Tuesday, September 30, 2008

In the News: Sep-30

Health rules issued for nuke dump in Nevada - 30 Sep 2008 at 2:22pm - WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday that the proposed Yucca Mountain nuclear waste dump in Nevada must be designed to ensure against excessive radiation exposure to nearby residents for up to a million years.

Pentagon announces 2009 deployments to Iraq - 30 Sep 2008 at 12:43pm - Six Army brigades, a National Guard unit, and three military headquarters have been ordered to deploy to Iraq next summer in a move that would allow the U.S. to keep the number of troops largely steady there through much of next year. The planned deployments involve about 26,000 troops and would maintain 14 combat brigades in Iraq from about February to early autumn. But the decisions do not rule out potential changes as military leaders assess the security there and eye more troop withdrawals.

IAEA lacks tools to find hidden atom work: ElBaradei - 30 Sep 2008 at 11:09am - VIENNA (Reuters) - The International Atomic Energy Agency chief said on Tuesday the agency's failure to detect nuclear arms work in Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the 1980s showed his inspectors lacked authority to pre-empt proliferators.

Thought for the day:
Don't join the book burners. Don't think you're going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don't be afraid to go in your library and read every book. -Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890 - 1969)

Monday, September 29, 2008

America's Bible

Publisher puts 'NIV' Bible in Americans' handwriting - 29 Sep 2008 at 9:37pm - Once only the elite, the educated and the holy had the privilege of inscribing the words of the Bible, verse by verse. Now Americans coast to coast will have a chance to hand-copy a verse of Scripture to appear in a special edition of the New International Version of the Bible, known as the NIV.
"Before the Gutenberg (the first Bible printed on a printing press), they were all handwritten," says Zondervan's Steve Sammons. "In our digital age, we lose sight of what it means to have a tangible product we create by our hands. This will truly make the NIV America's Bible."
What a shame to want to stamp a nationality onto a bible. Should there not be something about a bible that transcends nationalities, political ideologies, and other petty distinctions among followers?

In the News: Sep-29

House rejects bailout plan - 29 Sep 2008 at 3:11pm - NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives rejected a $700 billion bailout plan for the financial industry in a shock vote that sent global markets sliding as the world credit crisis claimed more banks.

Prosecutor appointed to probe attorney firings - 29 Sep 2008 at 11:36am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Attorney General Michael Mukasey on Monday appointed a prosecutor to examine potential criminal charges in the Justice Department's firings of nine federal prosecutors after an inquiry found evidence several of the dismissals were politically motivated.

Olmert Says Israel Should Pull Out of West Bank - 29 Sep 2008 at 9:28am - In an unusually frank interview, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert discarded longstanding Israeli defense doctrine.

IRAQ: Number of cholera cases nearly doubles - September 29, 2008 2:57:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 28 September 2008 (IRIN) - More than 300 confirmed cholera cases have been registered in central and southern Iraq since an outbreak began on 20 August, with almost 50 percent of the cases occurring in the past week, the health ministry's cholera unit has said.

IRAQ: Plane-load of Iraqis due to be repatriated this week - September 29, 2008 2:57:00 PM - AMMAN, 29 September 2008 (IRIN) - The Iraqi embassy in Amman is organising the repatriation by plane of dozens of Iraqi families who wish to return home, despite warnings from UN agencies about the security situation.

No Charges Expected in Dismissal of Attorneys - 29 Sep 2008 at 6:54am - A Justice Department investigation stops short of recommending criminal charges against former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales.

Thought for the day:
Freedom of expression is the matrix, the indispensable condition, of nearly every other form of freedom. -Benjamin Cardozo (1870 - 1938)

Friday, September 26, 2008

In the News: Sep-26

Contractor wants immunity in Abu Ghraib suits - 26 Sep 2008 at 2:16pm - Defense contractor CACI is claiming immunity from lawsuits alleging torture at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq.

IRAQ: Parliament demands financial help for IDPs, refugees - September 26, 2008 3:27:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 25 September 2008 (IRIN) - A parliamentary committee on displacement and migration demanded the Iraqi government allot US$4 billion in next year's budget to meet the needs of more than four million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees.

Is Surge Responsible For A Less Violent Iraq? - 26 Sep 2008 at 8:29am - The last of the U.S. troop reinforcements have left Iraq, and no one doubts they helped to improve security in Baghdad. But while the surge was given much of the credit for the security gains, Iraqis believe there were other important factors at work.

Thought for the day:
I know that there are people who do not love their fellow man, and I hate people like that! -Tom Lehrer (1928 - )

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

In the News: Sep-24

US court: Monitoring Muslims was constitutional - 24 Sep 2008 at 2:02pm - NEW YORK -- A federal appeals court says it was constitutional for the United States to require visitors from two dozen Arab and Muslim countries and North Korea to register with immigration authorities.

Harper disagrees with pessimistic report on Canadian housing market - 24 Sep 2008 at 1:46pm - Conservative Leader Stephen Harper says he disagrees with a report by brokerage firm Merrill Lynch that warns Canada could be headed for a housing and mortgage meltdown similar to the one that has devastated the United States economy.

Saudi Arabia Offers Rehab For Gitmo Detainees - 24 Sep 2008 at 1:00pm - The Saudi government offers former Gitmo detainees a rehabilitation program. It includes spiritual counseling, financial payments, help getting a job and occasionally a Toyota Corolla.

Merrill Lynch sees danger in Canadian housing market - 24 Sep 2008 at 1:01pm - Merrill Lynch is warning that Canada could be headed for a housing and mortgage meltdown similar to the one that has devastated the U.S. economy.

Bush to give speech to nation at 9:01 p.m. EDT - 24 Sep 2008 at 1:32pm - With a financial rescue plan facing a tough sell on Capitol Hill, President Bush has scheduled a prime-time, televised address Wednesday night in hopes of persuading the public that the massive proposal is necessary to combat a growing crisis.

White Rabbit brand Chinese candy contaminated: Asian health officials - 24 Sep 2008 at 11:19am - A popular brand of Chinese candy sold in Canada contains trace amounts of melamine, say health officials in Singapore and Hong Kong.

13 states protest abortion refusal rule - 24 Sep 2008 at 11:19am - HARTFORD, Conn. -- Connecticut and 12 other states are protesting a proposed Bush administration rule that would give stronger job protections to doctors and other health care workers who refuse to participate in abortions because of religious or moral objections.

Jimmy Carter says bailout plan is faulty - 24 Sep 2008 at 10:37am - ATLANTA -- The Bush administration's $700 billion plan to bail out the financial industry is "extremely faulty," Former President Jimmy Carter said at a Tuesday night town hall-style meeting.

Pentagon budget hits new record in spending bill - 24 Sep 2008 at 10:08am - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon budget would rise to a new record while U.S. automakers and victims of hurricanes and floods would receive billions of dollars in a $630 billion-plus omnibus spending bill rushing toward the House floor Wednesday.

Iraq Passes Provincial Elections Law - 24 Sep 2008 at 9:14am - Iraq's parliament overwhelmingly approved a provincial elections law Wednesday, overcoming months of deadlock.

Afghanistan Seeks Changes In Western Troops Deal - 24 Sep 2008 at 8:04am - Afghan President Hamid Karzai meets Thursday with President Bush and plans to push for major changes to the existing agreement on U.S. and other Western troops' operations in Afghanistan. The move comes as anger grows in Afghanistan over the number of civilian deaths at the hands of Western troops.

Democrats to let offshore drilling ban expire - 24 Sep 2008 at 6:19am - WASHINGTON -- Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in a months-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer.

Thought for the day:
What difference does it make to the dead, the orphans and the homeless, whether the mad destruction is wrought under the name of totalitarianism or the holy name of liberty or democracy? -Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948), "Non-Violence in Peace and War"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

In the News: Sep-23

Senators seek rights protections in FBI probes - 23 Sep 2008 at 1:04pm - WASHINGTON -- Three Democratic senators demanded "bare-minimum" civil rights protections Tuesday for Americans who might be targeted in FBI national security investigations without any evidence of wrongdoing.

Bush Administration Reviews Its Afghanistan Policy, Exposing Points of Contention - 23 Sep 2008 at 11:59am - President Bush?s top aides are conducting four major new reviews of the war strategy and mission in Afghanistan.

Europe Balks At Helping U.S. Dig Out Of Fiscal Hole - 23 Sep 2008 at 10:42am - While Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is pressing Congress to pass his $700 billion plan to bailout the financial sector, he's also asking foreign countries for assistance. But France and Germany are not likely to get aboard. Many Europeans now feel that their model of tighter regulation and more government involvement has been vindicated.

Gates: More troops may go to Afghanistan in spring - 23 Sep 2008 at 10:39am - WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says that up to three more combat brigades could be available to go to Afghanistan beginning next spring, in answer to repeated calls from commanders for more troops.

President Bush Bids U.N. Farewell - 23 Sep 2008 at 10:13am - President Bush addresses the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday for the last time. In his speech, he'll portray himself as a multilateralist who wants to see the U.N. function better.
And the assemblage will crack up?

Bush, Zardari discuss US incursions in Pakistan - 23 Sep 2008 at 9:43am - NEW YORK -- President Bush on Tuesday expressed sorrow for the victims of a deadly truck bomb that devastated a Marriott hotel in Islamabad and acknowledged tensions over U.S. military incursions into Pakistani territory.
Maybe there would be fewer tensions to acknowldege, if they'd had the discussions before the incursions, rather than after.

Thought for the day:
My grandfather once told me that there were two kinds of people: those who do the work and those who take the credit. He told me to try to be in the first group; there was much less competition. -Indira Gandhi (1917 - 1984)

Monday, September 22, 2008

In the News: Sep-22

Palin Will Meet With Foreign Leaders - 22 Sep 2008 at 2:13pm - The sessions are part of an effort to demonstrate that Sarah Palin is prepared to operate in the arenas of foreign policy and national security despite criticism of her level of experience.

'Prudent' Liberal platform merges economy, environment: Dion - 22 Sep 2008 at 2:30pm - Liberal Leader St phane Dion on Monday released his party's campaign platform, which includes the Green Shift plan, a pledge to reduce the tax on income trusts and a proposed $3-billion-a-year contingency fund to protect Canada from global economic uncertainty.

Military frees Afghan journalist held 11 months - 22 Sep 2008 at 1:38pm - An Afghan journalist detained for 11 months at the main U.S. military base at Bagram alleged on Monday that his captors kicked him, forced him to stand barefoot in the snow and didn't allow him to sleep for days. Jawed Ahmad, who was working for CTV, a Canadian television network, was handed over to Afghan authorities Sunday, said Capt. Christian Patterson, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition.

Afghans want military force at Pakistan border - 22 Sep 2008 at 1:36pm - WASHINGTON -- Afghanistan wants to set up a joint military force that would have the power to operate on both sides of the border with Pakistan, where militants have found safe haven.

Senate Democrats want pay limits, equity in bailout - 22 Sep 2008 at 12:30pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democrats issued a counterproposal to the Treasury Department's $700 billion Wall Street bailout plan on Monday that would give the government a stake in firms unloading assets under the plan, and limit the pay of corporate executives involved.

Iraq to begin paying Sunni volunteers next month - 22 Sep 2008 at 12:09pm - WASHINGTON -- The Iraqi government will begin paying the salaries of about 54,000 of the mostly Sunni fighters in Baghdad Province who joined the fight against al-Qaida, the No. 2 U.S. commander there said Monday.

Gates: Record spending for National Guard - 22 Sep 2008 at 11:09am - BALTIMORE -- Funding for the National Guard has reached a record level amid the largest mobilization of America's citizen soldiers since World War II, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday.

IRAQ: Cholera cases reach 172, health ministry says - September 22, 2008 3:27:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 21 September 2008 (IRIN) - A cholera outbreak is continuing to spread in central and southern Iraq with 65 new cases registered over the past week, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 172, a health ministry spokesman said on 20 September.

Iraqis Protest Civilian Deaths - 19 Sep 2008 at 3:29pm - Iraqis protested the deaths of at least seven people during an American air strike in northern Iraq, in the town where Saddam Hussein was captured in 2003.

Thought for the day:
It's only when the tide goes out that you discover who's been swimming naked. -Warren Buffett (1930 - )

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Judge orders Cheney to preserve records

Judge orders Cheney to preserve records - 20 Sep 2008 at 4:55pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge Saturday ordered Dick Cheney to preserve a wide range of the records from his time as vice president.
The Bush administration's legal position "heightens the court's concern" that some records may not be preserved, said the judge.

Friday, September 19, 2008

In the News: Sep-19

Bush, Abbas to meet at White House next week - 19 Sep 2008 at 3:06pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush will review progress in Middle East peace talks with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas when they meet in Washington next week, the White House said on Friday.

NATO denies provoking Russia-Georgia conflict - 19 Sep 2008 at 1:54pm - LONDON (AFP) - NATO denied provoking last month's conflict between Russia and Georgia, a spokesman for the alliance said Friday, after Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused it of sparking the conflict.

Man dies after Canadian troops fire on Afghan civilian truck - 19 Sep 2008 at 9:51am - A male passenger in an Afghan vehicle is dead after Canadian soldiers fired on a civilian truck that was driving toward their military convoy Thursday evening.

NKorea preparing to restart nuclear reactor: official - 19 Sep 2008 at 8:47am - PANMUNJOM, Korea (AFP) - North Korea said Friday it is working to restart its atomic reactor and no longer wants US concessions after accusing Washington of breaking a nuclear disarmament pact.

'Too early to say' if diggers killed Afghan governor - 19 Sep 2008 at 8:00am - Federal Defence Minister Joel Fitzgibbon says it is too early to say whether Australian soldiers were responsible for mistakenly killing an Afghan district governor yesterday.

Thought for the day:
Last year I went fishing with Salvador Dali. He was using a dotted line. He caught every other fish. -Steven Wright (1955 - )

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Agreement With Iraq Over Troops Is at Risk - 18 Sep 2008 at 10:15pm - The major remaining point of contention between the American military and Iraqi leaders involves immunity, said officials on both sides.... The major remaining point of contention involves immunity, with the United States maintaining that American troops and military contractors should have the same protections they have in other countries where they are based and Iraq insisting that they be subject to the country’s criminal justice system for any crime committed outside of a military operation, the officials said.
Well, you know... why shouldn't they be? It's not like Iraq invited them into the country (despite the neocons' fantasies of the U.S. military being greeted as liberators).

later in the article...

In agreeing to specific dates as a goal for troop withdrawals, Mr. Bush has had to soften his earlier warnings that deadlines were counterproductive. Mr. Bush also agreed to withdraw American troops from Iraqi cities by next July and base them in comparatively remote areas, except during operations. Administration officials emphasized that those deadlines were “aspirational” and could be shifted if security in Iraq did not continue to improve.
Is there any more proof required that you are simply a shit, than that you must be dragged kicking and screaming to have "aspirations"?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In the News: Sep-18

Pakistan: No compromise on U.S. cross-border strikes - 18 Sep 2008 at 2:31pm - Pakistan's prime minister said Thursday that strikes by foreign forces were "counterproductive," as officials said there was no warning about the latest U.S. missile strike in the Pakistani northwest. Meanwhile, militants briefly seized 300 boys at a school in northwest Pakistan on Thursday, police said. The incident ended with the deaths of two suicide bombers; no children were harmed.

EFF Sues NSA, President Bush, and VP Cheney - September 18, 2008 1:10:00 PM - The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) will file a lawsuit against the National Security Agency (NSA) and other government agencies today on behalf of AT&T customers to stop the illegal, unconstitutional, and ongoing dragnet surveillance of their communications and communications records. The five individual plaintiffs are also suing President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, Cheney's chief of staff David Addington, former Attorney General and White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales and other individuals who ordered or participated in the warrantless domestic surveillance.

McCain says would fire SEC chairman - 18 Sep 2008 at 1:49pm - CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Thursday he would, if elected, fire U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox for failing in his oversight of Wall Street.

Psychologists vote against role in interrogation - 18 Sep 2008 at 12:19pm - The nation's leading psychologists' association has voted to ban its members from taking part in interrogations at the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and other military detention sites where it believes international law is being violated.

Bush says he's working to calm economic turmoil - 18 Sep 2008 at 2:43pm - WASHINGTON -- Eager to show that he feels people's pain, President Bush scuttled a political fundraising trip Thursday to tell the country his administration is working feverishly to calm turmoil in the financial markets.
Let me guess: it's hard work.

U.S. soldier sentenced over killings of Iraqis - 18 Sep 2008 at 2:08pm - BERLIN (Reuters) - A U.S. soldier who admitted involvement in the shooting of detainees in Iraq early last year has been sentenced to seven months in jail and will be dishonorably discharged, the army said on Thursday.

Hack of Palin e-mail makes case for sticking with .gov account - September 17, 2008 8:32:00 PM - Gov. Sarah Palin's Yahoo e-mail account was hacked earlier this week, and information from the compromised account was released on the Internet, adding security worries to transparency concerns about the use of unofficial accounts for government business.

7 U.S. Soldiers Die in Copter Crash - 18 Sep 2008 at 9:25am - The cause of the crash was unclear, but there was no immediate suspicion of enemy activity, according to American and British military officials.

Thought for the day:
We should often be ashamed of our finest actions if the world understood our motives. -Francois de La Rochefoucauld (1613 - 1680)

In the News: Aug-17

Leahy: Suspect had help in anthrax attacks - 17 Sep 2008 at 1:53pm - WASHINGTON -- The chairman of the of Senate Judiciary Committee does not believe that Dr. Bruce Ivins acted alone in the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks.

IRAQ: Confirmed cholera cases exceed 100 - 17 Sep 2008 at 8:58am - BAGHDAD, 17 September 2008 (IRIN) - The number of confirmed cases of cholera has risen to 107 in central and southern parts of the country, a Health Ministry spokesman said on 16 September.

U.S. army charges 3 soldiers with murder - 17 Sep 2008 at 8:58am - The U.S. Army has charged three soldiers with murder for their role in the killing of Iraqis last year.

U.S. defense chief to act on Afghan civilian deaths - 17 Sep 2008 at 8:42am - KABUL (Reuters) - Under pressure over rising civilian deaths in Afghanistan, the U.S. defense chief said on Wednesday that the U.S. military needed to do more to prevent the killing of ordinary Afghans caught up in military operations.

U.S. says "committed to respect" Pakistan sovereignty - 17 Sep 2008 at 8:23am - ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The top U.S. military officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, reiterated on Wednesday a U.S. commitment to respect Pakistan's sovereignty after a flurry of U.S. strikes on militants in Pakistan strained relations between the allies.

Thought for the day:
Nothing is easier than self-deceit. For what each man wishes, that he also believes to be true. -Demosthenes (384 BC - 322 BC), Third Olynthiac

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

In the News: Sep-16

Top Pentagon Official in Surprise Visit to Pakistan - 16 Sep 2008 at 2:13pm - The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff arrived for talks about recent incursions by American commandos.

Canadian soldiers cleared in Afghan children's deaths - 16 Sep 2008 at 1:45pm - Canadian military investigators have cleared soldiers involved in an incident near Kandahar in July when two children were shot and killed in a vehicle approaching a military convoy.

General: far more US troops needed in Afghanistan - 16 Sep 2008 at 2:20pm - KABUL, Afghanistan -- The senior U.S. general in Afghanistan said Tuesday he is fighting the war with too few ground troops, and that even the reinforcements President Bush announced last week are insufficient. He said the shortage compels him to use more air power, at the cost of higher civilian casualties.

Chemical in plastic linked to human heart disease, diabetes - 16 Sep 2008 at 11:18am - For the first time, a large, population-based study links a chemical in plastic baby bottles to heart disease and diabetes in humans. Some scientists say the study — released today to coincide with a Food and Drug Administration meeting— shows that bisphenol A, or BPA, is too dangerous to allow in consumer products, especially those used by babies and pregnant women.

House gives go-ahead to sue Iraq over torture - 16 Sep 2008 at 10:23am - WASHINGTON (AP) — Former POWs and civilians who were tortured or held hostage during the 1991 Gulf War could pursue lawsuits against Iraq under legislation the House has approved. The White House, saying the bill would threaten economic and political progress in Iraq, threatened to veto the measure if it reaches the president's desk. It still has to clear the Senate.

Pakistani troops told to fire on U.S. forces if they cross Afghan border - 16 Sep 2008 at 9:29am - Pakistan's army has ordered its troops to open fire on U.S. forces if they launch cross-border raids from Afghanistan.

Georgia: Tapped phones show self-defense in war - 16 Sep 2008 at 9:16am - Georgia released recordings Tuesday of conversations which it says show that Russian troops entered South Ossetia before Georgia unleashed its offensive against the separatist region last month. The release of the recordings aims to counter Russia's claim that Georgia was the aggressor, and to turn the tables against Moscow in the battle for the moral high ground after a five-day war that killed hundreds of people and deepened the rift between Russia and the West.

Pentagon to expand intel ops at U.S. prison in Afghanistan - 16 Sep 2008 at 9:03am - The Pentagon plans to expand intelligence operations at its main prison in Afghanistan, records and interviews with military officials show. Interrogators and analysts are being sought for a bigger Bagram prison scheduled to open next year. They will be hired to question prisoners and provide intelligence that can be used on the battlefield, according to contract solicitations reviewed by USA TODAY. The Army also is seeking a "trained Mullah" to conduct Islamic services for detainees and advise U.S. officials on religious issues.

Ukraine's pro-Western ruling coalition collapses - 16 Sep 2008 at 8:56am - KIEV (AFP) - The governing coalition in Ukraine collapsed on Tuesday in a crisis brought on by Russia's war with Georgia that raises the prospect of the country being knocked off its pro-Western course.

Thought for the day:
Democracy is the recurrent suspicion that more than half of the people are right more than half the time. -E. B. White (1899 - 1985)

Monday, September 15, 2008


Five ex-secretaries of state urge talks with Iran - 15 Sep 2008 at 7:05pm - WASHINGTON -- Five former secretaries of state, gathering to give their best advice to the next president, agreed Monday that the United States should talk to Iran.... [James A.] Baker [III], secretary of state for President George H.W. Bush from 1989-1992, said he did not think "there is a deal to be struck" between Israel and the Palestinians. But he said the U.S. should get on good terms with Syria when there is a better chance for a deal. "It's ridiculous for us to say we are not going to talk to Syria," he said.
Seems obvious, doesn't it?: if you hope to persuade another party to take a particular course of action, you would do well to open a dialogue with that party. You probably won't be as persuasive if you never open your mouth.


US officials: Al-Qaida unpopular and 'imploding' - 15 Sep 2008 at 6:24pm - WASHINGTON -- Top U.S. counterterrorism officials Monday said al-Qaida is "imploding" and that its violent tactics have turned Muslims worldwide against the organization. "Absolutely it's imploding. It's imploding because it's not a message that resonates with a lot of Muslims," said Dell Dailey, the State Department's coordinator for counterterrorism.
Did al-Qaida ever have a message that resonated with a lot of Muslims? What kind of analysis is this?

In the News: Sep-15

The Lede: Russians React to Putin's '08 Remark - 15 Sep 2008 at 3:03pm - Did the U.S. orchestrate the recent war between Georgia and Russia to boost Senator John McCain?s presidential chances?

Witchcraft rumor sparks riot at Congo soccer game, killing 13 - 15 Sep 2008 at 12:06pm - Accusations that a soccer player was using witchcraft during a local match in eastern Congo sparked a riot that killed 13 people, a U.N.-funded radio station reported Monday. Most of the victims were between the ages of 11 and 16, Radio Okapi said. They were suffocated during the mayhem Sunday in Butembo in eastern Congo's North Kivu province.

U.S. plans to sell Israel 1,000 bunker-buster bombs - 15 Sep 2008 at 11:36am - The U.S. plans to sell Israel 1,000 buster-bunker bombs which Israeli military experts said Monday could provide a powerful new weapon against underground arsenals in Lebanon or Gaza. The experts said they doubted, however, that the bombs could be used to deliver a crippling blow against Iran's nuclear program.

Judge throws out Yellowstone snowmobile plan - 15 Sep 2008 at 10:32am - WASHINGTON -- A federal judge has thrown out plans to allow more than 500 snowmobiles in Yellowstone National Park this winter.

Toronto considering ban on paper coffee cups - 15 Sep 2008 at 8:40am - The City of Toronto is considering everything from a tax to an outright ban on objects like paper coffee cups, fast-food containers and plastic bags that clog the recycling system.

Cholera continues to spread in Iraq's south - September 15, 2008 3:27:00 PM - The Iraqi Ministry of Health continues to fight a recent outbreak of cholera as it spreads through Iraq's southern provinces, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 68, a health ministry spokesman said on 13 September.

Gates foresees narrower U.S. combat role in Iraq - 15 Sep 2008 at 8:05am - Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that although no additional U.S. combat brigades are to withdraw from Iraq this year, he expects the U.S. combat role to keep shrinking. "We are clearly in a mission transition," he told reporters on an overnight flight here from Washington.

Poll: Public opposes increased presidential power - 15 Sep 2008 at 8:04am - Americans strongly oppose giving the president more power at the expense of Congress or the courts, even to enhance national security or the economy, according to a new poll. The Associated Press-National Constitution Center poll of views on the Constitution found people wary of governmental authority after years of controversy over the Bush administration's expansion of executive power, and especially skeptical of increasing the president's powers.

Up To 50,000 Jobs At Risk In Banks' Collapse - 15 Sep 2008 at 7:47am - Lehman Brothers' 26,000 employees started to clear out their offices Sunday as the securities firm files for bankruptcy. Meanwhile, Merrill Lynch collapsed and agreed to be taken over by Bank of America. Thousands of jobs will disappear in an industry that has lost 100,000 jobs since the start of the credit crisis a little more than a year ago.

US-led troops repelled from Pakistani border: officials - 15 Sep 2008 at 6:30am - PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) - US-led coalition troops based in Afghanistan tried to cross into a Pakistani tribal area in helicopters but were repelled after warning shots were fired, local officials said Monday.

Thought for the day:
An invasion of armies can be resisted, but not an idea whose time has come. -Victor Hugo (1802 - 1885), Histoire d'un crime, 1852

Friday, September 12, 2008

In the News: Sep-12

Petraeus will never declare victory in Iraq - 11 Sep 2008 at 3:01pm - The general in charge of American soldiers in Iraq has given a mixed assessment of progress in Iraq. General David Petraeus says that, while the country is in better shape than it was at the start of last year it still faces serious problems. General Petraeus has overseen the so called "surge" of American combat troops into Iraq and he is about to leave to take on a more senior role. He says the fabric of Iraqi society was being torn apart by "horrific" violence. The outgoing commander says he will never declare victory there.

2 U.S. soldiers to face court-martial in Iraq deaths - 12 Sep 2008 at 2:53pm - Two American soldiers will face a court-martial in Germany for the alleged slaying of four prisoners in Iraq, the Army announced ...

RCMP relied too much on Taser manufacturer info: report - 12 Sep 2008 at 1:55pm - RCMP officials relied too heavily on information provided by manufacturers when they were developing their own stun gun policies and training programs, an independent review concludes.

Spain to plant 45 million trees before 2012 - 12 Sep 2008 at 11:46am - Spain says it will plant 45 million trees between 2009-2012 in a bid to halt the country's increasing desertification.

U.S. surpasses admissions goal for Iraqi refugees - 12 Sep 2008 at 12:04pm - The Bush administration says it has surpassed its goal of allowing 12,000 Iraqi refugees into the United States during the current budget year after streamlining the admissions process. Officials said Friday that with half a month to go before hitting the Sept. 30 deadline, 12,118 Iraqi refugees had arrived in the country since last October and more are on the way. The administration has been criticized for not doing enough to help Iraqis who have fled their country, and last year pledged to improve its record.

Thought for the day:
Between two evils, I always pick the one I never tried before. -Mae West (1892 - 1980), Klondike Annie

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In the News: Sep-11

Post-traumatic stress disorder may affect up to 70,000 New Yorkers: Sept. 11 ... - 11 Sep 2008 at 2:13pm - As many as 70,000 people in New York may have developed post-traumatic stress disorder because of the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a report by the city's health department said.

Guantanamo judge postpones trial for Omar Khadr - 11 Sep 2008 at 2:45pm - A U.S. military judge has postponed the trial of Omar Khadr, a young Canadian man detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for the past six years for alleged crimes committed as a teenager.

Japan Weighs Military Withdrawal from Iraq - 11 Sep 2008 at 12:05pm - Japan said Thursday it wanted to withdraw its remaining military personnel from Iraq by year?s end, wrapping up an overseas mission that had divided the pacifist nation.

Former official: Bush OK'd US raids in Pakistan - 11 Sep 2008 at 10:15am - WASHINGTON -- A former intelligence official with recent access to the Bush administration's debate about fighting terrorism in Pakistan says the president secretly approved new U.S. military raids in that country.

Insurgent attack in Afghanistan kills 1 U.S. soldier - 11 Sep 2008 at 9:59am - An insurgent attack on an eastern compound killed a U.S. soldier on Thursday, bringing the year's death toll to 112 and making 2008 the deadliest for American forces in Afghanistan since the U.S. invaded the country in response to the Sept. 11 attacks. The NATO-led force said the soldier was killed in eastern Afghanistan "when insurgents attacked a compound." It provided no other details, but a Western military official told The Associated Press that the soldier was American.

Army looks for outside help to reduce suicides - 11 Sep 2008 at 8:18am - The Army's top medical officer says commanders are looking to their counterparts in the Air Force and in civilian agencies for ways to cope with an alarming increase in suicides. "We work real closely with the Veterans Administration, who have for many years taken the lead in this," Lt. Gen. Eric B. Schoomaker, the Army's surgeon general, said Wednesday in a telephone interview. "We've also looked across the services and at other models that have been more successful than our own."

Thought for the day:
No one should be judge in his own case. -Publilius Syrus (~100 BC), Maxims

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

In the News: Sep-10

White House: No 'super powers' to find bin Laden - 10 Sep 2008 at 12:57pm - WASHINGTON -- The White House said Wednesday that the failure to capture Osama bin Laden in the seven years since the Sept. 11 attacks shows the limitations of military and intelligence power.

Losing patience, U.S. demands Russia quit Georgia - 10 Sep 2008 at 12:09pm - An irritated Bush administration accused Russia on Wednesday of trying to find excuses to keep thousands of troops in Georgia in violation of a cease-fire Russia signed with the former Soviet republic last month. Using unusually blunt language, the State Department said it was well past time for Russia to withdraw most of its soldiers from Georgia's separatist areas of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. A spokesman demanded that Russia do so now.

Safer Iraq draws foreign investors - 10 Sep 2008 at 11:03am - Iraq is poised to receive a flood of foreign investment, thanks to improved security. More than $74 billion in projects have been submitted for government approval in just the past five months, according to Iraq's state investment regulator. The investors include companies from the U.S., Europe, and Gulf Arab states. Their proposals all involve sectors other than oil, including a $13 billion new port for the southern city of Basra, several hotels and thousands of housing units nationwide, says Ahmed Ridha, the chairman of Iraq's National Investment Commission.

Pentagon Delays Tanker Deal - 10 Sep 2008 at 9:43am - The Defense Department will wait until the next administration to award a disputed $35 billion contract to build a new fleet of aerial refueling tankers.

McCain, Palin Praise Bush's Iraq Plan - 10 Sep 2008 at 8:25am - The Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin campaigned Tuesday in the battleground states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. The GOP presidential nominee spoke about the progress in Iraq and praised President Bush's plan to withdraw about 8,000 troops by next year.
Bush troop withdrawal plan: "return on success"; Obama troop withdrawal plan: "hoping for defeat".

Thought for the day:
Appraise war in terms of the fundamental factors. The first of these factors is moral influence. -Sun-Tzu (~400 BC)

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In the News: Sep-09

Shell agrees landmark 4.0 bln-dlr gas deal with Iraq - 9 Sep 2008 at 12:49pm - BAGHDAD (AFP) - Royal Dutch Shell will form a gas venture with energy-rich Iraq worth up to four billion dollars, the oil ministry said Tuesday of the first Western oil major to do a deal with the central government since the 2003 invasion.

Budget deficit nears record under latest estimates - 9 Sep 2008 at 12:47pm - The federal government will run a near-record deficit of $407 billion this year, according to the latest Capitol Hill estimates.

Dangerous chemicals showing up in some air fresheners - 9 Sep 2008 at 12:08pm - Air fresheners marketed as a way to enhance the smell of your home may actually contain dangerous chemicals that could do harm, a CBC News investigation has found.

Video Shows Easy Hacking of E-Voting Machines - September 09, 2008 10:47:00 AM - The Security Group at the University of California in Santa Barbara has released the video that shows the attacks carried out against the Sequoia voting system. The video shows an attack where a virus-like software spreads across the voting system. The coolest part of the video is the one that shows how the 'brainwashed' voting terminals can use different techniques to change the votes even when a paper audit trail is used. Pretty scary stuff. The video is absolute proof that these types of attacks are indeed feasible and not just a conspiracy theory. Also, the part that shows how the 'tamperproof' seals can be completely bypassed in seconds is very funny (and quite disturbing at the same time).

House panel knocks VA over destroyed specimens - 9 Sep 2008 at 11:32am - WASHINGTON -- Lawmakers on Tuesday castigated Veterans Administration health officials for ordering the destruction of biomedical specimens on Legionnaires' disease and other infectious diseases that two prominent researchers had collected over a quarter-century.

WMD report: US remains 'dangerously vulnerable' - 9 Sep 2008 at 6:34am - WASHINGTON -- The United States remains "dangerously vulnerable" to chemical, biological and nuclear attacks seven years after 9/11, a forthcoming independent study concludes. And a House Democrats' report says the Bush administration has missed one opportunity after another to improve the nation's security.

Bush Administration Plans To Privatize Part Of VA - 9 Sep 2008 at 6:00am - The White House has announced that it will privatize parts of one of the most venerated federal programs for veterans. The news has prompted criticism from several national veterans groups.

Thought for the day:
I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. -Will Rogers (1879 - 1935)

Monday, September 08, 2008


Bush to announce 8,000 troops home by February - 8 Sep 2008 at 6:48pm - WASHINGTON -- President Bush plans to keep the number of U.S. troops in Iraq near the current level through the end of the year and will pull home about 8,000 U.S. troops by February, when the next president will be in charge of wartime decision-making.
Withdrawing 8,000 in two weeks? What will be the reaction of those who characterized Obama's plan to withdraw 10,000 troops per month as "precipitous"?

Instant update: Oops, make that 8,000 troops in a month. An earlier version of this story had Bush proposing a withdrawal of the 8,000 by mid-January.

In the News: Sep-08

Bush cancels civilian nuclear deal with Russia - 8 Sep 2008 at 12:46pm - WASHINGTON -- The Bush administration has canceled a once-celebrated civilian nuclear cooperation deal with Russia.

9/11 health company slow to start treating workers - 8 Sep 2008 at 12:32pm - WASHINGTON -- A company run by an ex-Bush administration official and hired by the government to provide medical care to Sept. 11 recovery workers has been slow to take up the job, workers and advocates say.

IRAQ: Government cracks down on squatters - September 08, 2008 5:57:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 8 September 2008 (IRIN) - The Iraqi government is cracking down on squatters occupying properties belonging to internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees as the one-month grace period expired at the end of August, a government spokesman said.

IRAQ: Two more cholera cases confirmed - September 08, 2008 5:57:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 8 September 2008 (IRIN) - Two more cholera cases have been diagnosed in Baghdad, bringing the number of cases to seven since last week, including a fatality in the south, the Health Ministry said on 7 September.

Yucca license application accepted for review - 8 Sep 2008 at 11:32am - WASHINGTON -- Federal regulators have agreed to formally review the government's application for a license to build a radioactive waste dump in Nevada.

Thought for the day:
An oppressed people are authorized whenever they can to rise and break their fetters. -Henry Clay (1777 - 1852)

Friday, September 05, 2008

In the News: Sep-05

Iraq govt reacts sharply to U.S. spying allegations - 5 Sep 2008 at 3:00pm - The Iraqi government reacted sharply Friday to published allegations that the U.S. spied on Iraq's prime minister, warning that future ties with the United States could be in jeopardy if the report were true. The allegations appear by a new book, "The War Within: A Secret White House History, 2006-2008," by journalist Bob Woodward, who writes that the United States spied extensively on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his staff and other government officials.

Canada outlines 21 goals for Afghanistan - 5 Sep 2008 at 2:33pm - The federal government has laid out specific goals to reach in Afghanistan in the next three years, including building 50 schools in Kandahar and training at least four Afghan army battalions to work autonomously in the volatile southern province.

Bush to announce US troop levels in Iraq next week - 5 Sep 2008 at 12:00pm - WASHINGTON -- The White House says President Bush will announce his decision on future troops levels in Iraq next week.

US loses 84,000 jobs in August; jobless rate 6.1% - 5 Sep 2008 at 8:53am - WASHINGTON (AFP) - US employers slashed 84,000 jobs in August and the jobless rate jumped to a five-year high of 6.1 percent, according to a government report Friday suggesting fragile economic conditions.

Feds warn climate change could harm giant sequoias - 5 Sep 2008 at 8:38am - U.S. researchers warn that warming temperatures could soon cause California's giant sequoia trees to die off more quickly unless forest managers plan with an eye toward climate change and the impact of a longer, harsher wildfire season.

Army says suicides likely setting record again - 4 Sep 2008 at 3:19pm - WASHINGTON -- The Army says suicide among soldiers appears to be rising again this year, after setting a record in 2007.

Thought for the day:
It is difficult to produce a television documentary that is both incisive and probing when every twelve minutes one is interrupted by twelve dancing rabbits singing about toilet paper. -Rod Serling (1924 - 1975)

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Surge Failed

Or at least it isn't expected to have any success — as I define it (producing conditions which would allow foreign troops to withdraw) — until sometime next year, at the earliest.
Sources: Bush advised to delay troop cuts in Iraq - 4 Sep 2008 at 9:26pm - WASHINGTON -- President Bush's top defense advisers have recommended he maintain 15 combat brigades in Iraq until the end of the year contrary to expectations that the improved security in Iraq would allow for quicker cuts.

In the News: Sep-04

Britain must disclose Iraq intelligence memos - 4 Sep 2008 at 12:50pm - LONDON (AP) — Britain's Information Commissioner ruled Thursday that the government must publish memos and e-mails related to a 2002 intelligence dossier on Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. Richard Thomas said written comments made by officials on early drafts of the Joint Intelligence Committee document should be disclosed. Campaigners allege that the dossier's central claim — that Iraq could deploy weapons of mass destruction within 45 minutes — was inserted into a final draft on the advice of press advisers seeking to bolster the content of the document, rather than by intelligence staff. They hope the e-mails and memos ordered released under freedom of information laws will reveal the extent to which the dossier was redrafted.

Judge: New money design should accommodate blind - 4 Sep 2008 at 12:33pm - WASHINGTON -- When the next generations of $5, $10, $20 and $50 bills roll off the presses, there should be some way for blind people to tell them apart, a federal judge said Thursday.

Bush mulling US troop levels in Iraq - 4 Sep 2008 at 12:01pm - WASHINGTON -- The White House says President Bush, having received recommendations about U.S. troops levels in Iraq, is weighing when to resume a troop withdrawal and at what pace.

2 U.S. soldiers killed in Baghdad - 4 Sep 2008 at 11:36am - BAGHDAD (AP) — A roadside bomb killed two American soldiers Thursday in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said. They were the first combat deaths in the capital in a week. A U.S. statement said the soldiers were on patrol in the mostly Shiite area of the city when the blast occurred shortly after noon. The victims' names with withheld until their families could be notified.

IRAQ-JORDAN: Government planes to facilitate repatriation - September 04, 2008 3:27:00 PM - AMMAN, 4 September 2008 (IRIN) - Iraqi officials plan to hire private airplanes to bring home migrants from Jordan, where they have been living since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. Security in Iraq remains in dispute, with officials in Baghdad insisting it is safe to return as they make arrangements to welcome hundreds of people from neighbouring countries. But UN organisations remain sceptical.

Thought for the day:
A man with a watch knows what time it is. A man with two watches is never sure. -Segal's Law

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

In the News: Sep-03

Airlines to lose nearly $10B by 2010: IATA - 3 Sep 2008 at 11:32am - The world's airlines will lose almost $10 billion US by 2010 because of higher fuel prices, according to a new study by the International Air Transport Association.

IRAQ: Health Ministry confirms cholera cases - September 03, 2008 3:27:00 PM - BAGHDAD, 3 September 2008 (IRIN) - At least five cholera cases have been confirmed in Baghdad and the southern province of Maysan, due to soaring temperatures and rundown water plants, the Health Ministry said on 2 September.

Iraq to reopen Abu Ghraib prison - 3 Sep 2008 at 9:11am - Iraq plans to renovate and reopen Abu Ghraib prison, the notorious site of executions and torture under Saddam Hussein and later of a US prisoner abuse scandal.

RCMP should end use of Tasers: Zaccardelli - 3 Sep 2008 at 6:28am - Canada's national police force should end its controversial use of stun guns, former RCMP commissioner Giuliano Zaccardelli says.

Thought for the day:
God made Truth with many doors to welcome every believer who knocks on them. -Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931)

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

In the News: Sep-02

Muslim pilot from Pa. allowed to resume flying - 2 Sep 2008 at 1:49pm - HARRISBURG, Pa. -- A commercial airline pilot who alleges his job was threatened because his name was on a secret terrorist watch list is being allowed to resume flying, according to a letter his lawyers released Tuesday. The pilot claims he was put on the list because he is Muslim.

EPA vetoes Miss. Delta flood control project - 2 Sep 2008 at 2:15pm - WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency killed a federal plan nearly seven decades-in-the-making to build the world's largest water pump in the Mississippi River Delta.

U.S. releases 3 from Gitmo; 255 left - 2 Sep 2008 at 12:40pm - The U.S. military has released three more prisoners from its prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

AP photographer, Democracy Now! host arrested - 2 Sep 2008 at 11:12am - An Associated Press photographer and a Democracy Now! TV and radio show host were among those arrested at an anti-war march on the first day of the Republican National Convention. Both were released hours later. Police said Tuesday they arrested 286 people during Monday's event. Most of the estimated 10,000 people in the march were peaceful, but small groups that police said numbered about 200 broke windows, slashed tires and harassed delegates.

Iraq begins campaign to evict Baghdad squatters - 2 Sep 2008 at 10:21am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi security forces began a push on Tuesday to evict people squatting in Baghdad homes that were abandoned by residents fleeing sectarian violence, a military spokesman said.

Bush: "We need more domestic energy" - 2 Sep 2008 at 10:02am - President Bush said Tuesday that while it's too early to assess Hurricane Gustav's damage to U.S. oil infrastructure off the Gulf Coast, the storm should prompt Congress to OK more domestic oil production.
And there have been other tropical storms this year which didn't completely wipe out oil facilities, but that's not the point, is it?

Oil prices tumble below $105 - 2 Sep 2008 at 8:14am - LONDON (AFP) - Oil prices dived under 105 dollars on Tuesday, reaching four-month lows, after Hurricane Gustav spared key energy facilities in the Gulf of Mexico and the US currency strengthened.

Report: Gonzales mishandled classified data - 2 Sep 2008 at 12:35pm - WASHINGTON -- While serving as attorney general, Alberto Gonzales mishandled top secret documents, risking the release of classified information about two of the Bush administration's most sensitive counterterrorism efforts - a surveillance program and detainee interrogations.

Thought for the day:
Nothing can be done at once hastily and prudently. -Publilius Syrus (~100 BC), Maxims