American Samizdat

Saturday, July 30, 2005. *
From Pago Pago in American Samoa to Yap in Micronesia, 4,000 miles to the west, Army recruiters are scouring the Pacific, looking for high school graduates to enlist at a time when the Iraq war is discouraging many candidates in the States.

The Army has found fertile ground in the poverty pockets of the Pacific. The per capita income is $8,000 in American Samoa, $12,500 in the Northern Marianas and $21,000 in Guam, all United States territories. In the Marshalls and Micronesia, former trust territories, per capita incomes are about $2,000.

The Army minimum signing bonus is $5,000. Starting pay for a private first class is $17,472. Education benefits can be as much as $70,000.

"You can't beat recruiting here in the Marianas, in Micronesia," said First Sgt. Olympio Magofna, who grew up on Saipan and oversees Pacific recruiting for the Army from his base in Guam. "In the states, they are really hurting," he said. "But over here, I can afford go play golf every other day."
posted by mr damon at 2:57 PM
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Friday, July 29, 2005. *
After a bout with a severe illness (and resulting hiatus as Coordinating Editor of P!), ddjango's back.
posted by total at 8:51 AM
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Editorial from the UK medical journal The Lancet criticizes US coalition for failure to collect stats on Iraqi civilian deaths. It cites the Iraq Body Count (IBC) organization's recent listing of more than 24,000 civilian deaths.

The Lancet comments: "IBC compiled a credible list of deaths using just news reports and computers; the fact that the Coalition, equipped with a robust and expanding medical division, has not done so is an indefensible omission--and makes a mockery of international law. The adamant refusal of the USA and its partner countries to keep count of Iraqi deaths is a stance that renders farcical the Geneva Conventions' principle that invading forces have a duty to make every effort to protect civilian lives. How can the Coalition attest that it respects this obligation if it refuses to collect data to prove it? The US-led Coalition that instigated the war claims to have acted on behalf of the Iraqi people. At the very least, Iraq's beleaguered citizens deserve to be told the true price--in numbers of lost human lives--they have paid for a conflict undertaken in their names."
posted by RHerman at 7:36 AM
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Thursday, July 28, 2005. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 4:30 PM
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This is a PDF file of the book 'You Are Being Lied To - The Disinformation Guide to Media Distortion, Historical Whitewashes, and Cultural Myth'. Quite a good read and I recommend that you actually purchase the book as I have.

Scroll down to page 56 or select the bookmark from the section 'The News Media and Other Manipulators' and you will find the article 'Making Molehills Out of Mountains' by Marni Sullivan. I think you will find it worthwhile reading in light of the current news concerning the IRA and Northern Ireland.

Note: If your browser has trouble with the link, try getting there from this index.

"When most people think of Northern Ireland, they think of Catholics and Protestants hating each other and of mindless IRA bombings. Most people, especially Americans, seem to believe that a great deal of the trouble comes from religious intolerance. Much of this stereotype results from a lack of understanding of the issues, which in turn results from a lack of information. America’s perception of the Northern Ireland conflict is incomplete at best..."

"Without direct and constant communication within Northern Ireland itself, the United States media will be ill-equipped to bring unbiased and complete coverage of the peace process and insurrection resulting from it. Perhaps America’s “special relationship” with England has a lot to do with the tendency of the media to focus primarily on British perspectives of the conflict..."
posted by Mike at 4:25 PM
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War? What War?
I've finally figured out why the Bush administration didn't bother to properly equip our soldiers in Iraq: We're not fighting a war - we're in a "struggle." And who needs body armor and armored vehicles for a measly struggle? I'm referring to Bush's latest sloganeering effort, giving the "global war on terror" a spanking new name: "global struggle against violent extremism." And that brings me to my latest poem:

War? What War?
By Madeleine Begun Kane

The war on terror's going bad,
So what's a Prez to do?
He simply calls it something else.
The "struggle" has debuted.

Bush starts a war without a plan.
A needless war, to boot.
And when it fails, his course is clear...

The rest of my War? What War? poem is here. And my audio version of this post is here.
posted by Mad Kane at 11:51 AM
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Good post over on Alternative Energy Blog on Ethanol...

Making ethanol, they claim, will help America achieve the elusive goal of "energy security" while helping farmers, reducing oil imports, and stimulating the American economy. But the ethanol boosters are ignoring some unpleasant facts: Ethanol won't significantly reduce our oil imports; adding more ethanol to our gas tanks adds further complexity to our motor-fuel supply chain, which will lead to further price hikes at the pump; and, most important (and most astonishing), it may take more energy to produce a gallon of ethanol than it actually contains.
posted by ben at 9:55 AM
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Wednesday, July 27, 2005. *
While the American public is paying the bad news the usual inattention it gives any scandal not involving a missing blonde chick, the Brits have gotten the message and they’re not happy. A recent Guardian/ICM poll shows that two-thirds of Britons see a link between the recent London bombings and Britain’s decision to join the war in Iraq. My conversations with locals on a recent visit to London, hours after the July 7 bombings, confirmed as much. In addition to the surprising number of people I spoke to who blamed the attacks on Britain’s involvement in Iraq, the sole cop standing guard in front of Buckingham Palace that evening, when asked why the attacks happened, told me that it was “because some people want to be free.” Imagine a Secret Service agent saying that in front of the White House on 9/11.

The British public’s ire over the bombings only increased after it was discovered that police had one of the suspects in custody months ago, but released him after determining he posed no threat. No doubt the Brits will be even more pissed once they realize the Bush administration twice botched efforts that could have helped prevent the attack. [more]
posted by Bill at 8:59 PM
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Shameful Groveling

Search me

: I say it's a good thing that New York police will start random bag searches on the subways.

Oh, I know it will be inconvenient when I'm late for a meeting and it's 120-degrees down there and I fear there will be a line. Nonetheless, if and when the cops search me, I'll thank them.

This morning on Today, they rolled out the "privacy" boogeyman. "Privacy advocates" were expressing concern. Who the hell are these "privacy advocates?" Name two. But listening to reporters, they seem to be everywhere. You just don't know it. Because they're very private.

And what precisely is the privacy problem? If the cops catch you carrying something illegal, well, you shouldn't be carrying anything illegal. If they catch you carrying the latest Playboy -- or, more embarrassing, Radar -- then don't worry; they've seen worse.

Are random screenings going to catch the next terrorist ready to kill people? We'll never know. But it is worth the effort.

What the grovelers don't understand is that their eagerness to throw away their civil rights affects others.

posted by Deleted at 11:55 AM
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Yet another reason to seek alternatives to these masters of greed...

The company will scan machines for a variety of information, including product
keys or software authorization codes, operating-system version and details on
the flow of data between the operating system and other hardware, such as
printers. It is access to this information that particularly upsets the privacy
advocates. Ms. Dixon says the only information Microsoft needs to fight piracy
is the product key and the operating-system version, and she says that Microsoft
will be able to identify users uniquely based on some of the information the
company collects.
"They are grabbing more information than they need to deter piracy," she said.

posted by Youngfox at 6:00 AM
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Tuesday, July 26, 2005. *
Sen. Parley Hellewell, R-Orem, said Wednesday that he is looking into possible legislation [tax funded superstition] to restore "what was done for the first 150 years" in regards to educational texts [tax funded superstition], public prayer [tax funded superstition] and religious displays [tax funded superstition]. Although he has not decided "what needs to be run or could be run," almost all of the possibilities he is considering — for example, the Bible as a school textbook [tax funded superstition] or allowing religious prayers at school events [tax funded superstition] and all government meetings [tax funded superstition] — would almost surely become lightning rods for controversy and constitutional challenges. [...] Sen. Chris Buttars, R-West Valley, has considered sponsoring a bill bringing intelligent design to Utah schools [tax funded superstition], but he said last week he is backing away from the idea for now. "If you can teach evolution, you should be able to teach the Bible [tax funded superstition]," he said.

The "wall of separation" phrase was originally coined by President Thomas Jefferson, although Hellewell said the meaning is continually misinterpreted, just as the Founding Fathers' religious beliefs, or lack of them, are inaccurately portrayed. "They are all things that are made up, just like the separation of church and state was made up," Hellewell said during a meeting of the Government Operations Interim Committee [Sen. Hellewell, I'd love to talk with you about things that are made up]. Instead of focusing on the rights of the minority by prohibiting prayer, he would prefer to grant the majority the right to pray publicly without forcing the minority to join. "When you don't allow prayer in schools, we're letting a minority religion — atheism — rule," he said [atheism is not a religion, minority or otherwise].

[I'm all for people mumbling to whatever invisible monster that lives in the sky they like, but do it on their own dime and on their own time. If we use tax dollars to fund one superstition we must then either (a) establish a state religion or (b) fund all the superstitions equally. No money for roads this year, Supreme Hu-Hu the Spider Elk needed a new golden temple and five thousand retainers.]
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:59 PM
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This is probably the most concise and incisive summary of the issues that are driving Israel's withdrawal from Gaza that I've come across.

It's an entry from Tony Karon's new blog, which is worth keeping an eye on.
posted by Bill at 9:16 PM
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"The objective of OPERATION YELLOW ELEPHANT is to recruit College Republicans and
Young Republicans to serve as infantry. They demanded this war and now viciously
support it. It's only right that they also experience it."
posted by Youngfox at 7:24 AM
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Monday, July 25, 2005. *
Compare this map of US Iraq fatalities by city to this map of 'purple America.' Here's a map of African-American population density by county. And here's a map of persistant poverty in the USA. This map shows adherents of religion. What can maps tell us?
posted by Trevor Blake at 10:40 AM
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posted by Trevor Blake at 8:50 AM
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[New York]'s Catholic leaders have stepped up the battle over a bill that would let women and girls get "morning after" contraceptives without prescriptions, despite the fact that the legislation has yet to hit Gov. George Pataki's desk. In a recent letter, New York's eight diocesan Roman Catholic bishops urged the governor to restore "common sense and time-tested values to the public square" by vetoing the bill.

The bishops, including Bishop Howard Hubbard of the Albany Roman Catholic Diocese, insisted in their July 6 letter that emergency contraception medication can be tantamount to an abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from becoming implanted in the uterus. They also voiced concern that the bill lacks an age restriction for the pills and doesn't require parental consent.
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:17 AM
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Following are the two quotes as provided by the U.S. military in news releases:

Sunday's news release said: "'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the ISF and all of Iraq. They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified."

The July 13 news release said: "'The terrorists are attacking the infrastructure, the children and all of Iraq,' said one Iraqi man who preferred not to be identified. 'They are enemies of humanity without religion or any sort of ethics. They have attacked my community today and I will now take the fight to the terrorists.'"
posted by Trevor Blake at 8:00 AM
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US Botches Arrest of Multiple UK 7-7-05 Terrorists
Two members of the peaceful religion of Islam who bombed London on July 7, 2005 were able to do so only because the US government let them walk.

Seattle Times: "The Justice Department blocked efforts by its prosecutors in Seattle in 2002 to bring criminal charges against Haroon Aswat, according to federal law-enforcement officials who were involved in the case. British authorities suspect Aswat of taking part in the July 7 London bombings, which killed 56 and prompted an intense worldwide manhunt for him."

Liberation, via Informed Comment: "Out of 'the 13 presumed terrorists identified by the British only 8 were arrested and 5 escaped. The arrests were part of an operation which recovered 600kg of explosives,' said the senior French police officer, who yesterday revealed to Libération the fact that amongst the five who escaped from the operation was Mohammed Kahn, one of the alleged suicide bombers who struck on the London Underground. This Briton of Pakistani descent has been on the list of Scotland Yard's "targets" for the last 15 months, only with a different age and a different first name - Kayoun instead of Sidique, but "it's the same man" who gave the police the slip."
posted by Trevor Blake at 7:48 AM
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Sunday, July 24, 2005. *
Some of Pastors for Peace Caravan to Cuba's humanitarian aid for Cuba has been seized by the US government at the Mexican border. They're asking for people to call their representatives and pressure them to let the aid go through. The good news is that most of the aid did go through.
posted by Klintron at 8:29 PM
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Yes, I've started yet another blog.

Here's the manifesto:

Protest is broken. I gave up on protesting after the Iraq war protests. They were the biggest protests ever, held all over earth, and they accomplished nothing. I remember hearing some radio DJs on a Seattle “alternative rock” station complaining about how protesters were blocking Interstate traffic and how protesters “just want attention” and “need to grow up.” I think that’s a pretty common interpretation of protest, no matter how big or for what reason.

Edward Bernays said “The job of a public relations counsel is to instruct a client how to take actions that interrupt… the continuity of life in some way to bring about the [media] response.”

The same can be said of protesters. The problem now is that protests, no matter how big don’t interrupt the continuity of life in any meaningful way anymore. They’re too common place. Even huge protests like the Iraq war protests and the RNC protests seem indistinguishable from other day to day protests to the average media consumer.

I do believe that protest should be an important part of civil life. Protesting is not dead: it just needs fixing. This blog will highlight the efforts of creative activists, working not only in protest but in any sort of activism. It will hopefully also motivate me to come up with some new ideas myself. I also hope this site will grow into a useful resource for activists, lobbyists, and political campaigners who want to try new ideas, regardless of their political alignment.
posted by Klintron at 8:26 PM
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This would be self-promotion, I guess, if it wasn't Irving Howe promotion instead....

This, I would contend, is the central issue in American political life, and the struggle in regard to it cannot be stilled or long postponed.
posted by Ray Davis at 4:32 PM
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Saturday, July 23, 2005. *
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:17 PM
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He was a 27 year old man from Brazil. Witnesses say he was petrified.

Imagine being that petrified and getting five bullets in the head and torso at point blank range while you're laying face down on the ground.

. . . But Cheney and his friends are all richer because of the so-called "War on Terrorism" so that's the important thing, right?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:01 PM
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Fucking puritans . . .
posted by Dr. Menlo at 7:58 PM
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"The people of Baghdad do not need statistics to tell them that they are living through terror unimaginable in the West.

"Trips near government offices or police stations are avoided, the towering concrete blast walls that surround them testament to the lethal threat passing nearby can pose. Many parents keep their children indoors for safety. It is rare to see the traditional game of tuki, an Arab version of hopscotch, on the streets. Men are now the majority at the local markets as they insist their wives stay away in case they are targeted by bombers.

"The amazing realisation is that somehow normal life continues. Shops open, people go to work. Even the Crazy Frog mobile phone ring tone has become the latest fad in Baghdad.

"But conversation in the city is dominated by the bombs left in cars near markets, the drive-by shootings, the kidnappings or even the water melon seller with the poisoned produce to be given for free to passing policemen.

And then there are the suicide bombs* -- around 130 of them across Iraq in the first six months of this year alone -- fuelled by a seemingly endless procession of young men, drawn from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Yemen or Syria.**

Parents are alarmed not only for the children's safety but the mental scars the violence will leave.

An English teacher, Ahmad Ali, said he had watched his two children playing in the garden, chasing each other between the gardenias.

"'You die,' he said his four-year-daughter shouted and her cousin fell over on the grass. 'I asked them what game it was. They told me they were playing American soldiers fighting criminals. I almost cried that this is their idea of making fun.'"

"About 400 suicide bombings have shaken Iraq since the U.S. invasion in 2003, and suicide now plays a role in two out of every three insurgent bombings. In May, an estimated 90 suicide bombings were carried out in the war-torn country — nearly as many as the Israeli government has documented in the conflict with Palestinians since 1993."

Robert Pape, author of Dying to Win: "The central fact is that, overwhelmingly, suicide terrorist attacks are not driven by religion as much as they are by a clear strategic objective: to compel modern democracies to withdraw military forces from the territory that the terrorists view as their homeland. From Lebanon to Sri Lanka to Chechnya to Kashmir to the West Bank, every major suicide terrorist campaign -- over 95 percent of all the incidents -- has had as its central objective to compel a democratic state to withdraw."

The American Conservative: That would seem to run contrary to a view that one heard during the American election campaign, put forth by people who favor Bush's policy. That is, we need to fight the terrorists over there, so we don’t have to fight them here.

Pape: Since suicide terrorism is mainly a response to foreign occupation and not Islamic fundamentalism, the use of heavy military force to transform Muslim societies over there, if you would, is only likely to increase the number of suicide terrorists coming at us.
posted by mr damon at 5:22 PM
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Friday, July 22, 2005. *

You really have to take a look at the V for Vendetta trailer. It features this future Orwellian society where Fear seems to rule the day and where governments kill 100000 people and just seems to remind me of a country that I know. I mean, I don't know what movies terrorists watch (Love Story? The Kate Hudson cannon? Indian musicals?) but I would think they would like "V for Vendetta". Odd things about this movie: Hot highly intelligent Natalie Portman kinda pro-zionist and the movie was shot in Britain.
posted by Philip Shropshire at 11:08 PM
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Of course the 'four year / two term limit for President' would never be made permanent.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:51 PM
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Today was the day the government was supposed to process and redact photographs and videos relating to the abuse and torture of prisoners held abroad. Raising new arguments on the eve of its deadline, the United States government refused to release the materials to the public. The photographs and videos were to be processed for eventual release as a result of a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union and other organizations.
If you're wondering why the government might wish to keep these images under raps, refresh your memory here.
posted by Bill at 9:01 PM
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I don't mind little violations of privacy to protect us, if they REALLY protect us. I've seen the cops do some of these searches and I had my backpack searched today. They just open the bag, leaf through it a little for a few seconds and that is it. A terrorist could just put the bomb at the bottom of a big bag or backpack and cover it with some stuff. These cops don't do thorough searches. They'd never find it.

Also, the cops do these searches right near the turnstiles where there are hundreds of people. If one of these suicide bombers got searched and thought he was going to get caught, he could just detonate the bomb right then and there, taking out most of the station and killing hundreds of people. So how is it that these searches are doing any good?

This is just City Hall making a show for people. They want it to look like they're doing something, so they just do anything in the hopes that it will look like they are working hard on this problem. I've seen it, and I ain't buying it. If you feel safer because of these searches, then I pity your ignorance and naivete.

via craigslist
posted by platts42 at 10:13 AM
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posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:18 AM
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Thursday, July 21, 2005. *
Wednesday, July 20, 2005. *
It appears that the general attitude in faith-based America as we presently find it guided, is that those who believe in a deity should have greater rights than those who choose — for whatever reason — not to do so. This becomes all the more important to us when we face the fact that the war in which we're presently involved, is a religious war; it is not political, not financial, not territorial. Its precedent can be found nine centuries ago in the Crusades fought from 1095 P.E. to 1270 P.E., when those who went off to foreign lands in that devastating, futile, beggaring attempt to recover the "Holy Land" from infidels, were given honors and rewards — if they ever returned from the quest. Part of the zeal the crusaders suffered from, was a belief that the end of the world was imminent. That delusion is reflected in the present enchantment concerning The Rapture, in which the faithful will be instantly levitated into the celestial sphere, leaving sinners and sycophants behind. There are other examples; the Holy Inquisition and the Salem Witch Trials were also also religion-driven futilities, as is the ongoing tragedy involving Irish Protestants vs. Catholics. Parallels are not difficult to find. [...]

Our President never addresses the public without appealing to a god or to prayer, or asking a god to bestow blessings on us. He supports and encourages the most far-fetched applications from any person or agency adopting the label "faith-based," such as the disciples of wealthy cult leader Sun Myung Moon. He vetoes attempts to improve our lives and the lives of unborn generations through fundamental research into basic biology — via embryonic stem-cell research, for example — and he defines those who disagree with his religious philosophy as, "evil." Despite our oft-referred-to separation of church and state, we have the federal funds to pay for the promotion of religion; last month, we laid out $300,000 of our tax money to assemble hundreds of United States Air Force chaplains in Colorado Springs for a "Spiritual Fitness Conference," an evangelical effort designed to "look for answers in the Scriptures." [...]

Rationality and logic are being demoted to the status of notions, science is devalued, reason is ridiculed. I fear for our species' future, when only the Yahoos may remain.
posted by Trevor Blake at 7:43 PM
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Funny letter with stats no Red state should laugh at. Just one excerpt from the very funny Dear Red States... post. Part of the Best of Craigs List.

We get the Statue of Liberty. You get Dollywood.
We get Intel and Microsoft. You get WorldCom.
We get Harvard. You get Ole' Miss.
We get 85 percent of America's venture capital and entrepreneurs. You
get Alabama.
We get two-thirds of the tax revenue, you get to make the red states
pay their fair share.
posted by ben at 8:59 AM
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Those who view the abortion pill RU-486 as immoral are bound to jump on reports to the FDA of two more deaths from sepsis linked to use of the pill, for a total of five deaths of U.S. women since the pill went on the market in 2000. But the four sepsis cases were in women who used the hormone pill "off-label" in an effective but unrecommended manner eg inserting it in the vagina.

The true risk of the pill should be measured against the real risks of infection from surgical abortion and of childbirth itself (pregnancy is particularly dangerous for young teens). According to the AP, Steven Galson, head of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Regulation, made that comparison:
The abortion pill remains safe enough to stay on the market, Galson stressed. The rate of sepsis is about 1 in 100,000 uses of the Mifeprex system, comparable to infection risks with surgical abortions and childbirth.
"There are no alarm bells going off with this rate," he said.

In the U.S. the maternal death rate remains high and largely intractable: on average 12 deaths per 100,000 live births according to the CDC. For black women in the U.S. the maternal death rate is almost three times higher than that.

I'm hardly suggesting that women take abortion pills to avoid the risk of childbirth. Just saying that being female and fertile involves extra risk however you decide to manage a pregnancy.

VIA Girl in the Locker Room!
posted by RHerman at 7:31 AM
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Tuesday, July 19, 2005. *
This week, for the fourth year in a row, President George Bush broke from affairs of state to address the Southern Baptist Convention. He promised the strict evangelical group, which has 16m members, that he would work hard to ban gay marriage and abortion, and that their “family values” were his values, too.
posted by Trevor Blake at 5:56 PM
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The number of Iraqi civilians who met violent deaths in the two years after the US-led invasion was today put at 24,865 by an independent research team.

The figures, compiled from Iraqi and international media reports, found US and coalition military forces were responsible for 37% of the deaths, with anti-occupation forces and insurgents responsible for 9%. A further 36% were blamed on criminal violence.

Civilian deaths attributed to US and coalition military forces peaked in the invasion period from March to May 2003 - which accounts for 30% of all civilian deaths in the two-year period - but the longer-term trend has been for increasing numbers to die at the hands of insurgents.
posted by A.Q. at 11:11 AM
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Monday, July 18, 2005. *
"Senator Rick Santorum, Republican of Pennsylvania, knows what gay sex is all about -- 'man-on-dog.' Now he announces that he knows how liberals are 'taking it,' too -- the 'wrong way,' of course. And that, says the Senate's sage of sexuality, explains the sex abuse scandal in the Catholic church (widely known for its liberal sexuality).

"Oh, my. The story of Santorum's latest sex advice wouldn't merit Revealer comment were it not for the fact that it begs the question: Why does the press take this man so seriously? That's not a partisan question. After all, we asked the same of liberal God guru Jim Wallis, who, to be fair, never speculates on the favored sexual positions of those he disagrees with. The question is: How many dumb things does a powerful man have to stay before the press starts laughing? And the answer is: Mix in a little religion, liberal or cro-magnon, and the press will kiss your ring until it catches you with a prostitute. Or a dog."
posted by Trevor Blake at 5:40 PM
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Wow, I can't believe I haven't seen this site before--environmental consciousness mixed with hip, urban style--what a great combination!

posted by Dr. Menlo at 4:24 PM
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(published by the Committee for Defense of Public Education in 1941, with text by Louis Lerman and forward by Franz Boas). "...Emerging from the carnage of World War I, and the economic upheaval of the Depression years, by the late 1930s both fascism and anti-Semitism were on the rise in Germany; in Franco's Spain, the Civil War pitted Fascists against Republicans, and in America, Father Coughlin and the Christian Front spewed what we would call today, 'hate speech' against Catholics, Jews, immigrants, Negros and Communists. To speak out against fascism, to be a voice for progressive values like worker's rights, equality, social justice and peace, was to become a target for an anti-Communist witch hunt a generation before Joseph McCarthy asked people to 'name names'.

This book is a chronicle of one such hunt, by the Rapp-Coudert Committee between 1940 and 1942, looking for 'subversives' in New York State schools and colleges. Lives and reputations were ruined; one man went to jail for not naming names."
posted by Andrew at 5:25 AM
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Sunday, July 17, 2005. *
Recognizing the formative advice of Philip Dick, I've started a weblog. Instead of an explanatory description here, I'll let the words do the talking:

There is a very real catastrophe unfolding in Iraq: to the people living there, it is not democracy. To quote an article, "coffin makers are unable to keep up with the demand for caskets in Iraq where tens of people die every day due to the continual armed attacks and bombings." This same number of "civilians" who've no longer needed oxygen since the US-led invasion of Iraq--under the threatening pretence of non-existent WsMD--were similarily deprived of the need for hemoglobin when on August 9, 1945 they were, also resulting from strategic preemptive foreign policy, radiatively poisoned and vaporized instantly when a nuclear weapon was jettisoned over Nagasaki.

Discerning the relations in language is empowering, and the point of this weblog is just that.
posted by Ashton at 3:43 AM
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This is a really good (albeit long) article from the NY Times Magazine on the George Lakoff-inspired "framing" rage of the Democratic party and its supporters.
posted by Bill at 12:24 AM
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Saturday, July 16, 2005. *
"Many people are dead. Those people's souls aren't happy. Why are you celebrating?"
Shigeko Sasamori hopes her scarred body and gnarled fingers put a human face on the suffering caused by the creation of the atomic bomb, a weapon that was first tested 60 years ago in the New Mexico desert.

The 73-year-old woman was a schoolgirl on Aug. 6, 1945, when an American warplane dropped over Hiroshima the first of two nuclear bombs used against Japan.

She traveled to New Mexico this past week for the 60th anniversary of the atomic tests at Trinity to ask scientists to stop nuclear warfare.

"I want to talk to their hearts and beg them not to do it," she said Friday.

shigeko sasamori, hiroshima bomb survivor
Hiroshima survivor Shigeko Sasamori, 73
recounts the day that her city had the first atom bomb
dropped on it as she visits with reporters
in Albuquerque, N.M., Friday, July 15, 2005.

When the bomb exploded, Sasamori said she and a friend were preparing to join a work crew to clear a city street less than a mile from ground zero. Her 13-year-old companion was killed in the blast.

"I saw that everybody looked so terrible, just like they came from hell," she said. "No one was talking. No one was screaming."

She believes now that she was in shock as she followed the crowd to escape the burning city. Five days later, Sasamori's mother found her in a nearby school.

One-fourth of Sasamori's body was burned. Her fingers were scorched to the bone, and she had as many as 30 operations to repair the damage. Three years ago, she underwent surgery for intestinal cancer. Doctors now suspect she has thyroid cancer.

Sasamori was one of 25 "Hiroshima Maidens" brought to the United States for reconstructive surgery in 1955 by American editor and author Norman Cousins, who she describes as her adoptive father. She eventually settled in the U.S. and became a nurse.

Sasamori, who now lives in Marina del Rey, Calif., said she is not angry with Americans for how World War II ended, but hates war itself and is saddened by the actions of those who made the bomb.

But she was upset about a $125-per-ticket event at the National Atomic Museum [called "Blast from the Past?!"] in Albuquerque on Friday.

Participants were given a secret identity at the door of the museum, a gimmick meant to recall the top-secret project to develop the bomb. Guests were treated to food, a cash bar, a 1940s fashion show, slides of the Trinity test and a panel discussion by historians and test participants. On Saturday, they were taken to the test site in southern New Mexico for a tour.

"Many people are dead. Those people's souls aren't happy. Why are you celebrating?" Sasamori said. "You are making a weapon to kill us. So, I feel that's not appropriate to celebrate."

A museum spokeswoman did not return a voice mail message, and no one answered several phone calls to the museum.

On Aug. 6, Sasamori said she will mark the 60th anniversary of the attack on Hiroshima with a more subdued ceremony: a moment of silence in her hometown to remember the dead.
posted by mr damon at 7:30 PM
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...and some of our brightest minds
keep finding new ways to reinvent them.

trinity atomic bomb test, july 16 1945

Emmett Hatch's grandmother ordered him to drop to his knees and pray on July 16, 1945, shortly after the world's first atomic blast.

She was awake at 5:29:45 Mountain War Time that morning in Portales, New Mexico, to make breakfast and saw the explosion from more than 220 miles away.

"She thought it was the coming of the Lord, because the sun rose in the west that day," said Hatch, who was 8 years old at the time.

Hatch joined thousands of others at Trinity Site on Saturday in a restricted area of the White Sands Missile Range for the 60th anniversary of the dawn of the nuclear age.

The Manhattan Project resulted in the two atomic bombs that killed hundreds of thousands of people in Japan in August 1945, essentially stunning Japan into surrender and ending World War II.

The depression created by the blast at ground zero on what is now the White Sands Missile Range is marked by an obelisk with a simple inscription: "Trinity Site, Where the World's First Nuclear Device Was Exploded on July 16, 1945."

A long stretch of dirt road leads to a chain-link fence surrounding the monument. On the fence hang photographs of Manhattan Project scientists from Los Alamos assembling the device and of the brilliant mushroom cloud.

Visitors stooped to pick up (?!) pieces of trininite, a radioactive, turquoise crystal-like material that was created by the blast. About a dozen people walked over the site with Geiger counters that beeped sporadically.

Missile Range officials tell visitors not to fear radiation. On average, an American is exposed to 360 millirem of radiation from natural and medical sources every year. In an hour at the Trinity site, visitors are exposed to one half millirem, according to a brochure distributed by the missile range.

Andy Aranda, an Albuquerque high school student, said he learned about the Trinity test from textbooks.

"It's kind of creepy, kind of eerie to be right here where it happened," he said.

Clemente Deister of Socorro was in the Marines fighting in the South Pacific during World War II when the bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

He watched the faces of visitors to the Trinity Site on Saturday. "I find all kinds of expressions of sadness and horror," he said.

The blast produced a flash of light that was seen 250 miles away, a roar heard 50 miles away and a mushroom cloud that rose 40,000 feet.

"The most amazing part of it to all of us is that it seemed to last so long," Jay Wechsler of Espanola, who measured the explosion that day, recalled in an interview before the Trinity Site tour. "The cloud just looked like it was boiling and luminescent and kept on going up and up and up and seemed like it was never going to stop."

"I had no conception that it could wipe out a small city," said Herb Lehr of Mesa, Ariz., who helped put the bomb together at Trinity Site.

Ben Benjamin, a photographer who documented the Manhattan Project, recalled that after seeing the blast he said: "My God, it's beautiful."

But Benjamin, who did not go on Saturday's tour, said another man who worked on the project told him the blast was horrible and that he could think of nothing more than the moral implications.

"I thought about it, of course," said Benjamin, who now lives in Albuquerque. "But I also thought, 'Didn't these guys bring it on themselves?' Look what they did at Pearl Harbor."

Longtime Los Alamos lab critic Greg Mello [executive director of the Los Alamos Study Group] said on the eve of the [atomic bomb test's] 60th anniversary that the United States still has not come to grips with the nuclear attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

"These acts we still consider to be somehow, if not noble, then somewhat justified. They were manifestly illegal at the time and terribly immoral. By any standard, they were crimes," he said.

Check out Trinity and Beyond when you have the opportunity.
posted by mr damon at 2:55 PM
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128 Thousand "liberated" and counting.
Iraqi civilian casualties
Published July 12, 2005
BAGHDAD -- An Iraqi humanitarian organization is reporting that 128,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. invasion began in March 2003.
Mafkarat al-Islam reported that the chairman of the 'Iraqiyun humanitarian organization in Baghdad, Dr. Hatim al-'Alwani, said that the toll includes everyone who has been killed since that time, adding that 55 percent of those killed have been women and children aged 12 and under.

'Iraqiyun obtained data from relatives and families of the deceased, as well as from Iraqi hospitals in all the country's provinces. The 128,000 figure only includes those whose relatives have been informed of their deaths and does not include those were abducted, assassinated or simply disappeared.
via : World Peace Herald
posted by Youngfox at 1:31 PM
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Friday, July 15, 2005. *
President George W. Bush was convicted for statements that prosecutors said incited his followers to train for violent jihad against the United States. He was sentenced to life in prison Wednesday in a federal courtroom in Alexandria, Va. President Bush had instructed terrorist groups to "bring it on," and had given the Taliban USD $43 million.

... well, no, not really. Actually it was Islamic jackass Ali Timimi (makes me want to yell TIMMY!) who said "the time had come for them to go abroad and join the mujaheddin engaged in violent jihad in Afghanistan" and will spend the rest of his life in prison for saying that. For something he said. Said something, life in prison. He didn't send any dollars to the Taliban, and it is also the case that he did not send forty-three million dollars to the Taliban. He just said something, and now he will be in prison until he dies. No money to terrorists, didn't kill anybody, didn't defraud anybody, didn't stand somebody up for a date, didn't leave gum on the theater seat, didn't jaywalk. Just said something. Goodbye forever, Ali Timimi (TIMMY!); next life, don't say things.

Have you ever said something stupid? Would it be right to go to prison for the rest of your life for saying it, while others who also say stupid things and give $43 million to terrorists get to be President?
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:06 PM
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This is potentially a huge story.

Update: More on this from Juan Cole.

Update II: Yet more from Cole, who quotes a translated story from the French newspaper Liberation suggesting that one of the London bombers may have slipped through the radar because of the fouled-up Summer 2004 operation against the Noor Khan-linked cell.

Cole concludes, "If Mohammad Sadique Khan [the bomber] had been named by Noor Khan in Pakistan, and managed to escape British surveillance because the Bush administration splashed details of an ongoing investigation all over the press to throw John Kerry into the shade, that really is criminal."

posted by Bill at 6:34 PM
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A must-read on Karl Rove and the real leakers...the path that leads to the VP's office. Very smart by Justin Raimondo at, pulling the pieces together with deep insight like no one else yet. Put down your Harry Potter; here's a he who shall not be named unless the special prosecutor lives up to his Bulldog moniker.
posted by RHerman at 3:27 PM
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Thursday, July 14, 2005. *
Charles N. Todd at Freiheit und Wissen poses some very good questions about Haiti:
Has the U.S. Corporate Media Machine ever acknowledged Bush's role in 2004 coup? Have they ever recognized that Aristide is the legitimate President of Haiti? Have they ever admitted that Aristide was kidnapped by Bush? What about the fact that in overthrowing a democratically elected leader Bush violated the Inter-American Democratic Charter?
In an effort to call attention to the situation in Haiti -- and by extension, the fate of democracy throughout our hemisphere (see, e.g., Venezuela) -- Charles is trying to stir up a blogswarm around the issue. I urge all AmSam readers to help Charles attain his goal of 100 posts in 10 days (there are now 8 days remaining . . . ).
posted by The Continental Op at 3:40 PM
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I think WorldChanging also has a rule about no bad news, but still, it's a good idea. I know some people have stayed away from the Samizdat in the past because it had seemed like too much bad news, therefore depressing. At least a year ago, inspired by WorldChanging, I began to put on more future positive stuff regarding alternative energy, transportation, etc. I do think it is vital for any 'political force'--in this case progressivism--to put forward ideas and plans for a positive future before anything else. They must inspire first of all with intelligent and creative leadership. (Second, fight. No room for Lieberman chumps. Everyone should have learned after Clinton's first campaign to respond within 24 hours to any attack, including the now spineless and completely impotent Kerry.)

[Rose Colored News is brought to you by the same creative mind behind Technoccult: the artist currently known as Klintron.]
posted by Dr. Menlo at 1:22 PM
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Via WRH:
FLASHBACK: ICTS International N.V. Reports Entering Into the Railroad Security Business ICTS International N.V. Reports Entering Into the Railroad Security Business

ICTS, the company that handled security at the 9-11 airports, moved into railroad security only 2 months ago, and landed a contract for the London tube.

Mr. Atzmon further stated that Mr. Graf's knowledge and experience in the important area of rail security will also be used in connection with ICTS's ongoing operations in other security fields.

For the past ten years Mr. Graf has headed the Israeli railways security division...

My bolding, of course.

Oh, and for good measure don't miss this little ditty:
Commissioner of London Transport is ex CIA!
posted by Uncle $cam at 11:03 AM
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Democracy Now!:
British police now believe that four-British-born men of Pakistani descent carried out last week's deadly bombings in London that killed at least 52 people. We go to Britain to speak with author and activist Milan Rai about how a leaked British government study concluded that British foreign policy, and the Iraq war in particular, was a key cause of young Britons turning to terrorism.
(via Juan Cole)
posted by Bill at 8:02 AM
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Wednesday, July 13, 2005. *

TALKING POINT: Valerie Plame (Joseph Wilson's wife) was not covert.
FACT: She was.

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove did not leak Valerie Plame's name.
FACT: Please. Her name was not the secret, her identity was (which is the issue here) and he leaked that. (also see here and here).

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove was "not the leaker".
FACT: Rove's attorney's statement and Cooper's email shows this claim is false. Rove did leak Plame's identity. (Whether or not this is found to be prosecutable is another matter).
P.S. It's not like this is the first time Rove has been in the spotlight for leaking secrets.

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove has never lied about his role in this matter.
FACT: Yes, he has.

TALKING POINT: The White House has never lied or misled people about its role in this matter.
FACT: False.

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove never knew that Valerie Plame was covert.
FACT: Really? Then why not state this on the record, something Rove's attorney refuses to do.

TALKING POINT: Matt Cooper of Time magazine "burned" Rove.
FACT: Rove's lawyer, who made the above fake claim, himself has been expounding again and again about how Rove gave complete waivers to all his journalist contacts to testify.

TALKING POINT: Bob Novak used the word "operative" by accident and his sources did not say she was one.
FACT: This is false, after-the-fact spin from Novak.

TALKING POINT: Rove "was discouraging a reporter from writing a false story" based on Joe Wilson's "false premise" (that DCI Tenet or VP Cheney authorized his trip)
FACT: False. Moreover, Joe Wilson did not make such a claim before Rove exposed Valerie Plame's identity.

TALKING POINT: The Senate Intelligence Committee said that Valerie Plame was the one who set up Joe Wilson's trip.
FACT: False and false. (Also see here). (In fact, there is no consensus view that Valerie Plame even suggested that Wilson be sent on the trip.)

TALKING POINT: The White House/GOP cannot comment on questions regarding Rove or his role because of the ongoing investigation.
FACT: False. A completely bogus claim considering that they are talking behind the scenes or issuing false/misleading press releases (also see here and here) spreading fakery about Wilson. (Not to mntion, they felt free to comment self-servingly about the whole matter until the Rove story broke.)

TALKING POINT: Karl Rove is not a target of Fitzgerald's investigation.
FACT: He is a subject of the investigation.

TALKING POINT: The Butler Report etc. vindicated Bush's "uranium in Africa" State of the Union claim
FACT: False. The Butler Report was intended to exonerate Tony Blair and George Bush to prevent them from facing criminal charges. For obvious reasons, it excluded reams of information about Bush's claim that showed that the White House lied through it's teeth in defending Bush's claim. (Indeed, as the link shows, people from the NSA, CIA etc. themselves stated that the SOTU claim did not have a sound backing.)

TALKING POINT: This is all just a partisan attack by Democrats (or Joseph Wilson)
FACT: False. The GOP leadership has a habit of minimizing numerous acts of treason from individuals inside the Bush administration over the last several years, by smearing truth-tellers. This is just the latest episode among many. In private, even Republicans admit that this kind of nonsense would have resulted in Congressional hearings "in a second", if the President had been a Democrat. Not to mention the hypocrisy of Rove himself.

TALKING POINT: Even if Karl Rove leaked Valerie Plame's identity, it's no big deal and deserves a medal.
FACT: The GOP's Ed Gillespie and George Bush disagreed (with an emphasis on 'd'). In fact, if it's so not a big deal, why all this intrigue about what the White House can or cannot comment on? Just tell the truth then rather than hiding behind reporters and smears of people who had nothing to do with the expose. (As for medals, it probably deserves a medal in prison, to define the "role model" for fellow prisoners at Gitmo - while eating rice pilaf in the process).

TALKING POINT: There was no legal crime committed with the Plame expose.
FACT: False and false. So much for offering "a stiff dose of truth" instead of "more lectures, and legalisms, and carefully worded denials".

TALKING POINT: Joseph Wilson supported John Kerry.
FACT: So? He also supported Republicans in the past (before they turned on him and his wife, treasonously) and was recognized by George Bush Sr. for his bravery against Saddam Hussein in Iraq - where he was ambassador before Gulf War I.

TALKING POINT: President Bush is committed to upholding the honor and dignity of his office.
FACT: For the umpteenth time, false, false and false

(found posted in a forum I frequent... thanks Concaf!)
posted by Unknown at 3:36 PM
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National Attention Deficit Disorder

Big thanks to Andrew Wahl, who has graciously allowed the Samizdat to run his weekly cartoons! Visit his website: Off the Wahl.
posted by Dr. Menlo at 2:19 PM
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Very funny. The whole morals crowd just cracks me up in their never ending stupidity.

For each type checked above also indicate level of vividness/graphicness using the following as a general guide:

Basic (B): large breasts

Graphic (G): large, voluptuous bouncing breasts

Very graphic (VG): large, voluptuous bouncing breasts with hard nipples

Extremely graphic (EG): large, voluptuous bouncing breasts with hard nipples covered with glistening sweat and bite marks

They'll probably take their site down soon do to traffic and overwhelming humiliation... but, until then check out PABBS for more stupidity.

via BoingBoing
posted by ben at 6:43 AM
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Tuesday, July 12, 2005. *
Yeah, 13th rule of Fightclub, if your losing expand the war.
posted by Uncle $cam at 9:51 PM
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A year after the International Court of Justice in The Hague ruled that its "separation barrier" in the West Bank was illegal, Israel has announced expanded construction of the wall through Jerusalem.

Explicitly intended, in part, to make Jerusalem "more Jewish," the barrier will also cut off 55,000 Palestinians from the city.
posted by Bill at 1:56 PM
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On Slashdot this morning:
"Slate (no longer owned by Microsoft, and therefore an acceptable place to find stories...) has a terrific article on The Filtered Future and how China's censorship is changing - for the worse - the Internet. The piece makes a few points: firstly, China is really trying (largely succefully) to seperate its Internet from the rest of the World; secondly, it may be possible to use technology to circumvent restrictions, but that makes them no less onoreous; thirdly, the sheer invisibility of the restrictions makes them worse (when Google doesn't even show up articles about democracy, that's no good thing); and finally, some Western companies are actively co-operating with the Chinese government in their censorship. Is this the beginning of the end for the global, unregulated, uncensored, Internet?"
posted by ben at 6:42 AM
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Monday, July 11, 2005. *
From the BBC:
Israel is asking Washington for $2.2bn in additional aid to help fund its withdrawal from the Gaza Strip and four small West Bank settlements.

Israeli officials say most of the money will be used to pay for developing the Negev and Galilee regions - where the bulk of the settlers will be moved.

One third of the sum, officials say, will go towards the relocation of Israeli military bases.

Despite being generally evil, isn't Israel also a first world country. With a GDP per capita of $20.8K (the US has a GDP per capita of $40K) don't you think they could fund their military police state on their own?
posted by ben at 5:14 AM
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Sunday, July 10, 2005. *
Earlier this year, the State Board of Education in Kansas reignited an old debate [there is no fucking "debate" -- ed] whether or not creationism should be taught in public schools and shone the spotlight on a new theory, intelligent design. While many in the scientific community may question why this issue has been raised again, a new national survey shows that almost two-thirds of U.S. adults (64%) agree with the basic tenet of creationism, that "human beings were created directly by God."

At the same time, approximately one-fifth (22%) of adults believe "human beings evolved from earlier species" (evolution) and 10 percent subscribe to the theory that "human beings are so complex that they required a powerful force or intelligent being to help create them" (intelligent design). Moreover, a majority (55%) believe that all three of these theories should be taught in public schools, while 23 percent support teaching creationism only, 12 percent evolution only, and four percent intelligent design only.


Factors such as age, education, political outlook, and region appear to guide views on this debate.

• In general, older adults (those 55 years of age and older), adults without a college degree, Republicans, conservatives, and Southerners are more likely to embrace the creationism positions in the questions asked.

• Those with a college education, Democrats, independents, liberals, adults aged 18 to 54 and those from the Northeast and West support the belief in evolution in larger numbers. However, among these groups, majorities believe in creationism.

• Despite the significant numbers who believe in creationism, pluralities among the demographic subgroups examined still believe all three concepts (evolution, creationism, and intelligent design) should be taught in public schools.

This is depressing on so many levels. First, that this is even an issue. Second, that there are a 1,000 adults who are willing to spend time answering a telephone poll. I mean come on! Third, that people feel so strongly about the importance of being crackpots that they'd willingly spend money inflicting it on kids. Not even thriftiness can keep us safe. Why not just change this to the Lysenkoist States Of America and throw in the towel altogether?


A quick plug for the Panda's Thumb.

I hope this doesn't give Trevor a stroke. It nearly did me.
posted by Deleted at 10:56 PM
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John Pilger continues his relentless barrage against the absurdities of the Live 8 concerts and the Make Poverty History march, this time contrasting them with the lack of attention given to the recent World Tribunal on Iraq.
posted by Bill at 12:00 AM
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Saturday, July 09, 2005. *
David Corn:
...tonight I received this as-solid-as-it-gets tip: on Sunday Newsweek is posting a story that nails Rove. The newsmagazine has obtained documentary evidence that Rove was indeed a key source for Time magazine's Matt Cooper and that Rove--prior to the publication of the Bob Novak column that first publicly disclosed Valerie Wilson/Plame as a CIA official -- told Cooper that former Ambassador Joseph Wilson's wife apparently worked at the CIA and was involved in Joseph Wilson's now-controversial trip to Niger.

To be clear, this new evidence does not necessarily mean slammer-time for Rove. Under the relevant law, it's only a crime for a government official to identify a covert intelligence official if the government official knows the intelligence officer is under cover, and this documentary evidence, I'm told, does not address this particular point. But this new evidence does show that Rove -- despite his lawyers claim that Rove "did not tell any reporter that Valerie Plame worked for the CIA" -- did reveal to Cooper in a deep-background conversation that Wilson's wife was in the CIA.

...This new evidence could place Rove in serious political, if not legal, jeopardy (or, at least it should). If what I am told is true, this is proof that the Bush White House was using any information it could gather on Joseph Wilson -- even classified information related to national security -- to pursue a vendetta against Wilson, a White House critic. Even if it turns out Rove did not break the law regarding the naming of intelligence officials, this new disclosure could prove Rove guilty of leaking a national security secret to a reporter for political ends. What would George W. Bush do about that?
Stay tuned.

Update: Here's the Newsweek article. Corn's telling is on point, but read it for yourself.
posted by Bill at 11:55 PM
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I would think Trevor would appreciate this toon.

posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:31 PM
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I'm the only Pittsburgh blogger reporter (for my online magazine journalmalism) who covers the apparently minor story of how the Ohio election was stolen. Here are some highlights from the direct testimony of Dr. Richard Hayes Phillips. Keep in mind that your official "opposition" party is not one to complain much about this. Look, if you're thinking about a change to the Greens, now is the time to do it. As I have stated before in the comments section, the Greens should target 5 senate seats and 25 house seats. They don't have to win everything. They just have to take the majorities away from the Republicans. One of those seats should be Pennsylvania if Pennacchio or a like-minded Democrat isn't nominated for the US Senate seat. (In theory, you wouldn't go after pick up opportunities for Dems but run a populist campaign in GOP strongholds. Afterall, the DLC democrats have never tried this. Would cost $30 million tops. More later on the 5/25 idea.)

Take it away Doc Phillips:

In the City of Columbus, discriminatory allocation of voting machines led directly to lower turnout in Democratic precincts. Urban Democratic precincts had too few voting machines and long lines; suburban Republican precincts had enough voting machines and short lines; 122 voting machines were not provided to any polling station anywhere. As a result, voter turnout was 60% in Bush precincts, and 50% in Kerry precincts. This wrongly reduced Kerry’s margin of victory in Franklin County by about 17,000 votes.

In Lucas County, other means of voter suppression led directly to lower voter turnout in Democratic precincts. The 88 precincts with the lowest turnout were all in Toledo; all were won by John Kerry; and complaints were filed in 31 of these precincts. Among the complaints were: long-time residents removed from the voting rolls, broken voting machines, polling stations running out of ballots and turning people away, voters sent back and forth between polling places, and long lines not designated by precinct so that voters waited in the wrong line. One-third of provisional ballots were not counted, often because people voted at the wrong table in the right polling place.

Statewide, there were 35,000 provisional ballots and over 92,000 regular ballots that were not counted as votes for president. These uncounted ballots, most of them punch cards, are highly concentrated in precincts that voted overwhelmingly for John Kerry, by margins of 12 to 1 in Cleveland, 7 to 1 in Dayton, 5 to 1 in Cincinnati, 4.5 to 1 in Akron, 3 to 1 in Lorain County, 2.7 to 1 in Stark County, and 2.3 to 1 in Trumbull County. This cries out for an examination of the uncounted ballots and the machines that failed to count them.

...In Miami County, after 100% of the precincts had reported, more than 18,000 votes were added to the totals. The vote percentages for Bush and Kerry remained the same, and the final margin for Bush was 16,000 votes exactly, almost as if the tabulators were programmed to turn out that way. This resulted in voter turnout as high as 98.55% in one precinct, where a door-to-door canvass of voters identified more than enough non-voters to prove that the certified results are fraudulent.

Three counties in southwestern Ohio – Butler, Clermont and Warren – provided Bush with a combined plurality greater than his statewide margin of victory. These results, when examined at the precinct level, are almost impossible to explain. In Butler County, there were 12 precincts where, compared to 2000, voter registration increased by 34% to 178%, and entire townships where Kerry received fewer votes than Gore, despite large increases in voter turnout. In Clermont County there were 24 such precincts where Kerry received fewer votes than Gore. In Warren County there were six entire townships where voter registration increased by 28% to 79%. In all three counties, Kerry received fewer votes than Ellen Connally, a little-known, underfunded African-American municipal judge from Cleveland, running for Chief Justice. There must have been at least 13,500 voters who supported both Connally and Bush, or else the certified results are fraudulent. In these three counties, and in Delaware County as well, Bush received more votes than Issue One, the constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage. There must have been at least 10,500 supporters of gay marriage who voted for Bush, or else the certified results are fraudulent. A comparison of these counties with the voting patterns statewide indicates that as many as 50,000 votes may have been shifted from Kerry to Bush, thus affecting the margin by 100,000 votes.

These accounts of voter suppression, ballots cast but not counted, and alteration of the vote count, were sufficient to reverse the outcome of the presidential election. It is my professional opinion, having exhaustively examined the available evidence, that the 2004 presidential election was stolen.

Stunning stunning stuff.

posted by Philip Shropshire at 3:21 PM
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Newspaper Withholding Two Articles After Jailing - New York Times

To say they are dangling these potentialities for the sake of stirring the pot of discontent over the Supreme Court's recent decision not to hear the appeal of Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper in the Valerie Plame leak debacle, well, that would imply there was some shred of merit to their spinelessness.

That there was a chilling effect on the freedom of the press, anyone in this country able to peek out from under their star-spangled blindfolds could have told you this. Is the future of this country in the hands of lawyers who believe protecting your newspaper's (and their paycheck's) existence to be more important than disseminating information which is apparently "profoundly important," and "of significant interest to the public"?

I must ask you this: Why the fuck do you exist if it isn't for the public good?

If your answer is because you're in this for the money, then you may as well close down that beautiful building of yours which rests beside the interstate near my home, because you just gave every self-respecting citizen in this area reason to stop buying your so-called "newspaper".

It's bad enough sites like craigslist are kicking the industry's collective asses by sucking classified revenue out of your pockets. Shooting yourselves in the foot isn't going to do anything but hasten your transformation to irrelevancy in this digital age.
posted by Unknown at 12:26 PM
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Sheldon Rampton shoves some facts and figures in front of the pro-warriors. Not that it'll matter, of course.
posted by Bill at 11:40 AM
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Friday, July 08, 2005. *
If inspiration is needed, along with evidence that direct action can work, they should look to Latin America's mighty popular movements against total locura capitalista (total capitalist folly). They should look to Bolivia, the poorest country in Latin America, where an indigenous movement has Blair's and Bush's corporate friends on the run, and Venezuela, the only country in the world where oil revenue has been diverted for the benefit of the majority, and Uruguay and Argentina, Ecuador and Peru, and Brazil's great landless people's movement. Across the continent, ordinary people are standing up to the old Washington-sponsored order. "Que se vayan todos!" (Out with them all!) say the crowds in the streets. Much of the propaganda that passes for news in our own society is given to immobilising and pacifying people and diverting them from the idea that they can confront power. The current babble about Europe, of which no reporter makes sense, is part of this; yet the French and Dutch "no" votes are part of the same movement as in Latin America, returning democracy to its true home: that of power accountable to the people, not to the "free market" or the war policies of rampant bullies. And this is just a beginning.
posted by Klintron at 5:47 PM
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Jamais Cascio, Senior Contributing Editor for

posted by Dr. Menlo at 5:45 PM
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Via Wood's Lot

With the shock of war. . . the State comes into its own again. The Government, with no mandate from the people, without consultation of the people, conducts all the negotiations, the backing and filling, the menaces and explanations, which slowly bring it into collision with some other Government, and gently and irresistibly slides the country into war. For the benefit of proud and haughty citizens, it is fortified with a list of the intolerable insults which have been hurled toward us by the other nations; for the benefit of the liberal and beneficent, it has a convincing set of moral purposes which our going to war will achieve; for the ambitious and aggressive classes, it can gently whisper of a bigger role in the destiny of the world. The result is that, even in those countries where the business of declaring war is theoretically in the hands of representatives of the people, no legislature has ever been known to decline the request of an Executive, which has conducted all foreign affairs in utter privacy and irresponsibility, that it order the nation into battle. Good democrats are wont to feel the crucial difference between a State in which the popular Parliament or Congress declares war, and the State in which an absolute monarch or ruling class declares war. But, put to the stern pragmatic test, the difference is not striking. In the freest of republics as well as in the most tyrannical of empires, all foreign policy, the diplomatic negotiations which produce or forestall war, are equally the private property of the Executive part of the Government, and are equally exposed to no check whatever from popular bodies, or the people voting as a mass themselves.

The moment war is declared, however, the mass of the people, through some spiritual alchemy, become convinced that they have willed and executed the deed themselves. They then, with the exception of a few malcontents, proceed to allow themselves to be regimented, coerced, deranged in all the environments of their lives, and turned into a solid manufactory of destruction toward whatever other people may have, in the appointed scheme of things, come within the range of the Government’s disapprobation. The citizen throws off his contempt and indifference to Government, identifies himself with its purposes, revives all his military memories and symbols, and the State once more walks, an august presence, through the imaginations of men. Patriotism becomes the dominant feeling, and produces immediately that intense and hopeless confusion between the relations which the individual bears and should bear toward the society of which he is a part.


War has something for everyone but the malcontents. There's the compassionate glurge of cruise missile liberalism, opportunity for the greedy, temporary nobility for the feckless and violence for the vengeful and proud. It's a franchise for the ambitious and a "feel good" measure for everyone who doesn't get impoverished, maimed or killed.

To those of us who still retain an irreconcilable animus against war, it has been a bitter experience to see the unanimity with which the American intellectuals have thrown their support to the use of war-technique in the crisis in which America found herself. Socialists, college professors, publicists, new-republicans, practitioners of literature, have vied with each other in confirming with their intellectual faith the collapse of neutrality and the riveting of the war-mind on a hundred million more of the world's people. And the intellectuals are not content with confirming our belligerent gesture. They are now complacently asserting that it was they who effectively willed it, against the hesitation and dim perceptions of the American democratic masses. A war made deliberately by the intellectuals! A calm moral verdict, arrived at after a penetrating study of inexorable facts! Sluggish masses, too remote from the world-conflict to be stirred, too lacking in intellect to perceive their danger! An alert intellectual class, saving the people in spite of themselves, biding their time with Fabian strategy until the nation could be moved into war without serious resistance! An intellectual class, gently guiding a nation through sheer force of ideas into what the other nations entered only through predatory craft or popular hysteria or militarist madness! A war free from any taint of self-seeking, a war that will secure the triumph of democracy and internationalize the world! This is the picture which the more self-conscious intellectuals have formed of themselves, and which they are slowly impressing upon a population which is being led no man knows whither by an indubitably intellectualized President. And they are right, in that the war certainly did not spring from hysterias, of the American people, however acquiescent the masses prove to be, and however clearly the intellectuals prove their putative intuition.


Not much changes.
posted by Deleted at 3:53 PM
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Thursday, July 07, 2005. *
President Bush is facing a legal deadline to deliver what he has been most resistant to providing: a set of specific benchmarks for measuring progress toward military and political stability in Iraq.

Under a little-noticed provision of the defense spending bill passed by Congress in May, Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld has until July 11 to send Capitol Hill a "comprehensive set of performance indicators and measures of stability and security" two years after the fall of Saddam Hussein.
posted by Trevor Blake at 9:45 AM
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. . . causing more Bush mumbo jumbo: "These evildoers are the enemies of freedom, and we will hunt them down and get 'em"--just like Bush got Osama, right? Does this mean England will lead an invasion against another country that had nothing to with this morning's attacks?

Somehow, I think this time England will do better than that. Let's hope, this time, that the real perpetrators of this murderous attack will be found and put to justice, and nobody will use this event for politics, for fear factor, or for future invasions having nothing to do with this attack which will line the pockets of Dick Cheney or his equivalent in England. We can only hope.

UPDATE: By the way, thousands of children died yesterday across the world of starvation, and now 'terrorism' is supposed to be at the top of the G8 agenda? Who did this attack benefit, exactly? You could practically see Blair dusting off his post 9-11 speeches. (Bush's post 9-11 speeches, of course, never gathered dust.) How many more billions will be poured into the military/industrial complex because of this? And who, exactly, is the "The Secret Organization of al-Qaida in Europe"? The linguistic flourish on this new title points to somebody who has a background in spin--the 'secret organization' bit is completely unnecessary--as opposed to "The Public Organization of al-Qaida in Europe"?
posted by Dr. Menlo at 8:55 AM
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Pentagon plans to augment local law enforcement
with combat, intelligence units
A new Pentagon strategy for securing the U.S. homeland calls for expanded U.S. military activity not only in the air and sea, but also on the ground and in other less traditional, potentially more problematic areas such as intelligence sharing with civilian law enforcement.

The strategy is outlined in a 40-page document, approved last month, that marks the Pentagon's first attempt since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, to present a comprehensive plan for defending the U.S. homeland.

The document does not ask for new legal authority to use military forces on U.S. soil, but it raises the likelihood that U.S. combat troops will take action in the event that civilian and National Guard forces are overwhelmed. At the same time, the document stresses that primary responsibility for domestic security continues to rest with civilian agencies.

Still, some of the provisions appear likely to draw concern from civil liberties groups that have warned against a growing military involvement in homeland missions and an erosion of long-established barriers to military surveillance and combat operations in the United States.

The document acknowledges, for instance, plans to team military intelligence analysts with civilian law enforcement to identify and track suspected terrorists. It also recognizes an expanded role for the National Guard in preparing to deal with the aftermath of terrorist attacks. And it asserts the president's authority to deploy ground combat forces on U.S. territory "to intercept and defeat threats."

"It's a mixed message," said Timothy H. Edgar, a national security specialist with the American Civil Liberties Union. "I do see language in the document acknowledging limits on military involvement, but that seems at odds with other parts of the document. They seem to be trying to have it both ways."

The document, titled "Strategy for Homeland Defense and Civil Support," was signed June 24 by acting Deputy Defense Secretary Gordon England and is now a basis for organizing troops, developing weapons and assigning missions. It was released late last week without the sort of formal news conference or background briefing that often accompanies major defense policy statements."

Because that's not the kind of thing you want in the paper the weekend before the national celebration of freedom and liberty.
posted by mr damon at 12:39 AM
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Wednesday, July 06, 2005. *
"New York Times reporter Judith Miller was jailed Wednesday for refusing to divulge a confidential source to a grand jury investigating the Bush administration's leak of an undercover CIA operative's name. Another reporter, Matthew Cooper of Time magazine, agreed to talk and avoided jail...

"Unless she decides to talk, Miller will be jailed until the grand jury ends its work in October. Hogan speculated Miller's confinement might cause her source to give her a more specific waiver of confidentiality, as Cooper's source had.

"The judge did not say where she would be incarcerated, but she was seen entering the Alexandria Detention Center. The Virginia facility's best-known resident is convicted terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui."
posted by mr damon at 5:00 PM
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With all the news on Thorium replacing Uranium coming out recently I thought AmSam readers might enjoy a reminder that it's likely cheaper to burn $1 bills than use nuclear energy.

From The Alternative Energy Blog and in The Australian:

Atomic power stations using high-grade uranium ores would have to run for seven to 10 years before they created enough power to cancel out the energy required to establish them.

Wind power takes just three to six months to do the same.

Not only is nuclear energy still ignoring the waste disposal problems and the very real security issues, it's still hiding behind the true cost of nuclear energy by focusing soley on the massive output that's generated once they're complete instead of looking at the full life cycle.
posted by ben at 10:49 AM
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One of the dangers inherent in jailing journalists for not disclosing confidential sources, is that this draconian punishment can be invoked selectively against targeted journalists. Two excellent and independent reporters may go to jail while Robert Novak has not -- to my knowledge -- been presented with the tragic choice of disclosure or imprisonment. Why has he been exempted? Is it because he toes the administration's line? Is it because he knows whether Karl Rove was the source? An explanation for this apparent double standard is called for!

- Alan Dershowitz on The Huffington Post

Not exactly a new question but, really, when are they going to answer that one?
posted by ben at 8:04 AM
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Tuesday, July 05, 2005. *
Pediatricians Defy Abstinence-Only

Finally, some medical common sense around teens and contraception, but in the Bush era it ends up sounding like defiance when the American Academy of Pediatrics declares that all teens, abstinent or not, need to have education about and access to birth control as a matter of health. AND that the Academy is updating its 1998 policy to remove the statement that "abstinence counseling is an important role for all pediatricians" because evidence shows that abstinence-only interventions are not effective.

From the AP: Teaching abstinence but not birth control makes it more likely that once teenagers initiate sexual activity they will have unsafe sex and contract sexually transmitted diseases, said Dr. S. Paige Hertweck, a pediatric obstetrician-gynecologist at the University of Louisville who provided advice for the report.

The report, released today in the journal Pediatrics, is refreshingly unambiguous. It says pediatricians should "Help ensure that all adolescents have knowledge of and access to contraception including barrier methods and emergency contraception supplies."

VIA Girl in the Locker Room!

posted by RHerman at 6:45 PM
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