Wednesday, August 31, 2005

No Integrity Need Apply

The Wire August 31 2005 : Radar Online"What does being honest, taking taxpayers’ dollars seriously and diligently working your way up from the bottom earn you? If you are Bunnatine Greenhouse, until recently a senior auditor of military contracts for the Army Corps of Engineers, it gets you one free ticket to Fired Town. Yup, for blowing the whistle on those multibillion dollar sweetheart contracts that Halliburton landed for work in Iraq, Greenhouse is out of a job.
Finally someone got canned over the rampant, hard core corruption at Vice President Dick Cheney’s old company. We just assumed it would be someone who helped line the pockets of the Houston-based oil services company, not someone who fought for fairness in government contracting. We’re so naive it’s cute, ain’t it?
Greenhouse is probably thinking: if only i’d gone AWOL during wartime, gotten rich off of family contacts and dialed it in rather than actually do any work. She could have been President instead of simply another unemployed citizen.
Other tips for Bunnatine, who surely must work her way back into Dear Leader’s good graces, as she packs up her desk at the Pentagon: 1) Insist that pissing off half of the Arab world by starting a war in Iraq helps make us all safer. 2) Announce that family values is the most important thing even as you piss all over your gay daughter in order to get reelected. 3) Plea for more military enlistees but make sure the two ripest candidates for service aren't yanked away from their Happy Hour duties. (Adam Morgan)
US Army auditor who attacked Halliburton deal is fired [Independent]"

People trampled, panic ensues to purchase $50 iBook computersBy KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press WriterRICHMOND, Va. -

DailyBulletin.com - News: "People trampled, panic ensues to purchase $50 iBook computersBy KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press WriterRICHMOND, Va. - A rush to purchase $50 used laptops turned into a violent stampede Tuesday, with people getting thrown to the pavement, beaten with a folding chair and nearly driven over. One woman went so far to wet herself rather than surrender her place in line.
'This is total, total chaos,' said Latoya Jones, 19, who lost one of her flip-flops in the ordeal and later limped around on the sizzling blacktop with one foot bare.
An estimated 5,500 people turned out at the Richmond International Raceway in hopes of getting their hands on one of the 4-year-old Apple iBooks, which retail for between $999 and $1,299. The Henrico County school system was selling 1,000 of the computers to county residents.
Officials opened the gates at 7 a.m., but some already had been waiting since 1 a.m. When the gates opened, it became a terrifying mob scene.


People threw themselves forward, screaming and pushing each other. A little girl's stroller was crushed in the stampede. Witnesses said an elderly man was thrown to the pavement, and someone in a car tried to drive his way through the crowd."

700 Dead in Iraq

BAGHDAD, Iraq

Trampled, crushed against barricades or plunging into the Tigris River, about 700 Shiite pilgrims died Wednesday when a procession across a Baghdad bridge was engulfed in panic over rumors that a suicide bomber was at large.

Most of the dead were women and children, Interior Ministry spokesman Lt. Col. Adnan Abdul-Rahman said. It was the single biggest confirmed loss of life in Iraq since the March 2003 invasion. Health Ministry spokesman Qassim Yahya said 695 were killed and 180 injured.

Hurrican Katrina

Bush is a moron. That should be an assumed premise; however, I feel a strong need to say so. I am watching him give his speech on the Katrina hurricane, because it's almost the only thing on TV. He can not say more than one word, or a two-word phrase at a time with his eyes up. Honestly, I don't think he looked at the speech before he came on TV today. He is a joke of a president. "The designated people of ... I mean dedicated..." He reads at a 7th grade level, it's ridiculous. He also seemed proud that there was a whopping 25 teams searching for survivors. What a DB.

P.S. Can we please restore full sentences to the White House in 2008. That's all I ask, it might be a bit much, but that's all I want.

Helping Boys Become Men, and Girls Become Women: Is My Child Becoming Homosexual?

Helping Boys Become Men, and Girls Become Women

Is My Child Becoming Homosexual?
Before puberty, children aren’t normally heterosexual or homosexual. They’re definitely gender conscious. But young children are not sexual beings yet — unless something sexual in nature has interrupted their developmental phases.

Still, it’s not uncommon for children to experience gender confusion during the elementary school years. Dr. Joseph Nicolosi reports, “In one study of 60 effeminate boys ages 4 to 11, 98 percent of them engaged in cross-dressing, and 83 percent said they wished they had been born a girl.”

Evidences of gender confusion or doubt in boys ages 5 to 11 may include:

1. A strong feeling that they are “different” from other boys.

2. A tendency to cry easily, be less athletic, and dislike the roughhousing that other boys enjoy.

3. A persistent preference to play female roles in make-believe play.If your child is experiencing several signs of gender confusion, professional help is available. It’s best to seek that help before your child reaches puberty.......

“By the time the adolescent hormones kick in during early adolescence, a full-blown gender identity crisis threatens to overwhelm the teenager,” warns psychologist Dr. James Dobson. To compound the problem, many of these teens experience “great waves of guilt accompanied by secret fears of divine retribution.”

If your child has already reached puberty, change is difficult, but it’s not too late.


(Weird. Check out some of the links, such as "it's not too late." Or the "help your teen develop a biblical worldview." It's comical, really; that's why I had to share this. Who forms organizations like this?)

Monday, August 29, 2005

Hunting at the Parade

Radar Online: "New York’s public radio station WNYC reported today that the FBI was out at the Pakistani Day Parade in NYC on Sunday, recruiting new agents. We hate to rain on anyone’s parade, let alone the FBI, but something about this raises our alert level to Orange. Sure it’s an opportunity to fish where the fish are — but it also smacks of desperation.
It’s one thing to be recruiting, but another to publicize it. The entire world knows that American intelligence organizations need Arab-speaking agents, but is disrupting the Pakistani Parade the most effective and discreet method of doing it? Do you think the Mossad says “Next Sunday we’ll be at the Gaza strip demonstration looking for Mossadettes”?
As Google grows, the company raises its wages to recruit the programmers they’ll need to sustain expansion. For the FBI to do that, they’d have to break out of the civil service employment structure. And why would they want to do that? It’s far more important to protect mid-level bureaucrats in the social security administration than our national security. (AH)"

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Rove's role

The Boston Globe: "SOME WHITE House sympathizers have attempted to portray Karl Rove's role in the Valerie Plame scandal as that of a statesman, seeking to provide President Bush with the best information possible on Saddam Hussein's nuclear ambitions so that Bush could set policy based on facts. This has been met with deserved skepticism. Rove's career, even before he became Bush's deputy chief of staff, is rich with reasons to think his motives in helping to identify Plame as a CIA agent were far darker.
After all, Plame's identity was revealed in a Robert Novak column on July 14, 2003, just eight days after her husband, Joseph Wilson, had embarrassed Bush over his Iraq war rationale. And Rove had talked with Novak on July 9.
As John Roberts, the Supreme Court nominee and federal appeals court judge, wrote last month in another context, the fact that ''sometimes dogs do eat homework' is no reason to ignore more-logical explanations.
Rove's record has been consistent. Over 35 years, he has been a master of dirty tricks, divisiveness, innuendo, manipulation, character assassination, and roiling partisanship.
He started early. In 1970, when he was 19 and active as a college Republican -- though he didn't graduate from college -- Rove pretended to volunteer for a Democratic candidate in Illinois, stole some campaign stationery, and used it to disrupt a campaign event. Later, in Texas, he gave testimony in court that was embarrassing to an opponent of one of Rove's clients, even though it was not true, according to the book ''Bush's Brain,' by two veteran Texas newsmen, James Moore and Wayne Slater."

Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster: Open Letter to Kansas School Board

"I am writing you with much concern after having read of your hearing to decide whether the alternative theory of Intelligent Design should be taught along with the theory of Evolution. I think we can all agree that it is important for students to hear multiple viewpoints so they can choose for themselves the theory that makes the most sense to them. I am concerned, however, that students will only hear one theory of Intelligent Design.
Let us remember that there are multiple theories of Intelligent Design. I and many others around the world are of the strong belief that the universe was created by a Flying Spaghetti Monster. It was He who created all that we see and all that we feel. We feel strongly that the overwhelming scientific evidence pointing towards evolutionary processes is nothing but a coincidence, put in place by Him.
It is for this reason that I’m writing you today, to formally request that this alternative theory be taught in your schools, along with the other two theories. In fact, I will go so far as to say, if you do not agree to do this, we will be forced to proceed with legal action. I’m sure you see where we are coming from. If the Intelligent Design theory is not based on faith, but instead another scientific theory, as is claimed, then you must also allow our theory to be taught, as it is also based on science, not on faith.
Some find that hard to believe, so it may be helpful to tell you a little more about our beliefs. We have evidence that a Flying Spaghetti Monster created the universe. None of us, of course, were around to see it, but we have written accounts of it. We have several lengthy volumes explaining all details of His power. Also, you may be surprised to hear that there are over 10 million of us, and growing. We tend to be very secretive, as many people claim our beliefs are not substantiated by observable evidence. What these people don’t understand is that He built the world to make us think the earth is older than it really is. For example, a scientist may perform a carbon-dating process on an artifact. He finds that approximately 75% of the Carbon-14 has decayed by electron emission to Nitrogen-14, and infers that this artifact is approximately 10,000 years old, as the half-life of Carbon-14 appears to be 5,730 years. But what our scientist does not realize is that every time he makes a measurement, the Flying Spaghetti Monster is there changing the results with His Noodly Appendage. We have numerous texts that describe in detail how this can be possible and the reasons why He does this. He is of course invisible and can pass through normal matter with ease.
I’m sure you now realize how important it is that your students are taught this alternate theory. It is absolutely imperative that they realize that observable evidence is at the discretion of a Flying Spaghetti Monster. Furthermore, it is disrespectful to teach our beliefs without wearing His chosen outfit, which of course is full pirate regalia. I cannot stress the importance of this enough, and unfortunately cannot describe in detail why this must be done as I fear this letter is already becoming too long. The concise explanation is that He becomes angry if we don’t.
You may be interested to know that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking numbers of Pirates since the 1800s. For your interest, I have included a graph of the approximate number of pirates versus the average global temperature over the last 200 years. As you can see, there is a statistically significant inverse relationship between pirates and global temperature."

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Ann Coulter: New Yorkers "Would Immediately Surrender" If Attacked...

Ann Coulter: New Yorkers "Would Immediately Surrender" If Attacked...
Fox News | Posted August 26, 2005 03:52 PM

From "Hannity and Colmes," August 25, 2005:

COLMES:...And I want to ask you about something, Ann, that you wrote in your most recent column. You had a very funny line, actually, that it is hard to find a parking spot in New York City. There's no question about it. You've had a pretty good day if you can do that.

But then you said, "It's far preferable to fight them on the streets of Baghdad than in the streets of New York, where the residents would immediately surrender." Now, some New Yorkers...

HENICAN: Ooh...

COLMES: ... felt that you were calling them cowards by making that statement.

COULTER: No, I think I was calling them supporters of Cindy Sheehan.

COLMES: Is that what that is? You certainly don't feel that New Yorkers are cowards?

COULTER: I think they would immediately surrender.

COLMES: So you do?

COULTER: I don't -- I don't think -- I think I'd rather have them trying to invade Mississippi or Georgia, Alabama, you know, the states where I want Cindy Sheehan's bus tour to go.

Friday, August 26, 2005

WCCO: New MOA Store To Sell Naps For 70 Cents A Minute

WCCO: New MOA Store To Sell Naps For 70 Cents A Minute: "(AP)
Bloomington, Minn.
The Mall of America has a 74-foot Ferris wheel, a shark tank and a dinosaur museum. But if that puts you to sleep, a new nap store will sell you some shuteye for 70 cents a minute. The store, to be called MinneNAPolis, is aimed at weary travelers who need a nap after a long flight but aren't staying long enough to book a hotel room, or spouses of shoppers who are traversing the mall's 4.3 miles of storefronts. 'We think it would be really good for husbands at Christmas, when their wives are power-shopping,' said mall spokeswoman Julie Hansen. Founded by PowerNap Sleep Centers Inc. of Boca Raton, Fla., the new store will include at least three themed rooms: Asian Mist, Tropical Isle and Deep Space. Each will have walls thick enough to drown out the sounds of squealing children at the indoor amusement park. "

Thursday, August 25, 2005

UN finds global inequality rising

A UN report has found that the world is more unequal today than it was 10 years ago, despite considerable economic growth in many regions.

This year's report on the world's social situation argues that although living standards have improved in some places, poverty remains entrenched.

The authors warned that focusing only on economic growth is an ineffective way of achieving development.

They said wealthy nations are the main beneficiaries of economic development.

The UN report - drawn up by the UN's Economic and Social Affairs Department - found that the gap between rich and poor is now wider than it was a decade ago, and called for immediate action.

Utilities Tout Tap Water Vs. Bottled

CNN Netscape: "MILWAUKEE (AP) - With the public's insatiable thirst for bottled
water, municipal water utilities are tapping into the market to
fight competition from profit-making companies.
The utilities' message to consumers: Our product is as good as
what's found on store shelves - and less expensive. The utilities
hope to make a few bucks and help their ratepayers in the process.
``People should not have to spend an exorbitant amount for
quality water,'' said Ken Blomberg, executive director of the
Wisconsin Rural Water Association, which promotes the sale of
bottled municipal water as a less-expensive alternative to the
commercially bottled product.
Consumers often buy bottled water thinking that it's safer or
better than tap water, Blomberg said, when up to 70 percent of
bottled water sold commercially comes from a municipal tap."

A CIA Cover Blown, a White House Exposed - Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times: "WASHINGTON - Toward the end of a steamy summer week in 2003, reporters were peppering the White House with phone calls and e-mails, looking for someone to defend the administration's claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. About to emerge as a key critic was Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former diplomat who asserted that the administration had manipulated intelligence to justify the Iraq invasion.
At the White House, there wasn't much interest in responding to critics like Wilson that Fourth of July weekend. The communications staff faced more pressing concerns %u2014 the president's imminent trip to Africa, growing questions about the war and declining ratings in public opinion polls. Wilson's accusations were based on an investigation he undertook for the CIA. But he was seen inside the White House as a 'showboater' whose stature didn't warrant a high-level administration response. 'Let him spout off solo on a holiday weekend,' one White House official recalled saying. 'Few will listen.' In fact, millions were riveted that Sunday as Wilson %u2014 on NBC's 'Meet the Press' and in the pages of the New York Times and the Washington Post %u2014 accused the administration of ignoring intelligence that didn't support its rationale for war. Underestimating the impact of Wilson's allegations was one in a series of misjudgments by White House officials. In the days that followed, they would cast doubt on Wilson's CIA mission to Africa by suggesting to reporters that his wife was responsible for his trip. In the process, her identity as a covert CIA agent was divulged %u2014 possibly illegally. For the last 20 months, a tough-minded special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has been looking into how the media learned that Wilson's wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA operative."

Really in depth article about Plamegate, in case you need to do any catching up on what happened and what's happening

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

US states bypass Bush to tackle greenhouse gas emissions

"US states bypass Bush to tackle greenhouse gas emissions"
Julian Borger in Washington
The Guardian
America's north-eastern states are on the brink of a declaration of environmental independence with the introduction of mandatory controls on greenhouse gas emissions of the kind rejected by the Bush administration.
In the first regional agreement of its kind in the US, nine states are expected to announce a plan next month to freeze carbon dioxide emissions from big power stations by 2009 and then reduce them by 10% by 2020.
The region stretches from New Jersey to Maine and generates roughly the same volume of emissions as Germany."

Global Forum on Int'l Cooperation

Achtung!

An exciting announcement here, bloggers. I caught up with my great friend, Laura, in Chicago over the weekend only to discover that she has created an NGO!!! The above url is the website for the organization, please read. There is even an "Ethics and Accountantability" section that ensures donations are spent efficiently. I'm sure they are under-funded like most organizations of this nature. I would like to encourage anyone with an extra dollar to consider. Please also consider volunteering your time to a worthy cause if you have the inclination. The site speaks of four month missions (all to Africa) but I know they 6 week programs as well. Their first mission just ended, it took place in Uganda. The picture on their homepage is the President of the country (thats Laura on the left). If you are posting on other blogs and would like to make other posts about it, I'm sure the visibility will be warmly appreciated by the creators.

Dialing 9/11

Radar Online: "Welcome to my September 11 flashback.
Like many others who witnessed the attacks four years ago (I watched the Pentagon burn from my DC apartment), the experience left me particularly susceptible to being unnerved by loud noises. I thought I had long gotten over my minibout of post-traumatic stress disorder, but the other night, at the fashionable Paris bistro La Coupole, there was an explosion of breaking dishes just a few feet from my table. As my French date chattered on obliviously, my brain began to numb, the booth closed in around me, and I fought an overwhelming urge to run outside. But being an intrepid traveler on a hot date, I manfully chose to grin and bear it. Within seconds I had broken into a torrent of tears.
At least George Bush%u2019s summer vacation hasn%u2019t been much better.
The president%u2019s record-breaking five-week sabbatical (are we sure he isn%u2019t French?) has been rudely interrupted by the specter of war and terror in the form of a single mourning mother, Cindy Sheehan. Sheehan%u2019s son Casey, 24, was killed last year in Iraq. Mama bear is pissed, blames Bush for her cub%u2019s death, and is taking no prisoners.
After the president refused to meet Sheehan for a tete-a-tete, she decided to camp out for weeks outside his Texas ranch, spurring an ongoing media firestorm and an international outpouring of support. Whenever the president has faced political difficulties in the past he has found it useful to play the September 11 card; the 2004 Republican convention in New York City, at which the attacks were invoked endlessly, was perhaps the most blatant and effective example of this. But the public is finally finding the president-who-cried-Osama act stale. During Bush%u2019s 'the war must go on' speech this past June at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, the only 'spontaneous' applause Bush received from the exclusively military audience came when a White House staffer prompted it. According to the Associated Press his Iraq approval ratings, hovering in the mid to low 40s all year, have now sunk to an all-time low of 38 percent."

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The Iraq war 'tipping point'

The Iraq war 'tipping point' | csmonitor.com: "The Iraq war 'tipping point'?
Are comments by Sen. Hagel, protests by Sheehan, shifting US attitudes towards continued involvement?
By Tom Regan
Malcolm Gladwell's 2002 best-selling book, 'The Tipping Point,' argued that under a combination of certain factors (outlined in blog form here), 'radical change is more than a possibility.' Some columnists and politicians from both parties are now wondering if the comments of leading Republican lawmakers like Sen. Chuck Hagel from Nebraska and others, and the actions of protester Cindy Sheehan, signal that the attitudes toward the war in Iraq are slowly, but surely, moving against the Bush administration.
Speaking Sunday on ABC-TV's 'This Week,' Sen. Hagel, who won two purple hearts in Vietnam and is also considered by some as a contender for the GOP presidential nomination in 2008, restated his position that the US needs to develop a strategy to leave Iraq."

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Revolution Starts Now

Bertoletti Wins GoldenPalace.com Grilled Cheese-Eating Contest

IFOCE: Bertoletti Wins GoldenPalace.com Grilled Cheese-Eating Contest
8/21/2005

More than 4,000 fans watched in awe as newcomer Patrick Bertoletti, aka Big Shoulders, won his first IFOCE event by downing 21.5 grilled cheeses, the same number eaten several weeks ago by Sonya Thomas.

The youthful Bertoletti beat world sweet corn eating champion and Florida's top-ranked eater, Jammin' Joe LaRue, who consumed 18 snadwiches to place second. Another newcomer, T. Brown, ate 15 for third.

"Bertoletti," said a stunned Dave Baer. "Bertoletti."

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Cheney Says Human Cost of Terrorism Is Staggering- U.S. Department Of State

Cheney Says Human Cost of Terrorism Is Staggering- U.S. Department Of State: "Cheney Says Human Cost of Terrorism Is Staggering
Attacks intended 'to shake the will of civilized world,' vice president says

By Merle D. Kellerhals, Jr.Washington File Staff Writer Washington -- Across the globe, the cost in human lives and suffering at the hands of terrorists since September 11, 2001, has been staggering, says Vice President Cheney. 'Since 9/11, terrorists have continued to wage deadly attacks -- never as a conventional military force, but as a hidden element determined to slip in unnoticed, to shed innocent blood, and to shake the will of the civilized world,' Cheney said August 18 in an address to the 73rd annual convention of the Military Order of the Purple Heart in Springfield, Missouri. 'The enemy that appeared on 9/11 is wounded, off-balance, and on the run, yet still very active, still seeking recruits, still trying to hit us.' Terrorists striking the United States on September 11, 2001, killed approximately 3,000 people in New York City, at the Pentagon in Washington and in a quiet field in southern Pennsylvania, he said.%uFFFD But national boundaries have proven no barrier or protection from terrorism, he said, citing these recent incidents:"
See link for the list.
I just wanted to put this out there because I am always surprised when I read about cheney speaking publicly about anything. He's the shadow man in this mob of men.

Friday, August 19, 2005

An Excerpt from "Hardball"

O‘DONNELL: And, finally, the president has made the case that winning the war in Iraq is central to winning the war on terror and making sure that Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda cannot take—harm the United States. Is that true, if we win there, will that help?

SCHEUER: No, ma‘am. The war in Iraq has broken the back of our counterterrorism effort. I‘m not an expert on the threat posed by Saddam Hussein, but the invasion of Iraq has made sure this war will last decades ahead and it has transferred bin Laden and al Qaeda from being man and an organization into being a philosophy and a movement. We‘ve really made sure that the war against us is going to be a long and very bloody one. Iraq was an absolutely disastrous decision.


-----

Comments Please!

CNN.com - Former aide:%uFFFDPowell%uFFFDWMD speech%uFFFD'lowest point in my life' - Aug 19, 2005

CNN.com - Former aide:%uFFFDPowell%uFFFDWMD speech%uFFFD'lowest point in my life' - Aug 19, 2005: "(CNN) -- A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state's presentation to the United Nations on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction was 'the lowest point' in his life.'I wish I had not been involved in it,' says Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, a longtime Powell adviser who served as his chief of staff from 2002 through 2005. 'I look back on it, and I still say it was the lowest point in my life.'"

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

How to Advertise Pizza in New Zealand

The Wire August 17 2005 : Radar Online: "
Hell Pizza [hell.co.nz]
"

Many Angry Men - Newsweek Health Beat - MSNBC.com

Many Angry Men - Newsweek Health Beat - MSNBC.com: "Aug. 16, 2005 - Millions of lines have been written about how womens hormonal changes can cause mood swings. But what about when men get irritable and withdrawn? Psychotherapist Jed Diamond believes they could be suffering from irritable male syndrome, a condition he says is affecting a growing number of men. No, its not a joke. The IMS term was coined by a Scottish researcher who found that rams became irritable, withdrawn and irrational when their testosterone levels plummeted. After visiting Scotland and reviewing the research, Diamond, author of the best-selling 1997 book "Male Menopause" (Sourcebooks), thought the syndrome might apply to humans as well. He analyzed data collected from more than 6,000 men and found that about half said they were stressed, gloomy or negative most or all of the time.
A total of 40 percent of the overall survey said they were often or always irritable. Many of those who reported feeling the negative emotions, he discovered, were also experiencing certain hormonal fluctuations%u2014namely, a drop in testosterone as well as changes in brain chemistry, increased stress and a loss of male identity."

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Scientists Aim for Lab-Grown Meat

Researchers are dishing up the perfect conundrum for vegetarians - meat grown in a laboratory dish, not on the hoof.

While it may be years before you savor laboratory-raised meat from your backyard barbecue, researchers say the technology exists now to produce processed meats such as burgers and sausages, starting with cells taken from cow, chicken, pig, fish or other animal.

Growing meat without the animal would not only reduce the need for the animals - which often are kept in less than ideal conditions - meat production is also blamed for a variety of environmental ills.

Cultured meat could also be tailored to be healthier than farm-raised meat, while satisfying the increasing demand for protein by the world's growing population, proponents say.

Brian Ford, a British biologist and the author of The Future of Food, said the widespread acceptance of meat substitutes such as 'quorn', a cultured fungus, "shows that the time for cultured tissue is near".

Techniques for engineering muscle cells and other tissues were first developed for medical use, and now a small handful of researchers are looking into growing edible muscle cells, said Jason Matheny, a University of Maryland doctoral student who co-authored a paper on in vitro meat techniques.

read more

Hooked fish gets revenge, lures angler to death - Peculiar Postings - MSNBC.com

Hooked fish gets revenge, lures angler to death - Peculiar Postings - MSNBC.com: "Updated: 11:51 a.m. ET Aug. 16, 2005BERLIN - A fish caught in an east German lake near the Polish border not only got off the hook but also lured a 46-year-old fisherman to his death, police in the eastern town of Eisenhuettenstadt said Tuesday.A police spokeswoman said the fish pulled the fishing rod out of the man%u2019s hands and dragged it about 100 meters (about 328 feet) away from shore at the Kleinen Pohlitzer lake near Eisenhuettenstadt. The man took off his clothes and swam after the runaway fish and pole.A witness said the man reached the rod floating on the surface but then suddenly stopped moving. The 54-year-old witness swam out to help the fisherman and pulled him back to shore, where he was later pronounced dead, police said.
I know it sounds like an incredible story but it really happened, an Eisenhuettenstadt police spokeswoman said. It was apparently just an ordinary fish."

Monday, August 15, 2005

Walken for President

The Wire August 15 2005 : Radar Online: "If there’s anything the past two presidents have taught us, it’s that you no longer need a skeleton-free closet in order to become the most important man in the free world. Like screwing big-shnozzed freaks and pudgy JAP interns? No problem. Have a handful of substance abuse issues and potentially a number of learning disabilities? Sounds like you’re Air Force One material. Did you throw a famous starlet off the back of a boat after getting caught sleeping with her husband? Then you, too, can be President!
Actually, we can only hope that last one holds true. Because there’s nothing that would make us happier than if skillet-faced Christopher Walken was running for President. According to this website, it seems like a possibility. Imagine — international border disputes settled not by war, but by a lean, grizzled ghost of a man pointing a glock in someone’s face, calling them a cantalope.
Let’s hope Walken gives it a shot. Not because he’d make a great President, necessarily. No, vote Walken so he’ll have something better to do than starring in direct-to-video sequels to The Prophecy. Vote Walken because you don’t want him to play the campy bad-guy in a Disney movie again. Vote Walken because, goddamn it, if you don’t, he might end up at your door looking for blood. (LH)"

Theory of Evolution Has Met its Denouement

Harvard jumps into evolution debate

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) — Harvard University is joining the long-running debate over the theory of evolution by launching a research project to study how life began.
The team of researchers will receive $1 million in funding annually from Harvard over the next few years. The project begins with an admission that some mysteries about life's origins cannot be explained.
"My expectation is that we will be able to reduce this to a very simple series of logical events that could have taken place with no divine intervention," said David R. Liu, a professor of chemistry and chemical biology at Harvard.
The "Origins of Life in the Universe Initiative" is still in its early stages, scientists told the Boston Sunday Globe. Harvard has told the research team to make plans for adding faculty members and a collection of multimillion-dollar facilities.
Evolution is a fundamental scientific theory that species evolved over millions of years. It has been standard in most public school science texts for decades but recently re-emerged in the spotlight as communities and some states debated whether school children should also be taught about creationism or intelligent design.
The theory of intelligent design says life on earth is too complex to have developed through evolution, implying that a higher power must have had a hand in creation.
Harvard has not been seen as a leader in origins of life research, but the university's vast resources could change that perception.
"It is quite gratifying to see Harvard is going for a solution to a problem that will be remembered 100 years from now," said Steven Benner, a University of Florida scientist who is one of the world's top chemists in origins-of-life research.

---------------This article was brought to you by: "The Silent Assassin"

Happy Trails?

The Wire August 15 2005 : Radar Online"Iraq’s a mess. Afghanistan’s giving it a run for its money. North Korea and Iran — ah, don’t ask. And to top it all off Cindy Sheehan and the gang are causing you major headaches with their 24/7 war protest at your once-peaceful Texas vacation ranch, in a move that has the summer-slowed cable news channels counting their lucky stars. So what’s the most powerful man in the world to do? Go on a bike ride, apparently — with bunch of journalists, no less:
“I love the outdoors,” he says, straddling his $3,000 Trek Fuel mountain bike. “If I’m not exercising here, I’ll be fishing over there. If I’m not fishing, I’ll be working with the chainsaw. I really enjoy being outside, and mountain biking is a way for me to spend a fair amount of time — four or five days a week — outdoors.”
We realize this past weekend’s trip must have been set up, in part, to re-humanize a man many are increasingly unhappy with, but is this the message the White House wants to send at a time when the president’s approval ratings are scraping LBJ levels just before that other war time prez decided not to seek re-election?
He didn’t crash this trip, but a few reporters — not this one — hit the dirt. But in mountain biking, crashing is not a negative. It is part of the experience and fodder for post-ride stories.
That whole crashing is not a negative thing also works nicely as a motto for Bush foreign policy. (MM)

One rule for Peloton One: Don’t pass the president [USA Today]
Someone Tell the President the War Is Over [NY Times]

Lance to bike with Bush

New York Daily News: "WACO, Tex. - The tour de Lance is coming to Texas.
Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong told ABC's 'This Week' yesterday that he'll travel to Crawford, Tex., next Saturday to ride mountain bikes with the President around Bush's ranch.
'It's a dream scenario for me,' Armstrong said. 'Now that President Bush doesn't run anymore, he rides his mountain bike fanatically. People wonder why he stays at the ranch so long - it might be the mountain bike trails.'
Armstrong, a cancer survivor who is opposed to the war in Iraq, said he plans to talk with the President about the fight against the disease.
'As a survivor, I think we would be better spending money on an illness like cancer,' he said."

Standing on the Shoulders of Perjury Law

Los Angeles Times: "WASHINGTON - When Al Qaeda operative Wadih El-Hage blamed false testimony he had given to a federal grand jury on confusion and jet lag, then-assistant U.S. Atty. Patrick J. Fitzgerald was not impressed. 'I submit to you,' Fitzgerald told jurors at El-Hage's 2001 trial in New York, 'you heard 10 of the most pathetic excuses of perjury ever known.'
El-Hage, once Osama bin Laden's personal secretary, is serving life in prison without the possibility of parole - convicted of perjury, among other things.
Things tend to work out that way when Patrick J. Fitzgerald is prosecuting a case.
Fitzgerald, 44, has a history of invoking perjury laws and related statutes to buttress his investigations.
So it may not be surprising that he is considering perjury charges in his current assignment - as a special prosecutor investigating whether anyone in the Bush administration illegally leaked the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame to journalists.
Plame's identity was first disclosed by syndicated newspaper columnist Robert Novak in what was widely seen as an attempt to discredit her husband, former diplomat Joseph C. Wilson IV, for criticizing President Bush's rationale for attacking Iraq.
Fitzgerald's 20-month-long investigation initially focused on whether administration officials had broken a federal law that made it a felony to knowingly disclose the identity of covert agents. But more recently, the inquiry is believed to have shifted to the question of whether officials - including White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove - who discussed Plame with journalists may have misled Fitzgerald and his investigators.
Fitzgerald's tendency to invoke the laws against lying comes from two things, colleagues say: the particular way he uses grand jury testimony when he conducts an investigation, and his deep-seated aversion to being lied to"

Tsunami clue to 'Atlantis' found

BBC NEWS: "A submerged island that could be the source of the Atlantis myth was hit by a large earthquake and tsunami 12,000 years ago, a geologist has discovered.
Spartel Island now lies 60m under the sea in the Straits of Gibraltar, but some think it once lay above water.
The finding adds weight to a hypothesis that the island could have inspired the legend recounted by the philosopher Plato more than 2,000 years ago.
Evidence comes from a seafloor survey published in the journal Geology.

Marc-Andr�Gutscher of the University of Western Brittany in Plouzan�, France, found a coarse-grained sedimentary deposit that is 50-120cm thick and could have been left behind after a tsunami."

The Huffington Post | Front Page

The Huffington Post | Front Page: "War and Peace: Falling Through the Partisan Looking Glass
George Bush reported yesterday that we are doing well in Iraq, but insisted that it was premature to talk about bringing troops home. What kind of a fantasy land does he live in? Then a friend sent me the following quotes that point out just how hypocritical our leaders are -- even when it comes to matters of life and death. At least we can hope that history will remind us of the truth and that it will eventually win out. These are quotes offered up by Republican leaders back when President Clinton was committing U.S. troops to Bosnia. Reading them, you can almost feel like you%u2019ve fallen through the looking glass... 'Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is.' -- Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)%u2028%u2028'You can support the troops but not the president.' -- Rep Tom Delay (R-TX)%u2028%u2028'Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years.' -- Joe Scarborough (R-FL): 'Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?' -- Sean Hannity, Fox News,: '[The] President . . . is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home.' -- Sen. Rick Santorum: 'I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning . . I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area.' -- Senator Trent Lott (R-MS): 'I cannot support a failed foreign policy. History teaches us that it is often easier to make war than peace. This administration is just learning that lesson right now. The President began this mission with very vague objectives and lots of unanswered questions. A month later, these questions are still unanswered. There are no clarified rules of engagement. There is no timetable. There is no legitimate definition of victory. There is no contingency plan for mission creep. There is no clear funding program. There is no agenda to bolster our over-extended military. There is no explanation defining what vital national..."

So what%u2019s really going on with the iPod patent? - Engadget - www.engadget.com

So what%u2019s really going on with the iPod patent? - Engadget - www.engadget.com: "So what%u2019s really going on with the iPod patent?

Posted Aug 15, 2005, 9:00 AM ET by Ryan Block
Related entries: Portable Audio


So it started last Tuesday (the 9th) with an AppleInsider post regarding how Apple%u2019s patent application on much of
the iPod%u2019s technology was rebuffed by the USPTO in favor
of a prior filing by John Platt. Ok, got it. But as WizBang points out, step two, and three, etc., is where it gets
sticky, wherein TechWeb brings Platt%u2019s employer, Microsoft, into the mix (and bungles the deets on the patent in
question), adds their two cents on the matter, and the Independent adds their spin on the TechWeb piece.
Things apparently start spiraling out of control, and what we have now is something of a muddy mess of reporting that
might take a little while to sort out%u2014but the long and short of it is Apple can%u2019t be held liable. Why? Prior art: iPods
were shipping before Platt%u2019s patent was even filed. Hm, go figure."

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Someone Tell the President the War Is Over - New York Times

Someone Tell the President the War Is Over - New York Times: "LIKE the Japanese soldier marooned on an island for years after V-J Day, President Bush may be the last person in the country to learn that for Americans, if not Iraqis, the war in Iraq is over. 'We will stay the course,' he insistently tells us from his Texas ranch. What do you mean we, white man?
A president can't stay the course when his own citizens (let alone his own allies) won't stay with him. The approval rate for Mr. Bush's handling of Iraq plunged to 34 percent in last weekend's Newsweek poll - a match for the 32 percent that approved L.B.J.'s handling of Vietnam in early March 1968. (The two presidents' overall approval ratings have also converged: 41 percent for Johnson then, 42 percent for Bush now.) On March 31, 1968, as L.B.J.'s ratings plummeted further, he announced he wouldn't seek re-election, commencing our long extrication from that quagmire. But our current Texas president has even outdone his predecessor; Mr. Bush has lost not only the country but also his army. Neither bonuses nor fudged standards nor the faking of high school diplomas has solved the recruitment shortfall. Now Jake Tapper of ABC News reports that the armed forces are so eager for bodies they will flout 'don't ask, don't tell' and hang on to gay soldiers who tell, even if they tell the press.The president's cable cadre is in disarray as well. At Fox News Bill O'Reilly is trashing Donald Rumsfeld for his incompetence, and Ann Coulter is chiding Mr. O'Reilly for being a defeatist. In an emblematic gesture akin to waving a white flag, Robert Novak walked off a CNN set and possibly out of a job rather than answer questions about his role in smearing the man who helped expose the administration's prewar inflation of Saddam W.M.D.'s. (On this sinking ship, it's hard to know which rat to root for.)"

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Apple Blunder Gives Gates Ipod Royalty

Independent Online Edition > Business News: "Apple Computer may be forced to pay royalties to Microsoft for every iPod it sells after it emerged that Bill Gates's software giant beat Steve Jobs' firm in the race to file a crucial patent on technology used in the popular portable music players. The total bill could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.
Although Apple introduced the iPod in November 2001, it did not file a provisional patent application until July 2002, and a full application was filed only in October that year.
In the meantime, Microsoft submitted an application in May 2002 to patent some key elements of music players, including song menu software.
Apple and Microsoft were two of several companies that developed portable players, but the iPod, with its sleek design and user-friendly controls, has dominated the market.
IPods make up three of every four portable music players bought in the US and account for almost one-third of Apple's sales. Piper Jaffray, a US analyst, believes Apple will sell 25 million iPods this year, bringing the total sold in the four years since its launch to 35 million.
In July, the US Patent and Trademark Office rejected Apple's application, saying some ideas were similar to an earlier application filed by a Microsoft employee, John Platt."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Officials Warn of Possibility of Attack Around Sept. 11

The warning grew out of intelligence developed from an overseas source indicating that terrorists might seek to steal fuel tanker trucks in order to inflict "mass casualties" by staging an anniversary attack, officials said.

Why suicide attackers haven't hit U.S. again

Why suicide attackers haven't hit U.S. again
By Rick Hampson, USA TODAY
NEW YORK — After the bombings in London and Sharm el-Sheik, Egypt, the question that rivets America is one that has no sure answer: Why haven't Muslim militants executed another suicide terror attack on the U.S. home front?

If suicide bombers can strike daily in the Middle East and hit the capitals of Europe, why does 9/11 remain a spectacular exception?
There are theories about why the United States still hasn't had a homegrown attack like the ones last month in London. Suicide bombing isn't that easy. The USA isn't that vulnerable. American Muslims aren't that militant. Foreign terrorists aren't focused, not yet, on a domestic strike.
Over the past four years, Jeremiahs as varied as Dick Cheney and Osama bin Laden have said another attack is inevitable. It could come at any time, and it could come from within; homegrown suicide terrorists are notoriously difficult to identify before they strike.
Robert Pape, a University of Chicago political scientist who has studied suicide terrorists, says most are "walk-in volunteers who decide to do it only months beforehand. They're not long-term criminals you can track." He cites the July 7 London bombers — wage earners, family men, cricket fans and, apparently, suicides.
Contrary to popular stereotype, most are not poor, ill-educated, disturbed or disconnected. Suicide terrorists are men and women, young and old, rich and poor, educated and ignorant. If anything, they tend to be relatively well off and, to outward appearances, well adjusted. Mohamed Atta, ringleader in the Sept. 11 attacks, was a college graduate and the son of a lawyer.
"There is no accurate criminal profile for them. Anyone who tells you differently is trying to get on TV," says Mia Bloom, author of Dying to Kill, a study of suicide terror. "And if we had a profile, the terrorists would learn about it and use it against us."
The other explanations — not all reassuring and not all compatible — for why there's been no repeat of Sept. 11 include the following:

http://usatoday.com/news/nation/2005-08-07-suicide-attacks-cover_x.htm

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Man’s Best Friend, But For How Much Longer?

The Wire August 11 2005 : Radar Online: "“Sit boy, sit.” “Shake.” “Rollover.” To this list it’s time to add another command for Fido: “Explode, boy.”
War is hell, and it’s as true for us as it is for them — our furry wingmen since the time of the dinosaurs (according to the state of Kansas anyway)."

Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg Columnists


Bloomberg Columnists
: "Cindy Sheehan Just Wants to See Her President: Margaret Carlson
Aug. 10 (Bloomberg) -- I didn't think Cindy Sheehan, the mother waiting on that dusty Texas road for a chance to ask
President George W. Bush why her son died in Iraq, was having much impact.
Then I saw her being Swift-Boated like John Kerry, whose
medals and Purple Hearts were all a mistake, and like former
ambassador Joe Wilson, reduced to being a ninny whose wife had to
get him an assignment tracking down uranium sales in Niger.
Sheehan, word went out, is a flip-flopper. She'd once
accepted the condolences of the president and there was a piece in
her local paper, which quickly found its way to reporters, to
prove it. In it, Sheehan was quoted as saying that Bush wanted
``freedom for the Iraqis,'' felt ``some pain for our loss'' and
that he was ``a man of faith.''
All true, and not at all at odds with what she's saying now,
which is that the war is not a ``noble'' cause, as Bush would have
it, and that no one else's child should die there.
What that excerpt from her Vacaville, California, paper,
provided to the Drudge Report, conveniently left out was the
paragraph about the family's decision to behave in a decorous way
on a solemn occasion, despite their feelings about the war."

READ THIS !!!!

Religion takes a back seat in Western Europe
By Noelle Knox, USA TODAY
DUBLIN, Ireland — "I don't go to church, and I don't know one person who does," says Brian Kenny, 39, who is studying psychotherapy and counseling at Dublin Business School. "Fifteen years ago, I didn't know one person who didn't."

Church attendance in Ireland, though still among the highest in Western Europe, has fallen from about 85% to 60% from 1975 to 2004, according to the Dublin Archdiocese.
While it is still illegal for a woman to have an abortion in this mostly Roman Catholic country, Health Minister Mary Harney made front-page news in July when she said birth control pills should be available for girls as young as 11 in some circumstances. And for the first time, according to church records, not one priest will be ordained this year in Dublin.
Mary Haugh, who has gone to Mass here seven days a week for almost all of her 79 years, is saddened by these changes. "It's a Godless society," she says.
Ireland is not an exception. Every major religion except Islam is declining in Western Europe, according to the Center for the Study on Global Christianity at the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass. The drop is most evident in France, Sweden and the Netherlands, where church attendance is less than 10% in some areas.
Last month, Pope Benedict XVI lamented the weakening of churches in Europe, Australia and the USA. "There's no longer evidence for a need of God, even less of Christ," he told Italian priests. "The so-called traditional churches look like they are dying."

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Protests unlikely to get too close

Protests unlikely to get too close: "Protests unlikely to get too closeBy Heather Gillers and Allecia Vermillion STAFF WRITERS

OSWEGO TOWNSHIP While some Fox Valley residents plan to welcome President Bush with open arms, others have words for him not fit for print, and they're planning to demonstrate their opposition.

In preparation for Bush's visit to the Caterpillar plant here Wednesday to sign the federal transportation bill, a mixture of union members, veterans and Democrats are planning to rally tonight at the United Auto Workers Hall in Montgomery, where they will plan Wednesday's protest, said Aurora Democratic Party Chairman Alex Arroyo.

The rally will include speeches by workers rights advocates, including Kane County Democratic Party Chairman Mark Guethle, who is a painters' union official; Sarah Nelson-De La Cruz, of the Association of Flight Attendants; and former Aurora factory worker Cecilia Arroyo.

They will speak about Bush's policies toward labor and outsourcing, Alex Arroyo said.
A representative of the Sierra Club might speak on the environmental policies of the Bush administration, he said.
John Laesch and Ruben Zamora, who both plan to run for Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert's seat in Congress, will moderate the discussion, said Laesch's campaign manager, Clint Raulsten.
Caterpillar employees, other workers, retirees and veterans are expected to attend, said President Tim Smith and Bargaining Chairman Dave Bickett of United Auto Workers Local 145.
Bickett was unsure how many people would turn out, but said interest has been high."

Man dies after 50 hours of computer games - Games - MSNBC.com

Man dies after 50 hours of computer games - Games - MSNBC.com
Updated: 6:43 p.m. ET Aug. 9, 2005SEOUL, South Korea - A South Korean man who played computer games for 50 hours almost non-stop died of heart failure minutes after finishing his mammoth session in an Internet cafe, authorities said on Tuesday.The 28-year-old man, identified only by his family name Lee, had been playing online battle simulation games at the cybercafe in the southeastern city of Taegu, police said.Lee had planted himself in front of a computer monitor to play online games on Aug. 3. He only left the spot over the next three days to go to the toilet and take brief naps on a makeshift bed, they said. 'We presume the cause of death was heart failure stemming from exhaustion,' a Taegu provincial police official said by telephone.Lee had recently quit his job to spend more time playing games, the daily JoongAng Ilbo reported after interviewing former work colleagues and staff at the Internet cafe."

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Huffington Post | Latest News

The Huffington Post | Latest News: "Bush Continues To Stonewall, Won't Meet With Mother Who Lost Son In Iraq...
The Huffington Post
AP/J. Scott Applewhite
President Bush has not met with Cindy Sheenan, the angry mother of a fallen US soldier who organized a protest outside of his ranch in Crawford, Tex. on Saturday. Sheenan has refused to leave the ranch until the president sees her. Though he sent two officials to meet with her this weekend, he has not yet seen the grieving mother himself.

On Saturday, the Associated Press quoted Sheenan want to ask the president, 'Why did you kill my son? What did my son die for?"

Novak's Sect Appeal

Fresh Intelligence August 09 2005 : Radar Online"Does Bob Novak owe his uncanny capacity for secrecy to the right-wing Catholic sect Opus Dei? While his Network-like turn on CNN last Thursday seemed to suggest a man on the verge of a nervous breakdown, the columnist has so far managed to ignore persistent demands that he reveal his involvement in the Valerie Plame leak—a feat of rare internal fortitude that some say is a hallmark of the shadowy Christian group.
Members of the 76-year-old sect are known for self-flagellation and wearing spiked metal garters underneath their clothes as forms of penance—the kind of extreme self-discipline that’s said to have also appealed to one of Opus Dei’s most infamous initiates, ex-FBI agent and convicted Russian spy Robert Hanssen.
Despite the controversy that’s dogged it from its inception, the sect has emerged as one of the most conservative and influence-seeking wings of the Catholic Church and is said to enjoy a uniquely close relationship with the Vatican. Though Novak’s adherence to Opus Dei has never been confirmed—as a policy, the organization doesn’t reveal its rolls—D.C. insiders have for years noted the pundit’s close relationship with Father C. John McCloskey III, an eminent member of the group who helped baptize the Jewish-born Novak into Catholicism in 1998. McCloskey is also believed to have brought other high-profile Washington conservatives into the group, including book publisher Alfred Regnery, Republican Kansas Senator Sam Brownback, and Novak’s former CNN colleague, Larry Kudlow. No prominent Democrats are known to be members of Opus Dei, a fact that makes the organization’s donkey mascot more than a tad ironic."

Chicago Gangsters find they can't return home

By Kevin Johnson, USA TODAY
CHICAGO — Shawn Betts apparently didn't realize it, but a police surveillance team had a video camera pointed at him the moment he stepped out of a state prison here last October.

Betts, a leader of a violent gang known as the 4 Corner Hustlers, was being watched because he had just signed an unusual parole agreement to secure his release after serving six years of a 12-year sentence for kidnapping: He promised not to return to the West Side turf controlled by his gang, with the understanding that police would be watching to make sure he didn't. Less than six hours after he left prison and ducked into a van with friends, Betts was back in custody.
That was because the surveillance team saw the 38-year-old felon make a brief detour into Indiana. The detour violated a separate part of Betts' parole — a violation that probably would have gone unnoticed if Betts hadn't agreed to the restrictions that led police to follow him.
The episode was a benchmark in a bold effort by Chicago to turn back the type of gang violence that has driven up violent crime rates here and elsewhere in recent years. During the past two years, Betts and four other gang figures have given up their rights to return to their home "turf" under one of the nation's most provocative strategies aimed at disrupting gang activity.

Betts
In a city where police say gangs typically are involved in about half the homicides each year, the new restrictions on parole coincided with a 25% decline in slayings last year.
Homicides have continued to decline this year in Chicago, although not as dramatically: As of July 29 there had been 258, five fewer than at the same time in 2004, the Chicago Police Department says
Thomas Epach Jr., executive assistant to police Superintendent Philip Crane, says he can't be certain how much of the decline should be attributed to parole restrictions or to other anti-gang initiatives launched in troubled areas.
But Epach says the restrictions on even a small number of gang leaders — and the police surveillance attached to such agreements — have given authorities a better view of the activities of hundreds of key players among Chicago's estimated 68,000 gang members.
Crane says the restrictions also have allowed police to prevent violence that often has occurred after a gang leader is released from prison and he tries to re-establish his presence.
As a result, Epach says, police are working with the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, which oversees parole, to have more parolees agree to restrictions on their movements.
"It's hard to say which snowflake causes the avalanche," Epach says. "Our aim is simple. We're trying everything to take the catalysts for violence out of the equation."
Legality of deals questioned
The Chicago policy has raised a range of legal and law enforcement concerns, however.
Defense lawyers and civil rights advocates complain that parole restrictions on gang leaders violate the convicts' right to associate with their families and friends. They say the restrictions can make it particularly difficult for the felons to find work, which usually is another requirement of parole.
"The whole thing is 100% unconstitutional," says Sam Adam, a lawyer for Darren Jones, 34, a gang leader who accepted a non-negotiable release offer from the Illinois review board.
Jones agreed to stay away from his home turf on Chicago's West Side when he was freed from prison in January.
Adam says Jones — who wound up violating the agreement and is back in prison, serving the remaining 13 years of his original 25-year sentence for drug trafficking — had three children who lived in the area he was banned from visiting.

Jones
"How can you tell a man he can't go home and visit his kids?" Adam asks.
Chicago's policy hasn't been challenged in court, but Adam says he would have done so if Jones could have afforded it.
"I wish Darren had asked us to go forward," Adam says. "We had everything all lined up. We were ready to go."
Jorge Montes, chairman of the Illinois Prisoner Review Board, says the territorial restrictions are reserved for a small number of gang leaders who authorities suspect could pose a threat to public safety.
"I don't know if there is any direct correlation between this program and declining crime," Montes says. "But it makes perfect sense that inmates who are identified as kingpins should be watched very, very closely."
Still, Montes says it is "only a matter of time" before the policy is challenged in court.
Ed Yohnka, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union in Chicago, says a parolee's constitutional right to free association isn't all the policy jeopardizes.
"If you are cutting these people off from family, friends and opportunities for work, you might be setting them up for failure," he says.
Chicago police play down such concerns.
They say the restrictions hinder only a gang leader's ability to return to illegal activity.
In Jones' case, Epach says, police feared that the mandatory release would set off a violent turf battle if Jones sought to re-establish himself in the hierarchy of a gang known as the Traveling Vice Lords.
For roughly three months after his release from prison, police say, they watched Jones reconnect with old business partners as he ventured in and out of the prohibited territory.
They arrested him on alleged parole violations in March, soon after Jones — apparently concerned about police surveillance — bought a $300 radio frequency detector that can be used to check for bugging devices.
"If you're trying to get your life back together," Epach says, "you aren't going out to buy spy paraphernalia."
Chicago suburb wary
Chicago authorities are encouraged by the apparent success of the program, but their counterparts in nearby cities worry that the tactic will encourage released gang members to head to the suburbs.
Garnett Watson, police chief of neighboring Gary, Ind., says his city routinely feels the impact of anti-gang efforts in Chicago. It's too early to determine whether Chicago's parole initiative has triggered a significant migration of gang members to the city's Indiana suburbs, but Watson expects it.
"When Chicago sneezes, we catch a cold," Watson says.
Larry Ford, an assistant director with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, says years of battles involving urban police agencies and gangs already have driven some criminal groups to operate in the suburbs. "They are finding less competition for turf and less (police) scrutiny," Ford says.
Nationwide, there are an estimated 730,000 gang members associated with more than 21,000 groups, according to the National Youth Gang Center, an arm of the Justice Department.
The numbers have remained stable in recent years despite a decade-long decline in crime. But the percentage of cities reporting that gang problems were "getting worse" rose from 25% in 1999 to 37% in 2003, the center says.
During the same period, gang-related homicides increased about 50%, according to the most recent report by a coalition of urban police chiefs and prosecutors known as Fight Crime Invest in Kids.
Chicago's move against gang leaders comes as several cities — notably Los Angeles, San Antonio and El Paso — are using another tactic aimed at disrupting gangs: obtaining court orders to ban known gangsters from operating in designated sections of those cities.
Instead of targeting individual gang leaders, the cities are identifying troubled neighborhoods and enforcing strict rules of conduct in those areas that are aimed at making it more difficult for gang members to deal drugs or take part in other illegal activities.
For years, Los Angeles has sought court orders to limit the activities and movements of many of the city's estimated 40,000 gang members. The court orders do not prohibit certain known gang members from being in the designated areas, but the members are banned from associating with each other.
In a March 10 order aimed at combating Los Angeles' Grape Street Crips, at least 16 known gang members were prohibited from associating with other members, intimidating people in the neighborhood or acting as lookouts "by whistling, yelling or otherwise signaling" colleagues involved in drug trafficking or other illegal activity.
During the past four years, the city has ramped up its campaign dramatically, designating 16 new restricted zones, an increase of 243%. The strategy's effect on the crime rate is unclear, but the designation of every "safety zone" has been followed by a decline in violent crime of at least 6% in each area, says Jonathan Diamond, spokesman for City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo.
During his unsuccessful bid for re-election this year, Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn proposed designating the entire city — nearly 500 square miles — as a court-ordered safety zone. The plan remains under review by Delgadillo's office, but it has drawn criticism from legal analysts such as former Los Angeles district attorney Ira Reiner, who told the Los Angeles Times that it was "campaign talk and nothing else."
Safety zones expanded
The use of court orders in California was upheld in a 1997 ruling by the state Supreme Court in a case that involved an anti-gang effort in San Jose.
Courts have not always backed anti-gang strategies, however. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court scuttled a broad anti-loitering ordinance in Chicago that was aimed at sweeping gang members from the streets. Under that provision, opposed by the ACLU, police were able to make arrests if suspected gang members did not follow a police warning to move.
Until it was overturned, the anti-loitering ordinance appeared to give law enforcement a less-demanding alternative to court orders, which typically require police to carefully plot crimes committed in the designated zones and name gang members suspected in them.
Since the U.S. Supreme Court ruling, however, the use of court orders to establish "safety zones" has expanded. El Paso got its first court order in 2003. It established the troubled Downtown area known as the "Segundo Barrio" as a target to rid the neighborhood of the Barrio Azteca gang.
The order identified 35 members of the gang by name and prohibited them from associating with each other in the zone. The order also established a curfew that made any of the members subject to arrest if they were found in the zone from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.
El Paso police Sgt. Marylou Carrillo says that from April 2003, when the order took effect, to January 2005, the strategy contributed to a 33% decline in business burglaries, a 20% drop in robberies and a 12% decline in overall crime in the Downtown area. There also have been no homicides in the zone since the court action.
Carrillo says police are moving to extend the order through 2006.
"These residents for years have been terrorized," County Attorney Jose Rodriguez says. "Nobody in this town should live in fear."
Epach says the same principle applies in Chicago. The former prosecutor describes the territorial restrictions on released prisoners as part of a "big combo platter that appears to be working now" in reducing gang activity.
"We figure that watching and putting restrictions on one gang leader is the equivalent of watching 200 gang members," he says. "These people are at the top of the food chain. We can put a kind of embargo on violations by keeping the gang leaders unsettled."

Four in 9/11 Plot Are Called Tied to Qaeda in 2000

WASHINGTON, Aug. 8 - More than a year before the Sept. 11 attacks, a small, highly classified military intelligence unit identified Mohammed Atta and three other future hijackers as likely members of a cell of Al Qaeda operating in the United States, according to a former defense intelligence official and a Republican member of Congress.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Man forgets wife at gas station

CNN.com - Man forgets wife at gas station - Aug 8, 2005: "ROME, Italy (Reuters) -- A Macedonian man left his wife at an Italian service station and only realized he had driven off without her six hours later, news agency Ansa said.The couple, who were travelling with their 4-year-old daughter, pulled over for petrol in the coastal city of Pesaro as they were heading back to their home to Germany.After filling the tank, the husband drove away -- without noticing that his 30-year-old wife, originally from Georgia, had got out of the car to go to the toilet.The woman, who had no money or documents with her, contacted the police who eventually traced her husband to Milan, some 340 km (210 miles) north of Pesaro, Ansa said.The husband told police he had not missed his wife because she always sat in the back of the car with their daughter."

USATODAY.com - Woman eats 35 bratwursts in 10 minutes

USATODAY.com - Woman eats 35 bratwursts in 10 minutes: "Woman eats 35 bratwursts in 10 minutesSHEBOYGAN, Wis. (AP) %u2014 Sonya Thomas, at 99 pounds, gobbled her way to another speed-eating title over the weekend by attacking a Wisconsin staple %u2014 the bratwurst.
What a brat. Sonya Thomas of Alexandria, Va., winces as she chomps a final bratwurst at a brat-eating contest. She ate 35 to claim victory.By Morry Gash, AP
The woman known as The Black Widow on the competitive-eating circuit downed 35 brats in 10 minutes to win the first Johnsonville Brat-Eating World Championship. She edged out her nearest competitor by half a brat to win."

Swellin' with Melon Watermelon-Eating Championship

International Federation of Competitive Eating - IFOCE: "On Saturday, July 30, 2005, eaters converged in Brookville, OH, for the second annual “Swellin’ With Melon” event occurs at the Brookville Community Picnic.__Buffalo Jim Reeves achieved an impressive victory, besting number-three-ranked Richard LeFevre by eating more than 13 pounds of watermelon in 15 minutes.__Placing third, in what has also been hailed as a major accomplishment, was Patrick Bertoletti, a rising eater who consumed just under 13 pounds of melon in the contest._"

Saturday, August 06, 2005

C.I.A. Leak Case Recalls Texas Incident in '92 Race

New York Times: "WASHINGTON, Aug. 5 - These hot months here will be remembered as the summer of the leak, a time when the political class obsessed on a central question: did Karl Rove, President Bush's powerful adviser, commit a crime when he spoke about a C.I.A. officer with the columnist Robert D. Novak?
Whatever a federal grand jury investigating the case decides, a small political subgroup is experiencing the odd sensation that this leak has sprung before. In 1992 in an incident well known in Texas, Mr. Rove was fired from the state campaign to re-elect the first President Bush on suspicions that Mr. Rove had leaked damaging information to Mr. Novak about Robert Mosbacher Jr., the campaign manager and the son of a former commerce secretary. Since then, Mr. Rove and Mr. Novak have denied that Mr. Rove was the source, even as Mr. Mosbacher, who no longer talks on the record about the incident, has never changed his original assertion that Mr. Rove was the culprit. 'It's history,' Mr. Mosbacher said last week in a brief telephone interview. 'I commented on it at the time, and I have nothing to add.'But the episode, part of the bad-boy lore of Mr. Rove, is a telling chapter in the 20-year friendship between the presidential adviser and the columnist. The story of that relationship, a bond of mutual self-interest of a kind that is long familiar in Washington, does not answer the question of who might have leaked the identity of the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, to reporters, potentially a crime."

See the War, After an Ad for the Army

New York Times: "This week the Web site ifilm.com introduced a new 'channel' called WarZone (www.ifilm.com/warzone) with film clips from World War II, Vietnam, Israel and Iraq. Looking at the selection of videos about Iraq, it's hard to say which are scarier: the clips themselves or the advertisements that run with them."

Friday, August 05, 2005

Write Your Own Caption


, originally uploaded by ReidAnderes.

Bush’s Jurassic Ark

Radar Online: "In the Tinkerbell administration, Karl Rove wears the fairy wings and “true facts” always trump the truth.
When asked this week about the Valerie Plame scandal engulfing top adviser Karl Rove and an ever growing number of White House staffers, President Bush told Knight Ridder to “wait and see what the true facts are.” It was an odd answer, given that we already have the facts. Rove’s own lawyer has publicly admitted his client was the leaker (or, at least, one of the leakers), and Bush promised last year that he’d fire any staffer responsible for the leak. So what additional facts is the president waiting for?
The solution to the conundrum is simple. For President Bush there are two kinds of facts: regular facts and, as he put it, “true” facts. Regular facts are the inconvenient stuff of naysayers, such as expert advisers, scientists, courts of law, or one’s own eyes. True facts, on the other hand, are a pure reflection of desire, a kind of wishing makes it so—like when Peter Pan exhorts us to clap our hands and let our belief in fairies save the dying Tinkerbell. (Except in Bushworld it’s Rove wearing the fairy wings.) Chalk it up to a poor grasp of reality, incredible hubris, or even outright deception, but true facts always trump the truth when Bush is in charge.
Hence the administration’s war on science (i.e., actual knowledge), the latest salvo of which came this week when Bush announced his support for teaching in our nation’s schools “intelligent design,” the anti-evolution theory that some greater being—just don’t call it God (nudge, nudge)—created the universe. The people who believe in intelligent design are the same fine folks who have pushed for decades for creationism to be taught in schools, something Bush himself endorsed in Texas while he was governor.
Creationism is a wonderful brand of fairy-clapping that includes true facts like that the earth isn’t 4.5 billion years old, only 6,000, and that Noah toted dinosaurs along on the Ark in 2500 BC. According to the pro-creationism website Answers in Genesis: “God sent two of every (seven of some) land animal into the Ark (Genesis 7:2–3; 7:8–9)—there were no exceptions. Therefore, dinosaurs must have been on the Ark. Even though there was ample room in the huge ship for large animals, perhaps God sent young adults into the Ark that still had plenty of room for them to grow.”
No word on whether God also provided those cool metallic shock cages for the Velociraptors, or if bamboo offered sufficient structural support for Noah’s Jurassic ark.
In the Tinkerbell presidency, details are heretical. Terri Schiavo will walk again, no child will be left behind, John Bolton is an honorable man, and the mission in Iraq has been accomplished."

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Al-Zawahri warns more attacks ahead

Al-Zawahri warns more attacks ahead
by
Thursday 04 August 2005 12:53 PM GMT

The al-Qaida deputy said bin Laden had offered a truce

Al-Qaida's second in command Ayman al-Zawahri has warned Britain in a video aired on Thursday that Prime Minister Tony Blair's policies will bring more destruction to London.

He also warned the United States that al-Qaida would continue to launch deadly attacks until US troops quit all Muslim countries.

"Blair's policies brought you destruction in central London and will bring you more destruction ... ," al-Zawahri, Osama bin Laden's deputy, said in a tape aired on Aljazeera.

Truce offer

"What you have seen in New York, Washington and Afghanistan, are only the initial losses and if you (United States) continue the same hostile policies you will see what will make you forget those horrors," he said in reference to the 11 September 2001 attacks.

Zawahri said the London bombs
were a result of Blair's policies
He said bin Laden had offered a truce to Western countries asking them to pull out their armies from Iraq and Afghanistan in order to live in peace.

"To the people of the crusader coalition ... our blessed Shaikh Osama has offered you a truce so that you leave Muslim land. As he said, you will not dream of security until we live it as a reality in Palestine, and until all your infidel armies leave Prophet Mohammad's lands," he said.

"Our message to you is clear, strong, and final: There will be no salvation until you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil and resources, and end support for corrupt rulers," al-Zawahri added.

Vietnam comparison

Zawahri, who in the footage appeared to be standing outside with an assault rifle at his side, also warned the Americans of horrors worse than the war in Vietnam.

"There will be no salvation until you withdraw from our land, stop stealing our oil and resources, and end support for corrupt rulers"

Ayman Zawhiri,
Al-Qaida's second in command
"The Americans... will see horror that would make them forget the horror they saw in Vietnam," he said.

"The truth that (President George) Bush ... hides from you is that there is an exit from Iraq except through immediate withdrawal. Any delay will mean only more dead and losses.

"If you do not leave today, you will inevitably leave tomorrow,
but only after (you suffer losses) of tens of thousands of dead and many more injured."

Aljazeera + Agencies
By

You can find this article at:
http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/41F14605-4546-4EFA-9DFF-41E356B3CBFB.htm

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

US challenged over 'secret jails'

BBC NEWS: "Two Yemeni prisoners have claimed they were held in secret, underground US jails for more than 18 months, Amnesty International has said.
The human rights group has called on the US to reveal details of the alleged secret detention of suspects abroad.
Amnesty has said it fears the case is part of a 'much broader picture' in which the US is holding prisoners at a network of undisclosed locations.
The US state department had no immediate comment to make."

U.S. writer abducted and killed in Iraq - Africa & Middle East - International Herald Tribune

U.S. writer abducted and killed in Iraq - Africa & Middle East - International Herald Tribune: "The abduction occurred a day after the International Herald Tribune and The New York Times published an opinion article written by Vincent in which he criticized the police in Basra. Vincent wrote that Basra's police force had been heavily infiltrated by members of Shiite political groups, including a group led by Moktada al-Sadr, the radical cleric who had organized anti-American uprisings."

Presidential 'salute' demeans us all


Nick Coleman
: "I haven't written about President George W. Bush all year, and that suits me fine. I get tired of calling presidents liars, and he doesn't care what some blue-state hack thinks.So it's a win-win.Nevertheless, etiquette requires me to write about the president today. He sent a message to me and my colleagues in the media, and it deserves a response.Don't worry: I will be polite, and I will use more fingers than he did.Bush, it seems, has given the press the presidential bird, a digital message of the kind you see exchanged between angry drivers at stop signs. At least we know where we stand.The White House issued a non-denial denial, and the reporters on hand must have been blinded by the lights bouncing off their makeup mirrors because they didn't see it or thought the president had given them a thumbs up.But when you view the video, as I have, there isn't much doubt: George Bush, who promised to change the tone in Washington and restore dignity to the highest office in the land, deliberately flipped off the press.That's his right, even if it makes him the only born-again man whose favorite philosopher is Jesus Christ who flips people off like a sailor. But the press -- we whipped dogs and disreputable stand-ins for the American people -- didn't even raise a whimper.The Finger-in-Chief was flipped last Wednesday, when the president visited Capitol Hill to meet with Republicans. He waved at the cameras, then walked down a hallway, pestered by reporters' questions.Then, as he faded out of sight, Bush jabbed his middle finger in the air, the way you would give a farewell salute to a jerk disappearing in your rearview mirror."

Video here

Vacationing Bush Poised to Set a Record

WACO, Tex., Aug. 2 -- President Bush is getting the kind of break most Americans can only dream of -- nearly five weeks away from the office, loaded with vacation time.

The president departed Tuesday for his longest stretch yet away from the White House, arriving at his Crawford ranch in the evening for a stretch of clearing brush, visiting with family and friends, and tending to some outside-the-Beltway politics. By historical standards, it is the longest presidential retreat in at least 36 years.

The August getaway is Bush's 49th trip to his cherished ranch since taking office and the 319th day that Bush has spent, entirely or partially, in Crawford -- nearly 20 percent of his presidency to date, according to Mark Knoller, a CBS Radio reporter known for keeping better records of the president's travel than the White House itself. Weekends and holidays at Camp David or at his parents' compound in Kennebunkport, Maine, bump up the proportion of Bush's time away from Washington even further.

Bush's long vacations are more than a curiosity: They play into diametrically opposite arguments about this leadership style. To critics and late-night comics, they symbolize a lackadaisical approach to the world's most important day job, an impression bolstered by Bush's two-hour midday exercise sessions and his disinclination to work nights or weekends. The more vociferous among Bush's foes have noted that he spent a month at the ranch shortly before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when critics assert he should have been more attentive to warning signs.

Bush Picks a 'Wedge'

Fresh Intelligence : Radar Online: "Are the Dems finally wising up to Karl Rove? The GOP had hoped whitebread Supreme Court nominee John Roberts’s stance on Roe v. Wade would be the bait for an ugly showdown on abortion in time for the November midterm elections, but Democratic insiders say the donkey ain’t biting.
Rove and Co. have used such so-called “wedge” issues in the past to divide voters and distract attention from real problems plaguing the administration, like job decline, the Iraq war, and scandals like the one now enveloping the Architect himself, White House watchers say.
“The Republicans are looking for a fight and they’re not gonna get it,” says a Democratic congressman, requesting anonymity. “Funny thing is, the White House immediately issued press releases about Roberts’s briefs on Roe v. Wade, and the cable networks were eager to stir things up. Then, when we wouldn’t bite, the White House sent out releases about his role in the 2000 recount to try to stoke the fire. It doesn’t get more blatant than that.”
Considering the President’s approval rating, such a wedge might come in handy. Democrats have their best chance in a decade of winning back House seats from Republicans in key districts in states like Ohio, Florida, California, New York, Massachusetts—and even Bush’s home state of Texas.
“The Republicans want November to be about Roe v. Wade,” the congressman says, “and the Democrats in the House understand that come election season it has to be about jobs, the economy and how to fix the war on terror—the things that actually matter in this country.”"

Brain-Dead Woman in Va. Gives Birth

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

President Bush Appoints John Bolton

After a five month deadlock, President Bush has appointed John Bolton as the new U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Bush invoked his Presidential powers to appoint Bolton during a Congressional recess, effectively bypassing Democrats and Republicans who had blocked a vote in the Senate. A United States president has never before filled the UN post using a recess appointment.

* President George W. Bush, speaking yesterday in the White House Roosevelt Room, on the first working day of the five-week congressional recess that began last Friday.

* John Bolton, speaking yesterday.

Soon after the announcement, Bolton was sworn into office and went immediately to New York. He was reportedly booed on the sidewalk outside the United States mission to the U.N.. Bolton has been one of the fiercest critics of the United Nations within the Bush administration. He has drawn major fire for allegedly bullying subordinates. Last March, 59 former diplomats and other officials called for the Senate to reject Bolton's nomination in an open letter to Richard Lugar, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Opponents charged Bolton with trying to manipulate intelligence and intimidate intelligence analysts to support his hawkish views as the top State Department diplomat for arms control.

More recently, Democrats vowed to block a vote on the nomination until they received classified documents related to Bolton's State department service. When the White House refused the requests, the Democrats refused to end debate in the Senate. Republicans twice failed to secure the 60 votes required to cut them off.

* John Bolton, speaking at an event called "The Global Structures Convocation" on February 3, 1994, in New York. The tape was released in March by Citizens for Global Solutions. He said, "The United States makes the U.N. work when it wants it to work, and that is exactly the way it should be, because the only question, the only question for the United States is what is in our national interest. And if you don't like that, I'm sorry, but that is the fact."

* Ian Williams, U.N. correspondent for The Nation and author of "Deserter: George Bush, Soldier of Fortune." His new book is, "Rum: A Social and Sociable History of the Real Spirit of 1776."

Bush: Intelligent Design Should Be Taught

(08-02) 04:05 PDT WASHINGTON, (AP) --

President Bush said Monday he believes schools should discuss "intelligent design" alongside evolution when teaching students about the creation of life.

* I never really thought of violently revolting... but I can hardly contain myself anymore.

Monday, August 01, 2005

Democracy Now! Headlines

Jimmy Carter: Iraq War Was "Unnecessary and Unjust"

Former President Jimmy Carter has called the Iraq war "unnecessary and unjust" and criticized the Bush administration for its handling of detainees at Guantanamo Bay. Speaking at an international Baptist convention in Britain, Carter said, "I think what's going on in Guantanamo Bay and other places is a disgrace to the U.S.A." He went on to say "I wouldn't say it's the cause of terrorism, but it has given impetus and excuses to potential terrorists to lash out at our country and justify their despicable acts."

The Judy File

The Huffington Post: "Ever since I started blogging about Judy Miller's role in Plamegate (and in the selling of the war in Iraq), I've been showered with tips and tidbits about the jailed reporter, whom one e-mailer from Sag Harbor ('her summer hometown') archly referred to as 'the amazing Ms. Miller, intrepid girl reporter.'
And since I spent the weekend in the vicinity of her summer hometown, some of what I heard was delivered by people who know her well. Together all these pieces of information now comprise my newly labeled -- and ever-expanding -- Judy File.
A recurring theme in many of the conversations and e-mails is how Judy, to the dismay of many of her colleagues, never played by the same rules and standards as other reporters. One source e-mailed to give me some examples of this pattern: 'In Feb 2003, Judy was in Salahuddin covering the Iraqi opposition conclave. Iraqi National Congress spokesperson Zaab Sethna told a reporter who was also there that Judy was staying with Chalabi's group in Salahuddin (the rest of the reporters had to stay 30 minutes away in crappy hotels in Irbil), and that the I.N.C. had provided her with a car and a translator (Did the New York Times reimburse them?). The I.N.C. offered another reporter the same, but he turned it down. Judy had just arrived in a bus convoy from Turkey, big footing C.J. Chivers, who was also there covering the story for the Times. While everyone else on the buses had to scramble for accommodations, she was staying in a luxurious villa loaned to the I.N.C. by the Kurdish Democratic Party...
'Two years earlier, she was on assignment in Paris for the Times and conducted her reporting out of the ambassador's personal residence, where she was staying. Felix Rohatyn, the ambassador at the time, was out of town, but it would be interesting to know whether the Times reimbursed U.S. taxpayers for the use of the embassy while she was there on assignment. What is certain is that the Paris bureau was buzzing about this at the time, as getting too close to sources or accepting hospitality -- accommodations, meals -- is a violation of the Times's ethical standards. The feeling was that somehow Judy was able to do whatever she wanted.'"

Herald.com | 08/01/2005 | Back on the Moore path

Herald.com | 08/01/2005 | Back on the Moore path: "Back on the Moore path
Michael Moore says his next documentary already has HMOs quaking in their boots.
Moore has not yet begun shooting the film, Sicko, but his planned critique of the nation's healthcare system, he says, is making ''freaked-out'' HMOs warn employees what to do if approached by the filmmaker, reports The Associated Press.
''At this point, we haven't shot anything yet and they're totally discombobulated,'' Moore said at the inaugural Traverse City Film Festival in Michigan. Moore, who lives near Traverse City, founded the film festival with local movie buffs to showcase excellent films.
Though the festival is showing films such as Casablanca and the upcoming Bill Murray movie, Broken Flowers, Moore's involvement sparked a conservative Texas group to sponsor a rival festival showing Hollywood classics and conservative-themed movies. That festival was to begin Saturday."

Roberts sought to shift course of civil rights law - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com

Roberts sought to shift course of civil rights law - washingtonpost.com Highlights - MSNBC.com: "He wrote vigorous defenses, for example, of the administration's version of a voting rights bill, opposed by Congress, which would have narrowed the reach of the 1965 Voting Rights Act. He challenged the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights's arguments in favor of busing and affirmation action. He described a Supreme Court decision broadening the rights of individuals to sue states for civil rights violations as causing 'damage' to administration policies, and he urged that legislation be drafted to reverse it. And he wrote a memo arguing that it was constitutionally acceptable for Congress to strip the Supreme Court of its ability to hear broad classes of civil rights cases.For young conservatives such as Roberts, many of whom had spent the years of the Carter presidency in elite schools or cooling their political heels, the first two years of Reagan's presidency were a heady period. Civil rights was an issue of enormous importance to the Republican Party's fortunes and to businesses and local or state governments frustrated by what they regarded as decades of judicial intrusion into their activities."