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:: 10.31.2003 ::  

Ah, so I just found the story I was looking for earlier, on SFGate:
The man who launched the gubernatorial recall that led to the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger is taking on a new cause -- congressional redistricting.

Ted Costa announced Thursday his plan for a new ballot initiative that would change the way state and congressional districts are drawn in California.
The initiative would give the job of redistricting to a panel of three retired judges. They would draw lines for state Assembly, Senate, Board of Equalization and congressional seats.
Costa's plan emphasizes compact districts that follow city and county lines. He plans to submit his proposal to the state attorney general's office.

Under the proposal, the California Judicial Council would pick three judges from a list of retired judges submitted by the legislative majority and minority party leaders. The redistricting plan selected by the panel would have to be approved by the Legislature, the governor and voters before it goes into effect.

Proponents need at least 598,105 signatures to get the proposal on the November 2004 ballot.

If voters approve the initiative, districts would be redrawn before the 2006 election, and then again after each decennial U.S. census, Costa said.
This sounds like a mess waiting to happen. The districts would have to be approved by the voters first? You've got to be kidding.

:: Deb 11:21 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Big Surprise
State: Bush ignored fire plea

The U.S. Senate passed controversial legislation Thursday allowing the thinning of forests across the West, and another debate erupted over whether dire warnings about a bark beetle infestation were ignored in Washington. In April, Gov. Gray Davis requested $430 million to remove unhealthy trees on 415, 000 acres of forest, but the request for emergency funds went unanswered until last week -- and then was denied.

"There was a reason the governor requested the declaration,'' said Davis spokesman Steve Maviglio. "And I'm sure there are a lot of families without homes that are disappointed it wasn't approved.''

Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, speaking in the Senate during Thursday's debate on the "Healthy Forests'' bill, complained that President Bush had failed to act on the state's request for help and that now Californians were suffering.

"We named three of the four counties that are up in smoke, and we begged him to declare a disaster, we begged him,'' Boxer said before the bill passed 80-14. "We saw this coming a mile away.'' [emphasis added]

:: Deb 10:49 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Well, this is interesting. I did a Google search the morning for "California signatures redistricting" after hearing part of an NPR report about a guy who's collecting signatures for a voter referendum that would take redistricting powers away from the very people the process tends to benefit - the legislature. Among the sites found was this one, a document put out in 2001 by the California State Assembly Republican Caucus on "redistricting issues."
The Burton example highlights the most important reason to avoid gerrymandering - politicians using the redistricting power to thwart the will of the voters. An unfair gerrymander undermines the electoral system, breeds distrust among the voting public, and poisons relations between the political parties. Over the next few years, California will spend millions of dollars overhauling its election equipment and procedures in the wake of the 2000 presidential election. A gerrymander will render that reform futile. Political outcomes will be assured far ahead of time without any input from the voters at all.

There are also practical reasons to avoid gerrymandering. Dividing cities, counties, and communities of interest breeds confusion among voters and makes it difficult for legislators to effectively represent local interests. Keeping communities of interest united within the same district respects the geographic and political integrity of California. Using common-sense criteria also limits the ability of map drawers to play games with the political process.

Redistricting is the most political act undertaken by the Legislature. It is a highly partisan exercise that requires many months of negotiation between Republicans and Democrats, the Legislature and the Governor. It can advance, or end, political careers. [emphasis added]
The above could as easily have been written by Texas Democrats in the wake of the recent redistricting debacle. The CA Republicans make an interesting suggestion later in the document:
The third option is a lawsuit. Democrats may attempt to split minority communities in order to strengthen their own fortunes. Doing so may be a violation of the Voting Rights Act, which requires the Legislature to respect minority communities of interest. Furthermore, the new plans must respect current majority-minority districts. If minorities lose voting strength due to the new redistricting plans, a situation called "retrogression," a court can overturn the Legislature's plan. Republicans may also have cause to sue if Democrats fail to respect the California Constitution's requirement for districts to respect the "geographical integrity" of cities, counties, and other communities of interest.
Switch "Democrat" and "Republican," and replace "California" with "Texas" and you've got a decent strategy for the Texas Democrats.

I almost laughed aloud when I read this last part:
If the Democrat-dominated legislature conducts redistricting in its traditional way - limiting participation, holding last-minute hearings, striking backroom deals - they will have to deal with the legal and public relations difficulties that would cause. Bringing redistricting out into the open exposes and opens up the proposed maps for comment and criticism. This is a goal the Assembly Republican Caucus should strive for.
Wow, the irony of it all.

:: Deb 10:11 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.30.2003 ::  

We return briefly to the redistricting question:
Grofman, a widely recognized redistricting expert, said there is no question that the Texas Legislature could have enacted its own redistricting plan in place of the court plan before the 2002 elections. But, he added, "Is it legally relevant that the [court] plan has taken effect for a year and therefore is it going to prohibit the state from further action? The case law just isn't clear."

Whatever the answers, Thomas E. Mann, a senior scholar at the Brookings Institution, said that the Texas and Colorado experiments in multiple redistricting could have profound political consequences.

"If this is sustained, what we will have is a form of arms race where there is no restraint on keeping the game going on throughout a decade," Mann said. "You ask, who wins in this process? This is a process designed not for citizens or voters but for politicians. It will lead politicians to say there are no limits. I think it threatens the legitimacy of democracy."
Both recent Colorado and Texas redistricting plans are currently under court challenge.

:: Deb 5:26 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

And if you haven't yet seen the amazing photos and movies that have been taken of the recent aurora borealis, you can find a decent gallery here. I also recommend this site.

:: Deb 4:56 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Just to break it up a bit here, since I posted a lot of stuff today... Here's an older photo I took at the Oakland Orchid Show last year:

:: Deb 4:53 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Fair and Balanced?

From Letters Sent to Romenesko, on PoynterOnline:
But the roots of [Fox News Channel]'s day-to-day on-air bias are actual and direct. They come in the form of an executive memo distributed electronically each morning, addressing what stories will be covered and, often, suggesting how they should be covered. To the newsroom personnel responsible for the channel's daytime programming, The Memo is the bible. If, on any given day, you notice that the Fox anchors seem to be trying to drive a particular point home, you can bet The Memo is behind it.

The Memo was born with the Bush administration, early in 2001, and, intentionally or not, has ensured that the administration's point of view consistently comes across on FNC. This year, of course, the war in Iraq became a constant subject of The Memo. But along with the obvious - information on who is where and what they'll be covering - there have been subtle hints as to the tone of the anchors' copy. For instance, from the March 20th memo: "There is something utterly incomprehensible about Kofi Annan's remarks in which he allows that his thoughts are 'with the Iraqi people.' One could ask where those thoughts were during the 23 years Saddam Hussein was brutalizing those same Iraqis. Food for thought." Can there be any doubt that the memo was offering not only "food for thought," but a direction for the FNC writers and anchors to go? Especially after describing the U.N. Secretary General's remarks as "utterly incomprehensible"?
Thanks to Tom Tomorrow for the link.

:: Deb 4:31 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Halliburton says KBR unit revenue profit, sales soar

The contract to rehabilitate Iraqi oil fields has been revised upward to 948 million dollars, army spokesman Dan Carlson said.

A separate 10-year army field support contract to Halliburton awarded in 2001 has been boosted to one billion dollars, the spokesman added.

Halliburton chief executive David Lesar, meanwhile, is fending off Democratic lawmakers' accusations that the group overcharged the US government for imported gasoline in Iraq.

The US government pays Halliburton between 1.62 and 1.70 dollars for each gallon of gasoline it imports from Kuwait, including a 91- to 99-cent transportation fee, according to Democratic representatives Henry Waxman and John Dingell.

But Waxman and Dingell said they had been assured by industry experts it was possible to bring gasoline from Kuwait into Iraq for between 15 cents and 25 cents a gallon.

:: Deb 1:15 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Lots of stuff today, and I have yet to check out Fark!
Report Links Iraq Deals to Bush Donations.

Companies awarded $8 billion in contracts to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan have been major campaign donors to President Bush, and their executives have had important political and military connections, according to a study released Thursday.

The study of more than 70 U.S. companies and individual contractors turned up more than $500,000 in donations to the president's 2000 campaign, more than they gave collectively to any other politician over the past dozen years.

:: Deb 1:03 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Oh, well.
WASHINGTON -- The Senate rejected a plan Thursday to curb carbon dioxide emissions from industrial smokestacks as a source of global warming. It was the chamber's first vote in more than six years on the controversial issue of climate change.

The 55-43 vote against the measure co-sponsored by Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., capped a two-day debate that the two senators described as the opening shot in what they acknowledged will be a lengthy effort to get Congress to address global warming.
The McCain-Lieberman bill would have imposed a nationwide cap on industrial emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases that many scientists say are causing the Earth to warm up. The bill would let companies trade so-called pollution rights to cover plants that exceed their limits, and would limit global warming pollution by 2010 to the level it was in 2000.
Lieberman said the bill would affect utilities, refineries and commercial transportation, but not auto manufacturers, farms or residences.
From the New York Times.

:: Deb 12:57 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Just caught this on CNN:
HOUSTON, Texas (AP) -- A federal judge threw out the conviction of a former CIA operative who has spent 20 years in prison for selling arms to Libya, saying the government knowingly used false evidence against him.
Days after his conviction, but before his sentencing, the CIA forwarded a memo to the U.S. attorney's office saying at least five projects Wilson had worked on for the CIA after 1971 had surfaced -- including a planned trip to Iran with the CIA's deputy director.

Hughes said officials failed to inform Wilson's attorneys of the memo and that in his appeal, the government failed to acknowledge that the affidavit was false and suppressed other evidence that might have helped him.

:: Deb 12:49 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

I really hope that most of you caught the President's press conference on Tuesday, or that you at least watched clips from it on the Daily Show last night. It was his 10th in 3 years, and it was a doozy.
Q: Mr. President, if I may take you back to May 1st when you stood on the USS Lincoln under a huge banner that said, "Mission Accomplished." At that time you declared major combat operations were over, but since that time there have been over 1,000 wounded, many of them amputees who are recovering at Walter Reed, 217 killed in action since that date. Will you acknowledge now that you were premature in making those remarks?

THE PRESIDENT: Nora, I think you ought to look at my speech. I said, Iraq is a dangerous place and we've still got hard work to do, there's still more to be done. And we had just come off a very successful military operation. I was there to thank the troops.

The "Mission Accomplished" sign, of course, was put up by the members of the USS Abraham Lincoln, saying that their mission was accomplished. I know it was attributed some how to some ingenious advance man from my staff -- they weren't that ingenious, by the way. But my statement was a clear statement, basically recognizing that this phase of the war for Iraq was over and there was a lot of dangerous work.
Text lifted from the press conference transcript.
Here's Howard Dean's response:
Yesterday, the President claimed that the wave of attacks that left dozens dead and scores injured proved that the US was winning the peace in Iraq. At this point, nothing he says really surprises me anymore.

Today, we heard him try to walk away from the USS Abraham 'End of Major Combat Operations' announcement, absurdly claiming that the White House was not responsible for the 'Mission Accomplished' banner that decorated the flight deck.
I would not want Bush's press secretary's job for ANYTHING.
Q: Are you denying now that the President had the distinct intention at the time of that speech that Americans would see that picture and think the mission in Iraq has been accomplished, the overall mission?

MR. McCLELLAN: What I'm saying is that this was about paying tribute to our sailors and aviators and naval officers on board the USS Lincoln. That's what this was about. Let's keep that in context. And the President was pleased to personally go on board the USS Lincoln and thank our men and women in the military for an outstanding job, for accomplishing their mission, and for -- when they were returning to the United States.
Here's a quote from the President's speech from May 1, 2003, aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln:
Major combat operations in Iraq have ended. In the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed. (Applause.) And now our coalition is engaged in securing and reconstructing that country.

In this battle, we have fought for the cause of liberty, and for the peace of the world. Our nation and our coalition are proud of this accomplishment -- yet, it is you, the members of the United States military, who achieved it.
Sounds to me like the reporters raised a good point.

:: Deb 11:50 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day

“We don’t do body counts.”
- General Tommy Franks, US Central Command

On the other hand,
An estimated 13,000 Iraqis, including as many as 4300 non-combatants, were killed during the major combat phase of the war in Iraq, a research group found in a study published yesterday.
The study, authored by Carl Coneta, found that deaths of Iraqi civilians who did not take up arms in the fighting was as high or higher than in the 1991 Gulf War despite advances in precision weaponry.
From yesterday's Herald Sun.

More war stats:
At least 416 Coalition forces have been killed in Operation Iraqi Freedom. 363 from the US and 51 from the UK, 1 from Denmark and 1 from Spain.

238 have died since the war Officially ended May 1. 223 from the US and 13 from the UK, 1 from Denmark and 1 from Spain.
From this site.

The total US wounded in Iraq since March 20th: 2084, or an average of 9 per day.

Well, whoever Gen. Franks was referring to may not keep track of how many people have suffered and died as a result of this war, but there are a lot of us out there who will.

:: Deb 11:35 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.29.2003 ::  

Hello everyone!

Sorry for the hiatus; I went on a roadtrip with my mom from MA to NM, by way of PA, VA, TN, AK, OK, and unfortunately a bit of TX. I highly recommend the route, especially in the fall - beautiful foliage in the eastern part of the trip, and great weather the whole way. Here's a photo from the Ocotillo Nature Trail in Carlsbad:

:: Deb 11:54 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.16.2003 ::  

Hybridization Between GM and Non-GM Plants Inevitable, Study Finds

Confirming the fears of opponents of genetic modification, cross pollination between modified and wild plants cannot be prevented and could lead to the creation of hybrid "superweeds," according to Britain's first national study of how genes pass from crops to weeds. The findings differ from earlier research on gene flow, which found minimal danger of hybridization. By contrast, the current study, which analyzed satellite images of the British countryside and patrolled 180 miles of river banks, found that hybridization is widespread, frequent, and not well contained by physical barriers such as buffer zones. If hybridization involved a genetically modified gene that was advantageous to weeds, the hybrid could quickly spread and pose a major agriculture threat, they found.
Story in the London Independent; "Superweeds are considered to be a threat because, in some cases, they might absorb resistance to weedkillers from GM crops engineered to be herbicide-tolerant." And there goes the argument about GM crops allowing farmers to use less (and less toxic) herbicide.

On the same note,
Crops giant retreats from Europe ahead of GM report
By Steve Connor, Science Editor
16 October 2003

Monsanto, the huge American biotechnology company which has pioneered GM crops, is withdrawing from many of its European operations and laying off up to two thirds of its British workers.

The announcement came on the eve of the publication of the Government's GM crop trials today. They are expected to show that two out of three genetically modified crops in the tests may damage the environment.
Also from the Independent.

:: Deb 9:36 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.15.2003 ::  

Bush Lets Mining Companies Dump on More Public Land

The Bush administration announced yet another environmental rollback on Friday, following a pattern of releasing such news right before a holiday weekend, presumably in hopes that it will slip past the public's notice. This time the beneficiaries are mining companies, which, thanks to a reinterpretation of the 1872 Mining Law, will now be able to use as much public land as they want to develop operations for mining gold, silver, and other minerals. The 131-year-old mining act, long criticized as outdated by the environmental community, already allows mining companies to extract minerals from public lands without paying any royalties to taxpayers. Steve D'Esposito of the Mineral Policy Center, an environmental group, called the Bush decision an "open invitation to dump massive quantities of toxic mining waste on unlimited amounts of our public lands. It puts clean water and community health at increased risk." [emphasis added]
Story in the Seattle Times.

Another Great Idea
The Bush administration wants to radically alter conservation policies to allow hunters, circuses, the pet industry, and leather importers to bring endangered animals into the U.S. from other nations -- dead or alive. Since its adoption in 1973, the Endangered Species Act has been interpreted as effectively prohibiting trade in endangered species between the U.S. and other countries, but the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now argues that other nations should be permitted to sell a limited number of endangered animals to American buyers, so the funds generated can be used to support conservation efforts. Environmentalists aren't buying it. "As soon as you place a financial price on the head of wild animals, the incentive is to kill the animal or capture them," said Adam Roberts of the Animal Welfare Institute. "The minute people find out they can have an easier time killing, shipping, and profiting from wildlife, they will do so."
Story at CNN.

Thanks to the Daily Grist.

:: Deb 6:37 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.14.2003 ::  

I'm not even sure what to think about this:
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld is planning to cut at least 100 of the nation's 425 military bases, more closures than in the four previous rounds of base closures combined, beginning in 2005, Pentagon insiders said Monday.
There goes yet another of Bush's campaign promises:
...if we don’t stop extending our troops all around the world in nation-building missions, then we’re going to have a serious problem coming down the road. And I’m going to prevent that. I’m going to rebuild our military power. It’s one of the major priorities of my administration.

:: Deb 5:55 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Supreme Court Clears Way for Medical Pot
By DAVID KRAVETS, Associated Press Writer

SAN FRANCISCO - The U.S. Supreme Court handed a major victory Tuesday to the nine states that allow the medical use of marijuana, refusing to let the federal government punish doctors for recommending pot to their ill patients.

The justices declined without comment to review a lower-court ruling that said doctors should be able to speak frankly with their patients.
Well, it's a step in the right direction, at least. Here's the full story.

:: Deb 5:47 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day
"I'm mindful of the filter through which news travels. Sometimes you just have to go over the heads of the filter and go directly to the people."
President Bush, in an interview distributed to 24 Hearst-owned stations yesterday. My problem with this: the news organizations filter information for many things, including accuracy. We appear to need that filter more than ever, what with the current administration's obsession with PR.

Identical letters, signed by different soldiers stationed in Kirkuk in Iraq, have been sent to their families and to local newspapers all over the country. Coincidence? Here's more on the story, and here, and here is a story about how it (allegedly) happened. Thanks to FARK, Agnoist and Tom Tomorrow for the links.

:: Deb 5:26 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Arnold Schwarzenegger's Republican handlers tapped a powerful emotional fuel to win the recall, but it wasn't economic hardship. It was white fear.

The mainstream media has done a poor job of documenting the organization of the recall at the grassroots level where AM voices like Roger's, or his counterpart Eric Hogue's in Sacramento, rouse thousands of mini-Terminators. As a result, there has been an overly respectful legitimation of economic populism in the recall dynamic and only a faint registration of the central role of traditional racist demagoguery and the revival of the Brown Peril rhetoric that made Pete Wilson the most hated figure in the state's Latino neighborhoods. To adapt a rap phrase, "It's all about fear of a brown planet."
From Mike Davis's Mother Jones commentary on the California recall, The Day of the Locust. Thanks to Serena for the link.

:: Deb 12:41 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.13.2003 ::  

Here's another image of that lighthouse in Maine:

:: Deb 5:09 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

October 10, 2003 | Daily Mislead Archive

U. S. Comptroller Declares Bush Policies Will Keep Nation Deeply in Debt

U.S. Comptroller General David Walker, the nation's chief fiscal officer, interjected a dose of reality this week into President Bush's rosy claims that his Administration can cut the federal deficit in half within five years without changing policies.1 "The idea that this is manageable or that we are going to grow our way out of the problem is just flat false," Walker said2.

In a speech at the National Press Club, Walker took direct issue with the President's ongoing insistence that his tax-cutting "pro-growth" policies and budget cutbacks are sufficient to "expand the economy and help bring down this deficit."3

To the contrary, Walker said, "We need a wake-up call, "adding that the current huge deficits cannot be reversed without "significant changes in status quo programs, policies, processes and operations."4 He emphasized, "Our nation has a major long-term fiscal challenge that is not going away."

Although Bush pledged Thursday he wouldn't "pass [problems] on to other Presidents and other generations,"5 he refused to change his mind about making his tax cuts permanent. 6 The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the cost to the deficit would be more than $1 trillion over the next ten years.7

1. Presidential Speech and Questions, 8/22/03.
2. "Bush's Economic Growth Forecast Called 'False,'" Los Angeles Times, 10/7/03.
3. Presidential Speech, 1/7/03.
4. "Watchdog Declaring Deficit Crisis," CBSNews.com, 9/17/03.
5. Presidential Speech, 10/9/03.
6. "Bush seeks to make tax cuts permanent," Washington Times, 9/5/03.
7. "GAO grim on deficit outlook," Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 9/18/03, p. 1A.
This is a great site. Keep an eye on it, keep an eye on the Bushes.

:: Deb 5:04 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.09.2003 ::  

And I've just got to include this link to a review that Terri Gross referred to in her interview with Bill O'Reilly. He claimed that it was ok for him to insult the reviewer on his show because the reviewer reviewed HIM and not HIS BOOK. Well, I just read the review and hey, looks like a book review to me. I didn't see any personal attacks in there (though it's obvious the reviewer doesn't like O'Reilly): "To be fair (and balanced), in the middle of Chapter 3, O'Reilly is on the verge of writing some truly journalistic material, then falls into rehashing conservative dogma and right-wing political spin." Sorry, Bill, can't say that I see what you saw here - though I can certainly see why this review would upset you.

:: Deb 4:54 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Here are 3 items about Turkish troop deployment to Iraq:

A rift is growing between Iraq's interim government and the United States-led coalition over the deployment of Turkish troops to Iraq.

Ankara moved on to a collision course with the interim leadership in Baghdad after deciding to send troops to its war-torn neighbour as the turmoil deepens in Iraq

Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Turkey Wednesday to denounce the government's controversial decision to send troops to Iraq, with police detaining some 60 Kurdish activists.

Courtesy of the Information Clearinghouse.

:: Deb 4:33 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Ah, Bill O'Reilly. What an idiot. Here are some things he said on NPR the night before last:

"Why would anyone take anything that he says seriously? He's an activist who propogandizes and demonizes." Um, that sounds more like him, and not Al Franken.

"They take an interview that runs, I don't know, five minutes, and they'll extrapolate 60 seconds out of it to make you look foolish." Actually, he did that with the Terri Gross interview, on his own website. Near the end of it he complains that she spent 50-min keeping him on the defensive, when 12-min of the 40-min interview was them talking about his upbringing, how he became politically active, his spiritual beliefs etc. She did read a bunch of reviews and quotes to him and ask him to respond, but really, that seems pretty reasonable to me.

"We very rarely tell anybody to shut up, I think it's been done 5 times in seven years, and the other times that we do it, it's like "Oh, shut up!" It's a joke, y'know, that kind of thing." Ok, THIS is a blatant lie. He did it twice just in that interview with Jeremy Glick. Here's an excerpt from that transcript:
O'REILLY: All right. You didn't support the action against Afghanistan to remove the Taliban. You were against it, OK.

GLICK: Why would I want to brutalize and further punish the people in Afghanistan...

O'REILLY: Who killed your father!

GLICK: The people in Afghanistan...

O'REILLY: Who killed your father.

GLICK: ... didn't kill my father.

O'REILLY: Sure they did. The al Qaeda people were trained there.

GLICK: The al Qaeda people? What about the Afghan people?

O'REILLY: See, I'm more angry about it than you are!

O'REILLY: What about George Bush? He had nothing to do with it.

GLICK: The director -- senior as director of the CIA.

O'REILLY: He had nothing to do with it.

GLICK: So the people that trained a hundred thousand Mujahadeen who were...

O'REILLY: Man, I hope your mom isn't watching this.

GLICK: Well, I hope she is.

O'REILLY: I hope your mother is not watching this because you -- that's it. I'm not going to say anymore.


O'REILLY: In respect for your father...

GLICK: On September 14, do you want to know what I'm doing?

O'REILLY: Shut up. Shut up.

GLICK: Oh, please don't tell me to shut up.

O'REILLY: As respect -- as respect -- in respect for your father, who was a Port Authority worker, a fine American, who got killed unnecessarily by barbarians...

GLICK: By radical extremists who were trained by this government...

O'REILLY: Out of respect for him...

GLICK: ... not the people of America.

O'REILLY: ... I'm not going to...

GLICK: ... The people of the ruling class, the small minority.

O'REILLY: Cut his mic. I'm not going to dress you down anymore, out of respect for your father. We will be back in a moment with more of THE FACTOR.
Someone please answer this question for me - how exactly is Bill O'Reilly acting in a fair and balanced manner in this interview?

Another example of his bullying:
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette columnist Michael McGough heard it from O'Reilly in November 2002, when he went on O'Reilly's nationally syndicated radio show to debate his paper's editorial in favor of allowing prisoners to form musical groups and be filmed for a documentary. The writer ended up having to defend himself from a crime victim the show brought out, whom O'Reilly worked up to the point of tears. Afterward, when McGough told O'Reilly that the show exploited the woman, O'Reilly responded with, "Mike, shut up. I resent the fact that you said that we exploited this woman. We gave this woman a voice. That's something that you and your stupid newspaper would never do, you pinhead."
Again, he refuses to address the guy's argument and calls him names instead.

Finally, a quote from O'Reilly's Feb 26th show of this year: "Once the war against Saddam Hussein begins, we expect every American to support our military, and if you can't do that, just shut up." Yeah, he's not conservative. Nope, uh-uh.

:: Deb 11:23 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.08.2003 ::  

Why does the blue-collar white male still support Bush?
"They felt that everyone else -- women, kids, minorities -- were all moving up, and they felt like they were moving down. Even the spotted owl seemed like it was on its way up, while he and his job, were on the way down. And he's angry."
-- quote from a lumber-mill worker in Maine, referring to his blue-collar Republican co-workers
From Mother Jones; thanks to Serena (and her friend Brian) for the link. This is an interesting look into the motivations behind the somewhat mystifying support of so-called "Nascar dads" for Bush's policies, in spite of their recognition that these policies hold little or no benefit for them and their families.

:: Deb 5:12 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Quote of the Day:
How proud the Republicans must be that the main staple - indeed, the highest tier - of preferred candidate for them is the mindless idiot.
Found here, while I was researching the Hatch amendment.

:: Deb 12:55 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Ah yes, anyone remember hearing about this? Me neither. Thanks to Bahati for being on top of it.
SALT LAKE CITY, July 15 (UPI) -- Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah is pushing a constitutional amendment that would allow his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger to run for the White House.
Anyone else think this looks like a Republican power grab? Why yes, actually.
Now the jump from movies to Capital Hill that Reagan enjoyed is becoming clearer to the Ah'nold, all thanks to his buddy Orrin. To me, this amendment seems no more than a personal political agenda on the part of Hatch to hurl himself into the upper echelon of the political world. The Utah senator has got to be keeping his fingers crossed that his amendment gets passed, so he can ride on the strong, broad shoulders of Schwarzenegger straight to the White House.
Personally, I have no problem with the amendment. I think if you've been a citizen of this country for a significant chunk of your lifetime, you should not be shut out of any public office. How great would it be to have President Madeline Albright?

It is interesting, however, that Hatch wants the requirement to be 20 years, rather than the original 35-year limitation proposed by Rep. Barney Frank. Why is it interesting? Because Arnold recently celebrated his 20th year of citizenship. If he had to wait the additional 15 years, he'd be 70 by the time he could run for President of the US. Coincidence? You decide.

:: Deb 12:31 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

I have one thing to say: BLEH.

Actually, I have two. The other thing I want to say is that I was heartened by the high voter turnout and low incidence of voting problems yesterday. I had to wait on line to vote, which was a first for me! So despite the less-than-desirable outcome of this ridiculous special election, I am happy that Californians are, at least for now, interested in politics again.

:: Deb 10:07 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.07.2003 ::  

Oh, goody. Here's the Quote of the Day
"Many items needed to establish a laboratory for making biological warfare agents were being sold on the Internet to the public from DoD's excess property inventory for pennies on the dollar, making them both easy and economical to obtain."
From a draft report by the General Accounting Office. And yes, DoD stands for Department of Defense. As in the Pentagon.

:: Deb 5:58 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

More on the unprovoked Israeli strike within the borders of the sovreign nation known as Syria:
In Washington, President Bush again defended Sharon's move.

"I have constantly said Israel should defend herself," Bush said. "We would be doing the same thing. This country will defend our people."

Bush's own stated doctrine is to reserve the right to strike potential terrorists or threats pre-emptively, and he has done so twice: once in Afghanistan following the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, and earlier this year, toppling Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, whom he said possessed weapons of mass destruction.

"We are also mindful when we make decisions, as the prime minister should be, that he fully understand the consequences of any decision," Bush said. He also said Sharon should be careful not to act in a way "that would cause the violence to escalate."

The statements follow violence at a disputed border area in southern Lebanon, near Syria and Israel.
Well then Mr. Bush, I guess Mr. Sharon wasn't careful enough, eh? And uh, how's it going in Afghanistan and Iraq lately, anyway?

:: Deb 5:54 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

The following quote is from a NASA report that's almost a year old:
A NASA study finds that perennial sea ice in the Arctic is melting faster than previously thought—at a rate of 9 percent per decade. If these melting rates continue for a few more decades, the perennial sea ice will likely disappear entirely within this century, due to rising temperatures and interactions between ice, ocean and the atmosphere that accelerate the melting process.
Thanks to FARK for the link.

:: Deb 11:45 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::


:: Deb 11:08 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.06.2003 ::  

So here's this week's image:

I took this of a lighthouse in Maine last summer.

:: Deb 5:10 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Saw this on FARK this morning:
MAJDAL SHAMS, Golan Heights — Israeli warplanes bombed an alleged Islamic Jihad training base in Syria Sunday, attacking deep inside the neighboring country for the first time in three decades and widening its pursuit of Palestinian militants.
Now, further down in this article is the following statement:
The raid was a dramatic new tactic for Israel in its attempts to stop Palestinian militants. Closures, assassinations and military strikes into Palestinian areas have failed to stop homicide attacks, and Washington strongly opposes expelling Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat as Israel has threatened. [emphasis added]
Now, I remember reading very recently about Bush wanting Arafat out of office, so I'm not sure what Fox is talking about... but Israel's actions yesterday are no surprise to some.

:: Deb 11:14 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.03.2003 ::  

Study: Wrong impressions helped support Iraq war
Knight Ridder Newspapers

WASHINGTON - A majority of Americans have held at least one of three mistaken impressions about the U.S.-led war in Iraq, according to a new study released Thursday, and those misperceptions contributed to much of the popular support for the war.

The three common mistaken impressions are that:
- U.S. forces found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
- There's clear evidence that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein worked closely with the Sept. 11 terrorists.
- People in foreign countries generally either backed the U.S.-led war or were evenly split between supporting and opposing it.

Overall, 60 percent of Americans held at least one of those views in polls reported between January and September by the Program on International Policy Attitudes, based at the University of Maryland in College Park, and the polling firm, Knowledge Networks based in Menlo Park, Calif.


The analysis released Thursday also correlated the misperceptions with the primary news source of the mistaken respondents. For example, 80 percent of those who said they relied on Fox News and 71 percent of those who said they relied on CBS believed at least one of the three misperceptions.
Link forwarded to me by Serena.

:: Deb 5:24 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

Ahhhh Fark. What a great resource. I realized yesterday that I hadn't checked it in weeks! Here are a few gems lifted from today's list:
Visit from Bush? Send the bill to the GOP

By John Cheves

Starved for cash and faced with political fund-raising visits by President Bush -- with the usual demands for security, crowd control and street closings -- a few cities are starting to tally up their expenses and send a bill to Republican organizers.

Will Lexington follow suit?

Bush is scheduled to visit downtown Lexington at rush hour Thursday to raise money for the Kentucky Republican Party and its nominee for governor, Ernie Fletcher.

The event should be lucrative for Republicans -- who suggest donations of $500 to $10,000 on invitations -- but not for Lexington taxpayers. They will supply extra police protection at Blue Grass Airport and the Lexington Center, and a rolling traffic block along Versailles Road for the presidential motorcade.

These costs add up: Having played host to Bush twice and to Vice President Dick Cheney once, for fund-raisers, the city of Portland, Ore., wants $145,000 in reimbursement, mostly for police overtime.

Senate aide fired for offensive Web site
Bond spokesman ran site named after Carnahan crash

Friday, October 3, 2003 Posted: 12:40 PM EDT (1640 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Missouri Republican Sen. Kit Bond on Thursday fired his communications director for running a political Web site named for the tail number of a plane that crashed in 2000, killing the state's Democratic governor.

"The actions of a member of my staff in using official computers to make hurtful personal attacks on public servants were totally unacceptable and will not be tolerated," Bond said in a statement issued Thursday.

A Daytime Fireball Over South Wales
Credit & Copyright: Jon Burnett

Jon Burnett, a teenager from South Wales, UK, was photographing some friends skateboarding last week when the sky did something very strange. High in the distance, a sofa-sized rock came hurtling into the nearby atmosphere of planet Earth and disintegrated. By diverting his camera, he was able to document this rare sky event and capture one of the more spectacular meteor images yet recorded. Roughly one minute later, he took another picture of the dispersing meteor trial. Bright fireballs occur over someplace on Earth nearly every day. A separate bolide, likely even more dramatic, struck India only a few days ago.

:: Deb 11:22 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

A New York Times/CBS News Poll has found that "the public's confidence in President Bush's ability to deal wisely with an international crisis has slid sharply over the past five months", and "a clear majority are also uneasy about his ability to make the right decisions on the nation's economy."
Over all, 51 percent of the respondents approved of Mr. Bush's performance. That is down from the high 80's after the Sept. 11 attacks, and from the high 60's at the beginning of the Iraq war. Just over 4 in 10 voters now have a favorable opinion of the president, compared with more than 6 in 10 in mid-2002, and just over 3 in 10 now have an unfavorable opinion compared with 2 in 10 in July 2002.
Here's the story.

:: Deb 10:29 AM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

:: 10.02.2003 ::  

This is pretty cool:
"This means that creative individuals remain in contact with the extra information constantly streaming in from the environment," says co-author and U of T psychology professor Jordan Peterson. "The normal person classifies an object, and then forgets about it, even though that object is much more complex and interesting than he or she thinks. The creative person, by contrast, is always open to new possibilities."
From an article titled Biological Basis For Creativity Linked To Mental Illness, about a Univeristy of Toronto study on the subject.

:: Deb 12:09 PM :: permalink :: [0] comments :: links to this post ::

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