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That said, if you must use Firefox (and I don't blame you, it's become my browser of choice, too)
...get the "IE Tab" extension. This allows you to view problem pages with the IE rendering engine. Very cool!

Saturday, October 15, 2005

reality vs REALITY

How is it we are where we are today? The right wing is exploding. I was inspired by Michael Berube's post of Oct 14 about how many ways Richard Cohen can be wrong before he runs out. And I got to thinking about the neocons and their agenda.

After 30 years of planning and conniving they are in near absolute power in America, but it all seems to be turning to shit for them. How is that possble? They have control of the 3 branches of government and they appear to have the "majority" of the public on their side. Perhaps because they are wrong? The last couple of times they pulled this stuff, the so called 'Gilded Age' and the 'Roaring Twenties' the rich and powerful in America schemed to become more rich and powerful. And each time the Democrats came to America's rescue after the economy slid into the shitter. The Democrats didn't have to scheme to get into power, it was handed to them by the American public when they had had enough bullshit.

Remember how the 'senior adviser to Bush' said ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.''

Well, that may well be the problem this time. They have created their own reality and it doesn't match up to REALITY. And while they were gloating over how the left would have to deal with and react to their 'reality', they have not been dealing with the world's REALITY. And when people do that, REALITY tends to come back and bite them in the ass. They have spun a world of Republican dreams that is false to REALITY and REALITY just doesn't give a shit! To quote Phillip K. Dick "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away."

The REALITY of the world is that only 2% of the wealthiest in America benefit from the massive tax cuts made by Bush and his neocon handlers. The REALITY is that 'trickle down' economics doesn't work. Even Reagan's economic adviser who came up with the scheme disavowed it eventually. As John Alan Paulos explained in his book (A Mathematician Reads the Newspaper), The Laffer Curve is not realistic. Its beginning and ending points are real enough, but the majority of that curve is not the smooth line shown but is really a tangled knot of chaos and complexity. That's REALITY, baby! Millions of Americans in the lower and middle classes have been hurting in this administration's economy. This "C.E.O" President is running the country into the ground the way the C.E.O.s of Enron and WorldCom ran their companies into the ground.

The REALITY of the world is that 67% of eligible voters did NOT vote for Bush. Let's look at the numbers. It is reported that 64% of eligible voters turned out on election day. Of that amount roughly 51% voted for Bush and 49% for Kerry or others. So we have 51% of 64% voting for Bush which equals 33% of eligible voters. If you listen to the GOP spinsters they were given an overwhelming mandate in the 2004 election. And that isn't even including the inescapable conclusion of fraud tainting even that total. Doesn't sound like a mandate to me. REALITY bites again!

The REALITY of the world is that the lower and middle classes in America are fighting this "C.E.O."s war of oppurtunity in Iraq and losing their sons and daughters, not the upper class. Such college Republican groups as College Republicans and Young Americans for Freedom are full of middle and upper class students who are all for this war and all for calling lefties who oppose the war 'cowards' and 'traitors'. But they aren't signing up for duty either. The shortfall in enlistments is growing. They talk a mean game but won't put their asses on the line. So here's another break with REALITY.

The REALITY of the world is that it cost me $15 to fill my gas tank in 2000 and today it costs nearly $45. And don't tell me that adjusted for inflation I am paying less today then in 1975. The REALITY of my wallet tells me otherwise. I am not earning 3 times as much today as I was in 2000. Hell, where I work we had a promise of about 7 years of work for the TVA upgrading their coal fired powerplants to less polluting technology. But with Bush's 'Clean Air Act' all that work evaporated. Now that's REALITY!

The reality of loading up government departments with cronies of no particular competence can work for a while, as FEMA did in 2004 when it came to the rescue of Bush in Florida's hurricane season. Handing out millions to people who had little or no need for help in order to shore up Bush's voting base. But it failed in 2005 when REALITY in the form of hurricane Katrina blew into town and people needed real help.

The 'reality' that the neocons have been spinning has slowly but surely diverged from REALITY as chaos theory would predict. (I would bet this anti-science administration has no clue on chaos theory.) Eventually that divergence will be so stark that the American public will wake from the G.O.P. dream and see REALITY again and react to it. The Democrats won't have to have schemed and planned to take over control, that control will be handed to them by the public. It can't come soon enough.
--pseudolus

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The Bubble Project

Fun with speech bubbles.
Go here and kill a few minutes at work...

The Bubble Project

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BBC NEWS | Health | Masturbation 'cuts cancer risk'

"Pro-active Anti-carcinogenic Autotherapy" Yes, that's it! That's what you were doing all that time. Now go tell your mother she worried for nothing.

read all about it...
CLICK HERE

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I Am An Atheist

Brilliant! Check out this site. It is very small and will only take a few minutes to follow the links there.
I Am An Atheist

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Friday, October 14, 2005

Appropriate Penances for Reformed Bush Voters

Why Patrick Fitzgerald Gets It - Larry Johnson

A little explanation on why the "Plame Affair" is IMPORTANT, and why all the right wing apologists are seriously wrong when they try to minimize it for this corrupt White House. Think back just a few years ago when "Rule of Law" was being shouted from the treetops by these same folks. Remember how Clinton was savaged by these people and their media lapdogs. How he became the most thoroughly investigated man in American history over piddly little shit like rumors of $500 haircuts on runways and the re-staffing of the WH travel office. Remember all that? Now hang your head and cry over the malfeasance exhibited by the current occupants of power as they try to squirm out of the 'Accountability' Preznit Pretzel swore to bring back to America. --pseudolus
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Go! Just read it here:
Booman Tribune ~ Boo!

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Yep, another Goddamned blog: President Magoo.


"He drifts through life with a perpetual squint, driving his little white pickup truck off buildings, onto �I� beams then back to the street. He drives blithely and blindly with reckless abandon against the traffic and people swerve and smear themselves against trees, guardrails and other cars to avoid hitting him.

"And even though the corpses and mangled wreckage accumulate like a baby apocalypse in his wake, our near-sighted little hero cheerfully and confidently makes his bumpy way through the unsuspecting world, chaos radiating from him like an analogue to Santa�s goodwill."
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"President Magoo" - ha ha good one! --pseudolus

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Yep, another Goddamned blog: President Magoo.

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d r i f t g l a s s: Get your scorecards.

drifty lays it out for you. Identifying the various flavors of rightwing nutjobs who populate our American landscape. Check it out, and have a good laugh before you start crying. --pseudolus
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read it all here:
d r i f t g l a s s: Get your scorecards.

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Nitpicker: This stinks

A former soldier's take on the White House adopting the military as its own propaganda mill.
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Nitpicker: This stinks

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Giving Democracy The Bird

Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 by the UExpress.com
Giving Democracy The Bird
Bush Asks Congress for Martial Law
by Ted Rall


New York -- Soldiers brandishing automatic weapons, a defining characteristic of life in Third World dictatorships, have become commonplace at airports, bus and train stations, government offices and highway checkpoints since 9/11. Now troops are becoming our first responders to situations, such as natural disasters and flu outbreaks, which normally fall under civilian jurisdiction.

Everything's gone topsy-turvy: The National Guard, charged with keeping order here at home and legally under the control of state governors, has been shipped off to Iraq and Afghanistan, shanghaied by the federal government. Here in the U.S., whatever comes up, the Bush Administration's first reaction is to send in the regular army troops who are supposed to be in Iraq. Whether it's a sinister plot against American democracy or the most sustained large-scale foolishness in history, the Bush Administration is tearing down the traditional wall between overseas military action and domestic law enforcement.
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Giving Democracy The Bird

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Thursday, October 13, 2005

Top Advisory Panel Warns of an Erosion of the U.S. Competitive Edge in Science - New York Times

By WILLIAM J. BROAD
Published: October 13, 2005

A panel of experts convened by the National Academies, the nation's leading science advisory group, called yesterday for an urgent and wide-ranging effort to strengthen scientific competitiveness.

The 20-member panel, reporting at the request of a bipartisan group in Congress, said that without such an effort the United States "could soon loose its privileged position." It cited many examples of emerging scientific and industrial power abroad and listed 20 steps the United States should take to maintain its global lead.

"Decisive action is needed now," the report warned, adding that the nation's old advantages "are eroding at a time when many other nations are gathering strength."
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Top Advisory Panel Warns of an Erosion of the U.S. Competitive Edge in Science - New York Times

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Don't Be Duped by Bottled Water

Published on Wednesday, October 12, 2005 by MinuteManMedia.org
Don't Be Duped by Bottled Water
by Patricia Lynn


In recent trips to my local grocery store, I have become increasingly aware of the volume of bottled water that people in my neighborhood buy. Almost an entire aisle is dedicated to it, and people are buying by the case. The phenomenon is a little odd. Boston�s tap water seems fine to me.

Recently, the head of the Massachusetts Water Resource Authority took the Pepsi challenge. He and a panel of tasters, including a local wine expert and a local beer brewer, did a taste test with Boston water, Pepsi�s Aquafina, and a few other bottled water brands. Not only did the entire panel agree that the five water samples tasted roughly the same, lab tests showed that there were no significant differences between the quality of Pepsi�s bottled water and tap water.

Greater Boston spends 1,364 times the cost of perfectly good public water for Aquafina, despite indistinguishable differences, and Bostonians are not alone. Similar patterns repeat themselves across the United States.

Other scientific studies show that bottled water is no safer than public water, and often less safe, sometimes with high concentrations of toxins like arsenic and mercury. Food and Drug Administration rules for bottled water quality are quite poor compared to Environmental Protection Agency rules for tap water. But if bottled water is not necessarily cleaner or safer than public water, why have bottled water sales doubled in the United States over the past decade? And why do one of six people in the United States only drink bottled water?

The industry, led by Pepsi, Nestl�, and Coke is trying to dupe us. Misleading advertising is fueling the explosive growth of this industry. According to the most recent statistics available, in 2002 bottled water corporations spent $93.8 million to portray their products as �pure,� �safe,� �clean,� �healthy� and superior to tap water.
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Don't Be Duped by Bottled Water

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Wednesday, October 12, 2005

a-yuh!

NOTEBOOK - On Message - Harper's Magazine

excerpt:

On Message
By Lewis H. Lapham
Harper's Magazine, October 2005, pps. 7-9

In 1938 the word "fascism" hadn't yet been transferred into an abridged metaphor for all the world's unspeakable evil and monstrous crime, and on coming across President Roosevelt's prescient remark in one of Umberto Eco's essays, I could read it as prose instead of poetry -- a reference not to the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse or the pit of Hell but to the political theories that regard individual citizens as the property of the government, happy villagers glad to wave the flags and wage the wars, grateful for the good fortune that placed them in the care of a sublime leader. Or, more emphatically, as Benito Mussolini liked to say, "Everything in the state. Nothing outside the state. Nothing against the state."
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NOTEBOOK

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Ten Questions for Harriet Miers - concerning coporate 'personhood'

These are important questions, not only for Miers, but for all of us. Thom Hartmann has a fascinating book on the subject:
_Unequal Protection: The Rise of Coporate Dominance and the Theft of Human Rights_
I highly recommend this book to anyone curious about how corporations are growing in political influence in America.--pseudolus
----------------

Morton Mintz

Senate Judiciary Committee members have the opportunity to ask Harriet Miers, President Bush's nominee to succeed Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, certain bedrock but nervous-making questions that they did not ask--or were perhaps too timid to ask--of Judge John G. Roberts Jr. at the hearings on his nomination to be Chief Justice of the United States.

The questions spring from a conveniently forgotten 1978 Supreme Court ruling and from the declaration in the Fourteenth Amendment that no state shall deprive "any person of life, liberty or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Here are ten sample questions for the committee to pose to Harriet Miers:

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Ten Questions for Harriet Miers

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Tom Tomorrow

Pension Programs Must Be Funded

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 by the Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin)
Pension Programs Must Be Funded
by Ed Garvey


OK, Social Security is off the table because the White House grabbed a tiger by the tail and seemed surprised when the tiger was annoyed. The lesson is obvious. Social Security is too important to seniors, their children and even their grandchildren to be destroyed. But what about pensions negotiated by unions, guaranteed by management and relied upon by millions of our citizens?

I recall a wonderful Republican senator, Jacob Javits of New York. He was one of those "Rockefeller Republicans." As Gaylord Nelson is father of Earth Day, Javits was the father of pension reform. I heard him speak in 1971. He said, "When an employee works his entire life and finally goes to the window to collect his pension, it is our obligation to make certain the check is there."

His bill created the Employee Retirement Income Security Act or ERISA. Millions of retired workers have been helped by Javits' vision. Not only were employers required to disclose information to the beneficiaries, they were barred from using pension funds to help their own company. A "reasonable man" standard was created, as in "What would a reasonable man do with pension funds?"

And ERISA created a federal agency, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. The name says it all. The federal government would guarantee pensions for that worker who walked up to the window. Yes siree! The message to unions, public and private, was simple. If you give up higher wages in return for a pension, the money will be there when you need it. Trust us.

Problem: Giant employers like Northwest Airlines, General Motors or, in Wisconsin, Golden Books, didn't take ERISA seriously. They deliberately underfunded their pension programs and spent the money. The media are reporting that General Motors' spinoff Delphi is filing for bankruptcy, leaving unfunded liability, according to the New York Times, of $11 billion. Can the government pay $11 billion for thousands of workers in Michigan? Hell no. Our money has gone to Iraq. Our tax breaks have been given to the very same corporate decision-makers who deliberately underfunded their pension funds while paying themselves huge compensation packages. Their pension is truly guaranteed. Is there something wrong with this picture? This is not what Jake Javits thought we were promising. This is a perversion.
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Pension Programs Must Be Funded

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Breaking the Bank: The Rightwing Road to America's Privatized Future

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 by CommonDreams.org
Breaking the Bank: The Rightwing Road to America's Privatized Future
by Bill Willers


In September, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, in a comment perhaps not intended for publication, told Thierry Breton, French Finance Minister, that the US budget is out of control with the country being plunged ever more deeply into debt. The Economist reported Breton's disappointment "... that the management of debt is not a political priority today."

Breton was wrong. Accumulation of massive debt is the number one priority of the Bush Administration - a deliberate, managed move toward its goal of an �ownership society� in which all aspects are privatized.

Since the introduction of the massive Republican tax cuts, many observers understood immediately that they were to plunge government into debt, thereby undercutting its ability to fund social programs such as Medicare and Social Security, and to administer public domain that has long belonged to all citizens in common.

In May of 2003, Princeton economist Paul Krugman wrote that "gimmicks used to make an $800-billion-plus tax cut carry a price tag of only $320 billion are a joke ... The people now running America aren't conservatives: they're radicals who want to do away with the social and economic system we have, and the fiscal crisis they are concocting may give them the excuse they need."
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Breaking the Bank: The Rightwing Road to America's Privatized Future

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GOP Stands Up For U.S. Right to Torture

Published on Tuesday, October 11, 2005 by WorkingForChange
GOP Stands Up For U.S. Right to Torture
by Molly Ivins


On one of those television gong shows that passes for journalism, the panelists used to have to pick an Outrage of the Week. Then, each performer would wax indignant about his or choice for 60 seconds or so. If someone asked me to name the Outrage of the Week about now, I'd have a coronary. How could anyone possibly choose?

I suppose the frontrunner is the anti-torture amendment. Sen. John McCain proposed an amendment to the military appropriations bill that would prohibit "cruel, inhuman or degrading" treatment of prisoners in the custody of the U.S. military.

This may strike you as a "goes without saying" proposition -- the amendment passed the Senate 90 to nine. The United States has been signing anti-torture treaties under Democrats and Republicans for at least 50 years. But the Bush administration actually managed to find some weasel words to create a loophole in this longstanding commitment to civilized behavior.

According to the Bushies, if the United States is holding a prisoner on foreign soil, our soldiers can still subject him or her to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment -- the very forms of torture used by the soldiers who were later prosecuted for their conduct at Abu Ghraib. Does this make any sense, moral or common?
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GOP Stands Up For U.S. Right to Torture

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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

War in Iraq is Really All About Soil and Oil

Published on Monday, October 10, 2005 by the Madison Capital Times (Wisconsin)
by Robert Kimbrough

The Iraqi mission was accomplished in two months. Bush's "noble cause" was to secure oil fields and 14 strategic sites for permanent bases.

This American success was celebrated in Baghdad by the pre-planned "spontaneous" toppling of Saddam Hussein's statue and the seizing of Saddam's palace complex. The only other building occupied "to prevent looting" was the Ministry of Oil.

The ludicrous photo-op aboard the aircraft carrier USS Lincoln appalled those of us who had joined millions in the worldwide call "No Attack on Iraq," but we were so shocked by the banner "Mission Accomplished" and so amused by the awkwardly costumed president-as-pilot - Falstaff would have been jealous of Bush's codpiece - that we did not see the truth of the statement hung out before our eyes.

For once the Bush administration did not lie.

The mission was never about saving America from destruction by Saddam's weapons of mass destruction, was never about bringing democracy to the Middle East, was never about winning "the war against terrorists" - it was about oil and empire.

The coupling of our desire for empire and the need for oil beyond domestic sources became apparent only after the extraordinary military and industrial buildup during World War II.

As the war was winding down, President Roosevelt pledged the Saudi family of Arabia our protection in return for a free flow of oil from the Middle East to America.

After the war, Truman decided that the United States should keep substantial forces in Germany and in Japan. (We now have forces in 179 countries.)

The details of the "Plan for America's Future" (empire and oil) began to take shape in the 1970s with the birth of the neocons, who, in 1980, found a political home in the Reagan administration: Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, et al.
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War in Iraq is Really All About Soil and Oil

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Carter's Brave Vision on Energy

Published on Monday, October 10, 2005 by the Minneapolis Star Tribune
Carter's Brave Vision on Energy
by David Morris


George W. Bush asking Americans to save oil by driving less reminds me of Jimmy Carter wearing a cardigan sweater and asking Americans to save oil by turning down our thermostats and, yes, by driving less.

But former President Carter was asking for individual sacrifice as a small part of an aggressive, national campaign. President Bush is asking for individual sacrifice instead of a national initiative.

Carter gave his first energy speech in February 1977. In July 1979, four months before Americans were taken hostage in Iran, he delivered his fifth energy address. To this day, that speech and its aftermath illuminate the profound differences between the way Democrats and Republicans address the oil crisis.

"Ten days ago I had planned to speak to you again about a very important subject -- energy," Carter began. "But as I was preparing to speak, I began to ask myself the same question that I now know has been troubling many of you. Why have we not been able to get together as a nation to resolve our serious energy problem?"

He told us he had set his speech aside and talked to hundreds of individuals. His conclusion? Americans had lost confidence in our capacity to act decisively and collectively to address and solve our problems. Republicans quickly dubbed the address the "malaise speech."
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Carter's Brave Vision on Energy

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Monday, October 10, 2005

Pat Tillman, Our Hero

[apologies to all, link now fixed]

by DAVE ZIRIN

[from the October 24, 2005 issue]

"I don't believe it," seethed Ann Coulter.

Her contempt was directed at a September 25 San Francisco Chronicle story reporting that former NFL star and Army Ranger war hero Pat Tillman, who was killed in Afghanistan last year, believed the US war on Iraq was "f***ing illegal" and counted Noam Chomsky among his favorite authors. It must have been quite a moment for Coulter, who upon Tillman's death described him in her inimitably creepy fashion as "an American original--virtuous, pure and masculine like only an American male can be." She tried to discredit the story as San Francisco agitprop, but this approach ran into a slight problem: The article's source was Pat Tillman's mother, Mary.
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Pat Tillman, Our Hero

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FAMILY DEMANDS THE TRUTH

...New inquiry may expose events that led to Pat Tillman�s death

The battle between a grieving family and the U.S. military justice system is on display in thousands of pages of documents strewn across Mary Tillman�s dining room table in suburban San Jose.

As she pores through testimony from three previous Army investigations into the killing of her son, former football star Pat Tillman, by his fellow Army Rangers last year in Afghanistan, she hopes that a new inquiry launched in August by the Pentagon�s inspector general finally will answer the family�s questions:

Were witnesses allowed to change their testimony on key details, as alleged by one investigator? Why did internal documents on the case, such as the initial casualty report, include false information? When did top Pentagon officials know that Tillman�s death was caused by friendly fire, and why did they delay for five weeks before informing his family?

�There have been so many discrepancies so far that it�s hard to know what to believe,� Mary Tillman said. �There are too many murky details.� The files the family received from the Army in March are heavily censored, with nearly every page containing blacked-out sections; most names have been deleted. (Names for this story were provided by sources close to the investigation.) At least one volume was withheld altogether from the family, and even an Army press release given to the media has deletions. On her copies, Mary Tillman has added competing marks and scrawls � countless color-coded tabs and angry notes such as �Contradiction!� �Wrong!� and �????�

A Chronicle review of more than 2,000 pages of testimony, as well as interviews with Pat Tillman�s family members and soldiers who served with him, found contradictions, inaccuracies and what appears to be the military�s attempt at self-protection.
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FAMILY DEMANDS THE TRUTH / New inquiry may expose events that led to Pat Tillman�s death

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Salon.com News | Saving Ohio

Did a reporter with GOP ties suppress a story that could have cost Bush the White House?

By Bill Frogameni

Oct. 6, 2005 | TOLEDO, Ohio -- In April 2005, the Blade newspaper of Toledo, Ohio, began publishing a remarkable series of articles about a well-connected Republican donor, Tom Noe, chair of the Bush-Cheney 2004 campaign for Lucas County, which encompasses Toledo. The Blade, which had won a Pulitzer Prize for reporting in 2004, discovered that Noe, a Toledo coin dealer, was investing $50 million for the state through the novel practice of coin speculation: buying and selling rare coins to turn a profit. Noe, the Blade revealed, could not account for $10 million to $13 million in the fund.

The paper also divulged that Noe had been placed under federal investigation for allegedly laundering money -- perhaps state money -- to the Bush campaign. The Blade's initial reports on Noe started a chain reaction of related scandals for Ohio's dominant Republicans. Recently, Gov. Bob Taft pleaded no contest to accepting several gifts from influence peddlers -- including Noe -- without reporting them, as law requires. Noe is currently the subject of 13 investigations.
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Salon article, click below to view a brief ad then read the whole thing.
Salon.com News | Saving Ohio

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Early Warning by William M. Arkin - washingtonpost.com

William M. Arkin on National and Homeland Security
Microwaves, Lasers, Retired Generals For Sale

Friend's tell me that this week's Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exposition at the Washington Convention Center was all that an orgy of self-congratulation can be. Contractors galore, beltway bandits, luncheons, awards, howitzers, all topped off with a speech by Dick Cheney.

The buzz on the floor was "directed energy" laser, high-powered microwaves, and acoustic weapons that are getting a boost from the prolonged fighting in Iraq. Supporters are hoping that these new exotic technologies will help in the battle against improvised explosive devices and in countering snipers and hidden insurgents.
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Early Warning by William M. Arkin - washingtonpost.com

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Bush Plan Shows U.S. Is Not Ready for Deadly Flu

Is This the Death of America?

Wasn�t Jesus A Liberal? - Part One

Wasn't Jesus a Liberal? Part Two

Tell Us Who Fabricated the Iraq Evidence

Bush Call to Expand Military Powers at Home Seen as Unnecessary, Political

Sunday, October 09, 2005

TPMCafe || Joss Whedon- Union Hero

Making a case for Union labor. You have to check this out.
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By Nathan Newman
Oct 08, 2005 -- 10:19:45 AM EST

Okay, I admit it. I was a Buffy fan from season one and watched Firefly religiously, so it just warms my heart that Joss Whedon in creating the movie Serenity has made an explicit case for why union labor beats out non-union labor in many cases, as detailed in this Los Angeles Times article.

The key to the story is that Whedon has made a big budget sci-fi film for the comparatively low price of $50 million -- a requirement for him to revive his baby. How'd he do it? Not by running overseas to some low-wage location but by sticking at home in high-wage unionized Hollywood:
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TPMCafe || Joss Whedon- Union Hero

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