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Saturday, January 14, 2006

i NEVER spoke in hushed tones, that's for sure

from the nation

The Impeachment of George W. Bush
[from the January 30, 2006 issue]
Finally, it has started. People have begun to speak of impeaching President George W. Bush--not in hushed whispers but openly, in newspapers, on the Internet, in ordinary conversations and even in Congress. As a former member of Congress who sat on the House Judiciary Committee during the impeachment proceedings against President Richard Nixon, I believe they are right to do so.
I can still remember the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach during those proceedings, when it became clear that the President had so systematically abused the powers of the presidency and so threatened the rule of law that he had to be removed from office. As a Democrat who opposed many of President Nixon's policies, I still found voting for his impeachment to be one of the most sobering and unpleasant tasks I ever had to undertake. None of the members of the committee took pleasure in voting for impeachment; after all, Democrat or Republican, Nixon was still our President.
At the time, I hoped that our committee's work would send a strong signal to future Presidents that they had to obey the rule of law. I was wrong.
Like many others, I have been deeply troubled by Bush's breathtaking scorn for our international treaty obligations under the United Nations Charter and the Geneva Conventions. I have also been disturbed by the torture scandals and the violations of US criminal laws at the highest levels of our government they may entail, something I have written about in these pages [see Holtzman, "
Torture and Accountability," July 18/25, 2005]. These concerns have been compounded by growing evidence that the President deliberately misled the country into the war in Iraq. But it wasn't until the most recent revelations that President Bush directed the wiretapping of hundreds, possibly thousands, of Americans, in violation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA)--and argued that, as Commander in Chief, he had the right in the interests of national security to override our country's laws--that I felt the same sinking feeling in my stomach as I did during Watergate.
As a matter of constitutional law, these and other misdeeds constitute grounds for the impeachment of President Bush. A President, any President, who maintains that he is above the law--and repeatedly violates the law--thereby commits high crimes and misdemeanors, the constitutional standard for impeachment and removal from office. A high crime or misdemeanor is an archaic term that means a serious abuse of power, whether or not it is also a crime, that endangers our constitutional system of government.
The framers of our Constitution feared executive power run amok and provided the remedy of impeachment to protect against it. While impeachment is a last resort, and must never be lightly undertaken (a principle ignored during the proceedings against President Bill Clinton), neither can Congress shirk its responsibility to use that tool to safeguard our democracy. No President can be permitted to commit high crimes and misdemeanors with impunity.
But impeachment and removal from office will not happen unless the American people are convinced of its necessity after a full and fair inquiry into the facts and law is conducted. That inquiry must commence now. ..........

money for nothing

Syndicate Executives Discuss the Latest Paid Pundit Scandal

By Dave Astor
Published: January 13, 2006 6:45 PM ET
With Scripps Howard News Service (SHNS) the latest distributor to drop a pundit for taking un
disclosed payments, a question comes to mind: Is the main problem taking payments or not disclosing them?SHNS Friday dropped columnist Michael Fumento of the conservative Hudson Institute for not disclosing he had accepted money from Monsanto in 1999. Fumento wrote in praise of Monsanto as recently as his Jan. 5 column."Disclosure is the most important thing," said Creators Syndicate President Rick Newcombe. He noted that if a columnist hypothetically told Creators that he or she had taken money, "we would of course disclose it to the newspaper clients. If enough clients still wanted to run the column, we might not drop it."John Twohey, vice president for editorial and operations at Tribune Media Services (TMS), said: "Certainly accepting money from an entity you cover crosses a line. I can imagine exceptions, like going on the lecture circuit. But if columnists accept speaking fees from an organization they end up writing about, they would need to disclose that in the column."TMS was the syndicate that dropped Armstrong Williams a year ago after it was revealed that the broadcaster/columnist was taking money to promote the Bush administration's No Child Left Behind initiative. At around the same time, Maggie Gallagher of Universal Press Syndicate and self-syndicated columnist Michael McManus were also accused of accepting government money.Would syndicates reduce the chance of payola scandals if they signed more Op-Ed columnists who have journalism backgrounds rather than, say, think-tank backgrounds?............

purple hearts, we don't need no purple hearts!

in a washington post article today it appears 'they' are trying to 'swift boat' jack murtha now. they are calling into question his two purple hearts. they have rounded up a (what appears to be a VERY disgruntled) democrat to say murtha told him he didn't deserve the medals (hey this MAY be possible, sometimes people ARE modest. he could very well have said in a PRIVATE conversation, naw, i didn't deserve them, all i got was a scratch and you, well you got severely wounded.....). it doesn't matter. what matters is murtha, a VETERAN (unlike MOST of the bushwhacked admin) is speaking out against the unjust war based on lies AND good old white boy network money. read the article to see what 'they' are trying to do now

Friday, January 13, 2006

cry cry cry (which by the way is a DAMN good song)

interesting posting at attytood

Tracks of Her Tears: The Swift Boaters and Sam Alito
We don't know why Martha-Ann Bomgardner, Samuel Alito's wife, started crying yesterday. That's a personal matter -- that's getting waaay too much attention in the mainstream media -- and frankly we had no intention of even mentioning it on the blog.
But now we feel compelled to, because of this:
Why are Swift Boaters -- the folks who smeared John Kerry's war record in the 2004 election -- now trying to promote Alito's nomination by capitalizing on yesterday's bizarre incident?
We're referring to this release sent out yesterday by Creative Response Concepts, an Alexandria, Va., based PR firm with deep blood lines on the far right:
The always-alert Creative Response Concepts, a conservative public relations firm, sent this bulletin: "Former Alito clerk Gary Rubman witnessed Mrs. Alito leaving her husband's confirmation in tears and is available for interviews, along with other former Alito clerks who know her personally and are very upset about this development."
In case that was too much trouble for the journalists, the firm also e-mailed out a statement from the Judicial Confirmation Network calling "for the abuse to stop."............

i wonder if they have rugs made out of dog as well

hell, i'm not in the business, but i even know you can't bring ivory into this country (among other items)

2 charged in smuggling case Gallery owners had art made of protected animals, officials say
By Rudolph Bush Tribune staff reporter Published January 11, 2006
Glen Joffe and Claudia Ashleigh-Morgan's home and River North art gallery openly featured ivory carvings, colorful feather headdresses and artifacts from hairpins to hats that federal authorities charged Tuesday were brought into the U.S. illegally.Prosecutors allege that between 2001 and 2003, the Oak Brook couple smuggled in some $250,000 worth of artifacts made from the feathers, fur, shell and tusks of endangered and protected species.U.S. Atty. Patrick Fitzgerald said many of the objects were sold at Joffe's gallery, Primitive Art Works, which is also named in the indictment.After the couple returned from an April 2003 trip to China, a search of their luggage, home, gallery and warehouse yielded one of the largest seizures ever in the U.S. of such artifacts, prosecutors said.One pair of elephant tusks that stood more than 3 feet tall and featured carvings of soldiers with swords, fish, crocodiles and leaves was priced at $48,000, said Assistant U.S. Atty. Stephen Kubiatowski.Among the charges, prosecutors allege the couple falsified U.S. Customs Service forms, drafted false shipment manifests and lied to federal agents.The couple's attorneys, Jeremy Margolis and Thomas M. Durkin, said Joffe, 55, and Ashleigh-Morgan, 54, expect to plead guilty. "They did make a mistake. They feel badly about it, and they are going to make it right," Margolis said.Durkin said the items prosecutors seized made up only a fraction of the wares sold at their 16-year-old gallery, which will remain in business......

Thursday, January 12, 2006

a tiny eensie weensie error

mmmm where are the tapes i wonder? i'm guessing NO LONGER IN EXISTANCE
from imdb

British Journalist Describes Arrest by U.S. Forces
The British television journalist who was taken into custody by an American special task force in Iraq last weekend says that he was released after authorities informed him that they had mistakenly charged into the wrong house. Writing in Britain's Guardian newspaper, Dr. Ali Fadhil described how U.S. soldiers first blew apart the entrances to the house, then blazed into his bedroom where he slept with his wife and three-year-old daughter, confiscated his tapes, threw him to the floor, tied him up, hooded him, and took him away. He says he was finally told by an officer, "There was a mistake in the address and we apologize for the damage." Fadhil commented: "They blew three doors apart with explosives, smashed the house windows, trashed all our furniture, damaged the car, risked our lives by shooting inside rooms aimlessly, hooded me and took me from my family who didn't know if they would ever see me again -- and then, with a smile, they dismissed it as a small mistake." He said that the tapes for the documentary that he was shooting for Channel 4's Dispatches program have yet to be returned.

man oh man those quakers are in the thick of it once again

rabble-rousers and upstarts, all of them. except for richard nixon (yes, he was a quaker), i would generally TRUST a quaker. since when are people who want peace and don't want their daughters and sons shipped off to an unjust war (based on lies) considered 'threats'? i have to keep reminding myself this IS america. i am becoming more and more afraid with each passing day and i'm NOT just saying that. we have people in office who have been PROVEN liars and cowards, we have big businesses stealing and lying and killing and getting away with it, we have our OWN CITIZENS being spied on, NOT because they are terrorists, but because they have brains, we have a nominee to the supreme court with selective memory especially about his being a member of an organization who discriminated against both women and people of color (and his wife who is a GREAT actress) and we have bushwhacked who thinks our constitution is JUST A PIECE OF PAPER.

Pentagon Spied on Concerned Peace Moms in Atlanta
By Sarah Epting, Staff Writer, Atlanta Progressive News (January 10, 2006)
(APN) ATLANTA--"DonÂ’t they have anything to do? I am just a mom of a teenage son. I just donÂ’t want my son or anyone else go to a stupid war," Susan Keith told Atlanta Progressive News.
Last week, Keith learned the Pentagon has been spying on her protests against public schools participating in military recruitment.
"I think it is a big waste of our money and [the governmentÂ’s] time to be spying on citizens," Keith said.
She said she doesnÂ’t know why the government would see their protest as a threat, "unless they thought we were going to do some terrorist activity, but weÂ’re the Peace coalition."
On December 14th, 2005, NBC released a report concerning a secret 400 page Pentagon document they obtained listing more than 1,500 "suspicious incidents" across the country. In a recent span of 10 months, these incidents had all been under surveillance by the Pentagon.
Among the few pages of the database published by NBC–the rest of the pages have not been released--was a meeting and protest held by the Georgia Peace and Justice Coalition (GPJC) in Atlanta.
The document listed the organizationÂ’s open monthly meeting held on March 28, 2005 as a "threat."
The meeting took place at the downtown Piedmont Avenue office of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization committed to peace, social justice, and humanitarian service. ..............

these babes make me PROUD!

strong women who back up their beliefs and aren't accepting the shite handed down to them from the powers that be. you go grrrls!

Judge Demands Police Video of Grandmothers' Protest
A judge ordered the Manhattan district attorney yesterday to turn over a videotape of 18 women accused of blocking the doorway of the armed forces recruiting station in Times Square.
Their lawyer, Norman Siegel, told the judge that the videotape was made by the police Oct. 17, while the women were sitting on the sidewalk in front of the building to protest the war in
Iraq. The women at the time handed out fliers calling themselves Antiwar Grandmothers.
The grandmothers - 16 of them, anyway, plus a doctor's note from a 17th asking that she be excused because of a hip replacement - appeared yesterday in State Supreme Court in Lower Manhattan armed with symbolic silver handcuffs. Their toy cuffs, however, were confiscated by court officers as they passed through metal detectors.
"You're not supposed to have handcuffs," a court officer patiently explained to Vinie Harrison, one of the women.
"That shakes me," Ms. Harrison said. "It's such a small thing, but it's symptomatic of what's happening in this country and that madman in the White House, and Halliburton, and the deficit and Abramoff and DeLay."
In the fourth-floor courtroom, the clerk called the women to the railing one by one. Courtroom regulars marveled at the sight of 16 women, some carrying canes and pushing walkers, stretching across the room. Many wore photos of their grandchildren on chains around their necks. Some lawyers complained that the group had taken along about 50 supporters, making it hard to get a seat.........

it appears that god is punishing pat robertson

Israel suspends contact with Pat Robertson
BRIAN MURPHY Associated Press
JERUSALEM - Israel has suspended contact with evangelist Pat Robertson for suggesting Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's stroke was divine punishment for withdrawing from the Gaza Strip.
The controversy has cast doubt on plans for a Christian tourism center that would showcase the growing flow of money and influence from U.S. church groups.
The decision, announced Wednesday by Israeli officials, does not affect other Christian groups that also consider it their spiritual duty to support Israel as fulfillment of biblical prophecy.
Israeli leaders see the Christian allies as tireless lobbyists in Washington and elsewhere. The evangelicals also funnel millions of dollars each year to Jewish settlers in the West Bank and - before last year's pullout - the Gaza Strip.
Tourism Minister Abraham Hirchson said he gave instructions to "stop all contact" with groups associated with Robertson. Last week, Robertson implied Sharon's massive stroke was a blow for "dividing God's land" with the withdrawal from Gaza and four West Bank settlements.
But Hirchson said the order did not apply to "all the evangelical community, God forbid."
Robertson is leading a group of evangelicals who have pledged to raise $50 million to build the Christian Heritage Center in Israel's northern Galilee region, where tradition says Jesus lived and taught.
Under a tentative agreement, Robertson's group was to put up the funding, while Israel would provide land and infrastructure. Hirchson had predicted it would draw up to 1 million pilgrims a year, generate $1.5 billion in spending and support about 40,000 jobs.
But the fate of the project is now in question, said Ido Hartuv, spokesman for the tourism ministry.
"We will not do business with him, only with other evangelicals who don't back these comments," Hartuv said. "We will do business with other evangelical leaders, friends of Israel, but not with him."
A spokeswoman for Robertson's ministry declined to comment on Israel's decision.
"We have not talked to the Israelis on this topic," said spokeswoman Angell Watts. "We continue to maintain our long-standing commitment to the Jewish people and the state of Israel."
Robertson's comments on Sharon drew condemnation from other Christian leaders and President Bush.....................

a bunch of bunk and hooey!

..............An initial description sent to parents in December said the course would examine "evolution as a theory and will discuss the scientific, biological, and Biblical aspects that suggest why Darwin's philosophy is not rock solid."........

it is BEYOND comprehension for me. at any rate, i wouldn't mind IF this was an elective class (i don't know if it is or not, i don't believe the article says) AND IF someone with a background in SCIENCE taught it AND IF evolution was strongly represented.

California high school sued over 'intelligent design' class
By Juliana Barbassa
12:17 a.m. January 11, 2006
FRESNO – A rural high school teaching a religion-based alternative to evolution was sued by a group of parents who said the class should be stopped because it violates the U.S. Constitution.
Frazier Mountain High School in Lebec violated the separation of church and state while attempting to legitimize the theory of "intelligent design" in a philosophy course taught by a minister's wife, according to the U.S. District Court suit filed by parents of 13 students.
"The course was designed to advance religious theories on the origins of life, including creationism and its offshoot, 'intelligent design,'" the suit said. "Because the teacher has no scientific training, students are not provided with any critical analysis of this presentation."
The suit was filed by Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which successfully blocked Dover, Pa., schools last month from using science courses to advance the theory that living things are so complex they must have been designed by a higher being.
Similar battles are being fought in Georgia and Kansas over the controversial subject......
The suit filed on behalf of 11 parents against the El Tejon Unified School District names its superintendent, the course teacher and school board members as defendants.
Superintendent John Wight, who did not return a phone call for comment, said last week that the class, "Philosophy of Design," was not being taught as science and was an opportunity for students to debate the controversial issue.

my 'thingy'

a little somethin' somethin' i whipped up from bits and pieces of leftover yarn. i tied ends together, rolled it in a ball and just started knitting!

oh, i stopped in west harford center again this week and picked up some lovely yarns at sit 'n knit. VERY nice people in there too!

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

now this IS funny.......

hey bean brains........ john stewart makes fun of EVERYONE, yes, even dems! it's his EFFING JOB)

On "Hollywood Bush-bashing": Fox's Varney said he "will not go to see people who insulted my president"
Summary: On Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, substitute host Stuart Varney, after complaining about the "essentially leftist movies" produced by Hollywood, offered an apparent explanation of declining movie ticket sales: "[T]here has got to be a lot of people like me who will not go to see people who insulted my president in the year 2004 and that election. I can not divorce their talent from their political views."
In a January 2 discussion about what he dubbed "Hollywood Bush-bashing," Fox News contributor Stuart Varney said, "[T]here has got to be a lot of people like me who will not go to see people who insulted my president in the year '04 and that election. I cannot divorce their talent from their political views." As substitute host of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto, Varney asked guest Tom O'Neil, an awards blogger for the Los Angeles Times, about the choice of Comedy Central host Jon Stewart to emcee the 2006 Academy Awards: "Tom, you think that Jon Stewart just can't resist engaging in Bush-bashing?"
Varney then asked O'Neil: "Will Hollywood never learn? Their Bush-bashing in the '04 election was a noticeable failure. Why do they return to it now?" Regarding declining ticket sales, Varney stated: "You've got movie attendance constantly declining, box office revenue keeps going down, fewer and fewer tickets sold at the box office, and yet Hollywood keeps on coming out with essentially leftist movies. Don't they see the writing on the wall?"
After proclaiming the upcoming 2006 Academy Awards "the most political Oscars in years," O'Neil included in his list of "political" movies the "three gay films: Brokeback Mountain, Transamerica, Capote."
From the January 6 edition of Fox News' Your World with Neil Cavuto:
VARNEY: Well, try finding a show of Jon Stewart's where he isn't taking pot shots at President Bush. Now imagine him hosting the Oscars. It's about to happen. My next guest says the Academy Awards this year could be one big Hollywood Bush-bashing event. From Los Angeles, Tom O'Neil, columnist for the LA Times site TheEnvelope.com. Tom, you think that Jon Stewart, he just can't resist engaging in Bush-bashing?
O'NEIL: No, that's what he does, and he does it very well too. Let's give this guy his due. The Daily Show is brilliant, and his satires are right on, but putting him at the Oscars -- and not just any old Oscars -- the most political Oscars we've seen in years. Look at the movies we've got: Good Night, And Good Luck. -- Edward R. Murrow going after [Sen.] Joe McCarthy -- we have three gay films: Brokeback Mountain, Transamerica, Capote; we have Syriana about oil conspiracies, etc. We are putting Stewart into that mix..............

if our women and men weren't being maimed and killed this would be FUNNY

but they are, so it's not. this man has NO effing clue, NONE. how can he say questioning this unjust war, based on LIES gives 'comfort' to our adversaries? the people of iraq (SOME not all) are MORE our ADVERSARIES NOW than they were BEFORE 'we' invaded their country. just look at what we did...........

Bush to Democrats: Don't Chide Iraq Policy
Bush Warns Democrats About Criticizing Iraq Policy, Saying They Could Suffer at the Polls
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON - President Bush, in full campaign mode, warned Democratic critics of his Iraq policy on Tuesday to watch what they say or risk giving "comfort to our adversaries" and suffering at the ballot box in November. Democrats said Bush should take his own advice.
There are 10 months before congressional elections in which polls indicate the president's Republican Party could lose its dominance of Capitol Hill. But Bush is wasting no time engaging the battle. In his first speech of 2006 on the road, last week in Chicago, he aggressively challenged Democrats on the economy.
Tuesday's equally sharp message represented an attempt by the president to neutralize Democrats' ability to use Iraq where violence is surging in the wake of December parliamentary elections and messy negotiations to form a new coalition government as an election-year cudgel against Republicans.
Bush acknowledged deep differences over Iraq among casualty-weary Americans, just 39 percent of whom approve of his handling of the war, according to a recent AP-Ipsos survey. Without specifically mentioning Democrats, the president urged campaigning politicians to "conduct this debate responsibly."
He said he welcomed "honest critics" who question the way the war is being conducted and the "loyal opposition" that points out what is wrong with his administration's approach.
But he termed irresponsible the "partisan critics who claim that we acted in Iraq because of oil or because of Israel or because we misled the American people," as well as "defeatists who refuse to see that anything is right. With that description, Bush lumped the many Democrats who have accused him of twisting pre-war intelligence with the few people, mostly outside the mainstream, who have raised the issues of oil and Israel...........

wow using the quakers as an ally IS reason to be spied upon

NSA documents show massive spy operation on Baltimore peace group
01/10/2006 @ 12:28 pm Filed by RAW STORY
The National Security Agency has been spying on a Baltimore anti-war group, according to documents released during litigation, going so far as to document the inflating of protesters' balloons, and intended to deploy units trained to detect weapons of mass destruction, RAW STORY has learned.
According to the documents, the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore has been monitored by the NSA working with the Baltimore Intelligence Unit, part of the Baltimore City Police Department.
The documents, which follow, came as a result of litigation in the August 2003 trial of Marilyn Carlisle and Cindy Farquhar. An NSA security official provided the defendants with a redacted Action Plan and a redacted copy of a Joint Terrorism Task Force email about the activities of the Pledge of Resistance activities.
The first two pages involve the NSA email. They follow. (click the above link to get to the documents).....

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

this is SO offensive and SO frightening to me (to all of us)

(i wonder if this includes the prices of the EFFECTIVE NON EXISTANT BODY ARMOR each of our deployed troops should be wearing)
Economists say cost of war could top $2 trillion
Tally exceeds White House projections

By Bryan Bender, Globe Staff January 8, 2006
(Correction: Because of an editing error, the names of Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes were misspelled in an early edition in Sunday's World pages in a story about the cost of the war in Iraq.)
WASHINGTON -- The cost of the Iraq war could top $2 trillion after factoring in long-term healthcare for wounded US veterans, rebuilding a worn-down military, and accounting for other unforeseen bills and economic losses, according to a new analysis to be presented today in Boston.
The estimate by Columbia University economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and Harvard lecturer Linda Bilmes far exceeds projections made by the Bush administration.
The figure is more than four times what the war was expected to cost through 2006 -- around $500 billion, according to congressional budget data.
The new study is billed as a detailed analysis not only of the potential costs of sustaining the operation in Iraq for at least several more years, but also the expenses likely to be incurred by taxpayers long after US troops withdraw.
The government will have costly obligations to a new class of veterans, be forced to make new investments in stressed military ranks thinned by multiple tours of duty, and withstand the enduring impact of the war on the nation's overall financial outlook.
For example, the study attributes a portion of the increase in oil prices -- $5 per barrel -- to instability in the Middle East caused by the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein and sparked a bloody insurgency.
It estimates that the shock to the oil industry has already added at least $25 billion to the price tag of the conflict.
The analysis also attempts to account for the war's impact on the ballooning federal deficit, its ripple effects on overall economic growth and investment, and losses in productivity.
''There are quite a few things that are not being captured in the budgetary numbers" presented by the government, said Stiglitz, who received the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001. ''When you add up all of those numbers, it increases substantially. I think $2 trillion is conservative."..........

uh oh, trouble perhaps?

Create an e-annoyance, go to jail
By Declan McCullaghhttp://news.com.com/Create+an+e-annoyance,+go+to+jail/2010-1028_3-6022491.html Story last modified Mon Jan 09 04:00:00 PST 2006

Annoying someone via the Internet is now a federal crime.
It's no joke. Last Thursday, President Bush signed into law a prohibition on posting annoying Web messages or sending annoying e-mail messages without disclosing your true identity.
In other words, it's OK to flame someone on a mailing list or in a blog as long as you do it under your real name. Thank Congress for small favors, I guess.
This ridiculous prohibition, which would likely imperil much of Usenet, is buried in the so-called Violence Against Women and Department of Justice Reauthorization Act. Criminal penalties include stiff fines and two years in prison.
"The use of the word 'annoy' is particularly problematic," says Marv Johnson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union. "What's annoying to one person may not be annoying to someone else."..............

i've mentioned sudoku before, but i'll do it again

the washington post publishes a daily puzzle as well. here's another site: suduko and sudoku duck. i have given away sudoku books and hand held electronic games. i'm hooked and several friends are hooked too! it really IS addictive (there are different spellings by the way, sudoku and suduko). there are TONS of sites out there, just look them up

A Puzzling Success: Sudoku Craze Spreads
By Miki Johnson Published: January 09, 2006 12:55 PM ET
NEW YORK You might not have realized it, but 2005 was the year of Sudoku. Hundreds of newspapers, including USA Today and the New York Post, have added Sudoku to their puzzle pages and Sudoku Web sites are everywhere. As of early December, the Publishers Weekly Bestseller List included three Sudoku books in its top 15. The folks who put out the Oxford dictionary even picked Sudoku as a runner up to "podcast" as its hot word of the year. But what exactly is Sudoku, you may ask? It looks vaguely like a crossword puzzle, with a nine-by-nine box grid, subdivided into smaller three-by-three boxes and sporting a few squares filled in with numbers. The goal is simple: Place numbers one through nine in the empty squares so that each number appears only once in each smaller box and vertical and horizontal row. Technically speaking, it's a "logic game" — but it's so addictive that it might as well be an illegal substance....

if you don't want your mail opened

don't correspond with 80 year old professors in the philippines (or anyone else for that matter. and don't blog and don't phone anyone and don't talk to anyone and on and on and on...........)

History Professor’s Mail Opened by Homeland Security
By Matthew Rothschild January 2, 2006
Grant Goodman is an 81-year-old emeritus professor of Asian history at the University of Kansas.
He has had an ongoing correspondence by snail mail with a former professor of history at the University of the Philippines, where Goodman had taught on three separate occasions.
In early December, he was shocked when a letter arrived from her that had already been opened.
“The bottom of the envelope had been slashed open and then retaped with green tape,” says Goodman. “And it said, ‘Opened by Border Protection’ in great big letters. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security seal is on it, too.”
Goodman believes his rights have been “absolutely” violated, he says. “I just couldn’t believe it and wondered what in the world is going on.”
This story was broken by Joel Mathis of the
Lawrence Journal-World.

Monday, January 09, 2006


i had a profile on myspace but i only did it because it was needed to read a friend's journal (you have to sign up and be a member to read certain things). i've not been on it in months. however, i hear many bands have profiles there as well. at any rate, you can rest assured if rupert has a hand in it, it WILL get the rest of the hands dirty

Get out of MySpace, bloggers rage at Murdoch
By Nicholas Wapshott in New York
Published: 08 January 2006
Angry members of MySpace, the personal file-sharing website for young adults, are accusing Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation of censoring their postings and blocking their access to rival sites.
The 38 million subscribers to MySpace, which News Corp bought for $629m (£355m) last July, discovered that when they wrote to each other about rival video-swapping site YouTube, the words were automatically deleted, and attempts to download video images from YouTube led to blank screens.
The intervention by News Corp in the traditionally open-access world of the web - in particular the alteration of personal user profiles - provoked a storm of angry posts in online "blogs".
"This is soooo like Fox and News Corp to try and secretly seal our mouths with duct tape," wrote "Alex" to Blog Herald.
The protests gathered pace, and when 600 MySpace customers complained and a campaign began to boycott the site and relocate to rival sites such as Friendster, Linkedin, revver.com and Facebook.com, News Corp relented and restored the links.
However, MySpace managers promptly shut down the blog forum on which members had complained about the interference. An online notice said the problem was the result of "a simple misunderstanding"..................

dean vs. wolfie

thanks to jonathan at past peak for posting the transcript (and there's a link to the video too) of howard dean setting wolfie straight

.......BLITZER: Should Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff, who's now pleaded guilty to bribery charges among other charges, a Republican lobbyist in Washington — should the Democrats who took money from him give that money to charity or give it back?
DEAN: There are no Democrats who took money from Jack Abramoff. Not one. Not one single Democrat. Every person named in this scandal is a Republican, every person under investigation is a Republican, every person indicted is a Republican. This is a Republican finance scandal. There is no evidence that Jack Abramoff ever gave any Democrat any money, and we've looked through all those FEC reports to make sure that's true.
BLITZER: [Stammering] But through various Abramoff-related organizations, and outfits, a bunch of Democrats did take money that presumably originated with Jack Abramoff.
DEAN: That's not true either. There's no evidence for that either, there's no evidence...
BLITZER: What about Senator, what about, what about, what about Senator Byron Dorgan?
DEAN: Senator Byron Dorgan and some others took money from Indian tribes. They're not agents of Jack Abramoff. There's no evidence that I've seen that Jack Abramoff directed any contributions to Democrats. I know the Republican National Committee would like to get the Democrats involved in this. They're scared. They should be scared. They haven't told the truth, and they have misled the American people, and now it appears they're stealing from Indian tribes. The Democrats are not involved in this.
BLITZER: [Long pause, apparently getting direction in his earpiece] [Sigh] Unfortunately, we, uh, Mr. Chairman, we've got to leave it right there..............

great christmas gift from mom. too bad it didn't come from his uncle sam

Mom buys body armor for son for Christmas
NEW YORK, Jan. 8 (UPI) -- A New York City mother says she spent about $3,000 for body armor -- a Christmas gift for her son in the U.S. Marines who is deployed to Iraq.
Elaine Brower said her son, James Brower, gave her a list of items Marine buddies gave him, to buy body armor online.
James Brower had been deployed to Afghanistan, but when he returned he became a New York City police officer. Now, he has been redeployed as a reserve to Iraq and when his mom asked him what he wanted for Christmas, he said "body armor."
Elaine Brower made the purchases online for $2,200. Then she spent $800 for armor for her son's legs, the New York Daily News reported Sunday.
James Brower had assisted Marines and soldiers who had lost limbs in Iraq at the New York City Marathon and they suggested leg armor -- especially to protect the femoral artery.
The son says everything fits and is comfortable and mom is set to make an Internal Revenue Service claim of up to $1,100 -- thanks to a recently enacted: "Claim for Reimbursement and Payment Voucher for Privately Purchased Protective, Safety or Health Equipment Used in Combat."

Sunday, January 08, 2006

yet another injustice

it was ok for pierre to attack lawson because lawson is just a queer. it was ok for the army to NOT do anything to pierre because lawson is a queer. it was ok for the army to discharge lawson because he was a queer. there is NO justice for lawson, because he is queer

how can these people sleep at night? how can they allow someone who is obviously in the wrong (pierre) stay? i want to say more, but i don't know pierre, i wasn't there when the offense occurred. i know the type though. methinks thou protest too much pierre

Gay soldier discharged; attacker stays
By Pamela Hess
Jan 7, 2006, 19:00 GMT
WASHINGTON, DC, United States (UPI) -- The U.S. Army Thursday honorably discharged a gay soldier who was punched by another soldier because of his sexual orientation.
The soldier who attacked 19-year old Pvt. Kyle Lawson remains on active duty. A Fort Huachuca, Ariz., spokeswoman would not say what punishment Pvt. Zacharias Pierre received by the military, but confirmed it fell short of court martial.
Sierra Vista police arrested Pierre in November on a felony charge of aggravated assault after he admitted to punching Lawson in the face at a party off base on Oct. 29. He broke Lawson`s nose.
Cochise County prosecutors fulfilled the Army`s request to drop the charges against Pierre, saying they would handle the matter internally.
'The command took appropriate action based on their review of all the circumstances surrounding the incident and the soldiers involved. The punishment was less than court-martial, ' said Tanja Linton, a Fort Huachuca spokeswoman, in a prepared statement.
The Army does not comment on punishments that fall short of court martials, which are part of public record.
The punishment could range from verbal and written counseling, general officer written reprimands, administrative separation actions to non-judicial punishment like loss of pay and fines.
Lawson told police he asked Pierre about his girlfriend. Pierre told him to 'get the f*** away, ' and then called him 'f***** queer. ' Then he hit him, according to the police report.
Pierre said Lawson made 'unwanted comments ' which he considered 'of a homosexual nature. ' He also thought Lawson was going 'to touch his groin area ' so he punched him as a 'reflex. '
Pierre told police at no time did he feel he was in danger of physical harm from Lawson, 'he just did not like the sexual innuendo. '................

................In December, Rep.
Barney Frank (D-MA) wrote to Army Chief of Staff General Peter Schoomaker about the incident.
'I am struck by the cruel irony of your allowing a young man who appears to be guilty of nothing to be first assaulted and then
driven out,' Frank said in his letter.
Frank is openly homosexual.
'The Army should retain patriotic soldiers like Private Lawson and discharge those who viciously beat their colleagues out of sheer prejudice, like Private Pierre,' said C. Dixon Osburn, executive
director SLDN. .................

this WOULD be laughable, but we've already seen what 'brownie' was responsible for

January 7, 2006

Another Brownie in the Making

Bush Appoints Another Unqualified Nominee

By Gene C. Gerard

Last week President Bush took advantage of Congress’ holiday recess to appoint Ellen Sauerbrey as the Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). The Senate had stalled on approving her nomination because Ms. Sauerbrey has no experience. This State Department position administers the government’s policies regarding refugees and international migration issues and oversees approximately $700 million in federal funds for refugee protection, resettlement, and humanitarian assistance programs. Given the importance of this position, and the nominee’s total lack of experience, Mr. Bush abused his authority by circumventing the Senate.

Although the Bush administration insisted that Ms. Sauerbrey was well qualified for the position, her resume was appallingly slender. She twice ran as the Republican nominee for Maryland Governor, loosing both times. She served as a representative in the Maryland legislature from 1978 to 1994. In 2000, she was the chairperson for the Maryland for Bush Campaign. Her only experience in federal government is having served as the U.S. representative on a United Nations committee on women’s issues.

A comparison of Ms. Sauerbrey’s experience with that of the three individuals who have most recently served as Assistant Secretary of State for PRM clearly demonstrates her lack of qualifications. Prior to his appointment to this position in 2002, Arthur E. Dewey served for five years as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Refugee Programs in the State Department. Before that, he was a United Nations Assistant Secretary-General, and he also served for four years as the United Nations Deputy High Commissioner for Refugees.

Julia V. Taft held this position from 1997 to 2002. Prior to her appointment, she was the President and CEO of InterAction, a coalition of 156 U.S.-based voluntary organizations that works on refugee assistance and humanitarian relief throughout the world. Prior to this, she was Director of the U.S. Interagency Task Force for Indochina Refugees. Ms. Taft also served for three years as the Director of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance at the Agency for International Development, where she managed all U.S. relief responses to foreign disasters. It’s worth noting that although Ms. Taft was a prominent Republican, President Clinton nominated her because of her overwhelming qualifications.................