A: He really doesn't care how people get out of New Orleans. [thanks, Sharon]
Saturday, September 17, 2005
Leo Bosner, an emergency management specialist at FEMA headquarters in Washington, D.C., is in charge of the unit that alerts officials of impending crises and manages the response. As early as Friday, Aug. 26, Bosner knew that Katrina could turn into a major emergency.
In daily e-mails -- known as National Situation Updates -- sent to Chertoff, Brown and others in the days before Katrina made landfall in the Gulf Coast, Bosner warned of its growing strength -- and of the particular danger the hurricane posed to New Orleans, much of which lies below sea level.
But Bosner says FEMA failed to organize the massive mobilization of National Guard troops and evacuation buses needed for a quick and effective relief response when Katrina struck. He says he and his colleagues at FEMA's D.C. headquarters were shocked by the lack of response.
"We could see all this going downhill," Bosner said, "but there was nothing we could do."
This technique could be extremely valuable for news websites as the Katrina disaster continues to unfold. For example, it's estimated that in the city of New Orleans thousands of people died in the floodwaters. As information about bodies found at specific locations becomes available, that could be included in this sort of interactive map.
As victims are identified, they could be added to the map according to their home addresses, linked to photographs and biographies (and even guestbooks for friends and relatives to share their memories, a la Legacy.com). Built out, you could end up with an interactive memorial to those who died in New Orleans -- a combination of professional journalism and citizen reporting. Viewing such a map-memorial by neighborhood, this would be an important and compelling service for survivors.
If any news organizations are working on or contemplating such a project, please let me know.
News outlets described Katrina probe as "bipartisan," ignored that Democrats will be outnumbered and lack subpoena power
Peak Oil is the simplest label for the problem of energy resource depletion, or more specifically, the peak in global oil production. Oil is a finite, non-renewable resource, one that has powered phenomenal economic and population growth over the last century and a half. The rate of oil 'production,' meaning extraction & refining (currently about 83 million barrels/day), has grown in most years over the last century, but once we go through the halfway point of all reserves, production becomes ever more likely to decline, hence 'peak'. Peak Oil means not 'running out of oil', but 'running out of cheap oil'. For societies leveraged on ever increasing amounts of cheap oil, the consequences may be dire. Without significant successful cultural reform, economic and social decline seems inevitable.
If you are visiting this site for the first time, your stay will be enhanced by reading:
About this Bibliography (Preface and Sources)
Otherwise, feel free to move on to the:
Main Table of Contents [or try our Author Search]
This site is meant primarily to capture the state of the Soviet military towards the end of the Cold War (the 1980s). Sources include maps and charts, Google Earth (LANDSAT) images, journals, and various sources on the Internet. The Department of Defense Tactical Pilotage Charts and Joint Operations Graphics, which have only been available to the public for a short number of years, have been of great help in this study, unfortunately an NGA directive intends to restrict them in October 2005 for nebulous "security reasons". The data is kept in a large spreadsheet and processed by custom-built software to generate these pages.
In a series of biological weapons tests off the Isle of Lewis, monkeys and guinea pigs were suspended from cages on pontoon bridges and exposed to clouds of deadly bubonic plague.
Now, newly declassified files have revealed for the first time the recklessness of Operation Cauldron, where lives were put at risk and government officials embarked on a cover-up to prevent the tests being exposed.
The documents reveal that the fishing boat Carella strayed into the test zone and the crew were put at risk from the tests.
However, ministers decided not to warn the crew and failed to prevent them returning to port, potentially putting the population of Britain in danger from the deadly pathogen.
Instead, they ordered two ships, including a destroyer, to trail the trawler on its three-week fishing trip to Iceland and to intercept any distress calls should a crew member fall sick.
One memo makes it clear that the priority was to cover up the incident rather than protect the lives of those on board. “Requirements gravely political are more important than what may seem best from a purely medical point of view for individuals,” read the instructions to the captain of the destroyer.
The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), which funded Chester Douglass's $1.3 million study, and the university are investigating why the Harvard School of Dental Medicine epidemiologist told federal officials he found no significant correlation between fluoridated water and osteosarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Douglass, who serves as editor in chief for the industry-funded Colgate Oral Care Report, supervised research for a 2001 doctoral thesis that concluded boys exposed to fluoridated water at a young age were more likely to get the cancer.
But a spokesman for Rep. Jon Porter, R-Nev., who is pursuing the investigation, said the department still has not handed over some key items the panel is seeking. Among them: a draft of the license application the department will submit to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to get permission to open the dump 90 miles northwest of Las Vegas.
And while some at New York's "ground zero" couldn't get assistance they desperately sought, companies far removed from the devastation — a South Dakota country radio station, a Virgin Islands perfume shop, a Utah dog boutique and more than 100 Dunkin' Donuts and Subway sandwich shops — had no problem winning the government-guaranteed loans.
"That's scary; 9/11 had nothing to do with this," said James Munsey, a Virginia entrepreneur who described himself as "beyond shocked" to learn that his nearly $1 million loan to buy a special events company in Richmond was drawn from the Sept. 11 program.
Watch as corporate news people stop regurgitating and rolling over for government BS and actually challenge lying politicians and excuse-making bureaucrats about Katrina. Good work, guys. Now do you think you could keep doing that every time our so-called leaders spin, obfuscate, deny, and outright lie (which is to say, all the time)? Doesn’t it feel good to push hard for the truth instead of merely relaying official lies to your audience? [from TheMemoryBlog.org]
The FAA documents, which are referenced extensively in Chapter 1 of The 9/11 Commission Report, provide further detail on the report's chronology of the hijackings and its overall observation that the FAA was woefully unprepared and disorderly in its response to the attack. Distracted by Flight 11, the FAA notified the military at about 9:03 am that Flight 175 had been hijacked, almost the exact time the plane crashed into the second World Trade Center tower. Records show Flight 175 first exhibited signs of distress at 8:46 am.
Previously undisclosed, these documents contain minute-by-minute accounts of unfolding events as experienced by FAA officials, including radar reports and extensive chronologies tracking the larger U.S. government response to the attacks from September into late October 2001.
Unsettling quotes from hijackers on radio transmissions are also included in the documents. Passengers on flight 11 were told at 8:24 am, "we have some planes just stay quiet and you'll be ok we are returning to the airport." [see p. 4] The Cleveland Air Route Traffic Control Center heard a "radio transmission, mostly unintelligible… with sounds of possible screaming or a struggle and a statement, "get out of here, get out of here,"" [p. 20] from United Airlines Flight 93 at 9:28 am, before hearing "another mostly unintelligible, stated words that may sound like, "captain…bomb on board…our demands, …remain quiet."" [p. 21]
Beginning in March 1949, the Office of Naval Intelligence investigated Kelly under the direction of the Bureau of Naval Personnel Loyalty Review Board because, as they state, "According to reliable information received in 1945 this individual was actively associated during 1944 and 1945 with known Communists or Communist sympathizers in the Hollywood - Los Angeles area" [page 1 of the file].
Pages 16 to 25 of the file contain Kelly's detailed response to the accusations, which can be summed up by the sentence: "I could no more consider being a Communist than being a member of a voodoo sect." He does, however, have to engage is some fancy tapdancing to explain his actual and alleged involvement with some leftist organizations.
The document [PDF]
Welcome to the one and only, official, accept-no-substitutes Talk Like A Pirate Day Web site.
You've read about it in Dave Barry's column. Maybe you caught one of our radio or TV interviews. Or maybe you just stumbled on to our site while googling around for sites your mother probably wouldn't approve of. Perhaps you're one of the millions of people from South Africa to Australia, from New York to the Pacific Northwest, who party like pirates every September 19th..
However you got here, stick around an' learn all about September 19 - International Talk Like A Pirate Day!
An article in today's Times-Picayune in that city by its real estate writer, Greg Thomas, reports that property values in Slidell, West Jefferson, River Ridge, Kenner, Mandeville, and Covington, and Slidell – all of which emerged from the storm in relatively good shape – are expected to jump 10 to 15 percent.
The most recent broadside showed up in al-Mutammar, a secular daily newspaper, as an anonymous paid advertisement denouncing al-Qaida in Iraq as "followers of the devil."
In language aimed at Arab sensitivities to family and tribe, the ad denounces al-Qaida in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and his mentor, Osama bin Laden, as men who strayed from Islam and their Arab roots.
"There are two things in this world that warrant the direst of punishments: arrogance and cruelty against members of the same family," read the ad in Saturday's edition of al-Mutammar.
several real-time maps titled 'Digital Derive' that visualize the volume & geographic source of cell phone usage in Graz, showing a visual conceptual layer in the use & experience of the city. thousands of mobile phones are simultaneously 'pinged' to establish their precise location in space at a given moment in time. for the first time, a high amount of mobile phone devices are used as highly dynamic tracking tools that describe how the city is used & transformed by its citizens.
the digital maps can be experienced in real-time as they constantly transform & shift in status, & act as means of observing & reading the city, its evolution & fluctuation. museum visitors can register their personal mobile phones which then become traced & highlighted on the map.
the project will be shown at the M-City exhibition (Kunsthaus Graz, Austria, Oct 2005 - Jan 08 2006).
A portable hat system enables the smoking of tobacco type products without affecting the environment includes a hat for covering the head of the smoker an integral fan for intaking ambient air (contaminated and non contaminated) into the hat with this intake ambient air flowing in front of the smoker's face a filtration. purification and deionization system for removal of combustion products such as smoke odors and positive ions from the intake ambient air and an exhaust system for expelling the filtered deodorized deionized and optionally scented air from the hat.
II. INVEST IN THE LOCAL WORKFORCE AND ECONOMY Local workers and local businesses must be partners in the rebuilding. The disaster should not be used to drive down wages or salaries. Arguments of "efficiency" should not be used to channel the benefits of rebuilding to outside mega-firms. Existing prevailing wage, equal opportunity and small business safety nets should be respected, not shredded. In addition, workers involved in the clean up, rebuilding and restart of industry must be adequately protected.
III. DON'T SACRIFICE HEALTH AND SAFETY FOR SPEED The community must be safe and healthy for those who are going to live and work there. While speed is of the essence for the immediate draining and restoration of basic infrastructure, scientists -- not politicians or bureaucrats -- must be allowed to determine what it will take to make the cleanup and rebuilding safe for residents, including children, the elderly, and those at particular risk from toxins. In addition, workers must be involved in the clean up, rebuilding and restart must adequately protected.
The Davis-Marchant legislation also allows agencies to treat emergency purchases as "commercial items" and escape some audit requirements. The bill is a "common sense measure to help us cut through the red tape and get help to people who desperately need it," Davis stated.
But the Project on Government Oversight, a Washington-based watchdog group, was quick to criticize the legislation as unnecessary and overly broad. "Contracting officers already have enough authorities at their disposal to respond to the Katrina crisis," the group stated.
"This provision is not about helping Katrina's survivors," POGO Executive Director Danielle Brian argued. "It is about helping major defense and homeland security contractors to loot the federal treasury."
"Roderick Johnson was brutally raped by prison gang members," said Margaret Winter, Associate Director of the ACLU's National Prison Project and Johnson's lead attorney. "The devastating horror of the first rape was multiplied many times over the next 18 months because prison officials refused to intervene to protect him."
The war and occupation of Iraq have been an unmitigated disaster both for the people of Iraq and Britain. Countless innocent Iraqis have lost their lives and still more innocents have been killed on our streets. British soldiers, many of whom do not want to serve in Iraq, have been killed, wounded or maimed.
The United Nations' mandate for the occupation of Iraq expires this December. We call on you to initiate the first steps to end this carnage by announcing that British troops will be brought home by the end of this year.
If you do this, you can stop the killing of any more Iraqis by British troops. You can save the lives of our soldiers. You can make Britain's streets safer. You can defend civil liberties rather than erode them.
"This wasn't just one man's decision," Mayor Ronnie C. Harris said Thursday. "The whole community backs it."
Three days after Hurricane Katrina hit, Gretna officers blocked the Mississippi River bridge that connects their city to New Orleans, exacerbating the sometimes troubled relationship with their neighbor. The blockade remained in place into the Labor Day weekend.
Several progressive bloggers went on the attack, and the story slowly filtered into the mainstream media. New York Daily News columnist Juan Gonzalez did a piece Sept. 6, noting that Robertson used the charity to ferry diamond-mining equipment in and out of Zaire in the mid 1990s.
Gonzalez examined Operation Blessing's financial records and was surprised at what he saw. “The biggest single U.S. recipient of the charity's largess, according to its latest financial report, was Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network,” he wrote. “It received $885,000 in the fiscal year ended March 2004.”
Gonzalez noted that “Robertson uses that Christian network for some markedly unchristian purposes,” pointing out his association with dictators like Charles Taylor in Liberia.
The next day, The Nation magazine posted a column about Operation Blessing on its website. The piece by Max Blumenthal brought up the Africa charges again but also scored Robertson's “700 Club” for airing biased reports critical of the hurricane victims struck in the New Orleans Convention Center.
Another such law, Di Rita said, is the Civil War-era Insurrection Act, which Bush could have invoked to waive the law enforcement restrictions of the Posse Comitatus Act. That would have enabled him to use either National Guard soldiers or active-duty troops _ or both _ to quell the looting and other lawlessness that broke out in New Orleans.
The Insurrection Act lets the president call troops into federal action inside the United States whenever "unlawful obstructions, combinations or assemblages _ or rebellion against the authority of the United States _ make it impracticable to enforce the laws" in any state.
The text of the law: Whoever, except in cases and under circumstances expressly authorized by the Constitution or Act of Congress, willfully uses any part of the Army or the Air Force as a posse comitatus or otherwise to execute the laws shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.
With Thursday night's speech from the heart of New Orleans' French Quarter and while marking Friday's national day of prayer for Hurricane Katrina's victims, the president has begun turning more frequently to religious language as he seeks to comfort suffering evacuees and guide the nation forward.
He often speaks easily of the strength that his faith provides him and talks humbly of his place before God. When big moments require big rhetoric, the famously plainspoken Bush seems the most comfortable with soaring language that is tinged with religious overtones.
At least two major corporate clients of lobbyist Joe Allbaugh, President Bush's former campaign manager and a former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, have already been tapped to start recovery work along the battered Gulf Coast.
One is Shaw Group Inc. and the other is Halliburton Co. subsidiary Kellogg Brown and Root. Vice President Dick Cheney is a former head of Halliburton.
Bechtel National Inc., a unit of San Francisco-based Bechtel Corp., has also been selected by FEMA to provide short-term housing for people displaced by the hurricane. Bush named Bechtel's CEO to his Export Council and put the former CEO of Bechtel Energy in charge of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
See also this prescient Onion article: Halliburton Gets Contract To Pry Gold Fillings From New Orleans Corpses' Teeth
Patient advocates, meanwhile, say patients have First Amendment rights to describe their experiences with physicians. "Blogs and personal Web sites are no different than talking over the back fence," said Charles Inlander, president of People's Medical Society, a patient advocacy group in Allentown, Pa. "Those who read it have to take it with whatever grain of salt you would take, just like a neighbor. It's too bad if doctors are insulted by this."
Friday, September 16, 2005
Engineers, government officials and executives said at the meeting that amid its restructuring the industry needed further changes to reduce the frequency of blackouts as utilities that formerly generated power, transmitted it and delivered it were broken up into separate entities of competing businesses.
"The most serious mistake we can make is pretending that markets do things that they do not do," said Kellan Fluckiger, executive director of the electricity division at the Alberta Department of Energy. "Markets allocate risk, they allocate capital, they provide price signals. Markets do not have a conscience, they do not provide social policy, and they do not do things they are not paid to do."
When we asked 10 of the biggest names in science to explain the significance of their discipline we were surprised by their response: who would have thought understanding quantum theory was relevant to the abortion debate? Or that a diamond ring can take you back to Pangaea? Set your mind spinning with our guide to the World's 10 Biggest Ideas...
1. The big bang
3. Quantum mechanics
4. The theory of everything
8. Climate change
"It's a form of acoustical spying that should raise red flags among computer security and privacy experts," said Doug Tygar, UC Berkeley professor of computer science and information management and principal investigator of the study. "If we were able to figure this out, it's likely that people with less honorable intentions can - or have - as well."
New York City-based CPJ said that in most cases of killed journalists, the military has either failed to investigate at all, or has not made its investigation or conclusions public.
The series comes down hard on FEMA from the first graf: "The federal government's mishandling of Hurricane Katrina is just the latest in a series of missteps by a national disaster response system that for years has been fraught with waste and
FEMA's bungling during Katrina came as no surprise to the Sun-Sentinel, says Editor and Sr. Vice President Earl Mauker.
"We actually called for [Michael Brown's] resignation a year ago," he said, referring to the FEMA head who resigned earlier this week.
The Tribune Co.-owned Fort Lauderdale paper has been on FEMA's case since last year when its computer-assisted investigation turned up massive fraud and waste in the wake of Hurricane Frances. FEMA, the paper found, had paid millions of dollars in claims in Miami-Dade County -- even though the hurricane made landfall 100 miles away.
Make Poverty History, a coalition of more than 500 charities and social groups, said Monday it was "disappointed" by the decision from OFCOM, just days before world leaders gather in New York where the plight of the world's poor is on the agenda of the World Summit at UN headquarters.
Under the Guise of “Character and Civic Renewal” Ohio State Foists a Religious Moral Code upon Its Citizens
J. Kenneth Blackwell has stepped to the forefront of the American culture wars. Standing with his feet securely rooted in a form of Orwellian “Double-Think,” he has posted his official endorsement of a 20-point religious moral code claimed to be “a shared vocabulary of character-building ethics” on Ohio’s official Secretary of State web site. Blackwell wrote, “Character is the cornerstone of American citizenship. And good citizenship is the foundation of community. It is also the foundation of both good business and good government.” (Note that he places business before government.)
The 20-Rules to “good” character is titled “UncommonSense” which Blackwell recommends “as a character ethics model for Ohio’s business and government leaders.” Blackwell invites candidates for office to join him in launching “a revolution of character-building in our great state.”
Blackwell speaks candidly. It is a revolution in a deceptively pretty package. Hidden in its paragraphs are concepts of submission, obedience, inspection of the personal lives of people, and the loss of personal rights and freedom that would make America’s founding fathers stand on their heads in their graves. In short it is a Dominionist document: a religious treatise in secular terms, but dominionist to the core. It’s a brilliant little package to get millions of evangelical Christians and their friends to accept authoritarian government without even a whisper of protest.
In response, FEMA awarded millions of dollars in disaster funds to residents of Miami-Dade County, even though the area did not experience hurricane conditions.
FEMA officials, the governor and the White House steadfastly denied suggestions that politics played a role in the distribution of hurricane aid in Florida.
But records contained in hundreds of pages of e-mails of Governor Jeb Bush suggest otherwise. According to the documents, a federal consultant to FEMA predicted that a disaster could reflect poorly on President Bush and suggested that his re-election staff be brought in to minimize any political liability.
Nearly 75 percent of all detainees arrested are being set free because there is not enough evidence that they pose a threat, according to the Army. Many -- about half -- are freed within days of their arrests by the units or divisions that captured them. But thousands of others are sent to major prisons, such as Abu Ghraib, where they are waiting an average of six months before their release, according to 1st Lt. Kristy Miller, spokeswoman for the military's detention system in Iraq.
"A Homeland Security Customs Enforcement Department top-secret audit of contracting in Iraq is beginning to reveal a level of corruption and fraud that is crippling both reconstruction and self defense efforts. Water and electricity supplies are at lower levels than one year ago, while the lines at gas stations have become longer. A weapons procurement of more than $5 billion for the Ministries of Defense and Interior under interim Prime Minister Iayd Allawi has reportedly completely disappeared, while a $300 million purchase of 24 military helicopters from Poland bought obsolete aircraft, many of which had already been stripped for parts. Work has never started on hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure-improvement contracts given to military cronies. Several deputy ministers who balked at signing multimillion-dollar fictitious contracts have been fired and replaced by more amenable appointees. Meanwhile, the disproportionate number of Kurds in the Defense Ministry is diverting funds and equipment to peshmerga militia units preparing to seize Kirkuk. On the other side of the Green Zone, the Interior ministry's police commandos provide cover for anti-Sunni hit teams from the Iranian-supported Badr Brigade and from rogue Shi'ite radical Moqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army. The Potemkin-villiage Baghdad government is increasingly irrelevant to the future of Iraq."
Citing congressional testimony by former FBI Director Louis Freeh, Orenstein rejected the request and told the Justice Department to appeal if it wanted further clarification. Freeh had assured Congress that "the authority for pen registers and trap and trace devices cannot be used to obtain tracking or location information."
"I begged him to let me continue," said Perlmutter, who left his home and practice as an orthopedic surgeon in Pennsylvania to come to Louisiana and volunteer to care for hurricane victims. "People were dying, and I was the only doctor on the tarmac (at the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport) where scores of nonresponsive patients lay on stretchers. Two patients died in front of me.
"I showed him (the U.S. Coast Guard official in charge) my medical credentials. I had tried to get through to FEMA for 12 hours the day before and finally gave up. I asked him to let me stay until I was replaced by another doctor, but he refused. He said he was afraid of being sued. I informed him about the Good Samaritan laws and asked him if he was willing to let people die so the government wouldn't be sued, but he would not back down. I had to leave."
''As a researcher, I base what I say on evidence and there was no evidence for a lot of what was being reported," says Kathleen Tierney, a sociologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder and director of the Natural Hazards Center there. ''I don't think I've ever seen such an egregious example of victim blaming as I have in this disaster."
Scientists at the data centre are bracing themselves for the 2005 annual minimum, which is expected to be reached in mid-September, when another record loss is forecast. A major announcement is scheduled for 20 September. "It looks like we're going to exceed it or be real close one way or the other. It is probably going to be at least as comparable to September 2002," Dr Serreze said.
"This will be four Septembers in a row that we've seen a downward trend. The feeling is we are reaching a tipping point or threshold beyond which sea ice will not recover."
Cynthia Magnuson, a spokeswoman for the Justice Department, said Thursday she couldn't comment "because it's an internal e-mail."
Shown a copy of the e-mail, David Bookbinder, senior attorney for Sierra Club, remarked, "Why are they (Bush administration officials) trying to smear us like this?"
The Sierra Club and other environmental groups had nothing to do with the flooding that resulted from Hurricane Katrina that killed hundreds, he said. "It's unfortunate that the Bush administration is trying to shift the blame to environmental groups. It doesn't surprise me at all."
The legislation, which drew immediate criticism from environmental groups, would create a 120-day period in which the agency's administrator, Stephen L. Johnson, could waive or modify laws if it became "necessary to respond in a timely and effective manner" to a situation created by the storm.
The proposal would allow changes in law at the discretion of the Bush administrator in consultation with the governor of "any affected state."
* Tonight President Bush will talk about how there is some optimism that we can see as we move forward. We’re going to build a better Gulf Coast, a better New Orleans and we’ll work with local officials to make sure that happens.
* This will be a massive funding effort at every level of government. We shouldn’t just look at government - we’re seeing private charities, and the American people’s enormous compassion. [More]
“ ... its indispensable role has been further strengthened by the capacity to study DNA,” the group wrote.
The conservative majority on the State Board of Education have accepted science standards that were proposed by proponents of intelligent design, which holds that the complexities of life point toward evidence of a master planner. A final vote on the standards is expected in October or November.
The Nobel winners, however, said intelligent design could not be tested as a scientific theory “because its central conclusion is based on belief in the intervention of a supernatural agent.”
The group said it wanted to defend science and reject “efforts by the proponents of so-called intelligent design to politicize scientific inquiry.”
Bush's entire presidency and reelection campaign were organized around one master idea: He stood as the protector and savior of the American people under siege. On this mystique he built his persona as a decisive man of conviction and action. In the 2004 election, a critical mass of voters believed that because of his unabashed patriotism and unembarrassed religiosity he would do more to protect the country. They also believed that his fervor must be strength. The criticism of Bush that he was overzealous, simplistic and single-minded only served to reinforce his image.
You know how when someone dies in a terrorist attack, media always publishes their high school or vacation photos? youblewmeupyoubastard.com is there to help. "We'll store a photo of you, giving it large at the terrorists what done you in, and in the event of your body being blown to bits by a suicide bomber, we'll supply your disgusted image to all news services."
Picture shows Mike from Roseville, USA. Mike's tag line: "Now I'm seriously ticked off!"[from MetaFilter.com]
But in order to do so, he relied upon a statutory authority that has been dormant for thirty years and that appears to be legally inoperative.
"I find that the conditions caused by Hurricane Katrina constitute a 'national emergency' within the meaning of section 3147 of title 40, United States Code," President Bush declared on September 8 as he removed the Davis Bacon Act wage supports for workers in Louisiana, and portions of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
But this emergency statute was one of numerous authorities that were rendered dormant by the National Emergencies Act of 1976, and that can only be activated by certain procedural formalities that were absent in this case.
In particular, the President must formally declare a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act, and he must specify which standby legal authorities he proposes to activate so as to permit congressional restraint of emergency powers.
Strangely, however, President Bush proceeded as if the National Emergencies Act did not exist.
The September 8 presidential declaration was "an anomaly," according to a new Congressional Research Service assessment, and it did not follow "the historical pattern of declaring a national emergency to activate the suspension authority."
"The propriety of the President's action in this case may be ultimately determined in the courts," the CRS report stated delicately.
The newly updated CRS report, written by Harold C. Relyea, traces the evolution of emergency powers and includes a tabulation of declared national emergencies from 1976-2005.
See "National Emergency Powers," Congressional Research Service, updated September 15, 2005 (esp. pp. 18-19): http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/98-505.pdf
The group, headed by Jordanian-born radical Abu Musab Zarqawi, previously was composed almost exclusively of militants from other Arab nations, and has symbolized the foreign dimension of a stubborn insurgency fighting to oust U.S. forces.
But Zarqawi "is bringing more and more Iraqi fighters into his fold," a U.S. official said, adding that Iraqis accounted for "more than half his organization."
Although Zarqawi is believed to command fewer than 1,000 fighters, the daring and lethal nature of their attacks, coupled with Zarqawi's links to the Al Qaeda terrorist network, has made him the most notorious figure in the Iraq insurgency.
Last year, we took a letter from 20 webcasters opposing this to WIPO. They temporarily abandoned webcasting then, but now there are sneaky moves afoot to get it back on the table.
Before the 4-1 vote Tuesday, McLennan County Commissioner Ray Meadows said about 80 residents had complained of blocked roads, loud music and public health and safety concerns during the 26-day protest near Bush's ranch outside Crawford, about 20 miles west of Waco.
"It's not a First Amendment issue. It's a safety issue," Meadows said, adding that "no parking" signs could be put up this week.
ACLU: Troops Say They Used Techniques "Remembered From the Movies"; Deaths Could Have Been Avoided with Better Training
"When troops rely on movies to learn interrogation techniques rather than proper training, our government has failed and the blame is on Washington, not Hollywood," said Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director of the ACLU. "Once again we have evidence of widespread abuse, but no high ranking government official or member of the military has been held accountable for the actions that occurred on their watch."
Thank you to Democratic Underground for the link. However (credit where it's due) the above is not written by me but a copy-paste from MetaFilter.com. The actual author is insomnia_lj
Thursday, September 15, 2005
The employee is prepared to testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee and was expected to identify the person who ordered him to destroy the large volume of documents, said Rep. Curt Weldon R-Pa.
Weldon declined to identify the employee, citing confidentiality matters. Weldon described the documents as "2.5 terabytes" — as much as one-fourth of all the printed materials in the Library of Congress, he added.
A Senate Judiciary Committee aide said the witnesses for Wednesday hearing had not been finalized and could not confirm Weldon's comments.
Army Maj. Paul Swiergosz, a Pentagon spokesman, said officials have been "fact-finding in earnest for quite some time."
Pulling that familiar lever could become a thing of the past. Connecticut must change to comply with the Help America Vote Act, which was created in the wake of the 2000 Bush/Gore presidential election. That means spending millions of dollars for new machines, but that's easier said than done.
"Never did we get any indication from the federal government that such a ruling would be made so close to the deadline," says Secretary of the State Susan Bysiewicz.
The surprise for Bysiewicz is how quickly that change could take place. The election assistance commission has ruled Connecticut's 3,300 lever machines may have to be replaced before the 2006 election, because the machines are not accessible to all voters. Local election leaders could be forced to use optical scan or touch screen devices.
The United States could use medium or long-range aircraft or sea-based cruise missiles or ballistic missiles to contribute to the prompt global strike (PGS) mission. However, only long-range ballistic missiles have the range and prompt attack capability needed to strike suddenly at the start of an unanticipated conflict. The Air Force and Navy have both studied the possible deployment of conventional warheads on their long-range ballistic missiles. The Navy sought funding, in FY2003 and FY2004, for research into a reentry vehicle that would be able to maneuver when approaching its target. The improved accuracy would allow effective strikes with conventional warheads. Congress refused to fund the project, but the contractors have continued some research into the program. The Air Force is pursuing, with DARPA, research into a number of technologies that might enhance the U.S. longrange strike capability. In particular, it is developing a hypersonic glide vehicle, known as the Common Aero Vehicle (CAV), that could carry conventional munitions and be deployed on modified Minuteman II or Peacekeeper missiles.
"Diebold threatened violators with immediate dismissal," the insider, who we'll call DIEB-THROAT, explained recently to The BRAD BLOG via email. "In 2005, after one newly hired member of Diebold's technical staff pointed out the security flaw, he was criticized and isolated."
In phone interviews, DIEB-THROAT confirmed that the matters were well known within the company, but that a "culture of fear" had been developed to assure that employees, including technicians, vendors and programmers kept those issues to themselves.
The "Cyber Security Alert" from US-CERT was issued in late August of 2004 and is still available online via the US-CERT website. The alert warns that "A vulnerability exists due to an undocumented backdoor account, which could a [sic: allow] local or remote authenticated malicious user [sic: to] modify votes."
"Now it's time to do what you've always done best: lose interest and walk away. Like you did with your military service and the oil company and the baseball team. It's time. Time to move on and try the next fantasy job. How about cowboy or space man? Now I know what you're saying: there's so many other things that you as President could involve yourself in. Please don't. I know, I know. There's a lot left to do. There's a war with Venezuela. Eliminating the sales tax on yachts. Turning the space program over to the church. And Social Security to Fannie Mae. Giving embryos the vote.
"But, Sir, none of that is going to happen now. Why? Because you govern like Billy Joel drives. You've performed so poorly I'm surprised that you haven't given yourself a medal. You're a catastrophe that walks like a man. Herbert Hoover was a shitty president, but even he never conceded an entire city to rising water and snakes.
"On your watch, we've lost almost all of our allies, the surplus, four airliners, two trade centers, a piece of the Pentagon and the City of New Orleans. Maybe you're just not lucky. I'm not saying you don't love this country. I'm just wondering how much worse it could be if you were on the other side.
"So, yes, God does speak to you. What he is saying is: 'Take a hint.' "
Stare decisis (Latin:[ˈstareː ˈdekisis], Anglicisation:[ˈstaːɹɛ dəˈsajsɪs], "to stand by things decided") is a Latin legal term, used in common law to express the notion that prior court decisions must be recognized as precedents, according to case law.
This doctrine is not held within most civil law jurisdictions as it is argued that this principle interferes with the right of judges to interpret law and the right of the legislature to make law. Most such systems, however, recognize the concept of jurisprudence constante, which argues that even though judges are independent, they should rule in a predictable and non-chaotic manner. Therefore, judges' right to interpret law does not preclude the adoption of a small number of selected binding case laws.
The principle of stare decisis can be divided into two components:
The first is the rule that a decision made by a higher court is binding precedent which a lower court cannot overturn.
The second is the principle that a court should not overturn its own precedents unless there is a strong reason to do so and should be guided by principles from lateral and lower courts. The second principle is an advisory one which courts can and do occasionally ignore.
Unlike executives at so many corporations, who would be loath to let their customers anywhere near the inner workings of their software tools, the Lego honchos saw an opportunity to lean on the collective thinking of an Internet community to improve their own product while bolstering relations with committed customers.
All it took was being open-minded enough to see that their biggest fans weren't trying to rip them off; they were trying to improve Lego's products in a way that, just maybe, the company's own designers hadn't thought of.
As of Wednesday, few if any members of Congress had been informed by the administration of the president's plans. But Congressional leaders nonetheless offered Mr. Bush advice on his speech.
Democrats have introduced several "resolutions of inquiry" to compel President Bush and members of his Cabinet to release all information relating to communications with British officials before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and the Valerie Plame case.
Even before Katrina hit, the accusations and criticisms for both federal and local leaders were endless. First, national attacks on the slow search and rescue efforts, and now more trouble concerning the recovery of Katrina's dead. Governor Blanco has just inked the deal with Kenyon International to lead body recovering efforts. The only problem -- Kenyon's parent company is Service Corporation International, a scandal-ridden, Texas-based company accused in a number of lawsuits for illegally discarding and desecrating corpses.
The state Department of Health and Hospitals says it was unaware of the company's legal troubles and was only doing what the governor had asked.
In remarks that caused alarm among civil libertarians and advocates for immigrants rights, Romney said in a speech to the Heritage Foundation that the United States needs to radically rethink how it guards itself against terrorism.
''How many individuals are coming to our state and going to those institutions who have come from terrorist-sponsored states?" he said, referring to foreign students who attend universities in Massachusetts. ''Do we know where they are? Are we tracking them?"
''How about people who are in settings -- mosques, for instance -- that may be teaching doctrines of hate and terror," Romney continued. ''Are we monitoring that? Are we wiretapping? Are we following what's going on?"
As he ponders a potential run for president in 2008, Romney has positioned himself as a homeland security expert: He sits on a federal homeland security advisory council, is active on the issue with the National Governors Association, and repeatedly speaks about the lessons the country has learned from the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001 and, more recently, from Hurricane Katrina.
They adopted a watered-down package of reforms to be endorsed by the leaders of the world attending the 60th anniversary meeting of the global body.
Proposed new rules on nuclear weapons proliferation and disarmament were completely disregarded.
"It's a real disgrace," said UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, lamenting the omission, which reportedly came after Washington gave only lukewarm support for the reforms.
This land rush has long-term implications in a city where many of the poorest residents were flooded out. It raises the question of what sort of housing — if any — will be available to those without a six-figure salary. If New Orleans ends up a high-priced enclave, without a mix of cultures, races and incomes, something vital may be lost.
"There's a public interest question here," said Ann Oliveri, a senior vice president with the Urban Land Institute, a Washington think tank. "You don't have to abdicate the city to whoever shows up."
For now, though, it's a seller's market, at least for habitable homes.
"The raison d'etre of the United Nations is to promote global peace and tranquility," he told the General Assembly. "Therefore, any license for pre-emptive measures which are essentially based on gauging intentions rather than objective facts ... is a blatant contradiction to the very foundation of the United Nations and the letter and the spirit of its charter."
Washington had been a key force in trying to marshal enough support at Monday's board meeting of the Vienna-based IAEA for referral. But in comments Wednesday, Rice indirectly acknowledged that drive was faltering.
"I am not so concerned about exactly when it happens," Rice told the Fox News Editorial Board, "because I don't think this matter is so urgent that it has to come on Sept. 19."
The European Union has taken the lead in trying to persuade Iran to halt development of nuclear activities that could be used to make weapons in exchange for economic concessions.
The European official said that - as of Thursday - any resolution in Vienna demanding immediate referral to the Security Council would have "only a slim majority of two or three countries" on the 35-member IAEA board.
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Where is the national debate about our priorities which Katrina should prompt? What does it take to wake us up? It is a debate that must begin, if not on this Senate Floor, then in the barber shops and grocery stores of America and in the print and broadcast media of this great nation.
Speaking to Reuters, Justice Minister Abdul Hussein Shandal also criticized U.S. detentions of Iraqi journalists and said the media, contrary to U.S. policy in Iraq, must have special legal protection to report on all sides in the conflict.
"No citizen should be arrested without a court order," he said this week, complaining that U.S. suggestions that his ministry has an equal say on detentions were misleading.
"There is abuse (of human rights) due to detentions, which are overseen by the Multinational Force (MNF) and are not in the control of the justice ministry," said Shandal, a Shi'ite judge respected for standing up to Saddam Hussein on the rule of law.
Killings and unjustified arrests of Iraqi civilians by U.S. troops risked going unpunished, he said, because of U.N. Security Council resolution 1546, which granted U.S.-led forces sweeping powers following their overthrow of Saddam in 2003.
In "Private Warriors," FRONTLINE correspondent Martin Smith travels throughout Kuwait and Iraq to give viewers an unprecedented behind-the-scenes look at companies like Kellogg, Brown & Root, a Halliburton subsidiary, and its civilian army. KBR has 50,000 employees in Iraq and Kuwait that run U.S. military supply lines and operate U.S. military bases. KBR is also the largest contractor in Iraq, providing the Army with $11.84 billion dollars in services since 2002.
Historically, there is nothing new about the military's use of private contractors, but the Iraq war has seen outsourcing on an unprecedented scale. The policy change came after the Cold War when the Pentagon was downsizing under then Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney. Cheney first hired Halliburton as a consultant and later became the company's president. Halliburton subsidiary KBR is now one of the largest recipients of government contracts.
FRONTLINE visits the biggest Halliburton/KBR run base, Camp Anaconda, in the Sunni triangle. Behind concrete walls 28,000 soldiers and 8,000 civilians live in bases that offer Taekwondo and Salsa lessons, movie theatres, fast food courts, and four meals a day. The amenities are impressive, but some argue that there is a price to pay. Says a former base commander Marine Colonel Thomas X. Hammes, "it's misguided luxury … somebody's risking their lives to deliver that luxury."
And while KBR was glad to provide Smith with a tour of the facilities, they weren't able or willing to answer some basic questions about how much certain services -- like feeding the troops -- cost.
Response from OpTruth.org:
Personally, I loved the part where the KBR mayor of Anaconda tries to convince the reporter that they don't know how much it costs to serve each meal per person. I found it just incredulous that he would even try to say that. And the press co-ordinator was equally amusing. I don't know what it is about catching someone in telling a whopper that makes it so interesting, but it just does! You bet that KBR knows exactly how much it costs per serving. They have to know the costs to make money. Yet when the reporter asked the actual mayor of Anaconda how much it cost per serving, he knew. About $20.00 per meal. To me, that amount is staggering. When I was in the Navy, they had the cost of a meal broken down to $8.35 per DAY.
Yet just as the risks of a killer storm are rising, the city's natural defenses are quietly melting away. From the Mississippi border to the Texas state line, Louisiana is losing its protective fringe of marshes and barrier islands faster than any place in the U.S. Since the 1930s some 1,900 square miles (4,900 square kilometers) of coastal wetlands—a swath nearly the size of Delaware or almost twice that of Luxembourg—have vanished beneath the Gulf of Mexico. Despite nearly half a billion dollars spent over the past decade to stem the tide, the state continues to lose about 25 square miles (65 square kilometers) of land each year, roughly one acre every 33 minutes.
My friends, the truth is that our circumstances are not only new; they are completely different than they have ever been in all of human history. The relationship between humankind and the earth has been utterly transformed in the last hundred years. We have quadrupled the population of our planet. The population in many ways is a success story. The demographic transition has been occurring more quickly than was hoped for, but the reality of our new relationship with the planet brings with it a moral responsibility to accept our new circumstances and to deal with the consequences of the relationship we have with this planet. And it's not just population. By any means, the power of the technologies now at our disposal vastly magnifies the average impact that individuals can have on the natural world. Multiply that by six and a half billion people, and then stir into that toxic mixture a mindset and an attitude that says its okay to ignore scientific evidence - that we don't have to take responsibility for the future consequences of present actions - and you get a collision between our civilization and the earth.
Instead, the Foreign Agent Registration Act database housed at the Justice Department— which is a public record by law—is a shadowy, complicated beast. And that seems to be just fine with the government officials in charge of it.
For example, many of the most damning records in the Washington, D.C., scandal involving indicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff lay buried in the FARA database until they were finally dug up by congressional investigators. The database is rich in such records, everything from meetings between government officials and high-powered lobbyists to public relations campaigns.
The Justice Department defended its stewardship of the FARA database when contacted by the Center for this report.
"It is the mission of the FARA office to provide public information in a timely, effective and fair manner," said Justice Department spokesman Bryan Sierra in an email response to questions from the Center. "The FARA staff is committed to providing publicly available information as quickly and efficiently as possible." (See the Center's response to Justice and the Department's reply.)
Whether by design or neglect, the FARA public records office itself is a Byzantine operation. It is only open to the public for only four hours each day, although it allows the lobbyists for foreign principals to stop by with filings anytime between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The [June 3, 2004] Scope of Work expressly directed the contractor to plan for the following specific conditions:
* "Over one million people would evacuate from New Orleans. Evacuees would crowd shelters throughout Louisiana and adjacent states."
* "Hurricane surge would block highways and trap 300,000 to 350,000 persons in flooded areas. Storm surge of over 18 feet would overflow flood-protection levees on the Lake Pontchartrain side of New Orleans. Storm surge combined with heavy rain could leave much of New Orleans under 14 to 17 feet of water. More than 200 square miles of urban areas would be flooded."
* "It could take weeks to `de-water' (drain) New Orleans: Inundated pumping stations and damaged pump motors would be inoperable. Flood-protection levees would prevent drainage of floodwater. Breaching the levees would be a complicated and politically sensitive problem: The Corps of Engineers may have to use barges or helicopters to haul earthmoving equipment to open several hundred feet of levee."
* "Rescue operations would be difficult because much of the area would be reachable only by helicopters and boats."
* "Hospitals would be overcrowded with special-needs patients. Backup generators would run out of fuel or fail before patients could be moved elsewhere."
* "The New Orleans area would be without electric power, food, potable water, medicine, or transportation for an extended time period."
* "Damaged chemical plants and industries could spill hazardous materials."
* "Standing water and disease could threaten public health."
* "There would be severe economic repercussions for the state and region."
* "Outside responders and resources, including the Federal response personnel and materials, would have difficulty entering and working in the affected area."
What are ruler-and-compass constructions? In contrast to making use of a ruler with divisions to take the measure of things and express it in metres or feet, ruler-and-compass constructions only use undivided rulers and compasses.
Not all patterns can be constructed by (strict) ruler-and-compass rules. For instance, a regular heptagon � 7-sided polygon � can not be constructed in this way. See the ruler-and-compass constructions page to learn more. There are, however, other ways of constructing odd-numbered polygons. Refer to the non ruler-and-compass constructions page.
How are cropcircle reconstructions worked out? Usually, it takes a number of steps. First, I use MS Word, insert the aerial picture as a background image and draw ellipses and lines over it as accurately as possible in accordance with the pattern. This helps to get an idea about the internal relationships, and to have a means to make measurements.
How far have these technologies come in teaching us new truths about our moral selves? How far could they go? And what will be the implications of a new biopsychological science of natural morality? “The truth, if it exists, is in the details,” wrote Wilson, and therefore I will concentrate on the details of three sets of very recent experiments, each of which approaches the problem using a different method: an Internet survey, a cognitive study of infants, and a study of brain imaging. Each is at the cutting edge of moral psychology, each is promising but flawed, and each should be greeted with a mix of enthusiasm and interpretative caution.
To cover every armed conflict* in the world within one year, and in doing so to provide a clear idea of the combatants, victims, causes, and costs of each of these struggles - and their global impact. With honest, thoughtful reporting we'll strive to establish Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone as a forum for information and involvement. Users will not only learn about the scope of world conflict, but will find ways to be part of the solutions- through dialogue, debate, and avenues for action.
How We'll Do It:
Veteran war correspondent Kevin Sites will travel solo to these conflict zones, aided by a U.S.-based "mission control" team: Producer Robert Padavick (NBC News, CNN) and Researcher Lisa Liu (Radio Free Asia, International Medical Corps).
Using the latest technology, including high-definition digital cameras and satellite modems, Kevin will deliver stories via a five-fingered multimedia platform of text, photography, video, audio, and interactive chat - all available on one website (http://hotzone.yahoo.com).
Swapping Scoops: Every Night the 'NY Times' and 'Wash Post' Exchange Front Pages for the Following Day
"It seemed logical, because for years we would always try to get a copy of each other's papers as soon as they came out," Downie tells E&P. "It made sense to both of us to make it simpler for everybody." Lelyveld, who left the Times in 2001, declined comment.
Catalog your books online
- Easy. Catalog your books online (example); no software required.
- Powerful. LibraryThing mines the full Library of Congress catalog—ideal for collectors and scholars.
- Free. Enter 200 books for free; lifetime membership $10 (beta special).
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Karlton said he was bound by precedent of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which in 2002 ruled in favor of Sacramento atheist Michael Newdow that the pledge is unconstitutional when recited in public schools.
The Supreme Court dismissed the case last year, saying Newdow lacked standing because he did not have custody of his elementary school daughter he sued on behalf of.
Enter stage right Thailand, which says it may ask Google to "block images of important state buildings vulnerable to attack". Armed forces spokeschap Major General Weerasak Manee-in told Reuters: "We are looking for possible restrictions on these detailed pictures, especially state buildings. I think pictures of tourist attractions should do, not crucial places which could threaten national security."
The recent news that South Korea is to take the US to task over Google Earth images which expose its military installations to close Commie scrutiny has provoked a mini stampede of other peace-loving nations eager to protect their assets from prying eyes.
Enter stage right Thailand, which says it may ask Google to "block images of important state buildings vulnerable to attack". Armed forces spokeschap Major General Weerasak Manee-in told Reuters: "We are looking for possible restrictions on these detailed pictures, especially state buildings. I think pictures of tourist attractions should do, not crucial places which could threaten national security."
Lutfullah Mashal, Afghanistan's Interior Ministry spokesman, said commanders helped the al Qaeda leader escape from the Tora Bora mountains as U.S. warplanes and Afghan forces attacked his hideout near the Pakistan border in late 2001.
"The help was provided because of monetary aid availed by al Qaeda and also partly because of ideological issues," Mashal said.