Friday, February 10, 2006 

45 Million Us Christians want administration to stop current torture policy

The National Council of Churches, representing some 45 million Christians in the U.S., have issued a powerful statement calling on our government to denounce torture and affirm the moral principles that honor the dignity of all persons.
Within the core of our religious tradition are Jesus' call to love our enemies, His blessing of those who work for peace, and His instruction that we are to "do unto others as you would have them do unto us (Matthew 7:12) - a teaching found in other faith traditions as well.

Torture, regardless of circumstance, humiliates and debases torturer and tortured alike. Torture turns its face against the biblical truth that all humans are created in the image of God.

Click here to add your name to their petition.

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Ted Strickland wants to hang out with you!

Reception with Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher
Democratic Candidates for Governor & Lt. Governor

Join Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher at the grand opening of the
northern Ohio Strickland for Governor headquarters and help
them kickoff the campaign.

Saturday, February 11
4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

1400 W. 25th Street
Corner of W. 25th & Dteroit Ave.
(entrance on Detroit Ave. and free parking
across Detroit Ave. Watch for balloons & Ted Strickland signs)

Join other supporters for good political discussion, remarks
from the candidates, refreshments, and fun. Sign up to be a
volunteer, get on the Strickland for Governor email list, and
do your part to help turn Ohio around.

R.S.V.P. to or 216-696-2006

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Flesh Eating Bacteria in Cleveland? Testing for germs...

John Carroll University biology professor Valerie Flechtner went testing for germs in Cleveland and found Staphylococcus aureus. A form of this bacteria is responsible for causing a young pregnant woman in Florida (Claudia Mejia) to arrive at the CCF Orlando Regional Healthcare Systems to give birth and had her leaving 12 days later a quadruple amputee. Scary stuff. The hospital is refusing to give up much information which makes me suspect she might have contracted the deadly bacteria while at the hospital, maybe from an employee? (Obviously, pure speculation on my part comprised of an overactive imagination, a good fight or flight mechanism and very little medical knowledge.)

Most of the time the bacteria is completely harmless.

Here are JCU professor Valerie Flectchers findings (Via: NewsNet5):

She went to the Heights Parenting Center, where she swabbed cars, toys and all kinds of things looking for pathogens.

None were found.

"Once a small toy is washed and placed in a small plastic bag, I couldn't detect any bacteria at all on it, even when I went to extreme measures," said Flechtner.

She did the same thing at a local McDonald's. Flechtner swabbed the play station.

Although she did find plenty of germs in the shoe cubby, it wasn't anything too bad.

"I wouldn't bleach them, but I would certainly wash them frequently," Flechtner said.

At the main library downtown, she swabbed books and a globe that came up clean.

But when Flechtner got on an elevator, she found a staphylococcus aureus on a button.

She said it's relatively harmless bacteria from your nose, but it could make someone sick.

"If it stays in your nose your immune system takes care of it," Flechtner said.

If staphylococcus aureus infects other parts of your body, it can be deadly.

That almost happened to a John Carroll student.

"(She) ended up in the Cleveland Clinic almost two weeks, underwent four surgeries, lost the entire muscle that goes from the back to one arm and for a while they thought they might have to amputate the arm or that she might even die," Flechtner said.

Staphylococcus aureus is resistant to antibiotics.

Flechtner found antibiotic-resistant bacteria at almost all of the test sites, even the clean ones.

Those resistant bacteria by themselves are no threat, but they can pass their resistant traits on to more dangerous bacteria and that is a problem.

"Bacteria are tricky little creatures. They have figured numbers of ways to transmit DNA from one cell to another, not only in the same species, but they are kinky, they can go cross-species," Flechtner said.

So, don't forget to wash your hands!

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Thursday, February 09, 2006 

Noone told LA officials there was a terrorist plot against them

I think we are being lied to again.

Via: AllAroundPhilly & AmericaBlog
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said Thursday he was blindsided by President Bush's announcement of new details on a purported 2002 hijacking plot aimed at a downtown skyscraper, and described communication with the White House as "nonexistent."

"I'm amazed that the president would make this (announcement) on national TV and not inform us of these details through the appropriate channels," the mayor told The Associated Press. "I don't expect a call from the president - but somebody."
The story seems to be growing. More info at AmericaBlog.

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What a fun little internet site. Type in your address and find out your homes current estimated value or be nosey and type in your neighbors :-)


Your children are not your children

"Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you..."

-Khalil Gibran

Guess those pregnancy hormones must be kicking in because this poem made me a bit weepy. :-)


Bush buried detailed Social Security privatization proposals in his budget.

This was a bad plan before and it is a bad plan now. There will be nothing left for us to retire on nor our children. But - I bet the brokerage firms will profit immensely - not to mention the "approved" stocks that Americans will be allowed to "invest" in. Just another scam to steal money away from hard working citizens. I can't believe he thinks he can "sneak" this in when the public rejected it already once. Jerk.

Via Newsweek:
If you read enough numbers, you never know what you'll find. Take President Bush and private Social Security accounts.

Last year, even though Bush talked endlessly about the supposed joys of private accounts, he never proposed a specific plan to Congress and never put privatization costs in the budget. But this year, with no fanfare whatsoever, Bush stuck a big Social Security privatization plan in the federal budget proposal, which he sent to Congress on Monday.

His plan would let people set up private accounts starting in 2010 and would divert more than $700 billion of Social Security tax revenues to pay for them over the first seven years.

If this comes as a surprise to you, have no fear. You're not alone. Bush didn't pitch private Social Security accounts in his State of the Union Message last week.

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006 

Interview with Retired CIA Agent Robert Baer of Syriana fame

Wow. This is a good read. Check it out. Some excerpts:
...The people of America's fault. The irony is, we're dumping billions and billions of dollars every time we go to the gas pump into a jihad against us in Iraq that's killing American soldiers. I've read, "One kid is dying in Iraq so the father of the kid next door can drive his Hummer." And what's more, the money's coming from Japan and China, and in a certain sense from the Middle East, and then it's filtering back. Blackwater, SAIC, Custer Battle—all these companies just basically got the 20 billion dollars that was supposed to go into construction. Construction was never going to happen.

...(I) think people ought to start telling the truth, I think the president should get up and say, "All right, we're going to be in this for the next 50 years. The people who were supposed to retire at 60 now get to retire at 75." And then watch. And let the American people decide. I just don't think anyone in Washington can tell the truth.

...I think they have to do it on their own, at their own pace. I don't recall anybody arriving in the United States forcing democracy on Americans, or the British, or anybody else. It's a very racist attitude to think that it has to be done from outside.

...They're up to their ears in oil money, both the Democrats and the Republicans. There are lobbyists. It's connected to Osama Bin Laden, the Saudis are involved—the big secrets nobody wants to talk about. The American public is so goddamn confused as to what is going on. How come the Saudis were in the planes? How come we're friends with them? And all of this just acts as some kind of a smoke screen that allows this to continue while people are lining their pockets with gold.
The whole interview is filled with really good straight talk. These are just small excerpts, read the entire article.

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Another Incompetent Bush Crony Outed

The Bush appointee, who went to great efforts to censor Climate Change scientists, didn't even graduate from college and lied on his resume.

Via the NYT:
George C. Deutsch, the young presidential appointee at NASA who told public affairs workers to limit reporters' access to a top climate scientist and told a Web designer to add the word "theory" at every mention of the Big Bang, resigned yesterday, agency officials said.

Mr. Deutsch's resignation came on the same day that officials at Texas A&M University confirmed that he did not graduate from there, as his résumé on file at the agency asserted.

The whole lot of them are incompetent starting from the top down.

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Uh Oh - Buckeye Senate is taking on the PD.

Well, it mostly looks like a bit of a scuff over the Hackett piece.

But then there is this interesting tidbit about the PD being in clear violation of election law. It seems the PD pretty much posted a Blackwell blog page (without noting it was from the blog) in it's entirety and didn't put out a disclaimer saying who paid for the ad.

High and Broad
seems to think it is a big deal about nothing.
The Plain Dealer is only bound by its sense of fairness and it's duty not to libel people. No court in the country is going to look at that Blackwell puffery as a campaign contribution.

More importantly: What in the world is the point of picking this fight?

Is there any doubt at all that Jim Petro, Ted Strickland, Sherrod Brown, Paul Hackett and everyone else will get their chance to regurgitate their campaign message on The Plain Dealer's new site?

I understand why BSB would pick a fight - if he thinks Blackwell is getting a free endorsement , on the same day his favorite Dem, Hackett gets chastised for voting Republican and both happenings occur on the same PD webpage - well, it does seem a bit contrived. But, that doesn't mean that it is. I sincerely hope High and Broad is correct and soon we will see similiar pages devoted to Strickland, Brown and Hackett.

But I do understand why many, including BSB, do not trust the media companies and the corporations who back them. They do a lot to help form public opinion and often it seems that their business aspirations outweigh their journalistic integrity. We see this over and over again on the national level, why wouldn't it occur locally? So, all in all, I guess, I am glad BSB picked the fight.

The dispute should be easily cleared up and someone has to keep local media on thier toes. I am glad BSB is willing to stick his neck out there. That's what blogs are for.

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Tuesday, February 07, 2006 

Gasp - Hackett voted for Republicans!

It seems a lot of people are upset over this so-called revelation on
There’s no question Paul Hackett is a fresh face and fast-rising star in the Democratic Party. Turns out he's fresher than most.

The tough-talking Iraq War veteran from Cincinnati didn't officially declare himself a “D” until nearly two years ago, a few weeks shy of his 42nd birthday.

Election records in Hamilton County show that Hackett, now campaigning against Rep. Sherrod Brown for his party’s U.S. Senate nomination, first picked up a Democratic ballot for the presidential primary between Howard Dean, John Kerry and John Edwards on March 2, 2004.

In two earlier primaries during the 1990s, records show, Hackett had asked for Republican ballots.

Yeah, so? It doesn't bother me in the least. Is he a wolf in sheeps clothing? I doubt it - it doesn't make sense. What does he have to gain? He has less money, no name recognition (outside the blogs) and if he wanted to run as an "I", he'd most likely, have an even better chance of winning in Ohio. Is he an avid gun user and supporter of gun owners rights? Yes. And, that is good for Dems. It breaks the existing stereotype of the anti-gun Dem (which I always thought was miscast). Is he more to the right than a lot of us are used to? Probabaly, but I don't think his positions are exactly wrong.

Lets face the facts, Ohio is red. People are used to voting for their team and that team happens to be the Republicans right now. If we want people, who may not be as politically active as we are, to consider "switching teams" (and I think we do, if we want to win) then perhaps, Hackett is the likely choice. The easier switch - since he seems to identify with many of the issues that the more moderate conservative /traditional Republican (not neocon) Ohio voters also identify with.

I like Brown, he has a solid history and a good record. But can he convince those moderates who have been voting R for the last decade, sometimes due to lack of choice, to switch teams? I am not sure. If you go entirely on the pop psychology behind voting, then I think - Hackett gets the edge. And unfortunately, I don't have a lot of faith on people reading up on the issues and making the informed decision. If Hackett raises enough money, his charisma and outside of the establishment persona can win him the election.

But maybe I am wrong. Maybe Browns experience, history in the community and ability to connect with citizens will give him the edge. I guess it all depends on just how well the Republican brand has been built. If it is as bad as I fear, those middle R's will never cross over to an established "liberal". On the other hand, if they are just mall culture, go with the flow types - then perhaps voting Dem won't be so difficult for them, they've done it in the past - they can do it again. "It's what everyone else is doing".

I just wish everyone would focus on the true problem in the Senate Race - DeWine! It is not smart to tear our candidates apart. Hackett and Brown both have a good shot at beating DeWine. If we want to add an Ohio Dem to the Senate we need to remember that eventually we are ALL going to have to get behind ONE candidate to beat DeWine and the Republican spin machine that backs him. We shouldn't be giving them fodder to shoot us with later.

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Brown calls out the Bush Budget, Hackett throws a party

Sherrod Brown calls the Bush Budget Immoral:

Budgets are moral documents. The president wants to cut programs vital to millions of Ohioans to pay for tax cuts to his billionaire friends. Clearly the Republican leadership does not share the same values as Ohio families.

Consider the consequences if this morally reprehensible budget were to be passed into law:

  • Seniors already struggling with a broken Medicare drug plan would face $36 billion in cuts to Medicare over the next five years, and $105 billion over ten years.
  • Ohio veterans would see cuts in health care funding and $198 million would be cut from children's hospitals.
  • Taxpayers and school districts already burdened by unfunded mandates would be shortchanged an additional $15.4 billion in cuts to No Child Left Behind.

Even the few Americans who still take Bush as a man of his word must wince at this fact:

Despite calling for an end to America's "addiction to oil" in the State of the Union just last week, Bush proposed cutting programs to help Ohio industries improve energy efficiency.

This budget is not just irresponsible, it's immoral. This year is about choices. Will those of us who represent Ohio stand up for Ohio families, or give in to the demands of drug and oil lobbyists? The moral choice is clear -- Ohio families deserve better than the president's proposed budget.

Paul Hackett throws a fundraising party:
...I'm not surprised that Bush and DeWine picked Indian Hill for their big-money bash (a photo with the President costs $10,000). The President knows that Mike DeWine has the second worst approval rating in the Senate, and it will be hard for him to hold onto his seat in the U.S. Senate. Ohioans want real change, something that a career politician, like Senator DeWine, just cannot deliver.

So I have a plan, and I need your help. Bush and his big-bucks buddies are going to be in my backyard, so I want to be in your backyard. On February 23, we are asking our supporters throughout Ohio and the nation to throw a "We're Backin' Hackett" house party for my campaign for U.S. Senate.

...Of course I want to be at every party, but that is physically impossible, so we've scheduled a live conference call, so you and your guests can hear our message of real change and hope directly from me.

With your help, we can show President Bush that his big-money fund raising bashes are no match for the power of the grassroots! I look forward to "being in your backyard" and letting President Bush and his big-dollar friends know that they are not welcome in my backyard.
Really, someone will pay 10K to get a photo with Bush? Amazing. I guess it really does point out who the Republicans are representing and it is not the middle class and as Sherrod points out it's not Ohio children, seniors, or veterans. And from personal experience, it is not small business - it is the Insurance companies, Credit Card firms, Drug companies and the other big big businesses that profits off this corrupt batch of republican politicians. Sick.

Update: If you are wondering exactly where our taxes go, here is another diary along with a graphic that outlines exactly where every penny goes. Here's a hint, it pretty much ALL goes to military spending. What kind of nation do you want to build? What do you want your money to be spent on, supporting veterans, education and seniors or making war. It's that simple, we get to create the kind of country we want to be.

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More votes counted than voters on Ohio Diebold Machines

In case you didn't see this one (Via NordicOnKos & BradBlog):
Diebold Inc., one of America's largest voting machine companies, likes to claim that there's never been any substantial problem with their touch-screen machines in any election in America.

You may not be surprised to hear that claim is patently untrue.

As reported in yesterday's Middletown Journal , a special "re-vote" will be held tomorrow in Montgomery county, OH on an issue where last November's election results were set aside due to more votes being cast on Diebold's AccuVote TSX touch-screen voting machines than there were actually registered voters who voted!
Nordic points out that in 4 out of 5 Americans will vote on these machines this fall.

Add this story to the pile of stories about the "problems" with the electronic voting machines. Every voter should be upset with these problems and want to get to the facts. This is not a partisan issue, if your candidate won - they'll be able to accomplish more if the voters believe the election was won fair and square, you'll also realize that - these same tactics will one day be used on an issue or candidate that you might not so readily agree with whether from within your party of choice or outside.

Here is a an interesting but older story from the Baltimore Chronicle, it expands on the problems with the voting machines and more importantly, the people involved with the companies that make the machines.
Voting Machine Fiasco: SAIC, VoteHere and Diebold:
The specter of corporations, littered with ex-CIA types, that both control the voting systems and train the armies of countries around the world, is an emerging and frightening reality.
I realize most people will blissfully ignore any information that might make them doubt our democracy, but - as an American it is our duty to protect our country from all enemies - even enemies within, even enemies pretending to act in our best interest. We are a country built by the people and for the people and when the people stop having a legitimate say, or even if the people start doubting that they have a legitimate say - trouble is brewing. So, take this issue seriously, you don't have to run around crying the sky is falling but be aware of what is happening and demand the facts. Whatever the outcome, an honest investigation will make our country stronger.

Before, I get back to work - I'll leave you with a link to the report by nonpartisan Goverment Accountablity Office (pdf) regarding the electronic voting machines.
The report concludes that "Concerns about electronic voting machines have been realized and have caused problems with recent elections, resulting in the loss and miscount of votes."

Examples of Voting System Problems and Vulnerabilities:
-Cast ballots, ballot definition files, and audit logs could be modified.

-Supervisor functions were protected with weak or easily-guessed passwords.

-Systems had easily picked locks and power switches that were exposed and unprotected.

-Local jurisdictions misconfigured their electronic voting systems, leading to election day problems.

-Voting systems experienced operational failures during elections.

-Vendors installed uncertified electronic voting systems.

Why isn't anything being done about this? Why isn't anyone in the national media reporting on this?

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Monday, February 06, 2006 

Why the Left is Right - Liberal Quotes

The politics of the family are the politics of a nation.
-- Letty Cottin Pogrebin

The blessing of a bigoted, political God isn't worth having.
-- Deepak Chopra

From the book The Best Liberal Quotes Ever - Why the Left is Right.

(Sorry about the down time, I was in Maryland visiting the in-laws this weekend. )