Friday, December 21

FBI Warns U.S. Kids in E-Mail Pen Pal Program: 'Trust but Verify' - from Tampa Bay Online FBI Warns U.S. Kids in E-Mail Pen Pal Program: 'Trust but Verify'
The Associated Press
Published: Dec 20, 2001
WASHINGTON (AP) - The White House is encouraging American students to exchange e-mails with young pen pals in Islamic countries - but the FBI has a warning for school kids because of fears about hackers and Internet security: "Trust but verify."
The FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center warned teachers and parents on Thursday to make sure that American children in the program are following security practices such as using antivirus software and guarding against suspicious files sent by e-mail.
The FBI agreed that the program, which President Bush predicted will "enable boys and girls all across America to reach out to boys and girls all across the world," has "excellent potential" to bridge cultures between America and Bahrain, Pakistan and Egypt.
Wonder if John Walker had an Islamic PenPal? Just curious.

Thursday, December 20

December 20, 2001

Trumping Charity

The Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church is on the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and 55th Street, just north of Rockefeller Center. It's in the heart of a neighborhood that is saturated with money.

The St. Regis Hotel is on the southeast corner. On the ground floor of the St. Regis is a Godiva chocolatier and a Louis Vuitton showroom. If you're contemplating a cruise, you should drop by Louis Vuitton. You can pick up an exquisite handmade Damier trunk for a shade over $10,000. Grab some chocolates at Godiva on the way back to your limousine.

There are princesses and pink Christmas trees to delight the shoppers in the Disney Store on the northeast corner. And on the southwest corner is the Peninsula Hotel, where you can kick back and blow $400 or $500 on room service in a suite that, since Sept. 11, can be had for the bargain rate of $1,390 a night.

It's a nice neighborhood. And everything would be swell if the Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church could only manage to take its Christian charity mandates a little less seriously. You see, the church has been allowing homeless people to sleep on its property.

They sleep on the steps and on the ground adjacent to the church — 20 or 30 of them spending the night in cardboard boxes and other makeshift shelters. The church makes bathrooms available to them and allows them to come in and warm up in the morning, before they take off for the day.

This may sound like just the sort of thing President Bush had in mind when he suggested that faith-based organizations fill some of society's social service needs. But the thing you have to remember about the homeless, if you want to look at this from, say, the point of view of the Giuliani administration, is that they are unsightly. You can't have a couple of dozen people in threadbare clothes sleeping right out there where rich people can see them. Some of them were snoring away just a few yards from the double-parked limousines.

So the city sicced the cops on them.

At least three times this month the police have raided the area and forced the homeless, under threat of arrest, to go elsewhere. The most obnoxious raid came on the night of Dec. 11. Margaret Shafer, director of the church's outreach program, said five police cars and three vans arrived at the church about midnight and police officers chased away most of the sleepers, leaving only those who had taken refuge on the church steps and under an archway.

"Then," said Ms. Shafer, "about every hour for the rest of the night they came up to the people they had left in place and they beat on the boxes with billy clubs and woke them up and asked them how their health was. It was not the police's finest hour."

In fairness to the individual police officers, they did not seem happy with this duty. Ms. Shafer said the church generally has very good relations with the police. And a couple of the cops I spoke with at the church this week made it clear that harassing the homeless was not their idea of appropriate police work.

"The orders came from on high," said one officer.

When I asked another officer to explain the crackdown, he pointed toward the Fifth Avenue street sign. "They think it's bad for the area's image," he said.

The homeless have been sleeping outside the church, with the blessings of its congregation, for about two years. The police were generally tolerant. But Ms. Shafer noted that church officials had been asked to clear the area a few nights in late November and early December because dignitaries were staying in nearby hotels. She said officers on the beat told her one of the dignitaries was Vice President Dick Cheney.

Church officials complied, asking the homeless to stay away on those particular nights. When the homeless returned, the crackdown came.

Yesterday a federal judge issued a temporary ruling barring the police from taking additional action against the homeless at the church. The matter will be argued further in court.

But the ultimate issue remains. Where is the city's heart? Why, in hard times, is the Giuliani administration pursuing this particularly mean-spirited case?

Well, it's a tough time for business, too. Ten-thousand-dollar Damier trunks are not exactly hopping off the shelves. And when the crunch comes, commerce almost always trumps charity, Christian or otherwise.
The gory details concerning Compassionate Conservatism in New York (such Christmas spirit would make Ebenezer proud!!)

Tuesday, December 18

Enron employee, retirees recount loss of life savings as company collapsed Among the witnesses: Charles Prestwood, who retired after 33 1/2 years in the natural gas business, mostly with Enron, and lost nearly all his $1.3 million in savings; Janice Farmer, a retiree who had nearly $700,000 in Enron stock and now faces living on a $63 monthly Social Security check.
"We have been lied to and we have been cheated," Farmer declared at the hearing, held to examine one of the biggest corporate failures ever.
Ask Janice and Charles how they feel about 'private investment' of retirement funds.
Bush halts inquiry of FBI and stirs up a firestorm "His dad was at a 90 percent approval rating and he lost, and the same thing can happen to him," Burton added, jabbing his finger and glaring at Carl Thorsen, a deputy assistant attorney general who was attempting to introduce a superior who was testifying.
"We've got a dictatorial president and a Justice Department that does not want Congress involved. ... Your guy's acting like he's king."
The searing tone continued for more than four hours from Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives. All objected to the order Bush signed Wednesday and made public yesterday. It claimed executive privilege in refusing to hand over prosecutors' memos in criminal cases, including an investigation of campaign finance abuses, saying doing so "would be contrary to the national interest."
Church Lawsuit Tries to Stop Police From Ejecting Homeless Church Lawsuit Tries to Stop Police From Ejecting Homeless

he Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church went to federal court yesterday to stop the police from enforcing a new policy of ejecting homeless people from its property amid some of the most expensive stores and hotels in the city.
Christian charity being outlawed in New York? Compassionate conservatism at it's finest.
The FBI's House Calls The FBI's House Calls

Emil Guillermo, Special to SF Gate Tuesday, December 18, 2001

If you want to know how strange it's getting in America, talk to Barry Reingold.
Reingold is a 60-year-old retired phone-company worker from the Bay Area who's old enough to withdraw from his IRA without penalty.
His parents are Jewish. But Reingold prefers to be known as your basic, average American.
This is scary stuff folks.

Friday, December 14

Dec. 10 Cox News Service column by Tom Teepen: "Most Americans are perfectly capable of hanging tough against terrorism while debating the means. Too bad John Ashcroft isn't one of them."

Philadelphia Daily News editorial, Dec. 10: "In these troubled times, we have to be prepared to give up our freedom to bring knitting needles on an airplane, but law enforcement may not see records because it might make some gun nut in Wyoming nervous."

Dec. 10 San Francisco Chronicle editorial: "It's puzzling...that an attorney general who feels such a sense of urgency to round up 1,200 people-in sometimes legally dubious circumstances-seems so uncurious about how they may have been arming themselves."

Dec. 11 Newsday column by Marie Cocco: "He deprives hundreds of detainees of their liberty. But he will not deprive them of their guns...He pursues them for working at shopping-mall kiosks, but not for the possibility they hold a weapons cache."

It's not just editorialists and columnists who are upset. For instance, Los Gatos, Calif., police chief Larry Todd, a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police firearms committee, told the New York Times, "This is absurd and unconscionable. The decision has no rational basis in public safety."

Lawmakers are upset, too. "You're looking for new tools in every direction," Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) told Ashcroft when he appeared before the Senate on Dec. 7 to answer questions abou
It's the Enronomy, Stupid, by Walt Starr - Democratic Underground George W. Bush believes he can coin new words for the English language, so I thought I'd give my first shot at this practice with enronomy. Look at the beauty in the word. Enron is a perfect analogy for the current economic conditions in this nation. Previously number seven on the Forbes 500 list, and now bankrupt - compare it to the Clinton economy being taken over by Bush and run into the ground.
The entire idea of the enronomy runs deeper than any analogy, however. The complicity of the Bush administration in the happenings of Enron had detrimental effects on the enronomy (there's that word again). Sixty billion dollars just disappearing from the enronomy must have a detrimental effect, and let's face facts, there is no way that members of this administration didn't know what was going on. News | Bush signs anti-drug measure Bush signs anti-drug measure

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Dec. 14, 2001 | WASHINGTON (AP) --
President Bush said Friday that drug users aid terrorists who get their money from global trafficking in narcotics. "If you quit drugs, you join the fight against terrorism," he said.
I knew this would be coming along. Military tribunals for pot smokers can't be far behind.

Tuesday, December 11

Condit Dares Foes to Bring Up Levy Condit Dares Foes to Bring Up Levy
Politics: The scandal over the missing intern was a media fabrication, the congressman says.

By MARK Z. BARABAK, Times Political Writer

Rep. Gary Condit, facing an uphill bid for reelection, dared his opponents Monday to make an issue of his relationship with Chandra Levy.

He said that the scandal surrounding the missing intern was a media fabrication and that he would not let "the pundits and the talking heads" chase him from the race.
The guy's got cajones the size of grapefruits.

Friday, December 7

VPC - Press Release - (12/06/2001) - Ashcroft Justice Department Protects Terrorist "Gun Rights" While Putting Americans at Risk Ashcroft Justice Department Protects Terrorist "Gun Rights" While Putting Americans at Risk
Ashcroft's Actions Fly in Face of President Bush's September 20 Promise that "We will direct every resource at our command—every means of diplomacy, every tool of intelligence, every instrument of law enforcement, every financial influence and every necessary weapon of war—to the disruption and to the defeat of the global terror network."
On Hill, Ashcroft Defends Anti-Terror Tactics ( Ashcroft also defended the Justice Department's decision to stop the FBI from searching federal gun records to see if any of those detained in connection with the Sept. 11 investigation had purchased weapons or firearms. Ashcroft, who has sided with the National Rifle Association in limiting the use of such records, said federal law prohibited the FBI from seeking the information and he declined to say whether he would support changes to the law.
John Ashcroft defending the rights of ALIENS to keep their gun purchases secret while at the same time asking Americans to give the FBI broad powers to scrutinize citizens of this country. Anybody see the duplicity and stupidity in this one??
by Gene Lyons December 5, 2001
If Senate Democrats wanted to spend all their time investigating their opponents like another political party I could name,
the Bush administration provides a growing list of suspects. The spectacular collapse of the Houston-based Enron Corp., whose stock was valued as high as $63 billion last spring when California officials accused it of rigging a phony
"energy crisis" to drain hundreds of millions from that state's electrical ratepayers, could keep an infinite number
of congressional committees busy indefinitely.
Think of it this way: The Whitewater real estate deal involved a total investment of about $200,000, roughly the cost
of modest Hillcrest fixer-upper. The Clintons lost $45,000, not quite enough to buy a new SUV with all the trimmings. Whitewater itself never cost the taxpayers a dime, but the demise of Jim McDougal's Madison Guaranty S&L reportedly
cost the taxpayers maybe $65 million. Probing this fathomless mystery required months of House and Senate hearings,
and kept Kenneth Starr and his sleuths busy for six years, at the end of which poor, sick McDougal had died in prison,
and all Starr had to show for his trouble was a stained dress and a ruined reputation.
Now Republicans are reminding us what a real financial scandal looks like. With the value of its stock plunging from $94
a share to 26 cent.
I want to see a full investigation of these crooked oilmen and their paid political puppets. By saying so, I am undoubtedly running afoul of some Patriot law, but so be it. Enron Execs Got $55 Million Just Before Bankruptcy Enron Execs Got $55 Million Just Before Bankruptcy
Neil Weinberg and Lynn Cook,, 12.05.01, 4:36 PM ET

NEW YORK - Enron paid out $55 million in bonuses to executives and other employees two days prior to filing for bankruptcy, the company confirmed today. A total of 500 employees received bonuses.

"In order to protect and maintain the value of the estate, we wanted to retain key employees in critical businesses," said Mark Palmer, an Enron (nyse: ENE - news - people) spokesman.

The so-called "stay-on" payments were made Nov. 29 in exchange for select employees' agreeing to remain at Enron for 90 days. Enron filed for restructuring Dec. 2 in the biggest bankruptcy filing in history. Enron has $50 billion in assets and booked $101 billion in sales last year.
See here. Not everybody loses in these big bankruptcy deals!!

Thursday, December 6

Rainbow's End By Nell Minow and Ted  Widmer  Corporate governance can use some improvement as well. The corporate laws of Delaware are so management-friendly that almost all public corporations are "domiciled" there. So they have become in effect a sort of federal corporate law without the accountability of the federal system.

Wednesday, December 5

Not content with the noxious USA PATRIOT bill (for Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act -- urp), which was bad enough, Ashcroft has steadily moved from bad to worse. Now he wants to bring back FBI surveillance of domestic religious and political groups.
For those who remember COINTELPRO, this is glorious news. Back in the day, Fearless Fibbies, cleverly disguised in their wingtips and burr haircuts, used to infiltrate such dangerous groups as the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Business Executives Against the War in Vietnam. This had the usual comedic fallout, along with killing a few innocent people, and was so berserk there was a standing rule on the left -- anyone who proposed breaking any law was automatically assumed to be an FBI agent.
After Enron, New Doubts About Auditors

By David S. Hilzenrath
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, December 5, 2001; Page A01

The collapse came swiftly for Enron Corp. when investors and customers learned they could not trust its numbers. On Sunday, six weeks after Enron disclosed that federal regulators were examining its finances, the global energy-trading powerhouse became the biggest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
Like all publicly traded companies in the United States, Enron had an outside auditor scrutinize its annual financial results. In this case, blue-chip accounting firm Arthur Andersen had vouched for the numbers. But Enron, citing accounting errors, had to correct its financial statements, cutting profits for the past three years by 20 percent -- about $586 million. Andersen declined comment and said it is cooperating in the investigation.
The number of corporations retracting and correcting earnings reports has doubled in the past three years, to 233, an Andersen study found. Major accounting firms have failed to detect or have disregarded glaring bookkeeping problems at companies as varied as Rite Aid Corp., X
Howell Raines Owes Me an Apology - The New York Times editor's sudden conversion to2 The main argument of the public journalism advocates was that reporters and editors should think of themselves as being inside society, affecting through their coverage the way other people thought and behaved, rather than being wholly detached observers from outside. When viewing a society somewhere else in the world, members of the American press accept this point immediately. They know that the existence and quality of information flow will have a huge impact on other aspects of that society—whether people can hold their government accountable, how realistic a picture they have of other cultures, how unified or divided they seem. To use the obvious current example: If the media in Islamic societies never blow the whistle on Islamic extremists or their own corrupt regimes, people in those societies won't understand why the United States is now "attacking" Afghanistan.
The public journalism crowd was insisting on the same point about America. News was not just another form of "content," and newspapers and broadcast stations were not just another "profit center" (when profitable). The reason they were protected in the Constitution was that what they did affected everyone else. As I put it in the book: "One of public journalism's basic claims is that journalists should stop kidding themselves about their ability to remain detached from and objective about public life.
Marvelous adventure of 'Walker, Taliban Ranger' Marvelous adventure of 'Walker, Taliban Ranger'

ROB MORSE Wednesday, December 5, 2001

It's perfect, Rush Limbaugh perfect. The first Bay Area casualty of the war in Afghanistan was on the side of the Taliban.
That's better than Berkeley banning American flags from fire trucks. Score one for Marvy Marin over Berserkley.
The story of John Walker may sound improbably like a pilot for Afghan TV: "Walker, Taliban Ranger," but it makes sense to me. Now that the Rajneesh has left Oregon for the big ashram in the sky, where else are spiritually needy kids from materialistic Marin going to go?

Friday, November 30

Pay Attention

I really enjoyed those pictures of President Bush and President Vladimir Putin of Russia back-slapping and barbecuing down at the Bush ranch in Crawford the other day. It was heart-warming. You don't see that very often. But you know what else you don't see very often? Such a personal, important summit meeting that doesn't reach any agreement. Now that's unusual. But because the Taliban were falling at the time, no one paid attention. We should.
Houston, we have a problem here. And the problem can best be framed as: How much of President Bush's pre-Sept.-11 foreign policy agenda is he ready to abandon in order to advance his post-Sept.-11 agenda?

The Bush team came to office obsessed with building a ballistic missile shield. In order to test missiles for such a shield the Bushies insist they must remove the restrictions set by the 1972 ABM treaty with Russia. Many experts argue that the U.S. could do all the testing it needs now within the ABM treaty, but the Bush hard-liners don't care. Because what they really want is to get rid of the ABM treaty, and all nuclear arms control, so they can be free to pursue Ronald Reagan's fantasy of a total Star Wars missile shield.

The Russians initially resisted changing ABM. The ABM treaty is critical to Russia as confirmation of its superpower status, and for maintaining nuclear predictability. By keeping ABM, the Russians feel they have a legal barrier that would prevent the U.S. from developing something more than just the "limited" shield the Bush team claims to want. What the Russians fear is a total Star Wars umbrella that might make the U.S. invulnerable to missile attack and thus able to strike Russia without fear of retaliation. This would upset the nuclear balance that has kept the peace since World War II.

Now for a brief aside: While the Bush administration was pushing missile defense as its priority before Sept. 11, some of us were arguing otherwise. We began by asking a simple question. What are the real threats to U.S. security? The answers were: nuclear proliferation, missile proliferation, terrorism, mafias, rogue states and financial contagion. Then we asked: Is there any way the U.S. could effectively deal with any of these threats without a cooperative relationship with Russia? Since the answer was NO, we argued that missile defense, not to mention NATO expansion, should be subordinated to forging a strategic relationship with Moscow. Nothing has vindicated that view more than the events since Sept. 11, when Russia's support has been essential for fighting the Taliban, and would be even more critical for fighting Iraq.
Don't upset the mutually assured destruction (MAD) balance that has kept us 'safe' from nuclear attack all my life. MAD was good enough for Dad and it's good enough for me.

Thursday, November 29 NewsFlash ACLU supports longtime critic Falwell in property lawsuit against Virginia
The Associated Press
11/28/01 12:32 PM
LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) -- The American Civil Liberties Union offered to support the Rev. Jerry Falwell in his challenge of Virginia laws that restrict how much property a church can own.
Though Falwell often chides the activist group, the offer was welcomed by Jerry Falwell Jr., who is representing his father in the case.
Proof that civil liberties are not just some leftist social agenda. While I understand the ACLU taking the case, I'd have been o.k. with the idea of just letting Falwell pray for a positive outcome.

November 29, 2001

An Implosion on Wall Street

The company's autopsy will be a complicated affair, entailing numerous lawsuits. What is already clear, and will come as a shock to millions of trusting individual investors across America, is that the financials of a Fortune 500 company were essentially a mystery. Enron's death watch began last month when it grudgingly disclosed that $1.2 billion of its market value had vanished as a result of "related-party" transactions with private partnerships that enriched company insiders. Then Enron admitted that it had overstated its profits over the last five years by $600 million. Dynegy cited Enron's lack of forthrightness as a reason to walk away from the merger agreement.

Not very long ago, competitors and Democrats in Washington were worrying whether the close ties between Enron's chairman, Kenneth Lay, and George W. Bush would give the company too much influence. Enron has aggressively lobbied, with some success in recent years, to limit regulation and disclosure of its trading operations.
Creative accounting and lack of proper controls allowed millions of American's to be duped into furthering the wealth of the few at the expense of the many. Look for a similar outcome within government accounting practices as baby Bush and company stifle information that would make them look bad. They'll probably be using the excuse of protecting our children from terrorists. They've already figured out how to save our children from prosperity. Will they figure out a way to blame Clinton? Count on it. Bush is as bankrupt intellectually as the Enron Corp appears to be financially.
Calendar Live - Is This Seat Worth $14? Is This Seat Worth $14?
L.A. moviegoers have a new option: The "upscale cinema." Writer Jon Burlingame tries out the Bridge at Howard Hughes Center.

By JON BURLINGAME, Special to The Times

They're called Director's Halls at the Bridge: Cinema de Lux, and they are the ne plus ultra of L.A. moviegoing: Roomy leather seats, stadium seating, reservations required, assigned seating, ushers who don't just clean up the popcorn after every show but escort you to your seats.
Of course, it's not cheap. Top ticket on weekends is $14, but to a certain segment of the audience, it's worth it. Plus the snack bars serve frozen cappuccino, personal pizzas and boneless hot wings. There's even a lounge where alcohol and sandwiches are served before, during and after the movie.
What, no caviar. I'm outraged!!

Wednesday, November 28

Stolen-car suspect too young to drive / 12-year-old being held in Santa Cruz County Stolen-car suspect too young to drive
12-year-old being held in Santa Cruz County

Alan Gathright, Chronicle Staff Writer Wednesday, November 28, 2001

The Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputy knew it wasn't a routine stop when he pulled over the new Acura sedan he said was weaving and lurching all over the road: The short, boyish driver was sitting on a backpack to peer over the dashboard.
Figuring he'd seen baby-faced state troopers who didn't look old enough to drive, Deputy Derek Fenster gave the kid the benefit of the doubt and asked for his driver's license.
Patting his pants pockets, the driver said, "Oh! I left my license at home, " recounted Deputy Kim Allyn, the sheriff's office spokesman. Fenster ordered the driver out of the car and was stunned to see he "was no taller than 4 feet. "
Further investigation revealed the motorist was a brash 12-year-old driving a stolen car -- his second car-heist bust.
The kid had been in court THE SAME DAY for his first offense. Now would not be a good time to ask me if I thought the parents ought to be held responsible.

Tuesday, November 27

Capital punishment is the harshest, most terrifying use of government power, and it explains why elsewhere in the Western world, the death penalty has been abolished either in law or in practice -- and why, incidentally, Spain is balking at extraditing alleged terrorists to the United States. Yet Texas's sloppy and inexcusable application of capital punishment troubled Bush not at all. He dispatched 152 people and slept the sleep of a baby.
So, for that matter, did the occasional defense lawyer in a death-penalty case. Many defendants went to their deaths represented by hacks or incompetents, and almost all the court-appointed lawyers, underfunded by the state, were handicapped in mounting an aggressive defense. Minors and the mentally feeble were executed for crimes they dimly perceived, and such was the condition of Texas's capital punishment system that as soon as Bush decamped for Washington, the state moved to clean up its act.
All this would be mere history if it were not apparent that Bush the president is as apathetic as Bush the governor when it comes to civil liberties. Attorney General John Ashcroft, less amiable than his boss, has played the heavy in much of what has recently been done in the cause of homeland security, but he is Bush's man -- down to, and including, a manic enthusiasm for the death penalty.
In the name of anti-terrorism, the government has abridged what was once the unquestioned right of lawyers and their clients to confidential consulta
Don't mix science and religion Of course, those who believe life begins at conception absolutely could not support cloning embryos for the purpose of harvesting their stem cells. I understand and respect this. President Bush and others have every right to stand by what they believe.
But their beliefs should not be shaping public policy. In other words, I don't want someone else's religion getting in the way of my science. If my son had bone cancer and stem cells from a cloned embryo could cure him, I would not hesitate to do it; I wouldn't consider the microscopic clump of cells to be a human life but rather a means of giving new life to my son.

Friday, November 23

Those Fox "all-stars" discussed Clinton's speech. Too bad that no "all-star" had read it. "If any American deserves any guilt for laying the groundwork for September 11, Bill Clinton’s name must come at the top of most lists. How fitting that he should seek to deflect this fact by casting aspersions on the country whose highest office he besmirched and disgraced."

-Andrew Sullivan, writing on "Clinton Speaks," Thursday at

What’s so amazing about that clip-job? Sullivan placed these idiot comments on his web site last Thursday, November 8—four days before the WashTimes ran it. The following day, he took it all back—noting that he had been deceived by an "appallingly slanted" piece in the Washington Times! (See THE DAILY HOWLER, 11/9/01. Incredibly, Sullivan hadn’t read Clinton’s speech when he posted his original, astonishing comments.) But Pruden’s paper runs on deceit; it exists to lie, dissemble and deceive you. Imagine! Knowing that Sullivan had renounced his essay—and knowing that he’d blamed the Times for its errors—the Times went ahead and published it anyway, not telling its readers about his later reversal. People who will lie in your faces like that are people who will lie in your faces about anything. There’s a word for Wes Pruden and his slimy little band. And you know that word—anti-American.
College bans affairs between professors and students

Nov. 21, 2001 | WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (AP) --

Affairs between professors and undergraduates have been banned at the College of William and Mary, where a former instructor caused a furor by writing a magazine article about his romance with a student.

The policy adopted Friday bans "consensual amorous relations" between professors and undergraduates and the professors' graduate students.

Faculty members who violate the rule could face dismissal, but exemptions may be granted "in exceptional circumstances."
I'm wondering exactly what 'exceptional circumstances' would qualify? Could a professor claim he was so horny he thought he might
explode? I'm just searching for a little clarity here.

Wednesday, November 21

The Village Voice: Features: Assault on Liberty: Military Justice Is to Justice as Military Music Is to Music by Alan M. Dershowitz Assault on Liberty
by Alan M. Dershowitz

Military Justice Is to Justice as Military Music Is to Music

Long-term resident of the United States who President Bush believes may have aided a terrorist can now be tried in secret by a military commission and be sentenced to death on the basis of hearsay and rumor with no appeal to any civilian court, even the Supreme Court. This is the upshot of the "military order" issued by Bush on November 13, 2001. And that is not all. Noncitizens suspected of membership in Al Qaeda or of aiming "to cause injury to or adverse effects on the United States" can be rounded up and "detained at an appropriate location" for an indefinite time without access to the courts.
I'm taking a wait and see attitude toward these 'extralegal' wranglings being enacted by the Republican zealots. Let's see how long before they abuse the powers they are arbitrarily giving themselves. I'm guessing it won't be long.
A Police Force Rebuffs F.B.I. on Querying Mideast Men A Police Force Rebuffs F.B.I. on Querying Mideast Men

The Portland, Ore., police will not cooperate with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in its efforts to interview 5,000 young Middle Eastern men nationwide because such questioning violates state law, the department's acting police chief, Andrew Kirkland, said yesterday.
The decision is the first known case of a city's refusing to go along with the antiterrorism effort, which was announced last week by Attorney General John Ashcroft.
Maybe this is payback from the people of Oregon who are not exactly happy with Ashcroft for trying to subvert the majority vote in Oregon concerning an individuals right to end his/her own suffering?
In Utah, a Government Hater Sells a Germ-Warfare Book In Utah, a Government Hater Sells a Germ-Warfare Book
ALT LAKE CITY, Nov. 19 — At the "Crossroads of the West" gun show here last weekend, weapons dealers sold semi- automatic rifles and custom-made pistols, and ammunition wholesalers unloaded bullets by the case. But perhaps the most fearsome weapon for sale in the cavernous, crowded exposition center was a book
What's up with this? Feds too busy protecting terminal patients in Oregon from themselves to bother this guy? Or maybe he's one of
Ashcroft's favorite gun nut friends? Just asking.

Monday, November 19 People | Cher and Cher alone Or look that way, either
"In my heart of hearts, I'm a black R&B singer -- I just don't sound that way."
-- Barry Manilow on his inner hepcat, in the New York Post.

Friday, November 16

Monte Vista clamps down on cheeky act But since when does the long-standing, if sophomoric, art of mooning constitute a felony? Drop trou, and get dropped in the hoosegow? It could happen to Grillo if the Contra Costa district attorney's office decides to press charges against the Danville teen.
Hey, buddy, whattya in for, dealing crack?
Well, in a manner of speaking. .

Thursday, November 15

Seizing Dictatorial Power Seizing Dictatorial Power
ASHINGTON -- Misadvised by a frustrated and panic-stricken attorney general, a president of the United States has just assumed what amounts to dictatorial power to jail or execute aliens. Intimidated by terrorists and inflamed by a passion for rough justice, we are letting George W. Bush get away with the replacement of the American rule of law with military kangaroo courts.
In his infamous emergency order, Bush admits to dismissing "the principles of law and the rules of evidence" that undergird America's system of justice. He seizes the power to circumvent the courts and set up his own drumhead tribunals — panels of officers who will sit in judgment of non-citizens who the president need only claim "reason to believe" are members of terrorist organizations.
What Price Patriotism? / The new USA Patriot Act treads upon the same freedoms it purports to protect I hope that the USA Patriot Act will be used wisely and carefully and rarely, because as much as any of the freedoms we're over there bombing Afghanistan and cutting off bank accounts to protect, the right to privacy is certainly one of them. We shouldn't have to cross our fingers and hope we can keep it safe from our very own elected representative government.
EXTRAORDINARY TIMES: SECRET GOVERNMENT (PART I) Whatever the threat of these times -- and it is both great and mysterious -- the Bush administration, with significant help from Congress, is using it to rewrite American law and tradition. The new rules make it easier to conduct wiretaps and searches of homes, detain and deport people accused of nothing, and monitor conversations between suspects and their lawyers. Such things merit debate.
The president also, on Nov. 1, signed an executive order giving himself the power to prevent historians and others from ever inspecting any of the records of recent presidents, including himself. He now has complete control over what we will officially know or not know about what the U.S. government is doing in our name in this extraordinary time.

Monday, September 24

And we are asking our government for protection, whatever the cost to our freedoms.

That's a clear victory for the terrorists.

When America stops being America, the bad guys have won. If we are indeed the land of the free and the home of the brave, we should bravely continue our freedoms, not give them up.

Now is the time for us to be stubborn and resolute. Now is the time for us to question authority, not extend it. Now is the time for us to argue and debate and decide what's right, not march in lockstep behind the leader of the moment.

Friday, September 21 Technology | God bless Big Brother The Department of Justice's bill introduces a host of surveillance and detention measures that have been immediately denounced by civil libertarians. The proposal includes intrusions on e-mail privacy, extensions of the government's ability to use information gathered by dubious means (such as torture) and the relaxation of safeguards against intrusive government surveillance.

Thursday, September 20

How many of you knew that the Taliban's spokesperson to the United States is
the niece of a former CIA director?
Should We Federalize Airport Security?

Transportation Secretary Norman Y. Mineta said he was not yet ready to make that specific recommendation. While promising to improve security measures, he said he has not come to the conclusion that federalization of airport security personnel "is the best way to go."
If this isn't 'the time', when is 'the time'? Hopefully SOMETIME before the next 'incident'?!!!

Wednesday, September 19

Gay, lesbian troops can serve openly -- for now / Pentagon suspends discharges during conflict Gay, lesbian troops can serve openly -- for now
Pentagon suspends discharges during conflict

The network said, however, that those who choose to disclose they are gay might face discharge after the conflict is ended, as happened to gay troops after the Gulf War.

"The stop-loss order is an explicit acknowledgment by the Pentagon that gays and lesbians can serve their country, no question about that," Steve Ralls, spokesman for the network, said yesterday. "It also sends the unfortunate message that while there are (gay men and lesbians) who put themselves in harm's way, who risked their lives for the country, they can expect to be fired from their job" once the conflict is over.
Isn't that SPECIAL. Gay people are good enough to die for their country during a time of crisis, but can expect discharge immediately after the conflict is over? What sort of nonsense is that? Only in Amerika. Life | Hell no, they won't go -- yet Hell no, they won't go -- yet
Maybe it's the lack of an identifiable enemy, maybe it's the terror of high-tech war, but young men eligible for the military are not marching down to sign up
I've been wondering if the lines at the recruiter were as long as those at the Red Cross blood banks. Volunteerism has it's limits. Technology | Send in the online spooks? "If we accept 'anti-terrorism' measures that do further damage to our Constitutional freedoms, that will have been a victory for terrorism," wrote open-source software advocate Eric Raymond in a widely circulated e-mail sent Tuesday, the day of the attacks.

Monday, September 17

Nostradamus: Did Famed Seer Nostradamus Predict the World Trade Center Attack? The first was making the rounds within hours of the attacks. It said:

"In the City of God there will be a great thunder,
Two brothers torn apart by Chaos, while the fortress endures, the great leader will succumb",
The third big war will begin when the big city is burning"
- Nostradamus 1654

Unfortunately, Nostradamus died in 1566, so it's rather unlikely he wrote this passage in 1654. The quatrain is not to be found in his published oeuvre. It's a hoax.
Yet another reason the internet generation turns to The Tim Times - Enlightening the Internet Generation.

Friday, September 14

God Gave U.S. 'What We Deserve,' Falwell Says ( God Gave U.S. 'What We Deserve,' Falwell Says

By John F. Harris
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, September 14, 2001; Page C03
Television evangelists Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two of the most prominent voices of the religious right, said liberal civil liberties groups, feminists, homosexuals and abortion rights supporters bear partial responsibility for Tuesday's terrorist attacks because their actions have turned God's anger against America.
No shortage of religious nuts on either side of the Atlantic.

Monday, September 10

American Politics Journal -- More News You'll Never See On TV! More News You'll Never See On TV!
The Wall Street Journal's Resident Pro-Life GOP Moralist Knocks Up His Girlfriend's Daughter... and Lets Her Get an Abortion!
No need to raid funds for Pentagon

No need to raid funds for Pentagon

Parents should recognize the syndrome right away. Your teenager comes home with an emergency request for $150.
Ten minutes later it's evident that the question isn't about where the money's coming from, but where it's going. Twenty minutes later your teen admits it wasn't something she really needed, after all.
So it is with the proposition that we raid either the Social Security or the Medicare surplus to give Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld $18.4 billion over and above the Bush administration's original defense budget request.
Before we start asking where we're going to find the money, why don't we look closer at where it's going? For starters, $8.3 billion of the extra money would be earmarked to speed implementation of President Bush's pet project, ballistic missile defense.
Trimming any part of that request, Rumsfeld told the Senate Defense Appropriations subcommittee, would throw way off schedule Bush's program to abrogate the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, alienate the Russians and the Chinese, and terrify the rest of Asia.
Bush Puts Freeze on Aid for Utility Bills Bush Puts Freeze on Aid for Utility Bills
Energy: President delays releasing $300 million that would help low-income households avoid shut-offs.

By RICHARD SIMON, Times Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- When President Bush visited California in May, he pledged to seek $150 million to help low-income households pay high energy bills, saying, "I hope Congress acts quickly."

Congress in July authorized $300 million to help energy consumers nationwide, double the president's request.

But today, none of the emergency aid has been allocated, although officials in California and other states say the money is still desperately needed to help families pay off high bills from last winter and avoid utility shut-offs.
Is there any shred of honesty in this President?

Friday, September 7 Politics | Senator suggests using Social Security surplus for spending Senator suggests using Social Security surplus for spending

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Alan Fram
Sept. 6, 2001 | WASHINGTON (AP) --
A widely respected Senate Republican parted from the political gospel of both parties Thursday and said no harm would come from tapping a portion of Social Security's surpluses for other federal spending.
Slimy, cheeseball, son-of *@#####!!!!!!!!!!! The Republicans will get theirs in the next election cycle, assuming they don't use the courts to usurp the peoples intents.
Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., said dipping into Social Security's surpluses could be a way to handle a budget squeeze that is forcing lawmakers to hunt hard for extra money for defense, schools, farmers and other bipartisan initiatives.

Tuesday, September 4

"Having a baby has strengthened the relationship, although there are highs and lows and at times it's tough. I know we're very lucky," Winslet tells InStyle in an interview for its September issue.
What Kate Winslet said about having a baby with her soon-to-be divorced husband of three years. It apparently strengthened it so much she is now getting a divorce from her husband. I can do without such 'strength' myself!! News | Colombia government report raises doubts about anti-drug strategy Colombia government report raises doubts about anti-drug strategy

- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Michael Easterbrook
Sept. 2, 2001 | Bogota, Colombia --
A government report has raised fresh doubts about Washington's drug-fighting strategy in Colombia, saying aerial fumigation of crops may be damaging the environment and is failing to curb drug production.
Weren't there enough 'doubts' already? How many more missionary planes do we have to shoot down to figure out the policy is corrupt?

Tuesday, August 28

A gas for drivers / Price wars break out in Fresno, which posts the average fuel cost in the nation A gas for drivers
Price wars break out in Fresno, which posts the average fuel cost in the nation

Carolyn Said, Chronicle Staff Report Tuesday, August 28, 2001

For one brief, shining moment, California has the distinction of being home to the city with the cheapest gasoline in the United States.
Gas in Fresno, where some stations are charging a refreshingly retro 99 cents per gallon, is rock-bottom for the nation, according to the Lundberg Survey of 8,000 stations nationwide.
In fact, up in raisin country, where forecasters expected it to hit 108 degrees yesterday, the thermometer is showing bigger numbers than the gas stations.
Here's a way for big oil to silence those California fuel critics!! Just 'buy' their loyalty and silence with cheap gas!

Monday, August 27 | News | Article Man Plans to Webcast Amputation of His Feet

Aug. 24, 2001

By: Christopher Heine
Associate Editor

Perhaps no other medium could help conjure images of the French Revolution, jack-o'-lanterns, prosthetic limbs and millions of dollars at the same time.
Savor the Internet era.
Here's Paul Morgan, paralyzed from the ankles down, preparing to have his feet cut off by guillotine on Halloween night on a Webcast that costs $20 per subscription. After completing a credit card transaction at his site,, subscribers can visit a chat room to discuss Morgan's amputation and enter comments in a virtual suggestion box. The site also has links to send information about the Web site to a friend, about advertising on the site and on how to make donations.
Happy Halloween!!

Friday, August 24 Politics | The Chung and the restless The one thing you can say for Condit's creepy behavior is that, perhaps, an attorney got him alone in a room early on and said he was in legal danger and talking about it might really get him in trouble. (His defenders on the talk shows make the point that there are a lot of innocent people in jail who spoke too much at the wrong time. The only problem with this argument is that none of them are U.S. congressmen.)
The contention that it's just about a person's private sex life, and beyond public purview, is wrong for a number of reasons. For the first, he's already been caught. We all know what he was doing; it's an insult to our intelligence for him to stonewall.
Second, he's a family-values politician who's supported sticking the Ten Commandments up in classrooms. And is there any better image of Christian hypocrisy than a Bible-waving pol shtupping at least two women not his wife?
It's the hypocrisy, stupid!!

Thursday, August 23 Technology | Fingered by the movie cops Fingered by the movie cops
Under today's copyright laws, you are guilty until proven innocent. I know -- it happened to me.
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Amita Guha
Aug. 23, 2001 | One recent Monday, my boyfriend and I returned home from a long weekend away. As usual, one of the first things we did was check our e-mail, only to discover, to our dismay, that Time-Warner Cable, our Internet service provider, had cut off access to our account sometime around midnight the Friday before. My boyfriend, a software engineer who takes his e-mail seriously, called the tech support line and was transferred to several people that evening, none of whom could help. All he could find out was that the account had been suspended for "security reasons."
The next morning, we received an express-mailed letter from Time-Warner Cable, which stated that the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) had accused us of distributing copyrighted material. The MPAA had determined that someone, supposedly with an Internet protocol (IP) address assigned to our computer by Time-Warner at the time, had distributed the material on July 4. The part that got me was the second paragraph: "In accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. Section 512, (ISP name) has removed or disabled access to that material."
That DSL option is looking better and better every day, at least until the phone company absorbs Time Warner, or vice versa.

Wednesday, August 22

Lustful Priests Sign Here / A huge molestation settlement against the Catholic church, and some embarrassing new rules Thou shalt now imagine a new and unsavory piece of paper, an unsightly little legal agreement, one the Catholic church recently agreed to foist upon some of its beleaguered priests regarding molestation which said priests must now sign before taking the proverbial priestly reins, and which we can imagine must go something like this:
"I, (enter priest's name -- and no more cute nicknames like 'Big Daddy' or 'Muffins' or 'Uncle Salty'), do solemnly pledge to uphold the duties of my largely unhappy and sexually neutered and probably borderline alcoholic station in life, as outlined in the Fun 'n' Immutably Heartless Catholic Doctrine of Our Lord, circa 1297.
"And furthermore, I extra-super promise not to allow my profession's rather obvious and well-documented levels of sexual repression and amative angst to manifest themselves by way of coming on to or openly molesting any youngish males with really cute smiles who come to me for advice or counseling or the URLs to really good adult sites."

Tuesday, August 21

The Media Must Demand Truth From the Testers Now the truth is coming out. Last week, Air Force Lt. Gen. Ronald T. Kadish, director of the missile-test organization, acknowledged that we don't yet know how to hit a missile with another missile, let along distinguish enemy warheads from decoys without radio aids. We are a long way from a national missile defense and a testing program that focuses on the problems that such a system must overcome.

But the Pentagon has staged a series of show-biz events that have been rigged to appear successful when, in fact, they prove next to nothing. Who benefits from such deception? Not the president. Not the defense secretary. Not U.S. allies. Certainly not the American people, who are no better defended against a missile attack than they would be by holding a cheap umbrella over their heads. The only clear winners are the missile-defense system's principal contractors--Boeing Co., Raytheon Corp., TRW Inc. and Lockheed Martin Corp.--and those among our enemies and detractors who might seek to alienate the United States further from the rest of the world.

Monday, August 20

New York Daily News Online | News and Views | Opinion | Editorials: George Bush's Fuzzy Math The reason is that the Congressional Budget Office has lowered its forecast for the nation's surplus to $160 billion from $275 billion. The drop was caused by lower tax revenues, extra spending by Congress and the mass mailing of $38 billion in tax rebates.
Because of the misguided tax cut, the Treasury Department announced two weeks ago that it will have to borrow to assure there is enough for the rebates. So instead of paring $57 billion from the national debt, as promised for the quarter, Treasury must borrow $51 billion. That's a $108 billion swing from black ink to red.
Borrowing to distribute political bequests to the citizenry is not smart policy no matter how you spin it.
Ronald Reagan left the country with a crushing debt burden after he handed out tax cuts to the wealthy. That helped lead the U.S. into a recession. In this respect, the Republican borrow-and-spend approach is no better than the tax-and-spend policies for which Democrats are rightly condemned.

Tuesday, August 14

Malaria drug used to treat mad cow cases / Results so encouraging human trials on fast track An obscure drug once widely used against malaria is showing such early promise against the brain-killing particles that cause mad cow disease that San Francisco doctors are already trying the drug on the first desperately ill patients.
Experimenting with an unproven drug in humans is usually considered unethical before clinical trials have even started. But doctors said this is no usual case: The patients have no other options, and the malaria remedy, called quinacrine, has been on the market for decades.
Disclosure of what could be the first drugs to fight the infectious particles prompted a flurry of excitement in Great Britain, where a reported 105 people have contracted Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, the human form of mad cow disease, after consuming infected beef.
Dr. Bruce Martin, a neurologist at the University of California at San Francisco, confirmed yesterday that the first two patients, both suffering from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, had been started on quinacrine in late July.
Mad Cow Disease is present in THE UNITED STATES. Why didn't I know this? I thought it was confined to Britain. Wanna bet that the beef industry has been helping keep it quiet over here?
Blacklisted / G8 protestors and performers remain detained in Italy

"The US is conspicuous by its absence in the list of nations that have protested to the Italian government over ... the behavior of the Italian police in their handling of the protests in Genoa," Susanna Thomas' father, Rick Thomas, writes on the family's Web site. Backed by their fellow Quakers, Thomas' parents have contacted Italian officials and two US senators in an effort to secure their daughter's release. So far they've encountered only blank, bureaucratic walls.
"We're doing all we can," a spokesperson for the US Consulate in Milan insisted in the New York Times. Which translates to: not much, you Quaker freaks. What did you expect? George W. Bush to appear on the news every night, calling the Italian government on the carpet for its heinous treatment of US and European citizens? He's too busy gutting Alaska and scolding homeless Palestinians to worry about the human rights of a few juggling, black-bra-wearing peaceniks who probably didn't vote Republican, anyway.
Pop-Quiz Question: If it were a military spy plane being held hostage in Genoa, instead of four young pacifists, would the US government then feel the need get involved? The question, of course, is rhetorical; we all know the answer. Home of the brave, indeed.

Thursday, August 9 News | Piety on parade Piety on parade
Could Bush's very public prayer circles be preparation for his announcement on stem cell research?
- - - - - - - - - - - -
By Arianna Huffington
Aug. 9, 2001 | Did you see the shocking, scandalous and utterly offensive photo on the front page of the paper Sunday morning -- in full color and above the fold? No, I'm not talking about Gary Condit running the 100-yard media dash or Madonna writhing on the back of a mechanical bull. I'm talking about the disturbing picture of the president and his Cabinet bowing their heads in prayer.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm certainly not opposed to prayer. In fact, I'm all for it, particularly when the supplicants are so clearly in need of divine guidance. No, what shocks me is that some paparazzo, no doubt an agnostic one, had the temerity to intrude on this private moment.

"Beware of practicing your piety before men in order to be seen by them," admonished Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. "And when you pray you must not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by men ... When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret, and your Father who sees in secret will reward you." Unless I'm missing something, Jesus didn't leave a lot of wiggle room.
Amen. Area hospital board cuts illegal immigrants' care
Copyright 2001 Houston Chronicle
CONROE -- Fearing criminal prosecution, Montgomery County Hospital District trustees have reluctantly cut health services to more than 400 illegal immigrants to comply with a ruling by Texas Attorney General John Cornyn.
"I think it's very sad that we are denying human beings health care," board President John Sallee said after Monday night's unanimous vote.
Complaints by the Young Conservatives of Texas launched criminal investigations of the Harris County Hospital District and other public hospitals for continuing to provide nonemergency care to illegal immigrants despite an opinion by Cornyn outlawing such care.
Shining example of 'compassionate conservatism' straight from the heart of Texas.

Wednesday, August 8

Cloning clash / Rejecting pleas for caution, a group that says space aliens seeded Earth tells a key science panel it will create human copies Cloning clash
Rejecting pleas for caution, a group that says space aliens seeded Earth tells a key science panel it will create human copies
Without all the kooks (myself included?) the world would be really boring.
Swearing at police is criticism, not crime / Appeals court overturns 2 convictions Swearing at police is criticism, not crime

Appeals court overturns 2 convictions

Swearing at a police officer may be disrespectful, but it's not criminal. So said a federal appeals court yesterday in a pair of rulings overturning disorderly conduct convictions arising from unrelated incidents at Yosemite National Park.
Now you can give the cops your HONEST opinion of them the next time you get caught up in one of those speed traps! It's great to be an American!! News | Let Wen Ho Lee speak! Let Wen Ho Lee speak!
After being falsely accused of spying, the Los Alamos scientist is trying to defend himself but being muzzled by the government.
I hope Wen gets his justice in the media. He certainly didn't get it in the courts.

Monday, August 6

Why Bush is popular: Talk speaks louder than action This looks to me like a replay of the Reagan years, when the policy was "Borrow and spend, borrow and spend -- and blame it on the Democrats."
Under Bill Clinton, we were making pretty good progress at paying off Reagan's extravagances, but now, under the popular George W. Bush, we're starting to go into the hole again.
Hoping I'm not the only one who notices the similarity to the Reagan calamity.

Friday, August 3

Jail guards accused of urinating on several inmates through metal grate in roof Jail guards accused of urinating on several inmates through metal grate in roof

(08-01) 12:19 PDT SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) -- Authorities are investigating allegations that two jail guards urinated on inmates playing basketball in an indoor recreational area. Greene County Sheriff Jack Merritt said the case would be handed over to the county prosecutor's office on Wednesday. He would not release the names of the guards.
Let's just hope that they RELEASE the guards from further employment. This type of brutish behavior has no place in professional law enforcement.

Thursday, August 2

Senate panel derails Bush nominee Senate panel derails Bush nominee

By Jennifer Loven, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- The Senate Commerce Committee today voted against President Bush's choice to head the Consumer Product Safety Commission, dealing the new administration its first nomination setback.
Looks like the pendulum is starting to swing back to the middle (at least a little). Hope springs eternal.

Tuesday, July 31 News | The rigged missile defense test The rigged missile defense test
The target destroyed in the "successful" defense shield test contained a global positioning satellite beacon that made it easier to detect. Why has the media mostly ignored the story?
Exactly what I've been wondering all along, not to mention the LACK OF NEED for such an expensive, useless piece of military junk.

Monday, July 30 News | Another bone to big business And just how charitable is it, really, when it turns out that Philip Morris actually donates less to worthy causes than it spends patting itself on the back for those donations? Last year, the company spent $142 million on corporate image advertising while doling out a total of $125 million to charity.
Reprehensible to me, even though I smoke!
theSpleen - Shrub Declares War on Public Information Shrub Declares War on Public Information

Last week, as Megawati Sukarnoputri was installed as the new leader of Indonesia, the Bush administration attempted to recall a State Department book detailing the United States' role in the deaths of thousands of Indonesians in the 1960s in order to topple Sukarno -- Megawati's father.
Yet another attack on free speech by the folks we elected(?) to protect it!! We've got another Nixon administration here folks. Fasten your seat belts and hold on.

Friday, July 27

M.I.T. Physicist Says Pentagon Is Trying to Silence Him M.I.T. Physicist Says Pentagon Is Trying to Silence Him


WASHINGTON, July 26 - A leading critic of the military's missile defense testing program has accused the Pentagon of trying to silence him and intimidate his employer, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, by investigating him for disseminating classified documents.
The case has raised questions about whether a document can be considered secret if it is widely available to the public. And it has touched off a dispute between the critic, Theodore A. Postol, and M.I.T. over how to balance academic freedom with the university's obligations to cooperate with Pentagon investigators.
At issue is correspondence between Dr. Postol, a physicist, and the General Accounting Office, an investigative branch of Congress, in which he accused the Pentagon of using doctored data to defend missile defense technology.
What ever happened to the RHETORIC that Bush was going to bring honesty back to the White House? Looks like a policy of harrassing and pursuing honest scientists in what I hope will ultimately be a failed attempt to resurrect Star Wars while simultaneously pissing off the Russians by breaking YET another treaty!! Is it any wonder that the rest of the world doesn't trust US? People | DWI program coordinator arrested for DWI DWI program coordinator arrested for DWI

July 27, 2001 | LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) --
The coordinator of Dona Ana County's drunken-driving prevention program has been arrested on a charge of driving while intoxicated at a DWI awareness picnic.
Police arrested Linda M. Harris, 53, on Wednesday in the parking lot of the park where the event was held.
The irony of it all.

Thursday, July 26 Life | Big Brother in Toledo Big Brother in Toledo
A cop in a bus station threatened and harassed my innocent young employee. His crime? Reading Esquire.
This is the ultimate result of our neo-fascist state. And I wonder why my German Mother-in-Law is so down on Amerika?

Tuesday, July 24

CPSC Choice Provokes Controversy ( In a letter sent to Congress yesterday, Consumers Union, the Children's Defense Fund and the U.S. Public Interest Research Group said that under Gall's leadership, the CPSC will "abdicate its responsibility to protect children."
Noting that Gall (R) was the lone vote against a new safety standard for baby walkers, bunk beds and crib slats, the letter said, "Gall has repeatedly refused to act when faced with evidence of deaths and injuries to children from dangerous products, often blaming the parents, not the products." Gall also initially voted against regulating baby bath seats but reversed her position after being nominated.
Why am I not surprised? When will this nonsense end? 2004!!!

Thursday, July 19

Breast Removal Prevents Cancer - Study Breast Removal Prevents Cancer - Study
By Gene Emery
BOSTON (Reuters) - Surgery to remove healthy breasts prevents breast cancer in women whose cells harbor certain tumor-causing genes, Dutch researchers report in Thursday's New England Journal of Medicine (news - web sites).
The study, the first to follow women who have chosen to have their healthy breasts removed ``provides useful information for clinicians counseling women with a high risk of breast cancer,'' according to Journal editors. The women have the genes BRCA1 or BRCA2.
Yeah, and penis removal successfully removes all chance of you getting penis cancer, but I'm not about to invest in an IPO for penis removal clinics any time soon. People | Not enough nuts? Only once did the company have a complaint about his prizes. In the late '40s, some adults thought his plastic sea captain looked like Joseph Stalin. According to Jaramillo, "Rabid anti-Communists ... believed Cracker Jack was being used to propagandize the youth of America." The company withdrew the figure from circulation. Of course Joyce owns a sea captain, worth about $20.
Rabid anti-communist nuts never die, they just look for a new demon to vilify. I think this example underlines the state of paranoia that existed (and is trying to be recreated with China) at the time.

Monday, July 16

Commentary, July 13, 2001 — Space Ship Sails, AP's ESP, Weakened Water, Sylvia Still Silent, Dilution Delusion, Calling Cleo, Chasing Chandra, Screening Scribbling, and More Matches.... Now witness the remarkable — though imperfect — precognitive powers of the Associated Press News Service: more than six hours before VP Dick Cheney actually arrived at the White House on his first day back at work following his recent medical procedure, AP ran an Internet story that detailed his morning activities, in the past tense. This might be an indication of how the White House — with the co-operation of the media — can conjure up news. Cheney's spokesperson Juleanna Glover Weiss was quoted as having said of his return, at 1:20 a.m. the night before, "It's a typical day."

Media collusion at it's finest.

Thursday, July 12

Ten Commandments' Sponsor Finds Demons Chasing Him The distance between adultery and the implication of murder is enormous. Condit's spokespersons are right that the media feeding frenzy is fueling expectations of the worst kind. But his alleged simultaneous liaisons with a 25-year-old intern and a flight attendant would suggest that we have yet another dreary example that the most self-righteous of our politicians might have the most to hide.
Clearly Condit was declaiming against his own demons when he co-sponsored legislation calling for displaying the Ten Commandments in public buildings. How easy it is to forget the admonishment against adultery when it is not prominently posted at every turn in the Capitol.
AMEN to that!!

Friday, July 6

Red Tide Rising Whoops. No sooner had Mr. Bush signed that tax cut into law than those same officials began admitting that the budget outlook wasn't that rosy after all. In fact, revenue is dropping like a stone. A suspicious man might wonder about the timing: isn't it strange that the bad news on revenue came to light only after the tax cut had passed?
In any case, get ready for more bad news. When the Budget Office updates its projections next month, it is certain to mark them down, not up — and that will be just the beginning of a dismal trend. Forget about those budget surpluses as far as the eye can see; from now on the prospect is for chronic budget shortfalls.
Two Retailers Recall Corn Chips for StarLink Trace The Food and Drug Administration (news - web sites) tested the product eaten by the man and found it contained tiny amounts of StarLink, a gene-altered yellow corn that is permitted only in livestock feed. Last autumn, StarLink was found in a variety of snack foods and flour containing yellow corn, which prompted widespread recalls.
So safe that folks have allergic reactions to it that cause the company to get caught using it!! These biotech fools need to be reigned in QUICKLY.

Thursday, June 14

Depends on who kills and who gets killed as to whether you even face justice.

Top Stories - Reuters The FBI sharpshooter who killed the wife of white separatist Randy Weaver in the 1992 Ruby Ridge standoff will not go on trial, an Idaho prosecutor said on Thursday in a decision that likely marks an end to the closely watched case.

I must comment on the demise of the country's most infamous Tim. Now that McVeigh is dead and the hoopla dog and pony show is over, it’s time to review the death penalty. I'm against it. Didn't always feel that way, and my knee-jerk reaction to the infamous criminals still makes me want to dispense frontier justice. Too bad we can't have our cake and eat it too. The problem with the death penalty isn't that it's wrong in the McVeigh case specifically, it’s just wrong. History shows us the folly in giving the state the right to kill its citizens. It inevitably leads to abuse. From an historical standpoint, Christians should remember that it was the state that killed Christ. And a little further back it was Socrates, although he was given the poison and like McVeigh gladly accepted his fate. Socrates was formally charged with the religious crime of impiety, and Christ, a similar charge, so it would behoove us all to reexamine our blood lust in light of history. Unfortunately, many more contemporary examples are easy to document. We've actually gotten to the point in our society that it isn't even necessary to be CHARGED with a crime to be executed. Don't believe me? What do you think happened in the case of the missionary plane shot down in Peru? Mother and child killed for SUSPECTED crimes with the consent and approval of the US military. Internal corruption in the judicial process is also rampant. Look at the abuses of the FBI just in the last few years. Waco, Ruby Ridge, Richard Jewel, and Wo Hen Lee come immediately to mind. And these are the high profile cases we are all privy to. How many poor suckers slipped under the media radar during that same time frame? Too many. Just too dangerous to give the state that much power. Conservatives who constantly preach less government and less regulation, (because they don't trust the state), seem reluctant to join with their liberal counterparts to protect our society in the long run against tyrants who will inevitably arise and abuse this power. The Europeans have a longer history with abuses of power and tyrannical leaders, so they’ve banned capital punishment. We shouldn't let a false pride that our system is so much superior to theirs lull us into thinking we've somehow overcome the basic nature of power to corrupt. Nor should we foolishly think we are too advanced to make the same mistakes that our ancestors made time and again. The English outlawed slavery thirty or forty years ahead of the United States. Maybe we should follow their lead on this matter as well.

Tuesday, May 29

I've not posted much here in the last month because I want to keep the obscenities to a minimum. I'll comment later on the Bush baby's visit to California to meet with Governor Davis. Should be a real hoot.

Monday, May 7

Chevron redubs ship named for Bush aide / Condoleezza Rice drew too much attention Chevron redubs ship named for Bush aide
Condoleezza Rice drew too much attention

Carla Marinucci, Chronicle Political Writer Saturday, May 5, 2001
The last thing the Bush administration needs right now is any reminder of how deeply they're connected to the oil companies who are price gouging the hell out of Americans right now. This is just too precious not to pass on.

Leaving a wave of controversy in its wake, one of the most visible reminders of the Bush administration's ties to big oil - the 129,000-ton Chevron tanker Condoleezza Rice - has quietly been renamed, Chevron officials acknowledged yesterday.

Friday, May 4

Restarting the Nuclear Race Restarting the Nuclear Race

President Bush said yesterday that "we must move beyond the constraints of the 30-year- old ABM treaty" and establish defenses against nuclear missiles. His proposals deserve close analysis, especially with respect to their likely effectiveness and costs. They should also be subject to public debate, of which there has been stunningly little to date.
Denver - Bush's weakest link Bush's weakest link

Thursday, May 03, 2001 - Let's see if we've got this right. The United States is about to abrogate a treaty that has helped defend this country for 29 years so that we can build a missile defense system that we know doesn't work to deter a threat that doesn't yet exist while exacerbating existing threats?

Monday, April 30

Studies in Confusion Similarly, two weeks ago, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. revealed that the herbal supplement St. John's wort wasn't effective in treating major depression. But the fine print at the end of the journal article, where researchers disclose their monetary ties, should have given readers pause. Pfizer, which makes the antidepressant Zoloft, not only underwrote some of this research but also had financial connections with many of the study's investigators.
ALERT ALERT, St. John's Wort must be doing a lot of good for people if the drug makers are trying this hard to debunk it.

Friday, April 27

According to the Holy Bible
abortion is not murder.
According to the Holy Bible
abortion is not murder.
Don't get mad at me. I didn't write the Bible.

Wednesday, April 25

Inmates Do More Than Phone Home Inmates Do More Than Phone Home
With the 1st Amendment as a shield and monitoring spotty, prisoners make calls to arrange crimes that include murder.

By DANIEL YI, Times Staff Writer

Anne Marie Reed prided herself on being an efficient communicator--skills she put to use for Mexican Mafia leaders behind bars at the Los Angeles County Jail.
Working out of her home in a quiet La Mirada neighborhood, the 22-year-old single mother helped gang members orchestrate stabbings, beatings and drug smuggling from the lockup, authorities say. She relayed messages by phone between inmates and the streets--all under the noses of jail officials.
Now read the story just below and see if you can figure it all out?
Some Jailed Mothers Say Hale House Didn't Keep Promises Prison rules make it very difficult for the women involved to speak out themselves. They are not allowed to receive telephone calls, their own calls are restricted, and volunteer advocates may not take them messages.
It's a little harder to keep your family together in prison than it is to keep the gang 'banging'.
Dubya damn well knew the difference between people of color and white folks when he led Texas to its dubious distinction as the state with the most executions of prison inmates. The following exchange was witnessed by a tour group at the Governor's Mansion and has been recounted by multiple sources, including Lucius Lomas of The Texas Observer. John M. Swamley, a professor of social ethics at St. Paul School of Theology and a writer for The Humanist, is the source of this version:
An aide abruptly appeared with papers he held out to then-Governor Dubya. "It's the death warrants to sign, Governor. There are two executions scheduled for tonight."
Absent-mindedly, the Governor took the offered pen. But in mid-signature he lifted his hand. He looked hard at his aide.
"They're not white are they?"
The aide flashed a nervous smile. "Governor, would we do that to you?" he asked.
"It's not a woman either, is it? I'm not executing any more damn women. That last one—I was getting telegrams from as far away as Bolivia," Bush complained. "What the damn Bolivians or anyone else in Europe know about law and order in Texas I can't imagine."
The aide reassured him, "Both prisoners are male, Governor. One's black and one's Hispanic. Nothing out of the ordinary."
Pacified, Bush nodded. "That's okay then," he said. In an instant the aide retrieved the signed warrants and was gone.
File this under stuff not reported in your local daily newspaper. Books | "Body of Secrets" by James Bamford All this makes the China incident even more confusing. I don't understand why, in a world where intelligence satellites can eavesdrop on anything anywhere, where ground stations in Japan and South Korea have China well covered and where massive intercept programs like Echelon vacuum up almost all foreign telecommunications, we need to launch aggressive and provocative spy missions against countries like China. I can't think of another midair collision that didn't end up in two crashed planes; it's a miracle that the American EP-3 survived. If the 24 Americans had died as a result of this incident, how would Congress have reacted? Would we have believed China's claims that it was an accident, not an attack? Would we have so easily turned our warships around after the Chinese government refused our offers to assist in recovering the wreckage? How much more aggressive would the rhetoric have been on both sides? I don't mean to imply that the U.S. deliberately set out to cause an international incident, but it seems to me that it was ignoring some pretty obvious risks for some pretty dubious rewards
I agree completely with this author's assessment of our actions in China.

Tuesday, April 24

Too hot to handle | April 11, 2001 | SFBG News Too hot to handle
Project Censored names the top stories buried by the mainstream media in 2000.

Here's a public service posting for widest possible dispersion.
Arabs See Jewish Conspiracy in Pokemon 'A Jewish Plan to Corrupt the Mind'
"It has been proven that this toy is part of a Jewish plan to corrupt the mind of our young generation because it alludes to blasphemous thinking, it mocks our God and our moral values and is therefore extremely dangerous for our youth," said Sheik Abdel Monem abu Zent, a hard-liner and former member of parliament in Jordan who has helped stir up discontent, although he acknowledges that he is not familiar with the game.

I have no love loss for Pokeman, but if these Arabs ever want to be taken seriously, they might want to get a grip on reality.

Wednesday, April 18 Politics | Bush backs aid ban for drug convicts Bush backs aid ban for drug convicts

April 18, 2001 | WASHINGTON (AP) --
The Bush administration says it will enforce a previously ignored law denying federal financial aid to college students with drug convictions.

Let's all join in the mad rush to demonize young drug offenders (they're mostly minority anyway) and make sure that we shut off every opportunity for them to advance their lives and make changes for the better. What better way for us to show our compassion for the prison industry while at the same time protecting valuable college opportunities for the 'right' kind of people.


Monday, April 16 Politics | Smile and slash In the last few weeks, either President Bush or his wife, Laura, has visited a total of three domestic organizations whose work they heralded -- a children's hospital in Atlanta, a public library in Washington and a Boys and Girls Club in Wilmington, Del. All three would have their funding slashed in the budget Bush proposed last Monday.

"It's just more examples of Bush's illusion of inclusion," says Democratic National Committee chairman Terry McAuliffe. "It's politics at its worst, it's cynicism at its worst. He uses them for photo ops and props and then he axes them out of the budget."

Betcha Bush figured he'd get away with it. His sleight of heart is hard to miss.
The Plane Truth? by Scott Shuger The WSJ reports that the cause of a reduction in the capital gains tax is back on the congressional agenda. One reason for this, explains the paper, is "complaints from ordinary taxpayers." You know, like Debbe Trachtman of Overland Park, Kansas, who after learning from her tax adviser that she was going to have to pay $10,000 in capital gains taxes (actually the story chooses to say she was "socked" with the bill) had to give up on her plans to buy a new Lincoln Town Car.
Don't you just feel her pain?
Military Ecstasy? by Scott Shuger USAT fronts the U.S. military's concern about "skyrocketing" use of the amphetamine Ecstasy among its members--up about 12 times what it was two years ago. And that estimate is based on the services' drug testing, which misses much Ecstasy use because unlike many other drugs, it usually leaves no traces in the body after 48 hours. The paper says the Pentagon is set to introduce a new Ecstasy test next year.

If the military can't keep up with the use of this drug even though the soldiers have already given up about ninety percent of their civil rights in the process of joining, what extraordinary measures are they going to try and foist upon the general populace in their never ending pursuit to win the drug war?

Monday, April 9 Politics | A little arsenic water with that tainted beef? A little arsenic water with that tainted beef?
You're not paranoid: The Bush administration really is trying to poison you.
Pretty much says it all. Be afraid, be VERY afraid.

Thursday, April 5 News | Plan to ease meat testing abandoned Plan to ease meat testing abandoned

- - - - - - - - - - - -
Philip Brasher
April 5, 2001 | WASHINGTON (AP) --
The White House on Thursday backed off an Agriculture Department plan to ease salmonella testing requirements on ground meat purchased for school lunches.

That's my Bush!! With the safety of meat in SERIOUS doubt already, who in their right minds would even SUGGEST lessening standards? Not only lessening standards, but standards that relate to our children's school lunches? The big question is how Bush is going to spin this into being something that is a carryover from the Clinton years. What a schmuck!!

Thursday, March 29

News By Area, LAPD Blames Car Agency Error in Black Doctor's Arrest LAPD Blames Car Agency Error in Black Doctor's Arrest

By HECTOR BECERRA, Times Staff Writer

Los Angeles police officials on Wednesday blamed a rental car company mistake for the arrest of a black surgeon from Florida who this week accused police of racial profiling.

Thank God I'm white!!!! Enjoy.

Monday, March 26

Supreme Court to Review Execution of Retarded Supreme Court to Review Execution of Retarded
By James Vicini
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court (news - web sites) said on Monday it would decide whether execution of mentally retarded people convicted of capital crimes violated American standards of decency and should be struck down as unconstitutionally cruel and unusual punishment.
Probably violates standards of INTERNATIONAL and HUMAN decency even if it doesn't end up violating AMERICAN standards. Just my thoughts....

Thursday, March 22

U.S. Spy Map Agency May See Mars Polar Lander

Anybody besides me wondering how many Martian spies there are out there?


Tuesday, February 20

FBI Agent Held Without Bond on Spy Charges (
FBI Agent Held Without Bond on Spy Charges

By David A. Vise and Brooke A. Masters
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, February 20, 2001; 2:05 PM
A long-time FBI agent has been charged with spying for Moscow for 15 years, including accusations that he handed over highly classified documents and betrayed American intelligence sources in exchange for more than $1.4 million.
Isn't this special!! And the FBI has been trying to blame all their problems on a poor Chinaman. I'll bet Wen Ho Lee is busting a gut over this one right about now.

Friday, February 16 Politics | Clinton "bewildered" by pardon mess Clinton pointed out that Rich was once represented by lawyer Lewis Libby, now Vice President Cheney's chief of staff.
"It's terrible!" he told Rivera. "I mean, he had three big-time Republican lawyers, including Dick Cheney's chief of staff."

Wednesday, February 14

Nine Hikers Shot Dead in Colombia Nine Hikers Shot Dead in Colombia

Filed at 4:02 p.m. ET
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) -- The nine young men and women hiked through ancient ruins, rugged peaks and valleys and to the foothills of a snowcapped volcano. There, in the breathtaking Colombian Andes, they were shot execution-style -- most with one bullet to the head.

There will be more and more of this as civil war in Columbia grows. As usual, the US is integral in this mess because of the Billion odd dollars we've committed to their war.

Tuesday, February 13

Top Marine Clears Osprey's Design in Crash Top Marine Clears Osprey's Design in Crash
As Gomer Pyle would say.....surprise, surprise, surprise!!! Here's one 'top marine' who would like to keep his job.
Starting to look more and more like Rich was pardoned on behalf of favors he did for Israel. Interesting to note that it has taken several weeks for this info to trickle out. The Republicans would still like us to believe he was 'purchased' out by political contributions. In any event, I hope they're as pissed off at Clinton as we progressives are about the Supreme (kangaroo) Court decision handing the presidency to Bush.

Monday, February 12

Sun Feb 11 2001 15:55:34 ET

WASHINGTON -- A veteran US Republican senator suggested Sunday former president Bill Clinton could be impeached again in connection with a series of pardons and sentence commutations he issued at the end of his term, including the controversial pardon of billionaire commodities trader Marc Rich.
Isn't it about time the vast right-wing conspirators found someone new to bash? How about zeroing in on the idiot who ordered the submarine to surface under the Japanese fishing boat for starters!! Or am I to assume that it was Clinton's fault as well.


"This may surprise a lot of people and I'm not suggesting that it should be done, but president Clinton technically could still be impeached," said Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, in an interview with FFOX NEWS SUNDAY.

Thursday, February 8

Columbine Teacher Could Not Survive Columbine Teacher Could Not Survive

DENVER--The Columbine High School teacher killed in the nation's worst school shooting probably would not have survived even if he had gotten help sooner, two pathologists who reviewed his autopsy said.
As I remember it, the guy lay bleeding to death with students around him for something like an hour? I'm pretty sure Hawkeye or Trapper John would have saved him if the cops hadn't been so chicken shit.
Officials Say Investigation Will Go On Despite Presidential Pardon Officials Say Investigation Will Go On Despite Presidential Pardon
Hey, why not? These Republicans never met an investigation they didn't like when it concerns Bill Clinton, even if it's contrary to common sense and a total waste of taxpayer money. The last vestiges of the Clinton presidency really are behind us. Is it just me or did it seem like the economy literally 'threw a switch' the day our 'pro-business' Republican president took over?