votes for short term solutions vs. long term well-being

Senate Votes to Allow Oil Drilling in Alaska Refuge

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate voted to allow Exxon Mobil Corp. and other companies to tap into an estimated 6.3 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has been off limits to oil companies since 1980.

An amendment to strip the drilling provision from a $2.6 trillion 2006 budget resolution failed by a vote of 51 to 49.

Update: Senate votes for short term solutions vs. long term well-being

Senate Votes to Allow Oil Drilling in Alaska Refuge

March 16 (Bloomberg) -- The U.S. Senate voted to allow Exxon Mobil Corp. and other companies to tap into an estimated 6.3 billion barrels of oil in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, which has been off limits to oil companies since 1980.

An amendment to strip the drilling provision from a $2.6 trillion 2006 budget resolution failed by a vote of 51 to 49. - Testifying for Taylor

"I'm going to tell them that, God damn it, the professional athletes have to set an example. We as parents deserve that. My wife and I have lived this nightmare, it's about saving your kid, all the kids. We have a right as parents that athletes set an example and do the right thing and not create an atmosphere where all of this crap seems OK."

Macworld: News: Google X pays homage to Mac OS X

Macworld: News: Google X pays homage to Mac OS X: "Google X pays homage to Mac OS X

By Peter Cohen

Google software engineer Chikai Ohazama recently noted the launch of Google X. It's an alternate look and feel for Google's search engine technology that pays homage to Mac OS X's Dock application -- in place of the usual text descriptors 'Web,' 'Images,' Groups,' 'News' and so on are colorful icons that appear to magnify as your mouse passed over them. At the bottom of the search Window, it says 'Roses are red. Violets are blue. OS X Rocks. Homage to you.'"

Tuesday, March 15, 2005 - Parents can act to keep teens safer

Parents can act to keep teens safer
By Robert Davis, USA TODAY
Some advocates insist that raising the driving age is the only sure-fire way to reduce the number of teen fatalities on U.S. roadways. Short of that far-reaching move, safety experts say parents can do much to keep their teens safe. Here's how:
Most states have laws that seek to limit a teenage driver's exposure to the known risks of the road.
These "graduated licensing" laws typically require some supervised driving before the granting of full driving privileges. They also tend to restrict when the most inexperienced teens can drive and how many passengers they can carry.
But experts say parents should not rely solely on police to enforce those laws. Police are often too busy to monitor teen drivers."

This Week's Army Times (did you even know there was an army times?)

Army Times - News - This Week's Army Times: "Army needs terrorism fighters for new group

By Vince Crawley
Times staff writer

The Army is spearheading a new Pentagon enterprise known as the Asymmetric Warfare Group, in which creative people in and out of the military will try to outsmart terrorists."

No Need to Stew: A Few Tips to Cope With Life's Annoyances

NY Times:"When Seth Shepsle goes to Starbucks, he orders a "medium" because "grande" - as the coffee company calls the size, the one between big and small - annoys him.
Meg Daniel presses zero whenever she hears a computerized operator on the telephone so that she can talk to a real person. "Just because they want a computer to handle me doesn't mean I have to play along," she said.
When subscription cards fall from magazines Andrew Kirk is reading, he stacks them in a pile at the corner of his desk. At the end of each month, he puts them in the mail but leaves them blank so that the advertiser is forced to pay the business reply postage without gaining a new subscriber.
Life can involve big hardships, like being fired or smashing up your car. There is only so much you can do about them. But far more prevalent - and perhaps in the long run just as insidious - are life's many little annoyances.
These, you can do something about.
To examine the little weapons people use for everyday survival is to be given a free guidebook on getting by, created by the millions who feel that they must. It is a case study in human inventiveness, with occasional juvenile and petty passages, and the originators of these tips are happy to share them."

Monday, March 14, 2005

B*S* on the march "Bush names close aide Karen Hughes to boost US reputation abroad

WASHINGTON : President George W. Bush has chosen one of his closest advisors, Karen Hughes, to become an envoy in charge of promoting the US image abroad, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced Monday."

Can Papers End the Free Ride Online?

NY Times: "Consumers are willing to spend millions of dollars on the Web when it comes to music services like iTunes and gaming sites like Xbox Live. But when it comes to online news, they are happy to read it but loath to pay for it.
Newspaper Web sites have been so popular that at some newspapers, including The New York Times, the number of people who read the paper online now surpasses the number who buy the print edition.
This migration of readers is beginning to transform the newspaper industry. Advertising revenue from online sites is booming and, while it accounts for only 2 percent or 3 percent of most newspapers' overall revenues, it is the fastest-growing source of revenue. And newspaper executives are watching anxiously as the number of online readers grows while the number of print readers declines."

Sunday, March 13, 2005

Under Bush, a New Age of Prepackaged TV News

NY Times: "It is the kind of TV news coverage every president covets.
'Thank you, Bush. Thank you, U.S.A.,' a jubilant Iraqi-American told a camera crew in Kansas City for a segment about reaction to the fall of Baghdad. A second report told of 'another success' in the Bush administration's 'drive to strengthen aviation security'; the reporter called it 'one of the most remarkable campaigns in aviation history.' A third segment, broadcast in January, described the administration's determination to open markets for American farmers.
To a viewer, each report looked like any other 90-second segment on the local news. In fact, the federal government produced all three. The report from Kansas City was made by the State Department. The 'reporter' covering airport safety was actually a public relations professional working under a false name for the Transportation Security Administration. The farming segment was done by the Agriculture Department's office of communications.
Under the Bush administration, the federal government has aggressively used a well-established tool of public relations: the prepackaged, ready-to-serve news report that major corporations have long distributed to TV stations to pitch everything from headache remedies to auto insurance. In all, at least 20 federal agencies, including the Defense Department and the Census Bureau, have made and distributed hundreds of television news segments in the past four years, records and interviews show. Many were subsequently broadcast on local stations across the country without any acknowledgement of the government's role in their production.
This winter, Washington has been roiled by revelations that a handful of columnists wrote in support of administration policies without disclosing they had accepted payments from the government. But the administration's efforts to generate positive news coverage have been considerably more pervasive than previously known. At the same time, records and interviews suggest widespread complicity or negligence by television stations, given industry ethics standards that discourage the broadcast of prepackaged news segments from any outside group without revealing the source"

Saturday, March 12, 2005

Drinking Game Can Be a Deadly Rite of Passage

NY Times: "FARGO, N.D. - The homemade video captures the first hour after the stroke of midnight when the birthday boy turned 21 and could legally drink.
His friends thrust shots at him in a booth at the Bison Turf bar and taunt him to drink, shouting obscenities and chanting his name as he tosses back one after the other with beer chasers. After 30 minutes and the 13th shot - a Prairie Fire, or tequila with Tabasco - he vomits into a metal bucket, provided by the bar, the birthday souvenir taken home by so many 21-year-olds before him. Then he resumes his drinking.
'It's the best time of his life,' a friend slurs to the camera. 'We've all done it. It's a tradition.'
The tradition is 'power hour,' or '21 for 21,' as it is known in some other places across the country: 21-year-olds go to a bar at midnight on their birthdays, flash newly legal identification and then try to down 21 shots in the hour or so before the bar closes, or as fast as possible.
It can be a deadly rite of passage. Officials in California, Michigan, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island and Texas have reported deaths from such drinking binges over the last five years.
Colleges and cities have tried various tactics to stop the ritual, and now, hoping to deprive power hour of its frenzy, Texas and North Dakota are considering legislation that would declare that 21-year-olds reach the legal drinking age not at the stroke of midnight on their birthdays but seven or eight hours later in the morning.
But the experience of Fargo, where power hours sent one 21-year-old into a coma and killed another, shows how difficult it can be to change a culture of drinking."

Kingsland Man Accused Of Setting Up Meth Lab In K-Mart~!!

KINGSLAND, Ga. -- A man who created suspicion by collecting items from various department of K-Mart and taking them into the restroom just before closing time Wednesday arrested after police said they found him operating a methamphetamine lab in the bathroom.
Eddie Young
According to Kingsland police, store security began watching Eddie Young, 34, when he came back into the store after making a purchase. After seeing Young get a Coleman lantern from sporting goods and various over-the-counter drugs from the pharmacy area, they said he took the items into the store's restroom.
Store employees reportedly went into the bathroom to tell Young the store was closing in a few minutes, they became even more suspicious and notified police.
Finding a powder that tested positive for methamphetamine in the bathroom, Young was arrested for possession of items to manufacture methamphetamines and possession of a controlled substance.

Friday, March 11, 2005

Halliburtons Spoils of War Exposed by Whistleblower

t r u t h o u t - Halliburtons Spoils of War Exposed by Whistleblower: "The Spoils of War
    By Michael Shnayerson
    Vanity Fair

    Monday 07 March 2005
Halliburton subsidiary KBR got $12 billion worth of exclusive contracts for work in Iraq. But even more shocking is how KBR spent some of the money. Former U.S. Army Corps of Engineers official Bunnatine Greenhouse is blowing the whistle on the Dick Cheney-linked company's profits of war."

What da hook gon' be?

BBC NEWS: "Scientists may have found what makes a tune catchy, after locating the brain area where a song's 'hook' gets caught"

Long-Term Jobless Find a Degree Just Isn't Working

LA Times:
"Educated workers are increasingly subject to the job insecurities and disruptions usually plaguing blue-collar laborers, but various factors make it even harder for some educated workers to get back into the workforce quickly. Though a college education is still one of a worker's best assets, it's no guarantee that a worker's skills will match demands of a shifting job market.

The advantages of a college degree "are being erased," said Marcus Courtenay, president of a branch of the Communications Workers of America that represents technology employees in the Seattle area. "The same thing that happened to non- college-educated employees during the last recession is now happening to college-educated employees."

The Rich and thus, Powerful

World's top 20 wealthiest people Thu Mar 10 2005 19:37:42 ET

Following is a list of the 20 richest individuals and their estimated net worth in billions of dollars, according to an annual ranking by Forbes Magazine.

1. William Gates III US 46.5 (Microsoft)
2. Warren Buffett US 44.0 (investments)
3. Lakshmi Mittal India 25.0 (steel)
4. Carlos Slim Helu Mexico 23.8 (telecom)
5. Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Saudi Arabia 23.7 (investments)
6. Ingvar Kamprad Sweden 23.0 (Ikea)
7. Paul Allen US 21.0 (Microsoft)
8. Karl Albrecht Germany 18.5 (supermarkets)
9. Lawrence Ellison US 18.4 (Oracle)
10 S. Robson Walton US 18.3 (Wal-Mart)
11. Jim Walton US 18.2 (Wal-Mart)
11. John Walton US 18.2 (Wal-Mart)
13. Alice Walton US 18.0 (Wal-Mart)
13. Helen Walton US 18.0 (Wal-Mart)
15. Kenneth Thomson and family Canada 17.9 (pubishing)
16. Liliane Bettencourt France 17.2 (L'Oreal)
17. Bernard Arnault France 17.0 (LVMH)
18. Michael Dell US 16.0 (Dell)
19. Sheldon Adelson US 15.6 (casinos)
20. Theo Albrecht Germany 15.5 (supermarkets)

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Typing Error Causes Nuclear Scare"KHARTOUM (Reuters) - A stenographer for the U.S. Congress generated alarming headlines in the Sudanese press this week by giving the mistaken impression the United States conducted nuclear tests in the African country in 1962 and 1970.
The Sudanese government asked the United States for an explanation and began its own investigations into a Web site report that a subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee had talked about the tests in Sudan.
But Foreign Minister Mustafa Osman Ismail, who had summoned the U.S. charge d'affaires on hearing the news, said Thursday it turned out that the word Sudan was merely a typing error for Sedan, the name of a nuclear test site in Nevada"

President Tells Argentines to Boycott Shell

Shell, originally uploaded by ReidAnderes.

Reuters News Article

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Drill, drill, drill!!!! Like a mad dentist - Bush renews call for Alaskan oil drilling as oil prices spike - Mar 9, 2005: "Bush renews call for Alaskan oil drilling as oil prices spike

COLUMBUS, Ohio (CNN) -- With oil prices nearing last year's record highs, President Bush renewed his call for Congress to authorize oil exploration in Alaska's largest wildlife refuge as part of a broader energy bill."

Let's suck this planet dry until she's got nothing left to give. Go after every speck of oil until the whole planets like a prune floating around in a cup of black coffee. Hopefully we'll figure something else out before the oil runs out, but don't worry, we won't pay to research that now.

Wow. what a cool website

I might be a little more excited about a website like this than the average joe, but I think this archive is incredible. I could probably look around this one website for days. Rhetoric: America's gift, and America's burden.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

abuse, abuse, abuse, abuse. Surprised? unfortunately not at this point.

'Ramadi Madness': Scene by scene
By Palm Beach Post Staff Reports
Sunday, March 06, 2005

The 26-minute, 47-second video is a compilation of scenes in Iraq captured by members of the West Palm Beach-based Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 124th Infantry Regiment. The scenes range from routine to poignant to macabre.
(See link for videos, as you might imagine, WARNING - includes graphic themes and images)

Scene 1: Titled 'The Truck Incident'
Nighttime outdoors. Soldiers shine lights into the driver-side window of a truck. The driver is dead. Soldier moves driver's hand and says, "Hold on, I'm going to make him say 'Hi.

Thousands Answer Hezbollah Call in Beirut

 BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) - Nearly 500,000 pro-Syrian protesters waved flags and chanted anti-American slogans in a central Beirut square Tuesday, answering a nationwide call by the militant Shiite Muslim Hezbollah group for a demonstration to counter weeks of massive rallies demanding Syrian forces leave Lebanon.

Organizers handed out Lebanese flags and directed the men and women to separate sections of Riad Solh Square. Loudspeakers blared militant songs urging resistance to foreign interference. Demonstrators held up pictures of Syrian President Bashar Assad and signs saying, "Syria & Lebanon brothers forever."

---But the Bushies make it seem as if the whole country wants Syria out. I am just stunned that they have misrepresented an issue.

"if anything happens to me..."

Democracy Now! | Headlines for March 7, 2005: "Venezuela's Chavez Says Washington Plotting His Assassination
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said on Saturday he had evidence that the United States was planning to assassinate him. On a visit to New Dheli, Chavez said, 'If anything happens to me, the person responsible will be the president of the United States.' On February 20, Chavez said the United States was plotting to kill him, and his foreign minister said three days later that U.S. accusations against Chavez were a sign of an impending attack. Washington dismissed the allegations calling them 'wild charges.' On Friday, Chavez said his country would not stop supplying oil to the United States unless 'the U.S. government gets a little bit crazy and tries to hurt us.' During a speech in India on Saturday, Chavez cited a report by Iraq's health ministry that claimed that US forces in Iraq had used mustard gas and nerve gas during their assault on the town of Fallujah last year. Chavez condemned the US for its continuing occupation."

Monday, March 07, 2005

Richard Clarke lecture tomorrow night (GO!)

Express Email for kbarron
Richard A. Clarke, Nation's Foremost Terrorism Expert and Author of New York Times Best Seller "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror" to Speak on University of Illinois Campus on Tuesday, March 8, 2005 Champaign-Urbana, IL (March 1, 2005) - On Tuesday, March 8, 2005, theYWCA of the University of Illinois and Student American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) will host Richard A. Clarke, author of "Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror." Mr. Clarke will speak on the University of Illinois campus at 8:00 p.m. in 141 Loomis Lab (1110 W. Green Street, at the corner of Green and Goodwin in Urbana).
Clarke is the nation's foremost terrorism expert with more than thirty years of experience serving under the last three presidents. In his book, Clarke describes gripping scenes of his experience as the nation's crisis manager during 9/11, running the Situation Room - a scene described for the first time - and Clarke's dismay at what followed. Richard Clarke was also the first government official to issue a public apology to the families of 9/11 victims. At the podium, Clarke draws from his numerous years in the intelligence community to provide a fascinating and unique look at the current administration and a powerful history of America's decades-long confrontation with terrorism.
The importance of September 11th cannot be overstated - it has catalyzed a major shift in U.S. domestic policy (with significant attention and resources now devoted to "Homeland Security") and a huge change in U.S. foreign policy (with policies such as "pre-emptive strikes" and "regime change" representing a completely differentdirection from past practices). Equally important, September 11th brought about a tremendous re-shuffling of international strategic relationships-the disintegration of traditional alliances and theUnited States calling into question the legitimacy of international organizations, such as the United Nations, have literally impacted all of the world's nations.
Few individuals in the world are better positioned to talk about
September 11th and subsequent developments than Richard Clarke. He served the last three presidents as a senior White House advisor. He was named counter-terrorism czar for both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. In total, he has worked for seven presidents and devoted three decades of his professional life to combating the terrorist threat to America. Clarke was perhaps the central figure in providing testimony to the 9/11 Commission. His testimony, as well as his New York Times best seller Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, charged that George W. Bush's administration took the threat of al Qaeda lightly prior to September 11th despite steady and repeated warnings. Clarke calls into question the Bush administration's focus on Iraq after September 11th. The story that Richard Clarke tells is powerful, hard-hitting, and provocative. Richard Clarke has a lifetime of experience working on these issues at the highest level and has agreed to share his unique and insightful perspective on Tuesday, March 8, 2005, at 8:00 p.m. in 141 Loomis. For more information, please contact the event organizer, Rachael Dietkus, at or 312-720-7004. Co-sponsored by: YWCA at the University of Illinois (main event host and sponsor), Student American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) at UIUC (main event host and sponsor), Arms Control, Disarmament and International Security (ACDIS), Illinois Homeland Security Research Center, Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), University YMCA, Center for Global Studies, Office of the Chancellor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

For Iraq's Great Marshes, a Hesitant Comeback

Bring back the marsh!

US demands 'action' from Syrians

The US has demanded that Syria withdraw its troops from Lebanon, saying promises are not enough.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Hitler had an atomic bomb

BERLIN (AFP) - Nazi Germany built a nuclear reactor and atomic weapons before the end of World War II, contrary to popular belief, a Berlin historian says in a book to be released later this month.

In his book "Hitler's bomb", Rainer Karlsch says a reactor was functioning by the winter of 1944/45 and that nuclear weapons were being tested on a Baltic Sea island and Thuringia, central Germany, under the supervision of the SS.

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Follow Up: Mass Dolphin Beaching

Dolphin Beaching Followed Sub's Exercises

KEY WEST, Fla. - The Navy and marine wildlife experts are investigating whether the beaching of dozens of dolphins in the Florida Keys followed the use of sonar by a submarine on a training exercise off the coast.

8-Year-Old Arrested After Alleged Tantrum!!

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) - Police arrested an 8-year-old boy who allegedly had a violent outburst in school, head-butting his teacher and kicking an assistant principal, when he was told he couldn't go outside to play with other students.

The 4-foot pupil was led away from Rawls Byrd Elementary School in handcuffs Tuesday and charged with disorderly conduct and assault and battery.

"It's not something that happens every day," Maj. Stan Stout said of what could be the department's youngest arrest ever.

Stout said the chair-tossing, desk-turning outburst occurred after a teacher, and later the assistant principal, attempted to stop the boy from joining his classmates.

The child was later released to his parents.

Bloggers not protected by Constitution, says Apple

Bloggers not protected by Constitution, says Apple: "Bloggers not protected by Constitution, says Apple

Posted on : 2005-03-05| Author : Nigel Wright
News Category : Technology

A tentative ruling yesterday by Superior Court judge James Kleinberg is likely to have serious implications for the online publishing industry. In a preliminary ruling on a case filed by Apple Computer against three website publishers, the judge said Apple can force the three website publishers to surrender the names of their sources who disclosed confidential information about the company’s upcoming products.


Apple’s argument was based on the premise that such a disclosure about an unreleased product was a ‘trade secret violation’. Apple demanded to know the source of their information for which it got subpoenas against the three seeking all documents related to the product and information about anyone who might have knowledge of the postings about the product.


By his preliminary ruling, judge Kleinberg had refused to extend to the Web sites the same protection that shields journalists from revealing their unidentified sources or surrendering unpublished material.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation argued their position that the web publishers are journalists and their sources are entitled to protection by the California Shield Law and the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Both protect journalists from being forced to disclose their sources.

Apple’s attorney Riley countered by saying that free speech protection applied only to legitimate members of the press and not to website publishers. Freedom of the press was for the press, meaning the traditional media, he said.


Meanwhile sources reveal that Apple had scanned computer files, checked its e-mail servers and questioned its 30 or so Apple employees who had access to information about Asteroid"

The Day Nothing Much Happened

Due to an overly saturated news environment, the world at large decided to take Friday, March 4, 2005 off. Please erase this day from your calendars, seeing as we will no longer need it.
Thank you,
Ministry of Truth

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Educating America's Christian Right

"Energised by last year's election victory which mobilised their vote, Christian conservatives have been confidently pushing a moral agenda which puts education at the heart of a battle to change US culture.
Sitting in a noisy but strangely tidy student canteen, Naomi Laine outlined her political vision.
"My intention is to impact the culture [of America]," she said.
"The people are the most important component of a society, and so that's where the battle for the minds needs to be waged."
Naomi sounds like a well-seasoned politician. But she is in fact a first year student at Patrick Henry College, America's first university established primarily for evangelical Christian home-schooled children."

Iraq - Very Interesting

Hey Bloggers,
I got this in an email and thought it was blogger worthy

And it will make you think. Hmmmmmmmmm! The last one will blow you away. IRAQ - VERY INTERESTING - DID YOU KNOW?
1. The garden of Eden was in Iraq.
2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!
3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.
4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.
5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq!
6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq.
7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.
8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq.
9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.
10. Amos cried out in Iraq!
11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem.
12. Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq!
13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the fiery furnace!)
14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq.
15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.
16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.
17. The wise men were from Iraq.
18. Peter preached in Iraq.
19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon,which was a city in Iraq!

And you have probably seen this one. Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second? It is Iraq! However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia. The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly between the Ti! gris and Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq, means country with deep roots. Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. No other nation, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated it than Iraq.

And also... This is something to think about! Since America is typically represented by an eagle. Saddam should have read up on his Muslim passages... The following verse is from the Koran, (the Islamic Bible) Koran (9:11) - For it is written that a son ! of Arabia would awaken a fearsome Eagle. The wrath of the Eagle would be felt throughout the lands of Allah and lo, while some of the people trembled in despair still more rejoiced; for the wrath of the Eagle cleansed the lands of Allah; and there was peace. (Note the verse number!) Hmmmmmmm?! God Bless you all Amen !

Allah and Democracy Can Get Along Fine

The New York Times Opinion

WITH the emergence of the Shiite-dominated United Iraqi Alliance as the majority party in Iraq's National Assembly, the scene is set for the drafting of a permanent constitution that will specify the Shariah, or Islamic law, as the main source of Iraqi legislation. This prospect is sending a chill down the spines of many Westerners, who see it as a preamble to the rise of a theocratic regime in Baghdad that would be a far cry from the liberal, secular Iraq envisioned by the Bush administration.

But such concerns are unwarranted. Just as in the West there are many constitutions based in varying ways on Christian morality, there are several models of an Islamic state. Instead of fretting, Americans and other Westerners would do better to examine how Iraq's neighbors have melded religion and government, and how well or badly they have succeeded in joining the modern world.

Mass Dolphin Beaching

, originally uploaded by ReidAnderes.

MARATHON -- Emergency crews scrambled to rescue more than 50 dolphins found beached on a south Florida shoreline Wednesday night. Officials now say some of the dolphins have died.

The dolphins are stranded over a widespread area between 74th and 89th streets in Marathon.

Bubba the lobster dies after being moved to zoo

TTSBURGH, Pennsylvania (AP) -- He dodged lobster pots for decades, endured a trip from the coast of Massachusetts to Pittsburgh and survived about a week in a fish market. But a trip to the zoo proved to be too much for a 22-pound lobster named Bubba.
Based on how long it typically takes a lobster to reach eating size -- about five to seven years to grow to a pound -- some estimated Bubba was about 100 years old. But marine biologists said 30 to 50 years was more likely.

The New York Times > Arts > Frank Rich: Gonzo Gone, Rather Going, Watergate Still Here

The New York Times > Arts > Frank Rich: Gonzo Gone, Rather Going, Watergate Still Here: "Gonzo Gone, Rather Going, Watergate Still Here

Published: March 6, 2005

TWO weeks ago Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide. Next week Dan Rather commits ritual suicide, leaving the anchor chair at CBS prematurely as penance for his toxic National Guard story. The two journalists shared little but an abiding distaste - make that hatred in Thompson's case - for the Great Satan of 20th-century American politics, Richard Nixon. The best work of both was long behind them. Yet memories of that best work - not to mention the coincidental timing of their departures - only accentuate the vacuum in that cultural category we stubbornly insist on calling News.


What's missing from News is the news. On ABC, Peter Jennings devotes two hours of prime time to playing peek-a-boo with U.F.O. fanatics, a whorish stunt crafted to deliver ratings, not information. On NBC, Brian Williams is busy as all get-out, as every promo reminds us, 'Reporting America's Story.' That story just happens to be the relentless branding of Brian Williams as America's anchorman - a guy just too in love with Folks Like Us to waste his time looking closely at, say, anything happening in Washington.

In this environment, it's hard to know whom to root for. After the '60 Minutes' fiasco, Mr. Williams's boss, the NBC president Jeff Zucker, piously derided CBS for its screw-up, bragging of the reforms NBC News instituted after a producer staged a truck explosion for a 'Dateline NBC' segment in 1992. 'Nothing like that could have gotten through, at any level,' Mr. Zucker said of the CBS National Guard story, 'because of the safeguards we instituted more than a decade ago.' Good for him, but it's not as if a lot else has gotten through either. When was the last time Stone Phillips delivered a scoop, with real or even fake documents, on 'Dateline'? Or that NBC News pulled off an investigative coup as stunning as the '60 Minutes II' report on Abu Ghraib? That, poignantly enough, was Mr. Rather's last hurrah before he, too, and through every fault of his own, became a neutered newsman.

Hunter Thompson did not do investigative reporting, but he would have had a savage take on our news-free world - not least because it resembles his own during the Nixon era, before he had calcified into the self-parodistic pop culture cartoon immortalized by Garry Trudeau, Bill Murray, Johnny Depp and most of his eulogists. Read 'Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72' - the chronicle of his Rolling Stone election coverage - and you find that his diagnosis of journalistic dysfunction hasn't aged a day: 'The most consistent and ultimately damaging failure of political journalism in America has its roots in the clubby/cocktail personal relationships that inevitably develop between politicians and journalists.' He cites as a classic example the breathless but belated revelations of the mental history of George McGovern's putative running mate, the Missouri Senator Thomas Eagleton - a story that had long been known by 'half of the political journalists in St. Louis and at least a dozen in the Washington press corps.' This same clubby pack would be even tardier on Watergate, a distasteful assignment left to a pair of lowly police-beat hacks at The Washington Post." READ ON...

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

MSNBC - Music has flavor to woman who 'tastes' sounds

MSNBC - Music has flavor to woman who 'tastes' sounds

Digital Rx: Take Two Aspirins and E-Mail Me in the Morning

NYTimes: "Doctors may no longer make house calls, but they are answering patient e-mail messages - and being paid for it.
In a move to improve efficiency and control costs, health plans and medical groups around the country are now beginning to pay doctors to reply by e-mail, just as they pay for office visits. While some computer-literate doctors have been using e-mail to communicate informally with patients for years, most have never been paid for that service."

British Court Sides With Girl on Religious Dress

NYTimes: "The British Court of Appeal ruled today that a Muslim teenager's rights had been violated by a school's refusal to allow her to wear a body-concealing Muslim gown instead of the school uniform.
The court stopped short of ordering the school to allow the girl, Shabina Begum, to wear her choice of dress - the jilbab, a long shapeless robe. But it said that the school, Denbigh High School in Luton, Bedfordshire, had erred in failing to consider Miss Begum's human rights when it ordered her to put on the standard uniform."

Protest over US biodefence boom

"Over 700 top US scientists have protested at the massive funds being ploughed into studying the handful of organisms considered bioterror threats.
A letter signed by the experts suggests current funding patterns undermine public health and national interests.
This is because research funds are being diverted away from germs that are already important causes of disease.
US government funding for research into candidate bioweapons boomed after the anthrax attacks in the Autumn of 2001.

NIAid's biodefence budget has risen from $42m in 2001 to $1.5bn in 2004, with $1.6bn projected for 2005."

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Rumsfeld Sued Over Prisoner Abuse Scandal

Rumsfeld Sued Over Prisoner AbuseMarch 1, 2005
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld testifies before Senate Armed Services

(CBS/AP) Two human rights groups filed a lawsuit Tuesday against Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on behalf of eight men allegedly tortured by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. "Rumsfeld bears direct responsibility" because he "personally signed off" on policies guiding prisoner treatment, said American Civil Liberties Union Executive Director Anthony Romero.

A number of other lawsuits also are pending against Rumsfeld, military commanders and civilian contractors in the abuse scandal, which broke last spring with the disclosure of photographs showing American military men and women abusing prisoners at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison. An independent commission agreed in August 2004 that Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon leaders contributed to an environment in which prisoners suffered sadistic abuse at Abu Ghraib. The members also concluded that the officials could be faulted for failed leadership and oversight.

Apply Decency Rules to Subscription Services... Whaa?

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Commerce Committee Chairman Ted Stevens said on Tuesday he would push for applying broadcast decency standards to cable television and subscription satellite TV and radio.

Write Senator Stevens a nasty letter from this link.

Plastic bottles pile up as mountains of waste

"The biggest growth in bottled beverages isn't beer or soft drinks or juices. It's tasteless, colorless water. And while that's good for teeth and waistlines, it irritates Patricia Franklin to no end.
The director of a nonprofit group that promotes recycling, she spends her workday thinking about the bottles, cans and other container waste that most Americans take for granted.
The boom in plastic water bottles has her especially frazzled because while the recycling rate is extremely low, the demand from recyclers is actually quite high."

Berkeley Teachers Won't Give Homework

"Students in the Berkeley school district aren't getting written homework assignments because teachers are refusing to grade work on their own time after two years without a pay raise.
So far, a black history event had to be canceled and parents had to staff a middle-school science fair because teachers are sticking strictly to the hours they're contracted to work."

Entrepreneur Faces Charges of Evading +200 Million in Taxes

Telecom Mogul Held in Tax Case
Entrepreneur Faces Charges Of Evading More Than $200 Million
The Washington Post, March 1, 2005

Copyright 2004 The Washington Post
By Carol D. Leonnig and Albert B. Crenshaw

He made so much money in the telecommunications industry that he talked about launching a vacation paradise for his friends -- in space. But now reclusive tycoon Walter Anderson is grounded, locked up after federal authorities accused him of evading more than $200 million in federal and local income taxes.

Federal agents arrested the lean, white-haired, 51-year-old entrepreneur Saturday at Dulles International Airport after he stepped off a flight from London. He was in court yesterday as the target of what authorities described as the largest case of personal tax evasion in U.S. history.

While keeping a fairly low profile, Anderson built a fortune during the telecommunications boom of the 1980s and 1990s by starting and selling companies for huge profits. Authorities said that he hid more than $450 million in income through various tactics, including the creation of shell companies in offshore tax havens.

Internal Revenue Service Commissioner Mark W. Everson said Anderson "ended up in a class by himself" among tax dodgers. In his income tax return of 1999, for example, Anderson reported earning $67,939 and he paid $494 in taxes; prosecutors allege that he made $126 million that year.

"He ran the table on tax violations," Everson said.
Anderson pleaded not guilty to all 12 counts of tax evasion, and his attorney said that the government's case is grossly exaggerated. During the hearing in U.S. District Court, Anderson complained through his attorney of not being able to make crucial business telephone calls since his weekend jailing, and he looked agitated as prosecutors sought to keep him in custody while awaiting trial.

"He's got plenty of places to hide and plenty of money to spend," said Assistant U.S. Attorney Susan B. Menzer. "All he's done in this case is lie, your honor. He cannot be trusted."
In painting Anderson as a flight risk, prosecutors held up a phony passport bearing his picture and several books with such titles as "Poof" and "Disappear Without a Trace" that tell how to create a new identity. The items were seized, they said, during a raid in 2003 on Anderson's residence in the Washington Harbour condominium complex -- one chapter in a long-running investigation.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Alan Kay decided to hold Anderson, a Northern Virginia native, without bond until a follow-up hearing Thursday.

Although Anderson was well-known in the upper echelons of the telecommunications industry, details that emerged in court and government filings show that he prided himself on his privacy and tried to avoid attention.

He was one of the first employees of MCI Corp. and later owned such companies as Mid-Atlantic Telecom and Telco Communications Group. As the money from his deals flowed in, authorities said, Anderson bought expensive artwork, including paintings by Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. His company owns a jet and a mansion in Madrid, authorities said.

He once invested $21 million in the Russian space station Mir, saying that he hoped to rehabilitate it and charge hefty fees for millionaires to tour space. That led to a rare burst of public notice, including a profile in the New York Times Magazine in 2000 which quoted Anderson as saying he had a "personal" hatred for government. The article said his apartment had a painting based on a Smashing Pumpkins lyric, "I'm still just a rat in a cage." The story said Anderson viewed the Earth as his cage and that, as a child, he dreamed of leaving it.

In court yesterday, defense attorney John Moustakas said Anderson manages but does not entirely control a philanthropic trust that made half a billion dollars from his telecommunication company sales in the 1990s.

"Let's not let innuendo, rumor and information frankly that lacks any indicia of reliability . . . control this, your honor," Moustakas said. "He was the fund manager, and he was paid a fee for those services and he declared that fee on his income tax."

Authorities said that Anderson owes taxes for a period of almost two decades. The amount includes $170 million in income taxes due the federal government, $40 million in income taxes due the D.C. government and $250,000 in use, or sales, taxes also owed to the District, they said. Anderson could face as much as 24 years in prison if convicted. Federal officials said they hope to recover the money but alleged that some of Anderson's valuables have been shipped overseas.

Prosecutors said Anderson was "creative" in hiding income and keeping his name from being connected with the shell companies. He used an alias, Mark Roth, to register one company, and had stock certificates from another sent to a post office box in Denmark, they said.

The IRS has tangled with Anderson over the years and at one point filed a lien against him for $390,000 in unpaid federal taxes from 1987 to 1993. The criminal investigation was launched in 2000.

Everson acknowledged that the case did not move as quickly as he would have liked, in part because the IRS lost funds for criminal investigators in the 1990s. He said that "there is no doubt that the [tax] enforcement activities of the federal government did decline" in the wake of Senate Finance Committee hearings into charges of IRS misconduct in 1997 and 1998. He pointed to an increased emphasis on enforcement recently.

Throughout Anderson's dispute with the IRS, his place of residence has been a point of contention. He told his accountants that he lived in Florida, where there is no personal income tax, according to court filings. In one bank account application, he said he was a citizen of the Dominican Republic. His cars were registered in Virginia, and he had a Virginia driver's license. Yesterday he listed his residence as Washington Harbour, where his trust owned a unit.

Professional Bureaucracy

Paul Wolfowitz, US deputy secretary of defence, has emerged as a leading candidate to replace James Wolfensohn as the president of the World Bank.
Mr Wolfowitz is one of a small number of people being considered for the US nomination, administration insiders said.
The nomination of Mr Wolfowitz, one of the chief architects of the Iraq war and a former US ambassador to Indonesia, would likely be highly controversial, and could raise new questions about the process by which the World Bank chief is selected. One administration official said his nomination “would have enormous repercussions within the development community”

BBC NEWS | UK | Education | School dinners around the world

BBC NEWS | UK | Education | School dinners around the world: "In Britain there has been much debate about the healthiness - or more particularly the unhealthiness - of school lunches.
Education Secretary Ruth Kelly has promised to toughen the minimum nutritional standards of school meals in England.
But at present, a snapshot survey of pupils' eating habits showed that 40% of pupils had eaten chips that day at school and 85% had eaten sweets, cakes or biscuits.
BBC News takes a look at what pupils in a selection of other countries are eating during their lunch breaks."