Monday, January 24, 2005

Everyone that isn't Tony....

Head on over to the Cheese Blog and check out my latest post, entitled, "burnt cheese?". I only say "not Tony" because he already heard this story.

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Friday, January 21, 2005

There's a movie here somewhere - some kind of backstabbing conspiracy thriller set in the occupation. One of these "can't trust anyone" type flicks, shot mostly at night, with creepy music.

The FBI is investigating the fatal shooting in Iraq of a U.S. contractor from Washington County who had accused Iraqi military officials of corruption days before his death. Dale Stoffel, 43, of Monongahela, was shot to death Dec. 8 in a roadside ambush while returning to Baghdad after discussing the corruption claims with coalition military officials at a northern Iraqi military base. Stoffel's business associate, Joseph Wemple, 49, of Orlando, Fla., also was killed.
The killings came after Stoffel alerted senior U.S. officials in Washington that Iraqi Defense Ministry officials were part of a kickback scheme involving a multimillion-dollar contract awarded to his company, Wye Oak Technology, to refurbish old Iraqi military equipment, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

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Chalabi to be Arrested

Dr. Chalabi, of course, drew a high number on the combined Shiite list put together by Grand Ayatollah Sistani after his falling out with the U.S. over his spying for Iran. The Shiite list will almost certainly form an new government with Hakim as PM after the elections on the 30th, with Chalabi in line to be minister of something or other. The current government plans to arrest him "based on facts that he wanted to malign the reputation of the defense ministry and defense minister," (Arrested for criticizing the government? Freedom is on the march!) and hand him over to Jordan to be tried for It seems like Allawi wants his old rival out of the way before he steps down as PM, if indeed he has any intention of stepping down as PM. Things are getting mighty testy in Baghdad these days.

How do you square domestic freedom with the curtailment of civil liberties in a war on terror? How do you proclaim that America is a force for freeing dissidents, when the government now has unprecedented powers to detain anyone suspected of terror across the globe and subject them to coercive interrogation techniques that the government will not disclose?

Andrew Sullivan on the Bush inaugural speech

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Good riddance to Michael Powell, who's apparantly leaving the FCC.
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In Raleigh, a mere inch of snow was all it took to cripple North arolina's capital and prompt plenty of finger-pointing as the city thawed from the surprise storm that caused gridlock and stranded the schoolchildren.

While a TV weatherman hung his head in shame — telling viewers his forecast of a mere dusting was "embarrassing" — the mayor vented at meteorologists for leaving Raleigh unprepared for Wednesday's storm.

A whole inch? My heart goes out to these people. I thought these Red Staters were supposed to be tough guys or something.
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Global Warming caused the "Great Extinction"
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Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Ken Mehlman

reveals his plan to make the Republican majority permanent. Notice how he wants to recruit voters:
"We can deepen the GOP by identifying and turning out Americans who vote for president but who often miss off-year elections and agree with our work on behalf of a culture of life, our promoting marriage, and a belief in our Second Amendment heritage," Mehlman said, referring to the party's opposition to abortion, gay marriage and gun control. . .
"When we debate who should sit on the judiciary, we have an opportunity to deepen the GOP by registering to vote men and women who attend church every week but aren't yet registered voters."
. . . Use the GOP agenda to court new voters: Blacks through school voucher initiatives, young voters through Social Security changes and Hispanics through efforts to limit legal liability.
And what does he want to do with that majority?
Enact the president's agenda, including fighting terrorism, revamping Social Security (news - web sites), changing the tax code and appointing "strict constructionists to the courts."
He plans to use the social issues to turn out the voters, in order to pursue policies of empire-building and dismantling consumer rights and government programs which benefit primarily the President's uneducated working-class base, in favor of big corporations and the wealthy. Interesting.

No Crisis

Even though 4 in 5 Americans, including 8 in 9 Americans under 30, believe the system is bankrupt and near failure, there is no social security crisis. In the 2050s, when projections show the program unable to meet all its obligations, it can still pay out at 75% of statutory benefits for those years - a rate that is actually higher than current levels. This is because increases in benefits are tied to wage increases rather than price increases. Slight tinkering with the system can make it solvent for far longer, and simple changes like ending the income cap on payroll taxes (making the rich pay their fair share), having public employees contribute to SS instead of PERS, or reducing the rate of benefit increases, could cure the system for years. Do your own research if you don't believe me. Heritage and Cato are lying - they just philosophically object to the redistribution of income. What I object to are changes to the system that risk leaving members of my generation destitute in our old age so the rich can profit.

Reality TV

Some days I want to get cable TV again just so I can watch Al Jezeera. Think you know what's going on in Iraq?
[M]ost of those invited to the conference were Sunnis, like Jasim al-Obaidi, who has felt increasingly marginalised since the U.S.-led invasion.

"I was arrested by the Americans and spent five months in Abu Ghraib (prison) because they accused me of being a Wahhabi," said the 64-year-old former army officer, referring to radical groups blamed for many bombings and hostage beheadings.

"I may be a Baathist, but I am not a Wahabi. They have raided my house three times since then. I live across the road from a National Guard station. Every time someone attacks it they raid my house."
The rest of the time I'm thinking about the Sci Fi Channel.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2005

Seymour Hersh says we are gonna invade Iran.

Iran says "Bite Me."

To be continued, I fear. . .

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Whither NAAS

I am beginning to hate Blogger. It just ate my post again, for the second time in three days! My guess is, they don't have the capacity for all the new users flooding the system. Don't be me, compose your post in another format like a smart person.

Like I tried to say a few minutes ago, Bob and I both have our own blogs now which we can use for extensive navel gazing, and I have been wondering what to do with NAAS. For now I plan to start using the page to draw bring to the attention of friends and readers stories which have gotten lost in all the commotion of our nations headlong rush from Republic to Empire to Third World Has-Been.

Here's a couple now:
Secret U.S. Torture Island Had Advanced Tsumani Warning

Rumsfeld's Legacy: An Iraq Syndrome?

and the kicker:
There Ain't No WMD in Iraq
Told ya so.

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The Jungle

So I was driving on the South Side of Chicago the other day, wondering how meat gets processed now that the stockyards are closed. My Sunday Tribune answered my question. Immigrant workers, underpaid and exploited, working in unsafe conditions until they are injured and cast aside. I especially love the part where the 16 year old lost the use of his thumb in an industrial accident.Things haven't changed much since the Jungle.

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Tuesday, January 11, 2005

The Rapture Done Come! Woo-Hoo!

I hear tell God done called the army of his faithful servants home!

OVIEDO, Fla. - A Presbyterian minister collapsed and died in mid-sentence of a sermon after saying "And when I go to heaven ...," his colleague said Monday.

The Rev. Jack Arnold, 69, was nearing the end of his sermon Sunday at Covenant Presbyterian Church in this Orlando suburb when he grabbed the podium before falling to the floor, said the Rev. Michael S. Beates, associate pastor at Covenant Presbyterian.

Before collapsing, Arnold quoted the 18th century Bible scholar, John Wesley, who said, "Until my work on this earth is done, I am immortal. But when my work for Christ is done ... I go to be with Jesus," Beates said in a telephone interview.

It seems the Big Guy, troubled by all the hypocrisy committed in his name by his alleged followers, decided to call home all those who had faithfully served him and advanced his kingdom on earth.

An Army of One, indeed.
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