Thursday, July 28, 2005
July 27, 2005
CINCINNATI, July 22 - In the Second Congressional District of Ohio, which Republicans have controlled for the last two decades, the quickest route to political oblivion could be the one chosen by Paul L. Hackett: calling President Bush a "chicken hawk" for not serving in Vietnam and harshly criticizing the decision to invade Iraq.
But Mr. Hackett, the Democratic candidate in the Aug. 2 special Congressional election, is not an ordinary politician. Until four months ago, he was serving in the Marines, commanding a civil affairs unit in Iraq.
If Mr. Hackett is elected, he will become the first member of Congress to have served in the Iraq war. That alone has helped Mr. Hackett, a 43-year-old lawyer, unexpectedly turn this potential walkover into a sharply contested race.
"When you tell people he just got back from Iraq, they stop and listen," said Timothy Burke, the chairman of the Democratic Party in Hamilton County, one of seven southern Ohio counties in the district. "He'd not have nearly as many people paying attention to him if it weren't for that initial grabber."
Mr. Hackett's Republican opponent, Jean Schmidt, has poured more than $200,000 of her own money into her campaign and traveled tirelessly across the district. Her campaign has received tens of thousands of dollars from national Republican committees, and Mr. Bush has agreed to record a telephone message that will be delivered the weekend before the special election.
"I'm a runner, and when you are overconfident, that's when you see your competition's shadow," said Ms. Schmidt, 53, who has completed 54 marathons. "And I won't see his."
The candidates are competing to fill the seat held for 12 years by Rob Portman, who resigned to become Mr. Bush's trade representative. Mr. Portman routinely won the district, which stretches from poverty-stricken communities along the Ohio River to affluent Cincinnati suburbs, with more than 70 percent of the vote.
The national Democratic Party initially ignored the race. But Mr. Hackett has changed some minds, and the party has begun dispatching young staff members to the field, hoping to send a message that Mr. Bush is weak in one of his most loyal districts. read more…
Wiki Page on Paul Hackett here.
Visit Paul Hackett for Congress here.
Thursday, July 28, 2005; 9:40 AM
U.S. District Judge John C. Coughenour said the successful prosecution of Ahmed Ressam should serve not only as a warning to terrorists, but as a statement to the Bush administration about its terrorism-fighting tactics.
"We did not need to use a secret military tribunal, detain the defendant indefinitely as an enemy combatant or deny the defendant the right to counsel," he said Wednesday. "The message to the world from today's sentencing is that our courts have not abandoned our commitment to the ideals that set our nation apart."
He added that the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have made Americans realize they are vulnerable to terrorism and that some believe "this threat renders our Constitution obsolete ... If that view is allowed to prevail, the terrorists will have won." read more…
Thirty percent develop problems within four months
A smaller group, usually with more severe cases of these symptoms, is diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.
The 30 percent figure is in contrast to the 3 percent to 5 percent diagnosed with a significant mental health issue immediately after they leave the theater, according to Col. Elspeth Ritchie, a military psychiatrist on Kiley's staff.
A study of troops who were still in the combat zone in 2004 found 13 percent experienced significant mental health problems. read more…
1. Treason is Not a Family Value
2. Loose Lips Deserve Pink Slips. Fire Rove
3. Support Homeland Security - Fire Karl Rove
4. Keep Your Promise--Fire Rove!
5. Treason is the Reason. FIRE ROVE! (my favorite)
6. Keep Your Promise--Fire Rove!
7. If Bush won't fire Rove maybe we should fire Bush.
8. Indict Rove - Impeach Bush
9. With friends like Rove, who needs terrorists?
10. Karl Rove: Weapon of Mass Deception
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
July 24, 2005
Help EFF Watch the Watchers
"In preparation for a possible legal challenge, The Electronic Frontiers Foundation is requesting your help in identifying which printers are embedding traceable information in the documents they produce. Printer manufactures added this technology under persuasion from the government inorder to help combat counterfeiting operations, however this technology defeats the presumed anonymity most people expect from the documents they print."
Imagine that every time you printed a document, it automatically included a secret code that could be used to identify the printer -- and potentially, the person who used it. Sounds like something from an episode of "Alias," right?
Unfortunately, the scenario isn't fictional. In an effort to identify counterfeiters, the US government has succeeded in persuading some color laser printer manufacturers to encode each page with identifying information. That means that without your knowledge or consent, an act you assume is private could become public. A communication tool you're using in everyday life could become a tool for government surveillance. And what's worse, there are no laws to prevent abuse.
The ACLU recently issued a report revealing that the FBI has amassed more than 1,100 pages of documents on the organization since 2001, as well as documents concerning other non-violent groups, including Greenpeace and United for Peace and Justice. In the current political climate, it's not hard to imagine the government using the ability to determine who may have printed what document for purposes other than identifying counterfeiters. Your freedom to speak anonymously is in danger.
With nothing on the books, we lack tools to stop the privacy and anonymity violations this technology enables. For this reason, EFF is gathering information about what printers are revealing and how -- a necessary precursor to any legal challenge or new legislation to protect your privacy. And we could use your help.
In this preliminary research paper, we explain what we've observed so far, briefly explore the privacy implications, and ask you to print and send us test sheets from your color laser printer and/or a color laser printer at your local print shop. That way, we can watch the watchers and ensure that your privacy isn't compromised in ways that harm your fundamental constitutional rights.
In addition to documenting what printers are revealing, EFF is filing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, and we will keep you updated on what we discover. In the meantime, we urge you to participate in this research project and pass the word along. Thank you for your support!
Google Launches Google Logo (Logogle)
Try out Logogle, where you can instantly make your own Google logo, and make that your Google search page. Just type something like “Mikey’s Google” and bookmark it, and you get a sorta-personalized (and corny) Google home page. There’s even a Japanese version.
My sweet Petsoncrack Google page can be found here.
Download Tip: Click “Free” at the bottom of the page, and then wait about 10–15 sec’s before the download starts.
Monday, July 25, 2005
Cpl Dustin Berg said during his court martial that he had shot himself to try to cover up the killing.
The judge also gave him a bad conduct discharge but threw out murder charges.
At least eight US soldiers have been convicted or have pleaded guilty to charges in connection with the deaths of Iraqi citizens.
The killing took place on 23 November 2003, while the two men were out on patrol.
Berg said he was wrong to consider the Iraqi policeman a threat.
He shot himself in the stomach to give the impression a gunfight had taken place, and was awarded a Purple Heart for the wound. He was later stripped of the award.
New weapon may reduce civilian deaths in Iraq
By Steven Komarow
July 25, 2005
Troops in Iraq will soon be shooting an experimental weapon that fires an invisible beam of energy instead of bullets to repel insurgents without killing civilians.
Millimeter-length radiation fired by the Active Denial System penetrates just below the surface of the skin to cause an excruciating burning sensation until it is turned off. Extensive testing has shown no lasting damage, the military said.
The weapon will be demonstrated in public this summer and in Iraq within months. It is the first in what could become a catalog of energy beams that aim to ease one of the war’s toughest problems.
Troops guarding checkpoints, bases and convoys regularly face oncoming people or vehicles of uncertain intent. Troops open fire rather than risk a bomb attack.
Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari complained about mistaken shootings to U.S. officials, and the U.S. command in Iraq asked the Pentagon this spring to speed shipment of the non-lethal beam weapons.
The first prototype, developed for the Marines, sits atop a special Humvee that has a hybrid gasoline-electric drivetrain. The propulsion batteries double as a power source for the gun, which looks like a satellite dish and is aimed with a joystick.
“It is not a silver bullet, but it will help our Marines and soldiers from having to go lethal before it’s necessary,” read more…
The Vehicle-Mounted Active Denial System concept
Iraqi women defy insurgents and join new Army
By Rick Jervis
July 25, 2005
BAGHDAD, Iraq — When Sondos’ sister was murdered by insurgents for working with the Iraqi army, the 30-year-old exacted her revenge: She signed up for the military.
“We can’t walk the streets anymore. When you sleep, you know you’re not safe,” she says. “I have four kids. That’s not the life I want for them.”
Sondos is part of a class of 29 female recruits who recently completed the Iraqi army basic training course at Camp Justice in Baghdad, home to the Iraqi army’s 1st Brigade, 6th Division.
The women — mothers, widows, divorcees and housewives — have joined the army despite death threats by insurgents and cultural taboos discouraging Muslim women from joining the military. Sondos asked to be identified only by her first name to avoid reprisals by family, neighbors and insurgents.
Although female soldiers have previously completed the two-week course and joined the army, Saturday’s graduating group was the first all-female class of recruits trained by female trainers on an Iraqi-run base. Smaller groups of women have trained in Jordan and held military police jobs. The new training reflects a growing role for women in Iraq’s armed forces.
“The Iraqi army is actively recruiting women,” said Lt. Col. Fred Wellman, spokesman for Lt. Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. commander in charge of equipping and training Iraqi security forces. “They need them. There are certain jobs absolutely necessary to women.” read more…
TORTURE -- WHITE HOUSE BLOCKS RELEASE OF ABU GHRAIB PHOTOS, VIDEOS: "Lawyers for the Defense Department are refusing to cooperate with a federal judge's order to release secret photographs and videotapes related to the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal," the New York Times reports. The request for their release was "part of a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union to determine the extent of abuse at American military prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan and at Guant�namo Bay, Cuba." The ACLU says the department is engaged in eleventh-hour stalling tactics. "Instead of releasing these records and holding officials accountable for detainee abuse, the government now seeks to shield itself from public scrutiny by filing these reasons in secret," an ACLU release reads. So what is shown on those 87 photos and four videos from Abu Ghraib? Editor & Publisher magazine offers some clues: "Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told Congress last year, when the scandal was still front page news: 'I mean, I looked at them last night, and they're hard to believe.' They show acts 'that can only be described as blatantly sadistic, cruel and inhumane,' he added. A Republican Senator suggested the same day they contained scenes of 'rape and murder.'" (More details here.)
GUANTANAMO -- NO STANDARDS TOO LOW: The White House has been making a concerted effort to block legislation that would regulate the treatment of American military detainees. The drive started on Thursday, when Vice President Cheney met privately with three senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, and warned them to back off pending legislation that would prohibit the cruel and inhuman treatment of captives. That same day, the White House released a statement threatening to veto legislation that "would restrict the President's authority to protect Americans effectively from terrorist attack and bring terrorists to justice" -- an obvious reference to the legislation in progress. In an ironic and unrelated story, Iran's totalitarian government has openly admitted that its penal system is riddled with abuse -- a problem that the country claimed it has been working to change.
Chris Serres, Star Tribune
Steinhafel, then in charge of merchandising at Target Corp., politely informed a group of Disney executives that he would not carry all the gaudy merchandise and promotional displays that accompanied Disney's latest animated feature film, "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."
Months later, the movie was deemed a commercial flop, and retailers such as Toys 'R' Us were left with large inventories of unsold "Hunchback" T-shirts and toys.
"Disney was very pushy when it came to dictating how retailers should display its merchandise, but Gregg stood his ground and got the product on Target's terms," recalls Bob Thacker, former vice president of marketing at Target, who accompanied Steinhafel in the discussions with Disney.
Today Steinhafel, 50, is president of one of the hottest retail chains in the country.
His role in transforming Target into a chic discount retailer that appeals to lower- and upper-income shoppers alike has made the Milwaukee-area native the leading candidate to succeed Robert Ulrich, 62, as chief executive officer of Target Corp., retail analysts say.
Steinhafel already has left an indelible stamp on the retailer. About a year after his promotion to president in 1999, he overhauled the way Target dealt with suppliers. Instead of negotiating directly with each vendor, Target began to collect bids anonymously through an Internet auction process in an effort to obtain the best products at the lowest prices and to place vendors on an equal footing. Though controversial, the move likely has saved Target "hundreds of millions of dollars," Piper Jaffray & Co. retail analyst Jeff Klinefelter said.
Among employees, Steinhafel is known as Target's top style cop, who insists that Target fill its 1,330 stores with merchandise that no one else has. He spent long hours holed in his office last year helping develop a new store prototype featuring an expanded grocery section. His insistence on quality and style are considered a big reason why Target has posted stronger same-store sales than its chief rival, Wal-Mart, for 23 consecutive months …read more.
Thursday, July 21, 2005
Child labor violations. Sex discrimination. Low wages. Lousy benefits. All from Wal-Mart—a company that rakes in $10 billion a year in profits.
Wal-Mart needs a real education in how a rich company should treat its workers.
And together, we're going to provide it by pledging to buy back-to-school supplies from other stores this year. Please click on the link below to send your pledge to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott:
There are hundreds of reasons to pledge not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart this year. Here are a few:
* As the world's largest retailer, today Wal-Mart is setting the standard for America's workplaces—and it's a standard of low wages, poor benefits and worker abuse that working families cannot accept. Together, we have to stop the Wal-Marting of America's jobs.
* Wal-Mart has racked up huge fines for child labor law violations. The rich company reportedly makes children younger than 18 work through their meal breaks, work very late and even work during school hours. Several states have found Wal-Mart workers younger than 18 are operating dangerous equipment, like chainsaws, and working in such dangerous areas as around trash compactors. (The New York Times, 1/13/04; The Associated Press, 2/18/05; The Hartford Courant, 6/18/05)
* Wal-Mart pays poverty-level wages and fails to provide affordable company health insurance to more than 600,000 employees. That means Wal-Mart workers and their families have a hard time paying the bills and getting the health care they need—and Wal-Mart is at or close to the top of state lists of employers whose workers are forced to rely on taxpayer-funded health insurance programs like Medicaid. (Wal-Mart annual reports; Business Week, 10/2/03; state reports)
* Wal-Mart has a shameful record of paying women less than men. Wal-Mart pays women workers nearly $5,000 less yearly than men. Some 1.6 million women are eligible to join a class-action lawsuit charging Wal-Mart with discrimination. (Richard Drogin, Ph.D., 2/03; Los Angeles Times, 12/30/04)
* By demanding impossibly low prices, Wal-Mart forces its suppliers to produce goods in low-wage countries that don't protect workers. A worker in a Honduran clothing factory whose main customer is Wal-Mart, for example, sews sleeves onto 1,200 shirts a day for only $35 a week. (Los Angeles Times, 11/24/03)
* Wal-Mart can afford to do better. Wal-Mart—America's largest private employer—raked in $10 billion in profits last year. CEO Lee Scott landed almost $23 million in total compensation last year alone. Wal-Mart has no excuse for its behavior.
Let's educate Wal-Mart. Click on the link below to send Scott your pledge not to buy back-to-school supplies at Wal-Mart this year:
Thanks for all you do for working families.
Working Families e-Activist Network, AFL-CIO
July 21, 2005
Wednesday, July 20, 2005
July 19, 2005
By Rick Maze
Times staff writer
The Defense Department quietly asked Congress on Monday to raise the maximum age for military recruits to 42 for all branches of the service.
Under current law, the maximum age to enlist in the active components is 35, while people up to age 39 may enlist in the reserves. By practice, the accepted age for recruits is 27 for the Air Force, 28 for the Marine Corps and 34 for the Navy and Army, although the Army Reserve and Navy Reserve sometimes take people up to age 39 in some specialties.
The Pentagon’s request to raise the maximum recruit age to 42 is part of what defense officials are calling a package of “urgent wartime support initiatives” sent to Congress Monday night prior to a Tuesday hearing of the House Armed Services military personnel subcommittee. read more…
In the "Petarded" episode of Family Guy, Peter does well at Trivial Pursuit and claims he's a genius. Brian challenges him to take an IQ test. The result indicates Peter is mentally challenged. The test administrator shows the chart on the right to explain where Peter's test result places him.
You can change the chart by filling in the form here.
You must have cookies enabled.
What does John Roberts believe?
Bush's selection looks like a political masterstroke. But if Judge Roberts proves to be an ideologue in the Scalia/Thomas mold, he and the president may run into a Democratic buzz saw
By Peter Rubin
"Sterling" judge or "extreme rightist"?
Activists and scholars size up Bush's Supreme Court nominee
Compiled by Page Rockwell and Aaron Kinney
The Roberts dossier
Everything you need to know about Bush's nominee, before the battle begins
By Katharine Mieszkowski
So we have a nominee. What's next?
Keep track of the confirmation process with Salon's guide to court-obsessed blogs, advocacy organizations and relevant articles
Compiled by Page Rockwell
Monday, July 18, 2005
The company is challenging the idea that discount retailers must pay workers poorly.
By STEVEN GREENHOUSE
Published: July 17, 2005
JIM SINEGAL, the chief executive of Costco Wholesale, the nation's fifth-largest retailer, had all the enthusiasm of an 8-year-old in a candy store as he tore open the container of one of his favorite new products: granola snack mix. "You got to try this; it's delicious," he said. "And just $9.99 for 38 ounces."
Some 60 feet away, inside Costco's cavernous warehouse store here in the company's hometown, Mr. Sinegal became positively exuberant about the 87-inch-long Natuzzi brown leather sofas. "This is just $799.99," he said. "It's terrific quality. Most other places you'd have to pay $1,500, even $2,000."
But the pi�ce de r�sistance, the item he most wanted to crow about, was Costco's private-label pinpoint cotton dress shirts. "Look, these are just $12.99," he said, while lifting a crisp blue button-down. "At Nordstrom or Macy's, this is a $45, $50 shirt."
Combining high quality with stunningly low prices, the shirts appeal to upscale customers - and epitomize why some retail analysts say Mr. Sinegal just might be America's shrewdest merchant since Sam Walton.
But not everyone is happy with Costco's business strategy. Some Wall Street analysts assert that Mr. Sinegal is overly generous not only to Costco's customers but to its workers as well.
Costco's average pay, for example, is $17 an hour, 42 percent higher than its fiercest rival, Sam's Club. And Costco's health plan makes those at many other retailers look Scroogish. One analyst, Bill Dreher of Deutsche Bank, complained last year that at Costco "it's better to be an employee or a customer than a shareholder."
Mr. Sinegal begs to differ. He rejects Wall Street's assumption that to succeed in discount retailing, companies must pay poorly and skimp on benefits, or must ratchet up prices to meet Wall Street's profit demands.
Good wages and benefits are why Costco has extremely low rates of turnover and theft by employees, he said. And Costco's customers, who are more affluent than other warehouse store shoppers, stay loyal because they like that low prices do not come at the workers' expense. "This is not altruistic," he said. "This is good business." read more…
A group leading patrols of the California border raised concerns from the U.S. Border Patrol last week when they urged volunteers to bring baseball bats, mace, pepper spray and machetes to patrol the border.
MORRISTOWN, Tenn. (AP) -- A volunteer movement that vows to guard America from a wave of illegal immigration has spread from the dusty U.S.-Mexican border to the verdant hollows of Appalachia.
At least 40 anti-immigration groups have popped up nationally, inspired by the Minuteman Project that rallied hundreds this year to patrol the Mexican border in Arizona.
"It's like O'Leary's cow has kicked over the lantern. The fire has just started now," said Carl "Two Feathers" Whitaker, an American Indian activist and perennial gubernatorial candidate who runs the Tennessee Volunteer Minutemen, aimed at exposing those who employ illegals.
Critics call the movement vigilantism, and some hear in the words of the Minutemen a vitriol similar to what hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan used against Southern blacks in the 1960s.
The Minuteman Project has generated chapters in 18 states - from California to states far from Mexico, like Utah, Minnesota and Maine. The Tennessee group and others like it have no direct affiliation, but share a common goal.
"I struck the mother lode of patriotism or nationalism or whatever you want to call it," said Jim Gilchrist, a Vietnam veteran and retired CPA who co-founded the Minuteman Project 10 months ago. "That common nerve that was bothering a lot of people, but due to politically correct paralysis ... everyone was afraid to bring up - the lack of law enforcement."
At the Department of Homeland Security, whose authority includes patrolling borders and enforcing immigration laws, response to Minuteman-type activism is guarded.
"Homeland security is a shared responsibility, and the department believes the American public plays a critical role in helping to defend the homeland," agency spokesman Jarrod Agen said from Washington. "But as far doing an investigation or anything beyond giving us a heads-up, that should be handled by trained law enforcement." read more….
Saturday, July 16, 2005
Police: Coach paid kid to hurt disabled teammate
Mark R. Downs Jr., 27, of Dunbar, is accused of offering one of his players the money to hit the boy in the head with a baseball, police said. Witnesses told police Downs didn't want the boy to play in the game because of his disability.
Police said the boy was hit in the head and in the groin with a baseball just before a game, and didn't play, police said.
"The coach was very competitive," state police Trooper Thomas B. Broadwater said. "He wanted to win."
Downs has an unpublished telephone number and couldn't immediately be reached for comment Friday. It was unclear whether he had an attorney.
He was arrested and arraigned Friday on charges including criminal solicitation to commit aggravated assault and corruption of minors. He was released from jail on an unsecured bond. read more…
Friday, July 15, 2005
by Greg Tate
How much oxygen did your furniture produce today? In our version of the future, the things we loaf about on indoors will be as beneficial as the stuff that grows out back. In the meantime, sculpt lawn furniture from the lawn itself. Unlike your standard-issue sofa, this lush greenery is totally organic, requires no synthetic finishes, and can be brought to life, Golem-style, from salvaged dirt. St. Augustine tiles create a seamless, living upholstery, or try wheatgrass for a durable alternative. Ask your nursery about planting tips unique to your sod. Note: Couch may require mowing.
Before you begin, figure the dirt you need by multiplying the dimensions of the couch you plan to make (ours was 8' x 4' x 4', or 128 cubic feet). Next, put on some old clothes—things are going to get messy—and locate a suitable spot. Placement is key: There’ll be no moving once you’ve begun. Clear the area of grass and weeds until you have a level swath of dirt, then use a stick to sketch the shape of the couch into the dirt with a stick. read more…
Thursday, July 14, 2005
Thought Toddler Gay, Dad Kills Son
by Fidel Ortega 365Gay.com Miami Bureau
Posted: July 14, 2005 12:01 am ET
(Tampa, Florida) A 21 year old Tampa man is charged with murder after his 3-year old son was pummeled into unconsciousness and then died.
Ronnie Paris Jr. went on trial for his own life this week in a Tampa courtroom. The toddler's mother, Nysheerah Paris, testified that her husband thought the boy might be gay and would force him to box.
Nysheerah Paris told the court that Paris would make the boy fight with him, slapping the child in the head until he cried or wet himself. She said that on one occasion Paris slammed the child against a wall because he was vomiting.
The court was told there had been a history of abuse by Paris. Prosecutor Jalal Harb said that in 2002, the Florida Department of Children & Families placed the child in protective custody after he had been admitted to the hospital several times for vomiting.
He was returned to his parents Dec. 14. A month later he went into a coma and was rushed to hospital. Six days later he was removed from life support and died. An autopsy showed there was swelling on both sides of his brain.
"He was trying to teach him how to fight,'' Nysheerah Paris' sister, Shanita Powell told the court. "He was concerned that the child might be gay.''
Following the child's death Tampa police Detective Anthony Zambito thought there was something suspicious. He testified that he questioned both parents closely at the hospital. But it wasn't until investigators questioned them separately Feb. 1 that the boy's mother talked about the abuse.
Paris was charged with capital murder and Nysheerah Paris was charged with felony child neglect and faces a maximum of 15 years in prison.
Over the past few days, the White House and its allies have been desperately trying to spin the real issues surrounding the actions of Karl Rove. To set the story straight, there are five key facts you need to know. Ultimately, Karl Rove has become "an embarrassment" for the White House and should do the President the courtesy of resigning. If he does not, President Bush needs to uphold his pledge and fire Karl Rove.
FACT #1 -- ROVE AND WHITE HOUSE HAVE REPEATEDLY LIED ABOUT ROVE'S ROLE IN THE LEAK: Asked on 9/29/03 whether he had "any knowledge" of the leak or whether he leaked the name of the CIA agent, Rove answered "no." He later said, "I didn't know her name. I didn't leak her name." Also on 9/29/03, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, after having "spoken to Karl," asserted that "it is a ridiculous suggestion" to say Rove was involved in the leak.
FACT #2 -- PRESIDENT BUSH SAID HE WOULD FIRE ANYONE INVOLVED: Asked on 6/10/04 whether he stood by his pledge to "fire anyone" involved in the leak case, Bush answered, "yes." Bush has said, "When the President says something, he better mean it."
FACT #3 -- ROVE IDENTIFIED PLAME IN POSSIBLE VIOLATION OF LAW: At the very least, we know Rove identified the cover CIA agent Valerie Plame as "Wilson's wife" and that she worked after the "agency on wmd." Section 421 of the Intelligence Identities Protection Act targets anyone who "intentionally discloses any information identifying" a covert agent.
FACT #4 -- OUTING OF PLAME WAS RETRIBUTION AGAINST CRITIC OF IRAQ INTELLIGENCE: The Washington Post reported on 9/28/03: "[A] senior administration official said that before Novak's column ran, two top White House officials called at least six Washington journalists and disclosed the identity and occupation of
FACT #5 -- WHITE HOUSE SILENT NOW BUT HAS SPOKEN PREVIOUSLY WHILE THE INVESTIGATION WAS ONGOING: McClellan has said that while the investigation is ongoing, "the White House is not going to comment on it." But on 10/1/03, McClellan also said, "There's an investigation going on" but spoke openly about Rove, saying "it's simply not true that he was involved in leaking classified information."
Just who is Karl Rove? Buy or Rent Bush’s Brain on DVD to find out!
Posted on Thu, Jul. 14, 2005
SAN FRANCISCO - Gap Inc.'s crackdown on labor abuses at the overseas factories making its clothes identified hundreds of plants engaged in unsavory practices, including excessive overtime, paltry wages, and fining workers who wanted to quit their jobs.
The San Francisco-based company listed the transgressions yesterday in a report summarizing the findings of 92 inspectors who scrutinized all but a handful of the 2,672 factories approved to make clothes for Gap last year.
Spurred by the most egregious violations, Gap severed ties with 70 factories last year, down from 136 in 2003. The company rejected 15 percent of the new factories seeking to make its clothes in 2004 compared with 16 percent in 2003.
But the owner of Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic stores continued to contract with hundreds of overseas factories that mistreated its workers, according to the company's second annual social-responsibility report - a document that represents an unusual bit of self-flagellation in corporate America.
The abuses are most prevalent in China, where Gap products are made at 423 factories. Between 25 percent and 50 percent of the Chinese companies do not fully comply with local labor laws, Gap said, and 10 percent to 25 percent of them pay below the minimum wage. The company ended its business relationship with 18 Chinese factories last year - less than 5 percent of its suppliers in that country. read more…
NBC/WSJ poll: Iraq replaces jobs as most important American priority
By Mark Murray
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
Privacy Rights Clash With Required Release of Student Information
Sunday, June 19, 2005; Page A03
The different receptions reflect the twin poles of a nationwide debate about military recruiting in high schools that has heated up with the war in Iraq and the increasing demand for military manpower. As pressure mounts on recruiters to meet their monthly targets, principals across the country are grappling with difficult decisions over how much access to provide the military.
A little-noticed clause in the 2002 No Child Left Behind Act requires high schools to hand over students' names, addresses and telephone numbers to military recruiters as a condition of receiving federal aid. But some school districts are challenging the military's interpretation of the law, arguing that they are obliged to protect the privacy rights of their students.
This analysis was confirmed by El Diario/La Prensa's review of multiple documents, including official reports issued by the US Department of Defense, the Iraqi Ministry of the Interior and more than 230 battlefront reports, which reveal that more than 4,076 troops under US command have been killed in 799 days of battle.
This information contrasts markedly with the limited information on casualties generally issued by US military authorities, which focus only on US uniformed troops. These total 1,649.
Military affairs expert Jose Rodriguez Beruff from the University of Puerto Rico said that the figures showing more than 4,000 dead indicate that, far from winning the war in Iraq, "what is happening is that the troops are being worn down." He said that traditional theorists calculate that for an armed invading force to win a guerrilla war, its casualties should be one to ten of its enemy's. In this case, that would require 40,000 casualties among the insurgents.
In addition, Rodriguez Reduff warned that the reports should be reviewed on an ongoing basis, as he suspects that the number of casualties is even higher.
Calculations are even more difficult when it comes to the wounded, which US authorities number at more than 12,600, and medical discharges -- those maimed or suffering from physical and mental injuries -- about whom only partial reports can be obtained. In this category, large discrepancies in counts have been publicized by news outlets such as the national German Press Agency (DPA), which ran a story reporting on US Army documents putting the number of US soldiers with war-related mental ailments at 100,000.
That issue is more controversial. The Argentine press agency Argenpress reported about 17,000 unreported cases of war-related mental illness. read more…
12 Jul 2005 15:59:19 GMT
BAGHDAD, 12 July (IRIN) - Iraqis are selling their own blood to people who are buying supplies for relatives in need, due to a shortage, doctors say. This has caused concern over the spread of disease since the supplies are not checked for blood-bourne infections.
Every day hundreds of donors can be seen standing outside the blood bank at the Iraqi National Centre for Blood Donations (INCBD) in the capital, Baghdad.
More people have started to donate blood following shortages and a call from the Health Ministry for increased supplies to cope with increasing violence in the country, resulting in more patients requiring urgent blood transfusions.
However, people in the queue willing to donate for free are being intercepted before they reach the centre. Donors are approached by so called 'negotiators' who pay them between US $ 15 - $20 per blood bag. At a time when unemployment stands at 33 percent and most of the country is still dependent on food rations, the sale of blood may be an attractive option for many.
"Every week I come here to sell my blood. It is very easy to get someone to buy it because many families are desperate to help their loved ones who are injured in the hospitals," Nazaare Ammar from Baghdad said, as he stood in the queue to donate blood.
"I was searching for a job for a long time but they pay very little or they ask for typing or English skills and I don't have this so selling blood is easier," he added.
The procedure entails the buyer, someone who is usually in need of supplies for a loved one in hospital, presenting the negotiator with the blood type needed along with the quantity required. Then the negotiator approaches donors in the queue who have the same blood type and enters the donation room with them. read more…
Tuesday, July 12, 2005
Connecticut just fined Wal-Mart for child labor law violations. And in January, Wal-Mart agreed to pay $134,540 after being cited for child labor violations in Connecticut, Arkansas and New Hampshire.
Really—that’s not the kind of place we want to shop for our children’s back-to-school supplies, is it?
This is a great opportunity to send a strong message to Wal-Mart and start the children in your life on the way to activism. Help them write letters by Aug. 1 to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott telling him why their families won’t buy school supplies from Wal-Mart this year. Here are some unpleasant facts about Wal-Mart they can use as they write their letters:
* Wal-Mart has racked up huge fines for child labor law violations. The rich company reportedly makes children younger than 18 work through their meal breaks, work very late and even work during school hours. Several states have found Wal-Mart workers younger than 18 operating dangerous equipment, such as chain saws, and working in dangerous areas like trash compactors. (The New York Times, 1/13/04; The Associated Press, 2/18/05; The Hartford Courant, 6/18/05)
* Wal-Mart pays poverty-level wages and fails to provide affordable health insurance to more than 600,000 employees. That means Wal-Mart workers and their families have a hard time paying the bills and getting the health care they need. (Wal-Mart annual reports; BusinessWeek, 10/2/03)
* Wal-Mart has a shameful record of paying women less than men—discriminating against moms. Wal-Mart paid full-time male employees $5,000 more than women on average in 2001. Some 1.6 million women are eligible to join a class-action lawsuit charging Wal-Mart with discrimination. (Richard Drogin, Ph.D., 2/03; Los Angeles Times, 12/30/04)
* Wal-Mart sells products made by young people in other countries who work in horrible conditions over long hours for little money doing dangerous jobs. In Africa, workers who make clothing for Wal-Mart are forced to put in too many hours, are yelled at by their bosses, are not paid enough to take care of their families and can’t even take breaks to use the bathroom. Wal-Mart refused to investigate stories that shoes and jeans from Asia were being made by workers in forced labor camps. (Cleveland Plain Dealer, 11/14/04; China Labor Watch, the National Labor Committee and Clean Clothes Campaign reports)
* Wal-Mart can afford to do better. Wal-Mart—America's largest private employer—raked in $10 billion in profits last year. CEO Lee Scott landed nearly $23 million in total compensation last year alone. Wal-Mart has no excuse for its behavior.
Help your child send a message to Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott to let him know your family won’t be buying any back-to-school
supplies from Wal-Mart this year.
Mail your child’s
letter by Aug. 1 to:
C/O Wal-Mart Campaign
815 16th St., N.W. Washington, D.C. 20006
Monday, July 11, 2005
Sat Jul 9, 7:35 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - A leaked document from Britain's Defense Ministry says the British and U.S. governments are planning to reduce their troop levels inby more than half by mid-2006, the Mail on Sunday newspaper reported.
The memo, reportedly written by Defense Minister John Reid, said Britain would reduce its troop numbers to 3,000 from 8,500 by the middle of next year.
"We have a commitment to hand over to Iraqi control in Al Muthanna and Maysan provinces (two of the four provinces under British control in southern Iraq) in October 2005 and in the other two, Dhi Qar and Basra, in April 2006," the memo was reported to have said.
The memo said Washington planned to cut its forces to 66,000 from about 140,000 by early 2006.
"Emerging U.S. plans assume 14 out of 18 provinces could be handed over to Iraqi control by early 2006," the memo said.
The United States is training Iraqi forces to take over the country's defense in the face of an insurgency involving allies of former Iraqi Presidentand foreign militants allied to al Qaeda operative Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
But critics say Iraqi troops are not ready to take charge of security in their country.
"There is, however, a debate between the read more…/Centcom, who favor a relatively bold reduction in force numbers and the multi-national force in Iraq, whose approach is more cautious," read the memo.
Friday, July 08, 2005
The Associated Press
Friday, July 8, 2005; 5:25 PM
In a letter to the council, American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Aaron H. Caplan said his group believes it is unconstitutional to ban any mention of Wal-Mart at council meetings. The term "big-box stores" also is banned, as is "moratorium."
"It's the council's meeting. They can decide what they want to hear and what they're tired of hearing," Dille said. "You can understand if you're barraged for two months at meetings _ the same people saying the same thing."
New York Times News Service
Posted on Fri, Jul. 01, 2005
A former Wal-Mart executive responsible for inspecting apparel factories in Central America has sued the company, accusing it of firing him for being too aggressive about finding workplace violations, such as locked exits and mandatory 24-hour shifts.
The executive, James Bill Lynn, said he upset Wal-Mart officials by complaining vigorously about apparel contractors that fired pregnant workers and about one company official who, according to several inspectors, was corrupt and went easy on bad factories.
In a lawsuit filed two weeks ago in state court in Arkansas, where Wal-Mart Stores is based and Lynn lives, Lynn asserted that he was terminated in 2002 ''for truthfully reporting the abysmal working conditions in Central American factories utilized by Wal-Mart and for refusing to comply with Wal-Mart's demand that he certify factories in order to get Wal-Mart's goods to market.'' read more…
Just as the people of London stood with America after 9/11, the people of America – and the entire world – stand with London today. By most recent estimates, the attacks yesterday on three trains and a double-decker bus "left at least 50 dead and 700 people wounded." The atrocity reaffirmed the world's resolve to defeat international terrorism. America's commitment to defeating terrorists has led many to ask a legitimate question: are our policies making us safer?
NUMBERS DON'T LIE: By objective measures, the problem of international terrorism is worse now than it was in 2001. According to State Department data, the number of international terrorist attacks tripled to 650 in 2004. (The number of international terrorist attacks in 2003, 175, was a 20-year high.) This week, the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) – which is a government agency – revealed that those numbers dramatically understate the scope of the problem. Broadening the definition to include attacks that "deliberately hit civilians or non-combatants" the NCTC found that 3,192 incidents of international terrorism occurred last year, resulting in the "deaths, injury or kidnapping of almost 28,500 people." For more information, check out the NCTC's new website, the Terrorism Knowledge Base.
BRAND Al QAEDA: The attacks in London illustrated the changing nature of the threat from al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The Washington Post reports that, today, al Qaeda is "more a brand than a tight-knit group." Over the last four years al Qaeda has been "distributing its ideology and techniques for mass-casualty attacks to a wide audience on the Internet, and encouraging new adherents to act spontaneously in its name." It has long been Osama bin Laden's goal to evolve al Qaeda from "headquarters-planned conspiracies toward diffuse ideological incitement and tactical support." Over the last 18 months, bin Laden and his top deputies "have persuaded dozens of like-minded young men, operating independently of the core al Qaeda leadership, to assemble and deliver suicide or conventional bombs in Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Spain, Egypt and now apparently London." Thus, despite the president's rhetoric, the threat cannot be defeated "abroad before they attack us at home." Al Qaeda-brand terrorists can emerge anywhere at anytime.
THE UNANSWERED QUESTION: President Bush unequivocally asserts that "we are winning the war on terror." But in a leaked October 2003 memo, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said the key question was: "Are we capturing, killing or deterring and dissuading more terrorists every day than ... the radical clerics are recruiting, training and deploying against us?" Asked on Meet the Press two weeks ago if we were succeeding, Rumsfeld said, "I don't know the answer to the question." Evidence from the CIA suggests the number of terrorists is increasing. If we don't know we are reducing the pool of terrorists, how can the president tell the American people we are winning the war on terror?
Wednesday, July 06, 2005
Released: June 30, 2005
President Bush’s televised address to the nation produced no noticeable bounce in his approval numbers, with his job approval rating slipping a point from a week ago, to 43%, in the latest Zogby International poll. And, in a sign of continuing polarization, more than two-in-five voters (42%) say they would favor impeachment proceedings if it is found the President misled the nation about his reasons for going to war with Iraq.
The Zogby America survey of 905 likely voters, conducted from June 27 through 29, 2005, has a margin of error of +/-3.3 percentage points.
Just one week ago, President Bush’s job approval stood at a previous low of 44%—but it has now slipped another point to 43%, despite a speech to the nation intended to build support for the Administration and the ongoing Iraq War effort. The Zogby America survey includes calls made both before and after the President’s address, and the results show no discernible “bump” in his job approval, with voter approval of his job performance at 45% in the final day of polling. read more…
The New York Times reported that Jobs and the victim's father, Errol Rose, spoke for a few minutes earlier this week after Jobs' assistant called the paper asking for Rose's telephone number.
"Some people talk to you like they're something remote. He was so familiar. After every word, he paused, as if each word he said came from his heart," Rose told the Times.
Calling him by his first name, Jobs asked how Rose was doing and conveyed his sympathies, the report said.
"He told me that he understood my pain. He told me that if there is anything -- anything -- anything he can do, to not be afraid to call him. It really lightened me a bit," Rose told the newspaper.
Christopher Rose was killed Saturday in Brooklyn after Rose and three friends were confronted by a group of teenagers who allegedly demanded that Rose give them his iPod. Rose was stabbed twice in the chest after he apparently resisted. read more…
Opinion: America still needs immigrants
Although some believe America should focus on admitting highly skilled immigrants, the fact remains that the U.S. still suffers from labor shortages in certain sectors that could be filled by less-educated immigrants, one columnist writes. The hope of immigrants 100 years ago to see their children do better than their parents still rings true today, he writes. Los Angeles Times (free registration) (7/3)
House Democrats turning against CAFTA-DR
As the Central American-Dominican Republic Free Trade Agreement heads to the House after winning Senate approval, many Democrats find themselves prepared to vote against the agreement, despite the party's stance on free trade. Many of those opposed feel they weren't consulted on the negotiations, and as few as 10 House Democrats could vote in favor of the bill, which could cause it to fail. The Washington Post (free registration) (7/6)