Saturday, September 15, 2007

Thanks, God!

A rundown of the antics of God's dedicated supporters. Keep up the lord's work!

• Malaysia’s government ordered the Tamil-language newspaper Makkal Osai to cease publication for one month after it published a front-page picture of Jesus smoking a cigarette. Murphy Pakiam, the Roman Catholic archbishop of Kuala Lampur, called the picture a “desecration.” “My entire staff are in tears,” the paper’s general manager, S.M. Periasamy, lamented. “They will lose a month of income.”

Al Qaeda Calls For Cartoonist's Murder

Updated: 15:29, Saturday September 15, 2007
The alleged head of al Qaeda in Iraq has offered a £50,000 bounty for the killing of a Swedish cartoonist for his depiction of the Prophet Mohammed.
Protest in Pakistan over latest cartoon
Protest in Pakistan over latest cartoon

Abu Omar al Baghdadi said his group would attack Swedish multinationals, such as Ericsson, Volvo and Ikea, unless the country apologised for Lars Vilks' drawing

Teen bride at trial describes grim wedding day

September 15, 2007

By Jennifer Dobner Associated Press

St. GEORGE, Utah — A former follower of a polygamous-sect leader sobbed on the witness stand Friday as she described the terror and despair she felt on the eve of her wedding at age 14, and said she became intensely depressed after having sex.

"I kept thinking I felt like I was getting ready for death," she testified on the second day of the trial of Warren Jeffs, leader of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

Young boys forced out of Mormon cult:

They are just young men (mostly young teenagers) who have become competition to the older men who want more (and usually much younger) wives. They are kicked out of their homes and run out of town. They often leave with just the shirts on their backs. Most have minimum education and few life-skills. But, the Prophet said that they must go away. So their parents cast them out like unwanted pets. Now, they are out on the street trying to fend for themselves. They are known as the "Lost Boys".

Read the tragic stories of their attempting to survive and to integrate into mainstream society. These articles are in chronological order.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Stand up for Kathy

Okay, kind of a dirty little secret here: I like Kathy Griffin and her TV show. Of course, a lot of what I like about her is how outspoken she is about the war, women's rights, censorship, and being an atheist.

So she won an Emmy this week, which is great, and she'll be on TV Saturday night.

Sort of. You see, some people were offended by her speech, so they've already said they're going to censor her speech when it airs. You won't get to hear what she said, and if you read most news sources you won't get to see it either, so here it is:

". . .[A] lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus." She went on to hold up her Emmy, make an off-color remark about Christ and proclaim, "Suck It, Jesus. This award is my god now!"

If you believe in Jesus, maybe the person you should really be offended by is the guy who thanks him for letting him hit a home run when maybe he should be busy stopping that hurricane that's about to wipe out cities, kill innocent babies, and spread disease and devastation for miles, but hey, what do I know?

If you believe in free speech, maybe you should sign this online petition.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Book my flight!

What with terrorists, cuts in maintenance, heavier use of flying stock, you just can't be too careful getting on a plane these days, can you?

That's why, if there's any possible way to do it, I'm booking my next flight on Nepal Air Lines.

Our friend here may not be the head mechanic there, but what other airline do you know of that sacrificed two goats to appease Akash Bhairab, a Hindu god, following technical problems with one of its aircraft?

Yes, sir, any airline that skimps on this essential practice, and only sacrifices one goat, is not worthy of my business, and I urge you to adopt the same stance.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Who's calling out the Bush Administration?

[Cheney chief of staff] Addington and other top officials treated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act the same way they handled other laws they objected to: “They blew through them in secret based on flimsy legal opinions that they guarded closely so no one could question the legal basis for the operations,” he writes. Goldsmith’s first experienced this extraordinary concealment, or “strict compartmentalization,” in late 2003 when, he recalls, Addington angrily denied a request by the N.S.A.’s inspector general to see a copy of the Office of Legal Counsel’s legal analysis supporting the secret surveillance program. “Before I arrived in O.L.C., not even N.S.A. lawyers were allowed to see the Justice Department’s legal analysis of what N.S.A. was doing,” Goldsmith writes.

This is part of an important article in today's Times Magazine about Jack Goldsmith, an extremely conservative law professor who lasted less than a year in his job as the head of the Office of Legal Counsel. “I’m not a civil libertarian, and what I did wasn’t driven by concerns about civil liberties per se,”

Obviously you would think someone who is not a civil libertarian would feel right at home in the Bush Administration, but you should read the article to see what actually happened to him.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Just say No.

No, just yell it.

What the hell is wrong with the Democratic leadership that they would even consider rolling over for Bush once again?

Here's what I'm talking about: Democratic leaders have signaled they are open to a more bipartisan approach to Iraq that would force the Bush administration to begin publicly planning for troop withdrawals but would stop short of requiring a firm timeline.

"Clearly, we don't have the numbers to override the president's vetoes, as has been clearly demonstrated," said House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), "nor do we expect to for a long time."

Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) has said that he could drop his demand for a firm troop withdrawal next spring to win GOP votes. And Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said this week that she will allow a vote on bipartisan troop legislation that, without requiring a redeployment, would force the administration to begin publicly planning for a withdrawal.

It was big news when the Democrats took over Congress last year. We knew there were a lot of reasons for that, and we knew that the margins were slim in both houses, with some of the new members on the edges being somewhat squishy. Still, it was a change, and we had reason to take heart.

But what the hell good does it do if they're going to vote like Republicans?

This is the time when we all have to stand up, contact our congressional delegations, and make sure they hear us: the way to oppose the war is by opposing the war, not making nice to the people who are making war. If we lose a vote, or ten votes, or a hundred votes, we can still tell voters across the country that we stood up for something, and the only way to get anywhere is to elect more Democrats who will fight for what the people want.

What can we tell the voters if the Democrats we elect won't stand up to the Republicans?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Air Force probes mistaken transport of nuclear warheads

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Six nuclear warheads on air-launched cruise missiles were mistakenly carried on a flight from North Dakota to Louisiana last week, prompting a major investigation, the military officials have confirmed.

A B-52 is seen on the ground at Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, in this file photo.

The plane took the cruise missiles from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base for decommissioning Thursday, the Air Force said.

The warheads should have been removed from the missiles before they were attached to the B-52 bomber, according to military officials.

The crew was unaware that the plane was carrying nuclear weapons, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the extraordinary sensitivity and security surrounding the case.

The mistake was discovered after the plane's six-hour flight to Louisiana.

Did you catch that?

The crew was unaware that the plane was carrying nuclear weapons

Does this seem like smart defense policy to you?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

More documented lies from Bush

During his years as president, Bush has somehow managed to maintain the image of the honest straight-shooter. Disagree with him all you want, the line goes, but at least you know you're getting the unvarnished truth from him. They even use his inarticulate manner as a strong point, suggesting that he can't be delivering a script into a neat package, because you see how awkwardly the words come out: nothing but the truth could be as unstudied as he is.

And people seem to buy it, even when he's obviously caught lying. You may have read about it here last month:
You remember, a few days before the election Bush was asked if Rummy was staying on and Bush replied that he absolutely was, that he was going to be the Secretary of Defense for the forseeable future? And then, the day after the election, Rummy was out all of a sudden. Bush even admitted lying about it, although not in so many words.

Today's Times has another story documenting lies by Bush, again about a pretty significant aspect of his presidency (or should I say, one of his bigger failures?). The press has been full of news about this new book in which Bush is starting to burnish his historical image. Of course, the fact that he thinks he can salvage his place in history is a sign of how little connection to reality he has, but we can take that as a given.

In this book, though, one of the things he tries to do is to duck responsibility for the disastrous decision to disband the Iraqi army. “The policy had been to keep the army intact; didn’t happen,” Mr. Bush told the interviewer. When Mr. Draper asked the president how he had reacted when he learned that the policy was being reversed, Mr. Bush replied, “Yeah, I can’t remember, I’m sure I said, “This is the policy, what happened?’ ”

The problem is, once they're out of the administration they don't have to toe the adminstration line anymore, and nobody likes being made a scapegoat.

Here's what Bremer says:

On Monday, Mr. Bremer made it clear that he was unhappy about being portrayed as a renegade of sorts by a variety of former administration officials.

Mr. Bremer said he sent a draft of the proposed order on May 9, shortly before he departed for his new post in Baghdad, to Mr. Rumsfeld and other top Pentagon officials.

Among others who received the draft order, he said, were Paul D. Wolfowitz, then the deputy secretary of defense; Douglas J. Feith, then under secretary of defense for policy; Lt. Gen. David D. McKiernan, then head of the American-led coalition forces in Iraq; and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Mr. Bremer said that he had briefed Mr. Rumsfeld on the plan “several times,” and that his top security adviser in Baghdad, Walter B. Slocombe, had discussed it in detail with senior Pentagon officials as well as with senior British military officials. He said he received detailed comments back from the joint chiefs, leaving no doubt in his mind that they understood the plan.

Once again, when you hear conservatives complaining about Slick Willy, this is something else to remind them of.