December 19, 2007 archive

Four at Four

Some news and the afternoon’s open thread.

  1. According to The New York Times, Bush lawyers discussed fate of CIA torture tapes. Four White House lawyers discussed whether to destroy videotape evidence of the CIA’s use of torture. “The involvement of White House officials in the discussions before the destruction of the tapes in November 2005 was more extensive than Bush administration officials have acknowledged.” The lawyers’s involved in the cover-up and evidence destruction included Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, John Bellinger, and Harriet Miers. “There had been ‘vigorous sentiment’ among some top White House officials to destroy the tapes.”

  2. The Washington Post reports Stealth-Republicans now in control of Senate. Last night, the Senate approved a $555 billion in deficit spending bill that included $70 billion in unrestricted funds for George W. Bush’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Democrats had vowed only weeks ago to withhold any Iraq-specific money unless strict timelines for troop withdrawal were established, but they instead chose, on a 70 to 25 vote, to remove what appeared to be the final obstacle to sending the spending bill to the White House, where Bush has indicated he will sign it. Senators then passed the omnibus bill, 76 to 17. The House must still approve the revised spending bill, with the unrestricted war funds, but Democrats there concede the measure is likely to pass behind strong Republican support.” As senators and representatives rush home for the holidays, I hope they remember our soldiers fighting Mr. Bush’s wars cannot do the same.

  3. According to the Denver Post, Denver can shut down DNC protesters. “If they wished, Denver officials could lock up reservations at prime city parks and deny requests from protesters or other groups during the 2008 Democratic National Convention. City permitting-rule changes being considered by the City Council would create a structure that gives governments first dibs. The revamped permitting process is meant to resolve disputes with protest groups and the American Civil Liberties Union.”

  4. The Oregonian reports Buoy blowout blinds coast forecasts. “The loss of two floating weather stations this winter will leave mariners at risk off the Oregon coast… Two of the government’s three close-in weather buoys along the Oregon coast were knocked out by this month’s powerful storm system, so forecasters were relying on incomplete satellite data and a smattering of reports from ships at sea.” Nothing is planned to be done about the missing buoys until after the end of May 2008.

Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire — and burning evidence.

The news of the recent White House fire isn’t the first time an area near and dear to national security went up in flames shortly after a judge ruled against Cheney’s log privilege.

Remember the  NSA building fire at Fort Meade last year? Curiously enough, it too was around the time that a judge ruled Cheney’s logs are not privileged.

Judge Orders Cheney Visitor Logs Opened

“A federal judge has ordered the Bush administration to release information about who visited Vice President

Dick Cheney’s office and personal residence, an order that could spark a late election-season debate over lobbyists’ White House access.

“While researching the access lobbyists and others had on the White House, The Washington Post asked in June for two years of White House visitor logs. The Secret Service refused to process the request, which government attorneys called ‘a fishing expedition into the most sensitive details of the vice presidency.'” (AP)

(via TPM Muckraker)

Also, the Fort Meade complex had an interesting web page that is no longer available.

I’ve scrapbooked it, of course.

From the former site:

    The 902D Military Intelligence Group is the US Army’s largest Counterintelligence Unit, conducting the full range of CI activities, throughout the spectrum of conflict, and at all echelons, from tactical to strategic.

    The 902D Military Intelligence Group conducts counterintelligence with a worldwide focus to serve as a force multiplier for US Army Commanders.

    We serve as the Army’s first line of defense in force protection, technology protection, counterespionage, counterterrorism and Foreign Intelligence Service threat awareness, CI advice and assistance, and operational security support.

Curiouser and curiouser…so, how deep does the rabbit hole go, and how far are we willing to get sucked into it before we start excavating?

Clueless Dems, Wake Up! Appoint A Special Prosecutor NOW!

Chuck Schumer: Senators were too quick to accept the nominees’ word that they would respect legal precedents, and “too easily impressed with the charm of Roberts and the erudition of Alito,” Schumer said.

“There is no doubt that we were hoodwinked,” said Schumer,
who sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee and heads the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Nancy Pelosi:The assumption I made was that the Republicans would soon see the light,” she said.


“That was a revelation to me, because I felt the American peoples’ voices were so strong and still are in this regard that I hoped that with some compromise and reaching out there might be some change in direction,” Pelosi said. “But they are sticking with the president on this.”


Give Hope: Donate to Pretty Bird Woman House

Give Hope –  Pretty Bird Woman House – gear and other ways to help

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Pretty Bird Woman House Video by SisterKris featuring  music by Irina and Todd, “The Heartbeat of My Soul”:

Thank you, SisterKris!

Amnesty International is profoundly concerned about violence against Native women and supports Pretty Bird Woman House. Read their report here:…

Pretty Bird Woman House is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization.

You can donate directly to Pretty Bird Woman House at


Please mail cheques and physical donations (new and gently used goods) to

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Other no-cost ways to help Pretty Bird Woman House:

Sponsor them when you buy through iGive –

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Mr. Olberman, we want to see you wearing a button for Pretty Bird Woman House on your show – soon. Read about that here:…

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Finally, a big Thank You to Robert Covington, who created Compositor for Macintosh – the great graphics program I work with and rely on. Without Compositor, this art would probably not exist.

Robert is an artist and designed Compositor with artists in mind. The program is wonderfully intuitive. If you love “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain”  and want to be able to draw and paint with a computer program, but dread the left-brain interruptions of remembering F1 codes, Compositor is for you. It works well with the big-name products, and often outperforms them, yet costs one-tenth of their fee. And upgrades are free.

Try it free for a month:

And check out his other great Mac offerings – most are free. Snow’d and Slide Freebie I really love.  

in Other news…

Welcome to a (semi)weekly roundup of news related to the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and otherwise “Other” community.

  • The New York Times reports on the worsening situation for queer Iraqis since the American invasion, which has allowed a sharp increase in religious fanaticism:  

    In 2005, Iraq’s most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, issued a fatwa, or religious decree, calling for gay men and lesbians to be killed in the “worst, most severe way.

    He lifted it a year later, but neither that nor the recent ebb in violence has made Mohammed or his friends feel safe.

    The article covers the rollercoaster of social opinions on queer culture from 1990 through now, and is well worth the read.

  • Good luck finding student housing if you’re transgender: Southern Utah University is denying a transgender student housing until he can provide a doctor’s note (literally!) verifying his gender, a requirement not exactly placed on its other housing applicants.  The University’s policy requires proof of full, complete transition; otherwise says the housing director, “Where they’re in the process [of gender transition] I have no place to put them.”  Meanwhile the prohibitive cost of gender reassignment surgery will likely keep the student, Kourt Osbourn, from meeting the University’s requirements.
  • Accused of homosexual acts, Iranian Makwan Moloudzadeh was murdered in prison by guards earlier this month.  I’m not one to flare up in anger, but this is fucking barbaric.  In the meantime, the U.S. is still considering deportation of Iranian gays begging for amnesty… further proof that our own fundamentalists have more in common with Iran than they’d like to admit.

More below the fold…

Making the connections: Homelessness, vets and the Iraq war

This Friday is a day designated to remember the homeless, as well as a day to take some action to stop the war in Iraq.

And, yes, they are related. As the environmentalists remind us, everything is connected.

We are creating future homeless veterans every day in Iraq.

It’s got to stop.  And we’ve got to stop it.

Pony Party, Someday….

I gain comfort by believing in the future that awaits George W.

My opinions here will not propose changes to affect the mess our nation is in today. My views herein will not provide solutions to fix any of the multitude of problems of the world.

My views may possibly bring solace, comfort, relief, gratitude and/or a sense of justice to some, a few or even one will be fine.


Please indulge me for a while. I must explain where I came from to be able to get to the destination I wish to take you. I hope to give you some food for thought, some inspiration and maybe some comfort. Lofty goals. I dobut I can achieve them all.

I am by no measure a religious man. From childhood until the age of thirteen, I attended Catholic mass and Sunday school. In my family, once we received first communion we were allowed to choose to continue to attend or not. For many reasons, I chose not to continue. It is possible that is was my perception and not the actual teachings. What I felt that I was not fond of, was the hell and damnation, the fear to do good, the possiblities of punishment for any one of innumerable acts, the ridgid structure and more.  

From that day to this, I have only entered a “house of worship” for funerals or weddings. I joke that I am a recovering Catholic. If you are of the Catholic faith or any other religion of brick and mortar, I mean no disrespect and I fully support your choice. Any where, by any means that one finds their faith is wonderful.

My views on the Great Spirit, the creator, my higher power or God (you pick your preference, it matters not to me) are very nontraditional. I was agnostic for about a dozen years. At that time, I believed there was some supreme being (s) who made our amazing world and all the wonders of nature. I however did not believe he, she, it, they acted in our lives, but rather created everything and was sitting back and observing as we destroyed ourselves and the planet.

If you are atheist I respect and support your views and choice. I do not believe my opinions here will be in great conflict with yours and I hope this essay is at least interesting to you.

January 1985 with the culmination of many events I was introduced to spirituality and over what is now nearly 23 years it has evolved, changed, expanded and I hope will continue to do so all my life. This was not a cult. There were no leaders. Nobody was in ANY position of authority. Nobody asked me or told me to do anything or not do anything. There were no dues of fees. It was simply a group of people in search of a way to lead a life of spirituality. I am NOT recruiting or promoting anything or attempting to “convert” anyone. I am simply explaining my personal views and experiences.

I do not know, nor do I care, if my great spirit(s) is/are a he, she, it or them. At the very beginning of my journey, I was guided by some wonderful people who gave me a few simple pieces of advice (not rules or demands). This is what was suggested.

— Forget everything you have ever learned of God, wipe the slate clean.

— You are going to build/create “your” own supreme being guided by your conscience, by prayer, by meditation and by an attempt to make a conscious contact with “your” higher power.

— The “God” (for simplicity and lack of a better word) “you” design will be one that has the traits, characteristics and actions that you believe fit those of an all powerful creator of everything that exists in the sky and on earth.

— Each morning get on your knees and try to connect with “your” higher power. To begin this life long journey start by saying ONLY, please each morning. At night do the same but say ONLY thank you.

— You will know when you are ready to move your relationship to a level of increased communication and as you know, do so. It is a relationship as any other in our life and there is communication.

— If you have any questions, fell free to contact us at any time. We will not contact you. We are not a babysitter and we will not chase you. If you are not interested, that is fine. Move on your way and we wish you happiness and a good life. If you are interested, we are here for you, but, we are not here to be your marital, financial, job, social or any other type advisor. All we can do is share our experience with you as it relates to our spiritual journey.

They kept to their word. They never called me. If I called them, they would immediately meet with me to answer questions I had and to share their experience. They were an amazing group of people with no ulterior motives or hidden agendas and I also neither have these.

That’s where I began and today I often pray many times a day. Each morning I give my higher power permission to intercede in “my will” and to help me to do his/her/their will. I fail very, very often in doing his/her/their will. I believe I must do this every morning as the granting of my permission lasts only for that day.

Today, I have 100% proof, for myself, that my God has acted in my life hundreds of times. Sometimes in small ways and sometimes in major ways.

I have little concern for how others live their lives, as long it does not affect me, my family or my country. I support any choices any individual makes (within reason). In general, I believe others actions/behaviors are between them and “their” God as mine are between me and mine.

Yes, I know, you have read a couple pages already to try to get to where I explain my belief that we get solace and comfort in knowing George W, Bush’s future. Now I will begin to get to that. The prior was needed for the remainder.  

The Morning News

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Turkish incursion overshadows Rice visit to Iraq

by Abdel Hamid Zebari, AFP

Tue Dec 18, 3:52 PM ET

ARBIL, Iraq (AFP) – Turkish troops crossed into northern Iraq Tuesday in the first ground incursion against Kurdish rebels, overshadowing a visit to Iraq by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Turkey’s President Abdullah Gul said the army was “doing what is necessary in the fight against terrorism,” while Rice said the United States, Iraq and Turkey shared a “common interest” in stopping rebel activities.

Annoyance over Washington’s perceived approval of the Turkish action created a diplomatic incident, with the president of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region reportedly refusing to meet Rice in Baghdad.

Five Democrats didn’t vote: Iraq War fudning and Feingold/Reid w/poll

Gosh, oh gee.  You would think that Iraq funding would be worth voting on.  You would think that Feingold/Reid would be voting on.  You would think that standing up to Dick and W would be worth voting on.

If you’re a Senator and running for President, you’d think that they would think these issues would be worth voting on.

You’d be wrong!

Muse in the Morning

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Muse in the Morning

The muses are ancient.  The inspirations for our stories were said to be born from them.  Muses of song and dance, or poetry and prose, of comedy and tragedy, of the inward and the outward.  In one version they are Calliope, Euterpe and Terpsichore, Erato and Clio, Thalia and Melpomene, Polyhymnia and Urania.

It has also been traditional to name a tenth muse.  Plato declared Sappho to be the tenth muse, the muse of women poets.  Others have been suggested throughout the centuries.  I don’t have a name for one, but I do think there should be a muse for the graphical arts.  And maybe there should be many more.

Please join us inside to celebrate our various muses…

Sums It Up, Merry? Christmas

As to the present, Remember who had Total Control of Washington and what they were passing and saying in the leadup to the ‘Shock and Awe’, leaving out the Most Important Legislation and Funding!!

Their excuse for Walter Reed, “Oh it’s closing in a couple of years!”, as they were rubber stamping a War of Choice knowing Reed would be where many would pass through, was/is a Total Disgrace, another Deja-Vu Vietnam Era!!

It’s simply, Powerfully, titled “The Disgraceful Treatment of our Veterans”

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