Friday, January 30, 2004
:: Xinhuanet - Bush dodges questions over calls for independent intelligence inquiry ::
WASHINGTON, Jan. 30 (Xinhuanet) -- US President George W. Bush dodged questions on Friday over the possibility of an independent inquiry into prewar intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction programs, only saying he wants to "know the facts."
At a brief question and answer session at the White House aftera meeting with economists, Bush was asked for his comments overmounting calls for an independent investigation into theintelligence reports his administration used to go to war with Iraq.
"I, too, want to know the facts," Bush told reporters. "I wantto be able to compare what the Iraq Survey Group (ISG) has found with what we thought prior to going into Iraq."
David A. Kay, the former chief US weapons inspector in Iraq,told Congress this week that the ISG had not found any evidence that former Iraqi president Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction before the war. Kay called for "an outside inquiry"into this issue.
Democrats have echoed Kay's call for an independentinvestigation.
Monday, January 26, 2004
I just got it today and am waiting to see what I can do about it.
Here is the link to some pics of it. The pictures also include some side by side comparisons of my Dell Inspirion 600m (which has a brighter TFT screen.)
Sunday, January 25, 2004
January 23, 2004
The Sheer Sadness of It All...
We all knew it was going to happen someday. We tried to push it out of our mind, as if everything was really OK, as if we could keep it from happening just by refusing to even consider the possibility. Some of us prayed. Others tried to down our fears in alcohol, or numb them with pills. But today, the inevitable happened: Ben and J-Lo (AKA Benifer) have broken up. There will be a memorial service for their relationship at 7 p.m. tomorrow at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine in Manhattan. God bless you, and God bless America.
Let us cry together...
Friday, January 23, 2004
January 24, 2004 | The New York Times | Iraq Illicit Arms Gone Before War, Departing Inspector Says:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 — David Kay, who led the American effort to find banned weapons in Iraq, said Friday after stepping down from his post that he has concluded that Iraq had no stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons at the start of the war last year.
In an interview with Reuters, Dr. Kay said he now thought that Iraq had illicit weapons at the end of the 1991 Persian Gulf war, but that the subsequent combination of United Nations inspections and Iraq's own decisions "got rid of them."
Asked directly if he was saying that Iraq did not have any large stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons in the country, Dr. Kay replied, according to a transcript of the taped interview made public by Reuters, "That is correct."
Jan. 22, 2004 | Newsmax.com| Clark: Moore Has Right to Call Bush a 'Deserter':
In a response that could turn out to be Gen. Wesley Clark's worst blunder yet on the campaign trail, the presidential hopeful said his supporter, firebrand filmmaker Michael Moore, had a right to call President Bush a military "deserter."
During Thursday night's presidential debate in New Hampshire, ABC News anchorman Peter Jennings challenged Clark about Moore's outburst last weekend, calling the deserter charge "reckless" and "not supported by the facts."
The exchange went like this:
JENNINGS: At one point Mr. Moore said in front of you that he'd like to see a debate between you and President Bush, who he called a deserter.
Now that's a reckless charge not supported by the facts and I was curious to know why you didn't contradict him and whether or not you think it would have been a better example of ethical behavior to have done so?
CLARK: Well, I think Michael Moore has the right to say whatever he feels about this. I don't know whether this is supported by the facts or not. I've never looked at it. I've seen this charge bandied about a lot. But to me it wasn't material. ... And I'm delighted to have the support of Michael Moore. ...
JENNINGS: Let me ask you something you mentioned, then, because since this question and answer in which you and Mr. Moore were involved, you've had a chance to look at the facts. Do you still feel comfortable with the fact that someone should be standing up in your presence and calling the president of the United States a deserter?
CLARK: To be honest with you, I did not look at the facts, Peter. You know, that's Michael Moore's opinion. He's entitled to say that. He's not the only person who's said that. I've not followed up on those facts and, frankly, it's not relevant to me and why I'm in this campaign.
Oh, did anyone catch our hero Michael Moore, on 'Democracy Now' Today?
If not here is the link to the video / audio.
Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Chasing Saddam's Weapons
This week On Frontline: Jan 22, 2004 at 9pm PBS
With the credibility of President Bush and Prime Minister Blair at stake, BBC reporter Jane Corbin takes viewers inside the high-stakes search for Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction. Through exclusive access to top-secret locations and key U.S. officials leading the hunt, including David Kay, FRONTLINE reveals new details about what the search has uncovered and questions whether the investigation's final results will justify the White House's call for war.
A preview of this Thursday nights show.
Warning this video is more disturbing than the above picture of Bush. It is a video of an Apache attack helicopter, taking out some poor people.
Saturday, January 17, 2004
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Three young men wore only hats, shoes and frowns Wednesday morning after an attempt to breakfast in the buff at a Spokane Denny's restaurant.
A thief ruined the streakers' prank by driving off in their getaway car -- with the clothes inside.
Police arrived at the parking lot to discover the men huddled behind cars in the 20-degree weather.
A police spokesman said he thinks the man "were just concealing themselves."
The three entered the restaurant before dawn -- leaving their car running for a clean getaway.
But, then the streakers watched through the restaurant's windows as a man who had been eating in the restaurant took off in the car.
The police spokesman said officials "always tell people to not leave their car running."
Police have not charged the streakers.
Wednesday, January 14, 2004
Jan. 13, 2004 | Knight Ridder | Soros pins his hopes on defeat for Bush:
WASHINGTON -- Billionaire George Soros, probably the single biggest giver to Democratic causes, said Monday that Republican criticism of him could be very costly.
"It has got a rise out of me," he said, adding that his anger "will probably find expression" in additional donations to efforts to defeat President Bush.
How much, Soros wouldn't say. He already has given $10 million to Americans Coming Together and $2.5 million to www.moveon.org, groups that are running anti-Bush campaigns.
Soros, recently ranked as the 28th richest man in America by Forbes magazine, said he will devote this year to unseating Bush.
BAGHDAD, Iraq - College students whisper the word when they spot U.S. troops in Baghdad streets. Vandals scrawl the word across military vehicles. Sneering taxi drivers mutter it when convoys block their cabs.
"Ulooj," they say, and while some use it with disdain and others more lightheartedly, it's unmistakably not a nice reference - though what precisely the ancient term from Arabic literature means depends on whom you ask. Among the translations offered: pigs of the desert, foreign infidels, little donkeys, medieval crusaders, bloodsuckers and horned creatures.
While no one can quite pin down the original definition, Iraqis agree on the modern definition: "It's the American military," said Maria Hassan, a 23-year-old history major at a university in Baghdad. "We use this word from the past for our occupiers of the present."
FORT DODGE, Iowa, Jan. 14 — Former ambassador Carol Moseley Braun plans to drop out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination and endorse Howard Dean on Thursday, giving him an important symbolic boost just four days before Iowa's leadoff caucuses, Dean campaign aides said on Wednesday.
Ms. Braun, a former senator from Illinois and ambassador to New Zealand and Samoa, had failed to garner much money or support in polls, but had distinguished herself with eloquent performances in several nationally televised debates. She and Dr. Dean, the former governor of Vermont, had developed a mutually respectful relationship throughout the campaign, in part because of key staff members who had worked for both.
Monday, January 12, 2004
Jesse "The Body" Ventura, former governor of Minnesota, political pundit and pro wrestler, will soon teach at Harvard University, a university spokesman said Friday.
The college dropout will serve as a visiting fellow at the Institute of Politics at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government during the spring semester.
A visiting fellow gives seminars and oversees study groups that last up to three months. Students do not normally receive academic credits for such courses.
"The idea was given by our undergraduate students," said Andy Solomon, spokesman for the university.
SACRAMENTO — Few Democrats could top state Treasurer Phil Angelides in crafting a nasty description for Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's first budget: He called it "morally and economically bankrupt."
But few Democrats tried. The blast of cold rhetoric from Angelides came at a time when most Democrats are taking a more cautious approach to the Republican governor whose towering presence has no match in the capital.
Last year he needled his own party's governor, Gray Davis, when Angelides laid claim to his party's liberal base by traveling to schools around the state calling on lawmakers to raise taxes and spend more on education.
His job as treasurer gives Angelides a natural line of attack against the new governor on policy grounds.
He faulted Schwarzenegger for proposing billions of dollars in new debt to extract California from its fiscal crisis without raising taxes. The burden of interest payments in the years ahead, Angelides argued, would siphon sorely needed money from schools, transportation and other areas vital to California's economy.
Schwarzenegger budget spokesman H.D. Palmer dismissed the attacks as "partisan polemics."
"Trash-talking the state's budget before you go to Wall Street to explain how you're going to get out of the budget crisis is clearly not a wise course to take," Palmer said.
Monday, January 12, 2004 | Washington Post | Study Published by Army Criticizes War on Terror's Scope:
A scathing new report published by the Army War College broadly criticizes the Bush administration's handling of the war on terrorism, accusing it of taking a detour into an "unnecessary" war in Iraq and pursuing an "unrealistic" quest against terrorism that may lead to U.S. wars with states that pose no serious threat.
The report, by Jeffrey Record, a visiting professor at the Air War College at Maxwell Air Force Base in Alabama, warns that as a result of those mistakes, the Army is "near the breaking point."
It recommends, among other things, scaling back the scope of the "global war on terrorism" and instead focusing on the narrower threat posed by the al Qaeda terrorist network.
MANCHESTER, N.H., Jan. 11 — Less than a year before he entered the race for the Democratic nomination for president, Gen. Wesley K. Clark said that he believed there was a connection between the Iraqi government and Al Qaeda.
The statement by General Clark in October 2002 as he endorsed a New Hampshire candidate for Congress is a sign of how the general's position on Iraq seems to have changed over time, though he insists his position has been consistent.
"Certainly there's a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda," he said in 2002. "It doesn't surprise me at all that they would be talking to Al Qaeda, that there would be some Al Qaeda there or that Saddam Hussein might even be, you know, discussing gee, I wonder since I don't have any scuds and since the Americans are coming at me, I wonder if I could take advantage of Al Qaeda? How would I do it? Is it worth the risk? What could they do for me?"
Tuesday, January 13, 2004 | Washington Post | Court Allows 9/11 Secrecy :
The Supreme Court yesterday declined to hear an appeal by civil liberties groups seeking access to basic data about hundreds of individuals detained by the federal government after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a decision that allows officials to continue withholding the names of most detainees, as well as other information related to their arrests, indefinitely.
In a brief order released without published dissent, the court turned down a petition by the Center for National Security Studies, the American Civil Liberties Union and several media organizations that had argued that the Bush administration's refusal to release information about the detainees violated the Freedom of Information Act and the constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press. The Washington Post Co. filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the petition.
Sunday, January 11, 2004
Sunday, Jan 11, 2004 | ABC News 60 Minutes| Former Bush Treasurer says Iraq invasion planned before 9/11:
(CBS) A year ago, Paul O'Neill was fired from his job as George Bush's Treasury Secretary for disagreeing too many times with the president's policy on tax cuts.
Now, O'Neill - who is known for speaking his mind - talks for the first time about his two years inside the Bush administration. His story is the centerpiece of a new book being published this week about the way the Bush White House is run.
In the book, O’Neill says that the president did not make decisions in a methodical way: there was no free-flow of ideas or open debate.
At cabinet meetings, he says the president was "like a blind man in a roomful of deaf people. There is no discernible connection," forcing top officials to act "on little more than hunches about what the president might think."
And what happened at President Bush's very first National Security Council meeting is one of O'Neill's most startling revelations.
“From the very beginning, there was a conviction, that Saddam Hussein was a bad person and that he needed to go,” says O’Neill, who adds that going after Saddam was topic "A" 10 days after the inauguration - eight months before Sept. 11. "From the very first instance, it was about Iraq. It was about what we can do to change this regime,” says Suskind. “Day one, these things were laid and sealed.”
The following is an excerpt from a Jan. 10, 2004 Time magazine article, Where Mr. O'Neil says Cheney asked him to lie and say it was his choice for leaving the White House, and not because he was being fired after having served only two years in the Bush administration.
Cheney helped bring O'Neill into the Administration, acting as a shoehorn for O'Neill, who didn't know the President but trusted the wise counselor beside him. So it was perhaps fitting that Cheney would take O'Neill out. Weeks after Bush had assured O'Neill that rumored staff changes in the economic team did not mean his job was in peril, Cheney called. "Paul, the President has decided to make some changes in the economic team. And you're part of the change," he told O'Neill. The bloodless way he was cut loose by his old chum shocked O'Neill, Suskind writes, but what came after was even more shocking. Cheney asked him to announce that it was O'Neill's decision to leave Washington to return to private life. O'Neill refused, saying "I'm too old to begin telling lies now."
Tues Jan 13, 2004:
Just In Folks... Here is a link to some of the documents that were shown on the 60 Minutes Interview. It turns out they were part of a FOI request that was filed on behalf of Judicial Watch.
Friday, January 09, 2004
Looks like the Governer released the details of his new proposed state budget today. And for those of you playing at home, give yourslelf two points if you guessed it would disproportionately effect the poor the most.
Accordint to the NY Times, "The governor's plan cuts spending by more than $4.6 billion, with the largest reduction, roughly $2.7 billion, coming from health and human services programs. The proposal limits the number of new children enrolled in health programs. It also raises deductibles and co-payments for recipients of Medi-Cal, the state's name for the Medicaid program, and cuts payments to medical providers.
Democrats and advocacy groups said that Mr. Schwarzenegger was singling out the most vulnerable populations for the deepest cuts.
Anthony Wright, executive director of Health Access California, a consumer group, said: "Under this proposal, hundreds of thousands of children and others would be denied basic care, and millions of Californians would have to pay more to get basic health services. The governor is putting the burden of this crisis on low- and moderate-income families, rather than restoring the tax brackets for himself and other wealthy Californians, so they can share in the solution."
PROTEST CHENEY AT THE BEVERLY HILTON HOTEL
9876 Wilshire Blvd, (near Santa Monica)
11 am, January 14th
Join with the ANSWER Coalition, peace and justice
activists, students, and community organizations, so that we can make our voices heard loud and clear.
Cheney is not welcome in L.A.!
Bring banners, signs, whistles, drums, and as many friends as you can.
End the Occupation - Bring the Troops Home Now!
Money for Jobs, Housing, Schools, and Healthcare - Not War!
FOR MORE INFO OR TO VOLUNTEER CALL 213 487-2368
Friday, Jan 09, 2004 | Irish Times |US calls off search for weapons of mass destruction
The Bush administration has quietly withdrawn a 400-member military team it sent to Baghdad to scour Iraq for evidence of unconventional weapons, write Conor O'Clery in New York & Deaglán de Bréadún in Dublin.
The move indicates that the US does not now expect to find illegal weapons, the main reason given by President Bush for the war last year that toppled Saddam Hussein.
At the same time, a prestigious Washington-based research foundation, the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has published a scathing report on President Bush's case for war.
Hunt for the WMD yourself here in this new computer game.
Wednesday, January 07, 2004
Hooray! Today I am one step further in my goal in becoming an official CA school techer. I got my official CBEST Permanent Passing Status Verification Certificate in the mail today. Wierd thing is I actually scored the highest in the Math section, which is my weakest area.
Meanwhile back to the bitter reality of todays news. Some Jesus freak (No disrespect J.C. man) from Orange County wants to pass a ballot initiative to give a bible to every public school student in CA. Umm, all I can saw Is that I am glad my ACLU membership will help kill such an asinine idea. Oh, and if that doesn't make you sick, Arkansas put to death a man with severe mentel illness yesterday. Too bad Bush was out fund raising yesterday, otherwise he could of flew in and pulled the switch. And finally in the realm of politics, I was browsing Dean for America looking for info on Dean's new tax cut for the middle class, when I found a link to a new ad airing in Iowa, where an old bitter couple (that I could swear I saw in Depends commercial) wants to send Dean the "Body-piercing, Hollywood-loving, left-wing freak show back to Vermont where (he) belongs."
And in the 'I told You So' Dept: The Washington Post reports today (Video from MSNBC), that Saddams WMD program (that was supposed to be an eminent threat to the U.S.) was a complete Lie. Damn, good thing I'm not a Holy- War Mongering, right wing fundamentalist, or I would be feeling pretty stupid right now.
Tuesday, January 06, 2004
Wednesday, January 07, 2004 |Clark Comes on Strong in New Poll
A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll finds former Vermont Gov. Howard no longer holding a commanding lead among Democrats nationally in the race for his party's presidential nomination, as support for Wesley Clark surges. After leading Clark by 15 and 21 points in mid-December, Dean's advantage has shrunk to just 4 points in the latest national survey (24% vs. 20%) -- within the poll's margin of error. The current level of support for Clark among Democrats who are registered to vote is similar to what he enjoyed upon entering the race in September. Clark's renewed strength appears to come principally from men; Clark is now the top choice among men, while women prefer Dean.
Jan. 6 | The Washington Times | Schwarzenegger to slash school aid by $2 billion
LOS ANGELES, Jan. 6 (UPI) -- Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger plans to cut aid to California schools by $2 billion in a move that reportedly has the backing of the state teachers' union.
The Los Angeles Times said Tuesday the powerful California Teachers Association agreed not to oppose a series of temporary cuts in return for Schwarzenegger's pledge not to seek changes to Proposition 98, a state law that guarantees education's share of general fund revenues.
Monday, January 05, 2004
December 30, 2003 | Washington Post | Flaws Showing in New Iraqi Forces: Pace of Police Recruiting Leads to Shortcuts
As the U.S.-led governing authority in Iraq attempts to build a security force of 220,000 in the next few months, the competing priorities of speed and thoroughness have prompted shortcuts in the recruiting and training process. The consequences are starting to become apparent.
According to investigations over the past four months by a newly formed internal affairs unit at the Interior Ministry, more than 200 Iraqi policemen in Baghdad have been dismissed and dozens of others have had their pay slashed for crimes ranging from pawning government equipment to extortion and kidnapping.
In addition, roughly 2,500 people on the payroll of the Facilities Protection Service, which guards government buildings, either do not exist or have not been showing up to work, investigators say. And a number of Border Patrol officers have been disciplined for accepting bribes in exchange for allowing people without proper identification to enter Iraq.
December 30, 2003 | Guardian Unlimited | Blair acted like a 'white vigilante' by invading Iraq, says bishop
Tony Blair came under attack from two of the Church of England's most senior figures yesterday for acting "like a white vigilante" and for lacking humility in forging ahead with the war on Iraq.
In the most outspoken outburst, the Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, accused religious conservatives surrounding the US president, George Bush, of espousing "a very strange distortion of Christianity" - particularly since, through Iraq's reconstruction, many would gain financially.
"For Bush and Blair to go into Iraq together was like a bunch of white vigilantes going into Brixton to stop drug dealing. This is not to deny there's a problem to be sorted, just that they are not credible people to deal with it," he said.
In a separate rebuke, the Archbishop of York, David Hope, questioned the legitimacy of the war and said Mr Blair would have to answer to God - a "higher authority" - for his decision to forge ahead with the conflict.
The US forces fuel agency is taking over the supply of oil products to Iraq, bringing to an end the controversial arrangement with Halliburton, the former company of Vice-President Dick Cheney.
The Defence Energy Support Centre at the Pentagon has been instructed to assume control of rebuilding Iraq's oil industry. Bids will be invited for new contracts.
They said the timing was not related to the allegations that KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary which had the contract, had overcharged the government at least $61m (£34.5m) by buying more expensive fuel from Kuwait instead of Turkey.
Halliburton has increasingly come under criticism for its behaviour in the arrangements for Iraq.
Many Democrats have seized on the issue as an indication of the government's failure to act fairly in awarding contracts, an accusation the White House has denied.
December 23, 2003 | Democracy Now | Who Really Caught Saddam? Reporter Yvonne Ridley Says Kurdish Forces Captured Saddam and Handed Him To U.S. Forces
On December 15th, the head of the U.S. occupation in Iraq, Paul Bremer, held an early morning press conference. His first words were "Ladies and Gentlemen, we got him." This was how millions of people around the world learned of the capture of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
A week after Bremer's announcement, a different account of Saddam's capture has emerged.
An article in last weekend's British Sunday Express, says "The full story of the fallen dictator's capture last Saturday in a "spider hole" near his birthplace of Tikrit exposes the version peddled by American spin doctors as incomplete."
According to the Sunday Express, Saddam was actually captured by Kurdish forces who then drugged him and abandoned him for U.S. troops to find after brokering a deal. The article quotes unnamed British and Iraqi military intelligence officers.
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