June 23rd, 2005
|09:26 am - bad news for homeowners|
You think you own that home? You think your home is your inviolable castle?
The Supreme Court says, "Think again"
Supreme Court Rules Cities May Seize Homes
by HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer
A divided Supreme Court ruled Thursday that local governments may seize people's homes and businesses against their will for private development in a decision anxiously awaited in communities where economic growth often is at war with individual property rights.
The 5-4 ruling — assailed by dissenting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor as handing "disproportionate influence and power" to the well-heeled in America — was a defeat for Connecticut residents whose homes are slated for destruction to make room for an office complex. They had argued that cities have no right to take their land except for projects with a clear public use, such as roads or schools, or to revitalize blighted areas.
As a result, cities now have wide power to bulldoze residences for projects such as shopping malls and hotel complexes in order to generate tax revenue.
( Read more...Collapse )
On the Net:
Also see the Reuters story titled:
Property can be taken for development-Supreme Court
The ruling in Kelo v. New London is available at:
Current Mood: angry
June 22nd, 2005
|10:36 am - Headlines for today|
A little amusement, then news:
50 Coolest Websites 2005
Time's annual survey of top sites to inform, amuse and delight
White House Rejects Probe of Guantanamo
WASHINGTON - (AP) The White House on Tuesday rejected the proposed creation of an independent commission to investigate abuses of detainees held at the U.S. military prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.
Judgment Day looms for US Supreme Court on Ten Commandments cases
WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US political, religious and legal establishments are braced for two critical Supreme Court rulings on the Ten Commandments, weighing heavily on the separation of church and state
'Solar-sail' spacecraft lost after launch: Russian authorities
Story from Voice of America
Story from ITV
Story from the AP as seen in the StarTribune.com
Story from AFP
MOSCOW (AFP) -The Russian navy's Northern Fleet announced the loss of the world's first solar-sail-powered spacecraft, Cosmos 1, after it was launched on a converted intercontinental ballistic missile from a Russian submarine.
Monsoon is tardy, heat kills hundreds
Another story from the AFP
Another story from the Cambodian Times
Four men collapsed and died at a train station in Kanpur on Tuesday in a heat wave that has killed more than 200 people across India. About half of India's heat wave deaths this year have been reported in the eastern state of Orissa, where temperatures in the Angul district touched 50°C [over 120 degrees Fahrenheit), state officials said. The affected area is about 170 km west of the state capital Bhubaneswar.
June 20th, 2005
|09:11 pm - shuffle dance, and a one, and a two.|
Is it just me or is Condi implying the US has abandoned its long-standing (and apparently failed) program of diplomacy with sovereign nations in favor of a foreign policy that fights fire with fire to gain US objectives?
"For 60 years my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course," [Condoleezza Rice] said. Can she possibly be posturing that it's okay if the US invades sovereign nations that do not have US-style democracy, as long as we have them hold "free and fair" elections?
I'd really like to see transparent, free and fair elections here first. *scoffs*
June 19th, 2005
|11:27 am - Bush says US is in Iraq because of attacks on US|
Sat Jun 18, 1:15 PM ET; WASHINGTON (AFP)
President George W. Bush defended the war in Iraq, telling Americans the United States was forced into war because of the September 11 terror strikes. Bush also resisted calls for him to set a timetable for the return of thousands of US troops deployed in Iraq, saying Iraqis must be able to defend their own country before US soldiers can be pulled out.
"We went to war because we were attacked, and we are at war today because there are still people out there who want to harm our country and hurt our citizens," Bush said Saturday in his weekly radio address.
Bush began a public relations offensive to defend the war as his approval rating has dropped well below 50 percent with Americans expressing skepticism about the invasion.
....I have to admit the President's logic confuses me....
....Read the whole story....
|11:19 am - I wonder if a granny could be any worse than that idjit Perry?|
Texas has had its share of idiot Governors in the past decade or so... now comes a challenger.
Texas Comptroller Will Run for Governor (story link)Yepper buddy, we'll jest have ta wait 'n see with this bad boy gramma, won't we?
Carole Keeton Strayhorn, the fast-talking state comptroller who makes sport of chastising Republican Gov. Rick Perry, said Saturday she would challenge the governor in next year's GOP primary.
"Now is time to replace a do-nothin' drugstore cowboy with one tough grandma," Strayhorn, 65, told a cheering crowd.
|09:13 am - for the tiniest of spills for the biggest of geeks!|
ooh, nanobrushes for very very small messes!
If you've got a very, very small mess that needs tidying up, then researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, N.Y., and the University of Hawaii, Manoa, in Honolulu, have the perfect tool for you. ( Pulickel M. Ajayan, Anyuan Cao, and coworkers have made microscale brushes featuring carbon nanotube bristlesCollapse )
June 18th, 2005
|03:08 pm - This 'n that headlines|
Some headlines for your reading pleasure:
Even though Sweden is postponing the EU ratification vote, and even though the euro and cohesive EU budget is taking a hit, France pits itself against Britain, and Germany has unkind words for the Brits and Dutch both... not missing a beat, EU leaders say bitter things to one another, even though the public position of the EU is still commitment to enlarging the Union.
Meanwhile, the US seeks to 'privitize' (or should that be 'punish'?) the UN with this bill passing the House - and Bush seeks to increase his approval rating (which has slipped to less than 45%) with new and rejuvenated military action in Iraq, amid derisive comments made by Al-Qaida's #2. Bush's pretty boy Wolfowitz seeks to soften his image, meeting with Mandela and playing with Soweto children.
A sure bet the US is not closing Guantanamo: Halliburton unit gets $30 million prison contract A subsidiary of Houston-based Halliburton has been awarded $30 million to build an improved 220-bed prison for terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the Pentagon announced.
While no one is looking, China takes the opportunity to beef up defenses in Nepal.
Back in the US, MasterCard International was hacked, following the fiasco by Citigroup's transit system where UPS lost sensitive data for 3.9 million customers of CitiFinancial.
In other news, Google Inc. is preparing to introduce an electronic payment system later this year in a move that would pose a financial threat to one of its biggest advertisers, Internet auctioneer eBay Inc. Watch for sparks in the job market locally.
Interesting food fer thought, but certainly not required reading, is this story.... excerpted:
Most of Europe has had ID cards since the Nazi and Soviet occupations introduced them as a means of population control. In Britain the wartime system of carrying ID cards was brought crashing down when a single citizen refused to carry the card. Clarence Willcock won a High Court case in 1951 when the judge ruled ID cards an annoyance which "tended to turn law abiding subjects into law breakers".
Despite the continuance of ID cards in the rest of Europe, the threat of terrorism there has clearly been no less of an issue than in the UK. Terrorists have operated in Germany and Spain where both countries have ID cards. Even in the USA, the September 11th hijackers all had valid papers. Under severe criticism, David Blunkett, who initially proposed ID cards while he was Home Secretary, finally had to admit that ID cards would ever only play a marginal role in counter-terrorism.
This has been your headline update.
June 17th, 2005
|12:29 pm - Marburg Update and other African eekities|
From the World Health Organization:
Marburg haemorrhagic fever in Angola
Update 22, 17 June 2005
As of 16 June, the Ministry of Health in Angola has reported a total of 422 cases and 356 deaths in Uige Province.
Twenty-one contacts are being followed in Uige municipality and 111 in other municipalities. Alerts to potential cases in difficult to reach locations outside of Uige municipality have been received and plans are underway for the team to travel by helicopter to investigate these cases.
Plus, apparently Africa is experiencing a plague of locusts. Eek.
|10:54 am - A break in Republican platform ranks?|
White House rejects withholding U.S. dues from U.N.
Thu Jun 16, 2005 2:16 PM ET; By Arshad Mohammed
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Bush administration rejected a Republican plan to withhold U.S. dues from the United Nations but stopped short of threatening to veto the bill which the House of Representatives may take up on Thursday.
( ...the administration opposed part of a bill sponsored by House International Relations Committee chairman Rep. Henry Hyde to withhold half of U.S. dues to the U.N. if reforms are not enactedCollapse )
June 13th, 2005
June 12th, 2005
|06:11 pm - Lordy, yet another reason I've expatted myself. Can't they see any difference between the things?|
Texas Governor Mobilizes Evangelicals
By MATT CURRY, Associated Press Writer - 06/12/05
Even for Texas, the scene was remarkable: The governor, [Rick Perry], flanked by an out-of-state televangelist and religious right leaders, signing legislation in a church school gymnasium amid shouts of "amen" from backers who just as well could have been attending a revival.
( It wasn't just the blatant blend of church and state that made the gathering in Fort Worth unusual. ''One of the great myths of our time is that you can't legislate morality,'' the governor told the ministers, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press by his campaignCollapse )
Better yet, read the Dallas Voice article titled: Governor Angers Gays.
The article leads with the following:
Texas Governor Rick Perry, at a bill-signing ceremony Sunday at an evangelical school, suggested that gays and lesbians who don’t approve of a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marrages and civil unions should move to “a state that has more lenient views than Texas.” The article includes outrage from several ministers, many locals, and some statements by various particpants and administration-types.
May 29th, 2005
|07:22 pm - Obligatory Marburg update|
According to the World Health Organization (and Angola's Ministry of Health disinformation, if you've noticed all the 'oops, we shouldn't have included that one in the count'):
As of 26 May, the Ministry of Health in Angola has reported 399 cases of Marburg haemorrhagic fever. Of these cases, 335 were fatal. Just FYI: There's only been one known survivor of this epidemic, all the others are just queued up for the coroner and gravediggers.
And to make matters worse, Ebola has reared its ugly head again:
Ebola haemorrhagic fever in the Republic of the Congo (update - 25 May 2005)And this isn't getting more attention why?!
As of 24 May, a total of 12 cases (1 laboratory-confirmed and 11 epidemiologically linked) including 9 deaths has been reported in Etoumbi and Mbomo in Cuvette Ouest Region. The additional case (see previous report) is a contact from Etoumbi. Seventy-one contacts are being monitored in Etoumbi (62) and Mbomo (9). The Ministry of Health and the WHO Regional Office for Africa are continuing to follow contacts and raise awareness about the disease among the population in the affected districts.
We have to be doing something that's ticking Ma Nature off.
See the World Health Organization or Recombinomics Online for more gory details.
|10:28 am - Old news I somehow missed (2003)|
Airstrike! The Pentagon simplifies media relations
By John Lettice (john.lettice at theregister.co.uk); Published Thursday 20th March 2003 16:46 GMT
Should war in the Gulf commence, the Pentagon proposes to take radical new steps in media relations - 'unauthorised' journalists will be shot at.
Speaking on The Sunday Show on Ireland's RTE1 last Sunday veteran war reporter Kate Adie said she had been warned by a senior Pentagon official that uplinks, i.e. TV broadcasts or satellite phones, that are detected by US aircraft are likely to be fired on.
Bush pere's Iraq war featured tight control of the media, but the current administration intends to go rather further. According to Adie (who, overseas readers should be aware, is effectively a saint in the UK), the Pentagon is vetting journalists who propose to cover the war, and is taking control of their comms equipment. ( Read more...Collapse )
please see this site for t-shirts inspiring the current icon
May 21st, 2005
|02:43 pm - Posted in the wrong dang journal, reposted in the correct one.|
U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from a speech at the US Embassy in Baghdad on 5/16/05 (Iraq time)
"Now, this is a tough environment sometimes, maybe all of the time, but I want you to stay focused on what it is that we are doing here. You see, this war came to us, not the other way around.
The United States of America, when it was attacked on September 11, realized that we lived in a world in which we cannot let threats gather, and that we lived in a world in which we had to have a different kind of Middle East if we were ever to have a permanent peace. It just could not continue to be a Middle East in which dictators like Saddam Hussein paraded around, lived in great palaces, and yet tortured, and oppressed, and just made mincemeat of this wonderful infrastructure here in Iraq. We just couldn't let that stand, a man who had been a danger to this region for his entire reign."
First: I thought we attacked them for (basically) not letting inspectors in (that's a long way from them starting a war against us)
Secondly: If Saddam has been such a danger to the whole region for his entire reign, then why was the US supporting him back in the eighties? Maybe your memory is as short as mine, Condi.
And lastly: Saddam Hussein made mincemeat of the Iraqi infrastructure? Pardon me for pointing out that US bombs did one heckuva lotta damage that Saddam's 'parading around' never could have. You need better verbal graphic spinmeisters, Ms Rice.
(and please, don't tell me that Iraq 'deserved it' because they funded the 9/11 bombers. I wouldn't be surprised to find out Unca George cooked this up with the CIA and framed Iraq in order to preserve the military industrial complex - especially not after all the diplomatic and military directive sloppiness that's come to light lately)
Read Condi's remarks in their entirety here
May 20th, 2005
|11:23 pm - Just a Marburg update|
Because I have been negligent in reporting recently on the Marburg Ebola-ish epidemic sweeping Angola, here's your update.
"The May 18 update from the Angola Ministry of health includes 3 new Marburg cases and 2 news deaths recorded on May 17, raising the total number of cases to 345 and the total deaths to 319."
Now, the thing that really upsets me about this epidemic and the oddly fluctuating numbers from the WHO is that hemorrhagic fever has very definite symptoms in death - like 'bleeding out'. Not many other things that aren't a filovirus level four or greater biohazard present that sort of death stamp.
(see details on Marburg symptoms and history here)
Cases which should have been vetted without question are being 'administratively removed' from the WHO's roles daily due to poor collection, transportation, and timely testing methods.
It's been suggested in multiple arenas that the number of dead and infected are much greater than the officially reported numbers. Residents of Uige stopped going to the hospital well over six weeks ago when they noticed that no one that went in came out alive. Since then, only one or two survivors have been vetted by the WHO.
I take great exception with the handling of this epidemic and with the accuracy of reporting.
See Recombinomics Online or the World Health Organization's website for further details.
Although I think the WHO is doctoring their reports. *miff*
Current Mood: cynical
|10:53 pm - EU sanctions loom over US failure to comply with Kyoto|
Europe threatens U.S. on Kyoto (link)
BRUSSELS, May 13 (UPI) -- The European Parliament has called for trade sanctions against the United States and other countries emitting high levels of carbon dioxide.
The Parliament voted Thursday in a non-binding resolution to try to stop the United States from "profiting from its license to pollute." They seek to compensate for any competitive advantage enjoyed by countries that do not control carbon emissions.
( Read more...Collapse )
Or try this story:
EU, Canada go for sanctions against US (link)
Amiti Sen; Financial Express India; Posted online: Monday, May 09, 2005 at 0224 hours IST
New Delhi, May 8 The EU and Canada have decided to impose sanctions against goods imported from the US in retaliation against the country’s refusal to modify the Byrd Amendment as directed by the World Trade Organisation’s dispute settlement body.
Eleven countries, including India, had complained to WTO against the US’ continued dumping and subsidy offset Act 2000 which directs the US government to distribute the collected anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties to US companies that brought the cases.
For the first year, the EU has decided to impose an ad valorem additional duty of 15% on certain identified products originating in the US. The duties suspended by Canada are lower at $11.16 million.
|08:49 pm - Just something to think upon....|
"In the U.S. the populace became accustomed to existing in a perpetual state of war. The establishment of the Truman Doctrine by men like Paul Nitze created the foundations for an enduring reality: Americans are most easily governed when they are made to fear the strangers 'over there' across the horizon."
-- William Rivers Pitt;
from the article American Imperial Paranoia, The Third Stage of American Empire (1)
posted Monday 18 April 2005 at http://www.irib.ir/worldservice/englishRADIO/SOCIAL/scient-jou.htm
...and really, when you think about it, the US has been at war of one type or another ever since WWII. The Cold War, Korea, Vietnam, skirmishes in the Middle East, Latin America, and elsewhere - much like little bunny foofoo hopping through the forest, snatching up the weak countries and bopping them on the head.
wait, there's more still - other diversions like the war on drugs, and now the war on terror... never-ending battles, they - but yet we manage to turn a deaf ear on those countries in need (Rwanda, Bosnia?) that do not possess the proper (or sufficient) natural resources or geo-political position to interest our national gluttony or current pre-emptive defense strategy.
|08:39 pm - So speaketh the Prophet|
Excerpt from the:
U.S. State Department Policy Planning Study #23; 1948
"Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships which will permit us to maintain this position of disparity [U.S. military-economic supremacy]... To do so, we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and day-dreaming... We should cease to talk about vague and...unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better."
— George Kennan; Director of Policy Planning: U.S. State Department
Current Mood: tired
May 18th, 2005
|05:57 am - uh... yeah.|
I suppose it is all just a matter of perspective, and proper explanation.
May 14th, 2005
|08:59 am - If you are politi-interested...|
...then you gotta check out this site: Untangling the Web of Cold War Studies
The site contains a comprehensive set of Gov't and NGO links to local and international repositories of data and policy dating from 1945.
|08:10 am - US spying and espionage continues (charges Russia) even after the cold war has ended|
US denies involvement in "velvet revolution" in Belarus
08:36, May 14, 2005; Xinhua
The United States on Friday rejected Russia's charges that US Peace Corps was involved in plans to stage a "velvet revolution" in Belarus.
"We saw a lot of charges yesterday from the Federal Security Service chief, Mr. Patrushev. And I have to say that they're completely false. Most of them are ridiculous," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said at a news briefing.
( Read more...Collapse )
Russia's security chief said Thursday that foreign intelligence services were plotting a so-called "velvet revolution" in Belarus to topple the government by financing the opposition through non-governmental organizations ( NGO).
The International Republican Institute, a non-profit US organization which played a key role in Ukraine's "orange revolution" last year, met officials of the Commonwealth of Independent States last April in Bratislava and "earmarked a budget of 5 million US dollars to finance the Belarus opposition in 2005," Federal Security Service head Nikolai Patrushev told the State Duma, lower house of parliament Thursday.
|08:05 am - EU calls for sanctions against the US|
Europe threatens U.S. on Kyoto
Friday 13th May, 2005 (UPI)
The European Parliament has called for trade sanctions against the United States and other countries emitting high levels of carbon dioxide. The Parliament voted Thursday in a non-binding resolution to try to stop the United States from profiting from its license to pollute. They seek to compensate for any competitive advantage enjoyed by countries that do not control carbon emissions.
( The EU believes ''it will be very difficult to engage countries such as China and India to take measures to curb emissions, as long as the United States -- the highest CO2 emitting state in the world -- rejects the Kyoto protocol''Collapse )
|08:01 am - Passports and biometrics, the precursor to the US National Identity Card|
U.S. Will Enforce Machine-Readable Passport Requirement June 26
12 May 2005; International Information Program - U.S. Department of Homeland Security
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has announced that effective June 26 all Visa Waiver Program travelers will have to present a machine-readable passport (MRP) for visa-free entry into the United States, but it says the requirement will affect only about 0.35 percent of travelers currently entering the United States under the program.
The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) enables citizens of 27 countries to visit the United States for tourism or trade for up to 90 days without obtaining visas.
( DHS said the machine-readable passport requirements do not affect the separate congressionally mandated deadline requiring VWP country passports issued on or after October 26, 2005, to contain biometrics in order to be used for visa-free travel to the United StatesCollapse )
FAQ and original DHS press release here
Also: “Congressional Panel Chair Urges Biometric Passport Deadline Be Met”
May 7th, 2005
|02:07 pm - This just in|
Well not really "just" in, but you should look it over.
REAL ID Act of 2005 - as approved by the House and sent to the Senate.
GW has promised to sign.
(click on "Text of Legislation" - then on "[H.R.418.EH]")
It's not just a national ID card. Be sure to read section 300, too.
Current Mood: dazed
May 4th, 2005
|02:55 pm - WTF?!?!?|
Judge Throws Out England's Guilty Plea
By T.A. BADGER, Associated Press Writer; Wednesday, May 4, 2005
(05-04) 14:52 PDT FORT HOOD, Texas (AP)
A military judge Wednesday threw out Pfc. Lynndie England's guilty plea to abusing Iraqi detainees at Abu Ghraib prison, saying he was not convinced the Army reservist who appeared in some of the most notorious photos in the scandal knew her actions were wrong at the time.
Read the story
Current Mood: mind-blown
Current Music: % it was all a misunderstanding! %
May 1st, 2005
|10:54 am - An article|
Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy
By Lewis H. Lapham; The Penguin Press, 2004; 178 pages, US$19.95 (hb)
The gagging of dissent
REVIEW BY PHIL SHANNON
When the US went to war against Iraq, a majority of people in the US opposed the invasion but their voices, writes Lewis Lapham, “couldn’t make it past the security guards at the White House or CNN” and were muted to faint echoes “in literary journals of modest circulation, in the letters to the editors of the Washington Post or the New York Times, among a scattering of guests on National Public Radio, in the farther reaches of the Internet”.
Read the article
April 28th, 2005
|09:00 am - Wait! I'm not done polishing that report!|
pointer stolen from askesis
Bush administration eliminating 19-year-old international terrorism report
By Jonathan S. Landay; April 15, 2005
WASHINGTON - The State Department decided to stop publishing an annual report on international terrorism after the government's top terrorism center concluded that there were more terrorist attacks in 2004 than in any year since 1985, the first year the publication covered.
Several U.S. officials defended the abrupt decision, saying the methodology the National Counterterrorism Center used to generate statistics for the report may have been faulty, such as the inclusion of incidents that may not have been terrorism.
Last year, the number of incidents in 2003 was undercounted, forcing a revision of the report, "Patterns of Global Terrorism." But other current and former officials charged that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's office ordered "Patterns of Global Terrorism" eliminated several weeks ago because the 2004 statistics raised disturbing questions about the Bush's administration's frequent claims of progress in the war against terrorism.
The officials said they interpreted Rice's action as an attempt to avoid releasing statistics that would contradict the administration's claims that it's winning the war against terrorism.
Congressman Seeks Probe on U.S. Terrorism Statistics Reuters Thu Apr 21, 2005 01:40 PM ET
"There appears to be a pattern in the administration's approach to terrorism data: favorable facts are revealed while unfavorable facts are suppressed," [US Rep Henry] Waxman [CA] wrote.
-or google the latest headlines
April 23rd, 2005
|01:29 pm - The politi-purity test|
Apparently I am a "soft-core libertarian"
They say with a little effort, I might harden and become pure... o.O
Take the Libertarian Purity Test yourself.
Better yet, take the world's shortest politi-quiz.
They even give you a map to show you where you fit in. Ha.
BTW, yes I am sorta liberalish.
Current Mood: amused
April 21st, 2005
|10:57 am - Please respond and link where appropriate?|
Anonymous posting has been enabled for this post
I am seeking feedback to broaden my horizons on current political thinking and citizen judgments on the same.... So, if you have a position, would you answer two political position questions?
- What role do you feel America currently plays in the world?
- What role should America play in the world?
Clarification: I'm asking for both gut-level *and* realistic level perceptions regarding perceptions of what America's goals and end game is/are currently - fer instance:
- do you feel America is building a type of empire
(and if so, what kind? if not, why not? What *are* they doing?),
- Is America working steadfastly (with earnestness) through the world's diplomatic structure (whether with or without a sense of altruism or goal of national improvement)
- Or is it something else altogether?
I am really curious about this subject and would very much like to get feedback from the widest possible range of folks about these questions. I know I am very idealistic, and am desperately in need of some horizon on this topic.
Please feel free to repost with comment link directed here, please?