Thursday, December 22, 2005

Jim Earl, Kent Jones and More

Morning Sedition is gone from Air America Radio.
But loads of bits have been saved at this fansite

Some good examples...

Jim Earl:
The War on Brains: Updates on the Bush administration's attack on our brains.
Rapture Watch: Milf Cardinal Milfington prophesizes off today's headlines -- more Dada than Van Impe
Sammy The Stem Cell: A misanthropic stem cell with a cute voice
Morning Rememberance: Obituaries with Grief Correspondent Mort Mortenson

Kent Jones:
Planet Bush: Lawton Smalls keeps trying to recruit Marc to Smalls's fragile universe of Bush true believin'

The Liberal Aggressor (became a regular, later known as Pendejo)
Swift Boat Vets vs the AARP

Hope you enjoy these.
They each run under 10 minutes.

Cheney Seeks 'Unimpaired' Presidential Power

President Bush's decision to bypass court review and authorize domestic wiretapping by executive order was part of a concerted effort to rebuild presidential powers weakened in the 1970s as a result of the Watergate scandal and the Vietnam War, Vice President Dick Cheney said Tuesday.
Returning from a trip to the Middle East, Cheney said that threats facing the country required that the president's authority under the Constitution be "unimpaired."
"Watergate and a lot of the things around Watergate and Vietnam, both during the 1970s, served, I think, to erode the authority I think the president needs to be effective, especially in the national security area," Cheney told reporters traveling with him on Air Force Two. "Especially in the day and age we live in … the president of the United States needs to have his constitutional powers unimpaired, if you will, in terms of the conduct of national security policy."

The Onion: Rove Implicated In Santa Identity Leak

The recent leak revealing Santa Claus to be "your mommy and daddy" has been linked to President Bush's senior political adviser and deputy chief of staff Karl Rove.
"If this devastating leak, which severely undermines the security of children everywhere and has compromised parent-child relations, came from the highest levels of the White House, that is an outrage," said former Bush counterterrorism adviser and outspoken Bush Administration critic Richard Clarke.
The identity of the mythical holiday gift-giver, previously known only in grown-up circles, was published in the popular Timbertoes cartoon in the December issue of Highlights For Children. Jean Abrams, a conservative firebrand known to have close ties to Bush appointees in the Department of Education, revealed "Santa" to be a code name for anonymous parental gift-giving.

How to Submit Links to Boing Boing

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Full Text of PA Ruling on Intelligent Design [PDF]

The court concluded that creation science “is simply not science” because it depends upon “supernatural intervention,” which cannot be explained by natural causes, or be proven through empirical investigation, and is therefore neither testable nor falsifiable. Id. at 1267. Accordingly, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas deemed creation science as merely biblical creationism in a new guise and held that Arkansas’ balanced-treatment statute could have no valid secular purpose or effect, served only to advance religion, and violated the First Amendment. Id. at 1264, 1272-74.
...Those who disagree with our holding will likely mark it as the product of an activist judge. If so, they will have erred as this is manifestly not an activist Court. Rather, this case came to us as the result of the activism of an ill-informed faction on a school board, aided by a national public interest law firm eager to find a constitutional test case on ID, who in combination drove the Board to adopt an imprudent and ultimately unconstitutional policy. The breathtaking inanity of the Board’s decision is evident when considered against the factual backdrop which has now been fully revealed through this trial. The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources.
To preserve the separation of church and state mandated by the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Art. I, § 3 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, we will enter an order permanently enjoining Defendants from maintaining the ID Policy in any school within the Dover Area School District, from requiring teachers to denigrate or disparage the scientific theory of evolution, and from requiring teachers to refer to a religious, alternative theory known as ID.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

FISA Court Judge Resigns, Reportedly in Protest

A federal judge has resigned from the court that oversees government surveillance in intelligence cases in protest of President Bush's secret authorization of a domestic spying program, according to two sources.
U.S. District Judge James Robertson, one of 11 members of the secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, sent a letter to Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. late Monday notifying him of his resignation without providing an explanation.
Two associates familiar with his decision said yesterday that Robertson privately expressed deep concern that the warrantless surveillance program authorized by the president in 2001 was legally questionable and may have tainted the FISA court's work.

Listening In and Naming Names

"...The press tends to shy away from covering America's largest and most secretive intelligence agency, fearing precisely the kind of scolding President Bush delivered to the New York Times. But the truth is that the NSA—which has an estimated $6 billion annual budget bigger than those of the CIA and the FBI combined—has a decidedly checkered history when it comes to playing by the rules." And yet, NSA abuse seems not limited to Bush. Now, possib ly, Carter and Clinton also used NSA for spying on civilians. That said, NSA seems also to have been used for non-miltary spying, to help selected American firms compete against rival companies elsewhere. What is curious about this agency is that it is the single biggest intelligence organization in our country and yet so few people know what they do, where they are, what they had been legally allowed to do. If, as we are told, tapping phones is necessary in our fight against terror, why then doesn't the FBI do this? If any mobster worth his blackjack knows not to use phones because they are potentially tapped, why are we told that NSA doesn't want terrorists alerted to our tapping their phones and therefore there ought not to be any discussion of this "strategy."? In sum, my suspicion is that a lot more is going on than we have thus far been told, and that in fact email and the internet are more involved in what is taking place than is phone tapping. [from]

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The 2005 Koufax Awards -- Nominations Are Open for Blog Excellence

Best Blog
Best Blog -- Pro Division
Best Writing
Best Post
Best Series
Best Single Issue Blog
Best Group Blog
Most Humorous Blog
Most Humorous Post
Most Deserving of Wider Recognition
Best Expert Blog
Best New Blog
Best Coverage of State or Local Issues
Best Commenter

Bush in 2004: Warrants always sought before surveillance

Now, by the way, any time you hear the United States government talking about wiretap, it requires -- a wiretap requires a court order. Nothing has changed, by the way. When we're talking about chasing down terrorists, we're talking about getting a court order before we do so. It's important for our fellow citizens to understand, when you think Patriot Act, constitutional guarantees are in place when it comes to doing what is necessary to protect our homeland, because we value the Constitution.

This American Life: Heretics

The story of Reverend Carlton Pearson, an evangelical pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma. His church, Higher Dimensions, was once one of the biggest in the city, drawing crowds of 5,000 people every Sunday. But several years ago, scandal engulfed the Reverend, he was denounced by almost all his former supporters, and today his congregation is just a few hundred people. He didn't have an affair. He didn't embezzle lots of money. His sin was something that to a lot of people is far worse ... he stopped believing in hell.
Video of Carlton Pearson and other ministers (including Bishop Yvette Flunder, who he talks about in his story) at a Harvard Divinity School conference last spring, talking about new directions in Pentecostalism.

Alaska 2004 Election in Question

The official vote results from the 2004 general election are riddled with mistakes and discrepancies, are impossible for the public to make sense of, and should be corrected as soon as possible, the Alaska Democratic Party says.
To most Alaskans, the election may seem like a long-done deal, something that concerns only political junkies, candidates and analysts. But questions have been swirling ever since the polls closed about how the results were tabulated and the reliability of the electronic voting machines, said Kay Brown, spokeswoman for the Democratic Party.

Censure motion introduced in House over Iraq, torture

Ranking House Judiciary Democrat Rep. John Conyers (D-MI) has introduced a motion to censure President Bush and Vice President Cheney for providing misleading information to Congress in advance of the Iraq war, failing to respond to written questions and potential violations of international law, RAW STORY has learned.
The resolutions were quietly introduced Sunday evening along with a third resolution (HR 635) to create a Select Committee to investigate the administration’s intent to go to war prior to congressional authorization. The committee would also be charged with examining manipulation of pre-war intelligence, thwarting Congressional oversight and retaliatory attacks against critics. As part of this resolution, House Judiciary Democrats seek also to explore violations of international law as pertaining to detainee abuse and torture of prisoners of war.

PA court rejects 'intelligent design' in science class

Dover Area School Board members violated the Constitution when they ordered that its biology curriculum must include the notion that life on Earth was produced by an unidentified intelligent cause, U.S. District Judge John E. Jones III said.
Several members repeatedly lied to cover their motives even while professing religious beliefs, he said.
The school board policy, adopted in October 2004, was believed to have been the first of its kind in the nation.
"The citizens of the Dover area were poorly served by the members of the Board who voted for the ID Policy," Jones wrote.

Remote Island of Nauru Loses Sole Passenger Jet to US Creditors

The loss of the Air Nauru 737 to a U.S. Government credit agency has forced the struggling airline to charter planes from other Pacific airlines to prevent the island's 10,000 residents from being cut off from the outside world.
The Australian newspaper says Nauru has entered secret discussions with the U.S. to try to persuade Washington to give back the 737, which was handed over to US officials at Melbourne airport at the weekend.
Nauru argued that repossessing the plane would breach secret promises of financial aid made to Nauru by the U.S. Government in return for its help in fighting terrorism.

for more on Nauru hear this from This American Life.

Legality of Bush Eavesdropping Order Questioned

Morning Edition · President Bush has claimed that a legal measure passed in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks gives him the authority to authorize domestic spying. His critics say that another measure, passed in 1978, severely limits such spying. [Excellent piece from NPR]

Monday, December 19, 2005

When Nixon Met Elvis

Dear Mr. President.
First, I would like to introduce myself. I am Elvis Presley and admire you and have great respect for your office. I talked to Vice President Agnew in Palm Springs three weeks ago and expressed my concern for our country. The drug culture, the hippie elements, the SDS, Black Panthers, etc. do NOT consider me as their enemy or as they call it The Establishment. I call it America and I love it. Sir, I can and will be of any service that I can to help The Country out. I have no concern or Motives other than helping the country out.
So I wish not to be given a title or an appointed position. I can and will do more good if I were made a Federal Agent at Large and I will help out by doing it my way through my communications with people of all ages. First and foremost, I am an entertainer, but all I need is the Federal credentials. I am on this plane with Senator George Murphy and we have been discussing the problems that our country is faced with.
Sir, I am staying at the Washington Hotel, Room 505-506-507. I have two men who work with me by the name of Jerry Schilling and Sonny West. I am registered under the name of Jon Burrows. I will be here for as long as it takes to get the credentials of a Federal Agent. I have done an in-depth study of drug abuse and Communist brainwashing techniques and I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good.
I am Glad to help just so long as it is kept very Private. You can have your staff or whomever call me anytime today, tonight, or tomorrow. I was nominated this coming year one of America's Ten Most Outstanding Young Men. That will be in January 18 in my home town of Memphis, Tennessee. I am sending you the short autobiography about myself so you can better understand this approach. I would love to meet you just to say hello if you're not too busy.

Elvis Presley

P. S. I believe that you, Sir, were one of the Top Ten Outstanding Men of America also.
I have a personal gift for you which I would like to present to you and you can accept it or I will keep it for you until you can take it.

Studio 360 on Failure - Guest: Chris Elliott

Chris Elliott got his break on David Letterman's show, playing an assortment of creepy losers like "the guy under the stairs." In the '90s his TV series Get a Life, and his film, Cabin Boy, were considered huge bombs, but both went on to become cult favorites. Elliott's new novel, The Shroud of the Thwacker, is a historical time-traveling murder mystery, written with absolutely no research.

Feds Visit Student's Home Over Book Request

A senior at UMass Dartmouth was visited by federal agents two months ago, after he requested a copy of Mao Tse-Tung's tome on Communism called "The Little Red Book."
Two history professors at UMass Dartmouth, Brian Glyn Williams and Robert Pontbriand, said the student told them he requested the book through the UMass Dartmouth library's interlibrary loan program.
The student, who was completing a research paper on Communism for Professor Pontbriand's class on fascism and totalitarianism, filled out a form for the request, leaving his name, address, phone number and Social Security number. He was later visited at his parents' home in New Bedford by two agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the professors said.
The professors said the student was told by the agents that the book is on a "watch list," and that his background, which included significant time abroad, triggered them to investigate the student further.

Op-ed Payola, not just for the White House anymore

An outcry arose over the Bush administrations payments to multiple columnists to push the Bush agenda without disclosing the payments. Now it turns out Jack Abramoff had op-ed columnists on his payroll too. Doug Bandow has just resigned as a senior fellow of the Cato Institute after being discovered taking payola from Abramoff's clients. Josh Marshall claims this practice is endemic in DC. There are even shops in DC that specialize in ginning up bogus 'man on the street' opeds which they then get placed on major oped pages. Another area where my reporting showed this to be very common was among foreign lobbyists, a number of whom had ex-foreign service officers and various other foreign policy bigwigs on retainer to write opeds advocating on behalf of their clients. Actually, 'write' overstates the matter. The lobbying firm writes the OpEd and the expert signs it. [from]