Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Denied wiretaps, So Bypassed them updated

Daily Kos is showing slightly different numbers than the upi story that I sighted earlier in the day.

Daily Kos: FISA Court Modified Inadequate Warrant Requests

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Photo of the Day

This is an example of the works that are available on the PhotoMuse site. They are in the process of making the Eastman Kodak's photo collection available for free on line. At the moment only a few photographers are listed.

Lewis W. Hine
(American, 1874 - 1940)

Welding on a Sky Scraper , 1931
gelatin silver print , 24.1 x 19.1 cm. x
"Gift of the Photo League, New York ex-collection Lewis Wickes Hine " (197701530005)
GEH Collection

Denied wiretaps, So Bypassed them

UPI has a short blurb that Bush decided to skip the FISA Court because they had questioned and modified 179 warrants out of 5,645 requests by the Administration. Apparently that is more than all of the previous Administrations combined. They had done that only twice out of the 13,102 applications approved over the first 22 years of the court's operation. Further more this court, which I feel was doing its job correctly, had rejected six warrants flat out.

So because the court questioned 3% of these warrants that is to much interference for this Administration. Sure this is quite a jump in oversight from it's historic level of .015% disapproval. But you would think that now that we are in a state of war more questionable request would reach the court. So to this administration a 97% approval rate for these warrants makes this court an activist and out of control court that he need to bypass for the good of the country.

To me that just doesn't pass the smell test.

Bush was denied wiretaps, bypassed them

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Saturday, December 24, 2005


Satellite Dishes
Photo Credit: mrrealtime
Defense Tech has been having some very interesting article over the last week dealing with Domestic Spying issue that exploded on the political landscape last week.

Defense Tech: NSA "Tapping Into... Telecom's Main Arteries"
Defense Tech: New Tech Behind NSA Snoop Case?
Wiretaps' Fishy Rationale

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Friday, December 23, 2005

A Question of War Powers

This Administration is one of the most arrogant and incompetent Administrations in are history. Daschle's article in WaPo: Congress Denied Bush War Powers in U.S. just shows how incompetent they are. Did they not reallies that once they made a claim that they had plenary power that they would ignite a firestorm?

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Warrantless Searches

Echelon radar 2
Photo Credit: filax
Daily Kos is linking to stories out of Think Progress and US News & World Report dealing with warrantless Searches of Muslim Sites, and the threatening of whistle blowers with firing. It seems that the government has been using new technology to surveille US citizens. And as is pointed out in Kos' article:
In 2001, as the article points out, the Supreme Court ruled that the use of thermal imaging to detect heat lamps in a residence was a "search" under the 4th amendment and a warrant was needed. The case was U.S. v. Kyllo, and the opinion was written by Justice Scalia.

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Wednesday, December 21, 2005

And the Punches keep on coming

Just when you think that things can't get any weirder Think Progress has this story on his website: Conservative Judge Argues Bush Adminstration Can’t Be Trusted With Power I just am at a loss as to how everything that this administration has touched is coming apart at the seams all at once. All having to deal with how it welds its power in a dictatorial manner.

Take the time and read this story which revolves around Padilla's detention.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Counter to The Volokh Conspiracy

Daily Kos has an interesting blog on how the NeoCons think that in times of war the President has Monarchy like powers. An interesting counter point to Volokh: Legal Analysis of the NSA Domestic Surveillance Program.

Daily Kos: A Little Bit of Monarchy

Technology at the Root Wiretap Scandal

Did the Justice Dept. Commit Purgery?

The Washington Post is reporting that one of the eleven Judges, a James Robertson, that sits on the FISA Court has resigned from the court in protest to the Presidents action. But what makes this all the more interesting is the statement further in the article that he had said to colleagues in recent conversations that
he was concerned that information gained from warrantless NSA surveillance could have then been used to obtain FISA warrants. FISA court Presiding Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who had been briefed on the spying program by the administration, raised the same concern in 2004 and insisted that the Justice Department certify in writing that it was not occurring.
The more that I hear the more that I think that Bush has created a constitutional crisis.

Spy Court Judge Quits In Protest
White House Elaborates on Authority for Eavesdropping

Bushes Domistic Spying

This site has one of the most complete analysis of the legal issues involved with Bush's decision to do the warrant less spying on American citizens.

The Volokh Conspiracy - Legal Analysis of the NSA Domestic Surveillance Program:

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Political Scorecard

For those of you -- myself included -- who find it hard to keep up with the level of scandal in are political lives as Americans, Chris Blizzard at The Fix has compiled a sort of scorecard. Well worth a look.

Washington Post: The Fix

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The Warming of the Solar System

Solar Eclipse 3
Photo Credit: mmagallan
I have heard of this and have on occasion mentioned this to friends, who then give me strange looks for thinking this. But I was glad to see on Dig, this story: Is The Sun Getting Warmer? An interesting side question to "Global Warming" - that I never hear in the major media outlets or activist groups - is that for the last few years Astronomers have noted an increase in the temperature across the entire solar system. Don't get me wrong I think that we should deal with pollution and energy problems with green solution where ever possible. But it does bother me that most people only think in terms of humans causing of global warming or the head in the sand Republicans who say that they need more to even believe that it is happening at all (see Bush & Company).

Monday, November 14, 2005

Solar-Powered Curtain

Photo Credit: Inhabitat
Here is a novel idea. You live in an apartment but want to cut back on your energy bills and you've already added energy efficient lighting and appliances. Now if you have Southern exposure in one of your rooms you could add a Solar-powered Curtain (PDF file). Design GÅ‘tenborg which explores new technologies has come up with this interesting concept.

Design GÅ‘tenborg
Interactive Institute

Solar-powered Energy Curtain illuminates at night

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

So Much for Passport Security

electric city 6
Photo Credit: mammuth
According to this Cnet article starting next year all new passport issued will have RFID's in them, even though scores have issued concerns that anyone with a reader could gather everything about you in your passport for Identity theft. This is not anything that I would want in my passport. Their are other forms of electronics that could of been used that would not have these same risks to privacy. Anything that required it to come in direct contact would of worked. So for the want of a few seconds I now going to be at risk of Identity theft just walking around if I have my passport on me. I'll have to wrap it in layers of tin foil after I renew my passport next time.

Related articles:
Passports to get RFID chip implants

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Rumor of Rumors

US News & World Report is reporting that speculation in Washington at the moment is that Cheney could resign and Bush would then nominate Condi Rice the V.P. While it is interesting I just don't see Cheney just rolling over quickly. But it is interesting to see all of these rumors as we wait for Fitzgerald to finish his Grand Jury.

Monday, October 17, 2005

CIA Leak and the White House

As the White House braces for possible indictments coming down as soon as mid-week, I thought it would be helpful to link again to Think Progress' list of Administration Officials Involved In Plame Leak. Which he has updated to reflect reports from the Bloomberg and others that Dick Cheney may be entangled in this leak through his infamous White House Iraq Group(W.H.I.G.) that he chair in the run up to the war.

Memeorandum: Cheney May Be Entangled in CIA Leak Investigation, People Say

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Poll: Americans Want Bush Impeached

I find it incredible that polls would show a dramatic transformation in support for Bush's impeachment since late June. The Zogby poll conducted June 27-29 of 905 likely voters found that 42% agreed and 50% disagreed with a statement virtually identical to the one used by Ipsos for the current poll:

Ipsos 10/8-9
Zogby 6/27-29
Net Change
Support Impeachment
Oppose Impeachment
Impeachment Margin

Support for Clinton's impeachment was much lower at Only 36% supporting hearings to consider impeachment, and only 26% supported actual impeachment and removal. What this says about the republicans is not pleasant and only further shows how corrupt they truly are.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Milky Seas

milky seas
Yet another mariners tale has been confirmed by science. In this case strange glowing milky seas that were viewed as fair tales for centuries.
For centuries, mariners have returned home with surreal tales of "milky seas": expanses of seawater filled with bioluminescent bacteria that glow an eerie white. Little is known about these elusive sea conditions... images collected location by the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program included first-ever photos of a milky sea, a Connecticut-size area of the glowing water. Read More...
Personally I just think that this is Cool. Makes you wonder what else we thought was a wise tale is really fact.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

What was the most Powerful Hurrican, Cyclon or Typoon ever recorded?

Hurrican Rita
Photo Credit: Wikipedia: Hurricane Rita
in the Gulf of Mexico on September 21,

As Rita comes ashore we keep hearing that it is the third most powerful Atlantic Hurricane recorded. I got to thinking. What was the most Powerful Hurricane, Cyclone or Typhoon ever recorded?

I mean looking at Wikipedia they list the Labor Day storm of 1935 as having the lowest barometric pressure at landfall on N. America at 892 mbar (hPa). Katrina had 918 mbar (hPa) at landfall and God only knows what Rita will be as it comes ashore.

But my question is, what is the most powerful storm? And after some research I found Super Typhoon Tip in 1979. This was a truly Huge storm with tropical force winds extending out 675 miles. It had sustained winds of 190 mph and central pressure at 870 mbar (hPa), the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded in a tropical cyclone.

To give an illustration of its size Wikipedia gave this:
...if a similar-sized hurricane hit south Florida directly, tropical storm force winds would be felt as far north as Charlotte, North Carolina and as far south as Merida, Mexico and Kingston, Jamaica
Luckily it weakened by the time it made landfall in Japan, but nonetheless caused significant damage. Tip cost the agricultural and fishing industries of Japan millions of dollars in damage. There were 68 deaths from Tip. Hopefully Rita will weaken some more before it makes landfall also.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Mercs in America?

It looks as if others are picking up on the use of companys such as Blackwater, DynCorp, Intercon, American Security Group, Wackenhut and an Israeli company called Instinctive Shooting International (ISI) in the Gulf after Katrina (See the Nation: Blackwater Down ). I wouldn't be surprised to hear that after Rita makes landfall these same companies will also show up in Texas.

But aren't there laws agains the use of such private forces in this country for law enforcement?

Monday, September 12, 2005

Blackwater Mercenaries in New Orleans

I just happened across this story off of Blodex this morning. Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans. And quite frankly this is very worrisome.
Heavily armed paramilitary mercenaries from the Blackwater private security firm are openly patrolling the streets of New Orleans. Some of the mercenaries say they have been "deputized" by the Louisiana governor; indeed some are wearing gold Louisiana state law enforcement badges on their chests and Blackwater photo identification cards on their arms. They say they are on contract with the Department of Homeland Security and have been given the authority to use lethal force...

"This is a totally new thing to have guys like us working CONUS (Continental United States)," a heavily armed Blackwater mercenary told us as we stood on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter. "We're much better equipped to deal with the situation in Iraq."...

What is most disturbing is the claim of several Blackwater mercenaries we spoke with that they are here under contract from the federal and Louisiana state governments...
This reminds me of the Pinkerton Detective Agency and their use by corporations as Union busters in the late 1800's and early part of the 20th century.
As the threat of forced evictions now looms in New Orleans and the city confiscates even legally registered weapons from civilians, the private mercenaries of Blackwater patrol the streets openly wielding M-16s and other assault weapons. This despite Police Commissioner Eddie Compass' claim that "Only law enforcement are allowed to have weapons."

Officially, Blackwater says its forces are in New Orleans to "join the Hurricane Relief Effort." A statement on the company's website, dated September 1, advertises airlift services, security services and crowd control. The company, according to news reports, has since begun taking private contracts to guard hotels, businesses and other properties. But what has not been publicly acknowledged is the claim, made to us by 2 Blackwater mercenaries, that they are actually engaged in general law enforcement activities including "securing neighborhoods" and "confronting criminals."

That raises a key question: under what authority are Blackwater's men operating? A spokesperson for the Homeland Security Department, Russ Knocke, told the Washington Post he knows of no federal plans to hire Blackwater or other private security. "We believe we've got the right mix of personnel in law enforcement for the federal government to meet the demands of public safety." he said. Read more...

Related Article
Truthout: Blackwater Mercenaries Deploy in New Orleans

Sunday, September 11, 2005

A Must Read on Bush and the Disaster in the Gulf

Newsweek has a very troubling piece on President Bush entitled How Bush Blew It: Bureaucratic timidity. Bad phone lines. And a failure of imagination. Why the government was so slow to respond to catastrophe.

September 11th

Photo Credit: amydunn
It is hard to believe that it has only been Four years since the world changed so radically. Before we lived a life that in which we were secure in our homes. Now that has all changed. And again storms in September change how we perceive ourselves. Hurricane Katrina has shown us the shortcomings of our government. And the violation of the "Social Contract" that we all thought we lived by. Again we see our leaders scrambling to gain political advantage, with little time spent to understand that the American people have made a sea change in attitude.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Best Picture Ever!

Best Pic Ever
Courtesy of Daily Kos

Timeline for a Hurricane

The Annenberg Online Journalism Review has compiled a timeline of events for Hurricane Katrina. Well worth the time to look through.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

This is Unacceptable!

The more that I think about this situation in the Gulf Coast the angrier that I become. I want the Heads of DHS and FEMA fired for gross negligence that borders on criminal. What the hell have they been doing for the last few years? This is not that much different from a major terror attack. If they cannot do this, when they had warning that it was coming then what? The president BEFORE the storm came ashore had declared it a Federal disaster area! All this bull that they need direction from the Governor is absurd. The had a moral duty to take the initiative with this many lives at stake.

Furthermore, you keep hearing about their problems with communications. What is up with that, for most of the 20th century Ham Radio Operators have been there for us. Hell it is part of their licenses that they are there for emergencies. Why is it that FEMA has not placed a Ham at these major choke points to relay information back to their control centers? I heard on the radio last night that they are actively preventing these people from out-of-state from coming in to help!

Friday, September 02, 2005

Rebellion of the Talking Heads

I am glad that the major news media reporters are finally doing their jobs as reporters and not letting blatantly false statements from Government Representatives go by unchallenged.

Slated: The Rebellion of the Talking Heads

Thursday, September 01, 2005

More Pictures of Before and After

Digital Globe has some good imagery of New Orleans, Chalmette and the Biloxi Coast Before and after Hurricane Katrina.

Were was FEMA?

We have been having dire warnings on New Orleans for decades, the Army Corps of Engineers knew that the levees had serious problems. My questions is were was the pre-planning? We hear that FEMA and the Dept. of Homeland Security have been planning for years for the big one in the Gulf.
National Geographic magazine wrote in an article published in October 2004 about a possible hurricane scenario for New Orleans:

"The Federal Emergency Management Agency lists a hurricane strike on New Orleans as one of the most dire threats to the nation, up there with a large earthquake in California or a terrorist attack on New York City. Even the Red Cross no longer opens hurricane shelters in the city, claiming the risk to its workers is too great.
So everyone know that the situation was untenable there. When they knew that they had to evacuate the city consider the opening paragraphs of a July 24 story in the New Orleans Times-Picayune that for saw this situation.
"City, state and federal emergency officials are preparing to give the poorest of New Orleans' poor a historically blunt message: In the event of a major hurricane, you're on your own."
And they sure have lived up to these words. Now even in these areas, days later people are complaining that they see no federal response. I thought we learned are lessons from the problems of homestead.

Now days later, FEMA has found found 475 buses to help with the belated evacuation effort, where were they in the days before when it looked as if they would have been the most good. They knew that over 135,000 people had no good way out. They should of provided it before hand, giving the poor at least the option to get out of the way. And this goes for all of these areas in the Gulf. I keep hearing on the TV, " I would of left if I had a way or the money."

If your going to have evacuations give the poor , elderly and disabled more of a chance.

Related article: Updated 2:35 pm PST
No plan ever made to help New Orleans' most vulnerable
Destroying FEMA
A Diminished FEMA Scrambles to the Rescue

New Orleans Levee Break(s) Before and After

Great collection of info on exactly where the Levee breaks are.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Bush's Lost Gamble

Few have mentioned that the Bush administration cut the Army Corps of Engeneers budget by a 20th of what was requested for the levees in New Orleans. Now we see what happens when money is taken from vital inferstructer in order to pay for Iraq.
Yet after 2003, the flow of federal dollars toward SELA [Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project] dropped to a trickle. The Corps never tried to hide the fact that the spending pressures of the war in Iraq, as well as homeland security -- coming at the same time as federal tax cuts -- was the reason for the strain. At least nine articles in the Times-Picayune from 2004 and 2005 specifically cite the cost of Iraq as a reason for the lack of hurricane- and flood-control dollars. Read More...
See article on Daily Kos .

Related Article:
Did New Orleans Catastrophe Have to Happen?

New Landsat of New Orleans Flooding

New orleans
Photo Credit: USGS

The USGS has released a new Landsat image of the damage done to New Orleans. It's interesting to compare it with Goolge maps Satellite image of New Orleans, you begin to see just how much is under water in the area.

Flooding in New Orleans
Photo Credit: NASA

Also here are some before and after pics from NASA.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The President and his Misuse of the Bully Pulpit

It appears that even Republicans are having problems with the Presidents disconnect with reality. David Frum at the National Review and a former Bush speech writer is not liking how Bush and his handlers are using the bully pulpit.
By now it should be clear that President Bush's words on the subject of Iraq have ceased connecting with the American public. His speech yesterday to the Veterans of Foreign Wars is the latest - and one of the most serious to date - manifestations of the problem...A substantial majority (56%) now say that the war is going either "very badly" or "moderately badly." More than 50% now regard the war as a mistake. One-third want an immediate and total withdrawal. Maybe most fatefully: a plurality now say that they believe that the president deliberately misled the country into war.

...Again and again during the Bush presidency - and yesterday most recently - the president will agree to give what is advertised in advance as a major speech. An important venue will be chosen. A crowd of thousands will be gathered. The networks will all be invited. And after these elaborate preparations, the president says ... nothing that he has not said a hundred times before.

If a president continues to do that, he is himself teaching the public and the media to ignore him - especially when the words seem (as his speech yesterday to the VFW seemed) utterly to ignore the past three months of real-world events. Read More...

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

World Monuments Fund

World Monuments Fund
Photo Credit: World Monuments Fund

On tonights NewsHour on PBS they had an interview with the president of the World Monuments Fund, about the organization's effort to save the world's architectural wonders. And I found some of the sites that they have named as endangered quite surprising and well worth efforts to try and preserve. While it is unrealistic to think that all of these will be saved for the future it is well worth the effort to save our collective history for future generation. Already we have lost many architectural pieces to natural disasters, peoples indifference, pollution, war and time.

Recuiting Problems

Old $oldier
Credit: cherrycoke
Today in the Washington Post they had a article talking about the problems that the Military is having with recruiting. In particularthat parents are the biggest obstacle to recruitment Further more, that social class is the other big obstacle that recruiters face. Namely that wealthy, meaning more likely Republican supporters of the war, are not wanting their children to be in the military.

No big surprise here, I've commented on this in previous blogs. Now the president and planners are faced with sever manpower shortages next year, how do you think that they are going to meet plans for the current force strength in Iraq for the reported 4 years of a worst case scenario that the pentagon is planning for. Granted the Generals on the ground had said that if things went well they could begin to reduce levels next year.

But the hard truth is that the pentagon has abused the Inactive Ready Reserve not to mention the Reserve and National Guardsmen who reach their limits by law of a 2 year call-ups per theater beginning in September. The Generals on the ground in Iraq know this, they also know that they are unlikely to get the force strength that the need to get the job done. What are they going to do to fill those corps with bodies? Change the law to extend their service and destroy morale? Republicans are trying to find any way they can to avoid a draft. But it won't work if they truly believe that we should be there, then our country should as a whole man the line to be there.

This inherent problem of honesty is at the root of the poll numbers for the president resently. And any alternative to the President and the Republicans has to be honest. The cost for not being honest is payed for in lives. And to me that is just to high a price to pay.

Related Articles:
Military's Recruiting Troubles Extend to Affluent War Supporters
Parent-trap snares recruiters
Military's Recruiting Troubles

Monday, August 22, 2005

Spin Machine

Photo Credit: Wikimedia

CBS is reporting that Bush is now taking some breaks from his vacation to give speeches aimed at boosting support for our presence in Iraq. To little to late, this is just more of the same. And the public is seeing it for what it is. He is still surrounded by the same people who got us into this mess with no real plan once we got there other than some vague idea based on ideology rather than facts on that part of the world. Now we have a country on the verge of civil war, a breeding ground for terrorist both for recruitment and training, and with a new outline for a constitutions that places Islam at it's center.

It sure looks as if on almost every point that this administration has stated for our presence there, we are either struggling or outright failing. In the end we have a mess that will not be solved until the Bush makes radical changes in his Administration and is honest with the country as to the true costs and requirements of being there.

Related Update 11:00 PM PST:
MSNBC Hardball with Chris Matthews - 08-22-2005 Opening comments. 4 min. podcast from MSNBC

Bush's low Polling Numbers

While the President spends, what is the longest vacation of any President in US history, his approval polls are going below 40%
... new ARG poll has Bush below the 40 percent mark.

American Research Group. 8/18-21. MoE 3% (July results)
Bush approval ratings

Approve 36 (42)
Disapprove 58 (52)
Read more from Daily Kos

This is as many have already show a result of the failing policies in Iraq and conflicting reports from the Administration saying that were going to stay the course. While Generals in Iraq as saying that we could begin troop withdrawals by next year. Contradicted by the Pentagon saying that they are planning for these troop levels in Iraq for the next Four years! Never mind that we have broken the National Guard and Reserves and do not have the troops to meet these plans.

These numbers are a result of people realizing that this administration hasn't a clue as to what their doing other than making it possible for their buddies to profit from this involvement in Iraq.

Friday, August 12, 2005

The 21 adminsitration officials involved in the Plame Case

Think Progress has the list of 21 adminsitration officials implicated in the Plame outing.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Americans feel more vulnerable

Photo Credit: zazu189
It finally looks as if reality is seeping into the American consciousness. A USA TODAY/CNN/Gallup Poll shows that 57% say the war with Iraq has made the USA more vulnerable to terrorism.

The period of living in a dream world is beginning to end. I'll be truly glad when we don't have Republican Pundits saying that we can stay in Iraq at the present levels of man power for as long as needed. That lie is one that I have heard on TV in the last few weeks. The pundit that stated this is divorced from the reality of the status of the Military and why generals are desperately trying to find a way to reduce manpower in Iraq by next year. But this poll and others in resent weeks show that this form of lying is failing and change will hopefully be coming for the country. I hope that Congress will wake to this and do their job of oversight and leading instead of following an administration that is making similar mistakes made by Administrations during the Vietnam war. (That being: lying to itself and refusing to see things as they really are. To this day Rumsfeld and the administration have admitted no problems or misjudgments with their handling of the post invasion of Iraq.)

Memeoradum: Poll shows most Americans feel more vulnerable

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Ohio Special Election

I am truly sorry that Dem. Paul Hackett appears to have lost in Ohio. But on the positive side of things he made it a very close race, losing by only 4,000 votes. And hopefully will be a bell weather for good things to come for the Democrats across the country.

Daily Kos: OH-02: Results Open Thread (Part 5)
Blogcritics: Schmidt beats Hackett in Ohio special congressional election

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

The "Not Insane" To-Do List

Here is a easy way to pair down all you other to do lists:
"There is no multi-tasking. There is only the monkey mind jabbering so fast it seems like multi-tasking." *

LET'S FACE IT, we all have far too much to do. But the only reason this is so is because of the proliferation of productivity tools that respond to our insane lust to be "productive." Driving this insanity is the To-Do list which is, being limitless, is unlimited in its ability to drive us insane. It's time to stop the To-List insanity. Toss all you've previous To-Do Listing Systems you've got out -- paper and/or electronic -- and convert to this new, improved certifiably not-insane system.

The "Not Insane" To-Do List

Monday, August 01, 2005


I came across this on Blogdex: Leak-Gate

Our Eviction out of Uzbekistan

I've been thinking about the eviction of the US Military out of the Uzbekian bases and what they mean for the US and are operations in Afghanistan (our forgotten war against the people truly responsible for 9/11). Is it as Captain Ed at the the Captain's Quarters blog, believes and this is evidence that the Administration is following through on their pledge to bring democracy around the world.

No. I don't think it is. While the administration may have done some very superficial things in that respect, history shows that the US does what is best for us not what is best for those in another country, at least politically speaking. While Captain Ed has some valid facts in regard to Islam Karimov the Current President of Uzbekistan, I feel that it has more to do with pressures coming from Russia and their revulsion at having us on bases that are on their former lands. They do not like us in their backyard. They have been trying to pressure the former republics to get us out in a timely, form their prospective period.

What this means is that the troops in Afghanistan will now have even less real time support for their operations. Not having good access to remote sections of the northern part of the Country.

Not a good situation to have. But unfortunately this just adds to the woes of the Military who are stretched to thin as it is with Iraq.

Related Maps
Central Asia

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Zogby Poll on Impeachment of Bush

Zogby is reporting that in their polls more people support impeaching President Bush than supported the impeachment of Clinton.
The Poll
It found that Bush’s job approval ratings had slipped a point from the previous week, to 43 percent. While half (50%) of respondents do not hold this view, supporters of impeachment outweigh opponents in some parts of the country.

"Among those living in the Western states, a 52% majority favors Congress using the impeachment mechanism while just 41% are opposed; in Eastern states, 49% are in favor and 45% opposed. In the South, meanwhile, impeachment is opposed by three-in-five voters (60%) and supported by just one-in-three (34%); in the Central/Great Lakes region, 52% are opposed and 38% in favor....
The real question is why the media is not reporting on this story? It just further shows that it is a myth that the media is liberal. Sure some reports are liberal but they work for large conservative cooperations. Read the debate in the Blogosphere at Memeirandum

Monday, July 18, 2005


On Sunday's Meet the Press during the round table discussion with former Chief of Staff John Podesta, he brought up an interesting point of fact that at the very least Rove had violated his Nondisclosure Agreement that he signed when he first got access to any classified data. In this agreement it states:
Section #3..."I hereby agree that I will never divulge classified information to anyone unless: (a) I have officially verified that the recipient has been properly authorized by the United States Government to receive it; or (b) I have been given prior written notice of authorization from the United States Government Department or Agency (hereinafter Department or Agency) responsible for the classification of the information or last granting me a security clearance that such disclosure is permitted. I understand that if I am uncertain about the classification status of information, I am required to confirm from an authorized official that the information is unclassified before I may disclose it, except to a person as provided in (a) or (b), above. I further understand that I am obligated to comply with laws and regulations that prohibit the unauthorized disclosure of classified information."
For More on this see:
Karl Rove's Nondisclosure Agreement on Warblogging.com
Meet the Press Podcast of 7-18-2005 Full Show 48 min.

Friday, July 15, 2005

The War over Rove Rages

The NYTimes has a story on Novak's early conversation with Rove. While some are saying that this proves Rove did nothing wrong (case in point Captain Ed) they are ignoring that Rove then, as AmericaBlog asserts, is still guilty of not only confirming a CIA Operatives identity to Novak, he then compounds his mistake by then telling other reporters of this fact. He is not off the hook, they've only set the hook deeper into his flesh!

Rove Reportedly Held Phone Talk on C.I.A. Officer
Captain Ed
John @AmericaBlog

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The White House Press Secretary

For the last few days Scott McClellan has been getting grilled in the his daily briefings. He's been the pinata for the press corps, trying to redeem themselves for the poor job they have done in the last few years. And to some extent you might feel sorry for McClellen, but that soon fades as you see him do contortions so as to not answer any questions dealing with his credibility or that of the Administration. No matter what the RNC talking points are they do not change the fact that they have tried to obfuscate the Administrations involvement in Plame's outing. And the Administrations polling numbers show this that for once the public is seeing the truth, and not buying the these talking points.

Updated 6:40pm PST: related:
McClellan, in Third Day of Stonewalling
What Did the President Know and When Did He Know It?
GOP talking points on Rove seek to discredit Wilson
Poll: Americans Doubt Bush's Honesty
Explosive Rove Reaction

Monday, July 11, 2005

Press Corps comes to Life!

Blogcritics has published the transcript of part of Scott McClellan press confrence earlier today. A must read... Nine Days Later, White House Press Corps Discovers the Rove-Plame Story

White House Leaker: Karl Rove

Well, White House press secretary Scott McClellan refused to discuss Rove and statements made over the last two years that Rove had no involvement in this case. This is getting more and more interesting. Will they or won't they fire Rove? Or of more importance, I don't believe that Rove has a National Security Clearance in his current position. Lost in the din about Rove is the fact that the Judges who reviewed and ordered the Reporters to talk or face contempt charges, felt that even with a Reporter's right to special privilege this case is a National Security Case and is not covered by special privilege. So bigger fish are possibly in Special Prosecutor Patrick J. Fitzgerald's sights. Those at the White House who hold a National Security Clearance and told Rove about Plame in the first place. That is, if he can get Rove to talk and doesn't pull a stunt like Admiral Poindexter did in Iran-Contra, and suddenly have memory loss.

Updated: Related:
White House Won't Comment on Rove, Leak
Rove Told Reporter of Plame's Role But Didn't Name Her, Attorney Says
White House Dodges Rove Questions
Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982

Friday, July 08, 2005

Plame Case

The Washington Post has an excellent article explaining the case and it's involvement with the White House and the questions that remain.

Memeorandum: Questions Remain on the Leaker and the Law

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London: Now and Then

Daily Life
London during the Blitz
I have been listening to the reports on the Terror attack on London to day and am struck by the way it's people are handling this. You can truly see that they are the Children of those who did not buckle during the Blitz. Accounts, like the one on Daily Kos; Getting to work in London today, reaffirm just how strong people are in Great Britain. They are effected by events, very admirable to see such people respond in times of crisis. Here in the States, I do not think people would have been as calm given the nature of the attack.

Udated: Related:
List of Major Terrorist Attacks in England
Memeorandum: 7-7-2005
WikiNews: Coordinated terrorist attack in London
Flickr: The London Bomb Blasts pool Slide Show

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The Press and Karl Rove

Karl Rove
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Why is it that the press are not questioning Scott McClellan on Karl Rove's involvement in the Valerie Plame leak? That is their job, is it not, as members of the White House Press Corp to ask hard questions on matters concerning Americans and their readers? Since the revelation of Time Magazine last Friday, have they pressed any of the hard questions about Rove and his connection with this leak? Have they done anything other than take Rove's lawyer's word that,"Yes, he spoke with Novak. But he didn't leak Plame's name." Isn't their job to investigate and not simply be parrots? While some are trying to ask the hard questions they are not the ones in the White House Press Corp. Nor have they gotten replies to their questions. Are they afraid of Rove and his mastery of Spin and/or his Big Brain?

Related articles:
White House Press Corps Fails To Ask About Rove
Huff Po's O'Donnell: Three Questions For Rove's Lawyer...
The Rove Factor?
Valerie Plame

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Ever wanted to be Gulliver?

Flying Carpet

Ever wanted to know how Gulliver felt like in Gulliver's Travels? Well go to the Sacramento Airport. Engadget has a blurb on this carpet done by an Iranian artist named Seyed Alavi. He had this carpet printed with aerial imagery of the region. I'm surprised that someone hasn't tried this before now, It's an damn cool idea for an airport concourse.

Related articles:
Engadget: Artist prints “flying carpet” for airport
Gizmag: Flying Carpet

$100 a Barrel

Oil Drum Stack
Photo Credit: samplediz
$100 a barrel of oil. That is the unbelievable level some think oil could get to by the winter. Right now it's around the $60 a barrel level, but a jump to $100? Sure the that is a worst case scenario, but even given the high demand from China and the fact that our refineries are running full out, I just don't see it getting that high. Or at least I hope it won't. If it did I'd be riding my bike far more for transportation, because I couldn't afford the gas that result from prices that high.

Related Article:
New fear for oil: $100 by winter

Saturday, July 02, 2005

4th of July

Photo Credit: zandura577

Have a Great Fourth of July Weekend.

Friday, July 01, 2005

Short list for the Court

As you probably have heard Justice Sandra Day O'Conner has sent her letter of resignation to the President. And now the real battle begins in Washington over who will replace such a pivotal person on the Court. Slate has compiled its own list of who the President is looking at. Personally none of the people mentioned are good choices, and further more, it looks as if Bush will wait till after he returns from Europe, around the July 8th, before he names a Nominee. In the mean time speculation will run wild in the press.

Updated: Related Articles:
Wikipedia: Sandra Day O'Connor
Justice O'Connor's Retirement Letter
Slate: The Supreme Court Shortlist
Slate's take on her career and decisions
Washington Post: Supreme Court Justice O'Connor Resigns

The Actual Size of the Military

Slate has a very interesting article examining the Military and just what makes up that 1 million man force.
And fewer than 40 percent are combat soldiers—149,406—are members of the active armed forces. (The rest are in the National Guard and Army Reserve.)...others are support and logistics troops—50,252 in transportation, 37,763 in medical, 34,270 in the training and doctrine command, and so forth...Read More.
Related article:
Slate: Who's in the Army Now?

Thursday, June 30, 2005

Iraq War Casualties

Iraq War Casualties

This site Iraq War Casualties Map shows the Casualties across the country from January 2001 to the present in 30 day steps. They also give information on each (name, age, rank, hometown, and date and location of death.). It's important to always remember what we are asking as a result of staying in Iraq.

Highly Disturbing Direction of the Courts

I know that these decisions came down a few days ago but this blog entry from Evil Genius Chronicles really sums it up and I feel is worth repeating here.
Maybe it is just me, but I think the juxtaposition of two recent Supreme Court decisions is highly disturbing. The intellectual property rights of corporations are so important that any technology that could conceivably impinge on them should be suppressed - literally or by forcing inventors to lawyer up before they even know what to do. Your right to keep your own house if a corporation wants to develop the land, however, isn’t so important. The theoretical taking of imaginary property is to be avoided; the literal taking of your physical property is to be encouraged. This strikes me as completely fucked.
This combined with the story that reporters can go to jail for not revealing a source to a story they didn't write, shows the disturbing direction our nation is going.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Custom Button Maker

I came across this on Bong Bong and thought it was a cool blog entry.

Gallery of DRM-Related Antipixel Buttons and Badges


Creative Commons Creative Commons Electronic Fronter Foundation NO Broadcast Flags

If you interested you can create your own at .

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Warships as Prisons?

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

UN officials say the US is suspected of keeping secret prisoners on warships. This combined with the reluctance of this administration to give access to the UN to Gitmo, spells real trouble in the future. And further erodes the moral high ground we had before this administration lost their minds and thought we didn't have to abide by international treaties we signed. The problems at Abu Ghraib and those in Afghanistan combined with the resent events in the Italian courts, wanting 13 CIA officials for kidnapping in connection with questionable Rendition Flights out of Italy.

Quote of the Day

Rumsfeld said: We're not going to win against the insurgency; the Iraqi people are going to win against the insurgency.
Daily Kos' is right, that if say Dean had said this all hell would of cut loose on him. The Republicans and in particular this Administration is have been getting off way to easly in the press.

Monday, June 27, 2005

A Ray of hope with P2P

Fortune has an article discussing the possibility that not all is lost in regard to P2P networks. They point out that the ruling was based in large part on the Court's conclusion that the defendants Grokster and StreamCast were actively promoting their software for copyright infringement purposes. But the decision did not directly address the legitimacy of P2P networks on the whole. Still RIAA and MPAA have one more item to add to there bag of tricks to try and kill P2P networks.

Related Articles:
Fortune: The File Sharing Fight's Not Over

Two horrible decisions from the Supreme Court

Gavel of Justice
Photo Credit: je1196
The Supreme Court handed down two horrible decisions today, the first effecting Grokster and other file-sharing companies now can be sued if their products are designed for copyright infringement and don't have safeguards to protect copyrighted material. And the second saying that cable companies own their lines effectively killing small ISP's and VoIP because the can change priority of any transmition into their network, killing competition.

A very bad day for innovation, the Internet and the Public.

Updated Related Articles:
Not a Good Day for Innovation, Customer Rights and Free Speech
EFF: Supreme Court Ruling Will Chill Technology Innovation

All Volunteer Army?

Catchin'Some Shade
Photo Credit: dragon_mg
As this war grinds on and the divide between those who serve and those at home widens. I only hope that are country will get true statesmen back in the halls of power who will do what is in the greater good. Because the current batch of politicians are not getting the job done. They throw around high ideas and rhetoric, blinding the masses to the fact that they are not doing anything of real importance. Meanwhile those who serve are dying for men who do nothing to support other than give hyperbole to them on the home front.

And now that the limits of this all volunteer army are being seen on the horizon, these people who sent them in to harms way refuse to see the dangers that they have placed on all of us.

These volunteers have done all we have asked of them, with great courage and professionalism. But it is time to be honest with the American people, our security is in question in the near future (say 6-12 months) due to recruitment shortfalls now. We as a nation need to start this discussion on what will happen, if as Rumsfeld says we will be in Iraq for some time yet.

Related article:
NYTimes: The Army's Hard Sell
Daily Kos: The Demise of the All Volunteer Army?

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Follow on to College Republicans doing their part from Daily Kos' blog Chickenhawks in action.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Republican Version of Patriotism

Photo Credit: agentoseis
Daily Kos has a great piece on College republicans giving so much for the country. It just warms the cockles thinking about it.
Thank god the College Republicans are in the forefront of the fight for freedom...Just like our soldiers are dying in Iraq, campus conservatives are stapling flyers for an Ann Coulter speech to a kiosk. Basically the same thing...Our nation desperately needs young men and women to fight the war they support. Yet they refuse to step forward. They pretend to honor those making the sacrifices, but don't you dare ask them to move past empty rhetoric and put words into action. That would be too "negative"..Read from Daily Kos More.

Just like good old George W did during Vietnam, they may talk tough, but when push comes to shove they will run for cover. And find creative ways to say that they have other things that they have to do, other than serve and go to Iraq or Afghanistan.

Bushism of the Day

"You see, not only did the attacks help accelerate a recession, the attacks reminded us that we are at war."—Washington, D.C., June 8, 2005

Click here to see video of Bushism (Needs Real Player). Quote at 3:19 into his speech.

Slate: The Complete Bushisms

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Broadcast Flags

It looks as if, thanks to readers from Slashdot, BoingBoing and Instalanch, their will not be a hidden bill to place Broadcast flags in TV signals. Apparently when word got out that there was only 48 hours to stop this, these readers deluged the members of the Senate Appropriations Committee with more than 11,000 emails and faxes. That's nearly 500 faxes an hour, not to mention an untold number of phone calls telling them their feelings on the subject.

Way to go!

EFF: Deep links
EFF: Join the Liberation Digital Television Front!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Point of Amusement

I got a chuckle from this; Tom Cruise Kills Oprah. Take a look for yourself.

Film Clip

Sunday, June 19, 2005


WarBlogging has a great piece on disinformation that is well worth the time to look at.
Disinformation: Bases

What is disinformation ? The disinformation is a manipulation of the public opinion, for political purposes, with an information processed by diverted means.

What are its goals ? - at the enemy : to demoralize, weaken, disintegrate, destroy it. - at home : to neutralize and drive the masses in order to make them go in the desired direction at the desired moment without resistence. Success in this area is mandatory in any democracy, which is in fact nothing else than an apparent dictature of the majority.

How to do it ? - Discredit the authorities of the opposing country, imply them into illegal operations, shake their reputation. - Discredit and hold up to ridicule everything which is good in the opposing country. Its traditions, its religion, its faith, its army, its history. The aim is to destroy the identity of a people. - Weaken the adversary. Encourage and make him a slave of his passions (sex, money, wealth, power) in order to make him paralyzed and without resistence.

- Destroy the adversary by dividing him. Excite some against others, young against old, women against men, political wing against political wing. - Accordingly, do exactly the contrary in your country. Make the nation united in the same spirit and having the same will, reinforce the trust in your power, your institutions, your leaders. Read more....

Thursday, June 16, 2005

New to me -- Delicious tags

I've heard about the del.icio.us social bookmarks for a long time. But had never tried the del.icio.us site before. It is an interesting idea and if you having to move around to different computers this is a great way to have your bookmarks available to you all the time.

The beginnings of my del.icio.us Bookmarks. The really interesting thing is that del.icio.us also offers RSS feeds for an individual's tag or for a given poster's bookmarks.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Fortress of Babble

NPR's Day to Day has a piece on a new device that will isolate you in a cone of babbling so you can hold a conversation in private with others stand a few feet away and not being able to understand the conversation. At times I've wished for a portable version of this.

The desktop-sized elements called Babble

To hear the piece visit their site and listen to Talk Freely Behind the Fortress of Babble.

Legal Guide for Bloggers

The folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) have put together an FAQ on legal issues of blogging. They have tried to answers questions of liability and what rights you have as an average blogger.

Freedom Sake

Blogger Legal Liability Issues

The Overview of Legal Liability Issues FAQ briefly addresses some common legal issues that affect you as a publisher, especially situations where you may face legal claims or threats based on the information you published on your blog.

The Bloggers' FAQ on Intellectual Property addresses issues that arise when you publish material created by others on your blog.

The Bloggers' FAQ on Online Defamation Law provides an overview of defamation (libel) law, including a discussion of the constitutional and statutory privileges that may protect you.

The Bloggers' FAQ on Section 230 Protections discusses a powerful federal law that gives you, as a web host, protection against legal claims arising from hosting information written by third parties.

The Bloggers' FAQ on Privacy addresses the legal issues surrounding the privacy rights of people you blog about.

Bloggers As Journalists

The Bloggers' FAQ on the Reporter's Privilege is useful to bloggers who report news gathered from confidential sources.

The Bloggers' FAQ on Media Access can help bloggers who need to get access to public records and government meetings, as well as secure press passes to help with newsgathering.

Other Legal Issues for Bloggers
The Bloggers' FAQ on Election Law addresses the legal issues you may face blogging about political campaigns.

The Bloggers' FAQ on Labor Law addresses legal issues with workplace blogging, including union organizing, protections for political blogging away from the workplace, and whistle blowing.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Disturbing Video Clip

I came across this clip on Tim Riley's City Desk and have to agree this is an Evil video clip. It depicts pictures of Micheal Jackson morphing from a child to the man he is today.

Tim Riley: blog entry 6-13-05
Tim Riley: Podcast
Video: Micheal

Sunday, June 12, 2005


Photo Credit: petrovicdr
I just happened to catch this show called Studio 360 while I was in the car this evening and found it of interest. The topic of discussion was art fakes. And in particular the experiences of Thomas Hoven fake buster and author False Impressions and others on the art world. Thing that I found interesting was his statement that the entire industry was crooked. He pointed out that if you stepped into any museum and looked at any of the masterpieces there you would not be seeing what it really is (he has advocated placing small photos of what the picture would look like with out the embellishments) . All of these paintings have been embellished and altered in some way. And it is precisely these embellishments that make it possible for fakes to circulate. That practice has created an environment of obfuscation. That and the fact that he called all of the so called experts in the art world intellectually lazy. Not doing the leg work to see if a work is real or not. He points out that just going to a library and looking it up in a catalog isn't enough. Those are easily forged and altered. All in all a very enlightening discussion.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Yes Men

I saw the craziest film on DVD yesterday called The Yes Men. This documentary follows two crazy men who impersonate WTO officials at conferences and on Television News shows. Once they have gotten invited to speak then they say and do outlandish things that no sane person would say or do in public -- usually with some outlandish stunt in it to see if the audiance finally gets that they are not the WTO. The amazing thing is that the only time anyone calles them on it during the film is at a presentation for college students. The way that their con works is that they set up a website that looks like the real one but has a slightly different address from the real one. Then they wait for people to contact them. In their correspondence with anyone that contacts them, they will give them anwers that the WTO would have given, hoping that at some point they will be given invites to speak at a Confrence or News Event publicly. Then they spring their stunt with props and powerpoint graphics.

Yes Men
Photo Credit: Yes Men Promo

The Yes Men
The Yes Men Movie
Rotten Tomatoes: Yes Men

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Alias Spoof

I really like the first season of Alias, but thought it had gone down hill after the second season. A good friend pointed me to this Spoof Alias: Lost Episode. That in away retold the first episode in this funny rehash.
The Lost Episode is our tribute to 'Alias' the ABC series that brought Sydney to life. The spoof was a gift to series creator JJ Abrams, who was so pleased that he mailed personal letters of praise to each member of our cast and crew.

Alias: Lost Episode
Photo Credit: NewBorn Pictures

Friday, June 03, 2005

Space Elevator

Space Elevator In Clouds
Photo Credit: Wikipedia
Today on NPR's Talk of the Nation: Science Friday had Brad Edwards, former director of research, Institute for Scientific Research on to talk about Space Elevators. He gave the impression that they were 15 years away from start construction of such a project, far sooner than previously believed. However they still have some significant hurdles to over come. Such as, how to deal with the electricity generated by the Ribbon as it passes through the atmosphere. Something this big will produce staggering amounts of potential energy, and could pose a danger similar to the Space Tether Experiment on the Shuttle in '96 . But given the possible advantages it is an exciting time. I looking forward to hearing more about it.

The Audio of this interview should be posted later today on the Talk of the Nation site.

Related Articles:
NPR: The Path to an Elevator into Space
Wikipedia: Space Elevator

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Brinkmanship in the Air Force

Last stop for gas
USAF Photo by T.Sgt. Erik Gudmundson
I am at a loss as to what they are thinking in the Pentagon. The Air Force has announced that they will be cutting 32,000 hours of flight time training. In order to save a minuscule $272 million of a $825 million operations and maintenance shortfall.
The cuts come as Air Force aircrews are heavily worked, flying missions in Iraq, Afghanistan and over some U.S. cities in an attempt to prevent another terrorist attack.

"Starting early this summer, units may have aviators unable to get required training to maintain full combat-ready status," Col. Jim Dunn, deputy director of flight operations for ACC, said in a written statement. "Overall effectiveness will become a growing challenge." Read more...

This is insane! These cuts do not effect either the Blue Angles or the band spankin' new F-22 Raptor, show pieces for the Air Force, only everyone else. So they are going to kill some of are best and brightest for what? I think that cutting something like the F-22 should be done long before you start cutting training time in a period which see these same people going to Afghanistan and Iraq where that training will save lives. As it is they must think that someone will run to their rescue and give them the money to do mission critical things as well as all of their pie in the sky programs that should be cut to meet these short falls. This sort of gamesmanship is dangerous and should never have been permitted by the leadership.

Related Articles:
Pilot Training Time Slashed
Training Cuts: Ex-Pilots React

Bushism of the Day

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

"See, in my line of work you got to keep repeating things over and over and over again for the truth to sink in, to kind of catapult the propaganda."—Greece, N.Y., May 24, 2005

Related links:
List of Bushisms
The Complete Bushisms: The president's accidental wit and wisdom.
Bushism Daily RSS

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Another couple of nails in the EU Coffin

EU Flag
Photo Credit: happe
The European Union was handed two more set backs today. The first being the defeat by the Dutch to the EU Constitution, this being the second such defeat in the last few days. The second set back that came out to day relates to this defeat in Netherlands, that being at a meeting of the European Monetary Union (EMU) the possible break-up of EMU was discussed. Which has further lowered the value of the Euro on the world market.

Personally I think that the Political elite of Europe have brought this on themselves by dictating to their countryman and not giving them any real say in the process other then rubber stamping their collective agreements. While I have felt that the idea if the European Union was a good one, their process has left much to be desired.

Dutch Voters Reject EU Constitution
Euro sinks further after ‘break up’ talk
History of the European Constitution
European Constitution