Saturday, May 08, 2004
"He is the painter of dreams"
Catalonia (plus the rest of Europe and of course the museum in St Petersburg FL) celebrates Salvador Dali's 100th birthday on the 11th
6:16 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
There's little satisfaction for those of us who knew the Iraq invasion would become the tragic debacle it has, now that the shit is knocking over the fan...
...but when you send troops untrained and unprepared for prison detail to manage the largest prison run by the US Army -- then tell them they can't go home and have to stay another year what do you expect? And when the guy in charge "resigned under pressure as director of the Utah Department of Corrections in 1997 after an inmate died while shackled to a restraining chair for 16 hours. The inmate, who suffered from schizophrenia, was kept naked the whole time."?
"You're a person who works at McDonald's one day; the next day you're standing in front of hundreds of prisoners, and half are saying they're sick and half are saying they're hungry," remembered Sgt. First Class Paul Shaffer, 35, a metalworker from Pennsylvania. "We were hit with so much so fast, I don't think we were prepared." And the buck stops with Bush, as far as I'm concerned.
The battalion -- including insurance agents, checkout clerks, sales people and others -- ultimately would follow a grim trajectory into the episodes of prisoner abuse that have shocked the nation. The soldiers found themselves in charge of Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq at a time when the increasing rage of the anti-American insurgency, along with the desperation of American commanders to glean intelligence, magnified the pressures on the unit...
Within days of the American invasion of Iraq, the 320th was in Kuwait, and the unit moved swiftly into southern Iraq, first to a prisoner of war camp overseen by British troops and then to a sprawling barbed-wire American camp in the desert. Known as Camp Bucca, the American camp was home to a legion of Iraqi prisoners.
"We were supposed to be the experts on this, but all we knew is what we learned in our summer camp," said Scott McKenzie, 38, of Clearwater, Pa., a sergeant first class who has since been discharged from the service. "We never learned how to deal with a riot, what to do when we were being assaulted."
He's the "Commander-in-Chief", right?
Both stories linked above are worth reading in their entirety. The second notes that the
[p]hysical and sexual abuse of prisoners, similar to what has been uncovered in Iraq, takes place in American prisons with little public knowledge or concern, according to corrections officials, inmates and human rights advocates. This is the "freedom & democracy" we're exporting?
In Pennsylvania and some other states, inmates are routinely stripped in front of other inmates before being moved to a new prison or a new unit within their prison. In Arizona, male inmates at the Maricopa County jail in Phoenix are made to wear women's pink underwear as a form of humiliation.
At Virginia's Wallens Ridge maximum security prison, new inmates have reported being forced to wear black hoods, in theory to keep them from spitting on guards, and said they were often beaten and cursed at by guards and made to crawl.
The corrections experts say that some of the worst abuses have occurred in Texas, whose prisons were under a federal consent decree during much of the time President Bush was governor because of crowding and violence by guards against inmates. Judge William Wayne Justice of Federal District Court imposed the decree after finding that guards were allowing inmate gang leaders to buy and sell other inmates as slaves for sex.
5:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Wednesday, May 05, 2004
Some interesting thoughts on his relocation to Thailand (among other things) from Coilman and ex-TG member Peter Christopherson [from Mt. Disappointment, an interesting blog]
...I love the way the people look. Coming back to the UK last month the airport was like a scene from Doré or Dickens' vision of Bedlam; everyone looked diseased and deformed somehow. Not only that, but the Thais are, by and large, a truly sweet and generous race, you can smile at the scariest looking thug in a dark alley and, chances are, he (or she) will be flattered and flash you his (or her) most charming grin. And the food, what can say? I love it. Western food seems bland and unbearably heavy to me now.
1:53 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, May 02, 2004
New book exposes more crimes of the eugenics movement in early 20th century US
One of the deep, dark secrets of America's past has finally come to light. Starting in the early 1900s, hundreds of thousands of American children were warehoused in institutions by state governments. And the federal government did nothing to stop it. The Bush clan have long been associated with the eugenics movement, most recently -- in spirit if not letter -- in shrubco's educational reforms.
The justification? The kids had been labeled feeble-minded, and were put away in conditions that can only be described as unspeakable.
Now, a new book, The State Boys Rebellion, by Michael D'Antonio, reveals even more: A large proportion of the kids who were locked up were not retarded at all. They were simply poor, uneducated kids with no place to go, who ended up in institutions like the Fernald School in Waltham, Mass.
5:57 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Cinco de Mayo is widely acknowledged here in AZ among the large Mexican population -- and increasingly across the US (at least in supermarket ads & bars) -- but in Mexico no one pays much attention outside of Puebla, the city where the 19th century battle it celebrates occurred
Eduardo Duran, a Puebla coffee-shop worker, said Cinco de Mayo definitely has had little more than a regional flavor. He attributes it to private industry paying little attention to it as a day of celebration.
José Calderón, a former teacher who owns a Mexico City ice cream shop, blames it on the influence of the media and the rapid cultural expansion of the United States into Mexico City.
"I remember as a child here in Mexico City that it was a far more important event than it is today. The children of today have very little knowledge of our history beyond what they see on TV," Calderón said.
5:35 PM - [Link] - Comments ()
Drought in West "may be the norm"
But the fact is, no one knows: the weather could change tomorrow. Many past Western droughts have ended suddenly, with a bang of precipitation. But some dry spells persisted for generations. From about 900 to 1300, scientists say, periodic drought in the West was the norm. Only a few times during that period, according to tree-growth measurements, was precipitation anywhere near the relatively high levels of the 20th century.
"What is unusual is not the drought periods, but the above-average wet periods," said Dr. Robert Webb, a hydrologist with the Geological Survey who specializes in the Colorado River.
The uncertainty has local, state and federal officials along the 1,450-mile river scurrying to secure water allotments while also preparing for the worst.
Already in Las Vegas, the regional water agency is removing the equivalent of a football field of grass every day from front lawns, playgrounds and golf courses to save on outdoor watering. Farther downriver, Arizona officials are pumping billions of gallons of water into aquifers to save for an even less rainy day.
Electricity has become a concern. The Western Area Power Administration, the federal agency that distributes power from hydroelectric projects in the Rocky Mountain West, plans to reduce by about 25 percent the amount of electricity it can promise in future years.
11:19 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
"No really the world is black and white now" file:
Macedonian govt admits it murdered 9 Pakistani illegals as "militants" 2 years ago "to show the outside world that they were serious about participating in the US-led war on terror"
11:13 AM - [Link] - Comments ()