Rush Limbaugh Turns Himself In on Fraud Charges, Reaches Settlement
Friday, April 28, 2006

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Rush Limbaugh and prosecutors in the long-running painkiller fraud case against him have reached a deal calling for the only charge against the conservative commentator to be dropped if he continues treatment, his attorney said Friday.

Limbaugh was booked on a single charge that was filed Friday, said Teri Barbera, a spokeswoman for the Palm Beach County Jail. He left about an hour later, after Limbaugh was photographed and fingerprinted and he posted $3,000 bail, Barbera said.

The radio giant’s agreement to enter a diversionary program ends a three-year state investigation that began after Limbaugh publicly acknowledged being addicted to pain medication and entered a rehabilitation program.

Prosecutors accuse him of “doctor shopping,” or illegally deceiving multiple doctors to receive overlapping prescriptions. They learned that he received about 2,000 painkillers, prescribed by four doctors in six months, at a pharmacy near his Palm Beach mansion.

Limbaugh pleaded not guilty Friday to a charge of fraud to conceal information to obtain prescriptions. Though he steadfastly denies doctor shopping, the charge will be dismissed in 18 months if Limbaugh complies with court guidelines, his lawyer Roy Black said.

“Mr. Limbaugh and I have maintained from the start that there was no doctor shopping, and we continue to hold this position,” Black said in an e-mailed statement.

Limbaugh spokesman Tony Knight said the commentator signed the agreement Thursday, and that it called for him to enter the not guilty plea. “It’s not in the system moving toward trial. It was all a formality. It’s a concluded deal,” Knight said.

Mike Edmondson, a spokesman for the state attorney’s office, said prosecutors had not yet received the signed agreement.

“I am not disputing the facts, the conditions that Black represented, but until his client signed the agreement, we don’t have a full agreement,” Edmondson said. “I am sure it’s just a timeline issue.”

He refused to comment further.

As a primary condition of the dismissal, Limbaugh must continue to seek treatment from the doctor he has seen for the past 2 1/2 years, Black said. Among other provisions, he also has agreed to pay the state $30,000 to defray its investigative costs, Black said.

The warrant alleges that sometime between February and August 2003, Limbaugh withheld information from a medical practitioner from whom he sought to obtain a controlled substance or a prescription for a controlled substance.

Prosecutors began investigating Limbaugh in 2003 after the National Enquirer reported his housekeeper’s allegations that he had abused OxyContin and other painkillers. He soon took a five-week leave from his radio show to enter a rehabilitation program and acknowledged he had become addicted to pain medication. He blamed it on severe back pain.

Before his own problems became public, Limbaugh had decried drug use and abuse and mocked President Clinton for saying he had not inhaled when he tried marijuana. He often made the case that drug crimes deserve punishment.

“Drug use, some might say, is destroying this country. And we have laws against selling drugs, pushing drugs, using drugs, importing drugs. … And so if people are violating the law by doing drugs, they ought to be accused and they ought to be convicted and they ought to be sent up,” Limbaugh said on his short-lived television show on Oct. 5, 1995.

Prosecutors seized Limbaugh’s medical records after learning about the painkillers he had received at the Palm Beach pharmacy. The investigation was held up as the prosecutors and Black battled in court over whether the records were properly seized.

Limbaugh reported five years ago that he had lost most of his hearing because of an autoimmune inner-ear disease. He had surgery to have an electronic device placed in his skull to restore his hearing. But research shows that abusing opiate-based painkillers also can cause profound hearing loss.

Rush’s mugshot and other interesting information…


Jury Awards $500G to Woman Spanked at Work
Apr 28, 2006

FRESNO, Calif. – A jury awarded $500,000 Friday to a woman who was spanked in front of her colleagues in what her employer called a camaraderie-building exercise.

The jury of six men and six women found that Janet Orlando, 53, was subjected to sexual harassment and sexual battery when she was paddled on the rear end two years ago at Alarm One Inc., a home security company in Fresno. The jury said Orlando did not suffer from sexual assault, as she had alleged.

Alarm One was ordered to pay her damages for lost wages, medical costs and pain and suffering. She had asked for at least $1.2 million.

The next phase of the trial — to determine whether she should receive punitive damages — was scheduled to begin Friday afternoon.

Orlando’s attorney, Nicholas “Butch” Wagner, said of the verdict: “It’s in the ballpark.”

K. Pancho Baker, an attorney for Alarm One, said it was excessive. “I think the jury was so upset at Alarm One that they went overboard,” Baker said. “Not to say that what Alarm One did was right, but this allows her to manipulate the system.”

Orlando quit in 2004, less than a year after she was hired, saying she was humiliated during the company’s camaraderie-building exercises.

Sales teams were encouraged to compete, and the losers were made fun of, forced to eat baby food, required to wear diapers and spanked with a rival company’s yard signs, according to court documents.

Lawyers for the company said Orlando and others took part in the exercises willingly. The company has since abandoned the practice.

During the trial, company attorneys revealed that Orlando had sued a previous employer, also claiming that she had been sexually harassed.

Birth Erotica – i know, some of you are going to say either “eeewww! that’s gross” or “giving birth is very definitely NOT sexy” but it has a strong scientific basis: the orgasm is an analgesic that is 10 times more powerful than any drug, and the orgasm is also exactly equal to a very powerful uterine contraction. it aids the birthing process in two very profound physical ways, plus getting it on also guarantees that the baby will be born into an even more intimate, loving environment than it would be already, so i say, without being facetious (although it is a nice pun) what the fuck?

It’s Just A Plant – even if you’re not a parent, YOU MUST BUY THIS BOOK!


i suppose it was too good to be true…

i went over to ‘ house today to play my keyboards. i had been there for about 2 hours when there was a commotion upstairs and one of his housemates came storming downstairs and started yelling at me because i have a swastika on my car. he said he “hates hatred” and “takes grave offense” at my swastika, despite the fact that he wouldn’t listen when i tried to explain it to him.

i hate hatred just as much as he does, if not more, but when hatred is directed at me, particularly when i don’t deserve it, then i just want to get out of there. i packed up my keyboards and left as quickly as possible. of course, i had the small car, so i couldn’t get both keyboards, but i’ll go back on sunday (i’m going to bellingham tomorrow to fix a saxophone for warren) with the big car to get it.

people shouldn’t be angry with the swastika because of the nazis, they should be angry at the nazis because of the swastika.


Local Teacher’s Run-In With Homeland Security Creates Insecurities
April 5, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A local school employee said a rough run-in with a couple of Homeland Security officers has left him with a strong sense of insecurity. Leander Pickett says he was handcuffed, roughed up and humiliated by two Homeland Security officers who refused to move their car from the path of waiting school buses.

Leander Pickett, a teacher’s assistant at Englewood Elementary, said he was manhandled and handcuffed by two plain clothed Homeland Security officers in front of the school Tuesday for no reason at all.

“I would like to treat people the way I would want to be treated, and yesterday I wasn’t treated that way,” Pickett said.

Pickett has been working at Englewood for two years, and his principal and colleagues told Channel 4 they have never met a harder worker or nicer guy.

“He’s well loved by everyone because he’s willing to do anything to help children,” said the Englewood Elementary Principal Gail Brinson.

However, Tuesday afternoon Pickett’s niceness turned to anger, disappointment, and betrayal when, as Pickett was directing bus traffic, he said he was handcuffed and roughed up and humiliated by the very people that were supposed to protect him.

“I walked up to him and said, ‘Sir, you need to move.’ That’s when he said ‘I’m a police officer. I’m with Homeland Security … I’ll move it when I want to.’ That’s when he started grabbing me on my arm,” Pickett said.

However, Homeland Security tells a different story.

The department said the only reason the officers were at the school was because they pulled over to look at a map.

The department also said it’s looking into what happened, and that Pickett’s version is wrong. It claims he was antagonizing the officers.

Several people were outside of the school, watching the incident take place, and those witnesses agree with Pickett’s story.

“Mr. Pickett asked the guy blocking the bus loading zone to move, and the guy told him he would move his car when he got ready to move it,” said Englewood coach Alton Jackson.

“At that point I intervened and I went up to the gentleman and said, ‘Mr. Pickett is an employee here,’ and they said that didn’t matter,” said Englewood media specialist, Terri Dreisonstok.

“‘We’re with Homeland Security,’ and on and on they went, and pretty soon, before you know it, he’s handcuffed and slammed against a car,” Brinson said. “All the children are watching, they’re all upset.”

After about 30 minutes, the men released Pickett.

“The part that really upsets me is all these students were watching, and that and it isn’t good,” Jackson said.

Pickett said he plans to sue.

“You now you hear these stories everyday and say, ‘This will never happen to me,’ but yesterday it happened to me,” Pickett said.

“If this is Homeland Security, I think we ought to be a little afraid,” Brinson said.

The central office of Homeland Security contacted Channel 4 about the incident and stated that it considers all allegations seriously and the matter has been referred to a neutral investigative entity.

Spanish version of ‘Star-Spangled Banner’?
By David Montgomery
April 28, 2006

Oh say can you see — a la luz de la aurora?

The national anthem that once endured the radical transformation administered by Jimi Hendrix’s fuzzed and frantic Stratocaster now faces an artistic dare at least as extreme: translation into Spanish.

The new take is scheduled to hit the airwaves today. It’s called “Nuestro Himno” — “Our Anthem” — and it was recorded over the past week by Latin pop stars including Ivy Queen, Gloria Trevi, Carlos Ponce, Tito “El Bambino,” Olga Tañon and the group Aventura. Joining and singing in Spanish is Haitian American artist Wyclef Jean.

The different voices contribute lines the way 1985’s “We Are the World” was put together by an ensemble of stars. The national anthem’s familiar melody and structure are preserved, while the rhythms and instrumentation come straight out of Latin pop.

Can “The Star-Spangled Banner,” and the republic for which it stands, survive? Outrage over what’s being called “The Illegal Alien Anthem” is already building in the blogosphere and among conservative commentators.

Timed to debut the week Congress returned to debate immigration reform, with the country riven by the issue, “Nuestro Himno” is intended to be an anthem of solidarity for the movement that has drawn hundreds of thousands of people to march peacefully for immigrant rights in Washington and cities across the country, says Adam Kidron, president of Urban Box Office, the New York-based entertainment company that launched the project.

“It’s the one thing everybody has in common, the aspiration to have a relationship with the United States . . . and also to express gratitude and patriotism to the United States for providing the opportunity,” says Kidron.

The song was being prepared for e-mailing as MP3 packages to scores of Latino radio stations and other media last night, and Kidron was calling for stations to play the song simultaneously at 7 Eastern Time this evening.

Rejecting assimilation?
However, the same advance buzz that drew singers to scramble for inclusion in the recording sessions this week in New York, Miami, Texas, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic has also spurred critics who say rendering the song in Spanish is a rejection of assimilation into the United States.

Even some movement supporters are puzzled by the use of Spanish.

“Even our Spanish media are saying, ‘Why are we doing this, what are you trying to do?’ ” said Pedro Biaggi, the morning host with El Zol (99.1 FM), the most popular Hispanic radio station in the Washington area. “It’s not for us to be going around singing the national anthem in Spanish. . . . We don’t want to impose, we don’t own the place. . . . We want to be accepted.”

Still, Biaggi says he will play “Nuestro Himno” this morning if the song reaches the station in time. But he will talk about the language issue on the air and solicit listeners’ views. He says he accepts the producers’ explanation that the purpose is to spread the values of the anthem to a wider audience. He adds he will also play a version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in English — as he aired the Whitney Houston version earlier this week, when the controversy was beginning to brew.

In the Spanish version, the translation of the first stanza is relatively faithful to the spirit of the original, though Kidron says the producers wanted to avoid references to bombs and rockets. Instead, there is “fierce combat.” The translation of the more obscure second stanza is almost a rewrite, with phrases such as “we are equal, we are brothers.”

An alternate version to be released next month includes a rap in English that never occurred to Francis Scott Key:

Let’s not start a war
With all these hard workers
They can’t help where they were born

“Nuestro Himno” is as fraught with controversial cultural messages as the psychedelic “Banner” Hendrix delivered at the height of the Vietnam War.

Pressed on what he was trying to say with his Woodstock performance in 1969, Hendrix replied (according to biographer Charles Cross), “We’re all Americans. . . . It was like ‘Go America!’ . . . We play it the way the air is in America today.”

Now the national anthem is being remade again according to the way the air is in America, and the people behind “Nuestro Himno” say the message once more is: We’re all Americans. It will be the lead track on an album about the immigrant experience called “Somos Americanos,” due for release May 16. One dollar from each sale will go to immigrant rights groups, including the National Capital Immigration Coalition, which organized the march on the Mall on April 10.

But critics including columnist Michelle Malkin, who coined it “The Illegal Alien Anthem” nickname say the rendition crosses a line that Hendrix never stepped over with his instrumental version. Transforming the musical idiom of “The Star-Spangled Banner” is one thing, argue the skeptics, but translating the words sends the opposite message: We are not Americans.

“I’m really appalled. . . . We are not a bilingual nation,” said George Taplin, director of the Virginia Chapter of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps, part of a national countermovement that emphasizes border control and tougher enforcement, and objects to public funding for day-laborer sites. “When people are talking about becoming a part of this country, they should assimilate to the norm that’s already here,” Taplin said. “What we’re talking about here is a sovereign nation with our ideals and our national identity, and that [anthem] is one of the icons of our nation’s identity. I believe it should be in English as it was penned.”

Yet, even in English, 61 percent of adults don’t know all the words, a recent Harris poll found.

Appealing to such symbols of national identity to plug into their profound potency is how new movements compete for space within that identity. During the rally on the Mall, the immigrants and their supporters also waved thousands of American flags and recited the Pledge of Allegiance. But they didn’t translate the pledge into Spanish. They said it in English.

Juan Carlos Ruiz, the general coordinator of the National Capital Immigration Coalition, said there’s not a contradiction. The pledge was printed phonetically for Spanish speakers, and many reciting the sounds may not have understood the meaning. Putting the anthem in Spanish is a way to relay the meaning to people who haven’t learned English yet, Ruiz said.

“It’s part of the process to learn English,” not a rejection of English, he said.

‘A communal shout’
While critics sketch a nightmare scenario of a Canada-like land with an anthem sung in two languages, immigrant rights advocates say they agree learning English is essential. Studies of immigrant families suggest the process is inevitable: Eighty-two percent to 90 percent of the children of immigrants prefer English.

“The first step to understanding something is to understand it in the language you understand, and then you can understand it in another language,” said Leo Chavez, director of Chicano/Latino Studies at the University of California at Irvine. “What this song represents at this moment is a communal shout, that the dream of America, which is represented by the song, is their dream, too.”

Since its origins as the melody to an English drinking song called “To Anacreon in Heaven,” circa 1780, “The Star-Spangled Banner” has had a long, strange trip. Key wrote the poem after watching the bombardment of Fort McHenry in 1814. It became the national anthem in 1931.

At least 389 versions have been recorded, according to Allmusic.com, a quick reference used by musicologists to get a sense of what’s on the market. Now that Hendrix’s “Banner” has mellowed into classic rock, it’s hard to imagine that once some considered it disrespectful. The other recordings embrace a vast musical universe: from Duke Ellington to Dolly Parton to Tiny Tim. But musicologists cannot name another foreign-language version.

“America is a pluralistic society, but the anthem is a way that we can express our unity. If that’s done in a different language, that doesn’t seem to me personally to be a bad thing,” said Michael Blakeslee, deputy executive director of the National Association for Music Education, which is leading a National Anthem Project to highlight the song and the school bands that play it in every style, from mariachi to steel drum.

‘A noble intent’
“I assume the intent is one of making a statement about ‘we are a part of this nation,’ and those are wonderful sentiments and a noble intent,” said Dan Sheehy, director of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings.

Benigno “Benny” Layton wonders. He’s the leader of Los Hermanos Layton, a band of conjunto- and Tejano-style musicians in Elsa, Tex., 22 miles from Mexico. After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, he recorded a traditional conjunto version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” It was instrumental.

“I’m a second-generation American,” Layton said. “I love my country, and I love my [Mexican musical] heritage, and I try to keep it alive. But some things are sacred that you don’t do. And translating the national anthem is one of them.”

BAD! BAD politician!

House Speaker Dennis Hastert of Ill., center, gets out of a Hydrogen Alternative Fueled automobile, left, as he prepares to board his SUV, which uses gasoline, after holding a news conference at a local gas station in Washington, Thursday, April 27, 2006 to discuss the recent rise in gas prices. Hastert and other members of Congress drove off in the Hydrogen-Fueled cars only to switch to their official cars to drive the few blocks back to the U.S. Capitol.


i have to say this:

on september 11, 2001, the united states was the victim of a crime. if we are to follow “the rules,” the victim of a crime cannot be involved in the investigation or prosecution of whoever committed that crime, apart from giving evidence. any other way of doing it makes the probability of the victim mentality creeping in and affecting the outcome very high, and, as we all know, justice is blind.

the united states has no right to declare war on, or to extract legal justice from afghanistan, iraq, iran, or any other place that may have been involved in the commission of the crime on september 11, 2001, regardless of what you might think. to do so would be just as much an act of terrorism as the crime itself.

i don’t know what the solution to the problem is, but the current situation is so far beyond fucked that i don’t even have an appropriate way to describe it.


this is more of a test or quiz than it is a meme, but it did tell me something i already knew without asking any obvious questions specifically about that subject, which intrigues me a little more than most of the test/quiz/meme thingies out there…

I am a running man!
Find your own pose!

You scored 33% Organization, 73% abstract, and 54% extroverted!
This test measured 3 variables.

First, this test measured how organized you are. Some muppets like Cookie Monster make big messes, while others like Bert are quite anal about things being clean.

Second, this test measured if you prefer a concrete or an abstract viewpoint. For the purposes of this test, concrete people are considered to gravitate more to mathematical and logical approaches, whereas abstract people are more the dreamers and artistic type.

Third, this test measured if you are more of an introvert or an extrovert. By definition, an introvert concentrates more on herself and an extrovert focuses more on others. In this test an introvert was somebody that either tends to spend more time alone or thinks more about herself.

You are more sloppy, more abstract, and bothintroverted and extroverted.

Here is why are you Ernie.

You are both sloppy. You might not always know where everything you need is. Perhaps you don’t even care. Ernie sure doesn’t. Hey, when you got a best friend that is anal about cleaning you can afford to not worry about it. Sure Ernie likes taking baths, but that’s just to spend time with his ducky.

You both can be abstract thinkers. Ernie is a dreamer by nature, always making up songs while he plays. He comes up with fanciful adventures. You definitely are not afraid to take chances in life. You only live once. You may notice others around you playing it safe, but you are more concerned with not compromising your desires, and getting everything you can out of life. This is a very romantic approach to life, but hopefully you are also grounded enough to get by.

You are both somewhat introverted. Ernie enjoys spending time with others, but he is also quite content to be in his own fantasy world with his duckies. Unlike Bert, he has other friends to spend time with. Like Ernie, you probably like to have some time to yourself, but you do appreciate spending time with your friends, and you aren’t scared of social situations.

The other possible characters are
Cookie Monster
Big Bird
Oscar the Grouch
Kermit the Frog
The Count
Guy Smiley

My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

arf arf
You scored higher than 1% on Organization
arf arf
You scored higher than 92% on concrete-abstract
arf arf
You scored higher than 27% on intro-extrovert

Your SESAME STREET Persona Test written by greencowsgomoo on Ok Cupid


the bush administration has got to be stopped. at this point, we’ve moved far beyond funny, ridiculous, ironic, and even tragic… the bush administration has got to be stopped!

they’re going to release about a third of the detainees in gitmo, because they pose no threat to the united states.

these are the people bush & co. said were “the worst of the worst” terrorists… even though only 10 have ever been charged with a crime.

U.S. to Free 141 Terror Suspects
The Guantanamo prison detainees pose no threat, an official says. Most of those still in custody have no charges pending against them.
By Carol J. Williams
April 25, 2006

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL STATION, Cuba — The Pentagon plans to release nearly a third of those held at the prison for terrorism suspects here because they pose no threat to U.S. security, an official of the war crimes tribunal said Monday.

Charges are pending against about two dozen of the remaining prisoners, the chief prosecutor said. But he left unclear why the rest face neither imminent freedom nor a day in court after as many as four years in custody.

Only 10 of the roughly 490 alleged “enemy combatants” currently detained at the facility have been charged; none has been charged with a capital offense.

That leaves the majority of the U.S. government’s prisoners from the war on terrorism in limbo and its war crimes tribunal exposed to allegations by international human rights advocates that it is illegitimate and abusive.

The decision to release 141 detainees — the largest group to be reclassified and moved off the island — follows a yearlong review of their cases in which interrogators also determined that they could provide no further intelligence. It was unclear when or where the detainees would be released.

About 250 detainees have been released since the prison camps were established in 2002.

Longtime critics of the Guantanamo facility said the announcement of the planned release marked a milestone in the four years the base had held suspected terrorists.

The prison has been dogged by allegations of torture and has brought choruses of international condemnation, including calls from a United Nations panel and the European Parliament to shut it down.

The detainees determined by last year’s Administrative Review Boards to pose no threat to U.S. national security are “no longer enemy combatants,” explained Lt. Cmdr. Chito Peppler of the Pentagon office in charge of reviewing detainee status.

He contended that the men’s detention had been justified. Battlefield commanders in Afghanistan and Pakistan had determined when the men were arrested that they were a threat to U.S. forces in the region, he said.

“Every detainee who came to the Combatant Status Review Tribunals went though multiple reviews” before their arrival at Guantanamo, Peppler said.

Although Peppler said the majority would be leaving the island “in the near future,” he noted that some detainees who had been cleared might remain until an appropriate release site could be found. The government decided, for example, that minority Muslim Uighurs from China should not be handed over to their governments because they could face persecution, torture or execution.

Tom Malinowski, Washington advocacy director of Human Rights Watch, said the full significance of freeing the detainees could not be assessed until their fates were clear. Because of pressure from their governments, most European nationals have been released or transferred.

Many of the remaining detainees are from Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, Malinowski said.

Afghanistan has a process for granting amnesty to low-level Taliban members and prosecuting senior leaders of the old regime, making it an appropriate place to release the prisoners, he said.

“If they have committed crimes, we support their prosecution,” Malinowski said. “If their crime was that they were Taliban, then they should be sent back to Afghanistan.” Officials in Guantanamo would not release any information about the nationalities of the men cleared for release.

Pentagon officials have said previously that most of the men being held here were likely to be freed.

The former chief of interrogations, Steve Rodriguez, said in January 2005 that the majority held no further intelligence value.

Officials in Washington indicated last week that a group of about 120 Saudi prisoners could be released to their government.

A defense lawyer for one Saudi suspect said the government in Riyadh was doing little to expedite repatriation of its nationals.

“I believe the Saudi government could do much more like the British government has done” to take its citizens home, said Lt. Col. Bryan Boyles, whose client, Jabran Said bin Al-Qahtani, was to make his first appearance before the tribunal today.

The Army defense lawyer said Riyadh was being “unhelpful” by refusing to get involved.

He noted that the British government’s activism had resulted in the transfer and release of all British suspects who had passed through the prison network created by President Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Malinowksi of Human Rights Watch said transferring detainees into Saudi custody was troublesome.

“Saudi Arabia is not a struggling democracy,” he said. “Anyone sent to a Saudi prison … is in a worse place than Guantanamo.”

Announcement of the pending releases coincided with a considerable drop in the number of detainees likely to be charged, suggesting that the U.S. government either lacks the evidence to convict more or — as defense lawyers and human rights monitors contend — feels little pressure to accord the terror suspects a speedy trial or due process.

Air Force Col. Morris Davis, the chief prosecutor, said earlier this month that the government was actively pursuing charges against about 70 additional prisoners.

But in a meeting with journalists on Monday, he said charges would be forthcoming on “about two dozen” other jailed suspects, including some who would face the death penalty.

Davis was responding to media questions as to why so few of the detainees — all described by defense attorneys as “small fry” — have been formally charged as the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks approaches.

“We’re working on about two dozen additional cases,” Davis said.

“I anticipate some of these will certainly present the possibility of death penalty cases.”

The man steering the government’s cases against war-crimes suspects insisted that some big fish had been ensnared in the U.S. counter-terrorism net.

“I think it’s pretty significant when you’re specifically training to build bombs to kill coalition forces,” he said of three men who will appear before the tribunal this week on charges of having plotted to build remote-controlled explosive devices at an alleged Al Qaeda safe house in Faisalabad, Pakistan.

Davis conceded, though, that “they’re certainly not Osama bin Laden, if you look at that as the top of the pyramid.”

Boyles, Al-Qahtani’s lawyer, expressed bafflement at the government’s proceedings.

“I can’t for the life of me figure out how they picked the people they’ve picked,” he said. “If these are the worst of the worst, as the secretary of Defense alleges, then someone other than Osama bin Laden’s chauffeur would be here.”

He was referring to Salim Ahmed Hamdan, a Yemen native whose challenge of the Guantanamo tribunal’s legality is pending before the U.S. Supreme Court and is expected to be decided in late June.

The high court could take one of three paths, Davis noted: uphold the whole process, order modifications or deem the entire Guantanamo tribunal illegitimate.

but don’t let the fact that they’re releasing some of them lull you into thinking that they don’t torture prisoners at gitmo… a man named sean baker posed as a prisoner and ended up with a brain injury from the guards before they figured out he was friendly…

G.I. Attacked During Training
Nov. 3, 2004

(CBS) Pictures from Abu Ghraib prison tell a story that has shocked the world.

There are no pictures of what happened in the prison camp at Guantanamo last year. But Correspondent Bob Simon has a shocking story — and it’s not about what Americans did to foreign detainees. It’s about what Americans did to a fellow American soldier, Sean Baker. Sean Baker has seizures an average of four times a week. 60 Minutes Wednesday went to see him a few weeks ago in a New York hospital.

Baker, a National Guardsman, was working last year as a military policeman in the Guantanamo Bay prison when other MPs injured him during a training drill. It was a drill during which Baker was only obeying orders.

“I was assaulted by these individuals,” says Baker. “Pure and simple.”

It’s all the more bizarre because Baker was considered a model soldier and he had served as an MP in Saudi Arabia during the First Gulf War.

Then, minutes after the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, Baker made a phone call from the auto repair shop in Lexington, Ky., where he was working. “I had to get back in the military right then,” recalls Baker. “I had to go back then. I had to do something.”

And he did. At 35, married and with a child, Baker volunteered to join the 438th Military Police Company in Murray, Ky., because it was about to be deployed overseas.

Ron England was Baker’s first sergeant. “He seemed to like being a soldier,” says England. “He loved being a soldier. He was always more than willing to give his part and somebody else’s, or to pitch in for somebody else.”

In November 2002, Baker’s unit was sent to Guantanamo Bay, home to what the Pentagon called the most vicious terrorists in the world. Spc. Baker’s job was to escort prisoners and walk the causeways of the prison block.

He was the new guy on the block, and he says he got special treatment from the detainees: “They wanna try the new guy. See how much they can push you. You know? How much water they can throw on you. How much urine they can throw on you. How much feces they can dump on you.”

His unit was on duty at 2 a.m. on Jan. 24, 2003, when his squad leader got a message. “‘Someone needs to go for training,'” says Baker. “And I looked around the room. I couldn’t believe that everyone had not stood up, and said, ‘I’ll go.’ But I said, ‘Right here, Sarg.'”

Baker was always the first to volunteer. This time, it was to go to the block where the most dangerous detainees were kept in isolated cells. There, Baker was met by Second Lt. Shaw Locke of the 303rd Military Police Company from Michigan. Locke, who was in charge of an IRF (Immediate Reaction Force) team, briefed Baker about the training drill he was planning.

“‘We’re going to put you in a cell and extract you, have their IRF team come in and extract you. And what I’d like you to do is go ahead and strip your uniform off and put on this orange suit,'” says Baker, who was ordered to wear an orange jumpsuit, just like the ones worn by the detainees at Guantanamo.

“I’d never questioned an order before. But, at first I said, my only remark was, ‘Sir?’ Just in the form of a question. And he said, ‘You’ll be fine,’” recalls Baker. “I said, ‘Well, you know what’s gonna happen when they come in there on me?’ And he said, ‘Trust me, Spc. Baker. You will be fine.’”

Drills to practice extracting uncooperative prisoners took place every day, with a U.S. soldier playing the role of a detainee, but not in an orange jumpsuit, and not at full force.

“You always train at 70 percent. Never 100 percent,” says Michael Riley, who was Baker’s platoon sergeant. “Seventy percent means you want to practice and be proficient, but not get anybody hurt.”

Baker says his orders that night were to get under a bunk on a steel floor in a dark cell, and wait: “I said, ‘Sir, you’re going to tell that IRF team that I’m a U.S. soldier?’ He said, ‘Yes, you’ll be fine, Spc. Baker. Trust me.'”

But in fact, Locke later acknowledged in a sworn statement that he did not indicate “whether the scenario was a drill or not a drill to the IRF team.” Locke did, however, tell the team the detainee had not responded to pepper spray.

“They wanted to make training a little more realistic,” says Baker. “Put this orange suit on.”

Locke gave Baker a code word – red – to shout out in case of trouble. From under the bunk, Baker heard the extraction team coming down the causeway. In sworn statements, however, four members of the team said they thought they were going after a real detainee.

“My face was down. And of course, they’re pushing it down against the steel floor, you know, my right temple, pushing it down against the floor,” recalls Baker. “And someone’s holding me by the throat, using a pressure point on me and holding my throat. And I used the word, ‘red.’ At that point I, you know, I became afraid.”

Apparently, no one heard the code word ‘red’ because Baker says he continued to be manhandled, especially by an MP named Scott Sinclair who was holding onto his head.

“And when I said the word ‘Red,’ he forced my head down against the steel floor and was sort of just grinding it into the floor. The individual then, when I picked up my head and said, ‘Red,’ slammed my head down against the floor,” says Baker. “I was so afraid, I groaned out, ‘I’m a U.S. soldier.’ And when I said that, he slammed my head again, one more time against the floor. And I groaned out one more time, I said, ‘I’m a U.S. soldier.’ And I heard them say, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa,’ you know, like he wanted to, he was telling the other guy to stop.”

Bloodied and disoriented, Baker somehow made it back to his unit, and his first thought was to get hold of the videotape. “I said, ‘Go get the tape,'” recalls Baker. “‘They’ve got a tape. Go get the tape.’ My squad leader went to get the tape.”

Every extraction drill at Guantanamo was routinely videotaped, and the tape of this drill would show what happened. But Baker says his squad leader came back and said, “There is no tape.”

“That was the only time that I heard that a tape had gone missing,” says Riley, Baker’s platoon sergeant.

“Of all the tapes, this was probably the most important one that we should have kept,” adds England.

Baker started having a seizure that morning and was whisked to the Naval Hospital at Guantanamo. “[He looked like] he’d had the crap beat out of him. He had a concussion. I mean, it was textbook,” says Riley. “[His face} was blank. You know, a dead stare, like he was seeing you, but really looking through you.”

Baker was airlifted to the Portsmouth Naval Medical Center in Virginia, where doctors determined he had suffered an injury to the right side of his brain. He was released after four days, and Baker says he requested to go back to Cuba.

“I wanted to go back and perform my duties,” says Baker. “I wanted to be back with my unit.”

Baker got back to Guantanamo, and hoped no one would notice he was having seizures, but they got to the point where he says he couldn’t hide them: “I was shaking and convulsing around people.”

Some days, he says, he was having 10 to 12 seizures per day.

What does he think would have happened if he had been a real detainee? “I think they would have busted him up,” says Baker. “I’ve seen detainees come outta there with blood on ’em. …If there wasn’t someone to say, ‘I’m a U.S. soldier,’ if you were speaking Arabic or Pashto or Urdu or some other language in the camp, we may never know what would have happened to that individual.”

Baker was finally taken off Guantanamo and sent to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he was put in a psychiatric ward. His diagnosis: traumatic brain injury. After 47 days, he was ordered to report to a medical hold unit at Fort Dix, N.J. But the seizures continued.

“He was shaking all over his whole body. It just looked like he was — you ever seen ‘The Exorcist?’ That’s what it looked like. It was pretty freaky,” says Spc. Sean Bateman, who saw Baker. “He had plenty [of seizures]. I can’t count them all is pretty much what I’m saying. He had some so often, it was pretty much expected.”

But back at Guantanamo, a promised investigation into what happened to Baker wasn’t getting anywhere.

“There was what was called a commander’s inquiry. It doesn’t really tell me anything,” says England. “And after that it more or less seemed like, least said the best said. That was my opinion of it.”

Riley says he and England approached Capt. Judith Brown, the commander of the Kentucky National Guard at Guantanamo, and asked her what was going on with that investigation. What did the captain say? “I’ll paraphrase. It’s something like, it’s being looked into, but we really don’t wanna get anybody in trouble,” says Riley.

Nobody got into trouble because the Army didn’t conduct a serious investigation into what happened to Spc. Baker — not for 17 months. Only then, and only after word of Baker’s beating got leaked to the media, did the Pentagon launch a criminal investigation into how he got so badly hurt that January morning in Guantanamo.

The criminal investigation is still going on. 60 Minutes Wednesday wanted to talk to someone at the Pentagon about the Baker case, but was told no one would talk about it.

Despite repeated calls, Capt. Judith Brown refused to speak to 60 Minutes Wednesday. Crews tried to interview Shaw Locke, the man in charge that night, and Scott Sinclair, the man Baker accused of bashing his head, but they wouldn’t meet with 60 Minutes Wednesday either. Sinclair did write in a sworn statement after the incident that Baker was resisting and that Sinclair merely placed his head back on the floor of the cell.

Meanwhile, Baker was stuck in bureaucratic limbo at Fort Dix for 10 months, long after Locke, Sinclair and the 303rd returned home to Michigan to a celebration in September 2003.

Baker was left to fight the Pentagon for a disability check, and he says it took four months to get his first check. Meantime, he says drew unemployment insurance, about half of what he was accustomed to making, to get by.

“These are our American veterans,” says England. “Sean Baker was one that wasn’t taken care of. In my own personal opinion, Sean Baker wasn’t taken care of.”

When Baker got home to Kentucky, he didn’t complain. But he needed help just to get his disability check. Attorney Bruce Simpson agreed to help Baker, pro bono. But Baker is unable to sue because of a 1950 Supreme Court ruling that bars members of the military from suing the government.

“He’ll not get a dime from what happened to him through the court system because the doors to the federal courthouse as to Sean Baker are closed,” says Simpson, who adds that no one has paid a price for what happened to Baker that night. “He’s been destined to a life of walking in a minefield of unexploded seizures. He doesn’t know when they’re gonna come. And he doesn’t know when they are gonna bring him to his knees.”

“It’s as if they just went on living their lives, as if they’ve done nothing. Nothing wrong,” adds Baker, who now takes nine medications a day, can’t get a job, has put on 50 pounds and has constant nightmares.

At the end of September, Baker went to Columbia University Medical Center in New York to consult with Dr. Carl Bazil, a seizure specialist, and one of the top neurologists in the country.

While undergoing testing, Baker suffered a seizure in front of Bazil, who believes Baker has intractable epilepsy – which means his seizures are difficult to control.

Is it an injury Baker could have received as a result of having his head repeatedly knocked against a steel floor? “Oh, absolutely. That is the kind of injury that would be severe enough to result in epilepsy,” says Bazil, who believes that with better treatment, Baker’s condition could improve. “If he doesn’t get better treatment, that will probably continue indefinitely.”

“So, if you got your health back, I take it, after your experience with the Army, you’d never serve again,” Simon asks Baker.

“I’d be in,” says Baker. “Till the day I die.”

and if that wasn’t enough, the neocons have stooped to making sexual slurs and death threats to a 15-year-old peace activist who has had the temerity to make an animation that implies that jesus loves iraqis too…

the animation can be seen here.

Animation Producer Gets Ugly Slurs
By Matthew Rothschild
April 24, 2006

Ava Lowery is a fifteen-year-old who lives in Alabama. She calls herself a peace activist, and for the past year, she’s been producing her own short animations on her website, peacetakescourage.com. All in all, she’s made about seventy of them, she says, and most of them oppose Bush and his Iraq War.

“I was just so mad about it,” she explains. “And the media are not showing the real images of the war, so I did a lot research and started my own website.”

She submitted one of her latest creations, “WWJD,” to the monthly “contagious” contest that huffingtonpost.com is running. (It’s an open contest that ranks the number of viewers for each submission.)

“WWJD” (“What Would Jesus Do”) is a powerful animation that features a soundtrack of a child singing “Jesus loves me, this I know” while one picture after another of a wounded, bloody, or screaming Iraqi child fills the screen.

“The object of the animation,” says Lowery, is “to get the following point across: Jesus loves Iraqis, too.”

Lowery ends the video with quotations from Beatitudes, including, “Blessed are they who mourn” and “Blessed are the meek” and “Blessed are the merciful” and “Blessed are the peacemakers.”

She says she’s received a lot of positive feedback in short messages back to her site. And she understands that the fact that “people are on the web, and they just let loose.” But she was unprepared for the viciousness of the negative feedback—especially the ugly sexual slurs similar to those that Cindy Sheehan has faced. (If you can’t stand foul language, stop reading now.)

“It’s people like you who need to fucking die and get raped while your corpse rots in the sun,” said one e-mail Lowery shared with me. “Fuck you, I would jack off on your parents if I could. If you don’t like the team, get out of the park. That means take ur small dick and get the fuck off of my homeland you faggot chocolate gulper.”

“You are a TRAITOR to your country and should be executed for treason,” another one said. “All you do is bitch about the US. If you hate it so much, why don’t you GET THE FUCK OUT.”

“Why don’t you go masterbate [sic] to a pic of Sheehan and fuck off,” said a third.

“Are you a muslem [sic] terrorist?” asked another.

She says there was a threat against her that was circulating “on the conservative underground.” And she says she received one e-mail from someone who said, “Contact me ASAP. It concerns a danger to your life.”

When her mom called the number, the person who answered denied any knowledge of the threat, Lowery says.

She adds: “I was really weirded out by it.”

and finally, to top it all off,
Jagger wins suite war against Dubya
Asian News International
London, April 24, 2006

It was the battle of the hotel room for George W Bush and Rolling Stone frontman Mick Jagger, when the singer refused to give up his suite to the US President.

Jagger hired the luxury Royal Suite at the five-star Imperial Hotel in Vienna, Austria, which is rated to be among the top 100 hotel rooms in the world, where the Stones are due to perform in June.

In doing so, he beat Bush’s aides to the punch, when they tried to book it to tie in with a summit meeting.

A source said that Jagger, an out-spoken Bush critic, had refused to budge from the 3,600 a night suite when the US President’s aides came calling.

“White House officials had wanted to reserve the suite and all the other rooms on the first floor. But Mick and the Stones had already booked every one of them. Bush’s people seemed to be under the impression that they would just hand over the suites but there was no way Mick was going to do that,” The Sun quoted the source, as saying.

And, it was Bush throwing in the towel first, for the hotel confirmed that he would no longer be staying there.



"Allow the President to invade a neighboring nation, whenever he shall deem it necessary to repel an invasion and you allow him to do so whenever he may choose to say he deems it necessary for such purpose — and you allow him to make war at pleasure. . . . If, today, he should choose to say he thinks it necessary to invade Canada to prevent the British from invading us, how could you stop him? You may say to him, ‘I see no probability of the British invading us’; but he will say to you, ‘Be silent; I see it, if you don’t.’"
     — Rep. Abraham Lincoln, explaining his opposition to the Mexican War


i just got a very strange call which i assume to be a sales call…

the phone rang and i answered it and it was a recording. i’ve noticed that it’s a recording under one of two different circumstances: either it’s somebody really important to talk to, like the utility company, the phone company or the cable company, who wants to tell us that, if we don’t pay our bill immediately, some essential service is going to be disconnected, or it’s a sales call.

i didn’t catch what the guy was saying at first, but as i was realising that it was a recording, i did hear that it was concerning our “private line retail service”, which sounded important enough that i held on rather than hanging up immediately… but after keeping me waiting for five minutes, the recording apologised for taking my time, said they would call back later, and hung up.

W. T. F.???

oh, this as well…


		HJ0125 		LRB094 20306 RLC 58347 r


2 		    WHEREAS, Section 603 of Jefferson's Manual of the Rules of
3 		the United States House of Representatives allows federal
4 		impeachment proceedings to be initiated by joint resolution of
5 		a state legislature; and
6 		    WHEREAS, President Bush has publicly admitted to ordering
7 		the National Security Agency to violate provisions of the 1978
8 		Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a felony, specifically
9 		authorizing the Agency to spy on American citizens without
10 		warrant; and
11 		    WHEREAS, Evidence suggests that President Bush authorized
12 		violation of the Torture Convention of the Geneva Conventions,
13 		a treaty regarded a supreme law by the United States
14 		Constitution; and
15 		    WHEREAS, The Bush Administration has held American
16 		citizens and citizens of other nations as prisoners of war
17 		without charge or trial; and
18 		    WHEREAS, Evidence suggests that the Bush Administration
19 		has manipulated intelligence for the purpose of initiating a
20 		war against the sovereign nation of Iraq, resulting in the
21 		deaths of large numbers of Iraqi civilians and causing the
22 		United States to incur loss of life, diminished security and
23 		billions of dollars in unnecessary expenses; and
24 		    WHEREAS, The Bush Administration leaked classified
25 		national secrets to further a political agenda, exposing an
26 		unknown number of covert U. S. intelligence agents to potential
27 		harm and retribution while simultaneously refusing to
28 		investigate the matter; and
29 		    WHEREAS, The Republican-controlled Congress has declined

		HJ0125 	- 2 - 	LRB094 20306 RLC 58347 r

1 		to fully investigate these charges to date; therefore, be it

4 		SENATE CONCURRING HEREIN, that the General Assembly of the
5 		State of Illinois has good cause to submit charges to the U. S.
6 		House of Representatives under Section 603 that the President
7 		of the United States has willfully violated his Oath of Office
8 		to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United
9 		States; and be it further
10 		    RESOLVED, That George W. Bush, if found guilty of the
11 		charges contained herein, should be removed from office and
12 		disqualified to hold any other office in the United States.


blatantly stolen from , who isn’t even on my friends list…

20 years ago I…

  1. was 24 years old.
  2. was a soon-to-be ex-student of the Renton Vocational Technical Institute in their Musical Instrument Repair program
  3. thought i was going to graduate, move back to bellingham (which is where my girlfriend and our four-year-old son lived), get the ideal job as a musical instrument repair technician and live happily ever after

10 years ago I…

  1. was 34 years old
  2. was working as a technical support engineer for mac products at microsoft (so much for technical school training and the “ideal” job)
  3. was living in a tiny, 1-room apartment in the basement of a building in downtown seattle, and was in the middle of an intense legal battle over custody of my fourteen-year-old son.

5 years ago I…

  1. was 39 years old
  2. was working as a test lead at STLabs
  3. started Hybrid Elephant, the business that moe and i had been playing around with for 3 years or so.

3 years ago I…

  1. was 41 years old
  2. was working as a graphic artist at a minuteman press shop, from which i was fired for having a brain injury instead of showing up for work for two months
  3. was two months away from having a brain injury, but had no clue that it was going to happen

1 year ago I…

  1. was working as a graphic artist at a different minuteman press shop, very quickly getting fed up with the owner who is a mental midget… and this opinion is coming from a person who doesn’t have a complete brain!
  2. was living in a RV in juanita, because we still hadn’t figured out where we were going to move to after having to move out of our big house in renton because i was unable to find a steady job after my injury
  3. was getting really fed up with having to have a job in order to survive, and was actively looking for alternatives

So far this past year I…

  1. have decided that i don’t really need a traditional job
  2. put a shopping cart on the Hybrid Elephant web site
  3. discussed the details of a large grafitti art project with my 24-year-old son

Yesterday I…

  1. finished painting my car… i am now driving an art-car! 8)
  2. met with my press operator and discussed whether or not he could print a business card for my acupuncturist
  3. stayed up until 3:00 in the morning watching TV because i was so depressed

Today I…

  1. slept until noon
  2. got my replacement tent poles in the mail
  3. logged a bug with the LJ rich text editor, which i fully expect to be ignored

Tomorrow I will…

  1. attend my 2nd rehearsal of the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band
  2. probably still be depressed… it’s getting really tiring
  3. do something else which i haven’t yet figured out, and probably won’t until just before i do it

In the next year I will…

  1. completely recover and develop new, unusual, super-powers because of the extra space i now have in my skull
  2. learn sanskrit
  3. permanently move to uranus


okay, i’m going to see if i can actually post pictures without having to delete everything and start over, like i had to yesterday… by the way, for anybody who cares, LJ has in mind converting to “rich text” editing by defalt, rather than the “plain text” editing that they currently have, and the rich text editor currently sucks big fat rancid donkey dicks. regardless of where you want to put <lj-cut> tags, it has the tendency to put them where it thinks they should go, which means around the text instead of around the pictures, regardless of how big they are, and the “edit source” button lets you edit the raw html, but when you click the “Okay” button on the source window, the “rich text” editor goes back to the same, incorrect html code that it had before, and there doesn’t appear to be any way to go back to plain text once you’ve chosen the rich text editor. it reminds me very much of the HTML editor i worked on at micro$lop a few years ago, which didn’t recognise HTML standards and had a number of bugs which it still has because micro$lop developers decided that, despite the fact that i logged several bugs against it, “nobody would notice”…

ganesha the car
ganesha the car
the bumper sticker on the right says “WARNING: This object does not exist!”
ganesha the car

now that’s the way HTML code should look, and it displays the way i want it to…


i’ve wanted to have an art car for years, and this is pretty much exactly what i’ve wanted. i only finished the hood because i got started late this afternoon (3:00 pm), but that means that i will probably finish all of the large lettering by tomorrow, so i won’t have to drive an “incomplete” art car to the store where i’m going to get the colours to finish it. it’s a little more stark than i was hoping for, but that will be taken care of once all the lettering is in place: i’ll use other colours to brighten it in the corners and areas that are too small for lettering…

whee! 8)

ganesha the car

by the way, if you commented on this previously and your comment was deleted, it was because i was having some problems with the update page not allowing me to input HTML that i am familiar with, not putting in <lj-cut>s where they were supposed to go, and displaying an annoying HTML toolbar which didn’t do all of the things that a HTML toolbar should do… so i deleted it and started over again, and i did so before any comments had shown up from my point of view… but i think i got at least one comment shortly afterward and it wasn’t on this version, so i have to wonder…


Retired colonel claims U.S. military operations are already ‘underway’ in Iran
Ron Brynaert
Saturday April 15, 2006

During an interview on CNN Friday night, retired U.S. Air Force Colonel Sam Gardiner claimed that U.S. military operations are already ‘underway’ inside Iran, RAW STORY has found.

“I would say — and this may shock some — I think the decision has been made and military operations are under way,” Col. Gardiner told CNN International anchor Jim Clancy (as noted by Digby at the blog Hullabaloo).

Gardiner, who designed a war game in November of 2004 for Atlantic Magazine (“Will Iran be next?”) which simulated “preparations for a U.S. assault on Iran,” also claimed that Aliasghar Soltaniyeh, the Iranian ambassador to the United Nation’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), told him a few weeks ago that units who had attacked the Revolutionary Guard had been captured and confessed to working with Americans.

“The secretary point is, the Iranians have been saying American military troops are in there, have been saying it for almost a year,” Gardiner said. “I was in Berlin two weeks ago, sat next to the ambassador, the Iranian ambassador to the IAEA. And I said, ‘Hey, I hear you’re accusing Americans of being in there operating with some of the units that have shot up revolution guard units.'”

“He said, quite frankly, ‘Yes, we know they are. We’ve captured some of the units, and they’ve confessed to working with the Americans,'” said the retired Air Force colonel.

Last Thursday, Raw Story’s Larisa Alexandrovna reported (On Cheney, Rumsfeld order, US outsourcing special ops, intelligence to Iraq terror group, intelligence officials say) that, according to former and current intelligence officials, the Pentagon has been using a right-wing terrorist organization known as Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK) as an operational asset “to create strife in Iran in preparation for any possible attack.”

“[I]nstead of securing a known terrorist organization, which has been responsible for acts of terror against Iranian targets and individuals all over the world – including US civilian and military casualties – Rumsfeld under instructions from Cheney, began using the group on special ops missions into Iran to pave the way for a potential Iran strike,” Larisa reported.

“They are doing whatever they want, no oversight at all,” an intelligence source told Larisa.

Larisa reported that the MEK soldiers were told to “quit” their organization and were “renamed” in accordance with a plan conceived by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld so that they could be “converted” into a military special ops team.

According to a UN official close to the Security Council whom Larisa interviewed, the “newly renamed MEK soldiers” were being employed in the place of U.S. military advance teams to commit “acts of violence in hopes of staging an insurgency of the Iranian Sunni population.”

“We are already at war,” the UN official told RAW STORY.

The Worst President in History?
One of America’s leading historians assesses George W. Bush

George W. Bush’s presidency appears headed for colossal historical disgrace. Barring a cataclysmic event on the order of the terrorist attacks of September 11th, after which the public might rally around the White House once again, there seems to be little the administration can do to avoid being ranked on the lowest tier of U.S. presidents. And that may be the best-case scenario. Many historians are now wondering whether Bush, in fact, will be remembered as the very worst president in all of American history.

From time to time, after hours, I kick back with my colleagues at Princeton to argue idly about which president really was the worst of them all. For years, these perennial debates have largely focused on the same handful of chief executives whom national polls of historians, from across the ideological and political spectrum, routinely cite as the bottom of the presidential barrel. Was the lousiest James Buchanan, who, confronted with Southern secession in 1860, dithered to a degree that, as his most recent biographer has said, probably amounted to disloyalty — and who handed to his successor, Abraham Lincoln, a nation already torn asunder? Was it Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, who actively sided with former Confederates and undermined Reconstruction? What about the amiably incompetent Warren G. Harding, whose administration was fabulously corrupt? Or, though he has his defenders, Herbert Hoover, who tried some reforms but remained imprisoned in his own outmoded individualist ethic and collapsed under the weight of the stock-market crash of 1929 and the Depression’s onset? The younger historians always put in a word for Richard M. Nixon, the only American president forced to resign from office.

Now, though, George W. Bush is in serious contention for the title of worst ever. In early 2004, an informal survey of 415 historians conducted by the nonpartisan History News Network found that eighty-one percent considered the Bush administration a “failure.” Among those who called Bush a success, many gave the president high marks only for his ability to mobilize public support and get Congress to go along with what one historian called the administration’s “pursuit of disastrous policies.” In fact, roughly one in ten of those who called Bush a success was being facetious, rating him only as the best president since Bill Clinton — a category in which Bush is the only contestant.

The lopsided decision of historians should give everyone pause. Contrary to popular stereotypes, historians are generally a cautious bunch. We assess the past from widely divergent points of view and are deeply concerned about being viewed as fair and accurate by our colleagues. When we make historical judgments, we are acting not as voters or even pundits, but as scholars who must evaluate all the evidence, good, bad or indifferent. Separate surveys, conducted by those perceived as conservatives as well as liberals, show remarkable unanimity about who the best and worst presidents have been.

Historians do tend, as a group, to be far more liberal than the citizenry as a whole — a fact the president’s admirers have seized on to dismiss the poll results as transparently biased. One pro-Bush historian said the survey revealed more about “the current crop of history professors” than about Bush or about Bush’s eventual standing. But if historians were simply motivated by a strong collective liberal bias, they might be expected to call Bush the worst president since his father, or Ronald Reagan, or Nixon. Instead, more than half of those polled — and nearly three-fourths of those who gave Bush a negative rating — reached back before Nixon to find a president they considered as miserable as Bush. The presidents most commonly linked with Bush included Hoover, Andrew Johnson and Buchanan. Twelve percent of the historians polled — nearly as many as those who rated Bush a success — flatly called Bush the worst president in American history. And these figures were gathered before the debacles over Hurricane Katrina, Bush’s role in the Valerie Plame leak affair and the deterioration of the situation in Iraq. Were the historians polled today, that figure would certainly be higher.

Even worse for the president, the general public, having once given Bush the highest approval ratings ever recorded, now appears to be coming around to the dismal view held by most historians. To be sure, the president retains a considerable base of supporters who believe in and adore him, and who reject all criticism with a mixture of disbelief and fierce contempt — about one-third of the electorate. (When the columnist Richard Reeves publicized the historians’ poll last year and suggested it might have merit, he drew thousands of abusive replies that called him an idiot and that praised Bush as, in one writer’s words, “a Christian who actually acts on his deeply held beliefs.”) Yet the ranks of the true believers have thinned dramatically. A majority of voters in forty-three states now disapprove of Bush’s handling of his job. Since the commencement of reliable polling in the 1940s, only one twice-elected president has seen his ratings fall as low as Bush’s in his second term: Richard Nixon, during the months preceding his resignation in 1974. No two-term president since polling began has fallen from such a height of popularity as Bush’s (in the neighborhood of ninety percent, during the patriotic upswell following the 2001 attacks) to such a low (now in the midthirties). No president, including Harry Truman (whose ratings sometimes dipped below Nixonian levels), has experienced such a virtually unrelieved decline as Bush has since his high point. Apart from sharp but temporary upticks that followed the commencement of the Iraq war and the capture of Saddam Hussein, and a recovery during the weeks just before and after his re-election, the Bush trend has been a profile in fairly steady disillusionment.

* * * *

How does any president’s reputation sink so low? The reasons are best understood as the reverse of those that produce presidential greatness. In almost every survey of historians dating back to the 1940s, three presidents have emerged as supreme successes: George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Franklin D. Roosevelt. These were the men who guided the nation through what historians consider its greatest crises: the founding era after the ratification of the Constitution, the Civil War, and the Great Depression and Second World War. Presented with arduous, at times seemingly impossible circumstances, they rallied the nation, governed brilliantly and left the republic more secure than when they entered office.

Calamitous presidents, faced with enormous difficulties — Buchanan, Andrew Johnson, Hoover and now Bush — have divided the nation, governed erratically and left the nation worse off. In each case, different factors contributed to the failure: disastrous domestic policies, foreign-policy blunders and military setbacks, executive misconduct, crises of credibility and public trust. Bush, however, is one of the rarities in presidential history: He has not only stumbled badly in every one of these key areas, he has also displayed a weakness common among the greatest presidential failures — an unswerving adherence to a simplistic ideology that abjures deviation from dogma as heresy, thus preventing any pragmatic adjustment to changing realities. Repeatedly, Bush has undone himself, a failing revealed in each major area of presidential performance.

* * * *

No previous president appears to have squandered the public’s trust more than Bush has. In the 1840s, President James Polk gained a reputation for deviousness over his alleged manufacturing of the war with Mexico and his supposedly covert pro-slavery views. Abraham Lincoln, then an Illinois congressman, virtually labeled Polk a liar when he called him, from the floor of the House, “a bewildered, confounded and miserably perplexed man” and denounced the war as “from beginning to end, the sheerest deception.” But the swift American victory in the war, Polk’s decision to stick by his pledge to serve only one term and his sudden death shortly after leaving office spared him the ignominy over slavery that befell his successors in the 1850s. With more than two years to go in Bush’s second term and no swift victory in sight, Bush’s reputation will probably have no such reprieve.

The problems besetting Bush are of a more modern kind than Polk’s, suited to the television age — a crisis both in confidence and credibility. In 1965, Lyndon Johnson’s Vietnam travails gave birth to the phrase “credibility gap,” meaning the distance between a president’s professions and the public’s perceptions of reality. It took more than two years for Johnson’s disapproval rating in the Gallup Poll to reach fifty-two percent in March 1968 — a figure Bush long ago surpassed, but that was sufficient to persuade the proud LBJ not to seek re-election. Yet recently, just short of three years after Bush buoyantly declared “mission accomplished” in Iraq, his disapproval ratings have been running considerably higher than Johnson’s, at about sixty percent. More than half the country now considers Bush dishonest and untrustworthy, and a decisive plurality consider him less trustworthy than his predecessor, Bill Clinton — a figure still attacked by conservative zealots as “Slick Willie.”

Previous modern presidents, including Truman, Reagan and Clinton, managed to reverse plummeting ratings and regain the public’s trust by shifting attention away from political and policy setbacks, and by overhauling the White House’s inner circles. But Bush’s publicly expressed view that he has made no major mistakes, coupled with what even the conservative commentator William F. Buckley Jr. calls his “high-flown pronouncements” about failed policies, seems to foreclose the first option. Upping the ante in the Middle East and bombing Iranian nuclear sites, a strategy reportedly favored by some in the White House, could distract the public and gain Bush immediate political capital in advance of the 2006 midterm elections — but in the long term might severely worsen the already dire situation in Iraq, especially among Shiite Muslims linked to the Iranians. And given Bush’s ardent attachment to loyal aides, no matter how discredited, a major personnel shake-up is improbable, short of indictments. Replacing Andrew Card with Joshua Bolten as chief of staff — a move announced by the president in March in a tone that sounded more like defiance than contrition — represents a rededication to current policies and personnel, not a serious change. (Card, an old Bush family retainer, was widely considered more moderate than most of the men around the president and had little involvement in policy-making.) The power of Vice President Dick Cheney, meanwhile, remains uncurbed. Were Cheney to announce he is stepping down due to health problems, normally a polite pretext for a political removal, one can be reasonably certain it would be because Cheney actually did have grave health problems.

* * * *

Until the twentieth century, American presidents managed foreign wars well — including those presidents who prosecuted unpopular wars. James Madison had no support from Federalist New England at the outset of the War of 1812, and the discontent grew amid mounting military setbacks in 1813. But Federalist political overreaching, combined with a reversal of America’s military fortunes and the negotiation of a peace with Britain, made Madison something of a hero again and ushered in a brief so-called Era of Good Feelings in which his Jeffersonian Republican Party coalition ruled virtually unopposed. The Mexican War under Polk was even more unpopular, but its quick and victorious conclusion redounded to Polk’s favor — much as the rapid American victory in the Spanish-American War helped William McKinley overcome anti-imperialist dissent.

The twentieth century was crueler to wartime presidents. After winning re-election in 1916 with the slogan “He Kept Us Out of War,” Woodrow Wilson oversaw American entry into the First World War. Yet while the doughboys returned home triumphant, Wilson’s idealistic and politically disastrous campaign for American entry into the League of Nations presaged a resurgence of the opposition Republican Party along with a redoubling of American isolationism that lasted until Pearl Harbor.

Bush has more in common with post-1945 Democratic presidents Truman and Johnson, who both became bogged down in overseas military conflicts with no end, let alone victory, in sight. But Bush has become bogged down in a singularly crippling way. On September 10th, 2001, he held among the lowest ratings of any modern president for that point in a first term. (Only Gerald Ford, his popularity reeling after his pardon of Nixon, had comparable numbers.) The attacks the following day transformed Bush’s presidency, giving him an extraordinary opportunity to achieve greatness. Some of the early signs were encouraging. Bush’s simple, unflinching eloquence and his quick toppling of the Taliban government in Afghanistan rallied the nation. Yet even then, Bush wasted his chance by quickly choosing partisanship over leadership.

No other president — Lincoln in the Civil War, FDR in World War II, John F. Kennedy at critical moments of the Cold War — faced with such a monumental set of military and political circumstances failed to embrace the opposing political party to help wage a truly national struggle. But Bush shut out and even demonized the Democrats. Top military advisers and even members of the president’s own Cabinet who expressed any reservations or criticisms of his policies — including retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni and former Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill — suffered either dismissal, smear attacks from the president’s supporters or investigations into their alleged breaches of national security. The wise men who counseled Bush’s father, including James Baker and Brent Scowcroft, found their entreaties brusquely ignored by his son. When asked if he ever sought advice from the elder Bush, the president responded, “There is a higher Father that I appeal to.”

All the while, Bush and the most powerful figures in the administration, Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, were planting the seeds for the crises to come by diverting the struggle against Al Qaeda toward an all-out effort to topple their pre-existing target, Saddam Hussein. In a deliberate political decision, the administration stampeded the Congress and a traumatized citizenry into the Iraq invasion on the basis of what has now been demonstrated to be tendentious and perhaps fabricated evidence of an imminent Iraqi threat to American security, one that the White House suggested included nuclear weapons. Instead of emphasizing any political, diplomatic or humanitarian aspects of a war on Iraq — an appeal that would have sounded too “sensitive,” as Cheney once sneered — the administration built a “Bush Doctrine” of unprovoked, preventive warfare, based on speculative threats and embracing principles previously abjured by every previous generation of U.S. foreign policy-makers, even at the height of the Cold War. The president did so with premises founded, in the case of Iraq, on wishful thinking. He did so while proclaiming an expansive Wilsonian rhetoric of making the world safe for democracy — yet discarding the multilateralism and systems of international law (including the Geneva Conventions) that emanated from Wilson’s idealism. He did so while dismissing intelligence that an American invasion could spark a long and bloody civil war among Iraq’s fierce religious and ethnic rivals, reports that have since proved true. And he did so after repeated warnings by military officials such as Gen. Eric Shinseki that pacifying postwar Iraq would require hundreds of thousands of American troops — accurate estimates that Paul Wolfowitz and other Bush policy gurus ridiculed as “wildly off the mark.”

When William F. Buckley, the man whom many credit as the founder of the modern conservative movement, writes categorically, as he did in February, that “one can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed,” then something terrible has happened. Even as a brash young iconoclast, Buckley always took the long view. The Bush White House seems incapable of doing so, except insofar as a tiny trusted circle around the president constantly reassures him that he is a messianic liberator and profound freedom fighter, on a par with FDR and Lincoln, and that history will vindicate his every act and utterance.

* * * *

Bush came to office in 2001 pledging to govern as a “compassionate conservative,” more moderate on domestic policy than the dominant right wing of his party. The pledge proved hollow, as Bush tacked immediately to the hard right. Previous presidents and their parties have suffered when their actions have belied their campaign promises. Lyndon Johnson is the most conspicuous recent example, having declared in his 1964 run against the hawkish Republican Barry Goldwater that “we are not about to send American boys nine or ten thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.” But no president has surpassed Bush in departing so thoroughly from his original campaign persona.

The heart of Bush’s domestic policy has turned out to be nothing more than a series of massively regressive tax cuts — a return, with a vengeance, to the discredited Reagan-era supply-side faith that Bush’s father once ridiculed as “voodoo economics.” Bush crowed in triumph in February 2004, “We cut taxes, which basically meant people had more money in their pocket.” The claim is bogus for the majority of Americans, as are claims that tax cuts have led to impressive new private investment and job growth. While wiping out the solid Clinton-era federal surplus and raising federal deficits to staggering record levels, Bush’s tax policies have necessitated hikes in federal fees, state and local taxes, and co-payment charges to needy veterans and families who rely on Medicaid, along with cuts in loan programs to small businesses and college students, and in a wide range of state services. The lion’s share of benefits from the tax cuts has gone to the very richest Americans, while new business investment has increased at a historically sluggish rate since the peak of the last business cycle five years ago. Private-sector job growth since 2001 has been anemic compared to the Bush administration’s original forecasts and is chiefly attributable not to the tax cuts but to increased federal spending, especially on defense. Real wages for middle-income Americans have been dropping since the end of 2003: Last year, on average, nominal wages grew by only 2.4 percent, a meager gain that was completely erased by an average inflation rate of 3.4 percent.

The monster deficits, caused by increased federal spending combined with the reduction of revenue resulting from the tax cuts, have also placed Bush’s administration in a historic class of its own with respect to government borrowing. According to the Treasury Department, the forty-two presidents who held office between 1789 and 2000 borrowed a combined total of $1.01 trillion from foreign governments and financial institutions. But between 2001 and 2005 alone, the Bush White House borrowed $1.05 trillion, more than all of the previous presidencies combined. Having inherited the largest federal surplus in American history in 2001, he has turned it into the largest deficit ever — with an even higher deficit, $423 billion, forecast for fiscal year 2006. Yet Bush — sounding much like Herbert Hoover in 1930 predicting that “prosperity is just around the corner” — insists that he will cut federal deficits in half by 2009, and that the best way to guarantee this would be to make permanent his tax cuts, which helped cause the deficit in the first place!

The rest of what remains of Bush’s skimpy domestic agenda is either failed or failing — a record unmatched since the presidency of Herbert Hoover. The No Child Left Behind educational-reform act has proved so unwieldy, draconian and poorly funded that several states — including Utah, one of Bush’s last remaining political strongholds — have fought to opt out of it entirely. White House proposals for immigration reform and a guest-worker program have succeeded mainly in dividing pro-business Republicans (who want more low-wage immigrant workers) from paleo-conservatives fearful that hordes of Spanish-speaking newcomers will destroy American culture. The paleos’ call for tougher anti-immigrant laws — a return to the punitive spirit of exclusion that led to the notorious Immigration Act of 1924 that shut the door to immigrants from Southern and Eastern Europe — has in turn deeply alienated Hispanic voters from the Republican Party, badly undermining the GOP’s hopes of using them to build a permanent national electoral majority. The recent pro-immigrant demonstrations, which drew millions of marchers nationwide, indicate how costly the Republican divide may prove.

The one noncorporate constituency to which Bush has consistently deferred is the Christian right, both in his selections for the federal bench and in his implications that he bases his policies on premillennialist, prophetic Christian doctrine. Previous presidents have regularly invoked the Almighty. McKinley is supposed to have fallen to his knees, seeking divine guidance about whether to take control of the Philippines in 1898, although the story may be apocryphal. But no president before Bush has allowed the press to disclose, through a close friend, his startling belief that he was ordained by God to lead the country. The White House’s sectarian positions — over stem-cell research, the teaching of pseudoscientific “intelligent design,” global population control, the Terri Schiavo spectacle and more — have led some to conclude that Bush has promoted the transformation of the GOP into what former Republican strategist Kevin Phillips calls “the first religious party in U.S. history.”

Bush’s faith-based conception of his mission, which stands above and beyond reasoned inquiry, jibes well with his administration’s pro-business dogma on global warming and other urgent environmental issues. While forcing federally funded agencies to remove from their Web sites scientific information about reproductive health and the effectiveness of condoms in combating HIV/AIDS, and while peremptorily overruling staff scientists at the Food and Drug Administration on making emergency contraception available over the counter, Bush officials have censored and suppressed research findings they don’t like by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Department of Agriculture. Far from being the conservative he said he was, Bush has blazed a radical new path as the first American president in history who is outwardly hostile to science — dedicated, as a distinguished, bipartisan panel of educators and scientists (including forty-nine Nobel laureates) has declared, to “the distortion of scientific knowledge for partisan political ends.”

The Bush White House’s indifference to domestic problems and science alike culminated in the catastrophic responses to Hurricane Katrina. Scientists had long warned that global warming was intensifying hurricanes, but Bush ignored them — much as he and his administration sloughed off warnings from the director of the National Hurricane Center before Katrina hit. Reorganized under the Department of Homeland Security, the once efficient Federal Emergency Management Agency turned out, under Bush, to have become a nest of cronyism and incompetence. During the months immediately after the storm, Bush traveled to New Orleans eight times to promise massive rebuilding aid from the federal government. On March 30th, however, Bush’s Gulf Coast recovery coordinator admitted that it could take as long as twenty-five years for the city to recover.

Karl Rove has sometimes likened Bush to the imposing, no-nonsense President Andrew Jackson. Yet Jackson took measures to prevent those he called “the rich and powerful” from bending “the acts of government to their selfish purposes.” Jackson also gained eternal renown by saving New Orleans from British invasion against terrible odds. Generations of Americans sang of Jackson’s famous victory. In 1959, Johnny Horton’s version of “The Battle of New Orleans” won the Grammy for best country & western performance. If anyone sings about George W. Bush and New Orleans, it will be a blues number.

* * * *

Virtually every presidential administration dating back to George Washington’s has faced charges of misconduct and threats of impeachment against the president or his civil officers. The alleged offenses have usually involved matters of personal misbehavior and corruption, notably the payoff scandals that plagued Cabinet officials who served presidents Harding and Ulysses S. Grant. But the charges have also included alleged usurpation of power by the president and serious criminal conduct that threatens constitutional government and the rule of law — most notoriously, the charges that led to the impeachments of Andrew Johnson and Bill Clinton, and to Richard Nixon’s resignation.

Historians remain divided over the actual grievousness of many of these allegations and crimes. Scholars reasonably describe the graft and corruption around the Grant administration, for example, as gargantuan, including a kickback scandal that led to the resignation of Grant’s secretary of war under the shadow of impeachment. Yet the scandals produced no indictments of Cabinet secretaries and only one of a White House aide, who was acquitted. By contrast, the most scandal-ridden administration in the modern era, apart from Nixon’s, was Ronald Reagan’s, now widely remembered through a haze of nostalgia as a paragon of virtue. A total of twenty-nine Reagan officials, including White House national security adviser Robert McFarlane and deputy chief of staff Michael Deaver, were convicted on charges stemming from the Iran-Contra affair, illegal lobbying and a looting scandal inside the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Three Cabinet officers — HUD Secretary Samuel Pierce, Attorney General Edwin Meese and Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger — left their posts under clouds of scandal. In contrast, not a single official in the Clinton administration was even indicted over his or her White House duties, despite repeated high-profile investigations and a successful, highly partisan impeachment drive.

The full report, of course, has yet to come on the Bush administration. Because Bush, unlike Reagan or Clinton, enjoys a fiercely partisan and loyal majority in Congress, his administration has been spared scrutiny. Yet that mighty advantage has not prevented the indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, on charges stemming from an alleged major security breach in the Valerie Plame matter. (The last White House official of comparable standing to be indicted while still in office was Grant’s personal secretary, in 1875.) It has not headed off the unprecedented scandal involving Larry Franklin, a high-ranking Defense Department official, who has pleaded guilty to divulging classified information to a foreign power while working at the Pentagon — a crime against national security. It has not forestalled the arrest and indictment of Bush’s top federal procurement official, David Safavian, and the continuing investigations into Safavian’s intrigues with the disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff, recently sentenced to nearly six years in prison — investigations in which some prominent Republicans, including former Christian Coalition executive director Ralph Reed (and current GOP aspirant for lieutenant governor of Georgia) have already been implicated, and could well produce the largest congressional corruption scandal in American history. It has not dispelled the cloud of possible indictment that hangs over others of Bush’s closest advisers.

History may ultimately hold Bush in the greatest contempt for expanding the powers of the presidency beyond the limits laid down by the U.S. Constitution. There has always been a tension over the constitutional roles of the three branches of the federal government. The Framers intended as much, as part of the system of checks and balances they expected would minimize tyranny. When Andrew Jackson took drastic measures against the nation’s banking system, the Whig Senate censured him for conduct “dangerous to the liberties of the people.” During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln’s emergency decisions to suspend habeas corpus while Congress was out of session in 1861 and 1862 has led some Americans, to this day, to regard him as a despot. Richard Nixon’s conduct of the war in Southeast Asia and his covert domestic-surveillance programs prompted Congress to pass new statutes regulating executive power.

By contrast, the Bush administration — in seeking to restore what Cheney, a Nixon administration veteran, has called “the legitimate authority of the presidency” — threatens to overturn the Framers’ healthy tension in favor of presidential absolutism. Armed with legal findings by his attorney general (and personal lawyer) Alberto Gonzales, the Bush White House has declared that the president’s powers as commander in chief in wartime are limitless. No previous wartime president has come close to making so grandiose a claim. More specifically, this administration has asserted that the president is perfectly free to violate federal laws on such matters as domestic surveillance and the torture of detainees. When Congress has passed legislation to limit those assertions, Bush has resorted to issuing constitutionally dubious “signing statements,” which declare, by fiat, how he will interpret and execute the law in question, even when that interpretation flagrantly violates the will of Congress. Earlier presidents, including Jackson, raised hackles by offering their own view of the Constitution in order to justify vetoing congressional acts. Bush doesn’t bother with that: He signs the legislation (eliminating any risk that Congress will overturn a veto), and then governs how he pleases — using the signing statements as if they were line-item vetoes. In those instances when Bush’s violations of federal law have come to light, as over domestic surveillance, the White House has devised a novel solution: Stonewall any investigation into the violations and bid a compliant Congress simply to rewrite the laws.

Bush’s alarmingly aberrant take on the Constitution is ironic. One need go back in the record less than a decade to find prominent Republicans railing against far more minor presidential legal infractions as precursors to all-out totalitarianism. “I will have no part in the creation of a constitutional double-standard to benefit the president,” Sen. Bill Frist declared of Bill Clinton’s efforts to conceal an illicit sexual liaison. “No man is above the law, and no man is below the law — that’s the principle that we all hold very dear in this country,” Rep. Tom DeLay asserted. “The rule of law protects you and it protects me from the midnight fire on our roof or the 3 a.m. knock on our door,” warned Rep. Henry Hyde, one of Clinton’s chief accusers. In the face of Bush’s more definitive dismissal of federal law, the silence from these quarters is deafening.

The president’s defenders stoutly contend that war-time conditions fully justify Bush’s actions. And as Lincoln showed during the Civil War, there may be times of military emergency where the executive believes it imperative to take immediate, highly irregular, even unconstitutional steps. “I felt that measures, otherwise unconstitutional, might become lawful,” Lincoln wrote in 1864, “by becoming indispensable to the preservation of the Constitution, through the preservation of the nation.” Bush seems to think that, since 9/11, he has been placed, by the grace of God, in the same kind of situation Lincoln faced. But Lincoln, under pressure of daily combat on American soil against fellow Americans, did not operate in secret, as Bush has. He did not claim, as Bush has, that his emergency actions were wholly regular and constitutional as well as necessary; Lincoln sought and received Congressional authorization for his suspension of habeas corpus in 1863. Nor did Lincoln act under the amorphous cover of a “war on terror” — a war against a tactic, not a specific nation or political entity, which could last as long as any president deems the tactic a threat to national security. Lincoln’s exceptional measures were intended to survive only as long as the Confederacy was in rebellion. Bush’s could be extended indefinitely, as the president sees fit, permanently endangering rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution to the citizenry.

* * * *

Much as Bush still enjoys support from those who believe he can do no wrong, he now suffers opposition from liberals who believe he can do no right. Many of these liberals are in the awkward position of having supported Bush in the past, while offering little coherent as an alternative to Bush’s policies now. Yet it is difficult to see how this will benefit Bush’s reputation in history.

The president came to office calling himself “a uniter, not a divider” and promising to soften the acrimonious tone in Washington. He has had two enormous opportunities to fulfill those pledges: first, in the noisy aftermath of his controversial election in 2000, and, even more, after the attacks of September 11th, when the nation pulled behind him as it has supported no other president in living memory. Yet under both sets of historically unprecedented circumstances, Bush has chosen to act in ways that have left the country less united and more divided, less conciliatory and more acrimonious — much like James Buchanan, Andrew Johnson and Herbert Hoover before him. And, like those three predecessors, Bush has done so in the service of a rigid ideology that permits no deviation and refuses to adjust to changing realities. Buchanan failed the test of Southern secession, Johnson failed in the face of Reconstruction, and Hoover failed in the face of the Great Depression. Bush has failed to confront his own failures in both domestic and international affairs, above all in his ill-conceived responses to radical Islamic terrorism. Having confused steely resolve with what Ralph Waldo Emerson called “a foolish consistency . . . adored by little statesmen,” Bush has become entangled in tragedies of his own making, compounding those visited upon the country by outside forces.

No historian can responsibly predict the future with absolute certainty. There are too many imponderables still to come in the two and a half years left in Bush’s presidency to know exactly how it will look in 2009, let alone in 2059. There have been presidents — Harry Truman was one — who have left office in seeming disgrace, only to rebound in the estimates of later scholars. But so far the facts are not shaping up propitiously for George W. Bush. He still does his best to deny it. Having waved away the lessons of history in the making of his decisions, the present-minded Bush doesn’t seem to be concerned about his place in history. “History. We won’t know,” he told the journalist Bob Woodward in 2003. “We’ll all be dead.”

Another president once explained that the judgments of history cannot be defied or dismissed, even by a president. “Fellow citizens, we cannot escape history,” said Abraham Lincoln. “We of this Congress and this administration, will be remembered in spite of ourselves. No personal significance, or insignificance, can spare one or another of us. The fiery trial through which we pass, will light us down, in honor or dishonor, to the latest generation.”

The Past is Over – Can you imagine a speech given by president Bush that would convince you that he has had a change of heart and could actually be the president of your dreams? A group of five students, ages 7-10, from Rooftop Elementary in San Francisco accepted the challenge, and have written speeches, which were then recorded by Jim Meskimen, a professional impersonator.


there has been a whole bunch of things that have been causing a bit of distress, but there have also been a lot of good things happening that have been offsetting the distress to the point where it’s more like a minor irritation. scott mcclellan is resigning, the “president” of china, hu jintao visited seattle with the requisite protests by tibetans, taiwanese, and chinese falun gong, and was here at the same time cheney was, which caused much uproar and confusion in seattle for two or three days. and other things that are precisely why i don’t read the newspaper that often…

the picture above bears absolutely no relationship to the article at the left, but if i posted it elsewhere it would probably mess up other peoples’ page layouts, so it goes here instead.

F.D.A. Dismisses Medical Benefit From Marijuana
April 21, 2006

WASHINGTON, April 20 – The Food and Drug Administration said Thursday that “no sound scientific studies” supported the medical use of marijuana, contradicting a 1999 review by a panel of highly regarded scientists.The announcement inserts the health agency into yet another fierce political fight.

Susan Bro, an agency spokeswoman, said Thursday’s statement resulted from a past combined review by federal drug enforcement, regulatory and research agencies that concluded “smoked marijuana has no currently accepted or proven medical use in the United States and is not an approved medical treatment.”

Ms. Bro said the agency issued the statement in response to numerous inquiries from Capitol Hill but would probably do nothing to enforce it.

“Any enforcement based on this finding would need to be by D.E.A. since this falls outside of F.D.A.’s regulatory authority,” she said.

Eleven states have legalized medicinal use of marijuana, but the Drug Enforcement Administration and the director of national drug control policy, John P. Walters, have opposed those laws.

A Supreme Court decision last year allowed the federal government to arrest anyone using marijuana, even for medical purposes and even in states that have legalized its use.

Congressional opponents and supporters of medical marijuana use have each tried to enlist the F.D.A. to support their views. Representative Mark Souder, Republican of Indiana and a fierce opponent of medical marijuana initiatives, proposed legislation two years ago that would have required the food and drug agency to issue an opinion on the medicinal properties of marijuana.

Mr. Souder believes that efforts to legalize medicinal uses of marijuana are a front for efforts to legalize all uses of it, said Martin Green, a spokesman for Mr. Souder.

Tom Riley, a spokesman for Mr. Walters, hailed the food and drug agency’s statement, saying it would put to rest what he called “the bizarre public discussion” that has led to some legalization of medical marijuana.

The Food and Drug Administration statement directly contradicts a 1999 review by the Institute of Medicine, a part of the National Academy of Sciences, the nation’s most prestigious scientific advisory agency. That review found marijuana to be “moderately well suited for particular conditions, such as chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting and AIDS wasting.”

Dr. John Benson, co-chairman of the Institute of Medicine committee that examined the research into marijuana’s effects, said in an interview that the statement on Thursday and the combined review by other agencies were wrong.

The federal government “loves to ignore our report,” said Dr. Benson, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Nebraska Medical Center. “They would rather it never happened.”

Some scientists and legislators said the agency’s statement about marijuana demonstrated that politics had trumped science.

“Unfortunately, this is yet another example of the F.D.A. making pronouncements that seem to be driven more by ideology than by science,” said Dr. Jerry Avorn, a medical professor at Harvard Medical School.

Representative Maurice D. Hinchey, a New York Democrat who has sponsored legislation to allow medicinal uses of marijuana, said the statement reflected the influence of the Drug Enforcement Administration, which he said had long pressured the F.D.A. to help in its fight against marijuana.

A spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Administration referred questions to Mr. Walters’s office.

The Food and Drug Administration’s statement said state initiatives that legalize marijuana use were “inconsistent with efforts to ensure that medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the F.D.A. approval process.”

But scientists who study the medical use of marijuana said in interviews that the federal government had actively discouraged research. Lyle E. Craker, a professor in the division of plant and soil sciences at the University of Massachusetts, said he submitted an application to the D.E.A. in 2001 to grow a small patch of marijuana to be used for research because government-approved marijuana, grown in Mississippi, was of poor quality.

In 2004, the drug enforcement agency turned Dr. Craker down. He appealed and is awaiting a judge’s ruling. “The reason there’s no good evidence is that they don’t want an honest trial,” Dr. Craker said.

Dr. Donald Abrams, a professor of clinical medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, said he had studied marijuana’s medicinal effects for years but had been frustrated because the National Institutes of Health, the leading government medical research agency, had refused to finance such work.

With financing from the State of California, Dr. Abrams undertook what he said was a rigorous, placebo-controlled trial of marijuana smoking in H.I.V. patients who suffered from nerve pain. Smoking marijuana proved effective in ameliorating pain, Dr. Abrams said, but he said he was having trouble getting the study published.

“One wonders how anyone” could fulfill the Food and Drug Administration request for well-controlled trials to prove marijuana’s benefits, he said.

Marinol, a synthetic version of a marijuana component, is approved to treat anorexia associated with AIDS and the nausea and vomiting associated with cancer drug therapy.

GW Pharmaceutical, a British company, has received F.D.A. approval to test a sprayed extract of marijuana in humans. Called Sativex, the drug is made from marijuana and is approved for sale in Canada. Opponents of efforts to legalize marijuana for medicinal uses suggest that marijuana is a so-called gateway drug that often leads users to try more dangerous drugs and to addiction.

But the Institute of Medicine report concluded there was no evidence that marijuana acted as a gateway to harder drugs. And it said there was no evidence that medical use of marijuana would increase its use among the general population.

Dr. Daniele Piomelli, a professor of pharmacology at the University of California, Irvine, said he had “never met a scientist who would say that marijuana is either dangerous or useless.”

Studies clearly show that marijuana has some benefits for some patients, Dr. Piomelli said.

“We all agree on that,” he said.

but at the same time, i’ve got my keyboards set up over at ‘ house, and i’ve spent two days over there rediscovering my love of making music – i have a piece that’s finished but not yet in a format that i can put somewhere where a large number of people can listen to it, and another which is very much like about 6 other pieces that i have partially finished but are waiting for a second section which hasn’t yet been created (i seem to do that a lot).

also, i’m now a member of the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band, which is something for which i’ve been looking, for longer than i have been a member of the fremont philharmonic, which is 5 years, more or less.

Phony doctor gives free breast exams
Apr 20

MIAMI (Reuters) – A 76-year-old man claiming to be a doctor went door-to-door in a Florida neighborhood offering free breast exams, and was charged with sexually assaulting two women who accepted the offer, police said on Thursday.

One woman became suspicious after the man asked her to remove all her clothes and began conducting a purported genital exam without donning rubber gloves, investigators said.

The woman then phoned the Broward County Sheriff’s Office and the suspect fled. He was arrested at another woman’s apartment in the same Lauderdale Lakes neighborhood on Wednesday, a sheriff’s spokesman said.

The white-haired suspect, Philip Winikoff, carried a black bag and claimed to be visiting on behalf of a local hospital.

“He told the woman that he was in the neighborhood offering free breast exams,” sheriff’s spokesman Hugh Graf said in a statement.

At least two women, both in their 30s, let him into their homes and he fondled and sexually assaulted them, the investigators said.

Winikoff was not a doctor, Graf said. He worked as a shuttle driver for an auto dealership.

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations – you got 8 out of 10 correct!


Omaha school district to split along racial lines
April 14, 2006

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) — In a move decried by some as state-sponsored segregation, the Legislature voted Thursday to divide the Omaha school system into three districts — one mostly black, one predominantly white and one largely Hispanic.

Supporters said the plan would give minorities control over their own school board and ensure that their children are not shortchanged in favor of white youngsters.

Republican Gov. Dave Heineman signed the measure into law.

Omaha Sen. Pat Bourne decried the bill, saying, “We will go down in history as one of the first states in 20 years to set race relations back.”

“History will not, and should not, judge us kindly,” said Sen. Gwen Howard of Omaha.

Attorney General Jon Bruning sent a letter to one of the measure’s opponents saying that the bill could be in violation of the Constitution’s equal-protection clause and that lawsuits almost certainly will be filed.

But its backers said that at the very least, its passage will force policymakers to negotiate seriously about the future of schools in the Omaha area.

The breakup would not occur until July 2008, leaving time for lawmakers to come up with another idea.

“There is no intent to create segregation,” said Omaha Sen. Ernie Chambers, the Legislature’s only black senator and a longtime critic of the school system.

He argued that the district is already segregated, because it no longer buses students for integration and instead requires them to attend their neighborhood school.

Chambers said the schools attended largely by minorities lack the resources and quality teachers provided others in the district. He said the black students he represents in north Omaha would receive a better education if they had more control over their district.

Coming from Chambers, the argument was especially persuasive to the rest of the Legislature, which voted three times this week in favor of the bill before it won final passage on the last day of the session.

Omaha Public Schools Superintendent John Mackiel said the law is unconstitutional and will not stand.

“There simply has never been an anti-city school victory anywhere in this nation,” Mackiel said. “This law will be no exception.”

The 45,000-student Omaha school system is 46 percent white, 31 percent black, 20 percent Hispanic, and 3 percent Asian or American Indian.

Boundaries for the newly created districts would be drawn using current high school attendance areas. That would result in four possible scenarios; in every scenario, two districts would end up with a majority of students who are racial minorities.

School Makes Kids Use Buckets for Toilets
Apr 17

NGLEWOOD, Calif. – A principal trying to prevent walkouts during immigration rallies inadvertently introduced a lockdown so strict that children weren’t allowed to go to the bathroom, and instead had to use buckets in the classroom, an official said.

Worthington Elementary School Principal Angie Marquez imposed the lockdown March 27 as nearly 40,000 students across Southern California left classes that morning to attend immigrants’ rights demonstrations. The lockdown continued into the following morning.

Marquez apparently misread the district handbook and ordered a lockdown designed for nuclear attacks.

Tim Brown, the district’s director of operations, confirmed some students used buckets but said the principal’s order to impose the most severe type of lockdown was an “honest mistake.”

“When there’s a nuclear attack, that’s when buckets are used,” Brown told the Los Angeles Times. The principal “followed procedure. She made a decision to follow the handbook. She just misread it.”

In some cases teachers escorted classmates to regular restroom facilities, students said.

Telephones rang unanswered Monday at Worthington Elementary School because of spring break and messages left for Marquez and Brown at school district headquarters were not returned.

Appalled parents have complained to the school board. Brown said the school district planned to update its emergency preparedness instructions to give more explicit directions.

Parents and community activists asked the school board at its April 5 meeting to explain the principal’s decision. They also sought promises that the lockdown wouldn’t be repeated.

“There was no violence at the protests, so this was based on what?” activist Diane Sambrano asked. “It was unsanitary, unnecessary and absolutely unacceptable.”

Guidelines for Abstinence Curricula from the Administration for Children & Families – scroll down until you find the heading “Additional Guidance Regarding Curriculum Content” and peruse that section… “choosing not to engage in sexual activity until marriage” and “marriage” being defined as “only a legal union between one man and one woman” stick out in my mind as aggravating and contentious terms…

and, for my “friend” , who seems to be taking a goth holiday recently,
Goth Youths Prone to Suicide Attempts and Self-Mutilation
By Jeff Minerd
April 14, 2006

GLASGOW, Scotland, April 14 – The rate of suicide attempts and self-mutilation-is high among those in the Goth youth subculture, researchers here reported.

More than half of 19-year-olds who self-identified as Goth reported self-harming behavior, and nearly half reported a suicide attempt, said Robert Young, a research associate at the University of Glasgow.

But whether participation in Goth culture leads to self-destructive behavior or whether adolescents with those tendencies gravitate to Goth is not clear, Young and colleagues said online today in BMJ, formerly the British Medical Journal.

Goth is a subgenre of punk culture characterized by “a dark and sinister aesthetic, with aficionados conspicuous by their range of distinctive clothing and makeup and tastes in music,” the investigators said. There is a Goth subculture in the U.S., reportedly inspired by fantasy games such as Dungeons and Dragon.

Self-harming behavior is “a maladaptive coping strategy intended to relieve negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, frustration, or guilt,” the investigators said. “It is usually unrelated to an immediate suicide attempt.”

The researchers surveyed 1,258 young people during their final year of primary school (age 11) and again at ages 13, 15, and 19. The study participants were asked about self-harm and identification with a variety of youth subcultures.

The study found that belonging to the Goth subculture was strongly associated with a lifetime prevalence of self harm (53%) and attempted suicide (47%). For comparison, the rate of self-harming behavior among the general youth population in the United Kingdom is 7% to 14%, and the rate of suicide attempts is about 6%, the authors said.

Furthermore, identifying oneself as Goth was associated with a 14-fold increase in risk for self harming behavior (odds ratio=14.16; 95% confidence interval=4.42-45.39) and a 16-fold increase in risk for suicide attempt (OR=16.37; 95% CI=4.93-54.35) compared with non-Goth youth, the study found.

Even after adjusting for other known predictors such as being female, having divorced or separated parents, smoking, drug use, and depression, Goth identification remained the single strongest predictor of self-harm or suicide attempt, the study found.

Some other youth subcultures, such as Punk and Mosher, were also associated with self-harm, but the association was strongest for Goth.

“Although only fairly small numbers of young people identify as belonging to the Goth subculture, rates of self-harm and attempted suicide are very high among this group,” Young said.

“One common suggestion is they may be copying subcultural icons or peers,” he said. “But since our study found that more reported self-harm before, rather than after, becoming a Goth, this suggests that young people with a tendency to self-harm are attracted to the Goth subculture.”

“Rather than posing a risk, it’s also possible that by belonging to this subculture young people are gaining valuable social and emotional support from their peers,” he suggested. “However, the study was based on small numbers and replication is needed to confirm our results.”


INSANITY INDEX 7.77 The SaniTest(TM) is a delicate instrument, capable of many fine distinctions. After analyzing your score, it suggests that you’re wacko. While not generally recognized as a scientific term, ‘wacko’ is used by mental health professionals when a patient exhibits numerous otherwise unrelated symptoms at the high end of the moderately insane spectrum. Although your condition is probably not dangerous, you should be carefully monitored for signs of hallucinatory ideation. And go easy on the sugar. Other notable wackos at this score level include Flying Nun star Sally Field, cartoonist Don Martin, and theme park magnate Walt Disney.

Take the H.P. Lovecraft Historical Society SaniTest.

now that i’ve gotten that out of the way and there should be no doubt left about who you’re actually dealing with here…

Anatomy of a Revolt
What made a chorus of ex-generals call for the SecDef’s head? The war over the war—and how Rumsfeld is reacting.
By Evan Thomas and John Barry
April 24, 2006

Gen. Eric Shinseki, former chief of staff of the Army, says he is “at peace.” But reached last week, he didn’t sound all that peaceful. In the winter of 2003, alone among the top brass, Shinseki had warned Congress that occupying Iraq would require “several hundred thousand troops.” Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, had rewarded Shinseki for his honesty by publicly castigating and shunning him.

Last fall, Shinseki went to the 40th reunion of the class of ’65 at West Point. It has been reported that his classmates were wearing caps emblazoned RIC WAS RIGHT. Last week NEWSWEEK e-mailed Shinseki to ask about the reports. Shinseki called back to say he had heard “rumors” about the caps. But, NEWSWEEK asked, wasn’t he there? “Well,” he replied, “I saw a cap.”

Shinseki, who has retired to Hawaii, was clearly uncomfortable with the role of martyr. He had no desire to join the chorus of retired generals calling for Rumsfeld’s resignation. He was circumspect about criticizing Rumsfeld at all, but he seemed to be struggling to disguise his feelings. He pointedly said that the “person who should decide on the number of troops [to invade Iraq] is the combatant commander”—Gen. Tommy Franks, and not Rumsfeld.

Some critics have argued that Shinseki should have banged on the table, pushed harder to stop Rumsfeld from going into Iraq with too few troops. How does Shinseki respond? “Probably that’s fair. Not my style,” said the old soldier, who nearly lost a foot in combat in Vietnam. There was, he added cryptically, “a lot of turmoil” at the Pentagon in the lead-up to the war. Was that Rumsfeld’s fault? “Partly,” said Shinseki. Did Rumsfeld bully General Franks, the overall invasion commander? “You’ll have to ask Franks,” said Shinseki, who indicated that he had talked long enough. “I walked away from all this two and a half years ago,” he said.

The former four-star general appeared to be torn between his strong sense of duty and an uneasy conscience. The moral dilemma is as old as the republic. When does a military officer stand up to—and push back against—his civilian masters? And when does he just salute and say, “Can do, sir”?

It’s a question of enormous consequence for a democracy with the world’s most powerful military. The balance between the civilian and military is precarious. The model may be Lincoln, firing his commanders until he found one (Ulysses S. Grant) who would fight. But the modern reality is messier. It is generally forgotten that Franklin Roosevelt rejected the recommendation of his sainted Army Chief of Staff Gen. George C. Marshall to invade Europe in 1942—which would have been a fiasco. Harry Truman was widely vilified for—wisely—recalling the great Gen. Douglas A. MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to widen the Korean War by attacking China. On the other hand, Lyndon Johnson overreached when he stayed up at night picking bombing targets during the Vietnam War. In 1997, Army Gen. Hugh Shelton, then chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assigned the top brass to read “Dereliction of Duty,” a classic study accusing Vietnam-era generals of failing to stand up to their civilian bosses.

Somehow, the lesson did not sink in. Before the Iraq invasion, the senior military did not force a discussion of what to do after the war was won. Rumsfeld was obsessed with the plan of attack, but not the aftermath. The consequences are by now a familiar litany: Rumsfeld demanded a swift, lean force that worked superbly to depose Saddam Hussein—but was woefully inadequate to take over the more onerous task of securing and rebuilding Iraq. Only now are the retired generals coming forth to complain of Rumsfeld’s bullying and demanding his resignation.

The Revolt of the Retired Generals has created considerable discomfort in the E-Ring of the Pentagon and at the White House. President George W. Bush felt compelled last week to issue a written statement expressing his “full support” for the SecDef. For now, Bush has no intention of firing Rumsfeld. “He likes him,” says a close friend of the president’s, who requested anonymity in discussing such a sensitive matter. “He’s not blind. He knows Rumsfeld sticks his foot in it.” Adds a senior Bush aide, who declined to be named discussing the president’s sentiments: “I haven’t seen any evidence that their personal rapport is at all diminishing. They see each other often and talk often.” Rumsfeld says he has twice offered his resignation to Bush, who has declined it.

The old generals can be quite biting about Rumsfeld; retired Marine Gen. Anthony Zinni wrote an op-ed calling the secretary of Defense “incompetent strategically, operationally, and tactically.” But their criticisms are probably best understood as “the first salvos in the war over ‘Who Lost Iraq’,” says Douglas Macgregor, a retired U.S. Army colonel whose book “Breaking the Phalanx” was influential in inspiring the military’s blitzkrieg assault on Baghdad. “Yes, Rumsfeld should go,” says Macgregor. “But a lot of the generals should be fired, too. They share the blame for the mess we are in.”

Rumsfeld is the chief villain of a very influential new book, “Cobra II,” by retired Marine Corps Gen. Bernard Trainor and New York Times reporter Michael Gordon. In their detailed, thorough accounting of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, Rumsfeld is shown badgering the reluctant but mostly quiescent generals into attacking with as few troops as possible. Despite all the talk of the war’s being hatched by a neoconservative cabal, Rumsfeld himself appears indifferent to ideology; he was profoundly suspicious of the notion that America could bring democracy to Iraq. Rather, he focused on forcing a transformation of the hidebound, heavy-laden, slow-moving Army. Rumsfeld disdains “nation-building” and blithely counts on the Iraqis to rebuild their own country. But right after the invasion he signed off on orders by the American proconsul, Paul Bremer, to disband the Iraqi Army and fire most of the top civil servants—leaving the country vulnerable to chaos and a growing insurgency.

The publication of “Cobra II,” plus talk-show comments from Zinni, the former chief of CENTCOM who was promoting his own book, “The Battle for Peace,” appear to have encouraged retired generals to attack Rumsfeld in public. “There was a lot of pent-up agony,” says Trainor. “The dam broke.”

One of the most powerful indictments came from Marine Lt. Gen. Gregory Newbold, who was chief of operations for the Joint Staff during the early planning of the Iraq invasion. Writing in Time magazine, Newbold declared, “I now regret that I did not more openly challenge those who were determined to invade a country whose actions were peripheral to the real threat—Al Qaeda.” Actually, it was not the job of a uniformed officer, even a high-ranking one like Newbold, to challenge the president’s decision to invade Iraq. That’s a political judgment: it’s up to the president and Congress to decide whom to fight. The military’s job is to win the fight.

Still, Newbold has a point when he writes that the decision “was done with a casualness and swagger that are the special province of those who have never had to execute these missions—or bury the results.” The real responsibility for Iraq, of course, lies with President Bush. Together with Vice President Dick Cheney (draft-deferred in Vietnam) and Rumsfeld (Navy jet pilot who did not see combat), Bush (Texas National Guard pilot) seemed determined to brush past or roll over the cautious national-security bureaucracy. Bush made little or no effort to prod his national-security staff to ask tough questions, such as how the Sunnis and Shiites would bury centuries of resentment when Saddam was gone. (Bush has said he listens to the generals, but it does not appear he heard any words of caution.) The get-tough trio essentially cut out Gen. Colin Powell, the secretary of State and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who was regarded as too squishy, too much a creature of the go-slow bureaucracy.

Powell has come in for some criticism for not trying harder to slow the Bush juggernaut into Iraq. And the various generals have taken talk-show grief for not speaking out until their pensions were safely vested in retirement. But it is important to understand the military culture to appreciate why more soldiers do not cross their civilian bosses. It is true enough that “political generals” get ahead by never rocking the boat. And it is fair to say that Rumsfeld’s shabby treatment of Shinseki—the secretary did not bother to attend the retirement ceremony of the Army chief of staff, whose replacement was leaked 14 months before his term was up—had a chilling effect on other officers.

But it is unlikely that senior military officers go to sleep at night thinking that if only they kowtow a little more they will win that next star on their shoulder. They are far more likely to believe that their duty is to do the best they can with what they’ve got: the military culture breeds a “can do” attitude in its most successful officers. They are acutely conscious that squabbling at the top can be a morale-crusher for troops who must risk their lives in battle.

Rumsfeld’s persona and management style are grating to many buttoned-up, by-the-book officers. He constantly asks questions, often with sarcasm and in-your-face one-upmanship. Briefing the secretary can be an intimidating exercise. Rumsfeld has been known to get so hung up on a single slide, peppering some hapless colonel or general with antagonistic queries, that the briefer never gets a chance to finish his tidy, orderly presentation. Some soldiers like the macho give-and-take, or at least get used to it. “When you walk in to him, you’ve got to be prepared, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about,” says Marine Gen. Mike DeLong, deputy CENTCOM commander from 2000 to 2003. “If you don’t, you are summarily dismissed. But that’s the way it is, and he’s effective.”

Other officers, particularly those with less exposure, just find Rumsfeld to be an impatient meddler who jumps around, nosing into subjects he knows nothing about and should leave to the professionals. Rumsfeld himself seems impervious to criticism. Last week, at a Pentagon news conference, confronted by reporters quoting from embittered retired generals, he dismissively shot back, “There’s nothing wrong with people having opinions … you ought to expect that. It’s historic. It’s always been the case, and I see nothing really very new or surprising about it.”

But in fact, Rumsfeld is bothered by the furor. “He’s concerned about the impact on the institution,” says Lawrence DiRita, Rumsfeld’s counselor. The controversy, DiRita says, can “make generals clam up around civilians, and civilians wonder, ‘Is this the next general who is going to leak to The New York Times?’ ” Rumsfeld worries that the whole concept of civilian control is “turned on its head” by the revolt of the generals. “Conceptually, institutionally, that a handful of disgruntled generals could determine who will lead the Department of Defense—that’s not the way it’s supposed to work,” says DiRita.

As a practical matter, the rebellion may secure Rumsfeld’s job. “No president is going to be bullied by a bunch of retired general officers into firing a secretary of Defense,” says Thomas Donnelly, the editor of Armed Forces Journal. Of course, by defending Rumsfeld, the president has “moved into the target area,” notes General Trainor. “Now the Democrats can say, ‘Look, the president’s defending an incompetent’.”

Rumsfeld is not the sort to fall on his sword, at least willingly. He liked being teased as “Matinee Idol” by President Bush after he held forth so confidently (and, to many Americans, reassuringly) about “killing the enemy” in the traumatic months after 9/11. He has only retirement to look forward to, a boring prospect for a vigorous 73-year-old. His advisers do not expect him to quit any time soon. For many months, on a shelf behind DiRita’s desk in his old Pentagon office, stood a Rumsfeld doll that was sold in PXes on military bases after the war in Afghanistan. Pull a string on the backside and a mechanical version of Rumsfeld’s rich voice intones, “I don’t do diplomacy.” DiRita attached a slip of paper near the doll’s mouth with his boss’s mantra. It reads faster. DiRita’s not sure what happened to the doll. But his boss, he says, is still charging forward, trying to change an institution that sometimes resists change. In the weeks ahead, he is sure to meet more resistance from old soldiers who think he is not so much a change agent as a wrecking ball.

Neil Young sets his sights on Bush
He is country rock’s biggest icon, and he is angry. Recorded in secret, his forthcoming album savages the war in Iraq. One track says it all: ‘Impeach the President’
By Andrew Buncombe
17 April 2006

It started as a rumour – gossip shared by fans on internet chat sites. Could it true, they asked? Could Neil Young, a cultural lodestone for a generation of country rock fans, really be turning his attention to President George Bush and the war in Iraq? Now Young himself has confirmed it. Not only has he recorded an entire album about the conflict, but in one of the songs he spells out who he thinks is to blame for the ongoing chaos and violence and what the consequences for that person should be. That track is called “Impeach the President”.

“I just finished a new record – a power trio with trumpet and 100 voices,” the 60-year-old says in a ticker-tape message posted at the bottom of his official website. “Metal folk protest? It’s called Living with the War.”

Further details about the album came from Jonathan Demme, the film maker who produced the recently released documentary Heart of Gold about the singer-songwriter. “Neil just finished writing and recording – with no warning – a new album called Living With War,” he told the music magazine Harp by e-mail. “It all happened in three days … It is a brilliant electric assault, accompanied by a 100-voice choir, on Bush and the war in Iraq … Truly mind blowing. Will be in stores soon.”

Those who have followed Young’s twisting career, stretching over more than four decades – from the psychedelia-tinged rock of the folk-rock band Buffalo Springfield in the Sixties, his joining up with Crosby, Stills, and Nash, his huge solo success in 1972 with Harvest, as well as the experimentation of the Eighties and finally his return to country rock – may be a little surprised by Young’s decision to launch such a blunt political assault against the Bush administration.

Indeed, in the aftermath of the al-Qa’ida attacks on the US of 11 September 2001, it seemed that Young had taken the side with the President and supported the steps he was taking in the so-called “war on terror”. Having written a song, “Let’s Roll”, to honour the passengers on board United Airlines’ Flight 93 who apparently fought with the hijackers and forced the plane to crash-land in rural Pennsylvania rather than letting them use it to target the White House, he announced his support for the Patriot Act. The Act, which gave law-enforcement bodies a whole range of new powers, was condemned by many campaigners as an assault on civil liberties. Young said at the time he thought the legislation was necessary.

Speaking at an awards banquet in Hollywood where he had received the Spirit of Liberty award by the liberal campaign group People for the American Way, Young announced: “To protect our freedoms it seems we’re going to have to relinquish some of our freedoms for a short period of time.” But now it appears that for whatever reason, the Canadian-born singer’s support for President Bush has run it’s course and that his latest incarnation is as a protest singer. He has joined list of musicians such as the Dixie Chicks, Lou Reed, Dave Matthews, Steve Earle and REM who have used their platforms to speak out against the war or the administration in general. His song urging that Mr Bush be impeached reportedly accuses him of “lying” and features a rap with the President’s voice set against the choir singing “flip-flop” – an accusation Mr Bush and other Republicans aimed at John Kerry, the Democratic presidential candidate, during the 2004 election campaign.

Meanwhile the lyrics to the new album’s title track include the words: “I’m living with war right now, And when the dawn breaks I see my fellow man, And on the flat screen we kill and we’re being killed again, And when the night falls I pray for peace, Try to remember peace.”

Whilst details of the 10-song recording are still incomplete – it is known that he is accompanied by Chad Cromwell on drums, Rick Rosas on bass and Tommy Bray on trumpet – a further insight into what to expect has come from the California-based musician Alicia Morgan, who was recruited to be part of the 100-strong choir. In an entry on her blog on Friday she wrote: “Have you, like me, been recalling the great protest songs of the Sixties, and wondered where the new protest songs are? Yesterday, I found out.” She said she and the other singers read off the lyrics as they flashed onto a giant screen, with cheers of approval coming up from the choir. With the main tracks having been previously recorded, Young himself directed the backing singers. “Turns out the whole thing is a classic beautiful protest record. The session was like being at a 12-hour peace rally,” she said.

“Every time new lyrics would come up on the screen, there were cheers, tears and applause. It was a spiritual experience … We finished the session by singing an a cappella version of “America the Beautiful” and there was not a dry eye in the house.” She added: “I’ve never been at a recording session that was more like being at church. Heck, I’ve never been to a church that was more like a church than that session.” Speaking from Sherman Oaks, California, yesterday Morgan told The Independent that many people liked Neil Young because he “pisses everybody off”.

She said: “I have always enjoyed his music and respected him. People have told me he used to be a Reagan supporter but I don’t think he is bound by any ideology other than his own. He writes and sings about whatever is going on in his life. Sometimes it’s political – sometimes it’s not.”

Asked if she thought Young had enjoyed the 12-hour session, at which they completed the 10 tracks, she added: “Very much so.” Young, who has served on the board of Farm Aid, fellow singer Willie Nelson’s project to help rural Americans, for more than 20 years, is not the first person to have suggested the impeachment of Mr Bush. With his approval ratings in the low 30s, Democratic Senator Russ Feingold has sought to have Congress pass a motion to censure the President, though the effort has received only limited support from Mr Feingold’s Democratic colleagues.

Meanwhile Mr Bush can apparently do nothing to shift his ratings, the worst for a president in second term since the days of Richard Nixon, for whom, incidentally, Young also wrote a song. Young, who has said he has previously voted for the Republicans, was apparently inspired to write the words for the song “Campaigner” – originally called “Requiem for a President” – after watching television news about Nixon’s wife suffering a stroke and seeing the broken president arrive at the hospital. In the song he wrote: “I am a lonely visitor, I came too late to cause a stir, Though I campaigned all my life towards that goal.”

Songs of shame
By Geneviève Roberts

Despite being famously apolitical, the band launched an attack on George Bush in their latest album, A Bigger Bang. The track “Sweet Neo Con” contains the lyrics: “You call yourself a Christian, I call you a hypocrite/You call yourself a patriot, Well I think you’re full of shit.”

Despite Jagger saying: “It’s not aimed personally at President Bush. It wouldn’t be called ‘Sweet Neo Con’ if it was,” Stones fans were not convinced, especially as Jagger had previously said of the tune: “It is direct. Keith said: ‘It is not really metaphorical. I think he’s a bit worried because he lives in the US. But I don’t.”

In 2004, rap artist Eminem urged fans to vote against George Bush in the US election by issuing a music video specifically to criticise the Iraq war. The lyrics for “Mosh”: “Let the President answer on high anarchy, strap him with an AK-47, let him go fight his own war,” accompanied a video depicting a US soldier arriving home from Baghdad, to be told he must return.

“Not Ready to Make Nice”, to be released in the US in May, is an attack on people who sent the Texan band death threats after they criticised Mr Bush. Singer Nathalie Maines, performing in London on the eve of the Iraq war, said: “Just so you know, we’re ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas.” Many US radio stations dropped the band and their CDs were smashed.

In 2002, he released the single “Shoot the Dog”, which featured a cartoon video of Tony Blair and Mr Bush’s poodle on the White House lawn. The backlash was so forceful – the New York Post called him a “past-his-prime pop pervert” – that Michael feared he would not be able to return to the US.

NYPD Deploys First of 500 Security Cameras
Apr 17

NEW YORK – Along a gritty stretch of street in Brooklyn, police this month quietly launched an ambitious plan to combat street crime and terrorism. But instead of cops on the beat, wireless video cameras peer down from lamp posts about 30 feet above the sidewalk.

They were the first installment of a program to place 500 cameras throughout the city at a cost of $9 million. Hundreds of additional cameras could follow if the city receives $81.5 million in federal grants it has requested to safeguard Lower Manhattan and parts of midtown with a surveillance “ring of steel” modeled after security measures in London’s financial district.

Officials of the New York Police Department _ which considers itself at the forefront of counterterrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks _ claim the money would be well-spent, especially since the revelations that al-Qaida members once cased the New York Stock Exchange and other financial institutions.

“We have every reason to believe New York remains in the cross-hairs, so we have to do what it takes to protect the city,” Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said last week at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government.

The city already has about 1,000 cameras in the subways, with 2,100 scheduled to be in place by 2008. An additional 3,100 cameras monitor city housing projects.

New York’s approach isn’t unique. Chicago spent roughly $5 million on a 2,000-camera system. Homeland Security officials in Washington plan to spend $9.8 million for surveillance cameras and sensors on a rail line near the Capitol. And Philadelphia has increasingly relied on video surveillance.

Privacy advocates say the NYPD’s camera plan needs more study and safeguards to preserve privacy and guard against abuses like racial profiling and voyeurism.

The department “is installing cameras first and asking questions later,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union.

Police officials insist that law-abiding New Yorkers have nothing to fear because the cameras will be restricted to public areas. The police commissioner recently established a panel of four corporate defense lawyers to advise the department on surveillance policies.

“The police department must be flexible to meet an ever changing threat,” Kelly said. “We also have to ensure whatever measures we take are reasonable as the Constitution requires. That’s the only way to retain public support and preserve individual freedoms.”

Lieberman concedes cameras can help investigators identify suspects once a crime has been committed, but argues they can’t prevent crime. She cited a 2002 study which concluded that surveillance cameras used in 14 British cities had little or no impact on crime rates _ just as they didn’t keep terrorists from bombing the London subway system last year.

“The London experience shouldn’t be misconstrued that the ‘ring of steel’ prevents terrorism,” she said. “But that’s how it’s being pitched.”

Still, New York police were impressed that their British counterparts drew on 80,000 videotapes to identify and retrace the routes of the subway system suicide bombers and the suspects in a failed follow-up attack.

Timothy Horner, a specialist with the Kroll security firm and a former NYPD captain, said the measures make sense.

“It’s not a cure-all, and the department is not thinking that way,” he said. “But we really want law enforcement to use whatever tools they can to keep us safe.”


moe and i took the dogs here yesterday, as the weather was nice, we both had the day off, and we haven’t gone anywhere like this for a long time. on our way back, we went past the south end of paine field and there were about half a ton of state patrol and king county sheriffs on motorcycles, hanging around looking official and trying to guard the perimeter… i guess this is at least part of the reason why…

i ordered replacement poles for the tent, so that this year i won’t have to make do with rope and duct-tape at OCF.



i took my keyboards over to ‘ house yesterday, and discovered how much i have missed being able to play my keyboards since we moved into this shoebox. i’m definitely going to spend a lot more time over there, especially since they also have a person who is a regular supplier of Holy Vegetable living in the basement… right next to the room that the keyboards are in, so it won’t even be a separate trip most of the time.

also i have to get my workshop set up. i got email yesterday from the National "Tobacco" Alliance who “are looking for new suppliers for churchwarden style tobacco pipes.” and also i got email from Pakataş Pipes who are looking for someone to sell their pipes…

Based on the lj interests lists of those who share my more unusual interests, the interests suggestion meme thinks I might be interested in
1. krishna score: 82
2. ayurveda score: 44
3. hare krishna score: 44
4. bhakti score: 43
5. krsna score: 42
6. iskcon score: 39
7. radharani score: 39
8. krishna consciousness score: 36
9. japa score: 35
10. a.c. bhaktivedanta swami prabhupada score: 34
11. bhajans score: 33
12. srila prabhupada score: 32
13. kirtan score: 31
14. om score: 30
15. prema score: 30
16. mantras score: 30
17. hermeticism score: 30
18. tulasi score: 29
19. hindu score: 28
20. durga score: 28

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it seems to think that i have no clue who the founder of the vaisnava cult in the united states is, because two of them actually are the founder of the vaisnava cult in the united states, five of them are directly related to the vaisnava cult, and ten of them are indirectly related to the vaisnava cult… for a total of 17 out of 20. if i didn’t know who that person was, i might be tempted to find out more about him, but since i already know who he is and what the cult he founded is all about, i think i’ll ignore them instead.

besides which, i already have 150 interests anyway, and can’t put up more without deleting some of the ones i have, and considering that i’m already listing interests in the bio section of my profile, i think i’ll pass for now.



Print me a heart and a set of arteries
13 April 2006
By Peter Aldhous

SITTING in a culture dish, a layer of chicken heart cells beats in synchrony. But this muscle layer was not sliced from an intact heart, nor even grown laboriously in the lab. Instead, it was “printed”, using a technology that could be the future of tissue engineering.

Gabor Forgacs, a biophysicist at the University of Missouri in Columbia, described his “bioprinting” technique last week at the Experimental Biology 2006 meeting in San Francisco. It relies on droplets of “bioink”, clumps of cells a few hundred micrometres in diameter, which Forgacs has found behave just like a liquid.

This means that droplets placed next to one another will flow together and fuse, forming layers, rings or other shapes, depending on how they were deposited. To print 3D structures, Forgacs and his colleagues alternate layers of supporting gel, dubbed “biopaper”, with the bioink droplets. To build tubes that could serve as blood vessels, for instance, they lay down successive rings containing muscle and endothelial cells, which line our arteries and veins. “We can print any desired structure, in principle,” Forgacs told the meeting.

Other tissue engineers have tried printing 3D structures, using modified ink-jet printers which spray cells suspended in liquid (New Scientist, 25 January 2003, p 16). Now Forgacs and a company called Sciperio have developed a device with printing heads that extrude clumps of cells mechanically so that they emerge one by one from a micropipette. This results in a higher density of cells in the final printed structure, meaning that an authentic tissue structure can be created faster.

Cells seem to survive the printing process well. When layers of chicken heart cells were printed they quickly begin behaving as they would in a real organ. “After 19 hours or so, the whole structure starts to beat in a synchronous manner,” says Forgacs.

Most tissue engineers trying to build 3D structures start with a scaffold of the desired shape, which they seed with cells and grow for weeks in the lab. This is how Anthony Atala of Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and his colleagues grew the bladders which he successfully implanted into seven people (New Scientist, 8 April 2006, p 10). But if tissue engineering goes mainstream, faster and cheaper methods will be a boon. “Bioprinting is the way to go,” says Vladimir Mironov, a tissue engineer at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston.

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AT&T Seeks to Hide Spy Docs
By Ryan Singel
Apr, 12, 2006

AT&T is seeking the return of technical documents presented in a lawsuit that allegedly detail how the telecom giant helped the government set up a massive internet wiretap operation in its San Francisco facilities.

In papers filed late Monday, AT&T argued that confidential technical documents provided by an ex-AT&T technician to the Electronic Frontier Foundation shouldn’t be used as evidence in the case and should be returned.

The documents, which the EFF filed under a temporary seal last Wednesday, purportedly detail how AT&T diverts internet traffic to the National Security Agency via a secret room in San Francisco and allege that such rooms exist in other AT&T switching centers.

The EFF filed the class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Northern California in January, seeking damages from AT&T on behalf of AT&T customers for alleged violation of state and federal laws.

Mark Klein, a former technician who worked for AT&T for 22 years, provided three technical documents, totaling 140 pages, to the EFF and to The New York Times, which first reported last December that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on citizens’ phone calls without obtaining warrants.

Klein issued a detailed public statement last week, saying he came forward because he believes the government’s extrajudicial spying extended beyond wiretapping of phone calls between Americans and a party with suspected ties to terrorists, and included wholesale monitoring of the nation’s internet communications.

AT&T built a secret room in its San Francisco switching station that funnels internet traffic data from AT&T Worldnet dialup customers and traffic from AT&T’s massive internet backbone to the NSA, according to a statement from Klein.

Klein’s duties included connecting new fiber-optic circuits to that room, which housed data-mining equipment built by a company called Narus, according to his statement.

Narus’ promotional materials boast that its equipment can scan billions of bits of internet traffic per second, including analyzing the contents of e-mails and e-mail attachments and even allowing playback of internet phone calls.

While AT&T’s open filings did not confirm the details of Klein’s statement, they did not dispute the legitimacy of his claims, and the company’s filing included a sealed affidavit attesting to the sensitivity of the documents.

The company asked for a hearing Thursday to determine whether the documents could be used in the class-action lawsuit, whether they would be unsealed or whether the EFF would have to return them. The EFF filed a rebuttal, calling that time frame unworkable and accusing AT&T of not following normal court rules.

AT&T’s lawyers also told the court that intense press coverage surrounding the case, including Wired News’ publication of Klein’s statement, was revealing the company’s trade secrets, “causing grave injury to AT&T.” The lawyers argued that unsealing the documents “would cause AT&T great harm and potentially jeopardize AT&T’s network, making it vulnerable to hackers, and worse.”

The EFF filed the documents last week under a temporary seal when it asked the judge to force AT&T to stop the alleged internet spying until the case goes to trial.

Klein’s statement and documents are the only direct evidence filed so far by the EFF, and without them its case could be weakened.

It is not clear whether AT&T has served legal papers to Klein.

As of last week, Klein was represented by Miles Ehrlich, who until January served as a U.S. attorney in San Francisco, prosecuting white-collar crime. Klein is now also represented by two lawyers from the powerhouse law firm Morrison & Foerster, including James J. Brosnahan, who is best known for representing John Walker Lindh, the Marin County, California, man found fighting for the Taliban in Afghanistan.

The EFF declined to comment on the filing, while AT&T did not return a call seeking comment. The case is Hepting v. AT&T.

ATF rids Univ. of ninja threat
April 12, 2006

ATF agents are always on alert for anything suspicious — including ninjas.

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearm agents, on campus Tuesday for Project Safe Neighborhoods training, detained a “suspicious individual” near the Georgia Center, University Police Chief Jimmy Williamson said.

Jeremiah Ransom, a sophomore from Macon, was leaving a Wesley Foundation pirate vs. ninja event when he was detained.

After being held in investigative detention, he was found to have violated no criminal laws and was not arrested.

“It was surreal,” Ransom said. “I was jogging from Wesley to Snelling when I heard someone yell ‘freeze.’”

Ransom said he thought a friend was playing a joke before he realized officers had guns drawn and pointed at him.

ATF agents had noticed Ransom’s suspicious behavior and clothing and gave chase, apprehending him, Williamson said.

“Agents noticed someone wearing a bandanna across the face and acting in a somewhat suspicious manner, peeping around the corner,” said ATF special agent in charge Vanessa McLemore.

Ransom was wearing black sweatpants and an athletic T-shirt with one red bandanna covering the bottom half of his face and another covering the top of his head, Williamson said.

“Seeing someone with something across the face, from a federal standpoint — that’s not right,” McLemore said, explaining why agents believed something to be amiss.

Agents noticed Ransom peering around a corner and said when police sirens sounded, he took off running.

After chasing Ransom and identifying themselves, ATF agents detained him, turning him over once University Police arrived, McLemore said.

Ransom said Williamson told him the incident should not have been handled in such a manner and he would file a complaint with the ATF.

“I was in shock, to say the least,” Ransom said.

and, from a spurrious news source, Secrets from inside the White House

I was going to post this in the “Expose the big lie” thread but after I wrote it I thought it was interesting enough to merit a thread of its own. This is all good information, personally verified or witnessed by none other than me, but I will not answer any questions about it or go into any detail other than what I’ve already typed out. I may reply with more information or anecdotes if I see fit, but I’ve pretty much already scraped the barrel of my experiences.

These are some facts I have witnessed and learned through my employment. Take it at face value, believe it or don’t believe it, because I’m not providing corroborating pictures, details, or evidence beyond my own testimony.

Homeland security buys in bulk and at great premium millions of dollars of useless personal appliances from China, such as rice cookers, nose hair trimmers, massage wands, and heating pads, boxes them up, and buries them in railroad shipping containers in the Arizona desert for no reason whatsoever other than to spend its budget and prevent sub-agencies from getting the funds. I suspect that the money goes to a middleman in order to secretly siphon funds into foreign organizations which we can’t support over the table, but this is just me trying to find a justification for this massive and intentional government waste.

Donald Rumsfeld needs to wear iced underwear because of some medical condition, and he has his secret service detail hold his spares. He was recently getting uncontrollable long-term erections and had to change up his medical treatments. The underwear and the erections is why he uses a standing desk, not because he is some super-man. He also wears nylon stockings, not because he’s gay, but to control some vascular problem with his legs which causes him intense pain.

President Bush uses anti-depressant medication, a lot of it, at a stupendous dosage, and he is hiding it from the American public. This is the real reason he stopped drinking. Because of the dosage, he is also impotent.

Tom Ridge carries 20 credit cards with him at all times, each one with a very low limit. I have never heard of him using one, ever, but he has them. He also wears his socks inside-out, and will flip the fuck out and walk strangely if he is forced to wear them properly, because it drives him crazy. All of his socks must be laundered right side in and then turned inside out before they are returned to him. He gave specific instructions about handling his food, and not allowing his vegetables to touch any other food item on the plate. His utensils must be steamed over boiling water. He will not eat soup which hasn’t been boiled within the past 20 minutes or which he has not prepared himself. If any of these rules are violated, he flies into a rage, turns beet red, and will not eat a single thing. He has his personal attendants confirm over and over that the food is as he likes it. He also shaves his forearms and hands because he can’t stand the idea of body hair on his arms. He demands that his bedsheets are bleach white and changed fresh every night and he sleeps in a separate bed in a big, tight, body-length nylon sleeve, with a fan blowing over him at full power. He is terrified of animals which have fur or hair longer than one inch, and will not go near curly hair of any kind, even on people. At one time he ran from his office and demanded that someone look under everything for a rodent which did not and could not exist, then he had the entire place wiped down with disinfectant and vacuumed twice. While this was done he couldn’t even bear to look at the door, or come within 20 feet of his office. He was in hysterics.

President Bush, when dining at the white-house, does not eat any item of food which has not been first sniffed by a trained dog before being prepared. Think about that.

Word among the staff is that Cheney was drunk when he shot that lawyer, and secluded himself for a day to sober up and avoid felony firearms charges. I don’t have any direct information on this because the guys with him at the time are not talking. This is totally unconfirmed, but I think it is plausible.

Dick Cheney has chronic gum problems and his breath smells like shit as a result. He is also a CLOSE TALKER. He keeps a small bottle of diluted hydrogen peroxide which he rinses with every hour on the hour, and he swallows it instead of spitting. He also picks his nose vigorously (violently) and hums loudly and tunelessly to himself while taking shits.

There is a sealed room in the whitehouse which once held a half-ton block of cheese for about 30 years.

The White house is planting its own men among the press agents at press conferences.

The white house lawn is mowed every other day by the same man humming the same tune.

Despite all of this craziness, there is nothing strange whatsoever about Condoleeza Rice. She is completely balanced and normal, if slightly robotic in her personal demeanor. She smells very nice at all times. She does, however, constantly check her investments online from her office when she thinks that nobody is looking, and she has slept at her desk on multiple occasions.

There is an administrative law judge who sits in an office in a building near the white-house, earns around 200k per year and has a secretary, and he does nothing except sit, read, and listen to classical music all day. His secretary likewise does nothing. He gets meals taken to him from the White-house kitchen, and is so lonely that he latches on to whoever gets sent and talks to them for hours about the korean war. His family is all dead and his secretary hates him. In a drawer in his desk he has an old revolver, which he got in there somehow despite that he shouldn’t have been able to bring it in. I think he will shoot himself one day.

The “undisclosed location” is usually a local police officer training ground or state trooper college. Shh.


Christians Sue for Right Not to Tolerate Policies
Many codes intended to protect gays from harassment are illegal, conservatives argue.
By Stephanie Simon
April 10, 2006

ATLANTA — Ruth Malhotra went to court last month for the right to be intolerant.

Malhotra says her Christian faith compels her to speak out against homosexuality. But the Georgia Institute of Technology, where she’s a senior, bans speech that puts down others because of their sexual orientation.

Malhotra sees that as an unacceptable infringement on her right to religious expression. So she’s demanding that Georgia Tech revoke its tolerance policy.

Religious expression: An article in Monday’s Section A said Gregory S. Baylor of the Christian Legal Society viewed homosexuality as a lifestyle choice. In fact, he does not have a stance on that issue. As the article noted, he supports policies that protect people from discrimination based on race, gender and other inborn traits. He asserts that antidiscrimination policies regarding homosexuality are different because they protect people based on conduct. Baylor’s organization seeks to exempt religious groups from those policies.

With her lawsuit, the 22-year-old student joins a growing campaign to force public schools, state colleges and private workplaces to eliminate policies protecting gays and lesbians from harassment. The religious right aims to overturn a broad range of common tolerance programs: diversity training that promotes acceptance of gays and lesbians, speech codes that ban harsh words against homosexuality, anti-discrimination policies that require college clubs to open their membership to all.

The Rev. Rick Scarborough, a leading evangelical, frames the movement as the civil rights struggle of the 21st century. “Christians,” he said, “are going to have to take a stand for the right to be Christian.”

In that spirit, the Christian Legal Society, an association of judges and lawyers, has formed a national group to challenge tolerance policies in federal court. Several nonprofit law firms — backed by major ministries such as Focus on the Family and Campus Crusade for Christ — already take on such cases for free.

The legal argument is straightforward: Policies intended to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination end up discriminating against conservative Christians. Evangelicals have been suspended for wearing anti-gay T-shirts to high school, fired for denouncing Gay Pride Month at work, reprimanded for refusing to attend diversity training. When they protest tolerance codes, they’re labeled intolerant.

A recent survey by the Anti-Defamation League found that 64% of American adults — including 80% of evangelical Christians — agreed with the statement “Religion is under attack in this country.”

“The message is, you’re free to worship as you like, but don’t you dare talk about it outside the four walls of your church,” said Stephen Crampton, chief counsel for the American Family Assn. Center for Law and Policy, which represents Christians who feel harassed.

Critics dismiss such talk as a right-wing fundraising ploy. “They’re trying to develop a persecution complex,” said Jeremy Gunn, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.

Others fear the banner of religious liberty could be used to justify all manner of harassment.

“What if a person felt their religious view was that African Americans shouldn’t mingle with Caucasians, or that women shouldn’t work?” asked Jon Davidson, legal director of the gay rights group Lambda Legal.

Christian activist Gregory S. Baylor responds to such criticism angrily. He says he supports policies that protect people from discrimination based on race and gender. But he draws a distinction that infuriates gay rights activists when he argues that sexual orientation is different — a lifestyle choice, not an inborn trait.

By equating homosexuality with race, Baylor said, tolerance policies put conservative evangelicals in the same category as racists. He predicts the government will one day revoke the tax-exempt status of churches that preach homosexuality is sinful or that refuse to hire gays and lesbians.

“Think how marginalized racists are,” said Baylor, who directs the Christian Legal Society’s Center for Law and Religious Freedom. “If we don’t address this now, it will only get worse.”

Christians are fighting back in a case involving Every Nation Campus Ministries at California State University. Student members of the ministry on the Long Beach and San Diego campuses say their mission is to model a virtuous lifestyle for their peers. They will not accept as members gays, lesbians or anyone who considers homosexuality “a natural part of God’s created order.”

Legal analysts agree that the ministry, as a private organization, has every right to exclude gays; the Supreme Court affirmed that principle in a case involving the Boy Scouts in 2000. At issue is whether the university must grant official recognition to a student group that discriminates.

The students say denying them recognition — and its attendant benefits, such as funding — violates their free-speech rights and discriminates against their conservative theology. Christian groups at public colleges in other states have sued using similar arguments. Several of those lawsuits were settled out of court, with the groups prevailing.

Fossil discovery fills gap in human evolution
‘We just found the chain of evolution, the continuity through time’
By Seth Borenstein
April 12, 2006

WASHINGTON – The latest fossil unearthed from a human ancestral hot spot in Africa allows scientists to link together the most complete chain of human evolution so far.

The 4.2 million-year-old fossil discovered in northeastern Ethiopia helps scientists fill in the gaps of how human ancestors made the giant leap from one species to another. That’s because the newest fossil, the species Australopithecus anamensis, was found in the region of the Middle Awash — where seven other human-like species spanning nearly 6 million years and three major phases of human development were previously discovered.

“We just found the chain of evolution, the continuity through time,” study co-author and Ethiopian anthropologist Berhane Asfaw said in a phone interview from Addis Ababa. “One form evolved to another. This is evidence of evolution in one place through time.”

The findings were reported Thursday in the scientific journal Nature.

The species anamensis is not new, but its location is what helps explain the shift from one early phase of human-like development to the next, scientists say. All eight species were within an easy day’s walk of each other.

Until now, what scientists had were snapshots of human evolution scattered around the world. Finding everything all in one general area makes those snapshots more of a mini home movie of evolution.

“It’s like 12 frames of a home movie, but a home movie covering 6 million years,” said study lead author Tim White, co-director of Human Evolution Research Center at University of California at Berkeley.

“The key here is the sequences,” White said. “It’s about a mile thickness of rocks in the Middle Awash and in it we can see all three phases of human evolution.”

Modern man belongs to the genus Homo, which is a subgroup in the family of hominids. What evolved into Homo was likely the genus Australopithecus (once called “man-ape”), which includes the famed 3.2 million-year-old “Lucy” fossil found three decades ago. A key candidate for the genus that evolved into Australopithecus is called Ardipithecus. And Thursday’s finding is important in bridging — but not completely — the gap between Australopithecus and Ardipithecus.

In 1994, a 4.4 million-year-old partial skeleton of the species Ardipithecus ramidus — the most recent Ardipithecus species — was found about six miles from the latest discovery.

“This appears to be the link between Australopithecus and Ardipithecus as two different species,” White said. The major noticeable difference between the phases of man can be seen in Australopithecus’ bigger chewing teeth to eat harder food, he said.

While it’s looking more likely, it is not a sure thing that Ardipithecus evolved into Australopithecus, he said. The finding does not completely rule out Ardipithecus dying off as a genus and Australopithecus developing independently.

The connections between Ardipithecus and Australopithecus have been theorized since an anamensis fossil was first found in Kenya 11 years ago. This draws the lines better, said Alan Walker of Penn State University, who found the first anamensis and is not part of White’s team.

Rick Potts, director of the Smithsonian’s Human Origins Program, agreed: “For those people who are tied up in doing the whole human family tree, being able to connect the branches is a very important thing to do.”


Assertions by prosecutor put White House officials on spot
By David E. Sanger and David Johnston

WASHINGTON – From the beginning days of the CIA leak investigation in 2003, the Bush White House has insisted there was never an effort to discredit Joseph C. Wilson, the man who emerged as the most damaging critic of the administration’s case that Saddam Hussein was seeking to build nuclear weapons.

But now the White House – and specifically President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney – have been pitched back into the center of the nearly three-year controversy, this time because of a prosecutor’s court filing in the case that asserts there was “a strong desire by many, including multiple people in the White House,” to undermine Wilson.

The new assertions by the special prosecutor, Patrick J. Fitzgerald, has put White House officials on the spot in a way they have not been for months, as attention in the leak case seems to be shifting away from the White House to the pretrial procedural skirmishing in the perjury and obstruction charge against Cheney’s former chief of staff, I. Lewis Libby Jr.

Fitzgerald’s court filing talks not of an effort to level with Americans but of “a plan to discredit, punish or seek revenge against Mr. Wilson.” It concludes, “It is hard to conceive of what evidence there could be that would disprove the existence of White House efforts to ‘punish Wilson.'”

With more filings expected from Fitzgerald, the prosecutor’s work has the potential to keep the focus on Bush and Cheney at a time when the president is struggling with his lowest approval ratings since he came to office.

Even on Monday, Bush found himself in an uncomfortable spot during an appearance at a Johns Hopkins University campus in Washington, when a student asked him to address Fitzgerald’s assertion that the White House was seeking to retaliate against Wilson.

Bush stumbled for a moment as he began his response before settling on an answer that sidestepped the question. He said he had ordered the formal declassification of the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq July 2003 because “it was important for people to get a better sense for why I was saying what I was saying in my speeches” about Iraq’s efforts to reconstitute its weapons program.

Bush said nothing about the earlier, informal authorization that Fitzgerald’s court filing revealed for the first time. The prosecutor described testimony from Libby, who said that Bush told Cheney that it was permissible to reveal some of the information in the intelligence estimate, which described Saddam’s efforts to acquire uranium.

But on Monday, Bush was not talking about that. “You’re just going to have to let Mr. Fitzgerald complete his case, and I hope you understand that,” Bush said. “It’s a serious legal matter that we’ve got to be careful in making public statements about it.”

Every prosecutor strives not just to prove a case, but to tell a compelling story. It is now clear that Fitzgerald’s account of what was happening in the White House that summer of 2003 is very different from the Bush administration’s narrative, which suggested that Wilson was regarded as a minor figure whose criticisms could be answered perfectly well by simply disclosing the underlying intelligence upon which Bush relied.

It turned out that much of the information about Saddam’s search for uranium was questionable at best, and it became the subject of dispute almost as soon as it was included in the 2002 National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq.

The answer to the question of whose recounting of events is correct – Bush’s or Fitzgerald’s – may not be known for months or years, if ever.

Bush Advisor Says President Has Legal Power to Torture Children
January 9 2006

John Yoo publicly argued there is no law that could prevent the President from ordering the torture of a child of a suspect in custody – including by crushing that child’s testicles.

This came out in response to a question in a December 1st debate in Chicago with Notre Dame professor and international human rights scholar Doug Cassel.

What is particularly chilling and revealing about this is that John Yoo was a key architect post-9/11 Bush Administration legal policy. As a deputy assistant to then-Attorney General John Ashcroft, John Yoo authored a number of legal memos arguing for unlimited presidential powers to order torture of captive suspects, and to declare war anytime, any where, and on anyone the President deemed a threat.

It has now come out Yoo also had a hand in providing legal reasoning for the President to conduct unauthorized wiretaps of U.S. citizens. Georgetown Law Professor David Cole wrote, “Few lawyers have had more influence on President Bush’s legal policies in the ‘war on terror’ than John Yoo.”

This part of the exchange during the debate with Doug Cassel, reveals the logic of Yoo’s theories, adopted by the Administration as bedrock principles, in the real world.

Cassel: If the President deems that he’s got to torture somebody, including by crushing the testicles of the person’s child, there is no law that can stop him?
Yoo: No treaty.
Cassel: Also no law by Congress. That is what you wrote in the August 2002 memo.
Yoo: I think it depends on why the President thinks he needs to do that.

Yoo argues presidential powers on Constitutional grounds, but where in the Constitution does it say the President can order the torture of children ? As David Cole puts it, “Yoo reasoned that because the Constitution makes the President the ‘Commander-in-Chief,’ no law can restrict the actions he may take in pursuit of war. On this reasoning, the President would be entitled by the Constitution to resort to genocide if he wished.”

What is the position of the Bush Administration on the torture of children, since one of its most influential legal architects is advocating the President’s right to order the crushing of a child’s testicles?

This fascist logic has nothing to do with “getting information” as Yoo has argued. The legal theory developed by Yoo and a few others and adopted by the Administration has resulted in thousands being abducted from their homes in Afghanistan, Iraq or other parts of the world, mostly at random. People have been raped, electrocuted, nearly drowned and tortured literally to death in U.S.-run torture centers in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Guantánamo Bay. And there is much still to come out. What about the secret centers in Europe or the many still-suppressed photos from Abu Ghraib? What can explain this sadistic, indiscriminate, barbaric brutality except a need to instill widespread fear among people all over the world?

It is ironic that just prior to arguing the President’s legal right to torture children, John Yoo was defensive about the Bush administration policies, based on his legal memo’s, being equated to those during Nazi Germany.

Yoo said, “If you are trying to draw a moral equivalence between the Nazis and what the United States is trying to do in defending themselves against Al Qaieda and the 9/11 attacks, I fully reject that. Second, if you’re trying to equate the Bush Administration to Nazi officials who committed atrocities in the holocaust, I completely reject that too… I think to equate Nazi Germany to the Bush Administration is irresponsible.”

If open promotion of unmitigated executive power, including the right to order the torture of innocent children, isn’t sufficient basis for drawing such a “moral equivalence,” then I don’t know what is. What would be irresponsible is to sit by and allow the Bush regime to radically remake society in a fascist way, with repercussions for generations to come. We must act now because the future is in the balance. The world cannot wait. While Bush gives his State of the Union on January 31st, I’ll find myself along with many thousands across the country declaring “Bush Step Down And take your program with you.”

Lacking biolabs, trailers carried case for war
White House pushed Iraq bioweapons claim despite evidence to contrary
By Joby Warrick
April 12, 2006

On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile “biological laboratories.” He declared, “We have found the weapons of mass destruction.”

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq — not made public until now — had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president’s statement.

Report shelved while claim went forth
The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped “secret” and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

The authors of the reports were nine U.S. and British civilian experts — scientists and engineers with extensive experience in all the technical fields involved in making bioweapons — who were dispatched to Baghdad by the Defense Intelligence Agency for an analysis of the trailers. Their actions and findings were described to a Washington Post reporter in interviews with six government officials and weapons experts who participated in the mission or had direct knowledge of it.

None would consent to being identified by name because of fear that their jobs would be jeopardized. Their accounts were verified by other current and former government officials knowledgeable about the mission. The contents of the final report, “Final Technical Engineering Exploitation Report on Iraqi Suspected Biological Weapons-Associated Trailers,” remains classified. But interviews reveal that the technical team was unequivocal in its conclusion that the trailers were not intended to manufacture biological weapons. Those interviewed took care not to discuss the classified portions of their work.

“There was no connection to anything biological,” said one expert who studied the trailers. Another recalled an epithet that came to be associated with the trailers: “the biggest sand toilets in the world.”

Primary piece of evidence
The story of the technical team and its reports adds a new dimension to the debate over the U.S. government’s handling of intelligence related to banned Iraqi weapons programs. The trailers — along with aluminum tubes acquired by Iraq for what was believed to be a nuclear weapons program — were primary pieces of evidence offered by the Bush administration before the war to support its contention that Iraq was making weapons of mass destruction.

Intelligence officials and the White House have repeatedly denied allegations that intelligence was hyped or manipulated in the run-up to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. But officials familiar with the technical team’s reports are questioning anew whether intelligence agencies played down or dismissed postwar evidence that contradicted the administration’s public views about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction. Last year, a presidential commission on intelligence failures criticized U.S. spy agencies for discounting evidence that contradicted the official line about banned weapons in Iraq, both before and after the invasion.

Spokesmen for the CIA and the Defense Intelligence Agency both declined to comment on the specific findings of the technical report because it remains classified. A spokesman for the DIA asserted that the team’s findings were neither ignored nor suppressed, but were incorporated in the work of the Iraqi Survey Group, which led the official search for Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. The survey group’s final report in September 2004 — 15 months after the technical report was written — said the trailers were “impractical” for biological weapons production and were “almost certainly intended” for manufacturing hydrogen for weather balloons.

“Whether the information was offered to others in the political realm I cannot say,” said the DIA official, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

Others thought trailers had weapons use
Intelligence analysts involved in high-level discussions about the trailers noted that the technical team was among several groups that analyzed the suspected mobile labs throughout the spring and summer of 2003. Two teams of military experts who viewed the trailers soon after their discovery concluded that the facilities were weapons labs, a finding that strongly influenced views of intelligence officials in Washington, the analysts said. “It was hotly debated, and there were experts making arguments on both sides,” said one former senior official who spoke on the condition that he not be identified.

The technical team’s findings had no apparent impact on the intelligence agencies’ public statements on the trailers. A day after the team’s report was transmitted to Washington — May 28, 2003 — the CIA publicly released its first formal assessment of the trailers, reflecting the views of its Washington analysts. That white paper, which also bore the DIA seal, contended that U.S. officials were “confident” that the trailers were used for “mobile biological weapons production.”

Throughout the summer and fall of 2003, the trailers became simply “mobile biological laboratories” in speeches and press statements by administration officials. In late June, Secretary of State Colin L. Powell declared that the “confidence level is increasing” that the trailers were intended for biowarfare. In September, Vice President Cheney pronounced the trailers to be “mobile biological facilities,” and said they could have been used to produce anthrax or smallpox.

Doubts creep in
By autumn, leaders of the Iraqi Survey Group were publicly expressing doubts about the trailers in news reports. David Kay, the group’s first leader, told Congress on Oct. 2 that he had found no banned weapons in Iraq and was unable to verify the claim that the disputed trailers were weapons labs. Still, as late as February 2004, then-CIA Director George J. Tenet continued to assert that the mobile-labs theory remained plausible. Although there was “no consensus” among intelligence officials, the trailers “could be made to work” as weapons labs, he said in a speech Feb. 5.

Tenet, now a faculty member at Georgetown’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, declined to comment for this story.

Kay, in an interview, said senior CIA officials had advised him upon accepting the survey group’s leadership in June 2003 that some experts in the DIA were “backsliding” on whether the trailers were weapons labs. But Kay said he was not apprised of the technical team’s findings until late 2003, near the end of his time as the group’s leader.

“If I had known that we had such a team in Iraq,” Kay said, “I would certainly have given their findings more weight.”

A defector’s tales
Even before the trailers were seized in spring 2003, the mobile labs had achieved mythic stature. As early as the mid-1990s, weapons inspectors from the United Nations chased phantom mobile labs that were said to be mounted on trucks or rail cars, churning out tons of anthrax by night and moving to new locations each day. No such labs were found, but many officials believed the stories, thanks in large part to elaborate tales told by Iraqi defectors.

The CIA’s star informant, an Iraqi with the code name Curveball, was a self-proclaimed chemical engineer who defected to Germany in 1999 and requested asylum. For four years, the Baghdad native passed secrets about alleged Iraqi banned weapons to the CIA indirectly, through Germany’s intelligence service. Curveball provided descriptions of mobile labs and said he had supervised work in one of them. He even described a catastrophic 1998 accident in one lab that left 12 Iraqis dead.

Curveball’s detailed descriptions — which were officially discredited in 2004 — helped CIA artists create color diagrams of the labs, which Powell later used to argue the case for military intervention in Iraq before the U.N. Security Council.

“We have firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails,” Powell said in the Feb. 5, 2003, speech. Thanks to those descriptions, he said, “We know what the fermenters look like. We know what the tanks, pumps, compressors and other parts look like.”

The trailers discovered in the Iraqi desert resembled the drawings well enough, at least from a distance. One of them, a flat-bed trailer covered by tarps, was found in April by Kurdish fighters near the northern city of Irbil. The second was captured by U.S. forces near Mosul. Both were painted military green and outfitted with a suspicious array of gear: large metal tanks, motors, compressors, pipes and valves.

Photos of the trailers were quickly circulated, and many weapons experts were convinced that the long-sought mobile labs had been found.

Yet reaction from Iraqi sources was troublingly inconsistent. Curveball, shown photos of the trailers, confirmed they were mobile labs and even pointed out key features. But other Iraqi informants in internal reports disputed Curveball’s story and claimed the trailers had a benign purpose: producing hydrogen for weather balloons.

Crack team dispatched to Iraq
Back at the Pentagon, DIA officials attempted a quick resolution of the dispute. The task fell to the “Jefferson Project,” a DIA-led initiative made up of government and civilian technical experts who specialize in analyzing and countering biological threats. Project leaders put together a team of volunteers, eight Americans and a Briton, each with at least a decade of experience in one of the essential technical skills needed for bioweapons production. All were nongovernment employees working for defense contractors or the Energy Department’s national labs.

The technical team was assembled in Kuwait and then flown to Baghdad to begin their work early on May 25, 2003. By that date, the two trailers had been moved to a military base on the grounds of one of deposed president Saddam Hussein’s Baghdad palaces. When members of the technical team arrived, they found the trailers parked in an open lot, covered with camouflage netting.

The technical team went to work under a blistering sun in 110-degree temperatures. Using tools from home, they peered into vats, turned valves, tapped gauges and measured pipes. They reconstructed a flow-path through feed tanks and reactor vessels, past cooling chambers and drain valves, and into discharge tanks and exhaust pipes. They took hundreds of photographs.

By the end of their first day, team members still had differing views about what the trailers were. But they agreed about what the trailers were not.

“Within the first four hours,” said one team member, who like the others spoke on the condition he not be named, “it was clear to everyone that these were not biological labs.”

News of the team’s early impressions leaped across the Atlantic well ahead of the technical report. Over the next two days, a stream of anxious e-mails and phone calls from Washington pressed for details and clarifications.

The reason for the nervousness was soon obvious: In Washington, a CIA analyst had written a draft white paper on the trailers, an official assessment that would also reflect the views of the DIA. The white paper described the trailers as “the strongest evidence to date that Iraq was hiding a biological warfare program.” It also explicitly rejected an explanation by Iraqi officials, described in a New York Times article a few days earlier, that the trailers might be mobile units for producing hydrogen.

But the technical team’s preliminary report, written in a tent in Baghdad and approved by each team member, reached a conclusion opposite from that of the white paper.

Crucial components lacking
Team members and other sources intimately familiar with the mission declined to discuss technical details of the team’s findings because the report remains classified. But they cited the Iraqi Survey Group’s nonclassified, final report to Congress in September 2004 as reflecting the same conclusions.

That report said the trailers were “impractical for biological agent production,” lacking 11 components that would be crucial for making bioweapons. Instead, the trailers were “almost certainly designed and built for the generation of hydrogen,” the survey group reported.

The group’s report and members of the technical team also dismissed the notion that the trailers could be easily modified to produce weapons.

“It would be easier to start all over with just a bucket,” said Rod Barton, an Australian biological weapons expert and former member of the survey group.

The technical team’s preliminary report was transmitted in the early hours of May 27, just before its members began boarding planes to return home. Within 24 hours, the CIA published its white paper, “Iraqi Mobile Biological Warfare Agent Production Plants,” on its Web site.

After team members returned to Washington, they began work on a final report. At several points, members were questioned about revising their conclusions, according to sources knowledgeable about the conversations. The questioners generally wanted to know the same thing: Could the report’s conclusions be softened, to leave open a possibility that the trailers might have been intended for weapons?

In the end, the final report — 19 pages plus a 103-page appendix — remained unequivocal in declaring the trailers unsuitable for weapons production.

“It was very assertive,” said one weapons expert familiar with the report’s contents.

Then, their mission completed, the team members returned to their jobs and watched as their work appeared to vanish.

“I went home and fully expected that our findings would be publicly stated,” one member recalled. “It never happened. And I just had to live with it.”


i went over to ‘ house yesterday for the first time in a number of months. he proposed that his house would be a good place to “store” my fender piano and my yamaha keyboard, and you know what? it would be an excellent place to store my keyboards! not only would it give me a place that i can go and play on a regular basis, but it would mean that i see all of the people associated with a lot more frequently, and adds the substantial benefit of having a regular place to obtain the holy vegetable.


i’ve made a decision, which, for me, is pretty monumental, and it’s been brought about by spending the past month doing gigs 5 days a week. the fact is, i enjoy doing gigs. i don’t enjoy going to “work” five days a week as a tester, and i can tolerate doing 5 days a week as a graphic artist and typesetter, but i’d rather be playing. the problem previously has been that i don’t get paid (as much, if at all) for playing, and i do get paid for being a tester or a typesetter, but at this point, i don’t care any more. beau bonds as “the naked puppet” (“i’ve got nothing to hide, i’m naked!”) said, “sometimes you don’t need a job, sometimes you need a life.” i remember when i was in the tech school i couldn’t imagine getting paid for playing (which includes doing the things that i was trained to do at the tech school), but that’s what i wanted, and now, finally, i’ve figured out that playing is what i want to do, regardless of whether i get paid or not. i had a near-death experience and survived, so i’ve been given a second chance at life, and i don’t want to screw it up again. fuck work. i’m through with working.

it’s kind of a scary decision, but it’s also kind of an exciting one.


the 3rd annual fremont moisture festival, the largest comedie/varieté festival in the world(!), ended yesterday. the time to beat for next year’s marathon is 4 hours and 46 minutes (last year’s record was 4’20”, heh heh heh). the last show was supposed to have an encore performance by johnny jetpack, but it got censored at the last moment because “there were kids in the audience”, which i think is a lame excuse – it was only johnny jetpack getting a blow job from a 12,000 gallon per minute milking machine, and it didn’t even show anything truly obscene, although i can understand why a guy like mike hale (the notorious “christian” who is the reason why the burlesque nights were held at a different venue) would see it that way. Big Bois With Poise opened the 3rd half of the show, but instead of fire poi, we had water balloons. it was really funny, because there were two people directly in front of where i was spinning who were obviously not particularly interested in getting wet at all, and were shying away from my spinning poi, and one of my water-balloons had sprung a leak, so that every time i spun it, they got showered with water. and then, after we were done chanting, we broke the water balloons on our heads, but for some reason mine wouldn’t break (who ever heard of a sturdy water balloon?), so i ended up biting them. and in spite of how well it went, i sure hope that they have a new person organising music next year, because the person that was doing it this year (RB?) couldn’t organise his way out of a wet paper sack (which is an obscure reference to rhys thomas’ act).

the fremont phil has an unexpected in with the folklife festival this year. apparently the lady who is also the leader of the Ballard Sedentary Sousa Band is on the selection committee for folklife, and she came to fred with an offer of getting us a stage without having to go through the normal application procedures. i just heard about the BSSB during the moisture festival, from the tuba player for the Fighting Instruments of Karma, and it turns out tha they need a new trombone player, so i’m now more or less officially playing for the sedentary sousa band. i figure that it will be perfect for me, because i don’t like marching anyway.


US considers use of nuclear weapons against Iran
Sat Apr 8

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The administration of President George W. Bush is planning a massive bombing campaign against Iran, including use of bunker-buster nuclear bombs to destroy a key Iranian suspected nuclear weapons facility, The New Yorker magazine has reported in its April 17 issue.

The article by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh said that Bush and others in the White House have come to view Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as a potential Adolf Hitler.

“That’s the name they’re using,” the report quoted a former senior intelligence official as saying.

A senior unnamed Pentagon adviser is quoted in the article as saying that “this White House believes that the only way to solve the problem is to change the power structure in Iran, and that means war.”

The former intelligence officials depicts planning as “enormous,” “hectic” and “operational,” Hersh writes.

One former defense official said the military planning was premised on a belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government,” The New Yorker pointed out.

In recent weeks, the president has quietly initiated a series of talks on plans for Iran with a few key senators and members of the House of Representatives, including at least one Democrat, the report said.

One of the options under consideration involves the possible use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, to insure the destruction of Iran’s main centrifuge plant at Natanz, Hersh writes.

But the former senior intelligence official said the attention given to the nuclear option has created serious misgivings inside the military, and some officers have talked about resigning after an attempt to remove the nuclear option from the evolving war plans in Iran failed, according to the report.

“There are very strong sentiments within the military against brandishing nuclear weapons against other countries,” the magazine quotes the Pentagon adviser as saying.

The adviser warned that bombing Iran could provoke “a chain reaction” of attacks on American facilities and citizens throughout the world and might also reignite Hezbollah.

“If we go, the southern half of Iraq will light up like a candle,” the adviser is quoted as telling The New Yorker.

president bush views president mahmoud ahmadinejad as a potential adolph hitler, i view president bush as a potential adolph hitler. i wonder which one of us will have our views proved right in the long term…

Sy Hersh was on "Late Edition"

BLITZER: And you’re saying that some senior military officers are prepared to resign?

HERSH: I’m saying that, if this isn’t walked back and if the president isn’t told that you cannot do it — and once the chairman of the joint chiefs or some senior members of the military say to the president, let’s get this nuclear option off the table, it will be taken off. He will not defy the military in a formal report. Unless something specific is told to the White House that you’ve got to drop this dream of a nuclear option — and that’s exactly the issue I’m talking about — people have said to me that they would resign.

Hersh: …And then, of course, nobody in their right mind would want to use a nuclear weapon in the Middle East, because it would be, my God, totally chaotic. When the JCS, the joint chiefs, and the planners wanted to walk back that option, what happened is about three or four weeks ago, the White House, people in the White House, in the Oval Office, the vice president’s office, said, no, let’s keep it in the plan. They refuse to take it out. And what I’m writing here is that if this isn’t removed — and I say this very seriously. I’ve been around this town for 40 years — some senior officers are prepared to resign. They’re that upset about the fact that this plan is kept in. Again, let me make the point, you’re giving a range of options early in the planning. To be sure of getting rid of it, you give that option.

JACK STRAW, BRITISH FOREIGN SECRETARY: The idea of a nuclear strike on Iran is completely nuts.

BLITZER: He didn’t mince any words: “completely nuts” in his words. You want to react to that?

HERSH: Well, what he didn’t say — he didn’t deny that there’s serious planning about the military strike is the point. I mean, he’s absolutely right about a nuclear option, but there is serious planning for a conventional war.

Phone-jamming records point to White House
Monday, April 10, 2006

WASHINGTON — Key figures in a phone-jamming scheme designed to keep New Hampshire Democrats from voting in 2002 had regular contact with the White House and Republican Party as the plan was unfolding, phone records introduced in criminal court show.

The records show that Bush campaign operative James Tobin, who recently was convicted in the case, made two dozen calls to the White House within a three-day period around Election Day 2002 – as the phone jamming operation was finalized, carried out and then abruptly shut down.

The national Republican Party, which paid millions in legal bills to defend Tobin, says the contacts involved routine election business and that it was “preposterous” to suggest the calls involved phone jamming.

The Justice Department has secured three convictions in the case but hasn’t accused any White House or national Republican officials of wrongdoing, nor made any allegations suggesting party officials outside New Hampshire were involved. The phone records of calls to the White House were exhibits in Tobin’s trial but prosecutors did not make them part of their case.

Democrats plan to ask a federal judge Tuesday to order GOP and White House officials to answer questions about the phone jamming in a civil lawsuit alleging voter fraud.

Repeated hang-up calls that jammed telephone lines at a Democratic get-out-the-vote center occurred in a Senate race in which Republican John Sununu defeated Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, 51 percent to 46 percent, on Nov. 5, 2002.

Besides the conviction of Tobin, the Republicans’ New England regional director, prosecutors negotiated two plea bargains: one with a New Hampshire Republican Party official and another with the owner of a telemarketing firm involved in the scheme. The owner of the subcontractor firm whose employees made the hang-up calls is under indictment.

The phone records show that most calls to the White House were from Tobin, who became President Bush’s presidential campaign chairman for the New England region in 2004. Other calls from New Hampshire senatorial campaign offices to the White House could have been made by a number of people.

A GOP campaign consultant in 2002, Jayne Millerick, made a 17-minute call to the White House on Election Day, but said in an interview she did not recall the subject. Millerick, who later became the New Hampshire GOP chairwoman, said in an interview she did not learn of the jamming until after the election.

A Democratic analysis of phone records introduced at Tobin’s criminal trial show he made 115 outgoing calls – mostly to the same number in the White House political affairs office – between Sept. 17 and Nov. 22, 2002. Two dozen of the calls were made from 9:28 a.m. the day before the election through 2:17 a.m. the night after the voting.

There also were other calls between Republican officials during the period that the scheme was hatched and canceled.

Prosecutors did not need the White House calls to convict Tobin and negotiate the two guilty pleas.

Whatever the reason for not using the White House records, prosecutors “tried a very narrow case,” said Paul Twomey, who represented the Democratic Party in the criminal and civil cases. The Justice Department did not say why the White House records were not used.

The Democrats said in their civil case motion that they were entitled to know the purpose of the calls to government offices “at the time of the planning and implementation of the phone-jamming conspiracy … and the timing of the phone calls made by Mr. Tobin on Election Day.”

While national Republican officials have said they deplore such operations, the Republican National Committee said it paid for Tobin’s defense because he is a longtime supporter and told officials he had committed no crime.

By Nov. 4, 2002, the Monday before the election, an Idaho firm was hired to make the hang-up calls. The Republican state chairman at the time, John Dowd, said in an interview he learned of the scheme that day and tried to stop it.

Dowd, who blamed an aide for devising the scheme without his knowledge, contended that the jamming began on Election Day despite his efforts. A police report confirmed the Manchester Professional Fire Fighters Association reported the hang-up calls began about 7:15 a.m. and continued for about two hours. The association was offering rides to the polls.

Virtually all the calls to the White House went to the same number, which currently rings inside the political affairs office. In 2002, White House political affairs was led by now-RNC chairman Ken Mehlman. The White House declined to say which staffer was assigned that phone number in 2002.

“As policy, we don’t discuss ongoing legal proceedings within the courts,” White House spokesman Ken Lisaius said.

Robert Kelner, a Washington lawyer representing the Republican National Committee in the civil litigation, said there was no connection between the phone jamming operation and the calls to the White House and party officials.

“On Election Day, as anybody involved in politics knows, there’s a tremendous volume of calls between political operatives in the field and political operatives in Washington,” Kelner said.

“If all you’re pointing out is calls between Republican National Committee regional political officials and the White House political office on Election Day, you’re pointing out nothing that hasn’t been true on every Election Day,” he said.


it’s old news, but still…

23 November 2005
By Kevin Maguire

THE Daily Mirror was yesterday told not to publish further details from a top secret memo, which revealed that President Bush wanted to bomb an Arab TV station.

The gag by the Attorney General Lord Goldsmith came nearly 24 hours after the Mirror informed Downing Street of its intention to reveal how Tony Blair talked Bush out of attacking satellite station al-Jazeera’s HQ in friendly Qatar.

No 10 did nothing to stop us publishing our front page exclusive yesterday.

But the Attorney General warned that publication of any further details from the document would be a breach of the Official Secrets Act.

He threatened an immediate High Court injunction unless the Mirror confirmed it would not publish further details. We have essentially agreed to comply.

The five-page memo – stamped “Top Secret” – records a threat by Bush to unleash “military action” against the TV station, which America accuses of being a mouthpiece for anti-US sentiments.

Following the Mirror’s revelations, there were calls for the transcript of the memo to be released.

Lib Dem foreign affairs spokesman Sir Menzies Campbell said: “If true, then this underlines the desperation of the Bush administration.

“On this occasion, the Prime Minister may have been successful in averting political disaster, but it shows how dangerous his relationship with President Bush has been.”

The White House yesterday said of the Mirror’s report: “We are not going to dignify something so outlandish with a response.”

Downing Street said: “We don’t comment on leaked documents.”

The memo turned up last year at the Northampton office of then-Labour MP Tony Clarke.

Civil servant David Keogh, 49, is now accused of passing the memo to Leo O’Connor, who once worked for Mr Clarke.

Both Mr Keogh and Mr O’Connor are due to appear in court next week on charges under the Official Secrets Act.

Mr Clarke returned the memo to Downing Street.


Disorder Your Score
Major Depression: Very High
Dysthymia: High-Moderate
Bipolar Disorder: Slight
Cyclothymia: Slight
Seasonal Affective Disorder: Very Slight
Postpartum Depression: N/A
Take the Depression Test

this is interesting, because i’ve actually been in treatment for bipolar disorder, and, in fact, a PhD psychiatrist "diagnosed" me with bipolar II a few years ago… now admittedly, she based her "diagnosis" on nothing more than an hour’s conversation with me (which is why i put "diagnosis" in quotation marks), but still…

Your personality type is RLUAI
You are moderately reserved, moody, unstructured, accommodating, and intellectual, and may prefer a city which matches those traits.

The largest representation of your personality type can be found in the these U.S. cities: Washington DC, Portland/Salem, Richmond, New Orleans, Norfolk, Denver, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, Kansas City, St. Louis, New York City, Indianapolis, San Antonio and these international countries/regions Slovenia, Croatia, Caribbean, Czech Republic, Netherlands, Belgium, Guam, Ukraine, Argentina, Greece, Brazil, Israel, Wales, Finland, Germany, Poland

What Places In The World Match Your Personality?
City Reviews at CityCulture.org

now why would i want to live in a city or region of the world where a majority of other people are all like me? while it may be okay politically, my impression is that such a place would be extremely depressing…

You Belong in Amsterdam

A little old fashioned, a little modern – you’re the best of both worlds. And so is Amsterdam. Whether you want to be a squatter graffiti artist or a great novelist, Amsterdam has all that you want in Europe (in one small city).

now amsterdam is an actual possibility. i’ve thought a lot about emigrating recently, and i’ve pretty much decided that it’s going to be either the netherlands or new zealand… but it’s all just a fantasy until something financial happens. 8/

Penis Moulding – the story of Cynthia Plaster-Caster comes full circle…

and finally, from The Simplified Spelling Society we have Poems showing the absurdities of English spelling… just what i always wanted!


Bush Faces Rare Audience Challenge in N.C.
President Defends Warrantless Spying Program After Criticism at Open-Forum Event
By Peter Baker
April 7, 2006

CHARLOTTE, April 6 — Harry Taylor got the chance Thursday to do what frustrated liberals across the country have wanted to do for a long time: He stood up and told off the president.

And in its own way, that’s just what the White House wanted.

President Bush flew here for the latest of his open-forum events, an innovation for a leader who until recently stuck to scripted meetings with screened audiences. At a time of dwindling public support and of charges of Bush’s being isolated, the idea was to put him in front of crowds for spontaneous exchanges to show he is not afraid of criticism.

By the time Bush landed in Charlotte, these audience-participation sessions had produced some skeptical questions, some interesting back-and-forth, and even a few off-script comments by a famously disciplined president.

But until Taylor came along, no one had really gotten in Bush’s face. No one had really confronted him so directly on the issues of war and liberty that are at the heart of both his presidency and his political troubles. And no one had given him the opportunity to look unbothered by dissent.

“I would hope, from time to time, that you have the humility and the grace to be ashamed of yourself,” Taylor told Bush after rattling off a litany of grievances.

Bush responded only to Taylor’s complaint about warrantless eavesdropping. “You said, would I apologize for that?” he said. “The answer is absolutely not.”

The dialogue interrupted a love fest here in a state Bush carried in both elections. Microphone in hand, Bush dispensed with the podium and text to wander the stage like a talk-show host. He presented himself as a reluctant warrior struggling with sending young men and women into harm’s way.

“It’s a decision I wish I did not have to make,” he said. In a nod to public frustration, he added: “If I didn’t think we could win, I’d pull them out. You just got to know that.”

The president boasted of building democracy and rebuilding infrastructure in Iraq, without mentioning that his administration is scaling back funding for both goals. And he seemed eager to re-litigate the original reasons for the invasion.

“I fully understand that the intelligence was wrong, and I’m just as disappointed as everybody else is,” he said. But he added: “Removing Saddam Hussein was the right thing for world peace and the security of our country.”

The audience cheered boisterously as he slipped off his coat to take questions. The forum was sponsored by the nonpartisan World Affairs Council of Charlotte at Central Piedmont Community College, and the two institutions invited nearly 1,000 people.

Most of those who stood had only polite inquiries or statements of support. One man told Bush he prayed for him. A woman asked to have her picture taken with him and predicted “you will be vindicated.” Asked by another man what he would do differently, Bush mentioned the detainee abuse at Abu Ghraib. “I wish that could be done over,” he said. “It was a disgraceful experience.”

Then came Taylor, 61, a commercial real estate broker, who got Bush’s attention from the balcony.

“You never stop talking about freedom, and I appreciate that,” Taylor told him. “But while I listen to you talk about freedom, I see you assert your right to tap my telephone, to arrest me and hold me without charges, to try to preclude me from breathing clean air and drinking clean water and eating safe food.”

Bush interrupted with a smile. “I’m not your favorite guy,” he joked, provoking laughter.

“What I want to say to you,” Taylor continued, “is that I, in my lifetime, I have never felt more ashamed of, nor more frightened by, my leadership in Washington.”

Many in the audience booed.

“Let him speak,” Bush said.

“I feel like, despite your rhetoric, that compassion and common sense have been left far behind during your administration,” Taylor added.

Bush took it in stride but offered no regrets. In response, he dealt only with the National Security Agency program to eavesdrop without court approval on telephone calls and e-mails between people inside the United States and people overseas when one person is suspected of terrorist ties.

“I’m not going to apologize for what I did on the terrorist surveillance program, and I’ll tell you why,” Bush said, launching into his explanation of how he approved the program to avoid another Sept. 11. “If we’re at war,” he said, “we ought to be using tools necessary within the Constitution on a very limited basis, a program that’s reviewed constantly, to protect us.”

What made the exchange intriguing was its rarity. Bush is almost never confronted with strong, polite criticism. Hecklers sometimes make it into a speech, but when they stand up to shout, security agents remove them. Three Bush critics sued after they were ejected from an event in Denver.

In an interview afterward, Taylor said he had become an activist in recent years out of discontent with Bush and was pleasantly surprised he was allowed to challenge the president. “I didn’t think I’d be let in the room,” he said.

Bush hardly won him over, though. “I didn’t care about his response,” Taylor said. “I wanted to say what I wanted to say and I wanted him to know that despite being in a room with a thousand people who love him . . . there are plenty of people out there who don’t agree with him in any way, shape or form.”

what alarms me the most is that, in spite of bush repeatedly lying to the american public about everything from 9/11 to weapons of mass destruction, to sweetheart deals with corporate cronies to torturing prisoners to spying on american citizens to outing valerie plame, there are still people who would boo when a guy gets up and tells the president how he feels…


from who stole it from

Go to Wikipedia and look up your birth day (excluding the year). List three neat facts, two births and one death in your journal, including the year.





Bush said to authorize leak of Iraq intelligence
Apr 6, 2006

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush authorized the leak to the media of classified material about Iraq, a former aide to Vice President Dick Cheney said according to court papers filed by prosecutors and made public on Thursday.

The aide, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, also testified that he was specifically directed by Cheney to speak to the media about the intelligence information and about Joseph Wilson, a former ambassador who had criticized Bush’s Iraq policy, according to the papers.

Libby has been charged with perjury and obstruction of justice after an investigation into the leaking to the media of the fact that Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, was a CIA agent, which Wilson says was done to pay him back for his criticisms.

The court documents made public on Thursday emerged from that investigation.

The reported authorization by Bush of disclosure of secret material in 2003 came at a time when the March 2003 Iraq invasion was being challenged after U.S. forces failed to find weapons of mass destruction, cited by Bush as the main reason for the action.

Bush had the authority to declassify and allow publication of the material. But the court papers said Libby noted “it was unique in his recollection” to get approval from the president, via the vice president, to discuss material with a reporter that would be classified if it were not for this approval.

The documents showed that Libby, testifying before a federal grand jury before his indictment, said that he got approval from Bush through Cheney to discuss the classified Iraq material with then-New York Times reporter Judith Miller.

Former Head Of Star Wars Program Says Cheney Main 9/11 Suspect

9/11 tragedy

The former head of the Star Wars missile defense program under Presidents Ford and Carter has gone public to say that the official version of 9/11 is a conspiracy theory and his main suspect for the architect of the attack is Vice President Dick Cheney.

Dr. Robert M. Bowman, Lt. Col., USAF, ret. flew 101 combat missions in Vietnam. He is the recipient of the Eisenhower Medal, the George F. Kennan Peace Prize, the President’s Medal of Veterans for Peace, the Society of Military Engineers Gold Medal (twice), six Air Medals, and dozens of other awards and honors. His Ph.D. is in Aeronautics and Nuclear Engineering from Caltech. He chaired 8 major international conferences, and is one of the country’s foremost experts on National Security.

Bowman worked secretly for the US government on the Star Wars project and was the first to coin the very term in a 1977 secret memo. After Bowman realized that the program was only ever intended to be used as an aggressive and not defensive tool, as part of a plan to initiate a nuclear war with the Soviets, he left the program and campaigned against it.

In an interview with The Alex Jones Show aired nationally on the GCN Radio Network, Bowman stated that at the bare minimum if Osama bin Laden and Al-Qaeda were involved in 9/11 then the government stood down and allowed the attacks to happen. He said it is plausible that the entire chain of military command were unaware of what was taking place and were used as tools by the people pulling the strings behind the attack.

Bowman outlined how the drills on the morning of 9/11 that simulated planes crashing into buildings on the east coast were used as a cover to dupe unwitting air defense personnel into not responding quickly enough to stop the attack.

“The exercises that went on that morning simulating the exact kind of thing that was happening so confused the people in the FAA and NORAD….that they didn’t they didn’t know what was real and what was part of the exercise,” said Bowman

“I think the people who planned and carried out those exercises, they’re the ones that should be the object of investigation.”

Asked if he could name a prime suspect who was the likely architect behind the attacks, Bowman stated, “If I had to narrow it down to one person….I think my prime suspect would be Dick Cheney.”

Bowman said that privately his military fighter pilot peers and colleagues did not disagree with his sentiments about the real story behind 9/11.

Bowman agreed that the US was in danger of slipping into a dictatorship and stated, “I think there’s been nothing closer to fascism than what we’ve seen lately from this government.”

Bowman slammed the Patriot Act as having, “Done more to destroy the rights of Americans than all of our enemies combined.”

Bowman trashed the 9/11 Commission as a politically motivated cover-up with abounding conflicts of interest, charging, “The 9/11 Commission omitted anything that might be the least bit suspicious or embarrassing or in any way detract from the official conspiracy so it was a total whitewash.”

“There needs to be a true investigation, not the kind of sham investigations we have had with the 9/11 omission and all the rest of that junk,” said Bowman.

Asked if the perpetrators of 9/11 were preparing to stage another false-flag attack to reinvigorate their agenda Bowman agreed that, “I can see that and I hope they can’t pull it off, I hope they are prevented from pulling it off but I know darn good and well they’d like to have another one.”

A mainstay of the attack pieces against Charlie Sheen have been that he is not credible enough to speak on the topic of 9/11. These charges are ridiculed by the fact that Sheen is an expert on 9/11 who spends hours a day meticulously researching the topic, something that the attack dogs have failed to do, aiming their comments solely at Sheen’s personal life and ignoring his invitation to challenge him on the facts.

In addition, from the very start we have put forth eminently credible individuals only for them to be ignored by the establishment media. Physics Professors, former White House advisors and CIA analysts, the father of Reaganomics, German Defense Ministers and Bush’s former Secretary of the Treasury, have all gone public on 9/11 but have been uniformly ignored by the majority of the establishment press.

Will Robert Bowman also be blackballed as the mainstream continue to misrepresent the 9/11 truth movement as an occupation of the fringe minority?

Bowman is currently running for Congress in Florida’s 15th District.


DeLay Announces Resignation From House

WASHINGTON – Succumbing to scandal, former Majority Leader Tom DeLay said Tuesday he will resign from Congress in the face of a tough re-election race, closing out a career that blended unflinching conservatism with a bare-knuckled political style.

“I have no fear whatsoever about any investigation into me or my personal or professional activities,” DeLay said in a statement to constituents. At the same time, he said, “I refuse to allow liberal Democrats an opportunity to steal this seat with a negative, personal campaign.”

He said the voters of his Houston-area district “deserve a campaign about the vital national issues that they care most about … and not a campaign focused solely as a referendum on me.”

DeLay relinquished the post as House majority leader last fall after his indictment in Texas as part of an investigation into the allegedly illegal use of funds for state legislative races. He decided in January against trying to get the leadership post back as an election-year corruption scandal staggered Republicans and emboldened minority Democrats.

Last week, former DeLay aide Tony Rudy pleaded guilty to conspiring with lobbyist Jack Abramoff and others to corrupt public officials, and he promised to help the broad federal investigation of bribery and lobbying fraud that already has resulted in three convictions.

Neither Rudy, Abramoff nor anyone else connected with the investigation has publicly accused DeLay of breaking the law, but Rudy confessed that he had taken actions while working in the majority leader’s office that were illegal. DeLay has consistently denied any wrongdoing.

Sen. John McCain (news, bio, voting record), R-Ariz., a major player in congressional investigations of Abramoff and the lobbyist’s involvement with Indian tribes, said Tuesday that he respects DeLay’s decision to step down, and added, “I think there are other aspects of the Abramoff scandal that will be unfolding in the weeks ahead.”

McCain spoke to reporters following a speech to a Hispanic conference. President Bush said Tuesday that DeLay had informed him of his decision Monday afternoon.

“I wish him all the best,” Bush told reporters during a brief White House session, adding, “It had to have been a very difficult decision for someone who loved representing his district in the state of Texas.”

Bush said the Republican Party won’t suffer from DeLay’s decision to resign from Congress. “My own judgment is that our party will continue to succeed because we are the party of ideas.”

DeLay, an 11-term Texas lawmaker who turns 59 on Saturday, said he would make his resignation effective sometime before mid-June but contingent on the congressional calendar.

“He has served our nation with integrity and honor,” said Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, who succeeded DeLay in his leadership post earlier this year.

But Democrats said the developments marked more than the end to one man’s career in Congress.

“Tom Delay’s announcement is just the beginning of the reckoning of the Republican culture of corruption that has gripped Washington for too long,” said Karen Finney, a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee. “From DeLay to Scooter Libby to Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, to Duke Cunningham, to Bob Ney, to David Safavian, the list of goes on and on.”

DeLay portrayed his decision to resign as a fatal blow for the fortunes of his opponent, Democrat Nick Lampson, who has garnered national attention – and financial support.

“As difficult as this decision has been for me, it’s not going to be a great day for liberal Democrats, either,” DeLay said. “My loyalty to the Republican Party, indeed my love for the Republican Party, has played no small part in this decision.”

Last month, DeLay capped a triumph in a contested GOP primary with a vow to win re-election.

It was not clear whether Texas Gov. Rick Perry would call a special election to fill out the unexpired portion of DeLay’s term, or whether the seat would remain vacant until it is filled in November.

Either way, DeLay’s concern about the potential loss of a Houston-area seat long in Republican hands reflected a deeper worry among GOP strategists. After a dozen years in the majority, they face a strong challenge from Democrats this fall, at a time when President Bush’s public support is sagging, and when the Abramoff scandal has helped send congressional approval ratings tumbling.

Until scandal sent him to the sidelines, DeLay had held leadership posts since the Republicans won control of the House in a 1994 landslide. DeLay quickly established himself as a forceful presence – earning a nickname as “The Hammer” – and he easily became majority leader when the spot opened up.

DeLay was the driving force behind President Clinton’s impeachment in 1999, weeks after Republicans lost seats at the polls in a campaign in which they tried to make an issue of Clinton’s personal behavior.

His trademark aggressiveness helped trigger his downfall, when he led a drive to redraw Texas’ congressional district boundaries to increase the number of seats in GOP hands. DeLay was soon caught up in an investigation involving the use of corporate funds in the campaigns of legislators who had participated in the redistricting.

DHS spokesman arrested in child sex sting
Brian J. Doyle faces 23 charges
Wednesday, April 5, 2006

WASHINGTON (CNN) — A deputy press secretary for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security was arrested Tuesday at his Maryland home on charges he used his computer in an attempt to seduce a child and transmitted harmful materials to a minor, according to the Polk County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office.

Brian J. Doyle, 55, is charged with seven counts of use of a computer to seduce a child and 16 counts of transmission of harmful material to a minor, according to a sheriff’s office statement.

In interviews with police, Doyle confessed and has agreed to waive extradition to Florida, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd said.

On March 12, according to a police statement, Doyle contacted a Polk County computer crimes detective posing online as a 14-year-old girl “and initiated a sexually explicit conversation with her … Doyle knew that the ‘girl’ was 14 years old, and he told her who he was and that he worked for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.”

Judd said that Doyle, in the first conversation, told the detective his position with DHS and “started immediately into pretty vulgar language. He explained in graphic detail the sexual acts he wanted to perform with this 14-year-old.”

As the two continued chatting online, police said, Doyle gave her his home and office phone numbers, and the number to his government-issue cell phone. He also had explicit telephone conversations with a detective posing as the girl, authorities said.

In addition, he used the Internet to send “hard-core pornographic movie clips” to her, and also used an America Online instant-messaging service to have explicit online conversations with her.

“The investigation revealed that the phone numbers given to the detective were in fact Doyle’s, and that the AOL account was registered to him,” police said.

Doyle also sent photos of himself that were not sexually explicit, but said he would send nude photos if the “girl” would buy a Web camera and send him nude photos of herself. In one photo, Judd said, Doyle’s DHS security tag is clearly visible.

“Many of the conversations he initiated … are too extraordinary and graphic for public release,” a statement from the sheriff’s office said.

“I read the transcripts,” Judd said. “I wanted to see if this was just as outrageous as the detectives depicted it … It shocked all of us who have worked vice, narcotics, organized crime, homicides.”

A DHS spokesman said the agency would cooperate in the probe.

“We take these allegations very seriously,” Russ Knocke said, “and we will cooperate fully with the ongoing investigation.”

Doyle, Judd said, is divorced and has children. Authorities believe he could have held similar conversations online with others, Judd said, because at some points during online chats he would address the detective by the wrong name.

Doyle never attempted to arrange a visit, Judd said, but did mention knowing someone in the region.

Before Doyle was arrested Tuesday night at his home in Silver Spring, Judd said, the detective had told him that she had access to a Web camera and that her mother would be away, so “he was eager to rush home from work.”

As he was online, detectives from agencies including the U.S. Secret Service and the Montgomery County, Maryland, Police Department knocked on his door and served the arrest warrant, Judd said. They also executed a search warrant for his residence.

“We found his communication still on his computer with our undercover detective,” he said. “Had we not been posing as a 14-year-old, Brian Doyle would have been grooming someone, some young lady, for a sexual encounter.”


i’m still half asleep from yester two-days-ago performance (that ended yesterday), and i was hoping for a couple of days off, but apparently one of the zebra kings has requested a rehearsal for the burlesque nights today, so i’m going to haul my ass back to seattle for that. hopefully i will have caught up on sleep before wednesday, because it starts all over again (although my understanding is that the thursday and friday performances are only circus contraption shows, and won’t require us).


some of these are probably april fools jokes, but some probably aren’t…

CHAIRBOY! – a freak show act from the late 19th century? an act from the moisture festival? a web design company? we may never know…

A Linux Distro for Barbie?

Here be dragons
Mar 30th 2006
With luck, you may soon be able to buy a mythological pet

PAOLO FRIL, chairman and chief scientific officer of GeneDupe, based in San Melito, California, is a man with a dream. That dream is a dragon in every home.

GeneDupe’s business is biotech pets. Not for Dr Fril, though, the mundane cloning of dead moggies and pooches. He plans a range of entirely new animals—or, rather, of really quite old animals, with the twist that even when they did exist, it was only in the imagination.

Making a mythical creature real is not easy. But GeneDupe’s team of biologists and computer scientists reckon they are equal to the task. Their secret is a new field, which they call “virtual cell biology”.

Biology and computing have a lot in common, since both are about processing information—in one case electronic; in the other, biochemical. Virtual cell biology aspires to make a software model of a cell that is accurate in every biochemical detail. That is possible because all animal cells use the same parts list—mitochondria for energy processing, the endoplasmic reticulum for making proteins, Golgi body for protein assembly, and so on.

Armed with their virtual cell, GeneDupe’s scientists can customise the result so that it belongs to a particular species, by loading it with a virtual copy of that animal’s genome. Then, if the cell is also loaded with the right virtual molecules, it will behave like a fertilised egg, and start dividing and developing—first into an embryo, and ultimately into an adult.

Because this “growth” is going on in a computer, it happens fast. Passing from egg to adult in one of GeneDupe’s enormous Mythmaker computers takes less than a minute. And it is here that Charles Darwin gets a look in. With such a short generation time, GeneDupe’s scientists can add a little evolution to their products.

Each computer starts with a search image (dragon, unicorn, gryphon, etc), and the genome of the real animal most closely resembling it (a lizard for the dragon, a horse for the unicorn and, most taxingly, the spliced genomes of a lion and an eagle for the gryphon). The virtual genomes of these real animals are then tweaked by random electronic mutations. When they have matured, the virtual adults most closely resembling the targets are picked and cross-bred, while the others are culled.

Using this rapid evolutionary process, GeneDupe’s scientists have arrived at genomes for a range of mythological creatures—in a computer, at least. The next stage, on which they are just embarking, is to do it for real.

This involves synthesising, with actual DNA, the genetic material that the computer models predict will produce the mythical creatures. The synthetic DNA is then inserted into a cell that has had its natural nucleus removed. The result, Dr Fril and his commercial backers hope, will be a real live dragon, unicorn or what have you.

Readers with long memories may recall GeneDupe’s previous attempt to break into the pet market, the Real Goldfish (see article). This animal was genetically engineered to deposit gold in its skin cells, for that truly million-dollar look. Unfortunately Dr Fril, a biologist, neglected to think about the physics involved. The fish, weighed down by one of the heaviest metals in existence, sank like a stone, as did the project. He is more confident about his new idea, though. Indeed, if he can get the dragons’ respiration correct, he thinks they will set the world on fire.

Microsoft Buys OpenOffice.org!

For an undisclosed sum reputed to be in the billions, Microsoft’s Bill Gates has personally bought the leading open-source desktop project. Saying he “was sick and tired of open-source eating away at his profits,” the world’s richest man decided to put an end to the nuisance and simply buy OpenOffice.org. It will form part of a growing list of Microsoft acquisitions, including several erstwhile competitors, a considerable number of prominent politicians, and a few small governments.

The initially stunned OpenOffice.org community–a happy-go-lucky international band numbering in the hundreds of thousands–later turned to champagne to celebrate their newfound wealth. “Bless Bill!” one happy Torontonian exclaimed, bubbly in hand. “With all this money, I can beat Mark’s time in orbit!”

Gates has assured all current OpenOffice.org users that their future migration path to Microsoft Office is guaranteed thanks to OpenOffice.org’s faultless support of MS Office files formats. Users can further rest assured that the full functionality currently provided by OpenOffice.org 2.0 will be available in MS-Office 2020 – or possibly 2030.