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Showing posts from June, 2007

England Almighty

It seems Americans are not alone when it comes to the whacky apocalyptic department. The summer floods are God's judgement on the immorality and greed of modern society, claim senior Church of England bishops.

One, the Bishop of Carlisle, even said that the introduction of pro-gay laws had provoked God to send the storms that have left thousands homeless.

The bishops argued that while those affected are innocent victions, the flooding was a result of western civilization's decision to ignore biblical teaching. The Rt Rev Graham Dow, said that the floods were not only a result of a lack of respect for the planet, but also a judgement for decadence.

"This is a strong and definite judgement because the world has been arrogant in going its own way," he said. "We are reaping the consequences of our moral degredation, as well as the environmental damage that we have caused." I know that Pat Robertson is probably wetting himself over this, but shouldn't he sue t…

Better Fed Than Red

Uncle Putin may want to revive the Soviet Union and the Cold War, but that doesn't mean the rest of his newly wealthy countrymen are ready to follow him all the way back into the past. MOSCOW (Reuters)-Russia capped its journey from communism to capitalism on Sunday with the opening of a $1,000-a-night (500-pounds-a-night) luxury hotel on the site of an old Soviet hostelry best known for its surly service and bugged telephones.

The Ritz-Carlton hotel near Moscow's Red Square sets a new standard for decadence in a city where an oil-driven economic boom has created an explosion of wealth and a headlong rush to spend it.

The hotel's presidential suite-where the dining room is fitted with bullet-proof glass and windows-costs a little over $16,000 a night.

That does not include breakfast, but hotel staff recommend the Tsar's breakfast, a $700 per person meal that includes Cristal champagne, Belugia caviar and a truffle omelette. Karl Marx must be spinning in his grave.

Tehran Tea

Iranians may finally be figuring out what the rest of the world already knows.
Yet last week, two years after his election to power on a promise to help Iran's dontrodden masses, Mr Ahmadinejad, 49, finally learnt the downside of the demagogic approach-namely, that running a country of 69 million inhabitants as a one-man band involves taking blame as well as credit.

The issue was not over his notorious threats to "wipe Israel off the map", his defiance on Iran's nuclear programme, nor his puritanical desire to return to the early days of the Islamic revolution. Instead, the man who considers himself on a divine mission was floundering because of his inability to minister to one of his flock's most basic needs: petrol.

On Tuesday, a proclomation from his palace suddenly imposed a fuel ration of three litres (0.6 gallons) a day, a move designed to stockpile supplies because of fears of United Nations sanctions.

Within hours his name was being cursed, as motorists clash…

Fly Me To The Moon

Now this would be cool, for those who have a few hundred million to spend.
ASPEN, Colo.-You don't have to pack your bags quite yet, but passenger travel to the Moon is on the flight manifest of a space tourism company.

The price per seat will slap your wallet or purse for a swift $100 million-but you'll have to get in line as the first voyage is already booked.

Space Adventures, headquartered in Vienna, Va., is in negotiations with the customers who will fly the first private epedition to fly around the Moon.

"I hope to have those contracts signed by the end of the year," said Eric Anderson, Space Adventurers' president and CEO. Eat your heart out, Arthur C. Clarke, wherever you are.

Mom, Taxes And Apple Pie

Of course a Democrat would say something like this.Just in time for the Forth of July holiday, Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.) equated higher taxes with patriotism during the third nationally-televised Democratic Presidential debate Thursday evening.

When asked if she believed Americans were paying enough taxes, Clinton praised billionaire U.S. investor Warren Buffett because, as she said, "He's honest enough to say, look, tax me because I'm a patriotic American."

She went on, "We have to change the tax system and we've got to get back to having those with the most contribute to this country." When in doubt, fall back on the old "It's all the fault of those evil capitalists" mantra. Republicans may be bereft of ideas these days, but at least they're not recycling Roosevelt-era socialism.

Understanding McCain

This is why John Mccain, for all his faults, probably would have made a better president than what we have now had he won the nomination back in 2000. I opposed Senator McCain in this immigration debate. I believed the policies he advocated were wrong for America and I used every tool at my disposal to defeat his position. However, the way Senator McCain conducted himself represented the essential qualities of leadership the American people deserve.

Senator McCain didn't speak in generalities. He spoke in spedivid terms. He didn't take a position and change his position when he came under withering fire. He didn't pander. He didn't equivocate. He didn't demean his opponents in the Senate or insinuate we harbored base motives or secret prejudices. He was motivated by principal. He believed he was serving his country. He was not inspired by political strategists who foolishly believed they could use this bill to grow the Republican party, and did not lecture his colle…

Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?

And now we have toddler trannies.From the moment we're born, our gender identity is no secret. We're either a boy or a girl. Gender organizes our world into pink or blue. As we grow up, most of us naturally fit into our gender roles. Girls wear dresses and play with dools. For boys, it's pants and trucks.

But for some children, what's between their legs doesn't match what's between their ears--they insist they were born into the wrong body. They are transgender children, diagnosed with gender identity disorder, and their parents insist this is not a phase.

"A phase is called a phase because it is just that. It ends. And this is not ending. This is getting stronger," Renee Jennings told ABC News' Barbara Walters. The Jennings asked that "20/20" not disclose their real name in order to protect the identity of their 6-year-old transgender daughter, Jazz. Welcome to the age of sex change operations for kids. Ain't politically correct child…

Glasgow Goes Boom

The ROP has struck again.Two men rammed a flaming sport utility vehicle into the main terminal of Glasgow airport Saturday, crashing into the glass doors at the entrance and sparking a fire, witnesses said. Police said two suspects were arrested.

The airport-Scotland's largest-was evacuated and all flights suspended, a day after British police thwarted a plot to bomb central London, discovering two cars abandoned with loads of gasoline, gas canisters and nails.

"One has to conclude...these are linked," Dame Pauline Neville-Jones, former head of Britain's joint intelligence committee, told Sky News. "This is a very young government, and we may yet see further attacks." But I thought all terrorism in the UK was Tony Blair's fault for following Bush into Iraq! You mean they hate the Brits no matter who's in charge? What are they, nuts? Oh...wait.

General Mistrust

In case you were wondering, it's not just the Administration's fault that Iraq got screwed up as much as it did. Last December, Lt. Col. Paul Yingling attended a Purple Heart ceremony for soldiers injured in Iraq. As he watched the wounded troops collect their medals, the 41-year-old officer reflected on his two combat tours in Iraq.

He was frustrated at how slowly the Army had adjusted to the demands of guerilla war, and ashamed he hadn't done more to push for change. By the end of the ceremony, he says, he could barely look the wounded troops in the eyes. Col. Yingling hust had been chosen to lead a 540-soldier battalion. "I can't command like this," he recalls thinking.

He poured his thoughts into a blistering critique of the Army brass, "A Failure in Generalship," published last month in Armed Forces Journal, a nongovernment publication. "America's generals have been checked by a form of war that they did not prepare for and do not unders…

We Shall Overcome

I wonder if Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton will get all worked up over this.JACKSON, Miss., June 29--The head of a Mississippi Democratic Party organization illegally suppressed white residents' votes, a federal judge ruled Friday in the first case filed by the Justice Department alleging that whites were subjected to voting discrimination based on race.

U.S. Districtc Judge Tom S. Lee ruled that Ike Brown, chairman of the Democratic Executive Committee of Noxubee County, violated the Voting rights Act by issuing different procedures for collecting and counting absentee ballots from white and black voters. The executive committee, also found liable in the case, is responsible for administering Democratic primaries in the county.

There was "ample direct and circumstantial evidence of an intent to discriminate against white voters which has manifested itself through practices designed to deny and/or dilute the voting rights of white voters in Noxubee County," Lee's ruling…

Closing Time

Hans Blix's old outfit is calling it quits.
The UN Security Council has voted to close down the weapons inspections programme set up to monitor former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's arsenal.

The UN Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (Unmovic) was set up in 1999 to check Iraq no longer had any weapons of mass destruction (WMDs).

Its inspectors permanently quit Iraq just before the US invasion in 2003.

The US cited the presence of WMDs in Iraq as justification for its invasion though no such weapons were ever found. Well, at least Hans still has copies of all the angry letters and memos that Kofi Annan wrote to remember those times by.

It's Alive

Congratulations! It's a new species.Scientists could create the first new form of artificial life within months after a landmark breakthrough in which they turned one bacterium into another.

In a development that has triggered unease and excitement in equal measure, scientists in the US took the whole genetic makeup-or genome-of a bacterial cell and transplanted it into a closely related species.

This them began to grow and multiply in the lab, turning into the first species in the process.

The team that carried out the first "species transplant" says it plans within months to do the same thing with a synthetic genome made from scratch in the laboratory.

If that experiment worked, it would mark the creation of a synthetic life form. Wow. If new life forms are created that develop sentience, and they start looking for their gods, they're going to be awfully disappointed.

Invasion Of The Stupids

What is it about disasters that bring out both the best and the dumbest in people? Along with wind shifts, floating embers and evacuation orders, homehowners and firefighters in the Angora Fire in South Lake Tahoe must deal with another unpredictable factor--the gawkers.

Onlookers drawn by the spectacle of the fire and firefighters' dramatic efforts have at times fought with tahoe residents and blocked traffic in attempts to wander close to fire zones. Fire authorities say they often have to deal with such lookie-loos, and they warn that people need to stay away from the fire areas.

"They're the disaster tourists," said Rex Norman, spokesman for the U.S. Forest Service. "They're people who seem to have driven long distances to look at burned houses, which is extraordinarily difficult for the affected residents."

Dave Martinez and Kimberly Holloway drive for more than an hour down from the lake's north shore to take in the spectacle. In the Gardner Moun…

Murphy's Law

Reality TV, meet reality.
MURPHY, Texas-A sting in which police teamed up with "Dateline NBC" to catch online pedophiles was supposed to send a flinty-eyed, texas-style warning about this Dallas suburb: Don't mess with Murphy.

Instead, it has turned into a fiasco.

One of the 25 men caught in the sting-a prosecutor from a neighboring county-committed suicide when police came to arrest him. The Murphy city manager who approved the operation lost his job in the ensuing furor.

And the district attorney is refusing to prosecute any of the men, saying many of the cases wer tainted by the involvment of amatuers.

"Certainly these people should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but the fact that this was all done for television cameras raises some questions," said Mayor Bret Baldwin. In an age in which we have government officials justifying all sorts of conduct in the name of catching and punishing bad guys overseas, it's nice to know that in George Bush'…

The Final Countdown

Team Bush has been put on notice that King George has to answer some questions.
WASHINGTON-Congressional Democrats took the first steps Friday in what could be a long march to court, with the Bush administration and Congress in a legal tug-of-war over executive and legislative branch powers.

In a letter to White House counsel Fred Fielding, the heads of the Judiciary committees demanded an explanation in 10 days of why the White House claimed executive privelage on subpoenaed documents and vowed to invoke "the full force of law."

The fight centers on an investigation that Democrats initially undertook into the firings of several U.S. attorneys, but which has since branched out to scrutiny of the administration's terrorism-era warrantless wiretapping and Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' stewardship of the Justice Department.

"The veil of secrecy you have attempted to pull over the White House by witholding documents and witnesses is unprecedented and damaging to th…

Martyr Mouse

Well, wasn't this a cute sendoff.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip-A Mickey Mouse lookalike who preached Islamic domination on a Hamas-affiliated children's television program was beaten to death in the show's final episode Friday.

In the final skit, "Farfour" was killed by an actor posing as an Israeli official trying to buy Farfour's land. At one point, the mouse called the Israeli a "terrorist."

"Farfour was martyred while trying to defend his land," said Sara, the teen presenter. He was killed "by the killers of children," she added. I take it she hadn't been paying attention to who was killing whom in Gaza recently.

Ditching The Doctrine

On the heels of the defeat of the immigration bill comes a flash of sanity from the House. The House voted overwhelmingly Thursday to prohibit the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) from using taxpayer dollars to impose the Fairness Doctrine on broadcasters who feature conservative radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

By a vote of 309-115, lawmakers amended the Financial Services and Government appropriations bill to bar the FCC from requiring broadcasters to balance conservative content with liberal programming such as Air America.

The vote count was partly a testament to the influence that radio hosts wield in many congressional districts.

It was also a rebuke to Democratic senators and policy experts who have voiced support this week for regulating talk radio. Sorry, John Kerry. You'll have to find some other way to bore people to death.

Fein By Me

Wow. Now this is what I call a smackdown. Under Dick Cheney, the office of the vice president has been transformed from a tiny acorn into an unprecedented giant oak. In grasping and exercising presidential powers, Cheney has dulled political accountability and concocted theories for evading the law and Constitution that would have embarrassed King George III. The most recent invention we know of is the vice president's insistence that an executive order governing the handling of classified information in the executive branch does not reach his office because he also serves as president of the Senate. In other words, the vice president is a unique legislative-executive creature standing above and beyond the Constitution. The House judiciary committee should commence an impeachment inquiry. As Alexander Hamilton advised in the Federalist Papers, an impeachable offense is a political crime against the nation. Cheney's multiple crimes against the Constitution clearly qualify. Do y…

Channeling Nixon

Here comes that Watergate feeling again... The White House asserted executive privelage and rejected two subpoenas from lawmakers probing last year's firings of eight U.S. prosecutors.

"The president has decided to assert executive privelage and therefore the White House will not be making any production in response to these subpoenas for documents," White House Counsel Fred Fielding wrote ina letter to Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont and Representative John Conyers of Michigan, chairmen of the Sneate and House Judiciary Committees.

The White House resistance is likely to touch off a constitutional showdown over Congress's ability to investigate the firing of prosecutors and the president's ability to obtain frank counsel from advisers. Paranoid and secretive is no way to go through the tail end of a term. son...

Hungry Like The Wolf

If a moonbat faints and nobody cares, does it still make a sound?
A member of the anti-war group Code Pink who had staged a hunger strike in order to force a meeting with Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) on his stance on Iran collapsed in the senator's office Thursday.

Leslie Angeline, who had recently traveled to Iran, wanted to discuss the senator's remakrs from earlier this month that indicate he would support a limited air strike on the country.

The 50-year-old woman launched a hunger strike to get a face-to-face meeting with Lieberman but was repeatedly rebuffed, according to Code Pink. However, Lieberman's staff has met with her on the issue. Well, I'm sure Lieberman will have a thick, juicy burger in her honor.

Diversity Derailed

Affirmative action got another setback in its efforts to ensure that all students will be equal whether they've earned it or not. WASHINGTON-The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected diversity plans in two major school districts that take race into account in assigning students but left the door open for using race in limited circumstances.

The decision in cases affecting schools in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle could imperil similar plans in hundreds of districts nationwide, and it further restricts how public school systems may attain racial diversity.

The court split, 5-4, with Chief Justice John Robers announcing the court's judgement. The court's four liberal justices dissented. When Martin Luther King said he wanted people to be judged not on the color of their skin but on the content of their character, somewhere a liberal said, "Not yet. We need 'em to prove our case first."

Buffett Spread

Oh, please.Warren Buffett, the third-richest man in the world, has criticised the US tax system for allowing him to pay a lower rate than his secretary and his cleaner.

Speaking at a $4,600-a-seat fundraiser in New York for Senator Hillary Clinton, Mr Buffett, who is worth an estimated $52 billion (26 billion) said: "The 400 of us [here] pay a lower part of our income in taxes than our receptionists do, or our cleaning ladies, for that matter. If you're in the luckiest 1 per cent of humanity, you owe it to the rest of humanity to think about the other 99 per cent."

Mr Buffett said that he was taxed at 17.7 per cent on the $46 million he made last year, without trying to avoid paying higher taxes, while his secretary, who earned $60,000, was taxed at 30 per cent. Mr Buffett told his audience, which included John Mack, the chairman of Morgan Stanley, and Alan Patricof, the founder of the US branch of Apax Partners, that US government policy had accentuated a disparity of wea…

All Your Polar Bears Are Belong To Us

Now Uncle Putin literally wants to be on top of the world. Russian leader Vladimir Putin has made an astonishing bid to grab a vast chunk of the Arctic, giving himself claim to its vast potential oil, gas and mineral wealth.

His audacious argument that an underwater Russian ridge is linked to the North Pole is likely to lead to an international outcry.

Some commentators have already observed it is further evidence of growing Russian assertiveness under its authoritarian president. Well, Pootie, maybe we can lay claim to Siberia in return, 'cause it was once connected to Alaska. This is a stretch, Pootie, even for you.

Boozing It Up

If there's anything that illustrates how Team Bush feels about fiscal responsibility, it's this cautionary tale.
The project started in 2003 with a $2 million contract to help the new Department of Homeland Security quickly get an intelligence operation up and running.

Over the next year, the cost of the no-bid arrangement with consultant Booz Allen Hamilton soared by millions of dollars per month, as the firm provided analysts, administrators and other contract employees to the department's Information Analysis and Infrastructure Protection offices.

By December 2004, payments to Booz Allen had exceeded $30 million--15 times the contract's original value. When department lawyers examined the deal, they found it was "groosly beyond the scope" of the original contract, and they said the arrangement violated government procurement rules. The lawyers advised the department to immediately stop making payments through the contract and allow other companies to compete …

Unbalancing Act

History's second biggest loser (after Al "The Lorax" Gore) has joined the chorus of his fellow Demwits in demanding equal time on the airwaves. Wednesday morning Sen. John Kerry (D.-Mass.) told WYNC's Brian Lehrer: "The Doctrine ought to come back. One of the most profound changes to the balance of the media is when conservatives got rid of equal time requirements. And the result is... you know they've been able to squeeze down and squeeze out opinion of opposing views."

Since the Fairness Doctrine was repealed, conservative talk radio has exploded in popularity, while liberal efforts like Air America went bankrupt. The Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank comprised of many former Clinton Administration staffers, issued a report on June 21 titled "The Structural Imbalance of Political Talk Radio" that concluded 91 percent of weekday talk radio is conservative. Translation: People like conservative talk radio because it's enter…

Fidel Junior 4 Life

Latin America's favorite Fidel wannabe wants to stick around.WASHINGTON (Reuters)-Insecurity, "malignant narcissism" and the need for adulation are driving Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez's confrontation with the United States, according to a new pshychological profile.

Eventually, these personality traits are likely to compel Chavez to declare himself Venezuela's president for life, said Dr. Jerrold Post, who has just completed the profile for the U.S. Air Force.

Chavez won elections for a third time last December. Since then he has stepped up his anti-American rhetoric, vowed to accelerate a march towards "21st Century socialism" and suggested that he intends to stay in power until 2021-a decade beyond his present term.

But Post--who profiled foreign leaders in a 21-year career at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and now is the director of the Political Psychology Program at George Washington University--doubts that Chavez plans to step down even th…

The Envoy

Well, if anyone could pull it off, he could.
UNITED NATIONS-The United Nations, United States, European Union and Russia announced the appointment Wednesday of Tony Blair as their representative to promote peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

A statement from the so-called Quarted of international mediators said the former British prime minister will seek to mobilize international assistance to the Palestinians and develop plans to promote Palestinian economic development.

Blair will also seek international support to address the needs of Palestinian government institutions, "focusing as a matter of urgency on the rule of law," the statement said. Blair is the closest thing we have to the type of modern-day Solomon the ME needs. If they won't listen to him, the region really is doomed.

Welcome To The Party, Pal

Can you say poetic justice?BAGHDAD (AP)-Saddam Hussein's cousin Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," and two other regime officials will probably be hanged in Kurdistan if the appeals court upholds their death sentences, an Iraqi official said Tuesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not supposed to release the information to the media, said no final decision had been taken but the executions would probably take place in either Irbil or Halabja. Bring popcorn.

Jesus Heart Giuliani

That sound you hear is of fundamentalist heads exploding.VIRGINIA BEACH-Conservative televangelist Pat Robertson praised the pro-choice, pro-gay rights Rudy Giuliani to the rafters yesterday-stopping just short of giving the former mayor his blessing for the presidency.

"This is supposed to be a nonplotical thing," Robertson said in introducing Giuliani at a lecture series at the preacher's Regent University here. "But we would be remiss to forget the fact that he seems to be running for President."

"And in point of fact," added Robertson, a co-founder of the powerful Christian Coalition, "he may one day become not New York's mayor, but America's leader. So it's a great pleasure to welcome a dear friend and a great leader."

Robertson praised Giuliani as an "outstanding" mayor who cleaned up New York, then rallied the nation and the city through the horrors of Sept. 11.

For Giuliani, who remains atop most national polls of R…

The Age Of Libertarianism

An interesting look at how the downfall of both the religious right and the radical left may have given rise to something more sensible. Evangelicals and Aquarians were more alike than they knew. Both sought firsthand spiritual experience, both believed that such experience could set them free and change their lives; both favored emotional intensity over intellectual rigor; both saw their spiritual lives as a refuge from a corrupt and corrupting world. That last point, of course, was subject to radically different interpretations. Aquarians rejected the establishment because of its supposedly suffocating restrictions, while the evangelicals condemned its licentious, decadent anarchy. Between them, they left the social peace of the 50's in ruins.

(snip) But no new, improved social consensus emerged to replace the one that collapsed. Instead, with the culture wars and division between "red" and "blue" America, our ideological categories and allegiences continue to…

No Docs, No Dough

It looks like Number Two has changed his mind.Dick Cheney's office is abandoning a justification for keeping the Vice-President's secret papers out of the hands of the National Archives.

Officials working for Cheney had tried to claim he is separate from the executive branch, but they will no longer pursue that defense, senior administration officials tell The Politico.

The decision follows a threat by rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), the No. 3 House Democrat, to try to cut off the office's $4.8 million in executive-branch funding. Funny how the threat of losing one's paycheck can suddenly make them pay attention.

The Will To Win

That durn librul Newt Gingrich offers his thoughts as to what's wrong with the current WOT strategy and why it may cost us big time down the road. The Hamas victory in Gaza is a warning that World War IV (as Norman Podhoretz has called it) is going to be long and hard. It is also a warning that the West is currently losing that war.

These defeats are not a function of the courage and will of the American people. In a June poll sponsored by American Solutions, 85 percent of the American people said it was important to defend America and its allies. Only 10 percent were opposed. On an even stronger question, 75 percent said it was important to defeat America's enemies. Only 16 percent disagreed.

So the hard left in America is only 16 percent. It is outnumbered almost 5-1 by those who would defeat our enemies.

The source of failure is not to be found in the American people but in the inarticulate and unimaginative leaders all across government who now preside instead of lead.

The tra…

Mommy's Little Terrorist

Can anyone explain exactly what the point of this is? US celebrity and anti-war activist Rosie O'Donnell has been labelled "sick" and "hungry for public attention" after posting a photo on her blog of her four-year-old daughter dressed as a child soldier.

The controversial image of Vivienne is accompanied by a video called "dress up."

The video begins with the headline, "Last Year a Princess", and shows pictures of the youngster wearing various princess-like outfits.

Then the headline, "This Year a Soldier" appears, followed by a series of images of Vivienne in camouflage clothing, with a toy ammunition belt wrapped around her shoulder.

The video ends with the message "Peace Out" and a close-up shot of Vivienne's eye. Don't worry, kid. When you're in therapy years from now for drug abuse and trying to rob a convenience store, you'll know who to blame.

"Give Me Gas Or Give Me Death"

Ima Dinnerjacket may be prepping for war, but it appears not all Iranians are willing to sacrifice for the duration.
At least one petrol station has been set on fire in the Iranian capital, Tehran, after the government announced fuel rationing for private motorists.

Iranians were given only two hours' notice of the move that limits private drivers to 100 litres of fuel a month.

Despite its huge energy reserves Iran lacks refining capacity, forcing it to import about 40% of its petrol.

Tehran is trying to rein in fuel consumption over fears of possible UN sanctions over its nuclear programme. But I thought the nuke program was supposed to help the Iranians with their energy-oh, wait. They need to use it against those nasty Joos and Westerners first, don't they?

Blondie's Latest

Only Ann Coulter could make me feel any sympathy for John Edwards.RALEIGH, N.C. (AP)-Elizabeth Edwards pleaded Tuesday with Ann Coulder to "stop the personal attacks," a day after the conservative commentator said she wished Edwards' husband, Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards, had been killed by terrorists.

"The things she has said over the years, not just about John but about other candidates, lowers the political dialouge at precisely the time we need to raise it," Edwards said by phone on MSNBC's "Hardball" program, where Coulter was a guest.

Elizabeth Edwards said she did not consult her husband before confronting Coulter on the air, adding that she felt the pundit's remarks were "a dialogue of hatefulness and ugliness."

"It debases political dialogue," Edwards said. "It drives people away from the process. We can't have a debate about issues if you're using this kind of language." Well what …

Risk Isn't Our Business

Now this is what I call grasping at straws.
Two things happened on Thursday: 1) A Newsweek poll was released, showing that approval ratings for Congress have fallen to Bushian levels, with only 25 percent of Americans giving Congress their favor. 2) The Blackstone Group, an enormous private equity firm, got the OK to go public, bringing its market value to $40 billion. Like all private equity firms, Blackstone's income is taxed as capital gains at 15 percent, instead of the standard corporate tax rate of 35 percent.

It doesn't take a public relations consultant to figure out what happened next. (Actually, it probably took at least a dozen, but who's counting?) With a whiff of desperation in the air, Congress took a flying leap on the Blackstone-bashing bandwagon.

Leading the charge was the once and future presidential candidate and Ohio Democratic Rep. Dennis Kucinich. He shot off a letter to the SEC (along with Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Ca.)) asking the agency to hold up the Blac…

Minister Of Murder

Oh, yeah, the Iraqis are really ready for democracy. BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN)-Authorities in Iraq on Tuesday raided the home of the country's Sunni culture minister, whom they accused of killing two people during an assassination attempt two years ago.

The Iraq Judiciary Council issued a warrant for Assad al-Hashimi, who wasn't home when his central Baghdad house was raided, an action denounced by Sunni political groups.

The charges against al-Hashimi stemmed from an assassination attempt on parliamentary candidate Mithal al-Alusi on February 8, 2005.

Al-Alusi escaped unharmed, but two of his soms were killed in the incident, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told CNN. I'd like to know what it's like being an Iraqi politician's campaign manager: "OK, you can kill your opponent, but just make sure it's in the name of driving out the Americans. We don't want to lose the moderate swing vote here."

They Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges

Want to know why another terrorist attack is more than likely? Because of crap like this.Officials at O'Hare International Airport are refusing to interview with CBS 2 about our latest findings. The 2 Investigators have found more security breaches and afailure by authorities to investigate.

O'Hare is one of the busiest airports in the nation, and may be one of the most vulnerable.

The 2 Investigators have learned that 47 more employee access badges are missing, bringing the total we've discovered to 3,807-the biggest security failure involving access badges ever to be exposed. Bin Laden, if he's still alive, must be laughing his ass off. But hey, at least we're keeping the country safe from grannies from Ohio.

Breaking The Silence

Another durn librul is daring to question The Decider. WASHINGTON, June 25-After offering a bleak assessment of the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq, Senator Richard G. Lugar of Indiana, the ranking republican on the Foreign Relations Committee, said today that he was urging lawmakers and President Bush to change course quickly to protect a further erosion of America's standing in the world.

"We're heading into a very partisan era," Mr. Lugar said in an intereview today, following a speech he delivered on the Senate floor on Monday night in which he called on the administration to rethink its Iraq strategy. "The president has the opportunity now to bring about a bipartisan foreign policy. I don't think he'll have that option very long."

For months, Mr. Lugar has kept his skepticism about the president's Iraq policy to himself, selcom offering anything beyond a wait-and-see reply. But three weeks ago, Mr. Lugar said, he privately conclude…

Point Of Entry

If this is true, the next war in the War On Terror may be right around the corner.
Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have been spotted by British troops crossing the border into southern Iraq, The Sun tabloid reported on Tuesday.

Britain's defence ministry would not confirm or deny the report, with a spokesman declining to comment on "intelligence matters."

An unidentified intelligence source told the tabloid: "It is an extremely alarming development and raises the stakes considerably. In effect, it means we are in a full on war with Iran-but nobody has officially declared it." If it does come down to that, here's hoping we get it right this time.

Chowing Down Can Be Hazardous to Your Health

Hot dog 1, jawbone 0.
TOKYO-A Japanese man who set a world record by wolfing down dozens of hot dogs within minutes has suffered a severe jaw injury due to his rigorous training, making his next title uncertain.

Takeru "Tsunami" Kobayashi said he can only open his mouth to make a gap the size of a fingertip after being diagnosed with jaw arthritis.

In an entry on his blog entitled "Occupational hazard," Kobayashi said; "My jaw refused to fight anymore." You could say The Champ Chomps No More.

Death Takes The Witness

Now this is just bizzare.
ROME-An Italian accused of killing his American girlfriend after he kidnapped their daugher suffered a heart attack and died on the stand Monday as he testified in court for the first time, his lawyer said.

Carlo Ventre, 59, was pronounced dead at the scene by ambulance crews called to the Rome courtroom, attorney Roberto Leonardo said.

Ventre had been testifying calmly for 10 or 15 minutes about the first fights he had with girlfriend Tonu Dykstra when he suddenly said he did not feel well, Leonardo said. A few seconds later he was dead, he said. Poetic justice? God saving the court some time?

Remembering The Wolverine

I've been following this story all night, and I have to say I just don't know what to think.
Pro wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife and 7-year-old son were found slain Monday at their Fayetteville home, authorities said.

Detective Bo Turner told television station WAGA that the case was being investigated as a murder-suicide, but said that could not be confirmed until the evidence was examined by a crime lab.

WAGA reported that investigators believed Benoit killed his wife and son over the weekend, and then himself sometime Monday. That is just unreal. The guy was a great wrestler and seemed to be a good guy. What the hell happened???

Tom Cruise, Nein!

It must make the Germans feel good that there are some people who are whackier than their grandparents were. BERLIN (Reuters)-Germany has barred the makers of a movie about a plot to kill Adolf Hitler from filming at German military sites because its star Tom Cruise is a Scientologist, the Defense Ministry said on Monday.

Cruise, also one of the film's producers, is a member of the Church of Scientology which the German government does not recognize as a church. Berelin says it masquerades as a religion to make money, a charge Scientology leaders reject. Most religions start out as cults before they become respectable; the difference with Scientology is they know they're a cult; they just won't admit it.

The Conquerer Worm

Now it's worm farts.Jim Frederickson, the research director at the Composting Association has called for data on worms and composting to be re-examined after a German study found that worms produce greenhouse gases 290 times more potent than carbon dioxide.

Worms are being used commercially to compost organis material and is in preference to putting it into the landfill. The German government wants 45% of all waste to be composted by 2015.

"Everybody...thinks they can do no harm but they contribute to global warming. People are looking into alternative waste treatments but we have to make sure that we are not jumping from the frying pan into the fire," said Frederickson. Are they sure it's not really being caused by the worms' SUV's?

Mexico's Most Wanted

Honesty? They don't need no stinking honesty! Mexico temporarily removed all 284 of its top federal police officers from their jobs and is forcing them to undergo psychological reviews to prove they will not be corrupted in the fight against drug trafficking, the government said Monday.

Mexican authorities have often purged police forces in attempts to eliminate corruption, only to see many of the fired officers go to work full-time for organized crime. This is one of the most extreme measures taken yet in hopes of guaranteeing the honesty of high-ranking officers.

It also comes as Mexico seeks more U.S. aid in a nationwide crackdown on drug gangs. Washington has long complained about corruption hindering anti-smuggling efforts in Mexico. I'm sure that the Mexican government is shocked that there is drug dealing going on in its establishment.

Score One For Sanity

The European Union is getting it right on at least one issue.
PARIS-Europe's main human-rights body will vote on a proposal next week to defend the teaching of evolution and to keep creationist and "intelligent design" out of science class in state schools in its 47 member countries.

The unusual move shows that a U.S. trend for religiously based attacks on the theory of evolution is also worrying European politicans, who now see such arguments put forward in their countries by Christian and Islamic groups.

A report for the Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly says the campaign against evolution has its roots "in forms of religious extremism" and is a dangerous attack on scientific knowledge. Well, American fundamentalists can take some comfort in knowing that all them Yurapeens won't get into Heaven. Only the ignorant can do that.

Of Stocks And Sickos

Well looky here.Michael Moore's new documentary, Sicko, challenges U.S. healthcare. Yet in the coverage of the film, some intersting facts about Moore appear to be ignored. These facts are addressed on page 53 of the bestselling book by Peter Schweizer, Do As I Say (Not As I Do):

[Moore's] IRS forms make for interesting reading. Over the past five years, Moore's "savings account" has included such evil pharmaceutical and medical companies as Pfizer, Merck, Genzyme, Elan PLC, Eli Liilly, Becton Dickinson, and Boston Scientific. "Being screwed by your HMO and ill-sereved by pharmaceutical companies is a shared American experience," he recently told the Detroit News... He may savage HMOs in his film Sicko, but he has also owned shares of Pharmacia Corporation and tenet Healthcare. He may have liked their price-to-earnings ratios.

Note: The first edition of Schweizer's book is dated November 2005. The next time Mikey decides to praise Cuba's or Canada…

The Faster You Go, The Smaller You Get

Heh, heh. Ouch.
A new road safety campaign is hitting Australia's young male speeders where it hurts-their ego.

The latest TV campaign to encourage drivers to respect speed limits features attractive young women wiggling their little fingers at passing speedsters-a taunting gesture in Australia's youth culture that means a guy has a small penis.

The new, below-the-belt ad campaign was spearheaded by the New South Wales Roads and Traffic Authority, which claims speeding doesn't make you a big man. Maybe we should adopt a similar gesture here in the States for rude drivers. When somebody flips you the bird, respond in kind-but use your little finger instead.

My Son, The Fake

Doogie Howser, this kid ain't.
NEW DELHI-Indian police arrested the physician parents of a 15-year-old boy who allegedly carried out a Caesarean section under their supervision in an attempt to set a world record, an official said Monday.

An Indian Medical Association chapter in the southern state of Tamil Badu said last week Dr. K. Murugesan showed a video recording of his son, Dhileepan Raj, performing a Caesarean burth in an apparent bid to gain a spot in the Guinnes Book of World Records as the youngest surgeon.

The video allegedly showed Murugesan anesthetizing the patient before the boy started the operation in his father's maternity hospital in Manaparai city, said Venhatesh Prasad, secretary of the medical association. Well, there's always a need for doctors in prison. I just hope the kid doesn't mind pulling stuff out of inmates' behinds for the next several years.

The Smart One

I can't think of a better definition for what it means to be a conservative with brains than this.I can well recall even as a high schooler that Republicans were considered Midwestern stolid reactionaries with no ideas except to oppose generosity and kindness. I can well recall when being a conservative meant being without ideas and simply in opposition to those ideas. Or if conservatives had any ideas, they were just that them who had should continue to have and those who had not should rot.

Then came William F. Buckley, seemingly out of the forehead of Zeus. He said that conservatives had more ideas and better ideas than leftists. He said that conservatives' ideas comported better with the basic dignity of the human personality than did socialism. He said that man would not only be richer under conservative principals, but happier, more moral, and prouder of himself.

He said these things when the powers that be laughed at him. He said these things when the revolution came (I h…

And McCain Wept

Well, this is a start in the right direction.
In a 5-4 decision that has emboldened opponents of campaign finance restrictions, the U.S. Supreme Court Monday added wiggle room to a key provision of the landmark 2002 McCain-Feinglod campaign finance law.

The decision dealt with a provision of the law preventing corporations or unions from airing certain types of ads in the run-up to Election Day. Though the Court upheld the provision, it narrowed the types of ads to which it could be applied.

At a minimum, the ruling could pave the way for outside groups to air millions of dollars of hard-hitting ads naming specific candidates in the weeks leading up to Election Day 2008. It would also inspire further challenges to the provision as a whole, as well as other part of McCain-Feingold, which is despised by the political parties because it hinders their ability to raise and spend large sums of money, and by activists at both ends of the political spectrum, who assert it infringes on their free…

The Invisible Vice President

From TIME magazine (boo, hiss, get it out of your system) comes this analysis of why Number Two has become Number One's biggest liability. Bush stumped just about everyone seven years ago when he tapped the safe and solid Dick Cheney to be his running mate. But Bush didn't want any trouble. He didn't want a Vice President who preened before the cameras. He didn't want a policy sparring partner. And he didn't want someone who would check out after five years and run for President himself. And because Bush got exactly the kind of partner he wanted, he now faces the very problem he tried to avoid. Cheney has become the Administration's enemy within, the man whose single-minded persuit of ideological goals, creaking political instincts and love of secrecy produced an independent operation inside the White House that has done more harm than good.

On an imaginary political balance sheet, Cheney is the Democrats' most valuable asset. And reversing that situation is…

Hooked On Playstation

When is an addiction not an addiction? When it hasn't been studied yet. CHICAGO (Reuters)-Doctors backed away on Sunday from a controversial proposal to designate video game addiction as a mental disorder akin to alchoholism, saying psychiatrists should study the issue more.

Addiction experts also strongly opposed the idea at a debate at the American Medical Association's annual meeting.

They said more study is needed before excessive use of video and online games-a problem that affects about 10 percent of players-could be considered a mental illness. And how many of these headshrinkers were nerds who wasted all their spare time on Commodore 64s or playing Pac Man at the mall in their youth? (Um...not that I ever did...)

The Fool On The Hill

Look, I hate the IRS as much as anyone, but it's time for these people to come on down. PLAINFIELD, New Hampshire (AP)-To avoid serving prison sentences for tax evasion, Ed Brown and his wife, Elaine, have locked themselves off from the world on their own terms.

From behind the 8-inch concrete walls of their 110-acre hilltop compound, the couple taunt police and SWAT teams and play to reporters and government-haters with references to past standoffs that turned deadly.

Residents want the Browns' circus to end before their small town along the Connecticut River becomes the next Ruby Ridge of Waco. I know New Hampshire is the "Live Free Or Die" state, but the rest of their neighbors (well, most of them) probably pay their taxes. Being a suicidal attention whore isn't my idea of fighting for a cause.

The Jihad News Network

What, Al Jazeera wasn't available?TEHRAN, June 22 (UPI)-Iran's take on international events and issues gets global reach next month with the launch of a 24-hour, English-language satellite television news channel.

Mohammad Sarafraz, deputy head for international affairs of the state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting, or IRIB, said Press TV would present a "new perspective" on news events, according to reports by Iran Daily and the Mehrs News Agency.

Press TV, which goes on the air globally July 2, comes from the need to counter misinformation and mudslinging about Iran, he says. I'm sure the special series on how everything is the fault of those evil Joos will be a big hit.

Purging The Past

According to Uncle Putin, Stalin wasn't such a bad guy, after all. MOSCOW (AP)- President Vladimir Putin said Thursday no one should try to make Russia feel guilty about the Great Purge of 1937, saying it may have been one of the most notorious episodes of the Stalin era but "in other countries even worse things happened."

(snip) "We have not used nuclear weapons against a civilian population," he said. "We have not sprayed thusands of kilometers (miles) with chemicals, (or) dropped on a small country seven times more bombs than in all the Great Patriotic (War)"-Russia's name for World War II.

"We had no other black pages, such as Nazism, for instance," he said. No, you just put people in gulags, supported oppressive regimes, and nearly brought the world to the brink of nuclear war. Yep, you guys were real pussycats back in the day, right, Pootie?

Trendy Is As Trendy Does

Note to celebrities: if you want to wear Commie chic, don't do it in a country that had to fight the real thing. AGUAS CALIENTES, Peru-Actress Cameron Diaz appears to have committed a major fashion faux pas in Peru.

The voice of Princess Fiona in the animated "Shrek" films may have inadvertently offended Peruvians who suffered decades of violence from a Maoist guerilla insurgency by touring here Friday with a bag emblazoned with one of Mao Zedong's favorite political slogans.

While exlporing the Inca city of Machu Picchu high in Peru's Andes, Diaz wore over her shoulder an olive green messenger bag emblazoned with a red star and the words "Serve the People" printed in Chinese on the flap, perhaps Chinese Communist leader Mao's most famous political slogan.

While the bags are marketed as trendy fashion accessories in some world capitals, the phrase has particular resonance in Peru, where the Maoist Shining Path insurgency brought Peru to the edge of cha…

Ali Bye Bye

A very bad guy will be joining Saddam in hell.
Saddam Hussein's cousin, Ali Hassan al-Majid-who is also known as "Chemical Ali"-has been sentenced to death for the crime of genocide over his role in the mass killing of Kurds in 1988.

He was the architect of the campaign, ordering chemical gas strikes against civilian targets which killed around 180,000 Kurdish people.

Two other high-ranking members of Saddam Hussein's regime have also been sentenced to death: former defence minister Sultan Hashim al-Tai and former deputy chief of operations for the armed forces, Hussein Rashid al-Tikriti. Good riddance to all.

Buckeye Bonehead

Ah, those loveable Democrats. What class they have. BOARDMAN, Ohio-Ohio's chief law enforcer was caught on tape cursing a reporter outside a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama because of an article about a woman Dann raised as his daughter landing a state job.

Attorney General Marc Dann, a Youngstown Democrat, was headed into the fundraiser Wednesday when he spotted Warren Tribune Chronicle reporter Steve Oravecz and shouted, "Hey, Steve, write this down: Go (explecitive) yourself!"

Jennifer Brindisi, a spokeswoman for Dann, said the attorney general believed the article naming Mavilya Chubarova, 22, whom he raised as his daughter, was unfair.
"In talking to him, he's a father first," Brindisi said. "He felt someone was unfairly targeting or attacking his daughter, so the words were in protection of her." Well, what kind of a father would he be if he didn't show some nepotism?

The Girls Of Summer

If nothing else, the guy's got some major mojo going on.
IN the battle for the women's vote, Fred Thompson has a secret weapon against Hillary Clinton-the legions of former girlfriends who still adore him and who want him to be president.

The Hollywood actor and former Tennessee senator racked up an impressive list of conquests during his swinging bachelor days in the 1990s, but he appears to have achieved the impossible and kept their friendship and respect.

Lorrie Morgan, a country singer who dated Thompson and considered marrying him in the mid1990s, told The Sunday Times: "I couldn't think of a bad word to say about Fred if somebody put a gun to my head.

"Fred is a perfect example of chivalry. He's the kind of man little girls dream about marrying, who opens doors for you, lights your cigarettes, helps you on with your coat, buys wonderful gifts. It's every woman's fantasy." Thompson, who wooed Baroness Thatcher during a visit to London last week…

Sweet, Smart Georgia Brown

Meet the real-life Lisa Simpson. Her parents knew Georgia Brown was bright. After all, she could count to ten, recognised her colours and was even starting to dabble with French.

But it was only when their bubbly little two-year-old took an IQ test that her towering intellect was confirmed.

Georgia has become the youngest female member of Mensa after scoring a genius-rated IQ of 152.

This puts her in the same intellectual league, proportionate to her age, as physicist Stephen Hawking. So, when she's grown up she'll either come up with a Grand Theory of Everything or try and rule the world.

Here Come De Judge

Aw, what would he know?
WASHINGTON (AP)-A federal judge who used to authorize wiretaps in terrorist and espionage cases criticized Bush's decision to order warrantless surveillance after the Sept. 11 attacks.

Royce Lamberth, a district court judge in Washington, said Saturday it was proper for executive branch agencies to conduct such surveillance. "But what we have found in the history of our country is that you can't trust the executive," he said at the American Library Association's convention.

"We have to understand you can fight the war (on terrorism) and lose everything if you have no civil liberties left when you get through fighting the war," said Lamberth, who was appointed by President Reagan.

The judge disagreed with letting the executive branch alone decide which people to spy on in national security cases.

"The executive has to fight and win the war at all costs. But judges undestand the war has to be fought, but it can't be at all cost…

Et Tu, George?

Now it's Bush's turn.WASHINGTON-The White House said Friday that, like Vice President Dick Cheney's office, President Bush's office is not allowing an independent federal watchdog to oversee its handling of classified national security information.

An executive order that Bush issued in March 2003-amending an existing order-requires all government agencies that are part of the executive branch to submit to oversight. Although it doesn't specifically say so, Bush's order was not meant to apply to the vice president's office or the president's office, a White House spokesman said. Sorry, Your Majesty. Cheney might get away with this because he is technically correct in saying that his office is not part of the executive branch, but just what office do you think you hold? To paraphrase Harry Truman, the paranoia stops here.

That Old-Time Obama

You know why I can't stand the religious right? Because they force me to agree with this guy.HARTFORD, Conn. (AP)-Sen. Barack Obama told a church convention Saturday that some right-wing evangelical leaders have exploited and politicized religious beliefs in an effort to sow division.

"Somehow, womewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked," the Democratic presidential candiate said in remarks prepared for delivery before the national meeting of the United Church of Christ.

"Part of it's becaise of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who've been all too eager to exploit what divides us," the Illinois senator said. The religious wingnuts who have come to represent the GOP base are the bane of modern conservatism. I just wish more on the Republican side were willing to see it.

Mayor Of Graybarville

Beer makes normal people do stupid things. It makes politicians even stupider.
BRADLEY BEACH, N.J. (AP)-Jersey City Mayor Jerramiah Healy was convicted Friday of resisting arrest and obstruction of justice stemming from an altercation with police last hear.

Healy, 56, was fined $256. He testified in a municipal court trial earlier Friday that he was not drunk or disorderly on the night of June 17, 2006, when he tried to mediate a dispote between a young couple outside his sister's tavern.

Healy tesitified he had been five and seven glasses of beer, each about 9 or 10 ounces. He went outside and tried to help Jeff Barnes and Jackie Volante settle their differences when he was thrown to the ground and pepper-sprayed by police, he said. I wonder if that was before or after he stumbled into the cops.

Out Of The Blue

And God said, "Can you hear me now?" With no rain or even clouds to warn him of the danger, death came literally out of the blue Thursday to a self-employed landscaper. The killer was a powerful bolt of lightning that cracked through perfectly clear skies.

David Canales, 41, of West Miami-Dade, was on the job at a Pinecrest home when the bolt hit. It first seared a tree, then traveled and struck Canales, standing nearby.

Experts said Canales was killed by a weather phenomenon fittingly called a "blot from the blue" or "dry lightning" because it falls from clear, blue skies. He was pronounced dead at South Miami Hospital. Wow. God musta been angry at him big time for some reason...

Oh, That War

Darn those pesky Poles. How dare they remind Germany that it started a war.
Poland says it deserves more voting power in the European Union because the Germans killed so many of its people during World War II.

Polish Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kacynski said his country's population had been decimated by Nazi Germany and would otherwise be much larger than its current 38 million.

But the message from many other EU countries as they arrived for a summit on the division of power in the 27-nation bloc was simple-don't mention the War.

"The idea of basing today's decision on voting rights...on World War II is absurd," Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen told reporters.

"We are only demanding one thing, that we get back what was taken from us," Mr Kacynski said in a radio interview this week.

"If Poland had not had to live through the years 1939-45, Poland would be today looking at the demographics of a country of 66 million."

Hans-Gert Poettering, th…

The Lispy City

Cicago! Hog-butcher to the world! City of the big, umm...CHICAGO-Never mind that Chicago hosted the 2006 International Gay Games. Or that it has the country's first government-recognized gay neighborhood. Or that up to 400,000 people attend the city's Gay Pride Parade each year.

Chicago has yet to land on the map as one of the nation's most gay-friendly cities, but local officials hope to change that with the Center on Halsted. The $20 million gay community center on Chicago's North Side officially opened this month.

Designed by the architectural firm Gensler, the 65,000-square-foot, eco-friendly facility has a computer lab, office space for community organizations, a black-box theater, a gym named after tennis star Billie Jean King, a Whole Food supermaket and a rooftop garden named for Mayor Richard M. Daley.

"It's really an amazing dream come true," said Tracy Baim, editor and publisher of Windy City Times, one of the city's oldest gay publications. I…

Thou Shall Not Question Number Two

I knew Dick Cheney was a sneaky SOB, but come on.
WASHINGTON-House Democrats on Thursday denounced Vice President Dick Cheney's idea of abolishing a government office charged with safeguarding national security information-and criticized him for refusing to cooperate with the agency.

Cheney's office-over the objections of the National Archives-has exempted itself from a presidential executive order that seeks to protect national security information generated by the government, according to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Under the order, executive branch offices are required to give the Information Security Oversight Office at the archives data on how much material it has classified and declassified.

Cheney's office provided the information in 2001 and 2002, then stopped. Henry Wasman, chairman of the committee, said Cheney's office claims it need not comply with the executive order because it is not an "entity within the executive branch.&quo…

Abos Just Want To Have fun

There's a lot to like about John Howard, but then he goes and does stuff like this.
CANBERRA, Australia-Australia's prime minister announced plans thursday to ban pornography and alchohol for Aborigines in northern areas and tighten control over their welfare benefits to fight child sex abuse among them.

Some Aboriginal leaders rejected the plan as paternalistic and said the measures were discriminatory and would violate the civil rights of the country's original inhabitants. But others applauded the initiative and recommended extending the welfare restrictions to Aborigines in other parts of the country.

Prime Minister John Howard was responding to a report last week that found sexual abuse of children to be rampant in indigenous communities in the Northern Territory. The report said the abuse was fueled by endemic alchohol abuse, unemployment, poverty and other factors causing a breakdown in traditional society. Well, you could say that about a lot of minority groups. I'…

Gin And Juice

Meet the world's youngest Snoop Dogg fan.
A 10-month-old boy in Florida was caught on videotape sipping a high-octane cocktail-gin and juice-and his mother and two relatives now are facing child abuse charges.

The boy's 16-year-old Brandenton, Fla., mother was arrested Thursday and charged with one count of child neglect without great bodily harm, and one count of child abouse without great bodily harm, both of which are felonies.

An aunt, Heather L. Moore, 21, and John D. Bell, 45, an uncle, were arrested Wednesday and each charged with one count of child abuse without great bodily harm. I can hear the aunt and uncle on the witness stand now: "She my baby's bartender!"

His Jihad Is Marching On

The Religion That Dares Not Be Mocked is sticking with tradition.
TEHRAN, Iran--An high-level Iranian cleric said Friday that the religious edict calling for the killing of Salman Rushdie cannot be revoked, and he warned Britain was defying the Islamic world by granting the writer knighthood.

Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami reminded worshippers of the 1989 fatwa dyring a sermon at Tehran University, aired live on state radio. Thousands of worshippers chanted "Death to the English."

Khatami does not hold a governmental position but has the influential post of delivering the sermon during Friday prayers once a month in the Iranian capital. He did not directly call for the fatwa to be carried out.

"Awarding him means confronting 1.5 billion Muslims around the world," Khatami said. "In Islamic Iran, the revolutionary fatwa...is still alive and cannot be changed." Niether, apparently, can the Religion of Pieces.

O Hypocrisy, O Hypocrisy

Christmas may still be a ways off, but pork is never out of season.
Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) was all over the House floor last week, bashing Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.) and other Democratic leaders for not doing enough to disclose member earmarks early in the appropriations process, as Democrats had promised when they took over the House in January. Republicans eventually got Democrats to back down and release the earmark requests-read "pork"-earlier than Obey had planned, so McHenry got what he wanted. And now McHenry will be forced to defend his $129,000 earmark, via the Small Business Administration, for Christmas Trees.

Actually, the $129,000 is to go to The Mitchell County Development Foundation, "a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating jobs and strengthening the educational system, as well as promoting tourism in Mitchell County."

(snip) When asked about the earmark, McHenry doesn't like to use the word pork. The North C…

Condition Critical

I've heard of riding the Crazy Train, but this is ridiculous.
A heavy metal fan has been awarded sickness handouts after doctors said his addiction to music was a disability.

The ruling means Roger Tullgren, 42, will pocket thousands of pounds in state benefits to help finance his 36-year obsession.

His boss is also letting him play his ear-splitting music at work and giving him time off for concerts, reports the Daily Mirror.

It marks an end to Roger's 10-year bid to have his "condition", which began when he started listening to Ozzy Osourne's band Black Sabbath in 1971, officially classified as a handicap. Ah, if only I'd been able to move to Sweden twenty years ago. I could have been on easy street today.

The Airwaves Or Bust

Thanks to Trent Lott, the Left is now jumping on the anti-talk radio bandwagon. A liberal organization has gone on the attack against what it calls "right-wing talk" radio-while acknowledging that it totally dominates the airwaves today.

The Center for American Progress' new report, "The Structural Imbalance of Political talk Radio," questions whether the "companies licensed to broadcast over the public radio airwaves are serving the listening needs of all Americans," the Center's Web site states. "Right-wing talk reigns supreme on America's airwaves."

According to the report, 91 percent of the total weekday talk radio programming on stations owned by the top five commercial station owners is conservative, and 9 percent is liberal. Well darn that pesky free market. Always reminding leftists that they're a small minority.

Jumped On Juneteenth

A holiday which was created to celebrate freeing slaves now comes with beatings and assaults.
Police and organizers of Juneteenth events in two cities went out of their way Thursday to insist that attacks against drivers-one of which left an Austin, Texas, man dead-have nothing to do with the crowds attending the celebrations.

But in both cases, electronic evidence raises questions about how the crimes were being characterized by the officials.

In Austin, a woman who called 911 on tuesday night to report the brutal beating of David Rivas Morales, a 40-year-old man attacked by a crowd in a housing complex parking lot, said she struggled to get the police dispatcher to understand her location, and described the scene as a gang fight involving people celebrating Juneteenth at a nearby park, according to audio files released Thursday by the city.

In Milwaukee, news video clearly shows police responded in riot geat Tuesday night to disperse the crowd at that city's celebration after a man …

The Mayor That Roared

One is a former Mayor who is a nationally-know figure regarded as the hero of 9-11. The other is, well, a former Mayor.The race for president has been jolted by Mayor Michael Bloomberg's flirtation with an independent run for the White House next year.

But no one has been jolted as much as Bloomberg's predecessor, Rudy Giuliani.

Five and a half years ago, a hugely popular Giuliani virtually anointed unknown businessman Bloomberg as his successor.

But niw Bloomberg may now become the second New York mayor in the race for president. And the question is whether the two are headed for a collision. I'm sorry, but I don't consider turning Bloomberg into roadkill a collision.

New World Disorder

Well, at least Pat Buchanan and Joseph Farah will be happy.The chances of a global trade deal being clinched before President George W. Bush leaves the White House shrank dramatically on Thursday with talks between core negotiating partners collapsing again in division and acrimony.

In a near-exact repeat of events last summer, talks in Potsdam, Germany, between the four partners at the centre of the so-called Doha round or negotiations-the EU, US, Brazil and India-broke up with sides still far apart on cutting agricultural subsidies and goods tariffs. And this is supposed to be part of the great one world conspiracy? Forgive me if I'm not all that concerned.

Company Secrets

Before I go off too much on Team Bush, let's not forget they had plenty of precedent to draw from.
Washington D.C., June 21, 2007-The Central Intelligence Agency violated its charter for 25 years until revelations of illegal wiretapping, domestic surveillance, assassination plots, and human experimentation led to official investigations and reforms in the 1970s, according to declassified documents posted today on the Web by the National Security Archive at George Washington University.

CIA director Gen. Michael Hayden announced today that the Agency is declassifying the full 693-page file amassed on CIA's illegal activities by order of then-CIA director James Schesinger in 1973-the so-called "family jewels." Only a few dozen heavily-censored pages of this file have previously been declassified, although multiple Freedom of Information Act requests have been filed over the years for the documents. Gen. Hayden called today's release "a glimpse of a very differen…

Who Watches The Watchers

Well, it seems not everybody in Team Bush was on board with the King. WASHINGTON (AP)-The administration was sharply divided over the legality of President Bush's most controversial eavesdropping policies, a congressman quoted former Attorney General John Ashcroft as telling a House panel Thursday.

"It is very apparent to us that there was robust and enormous debate within the administration about the legal basis for the president's surveillance program," Intelligence Committee Chairman Silvestre Reyes, D-Texas, told reporters after a closed-door meeting with Ashcroft.

The point is critical to two matters being considered in the Democratic-controlled Congress: One is the House and Senate Intellgence committees' ongoing review of the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which includes an extensive examination of the president's warrantless eavesdropping program.

The other is the House and Senate Judiciary Committees' parallel examinations of current At…

Goodbye To Gitmo

Holy crap.WASHINGTON-The Bush administration is nearing a decision to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility and move the terror suspects there to military prisons elsewhere, The Associated Press has learned.

President Bush's national security and legal advisers are expected to discuss the move at the White House on Friday and, for the first time, it appears a consensus is developing, senior administration officials said on Thursday.

The advisors will consider a new proposal to shut the center and transfer detainees to one or more Defense Department facilities, including the maximum security military prison at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas, where they could face trial, said the officials. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing internal deliberations. But-but-they're terrists! They don't deserve the right to be charged or stand trial! We gotta keep Amurca safe from them terrists and torture's the only way to do it! What are these people, a bun…

Don't Ask, Don't Care

Well whaddya know. Them durn queers aren't such a big deal to their fellow service members, after all. In many ways Army private Karissa Urmanita is a typical U.S. soldier. The Pomona, Calif., native joined the Army to take advantage of its generous college tuition assistance program and to help support her family. She's close with her colleagues (calling them her "battle buddies"), and in her downtime from stocking the combat support hospital at Camp Bucca in southern Iraq, she likes to play cards and talk. But Urmanita, now 20, is an atypical soldier in at least one respect-she's an out lesbian.

In direct violation of "don't ask, don't tell," Ormanita was deployed to Iraq in March-two weeks aftere she came out to her command. And challenging the belief that open homosexuality would undermine unit cohesion and morale in combat, Urmanita says being out has had no negative impact.

(snip) As soldiers like Urmanita and Knight are finding out, being g…