Monday, October 31, 2005

Was Harriet Miers a Stalking Horse?

Kathleen Reardon: "Has it ever crossed your mind -- I mean given how little sense it all made -- kind of like how the Aspens were turning with their roots connected -- that the whole thing might make sense from a different angle? A stalking horse of the political type is 'a person whose candidacy is advanced temporarily to conceal the actual choice or to divide the opposition.' Now, I don't want to give George too much credit here or Karl either (though I sense his hand in all this -- never really bought that he was too distracted to think straight), but you have to wonder, especially now that we aren't likely to see another woman on the Supreme Court for a very long time, whether charging Harriet out there into the valley of death was altogether as idiotic as it seemed. George tried to chose a woman and we wouldn't have it. Did they know she'd be so soundly rejected? Anyone breathing knew she would be within hours of her nomination. And she didn't just divide the opposition, she dissolved it with her resignation, bringing the disgruntled back into the fold, allowing the latest nominee to appear stellar on all fronts. It's sort of like Libby seeming like the only bad guy. You don't think that just maybe he fell on his sword -- or got pushed? I mean, you have to wonder. Don't you?"

Remembering Rosa Parks - My Cousin is in this Article, represent da Family Dog

My Cousin is in this Article, gotta represent da Family Dog

St. Paul Pioneer Press - October 31, 2005

Maya Washington

For Twin Cities actress Maya Washington, Rosa Parks' battle against segregation isn't just history. It's part of her family.

The 20-something actress (she's playing a middle-schooler in Penumbra Theatre Company's "Grandchildren of the Buffalo Soldiers," and "the theater doesn't want me to say how old I am") is the daughter of Gene Washington, a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings in the late 1960s and early '70s. The elder Washington, a native Texan, couldn't attend the University of Houston because the school was still segregated in the 1960s.

Washington won a scholarship to Michigan State and was drafted by the Vikings after his graduation. "My parents can divide their lives between their segregated life in the South and an integrated life in the North," Washington said."I guess what Rosa Parks has given me," she said, "is audacity. She had the audacity to stand up for herself and say, 'I'm not going to take this anymore.' "

That audacity came in handy for Washington growing up in Wayzata. There were no National Guard troops and no court orders, but hers and a handful of other African-American families essentially integrated what until that time had been an almost entirely white school.
The school didn't provide many opportunities for a black girl interested in theater, said Washington, so she dug into her store of audacity to find other opportunities to perform.

One of her earliest stage experiences was at Minneapolis' Youth Performance Co., where she played a character inspired by Parks in a play called "The Day King Died."

"Without her example — and without being able to play a role like that and investigate those issues as a teenager — I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing today."

—Dominic P. Papatola, Theater Critic

Full Article:

Pastor electrocuted while performing baptism

WACO, Texas (AP) -- A pastor performing a baptism was electrocuted inside his church Sunday morning when he adjusted a nearby microphone while standing in water, a church employee said.

The Rev. Kyle Lake, 33, was stepping into the baptistery as he reached out for the microphone, which produced an electric shock, said University Baptist Church community pastor Ben Dudley.

Water in a baptistery usually reaches above the waist, said Byron Weathersbee, interim university chaplain at Baylor University.

Lake was pronounced dead at Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, nursing supervisor Pat Mahl said. The woman being baptized apparently had not stepped into the water and was not seriously injured.

U.S. Blunders Provoke Burgeoning Civil War

by Tom Maertens
All wars have unintended consequences. The Bush administration never set out to establish another Islamic state in the Middle East when it invaded Iraq, but that is what is happening. In fact, the Bush administration's policies virtually ensure that outcome.
The Iraqi insurgency consists almost entirely of Sunnis, along with a few foreign jihadists like al-Zarqawi, also a Sunni, who has openly declared war on Shiites. By working to suppress the insurgency, the U.S. is de facto helping the Shiites establish a new order, which they have made clear will be an Islamic state, inevitably tied to Iran.
During their years in power, Saddam and the Sunnis reportedly killed 300,000 Shiites and thousands of Kurds, including by means of chemical weapons. The U.S. invasion, has allowed the Shiites and Kurds together almost 80 percent of the population to get out from under Sunni domination. The insurgents are fighting to turn back the clock, against American occupation and to restore Sunni rule, which dominated what is now Iraq for 500 years under Turkish administration.

Despite this legacy of violence, the Bush administration believes that American troops can maintain Iraqi unity and install democracy. Without the U.S. presence, they argue, the country will collapse into ethnic cleansing and civil war."

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Hundreds Rally for Reconstruction Work

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Hundreds of people rallied at the state Capitol Saturday, pushing state officials to give more hurricane reconstruction work to Louisiana residents.'This is not just a New Orleans struggle,' said the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who spoke along with the Rev. Al Sharpton. 'Our nation's character is on trial. This is our nation's challenge.'
A large and vocal crowd gather on the steps of the Louisiana State Capitol, Saturday, Oct. 29, 2005, in Baton Rouge, La., to protest plans to rebuild New Orleans without preserving historic neighborhoods and using Louisiana labor to do it. Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco was joined by the Revs. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, labor union leaders and Louisiana legislators in pledging support for rebuilding New Orleans.
The storms left as many as 296,000 Louisiana residents without jobs, costing $300 million in unemployment benefits, state officials say.Sharpton accused the federal government of awarding bids to politically connected companies at the expense of local contractors. He specifically named Halliburton Co., formerly run by Vice President Dick Cheney, which has a subsidiary doing cleanup work in Mississippi."

Did Tenet Resign Because of Leak Scandal?

Vice President Cheney's claim in Tuesday's New York Times that he learned of Valerie Plame's status from former CIA Director George Tenet, draws our attention back to an odd confluence of events in the first week of June 2004.
Within the span of four days in June, Tenet met with President Bush to submit his resignation, the White House announced that President Bush had consulted an outside attorney to represent him in the Fitzgerald investigation, and it was reported that Vice President Cheney had been interviewed by Fitzgerald. In that order.
June 2, 2004: Bush speaks at Air Force Academy; Tenet meets him upon arrival at White House to tell him that he was going to resign.
June 2, 2004: McClellan tells press the night of June 2 that Bush hired an attorney.
June 3, 2004: In press gaggle, McClellan notes that Tenet called Card the afternoon of the 2nd to ask for meeting with Bush. Tenet and Bush meet for 45 minutes.
June 5, 2004: New York Times reports that Cheney was interviewed by Fitzgerald.
Press coverage of Tenet's resignation noted that the timing seemed odd. Senator Dianne Feinstein, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, commented can't remember any resignation that has struck me as more startling than this one, she said. suspect there is going to be more of a story to tell than just personal reasons.
What could account for this confluence of events? Had Tenet found himself in the uncomfortable position of having to tell Fitzgerald some damaging information about the Vice President and thought he needed to leave the Administration because of it? Did Tenet deliver some bad news to Bush the evening he met with him that would prompt the White House to feel the need to announce that the President had sought outside legal counsel? It's speculation, but there is no denying that the timing is curious."

Rumsfeld to Avoid Bird-Flu Drug Issues

New York Times
WASHINGTON, Oct. 27 - Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has recused himself from government decisions concerning medications to prevent or treat avian flu, rather than sell his stock holdings in the company that patented the antiviral agent Tamiflu, according to a Pentagon memorandum issued Thursday.
The memorandum, to Mr. Rumsfeld's staff from the Pentagon general counsel, said the defense secretary would not take part in decisions that may affect his financial interests in Gilead Sciences Inc.
Before becoming defense secretary in January 2001, Mr. Rumsfeld was chairman of Gilead. On each of his annual financial disclosure statements, he has listed continued stock holdings in the company.
Gilead holds the patent on Tamiflu, but contracts for it are signed with an American subsidiary of F. Hoffman-LaRoche Ltd., which holds marketing and manufacturing rights.
Mr. Rumsfeld will remain involved in matters related to the Pentagon response to an outbreak, so long as none affect Gilead."

Friday, October 28, 2005

Al Franken: Happy Fitznukkah, Everybody!

"That's right -- it isn't a one-day holiday like Fitzmas. This could go on and on. One day a great gift like Libby, the next day a pair of socks (Ari Fleischer), the next day, who knows: maybe an Xbox 360 (Karl Rove)! Maybe this can be dragged out until the 2006 midterms.
Anyway. Boy, did he lie! Wow. That. Is lying. Hoo boy.
And how about Rove telling the press he was going to have a great Friday and a great weekend? They can't even not lie about what kind of weekend they're going to have.
The only disappointment was the lack of a 'treason' indictment. Looks like thirty years is the most Scooter will get. But who knows? He might get squeezed and end up ratting out the other guys, and get only eight to twelve.
It occurs to me that all of this may be about covering up the phony rationale for the march to war. One of you enterprising 'bloggers' should look into that. Here's a clue: At one point, Cheney told Tim Russert, 'there's no doubt that Saddam has reconstituted his nuclear program.' If that statement could be proven false, that might provide the motive for smearing Joe Wilson and his wife, Valerie Flame."

missing U.S. cat found in France

APPLETON, Wisconsin (AP) -- When Emily the cat went missing a month ago, her owners looked for their wandering pet where she had ended up before -- the local animal shelter. This week they learned Emily sailed to France.

Lesley McElhiney now figures her cat went prowling around a paper warehouse near home and ended up in a cargo container that went by ship across the Atlantic Ocean and was trucked to Nancy, a city in northeastern France near the border with Germany.

Employees at a French lamination company found her in the container, checked her tags and called Emily's veterinarian back in the U.S., John Palarski.

Oil Companies Rape the Land and the Market: Record Profits

Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) rewrote the corporate record books Thursday as the oil company's third-quarter earnings soared to almost $10 billion and it became the first public company ever with quarterly sales topping $100 billion. Anglo-Dutch competitor Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSA) wasn't far behind, posting a profit of $9 billion for the quarter.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Suicide Mistaken for Halloween Decoration

BREITBART.COM: "The apparent suicide of a woman found hanging from a tree went unreported for hours because passers-by thought the body was a Halloween decoration, authorities said. The 42-year-old woman used rope to hang herself across the street from some homes on a moderately busy road late Tuesday or early Wednesday, state police said. The body, suspended about 15 feet above the ground, could be easily seen from passing vehicles. State police spokesman Cpl. Jeff Oldham and neighbors said people noticed the body at breakfast time Wednesday but dismissed it as a holiday prank. Authorities were called to the scene more than three hours later. 'They thought it was a Halloween decoration,' Fay Glanden, wife of Mayor William Glanden, told The (Wilmington) News Journal. 'It looked like something somebody would have rigged up,' she said. "

Attention, Electronic Gdagets: Shut Up!

The modern world is too damn noisy. Car alarms, beeping microwaves, chirping beepers, cell phones that play that hideous 50 Cent hook... it's all just a bit much, isn't it? "The people who make all these things obviously think we're idiots. That without their constant, irritating reminders, we'd go wandering off, our minds blank, to drool down our shirts or spend 30 minutes tying our shoes. The world is noisy enough without adding completely useless aural pollution to the mix."

Likely Scenario For What Happened Today Is Patrick Fitzgerald Got Some Indictments

Hotline says Time Magazine's Mike Allen has some of the best sources in Washington. Here's what he had to say about the leak scandal tonight on Hardball:
MIKE ALLEN: A lot of activity happening that we're not seeing. A likely scenario for what happened today, Patrick Fitzgerald got some indictments from this grand jury. He is now able to go to the...
CHRIS MATTHEWS: You think they're sealed right now?
MIKE ALLEN: Very possible. What I'm told is typically, in a case like this, he could get the indictments and now he can go to the targets and say, you can plead to these or I'll go back Friday and get more. You have 12 to 24 hours to think about it.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: And he can give them a little Whitman Sampler of suggestions pleading to the charge of obstruction or perjury or...
MIKE ALLEN: I can add a bunch of counts. You can take a couple of counts or we can do a bunch more.
Later on Olbermann, The Washington Post's Jim VanDeHei (who also has some of the best sources in Washington) assures us the wait is almost over: do not think we'll see any extension of this grand jury. We will know on Friday what's going to happen here.

Miers withdraws Supreme Court nomination - The Changing Court -

WASHINGTON - Under withering attack from conservatives, Harriet Miers on Thursday withdrew her nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a statement, President Bush said he %u201Creluctantly accepted%u201D her decision to withdraw, after weeks of insisting that he did not want her to step down.

Bush said Miers withdrew because of a bipartisan effort in Congress to gain access to internal documents related to her current role as counsel to the president.

Frustrated Scowcroft Assails Neo-Cons, Cheney

by Jim Lobe
WASHINGTON - One week after a top aide to former Secretary of State Colin Powell issued a blistering attack on foreign policy-making in the George W. Bush administration, Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser under Bush's father, assailed neo-conservatives who persuaded the president to go to war in Iraq.
In an interview with The New Yorker magazine, Scowcroft, whose relations with the Bush administration have been badly strained since he publicly warned against invading Iraq seven months before U.S. troops crossed over from Kuwait, argued that the invasion was counter-productive.

'This was said to be part of the war on terror, but Iraq feeds terrorism,' Scowcroft told the magazine, adding that the war risked moving public opinion against any new foreign policy commitments for some time, just as the Vietnam War did during the late-1970s and through the 1980s.

'Vietnam was visceral in the American people,' said Scrowcroft, who also served as national security adviser in the mid-1970s under former President Gerald Ford. 'This was a really bitter period, and it turned us against foreign-policy adventures deeply. This is not that deep, (but) %u2026we're moving in that direction.'

Scowcroft's remarks come at a critical moment. According to recent opinion polls, the government's performance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, Bush's choice of his personal attorney to serve on the Supreme Court, and the lack of progress achieved in Iraq have combined to put the president's approval ratings at below 40 percent.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Bush names another "free market" ally of Wall Street to succeed Greenspan at the Federal Reserve

By Kate Randall %u2013 Wprld Socialist Web Site

President Bush on Monday named Ben S. Bernanke to succeed Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan, who will step down January 31 after serving as the Fed chief since 1987.
Bernanke is, in any event, an avid supporter of the administration's pro-business economic policies. He spoke at length praising Bush's tax cuts in an October 11 address to the National Economists Club. In an editorial on Tuesday, the Wall Street Journal wrote, %u201CAs for Mr. Bernanke, he supports making the Bush tax cuts permanent as soon as possible. He%u2019s an ardent free trader, and we have heard him say favorable things about tax reform.%u201D
His nomination has prompted nearly universal praise from the financial and banking industry. In a note to clients, Goldman Sachs economist William Dudley described Bernanke as %u201Chighly competent and a monetary policy expert.%u201D A statement released by the Mortgage Bankers Association applauded his selection.

The response to Bernanke%u2019s nomination has been highly favorable across the official political spectrum, as indicated by Tuesday%u2019s editorial in the New York Times, the newspaper most identified with America%u2019s erstwhile liberal establishment.

The Times was nearly gushing in its praise, writing, %u201CMr. Bush may have just picked the best person for the job.%u201D As a governor at the Federal Reserve, the Times writes, "Bernanke was a superb monetary economist who won over financial markets." The editorial concludes: "Clearly, Mr. Bernanke will have a tough job filling Mr. Greenspan's shoes. But he is as close to the perfect choice as Mr. Bush could have made."

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Frog March: Coming Soon?

"The word from DC is that Wednesday may finally be Fitzmas, the day special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald concludes his investigation of the CIA leak scandal and issues indictments against senior White House officials. Liberals are giddy enough at the prospect of Karl Rove in stripes and shackles, but today the schadenfreude got a whole lot juicier. The New York Times reported that Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, Scooter Libby, another odds-on favorite for a frog-march, found out about Valerie Plame’s super-secret dual identity (as a spy and Joe Wilson’s wife) in June 2003 from none other than the veep himself. Yet three months later, Cheney said on “Meet the Press” that he knew nothing about Wilson or Plame. That makes Cheney a liar. And if Cheney peddled that crock to Fitzgerald when he was questioned last year, it could also make him a criminal. Who says it’s no longer fun to be a liberal? "

HuffPo is saying the press conference will be Thursday

Almost 60 pilot whales die in Australian mass stranding

SYDNEY (AFP) - Almost 60 pilot whales have died after stranding themselves on a beach on the Australian island of Tasmania.
A Tasmania Parks and Wildlife Service spokeswoman said on Tyesday that the pod of 67 pilot whales was spotted at Tasmania's Marion Bay on Tuesday morning.
Most were stranded on an area of the bay inaccessible by road and most had died by the time wildlife officers used boats to ferry volunteers across to them, spokeswoman Liz Wren said.

Press Release of Representative Jerrold Nadler

Nadler: Fitzgerald Must Broaden Investigation
Did the Bush Administration deliberately mislead Congress about the war?
WASHINGTON, D.C. In light of recent developments in the CIA leak investigation and other recent revelations, Congressman Jerrold Nadler today called for Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald to expand his investigation to include a criminal investigation to examine whether the President, the Vice President, and members of the White House Iraq Group conspired to deliberately deceive Congress into authorizing the war in Iraq.
The CIA leak issue is only the tip of the iceberg, Congressman Nadler said. This is looking increasingly like a White House conspiracy aimed at misleading our country into war in part by manufacturing now-refuted evidence in support of its rationale, in part by smearing and silencing critics, and in part by manipulating media complicity. There is mounting evidence that there may have been a well-orchestrated effort by the President, the Vice President, and other top White House officials to lie to Congress in order to get its support for the Iraq War.

It is a crime to lie to Congress under several federal statutes. Congressman Nadler requested that Special Counsel Fitzgerald follow the leads he has already discovered and broaden his investigation to include charges of lying to Congress. In his letter to Acting Deputy Attorney General McCallum asking for a broadening of Special Counsel Fitzgerald's investigation, Nadler cited the President's infamous reference to African Uranium in the 2003 State of the Union Address, reports of the White House Iraq Group's singular mission to sell the war at all costs, assertions made in the Downing Street Memo, and reporters own accounts of media manipulation.

Honest, if mistaken, reliance on faulty intelligence to convince Congress to authorize a war is bad enough, Congressman Nadler wrote in his letter to McCallum. But, if, as mounting evidence is tending to show, Administration officials deliberately deceived Congress and the American people, this would constitute a criminal conspiracy against the entire country.

We are no longer just talking about a Republican culture of corruption and cronyism, Nadler added. We now have reason to believe that high crimes may have been committed at the highest level, wrongdoing that may have led us to war and imperiled our national security.

Crack Increasingly Less Wack

Gawker, Manhattan Media News and GossipFrom the mailbag:

Yesterday at about 3:30pm I saw two Caucasian (gasp!) kids smoking crack just outside the Associated Supermarket on Bleecker Street & LaGuardia Place. They were sitting on some steps in broad-ass daylight getting ready to light the crack pipe. The toker was trying to obscure himself by pulling his jacket over his head. His buddy was excitedly eyeing the pipe waiting for his turn to hit it; I swear to christ I think I saw him lick his lips in anticipation. They both looked NYU-ish which isn%u2019t surprising considering the location.

We%u2019re not sure we buy this, but if it%u2019s true, we can%u2019t overemphasize the potential impact of such a development. If the privileged white youth of New York are getting into crack, that leaves nary a drug for the our city's poor and disenfranchised! Before long, there won%u2019t be a single affordable vice on Millionaire Island, and we%u2019ll all be sober and tragic.

Teen's mom says teacher kissed son (Purvis Trial)

PRINCETON - The mother of a 15-year-old boy who claims he had a sexual relationship with his former biology teacher testified Monday the teacher admitted she told the boy she loved him and the two had kissed.
The mother told Circuit Court Judge Chris H. Ryan Jr. that Gina M. Purvis, 29, told her she loved the boy but only as one loves a son.

Purvis, a former Hall High School teacher, is charged with four counts of criminal sexual assault in Bureau County for allegedly having sexual relations with a student at her house and at school in the spring of 2004.

Bureau County State's Attorney Pat Herrmann alleged the two had sex on multiple occasions, including once in a storage room at the high school.

The parents of the boy, who is now 17, testified Purvis had been at their house more than 20 times, and the two were seen at the boy's residence "acting like two little kids." The mother said she observed Purvis chasing her boy around her car, and they would talk frequently on the phone.

More Purvis Info at : (Beware of the language)

Cheney Told Aide of C.I.A. Officer, Notes Show

New York Times: "WASHINGTON, Oct. 24 - I. Lewis Libby Jr., Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about the C.I.A. officer at the heart of the leak investigation in a conversation with Mr. Cheney weeks before her identity became public in 2003, lawyers involved in the case said Monday.
Notes of the previously undisclosed conversation between Mr. Libby and Mr. Cheney on June 12, 2003, appear to differ from Mr. Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he initially learned about the C.I.A. officer, Valerie Wilson, from journalists, the lawyers said. The notes, taken by Mr. Libby during the conversation, for the first time place Mr. Cheney in the middle of an effort by the White House to learn about Ms. Wilson's husband, Joseph C. Wilson IV, who was questioning the administration's handling of intelligence about Iraq's nuclear program to justify the war. Lawyers involved in the case, who described the notes to The New York Times, said they showed that Mr. Cheney knew that Ms. Wilson worked at the C.I.A. more than a month before her identity was made public and her undercover status was disclosed in a syndicated column by Robert D. Novak on July 14, 2003. Mr. Libby's notes indicate that Mr. Cheney had gotten his information about Ms. Wilson from George J. Tenet, the director of central intelligence, in response to questions from the vice president about Mr. Wilson."

Monday, October 24, 2005

No Longer Safe for Work: Blogs

Wired News: "Robert Mason (not his real name) would love to spend a few minutes during lunch catching up on blog posts from around the web, but his company doesn't allow it. The financial institution where Mason works as a vice president has security filters set up to block access to -- among other things -- any website that contains the phrase 'blog' in the URL.
What's more, says Mason, such practices are becoming prevalent in corporate America, particularly in financial services. Mason sits on a roundtable privacy group of 20 of the country's largest banks. 'My best understanding is that my company's anti-blog stance is the industry norm,' he says.
Filtering out every blog isn't a completely feasible project (and, in fact, Mason says his company's filter doesn't catch everything), but the technology to censor the lion's share of blogs is fairly commonplace. From installing simple URL filters and content scanners to blacklisting ranges of IP addresses, myriad methods for shutting out blog content are available.
If nothing else, the corporate firewall can simply add the word 'blog' to the company's list of verboten phrases that trigger blocking, alongside 'games,' 'warez' and 'britney spears sex tape.'
Keith Crosley, director of corporate communications at censorware company Proofpoint, says there's no anti-blog conspiracy at work, but that some companies have higher security, privacy and regulatory needs that require greater diligence over what companies can and cannot do."

Did You Know You've Been 20% Patented?

"A new study shows that 20 percent of human genes have been patented in the United States, primarily by private firms and universities. Researchers can patent genes because they are potentially valuable research tools, useful in diagnostic tests or to discover and produce new drugs. 'It might come as a surprise to many people that in the U.S. patent system human DNA is treated like other natural chemical products'."

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Blurring Lines Between Fact And Fiction Lead To: Censorship!

The commodification of all forms of culture breeds "a growing concern that the victims of crime and their relatives be protected from distress, the emergent movement against criticism of religion and attempts to proscribe the 'glorification' of certain acts. The famous proscription against falsely shouting 'Fire!' in a crowded theatre is no longer just a matter of preventing a stampede: now, shouting 'fire' can be censured for infringing the rights of the firemen, distressing the relatives of people killed in other fires, offending religions for whom fire is a sacred object, and glorifying or celebrating arson."

Excellent career opportunity for Boy Genius

Excellent career opportunity for Boy Genius Reply to:
Date: 2005-10-19, 2:20PM EDT
Excellent career opportunity!!!
Seeking Deputy White House Chief of Staff to take over all United States domestic affairs! Run the entire country from your office in the West Wing. Direct and instruct POTUS, CIA, and top journalists (NYT, Time, etc.) on all issues of national importance.

You must have excellent contacts with evangelical Christians, NASCAR fans, true patriots, and angry white males. You are equally friendly with billionaire corporate raiders, oil barons, and godless capitalists.

The ideal candidate is very comfortable speaking exclusively on 'deep background' and avoiding public appearances. You are the kind of person who does not have to say anything publicly -- you make journalists, folks at town hall meetings, and American troops say it for you.

Note: We will only consider applicants with a flair for dramatic and patriotic settings, including but not limited to aircraft carriers, Mount Rushmore, Ground Zero, rustic ranches, and well lit statues (Liberty, Andrew Jackson, etc.). Need to be skilled at supervising POTUS bike rides, brush clearing, video conferences, and segway rides.

Experience with push polling and direct mail a plus.

Job may start as soon as NEXT WEEK!!!! Maybe even sooner. Please send your resume and references to, with 'Boy Genius' in the subject line.

The White House is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer.

Job location is Wash D.C.
Compensation: $161,000 plus serious benefits
no -- Principals only. Recruiters, please don't contact this job poster.
no -- Please, no phone calls about this job!
no -- Please do not contact job poster about other services, products or commercial interests.
no -- Reposting this message elsewhere is NOT OK.


The Catch

NY Times: "On a dank, cold morning this past March, full of wind and the gloom of the sub-Antarctic autumn, I stepped off the customs pier in the Falkland Islands port of Stanley and tried to board a pirate ship. The Elqui, a rusted-out heap flying the Guinean flag, sat impounded at the dock, her captain awaiting charges from the British territorial government of South Georgia Island. What had brought the Elqui and its 30-odd Indonesian, African and South American crew members to this remote harbor at the bottom of the world were Chilean sea bass, 13 tons of which now lay frozen below the ship's deck.
The Elqui's apprehension is just the latest clash in what may be the most ambitious crusade ever mounted to save a species of fish. From Chile to Argentina to the British-controlled islands of the South Atlantic and east to Africa and Australia, hundreds of scientists, undercover investigators and government agencies have joined forces to protect the last viable stocks of this slow-growing deep-water predator. It may seem strange that so much effort is being focused on an animal that 25 years ago was known to only a handful of Antarctic scientists and that went by the ungainly name of Patagonian toothfish. But Chilean sea bass today have become the signature species in a battle of global proportions.
Put in very blunt terms, the world is running out of fish."

For Some College Graduates, a Fanciful Detour (or Two) Before Their Careers Begin

New York Times: "Laurie Heckman worked as a whitewater rafting guide in Colorado. Steve Wiener has been crisscrossing the country in a large van, taking international tourists to see major cities and national parks.Zach Carson bought a small bus, converted the engine to run on recycled vegetable oil and is touring the country promoting alternative fuels.
All are recent college graduates who intend to go on to graduate school, but not yet. Like a growing number of graduates, they are taking time away from school and the vigorous pursuit of a career. Some are looking for new experiences; others want to test potential careers or devote themselves to public service for a while; still others simply want to have a good time after the rigors of high school and college. Career development professionals call the break the timeout or gap years, and the directors of career offices at a dozen major colleges and universities said more students are taking it than ever before. In response, the career offices have begun changing how they function."

Saturday, October 22, 2005


A song from the Nazi Twins.

Seacrest In For Larry King

Who needs Bob Costas? Larry King has Ryan Seacrest.

NYP's Michael Starr reports exclusively that the American Idol star "will host several upcoming editions of Larry King Live -- in what looks to be the first step in an overall deal between Seacrest and CNN.

Seacrest "was given free rein by King to book his own guests, CNN insiders say." His first appearance comes this Saturday, with guests Ashlee Simpson and her father. "Seacrest and King are longtime friends. King, in fact, gave a speech when Seacrest received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame last April,"

Leak Prosecutor Is Called Exacting and Apolitical

New York Times: "WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 - In 13 years prosecuting mobsters and terrorists in New York, Patrick J. Fitzgerald earned a public reputation for meticulous preparation, a flawless memory and an easy eloquence. Only his colleagues knew that these orderly achievements emerged from the near-total anarchy of his office, where the relentless Mr. Fitzgerald often slept during big cases.
'You'd open a drawer, looking for a pen or Post-it notes, and it would be full of dirty socks,' recalled Karen Patton Seymour, a former assistant United States attorney who tried a major case with him. 'He was a mess. Food here, clothes there, papers everywhere. But behind all that was a totally organized mind.'That mind, which has taken on Al Qaeda and the Gambino crime family, is now focused on the most politically volatile case of Mr. Fitzgerald's career. As the special prosecutor who has directed the C.I.A. leak investigation, he is expected to decide within days who, if anyone, will be charged with a crime.To seek indictments against the White House officials caught up in the inquiry would deliver a devastating blow to the Bush administration. To simply walk away after two years of investigation, which included the jailing of a reporter for 85 days for refusing to testify, would invite cries of cover-up and waste.Yet Mr. Fitzgerald's past courtroom allies and adversaries say that consideration of political consequences will play no role in his decision.'I don't think the prospect of a firestorm would deter him,' said J. Gilmore Childers, who worked with Mr. Fitzgerald on high-profile terrorism prosecutions in New York during the 1990s. 'His only calculus is to do the right thing as he sees it.'Stanley L. Cohen, a New York lawyer who has defended those accused of terrorism in a half-dozen cases prosecuted by Mr. Fitzgerald, said he never detected the slightest political leanings, only a single-minded dedication to the law.'There's no doubt in my mind that if he's found something, he won't be swayed one way or the other by the politics of it,' Mr. Cohen said. 'For Pat, there's no such thing as a little crime you can ignore.'Mr. Fitzgerald, 44, whose regular job is as the United States attorney in Chicago, is a hard man to pigeonhole. The son of Irish immigrants - his father, Patrick Sr., was a Manhattan doorman - he graduated from Amherst College and Harvard Law School. Though he is a workaholic who sends e-mail messages to subordinates at 2 a.m. and has never married, friends say the man they call Fitzie is a hilarious raconteur and great company for beer and baseball. Ruthless in his pursuit of criminals, he once went to considerable trouble to adopt a cat. 'He's a prankster and a practical joker,' said Ms. Seymour, who now practices law in New York, recalling when Mr. Fitzgerald drafted a fake judge's opinion denying a key motion and had it delivered to a colleague. 'But he's also brilliant. When he's trying a complicated case, there's no detail he can't recall.'"

David Wallechinsky: The CIA Leak Case: Almost Famous

As we wait to see if special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald will indict members of the Bush Administration, it is possible that two people are on the verge of fame. Administration insiders John Hannah and David Wurmser are rumored to have turned. If this is true, and if it is also true that Fitzgerald has expanded his investigation to include issues beyond the Valerie Plame leak, we may witness the gradual unraveling of the Bush presidency.

Only weeks after President George W. Bush's inauguration, Vice-President Dick Cheney chose John Hannah to be his point man dealing with Saddam Hussein. The following year, Hannah became an active member of the White House Iraq Group (WHIG) that operated out of Cheney%u2019s office and that was in charge of marketing the invasion of Iraq and of providing information that could be used to support administration arguments. The WHIG was chaired by Karl Rove (naturally) and included Cheney aide Scooter Libby, Karen Hughes, Condoleezza Rice and her deputy, Stephen Hadley, and others. Hannah is already in trouble because he was the conduit for the fake intelligence about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction that came from Ahmed Chalabi and that was fed to the U.S. public by Judith Miller of The New York Times. It was also Hannah, along with Scooter Libby, who introduced Colin Powell to all of the phony information that he used in his disastrous speech to the United Nations justifying the invasion of Iraq.
In 1997, David Wurmser wrote an op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal that advocated overthrowing Saddam Hussein by supporting Ahmed Chalabi, whom he would later describe as one of his mentors. When the administration of George W. Bush clashed with the CIA about Iraq's role in international terrorism, they created their own intelligence analysis unit at the Pentagon that would bypass the CIA and search for a justification to invade Iraq. Wurmser was at the heart of this unit. He then moved on to become a senior advisor to John Bolton while Bolton was at the State Department. In 2003, Cheney borrowedWurmser to be his Middle East advisor.
If it is true that Hannah and Wurmser, both of whom were deeply involved in creating the justifications for the invasion of Iraq, have cooperated honestly and fully with Fitzgerald, they could become the case's equivalent of Watergate's John Dean, while the Valerie Plame leak will be to this scandal what the actual Watergate break-in was to the Watergate affair, the crack in the door that leads to revelations of a greater scandal. The question would then be whether the CIA Leak Case becomes President Bush's Iran-Contra or his Watergate. If the administration successfully prevented the development of a paper trail connecting the work of the WHIG to President Bush, then, like Ronald Reagan, he will look bad, but will survive. If the legal isolation of the president was done in a sloppy manner, or if internal rivalries have turned administration members against one another, it could lead to the end of Bush's presidency. As his poll ratings are already doing, Bush's career would follow the path of Richard Nixon's.
P.S. Why was it that John Bolton visited Judith Miller while she was in prison?"

Friday, October 21, 2005

Women Pull Ahead In College

There are more women than men in US colleges, and they're scoring better too. "There are more men than women ages 18-24 in the USA — 15 million vs. 14.2 million, according to a Census Bureau estimate last year. But nationally, the male/female ratio on campus today is 43/57, a reversal from the late 1960s and well beyond the nearly even splits of the mid-1970s. The trends have developed in plain view — not ignored exactly, but typically accompanied by some version of the question: Isn't this a sign of women's progress?"

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Tom DeLay Mug Shot

The Smoking Gun: "OCTOBER 20--Here's the Tom DeLay mug shot snapped this afternoon when the deposed House majority leader appeared at a Harris County, Texas sheriff's office to be booked on conspiracy and money laundering charges. The Republican pol, 58, was forced to submit to a brief photo and fingerprint session after a District Judge yesterday issued an arrest warrant for him. The congressman is scheduled for his initial court appearance tomorrow in Travis County District Court."

The iPodding of America

Yes, iPods are a fine invention, and there's no doubt that the ability to carry your entire music library with you (now with video!) is far preferable to the old one-note portable music players. But how healthy is it for everyone in America to travel around in a self-imposed isolation bubble, preferring the iPod sountrack to the sounds of the world? "Behaviors that seem weirdly antisocial when they emerge quickly take on the bland, banal tone of business as usual. Cell phone yakkers in airports and elevators barely get noticed now. And it's no longer odd to pass someone in a grocery store aisle who's peering intently at the tomato paste cans and chatting away into some barely visible headset." Are those infernal white ear buds just the latest escapist plague?

Felon gets longer sentence to match Bird jersey

"OKLAHOMA CITY -- A man got a prison term longer than prosecutors and defense attorneys had agreed to because of Larry Bird.

The lawyers reached a plea agreement Tuesday for a 30-year term for a man accused of shooting with an intent to kill and robbery. But Eric James Torpy wanted his prison term to match Bird's jersey number 33.

"He said if he was going to go down, he was going to go down in Larry Bird's jersey," Oklahoma County District Judge Ray Elliott said Wednesday. "We accommodated his request and he was just as happy as he could be.

"I've never seen anything like this in 26 years in the courthouse. But, I know the DA is happy about it."

China's Oil Demand Complicates Relations with U.S

This year the Chinese National Offshore Oil Company made a bid to buy the American oil company Unocal. The bid, later withdrawn, sparked a new controversy between Washington and Beijing and reinforced China's status as a competitor for fuel.

White Giraffe found

What do an African researcher and the fictional character Captain Ahab have in common? Both were searching for a legendary white beast, and whereas Ahab searched for his white whale, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) researcher Charles Foley sought--and finally found--his white giraffe.

The No Spine Zone

A screen shot from O'Reilly's appearance on the Today Show this morning:
This image has not been altered. It's not clear whether the caption is an error or a sudden decision by NBC to raise their standards of accuracy.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Naughty Harry: Lawyering Without a License

NY Times: Maureen Dowd: "I was just coming to grips with the idea that a Supreme Court nominee doesn't need to have any experience for the job.
Now it turns out that a Supreme Court nominee doesn't even need to always be a lawyer in good standing.
Harriet Miers shared a little secret about herself on her application to be an associate justice: "Earlier this year, I received notice that my dues for the District of Columbia bar were delinquent and as a result, my ability to practice law in D.C. had been suspended."
Did that little dog on the birthday card she sent W. eat her dues?
Ms. Miers, then the White House counsel, remedied the situation after she got the letter. But weren't the Bush spinners making a case for her by reporting that she was really great at managing the paper flow when she was the president's staff secretary?
Now we discover that she could be such a scatterbrain about paperwork that a little tiny thing like being able to legally practice law slipped her mind while she was serving as the lawyer for the leader of the free world?"

Rove Losing His Cool as Leak Inquiry Heats Up: Margaret Carlson

Oct. 19 (Bloomberg) -- In Washington, you know you're in
real trouble when the Media Stakeout occupies your front lawn
like an invading army, sprouting panel trucks and satellite
uplinks curbside and littering your landscape with candy
wrappers and plastic cups.
The atmosphere was captured perfectly in the movie ``The
Birdcage,'' when a fictional senator, Gene Hackman, tried to
escape reporters clamoring outside his house by climbing out a
bedroom window. Greeted by popping flash bulbs, he turns and
gives the V-sign, as if this was his usual means of exit and he
was just thrilled by the attention.
Caught in that glare last week, Karl Rove took a different
tack. Backing out of his driveway in a leafy Washington
neighborhood on the day he would make his fourth appearance
before the grand jury looking into the leaking of a CIA agent's
identity, Rove flashed his high beams at the five pouncing
television crews. He momentarily thwarted them. That he didn't
react with Hackman's aplomb tells you a lot about the mental
state of the usually unflappable Rove.
Showing the Strain
Rove is showing the strain of the two-year inquiry. If he
hadn't been so preoccupied, he surely would have limited the
damage from the encampment of Cindy Sheehan at Bush's Texas
ranch and sent the president off on his Gulf Coast storm watch
before pictures of dead bodies flooded the airwaves.
The nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court was
well down the track before Rove found out how serious Bush was
about appointing his own lawyer, the Washington Post reported
yesterday. By then, it was too late to do much about it.
Although Rove got a high-profile walk across the South Lawn
with Bush after he was first exposed as one of the leakers, he's
been barely seen at all lately, much less with the president. He
canceled two engagements last weekend, one of which was to help
out the Republican candidate for governor in Virginia, for whom
he raised $100,000 in June in an hour. Rove was set to do the
same last Saturday but bowed out at the last minute.
As Fitzgerald's quest winds down, the prospect of Rove
surviving intact dwindles. Of course, if he's indicted, he'll be
gone in a day. Bush can't have an indicted Rove a brainbeat
away, although you have to wonder what substitute brain is going
to convey that to Bush, whose valuation of loyalty falls
somewhere between that of a college fraternity and the Crips."

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

No Final Report Seen in Inquiry on C.I.A. Leak

New York Times: "WASHINGTON, Oct. 18 - The special counsel in the C.I.A. leak case has told associates he has no plans to issue a final report about the results of the investigation, heightening the expectation that he intends to bring indictments, lawyers in the case and law enforcement officials said yesterday.
The prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, is not expected to take any action in the case this week, government officials said. A spokesman for Mr. Fitzgerald, Randall Samborn, declined to comment.A final report had long been considered an option for Mr. Fitzgerald if he decided not to accuse anyone of wrongdoing, although Justice Department officials have been dubious about his legal authority to issue such a report. By signaling that he had no plans to issue the grand jury's findings in such detail, Mr. Fitzgerald appeared to narrow his options either to indictments or closing his investigation with no public disclosure of his findings, a choice that would set off a political firestorm. With the term of the grand jury expiring Oct. 28, lawyers in the case said they assumed Mr. Fitzgerald was in the final stages of his inquiry."

Bush Calls On Business Leaders To Create 500,000 Shitty Jobs By 2006

WASHINGTON, DC—In a keynote address at the National Economic Summit, President Bush issued a bold challenge to the nation's business leaders Monday, calling on them to create 500,000 shitty jobs by next year.

"So long as unemployment continues to rise, this recession will continue, as well," said Bush, speaking before nearly 400 of the nation's top CEOs. "That is why I am turning to you to create thousands of new shit jobs. Whether it is a night-shift toilet-cleaning position at an airport or a fry-cook post at a KFC, it's up to you to help provide every hard-working American with a demeaning, go-nowhere job."

During his 25-minute speech, Bush cited a number of industries with the potential to provide gainful, godawful employment for thousands of laid-off Americans.

"I challenge those of you who have made your fortunes in the fields of sheet-metal fabrication, poultry processing, and highway-toll collecting to expand your roster of menial, low-paying positions with no hope of advancement," Bush said. "That is your strength, as it should be the strength of us all."

N and W: Cheney resignation rumors fly "Sparked by today's Washington Post story that suggests Vice President Cheney's office is involved in the Plame-CIA spy link investigation, government officials and advisers passed around rumors that the vice president might step aside and that President Bush would elevate Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
'It's certainly an interesting but I still think highly doubtful scenario,' said a Bush insider. 'And if that should happen,' added the official, 'there will undoubtedly be those who believe the whole thing was orchestrated - another brilliant Machiavellian move by the VP.'
Said another Bush associate of the rumor, 'Yes. This is not good.' The rumor spread so fast that some Republicans by late morning were already drawing up reasons why Rice couldn't get the job or run for president in 2008." What's hate got to do with it?

October 18, 2005
In a corner office high over 47th Street in Manhattan, Bill O'Reilly stretches out behind a medium-sized desk that seems like a medieval fortress. Those papers piled high in the corners? Battlements. The pens, pencils and letter openers? Pikes, longbows and spiked flails.
The computer where O'Reilly had just filed his newspaper column moments earlier? Let's call that a drawbridge beyond which an angry mob has assembled. Google the words 'Bill O'Reilly' and 6.5 million hits instantly appear. The first two are the flame-throwing newsman's own Web sites, but those are followed by the seething mass of obsessive O'Reilly haters who would love nothing better than to reach through the screen and throttle the tall, wan, rich, famous/infamous fellow on the other side.
Gauging the animus against O'Reilly has always been a rough art, but by his own estimation 'it's gotten worse. Now it's so bad that I spend an enormous amount of money protecting myself against evil.'
One usual suspect behind this rising tide of hatred, he says, is the Liberal Media Establishment, infuriated because it 'can't marginalize me.' But whatever the reason, almost exactly a year since he settled a sexual harassment lawsuit with former Fox News producer Andrea Mackris - the anniversary is next Thursday - the embattled life of O'Reilly has become an increasingly strange and scary one.
As O'Reilly puts it, here are the facts: There are death threats. He has to hire bodyguards. He can't check into hotels with his family. People on the street with cell phones are stealth paparazzi, capable of snagging a picture one minute, then posting it on the Web the next. He adds that during the past year he's had to 'even get more stuff to make it more difficult for people to get through the wire. Who wants to live like that?'
And as a direct consequence of the lawsuit - which was settled for undisclosed terms and which both parties agreed to never speak of publicly - O'Reilly must have a third person present whenever he conducts a rare interview like this one, or talks to someone on the phone. (Dave Tabacoff, executive producer of 'The O'Reilly Factor' is the minder on this early fall day.) 'Anyone can accuse me of anything and [then] it's on a Web site.' So little wonder that when Bill O'Reilly is asked about his future after his current contract ends a little more than two years from now, he blurts out one word even as the question is asked: 'Retirement.'"

Cheney's Office Is A Focus in Leak Case

WaPo: "As the investigation into the leak of a CIA agent's name hurtles to an apparent conclusion, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has zeroed in on the role of Vice President Cheney's office, according to lawyers familiar with the case and government officials. The prosecutor has assembled evidence that suggests Cheney's long-standing tensions with the CIA contributed to the unmasking of operative Valerie Plame.In grand jury sessions, including with New York Times reporter Judith Miller, Fitzgerald has pressed witnesses on what Cheney may have known about the effort to push back against ex-diplomat and Iraq war critic Joseph C. Wilson IV, including the leak of his wife's position at the CIA, Miller and others said. But Fitzgerald has focused more on the role of Cheney's top aides, including Chief of Staff I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, lawyers involved in the case said.One former CIA official told prosecutors early in the probe about efforts by Cheney's office and his allies at the National Security Council to obtain information about Wilson's trip as long as two months before Plame was unmasked in July 2003, according to a person familiar with the account.It is not clear whether Fitzgerald plans to charge anyone inside the Bush administration with a crime. But with the case reaching a climax -- administration officials are braced for possible indictments as early as this week-- it is increasingly clear that Cheney and his aides have been deeply enmeshed in events surrounding the Plame affair from the outset."

Monday, October 17, 2005

'Hidden Scandal' in Miller Story, Charges Former CBS Newsman

Since the posting of The New York Times lengthy article on Judith Miller's involvement in the Plame scandal Saturday, much of the Web has been abuzz with the revelation that she had some sort of special classified status while embedded with troops in Iraq at one point.
The issue came to the fore after Miller, in recounting her grand jury testimony, wrote about how her former classified status figured in her discussions with I. Lewis Libby. She was even pressed by the prosecutor on this matter.
E&P columnist William E. Jackson Jr., had first raised this issue in a 2003 column published on E&P's Web site. On Sunday, former CBS national security correspondent Bill Lynch posted his views in a long letter about it at the Romenesko site at Here is the letter:

'There is one enormous journalism scandal hidden in Judith Miller's Oct. 16th first person article about the (perhaps lesser) CIA leak scandal. And that is Ms. Miller's revelation that she was granted a DoD security clearance while embedded with the WMD search team in Iraq in 2003.
This is as close as one can get to government licensing of journalists and the New York Times (if it knew) should never have allowed her to become so compromised. It is all the more puzzling that a reporter who as a matter of principle would sacrifice 85 days of her freedom to protect a source would so willingly agree to be officially muzzled and thereby deny potentially valuable information to the readers whose right to be informed she claims to value so highly.'"

Don't Mess with Texas: Bigfoot Conference Draws Hundreds

By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer Sun Oct 16, 4:31 AM ET

JEFFERSON, Texas - Next to a lifelike replica of a giant ape head, the believers milled around tables Saturday covered with casts of large footprints, books about nature's mysteries and T-shirts proclaiming "Bigfoot: Often Imitated, Never Invalidated."

While they can have a sense of humor about it, the search for the legendary Sasquatch is no joke for many of the nearly 400 people who came here to discuss the latest sightings and tracking techniques at the Texas Bigfoot Conference.

"It's not a matter of believing, like faith, when you believe in something you can't see," said Daryl G. Colyer, a Lorena businessman who has investigated hundreds of reported Bigfoot sightings in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana.

"It's a flesh-and-blood animal that just has not been discovered yet. And I think we're getting closer and closer and closer," Colyer said.

Outlandish theories about the origin of Bigfoot abound, including that it might be an extraterrestrial. Many believe that a towering, ape-like creature descended from a prehistoric 9- to 10-foot-tall gorilla called a Gigantopithecus, and that it now inhabits North American forests.


DeLay faces fingerprinting, mug shots

Updated: 2:17 p.m. ET Oct. 17, 2005AUSTIN, Texas - Rep. Tom DeLay will likely be booked in a Texas county jail this week despite attempts by his attorneys to bypass the fingerprinting and mug shot process. The former House majority leader was forced to step down from the post last month when he was indicted by a Texas grand jury. DeLay initially was charged with conspiracy to violate the election code and days later was indicted on charges of money laundering and conspiracy to launder money in an alleged illegal scheme to funnel corporate money to Republican Texas legislative candidates. DeLay's arraignment is set for Friday before state district Judge Bob Perkins in Travis County, Texas."

US school cancels 'decadent' prom

BBC NEWS: "The head of a US Catholic school has cancelled prom night because of objections to a 'bacchanalian' culture of 'financial decadence'.
Kenneth Hoagland, of Kellenberg Memorial High in Long Island, took action via a letter to parents.
'[Kellenberg] is willing to sponsor a prom, but not an orgy,' he wrote, after consultations that began last year.
Prom night is a rite of passage for US students and there have been passionate reactions for and against the move.
The principal began looking into the future of the prom last Spring after it was discovered that 46 Kellenberg seniors made a $10,000 down payment on a $20,000 house rental in the Hamptons for a post-prom party."

'God blogging' workshop spreads faith

LA MIRADA, California (AP) -- What would Jesus blog?

That and other pressing questions drew 135 Christians to Southern California this weekend for a national conference billed as the first-ever for "God bloggers," a growing community of online writers who exchange information and analyze current events from a Christian perspective.

The three-day conference at Biola University marked an important benchmark for Christian bloggers, who have worked behind the scenes for years to spread the Gospel and infuse politics with religion.

Topics included God bloggers' relationship with the traditional church, their growing influence on mainstream politics and how to manage outsiders' perceptions.

Some predicted bloggers could play a role in reforming the modern church by keeping televangelists and other high-profile Christian leaders honest.

Mugabe likens Bush and Blair to fascists

Robert Mugabe used a United Nations platform on Monday to compare George W. Bush and Tony Blair to Europe's fascist-era leaders.

Speaking in Rome at a 60th anniversary ceremony of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) on Monday, the Zimbabwean president called the US and UK leaders “international terrorists” for launching the war in Iraq.

“Must we allow these men, the two unholy men of our millennium, who in the same way as Hitler and Mussolini formed their unholy alliance, formed an alliance to attack an innocent country?” news agencies quoted Mr Mugabe as saying. “We did not agree with Saddam Hussein, but we accorded to the people of Iraq their right to decide who should lead them.”

Mr Mugabe was applauded after he spoke as the last of nine leaders to address the conference. The Venezuelan and Brazilian leaders also hit at US foreign policy.

Drug business prescribes a novel cure for its ills

New York Daily News: "Who knew that the multibillion-dollar U.S. pharmaceutical industry was so keen on publishing pulp fiction?
In a tale worthy of a zany Washington satire - except for the lamentable fact that it's true - the rich and powerful pharmaceutical lobby secretly commissioned a thriller novel whose aim was to scare the living daylights out of folks who might want to buy cheap drugs from Canada.
When the project fell through in July, I'm told the drug lobby offered $100,000 to the co-authors and publisher in a vain effort to sweep it under the rug.
Talk about thinking outside the box!
'This is the most outrageous example of deception and duplicity on the part of a Washington lobby in the history of the country,' said Capitol Hill denizen Jeff Weaver, chief of staff to Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), a diehard foe of the pharmaceutical industry."

David's foot vandal returns to attack Florentine plaque

Curators and guardians of Italy's artistic heritage, much of it on open display, will be on high alert this week following the discovery that the country's most persistent art vandal is back in action.Piero Cannata, who earned worldwide notoriety by taking a hammer to Michelangelo's David, confessed to local newspapers in Tuscany that he had struck again in the very centre of Florence. It was discovered that somebody had sprayed a thick black "x" on a plaque, set into the paving of Piazza della Signoria, commemorating the burning to death of the 15th-century preacher and reformer Girolamo Savonarola.
(Just a note: Savonarola was what you would call a fundamentalist of the Renaissance. He held something called the "Bonfire of Vanities" in the 1600's. Here, everyone would come and burn music, instruments, and paintings. For he believed these things detracted from worship. What a nut!! This guy even converted Botticelli, who then burned many of his paintings. There are only several Botticelli works left. What a shame.)

Sunday, October 16, 2005

McDonald's in Japan Offers Shrimp Burger

TOKYO - Struggling to lure customers back amid increased competition, McDonald's is adding a new item to its menu in Japan: the shrimp burger.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Miller Case: A Notebook, a Cause, a Jail Cell and a Deal

New York Times: "In a notebook belonging to Judith Miller, a reporter for The New York Times, amid notations about Iraq and nuclear weapons, appear two small words: 'Valerie Flame.'
Ms. Miller should have written Valerie Plame. That name is at the core of a federal grand jury investigation that has reached deep into the White House. At issue is whether Bush administration officials leaked the identity of Ms. Plame, an undercover C.I.A. operative, to reporters as part of an effort to blunt criticism of the president's justification for the war in Iraq.
Ms. Miller spent 85 days in jail for refusing to testify and reveal her confidential source, then relented. On Sept. 30, she told the grand jury that her source was I. Lewis Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. But she said he did not reveal Ms. Plame's name.
And when the prosecutor in the case asked her to explain how 'Valerie Flame' appeared in the same notebook she used in interviewing Mr. Libby, Ms. Miller said she 'didn't think' she heard it from him. 'I said I believed the information came from another source, whom I could not recall,' she wrote on Friday, recounting her testimony for an article that appears today.
Whether Ms. Miller's testimony will prove valuable to the prosecution remains unclear, as do its ramifications for press freedom. Yet an examination of Ms. Miller's decision not to testify, and then to do so, offers fresh information about her role in the investigation and how The New York Times turned her case into a cause."

My Four Hours Testifying in the Federal Grand Jury Room

New York Times:
By Judith Miller
"In July 2003, Joseph C. Wilson IV, a former ambassador, created a firestorm by publishing an essay in The New York Times that accused the Bush administration of using faulty intelligence to justify the war in Iraq. The administration, he charged, ignored findings of a secret mission he had undertaken for the Central Intelligence Agency - findings, he said, that undermined claims that Iraq was seeking uranium for a nuclear bomb.
It was the first time Mr. Wilson had gone public with his criticisms of the White House. Yet he had already become a focus of significant scrutiny at the highest levels of the Bush administration.
Almost two weeks earlier, in an interview with me on June 23, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby, discussed Mr. Wilson's activities and placed blame for intelligence failures on the C.I.A. In later conversations with me, on July 8 and July 12, Mr. Libby, who is Mr. Cheney's top aide, played down the importance of Mr. Wilson's mission and questioned his performance.
My notes indicate that well before Mr. Wilson published his critique, Mr. Libby told me that Mr. Wilson's wife may have worked on unconventional weapons at the C.I.A.
My notes do not show that Mr. Libby identified Mr. Wilson's wife by name. Nor do they show that he described Valerie Wilson as a covert agent or 'operative,' as the conservative columnist Robert D. Novak first described her in a syndicated column published on July 14, 2003. (Mr. Novak used her maiden name, Valerie Plame.)
This is what I told a federal grand jury and the special counsel investigating whether administration officials committed a crime by leaking Ms. Plame's identity and the nature of her job to reporters."

Suspected CJD numbers grow

Suspected CJD numbers grow
TWIN FALLS -- A man from southeastern Idaho has died after being diagnosed with Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Alan Kingsford, 72, died Thursday at his home in Niter in Caribou County, according to an obituary in Saturday's Idaho State Journal. He owned a welding and repair business, the obituary said.
He is the eighth person to die since January in Idaho after being diagnosed with CJD.
CJD is a fatal brain-wasting disease carried by prions, an abnormal form of protein in the bloodstream. Prions cause folding of normal protein in the brain, leading to brain damage. Symptoms include dementia and other neurological signs. Its victims usually die within four or five months after onset of the disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
CJD that is caused by eating meat from a cow with bovine spongiform encephalopathy -- commonly known as mad cow disease.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Who Hates Their MTV?

LA Weekly: Columns: Deadline Hollywood: Who Hates Their MTV?: "Who Hates Their MTV?
How the rebel network sold its soul for bimbos, princesses and bucks

Let's talk about the end of civilization as we know it, in this case signified by the rise of Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County and My Super Sweet 16, the logic-defying successors to the creepy I Want a Famous Face and that scummy Cribs. We feel your pain. We, too, remember when MTV used to be all about the issues — subversive and usually liberal. Now the network is all gab about the glam lifestyles, love triangles, mean girls and staged cat fights on these impossible-to-ignore unreality shows starring spoiled simpletons. We don’t mean to make like the Rev. James Dobson, but we’re certain that the MTV execs who green-lighted these docudramas about socioeconomic excess are headed straight for hell.

Nor are we alone in our thinking. Increasingly, college newspapers everywhere feature angry articles by normal students complaining that the once-worshipped music channel has abandoned its values and is embracing acquisitiveness for the sake of crass commercialism. Consider, for instance, this recent column in the Penn State Daily Collegian: “The saying used to be ‘I want my MTV.’ But for the last few years, all I can say is that I hate my MTV. I wish my friend Holden Caulfield was here. He would tell you how phony, superficial and just plain crappy that network has become. No music and no real substance . . . Does anyone believe money buys happiness? You would if you watched shows like Sweet 16 or Laguna Beach. Gag me with a spoon... MTV has hijacked who we are right now...”"

Woman on Motorcycle Collides With Bear

JAMESTOWN, Calif. -- A woman suffered a broken collarbone after she collided with a 250-pound bear.

California Highway Patrol officers said 38-year-old Diana Nichols, of Dunlap, was going about 50-to-65 mph on her motorcycle on Highway 108 near Jamestown when she struck the bear on Monday afternoon. Nichols tried to brake but the bear ran into her path, flipping the bike.

Nichols was airlifted to a hospital in Modesto, where she was treated and released.

Officers believe late-afternoon shadows may have obscured the black bear, which become increasingly active in fall.

The bear fled the scene after the collision.

Python gobbles down turkey State News
: "MIAMI --
Once again, a python was done in by its dinner.
After one python exploded after trying to eat an alligator, and another was blamed for disappearance of a Siamese cat, a 10-foot African rock python was apparently trapped by the turkey it ate at a Miami nursery. It couldn't slither back through a fence to digest the bird in peace.
Dozens of turkeys and chickens live at the nursery, and owner Felix Azquz noticed one turkey was missing early Monday.
Then Azquz, 77, saw the bulging snake.
'It scared me,'' Azquz said. ``I ran outside to call the police.''
Capt. Al Cruz of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue antivenin unit said a similar 16-foot-long snake was found in the same area three years ago, before a new housing development was built.
The snake was taken to a Miami-Dade County nature center, but Cruz said it will be moved to a zoo in central Florida because of its aggression.
'It launches at everything that tries to come near it,'' Cruz said.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

In Her Own Words

NY Times: David Brooks: "Of all the words written about Harriet Miers, none are more disturbing than the ones she wrote herself. In the early 90's, while she was president of the Texas bar association, Miers wrote a column called "President's Opinion" for The Texas Bar Journal. It is the largest body of public writing we have from her, and sad to say, the quality of thought and writing doesn't even rise to the level of pedestrian.
Throw aside ideology. Surely the threshold skill required of a Supreme Court justice is the ability to write clearly and argue incisively. Miers's columns provide no evidence of that.
The Miers nomination has reopened the rift between conservatives and establishment Republicans.
The conservative movement was founded upon the supposition that ideas have consequences. Conservatives have founded so many think tanks, magazines and organizations, like the Federalist Society, because they believe that you have to win arguments to win political power. They dream of Supreme Court justices capable of writing brilliant opinions that will reshape the battle of ideas.
Republicans, who these days are as likely to be members of the corporate establishment as the evangelical establishment, are more suspicious of intellectuals and ideas, and more likely to believe that politics is about deal-making, loyalty and power. You know you are in establishment Republican circles when the conversation is bland but unifying. You know you are in conservative circles when it is interesting but divisive. Conservatives err by becoming irresponsible. Republicans tend to be blown about haplessly by forces they cannot understand."

Woman Charged in Pregnant Neighbor Attack

By RAMESH SANTANAM, Associated Press Writer 47 minutes ago

PITTSBURGH - A woman clubbed her pregnant neighbor over the head with a baseball bat, drove her to the woods and cut her belly with a knife in an attempt to steal her baby, police say.

Police said Wednesday's attack on Valerie Oskin was stopped before her baby was taken after a teenager on an all-terrain vehicle came across the women.

Oskin, 30, later underwent an emergency Caesarean section at a hospital. State police Thursday said she was in critical condition and her baby in stable condition. She was believed to have been in her third trimester of pregnancy, authorities said.

Peggy Jo Conner, 38, of Ford City, was arraigned Thursday on charges of attempted homicide and aggravated assault and was jailed without bail.

Conner had told her live-in partner before the attack that she was pregnant, and investigators found baby-related items in her trailer, Armstrong County District Attorney Scott Andreassi said.
"Clearly, she was expecting a child coming in shortly," Andreassi said. "There's nothing to indicate she was pregnant."

The assault began Wednesday morning, when Conner hit Oskin several times with a bat, Andreassi said. Conner then put Oskin and Oskin's 7-year-old son in her car, dropped the boy off at a family member's house and drove the pregnant woman about 15 miles to a secluded area about 50 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, Andreassi said.

There, Conner cut Oskin across her abdomen with a razor knife, authorities said.
"She was sliced over an old (Caesarean) scar and severely bleeding," Trooper Jonathan Bayer said. A 17-year-old boy on an ATV spotted Conner kneeling next to the pregnant woman on the ground, Bayer said. The boy rode home and told his father, who called authorities, who arrested Conner at the scene.

The pregnant woman "probably would have bled to death if this young boy had not discovered her when he did," Bayer said.
A call to Conner's home went unanswered Thursday afternoon. State police said they did not know if she had a lawyer.

Last December, Bobbie Jo Stinnett, who was eight months pregnant, was strangled at her Missouri home, and her baby was cut from her womb. Prosecutors said Lisa Montgomery showed the baby off as her own before her arrest. She is awaiting trial

A Polling Free-Fall Among Blacks

WaPo: "In what may turn out to be one of the biggest free-falls in the history of presidential polling, President Bush's job-approval rating among African Americans has dropped to 2 percent, according to a new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll.The drop among blacks drove Bush's overall job approval ratings to an all-time low of 39 percent in this poll. By comparison, 45 percent of whites and 36 percent of Hispanics approve of the job Bush is doing.
A few months after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found Bush's approval rating among blacks at 51 percent. As recently as six months ago, it was at 19 percent."

Mr. Eddings ... you're guilty

"CHICAGO -- Hear ye, hear ye. The People's Court is now in session with the honorable Second Guesser presiding to hear testimony in the matter of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, California, North America et al v. Doug Eddings(Home Plate Umpire)"

Vice President's role in outing of CIA agent under examination, sources close to prosecutor say

Cheney's role in CIA outing not known

Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald is trying to determine whether Vice President Dick Cheney had a role in the outing of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame-Wilson, individuals close to Fitzgerald say. Plame’s husband was a vocal critic of prewar intelligence used by President George W. Bush to build support for the Iraq war.

The investigation into who leaked the officer's name to reporters has now turned toward a little known cabal of administration hawks known as the White House Iraq Group (WHIG), which came together in August 2002 to publicize the threat posed by Saddam Hussein. WHIG was founded by Bush chief of staff Andrew Card and operated out of the Vice President’s office.
Fitzgerald’s examination centers on a group of players charged with not only selling the war, but according to sources familiar with the case, to discredit anyone who openly “disagreed with the official Iraq war” story.

The group’s members included Deputy White House chief of staff Karl Rove, Bush advisor Karen Hughes, Senior Advisor to the Vice President Mary Matalin, Deputy Director of Communications James Wilkinson, Assistant to the President and Legislative Liaison Nicholas Calio, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby - Chief of Staff to the Vice President and co-author of the Administration's pre-emptive strike policy.

$11 Million a Day Spent on Hotels for Storm Relief

New York Times: "WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 - Straining to meet President Bush's mid-October deadline to clear out shelters, the federal government has moved hundreds of thousands of evacuees from Hurricane Katrina into hotel rooms at a cost of about $11 million a night, a strategy local officials and some members of Congress criticize as incoherent and wasteful.
The number of people in hotels has grown by 60 percent in the past two weeks as some shelters closed, reaching nearly 600,000 as of Tuesday. Even so, relief officials say they cannot meet the deadline, as more than 22,000 people were still in shelters in 14 states on Wednesday.The reliance on hotels has been necessary, housing advocates say, because the Federal Emergency and Management Agency has had problems installing mobile homes and travel trailers for evacuees and has been slow to place victims in apartments that real estate executives say are available throughout the southeast.Hotel costs are expected to grow to as much as $425 million by Oct. 24, a large expense never anticipated by the FEMA, which is footing the bill. While the agency cannot say how that number will affect overall spending for storm relief, critics point out that hotel rooms, at an average cost of $59 a night, are significantly more expensive than apartments and are not suitable for months-long stays. Officials in cities from Dallas to Atlanta, which are accommodating thousands of evacuees, give credit for getting 90 percent of the victims out of shelters. But they say they are frustrated by FEMA's record in helping place people in more adequate housing. 'Deplorable. Disappointing. Outrageous. That is how I feel about it,' said the Atlanta mayor, Shirley Franklin, a Democrat, in a telephone interview on Wednesday. 'The federal response has just been unacceptable. It is like talking to a brick wall.'"

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Focus of CIA Leak Probe Appears to Widen "The New York Times reporter who went to jail to avoid testifying in the CIA leak case was quizzed by the special prosecutor again yesterday and has agreed to return to the grand jury today.
Judith Miller's additional testimony comes as the endgame is intensifying in the legal chess match that threatens to damage the Bush administration.
There are signs that prosecutors now are looking into contacts between administration officials and journalists that took place much earlier than previously thought. Earlier conversations are potentially significant, because that suggests the special prosecutor leading the investigation is exploring whether there was an effort within the administration at an early stage to develop and disseminate confidential information to the press that could undercut former Ambassador Joseph Wilson and his wife, Central Intelligence Agency official Valerie Plame.
Mr. Wilson had become a thorn in the Bush administration's side, as he sought to undermine the administration's claims that Iraq had sought to buy materials for building nuclear weapons from other countries, such as uranium 'yellowcake' from Niger. Ultimately, his wife's name and identity were disclosed in a newspaper column, prompting the investigation into whether someone in the administration broke the law by revealing the identity of an undercover agent.
Ms. Miller, the Times reporter, was interviewed again yesterday to discuss conversations she had with I. Lewis 'Scooter' Libby, the vice president's chief of staff. She testified on Sept. 30 before a grand jury about conversations she had with Mr. Libby in July 2003.
Since then, her lawyers have told Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor investigating the leak of the CIA agent's identity, that Ms. Miller's notes show that she also spoke with Mr. Libby in late June, information that was not previously given to the grand jury.
Mr. Fitzgerald's pursuit now suggests he might be investigating not a narrow case on the leaking of the agent's name, but perhaps a broader conspiracy."

Arkansas Mother Gives Birth to 16th Child

Yahoo! News: "LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - Michelle Duggar just delivered her 16th child, and she's already thinking about doing it again.
Johannah Faith Duggar was born at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and weighed 7 pounds, 6.5 ounces.
The baby's father, Jim Bob Duggar, a former state representative, said Wednesday that mother and child were doing well.
He said Johannah's birth was especially exciting because it was the first time in eight years the family has had a girl.
Jim Bob Duggar, 40, said he and Michelle, 39, want more children.
'We both just love children and we consider each a blessing from the Lord. I have asked Michelle if she wants more and she said yes, if the Lord wants to give us some she will accept them,' he said."

Harriet Miers Blog

Click the following link:

---I Back the Nat! Bring the Nat Back! Who loves Nat?

Bush's Closet Heterosexuals

: "Radar thinks the ambiguous sexual orientation of rabid Republicans is a valid story. Why doesn’t the rest of the media?
by John Aravosis
This week President Bush’s second Supreme Court nominee, Harriet Miers, joined the swelling ranks of high-powered Republicans with, um—how to put it?—ambiguous sexual orientations. The club of what we’ll call “closet heterosexuals” also includes such luminaries as the very single Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman, California congressman David Dreier, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Miers, 61, has never been married, has no kids, doesn’t appear to have any serious love interests, and has a special place in her heart for softball. Does that make her a lesbian? Of course not. But is it kosher to pose the question or just to report on the fact that others are asking it? According the mainstream media, no.
With Mehlman, Dreier, and Rice the mainstream press has simply refused to report on long-standing rumors about each of them. A reporter for a major newspaper told me that his paper had asked Mehlman about the rumors last year, but when Mehlman refused to affirm on the record that he was straight, the editors killed the article. Why? The fact that the incoming head of the Republican Party—which, after all, put the subject of sexual orientation front and center in the cultural wars—won’t publicly commit to liking women is about as legitimate a story as I can think of."

For President Under Duress, Body Language Speaks Volumes

For President Under Duress, Body Language Speaks Volumes:

"It's only 6:17 a.m. Central time, and President Bush is already facing his second question of the day about Karl Rove's legal troubles.'Does it worry you,' NBC's Matt Lauer is asking him at a construction-site interview in Louisiana, that prosecutors 'seem to have such an interest in Mr. Rove?'Bush blinks twice. He touches his tongue to his lips. He blinks twice more. He starts to answer, but he stops himself.'I'm not going to talk about the case,' Bush finally says after a three-second pause that, in television time, feels like a commercial break.Only the president's closest friends and family know (if anybody does) what he's really thinking these days, during Katrina woes, Iraq violence, conservative anger over Harriet Miers, and legal trouble for Bush's top political aide and two congressional GOP leaders. Bush has not been viewed up close; as he took his eighth post-Katrina trip to the Gulf Coast yesterday, the press corps has accompanied him only once, because the White House says logistics won't permit it. Even the interview on the 'Today' show was labeled 'closed press.'But this much could be seen watching the tape of NBC's broadcast during Bush's 14-minute pre-sunrise interview, in which he stood unprotected by the usual lectern. The president was a blur of blinks, taps, jiggles, pivots and shifts. Bush has always been an active man, but standing with Lauer and the serene, steady first lady, he had the body language of a man wishing urgently to be elsewhere.The fidgeting clearly corresponded to the questioning. When Lauer asked if Bush, after a slow response to Katrina, was 'trying to get a second chance to make a good first impression,' Bush blinked 24 times in his answer. When asked why Gulf Coast residents would have to pay back funds but Iraqis would not, Bush blinked 23 times and hitched his trousers up by the belt.When the questioning turned to Miers, Bush blinked 37 times in a single answer -- along with a lick of the lips, three weight shifts and some serious foot jiggling. Laura Bush, by contrast, delivered only three blinks and stood still through her entire answer about encouraging volunteerism.Perhaps the set itself made Bush uncomfortable. He and his wife stood in casual attire, wearing tool belts, in front of a wall frame and some Habitat for Humanity volunteers in hard hats. ABC News noted cheekily of its rival network's exclusive: 'He did allow himself to be shown hammering purposefully, with a jejune combination of cowboy swagger and yuppie self-consciousness.'"

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

To Sir, With Love

New York Times: Maureen Dowd: "W. was the best Harry ever had. 'You are the best Governor ever - deserving of great respect!' gushed Harriet Miers, then the Texas Lottery chief, to George W. Bush in 1997. The belated birthday card she sent her boss with a sheepishly eager puppy poking his head up and a poem that read: 'This is the wish/That should have been sent/Before your birthday/Came and went.'
According to a cache of mash notes released by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission in response to formal requests from The Times and other news organizations, Ms. Miers also told W. that he was 'cool' and 'the best!'; that he and Laura were 'the greatest'; that Texas was 'in great hands'; and that the governor should 'keep up the great work. Texas is blessed.'Since there is no breathtaking Miers judicial record to pore over, I was eager to read more breathless Miers missives to a president she describes as the most brilliant man she has ever met. How could I get the notes from the White House, given how opposed Mr. Bush is to leaks? I called Scooter and Karl and they sent the secret documents right over."

News Orgs Working On Story Tying Cheney Into Plamegate - Developing

The Huffington Post: "The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg are working on stories that point to Vice President Dick Cheney as the target of special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald's investigation into the leaking of CIA operative Valerie Plame's name. "

US Blocks U.N. Briefing on Atrocities in Sudan

"U.S. Ambassador John Boltonblocked a U.N. envoy on Monday from briefing the Security Council on grave human rights violations in Sudan's Darfur region, saying the council had to act against atrocities and not just talk about them.
Bolton, joined by China, Algeria and Russia, prevented Juan Mendez, Secretary-General Kofi Annan's special adviser for the
prevention of genocide, from briefing the council on his recent visit to Darfur, despite pleas from Annan and 11 other council
members that Mendez be heard."
The abandoned village of Chero Kasi in Darfur after Janjaweed militiamen set it ablaze. Photograph: Scott Nelson/Getty Images

Libby Did Not Tell Grand Jury About Key Conversation (10/11/05)

NATIONAL JOURNAL: "In two appearances before the federal grand jury investigating the leak of a covert CIA operative's name, Lewis (Scooter) Libby, the chief of staff to Vice President Cheney, did not disclose a crucial conversation that he had with New York Times reporter Judith Miller in June 2003 about the operative, Valerie Plame, according to sources with firsthand knowledge of his sworn testimony.
The new revelations regarding Libby come as Fitzgerald has indicated that he is wrapping up his investigation and making final decisions as to whether criminal charges will be brought in the case.
Libby also did not disclose the June 23 conversation when he was twice interviewed by FBI agents working on the Plame leak investigation, the sources said.
Special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald apparently learned about the June 23 conversation for the first time just days ago, after attorneys for Miller and The New York Times informed prosecutors that Miller had discovered a set of notes on the conversation.
Miller had spent 85 days in jail for contempt of court for refusing to testify before the grand jury about her conversations with Libby and other Bush administration officials regarding Plame. She was released from jail after she agreed to cooperate with Fitzgerald's investigation. Miller testified before the grand jury on September 30, and attorneys familiar with the matter said that she agreed to be questioned further by Fitzgerald today.

How we con ourselves into putting up with second best

Telegraph: "Politicians, con artists and others who like to mislead us should take heart from a study published today that shows how people are often happy to be deceived because of a phenomenon called 'choice blindness'. When we choose one thing but get second best or something quite different, we can easily be persuaded that we chose the option we actually got, a Swedish team reports today. Theories about decision-making generally assume that we recognise when our intentions and the outcomes of our choices do not match up. Today, in the journal Science, Dr Petter Johansson, Dr Lars Hall and colleagues at Lund University report that this assumption should not be taken for granted, except when it comes to major decisions. They showed pairs of female faces to 120 volunteers and asked them to choose which face in each pair they found most attractive. Then, the researchers showed the volunteers the card they had chosen and asked them to explain their choice. For some of the pairs, though, the researchers secretly switched the cards and showed the volunteers the cards they had not chosen. In 85 per cent of these cases, the volunteers nonetheless explained their supposed choice, even when presented with the face they had considered less attractive. The detection rate did not vary when the faces looked quite different, although it was better if they were given time to ponder, rising to around one quarter of the time they were presented with the wrong face."

NPR : John Adams Writes an Opera for the Atomic Age

NPR : John Adams Writes an Opera for the Atomic Age:

"The eagerly anticipated third opera from John Adams, Doctor Atomic, premiered Oct. 1 at the San Francisco Opera. Based on Richard Rhodes' book The Making of the Atomic Bomb, Adams' work focuses on physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer and the project he led to create -- and detonate -- the first atomic bomb.

Adams, who won a Pulitzer Prize in 2003 for his composition On the Transmigration of Souls, wrote Doctor Atomic with his longtime collaborator and librettist, Peter Sellars. Sellars drew from original source material, including personal memoirs, technical manuals of nuclear physics and declassified government documents.

Adams discusses Doctor Atomic and Alex Ross of The New Yorker offers a critical perspective"

Wired News: Academia Embraces Spooky Studies

At the University of Arizona, a psychology laboratory devotes its time to investigating dynamic info-energy systems and a survival of consciousness hypothesis. University of Virginia cardiologists have been studying whether heart patients enter transcendental environments in the operating room. Meanwhile, a psychiatrist colleague compiles records of alleged transmigration events from around the world.
Translation? At two of America's best universities, professors and doctors are studying the existence of the soul, near-death experiences and reincarnation.
Sure, plenty of scientists throughout history tried to uncover the mystery of life after death, from Aristotle to Thomas Edison, who took time off from activities like electrocuting an elephant to contemplate a megaphone for the dead. But current-day afterlife research? At accredited institutions of higher learning? Who knew?
Science journalist Mary Roach, author of the new book Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife, said that institutions are looking at the debate over the existence of the afterlife and declaring, ''We can study it, we can apply principles of peer-reviewed research, we can do it.' People say, 'Yes, we can figure it out.''

Documents Show Supreme Court Nominee's Close Ties to Bush - New York Times

AUSTIN, Tex., Oct. 10 - "You are the best governor ever - deserving of great respect," Harriet E. Miers wrote to George W. Bush days after his 51st birthday in July 1997. She also found him "cool," said he and his wife, Laura, were "the greatest!" and told him: "Keep up the great work. Texas is blessed."

earthquake photo

Monday, October 10, 2005

Strange fruit

BBC NEWS: "Every year, thousands of tons of fruit and veg are rejected by supermarkets not on taste grounds, but because they don't look good. 'Ugly' veg is a fact of farming, but nowadays few of us see it.
Maybe Esther Rantzen should take some of the blame.
That's Life, the Sunday night consumer show hosted by Rantzen on BBC One in the 1970s and 80s, never tired of poking fun at, er, slightly smutty-looking vegetables.
In today's supermarkets there is no place, amid the shelves of lustrous fruits and vegetables, for such comically deformed specimens.
The produce aisles have become more akin to a beauty pageant with their glossy red tomatoes, scrubbed stalks of celery, blemish-free apples and pleasingly rounded oranges.
But a growing number of food campaigners say that in this quest to make everything we buy visually flawless, we have lost something more important: taste.