A new government study shows that the Bush administration's voluntary approach to combating global warming is ineffective.
In its report issued Friday, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found the administration's approach to reducing global warming pollutants to be a flop. (Download the report here.)
Ironically, the administration's new nominee for Secretary of the Treasury, Henry Paulson of Goldman Sachs, has supported mandatory limits on global warming pollution and has set real targets to cut emissions in his own company.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
The Bush administration -- having made it hard for federal scientists to talk publicly about global warming -- appears to have decided that loose lips are also bad when they talk about salmon.
The Washington office of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration -- the agency responsible for protecting endangered salmon -- has instructed its representatives and scientists in the West to route media questions about salmon back to headquarters. Only three people in the entire agency, all of them political appointees, are now authorized to speak of salmon, according to a NOAA employee who has been silenced on the fish.
The order was issued the day after an article appeared last month in The Washington Post quoting federal technocrats making positive statements about two recent decisions -- one by a federal judge, the other by federal scientists -- that challenged previous Bush administration policy about protecting salmon in the troubled Klamath River, which flows out of Oregon into California.
The judge, in a direct repudiation of administration policy, ruled that federal water managers, to protect fish during drought years, must limit the amount of water removed from the Klamath for irrigation farmers.
The scientific decision, written by experts from NOAA and the Interior Department, said that hydroelectric dams on the Klamath should either be removed or be rebuilt in a way that allows salmon passage. This decision surprised environmentalists, because the Bush administration has often said that dams on some Western rivers are part of the "environmental baseline" -- and must never be removed.
Emphasis added. Via Susie Madrak.
After vowing to steer a greater share of anti-terrorism money to the nation's highest-risk cities, Homeland Security officials today announced grants to New York City and Washington that would be slashed by 40 percent, while dollars headed to spots including Omaha and Louisville, Ky., would surge.
But despite repeated questions from reporters at a news conference today, she would not provide any detailed explanation of why cities like New York and Washington saw such large drops, when other seemingly less high-risk targets saw such an increase in funds.
U.S. forces killed two Iraqi women -- one of them about to give birth -- when the troops shot at a car that failed to stop at an observation post in a city north of Baghdad, Iraqi officials and relatives said Wednesday. Nabiha Nisaif Jassim, 35, was being raced to the maternity hospital in Samarra by her brother when the shooting occurred Tuesday.
“In a comprehensive 2004 study, the nonpartisan Fiscal Policy Institute reported that since 1997, states that had boosted their minimum wage above the federal minimum actually created jobs faster than those that did not. In higher minimum wage states, employment grew by 50 percent more than it did in states still at the pathetic federal level. Even in tough economic times, the minimum wage doesn’t hurt jobs: Princeton University economist David Card found that even the minimum wage increases during the 1990-91 recession ‘were not associated with any measurable employment losses.’ As Republican Sen. Arlen Specter (PA) once noted, “history clearly demonstrates that raising the minimum wage has no adverse impact on jobs.”…In Oregon, for instance, the state raised its minimum wage in 1998, and the average earnings of newly-employed welfare recipients climbed by 9 percent, while the percentage of welfare recipients who found a job actually rose.”
The Pentagon reported yesterday that the frequency of insurgent attacks against troops and civilians is at its highest level since American commanders began tracking such figures two years ago, an ominous sign that, despite three years of combat, the US-led coalition forces haven't significantly weakened the Iraq insurgency.
& it does the veterans no good to be supporting the party that talks big about honoring them, but when it comes time to pay, in 2004, looks the other way. Or in 2005 actually says the benefits are hurtful.The waiver, worth an estimated $6 million to $8 million a year for the UW System and nearly $2 million a year for the technical school system, comes with no additional financial support from the Legislature.
The Wall Street Journal describes the pittance set aside for veteran's benefits as "Congress' generosity," even as the Republican-controlled Congress and Bush Pentagon get set to slash billions more from Veterans Administration's (VA) programs. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal (1-25-05), Pentagon official David Chu, in a mockery of the contribution of veterans, defended a new round of cuts by ironically describing funding for programs like veterans' education and job training, health care, pensions, VA housing and the like as "hurtful" to national security.
West Milwaukee's Badger Outdoors last year again was tops among all gun shops in the nation for selling guns that later were recovered by police during criminal investigations, according to new data from the federal government.
In 2005, there were 537 crime guns - an average of more than 10 a week - recovered and traced to Badger, the Milwaukee area's largest gun dealer. None of the others in the top five had more than 500 crime guns traced to them, according to the document from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
The Federal Bureau of Investigation called off its search for the remains of the former Teamster leader James R. Hoffa today, saying it found no trace of Mr. Hoffa on a suburban horse farm.
Talk about a waste of our tax dollars.
A parked car bomb hit a popular market in a Shiite area north of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 65, the Interior Ministry said. Another car bomb went off at a dealership in southern Iraq, killing at least 12 people and wounding 32.
...balding, has a mustache and was wearing a white T-shirt....
Unfuckingbelieveable. Note to John Aravosis: Remember Alito?Justice Kennedy...wrote, "When a citizen enters government service, the citizen by necessity must accept certain limitations on his or her freedom."
Monday, May 29, 2006
More than a half-century after hostilities ended in Korea, a document from the war's chaotic early days has come to light -- a letter from the U.S. ambassador to Seoul, informing the State Department that American soldiers would shoot refugees approaching their lines.
The letter -- dated the day of the Army's mass killing of South Korean refugees at No Gun Ri in 1950 -- is the strongest indication yet that such a policy existed for all U.S. forces in Korea, and the first evidence that that policy was known to upper ranks of the U.S. government.
''If refugees do appear from north of US lines they will receive warning shots, and if they then persist in advancing they will be shot,'' wrote Ambassador John J. Muccio, in his message to Assistant Secretary of State Dean Rusk.
In the latest work, graduate student Xiaohai Wang, M.D., led a team that focused the laser system on the brain cells of mice as their whiskers were gently pushed about with gentle puffs of air. Whiskers make up one of the most important information-gathering mechanisms that many animals have, used in much the same way that people rely on their hands and eyes to learn about their environment. A large part of a mouse's brain is devoted to processing the information their whiskers send its way -- a change in air current might indicate a nearby predator, for instance, or a certain texture might indicate a yummy bite of cheese nearby. Scientists have found that the way an animal's brain learns information from its whiskers mirrors the way people learn from their senses.
Wang and Nedergaard found that with a puff of air on a whisker, astrocytes become activated -- pumped with calcium -- in the section of the brain that processes sensory input. The chemical step is a sign that the cell has been triggered in some way and is ready to send out a signal itself. While it's been shown before that astrocytes can become activated under extreme conditions in the laboratory, Nedergaard said this is the first time that such activity has been seen in an organism during everyday circumstances.
"This opens the door to whether these cells are part of everyday higher cognitive functioning that defines who we are as humans," she said.
For years astrocytes have been related to the status of helper to the neurons, which rely on astrocytes to bring nutrients and to clean up after them. While scientists have known that neurons fire electrically in spectacular fashion to send signals, it's only recently that the slower chemical signaling network of the more numerous astrocytes has become widely appreciated by scientists.
Wang's work is the latest in a series of papers by Nedergaard and colleagues scuttling the notion that astrocytes are merely support cells for neurons. More than a decade ago Nedergaard discovered that astrocytes send signals to the neurons, and the neurons respond. Since then she has made a series of findings that neurons and astrocytes talk back and forth, indicating that astrocytes are full partners in the basic working of the brain.
"Our take on this is that astrocytes really are part of higher brain function," said Nedergaard, noting that astrocytes are much more complex in people than in rodents, while neurons aren't that much different -- just longer.
"For years, people have considered the astrocyte like a housekeeper that cleans up after the neurons. But perhaps astrocytes are more like the parents who don't just clean up after their children but actually have some influence over them. Perhaps the astrocytes at times tell the neurons what to do."
Sunday's high of 97 in the Twin Cities was one click shy of an all-time high. The 98-degree record for May 28 was set in the Dust Bowl year of 1934.
Then in November, she heard the news. Thanks to anonymous donors, Elian's college tuition at a four-year state university will be completely paid for. Her four younger siblings probably will get the same treatment, as will any student who attends Kalamazoo public schools from kindergarten through 12th grade.
``We don't accept Karzai any more as a president. We protest against him: death to Karzai!'' Jaweed Agha, one of the protesters, shouted.
A Reuters journalist said he saw shops being looted in downtown Kabul, and a house belonging to a foreigner and the office of Care International aid group being ransacked.
The United States has 23,000 troops in Afghanistan.
A slew of car and roadside bombs killed more than 30 people in Iraq on Monday, a day after a tribal chief who challenged Iraq's most feared terrorist and sent fighters to help U.S. troops battle al-Qaida in western Iraq was gunned down.
A large amount or number; a lot: a slew of unpaid bills.Unpaid bills, indeed.
[Irish Gaelic sluagh, multitude, from Old Irish slúag.]
The lowest casualty estimates, based on the now-renounced North Vietnamese statements, are around 1.5 million Vietnamese killed. Vietnam released figures on April 3, 1995 that a total of one million Vietnamese combatants and four million civilians were killed in the war.
Grenada-- 49 dead and several hundred wounded.
In June 1991, the U.S. estimated that more than 100,000 Iraqi soldiers died,....
Civilians reported killed by military intervention in Iraq
Shorter winters, hotter summers, earlier spring blooms, less snow: All of these are signs of global warming, and according to a first-ever survey of South Carolina sportsmen on their attitudes about global warming, 68 percent agree that global warming is an urgent problem requiring immediate action. They know that something is happening in the woods where they hunt and on the streams and rivers where they fish.
Sixty-five percent say global warming is a serious threat to fish and wildlife, and 71 percent are concerned that wildlife and fish populations in areas where they typically hunt or fish will decrease significantly or disappear in the next 10 years.
Sunday, May 28, 2006
With that in mind, it was gratifying indeed to hear Gore unload on the political press and describe it as frivolous and cynical.
Quick UPDATE: A view a bit opposite of the above, although in the end, supportive of the "new" guy. I get his point & was one I had in 2000, as well. This notion of politics all working out in the end. Not with Bu$hCo & his minions.
Saturday, May 27, 2006
Since 2000, we’ve seen what happens when people who aren’t interested in the facts, who believe what they want to believe, sit in the White House. Osama bin Laden is still at large, Iraq is a mess, New Orleans is a wreck. And, of course, we’ve done nothing about global warming.
US Marines could face the death penalty after one of their number took horrific photographs of a massacre in Iraq on his mobile phone, The Independent on Sunday has learned.
The photographs, seized by the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), show many victims shot at close range in the head and chest, execution-style, according to sources who have seen them. One image shows a mother and young child bent over on the floor as if in prayer. Both have been shot dead.
Last July, Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations, Samir al-Sumaidaie, accused the Marines of killing his 21-year-old cousin in cold blood during a search of his family's home in Haditha, a city of about 90,000 people along the Euphrates River 140 miles northwest of Baghdad.
"America in the view of many Iraqis has no credibility. We do not believe what they say is correct," said Sheik Sattar al-Aasaf, a tribal leader in Anbar province, which includes Haditha. "U.S. troops are a very well-trained and when they shoot, it isn't random but due to an order to kill Iraqis. People say they are the killers."
An Associated Press journalist who traveled in Haditha last June with a Marine unit not involved in the November killings saw a Marine urinate on the kitchen floor of a home and on another occasion saw insults chalked in English on the gate of an Arab home. The reporter asked a Marine commander about the incident and was told it would be investigated. (Has it been investigated?, ed.)
Think through this for a moment: According to Weisberg, Clinton's explanation of what music is on her iPod was "premeditated" and the result of political "calculations." For Weisberg to be right, Clinton's answer must be dishonest. Now: Does anybody really believe that Clinton doesn't like Aretha Franklin's "Respect"? How many professional baby-boomer women don't like "Respect"? Does anybody really believe Clinton doesn't like the Beatles? They're the Beatles! It's hard to believe any rational person could assume that Clinton doesn't actually like and listen to the music she listed. And if she does, Weisberg's entire premise can be tossed out the window: There's nothing calculated or insincere in answering a question about what music you like by listing the music you like.
But give Weisberg credit for trying: He describes Clinton's stated fondness for both the Beatles and the Rolling Stones as some sort of trying-to-have-it-both-ways Clintonian dishonesty. There's a word for arguments like this: Stupid. How many Beatles fans actually dislike the Rolling Stones? How many Stones fans dislike the Beatles? It's like suggesting someone is dishonest for saying they like both ice cream and cake: Who doesn't like ice cream and cake? Allmusic.com even lists the Beatles among 20 "similar artists" to the Rolling Stones.
Friday, May 26, 2006
"This decision has to be looked at in the context that the Bush administration has again and again showed opposition to protecting species under the Endangered Species Act,'' Greenwald said.
May 21, a truck stopped and took out some mailboxes on Crosstown Road in Grantsburg. The victim, who is a teacher, said students may have been involved in the accident. A mud flap was found at the scene and taken in as evidence. No suspects, no arrests.
People tend to think it is easy work to be an organ grinder — basically, turn the crank, count the money — and that drives Joe Bush crazy.
When he first got into the business 31 years ago, Bush tied himself to his monkey every night for three weeks. His wife would say goodnight and shut him in the family room and turn up the volume on the television.
"Look, this is the real McCoy here, pal, just me and you," Bush would say to the monkey, a white-faced capuchin named George.
Then the monkey would holler at Bush and Bush would holler at the monkey until they were both so exhausted that they passed out. After three weeks, they started to develop a mutual understanding.
The wife left him, and Bush and George performed together for 15 years. When George died, Bush did not want to pay top dollar for taxidermy, so he had George freeze-dried, and set him on a shelf in the study, where he still sits today, paws extended in mid-air. That, as Bush would say, is another story.
Now, with his 65th birthday approaching, Bush is the only organ grinder left in the New York area. He is barrel-chested and mustachioed. He wears red pants. On his shoulder sits George's replacement, George II, reaching out for dollar bills with the tapered fingers of a tiny old man. The crank organ tinkles out something like "Hail, Hail, the Gang's All Here," high-pitched and tinny, the sound of gaiety or false gaiety. With a few exceptions, his listeners do not remember what it was like to see organ grinders on street-corners. But they listen with sweet smiles, as if they remember.
Told you so, & you didn't believe me.
For years, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, a genial former wrestling coach, has stood on the sidelines as President Bush seized power from a quiescent legislative branch. But this week, with the unlikeliest of provocations, the speaker has hit the administration with the political equivalent of a three-quarter face lock Russian leg sweep.
First, he came out to demand that the administration return documents seized in a raid of a Democrat's congressional office. Then, when ABC News reported Wednesday night that Hastert was under investigation in the Jack Abramoff affair, the Illinois Republican blamed the Bush administration for the dubious report.
"This is one of the leaks that come out to try to, you know, intimidate people," the usually mild speaker told Chicago's WGN radio yesterday. "We're just not going to be intimidated on it." Asked later if he was charging the Justice Department with retaliating for his stance in the congressional office raid, he answered: "Here are the dots. People can connect any dots they want to." If that wasn't clear enough, he added: "I thought it was an interesting sequence of events."
The radicalization of Denny Hastert has been a marvel to behold after years in which Bush has urged him to stay on the job because of his fierce loyalty to the White House. First, Hastert groused about the Dubai port deal. Then, he criticized the administration's ouster of CIA chief Porter Goss. Now, his fury about the office search has come like a nor'easter merging with the tropical depression congressional Republicans already find themselves in -- and it's getting stormy on the Hill.
The newfound passion for congressional prerogatives has amused Democrats, who have complained for years about what they say is the administration's contempt for congressional authority. The White House has stiffed requests from Congress on such key issues as probes of Hurricane Katrina to the eavesdropping programs at the National Security Agency.
"I note your public outrage over this search of a Member of Congress because it is in stark contrast to the conspicuous lack of such concern regarding similar questions about this administration's actions regarding millions of average citizens," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) teased in a letter to Hastert. "[Y]ou and your Republican colleagues have ranged from largely silent to vehemently supportive of every action this Administration has taken to expand executive powers."
Thursday, May 25, 2006
My guess is that the administration believed it didn't need this or any other prop, that the Firm Fist of American Resolve would suffice, and that Dick Cheney still believes that might equals right and legal niceties are for sissy-men. Bush seems to have drifted away from Cheney's clenched certitudes...tapering off in his own aimless direction. For the good of the country, let's hope he doesn't become orphaned and imprisoned within his own presidency, giving us a replay of the embittered, Watergate-haunted Nixon at the end of his rope, when the drapes in the Oval Office began to resemble druid's robes and portraits on the walls became his only companions. We don't need to relive that horror movie again. Not with the glaciers melting, and other, bigger horror movies threatening to unfold.
Ya think?The falling average science test scores among high school students appeared certain to increase anxiety about America's academic competitiveness and to add new urgency to calls from President Bush, governors and philanthropists like Bill Gates for an overhaul of the nation's high schools.
Representative John Kline, a Minnesota Republican who is a retired Marine colonel, said that the allegations indicated that "this was not an accident. This was direct fire by marines at civilians." He added, "This was not an immediate response to an attack. This would be an atrocity."
Wednesday, May 24, 2006
Marines will face criminal charges for a Nov. 19 incident that left 24 Iraqi civilians dead, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Michael W. Hagee confirmed Wednesday to Marine Corps Times.
Incredibly, 24% saw nothing, heard nothing, & won't say anything because the NSA will find out they are thinkers, & that clearly means the are enemies of America. & the same 24%, I'm intelligently quessing here, don't know if global warming is the cause of the problems. Go figure.
These second-generation neos needed a trio of arrogant, onetime CEOs -- Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld -- to actualize their vision. But actualize it they did, and the ideologues whose forebears once argued that the drugged-out Bronx was a monument to liberal folly have now made blood-drenched and depopulating Baghdad the monument to their own neocon obsessions.
Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Two such experts are John Taylor and James Roach, who recently released a study that pegged the transportation savings tied to overseas shipping in the Great Lakes at about $55 million a year, a paltry sum compared with the economic and environmental costs associated with invasive species.
One estimate, for example, put the total cost of just thepipe-clogging zebra mussel to regional industry at about $2 billion over the past two decades.
Taylor and Roach reached their estimate by tracking what overseas cargo moves on the seaway and projecting the cost of moving that material to the region by rail, truck or Mississippi River barge.
Monday, May 22, 2006
"Freedom is moving but it's in incremental steps, and the enemy's progress is almost instant on their TV screens."
Mr. Lieberman's defenders would have you believe that his increasingly unpopular positions reflect his principles. But his Bushlike inability to face reality on Iraq looks less like a stand on principle than the behavior of a narcissist who can't admit error. And the common theme in Mr. Lieberman's positions seems to be this: In each case he has taken the stand that is most likely to get him on TV.
You see, the talking-head circuit loves centrists. But a centrist, as defined inside the Beltway, doesn't mean someone whose views are actually in the center, as judged by public opinion. Instead, a Democrat is considered centrist to the extent that he does what Mr. Lieberman does: lends his support to Republican talking points, even if those talking points don't correspond at all to what most of the public wants or believes.
"All this talk of McCain reaching out to both sides by speaking at a “liberal” university and “conservative” university, here, highlights the genuine differences between liberal and conservative. “Conservatives” like Jerry Falwell practice sexism and racism—forbidding inter-racial dating, etc., and accuse their political opponents, like Bill Clinton of drug-running and murder, and making money off of this slander by selling videos. They also announce that the United States got what it deserved on 9/11, though they apologize. Even if you leave Falwell out of the equation, you have to admit, Liberty University is the kind of place where if you do not do as everyone else does in say, matters of religion or sexuality, you are either harassed or banished. Freedom of thought or of speech is anathema."
McCain's handlers sent him to The New School as cover for his visit to Liberty University. Rohe was able to get the jump on McCain because he bragged to the media about giving the same speech at all of his commencement gigs. McCain thinks that giving canned commencement speeches proves that he's a man of integrity who doesn't change his message to suit his audience. In fact, it proves that he's a phony and user. He doesn't care about these institutions, these students, or these ceremonies. It's all about him.
A wide range of design and construction defects in levees around New Orleans raise serious doubts that the system can withstand the pounding of another hurricane the size of Katrina, even after $3.1 billion in repairs are completed, a team of independent investigators led by UC Berkeley's civil engineering school said Sunday.
The mistakes raise concerns about whether the corps is competent to oversee public safety projects across the nation, said Raymond Seed, a UC Berkeley civil engineering professor who led the investigation, which the National Science Foundation sponsored shortly after Katrina struck.
Sunday, May 21, 2006
Ali, 76, whose left leg was amputated years ago because of diabetes, died after being shot in the stomach and chest. His wife, Khamisa, 66, was shot in the back. Ali's son, Jahid, 43, was hit in the head and chest. Son Walid, 37, was burned to death after a grenade was thrown into his room, and a third son, 28-year-old Rashid, died after he was shot in the head and chest, Rsayef and Hamza said.
Also among the dead were son Walid's wife, Asma, 32, who was shot in the head, and their son Abdullah, 4, who was shot in the chest, Rsayef and Hamza said.
Walid's 8-year-old daughter, Iman, and his 6-year-old son, Abdul-Rahman, were wounded and U.S. troops took them to Baghdad for treatment. The only person who escaped unharmed was Walid's 5-month-old daughter, Asia. The three children now live with their maternal grandparents, Rsayef and Hamza said.
Rsayef said those killed in the second house were his brother Younis, 43, who was shot in the stomach and chest, the brother's wife Aida, 40, who was shot in the neck and chest while still in bed where she was recuperating from bladder surgery. Their 8-year-old son Mohammed bled to death after being shot in the right arm, Rsayef said.
Also killed were Younis's daughters, Nour, 14, who was shot in the head; Seba, 10, who was hit in the chest; Zeinab, 5, shot in the chest and stomach; and Aisha, 3, who was shot in the chest. Hoda Yassin, a visiting relative, was also killed, Rsayef and Hamza said.
The only survivor from Younis's family was his 15-year-old daughter Safa, who pretended she was dead. She is living with her grandparents, Rsayef said.
Via Steve Gilliard.
Saturday, May 20, 2006
"We would like to know what happened," he said. "Four-and-a-half years later, we still don't have definitive proof that a plane hit that building."
Here's something to think about.
The My Lai Peace Park
To some, it may simply
we're back with our do-gooding
intentions paving the
road to fixed-up clinics, and
shrimp farms in exchange
for husbands and babies
loan funds that
like the wheel of life
no prayer flags
and shame to pluck at freely
like the kapok tree
dispensing its white gauze balls,
sopping soul blood
from the green wound
curled along the fringed-pine fence
but until we all look
over the fragile
crumbling edges of bloody ditches
into the fleshy truth
of hot, chopped
we cannot buy our way out;
we must own the horror,
all of us
who turned away our faces
when we heard
and didn t even cry.
There is no far away
from My Lai.
Constance Lee Menefee
on the side & in the middle of the road.
We also saw a big old one of these:
I got a funny birthday email from my sister Karen & a call from Les & Tara, two great baristas at the coffee shop where great ideas are sometimes discussed. I really appreciated that call. While it was a great day, sort of, these are hard times. Later.
As chaos swept Iraq after the American invasion in 2003, the Pentagon began its effort to rebuild the Iraqi police with a mere dozen advisers. Overmatched from the start, one was sent to train a 4,000-officer unit to guard power plants and other utilities. A second to advise 500 commanders in Baghdad. Another to organize a border patrol for the entire country.
Three years later, the police are a battered and dysfunctional force that has helped bring Iraq to the brink of civil war. Police units stand accused of operating death squads for powerful political groups or simple profit. Citizens, deeply distrustful of the force, are setting up their own neighborhood security squads. Killings of police officers are rampant, with at least 547 slain this year, roughly as many as Iraqi and American soldiers combined, records show.
The police, initially envisioned by the Bush administration as a cornerstone in a new democracy, have instead become part of Iraq's grim constellation of shadowy commandos, ruthless political militias and other armed groups. Iraq's new prime minister and senior American officials now say that the country's future — and the ability of America to withdraw its troops — rests in large measure on whether the police can be reformed and rogue groups reined in.
Iraqi leaders on Saturday approved a full-term government here for the first time since the fall of Saddam Hussein more than three years ago, but one that appeared to lack the cohesion needed to quell the sectarian and guerrilla violence that has brought the country to the brink of civil war.
The Iraqi Parliament approved 36 ministers who will form a cabinet headed by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, a member of the dominant Shiite coalition that captured a majority of the votes cast in nationwide elections on Dec. 15. But three of the most important posts in the government — the Ministries of Defense, Interior and National Security — were left vacant because Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish leaders could not agree on who should fill them.
Friday, May 19, 2006
"According to the military, 15 Iraqi civilians died in the incident as a result of an explosion caused by an insurgent bomb, what the military calls an IED, or Improvised Explosive Device, that had also killed one of the Marines. Other reports charged that the U.S. Marines on the scene shot the civilians to retaliate for losing their comrade."Here's what Congressman Murtha said in the same article linked to above:
"There was no firefight," he said. "There was no IED that killed these innocent people. Our troops over-reacted because of the pressure on them. And they killed innocent civilians in cold blood.
"Congressman Murtha also said the civilian death toll was 24, not 15 as the Marines first reported. Murtha is a former Marine, a respected expert on defense issues and a strong supporter of the military. Six months ago he called for the Bush administration to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq quickly."
I’m so sick of this “fog of war” crap I could just puke. The Pat Tillman fiasco comes to mind. As does this little fairy tale.
Her rescue will go down as one of the most stunning pieces of news management yet conceived. It provides a remarkable insight into the real influence of Hollywood producers on the Pentagon's media managers, and has produced a template from which America hopes to present its future wars.
"Lieut. Colonel Michelle Martin-Hing, spokeswoman for the Multi-National Force-Iraq, told Time the involvement of the ncis does not mean that a crime occurred. And she says the fault for the civilian deaths lies squarely with the insurgents, who "placed noncombatants in the line of fire as the Marines responded to defend themselves."
"On November 20, U.S. Marines spokesman Captain Jeffrey Pool issued a statement saying that, on the previous day, a roadside bomb had killed 15 civilians and a Marine. In a later gunbattle, U.S. and Iraqi troops had killed eight insurgents, he added."*
If you're driving in a fog, you stop.
Thursday, May 18, 2006
Many Minnesota hunters and anglers say they already are seeing the effects of a warming atmosphere, and most believe climate change will hurt the state's fish and wildlife populations.
That's the finding of a poll taken by the Minnesota Conservation Federation and the National Wildlife Federation of 302 hunters and anglers across the state.
Of those polled, 76 percent said they were very or somewhat concerned that many fish and wildlife populations will decrease in the next 10 years, and most agreed that global warming is a factor.
"“This one is ugly," one official told NBC News."
UPDATE: Go to Billmon for a good piece on this horror.
The last male purebred Columbia Basin pygmy rabbit has died, leaving just two females in a captive breeding program created to try to save the endangered species from extinction.
The tiny rabbits are found only in Douglas County in north-central Washington. None is believed to exist in the wild, which means that the two females -- Lolo and Bryn -- are the only known purebred pygmy rabbits left in existence.
"This is a population that has existed since before the last ice age in Eastern Washington. The loss is something we can never calculate," said Jon Marvel, executive director of the Idaho-based Western Watersheds Project, which works to protect pygmy rabbit populations across the West. "Any time we lose a species, it diminishes us all."
A fabled tropical ice field in Africa could disappear in two decades because of climate change, a study says.
The finding comes from the first survey in a decade of glaciers in the Rwenzori Mountains, East Africa, often referred to as the "Mountains of the Moon".
A British-Ugandan team says an increase in air temperature over the last four decades has contributed to a substantial reduction in glacial cover.
Wednesday, May 17, 2006
Watch out for El Nino! (Actual subject line, go figure.)
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A majority of Arkansas hunters and fishermen believe that global warming is an urgent problem in need of immediate action to stop, an environmental group's survey release Monday showed.
"Calling Scott Jensen's actions 'common thievery elevated to a higher plane,' a judge sentenced the former Assembly speaker Tuesday to 15 months in prison for his role in directing aides to do campaign work on state time.
Jensen, 45, was also fined 2,000, ordered to serve 45 months of probation after his prison sentence and banned from the Capitol while on probation.
The Capitol ban was sought by prosecutors because another convicted legislator, former Assembly Majority Leader Steve Foti (R-Oconomowoc), works as a lobbyist while serving a work-release sentence in the Waukesha County Huber Jail. Foti is serving a 60-day jail sentence after pleading guilty to one misdemeanor count of ordering on-the-job campaigning by an aide.
Dane County Circuit Judge Steven Ebert said he was outraged by Jensen's use of Assembly aides to subsidize the campaigns of GOP Assembly candidates, calling it a 'secretive but highly organized theft' that put all Assembly Republican legislators in his debt."
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
Monday, May 15, 2006
"Even if he loses, his friends say, he doesn't lose. He'll just change the score, or change the rules, or make his opponent play until he can beat him. "If you were playing basketball and you were playing to 11 and he was down, you went to 15," says Hannah, now a Dallas insurance executive. "If he wasn't winning, he would quit. He would just walk off.... It's what we called Bush Effort: If I don't like the game, I take my ball and go home."
A young female Afghan lawmaker who once called powerful tribal leaders "criminals" and complained publicly last week there are warlords among parliament members now sleeps in a different house every night after a fresh influx of death threats.
The Christian Aid charity has warned that 184 million people in Africa alone could die as a result of climate change before the end of the century.
Sunday, May 14, 2006
Saturday, May 13, 2006
If someone would just translate The Leviathan into modern colloquial English – or even better, turn it into a comic book – I think Shrub might discover a new favorite philosopher. Maybe not on same plane as Jesus Christ (and certainly not as politically advantageous) but a thinker even more in tune with his own ideas about the power and majesty of the unitary executive.
By Shrub’s ideas, of course, I actually mean those of the ultra-conservative legal scholars who invented the doctrine of the unitary executive and turned into our own home-grown version of the Fuhrerprinzip – now backed by the ability to process 10 billion bits of telecommunications data per second. Big Brother, eat your heart out.
The ultimate enemy, in the Hobbesian universe, is anarchy – the dreaded war of the all against the all – in which human life is rapidly reduced to its natural state: “solitary, poor nasty, brutish and short.” Even the most ruthless repression is preferable to that horror, just as to our modern-day security fanatics any constitutional violation is justified if it reduces, even slightly, the odds of another 9/11.
Here again, Hobbes would probably line up with the GOP spin machine. He also had little patience for complaints about civil liberties, which he dismissed as simply childish misreadings of the ancient Greek and Roman political texts:
The Athenians and Romans were free, that is free Commonwealths, not that any particular men had the liberty to resist their own representative [he meant ruler] but that their representative had the liberty to resist, or invade, other people.
But phone records, of course, are just the electronic frosting on Big Brother’s birthday cake. The NSC program is simply one of a horde of data mining organisms cloned from Admiral Poindexter’s original Total (as in totalitarian) Information Awareness program, which predates 9/11. To protect the program from Congress’s feeble attempts to kill it, Rumsfeld apparently broke it down and shipped the pieces to other provinces in his empire, with the NSC (not surprisingly) inheriting the core functions. (When Rumsfeld jotted down that note on 9/11, reminding himself to “sweep it all up; things related and not,” we should have realized he was speaking literally.)
Leviathan, in other words, is almost free of any restraint, save the arbitrary limits – such as they may be – set by the Cheney administration or, perhaps more importantly, by custom and habit. The creature doesn’t know all the things it can do, but only because it hasn’t tried to do them yet. But it’s starting to figure this out, and it’s going to take more than an election and a few corruption probes to make it back down. Having entrusted their security and their liberties to the beast, Leviathan’s subjects will be lucky not to wind up like Jonah, lodged in its belly.