Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Japan's Royal Family

This WaPost article is kind of bizarre. Entitled 'Tradition Afflicts a Modern Princess', it describes Princess Masako's struggle with living the rigid Japanese royal lifestyle - and, specifically, her struggle to fulfill her 'foremost imperial duty' - that of bearing a male heir to the throne. Last time I checked, it was the male, alone, who was responsible for determining the sex of the baby. (Am I mistaken? Is this urban myth?) Yet, the 1,623 words in this article say nothing of that fact - only that Princess Masako is under pressure from the courtiers to bear a male heir.

It all just seems a little bizarre to me - as if we've been transported back into the 1600's when men really did believe it was the woman, alone, who determined the sex of the child. Bizzarro, man...

Monday, June 28, 2004

Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bush Admin's Legacy of Fear

One line from the movie says something to the effect when people are afraid, you can make them do anything. It is stated by a U.S. Congressman who is a psychiatrist by training. This phenomenon of governming by fear has been recognized by many astute eyes for quite some time, but without Fahrenheit we can be pretty sure that the mainstream public would not ever pick up on it - because the mainstream press is gullible and is really only a mouthpiece for the government, as evidenced by a recent FAIR report. Only recently have any media begun to question Ashcroft's use of terror warnings as possibly being politically-motivated.

Moore's contention is that Bush and his people want you to be afraid - very afraid. Not because there are any real threats out there, but because they want you to get behind whatever legislation they try to pass - whatever war they wish to fight, etc. So you heard months of months of weapons of mass destruction, dirty bombs, and mushroom clouds. Why?

It wasn't because there actually was a serious threat from any of these things, it's because all the warnings helped to create a fearful mindset for everyone in the country. With everyone being so afraid of everything, they are apt to just say 'F it - do whatever you need to do to make my fears go away. If that means erasing Iraq, then so be it.' And there you have it - the Iraq war, Saddam, Osama, Zarqawi, Syria, Iran, North Korea, Islam, and whatever other 'boogeyman' Bush's crew wishes to drag off the shelf and put to good use.

Why is Homeland Security consistently underfunded by Bush? Because Homeland Security is just a joke - on the American people. The Homeland Security Department is just a farce - a media operation set up solely to support the terrorizing political tool called the Terror Alert System and to give that tool some legitimacy.

In today's Express paper there is a full pullout entitled Emergency Metro Guide. It includes the HOW-TOs of how the heck to escape all sorts of disaster that might strike you as you make your merry way to or from work - especially on the Metro system. It's classic Bush Administration scare tactics. I'm not saying that Bush and his people directly told The Washington Post to print this stuff - far from it. Bush and his people have created this incredible climate of fear and everyone - even newspaper editors - are brainwashed by it. How did they do it? Go see Fahrenheit. It describes many ways the Bushies have done this - the most prominent example being Ashcroft's manipulation of the Terror Alert Level - that candy-colored sign we talked about so long ago. Everytime the Bushies have to deal with some really negative news - BOOM! - raise the terror alert level to Orange or even Red. It's worked like a charm for a couple of years now. When you go back in time - over the past two years or so - you will be shocked at the timeliness of Aschroft's terror alerts - always falling on or near big bad news days for the Administration. Many good blogs like Atrios have been following these trends for quite some time now.

The latest piece of fearmongering by the Bushies is this latest warning put out by Bush officials - floating beer coolers. No, I'm not kidding. Check the opening graph from the Time article:


As the July 4 holiday approaches, Bush Administration officials are bombarding the nation's police, fire, emergency and corporate-security offices with another round of terrorism warnings. Although there are no plans to raise the threat level from yellow to orange, a senior Justice Department official says, "there's very serious intelligence that's corroborated, that's multiple sourced, that indicates that al-Qaeda is intent on hitting us and hitting us hard this year." The official concedes, however, that "we don't have specific information."

If you study the previous months and years you'll see we are always getting 'increased chatter' and there's 'new intelligence' and we have 'nothing specific'. In other words, be afraid, but no - there's really no way to protect yourself - so let us take care of that by letting us do whatever the hell we want - including passing the Patriot Act, fight unnecessary wars, etc. Check out the opening few graphs of an article titled 'Creating a Comfort Zone - How to How to Build Peace of Mind in Threatening Times' from the Washington Post on March 16, 2003:

There's something in the air -- the faint and persistent buzz of hazard. Some people are plainly scared. They've been told so often "it's not if but when" that images of terrorist attack pass through their minds every day. Some people seem untouched. They face the periodic and inscrutable announcements of threat with a mix of fatalism and defiance. But nobody doubts that they're living in a changed world.

After all, the unimaginable has already happened. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were so unlikely and -- let's face it -- so successful that large-scale death from terrorism on American soil is no longer just a theoretical possibility.

So what does one do with that feeling and that fact?

It's a good question. And a really hard one to answer.

What follows in these pages is our attempt to help you come up with a reasonable and livable stance against the threat of terrorism. We're most definitely not providing answers, let alone The Answer. But we're offering some building materials that may be useful in constructing the very personal edifice that is peace of mind.

And now we have floating beer coolers... Every time I think I've seen it all from these guys... But by the time this July 4 weekend rolls around we'll be hearing another line from the Bushies - 'go enjoy your weekend'. Just the type of mixed message that continues to keep us on our toes.

Good doggie. <Ruff>!

UPDATE: Another article on the Bush Administration's fear-mongering.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

National Capital Barbecue Battle

Just a shout-out. Digital Cities page here, office page here. $8 to get in, but lots of music, and the money goes to a good cause. Plus, you probably get to stuff yer face with some pretty rockin' BBQ!

Reminded myself of a restaurant in NJ called Stuff Yer Face. The one I'm thinking of, in East Brunswick, closed down - but there's another - probably the original and now only - in New Brunswick.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Wal-Mart Discriminates?

A California judge has recently granted 'class action lawsuit' status upon the Wal-Mart sexual discrimination suit. No idea if that's the correct language or not, but once a judge says 'class action', it's pretty much over for a retailer like Wal-Mart - the world's BIGGEST company. Ummm, that's pretty big.

Retailers are particularly vulnerable to public opinion - boycotts directly affect the bottom line, and they hit quickly. So this is trouble for the big guys. Wal-Mart claims to have already 'righted the ship' - and there is some evidence of that, but this matter doesn't look to go away quickly. Wal-Mart's just made too many enemies with its heavy-handedness - and knowledge of their shoddy labor practices is growing.

But, screw 'em. They deserve it. If you follow Wal-Mart labor practices, you know they're a bunch of gangsters.

The employees' class action lawsuit website is here.

There are numerous anti-Wal-Mart sites out there - here are just a few: WAL-MART WATCH, WAL-MARTyrs, Wal-Mart Litigation Project.

More articles on how Walmart might just be hurting us all in the end: The Wal-Mart You Don't Know, The Wal-Mart Effect, Group: Wal-Mart subsidies no bargain.

PBS does a mini called 'Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes To Town', based on the documentary of the same name.

Did a quick search and found at least three anti-Wal-Mart books: The Case Against Wal-Mart, In Sam We Trust: The Untold Story of Sam Walton and How Wal-Mart Is Devouring America, How Wal-Mart is Destroying America and The World and What You Can Do About It. Just hard to imagine that the Wal-Marts of yesteryear - say GM Motor Company - provoked such antipathy. But, who knows?

On the other side of things, here's a non-sucky piece from Slate that seems to have something coherent to say - strange, since most of Slate's stuff recently is virulently right-wing, and therefore idealogical, anti-logic and non-thinking.

Le Monde Selon Bush

That's French for 'The World According to Bush'. Another Bush-bashing documentary - this time, in French! Reuters article here. Official site here.

Thanks to Drudge for the scoop.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Justin Raimondo's Reagan Meltdown

Everyone's been racing to see who can kiss Reagan's ass more, now that he's finally departed, and Justin Raimondo over at AntiWar.com apparently wants to get his fair share of the the Gipper's hind quarters. Specifically, he goes after my boy Greg Palast for penning an article titled 'Killer, Coward, Conman, Good Riddance Ronnie Reagan'. I'm all for criticism - it just has to make sense - so I've taken some of my precious time to rebut some of Raimondo's absurdities. Raimondo attempts to explain himself in 'the notes' of his next piece, but it's unconvincing. C'est la vie.

Now, you'll just have to take my word for it that Justin Raimondo actually wrote this stuff; at least, some guy signing articles over at AntiWar.com with the pen name 'Justin Raimondo' wrote this stuff. It's pointless and absurd - just like most of the right-wing wacko stuff out there - but it is what it is. I can only imagine the guy snapped a blood vessel or something - who knows?

Palast: And when Hezbollah terrorists struck and murdered hundreds of American marines in their sleep in Lebanon, the TV warrior ran away like a whipped dog ... then turned around and invaded Grenada. That little Club Med war was a murderous PR stunt so Ronnie could hold parades for gunning down Cubans building an airport.

Raimondo: So invading Grenada was a crime – but bombing the crap out of Beirut wasn't? Would Palast have preferred a full scale American occupation?

Yes - invading Grenada was a crime, but more, it was a 'murderous PR stunt.' Bombing Beirut? Who bombed Beirut? The terrorists? What are you talking about? Does Palast prefer a full-scale American occupation? Probably not - he doesn't say - but he makes clear that cutting and running was not in our best interests - militarily and otherwise. We're dealing with Reagan's leftover Beirut problems today - still (@see Israeli-Palestinian conflict).

Palast: Reagan's boys called Jimmy Carter a weanie and a wuss although Carter wouldn't give an inch to the Ayatolla. Reagan, with that film-fantasy tough-guy con in front of cameras, went begging like a coward cockroach to Khomeini pleading on bended knee for the release of our hostages...Ollie North flew into Iran with a birthday cake for the maniac mullah -- no kidding --in the shape of a key. The key to Ronnie's heart.

Raimondo: [Palast] also berates Reagan for being soft on the "maniac mullahs" of Iran...the alleged peacenik, seems to have disappeared: in his place is a snarling, ravening dog of war, straining at the leash to take a good bite out of those maniacal Iranians.

I think most of us would agree that a birthday cake is pretty soft. And the 'ravenous dog of war' is a figment of Raimondo's over-active imagination. Just because someone doesn't think that tending to the Mullahs' wishes on bended knee is the best option for American diplomacy does not mean someone is an advocate for total war.

Palast: Our President said in his speech in March that when we go into Iraq, we are going there because Saddam Hussein has harbored, trained and funded terrorists, including those connected to al-Qaeda. If we are going to attack a nation and occupy it because of a connection to al-Qaeda, which never appeared, then what are we doing with Saudi Arabia?

Raimondo: Palast, who opposed the war on the grounds that it was a "war for oil," thinks we ought to have invaded Saudi Arabia, instead.

Palast hasn't called for an invasion of Saudi Arabia, he merely pointed out that invading Iraq based on the false claims that Iraq had ties to al-Qaeda should have led Bush and his cronies to invade the state that actually *is* responsible for harboring al-Qaeda - Saudi Arabia.

Raimondo's ridiculous over-reaching here really does remind me of that wacky Ann Coulter-type stuff that gets printed. I can hardly believe it's the same guy I've been reading for the past few months who has been writing some *really* good stuff on the Iraq situation. I guess everyone deserves a pass once in a while, but I still had to get this on the record since Raimondo's absurd distortions of Palast's words are on the record.

Original Child Bomb

SilverDocs is a film festival put together by the American Film Institute and the Discovery Channel.

I went to see one of the co-winning movies - Original Child Bomb. It was good, but absolutely, horrifyingly annoying. Is that possible? I could recommend seeing it if you have a very high tolerance level for the 'artsy/farty' in independent flicks - otherwise, skip, and keep the blood pressure down. I figure it was named co-winner because everyone would have felt guilty for not including the 'H-bomb' movie in the winners list. Some good stuff - facts related to worldwide nuclear weapons programs - specifically testing, and its unsuspecting victims - including thousands of U.S. military personnel and millions of civilians worldwide. Gruesome footage of effects the bomb had on Japanese civilians in the aftermath. Rough.

I didn't get to see the other co-winner, Death in Gaza, but I suspect it's more in-your-face-type stuff.

Kinda odd how both winners are about 'mass murder' - as George 'loser-boy' Bush likes to say.

Dogs Can Smell Cancer?

I'd heard about this phenomenon before, and it's all very scientific, apparently, but it still sounds totally bizarre to me - and cool! An MSNBC article titled 'Is there a doctor — or dog — in the house?' gives a brief synopsis on the whole dog-as-doctor thing. Dogs can be useful in other ways, too:


'He's given me my life'

Dogs that diagnose cancer may be a ways away, but some medical pooches are already on the job, warning their owners of epileptic seizures, high blood pressure, heart attacks, migraines and low blood sugar.

Leigh Meyer, of Huntersville, N.C., has suffered from severe epilepsy since she was 17. Now 35, Meyer credits her ability to live independently and take care of her four daughters to her seizure alert dog Cyrano.

“He’s given me my life,” says Meyer. “He’s offered me a chance to have a little bit of normalcy.”

A giant schnauzer who spends most of his time as a docile couch potato, Cyrano’s mood changes abruptly about 30 minutes before the onset of Meyer's seizures. Suddenly he becomes nervous and antsy, and begins pawing at Meyer and leaning on her. This signal gives her time to stop whatever she’s doing, move away from her children and prepare.

Once the seizure starts, Cyrano stands next to her until the episode is over, usually from two to four minutes. Because Meyer’s seizures are often very violent — she has broken several fingers, both collar bones and her feet during convulsions — she relies on Cyrano to keep her children out of the way. And, if a seizure occurs in a public location, she has taught him to herd the children to prevent them from wandering off.

Little research has been done to unravel the mystery behind dogs' ability to warn of a seizure or other medical crisis, but most observers believe it is based on canines' keen observational skills, sense of smell, or a combination of both.

"There would have to be some type of chemical change or physiological change in the body," says Sharon Hermansen, executive director of Canine Seizure Assist Society of North Carolina, and Cyrano's trainer. "People can't tell when (a seizure) is coming on, so there's something the dogs are doing that we can't figure out."

Un-freaking believable...

Monday, June 21, 2004

Note to Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)

Sometimes, you only have time for something short.


Good work Re: Armed Services Radio.


Senator Harkin has been trying to get Armed Services Radio and Television System (AFRTS) to air a liberal point of view to go along with the daily dose of extremist right wing radio it gets via Rush. Seems fair to me...

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Portugal Over Spain! (1-0)

Big, big, BIG win in more Euro action. Portugal is the small neighbor of Spain, and this is their first win against 'big brother.' Portugal is going buck wild, and Spain is going to be crying. This year's tournament, of course, is being held in Portugal - so, nice for the home team. Another brief article about the partying in Lisbon.




Unlucky that the crybaby English made it through, but they'll get their final comeuppance - mehopes! Props to England's new 18 year-old phenom, Wayne Rooney, though. He's got talent, and seemingly a good bit of class. He's currently the talk of the tournament, and he's far outshining Michael Owen - who himself was once an 18 year-old phenom for England, but who during this tournament, has been lackluster. In after-game interviews, the younger youngster came to the defense of his partner on the pitch:

'Michael hasn't scored tonight, but he's set up a few for me and I think the partnership's going well. We just go out there and do our jobs.'

This was important because people are talking about removing Owen from the starting lineup. Whether it's right or wrong to keep Owen on the pitch can be disputed, but to back up your currently-struggling teammate is definitely classy.

UPDATE: The English made it through to the single-elimination round, but not the Italians - so now Italy have a chance to be excuse-making crybabies!

UPDATE: Wow. This is terrible. Now the Italians are crying. Disgraceful. Check out a well-written article by James Davis over at ESPN's SoccerNet.com. It is appropriately very critical of the Italians for suggesting conspiracy on the pitch just to clear Italy's own lack of fortitude. Even worse than the Brits. Sheesh.

UPDATE: The English are crying again?! How many excuses can one football team possibly make? But wait! Beckham is taking responsibility? Say it isn't true?! Yes, it isn't true! It's the fault of the Spanish! Why didn't I think of that? It's so obvious. Those damn Spaniards! Thanks to The Telegraph for pointing out that England's losses were, of course, England's fault. Some on parts of Airstrip 1 seem to believe that the 2006 World Cup will be England's return to glory. Ummm...news flash y'all - Europe is no longer as dominant as it used to be; 4 of the top 10 teams in the world are from outside of Europe. And we all know about the dangerous Africans, and the rapidly up-and-coming Asian teams. Below is the current FIFA World Rankings - don't forget about #9 - mf!

  Rank    Team
  ----   ---------
  1     Brazil
  2     France
  3     Spain
  4     Mexico
  5     Argentina
  5     Netherlands
  5     Turkey
  8     Germany
  9     USA
  10     Italy


UPDATE: Portugal has lost and are...gracious in defeat? Unbelievable. And who better to lead the way than the youngest player on Portugal's team (19), Cristiano Ronaldo. I couldn't imagine a better person to show-up the classless English (Beckham, especially), and all the other sore losers. Ronaldo said 'I don't like their (Greece's) style of football but they are worthy winners.' Honest, and honorable. No excuses.

Ethnic Cleansing

Genocide is occurring in Sudan, but this Washington Post editorial seems more concerned that Bush's foreign policy reputation not be stained like Clinton's (Rwanda) - than it is about the actual killing.

Hold Elections In Iraq Now!

Jim Hoagland does a column in the WaPost titled 'Mickey Mouse and the U.N.'. In it he addresses the need for immediate elections in Iraq. In summary, he writes:


This is written not to bash the United Nations but to underscore some obvious points: Elections do not have to be perfect, or even peaceful, to bring positive change. The perfect can be made the enemy of the good. When in doubt, trust the people.

This blogger couldn't agree more, so I wrote Mr. Hoagland:

Most people outside the U.S. know that immediate elections in Iraq are necessary and doable - just ask General Jay Garner, who was fired after trying to do elections within two months of his arrival. The reason we haven't had elections yet, and the reason we won't have elections until sometime in 2006, earliest, is because the Bush cartel does not want elections. Elections could mean democracy - which could mean loss of control of Iraq's vast mineral wealth. Bush/Cheney and company will be sure to fully financially colonize Iraq before allowing any elections to take place - of this we can be sure.

Similarly, if Kerry were to take office, what incentive would he have to hurry elections, knowing that his 'good' stewardship of America's newest imperial colony could only bode well for his re-election chances.

Your point that 'elections do not have to be perfect' is absolutely spot-on. We need the Post to bring this issue to the fore and make it something we can actually talk about. Of course, this is not in the Bush Administration's interests - thus we are unlikely to see such a discussion arise from the pages of the Post.

Pretending that the U.N. - especially as concerns Iraq - is anything but an enabler for U.S. interests there is misleading, at best. Whatever the U.N. election director says concerning Iraq, you can be sure it's been rubberstamped by the U.S. administration.

Allies Must Step Up

The WaPost has an article by regular columnist Robert Kagan (Carnegie Endowment for International Peace) and guest co-author Ivo H. Daalder (The Brookings Institution) entitled 'The Allies Must Step Up'. I'm not kidding - that's really the title, only, as you might expect - it gets much, much worse should you decide to actually read the White House's their patronizing prose. From the title you can guess what kind of hooey we're about to be fed, but I wanted to contact these guys and let them know that they're going to get called when shilling for this, or any, Administration. Hounding people to be honest brokers of information does have an effect, though how much is debatable.

Here's my email (with HTML reformatting for this blog) to Kagan and our Ivo. Ivo, for all his degrees and honors, doesn't have the guts to list a contact email address, so I used the 'Foreign Policy Studies' email address provided as a link at the bottom of his Brookings page. I also copied the WaPost ombudsman. Why not?


Dear Mr. Kagan and Mr. Daalder,

I found your recent article 'The Allies Must Step Up' to be misleading and dishonest. I'll address only the primary argument you use to push this Administration's position that it is now time for our allies to 'step up'.

Your statement that 'Iraq will enjoy full sovereignty after June 30, not limited sovereignty' is plainly not true, not symbolically - by way of UN Resolution 1546, nor in actuality - by way of continued 'back-door' U.S. influence over Iraq.

In the very first bullet point of UN Resolution 1546, we have: [The UN Security Council] endorses the formation of a sovereign Interim Government of Iraq, as presented on 1 June 2004, which will assume full responsibility and authority by 30 June 2004 for governing Iraq while refraining from taking any actions affecting Iraq’s destiny beyond the limited interim period until an elected Transitional Government of Iraq assumes office as envisaged in paragraph four below;. Of course, a government cannot be 'fully sovereign' if it may only take actions which will only be in effect for the next seven or eight months. This statement is truly Orwellian: You are free to govern Iraq - just don't do anything that might affect Iraq's future. Brilliant.

Most major news organizations in the world that reside outside U.S. borders have rightly claimed the handover of Iraq a 'sham'. Yet even the Wall Street Journal reports in its May 13 column, 'Behind the Scenes, U.S. Tightens Grip On Iraq's Future': The new Iraqi government will have little control over its armed forces, lack the ability to make or change laws and be unable to make major decisions within specific ministries without tacit U.S. approval, say U.S. officials and others familiar with the plan. Full sovereignty, gentlemen?

Your dishonest shilling for the current Administration brings disrepute upon yourselves, and both of your organizations. Your allegiance to this Administration is neither patriotic nor helpful to U.S. interests. We need honest policy discussions - not further disinformation from 'independent' think tanks and 'peace' organizations.

Should either of you have a genuine interest in helping the U.S. become successful in Iraq, I suggest you read a couple of articles by Middle East scholars with more allegiance to the truth than this Administration:
  • The New and Improved Iraq, Juan Cole, In These Times
  • Government Attacks on Area Specialists Called Disservice to U.S. Middle East Policy, Leslie Evans on remarks by Rashid Khalidi, UCLA International Institute, Center for Near Eastern Studies

  • Thank you.

    p.s. The UN Resolutions mentions the not-so-secret, secret and non-institution, institution Paris Club. Hmmmm. Reminds me of Richard Perle's involvement with the Bilderberg club during the run-up to the invasion. The Asia Times does a good write-up on Bilderberg here. The Asia Times also prints a bunch of unfriendly letters about that write-up. I don't know which is true - I'm just kind of amazed that such an exclusive club even exists! It's like crazy international espionage James Bond-type stuff.

    The Korean Drudge?

    Seems most people who know Matt Drudge either love him or hate him. His Drudge Report website is part gossip, part conservative news lede generator. He may soon have competition.

    South Korean reporter and entrepreneur Oh Yeon Ho has created a website called OhmyNews.com that makes 'every citizen a reporter'. This tagline is essentially the same as Drudge's musings: "this is the digital age, everybody's a reporter, who decides? I don't force people to come to my site. Either they think I'm trustworthy or they don't." In general, I agree with Drudge. And as I've been blogging these past few months - and followed the 'real' news sources - major tv networks and newspapers - I'm now completely convinced that Drudge is *much* more reliable, and *much* less biased than any other news source. That goes for CNN, Fox, MSNBC, New York Times, Washington Post, etc. We could debate it, but right now, that's where I'm at.

    Check out the Newsweek article here.

    Anything that weakens the big corporations' hold on the media is a good thing, in my opinion...

    UPDATE: Here is the English version of Ho's site.

    Verified Voting Rally!

    Tuesday (June 22) at 11:45 am Congressman Rush Holt (D-NJ) will hold a press conference/rally near the Capitol Building to gain support for the The Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act of 2003 (H.R. 2239). This bill will require a paper trail for every vote.

    This is important! It's not enough to vote! You have to be able to prove who you voted for!


    National Rally for Voter Verified Paper Ballots
    Tuesday, June 22, 2004
    11:45am to 1:00pm

    Cannon Terrace, just south of the U.S. Capitol, between Cannon and Longworth House Office Buildings
    (At the corner of New Jersey and Independence)
    Nearest Metro station: Capitol South


    UPDATE: This was a great little event. Finally managed to get some pics of one of many 'commy' events I attend.

    Reps who spoke at the rally included Rep. Marcy Kaptur (OH), Rep. John Lewis (GA), Rep. Robert Wexler (FL), Rep. Jan Schakowsky (IL), and Rep. Jay Inslee (WA) also spoke at the rally.

    Special props go out to Rep. John Lewis because of his strong background on voting right, having been a primary crusader for the black vote back in the day - he's got the scars to prove it. If you don't know his story, go read up.

    I overheard one encounter a demonstrator had with a jerky Republican staffer. Never fails - it seems that whenever I go to one of these things there is *always* at least one jerky Republican staffer who is anti-Democracy and very condescending of public demonstrations. It's really unbelievable if you think about the fact we're talking about a non-partisan issue here. Unbelievable - unless you consider what the American Republican party consists of these days - spoiled, ignorant, rich people exploiting the base fears of the American public and the 'redneck vote' to keep their puppet in office. How much progress could we make with no Republicans in office? Horrible people.

    People like to make all sorts of excuses for Republicans and the Republican Party and platform, but I fully believe what Chomsky has said forever now - that the elite - the financially and politically powerful - hate democracy and are its more fierce enemies, because democracy is the only thing that can threaten their power. Many on both sides of the aisle do their best to remain in power - regardless of what democracy calls for - but the Republican party is especially immoral and lawless when it comes to maintaining their grip. Bush's term here will be a demonstration to any future enlightened society of how corrupting power can be.



    There were some cameras. Saw a mobile CNN camera buzzing around. A few note-taking reporter-types.



    Hadn't heard of Common Cause before today.



    Rush Holt at the lecturn with Democracy for America rep in white t-shirt off to left, Rock the Vote guy in the blue shirt, obscured-with-purplish-shirt True Majority guy, and a bunch of Representatives.



    And a shot of the Computer Ate My Vote guy and a bunch of other signs.

    White Castle!

    New flick about White Castle! It even stars New Jersey! how bad could it be? Check out Harold & Kumar.

    Wednesday, June 16, 2004

    Freudian Ford Folks

    Ford Motor Car's lawyer might have made a Freudian slip the other day during closing arguments. He may have suggested - admitted - that Ford knowingly put defective automobiles on the market. Several pending lawsuits allege such - with one woman injured in yet another Ford rollover a massive sum of money - $368 million.

    One of the best scenes of Fight Club was when the narrator of the story (Edward Norton) tells the lady in the plane seat next to him about his job. Edward - the narrator - is an insurance inspector - so he goes to horrific auto accidents and sees all that's to be seen. He tells his seat-mate about the formula that his employer - a 'major auto company' - uses to decided whether to fix an auto defect, or just put it on the market and deal with the lawsuits. If the total cost of the lawsuits is less than the total cost to fix the defect, the defect doesn't get fixed - and subsequently, people die and are maimed. Nice. But the truth.

    Here's a link to the Ford cars which burn alive police officers.

    FRONTLINE has a cool site set up to talk about the SUV rollover problem - a problem with is not specific to Ford. Of course, the whole blame game between Ford and Firestone is only a couple of years old at this point.

    If you ask me, they're all a bunch of gangsters. Why anyone would buy an American car, much less a Ford, is beyond me...

    Tuesday, June 15, 2004

    Enforcing Death

    Another shout out to Political Theory for a link to this totally bizarre, but totally cool article. It is subtitled 'Critics of life extension fear the risks of longer lives but don't acknowledge the danger and difficulty of enforcing death'. Check it out.

    Spite Voters Rule

    Thanks to Political Theory for pointing out this article on how stupid white men vote for the Republican Party - even though they know it's not in their best interests - just to spite 'liberals'.

    UPDATE: I sent a note to the author of this article just to say 'good job' and they offered to publish it, so I was like 'cool'. If I thought they might have wanted to publish it I would have said something intelligent. The title given to my letter is 'Bile Brigade', and I actually don't know what that is supposed to mean. You can find it here, along with a bunch of other letters.

    p.s. This NEW YORK PRESS paper seems like it might actually be good. I just went back to check out some more articles and it's at least unique. I'm tired of the typical 'alternative newspaper' of whatever town, giving us the same old coverstory - usually with accomanying and disheartenly-desperate and depressing cover photo - on the local rundown homeless center, the southside drugs-back-to-work program, the community hero, or the latest police brutality scandal. I'm talking about papers like the Washington CityPaper and the Village Voice. Who knows - maybe I'm just generalizing - probably am - but this NY Press thing seems like a typical alternative paper and the allegedly-intellectual New York Review of Books. We'll see...all I'm saying is, don't put an amazingly-depressing cover photo and story on your fishwrap every week and maybe someone other than the goth kid and bored college student would pick it up.

    Jewish Terrorists In Our Midst

    Some loser Jewish terrorist sucka will have to stand trial after continually lying to prosecutors. Sucka.

    Originally found this article on al-Jazeera.

    UPDATE: And what's up with the plea bargain b.s.? Think you'd see a plea bargain deal for a suspected Muslim terrorist?

    UPDATE: Another article on the conviction of a non-Arab, non-Muslim terrorist. The judge conveniently ruled that the psycho-Christian defendent wasn't a terrorist because there was no international element to his crimes. Okay. Terrorism isn't terrorism, I guess, unless it's a brown guy - ahem, I mean - unless it's international terrorism. Nice.

    Note to Washington Post Ombudsman

    Doubt it'll do any good, but I guess you never know:


    The New York Times and Baltimore Chronicle have both run stories on Sibel Edmonds. She is a 9/11 whistleblower, and she's guaranteed a coverup and several high-level criminal court cases if a real investigation into 9/11 is conducted. Judge Reggie Walton - who is upholding Ashcroft's request for a state secrets invocation to keep Edmonds mouth shut - has postponed her case for the *4th* time.
    Where is the Washington Post on this story?

    Thank you.

    Note to Senator Schumer (D-NY)

    Onto Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat New York, member of the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Schumer,

    Please support Sibel Edmonds in her request to testify in public about 9/11. She has volunteered to do so on several occassions, and has even been compelled to do so via a 9/11 civil suit. Ashcroft invoked the State Secrets privilege and the Judge in her case has postponed deciding on the Privilege for a *4th* time! This is absurd, and it's an outrage by any measure of fairness.

    Help Sibel Edmonds. Help America defend itself from future attacks. Help us all get to the truth. Demand that the DC Circuit Court make their decision immediately or demand that Ashcroft withdraw his invocation State Secrets privilege.

    Thank you.

    --peter--

    Note to Senator Feingold (D-WI)

    Onto Senator Russ Feingold, Democrat Wisconsin, co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Act (campaign-finance - almost completely useless, but good effort), member of the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Feingold,

    Congratulations on attempting to make a dent in the campaign finance charade.

    I'm writing about the case of Sibel Edmonds. I wanted to urge you to allow her to speak publicly about what she knows. Americans deserve the truth if we are to pressure our government to make the necessary changes to help protect us from future terrorist attacks. Likewise, politicians should be interested in making these truths known so the American public can buy into what needs to be done.

    Sibel Edmonds has offered to testify in public, but Ashcroft has slapper her with the State Secrets Privilege and has gone as far as to re-classify her testimony from last year. This is an outrage. Mr. Ashcroft's days as AG are already numbered. Stand up to him now and demand that he justify the State Secretes privilege. Demand the the DC Circuit Court decide on the State Secrets privilege in this case.

    Our court system is our final reprieve for justice in this country. What the DC Circuit Court, Ashcroft, and The White House are doing is making a mockery of justice. Please put this to an end.

    Thank you.

    --peter--

    Note to Senator Durbin (D-IL)

    Onto Senator Dick Durbin, Democrat Illinois, member of the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Durbin,



    As member of the Judiciary Committee, I hope you'll do what you can to allow Sibel Edmonds to testify. The secretive nature of the 9/11 proceedings are not serving anyone's interests but the White House. The hearings are supposed to uncover what happened on 9/11 in order to prevent future attacks. It is slowly becoming common knowledge that our intelligence agencies are woefully incapable of handling the most basic of protective services. The American public deserves to know the full truth.



    Please do your best to allow Sibel Edmonds to testify about what she knows in public.



    Thank you.



    --peter--

    Note to Senator Feinstein (D-CA)

    Onto Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat from California, member of the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Feinstein,

    I need your help. I want to hear Sibel Edmonds testimoney. I do not trust Ashcroft to keep us safe. I feel his invoking of the State Secrets privilege against Sibel Edmonds is an outrage, and I hope you feel the same way. As a member of the Judiciary Committee, I want to urge you in the strongest terms possible to allow Ms. Edmonds to testify publicly about everything she knows - no limits. This secretive Administration is one of the root causes of 9/11. Please do your best to help protect us from future attacks.

    Thank you.

    --peter--

    Note to Senator Kohl (D-WI)

    Senator Herb Kohl, Wisconsin, member of the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Kohl,

    I wanted to urge you to please support Sibel Edmonds. She wishes to testify publicly about what she knows of 9/11. We need and deserve this information. It's becoming more clear that President Bush will not be re-elected. Don't worry about partisan attacks. Those interested in national defense should be interested in getting this information into the public domain.

    I no longer trust AG Ashcroft to protect us. He uses press conferences to distract us from his many failures. He's gagged Sibel Edmonds and has effectively gagged Congress by illegally re-classifying information without meeting the appropriate criteria for classification. This is an outrage to me, and I hope it is to you too.

    There are many of us out here who believe that Sibel Edmonds testimony will shed light on our government's many failures leading up to 9/11. We deserve the truth - though the heavens fall.

    Thank you.

    --peter--

    Note to Senator Edwards (D-NC)

    Senator John Edwards of North Carolina is probably going to be Kerry's VP. He's on the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Edwards,

    I urge you to please support Sibel Edmonds in her quest to help protect our country. You may be our next Vice-President of the United States - and after that - possibly our next President. Pushing to allow Sibel Edmonds to offer her testimony in public is a great opportunity to show the strength of your leadership. Make no mistake, the American public wants to know this information - and more - we *need* to know this information.

    Thank you.

    --peter--

    Note to Senator Biden (D-DE)

    This went as an email. Senator Joe Biden is a Democrat from Delaware, and has been on top of the torture scandal, but is also on the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Biden,

    I strongly urge you to allow Sibel Edmonds to testify in public, as she has volunteered, and indeed - requested, you allow her to do. Please work to get your colleagues on board. We deserve to know this information!

    Thank you.

    Note to Senator Kennedy (D-MA)

    Onto Senator Ted Kennedy, of Massachusettes, member of the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Kennedy,

    As member of the Judiciary Committee, I strongly urge you to allow Sibel Edmonds to give her testimony in public. We all have a right to know what happened on 9/11. We have a right to defend ourselves. Without knowledge that Ms. Edmonds has, we cannot be expected to be able to defend ourselves as effectively as possible. You know this.

    Ms. Edmonds has volunteered. She's been blocked by Ashcroft and the State Secrets privilege - and I would suggest something more sinister - with four - yes, four - delayed court dates - this last one for no apparent reason at all. We can assume this President wants this matter - or Ms. Edmonds - to go away. Her life may already be in danger.

    Stand up for our bravest Amerians. Let her do her duty as a United States citizen and do her best to defend our nation from any and all who would harm us - foreign *and* domestic.

    Thank you.

    --Peter--

    Note to Senator Leahy (D-VT)

    Note to Senator Patrick Leahy, of Vermont, member of the Judiciary Committee:


    Senator Leahy,

    As member of the Judiciary Committee, I wanted to urge you to speak out for Sibel Edmonds. She's a 32 year-old naturalized U.S. citizen and is doing everything she can to help protect the U.S. John Ashcroft, on the other hand, is merely trying to cover his own hind quarters. Give Ms. Edmonds a chance to testify publicly about what she knows about 9/11.

    Thank you.

    --peter--

    Note to Senator Graham (R-SC)

    Because he's a member of The Senate Judiciary Committee, which has allowed Ashcroft to pretty much do whatever he wants to quash dissent. Graham used to be a prosecutor and may eventually mount a semi-legitimate attack on the Abu Ghraib perpetrators - we'll see. He was a prosecutor during the Clinton Impeachment hearings, but voted not to impeach:


    Senator Graham,

    I'm a USC Graduate now living in DC.

    I applaud your efforts to get at some truths with this Administration's policy of torture and I urge you to continue to press for convictions for all those found guilty - including those in the Administration who approved of this torture policy, up to and including the President himself.

    Also, as member of the Senate Judiciary Committe, I strongly urge you to allow Sibel Edmonds to tell the public the truth, via public hearings, about what she knows of the failings of the FBI, and of the 'semi-legitimate' organizations that are responsible for the 9/11 conspiracy.

    I do *not* trust the judgement of Attorney General John Ashcroft, and neither should you.

    Thank you.

    --peter--

    Note to Senator Grassley (R-IA)

    His website:


    Senator,

    Please continue to speak up for Sibel Edmonds. She is a true American. The American people deserve to hear the information she has. Not allowing her to go public is tantamount to endangering the national defense of the country. How could it be anything less?

    Your leadership is direly needed.

    --peter--

    Thank you.

    UPDATE: Grassley gets a note because he's a moderate Republican and has been doing right by Sibel Edmonds. He's on the Senate Judiciary Committee. For the record, I still don't believe it's ok to be a Republican, much less a Republican who is not in total and open revolt of what the Republican party has become over the last fifty years, but especially what it's become since Reagan, and even moreso since Bush II took office.

    Monday, June 14, 2004

    Letter to Rep. Norton on Torture, Sibel Edmonds

    Her website:


    Hello Ms. Norton,

    I wanted to see if it was possible I could schedule an appointment with you. I moved into the district last year and need to know that you are receiving and hearing all of my correspondence. And with all due respect, I want to know that you are acting upon it.

    Specifically, the torture scandal is keeping me up at night - literally. I want to push for an international inquiry into the matter because it is no longer safe in the hands of the American Congress and Justice Department.

    I am also gravely concerned that Attorney General Ashcroft has gagged Sibel Edmonds in the 9/11 investigation. This country will not be safe until the truth gets out about who committed 9/11.

    Thank you.

    --peter--

    Hey, I never said I was eloquent. I hate calling. Shit. I'm gonna get a meeting, though, eventually. And I will start calling again. Feel stupid doing it. Hmmmm...

    Did you drop your letter?

    Sunday, June 13, 2004

    Book Event: Bush on the Couch

    Politics & Prose Bookstore will have Justin Frank, longtime DC psychoanalyst, to speak about his book 'Bush on the Couch'.

    Date/Time: Monday, June 21, 7 p.m.

    UPDATE: The Washington Post has a vignette about Frank's book.

    UPDATE: Billmon has a post up about Salon's Bush psychosis article.

    UPDATE: Didn't get to make it to this one.

    Friday, June 11, 2004

    Thursday, June 10, 2004

    Lawyers Have Heart 10k

    This little ditty goes down Saturday. Probably be a good number of Run Against Bush people out there.

    UPDATE: Great day. Great race. Weather was awesome - somewhere in the 60's. Most of the course was shaded - at least, the middle 4 miles. They didn't have food (bananas, bagels, yogurt, etc.) at the finish line, but they did hand out water and some grab-bags which had a protein bar in it. Disappointed about the lack of food. It's the main reason everyone is trying to get to the finish line! But, we got some exercise, raised some money for a good cause, and came a little closer to removing Bush!

    UPDATE: I left my stuff at home on race morning and the race folks made it quick and easy to get set up again, so I had to drop them an email:


    thanks to the race staff/volunteers who helped me get a new race number and chip just 15 minutes before race time. i was late and ran out of the house without my stuff.

    yes, i mailed the original ChampionChip back in. :)


    UPDATE: Forget to relay the message about my disappointment in the lack of food!


    Hate to nitpick, but I didn't see any post-race food - bananas, yogurt, bagels, etc. Was quite disappointed. Most/all of the races I've run - including several this year in downtown DC - have always had some/all of this stuff. It contributes *hugely* imho to the atmosphere. I got a grab bag with a protein bar in it, and I got some water, but didn't see any food. Did I just miss it?

    Still had a great time, but food...there's nothing like it healthy food at the finish line.

    Thanks!


    UPDATE: Apparently I missed the food - which was down at the lower fountain level of the Georgetown Promenade area thing. I saw all these people down there, just kinda walking around all these tables, but it looked like they were just handing out trinkets and other useless stuff. Plus there was a couple of *very* long lines - figure they were giving out frisbees or something. Oh well - at least they were giving out food. That's cool.

    UPDATE:

    Wednesday, June 09, 2004

    Calypso Dreams

    One night only! DC opening and closing June 23 at Visions. Well, actually, I think it showed during the non-hyped DC Filmfest, so this is your chance if you wasn't connected back in the day.

    UPDATE: Good flick. Not great, not even necessarily very good, but good. Worth seeing if you can find it somewhere. I had a great time. Very funny - and fun watching it with the Carribean crowd. Reminded me a lot of Buena Vista Social Club.

    I should have explained what Calypso is. Wikipedia has a good reference. In general, I think of it as the incredibly energetic and festive music that plays during Carnival celebrations. After seeing this movie, I now know that it is much more.

    Apparently, Calypso grew as an art form out of the tradition of story-telling used by the women of West Africa. When Africans were transported to the West Indies during the slave-trading days, men took over the art form exclusively. Women have made many inroads in Calypso in the last twenty years, however. Some would compare the role of women in Calypso to that of women in rap.

    The theatre was 2/3 full, most of whom seemed to be very familiar with Calypso/Kaiso/Trinidad & Tobago culture, which made watching the movie much more fun. Many things I thought were kind of funny were easier to laugh at because I could take cues from everyone else in the audience who 'got it'. I suspect it would not be nearly as entertaining watching this film with a non-Carribean crowd.

    They had a couple of speakers answer a few questions after the movie. One guy was a professor of Spanish, I think, at Howard University here in DC. He made a comment about 'bourgeois negroes' being responsible for putting a 'proper' name on Caiso music - so they chose the Greek mythological figure, Calypso. The professor is, and admitted to being, very bitter about the word Calypso and every time he hears it, he cringes.

    Something that bothered me a *lot* was the crowd's reaction to a couple of Harry Belafonte clips - known in America and possibly other parts of the world as the 'King of Calypso', but Harry himself would say he is no Calypsonian. Actually, I think one of the commentators in the movie, who was critical of Belafonte, was there in the audience.

    Basically, it seems that people - Carribean people or fans of Calypso - have a beef with Belafonte because he made money off of Calypsonian-type music tha wasn't the pure Calypso 'art form'. My first thought on that is - 'bullshit - quit being so petty.'

    I suspect that Belfonte has done more for popularizing Calypso music, and thereby enriching Calypso musicians/artists worldwide, than has anyone else, ever. That he seemed so humble, honest, and sincere in praising true Calypsonians won my immediate respect. I'd also just heard that he's supposed to be something of a true humanitarian. And *that's* what really got my blood boiling.

    It seems that people want to tear him down because when he was first making it in the music biz in America, his recording company decided to crown him the 'King of Calypso', and Belafonte was wrong - apparently in the extreme - for now disavowing the title, and ruining his potential career and livelihood. A black man in America back in the day has a chance at greatness, and he's supposed to throw it all away because the petty Calypsonian fans are purist extremists. Fuck them.

    There are not many people in the world who are or were perfect - even Mahatma Ghandi has his detractors. But this hate-on-Belafonte thing seems way over the top to me. It seems as if people are just straight-up jealous that the man made it.

    I may find out something that changes my mind about the guy, but right now, I think the haters just need to get over their bitter jealousy and show some respect.

    One member of the audience mentioned the Smithsonian Folklife Festival going on down at the mall through this weekend. It's primary Carribean representative is apparently Haiti, which has some Calypso traditions. Official site here.

    And the DC Caribbean Carnival is going on through this weekend as well. Official site here.

    Dopers Going the Way of the Dingo?

    I hope so. Looks like America's top druggie sprinters are going to be 'goned' from this Olympics. I'm lovin it. Though the heavens fall, though the heavens fall...

    UPDATE: Looks like the someone's about to publish some tough doping allegations about Lance Armstrong. The book, titled 'L.A. Confidential: The Secrets of Lance Armstrong', doesn't seem to be available just yet (or even listed on Amazon!). Something like this can't be good for Lance as he gears up for this year's Tour. I've long believed that Lance and most of the other top cyclists were doping, but how to prove it? Even the track athletes aren't actually admitting guilt - they're bowing out of competition and returning medals and championchips based on documentary evidence alone. Doing this, I guess, saves them from criminal penalties, possibly losing more endorsements though more negative publicity, etc. So, where is the documentary and other evidence pointint to Lance and the others? Shouldn't be that difficult for an investigative reporter to sift through some garbage pails, find some pill doctors, etc.

    Fahrenheit 9/11

    You've heard about this movie by now - even if the Rethugs have tried to keep it off the radar screen. It's gonna hurt Bush - a lot. The ultra-liberal Washington Post (sic) has not yet done a review, but here is one from the BBC. The International Herald Tribune does one, too.

    Moore apparently named his flick after the sci-fi book by Ray Bradbury, 'Fahrenheit 451'. Read-up on this book to find out why the Moore chose the title he did.

    UPDATE: I very much enjoyed this flick. There was one part about all of the black House members from Florida protesting the election results for their districts, but not one member of the Senate had signed their objections. That's right - not one. Not a single Democrat stood-up for the black voters of Florida. Tell me again, why should black people vote for Democrats?

    But the flick was good - very good. Laugh, cry - you get the works. Compelling stories from all the points of view you won't get on corporate tv. Since seeing the flick a few days ago (I've seen it 3 times now - and each time I picked-up on something new), I've seen quite a bit of criticism from both the right and the left. The favorite lefty criticism seems to be that Moore is a racist for showing Bush shaking hands with a lot of Saudi's. I didn't get that impression at all, and I pride myself on being able to pick up on any and all racism - especially passive forms of it.

    To me, Michael Moore is a hero for putting out a work that is now surely raining down all manner of death threats upon himself and his family [a conservative rag just published his home address]. It's bizarre to me that the oppressed in this country - the Left - doesn't give him more credit for this bravery. Those who believe one would voluntarily endure death threats for a little more fame and/or fortune are probably the same people who think that Saddam was 'a madman' and that Saddam invaded Kuwait without tacit approval from the U.S. C'est la vie...

    UPDATE: NEW YORK PRESS does a review, which I thought was awful, unfair, etc. So I wrote in and they published my letter. Shoot! If I'd have known! My letter has been given the title 'Moore vs. White, VII'.

    The Corporation

    I expect this flick will be very good. The San Francisco Examiner does a review.

    Opens at the Landmark E Street Cinema on July 16. Nice. That theatre kicks my ass.

    The Hunting of the President

    The tale of how Clinton's Presidency was dogged by those who put personal gain above the national interest. Check it out.

    DC Opening: June 25, Visions Cinema.

    Control Room

    This flick sounds really good. Ebert's review here and a bunch of other reviews from IMDB here. Saw a bunch of disinformation about when and where it's going to open, but it seems like Michael Moore's flick has really heated things up and now Control Room is going to open in DC this Friday, June 18. Nice!

    I found this out from the Control Room 'Screenings' link, and just verified it with Landmark E Street Cinema. To get to talk to a human at the theatre you have to listen to the entire movie listing first - which is horric - you can't #-out ('pound-out') or 0-out (press zero) to get out of the incredibly long recording. The number you eventually get sent me to a friendly enough person, but I still wasn't happy about having to wait so long to get a damn phone number. Anyways, the direct-to-human phone number is 202-783-9494. And no, it's not available via 411.

    The movie is a documentary about al-Jazeera coverage during the Iraq War. It shows how both al-Jazeera and the American television stations can be propaganda outlets, and how al-Jazeera often is more fair than the U.S.-based networks. I can't wait to see the scene showing the staged toppling of Saddam's statue. Great stuff!

    UPDATE: WaPost has a review.

    UPDATE: It was good. Not great, but good. Some very funny parts. Worth seeing.

    the Animation Show

    Two nights only! June 18th, 19th. Landmark Theatre. Downtown DC. Check it out.

    Waking Life was an awesome animated flick. Hoping this festival of shorts is just as good...

    Sibel Edmonds Court Date June 14th, 2004?

    Prepare to enter the rabbit hole. The next Sibel Edmonds court date is supposedly set for Monday, June 14, 2004 - right here in DC. I haven't been able to verify if this court date is actually going to take place or not, but the 9/11 Family Steering Committee website backs up the info. So, we'll see. Ashcroft and the Fibbies (and others) are really trying to keep this on the down-low, but Edmonds keeps getting press. We'll see.

    For some bizarre reading on your crooked-ass government, read this, and this, and this.

    UPDATE: Court date has been canceled, again. I guess she and Daniel Ellsberg are still going to try to hold a press conference out in front of the court. Come on down and check it out!

    UPDATE: Went down there and hung out for an hour or so. Pretty cool. Got to see Ellsberg again - which was cool. That dude can layeth the smack down, boy, lemme tell ya. He drew all sorts of parallels between his Pentagon Papers case back in the day to Sibel Edmonds case today. There were some Code Pink people out there, and quite a few (10+) camera peronnel and reporters. Pacifica Radio was out there. Saw some White House-type reporting personnel out there, but didn't really know what to make of them.

    UPDATE: Ashcroft faces whistleblower secrets probe. Information Security Oversight Office (ISOO). The ISOO is part of the government - it is responsible for the whole 'classification of data' system used by the government - secret vs. top secret vs. whatever. There are a *lot* of rules and policies and procedures. The Project on Government Secrecy, however, is not affiliated witht the government, so they're our real watchdogs. I'm not too hopeful about this info ever reaching the light of day again - it's just too massively conspiratorial - JFK-type stuff. But, we'll see.

    UPDATE: The Code Pink folks provided me with copies of some pics of the event, and I am mucho grateful.




    Sibel giving her prepared statement.


    Daniel Ellsburg with Sibel.


    Reporters whose reports are where???

    Tuesday, June 08, 2004

    Euro 2004 (and RoboCup)

    The UEFA Euro 2004 tournament, being held this year in Portugal, is starting Saturday. It's sort of a mini-World Cup - which means it's still a BIG deal. Top teams. Good competition. Nice.

    Don't forget that the US MNT (Men's National Team) has a game against Grenada on Sunday - it's a WCQ (World Cup Qualifier). The US should rout - but you never know.

    And if you're fortunate enough to be a geek *and* a soccer fan, then definitely check out the RoboCup. Named after the FIFA World Cup, this event's end 'goal' is to:


    By 2050, develop a team of fully autonomous humanoid robots
    that can win against the human world champion team in soccer.

    It's a tall order, but the atmosphere at this event is super-cool. Geeks, schools, soccer fans, reporters - all competing and having a good time, and all sharing the vision of furthering their collective knowledge of robotics, artificial intelligence, and other related fields. Intellectual curiosity - people representing many nations - international cooperation and coordination - just good stuff all around. Check it out. I managed to see the 2000 RoboCup in Melbourne, and it was definitely off the hizzle.

    UPDATE: Wow. First, the U.S. Men had a solid 3-0 showing against the upstart 'Spice Boys' of Granada. Could have been better, but we'll take it. Damarcus Beasley had an awesome game with two goals - one of which he didn't get enough credit for - slotting home a one-timer after making a brilliant run down left-center field. The kid is money.

    Apart from that, France beat England 2-1 in one of the best soccer finishes I've ever seen - and that's a lot of soccer finishes. I was between a British group and a French group at the bar, and the 90-pounds-soaking-wet English hooligans wanted to fight after they got their asses handed to them on the pitch. Typical. Zinedine Zidane scored two goals in injury time - unreal. Serves the Brits right for packing the box. Eventually your luck runs out. Maybe they'll decide to play next time.

    Props to ESPN for finally doing some soccer coverage - even a special section for Euro 2004. Couldn't come at a better time with hockey falling off the U.S. radar.

    UPDATE: Oops. Forgot. Allez Le Blue! ('The Blue' is what they call the French National Team.) I was able to figure out what the chanting French meant because I'd recently been bike shopping and checked out the entry level road bike, the Specialized Allez (a-lay). Figured 'Allez' had to mean 'go', or 'first', or 'race', or 'onward' or something. Blue is the primary color worn by the French National Team. I'm so smart. Or something.

    UPDATE: Just read a bizzarro article about how England seem to think they actually outplayed France, and that even if they didn't deserve the win, they certainly didn't deserve the loss. Now, I've heard some excuse-making and delusions of grandeur in the past - after all, the Bush Administration keeps us well supplied these days - but this article just goes to show how incredibly arrogant the English are. They packed the box and played unimpressive, defensive, and unimaginative football for the better part of 90 minutes, yet Beckham says 'I don't think I could have struck the penalty any better...'. In reality, his kick looked sloppy. Fortunately, we were treated to what a penalty kick should look like - the one that Zouzou (the nickname of Zinedine Zidane) converted in extra time. Zidane's website is here.

    And, to remember the joyousness of the occasion appropriately, with people shaking their beers to explode them, and others just throwing their beer over the bar - I guess not to hit any already-depressed-looking English - here's a little pic of Zouzou and Pires, compliments of Le Monde:





    UPDATE: England lose again and are crying again. Pathetic.

    UPDATE: I also have some Euro 2004 stuff up in a more recent post.

    Ireland Roots for Bush's Death?

    Is it a good thing when thousands of people from one of your closest allies cheer for the death of your President? How about the death of a former President?

    Thousands of fans at Dublin Castle, in Ireland, cheered when the ex-Smiths frontman made the announcement that the former American president, who had battled with Alzheimer's Disease, had passed away.

    And an even bigger cheer followed when Morrissey - who is no stranger to controversy - then said he wished it had been the current President, George W Bush, who had died.
    One thing about Morrissey - the dude is definitely not afraid to be bold. Wow.

    Live! on Woodrow Wilson Plaza

    Some good lunchtime jazz. Nice.

    [This week's events have been canceled due to Reagan's death.]

    Faithful America

    Heard about FaithfulAmerica.org in an email from Big Ben Cohen's True Majority organization. Anyways, they're gonna put an ad on Arab tv - with our help. So, even if you can't send some green love, sign their petition thing.

    Monday, June 07, 2004

    Coffee and Cigarettes

    Definitely go see this flick. Advice: Don't watch the trailer first. (Is that even possible?) It'll make it that much better when you see the flick... Some parts were just hilarious, man.

    Ronald Reagan - Killer, Coward, Con-man

    Ok - those are the words of Greg Palast, but I couldn't say it any better. Tell ya what, before you get on the Ronny bandwagon you should find out what this cat was really all about. I didn't have to go to many places tonight to find out what a terrible person this dude could be. Juan Cole layeth more smack down, too. A letter on the net from nobody in particular offers a good perspective on Ronny. Maybe getting an airport, a building, a library, and some other stuff named after you is not enough to cover-up your treachery, after all...

    Friday, June 04, 2004

    Noam Chomsky On Point

    Noam ChomskyI've been a fan, but the more I hear of this dude the more I like him. This particular radio interview I found on his main site is pretty outrageous. You won't believe the things your government has done and continues to do in your name.

    Chomsky's main home page seems to be here, he has a home page at MIT, a blog here, and here's a little Wiki-wiki-wikipedia action to get you up to speed quickly on who this dude is.

    Thursday, June 03, 2004

    U.S. Rips Honduras 4 - 0

    It was easy, and kind of ugly. But we'll take the W.

    Word-Detective.com

    CIA Director Tenet just quit, Bush either already has or is about to lawyer-up, and these events, some would argue, indicate that 'the other shoe has (finally) dropped'. Us liberal folk have been waiting for the that other shoe to drop for quite a while - now the phrase is all over the liberal blogosphere. I decided to look up its origin, and it took me a while, but found a doozy of a site - Word-Detective.com. Check out the explanation for your favorite phrase in the archives section.

    An explanation of our new favorite phrase is here.

    Wednesday, June 02, 2004

    Run Against Bush at Sallie Mae 10k

    Doh!



    Alan Dershowitz Signs With Bush League

    Not familiar with the term 'bush league'?

    Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law Professor and tv talking head, is obviously a smart guy, but as the state of the world continues to decline along with the moral authority of both Israel and the U.S., Dershowitz continues to find ways to embarass himself. He just penned a jingoistic article for the Baltimore Sun. He has made some extremely minor contributions to what could be a profitable debate, but his populistic/Bushy rhetoric diminishes any chance we have of actually catching onto what those minor contributions are. I felt compelled to write him:

    I knew that when the topic was Israel you veered into the land of lunacy,
    and while your current Bush propaganda speech is not entirely of that ilk, it is neither far from it. The descent of humanity continues to be marked by the world's leading moral authority 'going Sharon' on terrorism. Being a monster is easy. It requires
    no self-restraint.

    If I didn't have a very strong opinion of your Israel-influenced thinking,
    I would be shocked by this article. It's unfortunate. You continue to diminish your reputation as a scholar by writing such reactionary dribble. Here, in brief, are issues I have with your content - I will not be as eloquent nor as convincing as the many on the side of humanity who will summarily show you the path of the righteous:

    * Some of the language you use is horrificly Bush-like in that it is hateful and simple-minded. It goes with the general flow of your article and with my general critique of your Israel-based thought processes - totally reactionary. Outside the context of Israel - I find (or found) your thought process clear and provocative. Here's a sample of what we get when the security of the state of Israel is concerned: "THE GENEVA
    Conventions are so outdated and are written so broadly that they have become a sword used by terrorists to kill civilians, rather than a shield to protect civilians from terrorists." Yes, Professor - absolutely, I agree 100%. You should be ashamed of yourself for this sentence alone. The terrorists are using those outdated Geneva Conventions to kill and maim innocents. Kinda like they're usingthe Constitution to do the same. I mean, if it weren't for that birdcage-liner, the Preznit could just go
    off and nuke all of Mess-opotamia, right? Bravo. More! More! 1984, here we come! We're winning the war!

    * "First, democracies must be legally empowered to attack terrorists who hide among civilians, so long as proportional force is employed." First, proportional force, as you
    well know, is relative. Some argue that the United States used proportional force on Japan by dropping atomic bombs on almost-entirely civilian population centers - 99+%. Problem two, the United States, in particular, is given incredible leeway by world governments and even local populations *precisely because* of its once-strict adherence
    to the Geneva Conventions. Recently, groups with and outside of the CPA have called on Sadr to leave his shrine-decorated battleground, which shows an obvious awareness of the culpability of the resistance in the destruction of civilian areas and people. For the Vietnamese resistance, I would hope I would not have to cite for you the facts and figures of collateral damage - with lasting effects through today. If you don't believe
    that the U.S. is the leading terrorist state in the world, then you haven't been doing your homework. Ask any honest person in the world and they'll tell you that the CIA is the largest, best equipped, most well-funded, best organized terrorist organization in
    the world. To argue otherwise is absurdity. The CIA boasts the toppling of more than a dozen governments! The CIA created the birthing solution that gave rise to the Taliban and al Qaeda. The CIA has tortured and executed hundreds, if not thousands, of civilians across the globe. This is not rocket science. The documents are available. Ask Colin Powell to detail his recent statement of regret about U.S. involvement in the toppling of the Chile government so many years ago. For anyone in the U.S. to even
    talk about striking at terrorists requires an ample dose of ignorance and/or an extreme disinterest in the truth. As I said, the U.S. has incredible leeway to achieve its military objectives. I don't even want to go into our incredible ability to
    propagandize our own citizenry - including leading scholars, like one A. Dershowitz.

    * "Second, a new category of prisoner should be recognized for captured terrorists and those who support them." Sounds like a comic strip I read (Get Your War On); you have
    to be *really sure* that the person is a suspected terrorist before you kill him. Quaint. Really. Coming from a law professor. Upside-downism is running rampant.

    * "who fail to report imminent attacks of which they are aware". I agree, completely. Let's out the Mossad agents inside the FBI who stymied the investigations in the runup to 9/11. I'm sure you know the story of Ms. Sibel Edmonds. If not, look it up. You might just learn something. Alas, let's use the 'new category of prisoner' you spoke of to 'interrogate' the Israeli 'furniture movers' who were just caught trying to enter a military base in Jacksonville, Florida.

    * "Fourth, the treaties against all forms of torture must begin to recognize differences in degree among varying forms of rough interrogation, ranging from trickery and humiliation, on the one hand, to lethal torture on the other." Anything outside of 'humane treatment' or 'cruel and unusual treatment' is not acceptable. It will very quickly lead us on the road to monsterville - something Bush, the neocons, and Israel-first supporters would love. Kill all the non-Christians. Great storyline, Professor.
    You have become a true Sharon disciple.

    You said one good thing: "For the law to work, it must be realistic and it must adapt to changing needs", but you left out it's necessary counterpart: "and let us not pass reactionary, non-thinking legislation". What you've recklessly transcribed in this article will now be part of your legacy. There are much more brave and effective ways to defend the State of Israel and humanity - and in my humble opinion, defending humanity should be your primary goal - *not* defending Israel.

    I read your book 'Letters to a Young Lawyer'. In it, you say 'don't follow my path...create your own path...and don't treat me as a hero." I thought it was great advice. It saves me from severe depression when I read something like this from someone who I thought was honest and intelligent. I cannot accept willful ignorance on
    your part. I'm once again very disappointed in someone who I thought was a rational, independent thinker.

    Good luck hastening the our descent into Sharonism!
    I hate when I find all sorts of grammatical mistakes in my letters! Doh!

    CSC Invitational (Criterium Bicycle Racing)

    The 2004 CSC Invitational (formerly the Clarendon Cup) just rolled through town this past weekend. I happened to be out in Clarendon looking to buy my first real bike when I noticed signs for this past Sunday's race.

    I'll tell you what - these guys - the pros - HAUL ASS. There's no other way to put it. It was the first time I actually went to a road race and paid attention. The atmosphere was great. People were friendly. Lots of kids and family and dogs. Food. Beer. Lots of expensive-looking bikes. Great announcing. There are differing levels of competition for adults and there are age-group-based races for younger kids. Short, 1k track so you could literally see the 2-hour pro race from just about every corner of the track. I'm definitely going to be on the lookout for more of these.

    A criterium road race, according to the 2004 U.S. Cycling Federation rulebook is a circuit race held on a small course entirely closed to traffic. The length of the course is between 800 m and 5 km. The minimum width throughout the course should be 7 m. The Claredon course is a short, 1k course, that touches three or four city blocks - that city being Arlington, VA.

    This particular race was great b/c the Clarendon stop on the DC metro actually lets out in the middle of the track. Crazy convenient.