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Surf-Worthy Sites:

Administration and Cost of Elections

Alaska Wilderness League

American Antitrust Institute

American Association of Retired Persons

American Federation of Government Employees

American Friends Service Committee

American Institute of Philanthropy

American Lands Alliance

American Library Asociation

American Peace

American Rivers

Americans for Computer Privacy

Americans for Democratic Action

Americans United for Separation of Church and State

Amnesty International

Annoyances.org

Anthrax Vaccine Network

Anti-Fascism.org

Arms Control Association

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

Atomic Veterans of America

BailoutWatch

Behind the Label

Black Box Voting

Bread for the World

Brennan Center for Justice

B'Tselem

Business and Human Rights Resource Center

Campaign Against Arms Trade

Campaign Against Depleted Uranium

Campaign Finance Institute

Campaign for America's Future

Campaign for Safe and Affordable Drinking Water

Campaign for the Abolition of Sweatshops and Child Labor

Campaign to Ban Genetically Engineered Foods

Campaign to Label Genetically Engineered Foods

CEE BankWatch Network

Center for Constitutional Rights

Center for Defense Information

Center for Democracy and Citizenship

Center for Digital Democracy

Center for Economic and Policy Research

Center for Food Safety

Center for International Policy

Center for Justice and Accountability

Center for National Security Studies

Center for Nonproliferation Studies

Center for Public Integrity

Center for Science in the Public Interest

Center for Voting and Democracy

Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

Chemical Industry Archives

Chernobyl Children's Project

Child Labor Coalition

Child Protective Services Watch

Children's Defense Fund

Chilling Effects Clearinghouse

Christian Aid

ChristianLogic.com

Chronic IllNet

Chronology of Incorporation and Monopoly

Citizen Action Project

Citizen Works

Citizens Against Government Waste

Citizens for Tax Justice

Citizens Network on Essential Services

CivilRights.org

Clary-Meuser Research Network

Clean Clothes Campaign

CleanUpGE.org

Coalition for a Competitive Pharmaceutical Market

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

CokeWatch.org

Commercial Alert

Common Cause

Common Dreams

Commonweal Institute

Community Rights Council

Concord Coalition

CongressWatch

Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Project on Technology

Consumer Research

Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering

Corporate Crime Reporter

Corporate Europe Observatory

Corporate Responsibility Coalition

Corporate Sunshine Working Group

Corporate Welfare Information Center

Corporate Welfare Shame Page

CorporateWatch

Corps of Engineers Watch

CorpWatch.org

Council for a Livable World

Council on Hemispheric Affairs

Cronus Connection: Election Fraud and Voting Machines

Death Penalty Information Center

Defense and the National Interest

Democracy 21

DemocracyNet

Depleted Uranium Education Project

Depleted Uranium Watch

DES Action

Desaparecidos

Disabled American Veterans

Discernment Ministry International

Disinfopedia

DynCorpSucks.com

e.Hormone

Earth Institute

EarthJustice

EarthRights International

Economic Policy Institute

ElectionLine.org

Electronic Frontier Foundation

Electronic Privacy Information Center

Electronic Voting

Endgame Research

Energy Future Coalition

Environmental Investigation Agency

Environmental Working Group

Facts About Olestra

Fair Taxes for All

Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

Faith-BasedWatch

Families of
September 11


Families USA: Voice for Health Care Consumers

Family Farm Alliance

FamilyFarmer.org

Farm Credit Quagmire

FAS Project on Government Secrecy

FDA Review

Federation of American Scientists

Fellowship of Reconciliation

Fielding's DangerFinder

Fight Bad Faith Insurance Companies

Focus on the Corporation

Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights

Fourth Freedom Forum

Free Expression Policy Project

Friends of the Earth

Genocide Documentation Centre

Genocide in the 20th Century

Global Exchange

GoogleWatch

GRACE Factory Farm Project

Gulf War Veterans

Gush Shalom

Health Care Comparisons Worldwide

Health Privacy Project

Healthy Building Network

Heifer International

History House

Human Rights Watch

HumanTrafficking.org

iAbolish: Anti-Slavery Web Portal

IdealsWork

Independent Judiciary

Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton

IndianLandTenure.org

Inequality.org

Infact: Challenging Corporate Abuse

Initiative & Referendum Institute

Instant Runoff Voting

Institute for Energy and Environmental Research

Institute for Health Freedom

Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Institute for Policy Studies

Institute for Public Accuracy

Interfaith Alliance

Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility

International ANSWER

International Atomic Energy Agency

International Campaign to Ban Landmines

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions

International Federation for Alternative Trade

International Fellowship of Reconciliation

International Institute for Environment and Development

International Labor Rights Fund

International POPs Elimination Network

Jewish Unity for a Just Peace

JoeCitizen.org

Keep Antibiotics Working

Landmine Survivors Network

League of Conservation Voters

League of Women Voters

Let's Invest in Families Today

Liberals Like Christ

Local Harvest

Los Alamos Study Group

Low Level Radiation Campaign

Maquila Solidarity Network

March for Justice

McSpotlight

Measles Initiative

MediaReform.net

Mines Advisory Group

MinistryWatch

Mothers for Peace

MoveOn.org

Moving Ideas

National Center for Children in Poverty

National Coalition Against Censorship

National Coalition for Homeless Veterans

National Committee for an Effective Congress

National Committee to Preserve Social Security & Medicare

National Farmers Union

National Freedom of Information Coalition

National Freedom Scorecard

National Gulf War Resource Center

National Institute on Money in State Politics

National Labor Committee for Worker and Human Rights

National Organization for Rare Disorders

National Parks Conservation Association

National Priorities Project

National Vaccine Information Center

National Voting Rights Institute

Native American Rights Fund

NativeWeb

Natural Resources Defense Council

Neturei Karta

New Rules Project

NikeWatch

No Free Lunch: Just Say No to Drug Reps

No Spray Coalition

Novartis Foundation for Sustainable Development

Nuclear Control Institute

Nuclear Threat Initiative

Office of Management & Budget Watch

OpenSecrets.org: Money in Politics

Open Society Institute

Organic Consumers Association

Our Stolen Future

Oxfam International

Participatory Democracy

Pax Christi International

People for the American Way

Pesticide Action Network North America

Physicians for Human Rights

Polaris Institute

Political Money Line

Privacy.net

Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Project Against the Present Danger

Project on Government Oversight

Project Underground

Project Vote Smart

Protection Project

PRWatch

Public Citizen

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibity

Rainforest Action Network

RaytheonWatch

Reaching Critical Will

Reclaim Democracy

Reclaim the Media

ReliefWeb

RememberJohn.com

Resource Center of the Americas

Responsible Wealth

Rethinking Schools

Right-To-Know Network

Safe Tables Our Priority: Food Safety and Food-Borne Illness

SafeMinds

Save the Children

Secretive World of Voting Machines

Send a Cow

September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows

Shared Hope International

Small Business Survival Committee

Society for Animal Protective Legislation

Soft Money Laundromat

Sojourners: Christians for Justice and Peace

Soldiers for the Truth

Soy Online Service

Sprawl Busters

SpyChecker

StateAction.org

Stop Carnivore

Stop Disney Sweatshops

Stop Patient Abuse Now Coalition

SurgicalEyes.org

SweatshopWatch

Sweetwater Alliance

Swords to Plowshares

Talion: Voting Machines

Tax Foundation

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Ten Thousand Villages

Third World Traveler

Tort Reform Reader

Traidcraft

Transparency International

Traprock Peace Center

Truth About Credit

20/20 Vision

UN Landmines Fact Sheet

UN Population Fund

Union of Concerned Scientists

United for a Fair Economy

United for Peace & Justice

Uranium Medical Research Centre

US Campaign to Ban Landmines

US Congregational Life Survey

US Public Interest Research Group

USFumigation.org

Veterans for Common Sense

Vital Voices Global Partnership

Voice4Change.org

VoteWatch: Repository for Voter Complaints

Water Aid

Water Barons

Whistleblower.org: Government Accountability Project

Wilderness Society

WISE Uranium Project

Womens International League for Peace & Freedom

World Resources Institute

WorldWatch Institute

Worldwide Fund for Mothers Injured in Childbirth

Yesh-Gvul

YourCongress.com

Yucca Mountain Facts


E-mail: dailydys at yahoo dot com




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Saturday, May 17, 2003

GE Moves into Wind Power Business

I'm no fan of GE, but this sounds like good news to me. From the Environmental News Network:

The company's foray into wind energy comes as its Power Systems Division, which makes traditional gas turbines for power plants, is on the down side of a very long business cycle. GE has laid off hundreds of workers at its turbine plants, shipments are down, and the near-term outlook is weak.

At the same time, wind power — which in the past often involved smaller companies — has become one of the fastest growing segments of the global energy industry. Wind turbine sales represents a $7 billion business globally and should grow to about $20 billion in the next five to 10 years, Swisher said. "The market has been doubling about every three years," Swisher said.

Government incentives and advances in technology have made wind power more economical, while utilities are under pressure to develop alternative sources of energy, Swisher and GE officials said. Thirteen states now require utilities to include renewable energy such as wind and solar power as a portion of their business, Swisher said.


dystopia 3:27 PM - [Link]
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Homeland Security Search Creates Furor

Sounds like somebody fibbed just a little when they sent the feds after the AWOL Texas reps. From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:

On Thursday, in releasing its most detailed explanation to date, the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement described its role, first reported in the Star-Telegram, as a routine response to a request from law enforcement. It said its Air and Marine Interdiction Coordination Center (AMICC) was told on Monday that the Texas Department of Public Safety was worried that the plane had run into trouble.

"From all indications, this request from the Texas DPS was an urgent plea for assistance from a law enforcement agency trying to locate a missing, lost, or possibly crashed aircraft," the agency said.

The statement quoted a DPS official as telling the interdiction agency: "We got a problem. ... We had a plane that was supposed to be going from Ardmore, Oklahoma to Georgetown, Texas. It had state representatives in it and we cannot find this plane."


dystopia 2:55 PM - [Link]
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Bush Administration Eyes Faith-Based Housing Aid

HUD is the latest federal agency to jump on the faith-based bandwagon, per the Boston Globe:

The Bush administration wants to allow religious groups to receive federal housing aid even if they hire or fire employees based on their religion.

That would be a policy change for six housing programs serving millions. All are currently prohibited from using religious affiliation in personnel decisions.

Officials with the Department of Housing and Urban Development say the proposal would allow qualified religious groups to compete for money on a level playing field with secular organizations.


dystopia 2:34 PM - [Link]
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Villagers vs. Oil Giant: Ashcroft to the Rescue

OMG, this is huge. This could be the get-out-of-jail-free card for all the big US multinational corporations. Very little shocks me any more, but this damn sure did.

According to the Asia Times, Ashcroft filed a "friend of the court" suit asking that the 1789 Alien Tort Claims Act be reinterpreted so that foreign victims would be denied the right to sue in US courts for abuses committed by our corporate giants overseas:

The brief said that ATCA could not be used as a basis to file civil cases and that victims should sue under other laws; that the "law of nations" covered by the act did not include international human-rights treaties; and that abuses committed outside the United States should not be covered by the law.

"Although [ATCA] is somewhat of a historical relic today, that is no basis for transforming it into an untethered grant of authority to the courts to establish and enforce (through money damage actions) precepts of international law regarding disputes arising in foreign countries," the brief said.

If you haven't kept up with what our corporations have been doing over there in those places they export our jobs to, you might not think this is such a big deal. It is.

Ashcroft is one sick bastard. I've given up on the notion of justice in this life, but God promised that there will be justice in the end. I believe Him, and that's the only thing that makes all this awful stuff I learn about every day bearable.

Cursed is the one who perverts justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, "Amen! -- Deuteronomy 27:19

Amen.

dystopia 1:41 PM - [Link]
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Click for Mankind

I still click to Clear Landmines every day, and now I've just found a site where I can click for WaterAid, too. The European plastics industry will donate ten cents for every click to help provide clean water and sanitation for people in Africa.

dystopia 11:28 AM - [Link]
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Today in Dystopian History: May 17

1909: With the support of local politicians, white rail workers went on strike against Georgia Railroad's decision to hire black employees.

1946: President Truman seized control of the nation's railroads, delaying a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

1954: The Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education ruling, declaring that racially segregated public schools are inherently unequal.

1973: The Senate Watergate hearings began, starting what Chairman Sam Ervin called the task of dispelling "a black cloud of distrust over our entire society."

1980: Rioting claimed 18 lives in Miami after an all-white jury acquitted four former police officers of fatally beating a black insurance executive.

1987: An Iraqi warplane attacked the US Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf, killing 37 American sailors. Iraq and the US called the attack a mistake.

1991: President Bush told Congress that Iraqi repression of the Kurdish people had necessitated a limited introduction of US forces into northern Iraq for emergency relief purposes.

2000: The Observer reported that right-wing historian Paul Johnson, who made a career of calling liberals morally degenerate, had his own history of adultery and once smacked his wife in the middle of a crowded restaurant.

2000: Two former klansmen were arrested on murder charges in the 1963 church bombing in Birmingham that killed four black girls.

2001: The Kansas City Star reported that the GSA had investigated claims that departing Clinton aides vandalized the White House, and concluded that the rumors were completely false. Most media outlets ignored this repudiation of a widely-publicized lie.

dystopia 10:34 AM - [Link]
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Friday, May 16, 2003

A Very Good Point

California Peace Action launched an ad campaign featuring the photo of Rummy shaking hands with Saddam in 1983. They note:

The war in Iraq marked the seventh consecutive time that American troops have been sent into combat against a regime the US had previously backed.

From the Oakland Tribune, via Cursor.org.

dystopia 5:02 PM - [Link]
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NM Orders Houston Firm to Halt Dig for Papers

An odd tale about a former Enron subsidiary in the Houston Chronicle:

"We want full cooperation from the company and we want to know what they're looking for," Lyons said. "And what is found here is found on state land and belongs to the New Mexico taxpayers and New Mexico citizens, and we want to know what it is."

On Thursday he walked around the excavation site, which spanned about 2 acres and included a 40- to 50-foot deep hole. Mounds of dirt enclosed the site, making it difficult to see from surrounding areas.

"Looks like they moved a lot of dirt, illegally," Lyons said. "Man, look at this hole. Look at the excavation process. There's something here that has got to be pretty valuable..."

dystopia 4:33 PM - [Link]
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Advisor Cites Conflict Potential

The Pentagon's hand-picked advisor to oversee reconstruction of Iraq's oil industry, a Shell Oil and Fluor vet, admits that there may be conflict of interest issues due to his financial holdings, but he assures us that he'll be good. Really he will. Honest! From the LA Times:

Carroll, however, said he will attempt to avoid any conflicts by distancing himself from the oil contracting process. He also has declared to the Defense Department all of his financial holdings in companies that may seek a role in rebuilding Iraq, he said.

"I know at this stage of my life I don't want my reputation tarnished," said the 65-year-old Houston resident. "And I will stay so far away from any consideration of the bidding process, evaluation process or even the administration and arbitration of things associated with any of those companies in which I have a financial interest Believe me, I will have absolutely nothing to do with it."


Oh, yes, well, I guess we can all rest easy now.

dystopia 4:19 PM - [Link]
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Report from a Collapsing Nation

Even though it's now the 21st century, the phrase "stone age" can still be used to describe conditions in a number of places around the world. Jan Raath gives a detailed report on another country heading in that direction in the Times Online:

Zimbabwe is a country rich in resources and with great potential. It used to have a well-oiled infrastructure that even South Africa, with its far bigger economy, envied. It was robust enough to withstand the first two decades of President Mugabe’s rule but it has now reached the point of collapse. An advanced society is returning to the primitive.

Turn-of-the-switch technology for heating, cooking and water is being replaced by fuel gathering, wood fires and water collection on foot. The bizarre and dysfunctional is the norm and very little surprises people. The expression “the wheels have come off” is on everyone’s lips.

Factory machinery jerks to a halt. Companies moulding tyres or plastics are left with hard, useless lumps oozing from moulds. The Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce estimates that fuel and electricity crises have cut industrial output to 35 per cent of normal.


Inflation is out of control, and the infrastructure is in chaos. Some stats at the end of the article note that life expectancy in Zimbabwe has dropped from 56 years in 1975 to 42.9 years today, that almost 12% of children will die before age five, and that fully one-third of the adult population is infected with HIV/AIDS.

dystopia 3:42 PM - [Link]
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National Amnesia is a Threat to Liberty

Hear, hear! Historian David McCullough gave the annual Jefferson Lecture for the National Endowment for the Humanities last night, where the recently-published book by Diane Ravitch, "The Language Police: How Pressure Groups Restrict What Children Learn," was discussed. A quote from Ravitch's book in the Washington Times (sorry for the Moonie link):

"Students who learn about the world from these texts are unlikely to understand why some civilized nations flourished and others languished, or why people vote with their feet to leave some places and go to others. ... Nor will they have any deep knowledge of the great ideological, political, economic, and military struggles between democratic nations and their totalitarian adversaries in the 20th century."

"Nor will they perceive the critical importance of freedom, democracy, and human rights in the successful functioning of multiethnic, multireligious societies. Nor will they have any insight into the historic struggle to protect religious freedom and to separate religion from the state."

McCullough agrees. He said:

"It's all true. History is a story, cause and effect. And if you're going to teach just segments of history — women's issues — these youngsters have almost no sense of cause and effect.

"They have no sense of what followed what and why, that everything has antecedents and everything has consequences. And they might begin to think that's true of life, too..."

"And so many of the blessings and advantages we have, so many of the reasons why our civilization, our culture, has flourished aren't understood; they're not appreciated," he said. "And if you don't have any appreciation of what people went through to get, to achieve, to build what you are benefiting from, then these things don't mean very much to you. You just think, well, that's the way it is. That's our birthright. That just happened.

"[But] it didn't just happen," he said. "And at what price? What grief? What disappointment? What suffering went on? I mean this. I think that to be ignorant or indifferent to history isn't just to be uneducated or stupid. It's to be rude, ungrateful. And ingratitude is an ugly failing in human beings."


Amen! There's an astonishing number of people who cite "American values" while proving that they have very little concept of what they are. People whose perspective extends only about as far as they can drive on a tank of gas.

An insatiable curiosity, a non-fiction reading addiction and my local public library were how I learned that half the American history I was taught in school was bunk and the rest was pointless. Our history is a richly-textured tapestry of people and places and events, far more fascinating than anything Hollywood can come up with, and I was happily immersed in studying it for most of my adult life, until September 11. Up until then, I had completely ignored 20th century history, thinking of it as too recent and too boring to pay any attention to. I was wrong about that, and I've been making up for it ever since.

dystopia 2:33 PM - [Link]
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Toxic Bullets Litter Iraq

A reporter with the Christian Science Monitor visited Baghdad with a Geiger counter and found significant levels of radioactive contamination from the use of DU munitions. Radio Free USA has more:

No one has warned the vendor in the faded, threadbare black gown to keep the toxic and radioactive dust off her produce. The children haven't been told not to play with the radioactive debris. They gather around as a Geiger counter carried by a visiting reporter starts singing when it nears a DU bullet fragment no bigger than a pencil eraser. It registers nearly 1,000 times normal background radiation levels on the digital readout...

In the first partial Pentagon disclosure of the amount of DU used in Iraq, a US Central Command spokesman told the Monitor that A-10 Warthog aircraft - the same planes that shot at the Iraqi planning ministry - fired 300,000 bullets. The normal combat mix for these 30-mm rounds is five DU bullets to 1 - a mix that would have left about 75 tons of DU in Iraq.

The
Monitor saw only one site where US troops had put up handwritten warnings in Arabic for Iraqis to stay away. There, a 3-foot-long DU dart from a 120 mm tank shell, was found producing radiation at more than 1,300 times background levels. It made the instrument's staccato bursts turn into a steady whine.

Chugoku Shimbun Hiroshima has a wealth of information on the human costs of using depleted uranium munitions in war.

dystopia 1:47 PM - [Link]
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War on Linux

E-mail messages and internal Microsoft documents offer a rare glimpse into the inner workings of Microsoft, currently under investigation for abuse of European anti-trust laws. From the NY Times:

The Microsoft campaign against Linux raises questions about how much its aggressive, take-no-prisoners corporate culture has changed, despite having gone through a lengthy, reputation-tarnishing court battle in the United States that resulted in Microsoft's being found to have repeatedly violated antitrust laws...

European antitrust laws are generally stricter than comparable American laws, but the Microsoft practices described in the memos may raise red flags for regulators in the United States as well...

The Microsoft documents show the preoccupation among top managers with countering the open-source movement, a group of programmers who want the software that runs computers to be offered free of charge...This is in stark contrast to Microsoft, which keeps most of its source code secret — although governments and some corporations are increasingly allowed to view the code.


dystopia 1:08 PM - [Link]
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David Nelson, Could You Step Aside?

The no-fly list is another homeland security clusterf*ck. If your name matches one on the list, every time you go to an airport you're assumed guilty until you can prove yourself innocent. Margie Boule reports in the Oregonian that 18 men named David Nelson, all from Oregon, confirmed they've been repeatedly delayed at airport counters and security checkpoints:

Dave Nelson, the Salem lobbyist, spent a lot of time making phone calls after his trip to Atlanta, trying to learn how he could avoid the security hassles. "I thought I'd seen something on the news that you could get a pre-clearance, a photo ID We called the Port, and they knew nothing. I called the FBI and went up the ranks, and there's nothing like that. You're just stuck. I said, 'What if I used my full name, or just an initial?' They said, 'None of that would make a difference. You're on the list.'"

Somewhere in the world there's an actual terrorist suspect named David Nelson who started all this mess. Several David Nelsons have been told by security or airline personnel that he's from Nashville.

But they're looking for him everywhere. Portland radiologist David Nelson "never could figure out why I was constantly getting flagged. Our bags would always come back with tape around them, saying they had been searched." His son and namesake, David Wesley Nelson, who's 27, thought he was always stopped "because of my age." When he flew to Los Angeles recently, "they gave me a big hassle because I didn't have a passport. I said, 'I don't normally carry a passport when traveling within the US'"


Ozzie and Harriet's son, David Nelson, was stopped when he tried to board a plane at an Orange County, CA, airport.

dystopia 12:50 PM - [Link]
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Red States Stealing from Blue States

Via Atrios, the Tax Foundation reports that some states feast at the expense of others when it comes to federal taxing and spending:

New Mexico received $2.08 in federal outlays for every $1.00 the state’s taxpayers sent to Uncle Sam. No other state got a 2-1 ratio, but Uncle Sam spent $1.95 in North Dakota for each tax dollar, $1.78 in Mississippi, and $1.73 in West Virginia...

Combining the second highest tax burden per capita with low federal spending (33rd highest), New Jersey had the lowest federal spending-to-tax ratio (0.67). The 0.67 ratio means that New Jersey only receives 67 in federal spending for every dollar its taxpayers send to Washington and is therefore the nation’s biggest loser from federal fiscal operations. Other states that had low federal spending-to-tax ratios in FY 2001 are Connecticut (67), New Hampshire (71), Nevada (76) and Illinois (78)...

Federal spending on defense and other procurement dollars are often funneled to the states of powerful congressmen, and state governments can grab more federal grant money by skillfully — some would say slavishly — manipulating their spending to comply with federal regulations.

However, demography is at least as influential as politics. States with more residents on Social Security, Medicare and other large federal entitlements are bound to rank fairly high.


The full report, Federal Tax Burdens and Expenditures by State is available in PDF form here.

dystopia 12:25 PM - [Link]
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Hunt'em Down and Bring'em to Justice

Doublethink hunted down ample examples of Dubya using the "hunt'em down and bring'em to justice" meme. Proving once and for all that, in addition to being incredibly ineffective at hunting down and bringing to justice the biggest and the baddest, i.e. bin Laden, Saddam, etc., he's also terribly redundant.

dystopia 11:54 AM - [Link]
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Alone and Ashamed

Last year, the Bush administration cut off $34 million in US funds to the UN Population Fund, which sponsors programs to prevent and repair obstetric fistulas. Nicholas Kristof writes about the childbirth injury that affects the lives of millions of women in some of the poorest countries in the world:

It typically occurs when a teenage girl cannot deliver a baby because it is too big for her pelvis. After several days of labor without access to a doctor, the baby dies and the girl is left with a hole between her bladder, vagina and sometimes rectum. The result is that urine and sometimes feces drip constantly down her legs. In some cases, she is also left lame from nerve damage.

Women with fistulas stink and leave a trail of urine behind them. They are often abandoned by their husbands and driven out by other villagers...

These tales are common. Dr. Hamlin's hospital treats 2,500 women annually in Ethiopia, but each year 8,500 Ethiopian women develop new fistulas. In Nigeria, the Ministry of Women's Affairs estimates that some 800,000 women have unrepaired fistulas. In most countries, no one bothers to estimate the number of sufferers.

"These are the women most to be pitied in the world," said Dr. Hamlin. "They're alone in the world, ashamed of their injuries. For lepers, or AIDS victims, there are organizations that help. But nobody knows about these women or helps them."


Stand up and cheer for Dr. Catherine Hamlin, an Australian gynecologist who's spent the past 44 years in Addis Ababa treating these women, and for the two American women, Jane Roberts and Lois Abraham, who started an e-mail campaign that raised $1 million for the UN Population Fund.

Kristof included in his column some websites worth visiting for more information:

Fistula Hospital
UN Population Fund
Worldwide Fund for Mothers Injured in Childbirth

dystopia 11:35 AM - [Link]
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One Hundred Lives

The Guardian tells the stories of one hundred men, women and children who died in the Iraq War. Brief summaries link to bios of Iraqi, British and American victims.

dystopia 10:53 AM - [Link]
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Today in Dystopian History: May 16

1868: President Andrew Johnson was acquitted of one of 11 articles of impeachment in the Senate by one vote.

1918: The Sedition Act was passed to silence Republican criticism of the Federalists. Its broad ban of spoken or written criticism of the government, the Congress, or the President virtually nullified the First Amendment freedoms of speech and the press. It was repealed in 1921.

1960: The Big Four summit in Paris collapsed when Khrushchev lashed out at the US and President Eisenhower in the wake of the Soviet downing of an American U-2 spy plane on May 1.

1965: What was described by the US government as "an accidental explosion of a bomb on one aircraft which spread to others" at the Bien Hoa air base left 27 US servicemen dead and some 95 injured.

1988: A report released by Surgeon General C Everett Koop declared nicotine addictive in similar ways as heroin and cocaine.

1988: The Supreme Court ruled that Americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy for their trash and that it can be searched by police without a warrant.

1996: Admiral Jeremy "Mike" Boorda, the nation's top Navy officer, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after some of his military awards were called into question.

2001: Former FBI agent Robert Hanssen was indicted on charges of spying for Moscow.

dystopia 10:09 AM - [Link]
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Thursday, May 15, 2003

Geological Survey Chief Discusses Water Pollution

According to the Kansas City Star, a top federal official confirmed that researchers are finding serious health threats in our water:

Engineers are developing better ways to halt water pollution from urban areas and farms, said Chip Groat, director of the US Geological Survey. But scientists still are learning to find pollutants such as human pharmaceuticals that enter streams and lakes from septic systems or waste treatment plants.

"My concern is, `What are we putting in the water that we don't understand?'" Groat told about 275 hydrologists, engineers and university researchers gathered Monday for a three-day conference at the Kansas City Marriott Downtown. "Do we have the will to get to the bottom of that?"

Conference topics range from identifying sources of E. coli bacteria to controlling contaminants such as animal growth hormones. Also addressed was a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico created by fertilizer, herbicide and pesticide runoff from Midwestern farms and urban areas.


Good man! As far as I know, Groat is still an employee of the Bush administration but if he keeps saying this sort of thing out loud, he may not last long:

What's needed now, Groat said, is research on how contaminants in drinking water and recreational waters affect human health.

Amen to that.

dystopia 4:01 PM - [Link]
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"Why I Would Not Kill in War"

Today is International Conscientious Objectors' Day and, in honor of the occasion, BBC News offers four different perspectives on conscience and duty:

GI Desmond Doss won a medal for bravery under fire in 1945, despite never picking up a rifle.

German Rudolph Kirst risked execution by saying he would not fight for Hitler.

Israeli paratrooper Ishai Menuchin went to prison for disobeying orders to enter Palestinian areas.

US Marine reservist Stephen Funk may face a court martial for refusing to join the attack on Iraq.

dystopia 3:33 PM - [Link]
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Army Vets Among 8 Americans Killed in Riyadh

There's been no official list of victims released yet, but AZCentral.com interviewed family members of two of them. I wondered what sort of person would work for an outfit like Vinnell, but this article was a valuable reminder that most of these guys are just like the rest of us, doing the best we can to earn a living with whatever skills we happen to have:

Jason Bentley, 35, a single father, had been undecided about continuing to work for Vinnell but decided to stay, thinking he could save money for his 14-year-old daughter's college education, his father said.

"Jobs are hard to find here for a 10-year military person and he felt like if he could just squeeze in one more year, he'd get a good job when he came back home," said Bill Bentley from Hurst, about 25 miles west of Dallas.


dystopia 3:09 PM - [Link]
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PPI's Largest Decline on Record

More record-breaking economic news today, from UPI:

The Labor Department reported Thursday the Producer Price Index, a key measure of inflation at the wholesale level, posted its largest decline in 56 years in April, highlighting the Federal Reserve's worry the economy faces a deflation risk for the first time since the Great Depression.

The government agency said the PPI for finished goods dropped 1.9 percent in April, marking its biggest decline since the government began tracking the index in 1947.


Includes a short but helpful overview on how inflation affects the economy. There's a longer and even more helpful discussion about this report going on at DU.

dystopia 2:06 PM - [Link]
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Blasts at 21 British, US Gas Stations

Shell and Caltex stations were targeted today in Karachi, per Yahoo! News:

Police said 19 Shell stations and two belonging to Caltex Pakistan, a subsidiary of US giant Caltex, were hit.

They said the small devices were packed into boxes placed in garbage bins and appeared aimed to scare.

Pakistan's main commercial city has seen a series of attacks against Western targets blamed on Islamic extremists in the past year. Police have rounded up suspects in recent months, including some suspected members of the al Qaeda network.


dystopia 1:33 PM - [Link]
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US Bankruptcies Rise to Record High

Reuters reports that personal bankruptcy filings rose while business filings fell:

US bankruptcy filings rose to a record high in the 12-month period ending March 31, US court officials said on Thursday, as the weak economy hurt personal finances...

"The number of filings continues to break records," it added.

The quarterly figure is the highest in the last nine years. A spokeswoman for the courts said she believes the number is the highest since the courts have been collecting the data.


dystopia 1:06 PM - [Link]
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Blogtrolling

Some noteworthy bits from other bloggers:

Beautiful Horizons has an informative post on the Congressional Human Rights Caucus and gives due recognition to two Republican congressmen for their support of human rights issues. It is noted, however, that nearly 60% of the Democratic House membership belongs to the Caucus while only about a quarter of the Republican House membership belongs.

Also at Beautiful Horizons, a disturbing report on the systemized rape by the military of women and girls from ethnic minority groups in Myanmar.

Jerome at Bad Attitudes Journal cites a NY Times article:

Toyota has been able to outsell its American rivals without relying nearly as heavily as they do on cash incentives to draw buyers. And the higher fuel prices and uncertain economy in the United States have tended to favor Toyota and the other Japanese makers, because their cars are more fuel-efficient and are seen as more reasonably priced.

Better made, too. Aside from scheduled maintenance, my little Japanese zipmobile has needed only one repair since I drove it off the lot eight years ago.

An outstanding essay on Wall Street's amoral values from the American Sentimentalist. Recommended reading.

The Angry Bear put together a handy chart of how much money Bush and members of his cabinet stand to gain if the dividend tax is repealed.

Pax Nortona is rightly perturbed that the Department of Homeland Security was used to track a plane belonging to one of Texas' AWOL Democratic reps, saying:

The ease with which the Republican cabal got this information from Riverside, California's Air and Marine Interdiction and Coordination Center demonstrates how well-greased the slippery slope down which we have been losing our freedoms is.

Arms and the Man collected quite a few articles on Northrop Grumman subsidiary Vinnell and their previous misadventures in Riyadh. There's also an article detailing how American contractors are handing out big-money political donations in hopes of snagging big-money contracts in post-war Iraq.

dystopia 11:53 AM - [Link]
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Democrats Raise Influence Peddling Charge

Here's the conversation as printed in Sunday's NY Times:

Before hanging up, the other senator said he had a small favor to ask of Frist, too: a major Republican donor was seeking an ambassadorship to some overseas economic development organization. "I don't even know what the hell it is," the junior senator said, "but he wants it."

Frist thought about it for a moment. "He has lots of dollar figures down there?"

"That's exactly right. And he did raise a chunk of money for me."

"All right," Frist said. "You're a good man."


Frist was talking to Sen Saxby Chandliss (R-GA), whose spokeswoman confirms the quotes as accurate, according to Newsday. She declined to name the would-be ambassador.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee accused the two of influence-peddling, but I doubt if anything will come of it.

dystopia 11:05 AM - [Link]
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Today in Dystopian History: May 15

1820: Congress declared the transport of African slaves to the US an act of piracy punishable by death.

1856: Republicans in San Francisco organized a Committee of Vigilance and used the 4,000-member force to drive political opponents from the city and to lynch Blacks, Hispanics and Asians they suspected of crimes.

1869: The National Woman Suffrage Association was formed; Elizabeth Stanton was its first president.

1882: President Chester Arthur formed a high-level commission, supposedly charged with weighing the relative merits of tariffs in terms of the impact on global trade and smaller domestic enterprises, but the commission was stacked in favor of protectionist and industrial interests.

1911: The Supreme Court ordered the dissolution of Standard Oil, ruling it in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act.

1935: The National Labor Relations Act was passed, recognizing workers' right to organize and bargain collectively.

1942: Gasoline rationing went into effect in 17 states, limiting sales to 3 gallons a week for nonessential vehicles.

1942: A bill creating the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps and granting women official military status became law.

1969: Governor Ronald Reagan and aide Ed Meese ordered police to remove squatters from People's Park in Berkeley; one protester was killed, another blinded for life.

1970: Two black students at Jackson State University in Mississippi were killed when police opened fire during student protests.

1971: The Native American Rights Fund filed suit on behalf of Hopi Indians to prevent strip mining on sacred Black Mesa in Arizona.

1991: Defense lawyers for Manuel Noriega released documents showing he acted on behalf of the CIA during his early drug-trafficking days.

1995: Dow Corning filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, citing potentially astronomical expenses from liability lawsuits over silicone breast implants.

dystopia 10:21 AM - [Link]
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Wednesday, May 14, 2003

SAS Has a Different Approach to War

Interesting perspective from Australian special forces members on their recent operations in Iraq, from the Sydney Morning Herald:

"The US special forces are very big and good at operating in chaos - and that's largely because creating chaos is one of their tactics. We often look for another way than always going in straight away with a lot of punch."

Another Australian special forces member, who declined to be named, said: "We look for different ways of doing things - you could say we are more lateral.

"We don't always see the way through as killing the opponent straight away, whereas the Americans almost certainly do - in this war we used a lot of psy ops [psychological operations] very successfully. I believe we managed to convince many [Iraqi soldiers] to go back to their families, to think again, not to fight . . . I'm not sure the Americans would claim to have done that."


dystopia 4:28 PM - [Link]
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GOP Will Let Assault Weapon Ban Expire

The lapse will allow Uzis and AK-47s to go on sale at a store near you. The Washington Post reports:

As majority leader, DeLay decides which bills are voted on in the House. Because the 1994 assault weapons ban expires next year, the House and Senate must pass legislation to renew it by Sept 13, 2004. If Congress does not act, the AK-47 and 18 other types of semiautomatic weapons that were outlawed a decade ago by President Clinton and a Democratic-controlled Congress would be legal again, handing a major victory to the National Rifle Association and other gun rights groups...

President Bush, whose support of the assault weapons ban dates to his 2000 campaign, has drawn rebukes from NRA members and some GOP lawmakers. But several Republicans close to the White House said Bush has no plans to lobby lawmakers aggressively to extend the ban. That would allow him to officially oppose the NRA without completely turning against the powerful gun lobby by fighting to maintain a ban on semiautomatic weapons.


Two-faced bastard. It's not just Republicans who are against renewing the ban, though:

Many rural and southern Democrats, including a few who voted for the ban in 1994, oppose its renewal and reflect a notable shift in the politics of guns over the past decade. An aide to a Senate Democrat who voted for the ban in 1994 and faces reelection next year said many Democrats "hope it never comes up."

Add it to your list of things to holler at your elected reps about.

dystopia 4:02 PM - [Link]
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Only 10% of Big Ocean Fish Remain

A 10-year study published by the scientific journal Nature this week suggests that 90% of all large fishes have disappeared from the world's oceans in the past 50 years. BBC News has more:

The authors say the era of "heroic" fish - the truly huge swordfish, marlin and sharks that inspired legends and novels - is now well and truly over. And other commercially important species, such as tuna, cod, halibut, skate and flounder are now generally far smaller in size compared with their ancestors...

They say fisheries managers have tended to consider only recent data on specific species in particular fishing grounds when deciding how to conserve stocks. Such narrow thinking is likely to have lulled these managers into thinking over-fishing was a short-term and local problem, the researchers say...

"The few blue marlin today reach one-fifth of the weight they once had. In many cases, the fish caught today are under such intense fishing pressure, they never even have the chance to reproduce... we have to understand how close to extinction some of these populations really are."


dystopia 3:37 PM - [Link]
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Bill Would End Tax Break for Overseas Workers

How bass-ackwards is that? How about ending tax breaks and corporate welfare for companies that export jobs instead? Why doesn't someone introduce a bill for that? Maybe some of these people wouldn't be working overseas if they could find decent jobs at home. Well, okay, maybe they would, but still. The LA Times reports:

As part of a compromise aimed at placating moderate Republicans, the Senate's $350-billion, 11-year tax cut package calls for repealing a decades-old policy that allows US workers abroad to exclude up to $80,000 of their annual income from taxes...

Ending the tax break for Americans living abroad is the biggest revenue-raiser in the bill — it would generate an estimated $35 billion over the next decade. But Sen. John B. Breaux (D-La.) is expected to push as early as today — with the support of Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) — to kill it.


dystopia 2:37 PM - [Link]
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Chief Architect of Patriot Act to Quit

Now he's off to teach others how be a fascist prig, too. From the LA Times:

Dinh, 35, plans to return to teaching at Georgetown University's law school. His resignation, which officials are expected to formally announce today, is effective May 31...

Dinh, the assistant attorney general for legal policy, turned a traditionally low-profile operation into a kind of internal think tank with broad influence. Since his confirmation two years ago this month, his office has played an increasingly important role in formulating policy on a wide swath of topics, including gun control, cyber-pornography and the vetting of federal judicial nominees.

But the Patriot Act got Dinh the most attention. It was embraced by conservatives and reviled by the left, which felt that his views ran roughshod over the Constitution.


dystopia 2:23 PM - [Link]
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Kids' Risky Prescriptions

The FDA is being urged to require more testing of drugs given to children. About 75% of drugs prescribed to our kids have never been tested for pediatric use, per the Baltimore Sun:

Since it was first marketed in 1989, Propofol...was the first choice for sedating seriously ill kids. But it wasn't until 2000 that researchers looked carefully at the drug's effects. While the drug worked well in young patients, scientists discovered that 9 percent of those who received it died, more than twice the mortality rate of children given a similar anaesthetic...

What happened with Propofol -- prescribing a drug that had never been tested on children -- is common. Most experts say that about three quarters of the drugs prescribed to America's children have not had adequate pediatric trials. Kids have almost certainly suffered harmful side effects, and some likely died, many pediatricians say.

To change this, a group of doctors, children's health advocates and government officials are pushing for more pediatric drug testing. They want the Food and Drug Administrationto require drug companies to test all new drugs likely to be commonly used for children. Now moving through Congress, this bill would complement a 1997 measure that gave drug companies incentives to do more tests.


dystopia 2:03 PM - [Link]
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America Challenges GM Crops Ban

It's not the family farmer who will benefit from opening the European market to genetically modified crops; it will be Monsanto, DuPont, Archer Daniels Midland, etc. That's why this administration is pushing so hard for it. The Guardian has more on the dispute:

President Bush launched a legal challenge at the World Trade Organisation yesterday, to force Europe to accept imports of American genetically modified crops.

Raising fears of a full-scale transatlantic trade war, Washington described Europe's five-year-old ban on GM imports as unscientific and a violation of WTO rules...

EU officials described yesterday's challenge as "legally unwarranted, economically unfounded and politically unhelpful", and accused the US of bringing the case against Europe to put pressure on other countries which are also introducing curbs on GM imports.


The Organic Consumers Association has tons of articles on GM foods if you want to read more.

dystopia 1:46 PM - [Link]
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How Vinnell Propped Up the House of Saud

Cursor.org's Media Patrol culled some good bits on the Riyadh attacks:

The Times of London reports that intelligence experts believe the main target in the Riyadh bombing was the compound housing employees of Northrop Grumman subsidiary Vinnell, which has trained the Saudi National Guard since the 1970s.

In a 1996 article, "Mercenaries Inc.: How a US Company Props Up the House of Saud," William Hartung wrote: "Today, the biggest question regarding Vinnell's ongoing operations is the same one that was posed twenty years ago: why is a US company using retired US military and intelligence personnel to defend a corrupt monarchy in Saudi Arabia?"


Cursor has lots of interesting stuff today; go read.

dystopia 1:13 PM - [Link]
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FDA Criticized for Delays in Regulating Tissues

The lack of any discernable regulation of the human tissue industry really gets under my skin, so to speak. Aside from the safety issues, the idea of generating massive profits with the flesh of dead humans obtained free of charge from unsuspecting but well-meaning donors is morally despicable to me. As indicated by this article at AZCentral.com, there are still very few consumer protection measures in place regarding this booming industry:

The Food and Drug Administration was criticized Wednesday for failing to issue regulations governing hundreds of tissue banks despite at least one death linked to infected tissue and investigations that have found widespread problems...

Lykins' father, Steve Lykins, told the committee that he was outraged to learn that the FDA still had not acted on the proposed regulations. "How could a medical industry in the United States of America be allowed to operate like this?" he asked. "This industry has been allowed to operate like something out of the wild West for too long."

Two years ago, before the younger Lykins' death, the FDA told the committee that it would move ahead with its regulations. At that hearing, investigators reported widespread problems. Among them: operators who ran multiple tests on recovered tissue in hopes that a second test would find material healthy when the first did not; tissue banks that pooled material from several donors despite medical risk of one person's tissue contaminating another, and operators who mishandled cadavers after removing bone and skin.


I've already been back and forth through Thomas looking for something, anything, concerning this stuff. I did find a little bit of activity on the safety of the tissues, but I couldn't find anything requiring that donors and their families be made aware of the potential corporate profits that may be generated from their flesh.

Now, if all these tissues were being used for good and noble causes, like helping people born disfigured or injured in accidents, maybe it wouldn't bother me so much. However, some of the biggest profits are being generated in the cosmetic surgery industry, and some of the people who really need the tissues are left begging. From a July 2000 story in the Human Life of Washington news:

The Orange County Register series in April detailed how tissue banks act as middlemen for corporations whose stock is traded on Wall Street. Together the tissue banks and companies sidestep federal laws against profiting from skin, bone, heart valves, veins and tendons. Industry insiders predict the trade will double to $1 billion by 2003.

Unlike vital organs that are strictly regulated, there is virtually no oversight of the tissue industry. The Food and Drug Administration, which is part of HHS, cannot even say how many tissue banks exist nationwide. And nowhere around the country are donor families told about profits, the
Register found.

The newspaper also detailed how cadaver skin is used for cosmetic purposes such as penile implants while burn wards face a shortage of skin to treat burn victims. Such revelations could spell trouble for organ and tissue gifts.


The Orange County Register series is in the for-pay archives now, but some of the articles are available elsewhere online:

The Body Brokers: Assembly Line
The Body Brokers: Skin Merchants
The Body Brokers: Researchers
The Body Brokers: Gatekeepers
The Body Brokers: Pioneers

Okay, that's all I can do on that subject for now. It makes me queasy.

dystopia 12:01 PM - [Link]
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Families of '85 Bombing Fight Neglect

Residents of the once-thriving Philadelphia neighborhood of rowhouses bombed and burned by police 18 years ago are still paying for the city's mistakes. From ABC News:

The three rows of modern brick homes the city built to replace the 61 destroyed in the assault on the MOVE compound in 1985 are falling apart. Huge cracks have opened up in the walls. Water seeps in through cheap siding, poorly installed doors and windows. Electrical systems are perpetually on the blink...

Some families are living in homes where rear brick walls were taken down, replaced with flimsy paper coverings, and never rebuilt. The city pulled away molding from doors and windows, leaving gaps that let in the cold and the occasional mouse. In many houses, the city also has boarded up all but one ground-floor exit, meaning someone fleeing a fire would have to leap from an upstairs window if the path to the front door was blocked...

The construction job to replace the homes was wracked by fraud and developers were convicted of stealing from the project. Embarrassed, the city pledged to make repairs, but $13 million later the buildings were still a mess.


The mayor refuses to pay for any further repairs and is offering the homeowners $150,000 buyouts instead, which I'm guessing doesn't go very far in Philly.

dystopia 10:46 AM - [Link]
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Today in Dystopian History: May 14

1832: The Black Hawk War began when untrained American recruits attacked Sauk Indian peace envoys.

1884: The Anti-Monopoly Party held their first convention to nominate a presidential candidate in response to the rise of the robber barons and their monopolistic corporations.

1941: The first groups of WWII's conscientious objectors were ordered to report to camp at Patapsco, Maryland.

1949: President Truman signed a bill establishing a civilian-run rocket testing facility at Cape Canaveral, Florida.

1961: A Greyhound bus with the first group of Freedom Riders was bombed and burned near Anniston, Alabama.

1969: Police built a fence around People's Park in Berkeley, California.

1982: NSC Directive 3 placed Vice President George Bush in charge of the Special Situations Group overseeing US intelligence, though he still expects people to believe he knew nothing about Iran-Contra.

1986: Power lines to the Palo Verde nuclear power plant were sabotaged.

2000: Hundreds of thousands participated in the Million Mom March for gun safety.

2001: The Supreme Court ruled that there was no exception in federal law for people to use marijuana to ease their pain from cancer, AIDS or other illnesses.

dystopia 10:15 AM - [Link]
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Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Question W

There are a great number of questions the Bush administration would prefer not to answer, but we mustn't quit asking them. In that spirit, the activism project to hijack the question mark as a symbol of dissent is rolling out. After trying out various names such as Operation Y and Project WTF, the name Question W was finally chosen and a website has been launched with all the details (if that site's down, try this one).

To participate, just wear a simple question mark of some sort, every day, everywhere you go. Stick question marks on everything you own -- your purse, your car, etc. Even magic marker on a piece of duct tape will do (there are lots of other ideas on the website).

The object of the game is to make people ask, "What's with the question mark?", thus creating opportunities to ask them your questions, whether about deficits that will be caused by the tax cuts or the forged Nigerian documents or the Patriot Act or Cheney's meetings with the energy industry or whatever your priority issues are, and to generate discussion with your fellow Americans about things that matter.

The ultimate goal is to get everyone in the country talking about all the questions that aren't being addressed by this administration before Election Day 2004.

dystopia 4:35 PM - [Link]
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Jordan Was Bush's Attorney Before Saudi Appointment

The words "Baker" and "Botts" strung together in this story from NJ.com caught my eye:

Robert Jordan, who spoke for American interests Tuesday in the wake of the terror attacks in Saudi Arabia, was a prominent Dallas attorney and arbitrator with close ties to President Bush before being tapped to become US ambassador to Riyadh in September 2001.

He was a founding partner in the Texas law firm Baker Botts LLP -- a leading corporate donor to Bush's presidential campaign -- and served as personal attorney to Bush, according to a biography posted on the US embassy's web site.


A re-post from my blog archive, to refresh the memory:

A $1 trillion lawsuit on behalf of the victims of September 11 was filed in August 2002 against more than seventy defendants, including three Saudi princes, several Saudi banks and Islamic institutions, the Sudanese government and the Saudi Bin Laden Group, a construction firm run by Osama Bin Laden's family. Here's a report on who's representing the defendants, from MSNBC:

Baker & Botts, Sultan's law firm, for example, still boasts former secretary of State James Baker as one of its senior partners. Its recent alumni include Robert Jordan, the former personal lawyer for President Bush who is now US ambassador to Saudi Arabia.

An internal list of other law firms retained in the case, reviewed by
NEWSWEEK, reads like a veritable "who's who" of the US legal community. Among those firms and their Saudi clients are: Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (Prince Mohammed al Faisal); Kellog, Huber, Hansen, Todd & Evans (Prince Turki al Faisal); Jones, Day (the Binladin Group); Ropes & Grey (Khaled bin Mahfouz); White & Case,(the Al-Rajhi Banking Group); King & Spalding (the Arab Bank and Youssef Nada); Akin Gump (Mohammed Hussein Al-Almoudi); and Fulbright & Jaworski (Nimir Petroleum.)

But legal sources say some high-priced firms and their senior partners have been wary of the Saudi overtures—despite offers of retainers that, in some cases, have ranged as high as $5 million. One former Clinton administration official at a big law firm said he was personally approached to represent a high-ranking Saudi prince in the case but turned it down. "I kept asking myself, ‘do I want to be representing the Saudis against the 9-11 families—especially after all the trouble we had getting cooperation from the Saudis on terrorism’," the official said. "I finally just said no."


dystopia 4:01 PM - [Link]
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Morris Ranks No. 6 on State Tax Scofflaw List

Talking head Dick Morris will probably be writing a check very soon, per Connecticut's Journal-Enquirer:

The Redding resident, now a commentator for the Fox News Channel and a columnist for the New York Post and the Washington, DC, weekly, The Hill, owes $257,624 in state income taxes and is ranked sixth on the state Department of Revenue Services' roster of "Top 100 Delinquent Taxpayer Accounts."

A spokeswoman for the tax department, Sarah Kaufman, said Monday that she could confirm only that Morris was on the list, which includes the names of those who have not paid state taxes for more than three months after all their appeal rights have expired.


dystopia 3:42 PM - [Link]
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Air Force Cadet Charged with Rape

The first charges in the Air Force academy's sexual abuse scandal have been filed, per the Houston Chronicle:

An Air Force Academy cadet was charged today with raping and sodomizing a female cadet in a dorm room last fall.

Cadet Douglas Meester, a sophomore, is the first cadet to be charged with rape since a sex scandal broke at the academy earlier this year.

He was also charged with indecent assault and providing alcohol to two cadets in the Oct 18 incident.

A freshman from Pennsylvania reported the alleged attack immediately and underwent a medical examination, lawyer Steve Werner said. He said she later was disciplined for fraternizing with older cadets and for drinking.


dystopia 3:11 PM - [Link]
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Renegade Roundup

I try not to post things that are already being discussed ad nauseam elsewhere, but I just can't resist this one:

...New Mexico's Democratic attorney general, Patricia Madrid...joked that police were "on the lookout for politicians in favor of health care for the needy and against tax cuts for the wealthy."

BWAHAHAHA(snork)HAHAHA!

I don't know that Ardmore is the right place to get lost in, though. I think I woulda headed to New Orleans instead.

dystopia 1:23 PM - [Link]
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Trade Deficit Grew 7.6% in March

Tough economic news from AZCentral.com:

The US trade deficit widened in March to $43.5 billion, the second-highest on record, as imports of foreign-made industrial supplies, including crude oil, rose to an all-time monthly high...

Although exports went up for the third month in a row in March, imports rose nearly five times faster, leading to a bloated trade deficit that was second only to the record deficit of $44.9 billion produced in December...

Trade critics, including labor unions, say the deficit is evidence that President Bush's free-trade policies are not working and are contributing to hefty job losses in manufacturing.


dystopia 1:14 PM - [Link]
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Decision Nears on Plan to Lease Boeing Tankers

AZCentral.com reports that a decision could be made this week:

The deal has been repeatedly delayed as Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and other top officials have sought more information. Most recently, Rumsfeld asked the Air Force to explore an option that would involve leasing some planes and buying others.

Despite the delays, advocates of the tanker deal were confident it will be approved...

Even at $17 billion, critics in Congress have questioned whether the government would still be paying too much for the 767s, which the company said it could build for about $150 million each.


John McCain is one of those critics. Here's a piece from my blog archive; the Forbes link is dead but it gave a little more info on what the issues are:

McCain, a Senate Armed Services Committee member, grilled Defense Undersecretary Pete Aldridge about the deal at a hearing, expressing frustration that the Air Force had not examined other alternatives such as modernizing or a direct purchase to replace its fleet of 40-year-old KC-135s.

The Arizona Republican has been an outspoken critic of the plan. He says the Air Force does not need new tankers now because its fleet is young in flight hours, and the lease deal -- the first ever involving a large number of U.S. military aircraft -- would cost taxpayers too much...

McCain also questioned the decision that a special purpose entity would issue bonds to buy the jets from Boeing and then lease them to the Air Force, noting Enron Corp used such entities to move debt off its balance sheets.

"Some of us here are a little skeptical," McCain told Aldridge, asking if the Air Force had any experts on such entities. Aldridge said he did not believe so.


dystopia 12:56 PM - [Link]
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Hutchinson Says He Won't Lobby His Brother

Tim Hutchinson, a Republican former Senator from Arkansas who lost his re-election bid last November largely due to a messy marital episode, has now turned up in Washington as a homeland security lobbyist. His brother Asa is the undersecretary of the Department of Homeland Security, so I doubt if much actual lobbying would need to take place anyway. I 'magine they're already on the same page. From the NY Times:

Mr. Hutchinson, whose domestic security lobbying was first reported by Congressional Quarterly, is one of several people with close personal ties to senior Homeland Security officials to begin work recently as domestic security lobbyists.

At least five former top deputies to Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge have also signed on in recent months as "homeland security" lobbyists. Mr. Ridge said in Congressional testimony this month that the department was preparing tough ethics rules to prevent conflicts of interest involving lobbyists with personal ties to the department.


dystopia 12:25 PM - [Link]
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Griles' Role as Oil Lobbyist Investigated

He's facing conflict of interest questions after playing the revolving door game. The NY Times reports:

Mr Lieberman, citing news accounts, said the official, J Steven Griles, deputy secretary of the interior, had "met with oil and gas industry officials whom he once represented and who have financial stakes in department decisions."

David Montoya, assistant inspector general with the Office of Inspector General, confirmed that his office was investigating the Interior Department's enforcement of Mr Griles's recusal agreements...

For example, the
AP, using the Freedom of Information Act to obtain Mr Griles's appointment calendars, reported last month that while Mr Griles's nomination was pending before the Senate in 2001, Chevron was paying his firm $80,000 to lobby the Interior Department. Two months after his confirmation, Mr Griles began meeting with other department officials to discuss Chevron's proposed projects. The AP said those meetings ended with the Bush administration's paying Chevron $46 million to abandon plans for oil wells off the Florida coast, a decision that enhanced the re-election prospects of President Bush's brother Jeb as governor of Florida.

dystopia 12:14 PM - [Link]
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California Autism Cases Doubled in 4 Years

A report from the state Department of Developmental Services says the number of their clients with autism jumped 97% from 1998 to 2002. The LA Times has more:

"The report is very significant," said Cliff Allenby, director of the Department of Developmental Services. "Autism is continuing to grow much faster than the population, much faster than any of our other clients with disabilities — and it begs some review and research to try and figure out why..."

Advocates and professionals involved in autism treatment and research reacted with dismay at the new numbers.

"That's amazing, that is a big jump," said Dr. Dan Geschwind, director of the neurogenetics program in UCLA's department of neurology. "Assuming the methodology is sound, I would say one has to take that very seriously."


dystopia 12:00 PM - [Link]
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Riyadh Attacks

Steve Perry at Bush Wars is assembling some interesting info; he linked to this May 9 article from the NY Times:

After a shootout in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, and the discovery of a major arms cache there, Saudi authorities are pursuing 19 Islamic militants with ties to Al Qaeda who now appear to have been planning a substantial terrorist attack, Saudi and American officials said today...

With the militants still at large three days after a raid in Riyadh, Saudi and American officials said they could not or would not say what they thought the target of a planned attack might have been. But they said they regarded the group as having been planning a significant operation whose most likely objective would have been an American target in the kingdom.

"Tremendous damage could have been done,"a senior Saudi official said today of the plot, which was uncovered beginning Tuesday night after a raid on a home in Riyadh. Among the weapons seized were 800 pounds of advanced explosives along with hand grenades, assault rifles, ammunition, disguises and tens of thousands of dollars in cash, the Saudi government has said.


And this one, in the Guardian:

The magazine said that Mr Bin Qais was responding to reports from the United States that al-Qaida had planned suicide attacks against the US consulate in Karachi and that it was using planes laden with high explosives to target US warships in the Gulf. "Let the Americans do what they want but we have changed our plans," he told the magazine. "Karachi is not a target..."

dystopia 11:38 AM - [Link]
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The SARA Swindle

Danielle Bryan talks to TomPaine.com about proposed legislation to crack the federal piggybank wide open for contractors:

These kinds of contracts allow contractors to engage in almost unlimited billing of the government without producing a product. According to the Pentagon's head fraud-fighter, the inspector general: "Time and material, and labor hour contracts are the highest risk and least preferred contract types.... We believe the use of these types of contracts should be discouraged, not expanded..."

Ms. Bryan is Executive Director of the Project on Government Oversight, which keeps an eye out for government corruption; their bookmark-worthy site offers some eye-opening reading.

I've blogged about this legislation before; here's a summary of the bill:

1) It encourages use of time and material and labor hour contracts which allow contractors to engage in almost unlimited billing of the government without producing a product. These contracts require the government to pay for time and expenses rather than for milestones reached or work completed.

2) It would expand use of speculative and unproven financing schemes known as share-in-savings contracts. According to law professor and acquisition expert Charles Tiefer, share-in-savings contracts "could propagate problems similar to those that accompanied deregulation of government-insured savings-and-loans institutions or procurement of defense spare parts in the 1980s by sole-source contracts."

3) It would raise the requirements for TINA and CAS application from the current $550,000 and $7.5 million, respectively, to $200 million in the case of fixed-price contracts awarded to certain "commercial companies." Restricting TINA and CAS application when negotiating contract prices in a sole-source environment is like asking the government to put blinders on, and would lead to outrageous contract overpricing and wasteful spending.

You might want to holler at your elected reps about this.

dystopia 10:53 AM - [Link]
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Today in Dystopian History: May 13

1607: About 100 English colonists settled along the west bank of the James River in Virginia to found Jamestown, the first permanent English settlement in North America.

1648: Margaret Jones of Plymouth was found guilty of witchcraft and was sentenced to be hanged by the neck.

1867: Confederate President Jefferson Davis became a free man after spending two years in prison for his role in the American Civil War.

1908: President Theodore Roosevelt opened a conference on the conservation of natural resources saying, "the natural resources of our country are in danger of exhaustion if we permit the old wasteful methods of exploiting them longer to continue."

1925: Florida's House of Representatives passed a bill requiring schools to conduct daily Bible readings.

1932: "We Want Beer" marches were held in cities all over America, with 15,000 unionized workers demonstrating in Detroit. Prohibition was repealed the next year.

1954: Natives of the Marshall Islands pleaded for an end to H-Bomb testing.

1958: Vice President Nixon's limousine was battered by rocks and almost overturned by anti-US demonstrators in Caracas, Venezuela.

1960: Student protestors held a sit-in at a hearing of the House Un-American Activities Committee meeting in San Francisco.

1966: In the first action against violators of the desegregation guidelines of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, federal funding for education was denied to 12 school districts in the South.

1971: Still deadlocked, the Vietnam peace talks in Paris entered their fourth year. The talks had begun with much fanfare in May 1968, but almost immediately were plagued by procedural questions that impeded any meaningful progress.

1985: A confrontation between Philadelphia authorities and the radical group MOVE ended as police dropped an explosive onto the group's headquarters; 11 people died in the resulting fire.

1988: Embattled Attorney General Edwin "Hasn't Been Indicted Yet" Meese fired Justice Department spokesman Terry Eastland because he believed he needed "a more spirited defense" of his conduct in various influence-peddling schemes.

dystopia 10:23 AM - [Link]
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Monday, May 12, 2003

Broadway Bound

This letter was printed in the TV guide Q&A section of my local paper -- I laughed so hard I almost fell off the couch:

I do interpretive dance to the music of WKRP in Cincinnati, and I'd like to contact Gordon Jump...and find out if he would like to tour with me in a Broadway production that would sweep the nation...

Then, of course, I had to get up and do my own interpretation.

dystopia 5:19 PM - [Link]
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Hail to the Cheese

Just go look.

dystopia 4:27 PM - [Link]
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The Unknown Hawk

Pacific News Service profiles the neoconservative guru you've never heard of:

Ledeen’s ideas are repeated daily by such figures as Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz. His views virtually define the stark departure from American foreign policy philosophy that existed before the tragedy of Sept. 11, 2001. He basically believes that violence in the service of the spread of democracy is America’s manifest destiny. Consequently, he has become the philosophical legitimator of the American occupation of Iraq...

Though he appears on conservative outlets like the Fox television network, Ledeen has not been singled out for much media attention by the Bush administration, despite his extensive influence in Washington. His views may be perceived as too extreme for most Americans, who prefer to think of the United States as pursuing violence only when attacked and manifesting primarily altruistic goals toward other nations.


dystopia 4:07 PM - [Link]
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Shadow Man

MSNBC profiles the media mogul you've never heard of:

Who helped push Case out of the top job, and now wants him gone? Gordon Crawford. He’s the invisible mogul, a mutual-fund manager for mammoth Capital Research and Management who plays a powerful role behind the scenes to cajole, charm or push heavy hitters—Ted Turner, Rupert Murdoch, Sumner Redstone and others—to reshape the media business in ways that will make his investments pay off...

dystopia 3:53 PM - [Link]
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Living in Limbo

The strange saga of the last few Iraqi sailors and the ships they never sailed, in the Guardian:

While Italy continues to play the perfect host, and Iraq is now supposedly free, the 12 sailors remain trapped in a gilded cage. Toama proudly shows me his temporary residence permit, which gives his current address as "Marina Militare, La Spezia". He and his fellow sailors are not allowed to wander outside the town, not even to nearby Genoa: carabinieri clock them in and out of the high-security navy base every time they feel like going for a walk.

Everyone seems a bit embarrassed by the odd situation. The Iraqi consul, Faris al-Shooker, says he still does not know when their situation will change. The mayor of La Spezia is still waiting for an answer from the Italian government after he demanded a decision on the status of the 12 men and has offered to provide them with humanitarian assistance.

Spezzini, as the locals are known, have developed an affection for the burly, moustached men whom they often spot gazing into designer shop windows, sipping cappuccinos and carrying food supplies back from the supermarket. "They've been here so long, they might as well be Italians," says the newspaper seller outside the entrance to the naval base.

dystopia 3:25 PM - [Link]
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As Economy Sours, Abuse Rises

Another side effect of accumulated stress from the War on Taxpayers, er, I mean Terror, and continuing economic fallout from corporate accouting scandals, in the Wichita Eagle:

"We're starting to see a disturbing trend," said Sarah Robinson, executive director of the Wichita Children's Home, an emergency shelter for children. The home cares for victims of abuse, neglect and homelessness, as well as runaways and those facing family crisis.

"We've got more children going into state custody, more abuse issues," Robinson said. "And while we've not done a formal analysis, I definitely think it could be tied to the economy and unemployment and the overall stress of life."

The trend is neither unusual nor unexpected. Shortly after Sept. 11, many experts warned that national stress -- terrorism, war, widespread unemployment -- eventually manifests itself at the family level, with increases in substance abuse and domestic violence.


One branch office of the Kansas Department of Social and Rehabilitation Services averaged 377 cases of child abuses and neglect per month from June to December 2002. In March 2003 there were 499; in April there were 492.

dystopia 2:42 PM - [Link]
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Consumer Watch: Binding Arbitration

A sneaky consumer ripoff, and how one couple managed to do business on their own terms in spite of it, from Capital Times:

So often these days if you want to buy a particular product or use a certain credit card, or sign up for a particular type of long distance service, the company says "here is our contract. Take it or leave it."

The companies that do this, as
Consumer Watch has previously discussed, are now frequently including clauses that obligate the consumer to submit any disputes to binding arbitration, a private alternate dispute resolution system that is not obligated to follow existing consumer protection laws.

Consumer advocates have warned that binding arbitration is often expensive, secret, and unfair to consumers. "There will not be an impartial judge or jury to make a decision about your claim," says Stoughton attorney Mary Fons, a consumer law specialist. "The party with the more money and the more power usually is going to win."


dystopia 2:25 PM - [Link]
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Woolsey to Profit from War on Terror

The Observer turns its gaze on former CIA director James Woolsey:

Woolsey, one of the most high-profile hawks in the war against Iraq and a key member of the Pentagon's Defence Policy Board, is a director of the Washington-based private equity firm Paladin Capital. The company was set up three months after the terrorist attacks on New York and sees the events and aftermath of September 11 as a business opportunity which 'offer[s] substantial promise for homeland security investment'.

dystopia 2:05 PM - [Link]
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Diplomats on the Defensive

"I just wake up in the morning and tell myself, 'There's been a military coup,' and then it all makes sense," said one veteran foreign service officer.

Oh, somebody else does that, too?

The LA Times reports on bad blood between the State Department and the Pentagon:

Diplomats interviewed for this story — all of whom insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the political infighting — said they are profoundly worried about what they describe as the administration's arrogance or indifference to world public opinion, which they fear has wiped out, in less than two years, decades of effort to build goodwill toward the United States...

"The votes [against the US] in the UN had nothing to do with Iraq. It was personal" toward America, a senior diplomat said. "I don't think this group realizes how arrogant they come off. It's a PR nightmare."

The official said he agreed with the president's decision to go to war in Iraq, and so did most officials at State, contrary to the department's reputation among neoconservatives as a bastion of wimpy multilateralism. "The issue for a lot of us is the way it's been done," he said.


dystopia 1:46 PM - [Link]
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First Do No Harm

Just got a happy invitation in the mail; my cousin Cissy's daughter is graduating from my old high school this month.

Back in the late 1950s my aunt was given the drug DES during her pregnancy. Cissy was born healthy, but at 18 she was diagnosed with cervical cancer and most of her cervix was removed. When she later tried to have children she lost several babies. Her doctor decided to suture her womb shut when she got pregnant, and she was finally able to carry her babies to term that way.

My heart stopped when I found an article recently on evidence of third generation effects from DES, but the DES Action site says that they just don't have enough information to know for sure yet.

So my antipathy toward the pharmaceutical industry has some personal roots, you see. This is just one of several reasons why.

dystopia 12:09 PM - [Link]
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WMD Search Draws a Blank

A stinging indictment of Rummy & Co's intelligence gathering methods in the Guardian:

Former CIA officials are caustic about the OSP. Unreliable and politically motivated, they say it has undermined decades of work by the CIA's trained spies and ignored the truth when it has contradicted its world view.

"Their methods are vicious," said Vince Cannistraro, former CIA chief of counter-terrorism. "The politicisation of intelligence is pandemic, and deliberate disinformation is being promoted. They choose the worst-case scenario on everything and so much of the information is fallacious." But Cannistraro is retired. His attacks will not bother The Cabal, firmly "in the loop" of Washington's movers and shakers. Yet, even among them, continued failure to find any weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is a growing fear. The fallout from the war could bring them down...

A massive picture of intelligence misuse has emerged. Aside from Downing Street's plagiarised dossier, there are allegations that Iraq tried to buy uranium from Niger. The documents that the accusation were based on were shown to be false by the International Atomic Energy Agency, but that had not stopped Britain and America warning of Saddam's nuclear threat. In fact, the forgeries were obvious. One Niger Minister, whose signature was on a document, had been out of office for a decade when the forgeries were produced. A US envoy sent to investigate the claims reported to the CIA in February 2002 that they were fakes. But the OSP and the White House ignored him.


The Washington Post says the weapons search teams are frustrated and fixing to head home:

"Why are we doing any planned targets?" Army Chief Warrant Officer Richard L Gonzales, leader of Mobile Exploitation Team Alpha, said in disgust to a colleague during last Sunday's nightly report of weapons sites and survey results. "Answer me that. We know they're empty."

dystopia 10:30 AM - [Link]
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Today in Dystopian History: May 12

1789: The Society of St Tammany was formed by Revolutionary War soldiers. It later became an infamous group of NYC political bosses.

1898: Louisiana adopted a new state constitution with a grandfather clause that effectively deprived all Blacks in the state of the right to vote.

1902: 140,000 members of the United Mine Workers went on strike; the strike dragged on for five months as mine owners, firmly anticipating that the Federal government would rush to their side, smugly refused to acknowledge the coal union or to enter negotiations.

1936: Black protestors in Harlem rebelled in response to the city's repressive tactics against their legal protests.

1969: Chevrolet announced that it would discontinue production of the Corvair, which had come under heavy attack in Ralph Nader's 1965 Unsafe At Any Speed and never achieved great success, thanks mostly to its reputation for poor safety.

1975: The US freighter Mayaguez and its 39-man crew was captured by gunboats of the Cambodian navy.

1978: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration announced that they would no longer exclusively name hurricanes after women.

dystopia 9:46 AM - [Link]
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Sunday, May 11, 2003

BlogMatcher.com

I love blogs and discussion forums because they're places where I can find out what's on other people's minds -- ordinary people just like me, not media professionals and politicians.

I'm always hunting for good blogs and just discovered BlogMatcher, which finds weblogs matched to your interests. Just enter the URL of your blog or one you like to read and it looks for others that contain similar topics.

Here's a few new (to me) ones it found:

Hegemoney
Internet Activism
How Appealing
Peevish
Drat Fink

Looks like fun. I'll see y'all later -- I've got some reading to do!

dystopia 5:40 PM - [Link]
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Supporters, Critics Debate DNA Database Expansion

Reported by, amazingly enough, FOX News:

A Bush administration plan to expand federal DNA databases by compelling virtually anyone arrested to give up their genetic code has sparked debate between supporters who say it will solve more cases and critics who insist it is too intrusive.

The plan would, among other things, give law enforcement better tools to analyze rape kits and other "cold case" evidence that has gone unexamined for years, identify missing people, exonerate those wrongly accused or convicted of crimes and conduct more DNA analysis of samples from possible offenders. It also aims to reduce the DNA backlogs currently facing many law enforcement agencies...

"It's very troubling when people who are arrested would have to give up their DNA. Those people are simply innocent until proven guilty," said forensic science expert Larry Kobilinsky at John Jay College. "The question is, will they get their DNA back? Will they have their profiles entered into a database? In a way, it's providing the state with evidence and if you commit a crime in the future, they've got you."


Frontline did a report on the DNA revolution in law enforcement a while back, and it made some good points about shared DNA between family members and what happens to your DNA profile if you're later exonerated of any crime:

This example may not seem terribly insidious. It may have, after all, gotten a rapist off the street. But the fact remains that the justification given for databasing certain classes of criminals' DNA is that it is a necessary crime fighting tool that can be used to deter, condemn, or exculpate individual offenders whose statistically high recidivism rates suggest they may offend again. The argument is that the state is free to reasonably intrude on their privacy interests by digitizing and releasing their genetic fingerprints because they have proven themselves to be offenders. However, this justification cannot be applied to the individual's previously non-databased sibling or other biological relative. They have not committed a crime that warrants this level of privacy intrusion, even if it can be viewed as falling under the rubric of "law enforcement" and, therefore, is permitted by state statutory law...

Illinois may not be the only state where an innocent person's DNA could remain in the DNA databanking system. Many states' DNA databanking laws do not explicitly require expungement at all. At least eleven states do not have specific statutory expungement provisions and, therefore, it is unclear whether a wrongfully convicted person could be "exonerated" from the DNA databank. For example, Michigan law requires the permanent retention of all profiles in the state databank gathered post-conviction. However, the law does not require the expungement of these samples if the conviction is subsequently overturned.


dystopia 5:08 PM - [Link]
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Mexicans Outraged by Immigration/Oil Move

A House committee approved a measure this week linking immigration issues to opening up Mexico's nationalized oil industry to American investment. The Mexican people are hopping mad about it, too, per AP/ABC News:

"Blackmail in the US: Immigration Accord for Pemex," a leading newspaper, El Universal, said in a front-page headline Saturday.

The resolution fed into some Mexicans' suspicions about US motives for invading Iraq, which was deeply unpopular here and was seen by many as an attempt to get Iraqi oil...

The amendment, authored by North Carolina Republican Cass Ballenger, said Pemex "is inefficient, plagued by corruption and in need of substantial reform and private investment" so that it can "fuel future economic growth, which can help curb illegal migration to the United States."


dystopia 4:41 PM - [Link]
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Meet Leo Strauss

I'd heard some rumblings about this guy before, but a conversation I read over at Democratic Underground piqued my interest again. Of course, I can't find that particular thread now.

Here's some interesting bits on Strauss:

Neocons Dance a Strauss Waltz
This War Is Brought to You By...
Leo Strauss and the Straussians
Leo Strauss Resources
Leo Strauss, Conservative Mastermind

dystopia 4:31 PM - [Link]
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Today in Dystopian History: May 11

1682: The Massachusetts Colony repealed laws forbidding the celebration of Christmas and allowing the summary execution of Quakers.

1894: Beginning of Pullman Railroad Strike in Chicago -- it was the largest industrial strike to date in US history, eventually broken by federal government troops.

1953: Winston Churchill publicly criticized the wisdom of John Foster Dulles' domino theory of communist expansion, which formed the basis of foreign policy during the Eisenhower administration.

1961: President Kennedy approved sending 400 Special Forces troops and 100 other US military advisors to South Vietnam.

1969: US and South Vietnamese forces battled North Vietnamese troops for Ap Bia Mountain, dubbed "Hamburger Hill" by the US media.

1969: A fire at the Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant caused plutonium to spontaneously ignite.

1973: Charges against Daniel Ellsberg for his role in the Pentagon Papers case were dismissed by Judge William M Byrne, who cited government misconduct.

1981: President Reagan proposed to restructure Social Security by sharply cutting benefits (down to under $300/month for many people). House Speaker Tip O'Neill called it "despicable" and Democrats killed the plan in Congress.

1990: A Houston Post investigation revealed that many of the failed savings and loans in the South had links with groups and companies fronting for Central American CIA and drug smuggling activities (including Neil Bush’s Silverado Savings and Loan). Although there have always been questions about where the money went, no other major media outlet followed up on the story.

1995: Ken Starr argued on behalf of tobacco company Brown & Williamson for the enforcement of subpoenas against Democratic Congressmen Waxman and Wyden after they received leaked documents B&W hid during litigation on their manipulation of nicotine levels in cigarettes.

dystopia 4:08 PM - [Link]
...


Listen While You Surf:

C-Span

CapitolHearings.org

i.e. America Radio

Political Strikes

Progressive Radio

Radio Left

Randi Rhodes Show


Newspapers and News Sites:

ABC News

AllAfrica.com

Army Times

Asia Times

AZCentral.com

BBC NEWS

Boston Globe

Capitol Hill Blue

CBS News

Charlotte Observer

Christian Science Monitor

Common Dreams Newswire

Denver Post

Economic Times

Economist

Financial Times

Globe & Mail

Guardian

Houston Chronicle

Indian Country Today

International Herald-Tribune

Journalism.org

Los Angeles Times

Mondo Times

Nature News Service

NY Times

New Zealand Herald

Newsday

NewsDirectory

News Insider

Pacific News Service

Philadelphia Inquirer

Reuters

St Petersburg Times

San Francisco Chronicle

Science Daily

Seattle Times

Sydney Morning Herald

Tampa Bay Online

The Hill

The Scotsman

Times of India

Toronto Star

Washington Post

Wired News


Blogs I Like:

A Rational Animal

Apostropher

ArchPundit

Bad Attitudes Journal

Beatnik Salad

Blatant Truth

Blogorrhea

Catalyst

Charging the Canvas

Democratic Veteran

Doublethink

Earth-Info

Flagrancy to Reason

Gorilla-a-gogo

Heli's Heaven and Hell Radio

Hellblazer

Iddybud

Ideal Rhombus

John P Hoke's Asylum

Juan Cole

Mad Prophet

Mahablog

MaxSpeak

MouseMusings

Nurse Ratched's Notebook

Occasional Subversion

Oligopoly Watch

Pedantry

Plep

PoliticalTheory.info

Project for a New Century of Freedom

Prometheus 6

Sideshow

Sick of Bush

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

Suburban Guerrilla

Surfing the Tsunami

Talent Show

Thoughts on the Eve of the Apocalypse

Wampum

Wrong Side of Happiness


Magazines:

AlterNet.org

American Prospect

Atlantic Monthly

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Business Ethics

Columbia Journalism Review

Common-Place

Dawn

Dissent

Dollars and Sense

Earth Island Journal

Ecologist

Editor & Publisher

Foreign Policy

Fortune

Fortune Small Business

Government Executive

Grist

In These Times

Intervention

Killing the Buddha

Mother Jones

National Parks Magazine

Nature

New Republic

New Yorker

News Insight

Newsweek

Orion

Philosophers Magazine

Progressive Magazine

Progressive Populist

Reason

Red Pepper

Relevant

Scientific American

Slate

Sojourners

Spectator

Texas Observer

The Nation

TomPaine.com

TruthOut

Vested Owl

Village Voice

Washington Monthly


Look It Up:

American Religion Data Archive

AmeriStat

Atlas of US Presidential Elections

Babelfish Web Translator

Big Search Engine Index

CancerIndex.org

Corporate Welfare Search Engine

Country Statistics at a Glance

Customizable Mortality Maps

CyberCemetery: Federal Depository Library

Daypop Current Events

Ditto.com Image Search

Dogpile Search Engine

FindArticles.com

FindLaw

Geography of Race in the US

GeoHive Global Statistics

Internet Archive

Invisible Web

Invisible Web Revealed

Journalist's Toolbox

Librarians' Index to the Internet

Library of Congress

LibrarySpot.com

McFind Meta Search

Miniature Earth

National Priorities Project Database

Newspaper Archive

NewsTrove.com

Nuclear Waste Route Atlas

Ownership Statistics

PoliSci.com

Political Information Search Engine

Political Resources on the Net

Prof Pollkatz Poll Graphics

Power Reporting Research Tools

Public Records Online

RefDesk

Researching People on the Internet

Resources for Compiling a Legislative History

Rulers.org

Search Systems

Statistical Resources

Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse

Uniform Commercial Code

US PIRG Pollution Locator

VOA Pronunciation Guide

What Are the Odds of Dying?

Where To Do Research

Who Owns What?

Working Reporter

World Atlas of Maps, Flags and Geography Facts


Professional Opinions:

Al Kamen

Arianna Huffington

Boston Globe Editorials

Chris Brauchli

David Hackworth

Derrick Z Jackson

EJ Dionne, Jr

Geov Parrish

Guardian Unlimited Columnists

Harold Meyerson

Houston Chronicle Editorials

Jimmy Breslin

Joe Conason

John Nichols

Jules Witcover

Katha Pollitt

Los Angeles Times Editorials

Marie Cocco

Miami Herald Opinions

Mike Hersh

Molly Ivins

New York Times Opinions

Nicholas D Kristof

Paul Krugman

Robert W Jensen

SF Gate Opinions

Sydney Morning Herald Opinions

Thom Hartmann

USAToday.com Editorials

Walter Shapiro

William Greider


Public Opinion:

Bartcop Forum

BBC Great Debate

Bill Maher Forums

Brunching Shuttlecocks

Capitol Grilling

Capitol Hill Blue Reader Rant

ChickLit Forums

Christian Forums

Civilization Fanatics

Cynic's Message Board

Democratic Underground

Fabulous Forums of Fathom

FaithForum.org

Guardian Talk

Internet Infidels

Language of Propaganda

MilitaryCity.com

News Bulletin Board

Political Corrections

Poynter Online

PRWatch Forums

Ship of Fools

SpywareInfo Support

Straight Dope

TVSpy WaterCooler

Urban Legends Forum

Veterans Benefit Network

VoteWatch Forum

Walk Away from Fundamentalism


TV Worth Watching:

Biography.com

C-SPAN

Daily Show

Discovery Times Channel

Frontline

History Channel

Now with Bill Moyers

Sundance Channel's Documentary Mondays

Washington Journal

Washington Week


Trivial Pursuits:

Biblical Curse Generator

Boondocks

BushFlash Animation Features

Capitol Steps

Dana Lyons

Doonesbury

Elizabethan Curse Generator

Fling the Cow

Future Feed Forward

Is It Over Yet?

JibJab

Mark Fiore's Animated Political Cartoons

MiniPutt

News-at-Ten

Puppet Man

Ready.gov

Rumsfeld Invaders

SadWeek

Sheep Game

Snowball Fight

Spaced Penguin

The Onion

Unofficial Official Simulator

WhiteHouse.org

ZEFrank.com

Zug


Books Worth Reading (linked to reviews):

The Handmaid's Tale, by Margaret Atwood (1986)

How the Good Guys Finally Won: Notes from an Impeachment Summer, by Jimmy Breslin (1975)

Barbarians at the Gate: The Fall of RJR Nabisco, by Bryan Burrough and John Helyar (1990)

Big Blues: The Unmaking of IBM, by Paul Carroll (1993)

Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson (1962)

The Road Ahead, by Bill Gates with Nathan Myhrvold and Peter Rinearson (1996)

Charismatic Chaos, by John F MacArthur, Jr (1992)

The American Way of Birth, by Jessica Mitford (1992)

Ethel: A Fictional Autobiography, by Tema Nason (1990)

Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics, by Kevin Phillips (1994)

Flying High: The Story of Boeing and the Rise of the Jetliner Industry, by Eugene Rodgers (1996)

Clearing the Air, by Daniel Schorr (1977)

Trammell Crow, Master Builder: The Story of America's Largest Real Estate Empire, by Robert Sobel (1989)

The Triumph of Politics: Why the Reagan Revolution Failed, by David Stockman (1986)

Oil Man: The Story of Frank Phillips and the Birth of Phillips Petroleum, by Michael Wallis (1995)

Marathon: The Pursuit of the Presidency 1972-1976, by Jules Witcover (1977)

Belly Up: The Collapse of the Penn Square Bank, by Philip L Zweig (1985)