Sunday, December 31, 2006

Top Ten Ways We Got Jacked by Conservatives

If you ever wanted to see how badly 'conservatives' have been shaking the silver out of our pockets in the past six years, this list is it.
Had enough of 'conservative' rip-off artists in Washington? Here's a list of the worst offenses we've seen since 2001.
1) The Bush administration has created the biggest budget deficit, debt, and trade imbalance ever while cutting funding for domestic needs like education, Medicare, and Medicaid.
2) The administrations tax cuts favor the rich, no matter how you look at it. About 87 percent of tax benefits go to the 14 percent of households with incomes above $100,000. Households with incomes below $75,000 -- three-quarters of all households -- get just 5 percent of those benefits.
3) Bush signed the largest corporate tax break package in two decades, $136 billion. After World War II, corporations paid half the cost of running the federal government. Today, they pay 7%.
4) The price of gas doubled under Bush. The top oil companies earned $25 billion during the quarter that Hurricane Katrina struck compared to $50 billion for all of 2004. Former Exxon-Mobil, CEO, Lee Raymond got a $400 million exit package.
5) The Republican Congress has voted against every minimum wage increase, except the one linked to getting rid of the estate tax for the rich. The real income of the average American household has fallen five years in a row.
6) House Republicans chopped education programs by $14.3 billion -- the highest cuts ever. College tuition has increased 34 percent since Bush took office.

7) Since 2001, average monthly health care premiums have risen from $342 to $603. Annual deductibles have doubled. Today 46 million Americans (including 8.4 million children) have no health insurance, an increase of 6 million since Bush took office.

8) The Senate approved the biggest bankruptcy law in a quarter of a century. Republicans voted AGAINST protecting senior citizens, the seriously ill, military members, veterans, and employees.

9) In 1983, the Greenspan Commission put Social Security measures in place that created a $1.7 trillion surplus in the system. This administration borrowed against and cut that to $153 billion while blaming citizens for not dying young enough.

10) In 2005, Americans paid $4.3 billion in withdrawal fees at ATM’s and $16 billion to credit card companies in late fees alone. Republicans have suggested no remedies.

Jane Smiley: The Buck Stops Everywhere | The Huffington Post

I was working on another post, entitled, 'How is the War in Iraq like
a Frontal Lobotomy?' (answer--false advertising), but really, I'm not
that interested in the history anymore. I'm more interested in the
'surge'. I'm interested because the 'surge' is a classic example of a
loser's strategy, and it is about to be put in place by a bunch of
losers. The 'surge' is about saving face rather than achieving an
objective, and, let me say it right here, it's a guy thing. It's like
'going down fighting', except that those who are going to be going down
aren't going to be those who want to save face.

People always comment on how stubborn George W. Bush is, or how stupid
he is, or how ignorant he is, but what they don't comment on is how
selfish he is. Clearly, the face that is being saved in this probable
'surge' is his face, and that's how he wants it. He is willing to
sacrifice any number of troops (and we don't know what that number will
be, but it could be high) and any number of Iraqis (certainly a higher
number, because the American troops will throw off all restraint) in
order to say that---Well, what? What would be the expression? 'We did
our best'? Well, no. The Bush administration didn't do their best,
because they never gave their post war strategy any thought. 'We tried'?
Hardly. 'We did everything we could'? But no. They gave the PR a shot
('weapons of mass destruction'), but in the end, they were indifferent
to everything about the war except George W. Bush's mood. When his mood
was good, they told him some nice things about Iraq, and when his mood
was bad, they kept the bad news from him so his mood wouldn't get
worse. Remember how the former British Ambassador was warned by Condi
Rice as he went into a meeting with Bush, 'Don't make him angry'?
One thing I have always wondered about Bush, that I wonder even more
now, is what is the source of his power over these people, that come
hell (Iraq) or high water (Katrina), they do what he wants? Does he
throw things? Does he hold his breath and turn red in the face, so that
they worry he'll have a stroke? Does he hit people? Does he shout, 'Off
with his head!'? Does he send high level dissenters to Gitmo? (I wish
he would, so that they could come to experience and understand
conditions there). Do they just defer to him because of the office of
the Presidency? (No one did that with Bill Clinton). Why would anyone
feel allegiance to George W. Bush? It's a mystery, and it's a mystery
that is killing people every day."

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Buhbye ice shelf

by AJ in DC - 12/29/2006 04:20:00 PM
What? 41 square miles of ice shelf, one of six major shelves left in Canada's arctic, breaks off into the ocean? Collapse was so powerful that earthquake monitors 155 miles away picked up tremors? No, no; no global warming here, please move on. I said there's nothing to see here! Al Gore is still a lying crazy person, scientists are raving libruls, and hybrid cars are for communists! Why does the Canadian artic hate America? In reality, though, Warwick Vincent of Laval University, who studies Arctic conditions, 'traveled to the newly formed ice island and could not believe what he saw.' He commented, 'It is consistent with climate change.'What a surprise."

Friday, December 29, 2006

Most outrageous comments of 2006

How extreme were conservative commentators in their remarks
this year? How about calls to nuke the Middle East
and an allegation that a 'gay ... mafia' used the congressional
page program as its own 'personal preserve.' Right-wing rhetoric
documented by Media Matters for America included the nonsensical (including Rush Limbaugh's
claim that America's 'obesity crisis' is caused by, among
other things, our failure to 'teach [the poor] how to butcher a --
slaughter a cow to get the butter, we gave them the butter'), the
offensive (such as right-wing pundit Debbie Schlussel's question about
'Barack Hussein Obama': is he 'a man we want as President
when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his
loyalties be?'), and the simply bizarre
(such as William A. Donohue's claim that some Hollywood
stars would 'sodomize their own mother in a movie'). Since there
were so many outrageous statements, we included a list of honorable mentions
along with the top 11, which, if not for Ann Coulter, we might have limited to
10.
The top 11 (in chronological order):
William A. Donohue,president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights:
'Well, look, there are people in Hollywood,
not all of them, but there are some people who are nothing more than harlots.
They will do anything for the buck. They wouldn't care. If you asked them to
sodomize their own mother in a movie, they would do so, and they would do it
with a smile on their face.' [2/9/06]
Fox News host John
Gibson: 'Do your duty. Make more babies. That's a lesson drawn
out of two interesting stories over the last couple of days. First, a story
yesterday that half of the kids in this country under five years old are
minorities. By far, the greatest number are Hispanic. You know what that means?
Twenty-five years and the majority of the population is Hispanic. Why is that?
Well, Hispanics are having more kids than others. Notably, the ones Hispanics
call 'gabachos' -- white people -- are having fewer.' [5/11/06]"

Monday, December 25, 2006

Wal-Mart is selling Nazi SS skull t-shirts

Bent Corner: "I stopped in at Wal-Mart today after I got off work. I had to pick up a few things. As I was walking past the men's clothing area, something caught my eye. I noticed something weird over at a wall of t-shirts. One of the t-shirts had a design on it that looked remarkably like something related to Nazis. Specifically, the Totenkopf or "Death’s Head".
I took a picture of it with my camera phone.

The Death's Head symbol was worn by the members of the German Nazi SS. The Totenkopf on the Wal-Mart t-shirt looks very similar to the divisional insignia of the 3rd SS Division Totenkopf. As you can see, It's almost an exact copy.

Neo-Nazi's sometimes use the Totenkopf image because it is not as easily identifiable as other Nazi symbols such as the swastika. You might see one of these tattooed on someone's arm while standing in line at Burger King and think it's just an poorly done pirate skull. It's not.
Is Wal-Mart purposely trying to sell clothing with Nazi symbols on it? I doubt it. They wont even sell CD's with bad words on them. I doubt someone at Wal-Mart corporate headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas decided to sell clothing with Nazi symbols on it.
Whoever designed this shirt had to know where the skull image came from. I have no idea what the date 1978 refers to."

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cocaine on 94 Percent of Spanish Banknotes - New York Times

MADRID (Reuters) - Traces of cocaine can be found on 94
percent of banknotes in Spain, a country that has one of the
world's highest rates of users, according to a study published
on Sunday.The 100 notes tested were collected in gyms, supermarkets
and pharmacies across Spain, where increased affluence and
falling street prices have made the drug more and more
accessible.Cocaine now sells for as little as 60 euros ($80) a gram,
or 5 euros ($7) a line, and it is regularly used by 1.6 percent
of Spaniards, up from 0.9 percent in 1999, a government report
said this month.Law enforcement agencies say cocaine is getting cheaper and
more popular in Europe because of efforts to boost production
by Colombian paramilitaries and rebels who need money for
weapons. Spain is a major entry point to Europe for the
smugglers.It was not clear how many of the notes had been used to
snort cocaine and how many had picked up traces from other
bills, according to the study by the Sailab laboratory,
published in the daily El Mundo."

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Toyota Expects to Be World's No. 1 Automaker Next Year



"We had the foresight to start hybrid development earlier than other companies," Press said. "This year we will sell more hybrids than Cadillac will sell cars."

And 'they' used to say it wasn't economically sensible.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Rhetoric Addiction, or “I’m a Pundit, so Eat Me.”

From Mark at Spittle and Ink:
We live in a country where rhetoric is a thing to consume, where words are the stuff with which we sustain our addictions. We no longer care about meaning, about facts, about truth, about history or the future. Like the meth addict or the harbor drunk, we only care about our next fix: that next sweet batch of rhetoric.
So sick have we become with this addiction, we sacrifice our lives, and even the lives of our own children, for the next hit.
Let me back up a second, and throw in some folksy slang so you know I havent suddenly adopted the fey arrogance of that queer little Italian kicking up Green Zone dust in Iraq right now. The American people are frickin idiots, and like Dr. Evil in his underground lair, Im surrounded by em.
Why am I so endlessly shocked by this fact? I mean, holy moley, Ive been politically active since the term holy moley was tossed around by Billy Batson%u2019s red-suited alter ego. (Well, in reprints, anyway.) Why am I so surprised? Why cant I ever just succumb, and slip gently into the warm bath of serene, calming words that fit my simplistic, if horribly erroneous, preconceptions?

In my last podcast, I threw out a manifesto of sorts, announcing to the world that no blog will ever convince anyone of anything.

So what do I do with this stuff? Do I run it? Does anyone really care? Will this suddenly make Kos and his gang realize they are no better than the Rocco DiPolepuffers or Michelle Malkins of the world? That they are just as much the gay whores of the political blogosphere as the ones partying with Duke Cunningham?

No, ladies and gentlemen, the reality is this. No blog anywhere will ever convince anyone of anything. I want to repeat that. No blog anywhere will ever convince anyone of anything.

Why is that? Because unlike television, which you can stumble upon by accident, blogs are not read by those on the opposite side of the spectrum. They are also not read by this mythical creature called the undecided. No, the hard truth is that lefties read lefty blogs, and righties read righty blogs.

No one is convincing anyone of anything. Instead, all these things are doing is reinforcing their own troops. And I call bullshit on the whole thing.

(An aside: it does feel good to be such a fantastic person and remarkable writer that quoting yourself actually adds a level of scholarship to your site. Go, me!)
Because clearly if something isn’t working, than doing a whole lot more of it should work, right?

But in moments of clarity – meaning the Paxil and Goldschlager has kicked in – I see it all for what it is. The American dialogue isn’t about discussing truth or delving into facts. It isn’t about trying to debate an issue in order to actually end up with an outcome. It isn’t anything near what the participants insist it is.

It’s about consumption, just like everything else in our arch-capitalist society. We consume rhetoric for pleasure, just as we buy cigarettes and alcohol and porn and cookies – or, if you’re me, tobacco-laced rum-soaked porn cookies.* We consume what we want to hear, because it gives us pleasure, and America is nothing if not addicted to pleasure.

Climate Change vs Mother Nature: Scientists reveal that bears have stopped hibernating

Bears have stopped hibernating in the mountains of northern Spain, scientists revealed yesterday, in what may be one of the strongest signals yet of how much climate change is affecting the natural world.
In a December in which bumblebees, butterflies and even swallows have been on the wing in Britain, European brown bears have been lumbering through the forests of Spain's Cantabrian mountains, when normally they would already be in their long, annual sleep.
Bears are supposed to slumber throughout the winter, slowing their body rhythms to a minimum and drawing on stored resources, because frozen weather makes food too scarce to find. The barely breathing creatures can lose up to 40 per cent of their body weight before warmer springtime weather rouses them back to life.
But many of the 130 bears in Spain's northern cordillera - which have a slightly different genetic identity from bear populations elsewhere in the world - have remained active throughout recent winters, naturalists from Spain's Brown Bear Foundation (La Fundacin Oso Pardo - FOP) said yesterday.
The change is affecting female bears with young cubs, which now find there are enough nuts, acorns, chestnuts and berries on thebleak mountainsides to make winter food-gathering sorties 'energetically worthwhile', scientists at the foundation, based in Santander, the Cantabrian capital, told El Pais newspaper.
'If the winter is mild, the female bears find it is energetically worthwhile to make the effort to stay awake and hunt for food,' said Guillermo Palomero, the FOP's president and the co-ordinator of a national plan for bear conservation. This changed behaviour, he said, was probably a result of milder winters. 'The high Cantabrian peaks freeze all winter, but our teams of observers have been able to follow the perfect outlines of tracks from a group of bears,' he said.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Sagan blog-a-thon is Dec. 20


"Bloggers around the world celebrate Carl Sagan's life on the 10th anniversary of his death"

Fans and bloggers are planning a worldwide blog-a-thon to commemorate the life and legacy of Carl Sagan -- consummate scientist, communicator and educator -- on Dec. 20, the 10th anniversary of his death. Sagan was Cornell's David Duncan Professor of Astronomy and Space Sciences.
The event, organized by New York City fan Joel Schlosberg, encourages bloggers of all stripes to discuss the Cornell astronomer's influence in their lives. Schlosberg plans to compile a meta-blog -- a blog of blogs -- following the event to link Sagan bloggers to one another.
Nick Sagan, one of Sagan's sons, supports the effort. 'The goal here is to make Dec. 20 a blogosphere-wide celebration of the life and works of Carl Sagan,' he wrote. 'So if you're a Carl Sagan fan with a blog, or you know someone who is, I hope you'll join in and take some time on that day to share your thoughts, memories, opinions and feelings about my dad. And if you could help spread the word, it would mean a lot to me.'"

Monday, December 18, 2006

American Apparel to Be Sold to Investment Firm

American Apparel, the casual clothing chain whose socially conscious manufacturing, sexually charged advertising and snug-fitting T-shirts have generated a cultlike following, will be sold to a little-known investment firm for $382.5 million, according to people briefed on the matter.

The decision to sell the privately held company, expected to be announced today, is a surprise move by the company’s eccentric founder, Dov Charney, who is known for exercising strict, and at times controversial, control over the retailer’s operations.

Mr. Charney, who grew up in Montreal, has personally photographed many of the semi-naked women featured in American Apparel advertising and is known for hiring employees, most of them women, on the spot during telephone calls or at parties.

American Apparel’s buyer, the Endeavor Acquisition Corporation, is a small, publicly traded investment group created last year, with less than $125 million in assets. American Apparel is the firm’s first acquisition — and Endeavor is expected the chain across the globe.

Endeavor Acquisition was founded as a so-called “blank check” firm, intended to buy companies, by Jonathan J. Ledecky, who started U.S. Office Products in 1994, expanding it through 260 acquisitions. U.S. Office Products filed for bankruptcy protection in 2001, a few of years after Mr. Ledecky left.

Mr. Charney, 37, will remain chief executive of American Apparel after the sale, according to people with direct knowledge of the deal, who discussed the transaction on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.

American Apparel, founded in 1997 in Los Angeles, quickly became a retail sensation, with 145 stores and Gap-like ubiquity with seven stores in Los Angeles and 15 in New York City.

But its sales have slowed significantly in the last year. At stores open at least a year, a crucial measure in retailing, revenue rose 7 percent in 2006, compared with 74 percent in 2004 and 45 percent in 2005, according to documents prepared by Endeavor.

Still, Endeavor predicted in the documents that American Apparel could reach 800 stores worldwide, which would make it as large as established retail brands like Abercrombie & Fitch and American Eagle Outfitters.

“I think we will get beyond that” number, Mr. Charney said in an interview. “It’s all about manifest destiny. Wherever FedEx goes, we will go.”

Under the terms of the deal, Endeavor valued American Apparel at $382.5 million, people involved in the purchase said. Endeavor will pay about $250 million in restricted stock; assume $110 million in debt; and pay $23 million in bonuses, restricted stock and stock options to top employees. Endeavor will be paying about 12.7 times earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization on American Apparel’s $30 million in earnings this year, a significant premium given the chain’s profits. But earnings are expected to grow to $50 million next year.

Mr. Ledecky said he became interested in American Apparel after several young analysts at his firm, which has a casual dress code, started showing up to work wearing the retailer’s signature T-shirts and polos.

Both Mr. Ledecky and Mr. Charney declined to discuss details of the transaction.

At the heart of American Apparel are two threads: a high-minded business model that requires clothes to be made in the United States at double minimum wage, and a retro-chic that glamorizes the T-shirt-and-jeans simplicity of the 1970s and 80s.

All of the clothing is made at a factory in downtown Los Angeles, instead of overseas, where most of Endeavor’s competitors make their apparel. The retailer subsidizes employees’ health care, and provides meals as well as free English classes.

The message has won over thousands of young urban residents — Mr. Charney refers to them as “Young Metropolitan Adults” — who flock to the chain for bright-colored T-shirts, leggings and underwear. American Apparel is expected to have $275 million in sales this year.

But as American Apparel has expanded, its founder, Mr. Charney, has been dogged by accusations of sexual harassment and a management style that could make it hard for him to operate within the traditional boundaries of a publicly traded company.

Mr. Charney has gained a reputation as the Hugh Hefner of retailing, decorating his stores with covers of Penthouse magazine and admitting in interviews to sleeping with employees. In lawsuits filed in 2005, several employees charged him with creating a work environment in which women did not feel safe.

They claimed in the lawsuits, for example, that Mr. Charney conducted job interviews in his underwear and gave a vibrator to at least one female worker. Mr. Charney has denied the charges, and judges have dismissed some of the lawsuits against him.

In the interview, Mr. Charney said that the media had “exploited American Apparel on certain issues,” adding, “I would never do an interview in my underwear.”

Speaking generally, Mr. Charney commented, “I think that like everyone, I have made my mistakes.” But he continued, “We have run this company well, having the fastest retail rollout in American history. I am proud of my team.”

As a result of the lawsuits, however, American Apparel employees must now sign a document that declares: “American Apparel is in the business of designing and manufacturing sexually charged T-shirts and intimate apparel, and uses sexually charged visual and oral communications in its marketing and sales activity.”

Mr. Charney said that, in keeping with his policy of paying seamstresses above-average wages, he would ensure that low-level employees receive stock in the company, likely worth up to several thousand dollars.

“I want this deal to reflect the culture of the company,” he said. “I look forward to circulating a memo in Spanish when this deal closes.”


===Chipotle Mexican Grill purchases all uniforms through American Apparel

Paul Taylor, Hitting Close To Home - washingtonpost.com



If anyone doubted who the savage character in the suit and tie was supposed to represent in Paul Taylor's unsparingly brutal antiwar work 'Banquet of Vultures,' Taylor himself minced no words in explaining.'Frankly, the guy in the red tie is Bush,' the ordinarily reticent choreographer told the audience during a discussion after Friday's richly textured performance of the Paul Taylor Dance Company at the Kennedy Center Eisenhower Theater. Taylor said he was inspired to create a dance focusing on President Bush after watching him move.
The Paul Taylor Dance Company, shown in rehearsal, performed 'Banquet of Vultures' on Friday night.
The first time I saw Bush walking, on television, I did not trust the man,' he said. 'His walk is a lie.'Walks are like fingerprints,' he continued. 'They tell a lot about us. And this one was not sincere.'Taylor's own body language, his animated demeanor, his very willingness to speak colorfully in a large public forum made clear how pleased this native Washingtonian was that 'Banquet of Vultures' -- an obvious denunciation of the Iraq war and the politicians who started it, a work that Taylor created last year -- was being seen just a short hop from the White House.
Taylor puts his self-described presidential figure right in the middle of the battlefield, watching stonily as agonies fell the troops. Trusnovec, all angles and edges, dances the role with surgical exactitude, and his eyes were sharpest of all, cold and unflinching. After he violates a female recruit, kills her and tosses her aside, the spotlight shifts upstage to a second power figure in a suit and tie. Wracked as if by inner demons, throwing himself to the stage and rising again, this man is has a clear identity as well: He'll be the next sicko to wage war.

100-year-old receives college degree - Wonderful World - MSNBC.com

WACO, Texas - When Marvin L. Hub Northen left Baylor University in 1929, he was one chemistry credit shy of graduating. This fall, the 100-year-old was finally granted his degree. Northen, who lives in a nursing home in Shreveport, La., did not attend Saturdays commencement at Baylor. But he was listed among the December 2006 graduates. He had a surprise graduation ceremony at his Shreveport church on Nov. 28 when he was presented with a Baylor diploma, a cap and gown and his official transcript. I didnt expect any of it. Of course, I appreciated it. It wore me out all day long, Northen said. Northen left Baylor because the Great Depression had hit and he needed to work to help his family. According to Glenn Hilburn, the retired chair of Baylors religion department, Northen has been participating in a class that can be substituted for the Chemistry 101 class he never took. Hes passed this substitute class with a grade of A-plus without even knowing it,D Hilburn said. Its Life 101. Hes mastered that course and mastered it well.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Tom Toles Cartoons - (washingtonpost.com)

World's tallest man saves dolphin



BBC NEWS : "The world's tallest man has saved two dolphins by using his long arms to reach into their stomachs and pull out dangerous plastic shards.
Mongolian herdsman Bao Xishun was called in after the dolphins swallowed plastic used around their pool at an aquarium in Fushun, north-east China.
Attempts to use instruments failed as the dolphins contracted their stomachs.
Guinness World Records list Mr Bao, 54, as the world's tallest living man at 2.36m (7ft 8.95in)."

Border Fence Firm Snared for Hiring Illegal Workers


A fence-building company in Southern California agrees to pay nearly $5 million in fines for hiring illegal immigrants. Two executives from the company may also serve jail time. The Golden State Fence Company's work includes some of the border fence between San Diego and Mexico."

Thursday, December 14, 2006

`Non-notable' the kiss of death on Wikipedia

Casual readers might assume that Wikipedia's goal is a complete account of all earthly knowledge, but the site maintains a rather elaborate set of criteria for admission. The several thousand unpaid volunteers who write and edit Wikipedia spend a lot of energy ensuring that people, bands, companies and everything else meet what it calls "notability guidelines."

Let's sum it up this way: Not everyone is Wiki-worthy.

In fact, Wikipedia jettisons more than 100 entries each day, many of them from people who posted autobiographies after registering on the site. (Writing your own entry, as we will see, is "strongly discouraged.") The list of nominated rejects is posted each day on a page titled "articles for deletion," and because all of Wikipedia is transparent and public, anyone can watch the editors' votes roll in, and witness those ultimately deemed non-notable get cyber-gonged off the stage. Type "wikipedia deletion log" into Google for a peek at the latest.

TITAN!

Cassini-Huygens: Multimedia-Images

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wonderful World

Guantanamo Detainees Going to New Prison - Forbes.com


The U.S. military transferred the first group of detainees on Thursday to a new maximum-security prison at Guantanamo Bay designed to restrict contact among the prisoners and prevent attacks on guards.More than 40 detainees were brought to the $37 million prison perched on a plateau overlooking the Caribbean Sea from another maximum-security facility at the U.S. naval base in eastern Cuba, said Navy Cmdr. Robert Durand.The 178-cell prison, constructed beside another maximum-security prison built in 2004, will allow the base to phase out an older facility, Durand said.U.N. human rights investigators and foreign governments have called on the United States to close the entire detention center because of widespread allegations of abuse of detainees by guards. The United States labels Guantanamo detainees 'enemy combatants,' which accords them fewer rights than other prisoners."

More politics that just make you say, why?


My girlfriend recently heard an interview on Irish public radio about US Charity 'Send a Piano to Havana', a charity setup to send pianos to Cuba to help musical children get access to pianos, another on the list of item prescribed by the US embargo. I had a piano that my daughter learned on, my sister prior prior to that, but which I can't play and is now surplus.
Anyway, they're chock full of donated pianos, but according to their website, seeking funds to build a piano tuning school in Cuba.

I have the normal European dislike of the economic embargo imposed on Cuba (and hence the rest of the world's ability to deal with Cuba) by the US. I'm pitch deaf but all my kids are musicians. I can't imagine them not being able to be themselves because the US said no one could sell guitars, drums or pianos to Ireland."

Hero Catches Tot as She Falls from Second Story Window

ARLINGTON, Va. — It took a second or two for Jaimen Ortiz to fully comprehend what he was seeing: two toddlers playing in an open second-floor window, and one of them hanging from the window sill.

So Ortiz hopped a fence and ran to the apartment building. Just as he got there, the 2-year-old girl fell, screaming. Ortiz put out his arms and caught her cleanly, perhaps saving her life and certainly preventing serious injury.

"If I had delayed one more second, she would have fallen to the ground," Ortiz said through a Spanish interpreter, recalling the Oct. 13 incident.

Airport Security Nixes Heisman Trophy

BREITBART.COM: "Troy Smith's Heisman Trophy was shipped home because airport security would not allow the Ohio State quarterback to take it on the plane Tuesday. Smith wore a black leather jacket with the Heisman insignia on back when he arrived at the airport from New York, where he was presented college football's most coveted trophy. Eddie George, the last Buckeye to win the Heisman in 1995, had his trophy get stuck in an airport X-ray machine, losing the tip of its right index finger and bending the middle finger. 'We decided to have it shipped. That's much easier. How times have changed. Eddie carried it on the plane and put it in the seat next to him,' sports information director Steve Snapp said. Smith said he didn't mind. 'No, because Eddie's finger got bent,' Smith said. 'I don't want that to happen to mine.' "

Monday, December 11, 2006

Burkina Faso comes to the rescue of alleged witches


(SomaliNet) Burkina Faso has begun a campaign aimed at ensuring that women chased from their villages because of alleged witchcraft enjoy their fundamental human rights.

Burkina Faso's Human Rights Ministry will offer these ladies with Identification Cards. It has come to the rescue of the women who often live in conditions of extreme poverty because they are accused of involvement in witchcraft.

"We are here to tell them, you are citizens," Burkina Faso's Human Rights Minister Monique Ilboudo reached to Burkina Faso's natives via the nation's TNB public television.

"We cannot exclude citizens through accusations that aren't backed up," she added.

Many women in Burkina Faso are often tortured for killing others using witchcraft. These are often thrown out of their villages when found "guilty."

The "soul eaters" are often forced to drink a crude intoxicant, which more often than not, forces them to affirm to the villagers' suspicion that they killed the victim.

Gore chases Oscar nod, possible 2008 bid - Yahoo! News

Al Gore is waging a fierce campaign for recognition and an Oscar statuette for his global warming documentary, while reviving talk that he's pursuing a bigger prize: the presidency.
His recent itinerary has been the ultimate in high profile. The former vice president made self-deprecating jokes on 'The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,' offered ideas on preserving the environment to Oprah Winfrey and her daytime audience and parried questions on Iraq from Matt Lauer on 'The Today Show.'
This Saturday Gore is hosting a network of 1,600 house parties across the country to watch and discuss his documentary, 'An Inconvenient Truth,' with the Democrat planning to address the gatherings by satellite hookup. The movie is on the short list of feature-length documentaries being considered for Oscar nominations.
Crisscrossing the country to promote the DVD version of the movie %u2014 just in time for holiday gift-giving %u2014 Gore insists that he's not planning a return to politics.
'I am not planning to run for president again,' Gore said last week, arguing that his focus is raising public awareness about global warming and its dire effects. Then, he added: 'I haven't completely ruled it out.'"

Music industry frets over popular guitar Web sites

Rob Balch sees himself as a music educator of sorts, and the thousands of guitarists who have flocked to his Web site would no doubt agree. At Balch's Guitar Tab Universe, he posted the chords and finger positions for rock songs--all the information needed to crank out a version of anything from the Rolling Stones' 'Wild Horses' to the latest U2 single. Music publishers, though, see Balch very differently: He's helping people steal the copyrighted sheet music they sell. So over the past several months, they effectively shut down Guitar Tab Universe and several other sites like it. The tussle over the online guitar tab, which is short for tablature, is another manifestation of the great clash between the freewheeling Internet and the cold reality of business law. It pits an industry struggling to combat what it sees as piracy against the Web ethos of swapping information for free. A similar battle played out in the much bigger recorded music business, with the industry scoring significant victories. But just as the record industry still struggles to contain illegal song swapping, guitarists can still easily find free tabs online."

Friday, December 08, 2006

Macaque is such a Menace



NEW DELHI - A top court reprimanded authorities in the Indian capital for failing to stop hundreds of monkeys from terrifying residents, news reports said Thursday.

As forest cover around New Delhi has shrunk, the city has struggled with a growing simian population. Government buildings, temples and many residential neighborhoods are overrun by hundreds of Rhesus macaques. The animals will occasionally snatch food from unsuspecting passers-by and even bite them.

"If you can't control the monkeys, what can you do?" the Delhi High Court acerbically asked representatives of the various municipal authorities in a ruling responding to a petition filed by the harassed residents of a posh residential neighborhood. The court asked authorities to explain "what measures were being formulated to find a permanent solution to the monkey menace in the capital."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Serious Use for Silly String - New York Times

STRATFORD, N.J. (AP) -- In an age of multimillion-dollar high-tech weapons systems, sometimes it's the simplest ideas that can save lives. Which is why a New Jersey mother is organizing a drive to send cans of Silly String to Iraq.American troops use the stuff to detect trip wires around bombs, as Marcelle Shriver learned from her son, a soldier in Iraq.Before entering a building, troops squirt the plastic goo, which can shoot strands about 10 to 12 feet, across the room. If it falls to the ground, no trip wires. If it hangs in the air, they know they have a problem. The wires are otherwise nearly invisible.Now, 1,000 cans of the neon-colored plastic goop are packed into Shriver's one-car garage in this town outside Philadelphia, ready to be shipped to the Middle East thanks to two churches and a pilot who heard about the drive.

Serious Use for Silly String - New York Times

New York Times: "STRATFORD, N.J. (AP) -- In an age of multimillion-dollar high-tech weapons systems, sometimes it's the simplest ideas that can save lives. Which is why a New Jersey mother is organizing a drive to send cans of Silly String to Iraq.American troops use the stuff to detect trip wires around bombs, as Marcelle Shriver learned from her son, a soldier in Iraq.Before entering a building, troops squirt the plastic goo, which can shoot strands about 10 to 12 feet, across the room. If it falls to the ground, no trip wires. If it hangs in the air, they know they have a problem. The wires are otherwise nearly invisible.Now, 1,000 cans of the neon-colored plastic goop are packed into Shriver's one-car garage in this town outside Philadelphia, ready to be shipped to the Middle East thanks to two churches and a pilot who heard about the drive."

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

NY Post's Andrea Peyser Suckles, Slams Obama in Same Day

Radar Online: "As a political columist for a right-wing tabloid, it's tough to know just which Democrat to hate on. The confusion revealed itself yesterday in the ramblings of New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser, who completely reversed her views on Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton from one edition of the paper to the next. That's right: Two different versions of the same column appeared in the paper on the same day%u2014one supporting Obama, and the other slamming him.
Depending on which version of her rantings readers encountered, Peyser either praised the Illinois Senator and probable 2008 Democratic presidential candidate as a 'rock star' who has admitted to coke and pot use ('About time,' she said), or chided him as 'The Rev. Al Obama.'
Post owner Rupert Murdoch is a reliable Republican propagandist, but he has a pragmatic streak that sometimes cuts against his politics. Murdoch famously threw a fundraiser for Clinton and bestowed his paper's endorsement upon her for Senate, but the Post's marquee gossip column is unsparing when it comes to the Clintons' personal lives.
The later version of Peyser's column, which is featured on the Post's website, slams Obama as a lefty extremist with no chance of beating Hillary. Could it be that the only thing the Post's puppetmasters might fear more than another Clinton is a skinny kid with a funny name?"

Cheney's Daughter Said Pregnant


Mary Cheney, 37, and her partner of 15 years, Heather Poe, 45, are 'ecstatic' about the baby, due in late spring, The Washington Post reported in Wednesday's editions, quoting an unnamed source close to the couple.The Post quoted the source close to the family as saying the circumstances of Mary Cheney's pregnancy will remain private. She and Poe moved from Colorado to Virginia a year ago to be closer to the Cheney family.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

WSJ will cut width, amongh other changes - Yahoo! News

The Wall Street Journal, whose wide pages and text-rich look have long been an icon of the American newspaper business, is about to undergo several changes that include cutting three inches off its width.
Along with the size reduction, which is equivalent to about one of its columns, the newspaper will add more color and graphical elements, including greater use of photographs. It also will have fewer stories 'jump' inside the newspaper.
The changes, which take effect Jan. 2, were to be unveiled at a press conference in New York on Monday. Robert Christie, a spokesman for Dow Jones & Co., which publishes the Journal, described several of the features generally but declined to provide fuller details ahead of the announcement.
Other major newspapers have also cut their width in recent years as a way to save money, including The Washington Post, Tribune Co.'s Los Angeles Times and Gannett Co.'s USA Today. The New York Times is planning to reduce its width in 2008.
Dow Jones says reducing the Journal's width will save about $18 million a year. It will bring the newspaper in line with a widely used industry standard, allowing the newspaper to be printed in far more places than it is currently.
As it is, the Journal can't be printed in Hawaii because it can't find presses wide enough to accommodate its size, meaning the papers have to be flown in, Christie said.
Years ago, many major U.S. newspapers were printed in a size similar to the Journal, but most have since cut back, according to Michael Grady, director of production operations at the Newspaper Association of America."

Youths want no migration control

BBC NEWS: "Four out of five youngsters believe people should be able to live in any country they choose, a BBC global survey of 15 to 17-year-olds suggests.
Two-thirds also say that they would emigrate to secure a better future, and one in seven said they would risk their life to reach another country.
The results come from a survey of 3,000 teenagers in 10 cities as part of the BBC's Generation Next series.
The young people were quizzed on a range of contemporary political issues.
The key areas of questioning were immigration, climate change, terrorism and war, crime, religion, education, global population and honesty.
The 10 key cities involved in the poll were New York, Nairobi, Cairo, Lagos, Rio de Janeiro, Baghdad, Delhi, Jakarta, Moscow and London - though due to their sensitive nature, not all questions could be asked in all areas.
On the question of immigration, 79% thought that people should be able to live in whichever country they chose and 64% said that they would emigrate to secure a better future."

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Congressman faulted for Quran at oath

Daytona Beach News: "WASHINGTON (AP) -- Keith Ellison, who will become the first Muslim member of Congress next month, has offended some conservatives with his plan to use the Quran during his ceremonial swearing-in. The decision by Ellison, D-Minn., to use the Muslim holy book for the ceremony instead of the Bible triggered an angry column by Dennis Prager on the Web site Townhall.com this week. Headlined, 'America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on,' Prager argued that using the Quran for the ceremony 'undermines American civilization.' 'Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible,' he wrote. 'If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress.' Conservative bloggers have picked up the criticism and run with it. Ellison was unavailable for comment Friday, but his incoming chief of staff, Kari Moe, dismissed the brouhaha. 'I think the criticism is being flamed by the politics of division that were rejected in the '06 election cycle,' said Moe, who worked for 10 years for the late Sen. Paul Wellstone, D-Minn. Moe, speaking in a telephone interview, noted that the tradition is for all members of Congress to be sworn in together on the House floor. It's in the photo-op ceremony that a Bible is used - or in Ellison's case, the Quran. But Prager argued in a telephone interview that the ceremony was no less significant than the actual swearing-in. 'Oh, that's the whole point - it's exactly because it's ceremonial that it matters to me,' he said. 'Ceremonies matter. Ceremonies are exceedingly important. That is the way a society states what is most significant to it.'"

Ho Ho, No? State Bans Santa Beer

On Calling Bullshit

Mainstream-media political journalism is in danger of becoming increasingly irrelevant, but not because of the Internet, or even Comedy Central. The threat comes from inside. It comes from journalists being afraid to do what journalists were put on this green earth to do.
What is it about Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert that makes them so refreshing and attractive to a wide variety of viewers (including those so-important younger ones)? I would argue that, more than anything else, it is that they enthusiastically call bullshit.

Calling bullshit, of course, used to be central to journalism as well as to comedy. And we happen to be in a period in our history in which the substance in question is running particularly deep. The relentless spinning is enough to make anyone dizzy, and some of our most important political battles are about competing views of reality more than they are about policy choices. Calling bullshit has never been more vital to our democracy.

It also resonates with readers and viewers a lot more than passionless stenography. Im convinced that my enthusiasm for calling bullshit is the main reason for the considerable success of my White House Briefing column, which has turned into a significant traffic-driver for The Washington Posts Web site.

Im not sure why calling bullshit has gone out of vogue in so many newsrooms why, in fact, its so often consciously avoided. There are lots of possible reasons. Theres the increased corporate stultification of our industry, to the point where rocking the boat is seen as threatening rather than invigorating. Theres the intense pressure to maintain access to insider sources, even as those sources become ridiculously unrevealing and oversensitive. Theres the fear of being labeled partisan if ones bullshit-calling isnt meted out in precisely equal increments along the political spectrum."

Friday, December 01, 2006

The Pretenders "Pop Star"


I've recently discovered that chrissie hynde is one of the coolest female musician ever. This video is from 1997, but its so funny, and sorta topical considering the ongoing pop star drama BS. See the Art Thief for a video that proves why she has the right to judge.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

War in Headlines

100 Killed in Iraq Violence
Bush’s summit with Maliki comes amid unrelenting violence in Iraq. At least one hundred and two people were killed Wednesday, including two US troops

Iraq Study Group to Call for Phased Iraq Pullback, Iran-Syria Talks
The bi-partisan Iraq Study Group has agreed to call for a gradual pullback of US troops from Iraq and to open negotiations with Iran and Syria. The report is expected next week.

Advisor: Saudi Arabia Will Intervene in Iraq if US Withdraws
An advisor to the Saudi Arabian government has declared Saudi Arabia will intervene in Iraq to protect the Sunni community if the United States withdraws

UN Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland: "The UN is still not living up to its sworn ability to protect. Too many millions of people in Darfur, Chad, Central African republic are living in utter fear. Too many people in Iraq, Afghanistan or the Palestinian territories as well."
Egeland is the UN’s top humanitarian official.

The U.S. government has agreed to pay two million dollars and apologize to Brandon Mayfield. Mayfield is the Muslim attorney in Oregon jailed two years ago after the FBI mistakenly tied him to the Madrid train bombings.

A German citizen who suffered torture after being kidnapped by the CIA is in the United States to appeal the dismissal of his lawsuit against the US government. Three years ago, Khaled el-Masri was seized along the Serbian-Macedonian border and then flown to Afghanistan where he was tortured inside a secret prison. He was released without charge after five months.
"I went on hunger strike for 37 days and I was force fed thereafter, and then thereafter I was taken to Albania and in the middle of the night I was just dumped in a forest. To this day, I don't know why they did this to me, I don't know why they arrested me in the first place, I don't know why they released me. I do not know."

Pictures of the Day 12/1


The Deccan Queen train burns after it was set afire by protestors demonstrating against the desecration of a statue, one of India's prominent freedom fighters and a leader of low-caste people, in Ulhasnagar, India, on Nov 30. Low-caste groups protesting the desecration of their leader's statue burned train cars, buses and clashed with police at several places in western India, in violence that left at least two people dead and 40 injured, police said.


People gather for the opening of the first Starbucks coffee shop in Brazil in Sao Paulo on Thursday.

Urban Cactus

"Rotterdam's Urban Cactus housing project (UCX Architects) uses ingenious staggered terraces to make huge, sunny spaces, and a building profile that seems to have been parachuted in from 1945's future.
"They placed the 98 residential units on 19 floors, using the pattern of outdoor spaces to determine the overall appearance of the project."

"The slightly irregular pattern alternates these outdoor spaces to create what are in effect double-height spaces. Each unit then receives more sunlight than a typical stacked composition."

An Ancient Computer Surprises Scientists


They said their findings showed that the inscriptions related to lunar-solar motions and the gears were a mechanical representation of the irregularities of the Moon%u2019s orbital course across the sky, as theorized by the astronomer Hipparchos. They established the date of the mechanism at 150-100 B.C...


Historians of technology think the instrument is technically more complex than any known device for at least a millennium afterward.

The mechanism, presumably used in preparing calendars for seasons of planting and harvesting and fixing religious festivals, had at least 30, possibly 37, hand-cut bronze gear-wheels, the researchers reported. An ingenious pin-and-slot device connecting two gear-wheels induced variations in the representation of lunar motions according to the Hipparchos model of the Moon%u2019s elliptical orbit around Earth."

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

AP: Feds collect giant rats in Florida - Yahoo! News

As the rising sun danced across Florida's coastal waters, government workers in shorts and T-shirts knelt in a grassy island field and plucked wriggling rats from traps laid the night before. These weren't just any rats. They were 3-pound, 35-inch-long African behemoths. They squirmed as the workers, wearing protective gloves, removed green radio collars that had been tracking the rodents' movements. All 18 of the animals were carted away for research.
Darin Carroll kept a watchful eye on that dawn mission at Florida's Grassy Key Island. Carroll is no ordinary G-man. He's a disease hunter determined to stop the next outbreak.
Carroll works for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and for three years he has painstakingly tracked the journey of Gambian rats from their African homeland, through the exotic pet trade, and to U.S. homes.
His quest is to prove what many scientists suspect: that African rodents imported as pets caused a monkeypox outbreak in the Midwest in 2003 that sickened dozens of adults and children with a virus related to smallpox. Scientists suspect Gambian rats may play a role"

Welcome to goComics Web Site featuring Ann Telnaes - Online Comics, Editorial Cartoons, Email Comics, Political Cartoons

Semantics

Monday, November 27, 2006

BobGeiger.com: The Saturday Cartoons

Subdivision Bans Wreath With Peace Sign

AOL News"DENVER (Nov. 27) - A homeowners association in southwestern Colorado has threatened to fine a resident $25 a day until she removes a Christmas wreath with a peace sign that some say is an anti-Iraq war protest or a symbol of Satan.
Homeowners association president Bob Kearns ordered the five architectural control committee members to require the wreath's removal. When they refused, concluding it was merely a seasonal symbol, Kearns fired them."

What American Accent Do You Have?

What American accent do you have?
Your Result: The Midland
 

"You have a Midland accent" is just another way of saying "you don't have an accent." You probably are from the Midland (Pennsylvania, southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, and Missouri) but then for all we know you could be from Florida or Charleston or one of those big southern cities like Atlanta or Dallas. You have a good voice for TV and radio.

Philadelphia
 
The South
 
The Inland North
 
The Northeast
 
North Central
 
The West
 
Boston
 
What American accent do you have?
Take More Quizzes

Sunday, November 26, 2006

ng to Gifts That Keep On Giving

For Debbie Frazier, every day is a dog day. She scoops poop for a living -- and makes a killing doing it.

Frazier's business, called Poop Busters, specializes in low-tech removal of dog waste. She's been cleaning yards in and around Albuquerque for the better part of 22 years. "It's hard to beat. You're outside petting dogs all day," she told the Albuquerque Tribune. Frazier estimates that she makes more than $100,000 a year, but she said it's working with the animals that makes her happy. "Dogs are a gift from God," she said.

"Dogs are a gift from God," says Poop Busters entrepreneur Debbie Frazier, shown with some canine clients. Frazier says she makes a six-figure income scooping doggie do in Albuquerque. (By Erin Fredrichs -- Albuquerque Tribune)

And their droppings are generating a lot of dough for people willing to do the dirty work. The poop-scooping industry has proved profitable around the country, with some large-scale operations claiming revenues in the hundreds of thousands of dollars annually. The Association of Professional Animal Waste Specialists today boasts 127 members nationwide.

Frazier said when her son was younger he used to joke about her business. Now he plans to take it over when she retires. "I don't care who makes fun of me," she told the Tribune. "I laugh all the way to the bank."

Cities Compete in Hipness Battle to Attract Young

ATLANTA, Nov. 24 — Some cities will do anything they can think of to keep young people from fleeing to a hipper town.

Employees at the Wieden & Kennedy advertising agency, top, at a company basketball game. Below, Nicole Andren assays her shot options.
In Lansing, Mich., partiers can ease from bar to bar on the new Entertainment Express trolley, part of the state’s Cool Cities Initiative. In Portland, Ore., employees at an advertising firm can watch indie rock concerts at lunch and play “bump,” an abbreviated form of basketball, every afternoon.

And in Memphis, employers pay for recruits to be matched with hip young professionals in a sort of corporate Big Brothers program. A new biosciences research park is under construction — not in the suburbs, but downtown, just blocks from the nightlife of Beale Street.

These measures reflect a hard demographic reality: Baby boomers are retiring and the number of young adults is declining. By 2012, the work force will be losing more than two workers for every one it gains.

Cities have long competed over job growth, struggling to revive their downtowns and improve their image. But the latest population trends have forced them to fight for college-educated 25- to 34-year-olds, a demographic group increasingly viewed as the key to an economic future.

Mobile but not flighty, fresh but technologically savvy, “the young and restless,” as demographers call them, are at their most desirable age, particularly because their chances of relocating drop precipitously when they turn 35. Cities that do not attract them now will be hurting in a decade.

“It’s a zero-sum game,” said William H. Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institution, noting that one city’s gain can only be another’s loss. “These are rare and desirable people.”

They are people who, demographers say, are likely to choose a location before finding a job. They like downtown living, public transportation and plenty of entertainment options. They view diversity and tolerance as marks of sophistication.

The problem for cities, says Richard Florida, a public policy professor at George Mason University who has written about what he calls “the creative class,” is that those cities that already have a significant share of the young and restless are in the best position to attract more.

“There are a dozen places, at best, that are becoming magnets for these people,” Mr. Florida said.

That disparity was evident in a report released this week by the Metropolitan Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, which showed Atlanta leading the pack among big cities, while other metro areas, like Philadelphia, hemorrhaged young people from 1990 to 2000. (In this competition, surveys that make a city look good are a favorite opening salvo.)

In that decade, the Atlanta study said, the number of 25- to-34-year-olds with four-year college degrees in the city increased by 46 percent, placing Atlanta in the top five metropolitan areas in terms of growth rate, and a close second to San Francisco in terms of overall numbers. Charlotte, N.C., also outperformed Atlanta, with a growth rate of 57 percent, the second highest in the country after Las Vegas.

Woman's body found behind bookcase

Adjust font size:


NEW PORT RICHEY, Florida (AP) -- A woman's body was found wedged upside-down behind a bookcase in the home she shared with relatives who had spent nearly two weeks looking for her.

A spokesman for the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said Mariesa Weber's death was not suspicious. Family members said they believe she fell over as she tried to adjust the plug of a television behind the bookshelf.

Weber, 38, came home October 28 and greeted her mother, then wasn't seen again. Her family thought she had been kidnapped and contacted authorities. Family members scoured her room for clues but found nothing, although they did notice a strange smell.

On Nov. 9, Weber's sister went into her bedroom and looked behind a bookcase, where she saw the woman's foot. Using a flashlight, the family saw Weber was wedged upside-down behind the unit.

"I'm sleeping in the same house as her for 11 days, looking for her," her mother, Connie Weber, told the St. Petersburg Times. "And she's right in the bedroom."

Both Weber and her sister previously had adjusted the television plug by standing on a bureau next to the shelf and leaning over the top. Her family believes Weber, who was 5-foot-3 and barely 100 pounds, may have fallen headfirst into the space.

"She's a little thing," her mother said. "And the bookcase is 6 feet tall and solid. And she couldn't get out."

The sheriff's office said Weber appeared to have died because she was unable to breathe in the position she was in.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Soccer players eye Cup glory -- with their ears

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) -- It's no ordinary World Cup: the soccer ball sounds like the clatter of a rattlesnake's tail, fans are barred from cheering too loudly and the sidelines are clear plastic walls meant to keep the players in-bounds.

Save for the goalkeepers, all of the athletes are legally blind.

Welcome to the fourth World Championships of Soccer for the Blind.

Every four years, players compete for Cup glory in an eight-nation tournament drawing hundreds, not millions, of fans to a game without the noisy hype of media and merchandising. Yet even in sightless soccer, the rivalries are fierce.

Brazil drubbed France 4-1 on Friday as the tournament opened on a cement court less than half the size of an ordinary soccer field.

Grass would mute the telltale sound of the ball and scrambling feet -- radar-like clues to blind players moving at breakneck speed.

Over and over, players shout "Voy! Voy!" -- Spanish for "I'm going! going!" -- as they signal their position.

Agile and fleet, they chased a leather soccer ball that looks like any other, save the sound of ball bearings rattling in four metal "sound chambers" inside

Friday, November 24, 2006

A gift list for...passive aggressives

Chaos Theory:
"Some suggestions:
A beautiful piece of
clothing that is either several sizes too big if the recipient is thin
(implying that the person looks fatter than they are) or several sizes
too small if the recipient is overweight. If the latter, perhaps write
in the card insinuating that the recipient should aspire to fit into it.

A gift certificate for an hour in a sensory deprivation tank for someone with claustrophobia

The DVD of Charlotte's Web for someone with arachnophobia

A baker's dozen of their favorite cookies for someone with triskaidekaphobia

A gift certificate to the local mall for someone with� agoraphobia

For intimate partners to give each other (unrequested) household tools. Darling, I knew you wanted a blender.

Bride's magazine subscription for your sister who desperately wants to
find a man, and/or just broke up wth one, and/or can't get him to
commit.

One year my aunt and uncle got me a supersoaker without getting my
little brother one. The next year, my parents got my cousin a slingshot.

I had a rabidly homophobic acquaintence that had a big birthday party.
Some friends and I bought him a nice tee-shirt, from the International
Male catalogue, and had it delivered to his home. This simple act
placed him on many a GLB mailing list."

Chilean boy born with fetus in his stomach

SANTIAGO, Chile - A boy has been born in Chile with a fetus in his stomach in what doctors said was a rare case of "fetus in fetu" in which one twin becomes trapped inside another during pregnancy and continues to grow inside it.

Doctors carried out a scan on the boy's mother shortly before she gave birth on Nov. 15 in the southern city of Temuco and noticed the 4-inch-long fetus inside the boy's abdomen.

It had limbs and a partially developed spinal cord but no head and stood no chance of survival, doctors said.

Leaked Drug Company Memo: Santorum Loss "Creates A Big Hole We Will Need To Fill"..."We Now Have Fewer Allies In The Senate"



A post-election e-mail to executives at the drug company GlaxoSmithKline details just how tough. "We now have fewer allies in the Senate," says the internal memo, obtained by The Washington Post. "Thus, there is greater risk over the next two years that bad amendments will be offered to pending legislation." The company's primary concerns are bills that would allow more imported drugs and would force price competition for drugs bought under Medicare.

The defeat of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) "creates a big hole we will need to fill," the e-mail says. Sen.-elect Jon Tester (D-Mont.) "is expected to be a problem," it says, and the elevation to the Senate of Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) "will strengthen his ability to challenge us

Leaked Drug Company Memo: Santorum Loss "Creates A Big Hole We Will Need To Fill"..."We Now Have Fewer Allies In The Senate"



A post-election e-mail to executives at the drug company GlaxoSmithKline details just how tough. "We now have fewer allies in the Senate," says the internal memo, obtained by The Washington Post. "Thus, there is greater risk over the next two years that bad amendments will be offered to pending legislation." The company's primary concerns are bills that would allow more imported drugs and would force price competition for drugs bought under Medicare.

The defeat of Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) "creates a big hole we will need to fill," the e-mail says. Sen.-elect Jon Tester (D-Mont.) "is expected to be a problem," it says, and the elevation to the Senate of Rep. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) "will strengthen his ability to challenge us

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Tammy Duckworth named head of Veterans Affairs for Illinois

by Joe in DC - 11/21/2006 04:32:00 PM
One of the biggest outrages of the 2006 cycle was when the Veterans of Foreign Wars endorsed Veteran Tammy Duckworth's opponent. Duckworth lost both of her legs in Iraq. Her opponent never served in the military. Although she lost, Duckworth was a class act throughout the campaign and after. Now, she's got a new job - still serving:Iraq war veteran and failed congressional candidate Tammy Duckworth has a new mission: directing the Illinois Department of Veterans' Affairs, Gov. Rod Blagojevich announced Tuesday.Leading the agency was a logical next step following a losing bid to replace retiring Republican Rep. Henry Hyde, said Duckworth, a Democrat and former Army helicopter pilot who lost her legs after a rocket-propelled grenade attack north of Baghdad.'As a soldier I fought for my country, and now I thank Governor Blagojevich for giving me the opportunity to fight for my fellow Illinois veterans,' Duckworth said in a news release.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Joseph A. Palermo: Maureen Dowd Has Already Started Trashing Pelosi | The Huffington Post

Maybe she wants another Pulitzer Prize, (like the one she was awarded after savaging Bill and Hillary Clinton for years); or maybe she wants to prove that she is 'balanced' and not part of the dreaded 'Liberal Media'; but for whatever reason, Maureen Dowd, who commands column inches in The New York Times that Katha Pollitt or Barbara Ehrenreich could only dream of, has officially set her tone for what her commentary on Nancy Pelosi will be for the next two years. The first woman Speaker of the House has not even assumed power yet and Ms. Dowd has already labeled the 66-year-old politician: 'girlishly churlish.'

Writes Dowd: 'the first female speaker of the House flail[ed] around in her first big week in such a lame way. It reminded you of just how idiotic Democrats can act sometimes.' She then goes on to posit that the only reason Pelosi had endorsed John Murtha to be the Majority Leader was because, in Dowd's own portrayal of the little, childlike voice in Pelosi's head: 'John Murtha's my friend. He's been nice to me. I don't like Steny [Hoyer]. He did something a long time ago that I'm never, ever going to tell you. And I'm the boss of you. So vote for John.
An influential New York Times columnist, who purports to have "feminist" sensibilities, depicts Nancy Pelosi, who is about to assume the highest position a woman has ever achieved in United States history -- third in line for the presidency -- as a petulant little child? If David Brooks or John Tierny did the same thing they'd be rightly denounced as sexists. But Dowd, hiding behind her "femininity" gets to trash Pelosi in sexist terms without fear of being called on it.

Dowd is wrong. Pelosi did not endorse Murtha for "girlish" personal reasons; she endorsed him because he had been the first senior House Democrat to show the courage to call for pulling our troops out of Iraq over a year ago, a time when few others dared to take a stand. The midterm elections of 2006 were a referendum on the war in Iraq, and Murtha campaigned vigorously around the country for winning Democrats on that issue. Having Murtha in the high-profile position of Majority Leader in the new Congress would give added visibility to the anti-war wing of the party, and could help end the bloodbath. In her mocking commentary, Ms. Dowd does not even mention the Iraq war or Murtha's role in being the first to call for a "phased redeployment." Instead, she belittles Pelosi by claiming that only personal considerations entered into her decision to back Murtha.

Maureen Dowd should ask herself why she chooses to portray a powerful woman with liberal credentials as nothing more than an air-brained character from a chick lit novel. When she ascribes highly personalized motives for a powerful woman's political decisions, Dowd diminishes women in power generally, and sets back feminism in a more serious way than a thousand sexist jabs hurled by right-wing men about botox injections or face lifts.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Did this cat breed with a dog?

Daily Mail: "This is Mimi, the first cat to give birth to puppies, her owner claims.
Brazilian Cassia Aparecida de Souza, 18, says three of the cat%u2019s six offspring,
which were born three months after Mimi mated with a neighbour%u2019s dog, have canine traits.
A geneticist from the Passo Fundo University plans to take blood samples from the animals to verify the claim"

Community responds to Taser use in Powell

Daily Bruin: "An incident late Tuesday night in which a UCLA student was stunned at least four times with a Taser has left the UCLA community questioning whether the university police officers' use of force was an appropriate response to the situation.
Mostafa Tabatabainejad, a UCLA student, was repeatedly stunned with a Taser and then taken into custody when he did not exit the CLICC Lab in Powell Library in a timely manner. Community Service Officers had asked Tabatabainejad to leave after he failed to produce his BruinCard during a random check at around 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.
UCPD Assistant Chief of Police Jeff Young said the checks are a standard procedure in the library after 11 p.m.
'Because of the safety of the students we limit the use after 11 to just students, staff and faculty,' Young said.
Young said the CSOs on duty in the library at the time went to get UCPD officers when Tabatabainejad did not immediately leave, and UCPD officers resorted to use of the Taser when Tabatabainejad did not do as he was told.
A six-minute video showed Tabatabainejad audibly screaming in pain as he was stunned several times with a Taser, each time for three to five seconds. He was told repeatedly to stand up and stop fighting, and was told that if he did not do so he would 'get Tased again.'
Click the Play button to begin playing the clip.This video requires the free QuickTime plug-in.Download this video directly to your computer.Tabatabainejad was also stunned with the Taser when he was already handcuffed, said Carlos Zaragoza, a third-year English and history student who witnessed the incident.
'(He was) no possible danger to any of the police,' Zaragoza said. '(He was) getting shocked and Tasered as he was handcuffed.'
"

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Ten Reasons Congress Must Investigate Bush Administration Crimes

by Jeremy Brecher and Brendan Smith
Few elections in history have provided so clear a mandate. As the New York Times put it, Democrats were largely elected on the promise to act as a strong check on [Bushs] administration. [1] But the first response of the new Congressional leadership has been to proclaim a new era of civility and seek accommodation with the very people who need to be held accountable for war crimes and subversion of the Constitution.
Democratic strategists who argue for this kind of bipartisanship maintain that the American people want their political leaders to address the problems of the future, not pursue recriminations about the past. They therefore oppose the kind of penetrating investigation that a White House strategist told Time would lead to a cataclysmic fight to the death [2] if Democrats start issuing subpoenas. If such peace at any price Democrats prevail, the result will be a catastrophe not only for the Democratic party but for American democracy.
Establishing accountability will require a thorough investigation of the actions of the Bush administration and, if they have included crimes or abuses, ensuring that these are properly addressed by Congress and the courts. The purpose of such action is not to play gotcha based on hearsay and newspaper clippings. Investigation, exposure, and even prosecution or select committee proceedings, should they become necessary, are primarily means for reestablishing the rule of law. But such investigations may be blocked by the Democratic leadership unless American citizens and progressive Democrats in particular demand them. Here are ten reasons why they should:
1. The US faces a constitutional crisis that goes far beyond either partisan politics or isolated acts of wrongdoing. The Bush administration has tried to replace the constitutional rule of law with the power of the Executive branch to disregard both the laws established by the Legislative branch and the judgments of the Judicial branch. It has cloaked this power grab with a mantle of secrecy. Only by demonstrating the power of Congress to know what the Executive branch does can even the possibility of constitutional checks and balances be restored. The prerequisite for oversight is the right to know. Unless Congress successfully asserts that right, the Executives usurpation of power will be permanent and unlimited. KEEP READING

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Air guitar T-shirt rocks for real

BBC: "Australian scientists have created a T-shirt that allows air guitarists to play real music - without resorting to a real guitar.
The T-shirt has motion sensors built into its elbows that pick up movements and relay them wirelessly to a computer which interprets them as guitar riffs.
One arm is interpreted as picking chords while the other strums.
The 'wearable instrument shirt' is adaptable to both right and left-handed would-be rock stars.
'It's an easy-to-use, virtual instrument that allows real-time music-making - even by players without significant musical or computing skills,' said the research team leader, Richard Helmer.
'It allows you to jump around and the sound generated is just like an original mp3.'
Dr Helmer, an engineer from the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (Csiro) in Belmont, Australia, added that there was a serious side to the 'wearable instrument shirt'.
The researcher said similar sensors could be used in the future to reproduce a person in a virtual world so they could get feedback on their actions and improve their sporting techniques.
The T-shirt is the product of a collaboration by researchers specialising in computing, music and textile manufacture.
'The technology, which is adaptable to almost any kind of apparel, takes clothing beyond its traditional role of protection and fashion into the realms of entertainment,' said the Csiro engineer.
By customising the software, the team has also tailored the technology to make an air tambourine and a percussion instrument called an air guiro."

A Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives ...by Michael Moore

To My Conservative Brothers and Sisters,
I know you are dismayed and disheartened at the results of last week's election. You're worried that the country is heading toward a very bad place you don't want it to go. Your 12-year Republican Revolution has ended with so much yet to do, so many promises left unfulfilled. You are in a funk, and I understand.
Well, cheer up, my friends! Do not despair. I have good news for you. I, and the millions of others who are now in charge with our Democratic Congress, have a pledge we would like to make to you, a list of promises that we offer you because we value you as our fellow Americans. You deserve to know what we plan to do with our newfound power -- and, to be specific, what we will do to you and for you.
Thus, here is our Liberal's Pledge to Disheartened Conservatives:
Dear Conservatives and Republicans,
I, and my fellow signatories, hereby make these promises to you:
1. We will always respect you for your conservative beliefs. We will never, ever, call you 'unpatriotic' simply because you disagree with us. In fact, we encourage you to dissent and disagree with us."
Continued

Monday, November 13, 2006

Get a virtual life

If the virtual world of Second Life has a Mt. Olympus, the place where gods flex their power and influence, it's here at parent company Linden Lab.
That makes Linden Lab Chief Executive Officer Philip Rosedale a Zeus-like figure. From an open, cubicle-free office near Telegraph Hill, Rosedale oversees 1.4 million 'residents' of Second Life's 3-D, online world of commerce, information and social networking.
And Second Life could be headed for Next Big Thing status.
Think of it as MySpace meets 'The Matrix,' where players create alternative reality versions of themselves and then live out their new, digital lives online amid 26,000 virtual acres of islands, casinos, shopping districts, libraries and universities. They make and visit friends, have sex and get married. They can build a house, test drive a car or buy virtual goods for actual money.
Residents craft elaborate 'avatars'--or animated alter egos--and spend Linden dollars (L$257 = $1 U.S.) to outfit themselves with wings, designer outfits and associated bling.
Hundreds of thousands of real dollars are spent every day, including $605,000 in one 24-hour period over the past weekend. Entrepreneurs with virtual shops earn real money designing software, clothes and buildings for Second Life clients."

Friday, November 10, 2006

Charges Sought Against Rumsfeld Over Prison Abuse -- Page 1

A lawsuit in Germany will seek a criminal prosecution of the outgoing Defense Secretary and other U.S. officials for their alleged role in abuses at Abu Ghraib and Gitmo By ADAM ZAGORIN
Just days after his resignation, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is about to face more repercussions for his involvement in the troubled wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. New legal documents, to be filed next week with Germany's top prosecutor, will seek a criminal investigation and prosecution of Rumsfeld, along with Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, former CIA director George Tenet and other senior U.S. civilian and military officers, for their alleged roles in abuses committed at Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison and at the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
The plaintiffs in the case include 11 Iraqis who were prisoners at Abu Ghraib, as well as Mohammad al-Qahtani, a Saudi held at Guantanamo, whom the U.S. has identified as the so-called '20th hijacker' and a would-be participant in the 9/11 hijackings. As TIME first reported in June 2005, Qahtani underwent a 'special interrogation plan,' personally approved by Rumsfeld, which the U.S. says produced valuable intelligence. But to obtain it, according to the log of his interrogation and government reports, Qahtani was subjected to forced nudity, sexual humiliation, religious humiliation, prolonged stress positions, sleep deprivation and other controversial interrogation techniques.
Lawyers for the plaintiffs say that one of the witnesses who will testify on their behalf is former Brig. Gen. Janis Karpinski, the one-time commander of all U.S. military prisons in Iraq. Karpinski %u2014 who the lawyers say will be in Germany next week to publicly address her accusations in the case %u2014 has issued a written statement to accompany the legal filing, which says, in part: 'It was clear the knowledge and responsibility [for what happened at Abu Ghraib] goes all the way to the top of the chain of command to the Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld .
A spokesperson for the Pentagon told TIME there would be no comment since the case has not yet been filed."

Humiliated frat boys sue 'Borat' - Yahoo! News

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Two fraternity boys want to make lawsuit against 'Borat' over their drunken appearance in the hit movie.
The legal action filed Thursday on their behalf claims they were duped into appearing in the spoof documentary 'Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan,' in which they made racist and sexist comments on camera.
The young men 'engaged in behavior that they otherwise would not have engaged in,' the lawsuit says."

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Eric Alterman: 31,591,495 Strong | The Huffington Post

If you're keeping track at home, using Senate numbers only, Democrats' 31,591,495 votes equals 55 percent of the vote. (House voting totals don't work because so many incumbents run unopposed.) So at last count, the country is, by rough-perhaps-but-the-most-accurate-count-we-have 55 percent Democratic and 45 percent Republican. Say what you will, but dammit, this is not a 'conservative' country -- at least not in the nutty way that our contemporary right-wingers use the word.

The Blog | Bill Maher: Republicans = Scientologists | The Huffington Post

One of the tenets of Scientology is that anyone who criticizes the religion is fair game for any and all kinds of retribution. You can file lawsuits against them, you can harass them, you can spread lies about them, and it's OK because the critic is fundamentally evil.

This is the same reason Republicans have no problem running push polls, or handing out leaflets with false accusations, or calling Dems and telling them that their polling place has been changed... all this dishonest, sleazy stuff is OK because it's in the service of a greater good.

I'm not saying Dems don't indulge in vote shenanigans from time to time, but it's never on the same level. And when the Democrats do win, the impetus isn't to work with them, it's to destroy them - that was how Bill Clinton was received.

For a good chunk of the GOP base, the Democrats are literally in league with the Devil, so any means of keeping them out of power is legitimate.

In fact, this attitude is only a matter of degrees away from the belief radical Muslims have that any wrong perpetrated against the 'infidels' is justified.

This also ties into the so-called father of neo-conservatism, the philosopher Leo Strauss, who argued that the only way to stop liberalism from ruining society was for the elites (a.k.a his neocon followers) to exploit myths (religion) or create new myths (the Islamic Menace) that will unite the hoi polloi in an orgy of nationalistic fervor. Sounds like fascism? Yup. But an interesting feature of Straussism is that the elites don't care if the myths they are exploiting are actually true; that's irrelevant as long as they're effective. Which is why we get Karl Rove talking about the Christian 'nut-jobs,' and the Kerry-hates-the-troops nonsense from last week. All those Republicans parroting the talking point re Kerry knew it was bullshit but they didn't care because it was an effective myth."

The days of fear are over. US politics is interesting again | Special reports | Guardian Unlimited

Belligerent, ill-conceived interventionism has come to an end. For level-headed Americans it was a good day
Simon JenkinsThursday November 9, 2006The Guardian
The ugly American mark two is dead. Overnight six years of glib European identification of 'American' with rightwing fantasism is over. The gun-toting, pre-Darwinian Bushite, the tomahawk-wielding, Halliburton-loving, Beltway neocon calling abortion murder and torturing Arabs as 'Islamofascists' has been laid to rest, and by a decision of the American people. Another McCarthy raised its head over the western horizon and has been slapped down. It is a good day for level-headed Americans.

Dana Milbank - The Thumpees Try Their Luck at the Blame Game - washingtonpost.com

President Bush had many explanations for what he called the 'thumping' his party took on Tuesday, but the most creative was the notion that his chief strategist, Karl Rove, had spent too much time reading books.'I obviously was working harder on the campaign than he was,' the president said at yesterday's East Room news conference. The reporters laughed. The Architect, who had challenged Bush to a reading contest, wore a sheepish grin and stared at his lap.True, Rove will have to surrender his 'genius' credentials after the GOP lost the House and apparently the Senate. But the recriminations weren't stopping at Rove's door. The president, who started his appearance with an admission that 'I share a large part of the responsibility,' went on to blame everybody else.He blamed corruption: 'People want their congressmen to be honest and ethical, so in some races that was the primary factor.'He blamed Mark Foley, whose name remained on the Florida ballot: 'People couldn't vote directly for the Republican candidate.'He blamed ballot rules. 'You could have the greatest positions in the world . . . but to try to get to win on a write-in is really hard to do.'He blamed Democratic organization: 'I'm sure Iraq had something to do with the voters' mind, but so did a very strong turnout mechanism.'He blamed bad luck: 'If you look at race by race, it was close.'Implicitly, of course, he blamed Donald Rumsfeld, by firing him as defense secretary in favor of the 'fresh perspective' of Robert Gates.And, not least, he blamed the uncomprehending voters: 'I thought when it was all said and done, the American people would understand the importance of taxes and the importance of security. But the people have spoken, and now it's time for us to move on.'The president's performance fit neatly into yesterday's version of the post-election ritual in Washington: The winning side gloated, and the losing side pointed fingers every which way."

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Protesting Iraq war, a Chicago man sets self on fire and dies.


"On Saturday the Sun-Times ran a small item about a man who had set himself on fire during rush hour Friday morning near the Ohio Street exit on the Kennedy. His identity has still not been officially determined, but members of the local jazz and improvised music community say they are certain it was Malachi Ritscher, a longtime supporter of the scene. Bruno Johnson, who owns the free-jazz label Okka Disk, received a package yesterday from Ritscher that included a will, keys to his home, and instructions about what should be done with his belongings. Johnson, a former Chicagoan who now lives in Milwaukee, began making calls. Police are still awaiting the results of dental tests, but Johnson says an officer told one of Ritscher's sisters that all evidence pointed to the body being his; his car was found nearby and he hadn't shown up for work since Thursday. "

The link is to a website Mr. Ritscher managed, and a post containing his obituary which he wrote himself. It's very moving - sad, inspiring, and very human. This is something that will stick with me for a long time, so I knew I had to pass his story and message on.

Robert Scheer: Gates Has Some Explaining to Do

The abrupt replacement of Donald Rumsfeld with former CIA Director Robert Gates is a Hail Mary pass designed to provide President Bush a face-saving exist from the deepening quagmire of Iraq. Gates, as Bush noted in his Nov. 8 press conference, is a member of the Baker-Hamilton Iraq survey group, which will present a plan next week that the President is certain to seize upon as his only available life preserver.
Like James Baker, Gates is a reliable member of the team of veterans from the George Herbert Walker Bush years, which has been doubtful about the plan to invade Iraq ever since it was a gleam in the eyes of Rumsfeld. Gates%u2019 ascendancy clearly suggests that the neoconservatives have been tossed into the ashcan of history.
Gates, however, has baggage of his own carried over from his involvement in the Iran-Contra affair, which derailed his confirmation as CIA Director in 1987. (He was later confirmed in 1991) Gates will have to explain anew his connections with the people who secretly sold arms to Iran then and now defined as a major terrorist enemy of the US and who then used those funds to overthrow the Sandinista-run government in Nicaragua. After all, the leader of the Sandinista government, Daniel Ortega, was just elected president of his country in a free election. Iran, by contrast, is now vying with North Korea for the status of the worlds most threatening rogue nation. Just why Gates thought it wise to supply the Iranian Ayatollahs with arms remains a pressing question."

Nelsons son arrested after election party - Politics - MSNBC.com

ORLANDO, Fla. - The son of Sen. Bill Nelson was arrested early Wednesday after allegedly pushing an officer in a confrontation hours after he had taken the stage at his father's re-election party.Charles William Nelson, 30, was charged with battery on a law enforcement officer, disorderly intoxication and resisting arrest.According to a police report, an officer approached Nelson when he saw a woman slumped on the ground next to him, apparently passed out. The officer said Nelson smelled strongly of alcohol, his speech was slurred and he had poor balance.
The report quoted the younger Nelson as saying the woman, identified as Kimberly Baxter, was fine. It did not say what their relationship was.Police say Nelson tried to pick her up and drag her away, dropping her when the officer instructed him to put her down. The report said the senator's son attempted to push the officer away, then was pepper-sprayed for two to three seconds and handcuffed.A police spokeswoman did not immediately return a call seeking additional detail Wednesday. A spokesman for the senator, Dan McLaughlin, said Nelson was released from custody.Nelson lives in Washington and is a Medicaid/Medicare consultant. The senator, a Democrat, issued a statement saying he and his wife didn't know all the facts but 'love our son and support him.'In Tuesday's election, the elder Nelson handily rebuffed a challenge from Republican Rep. Katherine Harris, who played a key role in the 2000 presidential election as Florida's secretary of state."

Meet the new boss

The freshman class (only those races definitely decided):Arizona's 5th: Harry Mitchell (D) 51 percent, J.D. Hayworth (R) 46 percentCalifornia's 11th: Jerry McNerney (D) 53 percent, Richard Pombo (R) 47 percentConnecticut's 5th: Chris Murphy (D) 56 percent, Nancy Johnson (R) 44 percentFlorida's 22nd: Ron Klein (D) 51 percent, Clay Shaw (R) 47 percentIndiana's 2nd: Joe Donnelly (D) 54 percent, Chris Chocola (R) 46 percentIndiana's 8th: Brad Ellsworth (D) 61 percent, John Hostettler (R) 39 percentIndiana's 9th: Baron Hill (D) 49 percent, Mike Sodrel (R) 46 percentIowa's 2nd: Dave Loebsack (D) 51 percent, Jim Leach (R) 49 percentKansas' 2nd: Nancy Boyda (D) 51 percent, Jim Ryun (R) 47 percentKentucky's 3rd: John Yarmuth (D) 51 percent, Anne Northup (R) 48 percentMinnesota's 1st: Tim Walz (D) 53 percent, Gil Gutknecht (R) 47 percentNew Hampshire's 1st: Carol Shea-Porter (D) 51 percent, Jeb Bradley (R) 49 percentNew Hampshire's 2nd: Paul Hodes (D) 53 percent, Charles Bass (R) 45 percentNew York's 19th: John Hall (D) 51 percent, Sue Kelly (R) 49 percentNew York's 20th: Kirsten Gillibrand (D) 53 percent, John Sweeney (R) 47 percentNorth Carolina's 11th: Heath Shuler (D) 54 percent, Charles Taylor (R) 46 percentPennsylvania's 4th: Jason Altmire (D) 52 percent, Melissa Hart (R) 48 percentPennsylvania's 7th: Joe Sestak (D) 56 percent, Curt Weldon (R) 44 percentPennsylvania's 10th: Chris Carney (D) 53 percent, Don Sherwood (R) 47 percentGOP open seats lost:Arizona's 8th: Gabrielle Giffords (D) 54 percent, Randy Graf (R) 42 percentFlorida's 16th: Tim Mahoney (D) 49 percent, Mark Foley/Joe Negron (R) 48 percentColorado's 7th: Ed Perlmutter (D) 55 percent, Rick O'Donnell (R) 42 percentIowa's 1st: Bruce Braley (D) 55 percent, Mike Whalen (R) 43 percentNew York's 24th: Michael Arcuri (D) 54 percent, Ray Meier (R) 45 percentOhio's 18th: Zack Space (D) 62 percent, Joy Padgett (R) 38 percentTexas' 22nd: Nick Lampson (D) 52 percent, Shelley Sekula-Gibbs (R) 42 percentWisconsin's 8th: Steve Kagen (D) 51 percent, John Gard (R) 49 percent"

Minnesota Democrat becomes first Muslim to win seat in Congress - iht,america,US Election Muslim - Americas - International Herald Tribune

MINNEAPOLIS: Democrat Keith Ellison was elected as the nation's first Muslim member of Congress on Tuesday, easily winning a Minneapolis-area district Republicans had not carried since 1962.
Ellison, who is black, is also Minnesota's first nonwhite representative in Washington. He said those things were only of secondary importance.
'I think the most important thing about this race is we tried to pull people together on things we all share, things that are important to everyone. We all need peace, and this Iraq policy is dangerous to our country,' said Ellison, who has called for immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops.
Ellison said his campaign united labor, minority communities, peace activists. 'We were able to bring in Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddhists,' he said. 'We brought in everybody.'
Ellison focused on issues that resonate in the urban, liberal-leaning 5th District in Minneapolis. By favoring gay rights and legal abortion, Ellison cut a path away from many Muslims."

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The Neurocience of Praying in Tongues?


The passionate, sometimes rhythmic, language-like patter that pours forth from religious people who 'speak in tongues' reflects a state of mental possession, many of them say. Now they have some neuroscience to back them up. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania took brain images of five women while they spoke in tongues and found that their frontal lobes ,the thinking, willful part of the brain through which people control what they do,were relatively quiet, as were the language centers. ... The women were not in blind trances, and it was unclear which region was driving the behavior...

Monday, November 06, 2006

The Democrats' best slogan: "Bush lost the war"

Salon.com : "He also lowered Paris Hilton's taxes and botched the job of finding Osama. A few last talking points to help the party win back Congress.

By Bill Maher

New Rule: Controlling Congress is for closers. Listen up, Democrats, it's as simple as ABC: Always Be Closing. First prize? Controlling congressional committees, with subpoena power. Second prize: set of steak knives. Third prize? You're fired.
The election is four days away, and I'm through dicking around with you. Here are your talking points:
1) When they say, 'Democrats will raise taxes,' you say, 'We have to, because some asshole spent all the money in the world cutting Paris Hilton's taxes and not killing Osama bin Laden.' In just six years the national debt has doubled. You can't keep spending money you don't take in, that's not even elementary economics, that's just called 'Don't be Michael Jackson.'
2) When they say, 'The terrorists want the Democrats to win,' you say, 'Are you insane? George Bush has been a terrorist's wet dream, and nonpartisan commissions have confirmed that he's a recruiter's dream: theirs, not ours. And, he has exhausted our military without coming away with a win, the worst of both worlds.' Bush inflames radical hatred against America and then runs on offering to protect us from it. It's like a guy throwing shit on you and then selling you relief from the flies.
3) When they say, 'Cut and Run' or 'Defeatocrat,' you say, 'Bush lost the war -- period.' All this nonsense about 'the violence is getting worse because they're trying to influence our election.' No, it's getting worse because you drew up the postwar plans on the back of a cocktail napkin at Applebee's. And of course Democrats want to win, but that's impossible now that you've ethnically cleansed the place by making it unlivable, just like you did with New Orleans.
4) When they say that actual combat veterans like John Kerry are 'denigrating' the troops, you say, 'You're completely full of shit.' Remember when Al Gore caught all that flak for sighing and moaning during that debate? Yeah, don't do that. Just say, 'You're full of shit.'
If I was a troop, the support I would want back home would mainly come in the form of people pressuring Washington to get me out of this pointless nightmare. That's how I would feel supported.
So when they say, 'Democrats are obstructionists,' you say, 'You're welcome.' Because with a bad administration that has bad ideas, obstruction is a good thing, just as it's a good thing to obstruct a drunk from getting his car keys. I would be happy to frame the debate as a fight between the Obstructionists and the Enablers. There's your talking point: 'Vote Republican, and you vote to enable George Bush to keep ruling as an emperor.' A retarded, child emperor, but an emperor.
Democrats, you've got two days to get out there and close. It's not about slogans this time. Although when it comes to slogans, accept no other from your opponent except this one: 'The Republican Party: We're Sorry.'"