The Daily Dystopian

Archive Search

09/21/03 - 09/27/03
09/14/03 - 09/20/03
09/07/03 - 09/13/03
08/31/03 - 09/06/03
08/24/03 - 08/30/03
08/17/03 - 08/23/03
08/10/03 - 08/16/03
08/03/03 - 08/09/03
07/27/03 - 08/02/03
07/20/03 - 07/26/03
07/13/03 - 07/19/03
07/06/03 - 07/12/03
06/29/03 - 07/05/03
06/22/03 - 06/28/03
06/15/03 - 06/21/03
06/08/03 - 06/14/03
06/01/03 - 06/07/03
05/25/03 - 05/31/03
05/18/03 - 05/24/03
05/11/03 - 05/17/03
05/04/03 - 05/10/03
04/27/03 - 05/03/03
04/20/03 - 04/26/03
04/13/03 - 04/19/03
04/06/03 - 04/12/03
03/30/03 - 04/05/03
03/23/03 - 03/29/03
03/16/03 - 03/22/03

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

Anthrax Vaccine Network

Arms Control Association

Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now

Atomic Veterans of America


Behind the Label

Black Box Voting

Bread for the World

Brennan Center for Justice


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

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

Clary-Meuser Research Network

Clean Clothes Campaign

Coalition for a Competitive Pharmaceutical Market

Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers

Commercial Alert

Common Cause

Common Dreams

Commonweal Institute

Community Rights Council

Concord Coalition


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


Corps of Engineers Watch

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


Depleted Uranium Education Project

Depleted Uranium Watch

DES Action


Disabled American Veterans

Discernment Ministry International



Earth Institute


EarthRights International

Economic Policy Institute

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


Families of
September 11

Families USA: Voice for Health Care Consumers

Family Farm Alliance

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


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

iAbolish: Anti-Slavery Web Portal


Independent Judiciary

Indian Trust: Cobell v. Norton

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

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


Measles Initiative

Mines Advisory Group


Mothers for Peace

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


Natural Resources Defense Council

Neturei Karta

New Rules Project


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 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

Program on Corporations, Law and Democracy

Project Against the Present Danger

Project on Government Oversight

Project Underground

Project Vote Smart

Protection Project


Public Citizen

Public Employees for Environmental Responsibity

Rainforest Action Network


Reaching Critical Will

Reclaim Democracy

Reclaim the Media


Resource Center of the Americas

Responsible Wealth

Rethinking Schools

Right-To-Know Network

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


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


Stop Carnivore

Stop Disney Sweatshops

Stop Patient Abuse Now Coalition


Sweetwater Alliance

Swords to Plowshares

Talion: Voting Machines

Tax Foundation

Taxpayers for Common Sense

Ten Thousand Villages

Third World Traveler

Tort Reform Reader


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

Veterans for Common Sense

Vital Voices Global Partnership

VoteWatch: Repository for Voter Complaints

Water Aid

Water Barons 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


Yucca Mountain Facts

E-mail: dailydys at yahoo dot com

This page is powered by Blog Studio.
and s-integrator

Saturday, July 05, 2003

Touch-Screen Voting Touted in Merced

This is a quiz--read this article in the Modesto Bee and tell me what's missing.

How about any mention whatsoever of a verifiable paper trail?

"It's no more complicated than using a touch screen at an ATM or using a touch screen to test your blood pressure at the drug store," Jimenez said. "You just put your finger on the (person) you want, and that's it. I fail to see any problem" people will have with it.

I'd be happy to enlighten her.

dystopia 2:51 PM - [Link]

Privatized Jail Took Hours to Report Escape

One of the Bush admin's buddies campaign donors constituents in the prison-for-profit industry is in trouble again, according to the Guardian:

Law enforcement officials are investigating why an escape from a privately run county jail went unreported until one of the four fugitives, injured jumping from the jail roof, showed up at a hospital a few hours later.

Two of the inmates, including one charged with murder, were still on the run Saturday morning.

"We in law enforcement are totally disgusted, and it's disheartening," said McKinley County Sheriff's Deputy Ron Williams...

Law enforcement officials found out about the escape more than three hours later when one of the inmates, Manuel Vasquez, 32, hitched a ride to a hospital, where doctors became suspicious of his explanation for his fractured heel and cut arm and called police...

Ireland's Sunday Business Post reported in May that we've exported MTC's incompetence to Iraq as well:

A criminal justice reconstruction team headed by Lane McCotter has been put in place by the US Justice Department to assess and improve Iraq's justice system. McCotter is a former Utah corrections director for Texas, Utah and New Mexico, and is director of corrections business development for Management & Training Corp in Utah, which provides job training and rehabilitation in US prisons.

Wyoming's Star Tribune newspaper wrote: "[McCotter] quit the Utah [corrections director] job following controversy over the death of a mentally ill inmate who had been shackled in a restraining chair for 16 hours, and questions over management of the prison's medical division and the use of state vehicles."

dystopia 2:37 PM - [Link]

The Cost of War

According to

An Army Ranger from western Pennsylvania who was hit in the head by shrapnel during fighting in Iraq is blind and will likely suffer from seizures for the rest of his life...

A wrestler, football player and honors student in high school, Jeremy Feldbusch turned down a chance to go to West Point Academy and instead went to the University of Pittsburgh where he received a degree in biology.

After graduating, he joined the Army - two weeks before the Sept 11 attacks.

Since this young man and many others like him are no longer useful in waging war, military recruiters are busily mining school directories to replace them, and complaints are rising about their aggressive sales tactics.

dystopia 2:08 PM - [Link]

HHS Retracts Threats Against Head Start Teachers

An important victory for our side in the war against Head Start, via the Common Dreams Newswire:

In a development that is very much in the spirit of the 4th of July holiday, the National Head Start Association (NHSA) announced today that it had prevailed in its effort to force the Bush Administration to end its attempt at chilling the First Amendment free-speech rights of 51,681 Head Start teachers and more than 870,000 parent volunteers.

NHSA President Sarah Greene announced that the Bush Administration had capitulated in the lawsuit by withdrawing a May 8, 2003 HHS letter sent to Head Start programs across the US. In the widely criticized letter, HHS threatened Head Start teachers and parents with civil action or even jail time if they spoke out against the Bush plan to dismantle the program serving one million at-risk children across America.

On July 2nd, the Bush Administration indicated that it would withdraw the letter and replace it with one making it clear that there is no basis for such a threat to be hanging over the heads of Head Start teachers and parent/volunteers. HHS was asked last week by a federal court judge to either write a letter that would address NHSA's objections or face a bench ruling.

dystopia 1:56 PM - [Link]

Frozen Iraqi Assets 'Gifted' to US

A present--how nice! Oh, wait--they didn't give it, we took it. From the Hindustan Times:

Banks in the Cayman Islands have transferred $140 million in frozen Iraqi assets to the US Federal Reserve, the British territory's government said.

The money's transfer was confirmed Monday by Assistant Financial Secretary Deborah Drummond. She said the funds were turned over by various US banks with branches in the Cayman Islands to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York in March.

US officials couldn't immediately confirm whether the money had gone into the new Development Fund for Iraq...

Why not? That was four months ago. Where'd it go?

dystopia 1:41 PM - [Link]

What Type of Literature Are You?

Poetry? I don't even like poetry. How come I'm not an atlas?

What type of literature are you?

brought to you by Quizilla

dystopia 1:29 PM - [Link]

Short-Fused Populist, Breathing Fire at Bush

OK, I'll tell you a secret--believe it or not, I still find the early candidate-whittling part of the political process incredibly boring, so I haven't really tuned in to much of it yet. But when I saw this in the Washington Post:

Ropy veins popped out of his neck, blood rushed to his cheeks, and his eyes, normally blue-gray, flashed black, all dilated pupils...

I sat up and took notice...

"This sounds very idealistic and naive," he said on a hot afternoon in Iowa between sweaty rounds of house parties, "but we're going to lose our country if somebody doesn't do something idealistic...

Amen. For the first time in my life, I no longer have any real confidence that the United States as we (like to think we) know it will survive another 50 years.

In recent months he has been called "brusque," "brash" "blunt" and "belligerent"; a few more choice words on his part and critics will be questioning whether Dean has the diplomatic skills needed to be the leader of the free world...

Diplomatic skills? President Spasmodicus never had any diplomatic skills and it didn't disqualify him. Oh, wait a minute--they must have meant ass-kissing skills.

Still not prepared to endorse anyone just yet, but I am intrigued.

UPDATE: Also in the Post, that little snake Rove seems to think Dean's unelectable against his boy.

dystopia 12:55 PM - [Link]

"Bring 'Em On?"

A Vietnam Special Forces vet ruminates on Dubya's studly challenge, at CounterPunch:

Yesterday, when I read that US Commander-in-Chief George W Bush, in a moment of blustering arm-chair machismo, sent a message to the 'non-existent' Iraqi guerrillas to "bring 'em on," the first image in my mind was a 20-year-old soldier in an ever-more-fragile marriage, who'd been away from home for 8 months. He participated in the initial invasion, and was told he'd be home for the 4th of July. He has a newfound familiarity with corpses, and everything he thought he knew last year is now under revision. He is sent out into the streets of Fallujah (or some other city), where he has already been shot at once or twice with automatic weapons or an RPG, and his nerves are raw. He is wearing Kevlar and ceramic body armor, a Kevlar helmet, a load carrying harness with ammunition, grenades, flex-cuffs, first-aid gear, water, and assorted other paraphernalia. His weapon weighs seven pounds, ten with a double magazine. His boots are bloused, and his long-sleeve shirt is buttoned at the wrist. It is between 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit at midday. He's been eating MRE's three times a day, when he has an appetite in this heat, and even his urine is beginning to smell like preservatives. Mosquitoes and sand flies plague him in the evenings, and he probably pulls a guard shift every night, never sleeping straight through. He and his comrades are beginning to get on each others' nerves. The rumors of 'going-home, not-going-home' are keeping him on an emotional roller coaster. Directives from on high are contradictory, confusing, and often stupid. The whole population seems hostile to him and he is developing a deep animosity for Iraq and all its people--as well as for official narratives.

This is the lad who will hear from someone that George W Bush, dressed in a suit with a belly full of rich food, just hurled a manly taunt from a 72-degree studio at the 'non-existent' Iraqi resistance...

dystopia 12:44 PM - [Link]

Reaping the Whirlwind

Hot news via the Independent:

In an astonishing announcement on global warming and extreme weather, the World Meteorological Organisation signalled last night that the world's weather is going haywire.

In a startling report, the WMO, which normally produces detailed scientific reports and staid statistics at the year's end, highlighted record extremes in weather and climate occurring all over the world in recent weeks, from Switzerland's hottest-ever June to a record month for tornadoes in the United States - and linked them to climate change.

The unprecedented warning takes its force and significance from the fact that it is not coming from Greenpeace or Friends of the Earth, but from an impeccably respected UN organisation that is not given to hyperbole...

It is possible that 2003 will be the hottest year ever recorded. The 10 hottest years in the 143-year-old global temperature record have now all been since 1990, with the three hottest being 1998, 2002 and 2001.

dystopia 12:26 PM - [Link]

Anger Rises for Families of Troops in Iraq

Some military families are reaching critical mass, in the NY Times:

Frustrations became so bad recently at Fort Stewart, GA, that a colonel, meeting with 800 seething spouses, most of them wives, had to be escorted from the session.

"They were crying, cussing, yelling and screaming for their men to come back," said Lucia Braxton, director of community services at Fort Stewart...

"`Names pending release, names pending release' — I hate that expression," Ms Decal said of the way the military announces casualties...

"When my husband first deployed, the people at work were so sweet, giving me days off, saying take whatever time I need," recalled Ms Franklin..."But it's not like that today. Now they look at me kind of funny and say: `Why do you need a day off now? Isn't the war over?'"

Um, no, actually, it isn't.

dystopia 12:12 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: July 5

1775: The Second Continental Congress petitioned King George III to repeal the Coercive Acts and to work with the Colonies in a mutually beneficial relationship. Despite patriotic fervor and cries for independence throughout the Colonies, many delegates preferred a peaceful resolution with the Crown and a reunion under proper rule of law.

1814: US troops under Jacob Brown defeated a superior British force at at the Battle of Chippewa Plains.

1838: Congress voted to enlarge the US Army to 11,800 men due to the demands of the Second Seminole War.

1861: The Battle of Carthage, MO, the first large-scale engagement of the Civil War, signaled escalating hostilities between the North and South.

1861: Habeas corpus was suspended by President Lincoln; over the next four years 13,000 subversives and peace activists were held without cause or charges.

1865: The Secret Service began operating under the Treasury Department.

1934: During San Francisco's Bloody Thursday, the National Guard shot down striking longshoremen and their supporters at Rincon Hill.

1935: President Roosevelt signed the National Labor Relations Act.

1940: Congress passed the Export Control Act, forbidding the export of aircraft parts, chemicals, and minerals without a license, in reaction to Japan's occupation of parts of the Indo-Chinese coast.

1950: Pvt Kenneth Shadrick of West Virginia was first US fatality in the Korean War.

1959: The NY Times reported that American visitors to the Soviet National Exhibition in NYC expressed strong views of Russian society and economics in guest books at the exhibition; the generally negative and often angry comments indicated that cultural exchanges did not necessarily bring the two nations closer together in understanding.

1965: The EEOC, a federal agency for investigating employment discrimination charges, became operational; it was essentially rendered useless by the Reagan administration.

1984: The Supreme Court weakened the 70-year-old exclusionary rule, ruling evidence seized with defective court warrants could be used against defendants in criminal trials. Justice Brennan wrote, "The Court's victory over the Fourth Amendment is complete."

1989: Oliver North received a $150,000 fine and a suspended prison term for his part in Iran-Contra; the convictions were later overturned.

1991: Regulators in eight countries shut down the Pakistani-managed BCCI, charging it with fraud, drug money laundering and illegal infiltration into the US banking system.

1995: The Justice Department opted not to take antitrust action against Ticketmaster, ending their 13-month fight with Pearl Jam; the band used a rival ticket service in retaliation against Ticketmaster's tactics, which ironically proved that Ticketmaster didn't have a monopoly.

2002: Reliant Resources admitted it overstated profits for 1999-2001, including $6.4 billion in phantom energy trades, in which the company sold and immediately bought back power, thereby increasing revenues without any power actually changing hands.

dystopia 10:24 AM - [Link]

Thursday, July 03, 2003

Republicans Fight Davis Recall

This recall thing's gone a bit too far for some, according to the Bay Area's NBC11:

A small group of Republicans plans to raise money to oppose the recall of Democratic Gov Gray Davis, saying it could lead to an "endless cycle of political instability."

"It could destroy whatever shred remains of civilized political discourse in this great state," GOP consultant Scott Barnett said in announcing the formation of Republicans Against the Recall.

Barnett was joined at a news conference outside a state office building by developer Mike Madigan and Bill Marvin, a former chairman of the San Diego County Republican Party, who said he was no fan of the governor.

"I'm not here to praise Caesar and I'm also not here to stick a knife in Caesar's back," Marvin said. "I'm here in defense of the process...This is not a banana republic."

A few more conscience-stricken GOPsters who managed to break themselves free from the win-at-all-costs lockstep...hey, that's cooler than two popsicles.

dystopia 6:02 PM - [Link]

A Family Affair

This article just reminded me that I've been meaning to post something on nepotism in Washington, so here goes:

FYI, it's rampant:

All in the Family: Nepotism in American Politics
In Appointments, Administration Leaves No Family Behind
Power on the Potomac: It's a Family Affair
Politics Shrinks, Celebrity Burgeons, Nepotism Reigns
No Bounds for What You Do for Your Children
The Son Also Rises

If you're wondering why there aren't rules against this sort of thing, just remember who gets to make the rules.

dystopia 5:31 PM - [Link]

Political Veteran

A scorching interview with Max Cleland in the Washington Post:

These days, Cleland, a Georgia Democrat defeated in his bid for reelection to the Senate last fall, is angry, bitter and disgusted with politics.

"The state of American politics is sickening," he says...

Cleland, 60, is still livid over a now-infamous TV commercial that Republican challenger Saxby Chambliss ran against him. It opened with pictures of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, then attacked Cleland for voting against President Bush's Homeland Security bill. It didn't mention that Cleland supported a Democratic bill that wasn't radically different...

"I voted for it because I was told by the secretary of defense and by the CIA that there were weapons of mass destruction there," he says. "The president said it, Colin Powell said it, they all said it. And now they can't find them! Our general over there, who has no dog in this fight, he said he sent troops all over the place and they found two trailers and not much of anything else. So we went to war for two trailers?"

Hmmm...if played correctly, Cleland and McCain could make a powerful ticket someday--if McCain would ever get off the fence and fully revolt against the GOP. They're both Vietnam vets who paid enormous costs, and they've both been viciously screwed over by the Republican party.

I dunno--every time I start liking McCain, he does something to disappoint me. I just have this fantasy of electing a maverick for president who's as pissed off as I am.

dystopia 4:41 PM - [Link]

On TV Last Night

I watched:

The Toll of the Drug War in Colombia--the families of some of the Americans killed down there have a lot of unanswered questions.

The Forgotten Veterans profiled some of the female heroes of the Vietnam War.

Hidden India: The Kerala Spicelands made me want to hop on a plane and go visit. Kerala looks like the magical place I'd always pictured when I used to imagine what India must be like.

dystopia 3:59 PM - [Link]

Vaccination Graduates to an Older Crowd

"Adolescent vaccines are the next wave," Dr Michael D Decker, vice president for scientific affairs at the vaccine subsidiary of the Aventis pharmaceutical giant said recently at a conference on immunization policy. "All the manufacturers have them in the works."

Oh, yay. Go read all about it in the NY Times. Then go read this and this.

dystopia 3:30 PM - [Link]

The Mystery of Itch, the Joy of Scratch

Ran into some hungry mosquitos, so I'm squeezing the last dregs from my trusty tube of Rhuli-Gel, the most fabulous itch-killer ever--better remember to round up some more. I can't stay out of my garden and I won't douse myself with mosquito repellent, so it's the price I pay.

Yeah, yeah, the West Nile thing--I just realized I haven't heard much about that this year--ain't scared. My garden is the most peaceful and serene place in my universe, so I'll chance it.

Still, might ought to start wearing long pants and sleeves out there, huh?

Anyway, this entertaining read in the NY Times on itching and scratching seemed especially relevant to me just now.

dystopia 2:22 PM - [Link]

Bremer Requests More Troops

Why, that little wuss! What's he cryin' around about now? Dubya done said he had plenty, didn't he?

God help the troops over there, because I don't think either one of these yahoos has a clue.

dystopia 1:41 PM - [Link]

Brutal Farce in the Caucasus

Apparently, a little ethnic cleansing is no biggie when there's a War on Terror to be fought. From the Guardian:

The policy has become increasingly confused as the Bush administration sought to twist Mr Putin's arm over Iraq by hyping up talk of their mutual war on terror. In May, the US state department made comments that were as baffling as they were alarming. The department's deputy spokesman, Philip Reeker, wooed a Russia still reeling from two suicide bombings in 48 hours in the republic with the remarks that such terrorism was intended to disrupt the ongoing "political process".

Delivered moments before a meeting between the US secretary of state, Colin Powell, and Mr Putin, the statements were the first recognition of what is happening right now in Chechnya as a "political process". In October 2001, the US national security adviser, Condoleezza Rice, was urging negotiations with Mr Maskhadov, and welcoming Kremlin moves in that direction...

A senior US diplomat rightly noted that the Kremlin had "drawn a red line under" the idea of talks with Mr Maskhadov. Even the US has "gone off" their former preferred partner for Moscow's peace talks on Chechnya. "Our view of Maskhadov has increasingly soured," said the diplomat.

Here's what we have to ignore to buy Putin's cooperation:

Chechnya: Russia's Ethnic Cleansing
Russia's War on Chechnya
The Smashing of Chechnya

dystopia 1:24 PM - [Link]

American Bloggers Aim to Spark Political Revolt

Those wily Brits are on to us, in the Guardian:

The project this summer is to "seed" political weblogging in New Hampshire, urging voters to start online diaries to record the campaign. His aim? To force candidates to address issues in a more consistent and honest way.

With an army of webloggers presenting reports and transcripts of the candidates' every public move, he sees as inevitable a new atmosphere of plain talking. "The 2000 election in the US was a tie, and the candidates never told us about themselves...They lied, they struggled to make themselves stand for absolutely nothing, and the voters were powerless to do anything about it. In 2004, they won't be powerless. The question is, will they use the power?"...

It is not just the politicians who should be afraid. Weblogging, says Winer, is coming after journalism, too. "In 2004, the opportunity is to have the citizens cover the candidates and root around the journalists who do an absolutely terrible job.

No shit. IMHO, mass communication via the Internet is our last best hope to save ourselves. That, and getting everyone to register and vote.

dystopia 12:45 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: July 3

1607: Indians brought maize, beans, squash, and fresh and smoked meat to starving settlers at the Jamestown colony.

1755: The white settlement of Drapers Meadows, VA, was attacked by Shawnee Indians.

1778: American rebel militia and regulars from Forty Fort, PA, attacked Seneca Indians and Tories in the Wyoming Valley, but took heavy losses and were forced to retreat.

1797: An incriminating letter written by Sen William Blount of Tennessee was turned over to the Senate by President Adams; Blount faced impeachment for having led an expedition, on behalf of the British, to conquer Florida and Louisiana.

1835: Children working in the silk mills went on strike in Paterson, NJ, for an 11-hour work day and a 6-day work week; with the help of adults, the kids won a compromise settlement of a 69-hour work week.

1844: Ambassador Caleb Cushing negotiated a commercial treaty with China that opened Chinese ports to US merchants and protected American rights in China.

1853: Commodore Matthew Perry reached Japan.

1863: Pickett led his infamous charge at Gettysburg.

1898: The US fleet destroyed the Spanish Navy in the Battle of Santiago.

1930: Congress created the Veterans Administration.

1934: The FDIC made its first payment, to Lydia Losiger.

1945: The first civilian passenger car built since February 1942 was driven off the assembly line at the Ford plant in Detroit, MI; production had been diverted due to WWII.

1964: The day after President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act, blacks in Atlanta tried to enter a restaurant, but owner Lester Maddox and white patrons chased them away with axe handles.

1968: The US command in Saigon reported that more Americans were killed during the first six months of 1968 than in all of 1967; the heavy casualty figures were due to the Tet Offensive.

1981: The CDC in Atlanta issued a report documenting 26 cases, eight of them fatal, of a rare skin cancer called Kaposi's sarcoma; all the patients were male.

1982: Black journalist and activist Mumia Abu-Jamal was sentenced to death for the shooting of a policeman by a Philadelphia jury.

1988: The USS Vincennes shot down Iran Air Flight 655 in Iranian territorial waters, killing 290 civilians; the Navy initially claimed the attack was a mistake, but the cover-up was exposed by a Newsweek investigation.

1996: The Surface Transportation Board voted unanimously in favor of the $3.9 billion merger of Pacific Railroad and Southern Pacific, which had unleashed a torrent of opposition when it was proposed.

2002: The supertanker Astro Lupus arrived off the Port of Houston, carrying the first direct shipment of Russian crude oil to the US.

2002: It was reported that several large energy companies were fined a total of $122 million by the state agency controlling California's power grid for failing to deliver electricity during the power crisis.

dystopia 10:34 AM - [Link]

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Scoutmaster Had 3 Grams of Ricin

White American idiots like this scare me a whole lot more than any Jihadis do. From KIRO-TV in Seattle:

Even his prosecutors acknowledge that Kenneth Olsen, a churchgoing Scoutmaster and father of four, appears to be a decent man.

"From all outward appearances, Kenneth Olsen seems like anybody's neighbor"...But Olsen, who faces a life prison term if convicted of federal charges of making and possessing ricin -- the stuff of biological weapons -- has a darker side, the government contends.

The Spokane Valley man is accused of spending more than a year researching undetectable poisons on the Internet and of making enough powdered ricin to kill 7,500 people.

Thanks to white_rider at DU for the tip.

dystopia 4:50 PM - [Link]

Judge Blames Merrill Lynch's Victims

They dusted off a 96-year-old semi-retired judge to decide whether or not Merrill Lynch should be held liable for the lies and deceptive practices that cost investors millions. Pollack has a history of seeing things Wall Street's way and, sure enough, he came through once again. The Street reports:

Investors trying to sue Merrill Lynch over tainted research got a slap in the face Tuesday when a federal judge tossed their suit and lambasted the investors for their own naivete...

The dismissed lawsuit alleged that investors lost money on the stocks because Merrill Lynch analysts, led by disgraced Internet guru Henry Blodget, misled them by publishing overly bullish reports...Pollack was unmoved by the emails Spitzer's office unearthed, in which Blodget and other Merrill analysts referred to some of the stocks they followed as "piece of crap" or "piece of junk." In fact, he blamed investors for ignoring an obvious stock market bubble in the making, and simply holding onto the stocks until it was too late to sell...

Several securities lawyers said Pollack, who began practicing law just days before the 1929 stock market crash, has a history of siding with Wall Street firms in disputes with investors. He may be best known for overseeing the civil litigation stemming from the collapse of the junk bond firm Drexel Burnham Lambert.

dystopia 4:26 PM - [Link]

Liberian Refugees Risk High Seas

Civil warfare is driving desperate people to take desperate measures along the western coast of Africa. From BBC News:

These boats, often painted with the yellow, red and green colours of the Ghanaian flag, with names like Messiah, and Promised Land, appear to be the only hope for many who have left everything behind.

They do not want to stay in Ivory Coast, which is now also afflicted by civil war.

And so they set off again, literally into the sunset following the West African coastline in search of peace.

Liberia has long been a turbulent place; there's a pretty good outline of its history and the events leading up to the Charles Taylor administration on PBS' Global Connections.

dystopia 3:58 PM - [Link]

Giant Blob Baffles Marine Scientists

There's a photo at BBC News--it looks like they've found themselves a Globster.

dystopia 3:30 PM - [Link]

Man Spits on Cop, Gets Life in Jail

According to MSNBC, an Oklahoma man who was facing only a year in jail for beating his wife stepped into an even deeper hole:

John Carl Marquez, 36, was convicted of “placing bodily fluid upon a government employee,” a felony that can carry a life sentence because of the possibility of transmitting a potentially deadly disease.

State judge April Sellers White sentenced Marquez this week even though Marquez and the officer tested negative for any communicable disease.

Marquez also was convicted of assaulting a police officer, and a jury recommended the maximum sentence because he had previous convictions.

Not to say Marquez was a great guy or anything, but there is no proportionality here. No real harm was done to the officer, but Oklahoma taxpayers will still have to support Marquez in prison for God knows how many years. How does this serve us?

dystopia 3:08 PM - [Link]

US Develops Urban Surveillance System

Another disturbing DARPA project, from

The Pentagon is developing an urban surveillance system that would use computers and thousands of cameras to track, record and analyze the movement of every vehicle in a foreign city...

Or an American one.

I keep thinking about those RFID tags, and how they can be permanently embedded in everything we buy. I don't think satellites can keep a continuous eye on a single individual 24/7 just yet but, when I saw this, I think I figured out what they're working on to fill in the gaps.

dystopia 2:29 PM - [Link]

Strom's Skeleton

My mom would kick my ass if she caught me speakin' ill of the dead while he's still warm, so to speak, so I'll just point out that there's a very interesting profile of him on Slate, and say no more.

dystopia 2:06 PM - [Link]

Microsoft Word Bytes Blair on the Butt

ComputerBytesMan says:

Microsoft Word documents are notorious for containing private information in file headers which people would sometimes rather not share. The British government of Tony Blair just learned this lesson the hard way...

Blair's government made one additional mistake: they published the dossier as a Microsoft Word file on their Web site. When I first heard from Dr Rangwala about the dossier, I decided to try to learn who had worked on the document. I downloaded the Word file containing the dossier from the 10 Downing Street Web site...

Most Word document files contain a revision log which is a listing of the last 10 edits of a document, showing the names of the people who worked with the document and the names of the files that the document went under. Revision logs are hidden and cannot be viewed in Microsoft Word. However, I wrote a small utility for extracting and displaying revision logs and other hidden information in Word .DOC files...

Go see what he found.

dystopia 1:37 PM - [Link]

Celestial Sign Language

Yikes! Is this an official review?

dystopia 1:04 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: July 2

1776: Richard Henry Lee’s resolution, that the American colonies "are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States," was adopted by the Continental Congress.

1791: The Holston Treaty was signed with the Cherokees.

1809: Alarmed by the growing encroachment of whites on Indian lands, Shawnee Chief Tecumseh called on all Indians to unite and resist.

1839: Africans on the Amistad rose up against their captors, seizing control of the ship transporting them into slavery on a sugar plantation in Cuba.

1862: Congress passed the Morrill Act for the creation of land-grant colleges.

1872: The second Colville Indian reservation was created in eastern Washington when the original reservation--on better land--was opened to white farmers.

1890: Congress passed the Sherman Antitrust Act, fraught with ambiguous terms that left it ripe for exploitation by the robber barons.

1914: Chief Alfred Sam, leader of the Back to Africa movement, set off with 500 black Americans from Oklahoma to settle in West Africa.

1917: A major race riot broke out in East St Louis; martial law was declared in the city and troops were used to stop the disturbance.

1942: The NY Times, on page 6, reported Germany's mass extermination of 700,000 Jews by poison gas.

1947: A strange object crashed near Roswell, NM; the Army Air Force said was a weather balloon, but eyewitness accounts fed speculation that it was a UFO.

1948: President Truman signed the Japanese-American Evacuation Claims Act, to compensate interned Japanese-Americans for certain economic losses.

1956: Explosions rocked Sylvania's Metallurgy Atomic Research Center in Queens, NY, injuring 9 people.

1964: President Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act.

1967: US Marines launched Operation Buffalo in response to North Vietnamese efforts to seize the Marine base at Con Thien.

1968: The Norfolk Ledger-Star reported that, several months before, a US nuclear-powered submarine had collided with a Soviet sub in an apparent game of "chicken," causing severe damage to the US vessel, which spent several months in Rota, Spain, for repairs.

1970: James Johnson, a black auto worker in Detroit, shot and killed 3 supervisors; a jury found Johnson innocent by reason of insanity after visiting the plant and finding what they considered maddening conditions.

1970: The use of tiger cages at Con Son prison by the US-backed South Vietnamese government to torture political prisoners was exposed.

1998: CNN retracted the Operation Tailwind story, alleging US commandos had used nerve gas to kill American defectors during the Vietnam War.

2001: The Interior Secretary said the Bush administration would allow new oil drilling on only 1.5 million acres of the Gulf of Mexico out of the 6 million under consideration, removing acreage closest to Alabama and Florida.

dystopia 10:22 AM - [Link]

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

Top-Secret Joke the CIA Didn't Want You to Hear

A kinda-funny, kinda-not illustration of the intelligence community's obsession with secrecy, from

Fast-forward to 1999, when the CIA and other US government agencies were being forced by then-president Bill Clinton's administration to declassify millions of pages of records. Among the documents the CIA reluctantly agreed to make public was its December 1974 report on international terrorism.

But even with Mr Clinton's decree, the CIA declared that most of the report was still too sensitive to be revealed to the public. Instead it declassified only a few sentences of the five-page document, mainly references to a car bombing in Argentina and a private plane being hijacked to Cuba.

But what the US's top spies didn't know was that the same report had already been sent over to the Gerald Ford Presidential Library for safekeeping. More importantly, the version the Gerald Ford library had in its possession didn't censor the supposedly top-secret details...

"This shows that the system is not about protecting real security issues...The bulk of what government keeps secret is to avoid embarrassment."

So what else was in this classified report? Just a warning about the Ebenezer Scrooge terrorist group that planned to attack Santa Claus and his reindeer--a Christmas joke by CIA analysts with a little too much time on their hands.

dystopia 5:14 PM - [Link]

EPA Withholds Air Pollution Analysis

Remember back in the good old days of Earth shoes and bean sprouts, when the EPA was on our side? That was about 30 years ago. Things sure have changed since then, except that we're still footing the bill. From the Washington Post:

The Environmental Protection Agency for months has withheld key findings of its analysis showing that a Senate plan to combat air pollution would be more effective in reducing harmful pollutants -- and only marginally more expensive -- than would President Bush's Clear Skies initiative for power plant emissions.

The Clear Skies proposal is designed to reduce power plant emissions over the next 20 years. A centerpiece of Bush's environmental policy, its passage could burnish his 2004 reelection credentials. But the president's plan does not address carbon dioxide emissions, which many scientists consider an important greenhouse gas that may contribute to the Earth's warming.

Bush's stand has drawn sharp criticism on several fronts, and a bipartisan group of senators has proposed an alternative bill that would limit carbon dioxide emissions. Unreleased information from an EPA internal analysis concludes that the competing bill would provide health benefits substantially superior to those envisioned under Clear Skies.

Ironic, isn't it, that this alphabet soup of federal agencies designed to safeguard the public interest are used so efficiently to generate vast wealth for the very players they were entrusted with protecting us from?

dystopia 4:47 PM - [Link]

Mistrust Mixes with Misery in Baghdad

Americans and Iraqis discussed the current situation with a Washington Post reporter:

To Staff Sgt Charles Pollard, the working-class suburb of Mashtal is a "very, very, very, very bad neighborhood." And he sees just one solution.

"US officials need to get our [expletive] out of here...I say that seriously. We have no business being here. We will not change the culture they have in Iraq, in Baghdad. Baghdad is so corrupted. All we are here is potential people to be killed and sitting ducks"...

For the most part, the Iraqi police and Pollard's soldiers say little to each other -- and even then it's done through interpreters. The Iraqis dislike Pollard, and he has little regard for them...

It doesn't sound very promising to me.

dystopia 4:16 PM - [Link]

Groups Challenge NRC’s Rule by Fiat

A bulletin from the Common Dreams Newswire:

The NRC issued orders on April 29, 2003, revising the NRC regulation specifying the so-called "design basis threat," which tells nuclear plant operators what types of terrorist attacks their security plans must be designed to resist. What the new rule requires is unknown, because the NRC has designated the "design basis threat" as information that cannot be released to the public.

Although the NRC revised the rule without seeking public input, the agency said that it did consult the nuclear industry. The groups’ petition for review challenges the NRC action based on longstanding principles of administrative law that require agencies that issue regulations of general applicability, such as the "design basis threat" rule, to follow the notice and comment process.

"We’re concerned about the way this rule was handled," said Lisa Gue of Public Citizen’s Critical Mass Energy and Environment Program. "The public must have an opportunity to counter industry pressure for security measures that are tailored to serve its economic interests rather than the public’s need for protection. There is a disturbing trend toward secrecy and the exclusion of the public from NRC decisionmaking. We recognize that the rulemaking process in this area has to be carried out with due regard to protecting safeguards information, but that can’t justify bypassing rulemaking procedures altogether."

This is what the NRC was up to while we were busy flippin' out over what the FCC was up to.

dystopia 3:48 PM - [Link]

Rumsfeld Says Iraq No Quagmire or Guerrilla War

Should we take up a collection to buy Rummy a dictionary? Nah--that scary bastard already spends enough of my money.

dystopia 3:28 PM - [Link]

Opium Pacifies Afghan Refugee Children

Fresh horror from the BBC--I hadn't heard this before:

Children growing up in refugee camps in Peshawar, in the north of Pakistan, are being drugged by their parents to leave themselves free to work undisturbed in the carpet factories.

The Afghan men and women, eager to not lose out on the sole source of income in the camps, dip their fingers in a pot of opium to feed their children before a day's work.

"I know this is very dangerous and can have bad effects on the health of our children, but how can we abandon carpet weaving as this is our only source of income?" said Mallaley, one of the women carpet weavers.

I've been learning quite a bit over the past few years about what dismal lives people are forced to live, here, there and everywhere. Do you ever wonder how you were chosen to be one of the lucky 5% of the world population that was born in the USA? Instead of, say, Afghanistan? I do. I didn't do anything to earn that bit of good fortune--it was just handed to me.

I hope these poor kids, who had less than a 1% chance of being born into Afghani hell--what a lottery to win, huh?--aren't being sentenced to a lifetime of addiction. I'm afraid they probably are, though, if they manage to survive the poverty, disease and violence around them.

dystopia 2:34 PM - [Link]

Mandela Avoids Bush Meeting

Refusing to be used in the PR parade, via BBC News:

President George W Bush, leader of the world's most powerful country, the United States, will not get to meet Mr Mandela when he visits South Africa next week during his first visit to the African continent...

Whether it is a coincidence or just strategic planning, the fact is that Mr Mandela will not be in the country when the American entourage arrives next Tuesday...

Mr Mandela's office also revealed that they had not had a request for a meeting with Bush.

While Mr Mandela will not be around to welcome the American leader, the anti-war coalition, a lobby group which claims to have the support of 300 organisations is planning a hot reception for Mr Bush.

Good--I hope we'll get some on-the-scene blogger action again.

dystopia 2:04 PM - [Link]

Microsoft Does U-Turn, Exports Jobs to India

More American jobs being outsourced, per the Inquirer:

The newspaper claims that a customer support centre in Bangalore, India may well take over a lot of customer service and technical support work in three states, Texas, North Carolina and Washington.

There are around 800 employees at these Microsoft sites but the paper quotes a representative as saying that it wasn't sure how many of these 2,400 people's jobs will be affected.

The reason for the shift is clear – it's a bid to cut costs.

What? Are they going broke?

dystopia 12:59 PM - [Link]

Bush "Indicted" Over War Crimes

Oh, man, how I'd love to see that headline without the quotation marks! From the Japan Times:

A group of Japanese lawyers unveiled documents Monday "indicting" US President George W Bush for war crimes allegedly committed against the Afghan people since the United States-led coalition began its antiterrorism campaign in Afghanistan in October 2001.

"This is an act that breaks international rules, such as the idea of (honoring) human rights, that have been formed over so many years," said Koken Tsuchiya, former president of the Japan Federation of Bar Associations and head of the 11-member prosecutors' team in the tribunal. "We decided this case has sufficient reason to be brought to court."

A civic tribunal will be held in Tokyo, with the first hearing scheduled for July 21.

The charges against Bush, according to the indictment, include aggression, attacks against civilians and nonmilitary facilities and the torturing and execution of prisoners.

They said the indictment will be handed to the US Embassy in Tokyo next week.

dystopia 12:41 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: July 2

1656: The first Quakers in America arrived in Boston.

1834: Cherokees on the Trail of Tears reached Indian Territory, in present-day Oklahoma.

1862: Congress passed the Revenue Act, establishing the Bureau of Internal Revenue and income and ad valorem taxes.

1862: The Battle of Malvern Hill was the last of the Seven Days' battles.

1863: The epic Battle of Gettysburg lasted three days and resulted in a Confederate retreat to Virginia.

1892: The Homestead Strike in Pennsylvania led to large-scale battles between steel mill workers and anti-labor Pinkerton agents.

1898: US troops engaged Spanish forces at El Caney and San Juan Hill.

1932: The Leavitt Act was passed, authorizing cancellation of all debts for seized Indian lands.

1944: The Bretton Woods Conference began, in order to formulate post-war international monetary policy.

1946: The US tested an atomic bomb over the Bikini Atoll in the Pacific.

1947: State Department official George Kennan anonymously published an article calling for a policy of containment toward the Soviet Union, establishing the foundation for much of America's early Cold War foreign policy.

1957: The CIA's Civil Air Transport, or Air America, began its permanent presence in Laos.

1965: Undersecretary of State George Ball submitted a memo to President Johnson, advising that the US not commit any more troops, restrict the combat role of those already in place, and seek to negotiate a way out of the war.

1972: President Nixon and Charles Colson plotted a break-in at the Republican National Committee headquarters to divert attention from the Watergate break-in.

1972: US military and civilian sources disclosed Project Popeye, using meteorological warfare to suppress anti-aircraft fire and hinder troop movements in both Vietnam and Laos since 1963.

1983: Arizona copper miners began a long and bitter strike in which then-Gov Bruce Babbitt repeatedly deployed state police and the National Guard against them.

1987: President Reagan nominated Robert Bork to the Supreme Court; the stormy confirmation process ended with Bork's rejection by the Senate.

1988: The AMA urged doctors to break confidentiality and warn the sexual partners of people being treated for AIDS.

1989: A strange flooding incident aboard the USS Houston resulted in eight crewmembers being reassigned due to sudden submarine-phobia.

1991: President Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to the Supreme Court.

2002: The California State Legislature passed a bill limiting vehicle emissions of carbon dioxide, the first such bill to pass a state legislature.

dystopia 10:32 AM - [Link]

Monday, June 30, 2003

Halliburton Subsidiaries in Offshore Tax Havens

If you're keeping an eye on Halliburton, you might want to keep a copy of this list from Citizen Works.

They have lots more info on other corporate tax traitors, too.

dystopia 5:28 PM - [Link]

Why I'm an Anti-Anti-American

Some perspective from Dinesh D'Souza, a relatively objective observer who offers 10 reasons to celebrate the USA, in the San Francisco Gate:

In most countries in the world, your fate and your identity are handed to you; in America, you determine them for yourself. America is a country where you get to write the script of your own life. Your life is like a blank sheet of paper, and you are the artist. This notion of being the architect of your own destiny is the incredibly powerful idea that is behind the worldwide appeal of America...

And then there was this bit:

America has the kindest, gentlest foreign policy of any great power in world history. Critics of the United States are likely to react to this truth with sputtering outrage...

Yes--I almost fell out of my chair at that particular choice of words. A few arguable points, but a fascinating glimpse of us through someone else's eyes.

dystopia 4:41 PM - [Link]

Who Lost the WMD?

My confidence in our brass in Iraq just slipped a little--I didn't know that was even possible. Those guys have something well in hand over there, but it sure ain't the WMD situation. From a recent circle-jerk, according to TIME:

Meeting last month at a sweltering US base outside Doha, Qatar, with his top Iraq commanders, President Bush skipped quickly past the niceties and went straight to his chief political obsession: Where are the weapons of mass destruction? Turning to his Baghdad proconsul, Paul Bremer, Bush asked, "Are you in charge of finding WMD?" Bremer said no, he was not. Bush then put the same question to his military commander, General Tommy Franks. But Franks said it wasn't his job either. A little exasperated, Bush asked, So who is in charge of finding WMD? After aides conferred for a moment, someone volunteered the name of Stephen Cambone, a little-known deputy to Donald Rumsfeld, back in Washington. Pause. "Who?" Bush asked.

I know you can't tell, but I'm snorting derisively and shaking my head. I need to figure out how to use some emoticon GIFs on this blog.

dystopia 4:09 PM - [Link]

The Best and the Brightest

Billmon offers a sobering post on the senseless loss of a fine young man:

During the entire build-up to the war in Iraq, Greg argued forcefully and logically that the case being outlined was false and not consistent with any expert opinion on the subject. He was also a man in the finest tradition the USMC has ever produced, and when called to serve with his Recon unit (one of the most dangerous positions, even for the USMC), he did not hesitate to answer the call of duty...

It would appear that Lance Cpl MacDonald was among the finest his country has to offer -- a soldier, a scholar, a student of history. A man of conscience. The cream of the crop. Someone who might someday have contributed to the creation of a real peace in the Middle East.

And now he's dead: fed into the meatgrinder of a pointless, unnecessary war by men who were quite literally not fit to lick his combat boots.


dystopia 3:50 PM - [Link]

Riches Fueling Recall of California Governor

William O'Rourke on yet another agenda-driven Republican with more money than morals, in the Chicago Sun-Times:

While I was traveling in California recently, there wasn't much evidence of the "grass-roots" movement to recall Democratic Gov Gray Davis. What was obvious was that there still is a lot of money in California, despite its $38 billion budget deficit. And it is money that is driving the Davis recall movement: not its absence, but its overabundance in the pockets of a San Diego-area politician, Darrell Issa, a second-term Republican congressman. Issa has money from a car alarm business (and a history of being charged with car theft), plus political ambition, although he lost the 1998 Republican primary for senator. He's the liberal nightmare: pro oil, tax cuts, school prayer; and anti-abortion, affirmative action, immigration. Issa salvaged the foundering Davis recall movement with an infusion of nearly a million bucks, with more to come...

dystopia 3:30 PM - [Link]

Israel Cuts Off Ties with BBC

And they mean it this time, per Haaretz:

Israel declared over the weekend that it is cutting off ties with the BBC to protest a repeat broadcast on non-conventional weapons said to be in Israel...

The program was broadcast for the first time in March in Britain, and was rerun Saturday on a BBC channel that is aired all over the world.

Israel and the BBC do have a history of diverging viewpoints from time to time.

Couldn't find anything about the program on the BBC TV site, so I don't know exactly what it had to say. I do know there's an interactive map of Israel's WMDs online at MSNBC. It's available worldwide, too, every single day.

dystopia 3:01 PM - [Link]

Bloggers Gain Libel Protection

Cool beans! One less thing to worry about, via Wired News:

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last Tuesday that Web loggers, website operators and e-mail list editors can't be held responsible for libel for information they republish, extending crucial First Amendment protections to do-it-yourself online publishers...

"One-way news publications have editors and fact-checkers, and they're not just selling information -- they're selling reliability," said Cindy Cohn, legal director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "But on blogs or e-mail lists, people aren't necessarily selling anything, they're just engaging in speech. That freedom of speech wouldn't exist if you were held liable for every piece of information you cut, paste and forward."

dystopia 2:35 PM - [Link]

Nothing but Lip Service

The Army Times on the Bush administration's version of "supporting the troops":

Taken piecemeal, all these corner-cutting moves might be viewed as mere flesh wounds. But even flesh wounds are fatal if you suffer enough of them. It adds up to a troubling pattern that eventually will hurt morale — especially if the current breakneck operations tempo also rolls on unchecked and the tense situations in Iraq and Afghanistan do not ease.

Rep Chet Edwards, D-TX, who notes that the House passed a resolution in March pledging “unequivocal support” to service members and their families, puts it this way: “American military men and women don’t deserve to be saluted with our words and insulted by our actions.”

Teddy Roosevelt put it this way:

A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled to, and less than that no man shall have.

On the other hand, it appears that the Bush administration is determined to leave no defense contractor behind.

dystopia 1:38 PM - [Link]

American Peace

Found a fantastic website I wanted to show you. American Peace provides a year-by-year overview of US military actions from 1776 to the present:

While most people, including most Americans, tend to believe that the United States has largely been a peaceful country until recently, in reality nothing could be further from the truth. Actually, the United States has been engaged in military operations for most of this country's history...

I counted only 23 out of the past 227 years that we haven't been involved in some kind of military action somewhere in the world. American Peace makes an excellent study guide if you want to learn more. Go check it out.

dystopia 1:09 PM - [Link]

Katharine Hepburn Dead at 96

I was sad to hear it--I always liked her. She seemed like one of the few celebrities I could stand to spend time with, without wanting to drive a spike into my head.

dystopia 12:09 PM - [Link]

Today in Dystopian History: June 30

1744: Chiefs of the Six Nations relinquished by treaty all claims to Indian lands in the Maryland colony.

1779: William Tryon, former royal governor of New York, and 2,600 loyalists and British regulars on 48 ships, raided Fairport, New Haven, and Norwalk, CT; Tryon intended to prosecute a war of desolation against American rebels.

1830: The Indian Removal Act was signed by Andrew Jackson.

1841: The Erie Railroad rolled out its first passenger train.

1864: Secretary of the Treasury Salmon P Chase resigned, accusing speculators of plotting to prolong the Civil War for monetary gain.

1906: The Federal Food and Drugs Act of 1906 prohibited the sale of adulterated foods and drugs, and mandated honest statement of contents on labels. Nicotine was originally on the list of drugs but, due to tobacco industry lobbying efforts, it was removed.

1922: The 1922 Railroad Shopmen's Strike was the last of the great nationwide railway strikes, involving more than 400,000 strikers at its peak, jeopardizing commerce and forcing the intervention of the most powerful government and business leaders.

1940: The Republican Party convention in Philadelphia was overwhelmingly in favor of a non-intervention policy in the war in Europe.

1952: Congress passed the McCarran-Walter Immigration Act to screen out "subversive" aliens and deport them, even if they had become US citizens; the new law barred non-white races almost entirely, while favoring immigration by northern Europeans.

1966: The first GIs, the Fort Hood 3, refused to be sent to Vietnam.

1969: Vigilantes cut down trees in Kew Gardens in Queens, NY, which was a gathering place for local gays. The vigilante organizer said, "Admittedly it was against the law, but we had police consent."

1971: The House Commerce Committee voted to recommend that CBS President Frank Stanton be cited for contempt of Congress for defying their subpoena to provide unused portions of interviews and materials connected to the production of a controversial documentary, "The Selling of the Pentagon."

1971: President Nixon ordered the felony burglary of the Brookings Institute, where Daniel Ellsberg worked, during a meeting with Henry Kissinger, Defense Secretary Melvin Laird, Attorney General John Mitchell and HR Haldeman; Charles Colson later proposed a firebombing.

1971: The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to lift prior restraints in the Pentagon Papers case, arguably the most important US Supreme Court case on freedom of the press.

1974: Alberta Williams King, the mother of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr, was shot and killed as she played the organ at the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta.

1977: President Carter announced his opposition to the B-1 bomber.

1985: 39 American hostages from a hijacked TWA jetliner were freed in Beirut after being held for 17 days.

1986: The Supreme Court upheld Georgia's sodomy law, ruling states could ban homosexual acts between consenting adults.

1995: Secret Brown & Williamson tobacco documents were made available on the Internet after the California Supreme Court rejected B&W's attempts to suppress them.

dystopia 10:41 AM - [Link]

Listen While You Surf:


i.e. America Radio

Political Strikes

Progressive Radio

Radio Left

Randi Rhodes Show

Newspapers and News Sites:

ABC News

Army Times

Asia Times


Boston Globe

Capitol Hill Blue

CBS News

Charlotte Observer

Christian Science Monitor

Common Dreams Newswire

Denver Post

Economic Times


Financial Times

Globe & Mail


Houston Chronicle

Indian Country Today

International Herald-Tribune

Los Angeles Times

Mondo Times

Nature News Service

NY Times

New Zealand Herald



News Insider

Pacific News Service

Philadelphia Inquirer


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



Bad Attitudes Journal

Beatnik Salad

Blatant Truth



Charging the Canvas

Democratic Veteran



Flagrancy to Reason


Heli's Heaven and Hell Radio



Ideal Rhombus

John P Hoke's Asylum

Juan Cole

Mad Prophet




Nurse Ratched's Notebook

Occasional Subversion

Oligopoly Watch



Project for a New Century of Freedom

Prometheus 6


Sick of Bush

Skippy the Bush Kangaroo

Suburban Guerrilla

Surfing the Tsunami

Talent Show

Thoughts on the Eve of the Apocalypse


Wrong Side of Happiness


American Prospect

Atlantic Monthly

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists

Business Ethics

Columbia Journalism Review




Dollars and Sense

Earth Island Journal


Editor & Publisher

Foreign Policy


Fortune Small Business

Government Executive


In These Times


Killing the Buddha

Mother Jones

National Parks Magazine


New Republic

New Yorker

News Insight



Philosophers Magazine

Progressive Magazine

Progressive Populist


Red Pepper


Scientific American




Texas Observer

The Nation


Vested Owl

Village Voice

Washington Monthly

Look It Up:

American Religion Data Archive


Atlas of US Presidential Elections

Babelfish Web Translator

Big Search Engine Index

Corporate Welfare Search Engine

Country Statistics at a Glance

Customizable Mortality Maps

CyberCemetery: Federal Depository Library

Daypop Current Events Image Search

Dogpile Search Engine


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

McFind Meta Search

Miniature Earth

National Priorities Project Database

Newspaper Archive

Nuclear Waste Route Atlas

Ownership Statistics

Political Information Search Engine

Political Resources on the Net

Prof Pollkatz Poll Graphics

Power Reporting Research Tools

Public Records Online


Researching People on the Internet

Resources for Compiling a Legislative History

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 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

Guardian Talk

Internet Infidels

Language of Propaganda

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:


Daily Show

Discovery Times Channel


History Channel

Now with Bill Moyers

Sundance Channel's Documentary Mondays

Washington Journal

Washington Week

Trivial Pursuits:

Biblical Curse Generator


BushFlash Animation Features

Capitol Steps

Dana Lyons


Elizabethan Curse Generator

Fling the Cow

Future Feed Forward

Is It Over Yet?


Mark Fiore's Animated Political Cartoons



Puppet Man

Rumsfeld Invaders


Sheep Game

Snowball Fight

Spaced Penguin

The Onion

Unofficial Official Simulator


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)