Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Come, sail away, sail away.

One day, one night, one moment,
My dreams could be, tomorrow.
One step, one fall, one falter,
East or west, over earth or by ocean.
One way to be my journey,
This way could be my book of days.

with step-by-step instructions and rules,
offered by Will Durst. Party on. :-)


I just finished reading this at Firedoglake:

The next big battle on the horizon are the NSA wiretap hearings coming up next week.

On February 6 the Judiciary Committee will begin questioning Alberto Gonzales.

I hope everyone will stop by Glenn Greenwald's blog and take time to look over his post on the points he believes will be the most important to cover during this process and to contribute your ideas. Glenn has a lot of people's ears right now after his work on the topic made headlines so it's a great way to prepare for and contribute to something that's going to be very critical for all of us.

I believe the paramount objective with these hearings is to force out into the open the theories of Presidential power which the Administration has embraced in order to justify its transgressions of FISA -- not just as applied to eavesdropping but with respect to all decisions broadly relating to the question of how this country will respond to the threat of terrorism. Thus, the questions posed to Attorney General Gonzales should absolutely not be confined strictly to the question of the NSA eavesdropping program, but must explore how the Administration’s theories of its own power apply generally.

The Committee, with its questioning, must make clear to the public that this scandal is not about whether we should be eavesdropping on Al Qaeda, because everyone agrees that we should and must do that. That is why we have a law -- FISA -- which specifically authorizes eavesdropping on terrorists. Nobody opposes eavesdropping. The scandal is about -- and these hearings must therefore emphasize -- the scope of the President’s claimed powers, and specifically his claimed power to act without what the Administration calls "interference" from the Congress or the courts, even including -- literally -- engaging in actions which are expressly prohibited by the criminal law.

Digby recommends:

Read the entire post and look at the questions. Glenn is looking for feedback on this. He received some major media attention this past week from Knight Ridder, the NY Times and The Washington Post for his outstanding catch of the administration's 2002 objection to loosening the FISA laws. He is in a position now to advance this another step.

Glenn has divided the 10 questions into the following two posts:
questions 1-5,
questions 6-10.

The Faces of Cowardice

Democrat cowards who voted for cloture

The Dark Wraith has provided the pictures above for those who wish to help these Democratic Senators find new careers.

Monday, January 30, 2006

My vote for the dumbest photo and headline of the year from MSNBC.

Here, ladies and gentlemen (and you, too, Mack) is the President of the United States of America.

Who, has pillaged (is that still a viable word?) and raped America as we once knew it.

Buck Fush

Dems and Mod Republicans Opposing filibuster

Carper-Del., Conrad-ND, Collins-ME, Byrd-WV, Dorgan-ND, Bingaman-NM, Landrieu-LA, Pryor-Ark., Rockefeller-WV, Inouye-HI, Bill Nelson-Fla, Ben Nelson-Neb., Johnson-SD, Salazar-Col., Lincoln-Ark., Baucus-Mont., Lieberman-CT, Cantwell-Wash., Snowe-ME, Kohl-WI, Akaka-HI

Special Blog Post:
The Message I Sent Today

To the Democratic Members of the United States Senate:

I send you this facsimile to ask that, in the matter of the confirmation of Mr. Samuel Alito, Jr., in appointment to Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court, you vote "No." I furthermore ask that you support the Honorable Senator John Kerry, who has expressed his intention to extend debate on the matter.

Article II Section 2 of the United States Constitution vests the power of appointment of Supreme Court Justices in the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. Neither the President nor the Senate is conferred an absolute right by this charge: the President's prerogative is the privilege, the Senate's is a duty; and neither acts without the bounds of representing the will of the People of the nation. That you may be concerned with your vote representing the will of the majority at some particular time in the course of the affairs and time of the country is not at issue: your vote in this and all matters must be to the will, good, and benefit of all citizens for all times and certainly not only and merely for the here and now.

Parliamentary procedures are established to ensure that the minority in representation is heard while the will of the majority carries; but such procedures are altered in the form adopted by the U.S. Senate, and I would submit to you that the divergence is particularly to the purpose of ensuring that a mere majority in representation may not use that position in tyranny over any group whose interest may for a time be in the minority.

Yours is the charge of the ages: what you do in your time of strength or weakness in service to this Republic will reverberate down the chamber of history for generations to come and affect men, women, and children yet even to be born. Let them, no less the us, say of you that you stood on this day for principle unpopular with those who would unduly circumscribe rights and liberties we and our ancestors shed blood, reputation, and treasure to attain.

This, I ask of you in the name of our great nation and no less in the name of the People, those living, those who have come before us, and those yet to live in this bright land of a free people.

Monday morning shut down the Senate switchboard
You can use these toll-free numbers (and ask for the Senators by name): 888-355-3588 or 888-818-6641.

Tanya at Daily Kos has all the Info and Ammo you need

Thersites T2 in Eugene, Oregon at Vichy Democrats has the

Bob Fertik at Democrats.com has The Alito 48

Mark Pryor (D-AR) opposes a filibuster because "there is not a smoking gun in his past." Well, we just found a SMOKING CANNON.

Mining is dangerous. In recent weeks we have seen two deadly mining accidents in West Virginia. As long as people use stuff that comes from under the ground, there will be mining, and although we should push as hard as we can for safety, there will always be some risks involved.

That said, yesterday there was a mining accident at a Potash mine in Saskatchewan. Now, read the article:

ESTERHAZY, Saskatchewan - Fire broke out Sunday in a mine in central Canada, forcing some 70 miners trapped underground to retreat to emergency refuge rooms stocked with oxygen and supplies, a mine official said.

Late Sunday, a rescue team reached one of the rooms, made sure everyone was safe, then closed them back inside until the air inside the mine could be cleared of toxic gases, said Marshall Hamilton, a spokesman for Mosaic Company, the Minneapolis-based firm that operates the potash mine.

“In those refuge stations, they can seal themselves off and there’s oxygen, food and water,” Hamilton told CBC Radio. “And they can stay in there for at least 36 hours.”

A refuge station inside a mine which can be made airtight and is stocked with 36 hours worth of oxygen, food and water. Imagine that. Now, it is true that only some of the miners have been contacted, although it is hoped that the rest are safe in other, similar refuge stations (apparently they have several in the mine.)

But that's in Canada. Our mining companies are free to ignore even the numerous citations they receive, as I blogged on January 9 after the Sago mine tragedy, and then again on January 21 after the Alma #1 mine tragedy. Absent a union to take them to court (which neither the Sago nor the Alma mine had) and make them effect some changes, American mine operators collect citations for violations from Federal mine inspectors literally by the score (the Alma #1 mine received 90 citations from Federal inspectors just in 2005 for example), and can ignore them like so much confetti since our GOP led Congress, in their infinite wisdom, decided to de-fang the inspectors. They can write citations all they want, but it takes an impossibly long and tiresome process for them to be able to actually do something.

I bet if someone even suggests creating refuge stations in American mines, the operators will scream something about socialism and insist that Congress pass a law letting them ignore their employees some more. But I don't call it socialism or the government butting into business, I call it a good idea. And I'd venture that right now a lot of people in both West Virginia and Saskatchewan agree with that.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

News You Can Use (or Not), Issue #1

CNN is reporting that the Food and Drug Administration, under pressure for years in the matter, is now proposing that products using the dyes cochineal extract or carmine disclose these names on packaging. Although no widespread health hazard has been associated with either of the two substances, several dozen people have reported hypersensitivity to them. More important to the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which petitioned the FDA nearly eight years ago on the matter, is that these two dyes are extracted from insects: specifically, females of the species Dactylopius coccus costa, two of which are shown on a prickly pear in the inset. Native to Meso-America, these insects have been harvested, dried, and crushed for red dye since the time of the Aztecs. During the early years of the Spanish occupation, D. coccus costa was second only to silver as commodity export. Because of their value and the virtual monopoly the Spanish held on them, live specimens of the cactus-sucking insects were taken from their native land and cultivated elsewhere.

Their popularity has not diminished to this day. Up until now exempt from certification, carmine is the red dye of choice for everything from strawberry ice cream to port wine cheese, and the cochineal extract gives red lipsticks their luscious hue, nail polishes their "my fingernails are attractive when they look like they're bleeding" appearance, and eyeliners their "my eyes make me look vampire dead" yummy goodness. Other and specific examples of products that use the substances can be found at "Products to Avoid," offered by the Vegetarian Network Victoria.

Michael F. Jacobson, executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, is not satisfied with the labeling requirements the FDA is proposing because simply naming the substances does not provide people with any indication about the origins of the chemicals. He wants the FDA rule to explicitly direct that "insect-based" be put on labels for products that use cochineal extract or carmine.

The period in which public comments can be made on the proposed regulation for labeling products containing cochineal extract or carmine ends on April 27, 2006. Electronic comment submissions may be made via the Food and Drug Administration Dockets Open for Comment.

The Dark Wraith neither endorses nor criticizes the use of ground insects in cosmetics and food products.

Enron trial to last four months:

The top two bosses of former energy giant Enron are finally due up in court, with final jury selection starting on Monday.

Five years have passed since Enron collapsed in the wake of revelations that the firm had hidden hundreds of millions of dollars of debts in complex transactions and secret accounts in order to pretend it was profitable.

The scandal, which shook the business world in 2001, saw the mass resignation and arrest of Enron's directors.

Now the two biggest fish are finally up in court - Enron's founder and former chairman Ken Lay, 63, and former chief executive Jeffrey Skilling, 52.

Caught in the Enron collapse:

Some who have lost out are angry that former Enron chief Ken Lay, whose trial is to begin on Monday, remains very wealthy.

Professor Nancy Rapaport, Dean of the Law School at the University of Houston, explained that she sees this as one of the chief lessons of the Enron saga - the story of two separate classes competing against each other.

She said that "very smart, very well-off people" had been "going beyond pushing the limits of what the law allowed them to do, and the normal working person was caught in the crosshairs of that.

"So what Enron did was take deals that could be normal in business, and perverted them in a way that allowed Enron to cheat on the structures of the deal.

"At bottom was a cheat on a gigantic scale - and the real question now is, who knew about the cheat, and when?"

Mr Lay faces seven charges of fraud and conspiracy, while former chief executive Jeff Skilling faces 35 separate counts of fraud, conspiracy, insider trading and lying to auditors.

Both men have maintained their innocence throughout.

However, 17 people have already pleaded guilty to various offences connected with the Enron affair, while five others have been convicted.

There are some things money cannot buy.
Integrity is one of them.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Special Analysis:
The Inconsequential Citizen, the Inconsequential State

At The Dark Wraith Forums, the most recent Open Thread has generated an extraordinary if complex and at times contentious discussion spanning dozens of individual comments. At length, the conversation turned to the matter of the individual state—the fundamental unit of account in sovereignty—that benefits or suffers from the actions of the several other states in their collective and unilateral actions. Is it then moral or is it immoral in absolute principle for a state or group of states to impose will upon another state or group of states; or is "morality" irrelevant when the only actionable mechanism of imposition is through power?

I offered there, and herewith repeat in augmented form, a perspective that uses the social contract between the individual and a free society as the analogue of consequentiality of the state in a world of many sovereignties.

Within the ranks of what could be described as the "liberal societies" of the past several hundred years are found several distinct threads with regard to the relationship between the state and the citizen thereof. In one mode, a democratic construction leads to the full expression of the person within that state. The dilemma comes when deciding whether that person as an individual is relevant: in other words, does the individual exist wholly separate from his state, or is he infused of and animated fully by it?

Jean-Jacques Rousseau proposed that, were the individual allowed his or her free reign—including as that would the right of private property, etc.—the state would degenerate into a fanfare of individual greeds, the most powerful interests of which would rule, and the remainder of which would consume one another in an endless progress of avaricious devices.

Unfortunately, a prescription fulfilling Rousseau's thinking was proposed by Karl Marx, who was unabashed in the relevance of the whole at the expense of the dispensation of each person within it.

Unfortunately, again, the alternative—the one of which Rousseau warned—was the dominance of the individual at the expense of the permanent subordination of the state. Henry David Thoreau, if in rude and callous fashion, expressed unwaivering opposition to any form of government that moved to express power over him. His became one of many touchstones to the mode of modern states that recognize individual power and, more importantly, the individuation that naturally arises from a state so circumscribed. Mahatma Ghandi, for example, would surely not have endorsed an anarchic state of equilibrium virtually endorsed by Thoreau, yet Ghandi quoted him and described him as inspirational. At its face, that seems impossibly contradictory, since the father of modern India certainly anticipated the power of the state being brought to bear on ancient, brutish institutions of classism. The resolution comes in imagining that a powerful form of the liberalism of modernity is expressed in its expectation of and effort to achieve a state that is directed solely to the end of ensuring personal liberty and freedom of action within a minimal shell of common and statutory laws that ensure not much more than civil order and domestic tranquility.

That, however, might not be enough. In this configuration, the state really does exist as an entity—subordinate though it may be—separate from the individual governed by it. And therein lies the knot: to function effectively within a larger sphere of states, some of which might have constructive relationships to their own citizens entirely other than ours, the liberal state must act. Regardless of how it conducts its affairs of state, it must act separately from its citizens, even if it is acting upon their will, as expressed through democratically elected representatives, through recent revolution, or otherwise. It must still act, and that's where the disturbing idea of "inconsequentiality" of citizens as individuals, as groups with common interests, and even in some circumstances as aggregates with voting power comes into play.

I address this matter as a fierce individualist. Part of that individualism is a repudiation of the state as having the right to unduly harm inalienable rights I was conferred by birth within its borders. I must then come to terms with my inconsequentiality, and I do so as such: the state must fully, at all times, and in all matters recognize the rights I am granted by the Bill of Rights and by such interpretations rendered thereupon by the Courts of the land. In exchange for freeing the state of the burden of having to carry out duties requiring that it use its treasure to control, compel, or otherwise demand of me that which would expend its treasure, its time, and its attention, the state may then regard me as inconsequential as an individual. By extension, I anticipate that the state will in all of its affairs external to these sovereign borders work to the end of recognizing the same configuration through whatever devices by which it comes to have power over other peoples of the Earth.

This way of statecraft is at peril: neo-conservatism—what has been called "neo-liberalism" in some quarters—takes this all as ample and sufficient justification for adventurism abroad and the unavoidable consequence of repression in the homeland. That such malevolent misapplication of principle is the neo-conservative's first and exclusive tendency is not an indication of conceptual flaw in liberalism, but rather a sharp beacon of caution to the danger of allowing any person without deeply humanistic grounding to ever be allowed power beyond his or her crippled ability to grasp its proper, just, and effective use.

That having been noted, be the affection through commerce, militarism, or other project, if the state will at every turn respect and recognize that each affected individual throughout the world merits the trajectory toward and achievement of the expansive rights idealized by liberalism, the state will have not only the respect of the peoples of other lands, but will also be the envy of other states as they in their components, alliances, and aggregate find that they, like we, are inconsequential to the greater goal, which is the sovereign state at peace with its own; and thus by virtue of inconsequentiality, both the nations and the peoples of the world become free.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

This article is based upon comments and articles at The Dark Wraith Forums.

For the sake of our Children...

Kos is keeping us up to date in their great war room on the filibuster. Here is the list of fax numbers:

AR: Lincoln(D) (202) 228-1371
AR: Pryor(D) (202) 228-0908
CA: Boxer(D) (202) 226-6701
CA: Feinstein(D) (202) 228-3954
CO: Salazar(D) (202) 228-5036
CT: Dodd(D) (202) 224-1083
CT: Lieberman(D) (202) 224-9750
DE: Biden(D) (202) 224-0139
DE: Carper(D) (202) 228-2190
FL: Nelson(D) (202) 228-2183
HI: Akaka(D) (202) 224-2126
HI: Inouye(D) (202) 224-6747
IA: Harkin(D) (202) 224-9369
IL: Durbin(D) (202) 228-0400
IL: Obama(D) (202) 228-4260
IN: Bayh(D) No FAX listed
LA: Landrieu(D) (202) 224-9735
MA: Kennedy(D) (202) 224-2417
MA: Kerry(D) (202) 224-8525
MD: Mikulski(D) (202) 224-8858
MD: Sarbanes(D) (202) 224-1651
MI: Levin(D) (202) 224-1388
MI: Stabenow(D) (202) 228-0325
MN: Dayton(D) (202) 228-2186
Local (612) 727-5223
MT: Baucus(D) (202) 224-0515
ND: Conrad(D) (202) 224-7776
ND: Dorgan(D) (202) 224-1193
NE: Nelson(D) (202) 228-0012
NJ: Corzine(D) (202) 228-2197
NJ: Lautenberg(D) (202) 224-9707
NM: Bingaman(D) (202) 224-2852
NV: Reid(D) (202) 224-7327
NY: Clinton(D) (202) 228-0282
NY: Schumer(D) (202) 228-3027
OR: Wyden(D) (202) 228-2717
RI: Reed(D) (202) 224-4680
SD: Johnson(D) (202) 228-0368
VT: Leahy(D) (202) 224-3595
VT: Jeffords(I) No FAX listed
WA: Cantwell(D) (202) 228-0514
WA: Murray(D) (202) 224-0238
WI: Feingold(D) (202) 224-2725
WI: Kohl(D) (202) 224-9787
WV: Rockefeller(D) (202) 224-7665
WV: Byrd(D) (202) 228-0002
Vulnerable Republicans:
Lincoln Chafee Fax: (202) 228-2853 / (401) 453-5085
Susan Collins: Fax: (202) 224-2693 / (207) 990-4604
Olympia Snowe: Fax: (202) 224-1946 / (207) 874-7631
You can send a free fax here.

In the comments section of Kos, there is an excellent list of numbers - thanks to Kiteinthewind.

Bob Fertik also has the war room open and reports that "Senators are freaking out!'

T2 at Vichy Democrats posts the plans for the weekend.

Save the Court.

Poor funding of rich seen as unsustainable, risky

DAVOS, Switzerland, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Massive flows of capital from the emerging to the developed world are unsustainable and risk damaging poorer countries as they try to catch up, leading finance officials said on Saturday.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos, European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet said that the current global investment pattern was "profoundly abnormal" and in no country's interest.

"It is not sustainable in the long run that the emerging world would finance the industrial world. It doesn't correspond to the interest of the emerging world, neither to the interest of the industrialised world," he said.

In a similar vein, Indian Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said countries like his, one of the emerging stars on the global economic scene, were under threat.

"Global imbalances are deepening and that has serious consequences for developing countries like India," he told the same panel.

">The United States is currently seeing huge inflows of capital from the developing world, notably China, that are financing its current account deficit, bolstering the dollar and keeping long-term interest rates low though bond purchases.

The danger to the world economy is that when the inflows eventually dry up there could be sharp economic amd market dislocations.

"There are potential triggers that could create serious consequences for the global economy. The first is a southward movement of the dollar, the second is an unexpected increase in U.S. interest rates ... Thirdly, (a spiral in) energy prices... will lead to inflationary expectations," Chidambaram said.

Trichet said Europe could not be expected to play a major role in correcting global imbalances, adding that without an inflow of petro-dollars in the wake of soaring oil prices, real rates could be a lot higher.

"The enormous additional pot of savings that has been accumulated by the oil exporting countries (as oil prices have risen)... has apparently a good influence on the financial market (but) it has, of course, a very depressing influence on the economy as a whole," he said. The growing significance on the world economic stage of the emergence of countries such as China and India has been a major theme this week at Davos.

U.S. officials have been keen to say that they are not expecting any immediate change in the flow of funds from China in particular and that U.S. financial markets are robust enough to handle a change.

There are some concerns on the bond market, however, that China is losing some of its appetite for Treasuries.

India's Chidambaram, meanwhile, said that he expected flows from China would change as local consumption grew.

"I think the direction of exports will change. A country like China will be forced to stimulate domestic demand ... I'm not judgmental about China. The people of developing countries have to have a higher consumption of goods and services," he said.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Thank you Eli Blake!!

The victory, which surprised even Hamas leaders, presents both a dilemma and an opportunity for peace. [more]

and thanks Dors for reminding us:

I think Dean was dissed during the Democratic primary for suggesting that we try and bring Hamas into the peace process

Well - they are in now - this is time to quote Rumsfeld I think

Democracy isn't pretty

Update: A triumph for Sharon

Hamas's victory is the inevitable result of the failure to do anything about the oppression which Palestinians suffer...

Last week I argued in the House of Commons that "If Hamas does well [in the elections] as it may well do, the responsibility for that will lie with the Israeli government for nourishing the roots of Hamas. [more]

That sure didn't last very long.

Just the other day, Conservatives in America were crowing about the election results in Canada, where Canadian Conservative Stephen Harper defeated the Liberal government of Paul Martin. Of course, as I predicted would happen before the Canadian election and observed did happen just after it, Conservatives have completely misread the results, supposing that Canada was suddenly moving to the right rather than cleaning house on a corrupt government that had outlived its welcome.

They will probably begin taking a more realistic view of Canada's government now, however. Mr. Harper's first remarks directed at the United States were rather frosty indeed, as he rebutted the U.S. ambassador for remarks he made about Canadian plans to enforce their claims to Arctic waters-- ironically in the context of what wouldn't even be controversial except for the reality of global warming.

Canadian Prime Minister-elect Stephen Harper has defended plans to send military ice-breakers to the Arctic in defiance of criticism from Washington.

US ambassador David Wilkins said on Wednesday that Washington opposed the plan and, like most other countries, did not recognise Canada's claims.

Mr Harper said his mandate was from the Canadian people, not Mr Wilkins.

Mr Harper's Conservatives have promised to defend Canada's northern waters from claims by the US, Russia and Denmark.

There is much more than just a disagreement about icebreakers here though.

The BBC's Lee Carter in Toronto says Canada has only recently woken up to the fact that, with global warming being blamed for melting ice in the Arctic, the so-far-mythical northwest passage, which could link the Atlantic and the Pacific, may in fact become a reality.

The US and Canada, together with Denmark, Norway and Russia, have competing claims on parts of the Arctic and the economic bounty they may yield, including trade routes, fishing rights, and oil and gas.

The US has challenged Canada's current claims, saying that it considers much of the region to be international waters.

Ambassador Wilkins described the Canadian position as creating a problem that did not exist, prompting an angry reaction from Mr Harper.

In fact, if anyone needs any more proof that global warming exists, just follow the money. A number of corporations have already invested in it, improving port facilities along the Norwegian and Russian Arctic coasts, and the OMNITrax corporation has made a similar investment in improving port facilities and railway access in the small Hudson Bay port of Churchill, Manitoba, in anticipation of a 21st century shipping route opening up between North America and Asia (the fabled, 'northwest passage' which many a mariner died looking for.)

So, not suprisingly, Harper responded with this statement to what he perceived as Mr. Wilkins' interference:

"It is the Canadian people we get our mandate from, not the ambassador of the United States."

I guess the honeymoon is over.

Coulter Crossed The Line...Again. This Time She Went Too Far.

State of the Union

with James Adomian doing a hilarious, spot-on impression of President George W. Bush!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Securities Prices, Moral Outrage, and a Note on Futility

To highlight issues in and understanding of the world of finance, this article is devoted to a summary look at the effort reported by the Seattle Post-Intelligencer of a minister by the name of Ken Hutcherson of the Antioch Bible Church in suburban Seattle to punish Microsoft Corporation. The Reverend Hutcherson's particular concern is that Microsoft is one of a group of companies endorsing a bill before the Washington State legislature that would extend existing statutory civil rights protections to gays.

Mr. Hutcherson is calling upon those opposed to the measure to each purchase "one or two shares" of Microsoft stock over the next several months and then to all sell their shares in a single day, May 1, 2006. The objective is to drive down the price of Microsoft common stock, presumably thereby signaling the company of widespread and financially destructive opposition to its stance on the civil rights issue. Microsoft common stock (NASDAQNM:MSFT) trades on the Nasdaq National Market and closed Thursday, January 26, 2006, at $26.55 per share with volume traded for the day of 69,324,338 shares, slightly higher than its average daily trading volume of 64,965,500 shares over the past three months. The company has 10,644,674,000 shares of common stock outstanding.

As is evident from the numbers provided above, Microsoft common stock is traded at levels in the tens of millions of shares every trading day. The purchase of one or two shares by even a hundred thousand people would have no material effect on the price, nor would the selling of those shares in a concerted action have any adverse price impact. Securities markets do not operate by the kind of willful action that a single-interest group such as Mr. Hutcherson's could manage to muster. In fundamental ways, his design is like believing that, as a collective group, his followers could all blow in the same direction and affect the course of a cold front: the molecules in the atmosphere behave by the actions of untold numbers of individual components, each operating according to its own dynamics to create a mechanical system entirely different from that of any one or any group of its constituents.

A one-time purchase or dump of stock like that of Microsoft isn't going to change a thing for the fate and fortunes of the company, its investors, or those affected by its policies. It will, however, have a material, adverse impact on those who follow Mr. Hutcherson's advice. They will be purchasing common stock not in "round lots" (100 shares is one round lot), but in minimal odd lots. The transactions costs alone, even at discount brokerages, will be breathtaking in comparison to the actual value of the securities they are purchasing: even at, say, $4.00 per trade, the purchase of a single share of Microsoft common stock at today's closing price would cost the investor a total of $30.55, meaning that a whopping 13% ($4.00÷$26.55) of that total would be transactions cost. Put another way, the investor loses money as long as the security does not rise from its current price level by 13%; and in fact, even if the security does rise by that percentage, the investor may still lose money on a risk-adjusted basis if an alternate investment would earn that much or more in the same amount of time.

Now, in the so-called "penny stock" markets, there is an old gambit called "pump-and-dump" whereby insiders of a very small company pour out favorable (if untrue or overly optimistic) information to induce outside buyers to purchase substantial quantities of the company's stock, thus driving up its price, at which time the insiders unload their stock in the company, thereby causing the stock price to collapse back to its pre-pump level. This can be done with penny stocks because of the "thin" capitalization and trading in those securities: the markets are not what is termed "complete"; but that's what distinguishes those companies (which are, these days, heavily regulated by the self-policing organizations like the National Association of Securities Dealers) from companies with hundreds of millions or billions of shares outstanding and trading every day. Games like pump-and-dump simply cannot be played to any meaningful effect on stocks that have massive amounts of information about them flowing at every second.

To a second point this summary must then turn, a point related to but separate from the exposition above. The Reverend Ken Hutcherson is openly proposing what some might deem a questionable, if not illegal, activity in seeking to manipulate the price of a stock. The Securities Act of 1933 confers upon the Securities and Exchange Commission broad power to review the "overall plan or scheme" of transactions, plans, and other activities within or related to securities and the markets in which they are traded. The Securities Act of 1933 in its main thrust does not regulate the secondary securities markets (that is, the markets where trading of securities occurs subsequent to their issue), so Mr. Hutcherson's activities would principally fall under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. More broadly, the considered and announced plan by the minister could fall under what might in some judgments be the statutory umbrella of laws prohibiting "conspiracies," which is to say that an argument can be made that Mr. Hutcherson is soliciting participation in a scheme to cause adversity to the operations of a business enterprise outside of state and federal boundaries on legitimate competitive and consumer actions. That Mr. Hutcherson could not succeed in his contemplated conspiracy is irrelevant: its illegality does not hinge on its probability of full fruition or its probability of desired effect. Such matters are the domain of prosecutors in competent jurisdictions at both the state and federal levels.

Beyond the matters already noted, Mr. Hutcherson could also be seen as rendering investment advice regarding the purchases and sales of securities. Whether or not his efforts are legally actionable is another matter, although those participating in his scheme may find in retrospect that their losses on the endeavor would have been avoided had they not taken his advice.

Furthermore, even in the impossible event that Mr. Hutcherson's scheme did somehow work and he escaped criminal prosecution, he would very likely draw the attention of Microsoft's legendary battery of attorneys, who would calculate the (liquidated) damages he had wrought and contemplate all manner of civil actions ranging from allegations of tortious interference with a business contract (in the event, say, that a new issue of Microsoft stock were to sell at a lower price than expected because of the price suppression effort by Hutcherson) to various types of infringements and stock price manipulation adverse to the shareholders as a body. The causes of action would be limited only by the wide imaginations of Microsoft's attorneys, paid as they are quite well to defend one of the largest, most powerful enterprises on Earth.

In conclusion, Mr. Hutcherson's designs of affecting Microsoft are those of an ant planning to bring down an elephant: the first insurmountable hurdle for the ant is getting the elephant's notice by kicking its toenail; the second insurmountable hurdle for the ant is surviving the stomping the elephant would deliver were it to actually feel its toe being disrespected.

The prudent observer is therefore advised to stay far from Mr. Hutcherson's silliness. First, most people don't like to see ants embarrass themselves; and second, few are the individuals who have any taste at all for seeing insects summarily and prejudicially dispatched in a tiny squirt of bug goo.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Senator John Kerry has called for a filibuster of the Alito nomination, heeding your calls to do everything possible to defeat it. He has asked that activists now help convince his colleagues to join him.

Please contact key senators who can provide critical support to the filibuster effort!


Well, Miss Lizzy, I know you tagged me a few nights ago and, to be honest, I didn't think I had 23 posts! Seems I've been a bit more verbose than I thought. So, here we go, Folks

My 23rd Post!!!!!

And, (drum roll)

Hold on to your hats

Wait, you're not going to believe it

My 5th sentence is

Holy cow

"Scroll down the page - it's worth a look. "

Do you believe I wrote that little gem? Hey, hey, I'm on my way to a Koufax award.

And, I tag
Justin, and Tony, both of whom I have met thru Chuck at Bushmerika, and Karen, from "and so it goes" and "Knak Attack" blogs, a witty gal that I met at Kickin' Ass, although I can't seem to locate her at the moment and, any other bloggers that shall dare to think they can come up with such a 23rd post, 5th sentence as this.

Oh, yes. And your mission, should you choose to accept it:

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Casey - Just another Lieberman

Despite reservations about several rulings by Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito, Democratic Senate candidate Robert P. Casey Jr. said yesterday that Alito should be confirmed because, ultimately, he is qualified.

Casey is strongly anti abortion just like his Dad was. Alito is the guy who's going to overturn Roe V. Wade. It's as simple as that.

"It's very disturbing and should worry, I think, Pennsylvania women and civil rights advocates and people concerned about unchecked executive power to wiretap and eavesdrop on Americans," Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, told the Patriot News. Casey’s decision to support Alito shows that women “cannot count on a Senator Casey to protect our liberties,” Michelman continued. [more]
Interestingly enough, if you go to John Kerry's website, you will read why John Kerry is opposing the appointment of Samuel Alito. Why then is John claiming Casey as an accomplishment?

In Pennsylvania, we've helped Bob Casey wage a strong Senate campaign that has incumbent Rick Santorum on his heels. Long a poster boy for mindless support of Bush policies and the right-wing agenda, Santorum is now scrambling to convince Pennsylvania voters otherwise.

Mighty Casey has struck out. Enter....Chuck Pennacchio

When Will US Women Demand Peace?
"Where are the women in the United States? Why aren't they rising up?"

CODEPINK has launched a global campaign against the war, hoping to gather 100,000 signatures by March 8, International Women's Day, when they will be delivered to the White House and US embassies around the world.(Photo: Marisa Helms / Minnesota Public Radio)

There is one problem for the White House and the right wing everytime they find a 'Republican-lite,' a moderate or even a conservative Democrat who they can point to as 'proof' of divisions within the Democratic party, and heap praise on, holding him up as a 'statesman for his party,' or 'a real leader,' or some such tripe. That makes them look 'moderate' to Faux viewers (see, here is a Democrat who's OK) even while visciously attacking the rest of the Democratic party. And since the retirement of Zell Miller, their favorite example of a 'statesmanlike Democrat' has been Connecticut's Senator and former Vice Presidential candidate Joe Lieberman.

The problem for them is this. Every now and then, even a guy like Lieberman will stand up and say something they don't like. And having just showered him with praise, they can't write it off as a 'partisan attack,' meaning they have to either stonewall and hope it goes away, or try and block it without their usual personal attack, slash-and-burn tactics.

And so it goes today. Lieberman offered a damning assessment of the White House's reaction to the investigation of what went wrong during Katrina.

The White House is dodging questions about Hurricane Katrina response and has instructed other agencies to join it in fending off investigators, Sen. Joseph Lieberman said on Tuesday. The White House denies the allegations.

Lieberman went so far as to suggest that the Department of Homeland Security is trying to kill the investigation.

"My staff believes that DHS has engaged in a conscious strategy of slow-walking our investigation in the hope that we would run out of time to follow the investigation's natural progression to where it leads," Lieberman said. "At this point, I cannot disagree....

"There's been no assertion of executive privilege, just a refusal to answer," Lieberman said. "I have been told by my staff that almost every question our staff has asked federal agency witnesses regarding conversations with or involvement of the White House has been met with a response that they could not answer on direction of the White House...

"They have opposed efforts to interview their personnel, and they have hindered our ability to obtain information from other federal agencies regarding White House actions in response to Katrina," the senator said.

He also made it clear that he is holding the White House responsible for potential consequences for this behavior.

Lieberman added that any stonewalling during the investigation could lead to more lack of preparation as a new hurricane season begins in June.

Now, for a moment ask yourself what would happen if the Senator leveling this accusation was John Kerry, Harry Reid, Mary Landreau, or even Hillary Clinton. You would hear cries of 'partisanship,' or 'politicizing the tragedy,' echo from the chorus on the right. But they can't do that when Joe Lieberman says it, without looking like the total hypocrites they are.

Now, having poked his head out on our side for a moment, I fully expect Joe to pull it back in and go back to 'Bush's favorite Dem' mode. But it's nice to know that even Joe can get disgusted by the tactics of this administration.

Tonight, we light a candle for Sadie

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Another contributor has joined us!

Dark Wraith,

A warm welcome to Night Bird's Fountain!

Enters Now the Dark Wraith

I have been invited to blog here on occasion, and I have gladly accepted. Allow me to introduce myself to those of you unfamiliar with my work.

I am the Dark Wraith, host, publisher, and author of The Dark Wraith Forums. I am a professor, writer, and consultant; economist, financial analyst, mathematician, and grammarian. Some of you will be uncomfortable with my style: it can be technical, cold, and calculating; alternately, it can be grim, sardonic, and flip. What appears to be arrogance really is, and what seems to be self-doubt honestly is, as well.

I shall post an article here tomorrow. If you want to know my politics, read the open letter I wrote to Bill O'Reilly. If you are further interested in my presentation styles and world views, read "Fire and Seeds" for shades of dark and light in the occasion of a vignette of life; read "I Am Become Battle, How White Be My Tears" to see cold narrative on a landscape unburdened by hope.

When I publish an article here, say what you have to say about it should you be so inclined and particularly moved. My patience is tried sorely only by the facile ignorance of those who find anything of worth in the neo-conservatives and their allied extremists. Those of this kind—and those whose weakness has allowed them their reign—merit no quarter of civility: their glory stops at the wreckage they have brought to this Republic and its people. The world of tomorrow has been degraded irreparably by the unworthy intrusion of their spiteful Medievalism, and accommodation of them is to no end but further appeasement.

To all others, I shall not bite... unless, that is, I'm particularly hungry.

The Dark Wraith has spoken.

Fumigating Congress

Our repugnant Republican Congressional Culture of Corruption needs repair. Currently recommended fixes - itty bitty stuff - will not produce a long-term difference. However, James Carville and Paul Begala, in their book “Take It Back,” recommend a strong prescription that I think will do the job. Here are the major planks in their proposal:

Raise congressional pay to $400,000, to reduce temptation

A member of Congress can accept NOTHING of value as a gift from anyone but family members
Incumbents may not raise money in any amount from individuals, corporations or special interests

An officeholder must first resign before running for a different office

Challengers may raise money in any amount from individuals or PACs. They must report contributions within 24 hours of receiving them

The day after a challenger receives a contribution, the government will credit the incumbent with a comparable sum. The amount would be about 80% or so because of the benefits naturally accruing to incumbents

If incumbent spends his own money, the government will pay the challenger an equivalent amount

Penalties will be strict and fast: If incumbent accepts money he loses his seat. If challenger does not report contributions immediately, he is out of the running

I had been thinking that all money for campaigns should come from the government. But the approach delineated above seems to be better. A person needs people to contribute to his campaign in order to become a feasible candidate. But once this is accomplished, the influence of money is decreased tremendously. A fairly level playing field is produced. Officeholders can return to doing their job and not spend most of their time trolling for money.

This type of law would reduce the number of lobbyists. As one lobbyist who had canceled his season sports tickets said, "Who will I take?" Less wining and dining by lobbyists of big corporate interests would perhaps allow officeholders to spend more time with average constituents. Maybe our laws would become more friendly to ordinary people.

It's time to kick the moneychangers out with tough laws. It's time to fumigate Congress.

Direct Source

As I predicted just over a week ago (Canadian Election--Don't buy it when Republicans misinterpret the results), the Canadian Conservative Party behind Stephen Harper defeated the Liberal Party and Paul Martin yesterday.

And American conservatives seem to be going giddy tonight about the result. They have never much liked Martin, or his predecessor, Jean Chretien, and are excited by such statements by Harper as his saying that he had been inspired by the American conservative movement, and his expressed opposition to abortion and desire for closer cooperation with the U.S. on securing the border.

However, on closer inspection, this was hardly an endorsement of Conservatives, or of conservatism. In winning, Harper muted much of his basic philosophy. He did promise a tax cut-- but on the national sales tax, a regressive beast that penalizes the poor most, and which some far right American politicians seem to think is a good idea. However, if we look at an analysis of the seats won and lost in the election (three seats are undecided at this hour), the Liberal Party certainly did lose-- dropping from 133 seats to 103. And the Conservative Party did win, going from 98 seats to 123. The separatist Bloc Quebecois (which joined the conservatives in voting 'no confidence' in the government last September) dropped four seats, from 54 to 50. However, the biggest winners, proportionately in this election were the left of center New Democratic Party (part of Martin's governing coalition), which rose from 19 seats to 28. So there was a sharp movement, but it was much more away from the Liberal Party than it was towards Conservatives.

More to the point though, last year, the Liberals triumphed resoundingly. So how has the face of Canadian politics changed since then? That is a fair question to ask. For the most part, the parties have the same positions on issues that they had last year, when the race was run on those issues and the Liberal won. And Canadians on the whole are not dissatisfied with the way things are being run. They have budget surpluses, something that our government can only dream about. And Stephen Harper spent a good part of this election denying that he is an American style conservative, promising to improve, not impoverish, the nation's health care system. So what has changed?

Simple. The same thing that caused the government to fall last September. After 13 years in power, the Liberal Party got to used to the trappings of power and were caught in a kickback scandal. The revelations of how Liberal MP's abused their power has disgusted Canadians, and convinced them that the incumbent party had to go. And they are gone.

Now, I have no problem with discussing the Canadian election results, but those who claim it is a victory for Conservatism or that Republicans should take heart are dead wrong. It was a repudiation of large scale corruption, one which a party which had controlled Parliament for thirteen years could only blame their lack of ethics for.

And the message is loud and clear, and Republicans should fear it.

I'll play sort of (Hard to think of people who come here who haven't been 'tagged' yet, except for dorsano, W.F., and a couple of others-- so I will leave them for the next person.

Anyway, the fifth 'sentence' of Frist Flop is:

He puts himself in line with the feelings of an overwhelming majority of Americans, who support such research because of the potential for cures it carries for everything from spinal cord injuries to Alzheimer's.

I’ve been tagged by Lizzy!! (Oy, that was hard work!)

The fifth sentence from this post is:

The truth is always exciting. Speak it, then.
Life is dull without it.
~Pearl S. Buck

Now, I must tag 5 people, and they are:

Tag, now you’re it!

Here are the instructions:

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.


[To the W. o. W. {TCD}, you owe me one for cutting you some slack here, because I know you are very busy!]

Monday, January 23, 2006

Get me a ticket for an airplane ...
gets me a credit check, and more:

USA Today:
TSA: Program may use fliers' financial data

The TSA said it will require "in-depth security background checks" that may involve "using commercial data" for people applying to the Registered Traveler program that starts in June. The checks will help verify people's identities to prove they have no ties to terrorism

Commercial databases hold personal information from credit reports, property records, shopping histories and other records.

Seattle Times:
On Friday, the TSA said the Registered Traveler program it envisions would let frequent fliers go through airport security lines more quickly if they pay a fee, pass a government background check and submit 10 fingerprints. The program is expected to be rolled out gradually beginning June 20.

But the TSA also would like companies to offer more in-depth background checks. As an example, the agency said the companies could use commercial data, such as credit histories and property records, authorized by customers.

"As currently envisaged by some proponents, the program would appear to serve more as a revenue-generating scheme than a security program that would benefit passengers," James May, the trade group's president, said in the letter.

The Star:
U.S. airline passengers who buy a preapproved security pass could have their credit histories and property records examined as part of the United States government's plan to turn over its "Registered Traveler" program to private companies.


Before the companies are allowed to sell Registered Traveler cards, they have to demonstrate that they can somehow figure out whether applicants are members of terrorist sleeper cells by plowing through bank records, insurance data and other personal information available commercially — or by some other method.

A meme...

Seems fitting that I should be tagged by Sir Oolius of Coeruleus for She Flies With her Own Wings

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Post the fifth sentence (or closest to it).
4. Post the text of the sentence in your blog along with these instructions.
5. Tag five other people to do the same thing.

Here is the 23rd post and here is the fifth line, more or less...

"Latest info is that they have started helicoptering out people, but very small numbers, less than 100 since 1 pm."
Since I must tag 5 people now, I have chosen the last 5 people that commented, not counting the evil minded ones:

Cyn, Jen, Dell, Barbi and Shayna.

Pro Choice - A Woman's Right to Choose.

How can we not have enough sense to make a decision about our bodies, our future - but, on the other hand, be trusted to raise a child?

Alito will overturn Roe and Republicans know it - They're preparing challenges right now by August Keso, January 23rd, 2006

For some completely inexplicable reason, Americans don't seem all that concerned Judge Alito is in favor of granting heretofore unheard of powers to the Executive Branch - specifically the President, and precisely the current President - George W. Bush. Bush is a President by the way, which apparently doesn't believe there to be any restrictions on the reach and scope of his power. Why this President's lust for monarchical power doesn't concern more Americans is beyond comprehension, and they seem more than willing to allow Alito on the Court, so he can ensure unbridled Executive power. Still, there is something that does worry Americans, and that is the dismantling of Roe v Wade.

Make no mistake about it, Alito will vote to overturn Roe, and Republicans know that.

The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday, that Republicans and their various anti-abortion groups -- all around the nation -- are busy writing abortion laws, which they know to be in direct conflict with Roe. Why are Republicans writing laws that they know contradict a woman's Constitutional right to abortion? Simple, they know that once Alito is seated on the Supreme Court, he will rule to overturn a woman's right to choose.

The LA Times' report included the following:

"Republican Rep. Troy Woodruff, serving his first term in the Indiana Legislature, wrote House Bill 1096 knowing it would conflict with Roe vs. Wade.

"That was precisely his point: He wants his ban appealed to the Supreme Court, in hopes that the justices will overturn Roe and give states the power to make abortion a crime.

"Woodruff said, of his frontal assault on abortion, "We either want these procedures, or we don't....And I don't.

"Certainly Alito, Woodruff, and the Republican Party do not want American women to have the right to choose, but a large majority of American people wants abortion to be kept safe, legal, and available. With Judge Alito sitting on the Supreme Court, Republicans know Roe v Wade won't long last.

Alito's determination to allow Bush the power to shred the Constitution and have powers reserved only for Kings and Emperors, may not worry the American people, but the people do worry about Roe being overturned. Make no mistake about it - if there is a Supreme Court Justice Alito, American women will not long have the right to choose. Maybe that fact will move America to do the right thing and insist Alito not be granted a seat on the highest court of the land - maybe?

This is a landmark appointment. Please email, telephone and/or fax your representatives.

Or, in the alternative, maybe the conservative, neo-con, "born again" white christian men can start birthin' babies. Source

"The Spy who loves you!"

That’s right folks, warrantless wire tapping has been given a new name.
via Bring It On!

oh my, did i just post something....should I write it?....shrill


by Cindy Sheehan
January 22, 2006

"A Matriot knows that her country can do a lot of things right, especially when the government is not involved. For example, I know of no other citizens of any country who are more personally generous than those of America. However, a Matriot also knows that when her country is wrong, it can be responsible for murdering thousands upon thousands of innocent and unsuspecting humans. A true Matriot would never drop an atomic bomb or bombs filled with white phosphorous, carpet bomb cities and villages, or control drones from thousands of miles away to kill innocent men, women and children.

"There is one most important thing that matriots would never do, however, and this is the key to stopping killing to solve problems: a matriot would never send her child or another mother's child to fight nonsense wars…and would march into a war herself that she considered just to protect her child from harm."

Sunday, January 22, 2006

The Firestorm

It is Sunday and Deborah Howell aka ombudsman has got another column for us. But it seems that she has still got it wrong.

I wrote that he gave campaign money to both parties and their members of Congress. He didn't. I should have said he directed his client Indian tribes to make campaign contributions to members of Congress from both parties.
Daily Kos has a dissection of what Deborah does still not get.
Is it really so difficult for Howell and Post editors to just say: "We goofed. Sorry. Abramoff gave only to Republicans. And his clients/victims gave less to Democrats after hiring Abramoff than they had before."
Her latest column is still a bit hazy on the fact that Abramoff didn't direct the tribes to "donate money to the Democrats" so much as he directed them to either reduce the money they were already donating, or stop donating it entirely. Not quite the same thing, and certainly not the same implications.

I would say that Lil Debbie as Firedoglake likes to refer to her, is a woman who is exceptionally pissed off at being called out on her incompetence.
Instead of meticulously clearing up her mistatements, as someone who made an honest "mistake" might be inclined to do, she dwells on her perception of having received a "public stoning," with a few more inaccuracies thrown in to boot.
The 42 blog posts WaPo wants to hide from you

This whole article reminds me of the administration - when caught in a lie, dig in your heels and spin some more.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Congresswoman Louise Slaugther on GOP Corruption and Reform

My name is Louise Slaughter -- I represent upstate New York, and I'm the ranking member on the Rules Committee.

But I am certainly honored to be standing here with these wonderful Democrat as we say today that we're taking our stand to end the Republican culture of corruption here in Washington.

And like Senator Reid, I know a little something about corruption. In the late '70s, I chaired the Public Safety Committee in the Monroe County Legislature in New York. And while it may not be well-known everywhere, both Buffalo and Rochester were notorious mob cities, and we were trying to clean up the mob.

And I was taught by the district attorney and the police chief and the sheriff to take a mirror on the stick every morning before I left the garage and look under the car to make sure there were no bombs there.

Well, I didn't flinch from any of that then, and I'm sure not going to flinch from any of this now, because I believe our democracy is at stake.

And in addition to that, they don't call me "Slaughter" for nothing.

Click for Video

Six Degrees of Separation

In an exclusive last night on Air America Radio's The Majority Report, Rep. Louise Slaughter alleged that day-traders had been operating inside the offices of Senator Frist and Congressman Delay. Telling us that her source was "as good as gold," Rep. Slaughter promised to investigate further and get back to us. Audio available via AMERICAblog here.

Democrats want ethics committee to probe 'day trading' allegations. Via Raw Story

Meanwhile we know the Abramoff/GOP connection to sweatshops is old news, however dengre at Daily Kos always felt that the Tan Family and how they connect the GOP to China has been a very underplayed part of this scandal. He has always thought that when this part of the scandal breaks, it will break big. Zack Coleman has a lot to say, he writes for a Chinese Business Newspaper The Standard.

U.S. Sen. Conrad Burns, R-Mont., met with a Marianas official who had close ties to disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff in the weeks before Burns received an Abramoff-related $5,000 contribution from the Marianas and reversed his earlier position on a bill about the islands. Josh has much more at Talking Points Memo.

Don't forget that Jack Abramoff's own secretary, Susan Ralston, became Karl Rove's Personal Assistant, and that Abramoff said he contacted Rove personally on relieving his client Tyco from having to pay some taxes and still be able to get federal contracts. Abramoff said "he had contact with Mr. Karl Rove" on Tyco.

Karl the Hut, came out and gave the RNC their orders. When I first saw the headline I saw "Rove comes out" & thought well-there goes his job-unless he's better than gannon.....

And remember the national media has truly adopted this dissent-quashing dichotomy created by the Bush White House: one is either a follower of George Bush who praises his war and terrorism policies, or one is an enemy of the United States who is on the side of Al Qaeda. Much more here...

Friday, January 20, 2006

A Warm Welcome To Our Jenny!!

We at Night Bird’s Fountain are delighted
to have you take time from your marvelous
news coverage at your own blog to join us here!

Tedski over at Rum, Romanism and Rebellion has a post that pretty much sums up the combined ineptitude, racism, and bullying attitude of our Federal Government under Bush:

This is from R-Cubed's Kansas Settlement bureau. The Border Patrol saw a guy driving a small truck containing several large bags, stopping at various houses in along Ft. Grant Road, between Willcox and the Graham County line.

Our boys in green got suspicious and pulled the guy over and detained him for twenty minutes.

Despite their rigorous law enforcement training, they missed the "Postal Service" T-shirt he was wearing, the fact that the bags bore the legend "US MAIL," oh yeah, and the "US MAIL RURAL LETTER CARRIER" sign on the side of the truck.

That's right, they pulled over the mailman.

OK, up to there, it is worth a good laugh. But then it gets weirder, and more disturbing.

The Border Patrol is claiming that Encinas was beligerent, a claim disputed by witnesses. They also said something to him that I find chilling:

"We have every right to detain you as long as we want because we work for the U.S. government, too."

In light of the indefinite detention of Jose Padilla, this cannot be considered just an idle threat.

Tedski continues...

An agent once told something similar to my brother when he had the temerity to be driving on the Tohono O'Odham Nation, which is where he was working at the time. Of course, he is a long haired freak, so I understand.

Whenever I hear about incidents like this, I always have to wonder if the incident would have occurred had the person involved been Anglo. Maybe they would have pulled him over anyway. I was pulled over once outside of Bisbee; despite my ancestry, I look Anglo. But, what are the chances that an Anglo that gets pulled over would be asked to prove citizenship?

Exactly. And once they figured out he was the mailman, they continued to harrass him because he was Hispanic.

With this kind of Keystone Cops crossed with Wyatt Earp people we have guarding our border, it doesn't engender a great deal of confidence, does it?

'American Taliban' Father Urges Clemency

In simple terms, this is the story of a decent and honorable young man embarked on a spiritual quest," said Frank Lindh, swallowing back tears at times.

John Walker's Blues Listen

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Wilson Pickett

A soul pioneer and R & B legend.


Shake a tail feather for Wilson

In The Midnight Hour

I'm gonna wait till the midnight hour,
That's when my love comes tumblin' down,
I'm gonna wait till the midnight hour,
When there's no one else around.
I'm gonna wait till the stars come out,
And see that twinkle in your eyes,
I'm gonna wait till the midnight hour,
That's when my love begins to shine.

Feds Seek Google Records in Porn Probe-AP

SAN JOSE, Calif. - The Bush administration, seeking to revive an online pornography law struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court, has subpoenaed Google Inc. for details on what its users have been looking for through its popular search engine.

Hat tip to: Muncie Carl. Semper Fi


DON'T start using Yahoo!!

The MSNBC article on this, in paragraph five reads:

Yahoo Inc., which runs the Internet’s second-most used search engine behind Google, confirmed Thursday that it had complied with a similar government subpoena.

At least Google is fighting it.

In fact, in this edition of the story (which omits the paragraph about Yahoo), we find:

Google — whose motto when it went public in 2004 was "do no evil" — contends that submitting to the subpoena would represent a betrayal to its users, even if all personal information is stripped from the search terms sought by the government.

"Google‘s acceding to the request would suggest that it is willing to reveal information about those who use its services. This is not a perception that Google can accept," company attorney Ashok Ramani wrote in a letter included in the government‘s filing.

I find this attitude to be much more comforting than Yahoo's snivelling little knuckle-under in which they traded their customer's personal data for 'protection' from the big bad government.

So, DO use Google. And WHATEVER you do, NEVER use Yahoo, they've already agreed to hand your search queries over to Bushco.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

After a great deal of thought, I have decided that I no longer have anything to offer here at NBF. This is a critical time for Progressives, and I feel compelled to use my limited talents elsewhere, after I have narrowed my focus a bit. Surely a candidate will emerge that speaks to me, and for me, and I will blog on his/her behalf, in addition to the rest of the things I do in an election year. Those that know me will at least acknowledge that I put my time, effort, and money where my mouth is. Part of this is driven by a need to re-direct my attention, but to be brutally honest, I am distancing myself from anything I regard as shrill. Too many of our Liberal friends are walking right into the trap set by our opponents. (think Chicken Little) From time to time, I will post a thought on my blog, but I am not seeking readership, I'm just happy to have a place to record my thoughts. I wish everyone well, regular contributors, commenters, lurkers, and even the occasional troll. I thank the Blog Master for the opportunity to be heard here, and now ask that my name be removed from the "contributors list." (by the way, isn't that a cool portrait?)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Soldiers told to get rid of non-issue Body Armor

Two deploying soldiers and a concerned mother reported Friday afternoon that the U.S. Army appears to be singling out soldiers who have purchased Pinnacle's Dragon Skin Body Armor for special treatment. The soldiers, who are currently staging for combat operations from a secret location, reported that their commander told them if they were wearing Pinnacle Dragon Skin and were killed their beneficiaries might not receive the death benefits from their $400,000 SGLI life insurance policies. The soldiers were ordered to leave their privately purchased body armor at home or face the possibility of both losing their life insurance benefit and facing disciplinary action. [more]

Crossposted at Bushmerika

Supreme Court Upholds Oregon Suicide Law

The Supreme Court today blocked the Bush administration's attempt to punish doctors who help terminally ill patients die, protecting Oregon's one-of-a-kind assisted-suicide law.

It was the first loss for Chief Justice John Roberts, who joined the court's most conservative members - Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas - in a long but restrained dissent.

The administration improperly tried to use a federal drug law to pursue Oregon doctors who prescribe lethal doses of prescription medicines, the court said in a rebuke to former Attorney General John Ashcroft.

The ruling backed a decision by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which said Ashcroft's "unilateral attempt to regulate general medical practices historically entrusted to state lawmakers interferes with the democratic debate about physician-assisted suicide." [more]

Reuters states that the Bush administration overstepped its authority when it barred doctors from helping terminally ill patients die in the only state that allows physician-assisted suicide, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday. [more]

The ruling could free other states to pass laws like Oregon's, which is the only one of its kind in the US.

This was Chief Justice John Roberts first major case on ethics since he joined it.

Many had expected Roberts to oppose the law because he is a Roman Catholic, but others thought he might back it as an advocate of a state's right to govern its own affairs. [more]

Obviously Roberts does not believe in advocating for state's right, it appears that his religion is governing his decisions along with his devotion to an administration who used the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) incorrectly to bring the Justice Department's case and threaten Oregon physicians who follow the Oregon law.

Monday, January 16, 2006

I Have A Dream Today

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties
and frustrations of the moment, I
still have a dream.
It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and
live out the true meaning of its creed:
"We hold these truths
to be self-evident:
that all men are created equal."
~Martin Luther King, at the Lincoln Memorial,
Washington D.C., August 28, 1963

Please click on the picture over at Making Conservatives Cringe, here, to link to another very good speech by Martin Luther King.

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