August 1, 2009 archive

Weekend News Digest

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Afghan poll workers ambushed; U.S. soldiers killed

By Hamid Shalizi, Reuters

2 hrs 57 mins ago

KABUL (Reuters) – A convoy of campaign workers for Afghan President Hamid Karzai was ambushed five times on Saturday, officials said, as Taliban insurgents step up efforts to disrupt the presidential election.

The U.S. military also said three U.S. troops were killed in the south, while a French soldier died and two were wounded in fighting in Kapisa province in the east, French officials said.

The Taliban this week vowed to disrupt the Aug 20. presidential election and called on Afghans to boycott it.

Indy Rock Or Strip Club Music?

There are things in this life we have exactly no control over. One of them is whether a radio station we like has the business model which will allow it to sell enough advertising and stay on the air, providing us with free music of a style we like to listen to. All too often you will find some new station that plays a great (to you) mix of music, put it on your presets and listen away happily until that day where you turn on the radio only to find some other station is there, with different music.  

Saturday Speculation….What Will It Be?

“We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there.”

Jerry Reed (giggle)

Much has been made in apocalyptic and mystical spheres of the date 12/31/2012. “Stolen” from the Mayan calendar it is said to be a significant date for mankind and this little planet we call earth. The Mayans basically had a press conference and told all the silly white people who had glommed on to the date as the “end of the world” that…well…they were being silly white people. Again. It is a significant date on that calendar, but not an apocalyptic one. As we think of it at least.

But it does have a resonance and it does correspond with a lot of other prophecies and stuff and from what I can tell it has been adopted as a turning point, or at least maybe, a date to shoot for? In any case it is obvious that the earth IS rapidly changing, and that there is an air of anticipation, and that may be why this date has gained credence as some sort of tipping point. From the political viewpoint, for instance it will be between the election and inauguration of our next president.

From the more pragmatic viewpoint as far as the physical well being of the earth, it will be around the time, perhaps, that the effects of Climaticide will really, really be being felt.

Get Smart!

Virtual education… for free

AFP via Yahoo News

WASHINGTON (AFP) – They don’t offer degrees but then they don’t charge tuition either.

Colleges and universities across the United States are offering free courses online on virtually every subject imaginable, including videotaped lectures by some of their most distinguished professors.

Video-sharing site YouTube recently created a hub called YouTube EDU at for the more than 100 US colleges and universities offering free online learning.

Among the thousands of videos on YouTube EDU are the celebrated classroom theatrics of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) physics professor Walter Lewin, whose clips have been viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

Other leading institutions of higher education posting videos to YouTube include the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Duke, Harvard, Princeton, Stanford and Yale.

Interested in dentistry? Then the YouTube channel of the University of Michigan School of Dentistry may be the place for you, serving up a total of 426 videos.

The courses offered on YouTube EDU are free and not for credit but the number of schools offering online classes which count towards a degree is booming.

According to a November 2008 study done for the Sloan Consortium, more than 3.9 million students in the United States were taking at least one online course in 2007, the latest year for which full statistics were available.

That was a 12 percent increase over the previous year, according to Sloan, a non-profit whose mission is to “integrate online education into the mainstream of higher education.”

Read the whole thing…

Rudy G: $250k+ people are “struggling”, ignores tent cities and class war. I say “Eat the Rich”

Crossposted at Daily Kos

Exemption for Eating the Rich will be allowed for those who earn abovve $250,000k on proof of empathy.

Fact 1 – Rudy 9/11,9/11,9/11 Guiliani says a massive wealth transfer from “rich to poor” is taking place and that people who earn $250,000 + are “really struggling”. He also hopes health care reform fails.

GIULIANI: We already have major distribution of wealth going on in this country. … Redistribution of wealth, from rich to poor. The rich pay – the so-called rich. We’re talking about $250,000 or more in New York City. I know this is hard for people to understand. These people sometimes are two-earner families. They’re really struggling

So, Rudy G declares more class war.

   My suggestion: Eat the rich.

   The fact is, the Wealthy Corporatists hate spending because it leads to taxes, which they can easily afford, but never mind that. I got mine, you can go fuck yourself. That seems to be the GOP plan, and it has been for the last 90 years.

   They don’t want health care reform, or anything at all, since they can afford it, so why can’t you.

   They have NO IDEA what real Struggling is.

   Go cry me a fucking river banker boy. You want to see struggling? It ain’t paying more for first class, it ain’t having your taxes go up 3%, it ain’t having the taxpayers pay for your bailout bonus. It is living in a tent under a bridge.

   Jeeves! Get me my tiny violin!

David Swanson’s Diary About the Coming Vote on Single Payer

NB: I don’t know if this is allowed or not, so if it is not, someone please let me know and I will delete.

David Swanson wrote an excellent diary late last night at dkos.  It disappeared with about seven comments and I think it is well worth reading so am transplanting it over here.  I doubt David will mind.  

I think there is a lot to take away from this, but I’ve highlighted what I see as the key graphs.  What really impresses me is David’s ability to strategize and see the forest through the trees.  Rather than gloom and doom, he sees an upside and possibilities (although he titled his diary “Downside to Weiner’s Deal”).  I think we can moan and groan and say that we are likely to end up with something worse than we already have or we can continue to fight.  I saw some great energy in that press conference and I was moved to tears when I heard them use the language we have been using. I got the sense that the Progressive Caucus gets it – even if they are compromised by dint of the fact they serve in Congress – and I think they get it because we have been shoving it down their throats.  

If you haven’t been calling or writing, please push like hell during August so that we drown out the other side.  I acknowledge that I can be a bit of a Pollyanna, but I think at times it comes from being engaged.  Calling Reps’ offices this week and getting into discussions with press persons made me realize how critical it is that we make the calls and create the message because we sure as hell aren’t going to get MSM coverage to do it for us.  I was happy to see each of the reps I called standing in solidarity at the press conference or at least a signator on the letter.  As David says in so many words below, we are all in this with the same goal and it is and can make a difference.  As buhdy says in so many words and so eloquently, YELL LOUDER!  So now we have to YELL EVEN LOUDER in August.

House To Vote On Single Payer Health Care

Friday evening in in the House Energy and Commerce Committee health care markup session, Anthony Weiner (D-NY) extracted a promise from Nancy Pelosi that the full House will debate and vote on a single payer plan after the summer recess.

The promise was made after Weiner agreed to withdraw a proposed amendment to H.R. 3200, the House Committee on Energy and Commerce’s version of a health care reform bill, which the panel passed by a vote of 31 to 28 late Friday, to create a universal Medicare system for the entire nation.

According to the New York Daily News:

“The Brooklyn-Queens Rep. looked a little surprised when Chairman Henry Waxman said Pelosi would allow that vote, and made Waxman repeat the deal to be sure it was clear and on the record. It’s an especially big deal for advocates of a single health care system – who see it as cheaper and simpler than the complicated measure being drawn up – because they have been complaining that they have not even been able to get an airing of their position.”

Is this our “foot in the door”?

Good Saturday morning, I hope everyone takes the time to go read, if you missed them, several pieces (links below) on the new News of Jawad’s case, “Mohammed Jawad, the Afghan boy seized {2002} for allegedly throwing a grenade at U.S. troops and imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay ever since, may be on his way home to Afghanistan within three weeks.”

A federal judge, ruling for the first time that the U.S. government must release a detainee who once faced terrorism charges, on Thursday told officials to free a young Guantanamo prisoner by Aug. 21 or 22 so that he can return to his home country, Afghanistan.


In a formal order expected to be issued later Thursday (7/30), Judge Huvelle said, the government will be given seven days to prepare a report to Congress that is now required before any Guantanamo detainee is to be freed.  Then, 15 days after that, the government must complete plans for Jawad’s transfer out of Guantanamo, the judge indicated.

By Aug. 24, a written report is due on Jawad’s status, the judge said. “By then, I hope he’s en route to Afghanistan,” she commented.


The blogosphere seems to be a-buzz, I haven’t looked at any MSM just yet.

ALERT: Glenn Greenwald promises a podcast today of an interview with ACLU’s lawyer:

I’m going to have a podcast interview posted here tomorrow {Saturday} morning with Jawad’s lawyer, the ACLU’s Jonathan Hafetz, but for now, I want to emphasize one point.  When Congress passed the Military Commissions Act in 2006, they explicitly denied the right of habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees.  In other words, they tried to bar these detainees from having the very judicial hearings which are resulting in findings that there was no evidence to justify the accusations against them.

I will include more links for you below, but if you do nothing else this weekend, go read this in full (pdf) ((bring Kleenex)):

Closing Argument at Guantanamo: The Torture of Mohammed Jawad, Major David J.R. Frakt.

Dark Soul Chapter Nine

Happy Saturday and welcome to the Dog’s serialization of the novel Dark Soul. Sorry this is so late this week, the network at the Dog House was down. This is a work in progress, so if you have any thoughts or suggestions, don’t be shy about offering them up.

If you have just started reading this, you can find the previous chapters at the following links:

Dark Soul – Chapter One

Dark Soul – Chapter Two

Dark Soul – Chapter Three

Dark Soul – Chapter Four

Dark Soul – Chapter Five

Dark Soul – Chapter Six

Dark Soul Chapter Seven

Dark Soul Chapter Eight

This serialization is only available here at Docudharma!  

Docudharma Times Saturday August 1

Saturday’s Headlines:

Health Bill Clears Hurdle, and Hints at Consensus

Talk Radio Campaign Frightening Seniors

Spanish police hunt six Eta suspects

Mont St Michel’s isle restored

Corazón Aquino

‘The world went silent . . . being blown up was too quick to be frightening’

Ahmadinejad denies rift with Supreme Leader and attacks conservatives

Iran poll protests trial begins

Radical Islamic leader Mohammed Yusuf shot dead by Nigerian security forces

‘Cash for clunkers’ keeps dealers busy

Would-be buyers race in as reports surface that the federal rebate program is running out of money. The Obama administration is keeping it going at least through the weekend.

By Andrea Chang and Tiffany Hsu

August 1, 2009

Anxious buyers were rolling into Southern California car dealerships Friday, eager to snag a cash-for-clunkers deal while they still had the chance.

And some dealers said they were girding for a hellish weekend with a lucrative twist.

At Galpin Ford in North Hills, where huge banners promised “Big ca$h for your clunker,” the showroom was packed with people.

“I’ve never worked so hard,” said Galpin salesman Brian Fraleigh, who said he worked selling cars until 3:30 a.m. Friday and was back at his post before noon.

Car dealers said they have seen a healthy increase in customers all week, but things took off Thursday night when reports surfaced that the program was running out of money.

Losing Afghanistan’s Drug War

The U.N. drug czar says that efforts to eradicate opium have failed.

Christopher Dickey


After spending years and hundreds of millions of dollars trying to eradicate the fields of poppies that produce opium in Afghanistan, the United States suddenly announced in June that, in the words of special Af-Pak envoy Richard Holbrooke, “eradication is a waste of money.” Instead, NATO and Afghan forces are trying to focus on the nexus between the opium trade and Taliban financing. Nobody has watched these developments more closely than Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the Vienna-based U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime. A frequent visitor to Afghanistan himself, he also has a staff of some 360 locals “crisscrossing the country,” tracking the growth and sale of narcotics. In a series of interviews with NEWSWEEK’s Christopher Dickey, Costa talked about the surprising drug story behind the war story in Afghanistan. Excerpts:

Late Night Karaoke

Open Thread

Bill Maher DESTROYS teh Birthers: Sentient being vs the Lizard People

Fucking hysterical. Bill, as only he can, sets the record straight.

   Luaghing it off has also been the reaction from the Democratic leaders, proving that Democrats never learn.


    This birther stuff might be a deluded time wasting right wing obsession, but so was whitewater, and look where that ended up. Liberals said ” oh, what are they gonna do, keep expanding the case until they impeach the Preisdent over a blowjob?”

   Bill Maher rocks. He used the example of the swift boat lies that cost Kerry the election because of how stupid the arguement was, and look what that got him. A war hero losing based on cowardice at war to a numb nuts fake cowboy who never served at all.

   Yes, the birther issue is a waste of time, stupid and embarrassing, but we have to smack it down, over and over, otherwise it will become a bigger waste of time, and any progress you might have hoped to get out of Obama will get sidetracked totally. For all of Obama’s shortcomings, the only thing worse than not enough is nothing at all, and that is what we will get if you don’t knock the shit out of this nonsense right now.

  Some people might say, ” let the GOP run with this, it’s their problem. ”

  I say no. We have to share this fucking country with them, troglodites that they are. Their problem IS our problem, and ignoring it won’t make it go away. You want proof of that? Just look at Dick Cheney.

  More from Bill.

    This birther stuff might be a deluded time wasting right wing obsession, but so was whitewater, and look where that ended up. Liberals said ” oh, what are they gonna do, keep expanding the case until they impeach the Preisdent over a blowjob?”


    Dummies talking to other dummies.


    It is so important that we, the few, the proud, the reality based, attack this stuff before it has a chance to fester and spread. This is not a case of Democrats versus Republicans, it is sentient beings versus the Lizard People. And it is to the Lizard People that I offer this deal, I will show you President Obama’s birth certificate when you show me Sarah Palin’s high school diploma.

   I don’t know which part I appreciated more, the Reality based part, or the part where he calls them Lizard People.

   I can only say this in conclusion. After onloy 6 months out of power, this is where the GOP and Conservatives are. Insane, not to be negotiated with, they are like the meth addict who sees Streisand faced spiiders crfawling on them.

  It is going to be a looooonnngggg 4 years.

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