Saturday, January 07, 2006 

Wickliffe Library Bans Unaccompanied Kids

Hmmm... Yeah - we need to discourage kids from going to the library.
Wickliffe Public Library in suburban Cleveland requires that students under 14 be chaperoned between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. on weekdays because of loitering and vandalism.
Loitering in Libraries! Those always were the worse kids in my school :-)
Although trying to keep kids quiet in libraries is always a chore, Wickliffe may be the only one in Ohio that requires chaperones, said Lynda Murray, lobbyist for the Ohio Library Council.

"I don't know of any other libraries that have taken that step. I'm not aware that it's a growing problem," Murray said Saturday.

Parents at the Wickliffe library on Friday had mixed feelings about the policy.

"I don't see how you can restrict a public library," said Kim Moulton, who has two young children. "It is our library, not theirs. We pay for it. I understand there is a limit, but I think they may have overreacted. Kids are kids. I grew up here and went to the library after school because it was a safe place."
Is this library right across from the school or have some other extreme circumstance for unusual preteen activity? Even if it is, This just seems like a bad way to handle what seems to be a minor inconvienence.
Other Ohio libraries have turned to less severe methods to control rowdy behavior.

Euclid Public Library keeps crowds away by playing classical music through speakers outside the door. The library still pipes in Beethoven and Bach but has added a security guard after school to keep order.

"It is an added expense, but we found it helps us handle the situation," said Donna Perdzock, library director.

In Geauga County, library officials hire a monitor, usually a parent or retired teacher, to keep order.

Steve Wood, director of Cleveland Heights-University Heights libraries, said it has added youth programs. While the libraries still have occasional problems, the atmosphere has improved because librarians reach out to teens, he said.

"These are tomorrow's taxpayers," Wood said. "I want their support in the future."
These seem like better ideas. In the end, Wickliffe is probably blocking library access to thier future and sending thier children to the streets or an empty home. Seems like this rule is going cause more problems than it solves in the long run.

More here.

Friday, January 06, 2006 

I say Finger - You say Hut!

Eric Fingerhut filed to run for Ohio Governor. He'll be against Strickland in the Primary. I love Fingerhut. But... I am not sure he can win the lower half of the state. I think Congressman Ted Strickland might have a better shot. He is from the south, a minister and has better name recognition. Fingerhut has a lot of great ideas to move Ohio forward economically. Frankly, I am not sure who would do a better job. I think they are both excellent candidates.

More at


Cunningham wore a wire!

Wow! Another Scandal brewing. It's getting hard to keep track of all the corruption in the Republican Party.

From Time:
The identity of those with whom the San Diego congressman met while wearing the wire remains unclear, and is the source of furious -- and nervous -- speculation by congressional Republicans. A Cunningham lawyer, K. Lee Blalack, refused to confirm or deny the story, and wouldn't say whether Cunningham will implicate any other members of Congress. The FBI is believed to be continuing its probe of defense contractors involved in the Cunningham case. An FBI spokesman declined comment. Asked whether Cunningham, an ace Navy fighter pilot decorated for his service in Vietnam, had worn a wire, the spokesman said the response from a higher-up was, "Like I'd tell you."

As a comment on Kos said "Pass the Popcorn."


More on the Amanpour Wiretapping Story

FT covers the growing story on the possible wiretapping of journalist Christine Amanpour...
Is the scandal over the Bush administration's domestic spying about to get even more scandalous?
The prospect of the Bush administration listening in on Amanpour is interesting on many levels. As CNN's chief international correspondent, she has worked all over the world, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and Pakistan.

But tapping her phones and computers might yield far more.

She also happens to be married to Jamie Rubin, who was a top aide to Madeleine Albright, secretary of state during the Clinton years. More recently, he worked on foreign policy issues for John Kerry's presidential campaign.

Stay tuned to NBC -- or maybe CNN -- for more details.

Americabog has the complete list of Amanpour wiretapping stories. Thanks John.


Peak Oil: Energy moving from economic realm to political one

Jerome examines Philip Stephens lasted FT article "Energy scramble fuels new politics"
The great power conflicts of the late 19th and early 20th century suddenly seem eerily familiar. I have often heard it said that the market will eventually solve all these problems. Higher prices will ration demand and drive the innovation and conservation measures needed to reduce our dependency on oil and gas - and in the process rescue us from climate change. It is a nice thought. Eventually, though, may well prove to be too late. Markets cannot second-guess power politics.

Jerome is one of my favorite bloggers and I am always up for more Peak Oil info so - this diary was a treat to find! Good reading. I hope you enjoy it too.

Thursday, January 05, 2006 

Modern Day Wet Nursing Renaissance

My friends and I, all have babies within a month or two of each other and we all breastfed (or at least did our best). Some of us made pacts, if something happened to one of us - the other would breastfeed the hungry baby. Kinda sad to think something might happen to a new mother but, it is comforting to know you have friends that are willing to go that extra step to care for your infant. Most of the babies would have really disliked formula too! (Thankfully, nothing happened to any of us) Now, I guess, pacts like ours aren't so unusual. According to the Toronto Star, modern day wet nursing is catching on. More so in cases where someone is helping out a friend, but then they talk about it as a business...
It may even enjoy a renaissance as a profession, if a Beverly Hills entrepreneur has anything to say about it. Certified Household Staffing, a home-services provider that operates across the U.S., offers wet nurses among its other make-your-busy-life-more-manageable professionals, such as bodyguards and chauffeurs. Clients are most often women whose breasts have been surgically augmented, a procedure that, particularly in the case of operations performed through the nipple, sometimes leaves women unable to adequately nurse their babies. Wet nurses are screened for health problems and paid for their services, according to a Web-based news service.
I don't think it is going to be the next Google but - I am glad the option is out there. It must be so sad for those women who can't feed their children due to breast surgery (whether plastic or not). The babies probably enjoy it too! For me, I am glad I had friends who could help out and if I didn't - I think I'd prefer pumped milk but maybe not.


Cronyism rears ugly head in Mining Disaster too

Key administration personel with MSHA have been recruited from former mining industry lobbyists and those within the agency who dared to speak out have been threatened with being fired...

Via Vyan at DailyKos
The tragic news about the death of 12 mine workers this week has brought up all sorts of questions about the Bush administration's record protecting mine workers. Back in 2002, I was working for the House Appropriations Committee. At the time, you may recall there was a big mining accident in Western Pennsylvania. President Bush held a big photo-op to pretend like he cared - but he never responded to the fact sheet that House Democrats put out questioning why he had made so many cuts to mine safety programs. You can view this fact sheet in Microsoft Word right here (I still have it from my time at the Appropriations Committee) It was released to the media and the administration on August 5, 2002 - the same day Bush did his big photo-op.

In case the administration claims it didn't remember being warned, check out this excerpt from the big Chicago Tribune story from 8/6/02:

"We call on the Bush administration to fully fund the Mine Safety and Health Administration to ensure that coal mines are inspected more thoroughly and that the mine act is enforced more stringently," Cecil Roberts, president of the United Mine Workers Association, said in a statement.

"It would be cynical to portray himself as the hero of mine safety by simply doing photo ops," said David Sirota, spokesman for Democrats on the House Appropriations Committee.

Democrats also released a report from the Labor Department's inspector general--the agency's in-house watchdog--concluding that the Mine Safety and Health Administration was "unable to complete statutorily mandated inspections of ... mine operations," in part because of a lack of inspectors.

At a Senate subcommittee hearing last month, lawmakers were told that the Jim Walters Resources mine in Brookwood, Ala., where 13 miners died last September, had 31 outstanding safety violations that went unchecked because of a lack of government inspectors.

The mine workers union also has criticized Bush's choice of Stanley Suboleski, an executive at coal operator Massey Energy, to serve on the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission. That agency judges disputes over alleged safety violations.

Now, after another bad accident, we find out that since the last accident in 2002, not only did the President ignore calls by Democrats to address the situation seriously, but he actually enacted more cuts to mine safety programs and weakened mine safety regulations. The 2002 fact sheet and the Chicago Tribune article shows that Bush knew full well that mine safety was suffering - and now we know he didn't do anything about it, to tragic consequences. They can put out GOP hacks and administration spokespeople to deny this reality - but the facts are there.
See VyanBlog,
David Sirota, Washington Post - A Mining Disaster and The Uncompassionate Conservative for more info.


The "NSA Wiretapped CNN Reporter Christiane Amanpour Story" Grows

A quiet but curiouser bombshell has dropped, where NBC News has been caught in an error of proportions yet to be determined. Does NBC have evidence that the NSA wiretapped or otherwise spied on CNN's Christiane Amanpour? If so, how did NBC end up accidentally tipping their hand? Or is this all a big misunderstanding? NBC was forced to respond within hours, and it does seem that something more will come of this -- but no one knows how or when that will come about. - Hotline Blogometer


Ignorance is not an excuse

I didn't use to care so much about politics. Yeah, I was a Democrat, sometimes I might have called myself an Independent but it just didn't matter too much to me. My Republican friends and I could go out for drinks and 50% of the things we agreed on. Agreeing was easy when it came to issues of smaller government, fiscal responsibility and being the worlds police. Other matters like the death penalty, education, and health care - we just had different ideas - and as far as I was concerned there was room for both of them.

Unfortunately, I don't feel this way anymore. It is not that my views have changed so much, it is just that most of these Republicans fail to care that the Bush administration is bigger government, fiscally irresponsible, and has taken up the cause of nation building (the cause that they so vehemently critized Clinton for). In light of this hypocrisy, I have realized that these conversations I was having weren't really discussions about our nations future, (they never really held these beliefs so high - if they did they would continue to defend them) these conversations with my Republican friends were as deep and as much about our nation as "rooting for the home team". Like sports events- it doesn't matter who is on the team and what kind of player they are as long as they wear the correct colors, heck even if they lose most "Fans" support their team. Which is admirable in sports but is despicable in politics.

We are Americans, we are supposed to be thinking about what is best for our country and our fellow citizens - standing up for our personal belief system whether our "Party" stands up for it or not. I believe modern Republicans consistently put Party Loyalty above National Interest on a daily basis.

So - for a while, I still had these conversations with my Republican Friends, nothing wrong with disagreeing right? Most of the time it was enjoyable - disagreeing can be fun, a mental exercise and besides most of the time I could call them on their hypocrisy! But, after the torture allegations arose and they were still "Proud Republicans" and "Standing with Bush" and not even modestly recanting their support. I grew sickened, I doubted the friendships. Seriously, what do they have to offer me as a friend? Either they are too ignorant to realize what is going on or are too party loyal to defend the very beliefs that they had just a few months ago and both of those traits just signify weak character to me.

Then came the final straw, the child torture and rape. The accounts of it enraged me...
A Sunday Herald investigation has discovered that coalition forces are holding more than 100 children in jails such as Abu Ghraib. Witnesses claim that the detainees – some as young as 10 – are also being subjected to rape and torture

A US soldier, Sergeant Samuel Provance, who served at Abu Ghraib, has also blown the whistle on child prisoners being abused. He told how interrogators soaked a 16-year-old prisoner, covered him in mud and then used his suffering to break his father, who was also a prisoner, during interrogation.

Seymour Hersh, the New Yorker reporter who first broke the story of torture at Abu Ghraib, recently spoke at an ACLU convention. He has seen the pictures and the videotapes the American media has not yet shown. "The boys were sodomized with the cameras rolling, and the worst part is the soundtrack, of the boys shrieking," said Hersh. "And this is your government at war."

"I can tell you some of the personal stories of some of the people who were in these units who witnessed this," Hersh commented. "I can also tell you written complaints were made to the highest officers. And so we're dealing with an enormous, massive amount of criminal wrongdoing that was covered up at the highest command out there and higher."

German television aired footage of American abuse of children in jails in Iraq Monday.

Such assaults are unacceptable,» said Odd Jostein Sæter, parliamentary secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office, to the Norwegian television channel NRK. «It is against international laws and it is also unacceptable from a moral point of view. This is why we react strongly, as we already have reacted to the abuse which is documented at the prisons in Iraq.
In a May 21 piece on the previously unreported witness statements from Abu Ghraib prisoners, the Washington Post reported the account of detainee Kasim Mehaddi Hilas. According to the Post, Hilas, whom American personnel had been beaten, stripped, photographed and threatened with sexual assault, also witnessed a teenage boy being raped in October 2003 at Abu Ghraib by someone the Post identified as "an Army translator."
According to Rolling Stone, Abu Hamid is the name of the translator who raped the teenage boy. "I saw Abu Hamid, who was wearing the military uniform, putting his dick in the little kid's ass," reads Rolling Stone's July 28 story
Army investigator Major General Antonio M. Taguba stated in a February 2004 report that all of the above witnesses' accounts were "found to be credible based on the clarity of their statements and supporting evidence provided by other witnesses."

Now - I cannot even stand to be around a person who defends this administration. Everytime, I look at them I see someone who either condones child rape and torture as a necessary evil or is so rah rah ignorant that I question their patriotism. My sense of responsibility may go into high gear and I'll try to spread some truth and reality. But - Most of the people still supporting Bush will never really care anyways.

When it is all said in done, the facts will come out and these people will have to tell their children that they supported the administration that condoned torture and used our tax dollars to rape children. I suppose they'll lie and like the citizens in Nazi era Germany will say "they didn't know" when in reality they didn't care to know.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006 

AntiGay RightWing Pastor Arrested for Soliciting Gay Sex

What more can I say?


Info Suggests Fallen Brookpark Marines Were Betrayed by Iraqi Police.

Contradictory reports involving the deaths of the 20 3rd Battalion 25th Marines from North Eastern Ohio.
The families of those who died are being told that on Aug. 1, six Marine snipers from the 3/25 were killed, and it appears they were set up and ambushed. Two days later, 14 Marines from the 3/25 were sent to arrest the insurgents who killed the snipers, but their vehicle was blown up, killing all of them. It now appears that they also may have been set up.

The story is evolving as Kucinich is trying to get the report declassified. Updates here and at our local channel NewsNet5.


Only Soldiers That Agree with Bush Admin on War May Blog - Pentagon

Via: ThinkProgress

New York Army National Guard Spc. Jason Christopher Hartley had his blog (JustAnotherSoldier) shut down, was fined $1,000, and was demoted from sergeant. Hartley noted that blogs “get shut down almost as fast as they’re set up.”

But not all blogs. “The ones that stay up are completely patriotic and innocuous, and they’re fine if you want to read the flag-waving and how everything’s peachy keen in Iraq.”

A recent Washington Post story backs up Hartley’s observation. The U.S. Marines were so happy with Bill Roggio’s right-wing blog “The Fourth Rail” that they invited him to come to Iraq and cover the war. When he needed an affiliation with with an organization to get media credentials, the conservative American Enterprise Institute graciously offered him one.


NewsMeat has list of Abramoff briberys

$172,933 = Republican
$88,985 = special interest
total: $261,918
That's one long list of Corrupt Republicans.

Chris Matthews is also implicated in Abramoff scandal. No wonder his reporting is all skewed. There are a couple of FoxNews reporters implicated too but - does any expect less? Kos weighs in here.

As far as the religious right, they're not above inpropriety either. Those implicated include:
  • Rev. Lou Sheldon, founder of the California-based Traditional Values Coalition
  • Ralph Reed, the former executive director of the Christian Coalition
  • Rabbi Daniel Lapin's, Seattle based Orthodox Jewish foundation, Toward Tradition
From Talk to Action.

While it is not clear that Reed, Sheldon and Lapin did anything illegal; it is certainly clear that their organizations all received funds from eLottery and that they worked with Abramoff to defeat the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act -- a bill that was supported by the Christian Coalition, Moral Majority, and James Dobson of Focus on the Family.

The corruption probe may prove that a number of Members of Congress were for sale. It may have already proved that some leaders of the Religious Right are for sale as well -- although that may not be illegal.

I guess this should be fun to watch. But my bet is that - Maybe one or two low lying fruit get sacrificed while the biggest crooks wiggle away with a boatload of our tax dollars on to a happy retirement or even higher office. There is already a whiff of stank in the air surrounding this prosecution.

You may also want to read these informative diaries:
and from the WashingtonPost: The DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail

Tuesday, January 03, 2006 

Ferber says co-sleeping can be healthy for children

Well, I really don't care what Ferber says but - if he see the light - then I suppose more parents will and that should make a lot of babies happy.
"In a flurry of publicity for a revised version of Dr. Ferber's book, he has allowed that his technique is not suitable for all babies and that children can develop healthy sleep habits sleeping in their parents' bed."
The technique Ferber is famous for is the "Cry It Out" technique. Where a parent is supposed to basically ignore thier infant and let them cry sometimes for hours. I think that this is torture for everyone involved, especially the infant. It is done under the guise of creating independence. Independence in a 3 month old? Whatever! I'd rather work on establishing trust. I'd like my child to come into this world understanding that his/her parents are here for them and if they cry someone will come.

Can you believe this quote from the article?
"It is at her next doctor's appointment, her 12-month checkup," Christina Harrison said of her daughter, Alyssa, "that I relish the chance to bring it up the most." Ms. Harrison, 29, let Alyssa cry until her voice was hoarse at her pediatrician's urging. "It was horrible."
That's when you find a new pediatrician! There are so many styles of doctors and parenting books that you might as well find one the ones that suite your beliefs.

Maciej and I co-slept with Sophie until around a year, then she slept in our room in a toddler bed - that only lasted a few months and then she quickly moved to her twin bed. She has never seen a crib or really used a bottle for that matter. When she was an infant we used a positioner and the arms reach co-sleeper. It worked great. I think the family slept better than most families with newborns and Sophie and I really enjoyed the easy breastfeeding and snuggles. We did move her into the toddler bed around the year mark though because she was just getting too large and it started to interfere with my sleep - and hers too!

It's not for everyone (it could be dangerous for infants of smokers, drinkers & drug users, I think heavy sleepers can have a rough time with it and maybe your baby just prefers the crib) but it couldn't have worked out any better for us.

If you'd like more info I recommend any of Dr. Sears books. You also might like to read this article "Co-Sleeping: Yes, No, Sometimes?".


NE Ohio DFA / Running for Precinct Committee Seats

From Cameron at SevenCentNickel:
The main topic of tonight's meeting will be running for
precinct committee seats. The more progressives we run for
these seats, the more a voice we'll have within the Democratic

NEODFA is working with several other Dem. groups to fill these
seats across the county. Learn more tonight.

If you are interested, but can't make tonight's meeting, please
send Cameron an email at
I won't be there tonight due to a lack of babysitter but - I think this is a great idea. NEODFA has been working on this for a while and it is a great idea to purge the Dem Status Quo here in Ohio with some fresh thinking progressives. (Like You and I) :-)

NEODFA fights against the influence of the far right-wing and their radical, divisive policies and the selfish special interests that for too long have dominated our politics. You can also visit us on the web at: Come to a monthly meeting or event and get to know other progressives.

Meetings take place the First Tuesday of Each month at Trinity Commons - 7:00 PM.

Trinity Commons
2230 Euclid Ave
Cleveland, OH 44115
(216) 771-3630

Free Parking behind building (Prospect Entrance)


Democrats and Abramoffs Dirty Money

Via Bloomberg:
Between 2001 and 2004, Abramoff gave more than $127,000 to Republican candidates and committees and nothing to Democrats, federal records show.


Being a patriot doesn't make his death okay...

"The day Augie's unit returned from Iraq to Camp Lejeune, we received a box with his notebooks, DVDs and clothes from his locker in Iraq. The day his unit returned home to waiting families, we received the second urn of ashes. This lad of promise, of easy charm and readiness to help, whose highest high was saving someone using CPR as a first aid squad volunteer, came home in one coffin and two urns. We buried him in three places that he loved, a fitting irony, I suppose, but just as rough each time.

I am outraged at what I see as the cause of his death. For nearly three years, the Bush administration has pursued a policy that makes our troops sitting ducks. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that our policy is to "clear, hold and build" Iraqi towns, there aren't enough troops to do that......

Though it hurts, I believe that his death -- and that of the other Americans who have died in Iraq -- was a waste. They were wasted in a belief that democracy would grow simply by removing a dictator -- a careless misunderstanding of what democracy requires. They were wasted by not sending enough troops to do the job needed in the resulting occupation -- a careless disregard for professional military counsel.

But their deaths will not be in vain if Americans stop hiding behind flag-draped hero masks and stop whispering their opposition to this war. Until then, the lives of other sons, daughters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers may be wasted as well.

A must read.


Faith Based Economy / Job Growth WORST in 50 Years

I don't have much time to post today but i wanted to pass on this diary from Boondad.

Bush's giant Right Wing Noise Machine (RWNM) loves to preach about the Bush economic miracle. In fact, the RWNM's current thinking is Bush doesn't spend enough time talking about his economic triumphs. If only he did, then everyone would fall in line and believe in the great Bush economic miracle. There is one problem with this argument: it's a lie. Any way you look at the Bush economy, it comes up short. Today, I want to compare Bush's job creation record with other economic recoveries. As usual, Bush comes up way short

The national Bureau of Economic Research has identified 8 recessions since May 1954. For comparison purposed, I only used 5 of these periods because they are longer than the current expansion. Next, I used the total nonfarm employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). I measured the jobs created from the trough (lowest point) to the next identified highest economic point. (The NBER states a "peak marks the end of an expansion and the beginning of a recession.") I compared the total number jobs created for the entire expansion as well as the total number of jobs created 49 months into the expansion (According to the NBER, the lowest point of the last trough was in November 2001, making December 2005 the 49th month of this expansion). Here's how the numbers (in millions) compare.

The expansion of 2/61 - 12/69 created 17,684 total jobs and 6,244 at 49 months.

The expansion of 3/75 - 7/80 created 13,183 total jobs and 12,831 at 49 months.

The expansion of 11/82 - 7/90 created 21,003 total jobs and 11,510 at 49 months.

The expansion of 3/91 - 3/01 created 23,969 total jobs and 8,266 at 49 months.

The current expansion which started in November 2001 has created a total of 3,410 jobs.

In other words, at 49 months into an expansion, Bush's job creation record is last. While we don't know when this expansion will end, the Bush economy would have to triple the total number of jobs created in order to get to 4th place on this list.

Read analysis and the rest of the article here.

I'll try to post a little more later today, maybe while Sophie is napping :-)

Monday, January 02, 2006 

CraigList founder sees need for a reliable news source

Craig Newmark founder of Craigslist has a new project to help us find the most trusted news stories.

"We need news to become a community service again, and we need journalists to speak truth to power," said the 52-year-old entrepreneur, who admits he's no expert on journalism, but has spoken in the past of showcasing talented amateur journalists online.

Sounds like an ambitious project. But when a new journalism venture is announced by the founder of a popular online classified service - which one analyst estimated has cost San Francisco-area newspapers at least $50-million in lost classified ad revenue - the media world takes notice.

"Our goal is to create a platform to organize the world's news using the best of technology, community and editors," Jarvis wrote on his Web log.

By spring, the group plans to have a beta version of the service - a version close to completion, available for use by the public to work out the final kinks, according to Jarvis. Last week, Newmark said the new service could address a crisis of credibility facing mainstream news outlets following steady downsizing at newspapers and big media scandals.

"We're trying to preserve the existing journalism structure," he added. "Hopefully, this effort will lead people to the best-reported stories - get people excited to trust news again, particularly in the younger demographic."- Eric Deggans/St Petersburg Times

Wow that sound exciting. Then this Mr. Newmark gives us this quote:
"We need people, especially the White House press corps, to ask difficult questions and get some answers," Newmark said. "That's beginning to happen, but what the country needs is some clear, relentless journalism. Because a story might be covered one day and gone the next ... and the bad guys feel free to do more."
I hope he succeeds. I think Jefferson would be disgusted with the corporate media giants and thier collaborations with the current administration.
"The most effectual engines for [pacifying a nation] are the public papers... [A despotic] government always [keeps] a kind of standing army of newswriters who, without any regard to truth or to what should be like truth, [invent] and put into the papers whatever might serve the ministers. This suffices with the mass of the people who have no means of distinguishing the false from the true paragraphs of a newspaper." --Thomas Jefferson to G. K. van Hogendorp, Oct. 13, 1785. (*) ME 5:181, Papers 8:632
A despotic govt keeps a standing army of newswriters to do the masters bidding! Can anyone say Armstrong Williams, Dave Smith, Michael McManus, Maggie Gallagher, and don't foget - Jeff Gannon. Then we can go on to list the people at the NYT who faked stories to support the run up to the war and held onto info until after the elections. Heck, the GOP has it's own newschannel! Yeah - America could use a little integrity in thier journalism.


A little late but...

A few friends and I were talking around Christmas about Santa Claus and how to present this myth to our 2 year olds. Natural Child currently has a great article about this called "Does the Santa Legend Endanger Trust?" Good reading. It comes to some of the same conclusions that we did and is nicely written.


Scary Quote / Scary Thoughts

Virtually all the things Nixon did against me that were illegal to keep me from exposing his secret policy are now legal under the Patriot Act. Going into my doctor's office to get information to blackmail me with, wiretaps without warrants, overhearing me--all legal now. The CIA supplied the burglars in my doctor's office with disguises and with cameras and they did a psychological profile on me. That was illegal then, legal now. -Daniel Ellsberg

Scary, huh? It seems obvious that the Bush presidential wiretaps (like Nixons) are being used to go after enemies of the administration, if they were using it to go after terrorist why no warrant? FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) specifically empowers the Attorney General or his designee to start wiretapping on an emergency basis even without a warrant so long as a retroactive application is made for one "as soon as practicable, but not more than 72 hours after the Attorney General authorizes such surveillance." (see specific citation, here). Why else would a President sidestep the law, the constitution and his Presidential Oath? And now they are going after whistleblowers at the NYT (even though they sat on the info until way after the election, I wonder what kind of threats they recieved?)

(Hat Tip: Talking Points Memo and Suskind at DailyKos - read these diaries for more detailed info)

Sunday, January 01, 2006 

New Years 2006

I've been reading a lot of predictions about the new year, most of them hopeful. I suppose - it cannot get much worse for progressivism than the year 2005. A bad year for not only progressives but for all Americans in the long run.
  • The continued erosion of our civil liberties by a president who thinks he is above the law,
  • The loss of an New Orleans to government incompetence, cronyism and global warming,
  • government contractors in league with corrupt politicians fleecing our national treasury and bloating out government while needed programs including veterans benefits are slashed.
  • A war waged without a plan and no end in sight.
  • Our science education ranking last in the western world and the continued decline and underfunding of our current public education system.
  • An infant mortality rate just a little better than Guams.
The item that makes me the saddest for America is the torture issue. I understand why noone wants to talk about it - if even half of the allegations prove to be true, we will have lost all of the greatness and integrity that our forefathers worked and sacrificed for to leave us the legacy of the most respected nation in the world. With the release of the British torture memos, it looks more likely to be true. Including this snippet:

"At the Khuderbegainov trial I met an old man from Andizhan. Two of his children had been tortured in front of him until he signed a confession on the family's links with Bin Laden. Tears were streaming down his face. I have no doubt they had as much connection with Bin Laden as I do. This is the standard of the Uzbek intelligence services."
- British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray

Combine this with the evidence in the US courts and it certainly looks like 2006 can be worse than 2005. Using US tax dollars to fund communist nations and secret police forces to rape and torture children in a bid to get their parents to confess to crimes that they probably didn't commit but whose confession of will help the nation involved receive more favors and money from the US - CRAZY and certainly not something to be proud of.

But still there are reasons to be hopeful - If proud Democratic politicians and a more populist congress gets their act together possibly some of these criminals can be brought to justice. If Americans wake up and quit treating political parties like football teams with undying loyalty - and the only goal being to win at all costs. If the media groups let their news teams focus on news and quit chasing the almighty dollar. Maybe, just maybe we will see some changes in 2006. But, I'm not holding my breath.