July 13, 2009 archive

Paleontologists Dismayed by Creation Museum

Creationism has seen big gains in the State of Texas school cirriculum in recent months aided by the help of a widespread radical Christian Fundamentalist mind-set.

“Paleontologists took a trip to Answers in Genesis’s Creation “Museum” – and were dismayed, unsurprisingly, by what they saw. The Ninth North American Paleontological Convention was held June 21-26, 2009, at the University of Cincinnati, attracting several hundred paleontologists from around the world to present their latest research, as well as to attend a plenary session on evolution and society featuring NCSE’s executive director Eugenie C. Scott. The organizers of the convention also offered a side trip to the nearby Creation “Museum, explaining that “it is essential for professional paleontologists to become better aware of how their work and their roles in society are portrayed by creationists, themes that are conveyed vividly at the museum.”

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Go vote for cia torture special prosecutor.

The DOJ site has a poll widget to vote on the appointment of a special prosecutor to investigate CIA torture. The link http://www.ticklethewire.com/

Candles in the Rain

Forty years ago, during the darkest days of the Vietnam War, seekers of peace and love gathered at Woodstock. They came because they shared a common belief in the power of love, a common hope that music could heal America’s wounds and show it the way.

woodstock 001 Pictures, Images and PhotosI came upon a child of God,

He was walking along the road,

I asked him, where are you going,

And this he told me.

I’m going on down to Yasgur’s farm,

I’m going to join in a rock and roll band,

I’m going to camp out on the land,

And get my soul free.

Then can I walk beside you,

I have come here to lose the smog,

And I feel like a cog in something turning.

Well maybe it’s just the time of year,

Or maybe it’s the time of man,

I don’t know who l am,

But life is for learning.

By the time they got to Woodstock,

They were half a million strong.

And everywhere there was song and celebration,

And they dreamed they saw the bombers,

Riding shotgun in the sky,

Turning into butterflies,

Above our nation.

The dream of Woodstock didn’t come true.  40 years later, NSA surveillance satellites are riding shotgun in the sky, song and celebration are hard to find, the specter of war crimes and corruption and economic disintegration hangs above our nation.  America cynically rejected everything the Woodstock generation believed in.  Joni Mitchell’s song of peace and love could have been the anthem of a nation seeking redemption, but it survives only as a nostalgic reminder of what might have been.  

Four at Four

  1. Former VP Dick Cheney is linked to the secrecy of a mysterious CIA program, reports the LA Times on a story broken over the weekend by the NY Times. “The CIA kept a highly classified counter-terrorism program secret from Congress for eight years at the direction of then-Vice President Dick Cheney”. After years of being kept in the darkness, CIA Director Leon Panetta told the House and Senate about the program last month after he, himself, learned about it.

    A senior congressional aide said the magnitude of the program and the decision to keep it secret should not be downplayed. “Panetta found out about this for the first time, and within 24 hours was in the office telling us,” the aide said. “If this wasn’t a big deal, why would the director of the CIA come sprinting up to the Hill like that?”

    The CS Monitor adds As Congress fumes over CIA secrets, whither Cheney? Cheney has slunk back to his undisclosed secret lair once again and has been keeping silent since the bombshell disclosure. How does a member of the executive branch with no authority order the CIA to break the law? Sen. Dick Durban “flat-out stated that such a failure to inform Congress is illegal.”

    The National Security Act of 1947 does require Congress to be briefed about CIA operations. Section 501 states unequivocally that “the President shall ensure that the congressional intelligence committees are kept fully and currently informed of the intelligence activities of the United States, including any significant anticipated intelligence activity….”

    The Monitor notes, however, “may be a little wiggle room” and, if past behavior is any guide, Congress will let Cheney wiggle away on this crime too.

Four at Four continues with an update from Afghanistan, Goldman Sachs to post enormous profits, and Pakistani refugees begin to trickle home.

The Economic Crisis is Killing People, Obama: Fund the need for Employment

A new study has been released by Lancet, The public health effect of economic crises and alternative policy responses in Europe: an empirical analysis, written by Dr. David Stuckler PhD et. al., which contends that the current economic crisis is having an adverse effect on public health. The findings from their research show that increased unemployment rates correlate to “significant short term increases in premature deaths from intentional violence.” The study also shows that labor market protection through government programs can reverse this terrible trend.

This scope of this study was the European Union nations. A brief google search didn’t reveal any similar recent studies conducted in the US, though there was an informal study conducted by a Doctor from Johns Hopkins, who reported his findings at a “After Peak Oil” Conference in the spring of this year.

More detail below  

July 14, 1958 in Iraq-CIA-U.S.

Just something to think of as to tomorrow, and our history.

A group of Iraqi army officers staged a coup in Iraq and overthrew the monarchy of King Faisal II (who had ascended to the throne at age four). The new government, led by Abdul Karim el Qasim, was ousted in 1963 by a coup helped by the CIA and led by the Arab Socialist Ba’ath Party-later dominated by Saddam Hussein.

Sanitizing The Web : Update

I’ve read a couple of places now about the Israel paid blogging thing (see Inky’s diary here on this) , but this is not just relating to Israel,  but to all sorts of paid bloggers, consumer issues,  and much more — it’s related to money and it’s influence on what we read.   Various industry groups, and corporations have been caught out paying bloggers or web site to shill for them, but many more have not been caught.

A few years ago, my car rolled and fell off a cliff-my family and I were all very lucky to survive, it rolled again on the way down.

Later,  I found a web site where a few other owners complained because their cars had also rolled. Then the posts disappeared.  Then the website itself went away.

Here’s another example of how money influences what we read on the web: after a Winter Rabbit diary here I checked the history of the Dismal Swamp Canal, as it was tangentially related, and I wanted to through up a quick history. Turned out, I could find one– on web site after web site (most sponsored by VA and NC tourist interests, but including  wikipedia) , the canal is described as a fairly wonderful place that slaves used to escape through.

A fairly typical web site (Camden County, NC which Google ranks #2 on a web search) :

Most of the labor was done by slaves hired from nearby land owners. It took approximately 12 years of back-breaking construction under highly unfavorable conditions to complete the 22-mile long waterway. By 1805 flat-bottomed vessels could be admitted into the canal, where tolls were charged to allay the continual expense of improvements and maintenance.

In fact, it was a wee bit worse than “back breaking” — the canal (which was partly owned by George Washington) was built mostly by slave labor, under horrific inhuman conditions, and untold numbers of them died during it’s construction–which took 40 years.  

So, paid bloggers, that claim to be real people? Check. Web sites that whitewash history? Check. Disinformation on Wiki? Check.  Web sites that delete posts that a major automaker objects to? Can’t prove it, but I’m sure that’s what happened.  Web sited that are disappeared? Yep.

Update: A company pleads guilty to placing false reviews on the web:


Weekly Torture Action Letter 17 – AG Holder, Do The Right Thing!

Happy Monday and welcome to the Dog’s ongoing letter writing campaign for torture accountability. For those who have not been following this series how it works is as follows: every Monday the Dog writes a letter to decision makers urging accountability for the Bush Administrations State Sponsored Torture program. The Dog also provides the links to contact the decision makers. Your job, should you choose to accept it, is to either use the letter as a jumping off point or to cut and paste it (adding your name) and send it off. The whole point of this campaign is to keep the issue of accountability for torture alive until we get the action the Rule of Law requires.

Originally posted at Squarestate.net

For Buhdy, Monday

As per Diane W’s great suggestion yesterday …

Monday.  Moonday. Luneday.

The Moon’s own day is appropriate to any work involving imagination, dreams, or psychic knowledge.

It’s also well attuned to issues of emotional health and healing.

Take a load off, Buhdy.


A growing number of American children are living in poverty and with unemployed parents, and are facing the threat of hunger, according to a federal report released yesterday.

According to the report, “America’s Children: Key National Indicators of Well-Being,” 18 percent of all children 17 and younger were living in poverty in 2007, up from 17 percent in 2006. The percentage of children with at least one parent working full time was 77 percent in 2007, down from 78 percent in 2006. Those living in households where parents described children as being hungry, having skipped a meal or having gone without eating for an entire day increased from 0.6 percent in 2006 to 0.9percent in 2007, the report said.

Federal officials said the statistics predate the current economic downturn, and forecast harder times for some of the country’s 74 million children 17 and younger.

“It foreshadows greater changes we’ll see when we look at these figures next year,” said Duane Alexander, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Heath, one of the government agencies that participated in the study.

FBI agent says Guantanamo was like ‘animal house,’ says photos show drunken carousing ‘day and night’

The first full-time female FBI agent stationed at the US prison in Guantanamo, Bay, Cuba says she witnessed a drunken “spring break” atmosphere during her tenure – and has photographs to prove it.

In a little noticed complaint Friday, the 43-year-old agent, Theresa Foley, alleges that she experienced a “generally sexist, discriminatory and ‘boys club’ atmosphere” during her time at Camp Delta in Cuba and that she contracted a permanent debilitating disease as a result of being forced to sleep in rat-infested quarters. Foley is suing the Justice Department over her illness and purported sexual harassment.

Her illness has led to a hysterectomy and spinal collapse.

Other FBI agents, she says, ostracized her because she refused to participate in the alleged carousing. She claims to have attended parties with other FBI agents in which they wore a “mocking imitation of Arab or Afghan attire” and has pictures of “personnel at Guantanamo engaged in drunken carousing in a sexually charged atmosphere, day and night,” including shots of “female employees in bathing suits or revealing attire sitting on the laps of male employees, and female employees being hugged, kissed and likely groped by male employees.”

I’ve Seen 1,200 Torture Photos, By David Swanson

This moment, in which the Attorney General of the United States claims to be considering the possibility of allowing our laws against torture to be enforced seems a good one in which to reveal that I have seen over 1,200 torture photos and a dozen videos that are in the possession of the United States military.  These are photographs depicting torture, the victims of torture, and other inhuman and degrading treatment.  Several videos show a prisoner intentionally slamming his head face-first very hard into a metal door.  Guards filmed this from several angles rather than stopping it.

Liz Cheney: Investigating My Dad Would Prove Americans ‘Can’t Trust’ Democrats With National Security

On Saturday, the New York Times reported that former Vice President Dick Cheney gave “direct orders” to the CIA, compelling the agency to withhold “information about a secret counterterrorism program from Congress for eight years.” Despite new organizations’ efforts to contact him, Cheney has yet to comment on the revelation.

(Liz) CHENEY: There’s this big piece in the Wall Street Journal this morning that says that it was a number of different concepts for ways that we could capture or kill al Qaeda leaders in the days after 9/11. I am really surprised that the Democrats decide that that’s what they want to fight over. I mean, if they want to go to the American people and say that they disagree with the notion that we ought to be capturing and killing al Qaeda leaders, I think it’s just going to prove to the American people one more time why they can’t trust the Democrats with our national security.

You know, he is very angry, as you’ve heard him say publicly. You know the notion that this administration is going to come into office and they’re going to prosecute the brave men and women who carried out this program that kept America safe. It is, it is un-American.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – A one-time aide to former Vice President Dick Cheney suggested Sunday that recent reports about Cheney and the CIA are a distraction designed to avert attention away from the policy struggles of the Obama administration.

“This is very suspect timing,” Republican strategist and former Cheney adviser Mary Matalin said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union. “The president’s agenda is almost in shambles. His [poll] numbers are dropping. Isn’t it coincidental; they gin up a Cheney story.”

US State Department is concerned about Iranian textbooks

In February 2008, former US Ambassador to Lebanon Jeffrey Feltman gave testimony before a panel of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom which was examining human rights and religious freedom in Iran.

Waddya know … some people saw the meltdown coming. UPDATED

(h/t ChrisCook)

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