Friday, September 30, 2005

US CIA case reporter will testify

BBC NEWS : "New York Times journalist Judith Miller, jailed for refusing to reveal her sources, has been released.
Miller was freed after a source said she could discuss their conversations and she is now expected to appear on Friday morning before a grand jury.
The case concerns the unmasking of a CIA agent, Valerie Plame, in 2003.
Ms Plame's husband was a former diplomat who had criticised President Bush over Iraq, and it was alleged a White House source leaked her name.
The disclosure of a CIA agent's name can be a federal offence."

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Chicken wings take flight in assault on police officer

SMYRNA, Ga. (AP) — A Florida woman was arrested after allegedly attacking a suburban Atlanta police officer with a plate of chicken wings and a 2-liter bottle, police said.
Beverly Anne Campbell, 61, of St. Petersburg, Fla., was arrested for misdemeanor battery and felony assault on a police officer, acccording to a Smyrna police arrest warrant. She was also arrested on a misdemeanor charge of inciting a riot, the warrant said.

Gas Prices Set Record, Pointing to Costly Winter

New York Times: "Natural gas prices climbed to a new record closing high today, presaging higher heating bills for a majority of Americans this winter as well as soaring costs for industrial manufacturers of such product as plastics or chemicals.
Since the beginning of the summer, the price of natural gas has doubled. But unlike crude oil or gasoline, whose recent gains have been widely felt by most Americans, the surge in natural gas prices, the most popular form of energy for home heating, has so far gone largely unnoticed. That is about to change as colder weather sets in. A hot summer, which pushed up natural gas consumption by electricity companies and depleted winter stocks, is expected to give way to a cold winter, which will push up residential consumption. Meanwhile, the Gulf Coast, the nation's largest energy hub, has suffered devastating punches from two severe hurricanes. All these factor have now come together to create a natural gas crisis. As a result, government and industry officials are warning consumers to expect higher heating bills this winter. Gas prices have been setting new records since Hurricane Katrina pushed prices beyond $10.10 per thousand cubic feet for the first time ever. But even before that, prices had been rising from around $7.50 in June, as electricity generators, which account for about a quarter of gas consumption, increased their output to meet higher power consumption for air conditioning."

KANSAS SENATE OPENING PRAYER

When Minister Joe Wright was asked to open the new session of the Kansas Senate, everyone was expecting the usual generalities, but this is what they heard:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values.
We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery.
We have rewarded! laziness and called it welfare.
We have killed our unborn and called it choice.
We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable.
We have neglected to discipline our children ! and called it building self esteem.
We have abused power and called it politics.
We have coveted our neighbor's possessions and called it ambition.
We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of _expression.

We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment.
Search us, Oh, God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and set us free. Amen!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

ALAS!!! Giant Squid Caught on Film

Sept. 28, 2005 — Japanese scientists have caught on camera a living giant squid, showing for the first time one of the most mysterious creatures of the deep sea in its natural habitat.

The size of a bus, with eyes as big as dinner plates and a tangle of tentacles covered with suckers, the giant squid (Architeuthis dux) has nourished legends and attracted human fascination since the ancient Greeks

Gold fever grips Chilean island

BBC NEWS: "An epidemic of modern day gold fever has hit a Chilean island after the claimed discovery of an 18th Century treasure trove worth $10 billion.
The gold rush began on Monday after salvage firm Wagner announced the discovery on Robinson Crusoe island, using a specially designed robot.
'Its the greatest treasure in history' said Wagner lawyer Fernando Echeverria.
According to legend a Spanish navigator hid the 800-tonne pirates' booty on the island in 1715."

Clinic offers free abortions to hurricane evacuees

LITTLE ROCK, Arkansas (AP) -- A doctor has offered to perform free abortions on hurricane evacuees, saying it may be too dangerous for them to wait until they return home.

Despite protests from abortion opponents, Little Rock Family Planning clinic director Dr. Jerry Edwards said he has already performed six free abortions. The clinic usually charges between $525 and $600 for a first-trimester abortion.

"If we didn't provide it now, they would get it later -- a late-term abortion that would give greater risk to the mother's health," Edwards told KTHV-TV in Little Rock.

Michigan State Professor Testifies in Evolution Debate

My comment: They have very smart people at MSU and this intelligent design debate has become tiresome and is ludicrous.

By MARTHA RAFFAELE, Associated Press Writer

HARRISBURG, Pa. - The concept of "intelligent design" is a form of creationism and is not based on scientific method, a professor testified Wednesday in a trial over whether the idea should be taught in public schools.

Robert T. Pennock, a professor of science and philosophy at Michigan State University, testified on behalf of families who sued the Dover Area School District. He said supporters of intelligent design don't offer evidence to support their idea.

"As scientists go about their business, they follow a method," Pennock said. "Intelligent design wants to reject that and so it doesn't really fall within the purview of science."
Pennock said intelligent design does not belong in a science class, but added that it could possibly be addressed in other types of courses.

In October 2004, the Dover school board voted 6-3 to require teachers to read a brief statement about intelligent design to students before classes on evolution. The statement says Darwin's theory is "not a fact" and has inexplicable "gaps," and refers students to an intelligent-design textbook for more information.

Eight families are trying to have intelligent design removed from the curriculum, arguing that it violates the constitutional separation of church and state. They say it promotes the Bible's view of creation.

Proponents of intelligent design argue that life on Earth was the product of an unidentified intelligent force, and that Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection cannot fully explain the origin of life or the emergence of highly complex life forms.

NASA administrator says space shuttle was a mistake

My Comment: I have always stated the space program is a waste of money and if an airliner made planes like NASA makes shuttles then NASA would be out of business TOMORROW. Now it looks like my opinion is finally getting the backing that it deserves. For all you space lovers, read below:

By Traci Watson, USA TODAY

The space shuttle and International Space Station — nearly the whole of the U.S. manned space program for the past three decades — were mistakes, NASA chief Michael Griffin said Tuesday.

In a meeting with USA TODAY's editorial board, Griffin said NASA lost its way in the 1970s, when the agency ended the Apollo moon missions in favor of developing the shuttle and space station, which can only orbit Earth.
"It is now commonly accepted that was not the right path," Griffin said. "We are now trying to change the path while doing as little damage as we can."
The shuttle has cost the lives of 14 astronauts since the first flight in 1982. Roger Pielke Jr., a space policy expert at the University of Colorado, estimates that NASA has spent about $150 billion on the program since its inception in 1971. The total cost of the space station by the time it's finished — in 2010 or later — may exceed $100 billion, though other nations will bear some of that.

Continued:

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

John Titor - Time Traveler

Although there is debate over the exact date it started, on November 02, 2000, a person calling themselves Timetravel_0, and later John Titor, started posting on a public forum that he was a time traveler from the year 2036.
One of the first things he did was post pictures of his time machine and its operations manual. As the weeks went by, more and more people began questioning him about why he was here, the physics of time travel and his thoughts about our time. He also posted on other forums including the now non-existent Art Bell site. In his posts John Titor entertained, angered, frightened and even belittled those who engaged him in conversation.
On March 21, 2001, John Titor told us he would be leaving our and returning to 2036. After that, he was never heard from again. Speculation and investigation about who John Titor was and why he was online continues to this day.
HERE ARE SOME WEIRD (THOUGHT PROVOKING) EXCERPTS:
Can you tell us the foods that are unsafe now? Is there anything we can do to prepare for the war (WWIII/ US Civil War) you are describing?
I tried to consolidate your questions into a basic list. I hope this helps.
Here are a bits of his wisdom:
1. Do not eat or use products from any animal that is fed and eats parts of its own dead.
2. Do not kiss or have intimate relations with anyone you do not know.
3. Learn basic sanitation and water purification.
4. Be comfortable around firearms. Learn to shoot and clean a gun.
5. Get a good first aid kit and learn to use it.
6. Find 5 people within 100 miles that you trust with your life and stay in contact with them.
7. Get a copy of the US Constitution and read it.
8. Eat less.
9. Get a bicycle and two sets of spare tires. Ride it 10 miles a week.
10. Consider what you would bring with you if you had to leave your home in 10 min. and never return.
.....
How can you possibly criticize me for any conflict that comes to you? I watch every day what you are doing as a society. While you sit by and watch your Constitution being torn away from you, you willfully eat poisoned food, buy manufactured products no one needs and turn an uncaring eye away from millions of people suffering and dying all around you. Is this the "Universal Law" you subscribe to?

Perhaps I should let you all in on a little secret. No one likes you in the future. This time period is looked at as being full of lazy, self-centered, civically ignorant sheep. Perhaps you should be less concerned about me and more concerned about that.

Top court to review Anne Nicole Smith's case - U.S. Life - MSNBC.com

Top court to review Anne Nicole Smith's case - U.S. Life - MSNBC.com: "Updated: 9:54 a.m. ET Sept. 27, 2005WASHINGTON - Former Playboy model Anna Nicole Smith is going to the Supreme Court.Justices said Tuesday they would consider Smith's appeal over the fortune of her 90-year-old late husband. The stripper-turned-reality television star stands to win as much as $474 million that a bankruptcy judge initially said she was entitled to.She has not gotten any money from the estate of J. Howard Marshall II, an oil tycoon who married her in 1994 when he was 89 and she was 26. Marshall, one of Texas' wealthiest men, died in 1995."

Monday, September 26, 2005

Town offered $100k for name change

MORGANTOWN, Kentucky (AP) -- An online poker site wasn't bluffing when it offered $100,000 to have its name stamped on a community.

Officials at PokerShare.com are offering that sum if the western Kentucky hamlet of Sharer -- which has no city council, no grocery and no post office -- changes its name to PokerShare.com.

The proposition has Butler County Judge-Executive Hugh Evans scratching his head, but he's not keen on the idea.

"I can't speak for everybody, but certainly speaking for myself, this isn't going to happen," Evans said Thursday. "When you talk about poker and gambling, we're not for that in our county. It's very conservative."

Armed and dangerous - Flipper the firing dolphin let loose by Katrina

The Observer : "It may be the oddest tale to emerge from the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Armed dolphins, trained by the US military to shoot terrorists and pinpoint spies underwater, may be missing in the Gulf of Mexico.Experts who have studied the US navy's cetacean training exercises claim the 36 mammals could be carrying 'toxic dart' guns. Divers and surfers risk attack, they claim, from a species considered to be among the planet's smartest. The US navy admits it has been training dolphins for military purposes, but has refused to confirm that any are missing.Dolphins have been trained in attack-and-kill missions since the Cold War. The US Atlantic bottlenose dolphins have apparently been taught to shoot terrorists attacking military vessels. Their coastal compound was breached during the storm, sweeping them out to sea. But those who have studied the controversial use of dolphins in the US defence programme claim it is vital they are caught quickly."

Pimp My Prius - New York Times

Driving a hybrid can satisfy more than your conscience. With a little help from the flourishing car-customization business, it's an easy matter to add a bit of style - some blue racing stripes, beige leather interior - to an otherwise anonymous Prius. Or fully surrender to your id, and you could perhaps end up with the car on the opposite page.
When we asked George Barris, the 79-year-old godfather of the customizer scene, to modify a Prius, he relished the chance to infuse the eco-minded vehicle with life. "It's sleek, but it's got no sculpturing!" says the designer, whose creations have been driven by everyone from James Dean to Madonna. "No dramatics!" In order to keep the overhaul within reach of real drivers, we requested that Barris add no more than $10,000 to the car's price. Barris also couldn't tamper with the car's scrupulously engineered electronics or mechanics - that is, threaten in another way to void the manufacturer's warranty - although we found some other Prius modifiers who are more hacker geek than hot-rodder and willing to take that chance.

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Censored Stories

Censored Stories:
Project Censored presents the 10 stories the mainstream media ignored over the past year
by Camille T. Taiara
Just four days before the 2004 presidential election, a prestigious British medical journal published the results of a rigorous study by Dr. Les Roberts, a widely respected researcher. Roberts concluded that close to 100,000 people had died in the invasion and occupation of Iraq.
Most were noncombatant civilians. Many were children.
But that news didn't make the front pages of the major newspapers. It wasn't on the network news. So most voters knew little or nothing about the brutal civilian impact of President George W. Bush's war when they went to the polls.
That's just one of the big stories the mainstream news media ignored, blacked out or underreported during the past year, according to Project Censored, a media watchdog group based at California's Sonoma State University.

Arabs See Bush Greater Threat Than Bin Laden

WASHINGTON, September 24, 2005 (IslamOnile.net & News Agencies) - A congressionally mandated panel has concluded that President George Bush is seen in the Arab world as a greater threat than Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, the Washington Post reported on Saturday, September 23.

"America's image and reputation abroad could hardly be worse," the Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy said after a fact-finding mission to the Middle East.

The panel, which advises the secretary of state, also found "deep and abiding anger toward US policies and actions".

It stressed that in much of the world the US is viewed as "less a beacon of hope than a dangerous force to be countered."

The report warned that televised images of the invasion of Iraq reverberate across the Arab media and will "long haunt the image of the United States".

The advisory committee was created by the US Congress in 2004 and charged with advising the secretary of state on how to advance cultural diplomacy.

A 2004 pentagon report said the US was alienating Muslims worldwide and losing the "the war of ideas" because of adopting faulty policies and what is perceived as "self-serving hypocrisy".

Half of Europe's Citizens Know 2 Languages

BREITBART.COM: "Half of European citizens speak a second language, according to a European Union survey released Friday. The poll, conducted in June across Europe, found that tiny Luxembourg had the highest percentage of bilingual citizens, with 99 percent of those questioned saying they could master a conversation in a second language. Hungary had the lowest number with 29 percent of its citizens able to speak another language. Britain was second last with 30 percent. The survey also found that almost eight out of 10 students _ ages 15- 24 _ can have a normal conversation in at least one foreign language. In the United States, by contrast, 9 percent of Americans speak both their native language and another language fluently, according to a U.S. Senate resolution designating 2005 the 'Year of Foreign Language Study.'"

Friday, September 23, 2005

Those who enter politics...

I just started to read "Power Beyond Reason; the mental collapse of Lyndon Johnson" by D. Jablow Hershman. The author included a quote from Benjamin Franklin that I think is more applicable today than in 1787...

"Benjamin Franklin had some perspective things to say about the type of person who enters politics: 'It will not be the wise and moderate, the lovers of peace and good order, the men fittest for trust. It will be the bold and the violent, the men of strong passions and indefatigable activity in their selfish persuits. These will thrust themselves into your government and be your rulers.'"

IS BUSH DRINKING AGAIN?

http://stevegilliard.blogspot.com/2005/09/is-bush-drinking-again.html">THE NEWS BLOG: "Let me say this before people start in: the National Enquirer has beaten more libel suits than most major newspapers. Their stuff is vetted by libel lawyers before it hits the stands. In fact, their accuracy is no worse than their MSM peers. Up until the 1970's, they ran alien stories, but then switched to celebrity coverage.Why do I trust the NE? They pay their sources. So someone close to the WH got a big fat check for this, over $10K. And if they deny this or lie, the NE has a file on them. When dealing with gossip, this is quite effective. Now they may wind up paying the wrong people, but this is what they were told. Come on, if you ran the NE, would you risk a libel suit with your reputation?Also, first Capital Hill Blue, now the NE, slowly, but surely, this is going to reach the MSM. Gossip is sually tomorrow's news today.BUSH'S BOOZE CRISISBy JENNIFER LUCE and DON GENTILEFaced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again, The National Enquirer can reveal.Bush, who said he quit drinking the morning after his 40th birthday, has started boozing amid the Katrina catastrophe.Family sources have told how the 59-year-old president was caught by First Lady Laura downing a shot of booze at their family ranch in Crawford, Texas, when he learned of the hurricane disaster.His worried wife yelled at him: 'Stop, George.'Following the shocking incident, disclosed here for the first time, Laura privately warned her husband against 'falling off the wagon' and vowed to travel with him more often so that she can keep an eye on Dubya, the sources add."

CBS 5: Guardsmen Sense Ghostly Presence In New Orleans

The presence of the supernatural and the influence of voodoo long have been synonymous with New Orleans.In the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, members of the U.S. military are saying that there's something spooky going on and it's not just images of death and destruction that's haunting them.By all accounts, the Sophie B. Wright Middle School in New Orleans sits empty and evacuated except for military personnel who have taken over the campus as a staging site for missions around the battered city.But the men in uniform have the feeling that they're not alone. It prompted a chaplain to utter this directive: 'In the name of Jesus Chris, I command you Satan to leave the dark areas of this building.'Said Sgt. Robin Hairston of the California National Guard: 'I was in my sleeping bag and I opened by eyes and in the doorway was a little girl,' . 'It wasn't my imagination.'Hairston wasn't the only one seeing things. Spc. Rosales Leanor had her own close encounter.'I was using the restroom and I just saw a little shadow,' Leanor said, 'kind of looming in front of me.'Another member of the Guard unit said that she saw and heard a little girl laughing when she opened a closet that contained cleaning supplies.At a Baton Rouge marina, boats were strewn like trash, but not a shred of paper could be found. Except for the pages of a Bible, which was found by a soldier. It was open to the Book of Revelations. At a nearby church, nearly destroyed, another Bible was found, showing the exact same passage from Revelations.Like the power of nature, there is a power at work in New Orleans that defies explanation."

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Jet Fakes Emergency for Gambia Soccer Game

"LIMA, Peru - Pilots of a chartered jet carrying 289 Gambian soccer fans faked the need for an emergency landing in Peru so passengers could watch their nation's team play a key match, officials said Wednesday.
claiming to be low on fuel, landed Tuesday in Peru's northern coast city of Piura, where Gambia played Qatar in the FIFA Under-17 World Championships later that night.
Emergency crews were scrambled ahead of the Lockhead L1011 Tri-Star's unscheduled landing. It was to have landed in the capital, Lima.
The fans were allowed to watch the soccer game in Piura, which Gambia won 3-1. The fans apparently would have been late or missed the game if the flight had first gone to its scheduled destination of Lima, 550 miles to the south."

No Place for a Poet at a Banquet of Shame

Worth reading in its entirety, here's the last part of it:
So the prospect of a festival of books seemed wonderful to me. I thought
of the opportunity to talk about how to start up an outreach program. I
thought of the chance to sell some books, sign some books and meet some
of the citizens of Washington, DC. I thought that I could try to find a
way, even as your guest, with respect, to speak about my deep feeling
that we should not have invaded Iraq, and to declare my belief that the
wish to invade another culture and another country--with the resultant
loss of life and limb for our brave soldiers, and for the noncombatants
in their home terrain--did not come out of our democracy but was instead
a decision made 'at the top' and forced on the people by distorted
language, and by untruths. I hoped to express the fear that we have
begun to live in the shadows of tyranny and religious chauvinism--the
opposites of the liberty, tolerance and diversity our nation aspires to.


I tried to see my way clear to attend the festival in order to bear
witness--as an American who loves her country and its principles and its
writing--against this undeclared and devastating war.


But I could not face the idea of breaking bread with you. I knew that if
I sat down to eat with you, it would feel to me as if I were condoning
what I see to be the wild, highhanded actions of the Bush
Administration.


What kept coming to the fore of my mind was that I would be taking food
from the hand of the First Lady who represents the Administration that
unleashed this war and that wills its continuation, even to the extent
of permitting 'extraordinary rendition': flying people to other
countries where they will be tortured for us.


So many Americans who had felt pride in our country now feel anguish and
shame, for the current regime of blood, wounds and fire. I thought of
the clean linens at your table, the shining knives and the flames of the
candles, and I could not stomach it.


Sincerely,


SHARON OLDS"

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

McDonald's Plans Partial IPO for Chipotle

OAK BROOK, Ill. - McDonald's Corp., the world's largest fast-food company, said Wednesday it intends to spin off a minority stake in its Chipotle Mexican Grill brand in order to fuel its growth and create value for its shareholders.

The company told analysts at the start of a two-day meeting at its headquarters that it plans to file for an initial public offering involving Chipotle by the end of October and expects to launch the IPO in the first quarter of 2006.

The announcement comes eight months after it first raised the possibility of spinning off the growing 400-restaurant operation and plowing much of the proceeds into its namesake-brand restaurants. It also follows a similar move by rival Wendy's International Inc., which said in July that it plans to sell a portion of its Tim Hortons doughnut and coffee chain.

Unlike with Wendy's stock, which rose 12 percent the day of its Tim Hortons announcement, Wall Street did not embrace McDonald's move. Shares fell $1.20, or 3.7 percent, to close at $31.42 on the
New York Stock Exchange down from last week's 52-week high of $35.03.

CEO Jim Skinner, who reaffirmed the company's annual growth targets of 3 percent to 5 percent in sales and 6 percent to 7 percent in operating income, attributed the Chipotle move to a need to devote the burger chain's full attention and resources to McDonald's restaurants.
"We believe this action will highlight Chipotle's performance and unique characteristics which are currently overshadowed by the larger McDonald's global business," he said. "In addition, it will optimize Chipotle's potential and create value for McDonald's shareholders."

McDonald's also said its board raised the company's annual dividend by 22 percent, boosting the total dividend payout to more than $825 million. The 2005 increase raises the annual cash payout to 67 cents per share, nearly tripling the dividend since 2002.

The dividend is payable Dec. 1 to shareholders of record Nov. 15.

McDonald's said the company will invest $1.8 billion in capital expenditures in 2006 to open about 850 restaurants and broaden "re-imaging" efforts internationally.

Chief Financial Officer Matthew Paull said the company expects to return $5 billion to $6 billion to shareholders via dividends and share repurchase over the next two years.

Real world Vs. Bush's world� - Hardball with Chris Matthews - MSNBC.com

"I am in aisle three of the supermarket, watching a woman choose between a box of store brand Frosted Flakes and the real deal sold by Kellogg. She is holding a child, maybe four years old, with one hand and a cereal box with her left. And she is about to do something that Bush the president is either incapable of doing or figures isn't necessary: make a budget decision based on common sense and economics.The President clearly believes everything is possible. We can hemorrhage billions in Iraq, spend billions more to rebuild New Orleans and resurrect our very own Gulf, trim taxes and throw it all on a credit card someone else our kids will pay in the decades ahead. This guy, smiling in his rolled up shirtsleeves, has obviously never had to sweat while signing a check for college tuition, sneakers, groceries or to bail out a basement filled with water.His fiftyish face is nearly wrinkle free because he has been blessed with a fortunate life and a thanks dad existence. He is charming and friendly, isolated and uncurious about the world that has come crashing down around him - not the political world. The real one; the universe filled with disasters large and small that ordinary folks navigate on a daily basis. So, Katrina might be to George W. Bush what Tet was to the last president from Texas, Lyndon Johnson. In February 1968, the pictures from Vietnam resulted in LBJ's administration joining the casualty list despite the fact that the North Vietnamese suffered a true military defeat. Yet it reality didn't matter. Impressions won the day.And the technology of television in the 21st Century brought something into living rooms that has long been ignored: poor people and bureaucratic incompetence. That combination, seen clearly on MSNBC and other venues, shocked and embarrassed Americans who have been fed a steady electronic diet of car chases and celebrity.The TV shots were like a national MRI, exposing cultural symptoms poverty, race and class that have been pushed to our back pages by terrorism and affluence and the desire by both networks and newspapers alike to reach the home delivery, I-Pod listening, cable-ready, suburban living, disposable income spending set.And the event itself a hurricane was something that not even Karl Rove could spin. The White House couldn't dodge and weave behind information leaked from intelligence briefings because everyone is familiar with rain, wind and storm damage.And anyone who works for a living, pays taxes, has kids, a mortgage or rent due at the end of each month knows with a solid certainty that a broken or bloated budget means potential family disaster. You don't have to be Alan Greenspan to figure out that in the real world where George W. Bush does not live even the future can be foreclosed by a few wrong choices.Maybe that's why the woman in aisle three went for the store brand Frosted Flakes at a savings of .89 cents. It all adds up and choices have to be made."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Minister: $1bn plundered in Iraq

CNN.com Sep 19, 2005: "LONDON, England (Reuters) -- Large-scale corruption in Iraq's ministries, particularly the defense ministry, has led to one of the biggest thefts in history with more than $1 billion going missing, Iraq's finance minister said in an interview.'Huge amounts of money have disappeared. In return we got nothing but scraps of metal,' Finance Minister Ali Allawi told British newspaper The Independent in a report published on Monday. 'It is possibly one of the largest thefts in history.'Corruption, both in the bidding for and the awarding of contracts, and in the administration of public offices, is one of the most frequent accusations made by Iraqis against their government and foreign firms operating in the country.Some of the worst allegations of impropriety concern the purchasing of military equipment by the defense ministry under the previous government, including more than $230 million spent on 28-year-old second-hand Polish helicopters.'If you compare the amount that was allegedly stolen of about $1 billion compared with the budget of the ministry of defense, it is nearly 100 percent of the ministry's (procurement) budget that has gone (missing),' Allawi said.Most of the questionable contracts are said to have been signed under the previous government, headed by Iyad Allawi, which served from June 28, 2004 until late February this year."

BREITBART.COM - Just The News

Emotional Rather blasts 'new journalism order'
Sep 19 11:03 PM US/Eastern

By Paul J. Gough

NEW YORK (Hollywood Reporter) - Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather said Monday that there is a climate of fear running through newsrooms stronger than he has ever seen in his more than four-decade career.

Rather famously tangled with President Nixon and his aides during the Watergate years while Rather was a hard-charging White House correspondent.

Addressing the Fordham University School of Law in Manhattan, occasionally forcing back tears, he said that in the intervening years, politicians "of every persuasion" had gotten better at applying pressure on the conglomerates that own the broadcast networks. He called it a "new journalism order."

Dear Abby: Boy dumped by his girlfriend is confused

What do you guys think of this dilemma?

Dear Abby: 7 months ago I met a girl at a party who had an obvious attraction to me. At the time that we met, I wasn’t really interested in starting a dating relationship with her, but one thing lead to another and 3 weeks after meeting her, we were going out.

Throughout the relationship I would argue with my girlfriend and we would get mad at each other at times, but all in all I enjoyed her company and never had any serious thoughts of leaving her. While this is so, my girlfriend felt otherwise, and just recently broke up with me because, as she states, “does not feel the same way that I do about her.” While we had our share of issues, this breakup was a complete and total shock to me.

My now “ex girlfriend” wants to be just friends, but I still want to date her and give our relationship and differences a time to mature even though she says there is no possibility of ever getting back together.

I am now stuck with the decision of whether or not I should continue a friendship with her, stick it out to see if she’ll change her mind, or part separate ways all together. What should I do?

Signed,

Heart Broken and Confused, Phoenix, AZ

Monday, September 19, 2005

Food Donated by British to New Orleans to be burned. Literally.

From Ryan Parry, US Correspondent in New York
HUNDREDS of tons of British food aid shipped to America for starving Hurricane Katrina survivors is to be burned.

US red tape is stopping it from reaching hungry evacuees.

Instead tons of the badly needed Nato ration packs, the same as those eaten by British troops in Iraq, has been condemned as unfit for human consumption.

Jennifer Aniston Ready to Date

JENNIFER ANISTON helped OPRAH WINFREY kick off the 20th season of her daytime talk show Monday with a very revealing interview. After coming out and presenting Lady O. with a pair of champagne glasses and making a toast -- "to you and everything that you do" -- the glowing actress proved to be upbeat in light of the recent end of her marriage to BRAD PITT.

"I'm doing so well," she exclaimed. "I'm not sitting, dwelling on the past."
As for all the media attention surrounding the break-up, Jen is confident that "it'll die down eventually and I've come to peace with it." She also set the record straight about the rumors that her lack of desire to have children contributed to the divorce. "Yeah, I do," Jen said sincerely when Oprah asked her about wanting kids. "I always have."

Jen also admitted that it was "a little bit" difficult getting used to being home alone following the separation, "but now it's pretty fantastic" and says that she doesn't sleep much because "I'm planning a lot."

So, is the former "Friends" star ready to start dating? "Yeah," she said with a smile, adding, that she loves "the unknown. I love the discovery of what will be happening."

On a lighter note, Jen tells Oprah that "sunset" is her favorite time of day and that one of her favorite food indulgences is "Mexican."

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Power-dressing man leaves trail of destruction

Yahoo! News: "SYDNEY (Reuters) - An Australian man built up a 40,000-volt
charge of static electricity in his clothes as he walked,
leaving a trail of scorched carpet and molten plastic and
forcing firefighters to evacuate a building.
Frank Clewer, who was wearing a woolen shirt and a
synthetic nylon jacket, was oblivious to the growing electrical
current that was building up as his clothes rubbed together.
When he walked into a building in the country town of
Warrnambool in the southern state of Victoria Thursday, the
electrical charge ignited the carpet.
'It sounded almost like a firecracker,' Clewer told
Australian radio Friday.
'Within about five minutes, the carpet started to erupt.'
Employees, unsure of the cause of the mysterious burning
smell, telephoned firefighters who evacuated the building.
'There were several scorch marks in the carpet, and we
could hear a cracking noise -- a bit like a whip -- both inside
and outside the building,' said fire official Henry Barton.
Firefighters cut electricity to the building thinking the
burns might have been caused by a power surge.
Clewer, who after leaving the building discovered he had
scorched a piece of plastic on the floor of his car, returned
to seek help from the firefighters.
'We tested his clothes with a static electricity field
meter and measured a current of 40,000 volts, which is one step
shy of spontaneous combustion, where his clothes would have
self-ignited,' Barton said.
'I've been firefighting for over 35 years and I've never
come across anything like this,' he said."

Friday, September 16, 2005

Man breaks record for watching TV

NEW YORK (AP) -- Couch potato, thy name is Suresh.

Suresh Joachim broke the Guinness world record for the longest time spent watching TV. He finished Friday with 69 hours and 48 minutes.

After passing the previous record of 50 hours and 7 minutes Thursday, Joachim continued until shortly after 7 a.m. Friday morning (EDT).

Joachim did his TV viewing in the lobby of WABC-TV as part of the "Guinness World Record Breaker Week" on the syndicated "Live With Regis and Kelly."

Sitting on a brown leather couch, he watched nothing but ABC shows.

"I'm going to be a little tired of watching TV after this," Joachim told The Associated Press by phone during a brief break

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Bush 'caught short' at UN summit

"It's a situation anyone could find themselves in - having to answer the call of nature in the middle of an important meeting.
But when you are the US president, at a gathering of more than 150 world leaders, it is even more tricky.
While talk at the UN world summit was focused on terrorism and internal reform, George W Bush appeared to have been caught short.
And, he is said to have turned to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice for advice.
"I think I may need a bathroom break? Is this possible?" a Reuters news agency photographer caught him writing in a note to Ms Rice.""
click on picture for a bigger version

Bad Voyage

The Wire : Radar Online: "Starting November 1, Germans will no longer be permitted to smile while their passport photos taken. Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with the Germanic people generally lacking a sense of humor, nor does it reflect on the culture’s desire to keep its pandemic dental problems under the radar, but rather is the result of new security measures.
Germany will be employing “biometric” security standards on its passports; biometric scanners will examine each passport photo, taking note on specific facial characteristics. So now, if you want to steal someone’s passport and board an international flight in Berlin, you’ll have to have one of those super-cool Mission Impossible masks to do it right.
All this comes as news to us, as we long assumed that one of the best ways to catch a terrorist in the first place was to see if the dude’s smiling in his passport photos. We’d always heard that terrorists only expose their teeth to the eyes of Allah. (LH)"

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Bloodiest Day

By Patrick Cockburn in Baghdad
Published: 15 September 2005
A suicide bomber sparked Baghdad's worst day of slaughter since the fall of Saddam 30 months ago when he lured labourers desperate for work towards his van by offering them jobs and then detonated explosives that killed 114 and injured 156 of them.

The beauty products from the skin of executed Chinese prisoners

The Guardian: "A Chinese cosmetics company is using skin harvested from the corpses of executed convicts to develop beauty products for sale in Europe, an investigation by the Guardian has discovered.Agents for the firm have told would-be customers it is developing collagen for lip and wrinkle treatments from skin taken from prisoners after they have been shot. The agents say some of the company's products have been exported to the UK, and that the use of skin from condemned convicts is 'traditional' and nothing to 'make such a big fuss about'."

Weather info could go dark

Palm Beach Post: "Do you want a seven-day weather forecast for your ZIP code? Or hour-by-hour predictions of the temperature, wind speed, humidity and chance of rain? Or weather data beamed to your cellphone?
That information is available for free from the National Weather Service.
But under a bill pending in the U.S. Senate, it might all disappear.
The bill, introduced last week by Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., would prohibit federal meteorologists from competing with companies such as AccuWeather and The Weather Channel, which offer their own forecasts through paid services and free ad-supported Web sites.
Supporters say the bill wouldn't hamper the weather service or the National Hurricane Center from alerting the public to hazards - in fact, it exempts forecasts meant to protect 'life and property.'
But critics say the bill's wording is so vague they can't tell exactly what it would ban.
'I believe I've paid for that data once. ... I don't want to have to pay for it again,' said Scott Bradner, a technical consultant at Harvard University.
He says that as he reads the bill, a vast amount of federal weather data would be forced offline.
'The National Weather Service Web site would have to go away,' Bradner said. 'What would be permitted under this bill is not clear - it doesn't say. Even including hurricanes.'"

The Guardian | Lancet calls for publisher to cut ties with international arms trade



Editors of the Lancet, one of the world's foremost medical journals, have demanded that its corporate owner stop promoting the international arms trade.
The journal's publisher is Reed Elsevier, the multinational behind an arms fair opening in London next week. The company is one of the world's biggest medical publishers and the owner of Spearhead, which organises some of the world's biggest arms exhibitions."

Larry David teams with MTV to `curb global warming'

NEW YORK (AP) - Larry David and mtvU, MTV's college cable
television network, launched the 'Curb Global Warming
Sweepstakes' Tuesday.
By signing up for the yearlong Stop Global Warming Virtual March
on Washington, students get the chance to win David's hybrid car
from his HBO comedy series, 'Curb Your Enthusiasm.'"

End of the Bush Era

End of the Bush Era: "End of the Bush EraBy E. J. Dionne Jr.Tuesday, September 13, 2005; Page A27The Bush Era is over. The sooner politicians in both parties realize that, the better for them -- and the country.Recent months, and especially the past two weeks, have brought home to a steadily growing majority of Americans the truth that President Bush's government doesn't work. His policies are failing, his approach to leadership is detached and self-indulgent, his way of politics has produced a divided, angry and dysfunctional public square. We dare not go on like this."

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

How Refreshing

Party aims to ban marriage

Ananova: "A new political party in Sweden says it will abolish marriage if it gets into power.
The Feminist Initiative, which expects more than 20% of the vote in next year's election, claims marriage 'is not about love, but about ownership'.
FI founder Tiina Rosenberg, said: 'Instead of marriage we want to promote a co-habitation law that ignores gender and allows more than two people in a partnership.'
But she said in allowing relationships to involve more than two people, the FI did not want Sweden to fall back into a 'patriarchal structure' with one man having a harem of women.
'A man who lives with eight women in a patriarchal structure, where the man decides and the women obey is not what we are aiming for,' said Rosenberg.
And in order to encourage men to vote for them as well, the party's all-female board is also calling for the introduction of a six-hour working day. "

Monday, September 12, 2005

The Blog | Arianna Huffington: The GOP Finds the Silver Lining in Death and Destruction | The Huffington Post

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/the-gop-finds-the-silver-_b_7241.html
Arianna Huffington: The GOP Finds the Silver Lining in Death and Destruction | The Huffington Post: "The GOP Finds the Silver Lining in Death and Destruction
The GOP message machine has now moved into the latest stage of its Katrina response: gleeful opportunism.
First there was denial. The lowlights of this stage included Bush strumming his guitar, Condi taking in Spamalot, and Cheney shopping for luxury digs -- all while New Orleans flooded.

This was followed by the clueless stage, which will be best remembered by the president telling Michael Brown %u201CBrownie, you%u2019re doing a heck of job!%u201D, his mother saying of Katrina%u2019s victims, %u201CThis is working very well for them,%u201D Tom DeLay asking young evacuees in the Astrodome, %u201CNow tell methe truth boys, is this kind of fun?%u201D, and the president vowing to rebuild Trent Lott%u2019s house, %u201CI%u2019m looking forward to sitting on the porch%u201D.

Next came head-ducking. Repeat after me: %u201CThis is not a time for finger pointing,%u201D %u201CWe are not going to play the blame game.%u201D

But after staggering through those stages, Republicans have regained their footing and are now hard at work finding the silver lining within all the death and destruction %u2013 i.e. a chance to trot out their pet shibboleths and push for their pet projects.

%u2018The question is,%u201D said Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski, commenting on the now-abandoned plan to issue $2,000 debit cards to Katrina victims, %u201Chow do you separate the needy from those who just want a $2,000 handout?%u201D Actually, Governor, the question is, among hundreds of thousands of evacuees are there any who are not really %u201Cneedy%u201D -- but somehow managed to have their lives destroyed so they could score a $2,000 handout?

Then there was Fox News%u2019 Tony Snow who crowed: %u201CThis would be a marvelous time to push in a serious way for school choice, dramatic regulatory reform%u2026even more thoroughgoing tort reform, privatization of everything from the Department of Commerce to many FEMA duties, and so on.%u201D

David Sirota lays out a few of the top opportunities the GOP sees arising from Katrina, including the suspension of the 74-year-old Davis-Bacon Act requiring federal contractors to pay workers %u201Cprevailing wages%u201D, the chance to offer more giveaways (and fewer regulations) to oil companies, and -- proving that no issue is too tangential to link to Katrina -- the chance to try and get the president%u2019s derailed attempt to privatize Social Security back on track.

But wait, there%u2019s more. Pete Domenici is looking to ease environmental requirements on oil refineries, and George Allen wants to permanently repeal parts of the clean air act.

Two weeks in, Katrina has turned into an-all-you-can-eat-right-wing-policy buffet"

Daily Dunklin Democrat: Story : Column by Gene Lyons

http://www.dddnews.com/story/1117103.html">Daily Dunklin Democrat: Story : Column by Gene Lyons: "Don't hold your breath, but Democrats may be showing signs of life in the national debate over Iraq. For most of three years, including Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign, party leaders have appeared fearful of challenging George W. Bush's belligerent bungling. They haven't wanted voters to mistake them for George McGovern, the WWII bomber pilot and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate who made the mistake of being right about Vietnam too soon.
Now that may be changing. As recently as July, the party establishment worried that Americans couldn't be trusted to make elementary distinctions. Writing in the Democratic Leadership Council's 'Blueprint Magazine,' Will Marshall opined that while '[i]ntellectually, of course, it's possible to separate Iraq and the war on terror,' Democrats needed to be wary lest voters mistake them for anti-American hippie pacifists.
'[A]s the opposition party,' Marshall wrote 'Democrats have a responsibility to hold the White House accountable for the painfully high price we've paid in Iraq, the thousands killed and wounded, and the billions of dollars spent. But they must do so in a way that makes it clear they are rooting for America to succeed in Iraq.'
Marshall urged the party to heed the example of Sens. Joe Biden, John Kerry, Evan Bayh and Hillary Rodham Clinton, 'who have set an example for responsible, progressive patriotism.'
Rooting for America to succeed in Iraq? As in rooting for the Chicago Cubs to win the National League Central? The bitter truth is that we're far beyond that. "

The Curious Incident of the Veep in the Summertime

"The Curious Incident of the Veep in the Summertime
For some time I've been wondering whether anyone is going to explain the true mystery of what happened after Hurricane Katrina struck. I read thousands of words on the subject in this morning%u2019s New York Times, and I still don%u2019t get it. Where was the President? And more to the point, where was the Vice President? And don%u2019t tell me Crawford Texas and on a ranch in Wyoming. For days there was an absolute vacuum at the top. Why? What was going on?
You%u2019ll be happy to hear that I have a theory. Is it possible that the President and the Vice President have fallen out? I mean, I%u2019m just asking. But if you remember September 11, 2001 -- and I%u2019m sure you do -- the President had no idea what to do, but the Vice President did. The Vice President took over. He didn%u2019t even consult with the President. He put the President on Air Force One and the President spent the day flying from one airport to another, which was something that even the President eventually understood made him look as if he wasn%u2019t in charge."

Originally posted by Mojo

Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

"Fact: Katrina was a devastating storm. It left terrible damage to innocent people's lives and to property throughout the Gulf South.
Fact: There have been other storms as damaging and some far more damaging. What, then, is different about this storm? Here are a few tentative thoughts."

Survival of the fittest?

"BBC: It takes a lot to shake America to the core - 9/11 did it four years ago this weekend; the war in Iraq still has not.
It's 70 years since the satirist Eric Linklater noted in his novel Don Juan that life in America was spread over so vast an area that any number of strange and sinister interludes could be enacted without upsetting the national equilibrium.
Hurricane Katrina is one of those rare interludes which has upset the national equilibrium. While 9/11 made Americans angry, the fate of New Orleans has gone beyond that. In varying degrees the whole population is angry, ashamed, and fearful.
Angry at the incompetence and buck-passing between inept local, state and federal authorities; ashamed at those relentlessly recycled pictures of the abandoned black underclass; and fearful to see that the country is still unprepared to cope with a major terrorist attack.
There will be hell to pay for Katrina.
In my view, it is likely to have as traumatic an impact on American political life as the Great Depression of the 1930s. That catastrophe ushered in two decades of Democratic presidents - but even more, it reversed America's entrenched dedication to laissez faire Social Darwinism, a philosophy embraced by both major parties for 150 years."

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Letter to All Who Voted for George W. Bush from Michael Moore

"To All My Fellow Americans Who Voted for George W. Bush:
On this, the fourth anniversary of 9/11, I'm just curious, how does it feel?
How does it feel to know that the man you elected to lead us after we were attacked went ahead and put a guy in charge of FEMA whose main qualification was that he ran horse shows?
That's right. Horse shows.
I really want to know -- and I ask you this in all sincerity and with all due respect -- how do you feel about the utter contempt Mr. Bush has shown for your safety? C'mon, give me just a moment of honesty. Don't start ranting on about how this disaster in New Orleans was the fault of one of the poorest cities in America. Put aside your hatred of Democrats and liberals and anyone with the last name of Clinton. Just look me in the eye and tell me our President did the right thing after 9/11 by naming a horse show runner as the top man to protect us in case of an emergency or catastrophe.
I want you to put aside your self-affixed label of Republican/conservative/born-again/capitalist/ditto-head/right-winger and just talk to me as an American, on the common ground we both call America.
Are we safer now than before 9/11? When you learn that behind the horse show runner, the #2 and #3 men in charge of emergency preparedness have zero experience in emergency preparedness, do you think we are safer?
When you look at Michael Chertoff, the head of Homeland Security, a man with little experience in national security, do you feel secure?
When men who never served in the military and have never seen young men die in battle send our young people off to war, do you think they know how to conduct a war? Do they know what it means to have your legs blown off for a threat that was never there?
Do you really believe that turning over important government services to private corporations has resulted in better services for the people?
Why do you hate our federal government so much? You have voted for politicians for the past 25 years whose main goal has been to de-fund the federal government. Do you think that cutting federal programs like FEMA and the Army Corps of Engineers has been good or bad for America? GOOD OR BAD?
With the nation's debt at an all-time high, do you think tax cuts for the rich are still a good idea? Will you give yours back so hundreds of thousands of homeless in New Orleans can have a home?
Do you believe in Jesus? Really? Didn't he say that we would be judged by how we treat the least among us? Hurricane Katrina came in and blew off the facade that we were a nation with liberty and justice for all. The wind howled and the water rose and what was revealed was that the poor in America shall be left to suffer and die while the President of the United States fiddles and tells them to eat cake.
That's not a joke. The day the hurricane hit and the levees broke, Mr. Bush, John McCain and their rich pals were stuffing themselves with cake. A full day after the levees broke (the same levees whose repair funding he had cut), Mr. Bush was playing a guitar some country singer gave him. All this while New Orleans sank under water.
It would take ANOTHER day before the President would do a flyover in his jumbo jet, peeking out the window at the misery 2500 feet below him as he flew back to his second home in DC. It would then be TWO MORE DAYS before a trickle of federal aid and troops would arrive. This was no seven minutes in a sitting trance while children read "My Pet Goat" to him. This was FOUR DAYS of doing nothing other than saying "Brownie (FEMA director Michael Brown), you're doing a heck of a job!"
My Republican friends, does it bother you that we are the laughing stock of the world?
And on this sacred day of remembrance, do you think we honor or shame those who died on 9/11/01? If we learned nothing and find ourselves today every bit as vulnerable and unprepared as we were on that bright sunny morning, then did the 3,000 die in vain?
Our vulnerability is not just about dealing with terrorists or natural disasters. We are vulnerable and unsafe because we allow one in eight Americans to live in horrible poverty. We accept an education system where one in six children never graduate and most of those who do can't string a coherent sentence together. The middle class can't pay the mortgage or the hospital bills and 45 million have no health coverage whatsoever.
Are we safe? Do you really feel safe? You can only move so far out and build so many gated communities before the fruit of what you've sown will be crashing through your walls and demanding retribution. Do you really want to wait until that happens? Or is it your hope that if they are left alone long enough to soil themselves and shoot themselves and drown in the filth that fills the street that maybe the problem will somehow go away?
I know you know better. You gave the country and the world a man who wasn't up for the job and all he does is hire people who aren't up for the job. You did this to us, to the world, to the people of New Orleans. Please fix it. Bush is yours. And you know, for our peace and safety and security, this has to be fixed. What do you propose?

I have an idea, and it isn't a horse show.

Yours,
Michael Moore"

Friday, September 09, 2005

Words For Loss

Radar Online: "For better and for worse, a lot’s been said in the 12 days since the Katrina disaster. A Radar Online round-up.
BY JULIE BLOOM & JED HEYMAN
In the almost two weeks since hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and the surrounding gulf coast, attempts to express the unspeakable have resulted in a seemingly endless stream of often shocking, always revealing commentary. From Michael Brown and Pat Robertson to Kanye West and Britney Spears, Radar Online presents a few of the most honest, most shameful and, yes, most humorous quotes from the days following the disaster."

No Food or Shelter for You

The Wire : Radar Online: "We couldn’t imagine who would have voted against the federal relief package for Hurricane Katrina/Corrina. Turns out there were 11 heartless bastards who did just that. Just in case you’re keeping score at home:

Rep. Joe Barton - TX
Jeff Flake - AZ
Virginia Foxx - NC
Scott Garrett - NJ
John Hostettler - IN
Steve King - IA
Butch Otter - ID
Ron Paul - TX
James Sensenbrenner - WI
Tom Tancredo - CO
Lynn Westmoreland - GA

Did we mention they’re all Republicans?

Team Hate America [Oliver Willis, via DailyKos]
Bush Signs $51.8 Billion Measure for Hurricane Recovery [Bloomberg]"

Thursday, September 08, 2005

News Corp To Acquire IGN Entertainment For $650 Million

News Corp buys internet publisher for $650m
By Aline van Duyn in New York
Published: September 8 2005 12:56 | Last updated: September 8 2005 19:56

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp on Thursday made further progress in its internet ambitions by agreeing to acquire IGN Entertainment for $650m in cash.
The video games and entertainment company - one of four key internet properties identified earlier this year by Mr Murdoch as desirable internet purchases - brings the total spent by News Corp on internet acquisitions this year to over $1.5bn.

Mr Murdoch has put aside up to $2bn for acquisitions. He has now bought community site Intermix, sports site Scout Media and IGN - all on his top list. News Corp is still in talks about acquiring Blinkx, a video-focused search engine group which was the fourth internet group on Mr Murdoch's list, according to people familiar with the discussions.

Mr Murdoch, who will head a internet strategy summit with many of News Corp's key executives on Friday and Saturday in Carmel, California, said on Thursday IGN Entertainment, combined with the recent acquisitions of Intermix, Scout and the popular internet sites of his Fox entertainment and news businesses, had made News Corp “the fifth most trafficked presence on the web”.
(Why does this post keep mysteriously disappearing? huh? Huh? This is the third time i've posted it!!!)

George Bush's Prayer for Relief : Radar Online

Radar Online: "In a very timely (and totally imaginary) address to the nation, the president answers his critics with a song.
BY FRANK LESSER

My fellow Americans,
Over the past week, many of you witnessed a tragedy of unprecedented scale on the TV sets in your living room. Other folks witnessed the tragedy firsthand on the streets of their troubled city. But I am not speaking to this second group of Americans, since they are not watching this address on television, because their televisions are under water. And if they are watching this on television, it is probably a looted television, although where they are getting cable from I don’t know.
To those of you in the first group: First off, I want to congratulate you folks. Thank you for not being poor and living in New Orleans. It has made the federal government’s job a lot easier. Sometimes I think that is truly the silver lining here, that so many Americans are not poor and living in New Orleans. Or, at least, just not living in New Orleans. If you are poor elsewhere, that’s not so great either, and maybe you should do something about it. We need more good folks—more good, poor, black folks—over in Iraq. Just an idea. Just sending out feelers. But I can’t tell you what to do, because that isn’t my job. This isn’t Russia, this is America. And we are all Americans here. We are all Americans."

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffee pot with water to prepare hismorning coffee. The water is clean and good because some tree-huggingliberal fought for minimum water-quality standards. With his first swallowof coffee, he takes his daily medication. His medications are safe to takebecause some stupid commie liberal fought to insure their safety and thatthey work as advertised. All but $10 of Joe's medications are paid for byhis employer's medical plan because some liberal union workers fought theiremployers for paid medical insurance - now Joe gets it too. He prepares hismorning breakfast, bacon and eggs. Joe's bacon is safe to eat because somegirly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing industry. Inthe morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo. His bottle is properlylabeled with each ingredient and its amount in the total contents becausesome crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what he was putting on hisbody and how much it contained. Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deepbreath. The air he breathes is clean because some environmentalist wackoliberal fought for laws to stop industries from polluting our air. He walksto the subway station for his government-subsidized ride to work. It saveshim considerable money in parking and transportation fees because somefancy-pants liberal fought for affordable public transportation, which giveseveryone the opportunity to be a contributor.Joe begins his work day. He has a good job with excellent pay, medicalbenefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation because some lazy liberalunion members fought and died for these working standards. Joe's employerpays these standards because Joe's employer doesn't want his employees tocall the union. If Joe is hurt on the job or becomes unemployed, he'll geta worker compensation or unemployment check because some stupid liberal

It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so the can pay somebills. Joe\'s deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godlessliberal wanted to protect Joe\'s money from unscrupulous bankers who ruinedthe banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his FannieMae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan becausesome elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better offif he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.After work this evening, Joe plans to visit his father at his farm home inthe country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safestin the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safetystandards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation tolive in the house financed by Farmers\' Home Administration because bankersdidn\'t want to make rural loans. The house didn\'t have electricity untilsome big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn\'t belong anddemanded rural electrification. Joe is happy to see his father, who is nowretired and lives on Social Security and a union pension because somewine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himselfso Joe wouldn\'t have to. Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, andturns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals arebad and conservatives are good. He doesn\'t mention that the belovedRepublicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoysthroughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don\'t need those big-governmentliberals ruining our lives! After all, I\'m a self-made man who believeseveryone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

didn't think he should lose his home because of his temporary misfortune.It's noontime and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so the can pay somebills. Joe's deposit is federally insured by the FSLIC because some godlessliberal wanted to protect Joe's money from unscrupulous bankers who ruinedthe banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has to pay his FannieMae-underwritten mortgage and his below-market federal student loan becausesome elitist liberal decided that Joe and the government would be better offif he was educated and earned more money over his lifetime.After work this evening, Joe plans to visit his father at his farm home inthe country. He gets in his car for the drive. His car is among the safestin the world because some America-hating liberal fought for car safetystandards. He arrives at his boyhood home. His was the third generation tolive in the house financed by Farmers' Home Administration because bankersdidn't want to make rural loans. The house didn't have electricity untilsome big-government liberal stuck his nose where it didn't belong anddemanded rural electrification. Joe is happy to see his father, who is nowretired and lives on Social Security and a union pension because somewine-drinking, cheese-eating liberal made sure he could take care of himselfso Joe wouldn't have to. Joe gets back in his car for the ride home, andturns on a radio talk show. The radio host keeps saying that liberals arebad and conservatives are good. He doesn't mention that the belovedRepublicans have fought against every protection and benefit Joe enjoysthroughout his day. Joe agrees: "We don't need those big-governmentliberals ruining our lives! After all, I'm a self-made man who believeseveryone should take care of themselves, just like I have."

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

When the Going Gets Tough

Radar Online: "One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, each time expecting a different result. So, who’s crazier: President Bush or the Democrats? The president’s brand of nuttiness was first glimpsed on September 11 and then crystallized to a fine focus with hurricane Katrina. Bush was entering the fifth and final week of his marathon summer vacation when forecasters predicted the storm would hit New Orleans dead-on as a category five hurricane. The president declared a state of emergency for Louisiana, but then callously continued his vacation, booking trips to Arizona and California even as the storm pummeled New Orleans, trapping tens of thousands of residents without food or water. It wasn’t until Wednesday, August 31—two and a half days after Katrina struck—that Bush finally cut his vacation short by two days and returned to Washington. By that point, New Orleans had already been lost.
During times of national crisis the White House’s motto seems to be: When the going gets tough, the president hides. "

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

CNN.com - Right city, wrong state - Sep 6, 2005

FEMA accused of flying evacuees to wrong Charleston
Wednesday, September 7, 2005 Posted: 0329 GMT (1129 HKT

(CNN) -- Add geography to the growing list of FEMA fumbles.

A South Carolina health official said his colleagues scrambled Tuesday when FEMA gave only a half-hour notice to prepare for the arrival of a plane carrying as many as 180 evacuees to Charleston.

But the plane, instead, landed in Charleston, West Virginia, 400 miles away.

It was not known whether arrangements have been made to care for the evacuees or transport them to the correct destination.

A call seeking comment from FEMA was not immediately returned.

Gas Prices Drive Man to Commute by Horse

Yahoo! News: "MINOT, N.D. - Jim Jundt was so determined to rein in his spending on gasoline that he got out of bed early and rode his 14-year-old quarterhorse mare to work.
Jundt lives 15 miles south of Minot and works as a mechanic at Goodyear Tire & Auto Service in the city.
He said he and his co-workers had been talking about rising fuel prices, and he joked that he would ride his horse to work if gasoline ever hit $3 a gallon.
His co-workers laughed, but when the price at the pump soared to $3.20 last week, Jundt headed for the barn.
He said he was only five minutes late riding his mare, Patty, to work.
While he worked, Patty waited patiently, eating hay out of the back of a truck."

Why does the US need our money?

BBC NEWS: "The Red Cross is appealing for people overseas to contribute money to its Hurricane Katrina Appeal. But why does the world's richest nation need handouts?
The world's only superpower has been forced to turn to aid agencies to speed up the humanitarian effort in the wake of Katrina.
Seemingly unable to draw on its wealth at short notice to immediately respond to the disaster, charities in other countries, such as the British Red Cross, are now launching appeals to raise money.
In addition half a million military ration packs worth an estimated �3m have been flown out from the UK and more are expected to follow.
The public in many countries are accustomed to providing aid to poverty stricken developing nations, but the need to provide assistance to the most opulent country in the world may leave many perplexed."

Cheney on the march

"Bush sends Cheney to storm-affected areaWASHINGTON, Sept. 6 (UPI) -- U.S. President Bush said Vice President Dick Cheney is going to areas affected by Hurricane Katrina to ensure bureaucracy is not slowing recovery efforts."

CNN.com - Expert: Congo's 'forest hippies' dying out - Sep 6, 2005

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo (Reuters) -- Pygmy chimpanzees dubbed "hippies of the forest" for resolving conflicts through sex rather than violence are dying out faster than ever in post-war Democratic Republic of Congo, a conservationist said on Tuesday.Bonobos, the rarest of all the great apes, are being killed in large numbers by bands of gunmen two years after the vast central African country's most recent war officially ended."In 1980, there were about 100,000 bonobos in Congo. In 1990 there were thought to be 10,000," Claudine Andre, founder of the Lola ya Bonobo [Bonobo Paradise] sanctuary just outside Kinshasa, told Reuters in an interview."Since then we have had two wars, their habitat has been occupied and the post-conflict period has been even harder, so I fear for what the situation is now," she said, adding that she was still receiving orphans after the war.Experts warn bonobos, one of man's closest relatives, could die out within 50 years from poaching, logging and disease."

Monday, September 05, 2005

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.
read on

Sunday, September 04, 2005

ohnotheydidnt: GEORGE BUSH DOESN'T CARE ABOUT....

Check this t-shirt out.

Halliburton hired for storm cleanup

HoustonChronicle.com: "The Navy has hired Houston-based Halliburton Co. to restore electric power, repair roofs and remove debris at three naval facilities in Mississippi damaged by Hurricane Katrina.
Halliburton subsidiary KBR will also perform damage assessments at other naval installations in New Orleans as soon as it is safe to do so.
KBR was assigned the work under a 'construction capabilities' contract awarded in 2004 after a competitive bidding process. The company is not involved in the Army Corps of Engineers' effort to repair New Orleans' levees."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Myself: Temple Grandin - Time Archive

"I was 2 1/2 years old when I began to show symptoms of autism: not talking, repetitious behavior and tantrums. Not being able to communicate in words was a great frustration, so I screamed. Loud, high-pitched noises hurt my ears like a dentist's drill hitting a nerve. I would shut out the hurtful stimuli by rocking or staring at sand dribbling through my fingers."

How Much Is Too Much?

The Huffington Post: "As of noon on Friday, September 2, The American Red Cross was reporting it had already raised $73 million in private funds for Hurricane Katrina victims. At the same time, the authoritative journal, The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which monitors nonprofit fund raising, stated that $108 million had been raised by all private charities willing to report.
That means about 70% of the public's compassion has flowed to The Red Cross. [This percentage was no doubt bloated by FEMA's mystifying screw-up when it released the names of only certain faith-based charities -- like Pat Robertson's wholly-owned nonprofit Operation Blessing -- rather than the wider group of established relief agencies.]
This skewed giving to Red Cross would be fine if the Red Cross were paying for the cost of the 80,000 people they are expertly sheltering in 240 designated shelter sites; but FEMA and the 4 affected state governments (including Texas which will shelter up to 75,000 people) are reimbursing the Red Cross under pre-existing contracts for emergency shelter and other related services. The existence of these contracts is no secret to anyone but the donating public. The Red Cross carefully says it exists by the grace of the American people -- yeah...and 'people' includes the US government, 50 state governments and thousands of county governments, too.
What we've come to expect from a major disaster is a media blitz -- paid and unpaid -- by the American Red Cross' expert fund-raising staff. Last year, the Red Cross reports it spent $125 million on fund-raising; and if you surf the net or watch TV or listen to radio, you can't escape the faux Red Cross news breaks warning of Armageddon if you don't call in a credit card number or send a check or donate blood (which it resells to the tune of over $1.5 billion annually out of its $3 billion in income). In Los Angeles, we're currently going through the spectacle of 'drive-by' drop offs of bags of money at public places like Pasadena's Rose Bowl all promoted by local media. Hollywood studios and Hollywood stars compete to make 6 and 7 figure donations to the Red Cross almost robotically. The Red Cross brand is platinum.
No one asks what The Red Cross actually does, what it does not do, and whether it has another primary source of funding for those rapid responses it claims to do so well and so comprehensively"

Condi Speaks!

AMERICAblog: "Condi Rice -- who headed to New York City for a three day vacation AFTER the hurricane struck and who went to a Broadway musical while the flood waters were rising and people were dying -- yes, this Condi Rice cut her vacation short and headed back to DC. And now Queen Condi has deigned to speak to us per the NYT with her concern that people are injecting race into all of this.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, in an unusual foray into domestic affairs, sharply disputed any suggestion that storm victims had somehow been overlooked because of their race.... 'That Americans would somehow in a color-affected way decide who to help and who not to help - I just don't believe it.''Color-affected way?' What a bland, annoying, clinical comment. In part, she's right: this isn't about race so much as class. And she has none. More importantly, why did the MSM let Condi speak without immediately asking her 'Where the hell have you been?'Condi should be asked again and again: when are you going to apologize for going on vacation to a splashy Broadway musical comedy AFTER the worst natural disaster in our nation's history? When are you going to apologize for shopping for obscenely expensive Ferragamo shoes when misery and despair was spreading through the Gulf States? Why didn't you want to take part in the efforts to focus help ON YOUR HOME STATE OF ALABAMA? Alabama -- the state where she grew up and where the divide between rich and poor is deep and wide -- was struck viciously and Condi couldn't have cared less. Who are these people?"

Oops. Dept of Homeland Security Web site claims FULL responsibility for any natural disaster

AMERICAblog: "Again, oops.The Dept of Homeland Security Web site says the agency will assume 'primary responsibility' for any 'natural disaster or large-scale emergency.' So much for Bush and his surrogates claiming that the buck stops with the mayors and governors of the affected areas."

Congress Likely To Probe Why DC Waited Until Late Thursday To Deploy National Guard%u2026 | The Huffington Post

The Huffington Post: "Several states ready and willing to send National Guard troops to the rescue in hurricane-ravaged New Orleans didn't get the go-ahead until days after the storm struck - a delay nearly certain to be investigated by Congress.
New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson offered Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco help from his state's National Guard on Sunday, the day before Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana. Blanco accepted, but paperwork needed to get the troops en route didn't come from Washington until late Thursday."

Breaking News: Kanye West: "George Bush doesn't care about black people"

Crooks and Liars: "During the Concert for Hurricane Relief, Kanye West and Mike Meyers were celebrity narrators during the segment, West said: (rush transcript)
'I hate the way they portray us in the media. 'If you see a black family it says they are looting if you see a white family it says they are looking for food.
'We already realize a lot of the people that could help are at war now fighting another way and they've given them permission to go down and shoot us.' 'George Bush doesn't care about black people.'
Mike Meyers was floored..."
Video here

Friday, September 02, 2005

Aftermath: Hurricane Katrina

Radar Online: "THE DEPARTMENT OF PRIORITIES
It took less than a day for members of the GOP-controlled Congress to cut short their vacations and rush back to the capitol to “rescue” Terri Schiavo from those who wanted her to be allowed to die in peace. It took about four times longer to get them back into town to deal with the worst natural disaster in American history. Perhaps their attention was focused on more important things. On Thursday, as the death toll escalated, Ken Mehlman, chairman of the Republican Party, unveiled a campaign urging citizens to unite against…the death tax. “Today our economic outlook is bright,” he wrote in an e-mail to GOP supporters, three days after the disaster, urging citizens to call GOP holdout Sen. George Voinovich to lobby in favor of axing the tax. Nice to know they have their priorities straight."

As South drowns, Rice soaks in N.Y.

New York Daily News: "Did New Yorkers chase Condoleezza Rice back to Washington yesterday?
Like President Bush, the Secretary of State has been on vacation during the Hurricane Katrina crisis, with Rice enjoying her downtime in New York Wednesday and yesterday. The cabinet member's responsibilities are usually international, but her timing contributed to the 'fiddling while Rome burns' impression given by her boss during the disaster, which may have claimed thousands of lives.
On Wednesday night, Secretary Rice was booed by some audience members at 'Spamalot!,' the Monty Python musical at the Shubert, when the lights went up after the performance.
Yesterday, Rice went shopping at Ferragamo on Fifth Ave. According to the Web site www.Gawker.com, the 50-year-old bought 'several thousand dollars' worth of shoes' at the pricey leather-goods boutique.
A fellow shopper shouted, 'How dare you shop for shoes while thousands are dying and homeless!' - presumably referring to Louisiana and Mississippi."

PSA

We all know now that our leaders are liars. There are no "weapons of mass destruction." Check out the link above to see a montage of these lies, as well as top officials' testimony, and revisit how our country was led into the quagmire we're in today.
"...the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy..." Downing Street Memo: 23 July 2002.
check out more videos at: hijackingcatastrophe.org

Before and after Satellite photos of New Orleans

Amazing pictures of the flooding and damage done to the city.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Waiting for a Leader

NY Times Editorial: "George W. Bush gave one of the worst speeches of his life yesterday, especially given the level of national distress and the need for words of consolation and wisdom. In what seems to be a ritual in this administration, the president appeared a day later than he was needed. He then read an address of a quality more appropriate for an Arbor Day celebration: a long laundry list of pounds of ice, generators and blankets delivered to the stricken Gulf Coast. He advised the public that anybody who wanted to help should send cash, grinned, and promised that everything would work out in the end.
We will, of course, endure, and the city of New Orleans must come back. But looking at the pictures on television yesterday of a place abandoned to the forces of flood, fire and looting, it was hard not to wonder exactly how that is going to come to pass. Right now, hundreds of thousands of American refugees need our national concern and care. Thousands of people still need to be rescued from imminent peril. Public health threats must be controlled in New Orleans and throughout southern Mississippi. Drivers must be given confidence that gasoline will be available, and profiteering must be brought under control at a moment when television has been showing long lines at some pumps and spot prices approaching $4 a gallon have been reported.
Sacrifices may be necessary to make sure that all these things happen in an orderly, efficient way. But this administration has never been one to counsel sacrifice. And nothing about the president's demeanor yesterday - which seemed casual to the point of carelessness - suggested that he understood the depth of the current crisis."