Tuesday, May 27, 2008

America, 2018

  >

- more -
Sphere: Related Content

Enron parable haunting GOP again

by STANLEY CROUCH

Due to unexpected Republican congressional losses in special elections in Mississippi and Louisiana, the elephants now fear that they are headed for a further stripping away of their tusks come the fall.

No one should be surprised. In The Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove -- the butcher of the Beltway -- plays at being a pundit. He warns that the Republican Party must fashion a platform of change because, "Public revulsion at GOP scandals was a large factor in the party's 2006 congressional defeat."

Let us thank brother Karl for maintaining his identity and revealing but half the truth. Could you be more precise and give us some of the details of what brought about repulsion and the echo that may be heard in the fall? Why would you? I will help you out, Brother Karl. It's the only neighborly thing to do. So, here we go: To truly understand the GOP's problems, take a look at "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room," the 2005 documentary that remains essential viewing on DVD.

The central lesson of that movie is this: Our country cannot maintain a reasonable living standard if whatever party in power continues to adhere to a philosophy of free markets that turns capitalism into the high seas and invites the ruthlessness of the buccaneers of the bottom line.

Supposed believers in pure free markets will tell the little guy in business trouble that business is a gamble and bad investments or poor planning will bring you down, but the market -- thank the Lord -- will survive and thrive. It will be as it always has been: The impartial market will work it out. You can bet your life on it. This is the gospel of materialism that celebrates a mysterious god of finance. This god functions beyond sentiment and understands only the prayers of goods and services that are answered with the blessings of money.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

Beaver to return to Scotland after 400 years

A beaver being reintroduced into the wild near the Zasavica river in Serbia in 2004. The European beaver, which has not been seen in Scotland for over 400 years, is to be reintroduced into the wild as part of a formal attempt to bring back an animal which has long been native to Britain.(AFP/File/Koca Sulejmanovic)LONDON (AFP) - The European beaver, which has not been seen in Scotland for over 400 years, is to be reintroduced into the wild as part of a formal attempt to bring back an animal which has long been native to Britain.

Scottish Environment Minister Michael Russell has given the green light to a project which will see three or four beaver families released into the wilds of western Scotland next year.

The beavers, which became extinct in Britain in the 16th century due to hunting, will be captured in Norway during the autumn then released around five lochs in Argyll in spring 2009 after a six-month period of quarantine.

The mammal, an aquatic rodent with webbed feet, has long been hunted for its fur and by the 1900, it was close to complete extinction across Europe.

It has since been successfully reintroduced to 24 European countries. Although there are some of the species living in the UK, none of them live in the wild.

"This is an exciting development for wildlife enthusiasts all over Scotland and beyond," Russell said in a statement released on Sunday.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

Cat hired as station chief brings passengers back

By MARI YAMAGUCHI

TOKYO - A money-losing Japanese train company has found the purr-fect pet mascot to draw crowds and bring back business — tabby Tama.

All the 9-year-old female cat does is sit by the entrance of Kishi Station in western Japan, wearing a black uniform cap and posing for photos for the tourists who are now flocking in droves from across the nation.

Tama has been doing such a good job of raising revenue for the troubled Kishikawa train line that she was recently promoted to "super-station-master."

"She never complains, even though passengers touch her all over the place. She is an amazing cat. She has patience and charisma," Wakayama Electric Railway Co. spokeswoman Yoshiko Yamaki told The Associated Press Monday. "She is the perfect station master."

Appointing a cat to turn around fortunes makes cultural sense in Japan, where cats are considered good luck and are believed to bring in business.

People are snatching up novelty goods — postcards, erasers, notebooks and pins — decorated with Tama's photos. There's even a special 1,365 yen ($13) book of photos of Tama called, "Diary of Tama, the Station Master."

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

Japanese Customs plants 124g of hash in traveller's luggage to train dogs, then loses the hash


Pete sez, "Customs officials at Narita airport have lost 124 grams of hashish they planted in an unknowing traveler's luggage to train drug sniffing dogs." Link (Thanks, Pete!)
Sphere: Related Content

On This Memorial Day

by Camillo "Mac" Bica

photoUS Army Capt. Ferris Butler sprays on sunscreen at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., in preparation for a multi-state ride to raise funds for cycling programs to benefit injured veterans. Butler was wounded in Iraq on Dec. 21, 2006.
(Photo: Susan Biddle / The Washington Post)

    For many of us who have known war, it has been years since we faced the insanity of man's inhumanity to man. Yet, it haunts us still. It is the nature of war, I think, that we can still recall with frightful realism, the rifle butt and bayonet that forced a weary body to continue the seemingly endless trek of the Bataan Death March, or appreciate the gentle beauty of a snowflake without recalling the blood stained snow banks of the frozen Chosin Reservoir. Not a day goes by, I think, that we do not recall the devastating screams of a comrade who died in our arms while taking and then giving back a useless and desolate hill top in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, or wake up screaming as we relive the horror of the bloodstained streets of Fallujah.

    It is the nature of war, I think, that we shall never forget and need no holiday to remind us. As warriors, we may know little of the politics of diplomacy and international affairs. But no one knows war better than we who did the killing, and the dying, and the remembering, and the grieving. For we are neither war's initiators nor its beneficiaries, we are its victims.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

Pastors, rejected and repudiated

by Frank Mazzaglia,

Anybody who believes that God sent Adolf Hitler to earth in order to help Jews reach the promised land is probably in serious need of psychiatric help. Yet that was part of the rusty stuff that came out of the mouth of Texas preacher John Hagee.

You may remember that the influential televangelist recently made news by endorsing Republican John McCain. It should be noted, by the way, that Hagee's weekly television show is regular viewing for millions of Americans.

Last week, McCain finally rejected Hagee's month-old endorsement by calling that comment "crazy and unacceptable."

Another well-known preacher who tossed his support to McCain was Rod Parsley, the pastor of World Harvest church in suburban Ohio. Parsley called Islam "inherently violent" - the critical word here being "inherently." You would have to be a dripping yo-yo to not recognize that certain extremist elements of Islam suffer from a lack of cognitive sufficiency. However, to brand all Muslims as "inherently" violent is a real stretch into loo-loo land.

Parsley has also called the Muslim prophet Mohammed "the mouthpiece of a conspiracy of spiritual evil."

So it was refreshing to hear that Sen. McCain rejected Parsley's support too. He told an Associated Press reporter, "I believe there is no place for that kind of dialogue in America, and I believe that even though he endorsed me, and I didn't endorse him, the fact is that I repudiate such talk, and I repudiate his endorsement."

While Hagee's version on the formation of Israel was what caused McCain to reject his support, Catholics have been particularly offended by the televangelist's endorsement. From his mega-church in San Antonio, Hagee has referred to the Roman Catholic Church as "the great whore" and called it a "false cult system" and the "apostate church."

McCain, who sent two of his children to Catholic school, said, "I categorically reject and repudiate any statement that was made that was anti-Catholic, both in intent and nature. I categorically reject it, and I repudiate it," McCain said.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

We Need to Make Memorial Day a Relic of the Past

Why Memorial Day is a Double-Whammy for Me

By CINDY SHEEHAN

Memorial Day is a double-whammy for me.

You see, my son Casey was born on Memorial Day 29 years ago.
When he was growing up, we would gather dozens of our friends and relatives to celebrate his birthday.

Now a few of us gather at his grave in Vacaville, California, to mourn his death and cry for his life that was stolen from him by George W. Bush.

Casey is not buried in a military cemetery, but there are many veterans of other wars buried in his cemetery.

The flags flutter on Memorial Day as living vets from many past wars salute the flags and their fallen comrades.

Seeing all the flags and the battered vets paying homage makes my stomach turn and my heart break for all the broken families that have had to pay needlessly high prices for this war, and other imperial wars, like Vietnam.

In Vacaville, there are many mothers whose sons were killed in Vietnam. I remember seeing them the first Memorial Day after Casey was killed. I sat with them at a ceremony and saw my future in their faces lined from years of grief and longing for the voice or the touch of a son that will never come.

On this Memorial Day, I would like you to take a few moments from your day off and stare into the faces of grief.

Go to a nearby military cemetery and look at the American flags stuck on each grave and think of the person buried there who was killed for the greed of empire or for the blunders, greed and hubris of a nation.

And remember, for every person buried there, at least ten more loved that person and were shattered by the loss. Instead of saluting, softly say: "I'm sorry."

On this Memorial Day, remember, too, to look at the pictures of Iraqi children being lifted out of rubble after their homes have been bombed by U.S. jets.

Please say, "I'm sorry," for them, also.

And let us not be fooled.

With a presidential election season upon us, we need to recognize the militarism of each candidate and realize that their positions on war and empire are not so different from each other.

We need to rededicate our lives to opposing empire, war and unbridled presidential power so that Memorial Day is not grief-soaked for thousands more families to come.

I know I will never experience Memorial Day as a holiday again.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

McCain Sells Out Vets

By Brian Beutler

The way John McCain tells it, the injuries he suffered at the hands of his captors in Vietnam would have ended his career as a Navy pilot were it not for the help of physical therapist Diane Rauch. And that's basically true: after months of painful treatment, he was well enough to pass his medical screening. But that leaves out an interesting part of the story. In his biography of McCain, Robert Timberg details the treatment McCain received at two naval hospitals. Navy doctors in Maryland were, in fact, McCain's first physical therapists, but they offered a bleak prognosis. Fortunately for McCain, the story of his imprisonment and torture was so widely known that strangers from across the country offered assistance. One of those strangers was Rauch, who provided her services at no charge.

As a vignette, it's charming--a POW, just released from a long and brutal stretch in captivity, finally stumbling upon some good fortune. But it's hardly a working model for veterans' health services. Most vets, after all, need government-provided treatment for the rest of their lives--first, like McCain, at military hospitals and then, unlike McCain, at VA facilities.

Thirty-five years after McCain's return to the United States, the Veterans Health Administration has undergone a sea change. Once a national embarrassment, it is now among the highest-functioning public bureaucracies. In fact, it's the best health system, public or private, in the country. (Military hospitals are a different story altogether, managed not by the Veterans Administration but by the armed services. To many, the words "military hospital" evoke images of the Soviet-style decay uncovered by journalists at Walter Reed Army Medical Center.)

Times have changed since McCain needed veterans services so urgently. And for many of those thirty-five years, McCain, the presumptive GOP presidential nominee, the candidate who talks the best talk on veterans issues, has demonstrated a tendency to work against veterans' interests, voting time after time against funding and in favor of privatizing services--in other words, of rolling back the VA's improvements by supporting some of the same policies that wrecked Walter Reed.

During a March 2005 Senate budget debate, McCain voted to kill an amendment that would have "increase[d] veterans medical care by $2.8 billion in 2006." That amendment lacked an assured funding stream, but lest one mistake this incident for a maverick's stance against budget-busting, there's more. Just a year later McCain voted against an amendment that would have "increase[d] Veterans medical services funding by $1.5 billion in FY 2007 to be paid for by closing corporate tax loopholes." Two days after it failed, he voted to kill "an assured stream of funding for veterans' health care that [would] take into account the annual changes in the veterans' population and inflation to be paid for by restoring the pre-2001 top rate for income over $1 million, closing corporate tax loopholes and delaying tax cuts for the wealthy." That amendment died quietly, forty-six to fifty-four.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

FOX NEWS-KILLING OBAMA JOKE

Sphere: Related Content

Student researching al-Qaida tactics held for six days

· Lecturers fear threat to academic freedom
· Manual downloaded from US government website


by Polly Curtis and Martin Hodgson

A masters student researching terrorist tactics who was arrested and detained for six days after his university informed police about al-Qaida-related material he downloaded has spoken of the "psychological torture" he endured in custody.

Despite his Nottingham University supervisors insisting the materials were directly relevant to his research, Rizwaan Sabir, 22, was held for nearly a week under the Terrorism Act, accused of downloading the materials for illegal use. The student had obtained a copy of the al-Qaida training manual from a US government website for his research into terrorist tactics.

The case highlights what lecturers are claiming is a direct assault on academic freedom led by the government which, in its attempt to establish a "prevent agenda" against terrorist activity, is putting pressure on academics to become police informers.

Sabir was arrested on May 14 after the document was found by a university staff member on an administrator's computer. The administrator, Hisham Yezza, an acquaintance of Sabir, had been asked by the student to print the 1,500-page document because Sabir could not afford the printing fees. The pair were arrested under the Terrorism Act, Sabir's family home was searched and their computer and mobile phones seized. They were released uncharged six days later but Yezza, who is Algerian, was immediately rearrested on unrelated immigration charges and now faces deportation.

Dr Alf Nilsen, a research fellow at the university's school of politics and international relations, said that Yezza is being held at Colnbrook immigration removal centre, due to be deported on Tuesday.

"If he is taken to Algeria, he may be subjected to severe human rights violations after his involvement in this case. He has been in the UK for 13 years. His work is here, his friends are here, his life is here."

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

KPHX

Sphere: Related Content

Charlie's Diary

The direct cost to the US government of the war and occupation of Iraq — counting only funds appropriated by Congress — so far runs to roughly $523Bn.

However, that's the direct cost — money directly spent on the project. There are indirect costs, too: Joseph Stiglitz estimates the true cost of the war to be $3Tn to the United States, and $3Tn to the rest of the global economy. These are indirect costs, and factor in the long-term additional expenses that the war has accrued — everything from caring for brain-damaged soldiers for the next 50 years through to loss of economic productivity attributable to instabilities in the supply of oil from Iraq.

We can tap-dance around the indirect costs, but the direct costs (that headline figure of $523Bn) are inarguable.

So. What fun boondoggles could we have bought with either $523Bn (at the low end) or $6Tn (at the high end)?

NASA have plans for a manned Mars expedition based on the Ares spacecraft they're developing as a replacement for the Space Shuttle. Price estimates vary from $20Bn (presumably for a single round-trip) to $450Bn (presumably for a single round trip plus all the externalities, like developing the spacecraft and equipment and conducting a thorough prior reconnaissance using unmanned landers).

Either way, the direct costs of the Iraq war exceed the maximum cost estimate for a manned Mars expedition, infrastructure and all, by 20%. If we take $20Bn as the cost per mission and $450Bn as the cost to develop the technology to go there, the direct cost of the Iraq war would be sufficient to develop a gold-plated Mars expeditionary capability and send six crews of astronauts to Mars (and bring them back afterwards).

Going by Stiglitz's indirect estimates, the picture is even more ludicrous; for $3Tn, assuming a crew of four per expedition, $20Bn per flight, and a basic $450 start-up price, you could send 510 astronauts to Mars. That's not a Mars exploration program, that's a battalion! It's a small colony! Regular readers will be familiar with my opinion of plans to colonize Mars ... but if you throw enough money at a scheme you can probably get something out of it, even if it's only another Darien Scheme.

Or perhaps we could tackle global warming by building nuclear reactors. Westinghouse AP1000 PWRs cost roughly $2Bn a pop and have a net output of 1117Mw (1.12Gw). For $513Bn we could probably negotiate a bulk discount of, say, 20%, in which case we're good for 320 reactors, or about 375Gw of output. Our entire planetary civilization consumes about 16Tw, but the USA accounts for about 40% of that, so we could buy, outright, the equivalent of 6% of the US's energy budget. But this stuff pays for itself (it's producing electricity, a fungible commodity) and in actual fact, 50% of the USA's energy budget is coal, burned for juice. So we could cut 12% of the USA's coal-sourced carbon emissions, enabling the USA to not only meet but exceed the Kyoto protocol requirements using a single, fiendishly expensive gambit (and treating it not as capital investment but as expenditure).

For $6Tn we could buy a lot of juice — a quarter of our global civilization's energy budget would go carbon-neutral at a stroke. (Yes, we just solved our carbon dioxide emissions problem by switching to a nuclear economy.) This probably isn't the ideal way of dealing with our environmental problems, and it's a naive treatment of the costs (has anyone done a proper treatment of the economic implications of shifting the planet over to a nuclear economy, say to the same extent as France?) but it's thought-provoking.

Finally, there's all the other little stuff we could solve by pointing $513Bn at it, never mind $6000Bn. Eliminating childhood diseases in South-East Asia? Piffle — Bill and Melinda Gates are trying to do that out of their pocket lint. Build first-world grade housing in shiny new cities for 600 million Chinese peasants, nearly a tenth of the planetary population? Yes, this budget will cover that. What else?

Yes, I'm asking you: what would you do with the cost of the Iraq war (take your pick: $513Bn or $6000Bn) in your budget? Colonise Mars? Solve our carbon emission problem and fix global warming? House half a billion people? Or something else ...?

(And what isn't going to happen now, because we pissed it all away on the desert sands?)

- join the discussion here -

Sphere: Related Content

The Real-Life Indiana Jones Is a Lesbian

With Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull in theaters now, Smithsonian anthropologist Dr. Jane MacLaren Walsh, a crystal-skull expert and a lesbian, is getting international attention. Michael Gardner asked her about the skulls, the film, and her role in it all
 
The Real-Life Indiana Jones Is a Lesbian Nineteen years after Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones is back in the highly anticipated Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, in theaters now. Trademark fedora intact, Harrison Ford once again toplines as the adventurous archaeologist, this time on the hunt for the Crystal Skull of Akator, a legendary skull believed to hold the power of world domination for whoever can unlock its secrets.

In the real world, Indy's altar ego may well be Dr. Jane MacLaren Walsh, an anthropologist at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History, whose research focus is—yes!—crystal skulls. The objects have attracted a growing legion of fans over the years—from New Age devotees to psychics—who say the skulls have supernatural healing powers. But Walsh's work has shown that no crystal skull has ever been excavated from a documented archaeological site. Still, despite their inauthenticity, skulls of all sizes, usually made from rock crystal, have been displayed as ancient artifacts in museums and private collections worldwide.

Everyone wants to talk to Walsh these days, given her real-life connection to a major summer blockbuster (The Times of London and Der Spiegel are two of her recent suitors). But The Advocate had a special reason to talk: Walsh is gay, and has lived with her partner for more than two decades in Washington, D.C. From her office there, she recently spoke to Michael Gardner about her passion for those crazy crystal artifacts and, of course, everything Indy.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

Hollywood's odd couple

Film critics Marcia, 81, and Lorenzo, 84, are winning fans of all ages on YouTube. Elizabeth Day asks the Reel Geezers how they do it

Hollywood has a history of great double acts - Burton and Taylor, Fred and Ginger, John Travolta and his chin cleft. For years, the most inspired pairings have been on the big screen rather than off it.

That is about to change. For the past nine months, two American octogenarian pensioners have reinvented themselves as internet film critics, becoming an unlikely hit on YouTube. Marcia Nasatir, 81, and Lorenzo Semple, 84, call themselves the Reel Geezers and have almost 4,000 regular subscribers. Their pithy, 10-minute critiques attract 500,000 views and director Tony Gilroy was so impressed by their review of his movie Michael Clayton that he sent a copy to his lead actor George Clooney.

Like all great double acts, the Reel Geezers have an obvious chemistry that teeters on the brink of mutual affection, occasionally tipping over into vociferous disagreement. Nasatir, a former agent and pioneering studio executive, has a more feminist perspective - she cites Showgirls as her all-time least favourite movie. Semple, one of the top screenwriters of the 1970s, can suspend any amount of disbelief for a really good story. They share a wicked sense of humour and an elegant turn of phrase.

In a review of the new Judd Apatow comedy Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Semple accuses a dismissive Nasatir of wanting female characters to be 'a cross between Hillary Clinton and Mother Teresa'.

'It is pleasant to have such an easy recurring target for my wrath,' he tells me. 'Whereas I assume and would like to believe Lorenzo is being provocative for the sake of the show,' counters Nasatir.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

The Community Reacts

The movers and shakers of the LGBT community tell The Advocate how they feel about the California supreme court's landmark decision May 15 to legalize same-sex marriage in the state.

The Community Reacts: Sally Field

The Community Reacts: Sally Field

I know there will be a lot more work to do before all the people all across America accept this ruling as right and fair -- but I so hope that our country is beginning to change even before we elect a new administration.

  PETE WENTZ (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COMThe Community Reacts: Pete Wentz

I am happy to get married [to Ashlee Simpson on Saturday] in the same state where the state supreme court recognizes the union of gay/lesbian couples. It seems like we could have a hell of a bash as a joint anniversary over in West Hollywood next year!

 

LANCE BASS (GETTY) | ADVOCATE.COM The Community Reacts: Lance Bass

I am thrilled that the California supreme court has come to realize that you can't outlaw love and has chosen to join the state of Massachusetts in setting a historical precedent in its demonstration that all loving relationships deserve the same level of respect and recognition under the law, regardless of the gender of those involved.

 

Alicia Banks (provided by author) | Advocate.com The Community Reacts: Alicia Banks

Oakland, Calif., is my favorite city on Earth… Now I revere California even more as gay marriage has finally been legalized there!!! The coolest gay people I have ever met live in California. Kudos to California's supreme court justices who have now made it possible for gay couples to live as full citizens with fully equal rights.

Civil rights are like pregnancy. They never exist partially. One is pregnant or not. One is married or not. Period. Marriage secures assets, insurance benefits, wills, income, tax breaks, pensions, property, custody, peace, and overall quality of life. Gay bashers are lewdly and exclusively obsessed with gay sex. They absolutely ignore all gay love. God is love. All true love is sacred. God blesses all true love.

I have only two phobias: marriage and divorce. I will probably never get married, as I have been way too traumatized by the droves of divorces I witness… But, if I ever change my mind, I will swiftly return to California to get married…

Thank God for California!!!!!!!

Sheila Kuehl (Getty) | Advocate.com The Community Reacts: California State Senator Sheila Kuehl

The Advocate: What was your reaction when you heard the decision?
Kuehl: I was completely overjoyed, and so were all of my Democratic colleagues. Everyone came and hugged me and [Senator Carol] Migden and [Senator Christine] Kehoe.

How did you find out?
About one minute to 10 a.m., people started gathering around my desk, and when we were able to get the document, we started going through [Chief Justice Ronald] George's opinion. Then at about 11 a.m., the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee was on the phone with Justice George, and so I got a chance to get on the phone with him and I got to thank him. Then, Justice Joyce Kennedy was in the building, speaking in favor of an appointment nominee, so I went down to the chambers and spoke with her too.

This must be particularly gratifying after the state legislature passed a marriage bill twice only to be vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger both times.
I thought it was generous and wonderful of the governor that literally 10 minutes after the opinion was announced, he issued a statement backing the opinion of the court. He said that he would uphold the opinion, and he said he would come out in opposition to any attempts to strike it down.

How are you going to celebrate this victory?
I already have tickets to the theater, so I can't go to the big party in West Hollywood. But I felt like I got the best of my world today because my friends in the legislature were all here. We went through all the gay bills together over the past decade -- the students bill, the hate-crimes amendment, the fair employment act. We've got a great group here.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

Pieta of Liberty

Sphere: Related Content

The moral minority

Mary Whitehouse spent her life campaigning against 'dirt, promiscuity, infidelity and drinking' on our TV screens. Should we have listened to her warnings? Perhaps, says David Stubbs


"Last Thursday evening, we sat as a family and watched a programme that started at 6.35. And it was the dirtiest programme I have seen for a very long time."

With those words, at Birmingham Town Hall one evening in 1964, the Clean Up TV Campaign, later to evolve into the National Viewers' And Listeners' Association, was introduced to the nation by a disgruntled West Midlands teacher called Mary Whitehouse. A committed Christian, Whitehouse had turned to her faith following the break up of her parents' own marriage and a lengthy but unconsummated infatuation with a married man. She now watched with mounting disgust as the 60s got into full swing with the Profumo affair, That Was The Week That Was and a programme highlighting the issue of premarital sex, which had elicited some snickering queries from her older, female pupils.

She reserved most of her ire for the BBC, and in particular its director-general, Hugh Carleton Greene, brother of Graham Greene. She held him responsible for unleashing the sluices to let a tide of smut and depravity into every British household. She accused the Beeb of promulgating "the propaganda of disbelief, doubt and dirt ... promiscuity, infidelity and drinking". Rather, she urged, the BBC should be broadcasting shows which "encourage and sustain faith in God and bring Him back to the heart of our family and national life".

The objects of her ire ranged from dubious foreign movies and the Beatles to Till Death Us Do Part. Carleton Greene, in turn, regarded her as beneath contempt and refused to meet her, or her ridiculous organisation. However, in the end, he was displaced, in 1969, by a rather more conservative DG more sympathetic to Whitehouse's views.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

1957 Thorazine ad promises "control of the agitated, belligerent senile"

|


This Thorazine ad from 1957 sure tells it like it is: "With 'Thorazine', senile patients become calm, agreeable and sociable. They begin to eat and sleep better, often gain weight and improve physically. for prompt control of the agitated, belligerent senile... THORAZINE*" Link (Thanks, Marilyn!)

Sphere: Related Content

We Need to Make Memorial Day a Relic of the Past

Why Memorial Day is a Double-Whammy for Me

By CINDY SHEEHAN

Memorial Day is a double-whammy for me.

You see, my son Casey was born on Memorial Day 29 years ago.
When he was growing up, we would gather dozens of our friends and relatives to celebrate his birthday.

Now a few of us gather at his grave in Vacaville, California, to mourn his death and cry for his life that was stolen from him by George W. Bush.

Casey is not buried in a military cemetery, but there are many veterans of other wars buried in his cemetery.

The flags flutter on Memorial Day as living vets from many past wars salute the flags and their fallen comrades.

Seeing all the flags and the battered vets paying homage makes my stomach turn and my heart break for all the broken families that have had to pay needlessly high prices for this war, and other imperial wars, like Vietnam.

In Vacaville, there are many mothers whose sons were killed in Vietnam. I remember seeing them the first Memorial Day after Casey was killed. I sat with them at a ceremony and saw my future in their faces lined from years of grief and longing for the voice or the touch of a son that will never come.

On this Memorial Day, I would like you to take a few moments from your day off and stare into the faces of grief.

Go to a nearby military cemetery and look at the American flags stuck on each grave and think of the person buried there who was killed for the greed of empire or for the blunders, greed and hubris of a nation.

And remember, for every person buried there, at least ten more loved that person and were shattered by the loss. Instead of saluting, softly say: "I'm sorry."

On this Memorial Day, remember, too, to look at the pictures of Iraqi children being lifted out of rubble after their homes have been bombed by U.S. jets.

Please say, "I'm sorry," for them, also.

And let us not be fooled.

With a presidential election season upon us, we need to recognize the militarism of each candidate and realize that their positions on war and empire are not so different from each other.

We need to rededicate our lives to opposing empire, war and unbridled presidential power so that Memorial Day is not grief-soaked for thousands more families to come.

I know I will never experience Memorial Day as a holiday again.

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

ChevronToxico

 



one people's fight

Click to see independent documentary about the struggle for justice in Ecuador.

 
Sphere: Related Content

Water footprint

People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. The water footprint of an individual, business or nation is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual, business or nation.


The relation between consumption and water use

The water footprint of a nation shows the total volume of water that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the inhabitants of the nation. Since not all goods consumed in one particular country are produced in that country, the water footprint consists of two parts: use of domestic water resources and use of water outside the borders of the country. The water footprint includes both the water withdrawn from surface and groundwater and the use of soil water (in agricultural production).

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

Snippets From The Sermons

 

David FriendAs the presidential primaries draw to a close, it is time to begin the healing. To that end, vanityfair.com is pleased to provide selected excerpts from a variety of sermons—words of comfort and compassion and outreach—slated to be delivered this weekend from a cross-section of American clerics of disparate denomination.

"We need a president with vision, one who will vow to remain in Iraq not just one hundred years, nay, but one thousand years. Lo! Onto the next millennium."

"We need a president, Dear Lord, who will bridge that gap not merely between black and white, yellow and brown, red and tan, but also between sepia and beige, charcoal and ochre, slate and burnt sienna."

"We need a president who is just like us! A red-blooded American male—preferably an elderly white one—who's been tortured like Job, deprived of his freedoms, and trapped for five years in a war he doesn't fully comprehend."

"We need a president, oh my people, who asks not what we can do for our country, but what other countries, come to think of it, have done for our country lately."

"We need a president who's setting the pace, not re-setting his pacemaker."

"We need a president, heaven help us, without irony, without nuance, without the world-weary, chardonnay-swilling, post-modern cynicism that undermines America's boundless, groundless optimism."

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

An Open Letter to Nancy Pelosi on Israel

Celebrating Ethnic Cleansing

By KATHLEEN M. BARRY

Dear Nancy Pelosi,

Check your history books.  

Celebration of the 60th Anniversary of the State of Israel is celebration of the Zionist ethnic cleansing of Arabs from Palestine, the celebration of the expulsion of 750,000 Arabs who generations later still people the refugee camps of Lebanon, Syria, Jordon, who still mourn their families slaughtered by Zionists as they completely destroyed Arab villages in Palestine, who still hold keys to their homes that were seized by the new Israeli state in 1948. 

I stand with Jews, with Palestinians, with every people who seek protection from persecution, but never with those who persecute others, who conduct well documented ethnic cleansing to gain their own protection which in six decades of Israeli wars has been no protection at all for Israelis. 

I expected George Bush to align himself with the war mongering far right wing government of Israel.  He after all provided most of the millions of laser guided smart bombs Israel directed at apartment buildings and cluster bombs that still take lives in the south of Lebanon.  Israel's crimes against humanity in the 2006 Israeli war against Lebanon go unnoticed by you and your delegation as you are only concerned with Hezbollah's threat to Israel, kidnapping of three soldiers.  In that war, the Israeli Air Force launched more than 7,000 air attacks on about 7,000 targets in Lebanon between 12 July and 14 August, while the Navy conducted an additional 2,500 bombardments.  Does that sound at all proportional to the kidnapping of three Israeli soldiers?    Neither are justified, but reason is required, although with your personal convictions override reason making you very dangerous in a position of leadership. 

Are those the Israeli tags of kidnapped soldiers you carry from that war?   Do you wonder at all about the families of the 1200 dead Lebanese while you worry for those soldiers?  Check the details Nancy, Israel's aggression of Lebanon's borders has outnumbered Hezbollah's. 

- more -

Sphere: Related Content

Houseplants to fight toxins

|

 Marketplace 010 Images Horticulture Stuff like tricloroethylene, formaldehyde, and benzene can be really toxic. Yet they're commonly found right in your house. Fortunately, adding some common houseplants to your surroundings can apparently help clean up the toxins. Our friends at GOOD Magazine posted a useful charticle showing where the compounds tend to rear their ugly heads and the common plants that can act as, er, toxic avengers.
Link

Sphere: Related Content

Blog Archive

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Search This Blog

Salvador Dali of the Day

There was an error in this gadget
There was an error in this gadget

About Me

My photo

I am not that other Michael Dare.

Subscribe Now: standard