January 2009 archive

Docudharma Times Saturday January 3

GM Loosens Credit Standards

For Car Loans

Just Another Credit Crisis On The Horizon

Saturday’s Headlines:

U.S. Debt Expected To Soar This Year

Rural idyll or terrorist hub? The village that police say is a threat to the state

French film industry racist for barring black actors from dubbing white stars

Minority Arabs seethe as bombing intensifies

Iraq bombing kills 23 at gathering of Sunni, Shiite tribesmen

Fire dies under China’s once booming manufacturing industry

Growing Taliban use of marksmen worries U.S. military

Ghana awaits final poll outcome

For Africa, 2008 a year to forget

In Cuba, Cellphone Calls Go Unanswered

Israel prepares to send in the tanks

By Kim Sengupta in Jerusalem and Anne Penketh

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Israel appears poised to extend its week-long assault on Gaza by launching a ground assault, amid renewed reports last night that troops and armour were preparing to move into the besieged Palestinian territory.

As more than 300 foreign passport holders were allowed to leave Gaza after the border was temporarily opened, Israeli officials warned that a ground offensive was needed to break the military power of Hamas, which has continued to carry out rocket attacks despite pulverising air strikes.

‘What happens in war happens’

In 2004, photographs of abuses at Abu Ghraib shocked the world. Seven people were charged, but the face of the scandal will always be Lynndie England, the 21-year-old private grinning at the camera. Emma Brockes meets her

Emma Brockes

The Guardian, Saturday 3 January 2009

The road to Fort Ashby, West Virginia, runs through Mineral County, an area of freezing grey farmland and barrack-style bungalows, where the sign outside the bar – “Hunters welcome” – has an unnerving effect on the passing non-hunter. In Cindy’s coffee shop, customers speculate on the whereabouts of a lost cow and tell a weird Republican joke about the noise a chicken makes when its head is cut off: “Barack-Obama!, Barack-Obama!” Lynndie England has lived in Fort Ashby since she was two, but when she appears, suddenly, in the car park, her outline is crooked with self-consciousness. She grew her hair for a while, but people recognised her anyway, so she cut it short again.

The last time journalists came to Fort Ashby in any number, they upset residents by portraying it as “a giant trailer park”. There are two bars, two banks, a fire station, a school and a bookshop – the woman who runs the latter says, “I’ve no sympathy for what she did, but people behave differently in war than they do in their chairs at home, watching it on TV.”



Obama’s View on Power Over Detainees Will Be Tested Early


Published: January 2, 2009

WASHINGTON – Just a month after President-elect Barack Obama takes office, he must tell the Supreme Court where he stands on one of the most aggressive legal claims made by the Bush administration – that the president may order the military to seize legal residents of the United States and hold them indefinitely without charging them with a crime. The new administration’s brief, which is due Feb. 20, has the potential to hearten or infuriate Mr. Obama’s supporters, many of whom are looking to him for stark disavowals of the Bush administration’s legal positions on the detention and interrogation of so-called enemy combatants held at Navy facilities on the American mainland or at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Late Night Karaoke

All Languages Welcome

stone temple pilots – interstate love song

Reclaiming the Word Liberal In the Age of Obama


The topic below was originally posted on my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal.

Words matter. Labels matter. Although it has become vogue to say, “Voters are tired of labels” they remain powerful. How we define the meaning of those labels is critical. Those of us who call ourselves “liberal” have learned this the hard way. As a liberal activist who slogged, blogged and endured, I find myself reflecting about the word “liberal” and the abuse it’s absorbed with Obama’s inauguration less then three weeks away.

It seems like only yesterday I volunteered for the Dukakis campaign in college as my candidate defensively denied he was a liberal. At the time voters associated the word “liberal” with convicted rapists. In the last days of the ’88 campaign, Dukakis finally declared himself a liberal and attempted to define it on his own terms. Alas, it was too little too late.

Random Japan

New Year blues in Japan

It will be very interesting to see how busy Japan’s department stores are on January 2, the traditional start of the New Year sales season. In normal years, keen shoppers queue in their hundreds to get first in line to pick up the bargains. But last the 12 months, and the last few weeks in particular, have been anything but normal.

Indeed, while Japan’s problems remain the same-slowing demand and a surging yen-the size of their combined impact is growing remarkably quickly. During the last few weeks, companies, including Toyota, Honda and Panasonic, have all issued profit warnings as the yen surged higher, hurting their profitability, and demand for their products fell faster. Temporary workers are being laid off in their thousands, while the government, whose Prime Minister Taro Aso has an approval rating of just 21%, has been predictably slow to react to the crisis.

Rolando Cruz was railroaded

cross posted at kos

There has been a lot made of whether Roland Burris wanted Rolando Cruz dead rather then alive in 1992.

I do not know whether he did or not.

But I do remember the Jeannine Nicarico case.

Little Jeannine, age 10, stayed home from school one day because she was sick. Someone broke into her home, removing the door from its hinges and robbed it. She hid under a bed but was discovered and taken. Her body was found several days later in a wooded area. Her head smashed in and she had been raped, probably postmortem.

Pony Party: Badges

Badges – Minutemen

Having extra time off today, I’ve been doing a little maintenance on the Docudharma Series page.  

I just added 3 more series – which in some cases should have been done a long time ago.  (Sorry guys!)  I also removed a few series for users who left the site and deleted all their essays.  

Here’s the new badges – they are already appearing in the rotation of the flickr widget.  

Friday Constitutional – by Something The Dog Said

Teaching, Law. The Dog takes us through each Article and Section of the Consititution.  Knowing the relevance and intent of this document is essential for every political blogger and citizen of the United States.  

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Manufacturing Monday – by Johnny Venom

Economy, Business.  Johnny Venom digests the weekly business news, bringing you informative and detailed analysis of industry, labor, economics, world trade and more.

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Late Night Karaoke – by mishima

Music.  mishima cues up the tunes so everyone can sing along.  

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Thanks to The Dog, Johnny Venom, and mishima for all their good work.  

Friday Night at 8: The Courage to Know

I’ve been gratified by the good response in the blogosphere to the Petition for a Special Prosecutor.

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I believe most people, if they take even the smallest bit of time to find out the extent to which human rights abuses and crimes against humanity have occurred via torture, promulgated by this misAdministration and admitted to freely by Dick Cheney, know the right thing to do is to give them a fair trial, which means an investigation and, if proven guilty, conviction and the full penalties of the law for those who were involved,  no matter at how high a level of power.

Even the folks who have made comments saying they are against holding those in power accountable do not deny crimes took place.

Yet there are obstacles, and I’m not speaking of the usual obstacles of the media and those in power.  There are obstacles within the minds of the citizens of the United States of America.

In the interest of stopping terrorism…

Officials ordered nine Muslim passengers off an AirTran flight headed to Orlando from Reagan National Airport yesterday afternoon after two other passengers overheard what they thought was a suspicious remark.

“My brother and his wife were discussing some aspect of airport security,” Irfan said. “The only thing my brother said was, ‘Wow, the jets are right next to my window.'”

AirTran spokesman Tad Hutcheson agreed that the incident amounted to a misunderstanding, and he denied any wrongdoing on the airline’s part.

“At the end of the day, people got on and made comments they shouldn’t have made on the airplane, and other people misconstrued them.”

It just so happened these people were of Muslim faith and appearance.

Friday Philosophy: Mulligan Stew

It seems to happen periodically, but with unfixed period.  Sometimes my thoughts are in too much of a jumble to make much sense out of them.  I took a look through the past year’s columns and discovered at least three occasions in which this happened in 2008.  Each time I still managed to cobble something together anyway:

March 28:  Thought Salad

May 2:  Mixed Veggies

Sep 5:  Stone Soup

Hence, I guess, the name of this edition.  Hopefully there is some of the meat required as part of that hobo dish.

The ingredients:  identity, privilege, memories, creativity, pain.  Not necessarily in that order…and sometimes in combination.

The Invisible Injuries of the Invisible Ranks: A Military Spouse

Earlier today I received an e-mail from an on line friend, she is the wife of a military serviceman now serving in Iraq, she is also very active in support of her fellow spouses and the families as well as returning OIF and OEF military personal seeking needed help but finding the going sometimes extremely troubling, confusing or denied.

Many of us Veterans have found her and she us and have gotten to know her through our own advocacy of our brothers and sisters. Some are working directly with her and she with them.

She has written a very personal letter, the title I used above is the one from her letter to us, of her experiences and feelings, as a military spouse, and while posting it on a few sites it has now found it’s way to a number of other sites.

Four at Four

  1. Nine Muslim passengers were removed from a AirTran jet, including three young children, because two other paranoid passengers thought a remark was “suspicious” reports the Washington Post.

    Members of the party, all but one of them U.S.-born citizens who were headed to a religious retreat in Florida, were subsequently cleared for travel by FBI agents who characterized the incident as a misunderstanding, an airport official said. But the passengers said AirTran refused to rebook them, and they had to pay for seats on another carrier secured with help from the FBI.

    Their ‘crime’? One of the women asked another in their party about airplane safety and airport security.

  2. The Green Zone in Baghdad is now under Iraqi control reports the LA Times. The transfer of control is “a first major step in the American withdrawal from Iraq.”

    2009 also brought other changes to Iraq including: Iraqi control of its airspace, the U.S. is to conduct raids only alongside the Iraqi army, arrest warrants and detention decisions are to be made by Iraqis, 15,000 prisoners to be transfered to Iraqi control, and private security mercenaries no longer have immunity.

  3. According to the NY Times, the Manufacturing reports show depth of global downturn. “In the United States on Friday, a crucial measure of manufacturing activity fell to the lowest level in 28 years in December.” Reports were similar from Australia to Asia to Europe.

  4. Lastly, the Star Tribune reports Minnesota’s NFL team owner pushes for a new football stadium to be built as “economic stimulus”. Zygi Wilf, a wealthy New Jersey businessman, wants the public to pay for two-thirds the cost ($635 million) of a new stadium for his Minnesota Vikings.

Experimental video w/poll

I continue to be intrigued by the possibilities of the video mashup.  I know some people will never like this approach (Cassiodorus?) but I keep thinking there is power in those transparencies and layers.  I’m looking for a dream-like quality, a multi-layered dream blending disparate elements both visual and aural.  The question is can I do it artfully enough to make it interesting to others.  If I’m the only one being amused, I’d rather move on.  So the question to you is…

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