Tuesday, March 31, 2009

In the News: Mar-31

Wordle: In the News: Mar-31

Senator: US can't ignore Iraqi refugees - 31 Mar 2009 at 2:41pm - WASHINGTON -- A Democratic senator is warning that as U.S. troops are withdrawn from Iraq, the U.S. should not ignore the plight of millions of Iraqis who are displaced from their homes in Iraq or living as refugees in other countries.

Levin: No US aid until Pakistan takes on militants - 31 Mar 2009 at 1:48pm - WASHINGTON -- Pakistan must prove it is willing to take on extremists within its own borders before the U.S. delivers financial aid or weapons to the government there, a key senator said Tuesday.
Now, to continue military operations in Afghanistan, in practical terms, the U.S. must maintain some sort of right-of-passage agreement with Pakistan, no? It seems Pakistan is the party in a position to make a deal here. The alternatives for the U.S. are: to move all troops & equipment in & out of Afghanistan by air (risky & expensive, & perhaps still thru Pakistan's air space); simply to dictate to the sovereign state of Pakistan how the U.S. will make use of its territory (politically risky & almost certainly illegal); or to make a deal to go thru Iran instead (yeah, right).

Ex-military officers back continued ban on gays - 31 Mar 2009 at 1:24pm - NEW YORK -- More than 1,000 retired military officers, including several who were top commanders, are urging President Barack Obama and Congress to maintain the law that bars gays from serving openly in the armed forces.

Men freed on basis of DNA ask Texas for help - 31 Mar 2009 at 1:12pm - AUSTIN, Texas -- More than a dozen men who spent a total of more than 200 years in prison for crimes they did not commit are asking Texas lawmakers to improve the state's criminal justice system.

Guard needs more money to send troops to border - 31 Mar 2009 at 1:23pm - WASHINGTON -- A National Guard official says the Guard would need additional funding to send more troops to the U.S.-Mexico border.

Basra wary of U.S. forces after light British touch - 31 Mar 2009 at 11:13am - BASRA, Iraq (Reuters) - People in the Iraqi city of Basra fear the U.S. troops taking over from departing British forces, whose relatively light touch contrasts with the U.S. military's fearsome, and sometimes trigger-happy, reputation.
Winning hearts & minds with trigger-happy fearsomeness? And why are U.S. troops taking over? Weren't U.S. forces going to serve only in a back-up role, as of the SOFA effective date -- or is it not yet in effect?

U.S. January home prices drop record 19 percent - 31 Mar 2009 at 11:16am - NEW YORK (Reuters) - Prices of U.S. single-family homes in January plunged a record 19.0 percent from a year earlier, showing a U.S. housing market that is still in the throes of a deep recession, according to a Standard & Poor's/Case-Shiller report on Tuesday.

Canadian economy contracted 0.7% in January - 31 Mar 2009 at 9:32am - The Canadian economy shrank by 0.7 per cent in January, as activity in the manufacturing, wholesaling and construction sectors fell, Statistics Canada said Tuesday.

U.S. offers olive branch to non-violent Taliban - 31 Mar 2009 at 9:06am - THE HAGUE (Reuters) - The United States offered Taliban fighters who renounce violence in Afghanistan an "honorable form of reconciliation" on Tuesday as part of a revamped strategy to tackle a deepening insurgency.

Clinton: New team not using 'war on terror' term - 30 Mar 2009 at 5:03pm - THE HAGUE, Netherlands -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the Obama administration has indeed abandoned the term "global war on terror."

US soldier jailed for life for Iraqi murders - 30 Mar 2009 at 5:28pm - A US army sergeant has been sentenced to life imprisonment for his part in the murder of four Iraqi detainees in Baghdad.

Thought for the day:
Reporters are like alligators. You don’t have to love them, you don’t necessarily have to like them. But you do have to feed them. -White House source, on plans for frequent press briefings during Tokyo economic summit meeting, quoted in US News & World Report 5 May 86

Monday, March 30, 2009

In the News: Mar-30

Wordle: In the News: Mar-30

EPA head announces new port emissions proposal - 30 Mar 2009 at 2:47pm - NEWARK, N.J. -- The head of the Environmental Protection Agency wants to limit emissions along the nation's coastline and within its seaports, just as the agency does along highways, with tougher pollution standards on large commercial ships.

77 names added to slain journalists memorial in DC - 30 Mar 2009 at 2:24pm - WASHINGTON -- The journalism and free speech museum called the Newseum added 77 names to its Journalists Memorial on Monday to honor reporters, photographers and broadcasters who died while covering the news, including several killed in Mexican drug violence. Mexico ranked second only to Iraq among the deadliest places for journalists last year, said Alberto Ibarguen, the Newseum's chairman and president and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. The names of five journalists killed in Mexico were added to the memorial wall, along with 13 who were killed in Iraq in 2008.

Locke urges census volunteers to boost outreach - 30 Mar 2009 at 1:28pm - WASHINGTON -- New Commerce Secretary Gary Locke on Monday exhorted census volunteers to boost outreach in hard-to-count communities as a top lawmaker urged the government to halt immigration raids to ensure an accurate count.

Double-digit unemployment looms, OECD tells G8 - 30 Mar 2009 at 8:34am - ROME (Reuters) - The global economic crisis will hit jobs hard, with unemployment set to reach double digits in many developing and advanced countries, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said on Sunday.

IRAQ: Caravan camp for displaced widows’ families - March 30, 2009 9:08:16 AM - BAGHDAD, 30 March 2009 (IRIN) - A camp consisting of 150 caravans has been set up by the Baghdad local authorities to accommodate a specific group of internally displaced persons (IDPs), a local official said on 29 March.

Thought for the day:
Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism, it's just the opposite. -John Kenneth Galbraith (1908 - 2006)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

In the News: Mar-26

Wordle: In the News: Mar-26

U.S. economy shrinks, profits plunge in Q4 - 26 Mar 2009 at 1:09pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. corporate profits plunged a record $120.1 billion in the fourth quarter as the economy shrank at its fastest pace since 1982, depressed by a slump in consumer spending and exports, government data showed on Thursday.

British police probe torture allegations by former Gitmo prisoner - 26 Mar 2009 at 11:09am - Police will investigate allegations that the British government was complicit in the torture of a former Guantanamo Bay detainee, the U.K. attorney general announced on Thursday.

More bad wiring imperils troops in Iraq - 26 Mar 2009 at 8:29am - WASHINGTON -- The military is racing to inspect more than 90,000 U.S.-run facilities across Iraq to reduce a deadly threat troops face far off the battlefield: electrocution or shock while showering or using appliances.

U.S. missiles hit NW Pakistan, rewards offered - 26 Mar 2009 at 8:14am - PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Missiles believed to have been fired by a U.S. drone aircraft killed four people in Pakistan's North Waziristan region on Thursday, hours after a similar strike killed seven in neighboring South Waziristan.

Obama to tighten screws on Wall Street: officials - 26 Mar 2009 at 8:06am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - In a bid to quash Wall Street excesses that nearly caused the collapse of the U.S. financial system, the Obama administration will propose tough restrictions on financial firms, hedge funds and derivatives markets.

States consider drug tests for welfare recipients - 26 Mar 2009 at 7:32am - CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Want government assistance? Just say no to drugs.

Thought for the day:
To understand the heart and mind of a person, look not at what he has already achieved, but at what he aspires to do. -Kahlil Gibran (1883 - 1931)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

In the News: Mar-25

Wordle: In the News: Mar-25

Pentagon exploring robot killers that can fire on their own - 25 Mar 2009 at 1:35pm - WASHINGTON — The unmanned bombers that frequently cause unintended civilian casualties in Pakistan are a step toward an even more lethal generation of robotic hunters-killers that operate with limited, if any, human control.

U.S. death toll in Iraq hits post-invasion low - 25 Mar 2009 at 1:00pm - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - The number of U.S. troops killed in combat in Iraq has fallen to its lowest level since they invaded in 2003, the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq said on Wednesday.

U.S. immigrant detentions violate human rights: report - 25 Mar 2009 at 8:52am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The detention of hundreds of thousands of immigrants every year in the United States represents a violation of human rights, Amnesty International USA said in a report on Wednesday.

Durable goods orders jump 3.4 percent in February - 25 Mar 2009 at 8:50am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. orders for long-lasting manufactured goods unexpectedly rebounded in February, rising for the first time in seven months, according to a government report on Wednesday that could bring some cheer to an economy mired in recession.

Thought for the day:
Many that live deserve death. And some die that deserve life. Can you give it to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice, fearing for your own safety. Even the wise cannot see all ends. -J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 - 1973), The Lord Of the Rings

Monday, March 23, 2009

Fox host apologizes for mocking of Canadian Forces

Fox host apologizes for mocking of Canadian Forces - 23 Mar 2009 at 9:48pm - The host of an over-the-top, late-night Fox network show has apologized for disrespecting the Canadian military with a recent segment on his intentionally inflammatory program.
OK, Fox should have apologized, of course, and it's good that they did. But how did this happen in the first place? How can one not know that Canada is fighting in Afghanistan? If you haven't read anything in the news about Afghanistan in the last seven years, perhaps you shouldn't be hosting a TV show on the topic of, you know, Afghanistan.

Teenager dies after being tasered

Teenager dies after being tasered - 23 Mar 2009 at 10:02pm - A 15-year-old boy has died in Michigan after police used a Taser stun gun to subdue him, police have said.

In the News: Mar-23

Wordle: In the News: Mar-23

U.S. existing home sales rose in February - 23 Mar 2009 at 2:53pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Sales of previously owned U.S. homes rose at their fastest pace in nearly six years in February, data showed on Monday, offering some hope to an economy battling a 15-month recession.

Court won't hear appeal by former Border Patrol - 23 Mar 2009 at 11:11am - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has refused to hear an appeal from two former Border Patrol agents convicted of shooting a fleeing drug smuggler and trying to cover it up.

Fox News show raises ire by mocking Canadian Forces - 23 Mar 2009 at 10:42am - The intentionally inflammatory Fox News show Red Eye, with Greg Gutfield, has sparked outrage with a segment mocking the Canadian Forces within days of the latest Canadian deaths in Afghanistan.

Thought for the day:
Politicians are the same the world over: they promise to build a bridge even when there is no river. -Nikita Khrushchev (1894 - 1971)

Friday, March 20, 2009

In the News: Mar-20

Wordle: In the News: Mar-20

Israel to investigate killings of civilians in Gaza operation - 20 Mar 2009 at 11:00am - JERUSALEM — The Israeli army's chief prosecutor on Thursday announced an investigation into the killings of Palestinian civilians during Israel's military incursion into Gaza earlier this year as soldiers' testimony about the operation triggered a public furor.

U.S.: Air strikes kill 11 insurgents in Iraq - 20 Mar 2009 at 5:59am - The U.S. military says at least 11 insurgents were killed in an air strike on their hideout in the south of Diyala province.

Thought for the day:
Give a man a fire and he's warm for the day. But set fire to him and he's warm for the rest of his life. -Terry Pratchett, Discworld

Thursday, March 19, 2009

In the News: Mar-19

Wordle: In the News: Mar-19

U.S. jobless rolls swell to record high - 19 Mar 2009 at 2:39pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. workers drawing state unemployment benefits hit another record high early this month and factory activity in the Mid-Atlantic region shrank again as the economy battles a severe downturn.

Multiple threats mounting to world food supply, experts warn - 19 Mar 2009 at 1:13pm - Soaring demand and rising prices threaten to create a "perfect storm" in the global food industry, experts warned on Thursday.

Toronto police used Tasers 367 times in 2008: statistics - 19 Mar 2009 at 11:34am - Toronto police fired Tasers 367 times to subdue people in 2008, more than double the number of times the stun gun was used by frontline officers in 2006, according to the force's statistics.

Wal-Mart awarding $2 billion to U.S. hourly employees - 19 Mar 2009 at 10:38am - CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc is awarding approximately $2 billion to its U.S. hourly employees through financial incentives, including handing out $933.6 million in bonuses on Thursday, after the world's largest retailer gained market share amid a recession.

Official: US releases data unless harm foreseen - 19 Mar 2009 at 9:55am - WASHINGTON -- A Justice Department official says the Obama administration is ready to tell federal agencies to release records to the public unless foreseeable harm would result.

Diebold Admits Flaw In Voting Software - March 18, 2009 6:44:00 PM - At a public hearing in California, Diebold's western region manager has admitted that the audit log system on current versions of Premier Election Solutions' (formerly Diebold's) electronic voting and tabulating systems — used in some 34 states across the nation — fails to record the wholesale deletion of ballots, even when ballots are deleted on the same day as an election. An election system's audit logs are meant to record all activity during the system's actual counting of ballots, so that later examiners may determine, with certainty, whether any fraudulent or mistaken activity had occurred during the count. Diebold's software fails to do that, as has recently been discovered by Election Integrity advocates in Humboldt County, CA, and then confirmed by the CA Secretary of State. The flaws, built into the system for more than a decade, are in serious violation of federal voting system certification standards.

U.S. workers on jobless benefits hit record high - 19 Mar 2009 at 8:53am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of U.S. workers drawing state unemployment benefits scaled another record high early this month, government data showed on Thursday, highlighting the difficulties of getting new jobs as the economy battles a severe recession.

Thought for the day:
The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office. -H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

In the News: Mar-18

Wordle: In the News: Mar-18

Fed to buy long-term U.S. government debt - 18 Mar 2009 at 2:41pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday, in a surprise move, said it will buy up to $300 billion worth of longer-term U.S. government debt over the next six months and expand purchases of mortgage-related debt to help ease credit market conditions.

Pentagon to bring families to Dover if they choose - 18 Mar 2009 at 2:12pm - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon says it will pay for families of fallen soldiers to travel to the Delaware air base where the U.S. military's deceased are flown from overseas.

US endorses UN gay rights text - 18 Mar 2009 at 12:24pm - WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is formally endorsing a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality, a measure former President George W. Bush had refused to sign.

Sources: Pentagon to stop forced tour extension - 18 Mar 2009 at 12:55pm - The Army will substantially reduce use of the unpopular practice of holding troops beyond their enlistment dates and will pay $500 to those still forced to stay in the service, defense and congressional officials said Wednesday.

Federal judge denies release of alleged terrorist - 18 Mar 2009 at 12:16pm - CHARLESTON, S.C. -- A federal magistrate in South Carolina has ruled an alleged al-Qaida sleeper agent must stay behind bars as the criminal case against the man continues.

Thought for the day:
I never did give them hell. I just told the truth, and they thought it was hell. -Harry S Truman (1884 - 1972)

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In the News: Mar-17

Wordle: In the News: Mar-17

House moves to make federal info more accessible - 17 Mar 2009 at 2:45pm - WASHINGTON -- The House voted Tuesday to simplify the way the federal government handles information with the goal of making documents more available to the public.

Gay-themed film cost Oklahoma teacher her job - 17 Mar 2009 at 1:58pm - Gay rights groups are complaining about the firing of a rural Oklahoma high school teacher who lost her job last week after assigning a play about the 1998 death of a gay college student. But the tiny school district says the move came after the teacher held a mock "funeral" for a canceled film production of the play. The episode began in January, when Debra Taylor showed students at Grandfield High School The Laramie Project, a 2002 film based on the play of the same name, about the murder of Matthew Shepard. The students soon decided to film selected scenes themselves for an in-class project.

Canadian accused at U.S. border of 'stealing American jobs' - 17 Mar 2009 at 1:49pm - A B.C. sales representative who markets equestrian products in Canada was barred from crossing the U.S. border to attend a trade show last month by a U.S. Customs and Border Protection officer who accused him of trying to steal American jobs.
To the extent that it's possible literally to steal a job (American or otherwise), it ought to be illegal to do so, but... wth?

Filmmaker to Debut Tale of Ex-Marine - March 16, 2009 8:00:58 PM - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - An Oneonta filmmaker will premier a documentary this week about a former Marine-turned peace activist who co-founded the group Iraq Veterans Against the War.

U.S. housing starts rebound - 17 Mar 2009 at 8:51am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. housing starts unexpectedly rebounded in February, surging 22.2 percent, according to data on Tuesday that provided a rare dose of good news for the recession-hit economy and fractured housing market.

Senator suggests AIG execs should kill themselves - 17 Mar 2009 at 8:18am - IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Iowa Sen. Charles Grassley suggested that AIG executives should take a Japanese approach toward accepting responsibility for the collapse of the insurance giant by resigning or killing themselves.
Or perhaps Grassley should resign, as a member of a legislative body which failed in its responsibility to regulate the financial industry?

Canada contributes $21M to fund for Afghan police - 17 Mar 2009 at 6:45am - Canada will put $21 million toward the salaries of Afghan police and prison guards over the next two years, it was revealed on Tuesday.

CIA director taps retired senator for advice - 16 Mar 2009 at 4:56pm - WASHINGTON -- CIA Director Leon Panetta has tapped a retired Republican senator to help guide him through a Senate Intelligence Committee investigation into the agency's Bush-era interrogation and detention practices.

Thought for the day:
Once the game is over, the king and the pawn go back into the same box. -Italian Proverb)

Monday, March 16, 2009

In the News: Mar-16

Wordle: In the News: Mar-16

Red Cross report: CIA tortured terror suspects - 16 Mar 2009 at 2:28pm - WASHINGTON -- The CIA's secret interrogation program amounted to torture for some of the 14 "high-value detainees" held by the agency, according to published excerpts of an internal 2006 report by the International Committee of the Red Cross.

NY atty gen to probe AIG bonuses for fraud - 16 Mar 2009 at 1:32pm - ALBANY, N.Y. -- New York state's attorney general is demanding that American International Group have details on his desk this afternoon about who is getting its multimillion-dollar bonuses.

U.S. output plummets, manufacturing at record low - 16 Mar 2009 at 11:29am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. industrial output fell to its lowest level in almost seven years in February and manufacturing in New York state slumped further this month, according to data on Monday that pointed to a worsening economy.

El Salvador's new leader, a TV journalist, promises push for unity - 16 Mar 2009 at 7:46am - El Salvador's new president, whose victory gives a former rebel movement its first taste of power, is promising a unity government in a Central American nation still polarized by a civil war that raged from 1980 to 1992.

Thought for the day:
Democracy is the art of running the circus from the monkey cage. -H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Friday, March 13, 2009

In the News: Mar-13

Wordle: In the News: Mar-13

Obama admin moves to protect military officials - 13 Mar 2009 at 2:53pm - WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration is trying to protect top Bush administration military officials from lawsuits brought by prisoners who say they were tortured while being held at Guantanamo Bay.

Pakistan Taliban say 24 dead in U.S. missile strikes - 13 Mar 2009 at 11:41am - PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) - Taliban militants recovered 24 bodies and were searching for more on Friday, hours after suspected U.S. drones destroyed a camp in Pakistan's northwestern region, militants and officials said.

Obama administration names Fried as Guantanamo Closure Czar - 13 Mar 2009 at 7:44am - The Obama administration Thursday created a top level diplomatic position of globe-trotting Guantanamo Closure Czar to plead individual war on terror detainee cases in Europe and the Middle East.

Thought for the day:
The only winner in the War of 1812 was Tchaikovsky. -Solomon Short

Thursday, March 12, 2009

In the News: Mar-12

Wordle: In the News: Mar-12

Army reaches out to families to prevent suicides - 12 Mar 2009 at 2:26pm - FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. -- Fort Campbell officials struggling to stem a recent increase in military suicides hope family members will be able to spot signs that soldiers may be depressed and hesitant to seek help from the Army.

Better brain trauma testing called for in Iraq - 12 Mar 2009 at 1:20pm - WASHINGTON -- A group of doctors and scientists says the U.S. needs to devise a uniform test for traumatic brain injury to be performed on all troops who are hurt in wartime.

Army fired 11 soldiers in Jan. as openly gay - 12 Mar 2009 at 1:09pm - WASHINGTON -- The Army fired 11 soldiers in January for violating the military's policy that gay service members must keep their sexuality hidden, according to a Virginia congressman.

World economy set to shrink - 12 Mar 2009 at 9:15am - FRANKFURT/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The world economy will shrink 1-2 percent this year, World Bank President Robert Zoellick forecast, as a slew of European and U.S. data pointed to declines in demand, production and employment on Thursday.

Unemployment to near 10 percent as U.S. slump worsens - 12 Mar 2009 at 9:09am - NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. unemployment will approach 10 percent as the country endures its worst recession since World War Two, leaving more than 13 million Americans jobless, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

Iraq shoe thrower sentenced to three years in jail - 12 Mar 2009 at 9:07am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - An Iraqi reporter who hurled his shoes at former President George W. Bush was convicted of attempting to assault a foreign leader on Thursday and jailed for three years, dismaying many Iraqis who regard him as a hero.
Drop thousands of bombs, kill thousands of Iraqis: retire to Dallas -- throw two shoes: spend three years in prison.

Thought for the day:
Justice cannot be for one side alone, but must be for both. -Eleanor Roosevelt (1884 - 1962)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

In the News: Mar-11

Wordle: In the News: Mar-11

Soldier stress injuries rising due to combat loads - 11 Mar 2009 at 3:18pm - WASHINGTON -- An increasing number of soldiers are being sidelined with muscle and bone injuries caused by carrying combat loads weighing as much as 130 pounds, a senior Army official said Wednesday.

Anti-narcotics drive fuelled drug cartels: U.N. - 11 Mar 2009 at 10:51am - VIENNA (Reuters) - A U.N. anti-drug drive has backfired by making drug cartels so wealthy they can bribe their way through tracts of West Africa and Central America, the U.N. crime agency chief said on Wednesday.

Officials: US to name envoy for Gitmo closure - 11 Mar 2009 at 9:06am - WASHINGTON -- Administration officials are telling The Associated Press that President Barack Obama is ready to appoint a special envoy to oversee the closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

Thought for the day:
I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent. -Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

In the News: Mar-10

Wordle: In the News: Mar-10

16 patients have hepatitis in Army needle scare - 10 Mar 2009 at 3:00pm - EL PASO, Texas -- Army officials say 16 patients exposed to a mismanaged insulin needle program at a military hospital in Texas have tested positive for hepatitis B or C.

IMF warns of global "Great Recession" - 10 Mar 2009 at 11:53am - DAR ES SALAAM (Reuters) - The International Monetary Fund warned on Tuesday that the world economy will likely contract this year in a "Great Recession" and African leaders said the financial crisis could undo hard-won social-economic gains.

Gov't forcing wildlife group to ID leak's source - 10 Mar 2009 at 10:17am - WASHINGTON -- The inspector general for the Commerce Department is trying to force a prominent environmental group to reveal who leaked the Bush administration's plans to weaken the Endangered Species Act just weeks before President Barack Obama took office.

Official: Iran doesn't fuel for nuclear warhead - 10 Mar 2009 at 10:46am - A top U.S. intelligence official says Iran does not have any highly enriched uranium, the fuel used to power a nuclear warhead.
Wow, an unequivocal determination? It always used to be "well, you know, you cannot prove the negative."

Official: Somali group expected to join al-Qaida - 10 Mar 2009 at 10:16am - A top military intelligence official says the Somali extremist group al-Shabaab is poised to formally merge with al-Qaida, expanding the terrorist franchise in East Africa.

U.S. allies told to review role in secret renditions - 10 Mar 2009 at 8:42am - GENEVA (Reuters) - A United Nations investigator urged U.S. allies from Britain to Pakistan on Tuesday to fully investigate whether they helped in secret renditions that led to the illegal torture or disappearance of terror suspects.

Guantanamo detainees say they planned Sept. 11: report - 10 Mar 2009 at 8:54am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The five detainees at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay prison camp charged with plotting the September 11 attacks have filed a document expressing pride at their accomplishment and accepting responsibility for the deaths of nearly 3,000 people, The New York Times reported on Monday.

Less body armor might be the answer in Afghanistan - 10 Mar 2009 at 5:52am - WASHINGTON -- Heavy layers of body armor, a proven lifesaver of U.S. troops, also may be an impediment to winning the fight in Afghanistan, where 17,000 additional American forces are being sent to quell rising violence.

Thought for the day:
Human war has been the most successful of our cultural traditions. -Robert Ardrey

Monday, March 09, 2009

In the News: Mar-09

Wordle: In the News: Mar-09

Obama orders review of signing statements - 9 Mar 2009 at 2:26pm - WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama has ordered a review of his predecessor's signing statements which often told officials how to implement laws.

Court refuses to reconsider state ballot rules - 9 Mar 2009 at 10:36am - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court is letting stand a decision that invalidated state laws regulating the ways independent presidential candidates can get on state ballots.

Obama lifts Bush restrictions on stem cell research - 9 Mar 2009 at 12:12pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama lifted restrictions on federal funding of human embryonic stem cell research on Monday, angering abortion opponents but cheering those who believe the study could produce treatments for many diseases.

Thought for the day:
Evil when we are in its power is not felt as evil but as a necessity, or even a duty. -Simone Weil (1909 - 1943), Gravity and Grace, 1947

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Guantanamo Worse Since Obama Election?

Guantanamo got worse after US election: ex-detainee - 7 Mar 2009 at 7:21pm - A freed Guantanamo prisoner has said conditions at the US detention camp in Cuba have worsened since President Barack Obama was elected, claiming guards wanted to "take their last revenge".

Friday, March 06, 2009

In the News: Mar-06

Wordle: In the News: Mar-06

Iraq withdrawal raises concerns for elite forces - 6 Mar 2009 at 2:21pm - WASHINGTON -- As the U.S. readies the pullout of its major combat units from Iraq, officials are concerned that the Pentagon's Green Berets and other elite anti-terror warriors staying behind won't have the helicopters, equipment and other logistical support they need.

Court ends terror suspect's detention challenge - 6 Mar 2009 at 12:15pm - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has dismissed a challenge by suspected al-Qaida sleeper agent Ali Al-Marri to the president's authority to detain people without charges, granting an Obama administration request to end the high court case.

U.S. unemployment hits 8.1% as 651,000 jobs lost - 6 Mar 2009 at 9:28am - The battered U.S. economy continued to bleed jobs at a rapid rate in February, as employers cut 651,000 jobs from their payrolls, the U.S. Department of Labour reported Friday.

Top House Republican calls for spending freeze - 6 Mar 2009 at 9:13am - WASHINGTON -- The top Republican in the House is seizing on the latest spike in unemployment to call for a freeze on government spending and to urge President Barack Obama to veto a $410 billion spending bill.

Kyrgyzstan cancels remaining air base agreements - 6 Mar 2009 at 6:54am - BISHKEK (Reuters) - Kyrgyzstan, which last month decided to close a U.S. military air base, on Friday canceled similar agreements with other members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

Thought for the day:
There was no telling what people might find out once they felt free to ask whatever questions they wanted to. -Joseph Heller (1923 - 1999), Catch 22

Thursday, March 05, 2009

In the News: Mar-05

Wordle: In the News: Mar-05

Prosecutors defy judge's order in Al-Arian case - 5 Mar 2009 at 2:43pm - McLEAN, Va. -- Federal prosecutors have defied a judge's order to turn over evidence of their internal deliberations in coming to a plea agreement with a former professor once accused of being a top Palestinian terrorist.

Mediator: All but 3 Sept. 11 lawsuits settled - 5 Mar 2009 at 2:32pm - NEW YORK -- A mediator says all but three of nearly 100 lawsuits brought on behalf of those killed or injured in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks have been settled for half a billion dollars.

Health Canada finds bisphenol A in soft drinks - 5 Mar 2009 at 2:09pm - A Health Canada study of canned pop has found the vast majority of the drinks contain the chemical bisphenol A - a substance that imitates the female hormone estrogen and is banned in baby bottles.

Baker, Hamilton endorse Iraq plan - 5 Mar 2009 at 1:49pm - WASHINGTON -- Foreign policy gurus Lee Hamilton and James A. Baker III said Thursday they support President Barack Obama's 19-month timetable in Iraq and, if asked, would advise Obama to limit the nation's goals in Afghanistan.

Army reports 18 more suspected suicides last month - 5 Mar 2009 at 12:52pm - WASHINGTON -- After an alarming spike in soldier suicides in January, the Army says there were another 18 suspected suicides last month.

Thought for the day:
All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume. -Noam Chomsky (1928 - )

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

In the News: Mar-04

Wordle: In the News: Mar-04

Wartime troop brain injures could reach 360,000 - 4 Mar 2009 at 2:57pm - WASHINGTON -- The number of U.S. troops who have suffered wartime brain injuries may be as high as 360,000 and could cast more attention on such injuries among civilians, Defense Department doctors said Wednesday.

Obama picks Florida's Fugate to head FEMA - 4 Mar 2009 at 2:51pm - WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday tapped Florida emergency manager Craig Fugate to head the Federal Emergency Management Agency, turning to a Republican appointee who has steered the Southern state through numerous hurricanes since 2001.

Obama orders major changes in federal contracting - 4 Mar 2009 at 2:47pm - WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Wednesday ordered an overhaul of the way the U.S. government awards contracts to businesses, reversing a Bush administration policy that in some cases led to federal investigations of procurement practices and no-bid contracts.

United States rejoins U.N. rights council - 4 Mar 2009 at 2:27pm - The United States returned Wednesday to the U.N. Human Rights Council, a body it left nine months ago saying it was biased against Israel and had failed to confront notorious rights abusers. The United States informed the council it will resume participating in meetings as an active observer. Observer status means the United States can engage in debate but not vote.

Feds unveil plan to help 9 million stay in homes - 4 Mar 2009 at 2:20pm - WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration kicked off a new program Wednesday that's designed to help up to 9 million borrowers stay in their homes through refinanced mortgages or loans that are modified to lower monthly payments.

Brown: Sen. Kennedy awarded honorary knighthood - 4 Mar 2009 at 11:24am - British Prime Minister Gordon Brown has told Congress that Sen. Edward M. Kennedy has been awarded honorary knighthood.

Thought for the day:
In religion and politics, people's beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second hand, and without examination. -Mark Twain (1835 - 1910)

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Marines discipline 13 over San Diego jet fighter crash

Marines discipline 13 over San Diego jet fighter crash - 3 Mar 2009 at 9:33pm - The U.S. Marine Corps has disciplined 13 members for errors that led a disabled jet fighter to crash in a San Diego neighbourhood last December, killing four family members, legislators in Washington were told Tuesday.

In the News: Mar-03

Wordle: In the News: Mar-03

Obama cites need to 'reset' relations with Moscow - 3 Mar 2009 at 2:28pm - WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama said Tuesday he has told Russia that reducing Iran's pursuit of a nuclear weapon would in turn lessen the need for a U.S.-planned missile defense system in Eastern Europe that Moscow has opposed. But Obama said he sought no "quid pro quo" with Moscow.
Is there something wrong with a quid pro quo? That's diplomacy, baby: you want something, you make a deal for it. Or are we still operating under the GWB definition(fantasy?) of diplomacy, wherein the U.S. declares its desires, and the rest of the world scurries to accommodate?

Murtha says Afghanistan plan lacks goal - 3 Mar 2009 at 1:32pm - WASHINGTON -- Rep. John Murtha says the situation in Afghanistan is so challenging that he estimates it would take 600,000 troops to get the country under control.

Six powers commit to "direct diplomacy" with Iran - 3 Mar 2009 at 12:28pm - VIENNA (Reuters) - The United States and five other big powers said on Tuesday they were committed to direct talks with Iran to defuse a standoff over its disputed nuclear work, underlining a U.S. turnabout from a policy of confrontation.

German Court Bans E-Voting As Currently Employed - March 03, 2009 8:56:00 AM - The highest German Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht, Federal Constitutional Court) ruled that electronic voting machines like Nedap ESD1 and ESD2 are not permissible in Germany. Der Spiegel, a well-known German newspaper, is featuring article on today's decision which was the result of a lawsuit by physicist Ulrich Wiesner and his father Joachim Wiesner, a professor emeritus of political science. The main argument against the voting machines in the eyes of the Court is that they conflict with the principle of transparency. 2009 is a major election year for Germany, with parliamentary elections in the fall." Reader Dr. Hok writes "Voting machines are not illegal per se, but with these machines it wasn't possible to verify the results after the votes were cast. The verification procedure by the German authorities was flawed, too: only specimens were tested, not the machines actually used in the elections, and the detailed results (including the source code) were not made public. The results of the election remain legally valid, though.

Clinton says missile shield to protect from Iran - 3 Mar 2009 at 7:49am - JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reiterated the United States' intention to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons on Tuesday but declined comment on a report Washington offered Russia a deal to help achieve that.

Bush-era memos saw rights limits in U.S. terror war - 3 Mar 2009 at 6:02am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. military could have kicked in doors to raid a suspected terrorist cell in the United States without a warrant under a Bush-era legal memo the Justice Department made public on Monday.

Thought for the day:
Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent. -Isaac Asimov (1920 - 1992), "Foundation"

Monday, March 02, 2009

In the News: Mar-02

Wordle: In the News: Mar-02

U.S. government calls "waterboarding" torture - 2 Mar 2009 at 10:22am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder ruled out the use of "waterboarding" as an interrogation technique for terrorism suspects on Monday, calling it a form of torture that the Obama administration could never condone.

Court turns down Agent Orange cases - 2 Mar 2009 at 10:14am - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has turned down American and Vietnamese victims of Agent Orange who wanted to pursue lawsuits against companies that made the toxic chemical defoliant used in the Vietnam War.

CIA destroyed 92 interrogation tapes - 2 Mar 2009 at 9:32am - WASHINGTON -- New documents show the CIA destroyed nearly 100 tapes of terror interrogations.

Blackwater founder steps down as CEO - 2 Mar 2009 at 8:16am - WASHINGTON -- Erik Prince, the founder of the beleaguered Blackwater security company, announced Monday he has stepped aside as the company's chief executive officer.

Thought for the day:
History is a pack of lies we play on the dead. -Voltaire (1694 - 1778)