Friday, June 28

One Nation, Under Vishnu / In the most religiously diverse country in the world, why should God get the only plug? "One nation, under whatever noble and/or beautiful belief system you want, or maybe nothing at all, or maybe a little of this and that, just don't be a freak about it, because this is America and we're nothing if not about religious freedom, even though that may be difficult to believe right now, but just bear with us, indivisible...."

Thursday, June 27

Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / 'Enemy combatant' issue rises to fore 'Enemy combatant' issue rises to fore
Bush's aides press for US powers to detain Americans.
When the Bush Admin first proposed this neogothic nightmare courtscape in the first place, I distinctly remember their reassuring statements directly contradicting the current positions they are heralding. I can't be the only one?!? As evidence that this is taking things a bit far, ask Timothy McVeigh how much it helped him getting a 'standard citizen's trial'? Oh that's right, he's dead. Which isn't to say he didn't deserve it, only to point out that there is NO REASON OTHER THAN BOLD FASCISM to extoll the current measures.

Thursday, June 20

Bush makes another surgical strike on the Constitution Wake up, America! George W. Bush says that we are at war with "people who hate freedom." If so, we'd all better brush up on what we learned about "freedom" back in grade school. Think hard now. This is something more than a pop quiz. Can the US military detain and incarcerate an American citizen on US soil indefinitely without charges? The correct answer, if this is still a "free" country, is a resounding and unequivocal, no. Outside of military bases, the U.S. military has no business arresting anyone on U.S. soil, period. We fought a revolution to expel that kind of arbitrary, autocratic power from our shores. The framers wrote the Constitution, particularly the 5th and 6th Amendments, to prevent such occurrences. Was Chicago under martial law last week? Had law and order broken down? Were the courts closed? No. As such, there is no way around the fact that something deeply offensive to our constitutional system of government happened in Chicago on June 10.

Monday, June 17

When Conservatives Sue Conservatives I DON'T GIVE GEORGE W. BUSH enough credit. The man's a genius. How else can you explain his clever plan for saving America from terrorists?
Bush defined our problem when, following the Sept. 11 attacks, he said the terrorists attacked us "because we are freedom's home and defender."
So Bush (with ample help from pliant, poll-reading congressional Democrats and an amenable public) set about removing America's freedoms.
How clever. When the the job is finished, when all our freedoms are gone, we'll finally be safe. The bad guys will no longer have reason to hate us.
What a brilliant scheme!
When fear attempts to take a shortcut -- The Washington Times The Constitution, as the fearful constantly remind us, is not a suicide pact. But neither is it a mere handbill, to be tossed away at the slightest inconvenience to the government's lawyers. Cutting corners no doubt makes the job easier for the government, but making the government's job easier is rarely a priority.
Preserving the Constitution, fighting off the nibblers and chippers, even nibblers and chippers with good intentions, was once regarded by conservatives as the first duty of the citizen. It still is. We can imagine what conservatives would think of shortcuts through the Constitution if they had been attempted by a certain president from Arkansas. Fear, legitimate or not, is no better excuse than convenience.

Friday, June 14

Plutocracy and Politics Kevin Phillips's new book, "Wealth and Democracy," is a 422-page doorstopper, but much of the book's message is contained in one stunning table. That table, in the middle of a chapter titled "Millennial Plutographics," reports the compensation of America's 10 most highly paid C.E.O.'s in 1981, 1988 and 2000.
In 1981 those captains of industry were paid an average of $3.5 million, which seemed like a lot at the time. By 1988 the average had soared to $19.3 million, which seemed outrageous. But by 2000 the average annual pay of the top 10 was $154 million. It's true that wages of ordinary workers roughly doubled over the same period, though the bulk of that gain was eaten up by inflation. But earnings of top executives rose 4,300 percent.

Wednesday, June 12

Summer of All Fears On the Hill yesterday, Republican lawmakers were using headlines about the dirty-bomb plot to try to hurriedly push through the president's homeland security makeover.
"This is what's at stake," said Representative Mac Thornberry of Texas. "This kind of attack, using chemical, biological, nuclear weapons, radiological weapons, or some other kinds of suicide bombers of the kind we've seen. We must act quickly."
It's bad enough that the terrorists are using fear as a device. Does the Bush administration have to do the same thing?
The Islamic enemy strums on our nerves to hurt our economy and get power. The American president strums on our nerves to help his popularity and retain power.
Earth First activists win case / FBI, cops must pay $4.4 million for actions after car bombing Of the $2.9 million in damages for Bari's estate, $1.3 million is punitive and $1.6 million is compensatory. Bari died of cancer in 1997.
The jury said Cherney should receive $550,000 in punitive damages and $950, 000 in compensatory damages.
An ecstatic Cherney said, "The American public needs to understand that the FBI can't be trusted. Ten jurors got a good, hard look at the FBI and they didn't like what they saw. It's not about the money."
Robert Bloom, an attorney for the activists, said the ruling "shows what the FBI did then, it shows America what the FBI does now."
"This verdict is critical for everyone to understand how law enforcement works in this country," he said. "This jury got a look at a new side of the FBI and saw their secrets. This jury told the truth."

Wednesday, May 29

Women dies after having cosmetic surgery A woman who had breast augmentation and liposuction died of complications due to blood clotting following the cosmetic surgery, coroner's officials said.
Maryellen Fluery, 44, of Santa Ana died Monday, three days after she went into her doctor's office for breast enhancements and liposuction. It was ruled a natural death by the coroner, said Jon Fleischman, a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff-Coroner's office.
I'm not exactly sure that 'natural death' applies here.

Friday, May 24

Evildoers In The Hood / Another batch of fresh terrorist warnings from the government, and you without your skepticism Just when you might be beginning to question their maneuvers and motivations and rather sinister levels of secrecy, their lack of discernable results in this war-that's-not-really-a-war because there are no actual results to be had except the ongoing promulgation of, yes, more war.
Too cynical? Too bitter? Don't want to think our government might actually be capable of such deceit and manipulation, of manufacturing rumors and strategically fabricating news stories and making it sound like if you don't blindly endorse every carefully constructed pro-war blurb muttered by Ari Fleischer or Rummy, the terrorists will surely break down your door any minute now and steal all your ice cream and sodomize your cat?

Thursday, May 23

Color Them Fatalistic Mr. Ridge offers five colors to warn against infiltrations. (This being Washington, officials hotly debated including white in the terror pinwheel, but decided against it, perhaps fearing it would look like a white flag.)
I think it would be far more useful, however, if we had a wheel with five colors to warn against incompetence.
Holy heather: At this level, John Ashcroft stays so busy whiting out lines of the Constitution, diluting Justice's civil rights division, lionizing the Second Amendment and robing naked statues that he forgets to give the president a detailed F.B.I. memo describing the time and place of the next terrorist attack.

Monday, May 20

Yahoo! News - GEORGE W. BUSH, ATTEMPTED MURDERER "We had information," an anonymous Pentagon (news - web sites) official told The New York Times' Thomas Shanker, "that he was planning attacks on American and coalition forces, on the interim government and on [interim president Hamid] Karzai himself."
You and I, faced with such information, might have had Hekmatyar picked up for questioning. We might put him and his pals on trial for conspiracy and, if he were found guilty, thrown in prison. But the guys in the White House aren't like us. They're gangsters. Gangsters are above the law. Gangsters don't bother with judges and juries. They pay off judges; they have their enemies whacked.
And so your illegitimate gangster government, less than a month after it attempted to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Venezuela, sent up one of those unmanned Predator drone planes. Some dude punched a button on an iMac at an undisclosed location in the Virginia suburbs and fired a Hellfire missile at Hekmatyar's car convoy on a road just outside Kabul. "I believe some others were killed in the strike, but the target escaped," an unnamed U.S. official told Reuters. Hekmatyar's spokesman and son-in-law Ghairat Baheer in Islamabad said: "He is in Afghanistan...but there was no attack."
Radio Crow's Radio & TV News A report that Limbaugh had lost his hearing generated press for his program but failed to increase ratings.
Limbaugh dropped the deafness act when investigators began searching for his operation records and logs of hospital stays.
The investigations turned up records of minor plastic surgery and a liposuction procedure. (5/8)
Buzz Flash I know now the media propaganda machine will spin its wheels off and cast aside its integrity for the almighty dollar. Look at the spin today - “It was Clinton’s fault” or how about “What did the Democrats Know?” What a sham! Wasn’t it the REPUBLICANS who held both houses of Congress from 1996 until Jeffords saved America? What the blue blazes were they doing? Let me refresh your memory. They were impeaching Clinton, spending our tax dollars worrying and wondering where Big Dog’s big dog had been. Oh yes, and what about the endless hours of prattle about Gary Condit’s little dog and where it had been? I believe there is an appropriate psychological term for this, but it escapes me right now

Tuesday, May 14

Five killed, four kids, on I-80 east of Reno RENO, Nev. (AP) -- A California firefighter suspected of drunken driving was jailed Tuesday after the car he was driving the wrong way on Interstate 80 slammed into a van, killing five people, four of them children.
Eight family members were in the van when the head-on crash occurred around 8:45 p.m. Monday near Wadsworth, about 20 miles east of Reno.
Thankfully, the man wasn't doing any illegal drugs. One can only imagine the damage he might have done otherwise.

Tuesday, May 7

'Smoking gun' Enron memos / 'Death Star,' 'Get Shorty' strategies show how firm manipulated energy to state in attempt to boost profits A state senator who has spent a year investigating the energy crisis called the documents "tremendous" proof that California's power debacle had been caused by companies looking to make money and not by energy shortages.
"The veneer has been broken," said Sen. Joseph Dunn, D-Santa Ana.
Don't foget all those 'free market' Republicans who were busy trying to slander Gov. Davis during this whole sordid affair. If I had a nickel for every right wing loonie that put the blame of California politics I'd be able to afford the inflated gasoline they're peddling now.

Friday, April 26

The Oakland Press April 24, 2002
The state Legislature has given police power to search your home without telling you why.
Two new laws, which took effect Monday as part of anti-terror efforts, also shield from public scrutiny the reasons for police searches.

Defense lawyers and civil libertarians are outraged at the laws, which make search warrants and supporting documents such as affidavits non-public records.

Friday, March 29

The Smoke Machine The Smoke Machine
In a way, it's a shame that so much of David Brock's "Blinded by the Right: The conscience of an ex-conservative" is about the private lives of our self-appointed moral guardians. Those tales will sell books, but they may obscure the important message: that the "vast right-wing conspiracy" is not an overheated metaphor but a straightforward reality, and that it works a lot like a special-interest lobby.

Monday, March 25

Cold Fusion Rides Again / Science magazine publishes more evidence of tabletop nuclear reactions Cold Fusion Rides Again
Science magazine publishes more evidence of tabletop nuclear reactions

Hal Plotkin, Special to SF Gate Monday, March 25, 2002

Science magazine dropped a bombshell earlier this month: The prestigious journal published a paper by a team of researchers at Tennessee's Oak Ridge National Laboratory who say they have discovered evidence of what looks like nuclear fusion taking place in a relatively inexpensive tabletop device.

Friday, March 22

Plan would ease patient privacy rules / Bush wants to allow records to be shared without permission Washington -- The Bush administration has proposed changing some of the federal rules designed to protect the confidentiality of Americans' medical records, including the ability of patients to decide in advance who should be able to use their personal health information.

Wednesday, March 20

'Officer of year' faces firing for lying / Internal affairs probed Oakland narcotics cop A veteran Oakland police narcotics investigator named "officer of the year" has been told that the city intends to fire him on the grounds that he lied and falsified reports, sources said today.
John L. Gutierrez, 44, who has earned a reputation for seizing record amounts of cocaine and making high-profile drug arrests, faces termination as a result of an internal affairs investigation, officials with knowledge of the case said.
The continuing saga of Prohibition in Amerika. This is what happens to the 'best'. You don't even have to imagine the 'worst'.

Tuesday, March 19

BBC News | ARCHIVE | Anthrax attacks A Newsnight investigation raised the possibility that there was a secret CIA project to investigate methods of sending anthrax through the mail which went madly out of control.
The shocking assertion is that a key member of the covert operation may have removed, refined and eventually posted weapons-grade anthrax which killed five people.
Kids Get Left in the Lurch When the 'Values' Cops Arrive Thanks to the courage of talk show host and gay adoptive parent Rosie O'Donnell--and a Web site she publicized, www.lethim Americans now know that a boy named Bert may be ripped out of the only home he has ever known. The administration of Gov. Jeb Bush insists on putting Bert up for adoption knowing that his foster parents would not be eligible under Florida law. How perverse of the so-called family values movement of the Christian right that continues to push for anti-gay adoption bans throughout the nation to mock the love that Christ bestowed on all, and to deny children in cases like this one the only good, loving family available to them.

Monday, March 18

Sen. Pat Roberts is a Marine veteran, a knowledgeable member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and a loyal conservative Republican. Accordingly, it is hard for him to take issue with what Bush said last week. But as a blunt-spoken Kansan and a patriotic American, Roberts feels constrained to express concern.
''Why are we rattling the cage so much?'' asked Roberts, posing a question that might be asked at the Dodge City ''coffee klatch'' in his hometown. He was stunned by President Bush's remarkable Wednesday news conference, which included threats of imminent attack against Iraq and did not rule out using tactical nuclear weapons. As a senior GOP member of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities subcommittee, Roberts knows of no change in Saddam Hussein's military posture to warrant the president's stance. ''I have a lot of questions,'' he told me.
Andrea Yates and a world of craziness? All over the country -- most notably in Boston -- priests are facing a variety of sexual-misconduct allegations. My question is, what else is new?
Is it just me, or does anyone else see anything weird about a job in which healthy young men are required to take a lifelong vow of chastity? What kind of man would be attracted to such a job?
A man with weird sexual problems, that's what kind of man.

Friday, March 15

Nuts About Nukes ( Most military men agree that battlefield nukes are not an option. Among them has been Colin Powell, who, in his autobiography, "My American Journey," wrote disparagingly of their utility. In 1958 he was assigned to guard a nuclear cannon. "We are not talking about dropping a few artillery shells at a crossing. No matter how small they were . . . we would be crossing a threshold. . . . Using nukes at this point would mean one of the most significant policy and military decisions since Hiroshima."
Spinsanity - Countering rhetoric with reason Paul Harvey repeats McCaslin misinformation (3/14)
By Brendan Nyhan
Radio host Paul Harvey read Tuesday's Washington Times story by John McCaslin on the air today, repeating McCaslin's false implication that Ken Lay stayed in the Clinton White House eleven times (Real Player audio). After reading the story, Harvey said, "This is the Clinton White House they're talking about." Though McCaslin retracted the claim yesterday, the myth has gained new strength as the result of his irresponsible error. In this case, it has now been widely disseminated (yet again) through Harvey's extensive syndication network.
Nukes and Consequences Nukes and Consequences
by Molly Ivins

Thinking about nuclear weapons is sort of like looking directly at the sun: If you do it for more than a split second, you go blind. Or insane.
Our government is now contemplating such a ne plus ultra of idiocy that it's enough to make one yearn for the dear, departed days of MAD (mutual assured destruction). MAD was such a sane policy.
"I have to be direct, I am dissatisfied with both the quantity and quality of information coming out of the administration as it relates to homeland security," said Oklahoma Republican Rep. Ernest Istook, who chairs the Appropriations subcommittee on Treasury and General Government, which controls the White House's budget.
"I hope that the lack of necessary information does not compel us to withhold funds for the priorities established by the president," he said.
Obey added, "No information, no money."

Thursday, March 14

March 14, 2002 - National Missile Defense: Blowing The Whistle On Bad Science So the question becomes: Why is the national missile shield as seemingly unstoppable as the missiles it purports to destroy? And what will it take for this story to penetrate Washington's defenses against critical information affecting national policy?
"The government's system of checks and balances has badly failed at every level throughout this process," missile defense expert and MIT professor Ted Postol told me. "What it's going to take now is stirring the public imagination and outrage." Perhaps it will take dramatizing Nira Schwartz's story and turning her into the Erin Brockovich of the nuclear arms debate.
‘Blinded by the Right’ I fell easily under the spell of my surrogate father figures, as though anyone who gave me attention could dictate my beliefs. From them I found the moral and ideological clarity, the critical affirmation and acceptance, and the firm sense of who I was that my fragile psyche yearned for. I slapped the label of the entire conservative movement on my lapel, gave it authority over my being, without even understanding what it meant. Stumbling into a fight over Grenada at the age of twenty, I came out of it playing the role of right-wing ideologue — right-wing robot, really — to the hilt. I jumped on a conservative trajectory that would cause me to live my life along a certain but wrong course for the next fifteen years.
Mocking Due Process When I asked why he had lied to the police, he said, "For money." He said Thomas Edwards had told him he would be paid if he told cops he saw Lorenzo Branch going into Mr. Josephs' apartment. He said he spoke to detectives on a number of occasions and each time he was given $20, which he spent on crack.
Neither addict could keep the story straight. In an extraordinary courtroom development, prosecutors pulled Mr. Edwards from the witness stand in the middle of his testimony when he offered information that hurt the prosecution's case. Mr. Edwards testified that he had seen Lamont Branch and two other men go into Mr. Josephs' apartment, and that one of the other men — not Mr. Branch — had a gun.

Wednesday, March 13

Congressional report says Clinton abused power by giving pardons Former President Clinton abused his power by giving pardons to controversial figures like Marc Rich based on the recommendations of relatives and confidants, a congressional report says.
Star Telegram | 03/10/2002 | How long for the same old stories? As a rare case of principled resignation reminded us two weeks ago, people's lives are in fact at stake. Eric Schaeffer, head of the EPA's Regulatory Enforcement, quit in protest over the Bush administration's efforts to undermine tough legal action against dozens of aging, coal-fired power plants that are in violation of federal law.
The EPA believes that 10,000 deaths a year are caused by the millions of tons of pollution by these plants. When 3,000 Americans were killed by terrorists, we promptly went to war - one that is now spreading around the globe - in order to get the killers. When American industry kills Americans, this administration accommodates them endlessly.
INS chagrined after visas are sent to dead hijackers Washington -- Six months after Mohamed Atta and Marwan Al-Shehhi crashed jetliners into the World Trade Center, an embarrassed Immigration and Naturalization Service acknowledged that it had notified a flight school this week that the two had been approved for student visas to study there.

Thursday, March 7

Bending For Steel ( Proving himself less principled than Bill Clinton regarding the free-trade principles that are indispensable to world prosperity and comity, President Bush has done what Clinton refused to do. In the name of providing "breathing space" for the U.S. steel industry, which has been on the respirator of protection for decades, Bush has cooked up an unpalatable confection of tariffs and import quotas that mock his free-trade rhetoric.
Fox raises bar for inanity In a brilliant send-up of how guests and experts are chosen for news shows, Richmond said yes, and his interview was taped three days later. The story aired March 1, with Richmond playing straight guy. Apparently nobody at Fox News bothered to look at, or the Poundstone story (did they just Google her name or something?) because the satire was pretty damn clear. The Web site's headline: "Poundstone granted 'supervised' child abuse."
As Richmond wrote in a follow-up on the site, Fox News was "completely unaware of the fact" that he "represented an entertainment Web zine comprised entirely of satire and spoof. . . . All anyone at the network would have had to do is actually have read the first paragraph of the (Web site piece about Poundstone) to discover it was 100 percent crap."

Wednesday, March 6

One Toke Over the Harvard Line? ( • Here's a vignette we're dying to see on the ABC broadcast of Sunday's Ford's Theatre Presidential Gala: When Stevie Wonder sat down at the keyboard center stage, President Bush in the front row got very excited. He smiled and started waving at Wonder, who understandably did not respond. After a moment Bush realized his mistake and slowly dropped the errant hand back to his lap. "I know I shouldn't have," a witness told us yesterday, "but I started laughing."

Tuesday, March 5

The Angola Mirror It's a useful caution these days, as foreign leaders jostle to whisper sweet nothings about terrorism in our ear. The Philippines has cleverly wangled $100 million from us by exaggerating the links between a gang of kidnappers and Al Qaeda. In the Horn of Africa, every faction insists that its enemies are tied to Al Qaeda and must be destroyed.
Likewise, every commander in Afghanistan these days seems to regard himself as a secular humanist. Then there are the Iraqi opposition leaders, who spend much more time pushing our buttons than bothering with Saddam Hussein.

Friday, March 1

An update on the Ken Lay/Lincoln Bedroom myth (2/28)
By Brendan Nyhan
The myth that Ken Lay stayed in the Lincoln Bedroom of the Clinton White House may be on its way to extinction. The Washington Times' correction last Friday has been followed by a number of others.
Here's a full chronology of the progression of the myth - note that the Los Angeles Daily News and Denver Post have published letters to the editor promoting this falsehood since my piece was published:
-Matt Drudge, Drudge Report (1/11)
-Stephen J. Hedges, Jeff Zeleny and Frank James, Chicago Tribune (1/13)
-Judy Keen, USA Today (1/14)
-Fred Barnes, Fox News's "Special Report with Brit Hume" (1/14)
-James Lileks, Newhouse News Service (1/15)
-Bill Sammon, White House Weekly (1/15)
-Daily Oklahoman letter to the editor (1/22)
-Modesto Bee letter to the editor (1/25)
-Fresno Bee letter to the editor (1/26)
-St. Louis Post-Dispatch letter to the editor (1/26)
-Houston Chronicle letter to the editor (2/2)
-Arkansas Democrat-Gazette letter to the editor (2/8)
-Sun-Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, FL) letter to the editor (2/9)
-Los Angeles Daily News letter to the editor (2/13)
-Alex Castellanos, CNN's "Crossfire" (2/14)
-Fred Barnes, Fox News's "Special Report with Brit Hume" (2/14)
-The Oregonian (Portland) letter to the editor (2/15)
-Castellanos, ABC's "This Week" (2/17)
-Patrice Hill, Washington Times (2/
EPA official who quit gets Senate’s attention March 1 — The resignation of the top rules enforcer at the Environmental Protection Agency has caught the attention of Senate Democrats, who plan to use his criticism of the White House at a hearing next Thursday. In his resignation letter, Eric Schaeffer said the EPA is “fighting a White House that seems determined to weaken the rules we are trying to enforce.” The EPA denied the allegations, saying the Bush administration was committed to enforcing environmental laws
OPEN SEASON / Tabloid queens will put up their dukes Here are the credentials for the featured combatants: In 1994 Harding was involved in a bungled plot hatched by her ex-husband to disable her Olympics rival Nancy Kerrigan with a club. Banished from amateur skating, Harding pleaded guilty to conspiracy. As a teenager, Fisher had an affair with auto mechanic Joey Buttafuoco, then shot and wounded his wife in 1992. Fisher served almost seven years in prison.
"This is legitimate," Mike Darnell, Fox's alternative-programming chief, told USA Today. "We'll have a real referee, a real doctor, real announcers. To all the world, this will be a real boxing match."
First the Olympics, and now this. What a winter.
State's untapped pot of gold Sumner speculated that as much as a 1,000 percent tax on marijuana might be levied to keep retail costs sufficiently high and thus deter use by minors.
"It makes more sense to tax things than to ban them," he said. "You generate revenue and you give people an incentive to behave the way we want."
Sheri Larsen, a spokeswoman for the California Board of Equalization, said that if an 8 percent sales tax were levied on a $4 billion marijuana crop, the state would take in an extra $317 million a year.
But that number is only a fraction of the revenue that would be expected if Sumner is correct about a whopping dope tax. The 87-cents-per-pack tax on cigarettes, for example, produced $1.1 billion in revenue for California last year.
Democrats Starting to Fault President on the War's Future WASHINGTON, Feb. 28 — In the first strong Democratic criticism of the Bush administration's war on terrorism, the Senate majority leader and two powerful committee chairman are questioning whether the White House is expanding its military efforts without a clear explanation of its aims.
"I don't think it would do anybody any good to second-guess what has been done to date," Senator Tom Daschle, the majority leader, told reporters today. "I think it has been successful. I've said that on many, many occasions. But I think the jury's still out about future success."
Two Thousand Acres Last week Interior Secretary Gale Norton repeated the standard response to concerns about extensive oil development in one of America's last wild places: "The impact will be limited to just 2,000 out of 1.9 million acres of the refuge." That number comes from the House version of the Bush-Cheney energy plan, which promises that "surface acreage covered by production and support facilities" will not exceed 2,000 acres. It's a reassuring picture: a tiny enclave of development, practically lost in the Arctic vastness.
But that picture is a fraud. Development won't be limited to a small enclave: according to the U.S. Geological Survey, oil in ANWR is scattered in many separate pools, so drilling rigs would be spread all across the coastal plain. The roads linking those rigs aren't part of the 2,000 acres: they're not "production and support facilities." And "surface acreage covered" is very narrowly defined: if a pipeline snakes across the terrain on a series of posts, only the ground on which those posts rest counts; bare ground under the pipeline isn't considered "covered."

Wednesday, February 27 - BuzzFlash Media Watch Special Report: The Daily Show with Guest Michael Moore Jon then said that "In general, Dick Cheney is seen as the dark lord of energy" and uttered the word "Halliburton" which prompted Moore to state, "That one stinks even worse."
Moore started on the Dick Cheney stonewalling situation. "It's not the minutes of the meetings about screwing California. It's the meetings about the oil pipeline they had with the Taliban…this was going on last August…"
Then Moore cited the New Yorker article which questioned "why George Bush allowed the private Saudi jet to fly to 5 American cities to pick up 20 bin Laden family members" while no one else could fly for 3 days and how the FBI was upset because they couldn't interrogate any of them. Then, a week later, the New York Times reported on the Carlyle Group and the ties to the bin Laden's and how they put up the money for Bush's first company, Arbusto."
Global Eye -- Global Lie Now let's get this straight. In America, the feds can seize the records of your private book purchases -- if they're investigating a possible terrorist threat. They can haul you in for remarks you made at your local gym -- if they're investigating a possible terrorist threat. They can listen in on your private conversations with your lawyer, they can enter and search your home without telling you, they can hold you indefinitely without a charge -- if they're investigating a possible terrorist threat.
But what they cannot do, under any circumstances, is look at the records of your latest gun purchase -- if they're investigating a possible terrorist threat.
What's God Got to Do With It? Can the attorney general be trusted to protect the rights of those whose spiritual life rests outside of the Judeo-Christian tradition when he has excluded them from the ranks of civilized people? Not to split angels on the head of a pin here--or to restrict Ashcroft's hearty expressions of his Pentecostal faith as manifested in his daily prayer meetings at Justice--but it is alarming when he defines his job in religious terms: "The guarding of freedom that God grants is the noble charge of the Department of Justice."

What hooey! The Justice Department is a creation of men to enforce laws written by ordinary mortals--some of them drunk as well as godless--and, most important, to follow the precepts of the U.S. Constitution, itself the product largely of those founders who were suspicious of efforts to bring any official notion of God into the day-to-day governance of a free people. They had enough of that with the religious pretenses of English kings, and they made no bones about their deep concerns regarding the mixing of church and state.

Monday, February 25 News | Colombian presidential candidate reportedly taken hostage A presidential candidate who is a severe critic of Colombia's leftist guerrillas was abducted by the rebels as she headed into a zone they once controlled, her campaign spokeswoman said Sunday.
Ingrid Betancourt disappeared after setting out for San Vicente del Caguan, a former rebel stronghold that was seized by government troops Saturday in an offensive to retake a large swathe of rebel-controlled territory
Everybody should have seen this coming. Look how much of a 'calming' influence our money and presence have been to the Columbians!! News | FBI reportedly has anthrax suspect WASHINGTON (AP) -- The FBI reportedly has a chief suspect in its anthrax investigation.
The Washington Times reports federal authorities are looking at a former U.S. scientist. They believe the unidentified scientist learned how to make a weapons-grade form of the deadly bacteria at a government laboratory.
The paper cites law enforcement and other sources as saying authorities are targeting the scientist after interviewing more than 300 people tied to the government's anthrax program. | TotalSearch | Global Archive | Article A discreet way of doing business with Iraq site; Nov 3, 2000

Millions of dollars of US oil business with Iraq are being channelled discreetly through European and other companies, in a practice that has highlighted the double standards now dominating relations between Baghdad and Washington after a decade of crippling sanctions.
Though legal, leading US oil service companies such as Halliburton, Baker Hughes, Schlumberger, Flowserve, Fisher-Rosemount and others, have used subsidiaries and joint venture companies for this lucrative business, so as to avoid straining relations with Washington and jeopardising their ties with President Saddam Hussein's government in Baghdad.

Friday, February 22

The W Scenario Finally, there's line 47. You haven't heard about that, but you will.
Here's the story. The Bush administration didn't want to give those famous $300 rebate checks; its original plan would have pumped hardly any money into the economy last year. Under prodding from Democrats the plan was changed to incorporate immediate cash outlays. But those outlays were included only grudgingly, and with a catch: they really weren't rebates. Instead, they were merely advances on future tax cuts.
What that means is that most taxpayers, when they reach line 47 of their 1040's, will discover that they owe $300 more in taxes than they expected. In other words, the one piece of the Bush tax cut that probably did help the economy last year is about to be snatched away. The direct monetary impact will be significant; the psychological impact, as taxpayers realize that they've been misled, may be even greater.
The gospel according to John (Ashcroft) Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of unbelief I fear not God. I fear John Ashcroft.
"Civilized people -- Muslims, Christians and Jews -- all understand that the source of freedom and human dignity is the Creator," said Ashcroft on Tuesday to a group of Christian broadcasters.
Correct me if I'm misinterpreting the Word of Ashcroft, but he's saying that a lot of the people he's supposed to protect are uncivilized. I don't believe in God, but if I did God would be generous enough to grant the presumption of civility to skeptics, atheists, agnostics and the apathetic.

Wednesday, February 20

New Jersey Online: The Times - News PRINCETON BOROUGH -- An advocate for the control of biological weapons who has been gathering information about last autumn's anthrax attacks said yesterday the Federal Bureau of Investigation has a strong hunch about who mailed the deadly letters.
But the FBI might be "dragging its feet" in pressing charges because the suspect is a former government scientist familiar with "secret activities that the government would not like to see disclosed," said Barbara Hatch Rosenberg, director of the Federation of American Scientists' Chemical and Biological Weapons Program.
Guardian Unlimited | Special reports | Anthrax suspect 'is US scientist' The FBI has a suspect for last year's anthrax attacks, but is "dragging its heels" because he is a former government scientist familiar with secret state-sponsored research, a leading American expert on biological warfare said yesterday. News | Too late to stop the hangman? Too late to stop the hangman?
Missouri is determined to execute Joseph Amrine for murder even though every prosecution witness and the jury foreman now say he's innocent and new witnesses point to another man. Why? A federal law says the evidence came in too late.

Monday, February 18

Marriage pledge rings hollow The politicians are asked to pledge that they'll protect the institution of marriage and "oppose all counterfeits" -- meaning gay marriages, civil unions or domestic partnerships. They don't mention such counterfeits as all the unhappy couples staying together for the children.
A lot of the usual suspects like Republican gubernatorial candidates William Simon and Bill Jones have signed the pledge.
Richard Riordan hasn't signed, even though he loved marriage so much he took a pledge with three wives. His first marriage lasted 23 years, produced five children and was annulled by the Catholic Church. Perhaps it was a coincidence, but Riordan was part of a group that gave Los Angeles Cardinal Roger Mahony a $400,000 used helicopter.
A used helicopter? Well, it was a used marriage. (This is not a paid hit piece from Gray Davis.)
War Coverage Takes a Negative Turn ( But the Pentagon still controls access in some areas where journalists want to dig for information. One dramatic clash took place last weekend when Washington Post reporter Doug Struck tried to visit the site of the Jan. 24 raid. He was turned away at gunpoint by U.S. soldiers who threatened to shoot him if he went farther.
Struck said from Afghanistan that "the important thing isn't whether Doug Struck was threatened. It shows the extremes the military is going to to keep this war secret, to keep reporters from finding out what's going on."
War Coverage Takes a Negative Turn ( After five months in which the Bush administration drew consistently upbeat coverage for a successful military campaign, the media climate has turned sharply negative. Suddenly, the issues of civilian casualties, military mistakes and the Pentagon's own credibility have been dragged into the national spotlight.
Archbishop Paul Cordes, the German head of the Vatican's agency for humanitarian aid, now tells us confidently and officially that "scriptural authority" says that illness is "the result of sin" and that people have a natural desire to be "healthy and good-looking." Read that again. Yep, that's what this intellectual dinosaur believes: one an absurdity and one an obvious fact. But immediately after the Monsignor issued this incredible statement, Father Georges Cottier, the Pope's chief theologian, hastened to reassure those who were ill that they were not in fact "paying for their sins." I don't follow this line of thought, at all. But then, I'm not trained in devious reasoning. Apparently Cottier has it down pat.
"Man's desire to be healthy, good-looking and strong is justified because it anticipates our future salvation. One cannot deny that death, of which illness is an anticipation, has always been seen as a consequence of sin," Cordes said. Really? Damn, but I thought that heredity, bacteria and viruses could be brought in here, somewhere. And what's this "One cannot deny" crap? I deny it, loudly and clearly! I don't give a damn if Cordes is secure in the Gospel of St. John, which he quotes to validate his notion. I don't know — no one knows — who wrote this "Gospel" material, though there might have been someone named John in there somewhere. And a guy named Casper, another named Pierre, and probably a couple ..............

Friday, February 15

Our Muni stops and even starts in Park City Tired of the same old sex in politics -- I mean gender. The smart and charming Holli Thier, former president of the League of Women Voters and candidate for the Assembly, says that at the rate this country keeps electing women to office they'll achieve parity with men in 534 years. I'm betting on Afghanistan getting there first.
San Francisco is going backward. While Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi advanced from the local trenches to high reaches of power, we're down to one woman on the Board of Supervisors, the admirable Sophie Maxwell. "Remember the Year of the Woman?" says Thier. That's right. All you got was one year.

Wednesday, February 13

The Axis of No Access Should we be countering the Axis of Evil with the Axis of No Access? Should our leaders leave a free press at home when they go to talk to regimes that do not countenance a free press?
Aren't we supposed to be influencing the Saudis and other Middle Eastern countries in the direction of honesty and transparency? Instead, the vice president emulates his Saudi friends — operating with high-handed secrecy, plotting with cronies to develop a petrostate, and restricting the press — just as he did during Desert Storm.
Cheney staffers came up with numerous explanations why it may be difficult to take the press — all of them silly. They're not the president: they don't have two planes. They don't have the resources. They don't have the staff. They're going to a very insecure region.

Tuesday, February 12

The New York Review of Books: The Betrayal of Capitalism In 1932, the congressional hearings conducted by Ferdinand Pecora of New York started a major process of reform of our financial system. As a result a regulatory structure was created which, until recently, has served us well, although such episodes as the savings-and-loan debacle required strong government action. Serious reforms again are needed, particularly to ensure that accounting firms will henceforth act honestly and responsibly. The securities laws require full disclosure; the accounting firms must ensure that their clients' profits, losses, and assets are disclosed accurately and coherently. The current self-regulation of the accounting industry should be closely scrutinized, and, if necessary, abolished and replaced by a new system of controls. At present, five accounting firms have a virtual monopoly on the audits of most of the US companies listed on the stock markets, a highly unusual level of concentration for any industry.
Sleeping With the Terrorists SABELA, Philippines -- Elnie Angulo, a slim, shy, 25-year-old peasant, was walking along a jungle path when he was accosted by three terrorists here on the island of Basilan, the second front in America's war on terrorism.
What happened next can be deduced from the findings of the imam who washed Mr. Angulo's body and the doctor who conducted the autopsy. The body had seven broken ribs, three broken vertebrae, slice marks on both hands and cuts on the neck. In addition, Mr. Angulo's tongue had been cut off and his genitals severed.
This kind of terrorism against civilians is the reason President Bush is sending 660 troops to help destroy the Abu Sayyaf terrorist group here on Basilan. But there's one problem: the men who tortured Mr. Angulo to death were not in Abu Sayyaf. They were Philippine troops, our new partners in the war on terrorism.
John Blair: Criticize Cheney, Go to Jail Criticize Cheney, Go to Jail
Two Days in the Life of an Environmentalist -- Web Exclusives Buy drugs, support terrorism. That was the unsubtle message from federal drug policy officials as they launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign during Sunday's Super Bowl.
Certainly, they have some evidence on their side. Terrorist groups from southeast Asia to South America are in the drug trafficking business. But in the meantime, another hazardous American addiction goes unchallenged. No crusade has been launched against a national dependency that delivers billions of dollars each year to foreign powers whose support for terror is far from fanciful: Oil.
For more than half a century, the US has been beholden to the dictatorships of the Gulf states, especially Saudi Arabia, which controls more than a quarter of the world's known oil reserves. The Saudi patriarchate financed the Taliban, the madrassas that educated Taliban fighters in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and (when convenient) Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.

Monday, February 11

Unanswered Questions Deep In The Heart Of Texas All of this comes to mind because of the recent suicide of John Clifford Baxter, the former Enron vice chairman who died of a gunshot to the head a few days before he would have testified before one or more congressional committees. It was also a few days after he confided to friends that he may "need to get a bodyguard," according to the Telegraph, a British newspaper.
Baxter was a whistle-blower. He complained about Enron's business practices long before they became public knowledge. He quit the firm last year and sold $35 million in stock.
Because of the timing of Baxter's death, it seems logical that the authorities should examine it very carefully.
So far they haven't.

Friday, February 8

The Times There are other less creditable reasons for whipping up war hysteria. Mr Bush wants to make sure that he cannot be blamed for a lack of vigilance in the event of some totally unpredictable and random terrorist outrage, which could occur, by the law of probabilities, regardless of whatever precautions might be taken sometime in the next few years. The Pentagon has been looking for an enemy ever since Mr Bush’s election, to justify a vastly expanded defence budget. Moreover, the interests of Israel have a commanding influence on some of the key policymakers in Washington — and Israel’s interests are unfortunately identified at present with the extreme Zionism of Ariel Sharon. For Saudi Arabia, which is increasingly recognised in America as the main wellspring of the fundamentalist poison seeping through all Islamic countries, it is convenient if America’s anger is deflected on to Iraq and Iran.
Money-Grubbing Games To place the stiffing of New York in context, you need to realize that when it comes to tax cuts and military spending, the Bush administration's budget is an exercise in unrestrained self-indulgence. There is a lot of stirring rhetoric, warning the nation that this is a time of war, in which everyone must make sacrifices — but this austerity does not extend to the wealthiest few percent of the population, who will not only get the lion's share of the future tax cuts already written into law, but would get most of the additional $600 billion in tax cuts the administration now proposes. (Actually it's about $1 trillion without the accounting tricks, but who's counting?)

Thursday, February 7 Politics | Bush's executive-privilege two-step The problem with this commitment to principle, however, is how ready the Bush White House is to abandon it for political convenience. Press reports have already noted the contrast between the White House's current stance on the Cheney records and the release last summer of transcripts of private conversations between former President Bill Clinton and then Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak. But to date none has detailed the tortured, even comical lengths to which the Bush White House has gone in violating its own stated principles to try to embarrass Clinton. counts on the war without end Even the occasional intervention of reality has no effect. In Afghanistan, the underground complexes turn out to be cramped, primitive caves rather than sumptuous subterranean cities. No matter. All it proves is that the real Al Qaeda headquarters are somewhere else — perhaps Yemen or Somalia.
In George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty-Four, the enemy of the state is personified in Emmanuel Goldstein. Goldstein is the Osama bin Laden figure of the novel, an elusive figure who is never seen, never captured but believed by all patriotic citizens of Oceania (Orwell's fictitious state, an amalgamation of North America and Europe) to be an evil genius bent on their destruction.
Since Goldstein is never captured, Oceania's battle against him must never cease. Sometime it wages war on one country said to be aiding the nefarious Goldstein, sometimes on another. The battleground may change but the war never ends. It cannot. The government's very existence depends upon it.
A Judge's Past Mr. Pickering had a significant effect on his home state's racist past as early as 1959 when he was a student at the University of Mississippi Law School. He felt it was important to bolster Mississippi's anti-miscegenation law. A marriage between a black person and a white person was a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But Mr. Pickering recognized there was a loophole in the law that could allow some interracial couples to fall in love and marry without being arrested and sent off to prison. He wrote an article in The Mississippi Law Journal explaining how the law could be fixed
A Judge's Past Mr. Pickering had a significant effect on his home state's racist past as early as 1959 when he was a student at the University of Mississippi Law School. He felt it was important to bolster Mississippi's anti-miscegenation law. A marriage between a black person and a white person was a felony, punishable by up to 10 years in prison. But Mr. Pickering recognized there was a loophole in the law that could allow some interracial couples to fall in love and marry without being arrested and sent off to prison. He wrote an article in The Mississippi Law Journal explaining how the law could be fixed

Wednesday, February 6

The Bushmen's concern for kids

NOW THAT the Bush administration has taken the tarp off its proposed 2003 budget, I've got one piece of advice for all you children of the future:
Stay in the womb as long as you can.
For starters, it's the only place where you'll command any real attention --
let alone value -- from George W. In addition, compared to the nasty world out here that the Bushmen are determined to construct, even the most negligent mom's inner landscape could look like a lazy day at the beach.
As long as you are surrounded by amniotic fluid -- if you've simply begun to subdivide and consist solely of a dozen cells -- you'll have health insurance. That's a lot more than 40 million Americans (almost 11 million of them actual children) can say.

Tuesday, February 5

Bush's Aggressive Accounting Bush's Aggressive Accounting

Senator Kent Conrad actually got it wrong yesterday when he criticized the Bush administration's new budget for its Enron-like accounting. Last year's budget, the one that included that big tax cut, was the one with a strong touch of Enron about it. This year's budget involves a different, though equally pernicious, kind of aggressive accounting.

Monday, February 4

Sneak Attack Lynn Paltrow, director of a group called National Advocates for Pregnant Women, believes much more than the threat to abortion rights is at stake. She described the Health and Human Services proposal as "cynical," and said it helps divert attention from the administration's failure to support a wide range of initiatives to improve the delivery of health care to women and children.
She added, "This maneuver to create insurance for unborn children both personifies the fetus and accentuates the fact that women themselves are neither full persons under the law, nor valued enough to be funded themselves."
This rules change by Health and Human Services, which does not need Congressional approval, is both devious and dangerous. It exemplifies the administration's right-wing allegiance, and its contempt for the poor.
There are more than 40 million Americans walking around without health insurance. About 11 million are children. If the administration wanted to do something about extending health benefits, it could start with some of them.

Friday, February 1

The Village Voice: Nation: Mondo Washington by James Ridgeway Why would a man who wanted to hire a bodyguard one day kill himself the next? This is the question that rattles conspiracy theorists in the case of Cliff Baxter, the Enron whistleblower whose death by gunshot last week in Sugar Land, Texas, was ruled a suicide. Baxter had been subpoenaed to testify this week on Capitol Hill. Those who doubt the official line think he's another Vince Foster, murdered in cold blood to stop him from spilling the beans on Enron chief Ken Lay and blowing open the whole scam—offshore accounts, political connections, and all.
The Daily Brew The American public remains blissfully unaware the Bush administration's policies concerning Afghanistan and Osama bin Laden just prior to September 11. Few Americans understand the organizational effort to fight Osama bin Laden and his Al Queda network that was put in place under Clinton, and how changes by the incoming Bush administration impacted that effort. At the same time, a series of very serious allegations concerning changes to these policies have been widely reported in Europe. With a few exceptions, the US corporate media has so far provided very little coverage of these reports. Hearings into these events could change that coverage dramatically. - maryland's online community THE RICH ARE different from everybody else. Almost everybody else, upon finding themselves in danger of losing all their money, would get a job. The rich get on television.
That, at least, is what self-styled former rich person Linda Lay did this week in a ludicrously misguided effort to spin herself and her family as hapless victims of the collapse of Enron Corp.
FindLaw's Writ - Dean: GAO v. Cheney Is Big-time Stalling GAO's Historic Lawsuit
The first important thing to understand about the GAO suit is that it is not a political lawsuit. GAO's current Comptroller General, David Walker, is not from the ranks of Bush-Cheney bashers. In fact, he was a member of the Reagan Administration and the first Bush Administration. And when he was appointed in 1998 to his fifteen-year term by President Clinton, it was at the urging of top Republicans. Filing this historic lawsuit will not be pleasant for Walker. News | Let Tyson fight I feel that I should say this again: This is not a defense of Tyson. I'm not a fan of his (though I once was), and it affects me not one bit if he never fights again. He is one of history's great screw-ups. Thanks to a winning ticket in the genetic lottery and, yes, years of his own hard work, he found himself in possession of a tool, his body, that was a license to print money and enjoy the good life. All he had to do was stay in shape, fight two or three times a year for a decade or so and not ruin his life and the lives of those around him with stupidity and poor impulse control. A soft assignment, I don't care how hardscrabble your background is, and he failed spectacularly, repeatedly. He makes Elvis Presley look like a sober, steady overachiever

Thursday, January 31

SECURITY WOES AT SFO / Man walks away after shoes set off warning -- thousands delayed A surveillance tape of the security area failed to show much other than grainy images that were useless in trying to get a description of the man, Wilson said. The airport plans to replace that camera and others with digital equipment to improve the quality, he said.
Upgraded cameras? Looks like most 7-11's have better security than the airports! Can you say FEDERALIZE NOW!!
John Ashcroft's Perilous Nipples / In which the desperately dour attorney general covers up Justice and Law, appropriately Sometimes it's stories as tiny and seemingly insignificant as Attorney General and noted McCarthy sycophant John Ashcroft, a ferociously religious and wildly troubled, apparently sexless, desperately conservative ball of walking disgust with no discernable pulse but that's just an opinion, ordering his very own Justice Department to spend $8,000 to purchase heavy blue drapes to cover the two large, noble, partially naked statues that have adorned the department's Great Hall since the 1930s.

Wednesday, January 30

Rev. Jackson's esteem for Lay is most holey Comment dept.: Now who's the American Taliban? Attorney General John Ashcroft doesn't want to be photographed at press conferences in front of two nude statues in the Justice Department, so he's hiding them behind $8,000 worth of blue drapes.
Why not save money and clothe the statues in some discarded burqas from Afghanistan?
Boston Globe Online / Nation | World / Bush backs Cheney on papers Bush advisers said the refusal to share information with the congressional General Accounting Office was a matter of democratic principle, and an attempt to rebuild a zone of privacy in the Oval Office that has eroded in recent years under constant probing by Congress and independent counsels.
White House press secretary Ari Fleischer even compared the energy panel's deliberation to the writing of the US Constitution, noting that ''the very document that protects our liberties more than anything else, the Constitution, was of course drafted in total secrecy.''
Like the writers of the Constitution? Gag me with a spoon.
GAO to Sue White House for Energy Documents ( It would be the first time in the GAO's 80-year existence that it sued the executive branch. The lawsuit would be filed in the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
GAO officials were calling congressional leaders at the Capitol Wednesday morning to tell them of the decision. An official announcement explaining the GAO's reasoning was expected after noon.
Bush administration takes document suppression to NEW LEVELS.

Tuesday, January 29

January 28, 2002 - Political Contributions Have Absolutely No Impact... And Other Beltway Lies "To destroy this invisible government," wrote Theodore Roosevelt nearly a century ago, "to befoul the unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of the statesmanship of the day."
Roosevelt was the driving force behind the ban on corporate donations that was enacted in 1907 -- a law the current soft-money loophole makes a mockery of. Closing it won't put an end to the "unholy alliance" at the heart of the Enron debacle. But it's a start -- and an important one.

Monday, January 28

The Austin Chronicle Politics: The Hightower Lowdown This is what strikes me as true about the ongoing Enron scandal. The significant thing about Enron's escapades is not what the top executives did that was illegal ... but what they did that is considered to be perfectly legal. The politicians and media have quickly narrowed the focus of their inquiries to legalistic violations of securities law and conflict-of-interest violations between Enron execs and the Bush White House. But this completely ignores -- indeed, hides -- the Big Crime: Allowing a single, avaricious corporation to amass such power in our democracy that it can rig the game to suit itself, then, when its empire begins to collapse, get direct access to the highest officials in the land.
Daily Curio - Food & Water Inc. Higazy’s misfortune was all the result of a radio “marketed for pilots,” lies by hotel employees and/or employees of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and a hefty bit of intimidation by police interrogators that had Higazy so frightened and confused that he started admitting to things that we’re totally fabricated.
According to the FBI, a Millenium Hotel employee reported to them that the suspicious radio was found along with Higazy’s passport and other personal items in the safe of Higazy’s room. But even though it wasn’t the truth, it was Higazy’s word versus an unknown and unnamed accuser and all the crushing weight of a Justice Department whipped up into a vengeful frenzy.
Higazy’s lawyer, Robert S. Dunn, told the New York Times that his client was confronted with “unrelenting pressure” while being held and questioned in solitary confinement for 31 days. It got so bad, in fact, that Higazy eventually told the federal agents questioning him that the radio was his. Worse, his lawyer was not allowed to be with Higazy during the sessions in which he was intimidated and forced to admit to owning a radio he knew nothing about.
Luckily for Higazy the real owner of the radio eventually came forward and the FBI’s case against him crumbled before their eyes. It’s now Higazy’s attorney’s turn to begin asking some tough questions of his own.
The gov't says Johnnie Walker has 'admitted' guilt. Just got to wonder if they got him to 'admit' it the same way as they did this poor schmoe? Books | The spy who wasn't The spy who wasn't
Wen Ho Lee speaks out about his ordeal at the hands of the FBI and a witch-hunting press. To many Arab men today, his story will sound all too familiar.

Friday, January 25

Appeals Court Denies Convict DNA Test in a '90 Rape Case WASHINGTON, Jan. 24 — Overturning a lower court ruling that drew national attention, a federal appeals court in Virginia has refused to allow a man who was convicted 12 years ago of sex crimes to have DNA tests he contends would exonerate him.
In ruling against the man, James Harvey, the three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, held that the defendant had not shown that the prosecutor violated his rights by refusing him access to DNA testing.
Many H.M.O.'s for the Elderly Make Deep Cuts in Drug Aid The nation's largest health insurers, which recruited elderly people to Medicare H.M.O.'s by dangling offers of free prescriptions, are eliminating drug coverage or demanding sharply higher payments for drugs and treatments from some of their sickest members.
The companies say they are losing so much money providing drug coverage that they have to limit what they offer if they are to stay in the Medicare market. But the cutbacks effectively leave the companies providing insurance to their healthy members, while tens of thousands of elderly patients with serious diseases like cancer have no affordable insurance coverage for their basic medical needs.

Monday, January 21 SPECIALS
Anthrax Missing From Army Lab
January 20, 2002
By JACK DOLAN And DAVE ALTIMARI, Courant Staff Writers

Lab specimens of anthrax spores, Ebola virus and other pathogens disappeared from the Army's biological warfare research facility in the early 1990s, during a turbulent period of labor complaints and recriminations among rival scientists there, documents from an internal Army inquiry show.

The 1992 inquiry also found evidence that someone was secretly entering a lab late at night to conduct unauthorized research, apparently involving anthrax. A numerical counter on a piece of lab equipment had been rolled back to hide work done by the mystery researcher, who left the misspelled label "antrax" in the machine's electronic memory, according to the documents obtained by The Courant.
Shoe bomber judge's hubby nabbed in porno raid
by Dave Wedge and J.M. Lawrence
Shoe bomber judge's hubby nabbed in porno raid
by Dave Wedge and J.M. Lawrence

Saturday, January 19, 2002

A high-rolling Hub lawyer whose jurist wife is presiding over the case against accused shoe bomber Richard Reid was among seven men busted for fondling each other in a seedy Rhode Island porno theater this week, police and sources said.
Attorney Alan M. Reisch, a partner at the prestigious Goulston and Storrs law firm, was one of seven men busted in Amazing Express Video in Johnston, R.I., Wednesday night. Reisch, the husband of U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Judith Dein, and the other six men all had their pants down and were engaged in various sex acts when cops burst into the darkened theater. Technology | Capitalist pigs The evidence is rapidly piling up that Enron's executives sold stock when they already knew hard times were coming, that they lied about the financial health of their company to their employees, their shareholders and the analysts responsible for covering them and that they ignored the entreaties of some of their own in-house colleagues who begged them to clean up the mess before it was too late. When a senior staff attorney goes to the extraordinary lengths of secretly hiring outside counsel to determine whether Enron's accounting practices are legal, you know things are pretty rotten.
From: Mark Graffis

How to Explain Enron to Your Children:

Feudalism - You have two cows. Your lord takes some of the milk.

Fascism - You have two cows. The government takes both, hires you to take
care of them, and sells you the milk.

Communism - You have two cows. Your neighbors help take care of them and you
share the milk.

Totalitarianism - You have two cows. The government takes them both and
denies they ever existed and drafts you into the army. Milk is banned.

Capitalism - You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd
multiplies, and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income.

Enron Venture Capitalism - You have two cows. You sell three of them to your
publicly listed company, using letters of credit opened by your
brother-in-law at the bank, then execute a debt/equity swap with an
associated general offer so that you get all four cows back, with a tax
exemption for five cows. The milk rights of the six cows are transferred via
an intermediary to a Cayman Island company secretly owned by the majority
shareholder who sells the rights to all seven cows back to your listed
company. The annual report says the company owns eight cows, with an option
on one more.

Friday, January 18

A System Corrupted A System Corrupted


Clearly, Larry Lindsey shouldn't have described the Enron affair as a "tribute to American capitalism," and Paul O'Neill shouldn't have declared: "Companies come and go. It's part of the genius of capitalism." Both the top White House economist and the Treasury secretary have been excoriated for their callousness. But did they have a point?

Thursday, January 17

If the deregulation zealots had their way, we'd be left with tainted food, unsafe cars, bridges collapsing into rivers, children's pajamas bursting into flames and a host of corporations far more rapacious and unscrupulous than they are now.

Enron manipulated the energy markets and cooked its own books in ways that would not have been possible if its operations had had a reasonable degree of transparency. But Enron operated in what has been widely characterized as a "black hole" that left competitors and others asking such basic questions as how the company made its money.

Friday, January 11 - Confessions of a 10 Percenter It’s strange, really. Having been given the extraordinary gift of a presidency he didn’t win, one would think that he would want to do something extraordinary with the opportunity -- to stretch beyond himself -- to make history. It’s been done before, by presidents with a lot less to account for in terms of how they initially gained office. Lyndon Johnson was the Southerner who led the way on civil rights. Richard Nixon was the cold-warrior who went to China.
Right now it’s looking like Bush will be remembered as the oilman who helped to grease the way for Enron to rip off America.
And I’m supposed to rally around that? - Confessions of a 10 Percenter It’s strange, really. Having been given the extraordinary gift of a presidency he didn’t win, one would think that he would want to do something extraordinary with the opportunity -- to stretch beyond himself -- to make history. It’s been done before, by presidents with a lot less to account for in terms of how they initially gained office. Lyndon Johnson was the Southerner who led the way on civil rights. Richard Nixon was the cold-warrior who went to China.
Right now it’s looking like Bush will be remembered as the oilman who helped to grease the way for Enron to rip off America.
And I’m supposed to rally around that? Your tar and feathers ready? Mine are.

Ari Fleischer, that simpering twit of a White House spokesman, urged Thursday that the Enron debacle not be turned into a partisan witch hunt. OK, Ari, let's make it a bipartisan witch hunt.
But all the news seems so Republican-specific at the moment. You know they're getting edgy at the White House when both President Bush and Fleischer -- within about 30 minutes of each other -- try to blame Enron Chief Executive Officer Ken Lay (the single largest contributor to Bush's political career) on Ann Richards. Whoever wrote that talking point needs to be sent to the correspondence pool. It, at least, was not a good day to try the line.
Let's wade right in on the Justice Department's criminal investigation. That would be the same Justice Department headed by Attorney General John Ashcroft, who it seems was one of many politicians who benefited from the largesse of Lay, other Enron executives and the company's political action committee.

Thursday, January 10

The National Enquirer: Jerry Falwell gay scandal JERRY FALWELL GAY SCANDAL

His university is buzzing as young pastor resigns

A homosexual scandal is rocking Rev. Jerry Falwell's archconservative Liberty University, where rumors are rampant that male students engaged in gay sex with a campus pastor.
GOP, Enron in Bed But Press Snoozes GOP, Enron in Bed But Press Snoozes
by Dave Zweifel

A few journalists - admittedly, very few - are asking why their colleagues are giving George W. Bush a "free ride" on the Enron Corp. scandal.
If this were Bill Clinton, after all, there would be front-page stories, nasty editorials, ranting columnists and a congressional investigation or two. There'd even be a couple of "outraged" congressmen suggesting impeachment's not far off.
The New York Observer Is George W. Bush God’s President?
by Joe Conason

Do tax cuts for the wealthy represent the will of God?
Excellent analysis.

Tuesday, January 8

The Quiet Man But now, thanks to the disappearance of the budget surplus, the excess revenue collected by the payroll tax isn't being used to acquire assets, or even to pay down the federal debt; it's being used to cover deficits elsewhere in the budget. We're not talking small numbers here; only about 70 cents of each dollar in Social Security revenue is used to pay current benefits. In effect, the other 30 cents has now been expropriated for other uses — mainly tax cuts for the richest few percent of the population.
Was this what Mr. Greenspan intended — to raise taxes on the poor and the middle class, so that they could be cut for the rich? If not, why doesn't he say something? After all, a word from him could alter the landscape of economic debate, just as it did a year ago.
Let’s turn to another apparently inexorable tendency -- the destruction of the environment that sustains human life. The Bush Administration has been widely criticised for undermining the Kyoto Treaty. The grounds that they presented are that to conform to the Treaty would harm the U.S. economy. Those criticisms are rather surprising because the decisions are entirely rational within the framework of existing ideology. We’re instructed daily to be firm believers in neo-classical markets in which isolated individuals are rational wealth maximisers. The market responds perfectly to their votes, which are expressed in currency inputs. The value of a person’s interests is measured the same way. In particular, the interests of those with no votes, no dollars, those interests are valued at zero. Future generations, for example, who don’t have dollar inputs in the market.
So it’s therefore entirely rational to destroy the possibility for decent survival for our grandchildren, if by doing so we can maximise the particular form of self-interest that’s hailed as the highest value, reinforced by vast industries that are devoted to implanting and reinforcing them. The threats to survival are currently being enhanced by dedicated efforts to weaken the institutional structures that have been developed to mitigate the harsh consequences of market fundamentalism and, even more important, to undermine the culture of sympathy and solidarity that sustains these institutions. Well, that’s another prescription

Monday, January 7

Hurray For The Redneck, White And Blue In 1996 -- on Sept. 9, to be precise -- Clinton asked Congress for $1 billion to improve airport security, to improve security at our nation's infectious-disease laboratories and to require that chemical markers be put in explosives to make them easier to trace, plus a host of other provisions designed to make air travel safer and to discourage terrorist attacks.
"We know we can't make the world risk-free," Clinton said at the time, "but we can reduce the risks we face, and we have to take the fight to the terrorist."
Congress scuttled most of Clinton's recommendations, partly because of pressure from the National Rifle Association.
Commentary, January 4, 2002 — Andrew Opines, Over-Enthusiasm for Evidence, The Surds Are Coming! The Surds Are Coming!, Entrance to Hell Discovered, and Feynman on Cargo Cult Science........ Going to Fox-TV at the same time, I found two astrologers I’d never heard of, and our own Sylvia Browne (who just cracked 123 days in her stonewalling of our agreement; way to go, Sylvia!) enthusiastically discussing predictions that really matter, the latest who’ll-marry-whom aspects of Glittertown politics, especially Tom Cruise’s amorous adventures, and a wide-eyed host oohed and aaahed appropriately as these weighty matters were revealed to us with the usual accuracy and details. What disdain and contempt Fox-TV must have for their viewers! Browne essentially said nothing, but sat there with her trademark pained expression and mouthed some generalities. Yawn.
And that's before you even get to the Faux News Department. Go Geraldo!!

Friday, January 4

Bin Laden in Utah? That's what federal agents are being told Bin Laden in Utah? That's what federal agents are being told

Scripps Howard News Service

Published Jan 3 2002
SALT LAKE CITY _ Scores of Utahns apparently believe that Osama bin Laden is hiding out in the Beehive State -- perhaps drawn there by his proclivity toward plural marriage or his penchant for desert climes.
Federal agents in Salt Lake City say they've fielded dozens of reports that the accused terrorist mastermind has been spotted on the freeway, in the mall or eating a Big Mac and fries at McDonald's.
``We've had a bunch of bin Laden sightings,'' said Special Agent Kevin Eaton.
Call off the Olympics before it's too late!!!
Profile of a Killer Washington has been pressing Russia, Pakistan and other countries, quite rightly, to improve their control of germs, chemicals and nuclear weapons. But one of the lessons of the anthrax investigation is that the first thing we need to do to feel safer is put our own house in order. It is appalling that we cannot even determine which labs have exchanged anthrax with Fort Detrick.
Terrorism and laxity, it seems, afflict not only foreigners with different complexions and religions, but --in exceptional cases -- perhaps also those with white lab coats and military haircuts.

Thursday, January 3

New Deficits to Force Boost of Debt Ceiling WASHINGTON -- Only four years after celebrating the end of chronic deficit spending, Congress soon will be forced once again to raise the federal debt ceiling so that the government can keep operating.

Treasury Secretary Paul H. O'Neill has notified Congress that the current $5.95-trillion debt ceiling could be breached as early as February. He asked lawmakers to move quickly to raise the limit to $6.7 trillion.
The ENRONIZATION of the American Economy.

"Sure, it's a big deal. Instead of having latitude to do lots of things, we're back to the old business of trying to balance our wishes and our resources," said economist Susan Hering of UBS Warburg, a New York securities firm. "I'm sure it will loom large in the elections."
Executive Privilege Again Is the White House counsel explaining to the president the scope of the powers being asserted in his ill-advised orders? "Executive privilege" was restricted by the Supreme Court in the Nixon case and further circumscribed by the courts in Clinton's frantic attempts to place himself above the law. Why is Bush, so early in his term and with little to hide, going down this road to upset our system of checks and balances?

Wednesday, January 2

Chicago Tribune | Classified! Classified!
George W. uses 9/11 as a pretext to reverse the will of Congress and wall off presidential records

By Stanley I. Kutler
Special to the Tribune
Published January 2, 2002

The Bush Administration has consistently shown itself partial to official secrecy -- especially since Sept. 11. Some actions might be justified on emergency grounds. But not all.

In some cases, President Bush clearly has acted in behalf of other matters on his agenda, using the needs of the present situation as an excuse.

On Nov. 1, he issued Executive Order 13233 that effectively undermines the Presidential Records Act of 1978, and he did so in the name of "national security."
Enron Is a Cancer on the Presidency After all, not only was Kenny Boy one of Bush's major contributors, but it was Lay and Enron that Bush turned to for critical advice on how to further exploit U.S. natural resources. The media, which had hounded Bill Clinton on his Whitewater connections, have allowed Bush to maintain the fiction that his--and his father's--administration had nothing to do with the debacle that is Enron.

Given the intense interest in the list of those who slept over in the Clinton White House, it's odd that no attention has been paid to Kenny Boy's sleepover in the early years of the senior Bush's White House.