Happy Juneteenth Day

Today is Independence Day.

No, not July 4th, but the day when Mr. Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation.

I heard someone say this morning that this is a day to be celebrated by African Americans. No argument from me there, of course. But I don't think it's a day to be celebrated exclusively. After all, when any American citizen is imprisoned unjustly or enslaved, it is bad for America as a whole. And we all benefit from the fact that slaves were "freed" upon this day more than a century ago.

If only slavery had not happened at all. But it did. Sadly, horrifyingly, it did.

And here we are, more than 14 decades later, still with the Ku Klux Klan, with people arguing that people of color don't matter and perhaps shouldn't have the vote, with people still believing they need to fear someone darker than they are.

When I was a child, during the time of the race riots, I was sure that by the time I was at this stage of my adulthood, we would largely, as a country, be blind to race. But we're anything but blind to race.

Then again, as a child when the feminist movement was starting, I was sure people would stop paying attention to gender. Now, here we are in the new millennium, with a White House power base led by people who occasionally remark that it's a shame women got the right to vote, that women are somehow less, that women should stay home and care for their families, that microscopic embryos have more rights than their mothers, that women don't belong in positions of power.

Missed the Conyers' "Downing Street Memo" Hearings?

You can catch video highlights at Crooks and Liars.

How Very Bush-Like

After the hearings on Thursday re: the Downing Street Memo, when Rep. John Conyers led a delegation to the White House to sign petitions calling for Mr. Bush to answer questions raised by this and related documents, the White House security staff stopped the procession from going forth.

At first, they basically told Conyers and company to go away. Then, when Conyers and party stood their ground, bearing in their hands the signatures of over a half million American citizens, including about 100 elected representatives collected in just two weeks with little press attention, the security staff FINALLY sent a representative down to collect the petitions so that the party would go away.

How very like the Bushes. The White House is our house, but Mr. Bush considers it just his home, his power base. He doesn't have to pay attention to half a million Americans (which probably translates into well more than half of the U.S. population). He doesn't have to account for his lies or account to the families of the thousands dead. He sits in there with his taxpayer-paid French chefs and his drug-consuming daughters and smirks at any thought that people had the right to ask him to answer questions.

Gitmo: Why it's About More Than Merely Closing the Name

An ACLU alert arrived in my mailbox the other day asking me to do what I could to demand that Gitmo be closed. But just closing Gitmo accomplishes nothing if there are eight or 80 more places just like it operating around the world. All we do is move prisoners from one to another without ever addressing the problem Gitmo represents and how can one address it if the government is busy pretending there is no problem.

The VP came out this week - part of the venomous campaign against anyone who questions what we do there - and said Gitmo must continue because it safeguards us against "the worst of the worst" who he says are the people kept there.

But evidence strongly suggests otherwise. Gitmo has been in operation full time for "terrorists" since 2002. Of the many hundreds being kept there now and the hundreds among hundreds of others who have come and gone from Gitmo already, we've charged all of 5 people, none of whom have gone to trial yet, even those dreadful secret military trials where we will have one of the worst kinds of kangaroo courts working, worse even then those in other countries we like to point at and say, "This country is a terrorist because they do things like this."

Think of it - 5 of maybe five thousand individuals who've been sent to Gitmo. The rest we've let go. Why would we have let them go? Well, considering we've decided we can send them to Gitmo and keep them there "in perpetuity" without any explanation, without counsel, without charges brought, without due process, one has to assume all those folks - many of them UNDER age 18 according to the Brits - had little if any intelligence to share and were not found to represent any kind of danger to anyone.

Worst of the worst? Doesn't seem like it.

Consider the percentage rate of 5 in 5,000. So one in every 1,000 human beings we catch, hold secretly, submit to days, weeks, months, and even years of confinement, grilling, extreme conditions, and yes, canned peaches, and perhaps torture are worthy of having charges brought against them. Either we're catching ALL the wrong people or - more likely - we're really indiscriminate in whom we call "the worst of the worst". So we're committing a serious injustice to 999 people to get that one we charge - and consider that NO Gitmo imprisoned people have EVER gone to trial.

So while I have no problem with ending Gitmo, which seems to have an incredibly bad track record if they really ARE trying to imprison the "worst of the worst" with just 1 person charged in every 1,000 held there, we'll just have another place like Gitmo operating in Uzbekistan or some other third world country or heck, Kansas or Oklahoma.

This government has a vested interest in keeping everything so secretive because if it were not, you might be asking pesky questions like, "So what are we accomplishing?" They need to keep you scared to keep things so hush-hush, so they have to keep telling you what a great job they're doing scaring and beating the crap out of Muslims and others and Gitmo is one of the great successes they point to. If Gitmo is a success, God help us.

But we won't cure a thing with closing Gitmo because a) the rest of the world knows what we did and hates us for it and b) we'll still be doing it elsewhere.

Consider one other major issue: if the president lied about Iraq, did he orchestrate a much bigger lie to pull together the War on Terror? And if so, what does that mean about 9/11, the attack that seems to have only been possible on Mr.Bush's watch where 232 separate safeguards ALL had to fail on that day for the devastation to have been as successful as it was.

So don't get distracted with the question of just Gitmo. We have to have a systematic change that doesn't allow a place like Gitmo so we can't recreate it elsewhere in order to get anywhere. And the crew in office now has far too vested an interest in denying there is a problem and in keeping the inefficiency and fear going so defense contractors like Halliburton and Bechtel can flourish.


Last Throes of Insurgency Indeed

Editor and Publisher notes what had some of the rest of us chortling yesterday:

With polls showing rising public concerns about the war in Iraq, and even some Republicans calling for a withdrawal timetable, White House correspondents and White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan responded in their separate ways today. At his daily briefing, McClellan announced that the President was going to bring a “sharper focus” to the issue in new discussions with the public, while reporters seemed respond not only to that but to rising criticism of their performance in holding the administration's feet to the fire.

After McClellan outlined the president's plans, leading up to a key June 28th speech, ABC correspondent Terry Moran asked a pointed question, which referred back to an assessment recently made by Vice President Dick Cheney.

Q Scott, is the insurgency in Iraq in its 'last throes'?

McCLELLAN: Terry, you have a desperate group of terrorists in Iraq that are doing everything they can to try to derail the transition to democracy. The Iraqi people have made it clear that they want a free and democratic and peaceful future. And that's why we're doing everything we can, along with other countries, to support the Iraqi people as they move forward….

Q But the insurgency is in its last throes?

McCLELLAN: The Vice President talked about that the other day -- you have a desperate group of terrorists who recognize how high the stakes are in Iraq. A free Iraq will be a significant blow to their ambitions.

Q But they're killing more Americans, they're killing more Iraqis. That's the last throes?

McCLELLAN: Innocent -- I say innocent civilians. And it doesn't take a lot of people to cause mass damage when you're willing to strap a bomb onto yourself, get in a car and go and attack innocent civilians. That's the kind of people that we're dealing with. That's what I say when we're talking about a determined enemy.

Q Right. What is the evidence that the insurgency is in its last throes?

McCLELLAN: I think I just explained to you the desperation of terrorists and their tactics.

Q What's the evidence on the ground that it's being extinguished?

McCLELLAN: Terry, we're making great progress to defeat the terrorist and regime elements. You're seeing Iraqis now playing more of a role in addressing the security threats that they face. They're working side by side with our coalition forces. They're working on their own. There are a lot of special forces in Iraq that are taking the battle to the enemy in Iraq. And so this is a period when they are in a desperate mode.

Q Well, I'm just wondering what the metric is for measuring the defeat of the insurgency.

McCLELLAN: Well, you can go back and look at the Vice President's remarks. I think he talked about it.

Q Yes. Is there any idea how long a 'last throe' lasts for?

McCLELLAN: Go ahead, Steve....
Bet he wished Jeff Gannon was there throwing him softballs (cough).

"Did Bush Mislead the Nation to Go to War in Iraq?"

That's the MSNBC poll.

Do you believe President Bush misled the nation in order to go to war with Iraq? * 37540 responses
Not a scientifically valid survey. Click to learn more.

Are the Documents Related to the Downing Street Memo the Pentagon Papers of Our Times?

Clearly, I think so. What's your conclusion?

From Editor and Publisher:

The so-called Downing Street memos, now seven in number, have been dismissed by some in the press as "old news," but the same could be said of the Pentagon Papers when they were published. As in the previous case, the shock value comes from their official nature, and they bring key questions about deceit and poor judgment in the run-up to the Iraq war back to the forefront for public debate.

(June 17, 2005) -- On public radio this week, Walter Pincus, the senior national security reporter for The Washington Post, posed the question: if the statements in the various Downing Street memos are to be dismissed as "old" news--since preparing to go to war in Iraq and questions about intelligence were already "conventional wisdom" and published as such in 2002--then why was so much made of the Pentagon Papers back in the 1970s when reporters knew early on, and were writing, that the Vietnam war was a disaster in which the U.S. had made a string of mistakes?

Ironically, it is the same New York Times which bravely published the Pentagon Papers that, as recently as today, is still treating the Downing Street Papers as merely fodder for “antiwar” types.

Even though their importance has been dismissed, or played down, by both the Bush Administration and several leaders of the mainstream news media in the United States, the British government memos leaked to Michael Smith of the Sunday Times of London do constitute “primary” sources from near the heart of government when composing the first draft of an authoritative history of the invasion and occupation of Iraq.

Moreover, all the key questions about the deceit and lack of judgment by the Administration when making the case for war are back on the table for public debate.

Comparable American official documents, at the National Security Council level, have yet to be leaked. The introduction of a Congressional resolution this week calling for military withdrawal from Iraq, and plummeting public support for Bush and U.S. Iraq policies, are bound to encourage leaks from dissident voices
within the White House and the bureaucracies.

Tom DeLay, Money, Giuliani, and Yet Another Conflict of Interest

From Newsday:

WASHINGTON -- House Majority Leader Tom DeLay owns stock worth more than $50,000 in ExxonMobil, according to financial disclosure reports, while at the same time he is one of the driving forces behind legislation that would shield that company and other manufacturers of the gasoline additive MTBE from lawsuits that could cost them millions.

Already under fire for alleged ethical lapses, DeLay, a Texas Republican, has hired the Houston law firm Bracewell and Giuliani to defend against those charges. But the firm, in which former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani is a partner, also represents a host of MTBE manufacturers in court and in Congress.

CUNY Professor Loses Chairmanship Over His (Lack of) Religious Affiliation

Lindsey at Majikthise starts the ball rolling on this story, and what follows are many thoughtful, sharp comments.

Some Say Non-Defense Contractors, Some Say Well-Heeled Tax Cheats

From Thursday's WaPo:

Thousands of federal contractors working for civilian government agencies together owe more than $3 billion in unpaid taxes, according to a report to be released today by a Senate subcommittee.

In one case, the owner of a firm that provides security guards to the Department of Homeland Security transferred payroll taxes withheld from workers' paychecks to a foreign bank account instead of the government and used the money to build a house overseas.

The owner of another company, one that supplies health care services to the Department of Veterans Affairs and the Department of Health and Human Services, piled up more than $18 million in unpaid payroll taxes while buying multimillion-dollar properties and luxury vehicles.

And one contractor that furnishes temporary workers to the Department of Housing and Urban Development has owed back taxes for nearly two decades, simply closing businesses and starting new ones when the bills get too high.

In all, 50 cases closely examined by auditors with the Government Accountability Office involved "abusive and potentially criminal activity." Even so, the contractors still got paid.

The report does not identify any of the roughly 33,000 contractors by name or characterize them by size or location.

British Authorities Verify the New Downing Street Memo Supporting Docs

From the much-villified Newsweek:

June 15 - Two senior British government officials today acknowledged as authentic a series of 2002 pre-Iraq war memos stating that Saddam Hussein's nuclear weapons program was "effectively frozen" and that there was "no recent evidence" of Iraqi ties to international terrorism—private conclusions that contradicted two key pillars of the Bush administration's public case for the invasion in March 2003.

A March 8, 2002, secret "options" paper prepared by Prime Minister Tony Blair's top national-security aides also stated that intelligence on Saddam's purported weapons of mass destruction (WMD) was "poor." While noting that Saddam had used such weapons in the past and could do so again "if his regime were threatened," the options paper concluded "there is no greater threat now than in recent years that Saddam will use WMD."

The options paper was written just one month before Blair met with President Bush in Crawford, Texas. According to another leaked internal memo, Blair agreed at the meeting to support a U.S.-led invasion to topple Saddam’s regime provided that “certain conditions” were met. Those conditions, according to the newly leaked memo, were that efforts be made to “construct a coalition” and “shape” public opinion; that the Israeli-Palestinian crisis was “quiescent,” and that attempts to eliminate Iraqi WMD through the return of United Nations weapons inspectors be exhausted.

Written by Ishikoff, at that.

Speaking of Jeb

The press in Florida likes him less and less every day. From the Miama New Times:

I was going to point out how Jeb Bush had quietly put into place a mechanism by which ultraconservative judges routinely fill vacancies on the state's appeals courts. He accomplished this back in 2001 by having the state legislature change a few rules. Specifically, the governor was given the power to appoint the people who nominate judicial candidates, thus ensuring that all nominees sent to him for consideration stood on the "right" side of gay marriage, school vouchers, and so on.

As a result we have First District Court of Appeal (DCA) Justice Paul Hawkes, who worked for Bush and former House speaker Tom Feeney; Second DCA Justice Charles Canady, a former Republican congressman and Bush's general counsel; Third DCA Justice Frank Shepherd here in Miami, who was the local managing attorney for the Pacific Legal Foundation, a conservative activist organization; and my personal favorite, Third DCA Justice Leslie Rothenberg, who, while running for State Attorney, signed a Christian Family Coalition pledge opposing gay marriage and supporting religious displays on public property.

That's the story I wanted to write, which would have included efforts to get a comment from Jeb Bush or a spokesman. That would have required the cooperation of Jacob DiPietre, who runs the governor's press office in Tallahassee. And that was a problem. Months ago I forever gave up on dealing with DiPietre and his staff.

I'd been seeking comment from Bush regarding Rothenberg's appointment. But forget about a quote from the governor; I didn't even get so much as a peep out of DiPietre. And I'm not talking about a quick call I made on deadline. This was more than three weeks of calls, sometimes daily. Nada. Zip.

Initially I was stunned. Then I was fuming mad. This had to be the most arrogant and unresponsive publicly funded press office I'd ever experienced. I thought back on all the contentious stories I'd written about government agencies big and small, as well as police and fire departments, the FBI, the DEA, the ATF, and I couldn't remember ever having dealt with a public-information office that simply didn't return a call -- ever.

Jeb Bush: Won't Say He's Sorry, Won't Let it Go

It did not matter that Jeb Bush was ever so terribly wrong to insert himself again and again and again in the Terri Schiavo matter. Now, on the heels of an autopsy report that disproved much of the bullshit Bush's people put forth about Mrs. Schiavo's case, Bush has ordered an investigation into the night Terri collapsed more than 15 years ago.

It also doesn't matter that there has NEVER been an indication that Schiavo abused his wife. In fact, the only complaints about him were from nursing staff who said he demanded the very best care for his wife. To Jeb, desperate to earn back points from the nutwing base who won't forgive him for not saving a woman with a brain the consistency of Jell-o pudding, who was willing to crawl onto the dying woman's bed to share her limelight, misery is his ticket to the White House. God knows American needs another Bush there.

Jeb won't be happy until Michael Schiavo's entire life is ruined.

Bush Justice Department Wants Your Internet Activity Monitored


The U.S. Department of Justice is quietly shopping around the explosive idea of requiring Internet service providers to retain records of their customers' online activities.

Data retention rules could permit police to obtain records of e-mail chatter, Web browsing or chat-room activity months after Internet providers ordinarily would have deleted the logs--that is, if logs were ever kept in the first place. No U.S. law currently mandates that such logs be kept.

In theory, at least, data retention could permit successful criminal and terrorism prosecutions that otherwise would have failed because of insufficient evidence. But privacy worries and questions about the practicality of assembling massive databases of customer behavior have caused a similar proposal to stall in Europe and could engender stiff opposition domestically.

CBS: Bush's Approval Rating Remains at Record Low

From CBS:

President George W. Bush's job approval rating is now just 42 percent, and most Americans think he does not share their priorities.

Iraq and the economy -- not the President's signature issue of Social Security -- are most important to Americans, and Americans' assessments of both remain mixed, with support for the decision to send troops to Iraq matching its lowest percent ever.

Regarding Social Security, months of campaigning have not brought public acceptance of the personal accounts the President desires, nor resulted in increased confidence in his ability to make the right decisions about that program. In fact, many Americans claim they like Bush's plan less the more they hear about it.

President Bush's job approval rating has dropped this month to just 42 percent, while 51 percent disapprove. His current approval rating is near the low reached in May 2004, after news and photos from the Abu Ghraib prisoner abuse scandal were made public.
And yet, did you catch Mr. Bush this week talking to the GOP?

He says we don't "get" it and he's about to go out on yet another Bamboozlepalooza Tour we pay for, where only the most loyal GOPers are allowed to attend, in which he tells us yet again what we're supposed to believe. That it will have no relationship whatsoever to the truth does not matter, at least to Mr. Bush and his supporters.

Basically, Mr. Bush says that even though we're right to be very concerned, the problem ISN'T with how he's handling things, but with our perception of how he's handling things. And trust me, he's working behind the scenes to make things even tougher on us so we don't have the time to notice what a horror he is and the terrible, terrible future he's handing to us.

Another Cheney Conflict of Interest

Hey, Republican National Committee members who visited my humble blog today. Here's one for you!

Is it a conflict of interest that Dick Cheney - former head of Halliburton who seems likely to return to Halliburton when the Bamboozlepalooza Tour ends in January 2009 - gets on TV denouncing reports of abuse at Gitmo and saying Gitmo MUST remain open when we learn today that Halliburton - who built the current Gitmo - has now been awarded a $30 million no bid contract to EXTEND Gitmo?

You bet it is.

Quick! Someone Dose Greenspan with Koolaid Right Fast!

Kos brings us this from the Christian Science Monitor, which is surprising considering how frequently Greenspan spouts pap that is clearly not true and designed completely to satisfy his masters:

The income gap between the rich and the rest of the US population has become so wide, and is growing so fast, that it might eventually threaten the stability of democratic capitalism itself.

Is that a liberal's talking point? Sure. But it's also a line from the recent public testimony of a champion of the free market: Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan [...]

Greenspan's comments at a Joint Economic Committee hearing last week were typical, for him. Asked a leading question by Sen. Jack Reed (D) of Rhode Island, he agreed that over the past two quarters hourly wages have shown few signs of accelerating. Overall employee compensation has gone up - but mostly due to a surge in bonuses and stock-option exercises.

The Fed chief than added that the 80 percent of the workforce represented by nonsupervisory workers has recently seen little, if any, income growth at all. The top 20 percent of supervisory, salaried, and other workers has.

The result of this, said Greenspan, is that the US now has a significant divergence in the fortunes of different groups in its labor market. "As I've often said, this is not the type of thing which a democratic society - a capitalist democratic society - can really accept without addressing," Greenspan told the congressional hearing.

The Downing Street Memo Timeline

Blah3 also points us to Uggabugga's ultra important Downing Street Memo Timeline.

Stranger Asks a Good Question

From Stranger at Blah3 re: Gitmo and Downing Street Memo:

If what the White House says is true (I know, just go with it for a minute) and no one had made up their minds about going to war with Iraq until after Powell went to the UN, why was the order to build Guantanamo put in way back in 2002 - and why was the contract awarded before 9/11/01 - and even before Bush was elected?
    No. 386-02
    5 p.m. ET July 26, 2002

    Brown & Root Services, a division of Kellogg Brown & Root, Arlington, Va., was awarded today a $16,000,000 task order under a previously awarded cost reimbursement, indefinite-delivery and indefinite-quantity construction contract for construction of a 408-unit detention camp at the Radio Range area of U.S. Naval Station, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Units will be of modular steel construction. Each unit measures 6 feet 8 inches by 8 feet and includes a bed, a toilet, and a hand basin with running water. Work will be performed in Guantanamo Bay and is to be completed by April 2002. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. The basic contract was competitively procured with 44 proposals solicited, three offers were received, and award was made on June 29, 2000. The total contract amount is not to exceed $300,000,000, which includes the base period and four option years. The Naval Facilities Engineering Command, Atlantic Division, Norfolk, Va., is the contracting activity (N62470-00-D-0005).

    No. 386-02 5 p.m. ET July 26, 2002
Before? Oh My God.

I'm getting very uncomfortable with all the subtle clues that 9/11 was an event that had its roots here rather than a cave in Afghanistan. Please, someone, tell me this is wrong. Show me incontravertible proof that this is wrong.


I must confess I was disappointed yesterday in the Downing Street Memo hearings.

Here was something I consider pivotal, and yet the major networks only covered it parenthetically. The hearing was crowded into the tiny House basement where speakers were practically sitting on each other's laps.

This matter, I believe, is far more important than Clinton's affair with Lewinsky and even more important than Watergate. This matter involved the loss of tens of thousands of lives in a cooked war where the president lied. And it's being treated like "nothing".

During Watergate, both GOP and Dem politicians rose up together to take a stand. There are few brave folks here, except those relative few who appeared at the hearings yesterday. It's being marginalized, and this is as much a crime as what Mr. Bush appears to have done.

What did the media cover at 2:30 PM yesterday instead? The runaway bride's book and movie deal, the missing white girl in Aruba, and other happy horseshit.

The "Mississippi Burning" Case

Yesterday, more attention was given to the "poor old man" defendant in the "Mississippi Burning" case where three civil rights workers in the early 60s were summarily executed by KKK members. He is indeed an old man now and in poor health. Literally, every time the man goes to court, he has some medical emergency and has to be carted out.

The attorney for this man is a crusty old codger himself, ranting about how unjust it is that this old man is being brought to trial.

But through all of this - and yes, it's not hard to feel sorry for this old man - it's also apparent that this old man who, although supposedly "an ordained minister" has lived a life of hate and nastiness, and yet has been shown far more compassion than those three young men whose only crime was to try to get underprivileged blacks in the South registered to vote.

The KKK isn't ancient history. They're still going today and, in fact, we've seen new chapters open. Under their whitewashed auspices, the CCC, they support GOP candidates, including one discussed as a possible presidential contender for 2008. We don't have the luxury of pretending the KKK is just old history because it's not. In fact, I often wonder how many KKK-thinking people are involved in the current rise of the extreme religious right in this country. Intolerance is their thing, and gays, Jews, blacks, Hispanics, liberals, Democrats, and non-fundamentalist Christians are people many of these types would like to see banished from the American scene.

So yes, it's sad that the government has not prosecuted this man - and his cohorts - sooner. But it's time for justice to be done. This old man has been allowed to live out his life, which is a far better fate than he allowed for those three civil rights workers.

Support Operation Yellow Elephant


The General has a mission. Help him get those Young Republican patriots to enlist for Bush, who sits on the right hand and the lap of God.

Maybe JC can get the Bush twins to enlist, too!

Do Unto Others... So to Speak

Reading Shine Light in Dark Corners reminds me of the immortal words of one of this country's founders and original patriots, Thomas Paine:

"He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach himself."
Those are good words to remember when Cheney, Bush, and Congress talk about Abu Ghraib and Gitmo, about prisoners who can be held "in perpetuity", tortured, degraded, debased.


Republicans Go After International Red Cross for Documenting Our Prisoner Abuses

::Shaking head::

Senate Republicans are calling on the Bush administration to reassess U.S. financial support for the International Committee of the Red Cross, charging that the group is using American funds to lobby against U.S. interests.

The Senate Republican Policy Committee, which advances the views of the GOP Senate majority, said in a report that the international humanitarian organization had "lost its way" and veered from the impartiality on which its reputation was based. The Republican policy group titled its report: "Are American Interests Being Disserved by the International Committee of the Red Cross?"

The congressional criticism follows reports by the Swiss-based group that have faulted U.S. treatment of detainees in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A spokeswoman at its Geneva headquarters said the organization was reviewing the report and would not comment, in accordance with its policy of keeping its dealings with governments confidential.

Two Bush administration officials declined in interviews to endorse the findings of the report but said the administration had had "concerns" about some positions taken by the ICRC since the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of diplomatic protocol and their relations with Congress.

"We need the ICRC. They do a lot of really good things," one of the U.S. officials said. "They've got people in conflict zones all over the world doing heroic things on a daily basis. Are we concerned about some of the comments? Yes. Do we deal with those in our confidential relationship? Yes. But we think the relationship works best when these things are kept confidential."

The Senate Republicans' report called on the Bush administration to ask the Government Accountability Office to review Red Cross operations, noting that the U.S. funds 28% of the group's budget and has contributed $1.5 billion since 1990. The International Committee of the Red Cross is separate from the American Red Cross, which has no say in how the international committee is run.

CNBC Offers Live Video from the Conyers Hearing

Thankfully, my fingers mistakenly keyed in MSNBC and got CNBC instead, but at least they're carrying a feed. CNN had just a short spot by Bill Schneider - American Enterprise Institute fellow and right wing hack - basically poo-pooing the hearings.

Meanwhile, these hearings have been relegated to the cramped basement of the House building and CSPAN puts them on their much-less publicized channel which many Americans do not get.

This is shameful.

Conyers' Hearing on CSPAN3

If you don't get CSPAN3 but have Broadband Internet access, you can watch them on streaming media on your PC if you visit CSPAN and select CSPAN3.

Every American should try to catch some or all of this because it's about why we went to Iraq. It's time the president answered some questions or gets out of office.

With All These Fallen Planes, Who Needs Terrorists?

Since Monday morning, four planes or helicopters have gone done in or near residential neighborhoods, including one yesterday in Yuma where the military plane carried at least four 500 lb planes, with this CNN story following up today:

About 300 Marine base workers walked shoulder to shoulder through a southern Arizona neighborhood Thursday in search of any stray ammunition from the crash of a bomb-laden Harrier jet.

As each section was cleared, officials planned to let residents return to the last 52 homes still evacuated after Wednesday's crash in Yuma, said James Stover, the city's public affairs manager.

Hundreds more evacuees had been allowed to go home late Wednesday, hours after the jet plunged into a backyard while trying to land at Marine Corps Air Station-Yuma, about 185 miles southwest of Phoenix.

Pacifica Radio Covering Conyers Hearings

For those having trouble finding coverage of the Conyers hearings, you can find audio feed from a Pacifica radio station.

But damn, I want video, too.

Six US Service People Killed Just Today

And yet we're not supposed to ask Mr. Bush for a game plan, while he insists things are just getting better there ALL the time:

Bombing and shooting attacks west of Baghdad killed six U.S. troops, and a suicide car bomber slammed into a truck carrying Iraqi policemen near the airport Thursday, killing at least eight and wounding 25 — the latest wave of violence aimed at derailing advancing political process.

The attacks came as Shiite politicians completed efforts to include the disaffected Sunni Arab minority in the work of drafting Iraq's new constitution. Senior members of the Shiite-dominated committee writing the charter reached agreement with the Sunnis on how many representatives the minority will have on the body.

Thursday's deal broke weeks of deadlock between the 55-member committee and Sunni Arabs over the size of their representation. The stalemate had threatened Iraq's political process as it was about to enter its final stretch, with two key nationwide votes later this year — a constitutional referendum and a general election.

Insurgents have used that time to carry out a series of attacks, killing nearly 1,100 people since the Shiite-led government took office April 28.

Six US Service People Killed Just Today

And yet we're not supposed to ask Mr. Bush for a game plan, while he insists things are just getting better there ALL the time:

Bombing and shooting attacks west of Baghdad killed six U.S. troops, and a suicide car bomber slammed into a truck carrying Iraqi policemen near the airport Thursday, killing at least eight and wounding 25 — the latest wave of violence aimed at derailing advancing political process.

The attacks came as Shiite politicians completed efforts to include the disaffected Sunni Arab minority in the work of drafting Iraq's new constitution. Senior members of the Shiite-dominated committee writing the charter reached agreement with the Sunnis on how many representatives the minority will have on the body.

Thursday's deal broke weeks of deadlock between the 55-member committee and Sunni Arabs over the size of their representation. The stalemate had threatened Iraq's political process as it was about to enter its final stretch, with two key nationwide votes later this year — a constitutional referendum and a general election.

Insurgents have used that time to carry out a series of attacks, killing nearly 1,100 people since the Shiite-led government took office April 28.

Scary Proposition: McCain-(Jeb)Bush 2008



Conyers' Downing Street Memo Hearings Thursday, 2:30 PM

I'll be watching (CSPAN supposedly will be covering).

Will you?

A Bushie's Unusual Take on 9/11: A Demolition, Not an Attack

Pointed to from Skippy (God knows I don't read the Washington Times much), here's this unusual take on 9/11 (well, not sooo unusual outside the MSM):

A former Bush team member during his first administration is now voicing serious doubts about the collapse of the World Trade Center on 9-11. Former chief economist for the Department of Labor during President George W. Bush's first term Morgan Reynolds comments that the official story about the collapse of the WTC is "bogus" and that it is more likely that a controlled demolition destroyed the Twin Towers and adjacent Building No. 7. Reynolds, who also served as director of the Criminal Justice Center at the National Center for Policy Analysis in Dallas and is now professor emeritus at Texas A&M University said, "If demolition destroyed three steel skyscrapers at the World Trade Center on 9/11, then the case for an 'inside job' and a government attack on America would be compelling." Reynolds commented from his Texas A&M office, "It is hard to exaggerate the importance of a scientific debate over the cause of the collapse of the twin towers and building 7. If the official wisdom on the collapses is wrong, as I believe it is, then policy based on such erroneous engineering analysis is not likely to be correct either. The government's collapse theory is highly vulnerable on its own terms. Only professional demolition appears to account for the full range of facts associated with the collapse of the three buildings."


From the AP:

Some Republicans say they fear that Bush and his advisers are ignoring the signs of voter discontent, moving too slowly to adjust their strategies. They also blame GOP congressional leaders for focusing on legislation that seems to help a select few while making no progress on issues that matter to many.

These Republicans include lawmakers and consultants who are allies of the White House. Most spoke only privately, fearing reprisal from the administration.

"They might not realize what a challenge we face here," said Joe Gaylord, a Republican consultant close to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. "The challenge is they're in campaign mode. Americans can be patient for a while, but when they see nothing going on, they get to wondering, 'What's going on here?'"

Khachigian said Bush is being worn down by stiff Democratic opposition and by his bullish agenda. "In a campaign, you're less likely to put up provocative ideas, you use much more global messaging and fewer specifics," he said. "What he's paying the price for now is being specific and provocative, especially on Social Security."

Cole compared Bush to President Truman.

"He was pretty farseeing. What you liked about Truman is what in the short term makes it politically challenging, and I'd say the same thing about Bush," Cole said. "He likes to make tough decisions."

Cole's analogy may not be comforting to Republicans. For all his tough stands and history's opinion, Truman left office with low poll ratings after the 1952 elections. And his Democrats lost control of Congress and the White House.
No one to blame but Bush himself... and every member of Congress who acted like they were supposed to be Bush's water carrier.

Deep Throat of Britain

From WaPo and again, related to the Downing Street Memo:

The eight-page document labeled "PERSONAL SECRET UK EYES ONLY," whose authenticity has been confirmed by British government sources, also served as the basis of a Page 1 story in the Sunday Washington Post. Staff writer Walter Pincus emphasized a different passage in the document, which said "the U.S. military was not preparing adequately for what the British memo predicted would be a " protracted and costly" postwar occupation of Iraq.

The Sunday Times story made headlines from Australia to China to Pakistan. Like the now-famous Downing Street Memo, published by the Sunday Times on May 1, the revelation raises the intriguing question of who is risking jail time by leaking top-secret documents to Smith. Just as students of the Watergate scandal pondered for years the identity of the high-level source who guided Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, students of the Iraq war will wonder about the person (or persons) behind The Sunday Times's reports.

The most plausible candidate(s) come from the ranks of current or former senior British government officials. In the Sunday Times' online text of the briefing paper (entitled "Iraq: Conditions for Military Action" ) the London paper says it omitted one page "in order to protect the identity of its source." That suggests that the source's name appears in or could be inferred from the full document.

The source (or sources) would also seem to be opposed to Prime Minister Blair's support of U.S. policy toward Iraq in the summer of 2002. The leak of the document gives unprecedented publicity to the arguments made by skeptics of U.S. policy in Blair's inner circle. The documents openly question the use of intelligence about Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the legal basis for the decision to go to war.

As Smith wrote, "The document said the only way the allies could justify military action was to place Saddam Hussein in a position where he ignored or rejected a United Nations ultimatum ordering him to co-operate with the weapons inspectors. But it warned this would be difficult.

Raw Story: Confirming the Downing Street Memo

From Raw Story:

New documents from across the Atlantic paint a picture of a President bent on war and administration officials determined to deliver war in Iraq at any cost.

Against the backdrop of the Bush Administration’s public statements, the documents raise questions about whether the Blair and Bush administrations covered up earlier actions after the invasion.

The original Downing Street Memo, initially reported by Sunday Times Online , includes the transcribed official minutes of a 2002 meeting between British Prime Minister Tony Blair, members of British intelligence, MI-6 and various Bush officials.


Six additional UK Iraq documents, acquired by RAW STORY, reveal the depth and breadth of the plan to go to war and the extent of the deceit on the part of the President and his cabinet, in conjunction with the Blair government.

The documents are transcribed photocopies in PDF format and were acquired from a British source and corroborated by Michael Smith, the journalist who first received the original leaked memos. This site validated them through an independent source and with Smith. The documents were not reported in order, so the DSM was actually reported later.

LA Times: New Documents Show War Planning in March 2002

A full year before we blew our way into Baghdad:

In March 2002, the Bush administration had just begun to publicly raise the possibility of confronting Iraq. But behind the scenes, officials already were deeply engaged in seeking ways to justify an invasion, newly revealed British memos indicate.

Foreshadowing developments in the year before the war started, British officials emphasized the importance of U.N. diplomacy, which they said might force Saddam Hussein into a misstep. They also suggested that confronting the Iraqi leader be cast as an effort to prevent him from using weapons of mass destruction or giving them to terrorists.

The documents help flesh out the background to the formerly top-secret "Downing Street memo" published in the Sunday Times of London last month, which said that top British officials were told eight months before the war began that military action was "seen as inevitable." President Bush and his main ally in the war, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, have long maintained that they had not made up their minds to go to war at that stage.

"Nothing could be farther from the truth," Bush said last week, responding to a question about the July 23, 2002, memo. "Both of us didn't want to use our military. Nobody wants to commit military into combat. It's the last option."

Publication of the Downing Street memo at the height of Britain's election campaign at first garnered little notice in U.S. media or other British newspapers. But in the weeks that followed, anger has grown among war critics, who contend that the document proves the Bush administration had already decided on military action, even while U.S. officials were saying that war was a last resort.

The new documents indicate that top British officials believed that by March 2002, Washington was already leaning heavily toward toppling Hussein by military force. Condoleezza Rice, the current secretary of State who was then Bush's national security advisor, was described as enthusiastic about "regime change."

Although British officials said in the documents that they did not think Iraq's weapons programs posed an immediate threat and that they were dubious of any claimed links between the Iraqi government and Al Qaeda, they indicated that they were willing to join in a campaign to topple Hussein as long as the plan would succeed and was handled with political and legal care.

Warm Welcome for the Gropinator... Or Not`

And Stranger at Blah3 offers this look at Arnold that goes missing in the MSM:

Or not. Heh.
    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's return to his alma mater turned into an exercise in perseverance when virtually his every word was accompanied by catcalls, howls and piercing whistles from the crowd.

    Schwarzenegger's face appeared to redden during his 15-minute commencement address Tuesday to 600 graduates at Santa Monica College, but he ignored the shouting as he recalled his days as a student and, later, his work as a bodybuilder and actor.

    "Always go all out and overcome your fears," he told the graduates. "Work, work, work. Study, study, study."

    Inside the stadium, the drone from hundreds of rowdy protesters threatened to drown out the governor's voice at times. Many in the crowd erupted in boos when a police officer pulled down a banner criticizing the estimated $45 million cost of the November 8 special election that Schwarzenegger proposed Monday.
Damn. He got this close to saying 'Arbeit Macht Frei,' didn't he?


As John Conyers gets more than a half million signature on a petition to demand that Mr. Bush explain the contents of the Downing Street Memo, as Republicans, Dems, and Indies alike ban together to say this war was wrong and that they disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling just about everything, as complaints about Gitmo and Abu Ghraib rise in volume and ugliness, as the GOP is trying to force the Social Security retirement age to 69 or 70, as Iraq gets bloodier with each new day, and as Americans prepare to take to the streets tomorrow to protest the government's handling re: the Downing Street Memo... have you noticed that all we hear about is "possible new terror alerts", Saddam, al Zarqawi (who's apparently not dead although we proclaimed him dead for the 19th time recently), why the Patriot Act is so great even though it wouldn't have stopped 9/11?

In other words, all we hear is bullshit while all the important material goes unmentioned.

Terri Schiavo and the Miraculous Dr. Frist

Invictus posting at Blah3 makes a comment that cannot go overlooked.

    After reviewing tape of Terri Schiavo, Frist proclaimed:
    “She certainly seems to respond to visual stimuli.”

Actually, she was blind.

I just heard Wolfie (the Blitzer) talking to ME Cyril Wecht about the case, trying his damnedest to get Wecht to say that Terri was salvageable and that - if only her rotten skunk of a husband had done something - she'd be curing cancer at the NiH right now. Wecht refused to play and Wolfie was soooo disappointed.

The Patriot Act and Privacy

I just heard Bob Barr, former Congressman from Georgia, on CNN saying that the government keeps saying to him that they cannot say whether, if we had the Patriot Act in effect on 9/11, if it could have prevented the attacks. He says without the ability to know it would have helped, there is certainly no reason to rule out the sunsetting of certain of its provisions this year or to allow the government to seek a massive expansion of the Patriot Act this year.

Good. I think most of us know the Patriot Act is bullshit and that is has been used primarily as a means to conduct surveillance operations on American citizens that have nothing to do with anti-terrorism efforts.

The way that James Sensenbrenner had his meltdown last Friday and unceremoniously ended the Dems attempts to hold hearings about the abuses of the Patriot Act while the president goes on more of his Bamboozlepalooza tours to argue for the PA's massive expansion shows how desperate the right is to shill for the Bushies when the PA harms rather than helps "freedom".

I also note this from David Sirota:

In a preview of the kind of gutsy moves he will take as a U.S. Senator, Vermont's Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders is preparing to offer an amendment today forcing the FBI to get a warrant before accessing citizens' reading habits at libraries and bookstore purchases. The USA Patriot Act allows the feds to do these kinds of searches with almost no judicial oversight - Sanders amendment would simply modify that specific provision to force more stringent checks on the federal government's power. Unfortunately, even though the President publicly says "there has got to be a certain sense of privacy," the White House is threatening to veto the bill if the amendment passes.

In 2003, Sanders and a bipartisan group of lawmakers tried to raise these same privacy concerns. The Justice Department opposed it, claimed "We're not going after the average American" and that "we respect the right to privacy" - and then refused to tell Congress how often it had used these new powers to secretly spy on people's reading habits. In fact, Judiciary Chairman Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) told the Associated Press "that the Justice Department was sharing so little information, he could not assess how the Patriot Act was working."

The numbers, however, have become clear. In a survey conducted by researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, about 550 libraries across the country reported receiving requests over the past year from federal and local investigators for records of patrons. Then-Attorney General John Ashcroft soon admitted that he had tripled the use of these secretive searches without warrants.

Media Disconnect on Downing Street Memo?

I caught part of "Democracy Now!" this morning and they're saying cities and state legislatures throughout the country are drafting non-binding resolutions calling for the president to answer questions related to the memo and to call for his impeachment based on the lies and dissembling he presented as an excuse to go to war.

Have you folks heard this?

This week, there has been a change in tone with the media. They're presenting the president - almost sympathetically - as beleagered by all the questions. But nothing about this going on in the country which is BIG.

But how truthful can we expect someone like NBC - owned by one of the biggest defense contractors in the freaking world - to be about lies that profited them?

Mother of Slain Soldier Vilifies Bush for Unjust War

From the Lexington, KY paper:

The president of Gold Star Families for Peace, a mother who lost a son in Iraq, criticized the United States' "illegal and unjust war" yesterday during an interfaith rally in Lexington.

Cindy Sheehan of Vacaville, Calif., accused President Bush of lying to the nation about a war which has consumed tens of billions of dollars and claimed more than 1,700 American lives -- including the life of Army Specialist Casey Austin Sheehan.

Sheehan was one of more than a dozen activists who were scheduled to speak at yesterday's anti-war rally at the Red Mile, which was organized by the Clergy and Laity Network and co-sponsored by dozens of liberal religious organizations.

Sheehan ridiculed Bush for saying that it's "hard work" comforting the widow of a soldier who's been killed in Iraq.

"Hard work is seeing your son's murder on CNN one Sunday evening while you're enjoying the last supper you'll ever truly enjoy again. Hard work is having three military officers come to your house a few hours later to confirm the aforementioned murder of your son, your first-born, your kind and gentle sweet baby. Hard work is burying your child 46 days before his 25th birthday. Hard work is holding your other three children as they lower the body of their big (brother) into the ground. Hard work is not jumping in the grave with him and having the earth cover you both," she said.

This answers a question I've had.

Working 17-18 hours a day just trying to meet expenses in the Bush years, I've often been terribly angered by the president's constant litany of "it's hard work" and "I've got a hard job". I've wondered how families of soldiers - and the soldiers themselves - respond to it.

Now I know.


As Senate Tries to Push Vote on Bolton Nomination to U.N., American Public Says NO

Nearly four out of five people voting on CNN tonight about John Bolton's nomination the to the U.N. say they don't want him in the post.

More on Downing Street Memo Rallies This Thursday

Story here. I notice plenty of red states are participating, too.

LA Times: The Right Isn't Too Happy About the Push for More Patriot Act Either

From the LA Times:

A closed-door vote by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week to expand law enforcement powers under the USA Patriot Act is prompting sharp criticism from some conservative leaders who are otherwise among the most vocal allies of President Bush and the Republican leadership in Congress.

The conservative leaders — who have formed a coalition with critics on the left, including the American Civil Liberties Union — vowed to press their concerns in coming days with public statements, rallies and radio advertisements in key congressional districts.

The conservatives, including former U.S. Rep. Bob Barr (R-Ga.) and political activists who have been long-standing critics of the anti-terrorism law, lashed out with particular force last week against the White House, members of Congress and Atty. Gen. Alberto R. Gonzales. They said they had expected a more open review of the Patriot Act in which lawmakers considered some limits in order to safeguard civil liberties.

The conservatives complained that the Senate panel had moved in secret to expand the act. They are particularly upset about proposed "administrative subpoenas" that would let the FBI obtain a person's medical, financial and other records in terrorism cases without seeking a judge's approval.

Their criticism gathered force as Bush devoted two public events last week to pressing Congress to renew parts of the act due to expire at the end of this year.

Update on the Sensenbrenner Meltdown

Brad Blog has an update to that little debacle where GOPer Sensenbrenner rudely hated Dem hearings into abuses of the Patriot Act. There are actions planned this week to demand answers to the questions raised by the Downing Street Memo and against what Senselessbrenner did last Friday.

Cheney on Dean (Not Nice) and Attaturk on Cheney - Much More Honest

Read here. It's funny and oh, so true.

But yet the Reps and Dems complain about Dean who certainly isn't as mean-spirted at the top GOPers.

Go, Bernie!

Vermont's own Bernie Sanders will be guest-blogging at TPMCafe next week, following up a week of Anthony Romero of the ACLU. Josh has really assembled quite a smart crew over there and lots of intelligent dialog.

Best/Worst of the Senate

Kos offers us up numbers from SurveyUSA on the most/least popular governors and senators across the country.

Notably, the best senator list contains all Democrats EXCEPT for two of the New England moderate Reps, Snowe and Collins. Also notable, the worst list is MOSTLY Republicans, but with a few Dems like Bill Nelson (FL).

Among the least liked - where's the surprise - Inhofe, Santimonious Santorum, Cornyn (kill them judges), Martinez (the Bush hand-picked replacement for Bob Graham in FL), and Sununu (didn't like his father either). Mitch McConnell and Bill Frist really should have made that list.

The Anti Lynching Legislation

In the middle of Washington patting itself on the back for finally - after more than four decades of effort - passing a law saying "lynching is a bad thing for black people and other living things, no one in the MSM blinks and notes WHY the vote was held so late, and why some 12-20 senators did NOT want a formal vote where their opposition was duly recorded.

That's right: 12 to 20 Senators in the year 2005 actually chose NOT to support legislation that called for no more lynchings. Lynchings.

The few members of the press who DID bother to note this made it sound like those poor senators had no choice because their constituents were not in favor of a law to stop the vigilante executions of (historically, mostly black) men.

Where's the Twilight Zone music because this surely feels like a Rod Serling experience.

PBS' Future

Vince at Spazzzdic Musings writes one of those letters from the heart that one has to hope will get the attention of those at the Corp for Public Broadcasting eager to either put PBS out of business or make it yet another pawn in the GOP game of ultimate control.

Yes, one can still hope.


Tomorrow is Also Barb's Birthday

Just as notable as Flag Day (but the American flag has never looked so good in a pair of silk stockings and stiletto heels), tomorrow is also the birthday of my friend Hally (aka Barb) who will be... uh... 26 - in other words, she's not only sexy but savvy as well.

She's a good friend, a reader if not a frequent poster of this humble blog, and she's also one of those people who remind us that it's never too late to chase a dream and to redesign one's life. She's done both admirably. She's also warm, funny, and sharp as a stiletto.

Happy 26th, H!

Tomorrow is Flag Day

And - as seems fitting in a Congress so out of touch with reality - there may be a bill introduced this week to make it illegal to burn or otherwise desecrate the American flag.

God, how many times have we been through this? It was a big deal with I was a wee one in the 60s and you saw so much burning - bras, draft cards, Newark and the occasional flag.

Mind you, I'm not big into tearing down symbols which usually has the opposite response to what the burner seeks (instead, I would rather work to reduce or eliminate the influence of the bad parts of what the symbol represents). So I was surprised to see a few newspapers discussing the possible new law in which several folks said the only thing that would ever get them to burn a U.S. flag was Congress passing some silly law to make it illegal.

Now, I agree, this is a silly law. For "MYOB" Republicans who supposedly aren't big on laws, they've certainly pushed many bullshit ones since 2001. They've happy to run around taking every right they can from average Americans.

I am a lot more concerned with the reasons of why people would be moved to destroy the flag than I am worried about a little flag burning. There are legitimate reasons why people would feel moved to do same and - right or wrong about flag burning - this is a far more important issue.

Tucker Carlson


I can't believe that MSNBC hired him. Then gave him all this press to make him seem like such a guru or honcho.

Leave aside for a moment the fact that Carlson's ratings will never approach that of Phil Donahue's short-lived program on the cable network, a show that was canned because it the ninnies at MSNBC did not want a dissenting voice against the war as the second Iraq war began in March 2003.

Tucker Carlson is at best a bit player. He's not particularly sage, or smart, or witty, or anything. The likes of Jon Stewart wiped up the floor with him back on CNN and that was hardly a rare event. It was unbelievable when PBS hired Carlson but was, I suppose, as smart as hiring Tavis Smiley, who also rarely contributes anything worthwhile to the dialog.

But to have MSNBC grab him - and Faux rejects like Rita Cosby and Monica Crowley - just seemed like another hugely bad situation. Olbermann, sadly, is the only reason to watch the channel, and many don't even like him. An unknown would have been better. But now they have the soporific Chris Matthews, Joe Scarborough AND Tucker providing three of their four hours of primary primetime viewing. Could it be any more weighted toward the right, and not even the more intelligent, rational aspects of the right at that?

Another Document the Bushies and the Rabidly Right Will Deny

Lost in all the discussion of the Jackson trial, pretty blonde 'Bama girls lost in Aruba, and the press expressing sympathy that "even Republican lawmakers" are "conspiring" to make the president unhappy came news of another document that appears to support the Downing Street Memo.

Let me offer you Shakespeare's Sister's summary of the information:

The Times' coverage of it can be read here: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2087-1650822,00.html
The Heretik has a round-up of those already writing about the issue here: http://theheretik.typepad.com/the_heretik/2005/06/downing_street__3.html
I heard nothing from White House reports to indicate the press is actually raising this to the president so he can smirk and act dismissive.


Educators in Kansas Try to Find Away Anti-Evolution Agenda

Josh at Thoughts from Kansas brings us this:

Beating the anti-science stigma | LJWorld.com:
    A number of university faculty and administrators across the state have openly voiced their opposition to the new, anti-evolution standards about to be adopted. They can now do something concrete to protect good science in Kansas high schools. Our universities and their faculty can establish a voluntary association for Kansas high schools who wish to continue to teach evolution as good science. University faculty could serve on accrediting panels and study high school curricula and visit high school classes to ensure that good science is being taught.
Low cost, high impact, and very symbolic. There's something iffy about cutting the elected Board of Ed out of the loop, but I don't see any downside to helping students get a good education.

Heinous Treatment of a Young Gay Male in the Guise of Christian Love

I'll let Majikthise tell it because I'm stunned after reading the rules and what this kid will have to endure (what the hell is wrong with his parents that they would send this kid to Refuge rather than deal with his sexual preference?):

Zach is a very courageous 16-year-old guy from Tennessee who recently come out to his parents. He's also a damn good writer who has been blogging about their hateful anti-Christian reaction.

Zach's parents have decided to ship him off to a self-professed "Safe Place" known as Refuge--a Christianist residential program that promises to turn kids straight.

Refuge emailed The Rules to Zach's parents. He found them and posted them to his blog. They must be read to be believed.

I learned about Zach's blog and the Refuge through General J.C. Christian. The General is engaged in a lively correspondence with Reverend Smid, the program's commandant.