Monday, February 27, 2006

William F. Buckley Betrays Country!

I'm looking for this headline. When Howard Dean made similar remarks two months ago, he was pilloried by a number of conservative pundits as a traitor. Somehow I don't think Buckley in the National Review is going to get equal treatment even though Buckley's remarks were a notch stronger than Dean's.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Gender Practices Inhibit Men From Being Better Dads

Male-supremacists, take that! Allowing men to be more involved with their children makes them better dads.

Stealth Jet Engines?

The same type of sound-cancelling technology that makes a luxury car quiet is getting scaled up. Are truly silent black helicopters very far away?

Natural Selection Proven

Another vindication of Darwin. Natural selection has always been suspected as the driving force in speciation. Now it's been vindicated.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Gitmo Occupants

Are the prisoners in Guantanamo really the "worst of the worst" as the administration (hswib) contends? Perhaps, and perhaps not. Given what statistics can be derived from the governments own documents there is reason to question that contention. There is anecdotal evidence that many prisoners are there just because a single informant turned them in to the Pakistanis. Later that informant himself was fingered. His original victims remain nonetheless.

And yet not a single one has had a fair and transparent hearing that demonstrates there is just cause for detaining them. All we have is the administration's (hswib) word for it. And its credibility has trended downward from the beginning.


Elected in a squeaker, this governor is proving to genuinely effective.

Campaign Financing That Works

Kevin Drum highlights a campaign reform plan that seems to fix many of the problems with McCain-Feingold. Unfortunately it looks like both candidates in the Maine gubernatorial race are going to do it the old-fashioned way, fat-cat financing.

The Grand Experiment Begins

And it begins in South Dakota of all places. If the SD law passes and eventually gets blessed by the new and improved Supreme Court, we will get to see once again the type of tragedies
that existed prior to Roe. Those who don't know the history are doomed to repeat it. Perhaps we will return to our senses when the current generation of women begin to pay the price.

Death Sentence

When Dilation and Extraction becomes illegal in all circumstances it will be a death sentence for the thousand or so women who have the misfortune of being pregnant with a fetus with hydrocephalus. The babies will die anyway and will take their mothers with them. Who gets to be the target of the wrongful death suits? The Supreme Court? The legislators that pass such stupid laws? Or the people that advocate them?

Hens Have Teeth!

Another arrow in the evolution quiver. Chickens have the genes to produce crocodilian teeth. Hens teeth not so rare after all.

Black Smokers as Mining Claims

A potentially rich new source of munerals could be the area around hot undersea vents.

Coral Dies

Another consequence of global warming is increasing acidification of the ocean as more and more CO2 get dissolved in the seawater. This isn't good news for coral that is already stressed by rising temperatures.

Rad Waste Technology

This is of interest to the local economy. A lower temperature alternative to the vitrification plant currently under construction may not be a bad thing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Get out of Australia, 'radical' Muslims told

A friend of mine pointed me to this. Last year Australian Treasurer Peter Costello made an interesting public statement.
Treasurer Peter Costello, seen as heir apparent to Howard, hinted that some radical clerics could be asked to leave the country if they did not accept that Australia was a secular state and its laws were made by parliament.

"If those are not your values, if you want a country which has Sharia law or a theocratic state, then Australia is not for you," he said on national television.

"I'd be saying to clerics who are teaching that there are two laws governing people in Australia, one the Australian law and another the Islamic law, that that is false."

"If you can't agree with parliamentary law, independent courts,democracy, and would prefer Sharia law and have the opportunity to go to another country which practises it, perhaps, then, that's a better option," Costello said.
Do you think this is good way to go?

The Lessons of Counterinsurgency

Buried in all the disappointing news from Iraq, there are a few things being done right. Some of our forces have the smarts and the opportunity to make a genuine difference in this troubled nation. Unfortunately it is too few for too short a time.


A new experiment has now demonstrated “quantum telecloning” – transporting a whole laser beam to two separate

You read right. With quantum entanglement a laser beam has been teleported instantaneously producing two copies some distance apart.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Tortured Memo

Dissension among administration lawyers:
One of the Pentagon's top civilian lawyers repeatedly challenged the Bush administration's policy on the coercive interrogation of terror suspects, arguing that such practices violated the law, verged on torture and could ultimately expose senior officials to prosecution, a newly disclosed document shows. The lawyer, Alberto J. Mora, a political appointee who retired Dec. 31 after more than four years as general counsel of the Navy, was one of many dissenters inside the Pentagon. Senior uniformed lawyers in all the military services also objected sharply to the interrogation policy, according to internal documents declassified last year.But Mr. Mora's campaign against what he viewed as an official policy of cruel treatment, detailed in a memorandum he wrote in July 2004 and recounted in an article in the Feb. 27 issue of The New Yorker magazine, made public yesterday, underscored again how contrary views were often brushed aside in administration debates on the subject.

Warming Faster than ever

These my indeed be the provebial "interesting times" of the Chinese curse. We may have compressed 10,000 years of warming into 300 years. Brace yourselves. It looks like the long-foretold apocalyptic disaster is upon us.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

No irony here

Plame gets outed by officials at the highest level just to help bolster the weak case for the Iraq war. But if you blow the whistle on potentially illegal acts by the President you had better watch out.

Blogging at DL

In case there is any doubt about what a true loser I am, here I sit on a Valentine's evening as a sole participant at a DL session. In between sips I'm getting the blog caught up.

The Cost of Plame

This is true irony.
According to current and former intelligence officials, Plame Wilson, who worked on the clandestine side of the CIA in the Directorate of Operations as a non-official cover (NOC) officer, was part of an operation tracking distribution and acquisition of weapons of mass destruction technology to and from Iran.

Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program.
The very same operative who was outed by Dick and Scooter was working on Iranian nukes. Not just some obscure issue, mind you. The utter incompetence is genuinely appalling.

Crystal Fusion

Recently there was news of nuclear fusion with collapsing bubbles. Now we fusion via crystals.

It makes one wonder why we didn't discover this sooner. It would seem plausible to me that as they work more and more with these techniques that something practical in energy production eventually comes around. In the meantime it certainly is a handy method of producing free neutrons.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Apologies faithful readers. I have a number of posts in the queue in need of some finishing work but I haven't had the time to do that. They will get posted eventually.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Bush's Social Security Sleight of Hand

If you can't get it past Congress, do it with the budget. If there was ever any doubt that this budget is a joke, this nails it.

In Case You Were Wondering

Bush-appointed judges most conservative on record:
"Bush judicial appointees are significantly more conservative than even the very conservative voting record of jurists appointed by Presidents Ronald Reagan and Bush Sr. in the realm of civil rights and liberties, said Robert Carp, professor of political science at UH. When it comes to these decisions, the Bush team is a full 5 percentage points more conservative than even the trial judges appointed by Presidents Reagan and Bush Sr."

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Another One Bites the Dust

George Deutsch Did Not Graduate From Texas A & M University:
"At this point, while I am unaware of whether Deutsch graduated from college at all, it is clear that he did not graduate from A&M, and he may have intentionally misled people to believe that he did. The idea that NASA let a 24-year-old journalism major, with no experience in science or technology, other than writing a few articles about video games, determine what scientists were able to communicate to the public was pretty bad. The fact that he was censoring scientific information on global warming and the big bang made things more interesting, especially since he was a political appointee doing this to prevent challenges to the Bush administration’s policies. But now, finding out that he did not even graduate from Texas A&M, and may not have graduated from college at all, is absolutely outrageous. George Deutsch, as I wrote before, needs to be removed from this post immediately.

The Bush administration and the Republican Party can give lip service to science all they like, but when they show such a flagrant disregard for scientific integrity by placing someone, whose only qualification is having worked on the Bush campaign, in such an important position, everything else they say is meaningless."

The Betrayal of Valerie Wilson

Larry Johnson breaks down why Judge Tatel considered it justified to jail Miller and Cooper.

In TPMCafe:
" Regardless of whether Fitzgerald can prosecute an Intelligence Identities Protection case, this much is clear--people who work for President Bush knowingly compromised an intelligence officer's identity. What is truly shameful are the prominent Republicans who are raising funds for Libby's defense fund. They are endorsing an act of treason and excusing it for political expediency. That may not be a crime, but it is wrong."

Monday, February 06, 2006

Mary Beth Gets It

Our current bungling leadership is truly unworthy of the sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families. Mary Beth Harrell is a candidate for the Texas 31st CD.

Courtesy of Kos:
"I'm running because this Congress, with the exception of folks like Jack Murtha, has proved unworthy of their sacrifice and service.

Why isn't Congress fighting as hard for our country as my sons, and so many others' sons and daughters, are fighting for our country?

I will fight for a withdrawal strategy in Iraq that is worthy of every man and woman serving in uniform.

I will fight to hold accountable those ungrateful cynics and political hacks who had that dead soldier's mom ejected from a public meeting and jailed.

I will fight to restore integrity to our government so it is worthy of her son's love for his country - because he gave everything and so did she. It is certainly the least that we can and should do."

No Oaths

If you're an oil executive or an attorney general, truthfulness before Congress is not expected. That's why an oath is unnecessary. Perjury charges are time-wasters, anyway.

Friday, February 03, 2006

The Mother of All Downing Street Memos?

Did Bush propose the creation of an incident that would justify his war? Channel 4 News in England says it has a January 31, 2003 memo that says so. It records a discussion between Bush and Blair. Some excerpts:
"President Bush to Tony Blair: 'The US was thinking of flying U2 reconnaissance aircraft with fighter cover over Iraq, painted in UN colours. If Saddam fired on them, he would be in breach'

Bush: 'It was also possible that a defector could be brought out who would give a public presentation about Saddam's WMD, and there was also a small possibility that Saddam would be assassinated.'

Blair: 'A second Security Council Resolution resolution would provide an insurance policy against the unexpected and international cover, including with the Arabs.'

Bush: 'The US would put its full weight behind efforts to get another resolution and would 'twist arms' and 'even threaten'. But he had to say that if ultimately we failed, military action would follow anyway.'

Blair responds that he is: 'solidly with the President and ready to do whatever it took to disarm Saddam.'

Bush told Blair he: 'thought it unlikely that there would be internecine warfare between the different religious and ethnic groups.'"

A Bit of Boehner History

He was part of the Gingrich scandal.
"He did have the conversation. And he did plot with Gingrich and DeLay to obstruct the will of Ethics Committee, break House rules and to violate the terms of the punishment imposed on Gingrich."

The news media is reporting or Boehner's close ties with the Gingrich leadership. What it isn't reporting that he plotted with Gingrich and DeLay to break House rules and to circumvent the edict of the Ethics Committee.

Just Rude

What do you do when your health care provider is just an idiot?

What would be the response if it had been a Jewish patient and the physicians assistant handed out anti-Semitic literature?

Rove Perp Walk Watch

A former prosecutor thinks she has a good read on Fitzgerald's actions.

Rove's days are indeed numbered.

Murray Waas connects some more dots

Vice President Cheney and his then-Chief of Staff I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby were personally informed in June 2003 that the CIA no longer considered credible the allegations that Saddam Hussein had attempted to procure uranium from the African nation of Niger, according to government records and interviews with current and former officials. The new CIA assessment came just as Libby and other senior administration officials were embarking on an effort to discredit an administration critic who had also been saying that the allegations were untrue.


"The new disclosures raise questions as to why Libby and other Bush administration officials continued their efforts to discredit Wilson -- even as they were told that claims about Iraq's having procured uranium from Niger were most likely a hoax.

The answer may lie in part with the already well-known misgivings about the CIA by Cheney, Libby, and other senior Bush administration officials. At one point during that period -- the summer of 2003 -- Libby confronted a senior intelligence analyst briefing him and the vice president and accused the CIA of willfully misleading him and the administration on Niger. Libby was said to be upset that the CIA, in his view, had routinely minimized the extent to which Iraq was pursuing weapons of mass destruction and was now prematurely attempting to distance itself from the Niger allegations."

Conscientious objection in medicine

This article in a British medical journal clearly articulates one side of the discussion.

We are accustomed in this country to Catholic-sponsored hospitals that do not perform abortions nor even discretionary sterilizations. But according to the above stated position a medical service would be obligated to perform whatever procedures it was qualified to do without regard to values independent of quality, efficiency, or equitable delivery.

What do you think?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Scientific Intelligence

The preponderance of scientific "intelligence" points toward continuing global warming and indicates that human activities are the cause for current spike. So howcum this administration (hswib) isn't as eager to take action on it as it was to act on the WMD intelligence that got us into a war in Iraq? Just asking.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Presidential signing statements

Dahlia Lithwick breaks down what the president (hswib) is doing with his signing statements. Those are the documents he attaches to the legislation he signs explaining his own peculiar interpretation of it.

It's tempting to believe that with these statements he is merely asking that the courts take his legal views into account. But President Bush never asks anything of the courts; he doesn't think he has to. His signing statements are not aimed at persuading the courts, but at reinforcing his claim that both courts and Congress are irrelevant.

A Cheny eMail Scrub

It look like we have a Rose Mary Woods in the Veep's office.
"Fitzgerald's letter says that 'we have learned that not all email of the Office of Vice President and the Executive Office of President for certain time periods in 2003 was preserved through the normal archiving process on the White House computer system.'

Anyone know anything more about this?"


One of the guys who lost his seat with the Delaygerrymander could very well take Delay's seat.

Josh has an interview.

Good Demonstrations and Bad Demonstrations

There is a clear indication of where we are headed as a police state in the events surrounding the Cindy Sheehan arrest last night at the SOTU. There is an ordinance that prohibits demonstrations in the Capitol building. If you stand and wave a purple finger at a SOTU address you are not arrested. But if you wear a T-shirt that says "2245 Dead. How many more?", you are arrested. Clearly administration-friendly demonstrations are allowed despite the ordinance but the full weight of the law is exercised if one is the least bit critical.

It appears that the Capitol Police now acknowledge that the arrest of Cindy and the expulsion of Beverly Young were mistakes. Just between you, me, and the fence-post I think someone gave the Police instructions to be on the lookout for T-shirts with words without even bothering to check the rules.

Got SOTU anyway

We had some real MST3K fun last night at our DL session. While I was anticipating a personal boycott of the SOTU, the management of the pub was kind enough to put it on the big-screen for us. (Props to you, Eric and Dan!) We were also blessed with more new faces, including Yousef who gave Jimmy a real earful of things to think about.

For those readers who have axes to grind over issues pertinent to the Wasshington 4th Congressional District, I invite you to click over and light up the blog we have set up for that. Washington 4th Congressional District