August 2, 2008 archive

Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Mine hits bus with Afghan wedding party; 10 die

By NOOR KHAN, Associated Press Writer

10 minutes ago

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – A road mine blasted a bus carrying a wedding party in southern Afghanistan on Saturday, killing 10 civilians, a police official said.

Provincial police chief Matiullah Khan blamed Taliban militants for planting the explosive in Spin Boldak district of the southern Kandahar province.

Khan said the bride and groom were among the dead, but an AP Television News cameraman later interviewed the relatives of a wounded, unconscious man who was said to be the groom. It was not immediately possible to reconcile the accounts late Saturday.

MassHealth,the nightmare continues…

(crossposted from t3h GOS)  

When my family moved to Fall River Massachusetts in October we thought we were really into something. The health care laws requiring everyone to have coverage seemed like a dream come true. Our son would have his ADHD medications,I would have the medications necessary to maintain my medical conditions…hell we would be all set. Ha! Boy were we wrong. More below the fold…

All They’ve Got is Black


The (legitimate) knock on Obama throughout the primaries, and to a lesser extent now, is some variation on the theme that he is ‘vague.’ Bland. That there is no there there. That he tries to be all things to all people……

And now we can see why.

What policies and positions can the newest iteration of the most vicious political attack machine in modern political history attack Obama on? Especially now that Maliki has endorsed his Iraq position, stealing the only real issue McCain had?

For ANY candidate to go up against the smears, swiftboating and dog-whistles of the Republicans dirty, dirty politics of personal attack would have been tough. Whoever ran was either going to have to attack (like Edwards tried to do) or ‘go bland,’ as Obama has done, and try to neutralize the Republican slime machine by not giving it anything solid to swing at.

Obama’s strategy of aggressive blandness, while still being able to outline (instead of explicitly delineating) his barely left of center policies leaves them with virtually nothing meaningful to attack him on.

Rape in the Military:

No commentary need be added, the below speaks for itself, and more can be found if interested.

Congress Charges Cover-Up

God’s Mosquito

Ponder God’s Mosquito

Teaching Moment

Sucks blood for a living

But why leave an itch

Leading to its condemnation and

Ultimate Demise?

Honky Tonk Blogging

Nothing special to say this morning. so maybe a little Honky Tonk fun for breakfast might be a good idea?

Here’s couple of old Jerry Jeff specials to prime the pump with.

Why don’t the rest of you add your favorites to liven’ up the place? 😉

Honky Tonk Music

Supporting occupation – Gordon Brown in Israel

Whoever scheduled Gordon Brown’s recent visit to Israel is surely out of a job. Brown’s dreary, etiolated performance – appropriate for a political corpse – was rendered even flatter by its proximity to Barack Obama’s headline-hogging whirlwind tour of Europe and the Middle East. Despite the differences in style, however, both politicians took to the podium in Israel with a similar message: one of support for the latter’s rejectionist expansionism.

Afghanistan – A Different Type of Surge

The NGO network in Afghanistan (Agency Coordinating Body for Afghan Relief – ACBAR) reports that the number of civilian casualties caused by all sides has “surged” and that insecurity has spread to previously stable areas.

The number of insurgent attacks for each of the months of May (463), June (569) and July is greater than the number of such attacks in any other months since the end of major hostilities following the international intervention in 2001…

July was reportedly the worst month for Afghan civilians in the past six years, with 260 civilian casualties recorded…

Now, due primarily to a stepped up air operations, Afghanistan, “the good war” is turning bad.

Docudharma Times Saturday August 2

Look At How

Well The Economy

Is Doing.

So Well That

51,000 Jobs Disappeared

Saturday’s Headlines:

Barack Obama courts white strongholds in his own backyard

Despite Flaws, Rights in China Have Expanded

Pakistan to ‘weed out’ Taliban sympathisers

As Tensions Rise for Egypt’s Christians, Officials Call Clashes Secular  

Kuwait ramps up deportation of Asian workers

No chance of a fair trial, Karadzic says in first statement

Italians go to war against The Times  

Obsolete coins cause chaos at Zimbabwe tills  

In Peru, women welders forge ahead

FARC Dissidents Assist Colombia

Anthrax Suspect’s Death Is Dark End for a Family Man


Published: August 2, 2008

FREDERICK, Md. – Bruce E. Ivins arrived last month for a group counseling session at a psychiatric center here in his hometown with a startling announcement: Facing the prospect of murder charges, he had bought a bulletproof vest and a gun as he contemplated killing his co-workers at the nearby Army research laboratory.

“He was going to go out in a blaze of glory, that he was going to take everybody out with him,” said a social worker in a transcript of a hearing at which she sought a restraining order against Dr. Ivins after his threats.

The ranting represented the final stages of psychological decline by Dr. Ivins that ended when he took his life this week, as it became clear that he was a suspect in the 2001 anthrax attacks.

IOC meets amid Beijing concerns

Olympic organisers are meeting in China six days before the Beijing Games, amid ongoing concerns about air pollution, internet restrictions and doping.


International Olympic Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge arrived in Beijing amid a row over internet access for foreign journalists.

Lingering concerns about air quality are also hampering final preparations.

The IOC has also stripped the US 4x400m men’s relay team of gold at the Sydney Games in 2000 after a doping admission.

Sprinter Antonio Pettigrew admitted in June that he used banned substances between 1997 and 2003.


Mounting job losses point to more economic troubles

By Kevin G. Hall | McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON – Employers shed jobs in July for the seventh consecutive month and the national unemployment rate rose to 5.7 percent, the Labor Department reported Friday. The losses weren’t of the size that signals recession, but analysts think that continued sluggish economic growth lies ahead.

The nation’s employers trimmed 51,000 jobs from nonfarm payrolls during the month of July and more than 463,000 jobs cumulatively this year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The jobless rate bumped up two-tenths of a percentage point during the month, from 5.5 percent, leaving more Americans without jobs.

Random Japan


Three more academics from Yokohama City University’s medical school, including a professor in charge of postgraduate degree screenings, admitted receiving cash gifts from students for granting them doctorates. In May, the committee announced that 16 professors and associate professors admitted receiving nearly ¥6 million from postgraduate students.

Motoharu Seiki, who heads the University of Tokyo’s Institute of Medical Science, apologized “from the bottom of our hearts for having brought about trouble and anxiety,” after it was revealed that researchers lied about getting approval of an ethics review board and conducted studies without donors’ consent.

A document released by Japan’s education ministry says students should be taught that there are differing opinions with South Korea over the uninhabited Sea of Japan islets called Takeshima-or “Dokdo” by the South Koreans-but that they are, indeed, part of Japan’s territory.

A primary school teacher was arrested for repeatedly peeping up a high school girl’s skirt at a train station in Oita Prefecture. Local police received a report that a man was coming to the station in the mornings to look up the 15-year-old’s skirt on her way to school.


The Hato Bus Co. will mark the 60th anniversary of its guided excursions by offering a half-day tour of Tokyo in March 2009 for just ¥250-the same price the company charged when it started the service back in March 1949.

Malaysia-based discount airline AirAsia Berhad plans to fly to Japan from as early as March 2009, with fares costing half as much as major carriers.

A Chuo-ku-based real estate broker announced in its most recent report that vacancies in Tokyo’s five central wards-Chiyoda, Chuo, Minato, Shinjuku, Shibuya-have increased for five consecutive months.

Eleven rare photographs taken in the center of Hiroshima within weeks of the US atomic bombing on August 6, 1945, were put on display at the city’s peace park. The photos were found in the home of Yoshihiro Nakamae, whose father took the images in September or October 1945.

The iconic mechanical clown Cui-daore Taro was put to rest on the final day of operation of Cui-daore, the Osaka restaurant that had used the drumming doll as its emblem since 1950.

Friday Night at 8: To Receive

You can’t pour anything into a vessel that’s already full, so there’s all sorts of fancy words to talk about emptying it first and cleaning it out, purification, purging, catharsis, all that.  Psychological terms, spiritual terms.

I remember once hearing about a spiritual practice that purified a person, emptied them of all the negative feelings and thoughts and attachments, and I remarked “but then there would be nothing left!”  Yeah, scary thought.  Nothing.

New moon tonight, and emptiness is on my mind.  Empty of thoughts and decisions and opinions.  Empty of expectations and desires and demands.  The moon waxes and the moon wanes, eternal cycles of emptiness and fullness.

Fear can fill the human spirit during times of great change and makes action into panic stricken yelling and dashing about, “save me!”  “Save me!”  “Somebody DO something!”

Elton John – “Grey Seal,” 1974 (courtesy of Regdwight23 from YouTube)

Childhood’s End Someday?

Alone among the developed nations of the West, the US still glorifies war and the “warrior.” This serves as an object lesson to the rest of the world about what happens when a nation obtains the means to wage war at will anywhere around the globe without also maturing into the wisdom to abhor the idea of war. I have come to believe that the love and glorification of war is something that a nation outgrows, and the US has a very long way to go before it is mature enough to turn its back on war. Indeed, I doubt that there can ever again be conditions dire enough to pull the US kicking and screaming out of its warlike childhood.

Join me below the fold, won’t you?

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