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'my profile' and other stuff... Anybody with a fix, please leave a comment. Many thanks in advance.

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, March 25, 2006

The New York Review of Books: Baghdad: The Besieged Press

So, the media aren't reporting the 'good news' out if Iraq and are therefor undermining the "Bush Great War on Terror", despite the death of some 80 journalists. "What sluggards!" "What traitors!" "The war is winning! "Tair-ists is on the run!" "Death to Liberal Mediums!"  --pseudolus
"Ladies and Gents," the South African pilot matter-of-factly announces over the intercom, "we'll be starting our spiral descent into Baghdad, where the temperature is 19 degrees Celsius." The vast and mesmerizing expanse of sandpapery desert that has been stretching out beneath the plane has ended at the Tigris River. To avoid a dangerous glide path over hostile territory and missiles and automatic weapons fire, the plane banks steeply and then, as if caught in a powerful whirlpool, it plunges, circling downward in a corkscrew pattern.
Upon arriving in Amman, the main civilian gateway to Baghdad, one already has had the feeling of drawing ever nearer to an atomic reactor in meltdown. Even in Jordan, there is a palpable sense of being in the last concentric circle away from a radioactive ground zero emitting uncontrollable waves of contamination.

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Death By Starvation -

Just suppose a car company wanted to shut a division. Pretend for a moment that it is General Motors and the chief executive has decided to close down Buick. Would he hold a press conference and say this:
"I want to announce that we are closing Buick. I admit that my management and my predecessor did a terrible job. The dealers are swell, but we couldn't come up with cars that people really wanted. So we're throwing in the sponge and are shutting down Buick over the next 12 months. Any questions?"
You'll never hear that statement. Every dealer seems to have a son-in-law who is a lawyer, and they sue when their franchise becomes worthless. When General Motors (nyse: GM - news - people ) announced at the end of 2000 that it was killing Oldsmobile, it was most generous in its settlements with the dealers.

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Hoffmania!: Katrina: Do You F'n Believe This?

Originally published Mar 24, 2006
Yes. Yes, you do believe it. What's not to believe any more?
FEMA's sticking with the money-wasting crooks who are bilking the Katrina relief "effort". I'm out of outrage. Do it for me.
Typical, get caught on page 1 throwing federal money at your friends, make a bold statement of contrition and announce that reforms will be made in the future. Then a few months later renege on your promises on page 42.
Posted by: pseudolus | Mar 25, 2006 1:14:54 PM

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Friday, March 24, 2006

M3 - There Is Always A Funny Side To A Sad Story

click picture above to enlarge Posted by Picasa
While the world is still waiting for an explanation why the Fed has decided to discontinue the publication of the broadest monetary aggregate a reader mailed this poster of a new, scary horror movie in the making.
Of note is also this email from a member of the banking community who points out that M2 will show exploding money supply growth with a time-lag only. Get ready for $52 Grande Mochas at your Starbucks by the time you retire.
I was on vacation, and did not get the notice until last night. I was shocked by the discontinuance of these numbers.
"Looking back into history economic data was only kept a secret in failing economies, e.g. the Soviet Union."

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Amptoons: Why do CEOs get paid so much?

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Patriots blog -- Reiss's Pieces -

click picture above to enlarge Posted by Picasa
All the latest poop on The New England Patriots can be found here:
Goodbye, Adam! Best of luck in your new home, (but not for the rest of the team.) ;-)
Hello, Troy! Glad to have you back for another season.

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Re-surfacing CDs so they work again.

Have you ever had a CD go "Tits up" on you as the British would say? Maybe it got dropped and slid across the floor (damn! I knew I should have swept the floor yesterday.) Maybe it got crunched in the tray when your drink palsied fingers failed to put it in squarely before closing the player/recorder. Maybe it just laid out on the desk too long as volcanic ash settled on it. Whatever happened, don't give up and tioss it just yet! You may be able to remove the scratches well enough to at least get a copy of it made. Follow the tips in the article linked below. It's worth a shot!   Thanks to fosfor gadgets for the link.  --pseudolus

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Pitt Researchers Find Switch For Brains Pleasure Pathway

Pittsburgh PA (SPX) Mar 24, 2006
Findings could help identify cause of schizophrenia, Parkinson's, drug addiction Amid reports that a drug used to treat Parkinson's disease has caused some patients to become addicted to gambling and sex, University of Pittsburgh researchers have published a study that sheds light on what may have gone wrong.

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Jane Smiley: Notes for Converts | The Huffington Post

Bruce Bartlett, The Cato Institute, Andrew Sullivan, George Packer, William F. Buckley, Sandra Day O'Connor, Republican voters in Indiana and all the rest of you newly-minted dissenters from Bush's faith-based reality seem, right now, to be glorying in your outrage, which is always a pleasure and feels, at the time, as if it is having an effect, but those of us who have been anti-Bush from day 1 (defined as the day after the stolen 2000 election) have a few pointers for you that should make your transition more realistic.

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Bush's Uncle Earned Millions in War Firm Sale

An SEC filing shows William H.T. Bush collected about $1.9 million in cash, plus stock valued at $800,000, from the deal.
By Walter F. Roche Jr., Times Staff Writer
March 23, 2006
WASHINGTON ? As President Bush embarks on a new effort to shore up public support for the war in Iraq, an uncle of the commander in chief is collecting $2.7 million in cash and stock from the recent sale of a company that profited from the war.

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Linda Bilmes Kennedy School, Harvard University
And Joseph E. Stiglitz University Professor, Columbia University
Three years ago, as America was preparing to go to war in Iraq, there were few discussions of the likely costs.  When Larry Lindsey, President Bush?s economic adviser, suggested that they might reach $200 billion, there was a quick response from the White House:  that number was a gross overestimation.[2]   Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz claimed that Iraq could ?really finance its own reconstruction,? apparently both underestimating what was required and the debt burden facing the country.  Lindsey went on to say that ?The successful prosecution of the war would be good for the economy.?[3]

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Facing South: Halliburton of the abstinence set

It's not just Halliburton that's raking in big contracts these days. The Washington Post has a revealing story today about far-right, religious organizations that are landing mega-deals under the Bush administration, like Heritage Community Services in Charleston, South Carolina:
A decade ago, Heritage was a tiny organization with deeply conservative social philosophy but not much muscle to promote it. An offshoot of an antiabortion pregnancy crisis center, Heritage promoted abstinence education at the county fair, local schools and the local Navy base. The budget was $51,288.
By 2004, Heritage Community Services had become a major player in the booming business of abstinence education. Its budget passed $3 million -- much of it in federal grants distributed by Bush's Department of Health and Human Services -- supporting programs for students in middle school and high school in South Carolina, Georgia and Kentucky.

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Allowing the Drug Companies to Poison Our Children

Published on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 by 
by Lewis Seiler & Dan Hamburg  
Top Republican so-called leaders?Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) and House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL)?recently sold the future of our children to Big Pharma for a paltry $4 bucks a pop. That?s the additional cost to produce a safe vaccine, a vaccine minus the mercury-based preservative thimerosal. Mercury is a deadly neurotoxin that has long been known to cause serious learning disabilities, autism, and death.

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Back to the Big Lie

Published on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 by The Nation 
by John Nichols  
Tossed a softball question during Tuesday morning's press conference about whether he should be censured for ordering warrantless wiretapping of phone conversations "during a time of war," President Bush fell back on the lie that Americans must surrender liberties -- and the rule of law, itself -- in order to be made safe from terrorism.
The question, a virtually verbatim repeat of talking points circulated by the Republican National Committee, was about as generous a set-up as a president has ever gotten in a press conference.

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Exxon Exxposed

Published on Wednesday, March 22, 2006 by the Huffington Post 
by Charlie Cray  
The WSJ reports that ExxonMobil is the key funder of a front group called Public Interest Watch which has been pushing the IRS to audit Greenpeace. Greenpeace says an IRS auditor told it that the PIW letter triggered the audit.
"PIW's most recent federal tax filing, covering August 2003 to July 2004, states that $120,000 of the $124,094 the group received in contributions during that period came from Exxon Mobil."
ExxonMobil has not only been one of the biggest funders of climate change denialists and other cigarette scientists , but also been one of the biggest funders of the American Enterprise Institute -- you know, the neocon think tank that pushed the war that has nothing to do with oil. I guess I'm not surprised that the Journal says Michael J. Hardiman, a Washington-based lobbyist and public-relations consultant who worked at PIW "left in February 2004 to work in Iraq as a civilian employee of the Defense Department." Shocked. And awed.

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IRS Proposal Would Allow Tax Preparers to Sell Financial Information

Published on Thursday, March 23, 2006 by the Oregon Mail Tribune 
WASHINGTON ? Consumer groups and privacy advocates are attacking proposed Internal Revenue Service rules that would spell out how tax-return preparers may legally sell financial information and other data from their clients? returns.
It has long been a principle of tax administration that no unauthorized person can get such information, and that this assurance encourages taxpayers to file honest and complete returns. That notion is still a "fundamental underpinning" of IRS practice, Commissioner Mark Everson said Wednesday in an interview.

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The Joy of Being Blameless

Published on Thursday, March 23, 2006 by the New York Times 
The contrast could not have been more stark, nor the message more clear. On the day that a court-martial imposed justice on a 24-year-old Army sergeant for tormenting detainees at Abu Ghraib with his dog, President Bush said once again that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, whose benighted policies and managerial incompetence led to the prisoner abuse scandal, was doing a "fine job" and should stay at his post.
We've seen this sorry pattern for nearly two years now, since the Abu Ghraib horrors first shocked the world: President Bush has clung to the fiction that the abuse of prisoners was just the work of a few rotten apples, despite report after report after report demonstrating that it was organized and systematic, and flowed from policies written by top officials in his administration.

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Israel Lobby Dictates U.S. Policy, Study Charges

Published on Thursday, March 23, 2006 by Inter Press Service 
by Emad Mekay
WASHINGTON - "This situation has no equal in American political history," says the 83-page study, "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy".
"Why has the United States been willing to set aside its own security and that of many of its allies in order to advance the interests of another state?" ask authors John Mearsheimer of the University of Chicago and Stephen Walt of the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
The answer, according to the paper, which is already stirring debate in academic circles and fury among pro-Israel groups, is the influence of the pro-Israel lobby.

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Carbon cloud over a green fuel

By Mark Clayton, Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
Thu Mar 23, 3:00 AM ET
Late last year in Goldfield, Iowa, a refinery began pumping out a stream of ethanol, which supporters call the clean, renewable fuel of the future.
There's just one twist: The plant is burning 300 tons of coal a day to turn corn into ethanol - the first US plant of its kind to use coal instead of cleaner natural gas.
An hour south of Goldfield, another coal-fired ethanol plant is under construction in Nevada, Iowa. At least three other such refineries are being built in Montana, North Dakota, and Minnesota.
The trend, which is expected to continue, has left even some ethanol boosters scratching their heads. Should coal become a standard for 30 to 40 ethanol plants under construction - and 150 others on the drawing boards - it would undermine the environmental reasoning for switching to ethanol in the first place, environmentalists say.

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Bush shuns Patriot Act requirement - The Boston Globe

In addendum to law, he says oversight rules are not binding
By Charlie Savage, Globe Staff  |  March 24, 2006
WASHINGTON -- When President Bush signed the reauthorization of the USA Patriot Act this month, he included an addendum saying that he did not feel obliged to obey requirements that he inform Congress about how the FBI was using the act's expanded police powers.
The bill contained several oversight provisions intended to make sure the FBI did not abuse the special terrorism-related powers to search homes and secretly seize papers. The provisions require Justice Department officials to keep closer track of how often the FBI uses the new powers and in what type of situations. Under the law, the administration would have to provide the information to Congress by certain dates.
Bush signed the bill with fanfare at a White House ceremony March 9, calling it ''a piece of legislation that's vital to win the war on terror and to protect the American people." But after the reporters and guests had left, the White House quietly issued a ''signing statement," an official document in which a president lays out his interpretation of a new law.
Again El Pretzel-nit by-passes legislation he doesn't like, legislation intended to curb his power, of course.

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

"Enough is enough! I've had it with these snakes!"

"Oh, my gawd!" Posted by Picasa
Snakes On A Plane: The Trailer

see also:
UPDATED: March 23, 2006
fromAugust @ Xoverboard:

Oh god, yes

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the fan-based underground support for Snakes on a Plane has become so great that the filmmakers are now doing a reshoot to include more action sequences... as well as calling Samuel L. Jackson back in so he can actually say in the movie "snakes on a motherfucking plane."

This could very well end up the greatest movie ever made by anyone, ever.

Posted by August J. Pollak at 09:20 AM

>>> Print Article(always)...Read More(sometimes) - Harrassing the messenger

Last month I posted a story about a South Florida local news team's undercover investigation into finding out how to file a complaint about a police officer. Police stations are supposed to have forms to file such a complaint, but few offered them. Instead, the request resulted in long strings of questions and some even escalated into ugly confrontations.
But the report by Mike Kirsch did result in forms becoming more available--but that wasn't the only reaction:

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Think Progress � Arkansas public school science teacher

says faculty are forbidden to use the "e-word" (evolution). More: "I am instructed NOT to use hard numbers when telling kids how old rocks are. I am supposed to say that these rocks are "VERY VERY OLD" but I am NOT to say that these rocks are thought to be about 300 million years old."  5:50 pm | Comment (18)
So all these red states are going to legislate themselves "back to the stone age" (tip of the hat to Gen. Curtis Lemay).
Something I try to tell my right wing friends is that if conservatism was all that successful as a political philosophy, wouldn't we all still be 'wearing skins and living in caves'? Come to think of it even that is too progressive. It should be 'running naked on the savannah'.?
Comment by pseudolus ? March 23, 2006 @ 7:07 pm

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Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Oil Gushes into Arctic Ocean from BP Pipeline

Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by the Independent / UK 
by Leonard Doyle
Across the frozen North Slope of Alaska, the region's largest oil accident on record has been sending hundreds of thousands of litres of crude pouring into the Arctic Ocean during the past week after a badly corroded BPO pipeline ruptured.

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Extended Presence of U.S. in Iraq Looms Large

Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by the Associated Press 
$1 billion for construction of American military bases and no public plans
BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq - The concrete goes on forever, vanishing into the noonday glare, 2 million cubic feet of it, a mile-long slab that?s now the home of up to 120 U.S. helicopters, a ?heli-park? as good as any back in the States. At another giant base, al-Asad in Iraq?s western desert, the 17,000 troops and workers come and go in a kind of bustling American town, with a Burger King, Pizza Hut and a car dealership, stop signs, traffic regulations and young bikers clogging the roads. At a third hub down south, Tallil, they?re planning a new mess hall, one that will seat 6,000 hungry airmen and soldiers for chow. Are the Americans here to stay? Air Force mechanic Josh Remy is sure of it as he looks around Balad.
?I think we?ll be here forever,? the 19-year-old airman from Wilkes-Barre, Pa., told a visitor to his base.
The Iraqi people suspect the same. Strong majorities tell pollsters they?d like to see a timetable for U.S. troops to leave, but believe Washington plans to keep military bases in their country.

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Death Raises Concern at Police Tactics

Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by the BBC 
by Matthew Davis 
The recent killing of an unarmed Virginia doctor has raised concerns about what some say is an explosion in the use of military-style police Swat teams in the United States.

Some say police units increasingly resemble military teams.
Armed with assault rifles, stun grenades - even armoured personnel carriers - units once used only in highly volatile situations are increasingly being deployed on more routine police missions.
Dr Salvatore Culosi Jr had come out of his townhouse to meet an undercover policeman when he was shot through the chest by a Special Weapons and Tactics force.
It was about 2135 on a chilly January evening. The 37-year-old optometrist was unarmed, he had no history of violence and displayed no threatening behaviour.
But he had been under investigation for illegal gambling and in line with a local police policy on "organised crime" raids, the heavily armed team was there to serve a search warrant

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click picture above to enlarge Posted by Picasa
today's Google bomb:
Bob Domenech

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Supreme Court to Rule on Patent for Your Thoughts

Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by the Guardian / UK
by Oliver Burkeman
The US supreme court is due to hear arguments in a case today that could overturn thousands of controversial patents, after a lower court ruled that doctors could infringe a drug company's ownership rights "merely by thinking" about the relationship between two chemicals in the human body.
The case concerns a patent granted in 1990 to scientists at the University of Colorado and Columbia in New York. They discovered that high levels of an amino acid, homocysteine, in the blood or urine tended to be associated with a deficiency of B vitamins. But their patent does not just relate to the test they invented. It asserts their ownership of the idea of correlating the two chemicals - leading to the charge that they have patented a law of nature, rather than a human invention.

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Religious Fanaticism Out of Control

Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by the Madison Capital Times
by Dave Zweifel 
In case you're still not sure just how destructive the Bush administration has become to this country, you need to read Michael Specter's piece in the March 13 issue of the New Yorker magazine.
It's enough to give you the willies.
Specter documents how the Bush people have stacked the Food and Drug Administration with fanatics who regularly trump science to advance their own religious beliefs. It reads like a modern-day Galileo being persecuted by the Catholic Church because he maintained Earth was round.
Although Specter cites several examples of religious beliefs thwarting scientific advances by key appointees to the FDA and other divisions of the Department of Health and Human Services (Tommy Thompson's old department), one of the most egregious has been to block a vaccine designed to thwart cervical cancer.

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Depletion of Oceans Demands an End to Fishing Subsidies

Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by the Baltimore Sun
by Andrew Sharpless 
Little-noticed but enormously significant steps were taken recently in World Trade Organization negotiations to rid the world's fishing industry of government subsidies that provide incentives to fish the oceans to death.
For the first time since the launch of the WTO's current round of talks in 2001, member nations have moved beyond the consensus that many fishing subsidies lead to overfishing and destructive practices.
At least five countries have submitted detailed proposals on eliminating these subsidies, and serious negotiations are under way. It is a step beyond rhetoric toward resolution on what is the greatest single action that can be taken to ensure the future viability of ocean ecosystems and the bounty they produce.

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The Day Democracy Died in America's Echo Chamber

Published on Tuesday, March 21, 2006 by the Daytona Beach News-Journal (Florida)
by Pierre Tristam 
On Friday I read the following Associated Press dispatch in the Moscow Times: "The head of the Belarussian state security service warned on Thursday that any protesters who took to the streets during elections this Sunday could be charged with terrorism." The Belarussian security service, incidentally, still goes by its Soviet-era brand: KGB.
The same day in The New York Times, I read the following: "In five internal reports made public yesterday as part of a lawsuit, New York City police commanders candidly discuss how they had successfully used 'proactive arrests,' covert surveillance and psychological tactics at political demonstrations in 2002, and recommend that those approaches be employed at future gatherings." As we know from the 2004 National Republican Convention in Manhattan, those tactics were used to great effect. The New York Police Department, with $76 million to spend and 10,000 shields to use on four days' work, presumed that every protester was a potential terrorist. It borrowed from the playbook of the Miami police department, where anti-globalism protesters were overwhelmed by police force in 2003. It cuffed activism to side-streets and precinct houses (1,806 people were arrested). It doctored videotape of the arrests, deleting evidence of protesters cooperating with arresting officers. And all along the Republican Party staged its lie-abiding Bush-capades at Madison Square Garden, with Belarussian contempt for the noises of democracy it is preaching to the world.

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Tuesday, March 21, 2006

MUSIC: Norman Blake - Don't be Afraid of Neo-Cons

Ol' Norm has the Freepers and the whiny-ass-tittie-babys of the right's panties in a bunch! Honest to God country music that doesn't kiss the Pretzel-nit's ass. Not that new-country-rock crap-ola the likes of Toby Keith "sings". Go to the link below to download this tune by Norman & Nancy Blake. Look in the upper right corner when you get there (and don't forget to come back!) Tarnation! Buy a couple albums while you're there.

Western Jubilee
Don't Be Afraid of the Neo-Cons

And away down yonder in the Florida sand
Old Jeb Bush is a mighty man
He told little brother, don�t be blue
For I�ma gonna hand this thing to you

The churches all got on board
In the Holy name of our Lord
They took him for their favorite son
And they sent him away to Washington

Now Georgie Bush, he is the man
He landed in Afghanistan
We�ll get Osama, was his crack
And now we�re stranded in Iraq

He told ole� Rumsfeld on the green
Now you�re the best I�ve ever seen
Just heed my words and you�ll go far
And help me win my daddy�s war

O� Cheney lives away down town
By a cement bunker underground
No more he�ll roam Wyoming's hills
Halliburton is his thrill

Don�t send your money to Washington
To fight a war that�s never done
Don�t play their games don�t be their pawns
And don�t be afraid of the neo-cons

Katrina blew through the town
Black waters flooded all around
No money to raise the levees high
And so we watched New Orleans die

Bill Clinton was a democrat
He saved us money in his hat
He fell from grace the story goes
Then Georgie put us in the hole

Now Casey was Cindy�s son
He marched away with his gun
For a noble cause he heard Bush say
He died in a war so far away

Now Georgie is kind and meek
He kissed the king upon his cheek
They walked the garden hand in hand
As the oil and blood dripped on the sand

And now my little song is done
'Bout the neo-cons in Washington
No more I�ll sing these words again
You can see it all on CNN

Don�t send you money to Washington
To fight a war that�s never done
Don�t play their games don�t be their pawns
And don�t be afraid of the neo-cons

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Clear and Present Dangers

Published on Monday, March 20, 2006 by the New York Times
by Alan Brinkley
Four decades ago, Kevin Phillips, a young political strategist for the Republican Party, began work on what became a remarkable book. In writing "The Emerging Republican Majority" (published in 1969), he asked a very big question about American politics: How would the demographic and economic changes of postwar America shape the long-term future of the two major parties? His answer, startling at the time but now largely unquestioned, is that the movement of people and resources from the old Northern industrial states into the South and the West (an area he enduringly labeled the "Sun Belt") would produce a new and more conservative Republican majority that would dominate American politics for decades. Phillips viewed the changes he predicted with optimism. A stronger Republican Party, he believed, would restore stability and order to a society experiencing disorienting and at times violent change. Shortly before publishing his book, he joined the Nixon administration to help advance the changes he had foreseen.

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Winning Back Our Rights, Taking Back Our Country

Published on Monday, March 20, 2006 by 
by Stewart Acuff
Our nation and our people face a profound choice this year; once again a choice that will define the future for tens of thousands of working families and their children, seniors, the working poor, and the middle class and students.
We can choose the side that will further squeeze the middle class, destroying or further off-shoring good paying jobs. We can choose the side signing trade deals that serve to exploit workers in developing countries while closing factories and destroying futures here. We can choose the side that is helping corporate America offload pensions, break their promises to workers, and sentence hundreds of thousands of workers to an old age of poverty or near poverty. We can choose the side that risked the safety of our families and our homeland in the pursuit of a reckless foreign policy.
We can choose the side that raised the pay of Congress seven times, but refuses to increase the minimum wage. We can choose the side that does nothing to solve our healthcare crises.

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Feds Cracking Down On Lawbreakers? Think Again.

No-Nonsense Enforcement? High Fines? Tell Me Another One.

As a father of three children, I would punish them for three reasons: As a punishment for the "crime," as a warning not to let it happen again, and as a lesson to the other kids. We all know what happens when you "spare the rod." It's no different in the corporate suites.

For the past five years, American citizens have been plagued by an administration in Washington that isn't crazy about punishing business-related crime. But there have been exceptions -- large, highly publicized for the really bad guys allegedly showing that the feds are cracking down on lawbreakers. But as soon as the spotlights are turned off, the fines are quietly negotiated to just a fraction of their original amounts.

read more...Feds Cracking Down on LawBreakers

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Monday, March 20, 2006

MYPCE- creating your own personal computing environment

click picture above to enlarge Posted by Picasa
Oh, yeah! Just give me a little time to convince my boss...
October 30, 2005 We first wrote up Personal Computer Environments two years ago and we�re still enthralled by the company�s vision and products, specifically the Total Immersion PCE. The environment created by MYPCE turns the idea of a computer workstation station inside out, making users the centrepiece of a personalised, ultra-comfy command centre, designed on the premise that the traditional desk and office environment is a detriment to employee health and productivity. MYPCE is designed for power users such as programmers, designers and video editors who spend long hours working on a computer screen and wish to benefit from the productivity advantages of a comfortable environment using more than one monitor (20%+ productivity increase).
read the rest...

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Man severs own penis, throws it at officers

March 17, 2006
BY ERIC HERMAN Staff Reporter

Before cops threw the book at him, Jakub Fik threw something unusual at them -- his penis.
Fik, 33, cut off his own penis during a Northwest Side rampage Wednesday morning. When confronted by police, Fik hurled several knives and his severed organ at the officers, police said. Officers stunned him with a Taser and took him into custody.
"We took him out without any serious injury, with the exception of his own," said Chicago Police Sgt. Edward Dolan of the 16th District.

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Defining protectionism down

Economic "protectionism" is back in the news, with the conventional wisdom saying that it's bad. Trouble is, this isn't really what "protectionism" means.
Daniel Davies
March 20, 2006 12:36 PM
Economic "protectionism" is back in the news with a vengeance, with France objecting to takeovers in the steel sector, Spain putting together national champion utilities and the USA crying blue murder over Dubai Ports World's proposed acquisition of P&O. James Surowiecki had an article in the Saturday Guardian painstakingly setting out the conventional wisdom on this subject (ie that it's very bad). Trouble is, this isn't really what "protectionism" means.
Basically and historically, "protectionism" (and "mercantilism" and related terms) always used to refer to tariff policy, with respect to goods markets and trade between buyers and sellers. The use of the terms to refer to policies about capital markets and ownership of companies is a new one; I spotted it beginning to arise in the FT and Economist around the beginning of the 1990s and have been writing Mr Angry letters on the subject ever since. Because capital markets "protectionism" is much less bad than the goods market type and might not even be bad at all

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How to spot a baby conservative

Whiny children, claims a new study, tend to grow up rigid and traditional. Future liberals, on the other hand ...
Mar. 19, 2006. 10:45 AM
Remember the whiny, insecure kid in nursery school, the one who always thought everyone was out to get him, and was always running to the teacher with complaints? Chances are he grew up to be a conservative.
At least, he did if he was one of 95 kids from the Berkeley area that social scientists have been tracking for the last 20 years. The confident, resilient, self-reliant kids mostly grew up to be liberals.
The study from the Journal of Research Into Personality isn't going to make the UC Berkeley professor who published it any friends on the right. Similar conclusions a few years ago from another academic saw him excoriated on right-wing blogs, and even led to a Congressional investigation into his research funding.
But the new results are worth a look. In the 1960s Jack Block and his wife and fellow professor Jeanne Block (now deceased) began tracking more than 100 nursery school kids as part of a general study of personality. The kids' personalities were rated at the time by teachers and assistants who had known them for months. There's no reason to think political bias skewed the ratings ? the investigators were not looking at political orientation back then. Even if they had been, it's unlikely that 3- and 4-year-olds would have had much idea about their political leanings.
A few decades later, Block followed up with more surveys, looking again at personality, and this time at politics, too. The whiny kids tended to grow up conservative, and turned into rigid young adults who hewed closely to traditional gender roles and were uncomfortable with ambiguity.
The confident kids turned out liberal and were still hanging loose, turning into bright, non-conforming adults with wide interests. The girls were still outgoing, but the young men tended to turn a little introspective.

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A Top-Down Review for the Pentagon

Published on Sunday, March 19, 2006 by the Guardian / UK
Plagued by Iraq, the President's own party is abandoning him as his poll ratings plunge.
by Paul Harris
When president George W Bush launched a high-profile series of speeches last week aimed at calming nerves about the Iraq war he chose to do so in the heart of Washington DC. At George Washington University, he asked America to stay the course through troubled times. It was a familiar message to an audience that had heard it all before.
What was new was the make-up of the crowd: only five Republican congressmen and one senator attended. As displays of loyalty go it left a lot to be desired. It seems Bush should worry less about the US abandoning Iraq and more about his party abandoning him.

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Super Cyclone Hits Northeastern Australia

Super Cyclone Posted by Picasa
Satellite image of Tropical Cyclone Larry over Far North Queensland, Australia.
by Staff Writers
Brisbane, Australia (AFP) Mar 20, 2006
A super cyclone smashed into tropical northeastern Australia Monday, with winds of up to 290 kilometres an hour (180 mph) causing casualties and ripping homes apart, officials said.
read the rest...
Super Cyclone

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Who were those guys?

The "Press" should be mad as hell about this. If this becomes common knowledge, who is going to trust anyone claiming to be "the Press" in the future? But, I bet we hear nada, zero, zip out of the lapdog media members. --pseudolus
Agents posed as journalists before visit
There was a whirlwind of activity in the days prior to President Bush's arrival at a home on the beach in Gautier last week, with government officials and Secret Service scouting a location and checking the neighborhood where Bush would stop.
The reason for all the fuss was kept a secret even from the family that received Bush. They didn't know it was prelude to a presidential visit until the day Bush arrived.
But one part of the preparation for the President's arrival involved two government agents posing as journalists.
Recounting the pre-visit days for WLOX and the Sun Herald, Jerry Akins, who received Bush, mentioned that on the Friday before Bush arrived, two men approached him identifying themselves as members of the media.

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Former top U.S. general gets $200,000-a-year board gig

Posted by Steve Hedges at 5:34 pm CST
Recently retired Gen. Richard Myers, the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who led the Pentagon into war with Iraq, hasn't stayed out of work long.
Northrop Grumman, one of the nation's largest and best-known defense firms, announced Wednesday that Myers, an Air Force veteran and former fighter pilot, has joined its board of directors.
As one of 11 "non-employee" directors, Myers will earn $200,000 a year, according to a company spokesman. Half of that sum is paid to the company's 12 directors in stock.

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Ordinary Iraqi families getting ready to fight

They're stockpiling weapons, food and fuel
- Charles Levinson, Chronicle Foreign Service
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Baghdad -- Om Hussein, wrapped in her black abaya, lists the contents of the family's walk-in storage closet: three 175-pound cases of rice, two 33-pound cases of cooking fat, six cases of canned tomatoes, three crates of assorted legumes, a one-month supply of drinking water, frozen chicken livers in the freezer. And in the garage, jerry cans filled with fuel are piled floor to ceiling.

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click picture above to enlarge Posted by Picasa

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"Let the dollars soar"

"Let the dollars soar"
Former U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft cashes in as Homeland Security lobbyist
Of the many cronies, chums and political appointees that have come and gone through the Bush Administration's revolving door, former U.S. Attorney General
John Ashcroft was one of those who practically disappeared from the news after he resigned from his position in November 2004 (his tenure officially ended in February 2005 when White House Counsel Alberto Gonzales was confirmed as Attorney General.) Unlike former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill, who was fired by Bush, or Richard Clarke, the former National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection, and Counterterrorism -- both of whom spilt the beans about the administration's shortcomings in best-selling books -- Ashcroft moved quietly on.

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How the Worm Turned on Interstate 95

Published on Sunday, March 19, 2006 by
by Steven Laffoley
"Tread on a worm," goes an old proverb, "and it will turn." This bit of ancient folklore - which suggests that even the most humble of creatures will eventually react to brute force - came to my mind recently, just two days before another dark anniversary of Bush's war on Iraq. I was driving along a car-filled stretch of Interstate 95, just outside Portland, Maine, on a cool, cloudless Friday, and around me, a seemingly endless river of cars and trucks crowded the dark asphalt road, all madly racing south towards Boston and points beyond.
For two decades now, I had traveled this same stretch of highway in northeastern America once or twice a year, to see family and steep in the region where I was born and raised. The repeated experience of this particular highway travel had given me, over the years, a tangible litmus test of physical progress - the wealth and population of southern New England, moving sometimes slowly, sometimes rapidly, north through Portland and up to Bangor.
But so too, this repetitive travel experience - after 2000 and the dubious election of George W. Bush and his subsequent Wars of Unreason - had provided me with a peculiar political litmus test against which I judged the ebb and flow of America's trials and tribulations, of prescient patriotism and protest.
What do I mean by a "peculiar political litmus test"?

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The 'Long War'? Oh, Goodie

Published on Saturday, March 18, 2006 by the Boulder Daily Camera (Colorado) 
by Molly Ivins
AUSTIN, Texas ? President Bush has once more undertaken to explain to us "Why We Fight," which is also the title of an excellent new documentary on Iraq. According to the president, "Our goal in Iraq is victory." I personally did not find that a helpful clarification.
According to the president, we are doomed to stay in Iraq until we "leave behind a democracy that can govern itself, sustain itself and defend itself." That's not exactly getting closer every day. But, the Prez sez, "A free Iraq in the heart of the Middle East will make the American people more secure for generations to come."
So far, no good. After three years, tens of thousands of lives and $200 billion, we have achieved chaos. As Rep. John Murtha put it, "The only people who want us in Iraq are Iran and al-Qaida." Since the revisionist myth that we went to war to promote democracy keeps seeping into rational discussion, it is worth reminding ourselves that there never were any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
We are inarguably facing more terrorists now than there were when we started, so the Pentagon has decided to fight what it is now calling "the Long War." Has anyone asked you about this? Me, neither. Nor has anyone asked Congress. The administration ? mostly Donald Rumsfeld ? just decided we would have a long war and declared it, and is now committing us to fight against a fuzzy ideology no one seems to be able to define.

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Huh? Feingold's the Careless, Reckless One?

Published on Sunday, March 19, 2006 by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin)
by Gregory Stanford
In Washington, crazy is normal, and normal is crazy.
President Bush and his people adopt a lunatic theory about preventive war, conjure out of Saddam Hussein's non-existent nuclear arsenal a paranoid vision of an imminent mushroom cloud over an American city, start a real war with make-believe planning (and disastrous consequences), keep giving the war rosy prognoses unhinged from the grim reality and suffer delusions of monarchism in which King George has inalienable rights to torture prisoners and wiretap citizens without court oversight, despite laws to the contrary.

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A Top-Down Review for the Pentagon

Published on Sunday, March 19, 2006 by the New York Times
by Paul D. Eaton 
During World War II, American soldiers en route to Britain before D-Day were given a pamphlet on how to behave while awaiting the invasion. The most important quote in it was this: "It is impolite to criticize your host; it is militarily stupid to criticize your allies."
By that rule, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is not competent to lead our armed forces. First, his failure to build coalitions with our allies from what he dismissively called "old Europe" has imposed far greater demands and risks on our soldiers in Iraq than necessary. Second, he alienated his allies in our own military, ignoring the advice of seasoned officers and denying subordinates any chance for input.

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The Farcical End of the American Dream

Published on Sunday, March 19, 2006 by the lndependent/UK
The US press is supposed to be challenging the lies of this war
by Robert Fisk 
It is a bright winter morning and I am sipping my first coffee of the day in Los Angeles. My eye moves like a radar beam over the front page of the Los Angeles Times for the word that dominates the minds of all Middle East correspondents: Iraq. In post-invasion, post-Judith Miller mode, the American press is supposed to be challenging the lies of this war. So the story beneath the headline "In a Battle of Wits, Iraq's Insurgency Mastermind Stays a Step Ahead of US" deserves to be read. Or does it?
Datelined Washington - an odd city in which to learn about Iraq, you might think - its opening paragraph reads: "Despite the recent arrest of one of his would-be suicide bombers in Jordan and some top aides in Iraq, insurgency mastermind Abu Musab Zarqawi has eluded capture, US authorities say, because his network has a much better intelligence-gathering operation than they do."

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Children of Abraham: Death in the Desert

Do we have another My Lai Massacre on our hands? --pseudolus
Written by Chris Floyd     
Sunday, 19 March 2006  
What happened in the village of Isahaqi, north of Baghdad, on Ides of March? The murk of war ? the natural blur of unbuckled event, and its artificial augmentation by professional massagers ? shrouds the details of the actual operation. But here is what we know.

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Sunday, March 19, 2006

Joe Satriani - Super Colossal

Super Colossal Posted by Picasa
On first listen I was a little disappointed. Either the production values were off or the rip was bad, but it sounded kinda muffled/buzzy, granted I was listening to this at work at less than optimum volume. But I listen to many of his albums this way at work and the guitar playing just rings out even at 'e-z-listening' volumes mandated at the office. The usual clear steely guitar sound was subdued. On subsequent listenings I had to conclude it was intentional. He has a new toy for his guitar effects (POG - whatever that is.) This seems to be more of a "full band" effort as opposed to a Joe Satriani 'solo' album. Yes, I know, Joe is 'the band' except for the drummers he hires. When you hear it you will know what I mean. Here he is exploring more melodies rather than just shredding the fretboard or squeezing out spacey new sounds.

All in all it would seem to be a good buy for any JS fans and also a good intro to the uninitiated.--pseudolus
...ripped shamelessly from the bowels of amazon:

GREAT songwriting - some of Joe's best, March 18, 2006

Reviewer: D. Gruska (Alexandria, VA USA)
I've been listening to this album exclusively, and on loop this whole week. I'll probably take it out after a month or so. There are only a few other artists I generally do that with - Steve Vai, Dream Theater, King Crimson, and Queensryche (though I'm not too impressed with what I've heard so far of Mindcrime II) being the main ones. Before Joe's new album, John Petrucci's excellent "Suspended Animation" had exclusive rights to my CD players.

Here's my thought so far:

Super Colossal - I'm not overly impressed with the title track. It just seems too simplistic to me (though I'm sure it's not as easy as it seems). However, the POG effect (one of Joe's new pedals) is really cool - especially at the end of the sustained notes.

Just Like Lightnin - Yeah, this is more like it. Funky groove - cool lead lines. I can just imagine Joe swinging his head back and forth playing this. The ending is perfect.

It's So Good - This song has such a laid back, clap your hands, feel-good vibe. It reminds me of Hill Groove (from Strange Beautiful Music) a little, but I like this one better. The only thing that really bugs me about this song is the lead guitar has an "Engines of Creation"-type effect going on, which doesn't really seem to fit.

Redshift Riders - This is definitely reminiscent of the Surfing With The Alien days, once the distorted guitars kick in. But then it unexpectedly shifts to a more dramatic, funky mood, (before alternating back again) which to me, fits in perfectly. One of my favorite tracks.

Ten Words - Written in part after Sept. 11th, this track is very emotional. It is REALLY well done - it reminds me of George Harrison's playing - both happy and sad at the same time.

A Cool New Way - With a bass line reminicenst of Robb Dougan's "Clubbed to Death" (used in the first "Matrix" movie - lady in the red dress scene), and jangling 12 strings that really add a lot of background texture, and a cool, changing melody line, this song has plenty to keep you interested.

One Robot's Dream - Very EOC-like beginning and end. I'm surprised Joe didn't used the EOC-type effect on the lead guitars that he used on A Cool New Way (if he did, I don't hear it). The drum beat is perfect for the song - very mechanical. And the start of the lead guitar is great - very blippy. I wish Joe had included more stuff like this in the rest of the song. While it's a good song, I don't hear enough robot-like things to believe the robot is having the dream.

The Meaning of Love - Wow. A VERY smooth 7/4, nice pizzicatto strings, great melody. I love the long, sustained notes. And the solo starting at 2:08 is classic.

Made of Tears - Another great groove. Really nice keyboard pads back a sweet melody, but the song has some kick to it as well. It's also got a kind of Celtic vibe that was present in parts on The Extremist CD.

Theme for a Strange World - One of the best songs I've heard in a while from any artist. It does a great job of capturing Joe's inspiration for the song - a disconnected-from-reality feeling. There's a weird sense of urgency to it. Sounds a bit like Joe's "Mountain Song", from Strange Beautiful Music, but better.

Movin' On - One of the weaker songs on the album, in my opinion, but still good. It doesn't seem very Joe-like to me, but the ending almost makes up for it - Joe uses pick scrapes evoking the chorus at the end of The Beatles' "I Am The Walrus" (the "Oom-pah, oom-pah, everybody oom-pah" part).

A Love Eternal - This song sends chills down my spine every time I listen to it. It's just a really beautiful song. Every note is perfectly played. Joe hasn't said it (that I'm aware of), but this one's got to be another song for his wife, Rubina.

Crowd Chant - I really hope this gets Joe some more recognition, as it's a perfect song for audience participation at sporting events. There's not a whole lot to the piece, but it does showcase some of Joe's "trick bag", mostly used on earlier records like his original EP (out of print, but you can hear three of the four songs on Tim Machine album). It's just a fun little song. It does seem a bit out of place on the album, but if it helps Joe get a bigger audience, I'm all for it.

Overall comment - This is my favorite Joe Satriani album. If you're looking for lots of over-the-top playing like on Surfing With The Alien or Flying In A Blue Dream, you're not going to find much of that here. But the excellent songwriting (his best in my opinion), layering of instruments, production quality, and just cool, memorable and emotional melodies on this album more than make up for it.

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The Social Security "Crisis" in plain language:
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