Friday, May 29, 2009

In the News: May-29

Wordle: In the News: May-29

Grand jury subpoenas Visclosky's offices - 29 May 2009 at 1:48pm - WASHINGTON -- A federal grand jury has subpoenaed records of Rep. Pete Visclosky in a criminal probe involving a Washington-area lobbying firm that specialized in providing congressional earmarks to defense contractors.

Congressional panel to analyze VA hospital mishaps - 29 May 2009 at 1:04pm - CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- A congressional panel will question Department of Veterans Affairs officials about mistakes that put patients at risk of possible exposure to HIV and other infectious body fluids at three VA hospitals.

Defense contractor with ties to Murtha suspended - 29 May 2009 at 10:15am - JOHNSTOWN, Pa. -- A Pennsylvania defense contractor to whom Rep. John Murtha, D-Pa., directed millions of dollars in congressional earmarks has been blocked from doing business with the Navy amid allegations of fraud.

U.S. economy contracts less in first-quarter - 29 May 2009 at 9:02am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy contracted slightly less than initially estimated in the first quarter, while corporate profits rebounded, according to a government report on Friday that hinted the recession was moderating.

Thought for the day:
Hatred does not cease in this world by hating, but by not hating; this is an eternal truth. -Buddha (563 BC - 483 BC), The Dhammapada

Thursday, May 28, 2009

In the News: May-28

Wordle: In the News: May-28

U.S. durable goods orders rise, jobless claims ease - 28 May 2009 at 9:43am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods saw their biggest gain in 16 months in April and fewer workers filed for new jobless benefits last week, according to official data on Thursday that suggested the deep recession was abating.

Report: Iraq prisoner abuse photos depict torture, rape - 28 May 2009 at 8:26am - A former U.S. general said graphic images of rape and torture are among the photos of Iraqi prisoner abuse that President Obama's ...

As Obama meets Abbas, Israel defends settlements - 28 May 2009 at 8:00am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Israel rebuffed a strong plea on Thursday from its close ally the United States to stop all building in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Obama orders review of government classification - 28 May 2009 at 3:14am - WASHINGTON -- Expanding his drive to open government, President Barack Obama is ordering two studies of whether the government is classifying too much information and using too many different ways to keep it from public view.

Thought for the day:
If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe. -Carl Sagan (1934 - 1996)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

In the News: May-26

Wordle: In the News: May-26

California court lets gay marriage ban stand - 26 May 2009 at 1:41pm - SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - California's supreme court backed a ban on gay marriage on Tuesday, ruling that a voter-approved proposition defining marriage as between a man and a woman could stand in the trend-setting state.

Pentagon: Some released detainees return to battle - 26 May 2009 at 1:28pm - WASHINGTON -- Five percent of Guantanamo Bay detainees have participated in terrorist activities since their release from the U.S. navy prison, the Pentagon said Tuesday.

Court: Suspects can be interrogated without lawyer - 26 May 2009 at 10:42am - WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court has overturned a long-standing ruling that stops police from initiating questions unless a defendant's lawyer is present, a move that will make it easier for prosecutors to interrogate suspects.

Bomb targeting U.S. convoy in Iraq kills 3 - 26 May 2009 at 10:37am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - A bomb struck a convoy of U.S. officials and civilian contractors on a visit to a construction site in western Iraq, killing three people and wounding two others, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

U.S. consumer confidence sees biggest jump in 6 years - 26 May 2009 at 10:25am - NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence soared in May to its highest level in eight months as severe strains in the labor market showed some signs of easing, though Americans' moods remained depressed by historical standards.

Employment insurance numbers jumped 10% in March - 26 May 2009 at 9:35am - The number of Canadians collecting regular employment insurance benefits grew by 65,300, or more than 10 per cent, in March, marking the biggest monthly increase since the job market began to deteriorate in October.

AP source: Obama picks Sotomayor for Supreme Court - 26 May 2009 at 8:26am - WASHINGTON -- Officials tell The Associated Press that President Barack Obama intends to nominate federal appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor (SUHN'-ya soh-toh-my-YOR') as the first Hispanic to serve on the Supreme Court.

Thought for the day:
Politics is the art of preventing people from taking part in affairs which properly concern them. -Paul Valery (1871 - 1945), Tel Quel 2 (1943)

Friday, May 22, 2009

In the News: May-22

Wordle: In the News: May-22

'No information' on whether Khadr cleared for release: Harper - 22 May 2009 at 1:29pm - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday he doesn't know if Omar Khadr is among the 50 Guantanamo Bay detainees cleared for release by the U.S. government.

Pelosi: Nothing more to say on her CIA allegation - 22 May 2009 at 11:43am - WASHINGTON -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she won't talk any more about her charge that the CIA lied in 2002 about using waterboarding on terrorism suspects.
Is there any more to say? Both parties seem to agree to the essence of the briefing: that specific interrogation techniques were not discussed; that Pelosi asked simply to be assured that no illegal techniques were being employed; and that she was thus assured. What also seems pretty obvious is that the CIA didn't make clear to Pelosi that, in thus providing those assurances, they were using White House legal counsel's tortuous definition of "illegal". Was that misleading? From Pelosi's perspective, the effect was certainly misleading. Did the CIA intend to mislead? I'll guess their intent -- knowing the interrogations were probably crossing the line, and hoping not to provoke an objection -- was to say as little as they could get away with saying.

Obama vows not to send people to war without cause - 22 May 2009 at 10:40am - President Barack Obama is promising newly graduated Navy and Marine officers that he will only send young Americans into battle when "it is absolutely necessary" and when the mission is well-defined.

U.N. seeks $543 million for displaced Pakistanis - 22 May 2009 at 9:12am - ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - The United Nations launched an appeal on Friday for $543 million for more than 2 million people displaced by fighting in northwest Pakistan, where officials said villagers were turning against the Taliban.

Gates defends decision to close Guantanamo prison - 22 May 2009 at 8:23am - WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the Obama administration had no choice but to order the shutdown of the prison at Guantanamo because "the name itself is a condemnation" of U.S. anti-terrorism strategy.

Iraqis unhappy about life for U.S. rape soldier - 22 May 2009 at 7:33am - MAHMUDIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - Iraqis in the town where U.S. soldiers raped a 14-year-old girl and killed her family said on Friday they were unhappy the ringleader received a life sentence in a U.S. court, not the maximum penalty of execution.

Thought for the day:
"When I hear gentlemen say that politics ought to let business alone, I feel like inviting them to first consider whether business is letting politics alone." -Woodrow Wilson

Thursday, May 21, 2009

In the News: May-21

Wordle: In the News: May-21

Cheney defends Bush's national security policies - 21 May 2009 at 11:57am - WASHINGTON -- Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Thursday defended the interrogation methods used against terrorism suspects, saying the Bush administration obtained specific information critical in combatting terrorists.
Again, the usefulness of a technique has no bearing on its legality. And, if this is typical Cheney, he's not able to cite the specific critical information which was obtained.

Obama says US prisons tough enough for detainees - 21 May 2009 at 11:09am - WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama vigorously defended his plans to close the Guantanamo prison camp on Thursday and promised to work with Congress to develop a system for imprisoning detainees who can't be tried and can't be turned loose.
There are detainees who cannot be tried? Even in a grand jury?

House rejects probe into Pelosi CIA claims - 21 May 2009 at 12:48pm - WASHINGTON -- House Democrats on Thursday defeated a Republican push to investigate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's claims that the CIA misled her in 2002 about whether waterboarding had been used against terrorism suspects.

Three U.S. soldiers killed in Baghdad bombing - 21 May 2009 at 7:05am - The U.S. military says 3 soldiers have been killed and nine others wounded in a roadside bombing in southern Baghdad.

Thought for the day:
I'm convinced there's a small room in the attic of the Foreign Office where future diplomats are taught to stammer. -Peter Ustinov (1921 - 2004)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In the News: May-20

Wordle: In the News: May-20

Senate votes to block funds for Guantanamo closure - 20 May 2009 at 12:13pm - The Senate has voted to keep detainees held in the Guantanamo prison from being transferred to the United States, a major setback for President Barack Obama who wants to close the facility by January.

FBI director concerned about Gitmo releases - 20 May 2009 at 2:45pm - WASHINGTON -- FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress on Wednesday that bringing Guantanamo Bay detainees to the United States could pose a number of risks, even if they were kept in maximum-security prisons. Responding to FBI concerns, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration would not put Americans at risk.

Senator: KBR received $83 million in bonuses - 20 May 2009 at 10:31am - A U.S. senator says military contractor KBR Inc. was paid $83 million in bonuses for electrical work in Iraq - much of which came after the military's contract management agency recognized the contractor was doing shoddy electrical work.

Gov't: 250,000 Pakistani refugees expected in camp - 20 May 2009 at 10:03am - WASHINGTON -- Up to a quarter-million Pakistani civilians are expected to remain in refugee camps through the end of the year as a result of fighting between Pakistani forces and insurgents that has forced them from their homes.

Pakistan: 80 militants killed; U.S. says 1 soldier dead - 20 May 2009 at 10:01am - Pakistan's army says troops have killed 80 Taliban militants and taken control of a key town near the northwestern Swat Valley.

Pentagon official: US must take Gitmo prisoners - 20 May 2009 at 9:52am - WASHINGTON -- In an escalation of arguments over closing a prison facility at Guantanamo Bay, a top Pentagon official says members of Congress must rethink their opposition to accepting these detainees into the United States.

Electrician: Contractor did faulty wiring in Iraq - 20 May 2009 at 5:08am - WASHINGTON -- An electrician hired by the Army to help inspect electrical work at facilities where U.S. soldiers operate in Iraq said Wednesday that 90 percent of wiring done in newly constructed buildings by one military contractor was done improperly.

Thought for the day:
Political advertising ought to be stopped. It's the only really dishonest kind of advertising that's left. -David M. Ogilvy

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In the News: May-19

Wordle: In the News: May-19

US audit faults security spending in Afghanistan - 19 May 2009 at 2:30pm - WASHINGTON -- The military command overseeing $15 billion in U.S. programs to develop Afghanistan's security forces cannot be sure the money is being managed effectively, a top government watchdog warned Tuesday.

Congressman says CIA briefing list inaccurate - 19 May 2009 at 1:02pm - WASHINGTON -- A top House Democrat raised new questions Tuesday about the accuracy of the CIA's account of congressional briefings on severe interrogation techniques. He said a staff aide the agency listed as attending a 2006 briefing was instead barred from it.

Pentagon says Iranian weapons still coming to Iraq - 19 May 2009 at 12:55pm - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon says U.S. soldiers are still finding large numbers of Iranian-made weapons in Iraq, despite's Iran's denials.

Pentagon says it's on track for closing Gitmo - 19 May 2009 at 11:30am - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon says it still expects the prison at Guantanamo Bay to be closed by January 2010 as President Barack Obama has ordered.

Canada's housing market to fall by double-digits in '09: CMHC - 19 May 2009 at 11:05am - Canada's housing market could fall by a large amount in 2009 because a faltering economy will supress how many new and existing homes are traded, according to a new report released Tuesday.

White House wins appeal over e-mail - 19 May 2009 at 10:58am - WASHINGTON -- A federal appeals court says the office that has records about millions of possibly missing e-mails from the Bush White House does not have to make them public.

U.S. housing starts, permits hit record lows in April - 19 May 2009 at 9:06am - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. housing starts and permits unexpectedly fell to record lows in April, a government report showed on Tuesday, denting hopes that stability in the housing market was imminent.

Thought for the day:
You cannot acquire experience by making experiments. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. -Albert Camus (1913 - 1960)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

In the News: May-12

Wordle: In the News: May-12

Economic woes hurt U.S. Medicare, Social Security - 12 May 2009 at 3:04pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economic recession has taken a toll on the financial strength of Social Security and Medicare retirement and health programs for the elderly, a government report released on Tuesday showed.

Feds exaggerate predictions of greenhouse gas reductions: watchdog - 12 May 2009 at 2:41pm - The federal government has overstated greenhouse gas reductions expected as a result of its climate change plans and is failing to count the actual reductions to see if they match with predictions, says a report from the environment commissioner.

White House memo challenges finding on warming - 12 May 2009 at 1:56pm - A White House document says U.S. regulation of the gases blamed for global warming will have serious consequences throughout the U.S. economy. The document is a compilation of opinions from numerous federal agencies about the Environment Protection Agency's finding that greenhouse gases are a danger to public health. It was released Tuesday by Republican senators.

Miami VA: Steps taken to prevent contamination - 12 May 2009 at 1:50pm - MIAMI -- The top Veterans Affairs official in Miami said Tuesday she has taken steps locally to prevent the kind of problems that exposed patients to contaminated medical equipment at VA hospitals in three states.

Thought for the day:
Whoever in discussion adduces authority uses not intellect but memory. -Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519)

Monday, May 11, 2009

In the News: May-11

Wordle: In the News: May-11

Justice plans new antitrust effort - 11 May 2009 at 2:54pm - WASHINGTON -- The Obama administration warned corporate America on Monday that the government will more aggressively investigate big firms that hurt smaller competitors, contending that lax enforcement by the Bush administration contributed to the current economic troubles.

Lawyers: Ex-soldier deserves death for crimes - 11 May 2009 at 2:35pm - PADUCAH, Ky. -- Federal prosecutors say a former soldier convicted of raping and murdering an Iraqi teenager and killing her family deserves a death sentence because the crimes were so heinous.

Not again: FAA stops military flight over Hudson - 11 May 2009 at 2:26pm - NEW YORK -- The Federal Aviation Administration said it turned down a U.S. Navy request to fly a patrol aircraft past Manhattan on Monday, two weeks after a government photo shoot caused a brief panic near ground zero.

Pentagon to replace top Afghanistan commander: report - 11 May 2009 at 12:48pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon will replace the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, U.S. General David McKiernan, less than a year after he took over the war effort there, CNN reported on Monday.

Pope Benedict calls for Palestinian 'homeland' - 11 May 2009 at 10:33am - Pope Benedict XVI called Monday for Israelis and Palestinians to each have "a homeland of their own, within secure and internationally recognized borders."

Shooting at Baghdad base leaves 5 U.S. soldiers dead - 11 May 2009 at 10:04am - BAGHDAD — Five American soldiers have been killed in a shooting at a U.S. base in the Iraqi capital, the military said in a statement. The statement said the shooting occurred at about 2 p.m. Monday at Camp Liberty, near Baghdad International Airport.

Thought for the day:
There is more to life than increasing its speed -Mahatma Gandhi (1869 - 1948)

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

In the News: May-06

Wordle: In the News: May-06

Source: No charges seen over interrogation memos - 6 May 2009 at 6:19am - WASHINGTON -- Justice Department investigators say Bush administration lawyers who approved harsh interrogation techniques of terror suspects should not face criminal charges, according to a draft report that also recommends two of the three attorneys face possible professional sanctions.

Red Cross: Afghan women, children dead after U.S. bombings - 6 May 2009 at 5:50am - The international Red Cross said Wednesday that its officials saw women and children among dozens of dead bodies in two villages ...

Karzai orders probe into alleged civilian deaths - 6 May 2009 at 5:11am - Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation on Wednesday following allegations that more than 30 civilians died in a U.S.-led bombing.

Thought for the day:
The universal brotherhood of man is our most precious possession, what there is of it. -Mark Twain (1835 - 1910), Following the Equator

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

In the News: May-05

Wordle: In the News: May-05

EPA: ethanol crops displaces climate-friendly ones - 5 May 2009 at 11:38am - WASHINGTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency says that corn ethanol - as made today - has a worse impact on climate than gasoline when land use changes are considered.

Probe of interrogation memo lawyers nears end - 5 May 2009 at 11:06am - WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department is nearing the end of its probe into Bush administration lawyers who wrote secret memos approving harsh interrogation techniques.

Afghan official sees 30 bodies killed in airstrike - 5 May 2009 at 11:02am - Bombing runs by U.S.-led coalition jets killed dozens of civilians taking shelter from a fierce ground battle between Taliban militants and Afghan and international forces, two Afghan officials said Tuesday. The U.S. confirmed fighting Monday in western Afghanistan and said reports of civilian deaths were under investigation. One Afghan official said angry and mournful villagers transported an estimated 30 bodies to a provincial capital to show officials. Other officials estimated the civilian toll to be between 70 and 100.

House Democrats won't give Obama funds to close Gitmo - 5 May 2009 at 5:47am - WASHINGTON — The Obama administration's bid for $50 million to move prisoners from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility was left out of the Democratic-authored emergency war-spending bill unveiled Monday.

U.S. military says Afghan bibles have been destroyed - 5 May 2009 at 5:12am - KABUL (Reuters) - Bibles in Afghan languages sent to a U.S. soldier at a base in Afghanistan were confiscated and destroyed to ensure that troops did not breach regulations which forbid proselytizing, a military spokeswoman said.

Thought for the day:
The most common of all follies is to believe passionately in the palpably not true. It is the chief occupation of mankind. -H. L. Mencken (1880 - 1956)

Monday, May 04, 2009

In the News: May-04

Wordle: In the News: May-04

White House: No extra bank bailout money needed - 4 May 2009 at 2:37pm - WASHINGTON -- The White House says it has no plans to ask Congress for more taxpayer money to bail out struggling banks.

Pentagon's top auditor criticizes KBR support work - 4 May 2009 at 11:38am - WASHINGTON -- The Pentagon's top auditor on Monday criticized KBR Inc.'s performance on a $31.7 billion combat support contract, pointing to numerous instances where the company failed to make sure U.S. taxpayers were getting the most for their money.

U.S. denies letting troops convert Afghans - 4 May 2009 at 8:36am - KABUL (Reuters) - The U.S. military denied Monday it has allowed soldiers to try to convert Afghans to Christianity, after a television network showed pictures of soldiers with bibles translated into local languages.

U.S. asks Germany to take Guantanamo inmates: German government - 4 May 2009 at 7:48am - BERLIN (Reuters) - The United States has made a formal request to Germany to take in some prisoners held at its military prison in Guantanamo Bay, a spokesman for Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said on Sunday.

Thought for the day:
Money frees you from doing things you dislike. Since I dislike doing nearly everything, money is handy. -Groucho Marx (1890 - 1977)

Friday, May 01, 2009

In the News: May-01

Wordle: In the News: May-01

U.S. says troops will not face trial over Iraq raid - 1 May 2009 at 10:51am - BAGHDAD (Reuters) - U.S. soldiers will not appear in Iraqi courts to answer any charges relating to a raid this week that killed two people in Iraq and triggered condemnation from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, the U.S. military has said.

Pentagon uses Facebook, Twitter to spread message - 1 May 2009 at 7:37am - FORT MONROE, Va. -- You don't often hear a three-star general using the word "friend" as a verb.

Military: 3 American troops killed in Iraq - 1 May 2009 at 6:56am - Three U.S. troops have been killed in fighting west of Baghdad, the military said Friday, making April the deadliest month for ...

UN asks Israel to freeze Arab home demolitions - 1 May 2009 at 6:28am - A U.N. agency has asked Israel to freeze demolitions of Arab homes in east Jerusalem, citing a housing crisis in the part of ...

Former 'enemy combatant' pleads guilty in Illinois - 1 May 2009 at 5:20am - PEORIA, Ill. -- A man whose case sparked a furious legal debate over whether the government can hold terrorism suspects indefinitely entered a surprise guilty plea, admitting to training in al-Qaida camps and coming to the nation's heartland a day before Sept. 11.

Thought for the day:
My loathings are simple: stupidity, oppression, crime, cruelty, soft music. -Vladimir Nabokov (1899 - 1977)