Saturday, July 30, 2005
Now that it's illegal for the US to develop or possess biological or chemical weapons for offensive purposes, the Corps' mission is all about defense (except for smoke and flame weapons, which still can be developed and used). But the documents we'll be posting here are from the days when the US had an openly admitted, offensive chem/bioweapons program.
Drinks companies have been ordered to hire paunchy, balding men for advertisements to meet new rules forbidding any link between women’s drinking and sex. Watchdogs have issued a list of undesirable male characteristics that advertisers must abide by in order to comply with tougher rules designed to separate alcohol from sexual success.
Lambrini, the popular sparkling drink, is the first to suffer. Its manufacturers have complained after watchdogs rejected its latest campaign because it depicted women flirting with a man who was deemed too attractive.
Unfortunately, Sanders is not peddling easy fixes. What he has to teach is not a new scheme for organizing a campaign or raising money. There's no Bernie Sanders gimmick. Rather, Sanders offers confirmation of a fundamental reality that too many progressive pols have forgotten: An ideologically muscular message delivered in a manner that crosses lines of class, region and partisanship is still the best strategy. "Bernie earned people's trust over a long period of time by taking strong stands and sticking to them," says Peter Freyne, a columnist for Burlington's weekly newspaper, Seven Days. "There's a connection between what the politician says and what the politician does. And it's always there. The consistency of where he's coming from and who he's looking out for has been there since I started covering him in 1981."
There is nothing cautious about Sanders's politics: He opposes the war in Iraq, he is an outspoken critic of the Patriot Act, he condemns corporations and he maintains a lonely faith that government really can do a lot of things--like guarantee healthcare for all--better than the private sector. Nor is there anything smooth or prepackaged or focus-group tested about the way he communicates.
''The U.S.-led Coalition that instigated the war claims to have acted on behalf of the Iraqi people,'' The Lancet added. ''At the very least, Iraq's beleaguered citizens deserve to be told the true price--in numbers of lost human lives--they have paid for a conflict undertaken in their names.''
The journal cited the work of Iraq Body Count (IBC), a British-U.S. non-profit group that last week reported that 24,865 civilians had died in the two years since the war in Iraq began in March 2003. The IBC database, from which data for the dossier were drawn, lists only those deaths reported by two or more news agencies, The Lancet said.
The dramatic fall in the diversity of fish is blamed on overfishing rather than pollution or climate change, the scientists behind the study said yesterday.
The study, which examined fishing logbooks dating back to the 1950s, also found that the size of ocean "hot spots", which were traditionally rich in a diverse array of fish species, had shrunk significantly over the same period.
After every major terrorist incident, the excuse makers come out to tell us why imperialism, Zionism, colonialism or Iraq explains why the terrorists acted. These excuse makers are just one notch less despicable than the terrorists and also deserve to be exposed. When you live in an open society like London, where anyone with a grievance can publish an article, run for office or start a political movement, the notion that blowing up a busload of innocent civilians in response to Iraq is somehow "understandable" is outrageous. "It erases the distinction between legitimate dissent and terrorism," Mr. Rubin said, "and an open society needs to maintain a clear wall between them."
The "despicable" idea that there may be a connection between acts of terrorism and particular policies by Western countries is one that is widely held by the citizens of those countries. Asked by the CNN/Gallup poll on July 7, "Do you think the terrorists attacked London today mostly because Great Britain supports the United States in the war in Iraq?" 56 percent of Americans agreed. In a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll (7/7-10/05), 54 percent said "the war with Iraq has made the U.S....less safe from terrorism." Since they see a connection between Iraq and terrorism, a majority of Americans are what Friedman calls "excuse makers" who "deserve to be exposed."
As I wrote earlier this morning, Roll Call's Lauren Whittington wrote a story about the GOP's negative ad campaign against Sen. Byrd.
What's particularly egregious about the Roll Call piece is that her Republican source demanded Whittington not talk to any other sources and she agreed, a gross violation of standard journalistic practices. Furthermore, Whittington failed to disclose that arrangement in the story, which ended up being a one-sided affair at the insistence of the Republicans. Whittington essentially wrote a GOP press release for them in a journalistic publication.
On April 5, 2005, the NY Times made the same mistake. They had to apologize for it.
I have heard Iraqis make comparisons between their occupation and the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but it wasn't until I saw families walking through the kilometer-long checkpoint, from a parking lot outside Falluja to one on the other side, that it seemed apt. Once inside, seeing the life continuing amidst the rubble, it was harder still to ignore the physical similarities.
...Back at the hospital, Ahmed says he expects the fighting to continue. "Even civilian people will change to be fighters," he says. "We regard Falluja as a large prison." (People in Falluja will not talk directly about fighting, though all indications are that the new attacks are homegrown.)
The Iraqi army in Falluja, who don't mind telling a journalist that they are all from cities in the south, don't seem particularly thrilled to be here. (When the US tried recruiting Fallujis to fight in Falluja, they turned their guns on the US or turned them over to the guerillas.)
...I approach some of the Marines on a base inside the city, to try and find out what life is like for them. They say there is no one at the base who can speak on the record, but I pause for a minute and chat, not terribly excited about walking back outside into the thick dust and, potentially, a line of fire. They ask why I have come, I am the first journalist they have seen in four months.
"No one wants to talk about Falluja," says one of the Marines.
I filed this story for Wired News about an announcement from Hollywood's six major studios that they have agreed on technical specs for digital distribution and display of movies. Digital Cinema Initiatives, the group founded in 2002 to bring studios, theater owners and tech manufacturers together in planning an industrywide shift to digital cinema, released version 1.0 of its requirements and specifications yesterday.
Here's the doc -- PDF Link. out of all 175 pages, nearly half are devoted to antipiracy measures.
From the Wired article:
Representatives of Hollywood's top movie studios say they have agreed on technical specifications that will make it easier to distribute and display movies digitally.
Digital Cinema Initiatives, the industry consortium created in 2002 to unite studios, theater owners and tech manufacturers in planning the shift to digital, released version 1.0 of its requirements and specifications for digital cinema Wednesday.
...Studios spent more than $631 million in 2003 on film prints for the North American market alone, according to the Motion Picture Association of America. Subtracting reels from that equation could reduce total distribution costs by as much as 90 percent, according to U.K. digital cinema analyst Patrick von Sychowski. Add in costs for overseas distribution and exhibition, and the move from prints to digital files could mean an eventual annual savings of up to $900 million.
It's the first time the agency has ended the use of an animal drug because of fears that it could lead to antibiotic-resistant pathogens in humans.
The FDA's standard is that food from animals that have taken a particular drug must carry a "reasonable certainty of no harm," and the agency didn't feel that poultry treated with Baytril met that standard, an FDA spokesman said.
"Scientific data ... showed that the use of (Baytril) in poultry caused resistance to emerge in Campylobacter, a bacterium that causes foodborne illness. Chickens and turkeys normally harbor Campylobacter in their digestive tracts without causing poultry to become ill," the agency said in a statement.
Eugenio La Rocca, superintendent of Rome's artefacts, described the head as a rare find and said it was possible it had been used to clear a blocked sewer.
Constantine, who reigned from 306 to 337, is known for ending persecution of Christians and founding Constantinople.
Although most of his subjects remained pagans, he is credited with helping to establish Europe's Christian roots by proclaiming religious freedom.
The notice to leave Karshi-Khanabad air base, known as K2, was given to the US embassy in the Uzbek capital on Friday.
A Pentagon spokesman said the US was "evaluating the note to see exactly what it means".
Uzbekistan has been an ally of the US in Central Asia, but correspondents say relations were strained over the bloody suppression of a protest in May.
Mr. Bolton "did not recall this interview" when he assured the committee that he had not been questioned by any investigators, according to a letter sent Friday from the State Department to Senator Joseph R. Biden Jr., the ranking Democrat on the foreign relations panel.
The letter from the senators, all Democrats except for the Senate's sole independent, who usually votes with them, was the latest escalation of the battle over Mr. Bolton.
U.S. District Judge Audrey Collins found that Congress failed to remedy all the problems she defined in a 2004 ruling that struck down key provisions of the act. Her decision was handed down Thursday and released Friday.
"Even as amended, the statute fails to identify the prohibited conduct in a manner that persons of ordinary intelligence can reasonably understand," the ruling said.
Mike Lynn, a former researcher at Internet Security Systems, or ISS, said he was tipped off late Thursday night that the FBI was investigating him for violating trade secrets belonging to his former employer.
Lynn resigned from ISS Wednesday morning after his company and Cisco threatened to sue him if he spoke at the Black Hat security conference in Las Vegas about a serious vulnerability he found while reverse-engineering the operating system in Cisco routers. He said he conducted the reverse-engineering at the request of his company, which was concerned that Cisco wasn't being forthright about a recent fix it had made to its operating system.
Lynn spoke anyway, discussing the flaw in Cisco IOS, the operating system that runs on Cisco routers, which are responsible for transferring data over much of the internet and private networks.
Although Lynn demonstrated for the audience what hackers could do to a router if they exploited the flaw, he did not reveal technical details that would allow anyone to exploit the bug without doing the same research he did to discover it.
See also, from BoingBoing, Michael Lynn's controversial Cisco security presentation.
Here's a PDF that purports to be Michael Lynn's presentation on Cisco's critical vulnerabilities ("The Holy Grail: Cisco IOS Shellcode And Exploitation Techniques"), delivered at last week's Black Hat conference. Lynn's employer, ISS, wouldn't let him deliver the talk (they'd been leant on by Cisco), so Lynn quit his job, walked onstage and delivered it anyway. (See yesterday's post and Scheneier's take for more). 1.9MB PDF Link
I've been playing with the Google Earth program, I can almost see the window to Randy's apartment. I can actually see the little sidewalk in front that he walks on everyday to go to his car. He calculated out how far we are from one another; approximately 6,891.93 miles (give or take a few feet). Wow, that's far. Guess I can't swim that after all, oh well.
Yesterday we had a RPG attack on the FOB. It was around 9pm or so and landed about 300 meters or so outside of one of the gates. I slept right through it, everyone else said it woke them up it was so loud. Maybe I'm getting used to bombs after all. No one was hurt during the attack and I have no idea if they caught the guys who did it.
After work yesterday I came back to a sweltering hot tent, the air-conditioning wasn't working AGAIN. Every other day or so this happens, it's so annoying because no one else's air goes out, just ours. So I ended up hanging out at the PX for the 2 hours before chow. I talked politics and money with one of my buddies there. For a moment I almost felt like I was back at school again. I miss Agnes Scott College.
SPC Lauren Schreck
Friday, July 29, 2005
Doctors discovered that Shelby had a hole between the upper chambers of his heart –- a hole that exists in infants, but which normally closes. Blood clots that normally are filtered by the lungs jumped through the hole in Shelby's heart and went to his brain, causing the strokes. So last summer Shelby began planning with his doctor a procedure to patch the hole with an experimental device. He reflected on these events in an in-depth interview with me.
Shelby said he saw better than ever before how commercial interests in the health care industry try to influence television news –- often successfully. His doctor reported to Shelby, "You're causing quite a stir. I've heard from several companies and they all want their device in you." A number of companies eventually made offers to Shelby, clearly interested in promoting the fact that this well-known anchorman used their device. One offered a free device, another a discounted device, and a third offered a free trip to Europe to have the procedure done there if his insurance wouldn't pay for it here.
His funeral made him a historic reference.
Emmett's mother insisted that the body be brought back to Chicago and be given a public viewing. His horribly disfigured body went on public display. Mourners looked upon a body bloated by several days in the river, a skull split open by either a gunshot or an ax.
People fainted at the sight. But they remembered. They remembered both Emmett and the senseless way he died. So what could a reporter possibly say that would be new?
FDR and Stalin and Churchill at the summit; people with tears in their eyes standing by the railroad tracks as the train carried the body of President Roosevelt from Georgia to Washington; the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima; General MacArthur wading in the water as he returns to the Philippines as promised; a sailor kissing a woman in Times Square on VJ Day; a naked child running from the napalm attack in Vietnam; a police chief shooting a man in the head, also in Vietnam; or the picture of people fighting to get on the last helicopter leaving that country.
Khrushchev banging his shoe on the table at the United Nations, or the shot of Adlai Stevenson sitting with his legs crossed showing a big hole in the sole of his shoe; Khrushchev and President Nixon in the kitchen; President Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, or Lee Harvey Oswald being killed by Jack Ruby, or LBJ being sworn in on Air Force One with a bloodied Jacqueline Kennedy at his side; little John Kennedy saluting his father's coffin; an Ambassador Hotel busboy kneeling over a fatally wounded Bobby Kennedy; Dr. King leading the march in Selma; Bull Connor turning the dogs loose against the marchers; the faces of four children killed in a Birmingham church; tens of thousands gathered in Washington to hear "I Have a Dream"; the fallen body of Dr. King at a Memphis motel; George Wallace standing in the door of an Alabama school. [more]
Yagoda is a practical scholar and reflective practitioner interested in cracking the code of memorable writing. His previous books include biographies of a literary tradition ("About Town: The New Yorker and the World It Made") and a legendary humorist ("Will Rogers: A Biography").
was arrested Tuesday evening for trying to observe the Diebold
central tabulator (vote tallying machine) as the votes were being
counted in San Diego's mayoral election (July 26).
(- online discussion: http:/www.blackboxvoting.org -)
...During the tallying of the election, the Diebold computer
was positioned too far away for citizens to read the screen.
Citizens could not watch error messages, or even perceive
significant anomalies or malfunctions.
Unable to see the screen, March went into the office where the
tabulator was housed. Two deputies followed him and escorted
According to Hamilton: "He was not belligerent, not at all.
After he went inside the tabulator room he came [was escorted]
out and he said clearly 'I'm not resisting.' They handcuffed
him, took him out of the building. They put him in a squad car.
They're going to take him to the police station, book him and
take him to jail," said Hamilton. "He's getting charged with a
felony, 'interfering with an election official.'"
Ok, so the guys a nut, no argument there. But Kim Jong-Il may well have put together one of the hottest, sexiest, political (communist) screeds I’ve ever heard. So will the rallying cry for the next revolution be “Orgasms for All!”?
Check out this totally cool flash presentation of the text set to the sounds of Nina Simone by the folks at Young-Hae Chang Heavy Industries.
Thanks to Amanda over at WFMU’s Beware of the Blog for a kick ass post. [from DigitalDetritus.org]
The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, which promotes using new technologies to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, has been worked out in secret by the parties involved, so its announcement has come as something of a surprise.
Climate-policy experts say that although the aims of the pact are worthwhile, it contains no new financial commitments or targets. Australia and the United States are the only two developed nations not to ratify the Kyoto Protocol, and experts say the pact is likely to be used by them to deflect pressure to accept future versions of the protocol.
01 Cleopatra Jones.mp3
03 Black Caesar.mp3
04 The Human Tornado .mp3
06 The Mack.mp3
07 Trouble Man.mp3
08 Truck Turner.mp3
10 Black Mama, White Mama.mp3
11 Superfly TNT.mp3
12 J. D.'s Revenge.mp3
13 Amazing Grace.mp3
15 Book Of Numbers.mp3
16 Black Shampoo.mp3
17 Slaughter's Big Rip-Off.mp3
19 Blackgunn .mp3
21 Cornbread, Earl And Me.mp3
22 Dr. Black And Mr. Hyde.mp3
23 Five On The Black Hand Side 1.mp3
24 Friday Foster.mp3
25 Ghetto Freaks.mp3
26 Hell Up In Harlem.mp3
27 Lady Sings The Blues.mp3
28 Legend Of Nigger Charlie .mp3
Along with his prison sentence, Benderman will receive a dishonorable discharge and have his rank reduced to private.
"There was a failure rate of about 10 percent, and that's not good enough for the voters of California and not good enough for me," said Secretary of State Bruce McPherson.
If the machines had been used in an actual election, the result could have been frustrated poll workers and long lines for thousands of voters, said elections officials and voter advocates on Thursday.
Canadian Baba Brinkman wants modern teenagers to warm to the 14th-century Canterbury Tales.
He is to tour English schools with his versions of the Pardoner's Tale, Miller's Tale and Wife of Bath's Tale.
Some of Chaucer's original bawdier language had to be "toned down" for his young audience.
Democratic senators said the admission should forestall Bush from using his authority to give Bolton a temporary appointment to the U.N. post, without Senate confirmation, when the Senate goes on vacation in August.
Bolton was interviewed by the State Department inspector general in 2003 as part of a joint investigation with the CIA into prewar Iraqi attempts to buy nuclear materials from Niger, State Department spokesman Noel Clay said Thursday.
Thursday, July 28, 2005
Bolton was interviewed by the State Department inspector general in 2003 as part of a joint investigation with the Central Intelligence Agency into prewar Iraqi attempts to buy nuclear materials from Niger, State Department spokesman Noel Clay said.
The admission came hours after another State Department official said Bolton had correctly answered a Senate questionnaire when he wrote that he has not testified to a grand jury or been interviewed by investigators in any inquiry over the past five years.
The reversal followed persistent Democratic attempts to question Bolton's veracity just days before Bush may use his authority to make him
United Nations ambassador after Congress adjourns for its summer recess. For months, Democrats have prevented the Senate from confirming the fiery conservative to the post.
Godwin Kipkemoi Chepkurgor wrote Clinton asking for Chelsea's hand in 2000 when Clinton visited Kenya, Chepkurgor told the East African Standard newspaper.
Chepkurgor, 36, vowed to remain single until he gets an answer to his proposal to marry Chelsea, 25.
Simply amazing. In the face of a series of amendments by Republican Senators McCain, Warner and Graham that would have instituted new rules against torture, as well as other Republican-backed attempts to strengthen veterans benefits and delay base closures until after the Iraq War, Bill Frist has simply pulled the entire $450 billion defense bill from the Senate floor. Funding the troops now won't be reconsidered until after the summer recess.
From the Washington Times, of all places, since it humors me greatly to cite them...
Fujitsu did not provide any details about the screen, but said the new technology consumes only 1/100 to 1/10,000 the energy of conventional display technologies. Possible applications for the paper could be advertising and information displays, restaurant menus, operating manuals or even digital photo frames that typically require a continuous power supply today.
Thompson, a Democrat from St. Helena, signed a letter dated June 30 that was sent to the heads of four congressional committees.
"We are writing to request that your committees hold hearings to investigate reports of a pre-war deal between the United Kingdom and the United States and evidence that pre-war intelligence was intentionally manipulated," the letter reads. "On May 1, 2005, the Sunday London Times published a leaked document with the minutes of a secret meeting from highly placed sources inside the British government."
Speaking at a press conference after a meeting with the Metropolitan police, Vivien Figueiredo, 22, said that the first reports of how her 27-year-old cousin had come to be killed in mistake for a suicide bomber on Friday at Stockwell tube station were wrong.
"He used a travel card," she said. "He had no bulky jacket, he was wearing a jeans jacket. But even if he was wearing a bulky jacket that wouldn't be an excuse to kill him."
The deal between the United States, Japan, Australia, China, India and South Korea will build on existing bilateral agreements on technology sharing. It includes no Kyoto-style caps on emissions.
President Bush said in a statement the Asia-Pacific partnership, which will be formally introduced in the Laotion capital Vientiane, would address global warming while promoting economic development.
But environmentalists criticized it as an attempt by Washington to create a distraction ahead of U.N. talks in November in Montreal that will focus on how to widen Kyoto to include developing nations after 2012.
The approach of looking to technology for solutions to global warming was emphasized by Bush at the Group of Eight summit in Scotland when he called for a "post-Kyoto era."
The United States, which creates the biggest share of greenhouse emissions, and Australia are the only developed nations outside Kyoto. But Japan, China, India and South Korea have ratified Kyoto, which demands cuts in greenhouse emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-2012.
In a story he says he resigned from the agency to tell, Gary Berntsen recounts the attacks he coordinated at the peak of the fighting in eastern Afghanistan in late 2001, including how U.S. commanders knew bin Laden was in the rugged mountains near the Pakistani border and the al-Qaeda leader's much-discussed getaway.
Berntsen claims in a federal court lawsuit that the CIA is over-classifying his manuscript and has repeatedly missed deadlines written into its own regulations to review his book. His attorney, Roy Krieger, said he delivered papers to the U.S. District Court in Washington after hours Wednesday.
The CIA declined to comment because the suit had not yet been filed officially.
Because of the slow pace of handing over the records, The Blade asked the Supreme Court yesterday to find the bureau and the two coin funds in contempt of court and requested that a receiver be appointed to take custody of the records.
High School Physics: What Happens When You Seal a Container (Like a Train Tanker) After Filling It With Steam
Text of the Fatwa:
The Fiqh Council of North America wishes to reaffirm Islam's absolute condemnation of terrorism and religious extremism.
Islam strictly condemns religious extremism and the use of violence against innocent lives. There is no justification in Islam for extremism or terrorism. Targeting civilians' life and property through suicide bombings or any other method of attack is haram – or forbidden - and those who commit these barbaric acts are criminals, not "martyrs."
The Qur'an, Islam's revealed text, states: "Whoever kills a person [unjustly]…it is as though he has killed all mankind. And whoever saves a life, it is as though he had saved all mankind." (Qur'an, 5:32)
Prophet Muhammad said there is no excuse for committing unjust acts: "Do not be people without minds of your own, saying that if others treat you well you will treat them well, and that if they do wrong you will do wrong to them. Instead, accustom yourselves to do good if people do good and not to do wrong (even) if they do evil." (Al-Tirmidhi)
God mandates moderation in faith and in all aspects of life when He states in the Qur'an: "We made you to be a community of the middle way, so that (with the example of your lives) you might bear witness to the truth before all mankind." (Qur'an, 2:143)
In another verse, God explains our duties as human beings when he says: "Let there arise from among you a band of people who invite to righteousness, and enjoin good and forbid evil." (Qur'an, 3:104)
Islam teaches us to act in a caring manner to all of God's creation. The Prophet Muhammad, who is described in the Qur'an as "a mercy to the worlds" said: "All creation is the family of God, and the person most beloved by God (is the one) who is kind and caring toward His family."
In the light of the teachings of the Qur'an and Sunnah we clearly and strongly state:
1. All acts of terrorism targeting civilians are haram (forbidden) in Islam.
2. It is haram for a Muslim to cooperate with any individual or group that is involved in any act of terrorism or violence.
3. It is the civic and religious duty of Muslims to cooperate with law enforcement authorities to protect the lives of all civilians.
We issue this fatwa following the guidance of our scripture, the Qur'an, and the teachings of our Prophet Muhammad – peace be upon him. We urge all people to resolve all conflicts in just and peaceful manners.
We pray for the defeat of extremism and terrorism. We pray for the safety and security of our country, the United States, and its people. We pray for the safety and security of all inhabitants of our planet. We pray that interfaith harmony and cooperation prevail both in the United States and all around the globe.
Excerpt: We need to return to our core values of openness and accountability. The facts we know so far about torture and other abuses, about indefinite detention, have already become recruiting tools for terrorists. But if we act now to uphold our principles, we can end the outrage, we can end the coverups, and hold officials accountable at the highest levels. We need to disavow the abuses and harsh techniques. We need to ensure our actions do not become an excuse for our enemies to
torture American troops when they are captured in the future or to attack innocent Americans in any part of the world.
The reports of abuse also undermine our own security efforts at home. The vast majority of Muslim Americans and Arab Americans are willing to help identify potential terrorists, help prevent charitable donations from being misused, and act as eyes and ears of a community uniquely capable of identifying potential threats. When the reports of abuses go unanswered, they undermine the community's willingness to provide that assistance. It is impossible for many Muslim Americans and Arab Americans to be persuaded to help against such threats if they feel their own religious beliefs have been targeted.
The reality is our safety and security depend on accountability. It is not enough to pretend that problem does not exist, but that is how the President has responded to the flow of reports about abuses. Contrary to the protests of the administration, we do not have the answers we need. So far, we have had 12 separate so-called investigations of allegations, but not a single report has adequately examined the role that civilian authorities have played in crafting the policies that led to our missteps. Twelve investigations and counting, and the coverup continues.
The Herald said Arthur E. Teele Jr., a Republican, shot himself in the mouth shortly after 6 p.m. He was taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital. He shot himself after asking a security guard if he could see columnist Jim DeFede, the newspaper said.
"He said to tell DeFede to tell his wife he loves her," the security guard told the Herald.
The Herald fired columnist DeFede later Wednesday because he tape-recorded a phone conversation with Teele without his knowledge, which is illegal in Florida. Publisher Jesus Díaz, Jr. said that The Herald had no choice but to dismiss DeFede because his conduct was potentially a felony crime and unethical.
A nonpartisan Government Accountability Office (GAO) report issued Thursday reveals that the U.S. is spending as much as $33,000 per private security contractor per month -- some $396,000 per year on individual guards...
The report, entitled Rebuilding Iraq: Actions Needed to Improve Use of Private Security Providers, examined contractors hired directly by federal agencies to provide security in Iraq, as well as security subcontractors hired by other contractors to protect their personnel and reconstruction projects, and is viewable in PDF format here.
The backlog has surged despite efforts by the FBI to hire more Arabic-language and other translators, because the bureau is collecting much more counterterrorism data than it used to, Inspector General Glenn Fine said. In some cases, the FBI is failing to translate highest-priority intercepts within 24 hours, despite a bureau policy mandating that deadline.
Results: Check this shit out (Fig. 1). That's bonafide, 100%-real data, my friends. I took it myself over the course of two weeks. And this was not a leisurely two weeks, either; I busted my ass day and night in order to provide you with nothing but the best data possible. Now, let's look a bit more closely at this data, remembering that it is absolutely first-rate. Do you see the exponential dependence? I sure don't. I see a bunch of crap.
Christ, this was such a waste of my time.
Banking on my hopes that whoever grades this will just look at the pictures, I drew an exponential through my noise. I believe the apparent legitimacy is enhanced by the fact that I used a complicated computer program to make the fit. I understand this is the same process by which the top quark was discovered.
Conclusion: Going into physics was the biggest mistake of my life. I should've declared CS. I still wouldn't have any women, but at least I'd be rolling in cash.
...What has so often gotten lost in all the talk about terror and weapons of mass destruction is the fact that for so many of the most influential members of the Bush administration, the obsessive desire to invade Iraq preceded the Sept. 11 attacks. It preceded the Bush administration. The neoconservatives were beating the war drums on Iraq as far back as the late 1990's.
Iraq was supposed to be a first step. Iran was also in the neoconservatives' sights. The neocons envisaged U.S. control of the region (and its oil), to be followed inevitably by the realization of their ultimate dream, a global American empire. Of course it sounds like madness, which is why we should have been paying closer attention from the beginning.
...The point here is that the invasion of Iraq was part of a much larger, long-term policy that had to do with the U.S. imposing its will, militarily when necessary, throughout the Middle East and beyond. The war has gone badly, and the viciousness of the Iraq insurgency has put the torch to the idea of further pre-emptive adventures by the Bush administration.
But dreams of empire die hard. American G.I.'s are dug into Iraq, and the bases have been built for a long stay. The war may be going badly, but the primary consideration is that there is still a tremendous amount of oil at stake, the second-largest reserves on the planet. And neocon fantasies aside, the global competition for the planet's finite oil reserves intensifies by the hour.
But a copy of the report, embargoed for publication Wednesday, was sent to The New York Times by a member of the E.P.A. communications staff just minutes before the decision was made to delay it until next week. The contents of the report show that loopholes in American fuel economy regulations have allowed automakers to produce cars and trucks that are significantly less fuel-efficient, on average, than they were in the late 1980's.
Releasing the report this week would have been inopportune for the Bush administration, its critics said, because it would have come on the eve of a final vote in Congress on energy legislation six years in the making. The bill, as it stands, largely ignores auto mileage regulations.
..."Something's fishy when the Bush administration delays a report showing no improvement in fuel economy until after passage of their energy bill, which fails to improve fuel economy," said Daniel Becker, the Sierra Club's top global warming strategist. "It's disturbing that despite high gas prices, an oil war and growing concern about global warming pollution, most automakers are failing to improve fuel economy."
...Some of what the report says reaffirms what has long been known. Leaps in engine technology over the last couple of decades have been mostly used to make cars faster, not more fuel-efficient, and the rise of sport utility vehicles and S.U.V.-like pickup trucks has actually sapped efficiency. The average 2004 model car or truck got 20.8 miles per gallon, about 6 percent less than the 22.1 m.p.g. of the average new vehicle sold in the late 1980's, according to the report.
"Pakistan is lying," said Lt. Sayed Anwar, acting head of Afghanistan's counter-terrorism department. "We have very correct reports from their areas. We have our intelligence agents inside Pakistan's border as well.
"If Pakistan tells the truth, the problems will stop in Afghanistan. They say they are friends of Americans, and yet they order these people to kill Americans."
Despite the military lawyers' warnings, the task force concluded that military interrogators and their commanders would be immune from prosecution for torture under federal and international law because of the special character of the fight against terrorism.
In memorandums written by several senior uniformed lawyers in each of the military services as the legal review was under way, they had urged a sharply different view and also warned that the position eventually adopted by the task force could endanger American service members.
But on its "World News Tonight" program on Tuesday, ABC went ahead with the report, which said the attacks might have been part of a wider plot, said the official, Jon Banner, executive producer of "World News Tonight." He said the account was cut from the program when it was broadcast later in Britain by the BBC.
The Metropolitan Police sent an e-mail message yesterday that asked news organizations "in the strongest possible terms" not to replay the images "because they may prejudice both the ongoing investigation and any future prosecutions." The police called the images "unauthorized."
I've done my very best to arrive at a period of confinement that appropriately recognizes the severity of the intended offense, but also recognizes the practicalities of the parties' positions before trial and the cooperation of Mr. Ressam, even though it did terminate prematurely.
The message I would hope to convey in today's sentencing is two-fold: First, that we have the resolve in this country to deal with the subject of terrorism and people who engage in it should be prepared to sacrifice a major portion of their life in confinement.
Secondly, though, I would like to convey the message that our system works. We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, or detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant, or deny him the right to counsel, or invoke any proceedings beyond those guaranteed by or contrary to the United States Constitution.
I would suggest that the message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart. We can deal with the threats to our national security without denying the accused fundamental constitutional protections.
Despite the fact that Mr. Ressam is not an American citizen and despite the fact that he entered this country intent upon killing American citizens, he received an effective, vigorous defense, and the opportunity to have his guilt or innocence determined by a jury of 12 ordinary citizens.
Most importantly, all of this occurred in the sunlight of a public trial. There were no secret proceedings, no indefinite detention, no denial of counsel.
The tragedy of September 11th shook our sense of security and made us realize that we, too, are vulnerable to acts of terrorism. Unfortunately, some believe that this threat renders our Constitution obsolete. This is a Constitution for which men and women have died and continue to die and which has made us a model among nations. If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won.
It is my sworn duty, and as long as there is breath in my body I'll perform it, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.
We will be in recess.
A brain sample from the suspect cow was taken by a local veterinarian in April but was not tested by the USDA until last week. That delay was because the veterinarian "simply forgot" to submit it, the USDA said.
The sample was frozen, a violation of USDA guidelines, and the veterinarian also mistakenly used a preservative that limits the type of mad cow tests that can now be conducted.
...A soon-to-be-published investigation of 300 young Saudis caught and interrogated by Saudi intelligence on their way to Iraq to fight or blow themselves up shows that very few had any previous contact with al-Qaeda or any other terror organisation before 2003. The invasion of Iraq made them decide to die.
Some 36 Saudis who did blow themselves up in Iraq did so for similar reasons, according to the same study commissioned by the Saudi government and carried out by US-trained Saudi researcher Nawaf Obaid, who was given permission to speak to Saudi intelligence officers. A separate Israeli study of 154 foreign fighters in Iraq, carried out by the Global Research in International Affairs Centre in Israel, also concluded that almost all had been radicalised by Iraq alone.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
As fuel additives, MTBE and ethanol are considered "oxygenates," because they raise the oxygen content of gasoline, allowing it to burn more cleanly and efficiently. Since 1992, MTBE has been used in higher concentrations in gasoline, in accordance with 1990 Clean Air Act amendments calling for higher oxygenate content in gasoline to reduce harmful vehicle emissions; as the Journal noted, most fuel companies have used MTBE instead of ethanol because it is less expensive to produce.
Numerous MTBE leaks -- primarily from underground gasoline tanks -- have contaminated drinking water supplies across the nation. The EPA has cited MTBE's effect on water quality as a reason to "significantly reduce or eliminate MTBE" as a fuel additive. The Journal criticized the 2005 Energy Policy Act as a "subsidy-fest that will raise gasoline prices in more places than it reduces them," but defended language written into the House version of the bill providing MTBE producers liability protection, and questioned the merit of lawsuits filed against them.
The use of a stun gun to abuse one detainee — a man who had been handcuffed and blindfolded — was captured on videotape, one soldier said. A soldier happened upon the tape while using the computer, a member of the battalion said.
Separately, the first sergeant of another of the battalion's companies has been relieved of duty after being accused of mistreating an Iraqi detainee, military officials said. The sergeant's identity could not be confirmed.
Sources within the battalion said the sergeant is accused of shooting a water heater during an interrogation, then turning to an Iraqi detainee and saying: "You're next." The sergeant then held his pistol to the man's head, moved it a few inches to the side and fired, sources said.
Consumers Union specifically requested data on:
* The geographic location of sampled cattle (including the state where the cow was born, raised, and slaughtered)
* The age of the cattle tested (CU currently supports testing of all cattle above 20 months)
* The disease/high-risk status of the cattle (for example, did they show symptoms of central nervous system disease, which are common symptoms of mad cow.
The House conferees ignored overwhelming evidence that renewable energy will save consumers money and stripped the renewable electricity standard (also known as a renewable portfolio standard) from the final bill. The renewable standard, which passed the Senate with bi-partisan support, would have required major electric companies to gradually increase sales of electricity from wind, solar, and other renewable sources from two percent today to about 10 percent by 2020.
Asking Christians what Christ taught isn’t a trick. When we say we are a Christian nation—and, overwhelmingly, we do—it means something. People who go to church absorb lessons there and make real decisions based on those lessons; increasingly, these lessons inform their politics. (One poll found that 11 percent of U.S. churchgoers were urged by their clergy to vote in a particular way in the 2004 election, up from 6 percent in 2000.) When George Bush says that Jesus Christ is his favorite philosopher, he may or may not be sincere, but he is reflecting the sincere beliefs of the vast majority of Americans.
And therein is the paradox. America is simultaneously the most professedly Christian of the developed nations and the least Christian in its behavior. That paradox—more important, perhaps, than the much touted ability of French women to stay thin on a diet of chocolate and cheese—illuminates the hollow at the core of our boastful, careening culture.
As a result, Iraqis have seen scant evidence of improvement in their homes, streets or neighborhoods. They blame American and Iraqi government corruption.
"We thank God that the air we breathe is not in the hands of the government. Otherwise they would have cut it off for a few hours each day," said Nadeem Haki, 39, an electric-goods shop owner in the upscale Karrada district in the east of the capital.
Prosecutors have questioned former CIA director George J. Tenet and deputy director John E. McLaughlin, former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow, State Department officials, and even a stranger who approached columnist Robert D. Novak on the street.
In doing so, special prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald has asked not only about how CIA operative Valerie Plame's name was leaked but also how the administration went about shifting responsibility from the White House to the CIA for having included 16 words in the 2003 State of the Union address about Iraqi efforts to acquire uranium from Africa, an assertion that was later disputed.
By just about any measure, the past three years have produced one of the biggest cash gushers in the oil industry’s history. Since January of 2002, the price of crude has tripled, leaving oil producers awash in profits. During that period, the top 10 major public oil companies have sold some $1.5 trillion worth of crude, pocketing profits of more than $125 billion.
"The border clashes amounted to about 100 armed clashes, some of which were carried out by American soldiers who opened fire arbitrarily at those present behind the dirt rampart due to loss of self control," said the ministry.
The US military in Iraq has launched several operations against insurgents near the border in the past few months but has not reported any cross-border fire.
We may never know exactly when President Bush made up his mind to invade Iraq--some analysts say the die was cast as early as November 2001; others claim it was not until October 2002--but whatever the case, it is beyond dispute that planning for the invasion was well advanced in July 2002, when British intelligence officials visited Washington and issued what has come to be known as the Downing Street memo, informing Prime Minister Tony Blair that war was nearly inevitable.
What these officials undoubtedly discovered--as was being reported in certain newspapers at the time--was that senior officers of the US Central Command (CENTCOM) in Tampa, Florida, had already been developing detailed scenarios for an invasion of Iraq and that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had been deeply involved in these preparations. On July 5, 2002, for example, the New York Times revealed that "an American military planning document calls for air, land, and sea-based forces to attack Iraq from three directions--the north, south, and west." Further details of this document and other blueprints for war appeared in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. At the same time, moreover, the Pentagon reportedly stepped up its aerial and electronic surveillance of military forces in Iraq.
The 21-year-old man's foot was amputated three weeks ago after a series of medical problems, and he started keeping it in a five-gallon bucket filled with formaldehyde.
It came to the attention of police after a call from a parent whose child reported seeing the severed foot. Officers who went to the home late Saturday night found the foot, and some of Rubottom's friends, but no sign of Rubottom himself.
...After a friend picked up the bucket at a hardware store, Rubottom added several objects as well as the severed foot -- including a porcelain horse and can of beer -- to make what he called "a collage of myself." He also cut off two of the toes, saying he was considering giving them to friends.
On Monday, police returned the foot to Rubottom after taking him to the hospital, where he signed a release allowing them to see his medical records.
"It's cool. It's all good," said Rubottom. "Now I've got my foot back. That's all I wanted.
Some lawmakers may try to make permanent certain provisions that expire in 2007 in an attempt to torpedo the act, said Theodore Shaw, director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People's Legal Defense Fund. Although Shaw acknowledged a permanent or nationwide approach may seem wise, he called it a "Trojan horse."
"If they are permanent, it is a trap," Shaw said. "They will be struck down as illegal and unconstitutional."
One part of the act set to expire is the provision that states with a history of racial discrimination - mostly in the South - must get federal government approval before changing their voting laws or district lines. Shaw said judges might decide Congress can't separate jurisdictions based on race issues without an occasional review of whether that separation remains necessary.
House and Senate negotiators approved compromise legislation yesterday and President George W. Bush, who has been seeking an energy bill since the start of his first term, will have it on his desk by July 29, Senator Charles Grassley said. Supporters said the measure, the Energy Policy Act, would help secure energy supplies and ultimately lead to lower fuel prices.
The legislation includes subsidies for oil and gas exploration that benefit companies such as Irving, Texas-based Exxon Mobil, which contributed $935,266 to federal candidates for the 2004 elections, more than any other oil company. Southern, which contributed $1.1 million to candidates in 2004, more than any other utility, won repeal of a 1935 law prohibiting utility holding companies from using revenue from customers to subsidize non-regulated businesses.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
MOFQX is a moderately successful mutual fund driven entirely by the top 100 performers out of some 37,000 Marketocracy members. With market-beating returns and an innovative method, some think that the fund might be a great idea--perhaps the wisdom of crowds made manifest--but others are less bullish. [fromMetaFilter.com]
An immersive visualization, projected in a dome space, in which real-time stock market activity is represented as the night sky, full of stars that glow as trading takes place on particular stocks. each traded company is represented by a slowly drifting star, which is gravitationally attracted to other stars with similar stock price histories. over time, the stars clot together & drift into slowly changing constellations, nebulae & clusters, so that different industries naturally start to emerge as galaxies. [blackshoals.net|via blakkbyrd.blogspot.com]
Judicial Watch obtained the material under the Freedom of Information Act and provided them to The Associated Press.
According to the documents, the Navy's Fleet and Industrial Supply Center in Norfolk, Va., initially contracted with the Rendon Group of Washington for advice on "dissemination of accurate information" regarding the referendum of Vieques residents on whether to keep part of the island as a training range.
It later modified the contract to have Rendon "conduct public outreach to build grassroots support" for Navy training during vote. The contract value also went from an initial value of $200,000 to $1.6 million after two modifications.
Livingstone suggested that Western interventions to maintain control of oil supplies in Arab countries, dating back nearly a century, had produced terrorist organizations, including Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network.
"If at the end of the First World War we had done what we promised the Arabs, which was to let them be free and have their own governments, and kept out of Arab affairs, and just bought their oil, rather than feeling we had to control the flow of oil, I suspect this wouldn't have arisen," he told the BBC.
"As the committee continues in its drafting process, women are becoming increasingly alarmed at what they see as a curtailing of their rights," UNIFEM said in a press statement.
Of particular concern to Iraqi women activists and civil society groups was a chapter of the constitution on duties and rights, which now refers to Shari'ah (Islamic law) as the "main source" for legislation in the new constitution, the UN body said.
In the earlier interim constitution, Shari'ah was referred to as an important source of legislation, rather than the main source.
The business newspaper said some ford employees had been told that 10,500 managerial positions from the current total of about 35,000 could go 'over the next few years' in a bid to keep a lid on payroll costs.
Ford, which on Tuesday reported a 19 per cent sump in second-quarter net earnings, has already announced the elimination of 2,700 white-collar jobs in North America.
Those cuts would contribute to the 30-per cent reduction goal, the newspaper quoted people familiar with the proposals as saying.
The Government Accountability Office sent a letter to Congress saying the collection violated the Privacy Act, which prohibits the government from compiling information on people without their knowledge.
The information was collected as the agency tested a program, now called Secure Flight, to conduct computerized checks of airline passengers against terrorist watch lists.
The FBI says such information is confidential.
Advocates for missing children complain that the government's refusal to report the number of cases has allowed many police departments to escape public notice when they violate the reporting standards set by Congress in its landmark National Child Search Assistance Act of 1990.
Mayfield believes he was targeted because of his Muslim faith. His lawyers want to interview federal officials and obtain documents to learn how the FBI mistakenly connected Mayfield to a fingerprint found at the bombing scene. Mayfield was arrested as a material witness and jailed for two weeks before the FBI conceded the mistake and apologized.
Meanwhile, the government has asked the judge to dismiss Mayfield's challenge of the Patriot Act and to dismiss from the lawsuit the individual fingerprint analysts who made the identification.
Andrew Osantowski, 18, of suburban Detroit, will serve at least 4 1/2 years in prison...
Last month, a Macomb County jury convicted Osantowski of "making a terrorist threat" after he wrote messages on the Internet about the possibility of killing students at his Chippewa Valley High School.
Osantowski was also found guilty of possessing a firearm while committing a felony and using a computer to make a terrorist threat.
Free Radio, which had illegally broadcast for three years out of the private residence on Bancroft Street, could also be heard on a legal Internet simulcast at www.pirate969.org.
The station was not streaming on the Internet yesterday afternoon.
The FCC has said it investigates underground stations if it receives enough complaints from commercial broadcasters or the public that the illegal signal is interfering with legitimate transmissions.
Operators of Free Radio, if convicted, could face a one-year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine for operating an unlicensed outlet.
The Voices for Change site, operated by members of the Telecommunications Workers Union, has been effectively closed to all customers with telus.net or telus.com accounts.
Internet users who subscribe to other service providers can still browse the site.
"They're restricting our members' free speech," said Mimi Williams, who said she was offended both as a customer and as an elected representative of TWU Local 207.
From the flood this evening of Emails saying "Oh, so that's why I haven't heard anything from you guys lately," it seems clear that we would have significantly more events organized by now for the 23rd if not for this block by Comcast.
Disturbingly, Comcast did not notify us of this block. It took us a number of days to nail down Comcast as the cause of the problems, and then more days, working with Comcast's abuse department to identify exactly what was going on. We'd reached that point by Thursday, but Comcast was slow to fix the problem.