Saturday, October 15, 2005
Park Service managers now must be screened for Bush loyalty
The National Park Service is made up of civil service employees, and though they will continue to be called civil service employees, things have changed. Today, Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility issued a directive which requires all mid-level and above managers to be approved by a Bush administration political appointee.
Managers must be screened by Park Service headquarters and by the Assistant Secretary for Fish, and Wildlife, and Parks. They must be willing to lead their employees in Bush's Management Agenda, which includes outsourcing to replace civil servants, the use of faith-based initiatives, and rollbacks of civil service rights.
They must also be able to lead employees in Interior Secretary Gale Norton's 4 C's: "communication, consultation, cooperation, all in the name of conservation." Presumably, they will provide milk and cookies at 3 p.m. every afternoon.
Posted by Diane E. Dees on 10/13/05 at 06:05 PM
By Tom Doggett
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Democratic Rep. Edward Markey of Massachusetts asked the Bush administration on Friday to explain why it will not tap the government's emergency heating oil stockpile, even though federal law allowed it do so this week after heating fuel prices reached high levels.
For the first time ever, the U.S. Northeast experienced sustained high heating oil costs long enough to hit the price trigger that gives President George W. Bush the option to release supplies from the 2-million-barrel heating oil reserve. The White House declined to use the reserve for the moment.
"If you choose nevertheless not to release home heating oil from the reserve, I respectfully request an explanation of the reasons why the administration has chosen not to provide relief to consumers in the Northeast," Markey said in a letter to Bush.
The Energy Department said on Thursday that heating oil supplies were adequate and it would not recommend that the president order a release of heating fuel from the stockpile.
In his letter, Markey pointed out that Bush strongly supported legislation that was approved by the House of Representatives last week that promotes building new oil refineries.
"The consumers of that oil are now asking whether you intend to use your emergency power to protect families facing soaring heating oil prices in the Northeast," Markey said.
The Energy Department forecast this week that average heating oil bills in the Northeast will rise 30 percent this winter to $1,607 compared to last year.
If the weather turns much colder than expected, average heating oil expenses in the region could jump 56 percent to $1,929, the department said.
The average heating oil price in the Northeast actually fell six cents over the last week to $2.57 a gallon. But that is still much higher from the region's $1.89 price a year ago.
"While we know that high heating oil prices put a strain on family budgets, there are no indications of any consumer being unable to obtain heating oil," an Energy Department spokesman said on Thursday. ...............
Media No Longer Taking Flak?
Our CEO president continues to treat news as widgets to be fabricated and sold to an unsuspecting public. Witness yesterday's Iraq war charade: a carefully orchestrated White House video link-up with Iraq that used U.S. soldiers as extras to shed positive light on Bush's war strategy.We know this only because the charade was reported as such in the AP, the Washington Post and on NPR. Such dogged objectivity is a new tack for many of our colleagues in the mainstream. But by revealing the man behind the curtain, they also lay bare the machinations of their own public deception.That some in mainstream media are no longer giving this president a free pass to the front page is news in its own right. Bush's plummeting approval rating might have something to do with their newfound skepticism, which raises another issue altogether: It seems our media eagerly pile scorn upon a president when his numbers are down, but give him the benefit of the doubt when they're up.This would suggest that mainstream media don't inform the public based upon the objective merits of a story, but merely tailor their reporting to respond to the flux and flow of popular opinion.I'll leave that frightening theory to be sorted out by the media analysts at Pew and PEJ. For now, let's look at the propaganda at hand:Reporting on yesterday's Bush-Iraq video-op, the Village Voice's Ward Harkavy finds that it involved an actor from within his own sausage factory. "The soldier on the left side of the front row was actually a flak herself, though she didn't reveal it during the regime's 24-minute infomercial."The soldier in question is Master Sgt. Corine Lombardo; she works in public affairs for the military as spokesperson to the media. While she's emerged elsewhere in mainstream reports on Iraq, she hasn't always been identified in her role.......................................
A Deep Look at Corruption Culture
by Stephen Crockett
A Deep Look at Corruption CultureRecent events have shown that a corruption culture has taken hold of the dominant corporate business community and their allies in American politics. The corruption culture threatens both our economic way of life and American Democracy.The criminal charges filed against Republican House Majority Leader Tom Delay, the insider stock trading investigation of Senate Republican Majority Leader Bill Frist, the huge increases in energy prices as a result of deliberate market manipulation of supply by oil refineries and the White House aides (Karl Rove and Cheney’s Chief of Staff Libby) role in outing a CIA agent for partisan political reasons have it clear that corruption by the powerful is out of control. The intentionally created California electric energy crisis of Bush’s first term, the MCI-Worldcom frauds, the Enron frauds, the charges against Ohio Governor Taft, the criminal trial of former Illinois Governor Ryan, the voter intimidation tactics used by the Republican Party in Ohio and elsewhere are all strong evidence that America is facing a breakdown in business ethics and political commitment to American Democracy.America’s crisis has two related parts. We have a runaway greed problem in Corporate business circles that has spilled over into American politics and government. The growing financial power of corrupt corporations has helped the most ruthless politicians obtain political power and virtual control of American government at most levels. The power lust in political circles is as strong as the money lust in Corporate business circles. The two have merged in the Bush Republican political machine.There is growing evidence that traditional checks and balances in government designed by our Founding Fathers and improved by earlier generations of American political leaders are no longer respected by our current leaders. These checks and balances are no longer working effectively as a result.Our Corporate business leaders are following a business ethics approach of charging “all the market will bear” prices. The concept of a “reasonable rate of return” on investment has been largely abandoned in less than a generation. The difference in the two approaches to business is critically important and relate to the corrupting influence of corporations in American politics.............
Friday, October 14, 2005
it has NOT stopped raining at all. it is hard and it is constant. our eighth day as i mentioned before. the past few days, it has been on and off, periods of NO rain. today. ALL rain. main roads are ponding and that is in the city. i can only imagine towns near our rivers. i know new hampshire is in trouble as is parts of long island.
i don't know if the pumpkin festival in keene (nh) will be on this year. i'll post more on that later. it is one of the most fantastic festivals i have ever attended. then again, i do have a punkin' fetish
Hospital patient taken to face U.S. marijuana charge
Lawyer: 'This is totally inhumane'
Thursday, October 13, 2005; Posted: 9:17 a.m. EDT (13:17 GMT)
SEATTLE, Washington (AP) -- An Army veteran who fled to Canada to avoid prosecution for growing marijuana to treat his chronic pain was taken from a hospital, driven to the border with a catheter still attached, and turned over to U.S. officials, his lawyer said.
Steven W. Tuck then went five days with no medical treatment and only ibuprofen for the pain, the attorney said.
Tuck, 38, was still fitted with the urinary catheter when he shuffled into federal court Wednesday for a detention hearing Wednesday.
"This is totally inhumane. He's been tortured for days for no reason," Hiatt said.
U.S. Magistrate Judge James P. Donohue ordered Tuck temporarily released so he could be taken to a hospital for treatment. But by the time Donohoe issued his order, King County Jail officials had received a detainment request from Humboldt County, California, so Tuck was not released Wednesday, Hiatt said.
"I can't believe we've run into another snag here," the lawyer said.
Tuck suffered debilitating injuries in the 1980s when his parachute failed to open during a jump. Those injuries were exacerbated by a car crash in 1990, Hiatt said, and Tuck was using marijuana for chronic pain.
In 2001, while Tuck was living in McKinleyville, California, his marijuana operation was raided for the second time. He fled to British Columbia to avoid prosecution but asylum was denied.
Tuck checked last Friday into a Vancouver hospital for prostate problems and was arrested there by Canadian authorities.
Richard Cowan, a friend, said he was with Tuck at the hospital when authorities arrested him.
"I would not believe it unless I had seen it," Cowan said. "They sent people in to arrest him while he was on a gurney. They took him out of the hospital in handcuffs, put him in an SUV, and drove him to the border."
Tuck was turned over to Whatcom County Jail officials, who called federal marshals. The marshals took him to the King County Jail in Seattle.
Although Tuck has taken morphine -- as prescribed by doctors -- for about 16 years to help with his pain, he was given no painkiller or treatment at the jail other than ibuprofen, Hiatt said.
Tuck appeared emaciated in court, and Hiatt said he had been sick from morphine withdrawal.
King County Jail officials did not return a call seeking comment, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police had no comment. ........
E-mail warnings reportedly sent to city's wealthy before threat publicized
MSNBC and NBC News
Updated: 3:48 p.m. ET Oct. 13, 2005
Federal authorities on Thursday opened a criminal investigation into who wrote e-mails that warned private citizens of a possible terror threat to New York City subways days in advance of a city government decision to issue a public alert last week.
News of the probe followed a report Thursday in the New York Daily News that a "select crowd of business and arts executives" received e-mails tipping them off to a potential threat days before most New Yorkers heard about it from local officials.
NBC's Pete Williams reported that investigators were looking at the e-mails, which appear to be based on statements by government officials with knowledge of the potential threat. ..........
i do hear we MAY, just MAY see some sun late tomorrow. please light a candle for us
Rain batters Northeast for eighth straight day
'We're just bracing for the next storm'
Friday, October 14, 2005; Posted: 8:29 a.m. EDT (12:29 GMT)
FAIRFIELD, New Jersey (AP) -- When water from the rain-swollen Passaic River began seeping into Nick Sitarella's home, he loaded a moving van with his belongings and got out.
"I'm not taking any chances," Sitarella said. "It's a horrible way to live."
Much of the waterlogged Northeast entered its eighth straight day of rain Friday, a deluge that has trapped motorists, delayed airline flights and sent streams surging over their banks.
At least 10 people have died in the region since last weekend because of the downpours, and four others were missing in New Hampshire. Forecasters predicted another 2 to 3 inches of rain.
Flood warnings covered parts of Connecticut, New York and New Jersey, and residents in some New Jersey communities were urged to evacuate their homes.........
PASOLINI MURDER CASE SHELVED
The investigation into the 1975 murder of the great gay Italian poet-film director-novelist-playwright-essayist-literary critic Pier Paolo Pasolini(left) -- which had been re-opened in May after the hustler originally convicted of the murder recanted on television his confession of three decades earlier -- has been definitively shelved, it was reported in Rome yesterday. This means that the many questions about the murder of Pasolini -- a political radical as well as a genius polymath -- will remain unanswered.
Ever since Pino "the Frog" Pelosi, who was a teenage hustler and petty criminal at the time he confessed to having killed Pasolini, said in a lengthy interview with Rai 3 television that his earlier confession was a fabrication, I have closely followed and written about the Pasolini murder case. I laid out many of the serious flaws in Pelosi's original confession and the reasons why many of Pasolini's closest friends have always believed the murder was political in a lengthy article I wrote for the August 5 L.A. Weekly, "Restoring Pasolini."
Thursday, October 13, 2005
Flea protein may repair arteries A protein responsible for fleas' astonishing jumping power could be harnessed to repair damaged arteries.
Scientists have taken the gene that produces resilin and used it to create a super-strong rubbery polymer with potential use in surgery.
They actually extracted the gene from fruit flies and cultured resilin in large quantities in E.coli bacteria.
The work, by Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, features in Nature
The outstanding mechanical properties of resilin were discovered four decades ago during studies of the flight systems of desert locusts and dragonflies.
Not only does it enable fleas to leap prodigious distances, it allows flies to beat their wings at incredible speed - up to 200 times a second.
It out-performs even the highest-grade rubber in its ability to withstand stress and bounces back into shape. ..........
« It's a Beautiful Day...in a Santorum Kind of Way Main Bookmark AttytoodE-mail Will Bunch
The President's day: One high crime and two misdemeanors
Since Attytood is now officially a "liberal journalist" according to Slate.com, we feel it's our duty to report that many on the farther left have been agitating in recent days for the impeachment of President Bush, primarily on the grounds of deliberately lying to the American people about Iraq. But why stop there. Just today alone, Bush committed at least one "high crime" and two "misdemeanors," by our casual tally.
The act: President Bush said Wednesday that Harriet Miers' religious beliefs figured into her nomination to the Supreme Court as a top-ranking Democrat warned against any "wink and a nod" campaign for confirmation.
"People are interested to know why I picked Harriet Miers," Bush told reporters at the White House. "Part of Harriet Miers' life is her religion."
Misdemeanor No. 1: In using religion as a key basis for offering Miers a job, the president would appear to have violated the spirit, if not the letter, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. According to the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Title VII of the law "prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin."
Misdemeanor No. 2: More specifically, one could make the case that Bush's actions are also in violation of the Civil Service Reform Act of 1978, which specifically covers federal employees. According to the same EEOC primer: "The CSRA prohibits any employee who has authority to take certain personnel actions from discriminating for or against employees or applicants for employment on the bases of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age or disability."
High crime: As you might expect, the "high crime" here is more serious, and is also the area where it's hardest to argue that the president did not cross the line. We are referring to Article VI, Clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution, which states that "no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.".............
you take your right foot out................
(if i had a hammer......... hey, where the hell is trini lopez when you really need him???)
For President Under Duress, Body Language Speaks Volumes
By Dana MilbankWednesday, October 12, 2005; Page A07
It's only 6:17 a.m. Central time, and President Bush is already facing his second question of the day about Karl Rove's legal troubles.
Oct. 11, 2005 at 3:13PM
Twenty-four Danish citizens have brought suit challenging Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen's decision to go to war against Iraq. While Denmark's contingent in Iraq is small -- about 500 troops -- Rasmussen has been criticized widely for misleading the people and Denmark's Parliament that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. The Danish force was an original member of the U.S.-led coalition that invaded Iraq in 2003, the BBC reported. Under Denmark's constitution, the group says the nation must be threatened directly or be acting under a U.N. mandate to go to war. The group says neither condition was met. It could take up to two years to determine if the 24 people are interested parties allowed to bring such a suit and, if they are, as long as five years for the constitutional case to be decided, the BBC report said.
Acid that spilled from Halliburton truck contained
posted by: Dan Viens Web Producer
MESA COUNTY - Firefighters in Mesa County say none of the acid that spilled in an accident early Wednesday morning ended up in the Colorado River
Two large containers of acid owned by the Halliburton Company fell off a truck along Highway 141 in Clifton. Between 400 and 500 gallons spilled when the containers broke. There was concern that some of the acid went into a storm drain that leads to the Colorado River.
Clifton firefighters who responded to the spill say they were able to contain it. The fire department does voice concern that Halliburton waited 15 to 20 minutes before notifying them of the accident.
Crews from the Grand Junction Fire Department, Colorado State Patrol, and state Department of Transportation were also called to the scene.
Assistant Fire Chief Greg Martin says Halliburton uses the acid for drilling processes.
Wednesday, October 12, 2005
Wars of Hate
America’s conflicts are fought mostly by people who have come from the powerless classes. But true patriotism is not about being a spectator.
By Christopher Dickey
Updated: 5:35 p.m. ET Oct. 11, 2005
Oct. 11, 2005 - On or about Dec. 30, 2002, which was a day after we’d had dinner in New York and a year to the day before he died of a heart attack, John Gregory Dunne put a floppy disk in an envelope and dropped it off at the Manhattan apartment where I was staying. As happens, I misplaced it in my travels after that, and only last weekend did I find it and read the digital newspaper clippings he’d pulled together, which he’d talked about with so much excitement at our dinner.
John was interested in patriotism. He was fascinated by the real substance of it, which he saw as diametrically opposed to what he called “the spectator patriotism” exploited by the Bush administration as it went looking for wars. There was something (it took a while for John to put his finger on it) in the fact that several people he knew had children on active duty: historian Doris Kearns had a son, John himself had a nephew, I had a son. We had people we loved in uniform doing what they saw, and we understood, imperfectly perhaps, as their duty to defend the values and the dreams that are the United States of America. But why were there so few from this circle of acquaintances if the cause was so great?
John would rage. He was articulate and funny then and always, but such was his passion that I remember him as almost inchoate when he talked about the bastards who wouldn’t end their Global War on Terror, which was conceived in rhetoric and dedicated to their re-election, yet would send America’s sons and daughters on futile errands of suffering and slaughter. John said he was going to write a book about patriotism, but he had a novel to finish first, and then he died.
John’s wife of almost 40 years, Joan Didion, has written a breathtaking book about John’s death, and the illnesses of their only child, who died in August, and the experience of grief. Joan’s book, called “The Year of Magical Thinking,” has been reviewed widely and well, as it should be. (Robert Pinsky in The New York Times pointed out, rightly, that it is “not a downer” and parts of it are actually quite funny.) Joan sent me the galleys last summer-- Joan and John became our friends when we met in El Salvador in 1982--and I read Joan’s book then in a single sitting, lost in a salt sea of emotion and memory. It is a great, great book.
even though he's 'gone' (from the team) he's NOT forgotten
Garciaparra rescues 2 women in Boston Harbor
Uncle, witness describe former Red Sox All-Star as hero after incident
Updated: 2:03 a.m. ET Oct. 12, 2005
BOSTON - Former Red Sox shortstop Nomar Garciaparra rescued two women who had fallen into Boston Harbor late last week, his uncle and a witness told the Boston Herald.
Garciaparra, traded to the Chicago Cubs on July 31, 2004, was with his uncle in his Charlestown condominium at about 10 p.m. Friday when they heard a scream and a splash, said the uncle, Victor Garciaparra.
As soon as the All-Star shortstop and two-time American League batting champ ran out the door to help the woman, her friend also fell in, hitting her head on the pier, said Victor Garciaparra, who oversees his nephew’s business and charitable ventures.
Victor Garciaparra jumped from the balcony to the water 20 feet below.
“I swam towards them and by the time I reached them, Nomar was already there holding the girls up,” he told the newspaper. “But he couldn’t get them up without help.”
One woman had a large lump on her head and appeared to be unconscious, he said. When she came to, the first thing she said was: “Are you Nomar?” Victor Garciaparra said.
who are the 100 greatest americans of all time?i'm still mulling over some of the details and regulations, but the voting works like this:1) pick and rank who you believe are the three greatest americans of all time. the first-place pick scores 4 points, the second-place pick 2 points, and the third-place pick 1 point. why am i scoring it this way? just to show that, under certain conditions, 1 is greater than 2 + 3. (;-P)2) you may also pick up to three additional honorary great americans. these won't be awarded any points, but they will count as votes. (universities give out honorary degrees, why can't i do something similar? [details still a bit sketchy here])3) one voter, one vote. period. this is a democratic survey, and i don't want any ballot-box-stuffing shenanigans -- i will be keeping tabs. how?4) no anonymous votes allowed. if you can't supply me with a url and/or an e-mail address, your vote will not be counted. if you don't have a url and are skittish about revealing your e-mail address on the internet, then the best i can suggest is to drop me a line with your picks. not only will i not blab your e-mail address to anyone else, i will forget what it is by the time i consume my next square meal -- you'll be happy to know that i suffer from swiss-cheese memory syndrome.and 5) if you are a conservative and/or republican and you fear that my final survey results will be heavily slanted toward the left (too many john kennedys and bill clintons, not enough ronald reagans and awols), then let your conservative and/or republican colleagues know about this survey and encourage them to participate. as long as they (and everyone else) follow the basic ruled i've just outlined, i'll be happy.
The outrage of the week
GOP stands up for U.S. right to torture
AUSTIN, Texas -- On one of those television gong shows that passes for journalism, the panelists used to have to pick an Outrage of the Week. Then, each performer would wax indignant about his or choice for 60 seconds or so. If someone asked me to name the Outrage of the Week about now, I'd have a coronary. How could anyone possibly choose?
I suppose the frontrunner is the anti-torture amendment. Sen. John McCain proposed an amendment to the military appropriations bill that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of prisoners in the custody of the U.S. military.
This may strike you as a "goes without saying" proposition -- the amendment passed the Senate 90 to nine. The United States has been signing anti-torture treaties under Democrats and Republicans for at least 50 years. But the Bush administration actually managed to find some weasel words to create a loophole in this longstanding commitment to civilized behavior.
According to the Bushies, if the United States is holding a prisoner on foreign soil, our soldiers can still subject him or her to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment -- the very forms of torture used by the soldiers who were later prosecuted for their conduct at Abu Ghraib. Does this make any sense, moral or common? ...............
please don't ruin narnia for me! i do know it was written (the books) as a religious allegory - but i have been able to deal with it since it wasn't forced down my gullet. pbs broadcast a bbc made series based on the books years back. that, i remember was QUITE good
Marketing of 'Narnia' Presents Challenge
By JEFF LEEDS
Published: October 12, 2005
LOS ANGELES, Oct. 11 - With two months to go before the release of its big-budget film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," the Walt Disney company wants very much to whet audience appetites by placing music from the soundtrack on radio and music-video channels.
But Disney's tricky marketing strategy for "Narnia" - which includes aggressively courting Christian fans who can relate to the story's biblical allegory while trying not to disaffect secular fans - is particularly tricky when it comes to music.
The spiritual character of "Narnia" is being reinforced with the debut on the charts last week of a Christian pop album of music inspired by the film. But prospects for a previously announced secular soundtrack now seem cloudy, executives involved in the process say. Disney executives say that at the very least the CD will be delayed beyond its planned Oct. 25 release. ........
chronicles of narnia movie
chronicles of narnia books
By JOHN NOBLE WILFORD
Published: October 12, 2005
New discoveries in a cave on the Indonesian island of Flores, notably another jawbone, appear to give additional support to the idea that a separate species of little people new to science and now extinct lived there as recently as 12,000 years ago.
But a vigorous minority of skeptical scientists were unmoved by the new findings. They contend that the skeletal remains are more likely to be deformed modern human beings, not a distinct species.
The group of Australian and Indonesian researchers who announced the first findings a year ago and proclaimed the new species Homo floresiensis describe the additional bones in a report to be published tomorrow in the journal Nature.
They said the bones were fragments of nine individuals of unusually small stature, little more than three feet tall, and, judging by one skull, with brains the size of a chimpanzee's. The newly discovered lower jaw was almost identical to one previously found, except that it appeared to be 3,000 years younger.
"We can now reconstruct the body proportions of H. floresiensis with some certainty," the scientists, led by Michael J. Morwood and Peter Brown, both of the University of New England in Australia, said in the report.
"The finds further demonstrate," they continued, that the original skull and partial skeleton was not from "an aberrant or pathological individual, but is representative of a long-term population" that was present during the period from 95,000 to 12,000 years ago..............
Photo Op Bites Back
By Dan Froomkin Special to washingtonpost.com
Tuesday, October 11, 2005; 1:15 PM
It was such a lovely photo op -- President Bush and his wife joining the volunteers building a house in Louisiana. The perfect backdrop for an upbeat interview, live on NBC's Today Show.
But then Matt Lauer had to go and pull back the curtain and ask: Isn't this all just an empty photo op?
What ensued was an unusually testy interview, with Bush waving off more questions than he answered, chiding Lauer for quoting too many Democrats in his windups and making it clear that he would have been much happier fielding questions about the charitable nature of the American people than about politics.
Here's the text ; here's the video .............
Fun with Dick and George: The biggest story of 2005 is hiding in plain sight
No one in the mainstream media seems to be working on this, but the big story -- the one that could dramatically change the course of the next three years -- is right under their collective noses.
Dick Cheney and George W. Bush don't like each other anymore.
And a war between these two superpowers could be the political version of MAD: Mutually assured destruction. But this time, the fallout could make America better in the long-run.
What hard, inside information do we have? None. The evidence is circumstantial, but it is getting stronger by the day. And you don't need the National Weather Service to know which way the wind's blowin'.
Sometime this summer, the vice president all but disappeared off the face of the earth. This time, not to his undisclosed location, but mainly to his retreat in Wyomng. You may recall that even when Hurricane Katrina caused the biggest crisis in Washington since the start of the invasion of Iraq, Cheney was not seen for days.
At first, there was just speculation. Earlier in September, Nora Ephron wondered aloud on the Huffington Post why Cheney had been absent from the initial days of the Katrina fiasco. She speculated there was lingering resentment from the incident in May of this year when a private plane strayed too close to the White House: Cheney was rushed to a bunker while a bicycling Bush wasn't informed, even though his wife was in the White House at the time, Ephron compared Cheney to "the dog that did not bark" and wrote:
So I can only suppose that something has gone wrong. Could the President be irritated that Cheney helped con him into Iraq? Oh, all right, probably not. Could Cheney – and not just his aides -- possibly be involved in the Valerie Plame episode? Is Cheney not speaking to Karl Rove? Does the airplane/bicycle incident figure into this in any way?
A few days later, Jeralyn Merritt over at TalkLeft moved the story from the land of speculation into the arena of gossip. Cheney had told a friend that he was tired of Bush's screw-ups:..............
Although the military officially frowns on sex between soldiers, lingerie is sold at an Army store in Iraq. (Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune)
I've been really tryin, baby Tryin to hold back these feelings for so long And if you feel, like I feel baby Come on, oh come on, Let's get it on Lets get it on Let's get it on Let's get it on We're all sensitive people With so much love to give, understand me sugar Since we got to be Lets say, I love you There's nothin wrong with me Lovin you -And givin yourself to me can never be wrong If the love is true Don't you know how sweet and wonderful, life can be I'm askin you baby, to get it on with me I aint gonna worry, I aint gonna push So come on, come on, come on, come on baby Stop beatin round the bush...Let's get it on Let's get it on Let's get it on Let's get it on
(marvin gaye and ed townsend)
Sex is a fact of life among Americans in uniform
By Matthew D. LaPlante The Salt Lake Tribune
TAQADDUM, Iraq - If every male soldier here were having as much sex as he claims, his female comrades would hardly have time to fight the war. Still, sex happens. And in Iraq, it happens a lot. It's hardly a national secret that male and female soldiers have been mingling for as long as both sexes have been in uniform. And, some soldiers are wont to point out, some male warriors have been finding comfort in each others' arms for as long as wars have been fought. But with limited exceptions in other conflicts, there has never been a time in which American men and women have served, side by side and in such numbers, in units engaged in combat. And troops here appear to be making the best of that situation. Male and female soldiers in four Iraqi cities were eager to speak about what goes on when uniforms come off, but as sex at the front remains such a taboo with commanders, most asked for confidentiality, noting their careers were at stake. In the plywood hallways lining the spaces between the steel shipping containers that serve as a dormitory, of sorts, for most of the enlisted soldiers of the 146th Transportation Company, soldiers meet and mingle and sometimes find a partner. It is, they note, only natural for the teens and 20-somethings who make up the majority of U.S. forces in Iraq to do what civilians of their age back home are doing. "They can try to keep us apart as much as they want, but they miss the point," said one female enlisted soldier, a Utahn. It's about being young and having sex. "And that's what people this age do." .......
October 11, 2005
Special Forces Suicides Raise Questions
By JON SARCHE ASSOCIATED PRESS
DENVER (AP) - Chief Warrant Officer William Howell was a 15-year Army Special Forces veteran who had seen combat duty all over the world. Sgt. 1st Class Andre McDaniel was a military accountant. Spc. Jeremy Wilson repaired electronics.
They had little in common, other than having served in Iraq with the 10th Special Forces Group based at Fort Carson, Colo. They did not know each other, and they had vastly different duties.
Each, however, committed suicide shortly after returning home, all within about a 17-month period.
The Army says there appears to be no connection between the men's overseas service and their deaths, and Army investigators found no "common contributing cause" among the three. The fact they were in the same unit is only a coincidence, Special Operations Command spokeswoman Diane Grant said at Fort Bragg, N.C.
Others are not so sure. Steve Robinson, a former Army Ranger and veterans' advocate, said he suspects there were problems in the men's unit - namely, a macho refusal to acknowledge stress and seek help.
"It could be that there's a climate there that creates the stigma which prevents people from coming forward," said Robinson, executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center. "The mentality of this particular group seemed to be `Ignore what you think and feel and keep doing your job and don't talk to me about that (expletive) combat stress reaction stuff.'"
Special Forces soldiers specialize in what the Army calls "unconventional warfare" - commando raids, search-and-destroy missions, intelligence gathering. They go through specialized psychological screening. They also undergo rigorous physical training and learn survival techniques and other skills, including foreign languages.
Howell, 36, a father of three, shot himself March 14, 2004 - three weeks after returning from Iraq - after hitting and threatening to kill his wife, Laura.
She said she did not see any warning signs until the night he threatened her.
"You look back every day and think what could I have done different. I can't think of anything," she said.
She said she did not know of any connection between her husband and the two other soldiers, and did not know them or their families. But she agreed with Robinson that Special Forces soldiers might have a more difficult time than other military personnel overcoming the stigma associated with seeking counseling. .........
Wednesday October 12, 2005 1:01 AM
PHILADELPHIA (AP) - A man freed after spending more than five years on Pennsylvania's death row has died of medical problems that he claimed went untreated in prison.
William Nieves, 39, died Saturday, according to the Pennsylvania Abolitionists United Against the Death Penalty.
Nieves campaigned against the death penalty in the U.S. and Europe after his release in 2000.
Nieves said prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence at his 1994 trial over the shooting death of an alleged drug associate. Prosecutors denied wrongdoing.
The state Supreme Court granted Nieves a new trial on grounds of inadequate counsel, and a second jury acquitted him.
Nieves suffered from a liver ailment that was not treated in prison and had been hospitalized in recent months, said Jeff Garis, former executive director of the anti-death penalty group.
``This is a guy that got put on death row for something he didn't do. Eventually this injustice was found,'' Garis said. ``Yet he left prison with another kind of a death sentence.''
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Mystery of Reporter Killed in Basra Deepens
By E&P Staff Published: October 09, 2005 3:20 PM ET
NEW YORK Steve Vincent, a New Yorker and a freelance reporter, remains the only American journalist slain in Iraq since the fall of Baghdad more than two years ago. It happened on Aug. 2, but more than two months later, no one has been caught or charged with his murder. Just before his death, after being kidnapped in Basra, he had written an Op-Ed for The New York Times. That newspaper re-visited his killing today, revealing or speculating on several fascinating angles, including the role that his very close relationship with his Iraqi interpreter may have played in the mystery. Vincent's death was followed on Sept. 19 by the slaying of Fakher Haider, 38, an Iraqi journalist working for the Times, with the circumstances similar and his killers also still at large. The paper's Kirk Semple wrote today, "Radical Shiite militias, who have infiltrated the government and police force in Basra, are widely suspected of committing the crimes, though it is not known whether the killings are linked in any way." Vincent and his Iraqi interpreter, Nooriya Taiz, were grabbed off the street by several armed men and thrown into a government pickup truck in Basra, and found several hours later, riddled with bullets. Taiz survived. From the beginning, speculation about a motive for Vincent's killing focused mainly on his reporting and that July 31 Op-Ed, which revealed his increasing concerns about the role of radical Shiites and the fundamentalist crackdown in that city since the January elections. But his relationship with Taiz may have also played a big part. .........
and the new york times article, Reporters' Mysterious Deaths Chill a Press Corps Immersed in Violence
By KIRK SEMPLE
Published: October 9, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq, Oct. 8 - This alone seems certain about the killing of the American freelance journalist Steven Vincent: about 6:30 p.m. on Aug. 2, he and his Iraqi interpreter, Nooriya Taiz, were dragged by several armed men into a government pickup truck on a busy commercial street in the southern city of Basra, and found several hours later, riddled with bullets. Ms. Taiz survived. The attack, the first since the invasion in which an American journalist in Iraq was killed, has been the subject of investigations by the F.B.I. and the Iraqi police, who have made no official comments.
On Sept. 19, Fakher Haider, 38, an Iraqi journalist working for The New York Times, was murdered under similarly mysterious circumstances and his killers also remain at large. Radical Shiite militias, who have infiltrated the government and police force in Basra, are widely suspected of committing the crimes, though it is not known whether the killings are linked in any way.........
Local Christian Coalition Official Did Molest, Family Members Tell 'The Oregonian'
By E&P Staff Published: October 10, 2005 11:45 AM ET
NEW YORK After news broke that local law enforcement officials were investigating complaints that Louis Beres, longtime chairman of the Christian Coalition of Oregon, had molested three female family members when they were pre-teens, The Oregonian in Portland went out and interviewed Beres' family members.Two told reporters that Beres, indeed, had molested them. All three said they have been interviewed for several hours by detectives."I was molested," said one of the women, now in her early 50s. "I was victimized, and I've suffered all my life for it. I'm still afraid to be in the same room with [Beres]."The coalition led by Beres, 70, champions socially conservative candidates and causes. Its Web site describes the group as "Oregon's leading grassroots organization defending our Godly heritage." The group opposes abortion, gay rights, and stem cell research. It is affiliated with the national Christian Coalition, which was founded in 1989 by television evangelist Pat Robertson.The group confirmed Beres is under investigation for alleged molestation. According to The Oregonian, Beres blamed "personal and political enemies" for the reports and said, "I never molested anybody."Beres is also former chairman of the Multnomah County Republican Party. In a statement on the coalition's Web site today, Beres denied any criminal conduct and said he wanted to "reconcile" with those making the accusations, if he can find out who they are. "I have asked The Oregonian to provide the information so I might proceed as the Bible tells each of us to proceed," he wrote........
Shield Law Sponsor: Bloggers 'Probably Not' Considered Journos
By Mark Fitzgerald Published: October 10, 2005 4:17 PM ET
Bloggers would "probably not" be considered journalists under the proposed federal shield law, the bill's co-sponsor, U.S. Sen. Richard Lugar (R.-Ind.), told the Inter American Press Association (IAPA) Monday afternoon.Lugar emphasized, however, that debate is not yet closed on how to define a journalist under the proposed law. "As to who is a reporter, this will be a subject of debate as this bill goes farther along," he said in response to a question from Washington Post Deputy Managing Editor Milton Coleman. "Are bloggers journalists or some of the commercial businesses that you here would probably not consider real journalists? Probably not, but how do you determine who will be included in this bill?"According to the first draft of the Free Flow of Information Act of 2005, the "covered person" protected by the bill's terms includes "any entity that disseminates information by print, broadcast, cable, satellite, mechanical, photographic, electronic, or other means and that publishes a newspaper, book, magazine, or other periodical in print or electronic form; operates a radio or television station (or network of such stations), cable system, or satellite carrier, or channel or programming service for any such station, network, system, or carrier; or operates a news agency or wire service." The legislation also covers employees, contractors or other persons who "gathers, edits, photographs, records, prepares, or disseminates news or information for any such entity."........
The evidence is clear that murder, venereal disease and marital breakdown are all more common in religious cultures
Tuesday October 11, 2005 The Guardian
Are religious societies better than secular ones? It should be an easy question for atheists to answer. Most of those now seeking to blow people up - whether with tanks and missiles or rucksacks and passenger planes - do so in the name of God. In India, we see men whose religion forbids them to harm insects setting light to human beings. A 14th-century pope with a 21st-century communications network sustains his church's mission of persecuting gays and denying women ownership of their bodies. Bishops and rabbis in Britain have just united in the cause of prolonging human suffering by opposing the legalisation of assisted suicide. We know that the most dangerous human trait is an absence of self-doubt, and that self-doubt is more likely to be absent from the mind of the believer than the infidel............
i just HAD to share this. i found it on one of my favorite sites, bifurcated rivets
any way not only did i find it VERY clever, i was jealous that he or she got all of these action figures together. it must have cost a fortune (but WELL worth it!)
check out the other two links at the bottom of the page.......
Monday, October 10, 2005
Creationism concerns shadow Florida's new top educator
By Kimberly Miller
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, October 09, 2005
Cheri Pierson Yecke began her job as one of the most powerful educators in the state last week with little fanfare, receiving her office keys and e-mail address and meeting in a two-day retreat with Department of Education staff.
But the reputation of Florida's new chancellor for kindergarten through 12th grade, second only to Education Commissioner John Winn, preceded her with more flourish — and fear from some.Yecke, 50, who served most recently as Minnesota's top educator, is a conservative, a believer in creationism, a critic of teachers unions and a strong proponent of President Bush's education reform programs, some of which she helped write.
She was forced out as Minnesota's education commissioner last year by a Democrat-controlled Senate.
She then worked as a senior fellow at the conservative think tank Center of the American Experiment, where she wrote articles blaming childhood obesity on the "liberal media" and said "liberal criminal sentencing laws" make streets unsafe for kids.
Yecke's supporters said her ouster in Minnesota was not her fault.
She was caught in a political perfect storm — forced to dismantle the state's traditional education program to comply with the federal No Child Left Behind Act while dealing with a dwindling Democratic majority less concerned about her performance than about sending a message to the Republican governor.
"All of my research on Cheri's nonconfirmation tells me that it had little to do with education substance and a lot to do with partisan politics and payback," Winn said.
But it's Yecke's belief in creationism, and criticism that she subtly tried to infuse it into Minnesota's science curriculum, that concerns some Florida educators.
Science guidelines in the Sunshine State are up for review and revision next year.
Gov. Jeb Bush said last week that neither evolution, Darwinism nor creationism were in the current standards.
The standards for middle school and high school, however, do include evolution, although the word itself is never mentioned. Eighth-graders are expected to know that the fossil record provides evidence that changes in the kinds of plants and animals have been occurring over time.
And high school students are expected to understand genetic mutations and how natural selection ensures that those who are best adapted to their surroundings survive to reproduce — the two fundamental concepts underlying evolutionary biology.
When told this, Bush responded: "Well, that's different from what the (education) commissioner told me and what he's said publicly. I like what we have right now. And I don't think there needs to be any changes. I don't think we need to restrict discussion, but it doesn't need to be required, either."............
The Sunday Times
October 09, 2005
An American in chains James Yee entered Guantanamo as a patriotic US officer and Muslim chaplain. He ended up in shackles, branded a spy. This is his disturbing story
My cell was 8ft by 6ft, the same size as the detainees’ cages at Guantanamo. Barely a week ago I had received a glowing evaluation for my work as the US army’s Muslim chaplain among the “Gitmo” prisoners. Now I was the one in chains.
It was my turn to be humiliated every time I was taken to have a shower. Naked, I had to run my hands through my hair to show that I was not concealing a weapon in it. Then mouth open, tongue up, down, nothing inside. Right arm up, nothing in my armpit. Left arm up. Lift the right testicle, nothing hidden. Lift the left. Turn around, bend over, spread your buttocks, knowing a camera was displaying my naked image as male and female guards watched.
It didn’t matter that I was an army captain, a graduate of West Point, the elite US military academy. It didn’t matter that my religious beliefs prohibited me from being fully naked in front of strangers. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t been charged with a crime. It didn’t matter that my wife and daughter had no idea where I was. And it certainly didn’t matter that I was a loyal American citizen and, above all, innocent.
I was accused of mutiny and sedition, aiding the enemy and espionage, all of which carried the death penalty. I was regarded as a traitor to the army and my country. This was all blatantly untrue — as would be proved when, after a long fight, all the charges against me were dropped and I won an honourable discharge from the army.
I knew why I had been arrested: it was because I am a Muslim. I was just the latest victim of the hostility born the moment when the planes flew into the twin towers and the Pentagon on September 11, 2001.
My real “crime” had been that I had tried to ensure that the suspected Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters detained in the Gitmo cages were given every opportunity to practise their religion freely, one of the most fundamental of American ideals.
I had monitored the atrocious treatment meted out by the guards. And I had come to suspect that my appointment as the prisoners’ chaplain was simply a piece of political theatre.
When reporters came to Guantanamo on the media tour, everyone had always wanted to talk to the Muslim chaplain. I had told them the things that the command expected me to say. We give the detainees a Koran. We announce the prayer five times a day. We serve halal food. Everything I said had been true. But it certainly wasn’t the full story. I HAVE NOT always been a Muslim. I am a third-generation American — my grandparents left China in the 1920s — and as a child in New Jersey I grudgingly attended Lutheran church services with my mother.
On holiday after graduating from West Point, however, I met a young woman who was intrigued by Islam. I began to read about it and eventually converted. Then, after the US army sent me to Saudi Arabia and allowed me to visit Mecca, I wondered why there were no Muslim chaplains in the US military.
My father had taught me as a boy that America promises all people an opportunity to lead an extraordinary life. By becoming a Muslim chaplain in the summer of 2000, after four years’ study in Damascus, I saw myself fulfilling this opportunity. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for..............
when people of any religious persuasion think they are holier than thou AND will get into heaven before everyone else. i was talking to a young man on saturday night. he was raised catholic (as was i). however, he still has that faith, i do not. anyway, he told me he thought everyone who did NOT believe in jesus was (or is that were) not going to make it to heaven (granted it was HIS idea of heaven, but still). i asked him if he thought jews and muslims and hindus and buddists and the like were included in that; they were NOT getting into heaven. he said, yes, they were NOT. i was in no mood to argue (surprisingly, that DOES happen at times). i simply told him i disagreed with him and i changed the subject.
oh and one more thing, THE SINS OF MY FATHER ARE NOT MY SINS!
Opus Dei is unique in Catholic world
By Tim Townsend ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Saturday, Oct. 08 2005
When Terry McHugh gets to his desk at Computer Associates each morning, he resolves to do things the hard way. For Jesus.McHugh, 52, and a member of the Catholic movement Opus Dei, proofs all his e-mails to make sure they are punctuated correctly and capitalized in the right places before he hits "send." If he has to return six phone calls and there is one he's dreading, McHugh makes that call first.But not just to get it over with. McHugh attacks the difficult, if sometimes mundane, parts of daily life to identify with Christ's suffering and offer his daily work to God - the central idea at the core of Opus Dei."Even the little details, the menial tasks of life, if done well can be done well for the love of God," he said. "You bear the crosses that are coming your way anyway - you embrace the cross."Opus Dei, a conservative, largely lay movement within the Catholic church, has been shrouded in mystery and myth since its founding in Spain in 1928. Perhaps the brightest light has been shined on the movement in the two years since the publication and mammoth success of "The Da Vinci Code," a novel featuring Opus Dei members as its murdering, scheming bad guys. That light promises to get even brighter for Opus Dei next year when the movie, based on Dan Brown's novel and starring Tom Hanks, is released.Opus Dei leaders were so disturbed by the group's negative portrayal in the book that they have devoted an entire section of the group's Web site to debunking some of Brown's claims.Next year also happens to be the 50th anniversary of Opus Dei's presence in St. Louis. Its 100 or so members here will celebrate with conferences and parties, according to the Rev. Michael Geisler, spiritual director of the Wespine Study Center, the organization's St. Louis headquarters for men.Opus Dei has a special classification in the Catholic church. It is a "personal prelature" - the only one in existence - which means it does not report to individual diocesan bishops, but to its own leader in Rome, who in turn reports directly to the pope............
By Hannah Selinger RAW STORY COLUMNIST
On Nov. 16, the New York Times reported the following tidbit: “The death of a California woman in January after she took an abortion pill prompted federal drug regulators on Monday to strengthen the warning label on the drug, RU-486, also known as mifepristone.”
The woman’s death was the third in the United States since the drug’s approval in 2000, though abortion advocacy groups have noted that over 360,000 women have taken the drug in the past four years.
According to the Food and Drug Administration, Vioxx, the recently recalled pain killer made by Merck, has been known to cause heart attacks, intestinal bleeding, kidney and liver impairment, respiratory infections, and strokes. But the product was taken by some 20 million Americans and caused at least 14 deaths before the FDA took action.
Vioxx was on the market for five years before anyone thought twice about side effects. Yet, in less than one year, one woman’s death from RU-486 has caused the FDA to change the drug’s label, which may or may not dissuade women from using the drug in the future.
Too bad Vioxx did not get this kind of reaction when it claimed its first three victims.
In four years, three people have died from RU-486, which is approximately .00083 percent of the women who have taken the drug. Three people, as opposed to the 32,238 Americans who, the National Center for Health Statistics reported in 2001, died of uncommon septicemia (blood poisoning), or the 39, 480 people who died of equally uncommon nephritis (kidney inflammation).
These are arbitrary statistics and people die from all kinds of arbitrary causes. It is common knowledge, for instance, that eating fast food leads to heart disease, but there is no warning label on the Big Mac. ..................
Sunday, October 09, 2005
by one of my all time favorites, bill moyers. it is very long, but very worth the read. even hearing mr moyers voice soothes and calms me. seeing his bespeckled visage brings a slight smile to my face
Caring For Creation
October 07, 2005
Bill Moyers is a broadcast journalist and former host the PBS program NOW With Bill Moyers. This piece is adapted from the keynote address Moyers presented to the annual convention of the Society of Environmental Journalists in Austin, Texas, on October 1, 2005. Moyers also serves as president of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy, which gives financial support to TomPaine.com.
I donÂt fit neatly into the job description of an environmental journalist, although I have kept returning to the beat ever since my first documentary on the subject some 30 years ago. That was a story about how the new Republican governor of Oregon, Tom McCall, had set out to prove that the economy and the environment could share the center lane on the highway to the future. Those were optimistic years for the emerging environmental movement. Rachel Carson had rattled the cage with Silent Spring, and on the first Earth Day in 1970, 20 million Americans rose from the grassroots to speak for the planet. Even Richard Nixon couldnÂt say no to so powerful a subpoena by public opinion, and he put his signature to some far-reaching measures for environmental protection. I shared that optimism and believed journalism would help to fulfill it. I thought that when people saw a good example they would imitate it, that if Americans knew the facts and the possibilities they would act on them. After all, half a century ago, I had walked every day as a student across the campus of my alma mater, the University of Texas, and could look up at the main tower and read the words: ÂYou shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free.Â I believed we were really on the way toward the third American Revolution. The first had won our independence as a nation. The second had finally opened the promise of civil rights to all Americans. Now the third American Revolution was to be the Green Revolution for a healthy, safe and sustainable future. Sometimes in a moment of reverie I imagine that it happened. I imagine that we had brought forth a new paradigm for nurturing and protecting our global life support system; that we had faced up to the greatest ecological challenge in human history and conquered it with clean renewable energy, efficient transportation and agriculture, and the non-toxic production and protection of our forests, oceans, grasslands and wetlands. I imagine us leading the world on a new path of sustainability...
A Case Of Treason
October 06, 2005
Larry Johnson worked as a CIA intelligence analyst and State Department counter-terrorism official. He is a member of the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).
The investigation into who in the Bush administration leaked the fact that Valerie Plame, wife of former US Ambassador Joseph Wilson, was a CIA undercover operative, is nearing completion. Virtually lost in the recent spurt of press reporting is the fact that the compromise of Ms. Plame (and, as night follows the day her carefully cultivated network of spies) was unconscionable. Ms. Plame, a very gifted case officer, was a close colleague of mine at CIA. Her dedication and courage were clear in her willingness to assume the risks of an agent under non-official cover—meaning that if you get caught, too bad, you’re on your own; the US government never heard of you.
The supreme irony is that Plame’s network was reporting on the priority-one issue—weapons of mass destruction. Thus, it was made abundantly clear to all, including potential intelligence sources abroad, that even when priority-one intelligence targets are involved, Bush administration officials will not shrink from exposing such sources for petty political purpose. The harm to CIA and its efforts to recruit spies willing to take risks to provide intelligence information is immense.
Shortly after the invasion of Iraq, Ambassador Wilson publicly exposed an important lie, and the president as liar, when he debunked the report that Iraq was seeking uranium in the African country of Niger. Still, as Wilson himself has suggested, the primary objective of leaking his wife’s employment at CIA was not to retaliate against him personally, but rather to issue a stark warning to others privy to administration lies on the war not to speak out. Administration officials felt they needed to provide an object lesson of what truth tellers can expect in the way of swift retaliation..................
Webmaster for site with Iraqi corpse pics accused of obscenity
By TRAVIS REED
Associated Press Writer
A man who runs a pornographic Web site that includes pictures of Iraqi war dead has been arrested on sexual obscenity charges. Chris Wilson, a 27-year-old former policeman from Lakeland, was taken into custody Friday night on one felony and 300 misdemeanor indecency counts unrelated to the grisly pictures from Iraq. The charges come a week after his site made national news and launched a Pentagon investigation into how war zone photos of charred and dismembered bodies described as victims of U.S. attacks could have surfaced. Polk County sheriff's officials said he was charged because the Web site also features sexually explicit pictures and videos that users send of women who are supposedly their wives and girlfriends - including those who appear to be active-duty soldiers. Sheriff's officials insist the charges are unrelated to the Iraq pictures, but Wilson's lawyer, Lawrence Walters, disagreed."Of all the hundreds of thousands of webmasters in the country, and even in central Florida, why would Chris Wilson be arrested a week after he hits national spotlight news on the Iraqi war photos?" said Walters, a First Amendment specialist. "I think any reasonable person would be suspicious of that. Wilson remained in jail Saturday afternoon after the judge in his initial appearance denied his request to lower the $151,000 bail. He previously told reporters he started giving soldiers free access after some reported problems paying the $10 membership fee. To make sure he wasn't scammed, Wilson said, he asked each to send a photograph proving they were serving. He allowed those pictures posted on the site just like the others, calling it "a real look at what's going on over there. "The Web site remained live Saturday because its servers are in Amsterdam, and Walters said Wilson won't be forced to take it down. "That would be a First Amendment violation and a violation of his civil rights - and frankly the rights of everyone across the world who's looking at those pictures," he said.Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said Saturday the images were among the most vile he'd ever seen but declined to be more specific. "No normal person could even imagine what's depicted in those videos and in those photographs," he said.Walters said the site may be considered obscene in Polk County, but not globally..............