Friday, November 30, 2007

The Raw Story | Firefighters asked to report people who express discontent with the government

The Raw Story | Firefighters asked to report people who express discontent with the government: "It was revealed last week that firefighters are being trained to not only keep an eye out for illegal materials in the course of their duties, but even to report back any expression of discontent with the government. A year ago, Homeland Security gave security clearances to nine New York City fire chiefs and began sharing intelligence with them. Even before that, fire department personnel were being taught 'to identify material or behavior that may indicate terrorist activities' and were also 'told to be alert for a person who is hostile, uncooperative or expressing hate or discontent with the United States.' Unlike law enforcement officials, firemen can go onto private property without a warrant, not only while fighting fires but also for inspections. 'It's the evolution of the fire service,' said a Phoenix, AZ fire chief of his information-sharing arrangement with law enforcement."

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Ron Paul on the war on drugs

Thursday, November 22, 2007

GQ Blog on

GQ Blog on "They try to silence him. The head of the Michigan Republicans calls for his removal from the debates. Rudy Giuliani attacks him for—what else?—insufficient patriotism. To witness this is to understand the fear Ron Paul has instilled in the GOP. He has tapped into his party's silent minority, one that won't abide torture, reckless spending, or endless war."

She’s No Morgenthau - New York Times

She’s No Morgenthau - New York Times: "At a news conference, the Illinois senator was asked about Hillary Clinton’s attack on his qualifications. Making an economic speech in Knoxville, Iowa, earlier that day, the New York senator had touted her own know-how, saying that “there is one job we can’t afford on-the-job training for — that’s the job of our next president.” Her aides confirmed that she was referring to Obama. Pressed to respond, Obama offered a zinger feathered with amused disdain: “My understanding was that she wasn’t Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration, so I don’t know exactly what experiences she’s claiming.”"

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Pounds (£) for pounds

Too fat to work - Times Online: "Almost two thousand people who are too fat to work have been paid a total of £4.4 million in benefit, it emerged last night. Other payments went to fifty sufferers of acne and ten incapacitated by leprosy. Billions of pounds is being paid in benefits to people claiming to be unable to work because they suffer from depression, stress, fatigue and unknown or unspecified diseases. The full list of ailments of the 2.7 million people claiming £7.4 billion in incapacity benefits, obtained by using Freedom of Information laws, will fuel suspicion that it is being used to keep them off the official jobless total. It will also fuel the debate over whether British workers could have been hired for more of the one million new jobs taken by migrants since 1997."

Monday, November 19, 2007

Clinton sleaze

Obama evokes Clintons' alleged '20-year' pact -- "LAS VEGAS - Barack Obama is starting to slip into his speeches a disputed account of a secret 20-year plan for both Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton to win the White House. 'I'm not in this race to fulfill some long-held plan or because it was owed to me,' Obama told a gathering of Nevada Democrats after Thursday night's Las Vegas debate. That was a veiled reference to an account by biographers Jeff Gerth and Don Van Natta that the Clintons sealed a 'secret pact of ambition' to both win the presidency - which has been vehemently denied by Clinton advisers."

Saturday, November 17, 2007

RTÉ News: No 'ho' for Sydney's Santas

RTÉ News: No 'ho' for Sydney's Santas: "Santas in Australia's largest city have been told not to use Father Christmas's traditional 'ho, ho, ho' greeting because it may be offensive to women."

Gay demographics could reshape electoral landscape - Opinion -

Gay demographics could reshape electoral landscape - Opinion - "If it's no surprise that Americans are becoming more comfortable living among openly gay men and lesbians, the Census data do pack a wallop that politicians ignore at their peril. Since 1990, the number of self-identified same-sex couples in Mountain, Midwest and Southern states has averaged a sixfold increase. Compare that with the more liberal East and West Coasts, where increases have been less than fourfold. Mountain states such as New Mexico and Colorado now rate among the nation's 'gayest' states, ranking 2nd and 9th in the concentration of same-sex couples. Utah, where President Bush received more than 70% of the vote in 2004, has moved from 38th in 1990 to 14th in the most recent rankings. Red to 'purple' Political pundits say many of the Mountain states will be battlegrounds in 2008 as they transition from red to 'purple.' Small wonder, then, that Arizona recently became the first state to reject a voter referendum to limit marriage to male/female couples. More generally, changes in the number of same-sex couples might be a leading indicator of which historically red states are trending purple."

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pastor in Microsoft 'gay rights' share bid - Telegraph

Pastor in Microsoft 'gay rights' share bid - Telegraph: "There are 256 Fortune 500 companies alone pouring millions upon millions of dollars into pushing the homosexual agenda,' he told The Daily Telegraph. 'I consider myself a warrior for Christ. Microsoft don't scare me. I got God with me. 'I told them that you need to work with me or we will put a firestorm on you like you have never seen in you life because I am your worst nightmare. I am a black man with a righteous cause with a whole host of powerful white people behind me.'"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Writers' strike

Friday, November 09, 2007

Photoshop miracles

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Young Stalin by Simon Sebag Montefiore

At age ten, Stalin had trapped a disliked teacher into a room, and, backed up by 18-year-old toughs, threatened to kill him. The teacher became compliant to Stalin's wishes regarding enforcement of the official ban on speaking Georgian in school (which Stalin disfavored)

"God's not unjust, he doesn't actually exist. We've been deceived. If God existed, he'd have made the world more just."
"Soso [Stalin]! How can you say such things?" exclaimed Grisha
"I'll lend you a book and you'll see." He presented her with a copy of Darwin [Origin of Species]

Stalin's very extensive organized-crime rackets, his early, close association with Lenin, and the tight, conspiracy composition of the predominantly Jewish Bolsheviks does make the Russian revolution look very much like a takeover by the Jewish mafia.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan

The Daily Dish | By Andrew Sullivan: "The Ron Paul phenomenon is real. The Christianists and neocons will decry it because it affects their power over the GOP. And because when a conservative stands for freedom again, it resonates and threatens them. Congrats, Congressmen - and everyone who is pulling for him. Whatever happens in this race, Paul's candidacy has already provided a focus for all of those conservatives who despise the big-spending, unchecked executive, busy-body, Christianist wing of the GOP. And all those liberals who know that a new politics - centered around individual freedom and global peace - needs to be born."

Monday, November 05, 2007

Love Your Enemy: Within a Divided Self - by James Alison

Love Your Enemy: Within a Divided Self - by James Alison: "Senator Craig was born in 1945, in rural Idaho. When he was ten years old, in 1955, there was a scandal in Boise, the Idaho State Capital, not too far from where young Larry lived. It was the big tabloid gay scandal of the 1950’s, coming just as America was in the grip of the McCarthy witch hunts, themselves helped along nicely by at least two self-hating gay men, “killer fruits” as Truman Capote wrily called them: Roy Cohn and J. Edgar Hoover. It was revealed that in Boise, of all unlikely places, there was a network of public officials and influential citizens employing the services of a group of rent boys. Well, you can imagine what sort of impact the news of all this, the sensation of it, the hatred it revealed, might have had on a ten year old boy. It might well have taught him that if he wanted to grow up being good, then the one thing, above all else, that he was not, was gay (or whatever approximation to that word existed in his milieu at that time). A boy like that might well have been taught by his culture, just as he came close to puberty, simultaneously who he was, and who he was not; and faced with any little boy’s desire to grow up to be good, he may have been locked into a form of denial and self-hatred which could then perpetuate itself for many years thereafter."

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Running on Fumes: Books: The New Yorker

Running on Fumes: Books: The New Yorker: "In keeping with their book’s generally upbeat mood, the two manage to tell the story of the Partnership for a New Generation of Vehicles as a kind of automotive comedy. Japanese automakers, excluded from the project, mistakenly took Detroit at its word. They assumed that the Big Three actually intended to develop super-efficient vehicles, and, to protect themselves, they stepped up their own research efforts. Within a few years, Honda had introduced the Insight, and Toyota had introduced the Prius; both got nearly fifty miles to the gallon."

Fossil Fuels - Petroleum - Oil - Gas - Latin America - Bolivia - Ecuador - Venezuela - Hugo Chávez - New York Times

Fossil Fuels - Petroleum - Oil - Gas - Latin America - Bolivia - Ecuador - Venezuela - Hugo Chávez - New York Times: "Between 1965 and 1998, the economies of OPEC members contracted by 1.3 percent a year. Oil-dependent nations do especially badly by their poor: infant survival, nutrition, life expectancy, literacy, schooling — all are worse in oil-producing countries. The history of oil-dependent countries has produced what Terry Lynn Karl, a Stanford University professor, calls the paradox of plenty. Oil not only creates very few jobs, it also destroys jobs in other sectors. By pushing up a country’s exchange rate, the export of oil distorts the economy. “Oil rents drive out any other productive activity,” Karl says. “Why would you bother to produce your own food if you could buy it? Why would you bother to develop any kind of export industry if oil makes your money worth more and that hurts all your other exports?” The most successful societies develop a middle class through manufacturing; oil makes this extremely difficult. Oil concentrates a country’s wealth in the state, creating a culture where money is made by soliciting politicians and bureaucrats rather than by making things and selling them. Oil states also ask their citizens for little in taxes, and where citizens pay little in taxes, they demand little in accountability. Those in power distribute oil money to stay in power. Thus oil states tend to be highly corrupt."