Sunday, January 29, 2006

Bubble Boy's SOTU Zombie Jamboree -- Health Benefits for the UnDead!

You got that right. Bubble Boy's solved the American health care crisis. Now we're having health benefits for the UnDead. Only.

It's the SOTU Zombie Jamboree, with the latest notion from the Bushist Fascist Confederacy of UnDead Dunces shrieking toward the State of the Union-issue-hungry media whore media with that very special sound of rabbits screaming.

Get this -- according to our fanatical up-is-down-ist Preznit Fearless Leader Bubble Boy Toad Exploder, and his Bushist fascist ilk, the whole problem with Americans' health care is that --- THEY ALREADY HAVE TOO GOL-DURN MUCH OF IT!!

One kids you not.

Sure, it was bad enough when the Bushist fascists got rid of global warming by just whiteing it out with -- white-out. Or when they got rid of government racial problems by -- snipping them out of reports. Or when they got rid of pesky anti-torturists and pesky anti-breaking-the-law lawyers in the Justice Department by -- just getting rid of them.

The up-is-down-ists feel they're on a roll.

So, now that they've pissed away the Clinton-Gore surplus, started a war and lost a war and started a civil war, squandered trillions of dollars in the process, failed to find Bin Laden (who?), seeded the federal government with greedy, useless incompetents, screwed up the economy so that millions of formerly middle class Americans no longer have pensions, they're ready for their next move: reduce health care benefits for every American.

Single payer government system? Why? Can't I be just as greedy and selfish as I want? Isn't that really the American way?

Employer-funded system? Nah.

Well, see, if Americans depend upon their employers for health care, it makes it harder for them to be more mobile. The UnDead want freer labor.

Yeah, we don't have enough freedom now to be bounced from job to job. We don't have enough freedom now for a hard bout with cancer completely to bankrupt ourselves and our families. Yeah, we don't have enough freedom now to go without the medications we need because of the squalor we live in and the three jobs that we need to sorta pay the rent and the crap food that we buy because it's right in front of our noses. We don't have enough freedom now to go bankrupt paying for education loans so we can get an education so we don't have to have a crap job but then we don't have a crap job but we have a crap life, because we can't afford to be educated people because why should the government support anything except Star Wars and Halliburton?

Why shouldn't the poor and the middle class have crappier health care than the greedy UnDead? They're poor! They're middle class! Why should the UnDead pay for them?

You know, it's a real baad thing to pull the plug on a brain-dead lady, but quite a fine, freedomy thing to withhold health care benefits for people who can walk and talk and work three jobs at crap wages.

Look at the twins. They don't have jobs, and they have health care.

Poor people are poor because they're lazy, don't you get it?

Bow, kneel now to the divine UnDead. Bow before Bush, Cheney, Rummy, Frist, and the rest of Grover Norquist's whacked-out Bubble Boy bubble-bath bathtub government drowners.

They don't even know if they're dead or alive, and they sure don't care if you and yours are.

Back to back, ghoul, belly to belly

Well, I don't give a damn 'cause I'm stone dead already, yeah

Back to back, mon, belly to belly

It's a zombie jamboree

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Foil Bush's Radical Court-Packing Scheme: Oppose Rightwing Activist Judge Alito

It's time for blogtopian action on Alito, a radical activist judge who is wrong on the balance of powers and wrong on privacy.

No time like the present for a zippy filibuster as a show of Democratic party strength and unity.

Don't take no for an answer. Don't let your voices remain unheard. Contact your own Senators directly, and these. Scroll down for a list of emails and telephone numbers.

No more crocodile tears for the Mrs. Court-packing Right-Wing Activist Judge, eh?

[Here's something to keep your spirits up - - "The Breathtaking Magnitude of George Bush's Foreign Policy Incompetence.]

Friday, January 27, 2006

2005 Koufax Awards - - At Wampum

Wampum is kindly hosting the 2005 Koufax Awards for the best of the lefty blogs, here.

Visit their site, take the opportunity to cruise around blogtopia and find and celebrate lefty blogs of wildness and wonder, of feckfulness, snark and pulchritude. OK not pulchritude. No Blood for Hubris has had the happiness to be nominated as Best New Blog - - among a multitude of way more worthy blogs, including some of our all-time favorites (including but not limited to Dadahead, The Heretik, Agitprop, My Left Wing, Neil Shakespeare) as well as new-time favorites I'm working my way through (including but not limited to I Blame the Patriarchy, By Neddie Jingo!, Dharma Bums, and Olduvai George) and all of these can be found here, and should be found for the sake of the journey, not the destination.

Other categories are coming to the fore each day, many others, such as Most Deserving of Wider Recognition (for which we likewise have had the happiness to receive a nomination), and Best State, Local Blogs -- all categories present and to come deserve your time and consideration; please lend it to them if you have the opportunity.

Quoth Wampum:

Now that I've had my daily dose of Abramoff-Indian Trust Fund obsessing, I'll get back to work compiling the next posts. I started Best Post and Most Humorous Post this morning, and will hopefully have one, if not both, up later tonight.

I did a quick estimation yesterday, and it looks as though we had somewhere around 10,000 individual nominations this year (about 1000 nominators, with an average of 10 nominations each.) That's about twice what we had last year. I was wondering why I felt like I was going blind these past few days

I'm passing the hat yet again, to cover the increasing costs of these awards. In addition to regular contributions, if you happen to know anyone who would like to purchase an ad on our sidebar, a la our wonderful Texas Senate candidate, Barbara Ann Radnofsky, please let us know. Over the next few weeks, a large percentage of the eyeballs which frequent the Lefty blogosphere will land on Wampum at one point or another, so it's a pretty good advertising investment , at a fraction of what the Big Dogs charge.

Please lend Wampum -- and the Koufax Awards -- and the lefty blogosphere -- blogtopia? -- bloglantis? -- your support. And your presence.


Let me reference here the mysterium tremendum of blogtopia (Skippy coined it). Two clicks of separation away from No Blood for Hubris, via wood s lot, I just now wandered upon a fine post about (see blogger's about me section) Cesar Vallejo, of all wondrous poets, to wit:

Five talking points about Cesar Vallejo.

1) There's the inexplicable mystery of how and why he realized that he could be Cesar Vallejo. That is, speak with such an unmistakably individual voice. What gave him that courage? (Normally I hate to apply the word courage to writing in a particular style; it seems fake and inappropriate to say that it is courageous for me to write in a particular way. For Vallejo, though, this is entirely approrpriate.)

2) He had a complete poetic language, ranging from the colloquial to the erudite, the Quechua-inflected Spanish that he grew up speaking to the avant-garde cosmopolitan discourse of Europe.

3) He had a unique way of bridging the individual and the collective voice. "Yo no siento este dolor como Cesar Vallejo." Yet it took "Cesar Vallejo" to articulate this insight.

4) He passed through the historical avant-gardes and forged a style of political poetry totally inflected by the freedom given to him by this avant-garde. He never practiced a sort of "generic" avant-garde style. . .

5) His appeal is immediate and direct. You know that it's great before you even understand what it's all about. Further study only deepens our appreciation.

Pretty soon I'll be blathering on about Indra's Net. So.

Perhaps there is hope for us all, after all?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Some Chicks Should Not Work Outside the Home, Some Should Pipe Down: Kathy Should Do Both

Why does this person, chubby buxom blonde Bushist blowhard panty-twistee "columnist " blog-slagger Kathleen Parker, have a job?

Why does anyone pay her to write columns, or even grocery lists? Why does she have health benefits? Dental benefits? A possible pension plan? A place to live? Why?

Why did anyone teach her to read in the first place? Why, O God, why?

Working people are in crisis in America. Thirty thousands are being laid off at Ford today, human sacrifices who are paying the price for the stupidity and poor judgment of Ford executives, who are not being laid off, not losing their pensions, not losing their health and dental benefits.

Workers at so-called "Friendly's" restaurants are losing the best part of their health benefits as of today. They'll wind up in the free-care pool at your local hospital, where we, not Friendly's, will be paying their bill.

So, there's some all-American competition out there for real jobs with real benefits.

Why is chubby buxom blonde Bushist blowhard and panty-twistee, so-called "columnist" Kathleen Parker, then, not unemployed?

Today, she wrote an article in which she ridiculed George Galloway's intellect and political acumen by pointing out that George Galloway had once appeared on all fours on a funny British television show.

A stunning blow. A hit, a palpable hit! Ha ha!

(So far, Kathy's still collecting her paycheck. Hunh? Meanwhile, we are still wondering why Preznit Toad-Exploder's little theatrical skit where he, on all fours, was looking for those pesky missing Weapons of Mass Destruction under sofas and chairs but that skittishness failed to disqualify his intellect (sic) and credibility(sic) in the mind of buxom Kathy -- but never mind.)

Recently, she suggested that sexual harassment exists only in imaginations of silly smelling-salt-dependent Victorianesque feminist females who fail to understand the proud, "spicy," and "salty" tradition in which military males must be not reprimanded but commended for loudly pointing out in the military workplace how battleships with big long phallic guns make guys so hot and so hard. (Hmm?)

Well, smack Kathy upside the head with Clarence Thomas' pubic-haired Coke can, because Kathy thinks sexual harrassment doesn't really even exist.

Quoth currently-employed Kathy:
This is not necessarily good news if you're in the business of victim advocacy - and it is a business, perhaps soon to become a career choice if Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-N.Y.) has her way. Slaughter is the sponsor of a 95-page bill that would create a Pentagon Office of Victim Advocacy (OVA). We may never win the war on terror, but we'll by golly win the war on hurt feelings.

Sexual harassment is all about hurt feelings, hurt feelings are pussy, pussy is female, female is weak, weak is worthless. Get it?

Smack her again with that Coke can, and maybe chubby buxom blonde blowhard Kathy'll get it--she'd better get it, 'cause if she keeps spinning out these stinker columns, she's gonna be losing that job.

Maybe Kathy needs a Coke can ornamented with a whole forest of pubic hairs--how many will suffice to finally attract a Bushist blowhard's attention?

Hey, Clarence? Can you help this girl out?

Monday, January 23, 2006

America's Unwanted Children: Overturn Roe v. Wade, and Let's Have Some More!

On the 33rd anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it's time to ask hard questions of our fetal sentimentalists, the extra-high-decibel shriekers who cloak punitive authoritarianism under "life-ist" (sic) spin:

are children who actually are wanted, loved, expected, planned for, and prepared for, treated like this?


Starved Children Imprisoned By Bio Mom for Five Years

RENO, Nev. 1/22/06 -- Carson City Sheriff Ken Furlong says he's amazed by the survival of two emaciated children who say they were locked in an apartment bathroom and starved for the past five years.

When the siblings were found Thursday, the 16-year-old girl weighed about 40 pounds, and her 11-year-old brother weighed about 30 pounds. The pair were in stable condition Sunday at a hospital, while their grandmother, mother and the mother's boyfriend were in jail.

"The little girl appeared to be a Holocaust victim," Furlong told The Associated Press. "There's no meat or muscle whatsoever. We're talking absolute starvation. It was the same thing for the little boy."

Deputies were led to the home after someone reported seeing an 8-year-old girl pushing a shopping cart full of food within a block of the sheriff's office. It turned out to be the 16-year-old girl, who told deputies she was running away because she had been locked in a bathroom . . ."Right now, there doesn't seem to be anything that conflicts with anything the girl has said," Furlong said, adding the bathroom door appeared damaged as if someone had broken out. . .

Their grandmother, Esther Rios, 56; mother, Regina Rios, 33; and the mother's boyfriend, Tomas Granados, 33, were jailed on suspicion of child abuse or neglect and false imprisonment in lieu of $100,000 bail. . . Furlong said it's one of the worst cases he's seen in nearly 30 years of law enforcement.

"I don't know how the girl or her brother survived," he said.

Maybe it would be nice if America -- and particularly America's forced-maternity hysteric fringe -- made it a priority to take care of all its current post-born children, for a change.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

First We Maim Your Minds, Then We Dump You. It's Hard Work. Still.

This is a picture of Specialist Doug Barber. He acquired PTSD as a result of his participation in the Iraq War.

Post-traumatic stress disorder is an eminently treatable psychiatric condition, one requiring individual therapy once or twice a week until symptoms--hyperarousal (anxiety, panic, hypervigilance, outbursts of rage, irritability, insomnia, etc.); numbing/avoidance; intrusive thoughts (flashbacks, nightmares)--subside. Individualized medication regimes can also be helpful.

Preznit Toad-Exploder's VA knew full well what was wrong with Doug Barber, yet denied him benefits and proper treatment for two years.

In response to this soldier's request for emergency crisis treatment, according to Jay Shaft, the VA gave him a counseling appointment every three months and threw meds at him without proper supervision and follow-up.

On January 18, 2006, Specialist Doug Barber, who had PTSD, an eminently treatable psychiatric condition, committed suicide.

We've previously mentioned the Bush regime's vicious cheapskate policy on PTSD here, here, and here.

Asserting that people with PTSD don't have PTSD, reclassifying diagnoses, stringing patients along on meds only, or groups, or whatever they can get away with--that's how Bubble Boy's VA balances their budgets.

Deny people with PTSD treatment for long enough, they just kill themselves. Saves a bundle, eh?

Sort of like waiting for someone to bleed to death so as not to pay for a surgeon.

Friday, January 20, 2006

Jeez, Louise! NSA Sez--Our Lips 'R' Sealed

Re: Letter received here yesterday marked "Department of Defense."

My heart skips a beat!! At last! Rummy's telling me he's sorry, so sorry for everything he's done wrong? And he's checking himself into Gitmo for complete re-education on torture and sadism and national defense?

Nuh-uh. It's about my asking for a copy of records NSA maintains on me, you know NSA, that agency Bubble Boy, Preznit Toad-Exploder, unconstitutionally tasked to spy on American citizens without permission from the FISA court?

Oops. In my haste I misread that name, and just noticed now that my correspondent is in fact Louis F. Giles, Director of Policy, not Louise, he who wrote the following on 12 January 2006, and which was received here one week later, from Louis not Louise.

[But I like how the title turned out, so, like, what-everrr. Sorta like thinking the war in Iraq is the logical extension of the war in Afghanistan, is it not?]

Dear No Blood for Hubris:

This responds to your 19 December request [I clicked onto a link someone had posted as a comment on AmericaBlog, I think] which was received in this office on 19 December 2005, for a copy of all records this Agency [capitalized!] maintains on you. Your request has been processed under the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act [FOIA] and Privacy Act [PA}.

Personnel management files are maintained on NSA/CSS affiliates. Therefore, a search of our most comprehensive filing system which include applicant, personnel, security, medical, and training was conducted. Our records reflect that you have never been affiliated with this Agency; thus, no records were located. In addition, there are no fees associated with the processing of your case since your request meets the requirements of the PA for which there are no fees.

The fact that we were unable to locate records responsive to your request may be considered by you as an adverse determination, [hmm?] and you are hereby advised of this Agency's appeal procedures. Any person denied access to information may file an appeal to the NSA/CSS FOIA/PA Appeal Authority [lots of capitals] {DC34}, National Security Agency, 9800 Savage Road STE 6248, Fort George G. Meade, MD 20755-6248. To aid in processing the appeal, it should reference the inability of the Agency to locate records on you and should contain, in sufficient detail and particularity, the grounds upon which you believe this Agency maintains records on you. The NSA/CSS Appeal Authority will endeavor to respond to the appeal within 20 working days after receipt, absent unusual circumstances.


Louis F. Giles
Director of Policy

So--what's a blogger to do? Send Louis/Louise a link to Your Tax Dollars Fund NSA to Spy on Quaker Peaceniks? Don't they have one already?

And what's all this coy stuff about only having "records" on people who used to work for them? Oh. Wait. Maybe Osama Bin Laden did used to work for them. Back in the olden days, when he was America's Freedom Fighter Against the Godless Communist Soviets?

Records, schmecords. What do they call information they keep on Quaker Peaceniks, if not records?

Perhaps it's time to FOIA the FBI, too.

What think ye, O citzens of Blogistan?


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bubble Boy and His Very Own $25K Luncheon Buddy

Oh my. Who's this? Is it JimmyJeff GuckertGannon?

No? Is it someone else who came to dinner?

Not dinner? Lunch? I mean, someone else who came for lunch? Lunches? Lotsa lunches?

Why, it's Mr. Jackie "TaintBoy" Abramoff! Wow-ee! Don't we just LOVE Blogtopia*?

OK, then. So there.

No Blood for Hubris will be doing light-blogging for a while, due to combination of blogging-related tendinitis and puppy-related puppitude. Tomorrow, we will publish a charming letter No Blood for Hubris just received to day from one Ms. Louise Giles of the National Security Agency, Central Security Service. In short, they want me to furnish them with "the grounds upon which you believe this Agency maintains records on you."

Umm. Gee. I dunno. Because I'm an American citizen? Because I consort with Buddhists and Quakers and Greenpeace, oh my? Because I call Bubble Boy "Preznit Toad-Exploder"? Because I blog on human rights? Because I think the country is being run by a merry band of sadists, a whole cabal of same, in fact?

You choose, Louise. You choose.


Human Rights Watch: Bush Torture Policy "Deliberate"

Human Rights Watch World Report 2006
U.S. Policy of Abuse Undermines Rights Worldwide

New evidence demonstrated in 2005 that torture and mistreatment have been a deliberate part of the Bush administration’s counterterrorism strategy, undermining the global defense of human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2006

The evidence showed that abusive interrogation cannot be reduced to the misdeeds of a few low-ranking soldiers, but was a conscious policy choice by senior U.S. government officials. The policy has hampered Washington’s ability to cajole or pressure other states into respecting international law . . . .

"Fighting terrorism is central to the human rights cause," said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. "But using illegal tactics against alleged terrorists is both wrong and counterproductive."

Roth said the illegal tactics were fueling terrorist recruitment, discouraging public assistance of counterterrorism efforts and creating a pool of unprosecutable detainees.

U.S. partners such as Britain and Canada compounded the lack of human rights leadership by trying to undermine critical international protections. Britain sought to send suspects to governments likely to torture them based on meaningless assurances of good treatment. Canada sought to dilute a new treaty outlawing enforced disappearances. The European Union continued to subordinate human rights in its relationships with others deemed useful in fighting terrorism, such as Russia, China and Saudi Arabia.

Many countries -- Uzbekistan, Russia and China among them -- used the "war on terrorism" to attack their political opponents, branding them as "Islamic terrorists.
. . . Roth writes that it became clear in 2005 that U.S. mistreatment of detainees could not be reduced to a failure of training, discipline or oversight, or reduced to "a few bad apples," but reflected a deliberate policy choice embraced by the top leadership.

Evidence of that deliberate policy included the threat by President George W. Bush to veto a bill opposing "cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment," Roth writes, and Vice President Dick Cheney’s attempt to exempt the Central Intelligence Agency from the law. In addition, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales claimed that the United States can mistreat detainees so long as they are non-Americans held abroad, while CIA Director Porter Goss asserted that "waterboarding," a torture method dating back to the Spanish Inquisition, was simply a “professional interrogation technique.”

"Responsibility for the use of torture and mistreatment can no longer credibly be passed off to misadventures by low-ranking soldiers on the nightshift," said Roth. "The Bush administration must appoint a special prosecutor to examine these abuses, and Congress should set up an independent, bipartisan panel to investigate."

I'm sure Bubble Boy and his merry band of sadists will get right on that, will they not?

Monday, January 16, 2006

Gore: Bush "Repeatedly, Persistently" Broke the Law

Here, the AP story on the Martin Luther King Day speech by Al Gore, calling for a special prosecutor to investigate illegal spying on American citizens.

Complete text of Gore's speech, here; Quicktime video highlights available as well, both via Raw Story.

Gore called Bush's illegal surveillance program
"a threat to the very structure of our government." Gore charged that the program has ignored the checks and balances of the courts and Congress.

Gore said that Bush's actions — which the president has defended as indispensable in the war against terrorism — represented a "direct assault" on the special federal court that considers, and decides whether to authorize, administration requests to eavesdrop on Americans.

Gore said the concerns are especially important on King's birthday because the slain civil rights leader was among thousands of Americans whose private communications were intercepted by the U.S. government. . .

Gore said that there is still much to learn about the National Security Agency's domestic surveillance program: "What we do know about this pervasive wiretapping virtually compels the conclusion that the president of the United States has been breaking the law repeatedly and persistently," he maintained. . .

Gore was repeatedly interrupted by applause Monday as he spoke to the American Constitution Society for Law and Policy and the Liberty Coalition, two organizations that expressed concern with the legality of the surveillance program.

Gore, also a former member of the Senate from Tennessee, proposed that a special counsel be appointed by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales to investigate whether there have been violations of the law.

Referring to reports that private telecommunications companies have provided the Bush administration with access to private information on Americans, Gore said any company that did so should immediately end its complicity in the program.



Sunday, January 15, 2006

Neuroplasticity, Meditation, and Improving Smarts (Hey, Boy George, You Listening?)

Here, some interesting folks at The Center for Contemplative Mind in Society, a non-profit which "works to integrate contemplative awareness and contemporary life, to help create a more just, compassionate, and reflective society." Here, an article on how to meditate; more here.

Here, a link to a Time article on the benefits of meditation: "How to Get Smarter, One Breath at a Time--Scientists Find That Meditation Not Only Reduces Stress, But Also Reshapes the Brain."

At 4:30, when most of Wall Street is winding down, Walter Zimmermann begins a high-stakes, high-wire act conducted live before a paying audience. About 200 institutional investors . . . shell out up to $3,000 a month to catch his daily webcast on the volatile energy markets, a performance that can move hundreds of millions of dollars. . . Zimmermann, 54, watched most of his peers in energy futures burn out long ago. He attributes his brain's enduring sharpness not to an intravenous espresso drip but to 40 minutes of meditation each morning and evening. The practice, he says, helps him maintain the clarity he needs for quick, insightful analysis—even approaching happy hour. "Meditation," he says, "is my secret weapon."

Everyone around the water cooler knows that meditation reduces stress. But with the aid of advanced brainscanning technology, researchers are beginning to show that meditation directly affects the function and structure of the brain, changing it in ways that appear to increase attention span, sharpen focus and improve memory.

One recent study found evidence that the daily practice of meditation thickened the parts of the brain's cerebral cortex responsible for decision making, attention and memory. Sara Lazar, a research scientist at Massachusetts General Hospital, presented preliminary results . . .that showed that the gray matter of 20 men and women who meditated for just 40 minutes a day was thicker than that of people who did not. Unlike in previous studies focusing on Buddhist monks, the subjects were Boston-area workers practicing a Western-style of meditation called mindfulness or insight meditation. "We showed for the first time that you don't have to do it all day for similar results," says Lazar. What's more, her research suggests that meditation may slow the natural thinning of that section of the cortex that occurs with age. . .

Richard Davidson, director of the Laboratory for Affective Neuroscience at the University of Wisconsin . . . has collaborated with the Dalai Lama to study the brains of Tibetan monks, whom he calls "the Olympic athletes of meditation." Using caps with electrical sensors placed on the monks' heads, Davidson has picked up unusually powerful gamma waves that are better synchronized in the Tibetans than they are in novice meditators. Studies have linked this gamma-wave synchrony to increased awareness. . . Bruce O'Hara, associate professor of biology at the University of Kentucky . . . had college students either meditate, sleep or watch TV . . . . Those who had been taught to meditate performed 10% better—-"a huge jump, statistically speaking," says O'Hara. . . . Not surprisingly, given those results, a growing number of corporations—-including Deutsche Bank, Google and Hughes Aircraft—-offer meditation classes to their workers. . . .Another benefit for employers: meditation seems to help regulate emotions, which in turn helps people get along.

"Helps people get along," eh? How about meditation lessons for Bubble Boy, Rummy, and, most especially, Cheney?

Might be their only hope.

Another Stupid NY Times Article Supposedly About Feminism.

Here goes. Ok, so here not goes, since the link doesn't work because the NYT--wants to sell another one of yesterday's papers? Has no taste for the internets? Never mind. It was a crappy article in any case. Here's why.

Imagine writing about Betty Friedan's most well-known book and making a mistake about its title. Imagine making another mistake about a basic concept from her most well-known book. Imagine writing about "The Feminist Mystique" and thinking you're making any sense at all.

Somebody finally edited up Patti Cohen's bizarre creation, and had the mistakes she made in my home-delivered paper copy fixed by the time I went to the New York Times online this afternoon, but, oy--what's wrong at the Gray Lady? Now that we've heard of poor John Tierney weeping at there being just too damn many college-educated women, & now that we've read that rich, well-educated young women have more than enough damn money to be able to choose to whether to stay home or to go to work, one must ask--so, hey, which New York Times shill's putting down feminism now?

That would be Patti. Contrary to current revisionist historians such as Patti, ye olde-time women's libbers were perfectly well versed in, and supportive of--choices. Choices for men, and choices for women.

What part of that is so hard to follow?

Patti states, "But reality, of course, is messy and confusing. It's not clear what should give when women are still responsible for a disproportionate share of the housework . . .'

Uh, hello, DUUHH. What, are you kidding me? How stupid can one get?

That's the part that's hard to follow?

The part that suggests a 50/50 gender balance in jobs at the New York Times, all across the board? And elsewhere? A 50/50 balance in housework, and suchlike?

Is that what sticks in their gender-bent corporate craw? Yo.

With apologies to the Everly Brothers: Wake up, little Patti. Wake up.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Can You Cry Alito More Crocodile Tears on Cue, Honey?

It's sad, so sad. It's a sad, sad situation. All those mostly white guys sometimes mostly asking her white guy husband real questions, as if he had to actually answer them or something, instead of being rubber-stamped and anointed in the traditional way of our Godly Preznit Toad-Exploder. Looks like Alito's little woman's just not man enough to be a Supreme Court spouse.

(Check out Grace's blog comparing snivelling Alito to Jackie Kennedy.)

Reichwingers Howl, Boosting Condom Sales

Here, a story of one more American religious group vehemently trying to cram its religious beliefs down throats of innocent others who are not even semi-aspiring members of said group.

Condom key chains in US spark religious furor
A Connecticut abortion rights group has angered some conservative Christian groups by selling condom key chains that include an image of Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel with God handing Adam a condom.

"It's an example of depraved morals and contempt for the sensibility of Catholics everywhere," said C.J. Doyle of the Catholic Action League of Massachusetts.

No Blood for Hubris, of course, considers the war in Iraq an example of depraved morals and contempt for the sensibility of Buddhists everywhere.

NBFH considers the insane, un-American, anti-human policies of the current Bushist Fascist regime to be an example of depraved morals and contempt for the sensibility of intelligent persons everywhere.

NBFH considers the whining of the anti-condom crowd to be beneath contempt everywhere. Cry about it, CJ.

The $3 key chains sold by Planned Parenthood of Connecticut on its Web site come in 28 designs including an image of a U.S. flag with the stars replaced with the words "Wear with Pride" and a Statue of Liberty holding a condom instead of a torch.

Another reads" "Condoms are cheaper than diapers" over a cartoon of a screaming baby.

I liked that one in particular.

Judy Tabar, Planned Parenthood of Connecticut's president and chief executive, said growing controversy over the key chains sparked a surge in Internet traffic to its Web site this week.

She said 100,000 visitors swamped the site on Thursday, causing it to shut down temporarily, after Internet columnist Matt Drudge posted a statement by a conservative Christian group condemning the key chains as "blasphemous."

Yuh? Well, boo frickin' HOO, Taliban Xtians.

The key chains had been on sale for a year, but had attracted controversy only this week.

"The media attention led to an avalanche of orders so much so that it caused our Web site to shut down. We have expanded our capacity and it is up again today," she said.

The politically sensitive issues of unwanted pregnancy and abortion are among the hottest topics in Washington this week during Senate confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito.

Kristian Mineau, president of the conservative Massachusetts Family Institute, called the Sistine Chapel key chain image "a very crude and crass maneuver."

"This does nothing to deal with the horrific promiscuity rate we have among teenagers," he said. "We believe the real approach particularly to the young people that this is targeted at is abstinence before marriage."

Hey, Kristin, you want to teach that to your kids, go ahead. Just don't force your personal religious beliefs down the throats of everybody else in the country. And I won't be posting the Four Noble Truths in your town square anytime soon.

Taber said the variety of designs was aimed at appealing to a wide range of personalities. "Condoms are the best protection against unintended pregnancy and infection, so it's really important to get the message out there," she said.

No, no, no, we'd much rather increase the number of unwanted pregnancies and thus the number of unwanted children in the United States. We just don't have enough child abuse already, and we don't have enough criminals, either.

So, you're telling me--your Reichwing God wants more?

Mayor Bloomberg Orders Inquiry in Death of Abused Girl.

[Seven-year old] Nixzmary Brown . . . was beaten to death by her stepfather for eating a container of yogurt . . . Nixzmary died after months of being systematically tortured and denied food, prosecutors said. She weighed not quite 36 pounds. Her stepfather, Cesar Rodriguez, has been charged with murder, and her mother, Nixzaliz Santiago, with manslaughter. Both were also charged with endangering the welfare of a child.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Brit General: US Army Racist, Slow, Wrong

From the Sydney Morning Herald

US Army its own worst enemy

A senior British Army officer has written a scathing critique of the US Army and its performance in Iraq, accusing it of cultural ignorance, moralistic self-righteousness, unproductive micromanagement and unwarranted optimism. . .

In an article published this week in the army magazine Military Review, Brigadier Nigel Aylwin-Foster, who was deputy commander of a program to train the Iraqi military, said American officers in Iraq displayed such "cultural insensitivity" that it "arguably amounted to institutional racism" and may have spurred the growth of the insurgency.

The US Army has been slow to adapt its tactics, he argues, and its approach during the early stages of the occupation "exacerbated the task it now faces by alienating significant sections of the population" . . .

"[The US Army] seemed weighed down by bureaucracy, a stiflingly hierarchical outlook, a predisposition to offensive operations, and a sense that duty required all issues to be confronted head-on."

Those traits reflect the army's traditional focus on conventional wars and are seen by some experts as less appropriate for counterinsurgency, which they say needs patience, cultural understanding and a willingness to use innovative, counterintuitive approaches.

In counterinsurgency campaigns, Brigadier Aylwin-Foster says, "the quick solution is often the wrong one".

He argues that intense conformism and overly centralised decision-making slowed the army's operations in Iraq, giving the enemy time to respond.

The army's can-do spirit also encouraged a "damaging optimism" that interfered with realistic assessments. . ."

Hmm--damaging optimism, quick & wrong, racist, impatient--sounds suspiciously like our Fearless Leader, Bubble Boy, Preznit Toad-Exploder, does it not?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Your Tax Dollars Fund NSA to Spy on Quaker Peaceniks

Here, via Raw Story:


by Kevin Zeese

The National Security Agency has been spying on a Baltimore anti-war group, according to documents released during litigation, going so far as to document the inflating of protesters' balloons, and intended to deploy units trained to detect weapons of mass destruction, RAW STORY has learned.

According to the documents, the Pledge of Resistance-Baltimore, a Quaker-linked peace group, has been monitored by the NSA working with the Baltimore Intelligence Unit of the Baltimore City Police Department. . .

Links to NSA documents follow at RawStory. No time to post more now, just wanted to present this outrageous misuse of government funds and resources.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Deliberating Inflicting Pain: Force-Feeding at Gitmo

Details about the kind of force-feeding currently being used by the United States at the prison camp rightwingers call "Club Gitmo" are coming out in articles such as this one, from IrelandClick:

January 11 marks the fourth anniversary of detainees being held in the US Military Detention Centre in Guantanamo Bay. . .The UN special rapporteur on torture [Manfred Nowak] has revealed that there are allegations that Guantanamo hunger strikers are being force-fed in a cruel manner. . . Denied access to a judicial process and forced to live in what human rights groups have described as 'dog kennels' that offer little protection from the elements, prisoners, some believed to be as young as 13, have in the words of Amnesty International been involved in a "travesty of justice".

. . .New Lodge man Sam Millar, the former republican prisoner, . . . said watching the scenes from the horror camp were extremely distressing.

"When I look at what is going on in Guantanamo Bay and compare it with what happened to us, the parallels are frightening. . . I think there should be absolute outrage at what's going on, but for some reason it just doesn't seem to be a big issue. The way it is portrayed as well, they make you become immune to it. . . The telephone transcripts that have been released of the prisoners on the phone would break your heart. I am afraid this will alienate ordinary Americans from the rest of the world because of what their government is doing," he said.

In recent weeks . . .chilling new reports have emerged that forced with a growing hunger strike campaign by the detainees, the military has instigated a new regime of force feeding. . . [T]he grim reality of force feeding was described in detail by Sinn Féin's Gerry Kelly . . .

"They press their knuckles into your jaws and press in hard. The way they finally did force feed me was getting forceps and running them up and down my gums," he said.

"I opened my mouth, but I was able to resist after that," said the Sinn Féin man in the interview.

"Then they tried – there's a part of your nose, like a membrane and it's very tender – and they started on that. It's hard to describe the pain. It's like someone pushing a knitting needle into the side of your eye. As soon as I opened my mouth they put in this wooden bit with a hole in the middle for the tube. They rammed it between my teeth and then tied it with cord around my head.

"Then they got paraffin and forced it down the tube. The danger is that every time it happens you think you're going to die. The only things that move are your eyes.

"They get a funnel and put the stuff down."

Affidavits from the prisoners in Guantanamo describe how the torture victims vomited up "substantial amounts of blood" while being fed through their nose. The US Military has denied that torture takes place in Guantanamo Bay and says there was not truth in the allegations.

However, by admitting to force feeding prisoners for republicans like Gerry Kelly, these words will have a hollow ring to them.

Here, via RawStory, The Observer covers admissions by the chief American physician at Club Gitmo.

New details have emerged of how the growing number of prisoners on hunger strike at Guantánamo Bay are being tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages into their stomachs to keep them alive.

They routinely experience bleeding and nausea, according to a sworn statement by the camp's chief doctor, seen by The Observer. . . It is painful, Edmonson admits. Although 'non-narcotic pain relievers such as ibuprofen are usually sufficient, sometimes stronger drugs,' including opiates such as morphine, have had to be administered.

Thick, 4.8mm diameter tubes tried previously to allow quicker feeding, so permitting guards to keep prisoners in their cells for more hours each day, have been abandoned, the affidavit says. The new 3mm tubes are 'soft and flexible'.

The London solicitors Allen and Overy, who represent some of the hunger strikers, have lodged a court action to be heard next week in California, where Edmondson is registered to practise. They are asking for an order that the state medical ethics board investigate him for 'unprofessional conduct' for agreeing to the force-feeding.

Edmonson's affidavit, in response to a lawsuit on behalf of detainees on hunger strike since last August, was obtained last week by The Observer, as a Guantánamo spokesman confirmed that the number of hunger strikers has almost doubled since Christmas, to 81 of the 550 detainees. Many have been held since the camp opened four years ago this month, although they not been charged with any crime, nor been allowed to see any evidence justifying their detention.

This and other Guantánamo lawsuits now face extinction. Last week, President Bush signed into law a measure removing detainees' right to file habeas corpus petitions in the US federal courts. On Friday, the administration asked the Supreme Court to make this retroactive, so nullifying about 220 cases in which prisoners have contested the basis of their detention and the legality of pending trials by military commission.

Although some prisoners have had to be tied down while being force-fed, 'only one patient' has had to be immobilised with a six-point restraint, and 'only one' passed out.' In less than 10 cases have trained medical personnel had to use four-point restraint in order to achieve insertion.' Edmondson claims the actual feeding is voluntary. During Ramadan, tube-feeding takes place before dawn.

Article 5 of the 1975 World Medical Association Tokyo Declaration, which US doctors are legally bound to observe through their membership of the American Medical Association, states that doctors must not undertake force-feeding under any circumstances. Dr David Nicholl, a consultant neurologist at Queen Elizabeth's hospital in Birmingham, is co-ordinating opposition to the Guantánamo doctors' actions from the international medical community. 'If I were to do what Edmondson describes in his statement, I would be referred to the General Medical Council and charged with assault,' he said.

The essence of this article appears at Islam On-line.

The chief doctor in the US notorious Guantanamo detention camp has testified that detainees on hunger strike were tied down and force-fed through tubes pushed down their nasal passages, reported The Observer on Sunday, January 8.

In a court affidavit, Captain John S Edmondson, commander of Guantanamo's hospital, said the procedure, now standard practice at Guantanamo, causes the strikers to suffer bleeding and nausea.

"Experience teaches us" that such symptoms must be expected "whenever nasogastric tubes are used," he added. . .

"A Guantanamo spokesman confirmed that the number of hunger strikers has almost doubled since Christmas, to 81 of the 550 detainees.

Many have been held since the camp opened four years ago this month, although they have not been charged with any crime, nor been allowed to see any evidence justifying their detention.

Tell me again how much success Karen Hughes' trip to the Muslim world must have had in repairing the image of the United States. Or, do you suppose Muslims just might be "actions speak louder than words" kinda folks?

The War on Christmas

(Found this via Hlinko at Kos and loved it--many thanks to Tawnya Dudash, Annabel Dudash, and Russell Baldon, photo by Geoff Douglass. Let's get them elves in the slammer where they belong!)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Hero of My Lai Dies at 62

Four hundred unarmed civilian men, women, children and infants were slaughtered by American troops at My Lai. Only four soldiers faced trial for this massacre, and only one man was convicted, William Calley. Convicted in 1971 of the murder of 22 civilians, Calley has been a free man since November, 1974.

NYT: Hugh Thompson, Jr.,
an Army helicopter pilot who rescued Vietnamese civilians during the My Lai massacre, reported the killings to his superior officers in a rage over what he had seen, testified at the inquiries and received a commendation from the Army three decades later, died yesterday in Alexandria, La. He was 62.

The cause was cancer, Jay DeWorth, a spokesman for the Veterans Affairs Medical Center where Mr. Thompson died, told The Associated Press.

On March 16, 1968, Chief Warrant Officer Thompson and his two crewmen were flying on a reconnaissance mission over the South Vietnamese village of My Lai when they spotted the bodies of men, women and children strewn over the landscape.

Mr. Thompson landed twice in an effort to determine what was happening, finally coming to the realization that a massacre was taking place. The second time, he touched down near a bunker in which a group of about 10 civilians were being menaced by American troops. Using hand signals, Mr. Thompson persuaded the Vietnamese to come out while ordering his gunner and his crew chief to shoot any American soldiers who opened fire on the civilians. None did.

Mr. Thompson radioed for a helicopter gunship to evacuate the group, and then his crew chief, Glenn Andreotta, pulled a boy from a nearby irrigation ditch, and their helicopter flew him to safety.

Mr. Thompson told of what he had seen when he returned to his base.

"They said I was screaming quite loud," he told U.S. News & World Report in 2004. "I threatened never to fly again. I didn't want to be a part of that. It wasn't war."

Mr. Thompson remained in combat, then returned to the United States to train helicopter pilots. When the revelations about My Lai surfaced, he testified before Congress, a military inquiry and the court-martial of Lt. William L. Calley Jr., the platoon leader at My Lai, who was the only soldier to be convicted in the massacre.

When Mr. Thompson returned home, it seemed to him that he was viewed as the guilty party.

"I'd received death threats over the phone," he told the CBS News program "60 Minutes" in 2004. "Dead animals on your porch, mutilated animals on your porch some mornings when you get up. So I was not a good guy."

On March 6, 1998, the Army presented the Soldier's Medal, for heroism not involving conflict with an enemy, to Mr. Thompson; to his gunner, Lawrence Colburn; and, posthumously, to Mr. Andreotta, who was killed in a helicopter crash three weeks after the My Lai massacre.

The citation, bestowed in a ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, said the three crewmen landed "in the line of fire between American ground troops and fleeing Vietnamese civilians to prevent their murder."

On March 16, 1998, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Colburn attended a service at My Lai marking the 30th anniversary of the massacre.

"Something terrible happened here 30 years ago today," Mr. Thompson was quoted as saying by CNN. "I cannot explain why it happened. I just wish our crew that day could have helped more people than we did."

Mr. Thompson worked as a veterans' counselor in Louisiana after leaving military service. . .

Through the years, he continued to speak out, having been invited to West Point and other military installations to tell of the moral and legal obligations of soldiers in wartime.

He was presumably mindful of the ostracism he had faced and the long wait for that medal ceremony in Washington. As he told The Associated Press in 2004: "Don't do the right thing looking for a reward, because it might not come."

Thompson became the symbol of what's right with America at the same time becoming a lightning rod for the crackpot sadists who are emblematic of what's wrong with America--the guys and gals who were pro-atrocity and pro-civilian massacres in Vietnam, and now are pro-torture. They're the un-American cowards who swift-boated John Kerry, and who to this day think that admitting atrocities is way worse than committing them.

"I just killed. I wasn't the only one that did it; a lot of people in that company did it, hung 'em, all types of ways, any type of way you could kill someone that's what they did. That day in My Lai I was personally responsible for killing about twenty-five people. Personally. I don't think beforehand anyone thought that we would kill so many people. I mean we're talking about four to five hundred people. We almost wiped out the whole village, a whole community. I can't forget the magnitude of the number of people that we killed and how they were killed, killed in lots of ways.

Do you realize what it was like killing five hundred people in a matter of four or five hours? It's just like the gas chambers--what Hitler did. You line up fifty people, women, old men, children and just mow 'em down. And that's the way it was--from twenty-five to fifty to one hundred. Just killed. We just rounded 'em up, me and couple of guys, just put the M-16 on automatic, and just mowed 'em down."

Varnado Simpson, personal interview. [Four Hours in My Lai, Bilton & Sim]


Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Authoritarian Madness of King George: I'll Do Whatever I Please

Oblivious to his own inadequacies as a leader, oblivious to the dozens of poor decisions he's made, Preznit Toad-Exploder makes another one, via the Globe as he struts to announce his ability to do whatever he damn well pleases, regardless of the laws of the land.

Why? Cuz he's the PREZNIT, that's why!

Congress can pass that pussy McCain amendment, but if Bubble Boy don't want it to apply, then--it don't!

Pretty nifty for a guy who slept through Poli Sci 101, and can't even spell "authoritarian regime."


and pretty much anything else that he feels like . . .

WASHINGTON -- When President Bush last week signed the bill outlawing the torture of detainees, he quietly reserved the right to bypass the law under his powers as commander in chief.

After approving the bill last Friday, Bush issued a ''signing statement" -- an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law -- declaring that he will view the interrogation limits in the context of his broader powers to protect national security. This means Bush believes he can waive the restrictions, the White House and legal specialists said.

''The executive branch shall construe [the law] in a manner consistent with the constitutional authority of the President . . . as Commander in Chief," Bush wrote, adding that this approach ''will assist in achieving the shared objective of the Congress and the President . . . of protecting the American people from further terrorist attacks."

Some legal specialists said yesterday that the president's signing statement, which was posted on the White House website but had gone unnoticed over the New Year's weekend, raises serious questions about whether he intends to follow the law.

A senior administration official, who spoke to a Globe reporter about the statement on condition of anonymity because he is not an official spokesman, said the president intended to reserve the right to use harsher methods in special situations involving national security. . . .

[T]he official said, a situation could arise in which Bush may have to waive the law's restrictions to carry out his responsibilities to protect national security. . .

''Of course the president has the obligation to follow this law, [but] he also has the obligation to defend and protect the country as the commander in chief, and he will have to square those two responsibilities in each case," the official added. ''We are not expecting that those two responsibilities will come into conflict, but it's possible that they will."

David Golove, a New York University law professor who specializes in executive power issues, said that the signing statement means that Bush believes he can still authorize harsh interrogation tactics when he sees fit.

''The signing statement is saying 'I will only comply with this law when I want to, and if something arises in the war on terrorism where I think it's important to torture or engage in cruel, inhuman, and degrading conduct, I have the authority to do so and nothing in this law is going to stop me,' " he said. ''They don't want to come out and say it directly because it doesn't sound very nice, but it's unmistakable to anyone who has been following what's going on."

'The whole point of the McCain Amendment was to close every loophole," said Marty Lederman, a Georgetown University law professor who served in the Justice Department from 1997 to 2002. ''The president has re-opened the loophole by asserting the constitutional authority to act in violation of the statute where it would assist in the war on terrorism. . ."

Elisa Massimino, Washington director for Human Rights Watch, called Bush's signing statement an ''in-your-face affront" to both McCain and to Congress.

''The basic civics lesson that there are three co-equal branches of government that provide checks and balances on each other is being fundamentally rejected by this executive branch," she said.

''Congress is trying to flex its muscle to provide those checks [on detainee abuse], and it's being told through the signing statement that it's impotent. It's quite a radical view."


Yep. That's our Bubble Boy.

Clearing brush. Undermining the rule of law. Undermining the Constitution.

It's hard work.


Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Waiting for the NY Times Op-Ed Page to Have a 50/50 Male/Female Writers Ratio While Not Holding My Breath

Re: John Tierney's latest op-ed, which I can't link to, because the Times in its wisdom no longer allows it.

It's called: "Male Pride and Female Prejudice" and it's the latest in a spate of gee those poor rich college-educated women with good jobs and a mind of their own will never find a guy to marry boo hoo hoo kinda articles.

This one is totally unintelligible.

Johnny asks,
"When there are three women for every two men graduating from college, whom will the third woman marry?"

Uh--no one?

A nice blue-collar guy who graduated from high school?

A college educated woman?

A nice guy who didn't graduate from high school, like Peter Jennings?

A furriner?

This is not an academic question. Women, who were a minority on campuses a quarter-century ago, today make up 57 percent of undergraduates, and the gender gap is projected to reach a 60-40 ratio within a few years.

Yuh, and a quarter-century ago, nobody found it a problem that women weren't being educated. No one was whining about men marrying spouses who earned less than they did, or didn't work at all. How'd you miss that one, Johnny? Or is that just the natural order of things to which you'd like to return?

So more women, especially black and Hispanic women, will be in a position to get better-paying, more prestigious jobs than their husbands, which makes for a tricky variation of "Pride and Prejudice."

Ditto above. Tricky? Feh.

It's still a universal truth, as Jane Austen wrote, that a man with a fortune has good marriage prospects.

OK, tell me, why does this guy have a job? He has COMPLETELY and UTTERLY misunderstood Austen's beautiful and wittily ironic phrase, a phrase which is, in fact, this one:

"It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife."

[Yoo-hoo. Austen is making fun of Mrs. Bennet and her ilk, and also drawing our attention to the dismal economic realities of that time where intelligent women like Charlotte Lucas had to choose dismal dullards like the vicar merely in order to survive. Johnny has forgotten that Jane Austen chose never to marry.]

It's not so universal for a woman with a fortune, because pride makes some men determined to be the chief breadwinner

Oh, God. Get over it, Johnny.

I can't quote the entire article, nor, of course, can I link to it, but I can point out further strangenesses. Handsome, grey-haired Johhny claims:

Steven Nock of the University of Virginia has found that marriages in which the wife and husband earn roughly the same are more likely to fail than other marriages. That situation doesn't affect the husband's commitment to the marriage, Nock concludes, but it weakens the wife's and makes her more likely to initiate divorce.

Oh, so you mean economic equality means that women can afford to leave their bad marriages? But Johnny prefers it the other way around?

It's understandable that women with good paychecks have higher standards for their partners, since their superior intelligence, education and income give them what Buss calls high "mate value." They know they're catches and want to find someone with equal mate value - someone like Mr. Darcy instead of a dullard like the cleric spurned by Elizabeth Bennet.

This is bizarre on all counts. Johnny thinks that poor women, therefore, have lower standards for their partners?

[Let's leave aside Johnny's continuing misunderstanding of Pride & Prejudice. Mr. Darcy is of course, quite above Elizabeth's touch, and the dull Mr. Collins is quite a good catch, economically speaking, as he will inherit Longbourne. This is why Elizabeth's friend marries him.]

Which means that, on average, college-educated women and high-school-educated men will have a harder time finding partners as long as educators keep ignoring the gender gap that starts long before college

Are you noticing this phenomenon? I'm not, but I'm sure noticing that a whole lot of disgruntled, anti-feminist men seem real worried.

Advocates for women have been so effective politically that high schools and colleges are still focusing on supposed discrimination against women: the shortage of women in science classes and on sports teams rather than the shortage of men, period.

What, now there are so many women going to college that there are too many women going to college? Johnny wants us all to go back to having too many men?

You could think of this as a victory for women's rights, but many of the victors will end up celebrating alone.

So this whole column was written out of Johnny's deep and endless compassion for the college-educated spinsters of the world, all the latter-day Jane Austens. Poor intelligent single wretches. Boo hoo.

Or maybe he just wants someone to fix him up with Maureen Dowd?

Child Abuse & Unwantedness: Take 5

Are there happy outcomes for unwanted children? Maybe sometimes.

Are there outcomes like this, below, for children whose mothers love them and are well able to care for them?

Emphatically, no.


January 2, 2006

DEERFIELD BEACH, Fla. --A 3-year-old boy died after his mother held him in a tub of scalding water as punishment on Christmas Day and his grandmother, who had custody, failed to get him medical care for a week, authorities said Monday. The mother had lost custody of the boy for previous abuse.

Broward County sheriff's deputies found Jaquez Mason with burns over 50 percent of his body after getting a 911 call Sunday morning. He was pronounced dead a half hour later. It was unclear why he was punished, spokesman Jim Leljedal said.

His mother, Valerie Kennedy, 30, was charged with child abuse murder and jailed without bond. His grandmother, Annie Williams, 51, accused of failing to take the boy for medical treatment, was charged with manslaughter and was being held on $10,000 bond.

Raise your hand if you believe in cause and effect.


Bush Cuts, Prepares to Run


Sorry we broke your country into smithereens, chumps, but US mid-terms are coming, so we Bushist fascists are like, SO outta here!!

Full story at WaPo.

BAGHDAD -- The Bush administration does not intend to seek any new funds for Iraq reconstruction in the budget request going before Congress in February, officials say. The decision signals the winding down of an $18.4 billion U.S. rebuilding effort in which roughly half of the money was eaten away by the insurgency, a buildup of Iraq's criminal justice system and the investigation and trial of Saddam Hussein.

Just under 20 percent of the reconstruction package remains unallocated. When the last of the $18.4 billion is spent, U.S. officials in Baghdad have made clear, other foreign donors and the fledgling Iraqi government will have to take up what authorities say is tens of billions of dollars of work yet to be done merely to bring reliable electricity, water and other services to Iraq's 26 million people.

"The U.S. never intended to completely rebuild Iraq," Brig. Gen. William McCoy, the Army Corps of Engineers commander overseeing the work, told reporters at a recent news conference. In an interview this past week, McCoy said: "This was just supposed to be a jump-start."

Since the reconstruction effort began in 2003, midcourse changes by U.S. officials have shifted at least $2.5 billion from the rebuilding of Iraq's decrepit electrical, education, water, sewage, sanitation and oil networks to build new security forces for Iraq and to construct a nationwide system of medium- and maximum-security prisons and detention centers that meet international standards, according to reconstruction officials and documents. Many of the changes were forced by an insurgency more fierce than the United State [e.g., Bubble Boy & his confederacy of dunces] had expected when its troops entered Iraq.

In addition, from 14 percent to 22 percent of the cost of every nonmilitary reconstruction project goes toward security against insurgent attacks, according to reconstruction officials in Baghdad. In Washington, the office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction puts the security costs of each project at 25 percent. . . .

[P]riorities were shifted rapidly to fund initiatives addressing the needs of a new Iraq: a 300-man Iraqi hostage-rescue force that authorities say stages operations almost every night in Baghdad; more than 600 Iraqis trained to dispose of bombs and protect against suicide bombs; four battalions of Iraqi special forces to protect the oil and electric networks; safe houses and armored cars for judges; $7.8 million worth of bulletproof vests for firefighters; and a center in the city of Kirkuk for treating victims of torture.

At the same time, the hundreds of Americans and Iraqis who have devoted themselves to the reconstruction effort point to 3,600 projects that the United States has completed or intends to finish before the $18.4 billion runs out around the end of 2006. These include work on 900 schools, construction of hospitals and nearly 160 health care centers and clinics, and repairs on or construction of nearly 800 miles of highways, city streets and village roads.

But the insurgency has set back efforts across the board. In two of the most crucial areas, electricity and oil production, relentless sabotage has kept output at or below prewar levels despite the expenditure of hundreds of millions of American dollars and countless man-hours. Oil production stands at roughly 2 million barrels a day, compared with 2.6 million before U.S. troops entered Iraq in March 2003 . . .

Iraqis nationwide receive on average less than 12 hours of power a day. For residents of Baghdad, it was six hours a day last month, according to a U.S. count, though many residents say that figure is high.

The Americans, said Zaid Saleem, 26, who works at a market in Baghdad, "are the best in destroying things but they are the worst in rebuilding. . ."

The heavy emphasis on security, and the money it would cost, had not been anticipated in the early months of the U.S. occupation. In January 2004, after the first disbursements of the $18.4 billion reconstruction package, the United States planned only $3.2 billion to build up Iraq's army and police. But as the insurgency intensified, money was shifted from other sectors, including more than $1 billion earmarked for electricity, to build a police force and army capable of combating foreign and domestic guerrillas. . . .

In the process, the United States will spend $437 million on border fortresses and guards, about $100 million more than the amount dedicated to roads, bridges and public buildings, including schools. Education programs have been allocated $99 million; the United States is spending $107 million to build a secure communications network for security forces. . .

[M]oney has gone toward building or renovating 10 medium- and maximum-security prisons -- early plans called for four prisons -- and for detention centers nationwide. . . .

The shifts in allocations have led Stuart Bowen, the inspector general in charge of tracking the $18.4 billion, to talk of a "reconstruction gap," or the difference between what Iraqis and Americans expected from the U.S. reconstruction effort at first and what they are seeing now. . .

"It is easy for the Americans to say, 'We are doing reconstruction in Iraq,' and we hear that. But to make us believe it, they should show us where this reconstruction is," said Mustafa Sidqi Murthada, owner of a men's clothing store in Baghdad. "Maybe they are doing this reconstruction for them in the Green Zone. But this is not for the Iraqis."

"Believe me, they are not doing this," he said, "unless they consider rebuilding of their military bases reconstruction."

Let's ask Condi Rice what she thinks.


Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy (Non-Tibetan) New Year

I don't know why certain American people who claim to be conservative Republicans and also claim to be following the teachings of Jesus Christ think it's fine and dandy for some people to boil other people to death, under their aegis.

Or that it's dandy to order the torture of human beings very directly in other ways--such as deliberately and painfully jamming feeding-tubes down their gullets, and deliberately inflicting unendurable pain and suffering by various and sundry other methods. Indeed, some claim such acts somehow qualify as "good."

Beats me. But hey, I'm Buddhist. From that point of view, if one commits an evil deed deliberately, and then afterwards one is satisfied with this action, then that act creates what is called a complete karma: on the basis of such actions, ultimately, everyone will reap just exactly what they have sowed. But I digress.


Happy New Year.

On the upside, besides persons like Bubble Boy and sadistic pro-torturists Cheney and Rummy, and their shrieking hysterical sheeple ilk, there are also other sentient beings, noble ones, like the Polish poet and Nobel Prize Winner for Literature Czeslaw Milosz, who wrote the following, and whose work I present in hopes that the new year brings to us all a swift renaissance of compassion and wisdom:


All was taken away from you: white dresses,
wings, even existence.
Yet I believe you,

There, where the world is turned inside out,
a heavy fabric embroidered with stars and beasts,
you stroll, inspecting the trustworthy seams.

Short is your stay here:
now and then at a matinal hour, if the sky is clear,
in a melody repeated by a bird,
or in the smell of apples at the close of day
when the light makes the orchards magic.

They say somebody has invented you
but to me this does not sound convincing
for humans invented themselves as well.

The voice--no doubt it is a valid proof,
as it can belong only to radiant creatures,
weightless and winged (after all, why not?),
girdled with lightning.

I have heard that voice many a time when asleep
and, what is strange, I understood more or less
an order or an appeal in an unearthly tongue:

day draws near
another one
do what you can.

--Czeslaw Milosz

Hat tip to Jesus' General and Wealth Bondage.

Blonde Blowhard Blog-Slagger Flip-Flops; Slobbered Over Right Blogs, Now Slags Blogs Left

Chubby buxom blonde Bushist blowhard "columnist" Kathleen Parker's panties revealed to be in major twist re nasty snarky blogtopian bloggerseses.

Here, Kathy warns regular people (who would be those upon whom the NSA is currently spying?)
"to beware and resist the ego-gratifying pack that contributes only snark, sass and destruction."

"Snark, sass, destruction": oh MY!

This Southern blonde bombshell buxom-version clone of civil Ann Coulter decries "the less visible, insidious enemies of decency, humanity and civility--the angry offspring of narcissism's quickie marriage to instant gratification."


Kathy sucks up to the Media Whore Media for a coupla paragraphs, God knows why, ranting on:

Bloggers persist no matter their contributions or quality, though most would have little to occupy their time were the mainstream media to disappear tomorrow. Some bloggers do their own reporting, but most rely on mainstream reporters to do the heavy lifting. Some bloggers also offer superb commentary, but most babble, buzz and blurt like caffeinated adolescents competing for the Ritalin generation's inevitable senior superlative: Most Obsessive-Compulsive.

Even so, they hold the same megaphone as the adults and enjoy perceived credibility owing to membership in the larger world of blog grown-ups. These effete and often clever baby "bloggies" are rich in time and toys but bereft of adult supervision.

Spoiled and undisciplined, they have grabbed the mike and seized the stage, a privilege granted not by years in the trenches, but by virtue of a three-pronged plug and the miracle of WiFi. They play tag team with hyperlinks ("I'll say you're important if you'll say I'm important") and shriek "Gotcha!" when they catch some weary wage earner in a mistake or oversight. Plenty smart but lacking in wisdom, they possess the power of a forum, but neither the maturity nor humility that years of experience impose.

Each time I wander into blogdom, I'm reminded of the savage children stranded on an island in William Golding's "Lord of the Flies." Without adult supervision, they organize themselves into rival tribes, learn to hunt and kill, and eventually become murderous barbarians in the absence of a civilizing structure.

What Golding demonstrated--and what we're witnessing as the Blogosphere's offspring multiply--is that people tend to abuse power when it is unearned and will bring down others to enhance themselves. Likewise, many bloggers seek the destruction of others for their own self-aggrandizement. When a mainstream journalist stumbles, they pile on like so many savages, hoisting his or her head on a bloody stick as Golding's children did the fly-covered head of a butchered sow. . .

I mean no disrespect to the many brilliant people out there--professors, lawyers, doctors, philosophers, scientists and other journalists who also happen to blog. Again, they know who they are. But we should beware and resist the rest of the ego-gratifying rabble who contribute only snark, sass and destruction.

We can't silence them, but for civilization's sake--and the integrity of information by which we all live or die--we can and should ignore them.

So, Kathy, where's all this weeping, wailing, gnashing of teeth comin' from, Kathy honey? Some bad ol' blogger deal you some big-time snark?

What became of the blog-lovin' Kathy Parker of 2003, here?

If not for blogs, Howell Raines might still be editor of The New York Times; Trent Lott might still be majority leader of the U.S. Senate. . . I'm not an expert on blogging, but I am a fan. As a regular visitor to a dozen or so news and opinion blogs, I'm riveted by the implications for my profession. Bloggers are making life interesting for reluctant mainstreamers like myself and for the public, whose access to information until now has been relatively controlled by traditional media.

I say "reluctant mainstreamer" because what I once loved about journalism went missing some time ago and seems to have resurfaced as the driving force of the blogosphere: a high-spirited, irreverent, swashbuckling, lances-to-the-ready assault on the status quo. While mainstream journalists are tucked inside their newsroom cubicles deciphering management's latest "tidy desk" memo, bloggers are building bonfires and handing out virtual leaflets along America's Information Highway.

In some areas, bloggers are beating the knickers off mainstream reporters and commentators. Bloggers are credited, for instance, with ramping up interest in Trent Lott's suicidal praise of Strom Thurmond's segregationist history. Bloggers like Andrew Sullivan, former editor-in-chief of The New Republic magazine and author of , was riding herd on Raines and The New York Times long before Jayson Blair became synonymous with criminal journalism. He was insisting on Raines' dismissal while everyone else was tapping the snooze button.

And of course Matt Drudge of escorted Monica Lewinsky onto the stage.

During the Iraq war, "warbloggers" often posted new developments far ahead of the mainstream. Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, slept maybe 4.5 hours the entire three weeks as she posted on the site's group blog, "The Corner." Put it this way, as you were waking up, Lopez was on her third Diet Coke.

The best bloggers, who are generous in linking to one another [wait, wait, in the other article, Kathy doesn't like this!} - -alien behavior to journalists accustomed to careerist, shark-tank newsrooms - - are like smart, hip gunslingers come to make trouble for the local good ol' boys. The heat they pack includes an arsenal of intellectual artillery, crisp prose, sharp insights and a gimlet eye for mainstream media's flaws [manly blogs! yee-haw!]

Glenn Reynolds, the blogosphere's Rowdy Yates ( ), as well as a University of Tennessee law professor, last year wrote, "Big journalism is in trouble," and proclaimed "the end of the power of Big Media."

He's right about the trouble part, but the blogosphere may help more than hurt. The view from my bunker suggests that blogs can't be anything but good for journalism. Just as a new restaurant is good for established ones, competition is good. And fun! As another famous cowboy recently put it, "Bring `em on!"

Oh, we get it, Kathy. Reichwing blogs are good, anybody else's blogs are bad.

Not that one cares about your whiney prissy faux Phyllis Schlafly scribblings anyhow, but on the less is more principle, when one can boil down one's whole message to a single sentence, just that one sentence will do. Or, and this would be kinder and more civil, entirely spare us your puerile, silly bleatings.

Keep Blogtopia beautiful.

["Blogtopia" - - a term coined by and at Skippy, the Bush Kangaroo].