Thursday, December 30, 2004

"freedom on the march" in Falloujah

This is heart-wrenching:

From latimes

Falloujans Get an Unsettling Look at Their City

Refugees eager to return change their minds after seeing the ruin. Will balloting be

By Edmund Sanders, Times Staff Writer
BAGHDAD — Yasser Abbas Atiya swore he'd sooner sleep on the streets of his beloved hometown of Fallouja than spend another night in the squalid Baghdad shelter where his family had been squatting.Thirty minutes after he returned home this week, however, Atiya had seen enough. He left in disgust and had no plans to go back.

"I couldn't stand it," the grocer said. "I was born in that town. I know every inch of it. But when I got there, I didn't recognize it."

Lakes of sewage in the streets. The smell of corpses inside charred buildings. No water or electricity. Long waits and thorough searches by U.S. troops at checkpoints. Warnings to watch out for land mines and booby traps. Occasional gunfire between troops and insurgents."I thought, 'This is not my town,' " Atiya said Tuesday after going back to the abandoned Baghdad clinic his family shares with nearly 100 other displaced Falloujans. "How can I take my family to live there?"

The initial clamor by an estimated 200,000 refugees to return to the homes they had fled last month is being replaced by a bitter resignation that the city remains largely uninhabitable and unsafe. Hopes of quickly restoring normality to the restive
Sunni Muslim city are fading, raising questions about whether Fallouja will be ready to participate in the Jan. 30 national election.

"We have no intention of going back," said Yasser Mowfauk Abbas, 20, a university student who was among the first residents allowed in to inspect their homes. "No one is staying."

U.S. and Iraqi officials say that they tried to warn Falloujans that it was too soon to return, but that they let them go last week after a groundswell of protest. Officials also face pressure to reopen the city before the election. The U.S.-led invasion of the city last month was prompted, in part, by a desire to clear the way for the vote.

"We told them that until now there are areas where debris and wreckage are still not removed," said Kasim Daoud, Iraq's interim security minister. "We also told them that there are some streets that contain land mines. But our dear people insisted that they must return back."

Nearly 15,000 residents have reentered Fallouja during the last week, military figures show. The returnees have been given the option of staying permanently or leaving by the end of the day.Military officials said they were not keeping track of how many were opting to stay.

U.S. Marines say they are working to make the city livable again but are grappling with decades of neglect and decay, as well as the results of last month's bombardment.More than 700 workers have been hired for the rebuilding effort. Aid centers distribute bottled water, food and blankets. On Wednesday, a hospital reopened.

Military leaders are mindful that drawing Falloujans back into Iraqi society and into the election would send a powerful signal that the country was headed in a positive direction."We are attacking reconstruction efforts with the same grit, sweat and determination used to eliminate the malicious threat posed by the terrorists and insurgents," said Lt. Col. Dan Wilson, deputy operations officer of the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force in Fallouja. "We want to help the residents, so they will be able to live in peace and enjoy the privilege of voting in the upcoming elections."

But the effort to win the hearts and minds of the local population has fallen flat as soon as returning homeowners see the burned buildings, piles of rubble and heavy troop presence. The residents say voting is the last thing on their minds.

"What election?" Atiya, 35, asked. "I'm a refugee. How can a refugee take part in an election? Let me get back home and then I'll talk about elections."

After enduring three hours of military checkpoints and searches, Atiya and two brothers anxiously reentered the city Monday, uncertain what to expect.U.S. troops handed them leaflets warning against a myriad of dangers and advising them that the U.S. military could not guarantee their safety. Don't drink the water, the leaflets warned, or eat food left behind. Every resident is required to carry a small card outlining special new rules for the city. There's a 6 p.m. curfew. No weapons are allowed. Graffiti and public gatherings are illegal. Cars and visitors are banned.Males between the ages of 15 and 55 must carry special identification cards. U.S. military officials have announced plans to use fingerprinting and retina scans to prevent insurgents from returning.

As Atiya and his brothers traveled through the city and saw the destruction, they braced for the worst. When he caught a glimpse of his roof, Atiya's first emotion was relief. The house was still there.As they drew closer, however, Atiya and his brothers began to curse. A gaping hole in the two-story house appeared to have been caused by a tank, whose tracks were visible in the mud, he said. Most of the furniture was smashed. "Half my house was demolished," Atiya said.

In the kitchen, cabinets had been ripped from the walls, he said. Others were emptied of their contents, which lay in heaps on the floor."Every dish was broken, every cup, every plate, as if someone had just stood there breaking one dish after another," said Atiya's brother Raaid Abbas, 37. "Why?"

The brothers don't know who ransacked the house, but they blame American troops, who they say left muddy boot prints.Military officials expressed sympathy with the plight of returning residents but said the blame should rest with militants who took control of the city and continued to hide among the population.

"Our forces never intentionally damage structures or homes," said Wilson, the deputy operations officer. "After all, we, in partnership with the [interim Iraqi government], will be at the forefront of assisting in the restoration and cleanup of Fallouja."

The brothers quickly determined that the house, where all three had been born, was uninhabitable. They had wanted to leave with some supplies, such as a kerosene heater, for use at the Baghdad shelter.But in an effort to prevent theft and looting, U.S. troops prohibited residents from removing property from the city. The most the brothers could do was sneak out some extra clothing, which they wore as they left.

When the brothers returned to Baghdad and recounted their stories, other Falloujans shook their heads in amazement."After I heard what they said, I'm not willing to go back," said Latif Jasim, 45.

Atiya broke the bad news to his wife and four children. His youngest daughter, Noora, 4, had trouble understanding why she couldn't return home. "I want my dresses," she said, hiding shyly behind an older brother.

Atiya said the family had no choice but to stay in the makeshift shelter until conditions in Fallouja improved. "We are fed up with being here," he said. "We just want to go home."

How many homes have we destroyed? What American can really conceive of this, unless they are from other war-torn countries? I can't imagine that we are winning many "hearts & minds" as these people see the damage that we have done to their homes and their cities. And continuing a police state, while possibly being necessary, will certainly not win anyone over. As these people have said, how can they care about an election (as bush keeps saying that they do), when they don't even have a place to live any longer? And this is not a natural disaster - this is directly the fault of bush! I am starting to believe that he is the anti-christ, determined to bring about armaggedon!

can't believe that this has become a pissing contest...

...but a number of people on the "right", responding to the complaints of america's initial puny donation of $15m to the tsunami victims, keep asking, "how much has France donated?!". Well, (of all people!) has responded:

FoxTV on France

France: We're the No. 1 Aid Donor

PARIS — One-upping the United States, France said Thursday it is the No. 1 donor for the Asian disaster — pledging 42 million euro ($57 million) — following barbs from Washington about the extent of French generosity.

Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's (search) boast that France was vaulting to "the head of all the contributors" appeared to respond to comments from Andrew Natsios (search), chief of the U.S. Agency for International Development, which distributes American aid.

In a FOX News interview this week, Natsios said France tends not to be a world leader in foreign aid and often packages its help as loans, which he suggested were inappropriate in emergencies."

(This is particularly funny, since the additional $20m that the US has pledged IS a loan!)

"The aid program in France is not that big," he said. "They do not tend to be dominant figures in the aid. The British are, the European Union is, the Japanese are, we are, the Canadians are."

In Paris, France's Foreign Ministry shot down those aspersions. Spokesman Herve Ladsous said French aid for tsunami victims "is clearly donations and not loans."

He also said France gives more development aid than all other members of the Group of Eight industrial nations — which includes the United States — when measured as a proportion of its economic output.

"The figures speak for themselves," said Ladsous. France allotted .41 percent of its gross national income to development aid in 2003, nearly triple the .15 percent from the United States, according to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (search).

Pretty amazing that Fox ran this, considering the amount of "France-bashing" that they do! Of course, they make it sound like France is boasting about this, which i rather doubt. I also doubt that these facts and figures will shut up their detractors.
But screw all of that! Nobody should be comparing anything and trying to show anyone up! We need to just come together and help these poor people! I know that i get caught up in this crap, but just because i see the childishness of the conservatives! Our government, and especially bush, has been slow to act and respond and show our solidarity. It's embarassing, but hopefully, the world can come together on this issue!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

more views on bush's insensitivity to tsunami victims

From msnbc

Aid grows amid questions about Bush
Should vacationing president have spoken out?

The Bush administration more than doubled its financial commitment yesterday to provide relief to nations suffering from the Indian Ocean tsunami, amid complaints that the vacationing President Bush has been insensitive to a humanitarian catastrophe of epic proportions.
Although U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland yesterday withdrew his earlier comment, domestic criticism of Bush continued to rise. Skeptics said the initial aid sums -- as well as Bush's decision at first to remain cloistered on his Texas ranch for the Christmas holiday rather than speak in person about the tragedy -- showed scant appreciation for the magnitude of suffering and for the rescue and rebuilding work facing such nations as Sri Lanka, India, Thailand and Indonesia.

After a day of repeated inquiries from reporters about his public absence, Bush late yesterday afternoon announced plans to hold a National Security Council meeting by teleconference to discuss several issues, including the tsunami, followed by a short public statement.

Bush's deepened public involvement puts him more in line with other world figures. In Germany, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder cut short his vacation and returned to work in Berlin because of the Indian Ocean crisis, which began with a gigantic underwater earthquake. In Britain, the predominant U.S. voice speaking about the disaster was not Bush but former president Bill Clinton, who in an interview with the BBC said the suffering was like something in a "horror movie," and urged a coordinated international response.
Some foreign policy specialists said Bush's actions and words both communicated a lack of urgency to an event that will loom as large in the collective memories of several countries as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks do in the United States. "When that many human beings die -- at the hands of terrorists or nature -- you've got to show that this matters to you, that you care," said Leslie Gelb, emeritus president of the Council on Foreign Relations.

There was an international outpouring of support after the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon, and even some administration officials familiar with relief efforts said they were surprised that Bush had not appeared personally to comment on the tsunami tragedy. "It's kind of freaky," a senior career official said.
Gelb said what appears to be a grudging increase in effort sends the wrong message,
at a time when dollar totals matter less than a clear statement about U.S. intentions. Noting that the disaster occurred at a time when large numbers of people in many nations -- especially Muslim ones such as Indonesia -- object to U.S. policies in Iraq, he said Bush was missing an opportunity to demonstrate American benevolence."

"People do watch and see what we do," he said. "Here's an opportunity to remind people of the good we do, and he [Bush] can do it without changing his policy on Iraq or terrorism." "My initial reaction is that it does not seem to be very aggressive," said Morton Abramowitz, a former ambassador to Thailand who has been active in humanitarian relief efforts, of the administration's response to the tsunami."
Retired Gen. Wesley K. Clark, who as the military's top European commander helped supervise NATO's efforts to respond to a 1999 earthquake in Turkey, said the United States has unique military capabilities in reconnaissance and logistics management that can be useful in the current crisis. He urged Bush to take a higher profile. "Natural disasters happen," Clark said. "One of the things people look for is a strong response that illustrates America's humanitarian values."
Among the world's two dozen wealthiest countries, the United States often is among the lowest in donors per capita for official development assistance worldwide, even though the totals are larger. According to the Paris-based Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development of 30 wealthy nations, the United States gives the least -- at 0.14 percent of its gross national product, compared with Norway, which gives the most at 0.92 percent.

once again, bush proves that he could give a f*k what the rest of the world thinks of us. he won't even take a brief break from his all-so-important vacation (how many has he had since he took office?) to even make a statement! He was shamed into doing this as he was shamed into making a bigger pledge of support. Even his administration is amazed at his lack of empathy at this unbelievable disaster that makes 9/11 look like a car crash! Incredible that the ever-"hated"Clinton is the first US voice of reason and support to the rest of the world! The priorities of the shrub are revolting!

Please Help!

Tsunami relief organizations

The above link will show you a number of sites where you can contribute to the Tsunami victims relief fund. Let's not be as stingy as our government! (Actually, it appears that they have been shamed into doing much more than they initially said they would, which is good!). The death toll as i write is over 80,000 and climbing! Unimaginable!
Let's show the world that we're not all bad!

Here's a note from my friend, Else Duff, with a personal tidbit i didn't even know about her and her Mom! More interesting money comparasions, too!:

"Lindsey Lohan's watch: $60,000
Amount Jay-Z spent on Beyonce's 23rd B-day party: $500,000
Mariah Carey's Penthouse: $9 Million
What Matt LeBlanc's salary was for 1 year of Friends: $22 Million
Tom Cruise's take from the Mission: Impossible franchise: $140 Million
Amount Americans spent last year on diet books/pills/etc.: $30 BILLION

And how much money are we sending the thousands of injured and probably million homeless people in Sri Lanka, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and everywhere else?

The earthquake and the resulting tsunamis have killed tens of thousands in South Asia and more will die if help doesn't get there fast.When I first heard the US was sending only $15 million I thought - isn't that wash they paid Julia Roberts to star in Runaway Bride???... (actually she got $17 million) No wonder the world hates us.

Then I heard they're sending another $20 million. Isn't that what another studio paid Cameron Diaz to star in Charlies Angels 2?

When is Paris Hilton gonna visit the REAL simple life? Hey Paris get in your jet fly to Sri Lanka and care for the dying, hey you can afford to probably buy and rebuild the whole country. When is enough, enough?

Lets face it, we're all going to hell, but at least maybe we could all get in one of the nicer levels.

We gave to the World Food Program through the United Nations,
You can adopt a Sri Lankan Child at:
I've heard that this one is also quite reputable:

There are many great causes out there, pick a big one that you hear is on its way and send them money to keep the relief efforts flowing.
We all need to sacrifice something to help these people.
My mom lived on Sumatra as a young girl and was orphaned there, it was through someone who gave to a charity that helped WWII orphans that is how she got to this country as an adult. So I guess thats part of the reason you are all stuck with me now. Please give!

And remember the year is almost over, don't forget to give to your favorite local charities too! Lets start the new year with some good energy!- E

P.S. HEY! Paris if you get this email, I'll be happy to go with you to distribute some water, certainly you have enough Evian to go around."

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

more red-state racism


"Islamic cemetery draws protestPlans trigger anti-Muslim sentiment
By Woody BairdThe Associated Press
SOMERVILLE, Tenn. - The Muslim Society of Memphis was looking for a quiet place to bury its dead and found an unused sod farm about 20 miles east of the city.
But angry neighbors are protesting the proposed Muslim cemetery, saying it could be used as a staging ground for terrorists or that it could spread disease from unembalmed bodies.
"We know for a fact that Muslim mosques have been used as terrorist hide-outs and centers for terrorist activities," John Wilson, a local farmer, told the Fayette County Planning Commission last month."

So, we can't allow them to have a cemetary because it could be used by terrorists?!?!?! Are they worried about zombie terrorists?! Damn, these are scary times.....I can't count the number of times a day that the news makes me want to puke!


The Bush administration yesterday pledged $15 million to Asian nations hit by a tsunami that has killed more than 22,500 people, although the United Nations' humanitarian-aid chief called the donation "stingy."
Context, context...
The war on terror will take center stage at next month’s second inauguration for President Bush in Washington, D.C. ...The estimated budget for the event is $30-40 million, but that will not cover security costs.
-Atrios 9:06

So, this rodent of a man who calls himself president believes that he is more than TWICE as important as the thousands upon thousands of dead and injured people in Asia! This makes me sick to my stomach!

Later: now that there has been an outcry, Powell has said that the $15 million is just the beginning, but we'll see what really happens. Wonder why they didn't say that at the time?! Now that the death toll is an astonishing 50,000+, they will need all the help that they can get!

once again, bush shows he doesn't care about education!

f'k students!

"Students using Pell Grants to receive less under new rules

"College students in virtually every state will be required to shoulder more of the cost of their education under new federal rules for financial aid.

Because of the changes, which take effect in the 2005-06 academic year and are expected to save the government $300 million annually, at least 1.3 million low-income students will receive smaller Pell Grants, the nation's primary scholarship, according to two analyses of the new rules.

In addition, 89,000 students or so who would otherwise be getting some Pell Grant money will get none, the analyses found.

"Seasons greetings from Uncle Sam," said Terry W. Hartle, senior vice president of the American Council of Education, which conducted one of the analyses and represents about 1,800 colleges and universities. "Your student aid stocking is going to be a little thinner next year."

Beyond that, the new rules are expected to have a domino effect across almost every type of financial aid, tightening access to billions of dollars in state and institutional grants and, in turn, increasing the reliance on loans to pay for college. Taken together, many education experts say, the implications for the nation's core financial aid programs are among the most substantial in a decade.

"This is the first time in at least 10 years where there's been a significant reduction for this magnitude of students," said Brian K. Fitzgerald, director of the Advisory Committee on Student Financial Assistance, which was created by Congress to advise the lawmakers on financial aid. It was this committee that performed the other analysis.

The changes are the denouement of a fight that has roiled Congress for more than 18 months. When the Bush administration first proposed altering financial aid rules last year, legislators balked, stopping the revisions from taking hold. They argued that tough economic times meant students needed more help to attend college, not less.
The University of California, a huge institution with campuses scattered across the state, estimates that at least half of its 46,000 low-income Pell Grant recipients will face some sort of reduction. At the other end of the spectrum, Knox College, a small liberal arts institution in Illinois, says the changes will most likely reach upward to affect the middle class as well.

"Of course we focus on the students who have the greatest need, but these families are needy, too," said Teresa Jackson, Knox's director of financial aid. "They can't just sit down and write a check for $30,000 a year. I can appreciate the difficulty with the budget, but my gosh, to cut back on financial aid given the times doesn't make a lot of sense." "

So, to save $300 million, we sacrifice the education of our young, while we spend billions weekly in Iraq! Sorry, we can't give you a grant for your kids cuz you voted for bush! The priorities are astounding!

Monday, December 27, 2004

conservative students sue so that they don't have to learn!

Stupid is as Stupid does

"Conservative students sue over academic freedom"

"(AP) — At the University of North Carolina, three incoming freshmen sue over a reading assignment they say offends their Christian beliefs.
(They did not want to read the Koran! Good thing they were not in a religion study class!)

In Colorado and Indiana, a national conservative group publicizes student allegations of left-wing bias by professors. Faculty get hate mail and are pictured in mock "wanted" posters; at least one college says a teacher received a death threat.

And at Columbia University in New York, a documentary film alleging that teachers intimidate students who support Israel draws the attention of administrators.

The three episodes differ in important ways, but all touch on an issue of growing prominence on college campuses."
"To many professors, there's a new and deeply troubling aspect to this latest chapter in the debate over academic freedom: students trying to dictate what they don't want to be taught.

"Even the most contentious or disaffected of students in the '60s or early '70s never really pressed this kind of issue," said Robert O'Neil, former president of the University of Virginia and now director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression.

Those behind the trend call it an antidote to the overwhelming liberal dominance of university faculties. But many educators, while agreeing students should never feel bullied, worry that they just want to avoid exposure to ideas that challenge their core beliefs -- an essential part of education.

Some also fear teachers will shy away from sensitive topics, or fend off criticism by "balancing" their syllabuses with opposing viewpoints, even if they represent inferior scholarship."
"But many teachers note the guidelines also say instructors need not "hide (their) own opinions under a mountain of equivocal verbiage," and that their job is teaching students "to think for themselves.""
"Horowitz's critics also insist his campaign is getting more attention than it deserves, riling conservative bloggers but attracting little alarm from most students. They insist even most liberal professors give fair grades to conservative students who work hard and support their arguments."

So now, conservative students are so scared of hearing another point of view that they are suing their teachers so that they don't have to hear it! Gawd forbid that they open their minds and actually learn something that may conflict with their beliefs, challenge them, or even make them change their ideas! Notice that they are going so far as to issue death threats to those who do not agree with them! I know that every teacher is different, but i never experienced this bias from any teacher - you simply have to be able to justify your beliefs in an articulate fashion, which, of course, is difficult when you have beliefs that are not justifiable!

12-28-04 - Here's an interesting follow up to this article from commondreams

"Careful Not to Get Too Much Education...Or You Could Turn Liberal"
by Dr. Teresa Whitehurst

"I've been giving a lot of thought lately to a conversation I overheard at a Starbucks in Nashville last winter. ...two young men who sat down in upholstered chairs near my table. One was talking, the other listening, in what appeared to be an informal college orientation."
""But you do have to be careful about one thing," he said more quietly, coming closer and speaking in hushed tones, "My professor-I have this great professor-told me that you have to be careful not to get too much education, because you could lose your foundation, your core values."
The neophyte nodded solemnly, his eyebrows raised with worry.
"If you get a bachelors," the seasoned student reassured, "you'll probably be okay. But my professor said that when you get a master's, and definitely if you go beyond that, you can lose your values. He said that college students have to be watchful because if you get too much education, you could turn LIBERAL. He's seen it happen to a lot of good Christians." "

Friday, December 24, 2004

bush "reaching out" to democrats!

From CNN

Bush to resubmit blocked judicial nominees
Strengthened majority in new Senate could ease approvals

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush will renominate a group of judicial nominees who were blocked by Senate Democrats during his first term, the White House said Thursday.
In response to Republican charges of obstructionism, Senate Democrats have countered that they have voted to confirm the vast majority of Bush's judicial nominees and are blocking only those that are so conservative that they are out of the mainstream.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., ranking member on the Senate Judiciary Committee, accused Bush of being divisive.
"The Bush Administration is ending the year as they began it, choosing confrontation over compromise, ideology over moderation, and defiance over cooperation," he said in a written statement.
"On some of their controversial nominees, they may prevail because of their monopoly of power. The big loser, however, will be the independence of our judicial branch of government."
Ralph G. Neas, president of People for the American Way, also sharply criticized Bush.
"The president has regrettably signaled his renewal of partisan warfare,"
Neas said, characterizing Bush's action as a "plan to re-nominate extremist nominees."
"The president and his team want to pack the federal courts with right-wing ideologues, and roll back decades of progress in social justice," he said. "This portends long, hard months of debate over the federal courts, and sends a truly disturbing signal of what we can expect if and when a Supreme Court vacancy occurs."

Not that anyone expected bush to actually try to be fair to both sides and actually pick someone even vaguely moderate, but the gall to nominate people who were blocked in his last term just to see if he can get them through this time is insulting! This guy is just a jerk, plain and simple!

more on gay marriage

Saw an article in today's Las Vegas review journal (can't find a link to it on their site) about gay marriages. The latest position the "right" has on this is that marriage's "main purpose is to produce children" and since gays cannot "naturally" do this, then they should not be allowed to marry! The absurdity of this statement is so apparent that I know that I don't have to comment on it, but I will! I take this personally, because by their logic, then I, as a heterosexual male, should not have been able to marry the woman I love more than anything in the world and who I want to spend the rest of my life with, because I had a vasectomy! This would apply to numerous other friends who are married yet do not plan on procreation. Not to mention older people who are past their child-bearing years. And what about people who get married and plan to have children, but find out that one of them cannot? By this logic, they should then divorce!
Why is there so much resistance to people just living their lives as they choose, if they are not bothering anyone? Merry xmas indeed!

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

more proof that conservatives have no sense of humor!!!

free republic can't understand a joke!

California School Bans Gifts with 'God' in Them
The Swift Report ^ December 22 Cole Walters
Posted on 12/22/2004 12:47:33 PM PST by chimatt1969
One California school feels so strongly that religion doesn't belong in the classroom that it has banned all gifts that contain the word 'God,' including Godiva brand chocolates; books, videos, or DVDs of the Godfather; along with images of Godzilla.

This post on free republic received 51 replies! Finally someone actually looked at the site it was posted from ( ) and it began to dawn on them that this was satire and taking the piss out of their ridiculous notion that xmas is "under attack"! I sometimes wonder if free republic isn't a satire site itself! The fact that these obvious jokes are posted without telling the clueless readers that it is "humor" makes me wonder! Pretty incredible what some people will let themselves believe!!! (as evidenced by the election!)

"happy holidays" to the poor from bush

bush = scrooge?

WASHINGTON, Dec. 21 - In one of the first signs of the effects of the ever tightening federal budget, in the past two months the Bush administration has reduced its contributions to global food aid programs aimed at helping millions of people climb out of poverty.

With the budget deficit growing and President Bush promising to reduce spending, the administration has told representatives of several charities that it was unable to honor some earlier promises and would have money to pay for food only in emergency crises like that in Darfur, in western Sudan. The cutbacks, estimated by some charities at up to $100 million, come at a time when the number of hungry in the world is rising for the first time in years and all food programs are being stretched.

As a result, Save the Children, Catholic Relief Services and other charities have suspended or eliminated programs that were intended to help the poor feed themselves through improvements in farming, education and health.

"We have between five and seven million people who have been affected by these cuts," said Lisa Kuennen, a food aid expert at Catholic Relief Services. "We had approval for all of these programs, often a year in advance. We hired staff, signed agreements with governments and with local partners, and now we have had to delay everything."

Guess we're spending too much money murdering people to help anyone!
And a happy new year, too!

the "attack" on xmas!

man, this country is absolutely looney-tune these days! it seems like there always has to be something new to fight about and to be intolerant about.
now there are narrow minded people trying to make a big deal about saying "happy holidays" instead of "merry christmas" (god forbid we be tolerant of other people's beliefs and traditions!) and about institutions having secular celebrations of the season, instead of excluding certain members/students/what-have-you.

LA Times article

this is like the church whose ads were not allowed on major TV stations because they actually practice Jesus' teaching of tolerance towards everyone!
I don't know if the media is just trying to make this into a bigger deal than it really is to distract us from the stories that we should be outraged about, as it usually does. But we really have to just lighten up! Nothing is under attack, certainly not religion, which is apparently stronger than ever in this country - especially the lunatic fringe elements! Just enjoy your own traditions and let others enjoy theirs!
Damn, we just need a dose of common sense throughout this country!

as if we weren't already conservative enough!

again, seen first at buzz flash:

Conservatives to challenge Bush

Emboldened conservatives in Congress say they will oppose the White House next year on at least a half-dozen issues where they say President Bush has strayed from Republican values.
The points of contention conservatives plan battles over:
•Immigration. Hard-liners oppose Bush's plan to give guest-worker status to illegal immigrants. They prefer to see amnesty laws tightened.
•Abortion. Conservatives such as Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., say they'll oppose Supreme Court nominees friendly to abortion rights. Bush opposes a "litmus test" on nominees.
•Spending. Conservatives will seek deeper cuts in non-defense spending than Bush is expected to request.
•Education. Rep. Mike Pence, R-Ind., says Congress "must undo" Bush's signature No Child Left Behind Act, which sets national standards for education. He says Washington should stay out of schools.
•Political money. Conservatives want to repeal limits on political fundraising that Bush signed into law in 2002.
•Prescription drugs. Fiscal conservatives such as Pence want to limit the new Medicare benefit to poor seniors and those without coverage before the program starts in 2006. Bush opposes such a move.

So, they ultra-conservatives want to stop even the teeny-tiniest help that this administration would give to the american public! Deeper cuts into non-defense spending, cuts in education, limit medicare benefits...Damn, do they care about nothing but war and restricting people's rights?! Insane!

surprised by the torture at Guantanamo?

First seen at :

Marine charged with assaulting parents

A U.S. Marine pleaded not guilty to assault charges Monday after prosecutors said he beat his parents over the weekend in Colchester.
When Colchester police arrived at the Blount home after a 911 call just before midnight Friday, they saw through a window that Blount was assaulting his bloodied mother, according to court papers. Police kicked in the door and subdued Blount after a brief struggle.
The inside of the house was strewn with broken furniture and blood was spattered on the walls of the kitchen, hallway and living room, police said, according to court papers. Blount's father, Edmon Blount, was found bloodied and nearly unconscious on a couch, the court papers indicated."
Court records show Blount has been a Marine for 13 years. Prosecutor Carolyn Hanson said until recently, Blount had been posted at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. The U.S. military is holding detainees from Afghanistan and elsewhere at Guantanamo.

Is it any wonder that prisoners are being tortured when this is an example of the mindset of someone who was there? Of course, most marines do not beat their parents, but it certainly is interesting that this person came from a center of torture to beat his own parents.

Tuesday, December 21, 2004

who can live at minimum wage?!

Saw this is the Las Vegas Sun yesterday, also. This link from James Poling


This just in, full-time working people unable to afford rent.

Most Americans who rely on just a full-time job earning the federal minimum wage cannot afford the rent and utilities on a one- or two-bedroom apartment, an advocacy group on low-income housing reported Monday.

For a two-bedroom rental alone, the typical worker must earn at least $15.37 an hour - nearly three times the federal minimum wage, the National Low Income Housing Coalition said in its annual "Out of Reach" report.

Yet many poor Americans are paying more than they can afford because wage increases haven't kept up with increases in rent and utilities, said Danilo Pelletiere, the coalition's research director.

Land of opportunity.

And to think, a lot of people in Nevada were opposed to raising the minimum wage here to $7.00 an hour! I find this personally amusing since my wife is going back to college and was denied financial aid because, even if she was not working at all, my job alone should be able to pay for our house, expenses AND her schooling! Seems a bit out of touch with reality!

Monday, December 20, 2004

bush, the "environmentalist"!

From americablog - just unbelievable how childish and destructive bush is!

Bush: More Hot Air
by Michael in New York - 12/20/2004 01:25:00 PM
I love this story in the New York Times about a UN conference on the clear and present danger of global warming. Bush, of course, refused to sign off on the Kyoto Protocol or even take the opportunity when more than a hundred nations were poised to act and come up with a plan that the U.S. could agree on. Now, when we're merely OBSERVING a discussion on that accord and what's next, Bush spitefully blocks efforts for other nations to begin more substantive discussions. In other words, we don't want to take part and we don't want any of YOU to take part either.

"This is a new low for the United States, not just to pull out, but to block other countries from moving ahead on their own path," said Jeff Fiedler, an observer representing the Washington-based Natural Resources Defense Council, to the NYTimes. "It's almost spiteful to say, 'You can't move ahead without us.' If you're not going to lead, then get out of the way."

Needless to say, the rest of the world is annoyed.But you haven't heard the best part yet. The one action that Bush DID support was Saudi Arabia's demand that it be paid a lot of money for any switch by nations from environment-destroying oil to other forms of energy!

"Delegations and observer groups also criticized what they described as an effort led by Saudi Arabia and supported by the United States to hamper approval of so-called
adaptation assistance. That term refers to payments that richer countries would make, mostly to poor, low-lying island countries to help them cope with the impacts of climate change," reports the NYTimes.

"But the issue was complicated by Saudi Arabia's insistence that the aid include compensation to oil-producing countries for any fall in revenues that may result from the reduction in the use of carbon fuels. The European Union, which had announced its intention to provide $400 million a year to an assistance fund, strongly opposed any such provision."

Can you imagine? Saudi Arabia keeps more than half its population enslaved, with a small minority living in inimaginable luxury and does nothing to improve the lot of its nation with money literally pouring in for generations. And they want to be compensated if the world turns its back on oil for safer, cleaner, renewable energy sources? Astonishing.

And, from James Poling:


I'm really tired of the media and it's free handjobs to this administration. On Tuesday they run this headline saying, "Air Pollution a Top Priority for Bush". The only problem is that it's not even true. It doesn't reflect what's actually going on, it reflects what Bush says he's planning on doing sometime in the future if things work out and if he can get enough support and if all the planets align correctly. Still the media runs those headlines making Bush look like an environmental President.

"President Bush will make [not has made] air pollution a top priority in Congress early next year [or whenever he gets around to it], starting with "an aggressive push" to build support for his pollution-cutting plan, senior administration officials said Saturday. [this entire statement is a load of bullshit]"

Meanwhile, here's the true headline of what's going on now, not possibly in the future, but definitely now, "Earth-Hostile Chemical Gets White House OK". If a chemical is described as "earth-hostile" it should be a no-brainer that we stop using it. This chemical depletes the ozone but Bush and his corporate buddies want a little more time to spread it around.

The Bush administration announced new rules Thursday to allow U.S. farmers who grow tomatoes, strawberries and other crops to continue using methyl bromide, an ozone-depleting pesticide that had been scheduled to be phased out worldwide next year. "Catering to a handful of big chemical and agribusiness interests, the Bush administration is actually expanding the use of this dangerous, ozone-destroying chemical," said David Doniger, a policy director at the Natural Resources Defense Council.

Everything good that the Bush administration touts is "going to happen", every single fucked up thing "is happening" right now, we are living it. Everytime the Bush administration talks about something good it's always something "they're planning on" or that's "in the works", they can't hold up one positive piece of legislation since they have taken office.

While Bush is currently destroying the environment, the media is still printing headlines based on his word that "air pollution" is a real important issue to him. Fresh air is going to be the least of our worries when the ozone is gone.

Friday, December 17, 2004

conservatives hate our troops!

Why do Conservatives accuse our troops of "bellyaching?"
by Joe in DC - 12/17/2004 04:41:44PM

Last Sunday, watching the Chris Matthews Show, I was really shocked to hear Conservative columnist Kathleen Parker say that the American troops in Iraq who complained to Rumsfeld about trash picking for armor were "bellyaching." During the panel discussion about the now infamous question to Rumsfeld about the need to trash pick for armor, Parker, who writes a column for the Heritage Foundation's TownHall.Com, said,

They make the, well they, they bellyache if you ask them. If they haven't had a bath in two days and they're sleeping with a bunch of smelly guys and they're tired and they're hungry they're going to bellyache. Give them a little R&R and they come back and they have maybe a different story.

That's Parker, renowned as a conservative columnist, mocking the men and women on the front lines, comparing the lack of life-saving armor to the need for a bath. That's easy enough to do when she is sitting her ass in a t.v. studio or at the Heritage Foundation, not an unarmored humvee facing hostile fire.

The disdain the Parker and the conservatives show for our troops is astounding. To to accuse them of bellyaching because Bush and Rumsfeld sent them to die without the right equipment has got to be a new low.The conservatives are unmitigated hypocrites. They love the war, but hate the troops. Kathleen Parker should be ashamed.

more "good" news for the military!

Guard Reports Serious Drop in Enlistment
Signing Bonuses Boosted to $15,000

By ERIC SCHMITT, The New York Times

- In the latest signs of strains on the military from the war in Iraq, the Army National Guard announced on Thursday that it had fallen 30 percent below its recruiting goals in the last two months and would offer new incentives, including enlistment bonuses of up to $15,000.

In addition, the head of the National Guard Bureau, Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, said on Thursdaythat he needed $20 billion to replace arms and equipment destroyed in Iraq and Afghanistan or left there for other Army and Air Guard units to use, so that returning reservists will have enough equipment to deal with emergencies at home.

The sharp decline in recruiting is significant because National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers now make up nearly 40 percent of the 148,000 troops in Iraq, and are a vital source for filling the ranks, particularly those who perform essential support tasks, like truck drivers and military police.

I hope that no one is surprised that their is a drop in enlistment in the National Guard and the Reserves, seeing as everyone knows that they will be shipped to Iraq if they enlist and will not just be reporting one weekend a month or something. Also, since these people are the most likely to die in Iraq, that's not a very strong recruiting tool either!
Anyone feel a draft coming on?!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

more ways this administration "supports our troops"

From the Las Vegas Sun, Dec 14,2004

Wounded Veterans face red tape

Veterans advocates and some soldiers say the system that is supposed to care for the injured is buckling under the strain. The Defense Department, in a casualty report this past week, listed 1069 troops killed in action, 10,177 wounded in action and 367 who died in noncombat situations out of 300,000 troops who have been deployed in Iraq and Afganistan operations.

In the first Gulf War,
from 1990 to 1991, U.S. and coalition forces quickly turned back an Iraqi occupation force from Kuwait in open terrain, without the costly house-to-house urban fighting going on today.

That war claimed 382 American soldiers' lives and wounded 467 out of a force of 584,000. "

OK - so in the Gulf War, which lasted a year, we deployed 584,000 troops, not to mention the fact that we had allies in that action. In the current disaster, we have deployed 300,000 in 2 years, we have almost no allies, and we have had over 4 times the casualties! Certainly sounds like someone didn't plan this out very well!
The growing legion of survivors, many with injuries that will require a lifetime of care, often emerge from the fog of war into a tangle of red tape that is the veterans-care bureaucracy. The five-day meeting at Walt Disney World, which ended Sunday, was sponsored by the Coalition to Salute America's Heroes. The gathering was organized to provide information and guidance to about 150 wounded soldiers and to help them understand a system that often leaves them in limbo for as long as four months awaiting disability benefits.

And then, when they come back wounded, they have to wait FOUR MONTHS for disability benefits?! I guess all of those "support our troops" ribbons on all those SUVs are really doing their jobs!

a match made in tv hell!

RetiringSen. Zell Miller Joining Fox News

LOS ANGELES (Dec. 14) -
Retiring U.S. Sen. Zell Miller, the conservative Georgia Democrat who backed President Bush's re-election, is joining Fox News Channel as a contributor.
Miller, who made a memorable TV appearance when he challenged MSNBC host Chris Matthews to a duel, will be seen on a variety of Fox News programs starting Jan. 6, a Fox spokesman said Tuesday.

"I am excited to be joining Fox News Channel and am eager to contribute to the continuing success of the network," Miller said in a network release.

In a raucous interview last fall on "Hardball with Chris Matthews," Miller, 72, angrily told Matthews, "I wish we lived in the day where you could challenge a person to a

He made the comment when Matthews pressed him on barbs Miller launched during his convention speech against Democratic presidential contender Sen. John F. Kerry.

Miller, a two-term governor of Georgia, was appointed to the Senate in 2000. He's taught history and political science at schools including the University of Georgia.

In November, GOP Rep. Johnny Isakson won an election to succeed Miller.
12/14/04 22:19 EST

Wow! Can you imagine what kind of "journalism" this loon will handle?!

Sunday, December 12, 2004

americans are really confused!

from the Las Vegas Sun:

Poll: Faith for Democracy in Iraq Slips

Americans' confidence that a stable, democratic government can be established in Iraq has eroded since last spring, according to an Associated Press poll taken amid continuing violence ahead of next month's election.

Public support for Bush's handling of the Iraq war has edged up over the past six months, however.

Fewer than half, 47 percent, think it's likely Iraq will be able to establish a stable government, according to the poll conducted for the AP by Ipsos-Public Affairs. A little more than half, 51 percent, said they think it's not likely.

In April, 55 percent said they believed a stable, Democratic government probably would be established in Iraq, and 44 percent thought it was not likely.
People were about evenly divided on the president's handling of Iraq, with 48 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving. That's up from June, when 43 percent approved and 55 percent disapproved.
A series of attacks in recent days have killed more than 80 Iraqis, mostly members of the country's fledgling security forces. Iraqi and U.S. officials have insisted next month's elections will go ahead despite the violence and the fact that some insurgent strongholds have been too dangerous for voter registration to begin.
More than half, 52 percent, still think the United States is on the wrong track, while 43 percent think it's headed in the right direction. The pessimistic mood has lingered since January, when people were about evenly split on the country's direction soon after the capture of deposed Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Bush's overall job approval in the poll among registered voters was at 51 percent, with 47 percent disapproving, about the same as in November right after his re-election.

People were about evenly split on Bush's handling of the economy and of other domestic issues, with 48 percent approving and 50 percent disapproving.

The president got some of his strongest ratings for his handling of foreign policy and terrorism, with 53 percent approving and 45 percent disapproving.

So, people approve of bush as a prez, approve of his handling of Iraq, though they think that the US is on the wrong track and think that we cannot create a democracy in Iraq! What the hell is wrong with people?!

Friday, December 10, 2004

does anyone even read bush's speech's before he gives them?

As pointed out by the Daily Show:

A recent speech by bush:
"Today's war on terror will not end with a surrender ceremony on the deck of a battleship."

Does no one in his administration see the irony of him saying this after his "mission accomplished" fiasco on board a battleship a couple of years ago?! Yep, we certainly cannot trust ceremonies on battleships!!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

our new director of homeland security

thanks again to angry finger for these 3 posts:

Meet Your New Director of Homeland Security
Bernie Kerik. The administration keeps lauding him for going into Iraq and setting up its police force. But it looks like the bigger question is why did he sign up for a 6 month stint in Iraq training the police force and then pack up and get out after only three months. Why is Bush picking someone to run the DHS who can't fulfill their
obligations to spreading democracy?

Here Come the Stormtroopers
Meet your new Director of Homeland Security part 2.
Finally, Kerik had this to say to critics of the war: "Political criticism is our enemies' best friend." Better keep your mouth shut if you know what's good for you. Keric says that people that don't agree with the administration and speak out against it are haters of freedom.

Family Values
I love how the Bush admin and the GOP push family values when it's convenient. Meanwhile they're some of the most amoral people on earth.
Bernard Kerik, the man tasked with protecting the United States from the threat of terrorist attacks, fathered a daughter with a South Korean woman while serving on the peninsula in the mid-1970s, U.S. media reported over the weekend.
Kerik, who was selected to replace Tom Ridge as secretary of the Homeland Security Department on Thursday, had the baby with a woman identified as Sun-ja after arriving in South Korea as a 19-year-old military policeman in December 1974, according to several reports.
The baby, named Lisa, was born in 1975. But Kerik deserted her and her mother when he left the country in February 1976.
I wonder how Bush and the GOP would have responded if say, oh...Kerry would have fathered a child in Vietnam and then abandoned her? The republicans would never let the dems get away with something like this.

Is EVERYONE in this administration a complete slimeball?!

this is beyond stupid!

Jello Treat Gets 4th-Grader Suspended
GRETNA, La. -- A fourth grader has been suspended for taking what was described as a look-alike drug to her elementary school in Gretna, La.
Kelli Billingsley, 8, brought homemade jello cups to school at Boudreaux Elementary.
Her mom said the school tested the jello and determined it didn't have any alcohol in it. But the school suspended the girl for having a look-alike drug.
The girl's mom said her daughter was just trying to make a treat for her friends.
The superintendent of Jefferson Parish schools said she will investigate the case.

Saw this at

Just how absurd and conservative are schools going to get?! Jello is a "look-alike drug"?! Give me a freakin' break! These people are just morons!

the repression & censorship will never end, will it?

From: Bob Harris

First Amendment? What First Amendment?

Wednesday, 08 December 2004
This is amazing, one of those so-stupid-and-wrong-it's-hard-to-imagine-even-the-Bushies-could-do-it things:
In an apparent reversal of decades of U.S. practice, recent federal Office of Foreign Assets Control regulations bar American companies from publishing works by dissident writers in countries under sanction unless they first obtain U.S. government approval.

The restriction, condemned by critics as a violation of the First Amendment, means that books and other works banned by some totalitarian regimes cannot be published freely in the United States.

Here's what this means: the memoirs of last year's Nobel Peace Prize recipient cannot be legally published in the United States. Seriously. Pasternak? Sakharov?
Solzhenitsyn? F*** 'em. Aung San Suu Kyi? Screw her. A book by Mandela during Apartheid? No -- not without the Big Brother's permission.

This flies in the face of everything this country is supposed to stand for.For more, go visit the PEN American Center. Before they're all strapped to gurneys and shipped out of the country, denounced as "delusional."

How massive will the file labeled "we are so f'k'd" become?! How many parallels with dictatorships will it take before people wake up?! Every day the news terrifies me!

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

convincing soldiers that iraq is going good!

Disgruntled Troops Complain to Rumsfeld

CAMP BUEHRING, Kuwait (Dec. 8)
- Disgruntled U.S. soldiers complained to Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld on Wednesday about the lack of armor for their vehicles and long deployments, drawing a blunt retort from the Pentagon chief. "You go to war with the Army you have," he said in a rare public airing of rank-and-file concerns among the troops.

(well, that's certainly supportive and understanding of their concerns!)

In his prepared remarks earlier, Rumsfeld had urged the troops - mostly National Guard and Reserve soldiers - to discount critics of the war in Iraq and to help "win the test of wills" with the insurgents."

Some of soldiers, however, had criticisms of their own - not of the war itself but of how it is being fought.
Army Spc. Thomas Wilson, for example, of the 278th Regimental Combat Team that is comprised mainly of citizen soldiers of the Tennessee Army National Guard, asked Rumsfeld in a question-and-answer session why vehicle armor is still in short supply, nearly two years after the start of the war that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
"Why do we soldiers have to dig through local landfills for pieces of scrap metal and compromised ballistic glass to uparmor our vehicles?" Wilson asked.

A big cheer arose from the approximately 2,300 soldiers in the cavernous hangar who assembled to see and hear the secretary of defense.
Rumsfeld hesitated and asked Wilson to repeat his question.
"We do not have proper armored vehicles to carry with us north," Wilson said after asking again.
Rumsfeld replied that troops should make the best of the conditions they face and said the Army was pushing manufacturers of vehicle armor to produce it as fast as humanly possible.
And, the defense chief added, armor is not always a savior in the kind of combat U.S. troops face in Iraq, where the insurgents' weapon of choice is the roadside bomb, or
improvised explosive device that has killed and maimed hundreds, if not thousands, of American troops since the summer of 2003.
"You can have all the armor in the world on a tank and it can (still) be blown up," Rumsfeld said.

(again - very understanding of the needs and concerns of the troops!)

Asked later about Wilson's complaint, the deputy commanding general of U.S. forces in Kuwait, Maj. Gen. Gary Speer, said in an interview that as far as he knows, every vehicle that is deploying to Iraq from Camp Buehring in Kuwait has at least "Level 3" armor. That means it at least has locally fabricated armor for its side panels, but not necessarily bulletproof windows or protection against explosions that penetrate the floorboard.

(no bulletproof windows?! wouldn't that be a given?!)

Speer said he was not aware that soldiers were searching landfills for scrap metal and used bulletproof glass.
During the question-and-answer session, another soldier complained that active-duty Army units sometimes get priority over the National Guard and Reserve units for the best equipment in Iraq.
"There's no way I can prove it, but I am told the Army is breaking its neck to see that there is not" discrimination against the National Guard and Reserve in terms of providing equipment, Rumsfeld said.
Yet another soldier asked, without putting it to Rumsfeld as a direct criticism, how much longer the Army will continue using its "stop loss" power to prevent soldiers from leaving the service who are otherwise eligible to retire or quit. Rumsfeld said that this condition was simply a fact of life for soldiers at time of war.

(damn, does it sound like he's just being a dick to these poor people who are risking their lives for no reason whatsoever?!)

"It's basically a sound principle, it's nothing new, it's been well understood" by soldiers, he said. "My guess is it will continue to be used as little as possible, but that it will continue to be used."
In his opening remarks, Rumsfeld stressed that soldiers who are heading to Iraq should not believe those who say the insurgents cannot be defeated or who otherwise doubt the will of the military to win.
"They say we can't prevail. I see that violence and say we must win," Rumsfeld said.
12/08/04 10:44 EST

On a follow up story at

Rumsfeld gave no indication that the soldier would face any kind of disciplinary action for speaking up. Indeed, the defense secretary said he found it healthy for soldiers to feel free to express their views.

Is it just me, or does it seem odd that they even have to mention that the soldier will not be disciplined for asking a question about the safety of himself and his fellow fighters? We are talking about the American army, aren't we? We're allowed to exchange ideas and express concerns, aren't we?

Monday, December 06, 2004

bush's version of financial "conservatism"!

From yahoonews:
W.House: Borrowing to Help Fund Social Security Plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The White House said on Monday for the first time that President Bush's plan to add personal retirement accounts to Social Security would be financed in part by new government borrowing that could top $1 trillion.

Bush has made reform of the U.S. retirement program a top priority in his second term and will push for creating private accounts in a meeting later in the day with top congressional leaders.
Asked if transition costs, estimated at between $1 trillion to $2 trillion, would be financed by government borrowing, he added: "That's what you're looking at doing as part of the transition to a better Social Security system."
The White House had once hoped that budget surpluses, projected in 2000 at $5.6 trillion over 10 years, would fund the transition period. But those surpluses have vanished.

The federal budget deficit hit a record of $412 billion in the 2004 fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, and the Congressional Budget Office has projected $2.3 trillion in accumulated deficits over the next decade.

more military problems!

From yahoonews:

Soldiers Challenge Enlistment Extensions

WASHINGTON - An Army specialist, saying it was "a question of fairness," filed a lawsuit Monday with seven other soldiers challenging a policy forcing them to serve in Iraq beyond their terms of enlistment.

"I served five months past my one-year obligation and I feel that it's time to let me go back to my wife," David Qualls told a news conference. Qualls and seven other reserve members filed a suit in federal court seeking a judge's order to require the Army to immediately release them from service.

Under the Pentagon's "stop-loss" program, the Army can extend enlistments during war or national emergencies as a way to promote continuity and cohesiveness.
Qualls signed up in July 2003 for a one-year stint in the Arkansas National Guard but has been told he will remain on active duty in Iraq until next year.

I can't imagine that people wouldn't be happy to stay in this insane war long after they were supposed to go home!! Hmmm, do you think we may need a draft soon?!

more prisoner abuse!

From yahoonews:

AP: Navy Probes New Iraq Prisoner Photos

CORONADO, Calif. - The U.S. military has launched a criminal investigation into photographs that appear to show Navy SEALs in Iraq sitting on hooded and handcuffed detainees, and photos of what appear to be bloodied prisoners, one with a gun to his head

Some of the photos have date stamps suggesting they were taken in May 2003, which could make them the earliest evidence of possible abuse of prisoners in Iraq. The far more brutal practices photographed in Abu Ghraib prison occurred months later.

An Associated Press reporter found more than 40 of the pictures among hundreds in an album posted on a commercial photo-sharing Web site by a woman who said her husband brought them from Iraq after his tour of duty. It is unclear who took the pictures, which the Navy said it was investigating after the AP furnished copies to get comment for this story.

These and other photos found by the AP appear to show the immediate aftermath of raids on civilian homes. One man is lying on his back with a boot on his chest. A mug shot shows a man with an automatic weapon pointed at his head and a gloved thumb jabbed into his throat. In many photos, faces have been blacked out. What appears to be blood drips from the heads of some. A family huddles in a room in one photo and others show debris and upturned furniture.

The wife said she was upset that a reporter was able to view the album, which includes family snapshots. Hundreds of other photos depict everyday military life in Iraq, some showing commandos standing around piles of weapons and waving wads of cash.

The images were found through the online search engine Google. The same search today leads to the Web page, which now prompts the user for a password. Nine scenes from the SEAL camp remain in Google's archived version of the page.

I saw this in a newspaper over the weekend and was surprised that it was not all over the internet today. I had to really search to find this story!
Can you imagine how ignorant someone has to be to post photos like these online in your family album?! Boggling!!

Friday, December 03, 2004

old, sick, injured - it doesn't matter - you still gotta fight!

from just a bump in the beltway

Stories of people who have served their tours of duty, some who were wounded, all who are really too old and out of shape to fight, have to go to Iraq anyway! Any real doubts that we're going to need a draft soon?!

bush version of making you & your kids safer!


Bush and His EPA Are Poisoning Children
This is disgusting.
In 2001, the Bush led EPA struck a deal with chemical companies to remove two important rat poison regulations designed to protect the safety of children.
Specifically, the safety measures had required rat poisons contain an ingredient that makes the candy-like pellets taste bitter to kids and a dye to make it more obvious to adults when a child has ingested the poison.
As a result of no longer requiring those safety additives, the nation is now seeing a record number of children poisoned by the toxic pellets. This year more than 50,000 children were poisoned by rodenticides, which is three times as many as were affected prior to the removal of safety regulations.
Go here to sign the petition to reinstate rat poison safety measures. It's a sad day in this country when we have to actually circulate a petition to tell the government to stop sacrificing our kids lives so that corporations can make a few extra bucks.
Thanks again Jesusland.

As proven time & time again, bush could give a f*k about you and your kids.


From usatoday

NYPD vet to follow Ridge
From staff and wire reports
WASHINGTON — President Bush picked former police commissioner Bernard Kerik, the steady former military man who helped New York get back on its feet after Sept. 11th, to head the federal agency charged with preventing another terrorist attack.
Kerik campaigned hard for Bush's re-election and spoke at the Republican National Convention in August. He told the New York Daily News during the campaign that his biggest fear was another terrorist attack, and "if you put Sen. (John) Kerry in the White House, I think you are going to see that happen."

Just sickening! Makes me almost hope for another attack just to shut these assholes up!

more on bush in canada

while the conservatives tend to downplay the protests of bush in canada, here are more photos showing the scope of these demonstrations. Kinda makes ya wanna move there, doesn't it?

From DenverIndyVoice

Thursday, December 02, 2004

how the "right" answers serious criticism

From freerepublic

This post seems pretty representative of how the "right" answers serious criticism of real problems - they make up completely unrelated insults! The initial post is an intelligent observation of the weaknesses of Powell & Rice. Instead of addressing any of the concerns mentioned (because there obviously is no defense for the lies these people told the American public), the answers are all shouts of "morons", "you lost", and attacks on John Kerry!!! Don't you love serious debates?!

religious "right" - fighting logic with...complete nonsense!

Faith on CampusIs it Possible? Answer: Yes
BreakPoint with Charles Colson
December 2, 2004
Note: This commentary was delivered by PrisonFellowship President Mark Earley.

Do you think college today is a faith-friendly place? That university culture is free of anti-Christian bias? That your child’s teachers are pure seekers of truth with no axes to grind? If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.

As J. Budziszewski explains in his wonderful new book Ask Me Anything: Provocative Answers for College Students, it’s still possible to learn something at college, but professors don’t always cooperate. He ought to know. Budziszewski is a tenured professor of government and philosophy in the University of Texas at Austin. And he’s also a Christian.

A female student who wanted to be a missionary e-mailed Budziszewski to say that although her anthropology professor was kind and gentlemanly when discussing non-Christian religions, he suddenly turned harsh and vulgar when the subject turned to Christianity. To defend his hostility, he said that no one possesses religious truth, that every culture has value and should be judged by its own standards, and that missionaries force their religious beliefs down the throats of other cultures. The young woman wanted to stand up to him but didn’t know how.

Budziszewski has the answers. When the professor says, “No one knows the truth about religion,” the young woman might respond, “Professor, if no one knows the truth about religion, then how can you say that your own claim about religion is true? It’s like the Liar’s Paradox, where a man says, ‘The statement I am making is a lie.’ If his statement is true, then it can’t be true, because he just said it’s a lie. If his statement is false, then it’s true, but only because he’s lying.”

(Wow! Is this the most convoluted "logic" you've ever heard?! It literally makes no sense whatsoever, which i'm sure her professor would kindly explain to her. )

When the professor says, “Every culture should be judged by its own standards,” the student might respond, “Professor, whose culture says that we ought to judge every culture by its own standards? Isn’t it your
culture that says so—the culture of relativist university teachers? So when you demand that every other culture accept your culture’s standard, aren’t you violating your principle that every culture ought to be judged by its own standards?”

(Man, i would love to be in the room as someone tried to use these wacky "arguements" on a professor of anthropology! Whose culture says that?! Simple human deceny says that!!)

And when the professor says, “Missionaries force their religious beliefs down the throats of other cultures,” the young woman might respond, “Professor, you say that every culture has value, and we should judge it by its own standards. If so, why do you make an exception for the culture of Christianity? Doesn’t it also have value, and shouldn’t we judge it by its own standards? In that case, I don’t understand why you’re so harsh on Christian missionaries.”

(Whoa! This one is really far out! In the story, the professor does not judge the culture of Christianity, only the practice of shoving it down the throats of others. By all of this person's arguments, anyone should be able to force their beliefs on christians and they should be happy to accept that! I'm sure that muslim missionaries would be welcomed in Texas!)

education + "morals" = "lying"!

Some Abstinence Programs Mislead Teens, Report Says

Many American youngsters participating in federally funded abstinence-only programs have been taught over the past three years that abortion can lead to sterility and suicide, that half the gay male teenagers in the United States have tested positive for the AIDS virus, and that touching a person's genitals "can result in pregnancy," a congressional staff analysis has found.
In providing nearly $170 million next year to fund groups that teach abstinence only, the Bush administration, with backing from the Republican Congress, is investing heavily in a just-say-no strategy for teenagers and sex. But youngsters taking
the courses frequently receive medically inaccurate or misleading information, often in direct contradiction to the findings of government scientists,
said the report, by Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.), a critic of the
administration who has long argued for comprehensive sex education.
The report concluded that two of the curricula were accurate but the 11 others, used by 69 organizations in 25 states, contain unproved claims, subjective conclusions or outright falsehoods regarding reproductive health, gender traits and when life begins. In some cases, Waxman said in an interview, the factual issues were limited to occasional misinterpretations of publicly available data; in others, the materials pervasively presented subjective opinions as scientific fact.
Among the misconceptions cited by Waxman's investigators:
• A 43-day-old fetus is a "thinking person."
• HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, can be spread via sweat and tears.
• Condoms fail to prevent HIV transmission as often as 31 percent of the time in heterosexual intercourse.
One curriculum, called "Me, My World, My Future," teaches that women who have an abortion "are more prone to suicide" and that as many as 10 percent of them become sterile. This contradicts the 2001 edition of a standard obstetrics textbook that says fertility is not affected by elective abortion, the Waxman report said.
Congress first allocated money for abstinence-only programs in 1999, setting aside $80 million in grants, which go to a variety of religious, civic and medical organizations. To be eligible, groups must limit discussion of contraception to failure rates.
Nonpartisan researchers have been unable to document measurable benefits of the abstinence-only model.

Columbia University researchers found that although teenagers who take "virginity pledges" may wait longer to initiate sexual activity, 88 percent eventually have premarital sex.
Some course materials cited in Waxman's report present as scientific fact notions about a man's need for "admiration" and "sexual fulfillment" compared with a woman's need for "financial support." One book in the "Choosing Best" series tells the story of a knight who married a village maiden instead of the princess because the princess offered so many tips on slaying the local dragon. "Moral of the story," notes the popular text: "Occasional suggestions and assistance may be alright, but too much of it will lessen a man's confidence or even turn him away from his princess."


This is where our tax dollars are going! Lying to kids about sex is a sin! No wonder so many people are so screwed up!

now "gay" is a "bad" word!

Initially seen at :

Teacher Sues Gay Mom Over Classroom Discipline Charge

This one is too much! A 7 year old son of a lesbian is reprimanded by his teacher for explaining to another student that he has 2 moms because his mom is gay and explained that: “Gay is when a girl likes another girl.”
He was made to write: “I will never use the word ‘gay’ in school again”, because he was told that "gay" is a bad word!
His mother is suing the teacher for discrimination and the teacher is suing the mother for defamation of character!
This is just revolting! Could this possibly have been any more innocent and matter-of-fact? The teacher is an obvious homophobe who should not be teaching children!

as usual, bush could care less what anyone else thinks!

Bush Rejects Calls From More Than a Dozen Political Parties in Iraq to Postpone Jan. 30 Elections

WASHINGTON -- President Bush said Thursday that Iraq's elections must not be delayed from their scheduled date of Jan. 30, rejecting calls from more than a dozen political parties there to postpone them until security at the polls can be ensured.

"It's time for Iraqi citizens to to to the polls," Bush told reporters in the Oval Office.

From -

Bush Adamant That Iraqi Election Stay on Schedule

Bush said last week he hoped the elections scheduled for next month in Iraq are not postponed, after 17 political parties in Iraq called on the interim government to put them off for at least six months. Those groups want security at polling places to be ensured.

Thursday, he was more forceful in his remarks on the matter.

''The elections should not be postponed,'' he said. ''It's time for the Iraqi citizens to go to the polls and that's why we are very firm on the Jan. 30 date.''

Bush said he had personally approved an expansion of U.S. troop levels in Iraq ahead of the elections. His commanders there had asked for more boots on the ground, and
''I've honored their request,'' he said.

Bush predicted that Iraq's elections would leave the world ''amazed that a society has been transformed so quickly.''

So, for bush, it does not matter what the people or the political parties want - only that his plan goes through no matter what! Is that what people call "resolute"? I call it stupidly stubborn in the face of facts! But, that's how he has managed his whole career - no reason to expect him to change now!

i dunno, does this seem like a lot?

Bush Finished Campaign With Millions to Spare, Allowing Him to Donate $11 Million to GOP

Bush finished the Nov. 2 election with $4.4 million left in his $75 million, taxpayer-financed general election campaign fund and $1 million in bills to pay. He had $15 million in a legal compliance fund that he could have tapped in the event of a recount fight, according to reports he filed Thursday with the Federal Election Commission.

Bush also detailed the money raised and spent by his record-breaking primary campaign fund. He ended his private fund raising with $273 million collected, close to triple the then-record $106 million he raised for his 2000 primary campaign. The cost of television ads consumed much of Bush's money.

So, we, as taxpayers, paid for $75 million of his campaign fund?! Dont' we have anything to say about that?! And he had another $273 million?! That pays for a lot of attack ads!!!!

more on repubs screwing dems during elections!


Ex-Bush Campaign Official Indicted on Charges of Jamming Democrats'
Get-Out-The-Vote Phone Lines
12-01-2004 11:40 PMBy ERIK STETSON, Associated Press Writer
CONCORD, N.H. -- President Bush's former New England campaign chairman was indicted Wednesday on charges he took part in the jamming of the Democrats' get-out-the-vote phone lines on Election Day 2002.

James Tobin, 44, stepped down Oct. 15 _ two weeks before Election Day _ after the Democrats accused him of involvement.

I am saddened to learn that this action has been taken against me," he said in a statement. "I have great respect for the justice system and plan to fight back to clear my name."

In 2002, six phone lines run by the Democrats and the Manchester firefighters union were tied up for 1 1/2 hours by 800 computer-generated hang-up calls. Federal prosecutors said Tobin and other Republicans had hired a company to make the calls to disrupt the organizations' get-out-the-vote efforts.

Tobin was charged with conspiracy to commit telephone harassment and aiding and abetting. He could get up to five years in prison.

At the time of the jamming, Tobin was Northeast political director for the Republican Senatorial Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the Senate.

Among the races affected by the jamming was the Senate contest between Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Rep. John E. Sununu. Sununu won by about 20,000 votes.

The Democrats praised the indictment but questioned its timing.

"I think it's unfortunate the Justice Department delayed, for whatever reasons that it did, until after the election," state Democratic chairwoman Kathy Sullivan said. "I hope this was not delayed for political reasons."

Over the summer, Chuck McGee, former executive director of the New Hampshire Republican Party, pleaded guilty to conspiracy and admitted paying $15,600 to a Virginia telemarketing company that hired another business to make the calls. A GOP consultant with the telemarketing company also pleaded guilty. The two men are awaiting sentencing."

More proof of the repubs f'king the Dems. Just makes me sick! Yeah, ya think that there was any politics behind the indictment taking place after this election?! Surely not!!! And people wonder why Dems are questioning the results of Nov 2!

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

are facts "democratic" and lies "republican"?

More from angryfinger:

Facts are Not Partisan
I found this post over the Gadflyer(one of the coolest blog names around by the way) and Paul makes an excellent point.
He quotes this article from
"At the moment, there's real sensitivity about the perceived political nature of every story coming out of Iraq," a Baghdad correspondent for a large US paper told me in mid-October. "Every story from Iraq is by definition an assessment as to whether things are going well or badly." In reality, he said, the situation in Iraq was a catastrophe, a view "almost unanimously" shared by his colleagues. But, he added, "Editors are hypersensitive about not wanting to appear to be coming down on one side or the other."
The Bush administration has somehow managed to convince people that reporting the facts is somehow "coming down on one side or the other". The Bush administration attacks any reporter who reports the truth as being a divider or a liberal spy or some other nonsense.
Everyone in their right mind knows that Iraq is a huge mess right now and no one is reporting the truth. Instead we keep getting these psuedo-optimistic whitewashed reports.
There really needs to be some kind of push to re-educate the public about what is and isn't partisan reporting. If an administration is fucking things up like there's no tomorrow, and there are virtually limitless facts proving that point, it is not a partisan attack, it's the truth.

This is a myth perpetrated by the conservative media - obviously, FoxTV is an expert at this! This was certainly evident during the campaign - the Dems would talk about facts, news stories and issues and the Repubs would simply make stuff up and claim that reporting news was bashing the president! If only journalists would simply report news and not try to put a spin on it! Wishful thinking, i'm afraid!

tolerent people will not be tolerated!


And the Baby Jeebus Wept
This story is unbelievable. There is something seriously fucked up with this country's morality and we should all be very ashamed.
The United Church of Christ planned on running TV ads that basically say, "like Jesus -- the United Church of Christ seeks to welcome all people, regardless of ability, age, race, economic circumstance or sexual orientation."
Sounds like a good message right? Hey we're a Church and we are practicing the teachings of Jesus, to love and respect everyone. Right?
Well NBC and CBS have both refused to air the ad saying that it's, get this, too controversial. Here's part of the response from CBS taken from UCC's press release about the issue.
"Because this commercial touches on the exclusion of gay couples and other minority groups by other individuals and organizations," reads an explanation from CBS, "and the fact the Executive Branch has recently proposed a Constitutional Amendment to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman, this spot is unacceptable for broadcast on the [CBS and UPN] networks."
So because the Bush administration has decided to change our constitution to define what they believe the definition of marriage should be, a Church isn't even allowed to insinuate that they are welcoming of gay couples into the house of the Lord.
You can watch the commercial here (the ad is down as of right now, keep trying though). The ad doesn't even specifically mention gay couples, it merely alludes to the fact that EVERYONE is welcome to worship at the UCC. But apparently that concept is to revolutionary for CBS and NBC.
The next time you are having a discussion about homosexuality, beware. The thought police might have something to say about your unacceptable level of tolerance toward others.
If want to call CBS and NBC and let them know what you think of their decision to not run the ads here are the numbers to their New York offices.
CBS - 212.975.4321NBC - 212.664.4444
More on this here and here."

I am incredulous! This church (which i admit i know nothing about) is being discriminated against for practicing Jesus' word and being tolerent of others!!! How can people justify this?! Especially people claiming to be Christians?! I think my mind will have a meltdown after 4 more years of this insanity!!

if only the bush administration was held this accountable!

From cnn

U.S. senator wants Annan to resign as U.N. leader Coleman looking
into alleged fraud in oil-for-food program run by U.N.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The U.S. senator leading the investigation into allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the Iraq oil-for-food program is urging U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan to resign.
The "massive scope of this debacle demands nothing less," wrote Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minnesota, in an opinion piece published Wednesday in The Wall Street
"The world will never be able to learn the full extent of the bribes, kickbacks and under-the-table payments that occurred under the U.N.'s collective nose while Annan is in charge."
Coleman is chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, which has been investigating the oil-for-food program for seven months.
Coleman said he was not accusing Kofi Annan of anything "other than incompetence and mismanagement."

Isn't it too bad that the Repubs don't demand as much from their leader?! If only "incompetence and mismanagement" were the only problems of bush & cheney!! Isn't it crazy how much we demand of other leaders and how little we expect of our own?

more stupidity on World AIDs Day

From thetalentshow

Marking World AIDS Day, the New York-based human rights organization described condoms as the single most effective weapon against sexually transmitted HIV, but said they are subjected to government-backed constraints in numerous countries. . ..The U.S. government, although the leading donor to HIV/AIDS-fighting initiatives, was criticized for its support of "abstinence until marriage" HIV-prevention programs that often depict condoms as unreliable and withhold any practical information about their use.
"The Bush Administration is spending millions of dollars on abstinence-only programs that mislead people at risk of HIV/AIDS about the effectiveness of condoms," said Rebecca Schleifer, another Human Rights Watch researcher. "Exporting these programs to countries facing even more serious epidemics will only make the situation worse."...

The unbelievable stupidty of this administration is mind-boggling! It's narrow-minded approach to serious problems like this only compound their intensity. It is just plain idiotic to think that they can convince people not to have sex - especially people who do not share the ridiculously repressive religious views on the subject that some americans have. To play with people's lives like this is a far bigger sin than pre-marital sex!!!! This is just sickening!