December 22, 2008 archive

More Alaskan Political Hijinks, Snowzilla Banned!!!!!!!! {UPDATED}

UPDATE: Just Received

Snowzilla rises from the dead

Snowzilla, the giant snowman city officials tried to prevent from being built this year, appeared suddenly this morning at his usual winter home in East Anchorage.

Someone built Snowzilla overnight despite a grinchy ruling that the 16-foot construction was a public nuisance and could not make its now traditional appearance on Columbine Street in front of the Powers family home.

Check back for more information as it becomes available.

There wasn’t a picture of the rebirth, yet!!

Four at Four

  1. McClatchy Newspapers report War crimes trials are unlikely for Bush officials.

    Emboldened by a Democratic win of the White House, civil libertarians and human rights groups want the incoming Obama administration to investigate whether the Bush administration committed war crimes. They don’t just want low-level CIA interrogators, either. They want President George W. Bush on down.

    In the past eight years, administration critics have demanded that top officials be held accountable for a host of expansive assertions of executive powers from eavesdropping without warrants to detaining suspected enemy combatants indefinitely at the Guantanamo Bay military prison. A recent bipartisan Senate report on how Bush policies led to the abuse of detainees has fueled calls for a criminal investigation.

    But even some who believe top officials broke the law don’t favor criminal prosecutions. The charges would be too difficult legally and politically to succeed.

    Without wider support, the campaign to haul top administration officials before an American court is likely to stall.

    In the end, Bush administration critics might have more success by digging out the truth about what happened and who was responsible, rather than assigning criminal liability, and letting the court of public opinion issue the verdicts, many say.

    Our job is to change that outcome. The court of public opinion is not punishment, it is not getting invited to speaking engagements. By leaving their judgement to public opinion, we do nothing to stop the disease.

Four at Four continues an update on the shoe-thrower, drone attacks in Pakistan, and the EPA breaking the law.

Promoting the Petition ….Digg update

We have built it….will they come?

They will if they know about it! If you want to get involved or stay involved in the Citizens Petition: Special Prosecutor for Bush War Crimes, the work that needs to be done now is getting the petition in front of as many eyes as possible.

Here is a link to a text file of the petition… All you have to do is Copy and Paste it into an e-mail.

Below the fold is the promotional e-mail I have been sending out. You can also e-mail me and I will send you the HTML for either the petition or the promo mail.

First please mail it to your Senators and Representatives. And don’t forget to ask them to sign it!

Next, we can mail it to the media, here is FAIR’s Media Contact List

And then the blogs, here is Technorati’s list of the Top 100 Blogs. But please mail it especially to the blogs that YOU read and like. Most blogs have a Contact Us link somewhere on their site. Don’t worry about repetition, the more mails that blogs get, the more it will become apparent that this is a ‘hot issue’ and will cover it.

Social Networking sites, such as Facebook, My Space….as well as Digg and Reddit etc. I have a big hole in my knowledge about these sites, so any help and suggestions as to using them to get the petition out is very welcome!

Update! Google produces a Digg link….go Digg!

Finally, your personal e-mail contacts…send it to everyone you know!

Thanks for the effort, in just two days the petition is up to 2343 signers! Just about anyone who sees it and has the two minutes to sign it…..probably will! So every mail you send out is important. Thank You all for your efforts towards bring these War Criminals to Justice!

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The Asp In The Rabbit Hole.

On Saturday at 4PM my daughter Josephine started complaining about not feeling well  and an hour later her discomfort blossomed into agony. She’s crying and grasping her head. Ear infection.

Since it was after 5 on a weekend, our pediatricians office was closed, but my wife calls the emergency number and is told the doctor will check in SOON, which is not a time period that works when your 6 year-old is convinced her head is about to fall off.

doctor's symbol Pictures, Images and Photos

When another hour comes and goes, I load Jo into the car and start for the Emergency Room, but halfway there I get a call from Holly (home with our son) informing me that the doctor has gotten back and prescribed pain medication and antibiotics.

So, we U-turn to the pharmacy, where we wait for 20 minutes… my daughter basically speaking in tongues, while I try and distract her with UNO… before we can get the prescription filled at a cost of $30.

40 minutes later, having filled her up with chicken nuggets, the medication takes effect and my daughter returns from the land of “pain you think will never end.”

My initial reaction was, “WHAT A NIGHTMARE!,” but I quickly realized it should be…

Uh-oh. Pakistan seems to expect Indian air strikes soon.

Not really a diary, just a heads-up.

This Al-Jazeera headline story this morning claims that Pakistani forces are on “red alert.”

The text of the article is a little jumbled and diffuse, suggesting that Al-Jazeera’s Pakistani sources are all over the map and are contradicting one another.

The terrorist attack on Mumbai last month may have forced the Indian government’s hand. Parliamentary elections must be held in India by May, 2009. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Congress Party-led government, though it has exercised considerable restraint vis-a-vis Pakistan for years in the face of Pakistani support for the insurgency in Kashmir, the December, 2001 attack on the Indian Parliament (which almost led to war by the spring of 2002), and now the commando-style strike on Mumbai, may now feel compelled to make a military response. The Indians are convinced that these attacks are planned and launched from Pakistan with the assistance of elements of the Interservices Intelligence Directorate of the Pakistani military.

Singh’s government is under enormous pressure to do something besides exhibit restraint and patience. If it does nothing, the right-wing Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will surely beat the jingoist campaign drums and stand a good chance of winning enough seats to lead the next government.

Sheer speculation: Indian Prime Minister Singh and his key advisers may have concluded that a few limited “surgical” air strikes against terrorist training camps in Pakistan may sate the Indian public’s appetite for revenge and provide a boost for the Congress Party in the upcoming elections, which would very likely be called early–within a few weeks of the air strikes in order to ride the resulting patriotic wave.

Unfortunately, wars between India and Pakistan rarely turn out so neatly. And now both nations are nuclear powers. Pakistan may perceive Indian strikes to represent an “existential threat” which would justify an escalation to a nuclear response. Pakistan’s economy is in a state of collapse, and its fragile, weak parliamentary leadership is extraordinarily deferential to General Ashfaq Pervez Kiyani. Several dozens of nuclear weapons are stored in depots on Pakistani territory under control of a military which is infiltrated by sympathizers to the cause of the Taliban in Afghanistan and to the jihadist agenda of Al-Qaeda.

Yes, the economies of the industrial world are disintegrating and require attention. Yes, the U.S. auto industry and entire financial sector require attention and restructuring. But the planet’s single most serious threat at the moment lies in the possibility of a war between India and Pakistan that could lead to a nuclear exchange, the precipitous collapse of Pakistan as a nation state, and Al-Qaeda’s acquisition of loose Pakistani nukes in the ensuing chaos.

If today’s somewhat sensational Al-Jazeera report accurately reflects rapidly escalating tensions along the Indian-Pakistani border, Admiral Mullen, Secretary Gates, and Secretary Rice need to go to New Delhi and Islamabad immediately to try to tamp down tensions. If they decide instead to stay in Washington or ski at Jackson Hole to enjoy a quiet holiday season, the Bush/Cheney Administration once again will be guilty of the kind of indolence and inattention that amounts to criminal negligence–and the consequences may well be dire beyond what any of us can imagine.

Giving the gift of peace

So you say it’s below zero out there, and your garage door’s frozen shut, and you don’t know if your car will start anyway, and even if it does that shopping malls make you so tense and irritable you want to sit down in the aisle and cry, and you don’t even have the slightest idea what to get anybody for a gift anyway, and time is running out?

Is that what’s troubling you, Bunky?

Well, be troubled no more.

If you’re reading this you’re already at your computer, so just relax and take care of your holiday shopping needs in the next few minutes.

Consider giving the gift of peace.    

George and Dick’s Excellent Adventure


Dudes! Where does the time go? After eight short years, two stolen elections and our best job to turn the Constitution from a ‘goddamned piece of paper’ into a stinky, rotten, used piece of one-ply toilet tissue, we still somehow are obliged to leave office in a few weeks. Dude, that totally sucks!

Open Thread


Eric Holder Knows: Bush And Cheney Deserve Fair Trials

Crossposted at Docudharma, OOIBC, Daily Kos, Show Me Progress, and They gave us a republic…

If you wish to repost this essay you can download a .txt file of the html here (right click and save). Permission granted.

Photo: 1931 “The Public Enemy” James Cagney 1931 Warner Bros., Image courtesy of IMDB

Attorney General Michael Mukasey since his appointment by George Bush, as have previous members of the Bush administration such as Alberto Gonzales, and other enablers such as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has waffled, spun, twisted in the wind, squirmed, sweated, excused, equivocated, denied reality and otherwise insulted Americans and the entire world as evidence of torture ordered at the highest levels of the Bush administration has piled ever higher and higher.

No better than the public enemies he is protecting, Mr. Mukasey, like Ms. Pelosi, has become no better than a getaway car driver, no better than a fugitive from justice.

Torture is well defined, immoral, and illegal, in violation of international law, US law, and international treaties. There is no more heinous and downright evil and dehumanizing crime in the history of humanity than torture.

Any person guilty of torture under current US law can be incarcerated for up to 20 years or receive the death penalty if the torture results in the victim’s death.

Mr. Mukasey, while holding office as the highest ranking officer of justice in the United States, is nothing more than an accessory to the crimes that George Bush, Dick Cheney and others have flagrantly engaged in.

Last week outgoing US Vice-President Dick Cheney made a series of remarkable comments in his exclusive interview with ABC attempting to save himself from prison with a blatant plea for pardon from his co-conspirator George Bush.

Michael Ratner, President of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), explains Cheney’s motives in a video interview with Real News CEO Paul Jay…

The Issue is Black & White, and redundant. Separate but Equal = Bigot.

I just surfed past 30 seconds of Morning Joe Scarborough Country and heard Joe Mika and Pat all whine:

as soon as someone who’s against gay marriage is called a bigot, the conversation is over.  Oh the humanity, it’s so awful, if you are a conservative Christian who believes in traditional marriage you’re a bigot, oh my Gosh this is so terrible, to be labeled a bigot!

Nodding heads all around the table.


Docudharma Times Monday December 22

While  Average Wokers

Lose Their Jobs

Wall Street Executives Get Their Bonus’s  

Monday’s Headlines:

Secret Tapes Helped Build Graft Cases In Illinois

Gaza near to collapse as Israel tightens grip, says bank

Comedy heralds return of cinema to Saudi Arabia

Mugabe unleashes wave of terror with mass abductions

With Barack Obama, world has chance to end Robert Mugabe’s grip on Zimbabwe

Moscow riot police flown in to smash protests against car tarrifs in Vladivostok

For Italians, past domestic terror still a taboo topic

Insecurity drives farm purchases abroad

Assaulted Mumbai hotels reopen with ceremony

Brazil citrus industry threatened by disease

More Firms Cut Labor Costs Without Layoffs


Published: December 21, 2008

Even as layoffs are reaching historic levels, some employers have found an alternative to slashing their work force. They’re nipping and tucking it instead.

A growing number of employers, hoping to avoid or limit layoffs, are introducing four-day workweeks, unpaid vacations and voluntary or enforced furloughs, along with wage freezes, pension cuts and flexible work schedules. These employers are still cutting labor costs, but hanging onto the labor.

And in some cases, workers are even buying in. Witness the unusual suggestion made in early December by the chairman of the faculty senate at Brandeis University, who proposed that the school’s 300 professors and instructors give up 1 percent of their pay.

Toyota to make first loss in 67 years

From Times Online

December 22, 2008

Leo Lewis, Asia Business Correspondent

Profits at Toyota Motor, the Japanese motor giant, are set to dive into the red for the first time since 1941 as exports screech to a halt and margins are hammered by the soaring yen.

Toyota’s full year loss – unprecedented since the company stopped making looms and turned its hand to car making – is expected to reverberate throughout Japan.

Toyota’s president, Katsuaki Watanabe, said today: “The change that has hit the world economy is of a critical scale that comes once in a hundred years.”

It is the second time in less than two months that the carmaker has lowered its profit forecast and emerges as Japan’s Ministry of Finance revealed a 26.7 per cent annual fall in exports had contributed to the country’s first November trade deficit in 28 years, totalling Y223 billion.



Senate openings pose quandaries for governors

Blagojevich isn’t the only one charged with filling a spot: In Delaware, New York and Colorado, governors face political pressure and strategic considerations as they choose among would-be senators.

By Robin Abcarian

December 22, 2008

I’m going to keep this Senate option for me a real possibility, you know, and therefore I can drive a hard bargain. And if I don’t get what I want . . . then I’ll just take the Senate seat myself.”

— Illinois Gov. Rod R. Blagojevich, as quoted in his federal corruption complaint.

Rod R. Blagojevich may have gotten carried away by the heady opportunity to appoint a United States senator. But he is not the only chief executive of a state to face that exquisite quandary this season. With the elevation of Illinois’ junior senator (Barack Obama) and Delaware’s senior senator (Joe Biden) to the executive branch, plus the Cabinet appointments of senators from New York (Hillary Rodham Clinton) and Colorado (Ken Salazar), four states will be getting new senators untouched by the grinding process of raising millions of dollars and seeking votes.

A union in name only

Original article, by Barry Grey, via World Socialist Web Site:

Some of the more astute and honest commentators on the “bailout” of the American auto companies announced Friday by President Bush have pointed to a critical aspect of the plan to shut plants, wipe out jobs and bring the wages, benefits and work rules of United Auto Workers members in line with those of workers at nonunion foreign-owned companies in the US.

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