Saturday, December 31, 2005

Munecas Muertas vs. Neander Dolls

Sin City Rollergirls vs. Duke City Derby

Duke City Derby travels to Las Vegas to take on the Sin City Rollergirls in an inter-league bout next Saturday, January 7th.

Munecas Muertas vs. Neander Dolls

Saturday, January 7, 2006.

Tickets are $10 in advance.

Please visit the Sin City Rollergirls website for more info.

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Bout Time

Bout Time

Bout Time is a film about the Rocky Mountain Rollergirls.

See the trailer here.

(tip of the helmet to Wayne)

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DeLay-Abramoff Money Trail


The U.S. Family Network, a public advocacy group that operated in the 1990s with close ties to Rep. Tom DeLay and claimed to be a nationwide grass-roots organization, was funded almost entirely by corporations linked to embattled lobbyist Jack Abramoff, according to tax records and former associates of the group.

During its five-year existence, the U.S. Family Network raised $2.5 million but kept its donor list secret. The list, obtained by The Washington Post, shows that $1 million of its revenue came in a single 1998 check from a now-defunct London law firm whose former partners would not identify the money's origins.

Two former associates of Edwin A. Buckham, the congressman's former chief of staff and the organizer of the U.S. Family Network, said Buckham told them the funds came from Russian oil and gas executives. Abramoff had been working closely with two such Russian energy executives on their Washington agenda, and the lobbyist and Buckham had helped organize a 1997 Moscow visit by DeLay (R-Tex.).

The former president of the U.S. Family Network said Buckham told him that Russians contributed $1 million to the group in 1998 specifically to influence DeLay's vote on legislation the International Monetary Fund needed to finance a bailout of the collapsing Russian economy.

A spokesman for DeLay, who is fighting in a Texas state court unrelated charges of illegal fundraising, denied that the contributions influenced the former House majority leader's political activities. The Russian energy executives who worked with Abramoff denied yesterday knowing anything about the million-dollar London transaction described in tax documents.

Whatever the real motive for the contribution of $1 million -- a sum not prohibited by law but extraordinary for a small, nonprofit group -- the steady stream of corporate payments detailed on the donor list makes it clear that Abramoff's long-standing alliance with DeLay was sealed by a much more extensive web of financial ties than previously known.

Records and interviews also illuminate the mixture of influence and illusion that surrounded the U.S. Family Network. Despite the group's avowed purpose, records show it did little to promote conservative ideas through grass-roots advocacy. The money it raised came from businesses with no demonstrated interest in the conservative "moral fitness" agenda that was the group's professed aim.

Radio Free Derby Epidode 5

Episode 5 of Radio Free Derby is up.

Featured topics in this episode:
Tucson Dust Devil Tournament Seeding
CSI: New York “Jamalot” Episode
Poetry from Flying Squirrel

Featured interviews:
Betsy Battleaxe of Charm City
Red Jenn of the L.A. Derby Dolls

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2005 Whammy Awards

Fan voting for the Texas Rollergirls 2005 Whammy Awards is now open. Tell them who you feel deserves a little extra recognition for the 2005 season. Click on the golden skate and cast your vote.

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Friday, December 30, 2005

friday random ten

Photo by Ryan McManus

friday random ten: Something For Everyone Edition

"The Black Angel's Death Song" - The Velvet Underground
"Cheese and Onions" - The Rutles
"If It Ain't Ruff" - N.W.A.
"Sous le Ciel d'Afrique" - Josephine Baker
"Assimilate" - Skinny Puppy
"Hey Artemus" - Sincola
"I Remember You" - The Ramones
"1970" - Mission of Burma
"Hang On To Your Ego" - The Beach Boys
"Beykat" - Youssou N'Dour

Thursday, December 29, 2005

UK Torture Memos

The Talent Show

Former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan Craig Murray is defying a gag-order and publishing torture memos on his blog relating to the coordination between the Uzbek, British, and American governments.

Blair Watch has the memos posted here.

From Letter #3:


1. We receive intelligence obtained under torture from the Uzbek intelligence services, via the US. We should stop. It is bad information anyway. Tortured dupes are forced to sign up to confessions showing what the Uzbek government wants the US and UK to believe, that they and we are fighting the same war against terror.

2. I gather a recent London interdepartmental meeting considered the question and decided to continue to receive the material. This is morally, legally and practically wrong. It exposes as hypocritical our post Abu Ghraib pronouncements and fatally undermines our moral standing. It obviates my efforts to get the Uzbek government to stop torture they are fully aware our intelligence community laps up the results.

3. We should cease all co-operation with the Uzbek Security Services they are beyond the pale. We indeed need to establish an SIS presence here, but not as in a friendly state.

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Molly on shrub

Molly Ivins

For those of you who have forgotten just what a stonewall paranoid Nixon was, the poor man used to stalk around the White House demanding that his political enemies be killed. Many still believe there was a certain Richard III grandeur to Nixon's collapse because he was also a man of notable talents. There is neither grandeur nor tragedy in watching this president, the Testy Kid, violate his oath to uphold the laws and Constitution of our country.

SXSW 2006 Sweepskates

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Defense Lawyers to Challenge N.S.A. Wiretaps


Defense lawyers in some of the country's biggest terrorism cases say they plan to bring legal challenges to determine whether the National Security Agency used illegal wiretaps against several dozen Muslim men tied to Al Qaeda.

The lawyers said in interviews that they wanted to learn whether the men were monitored by the agency and, if so, whether the government withheld critical information or misled judges and defense lawyers about how and why the men were singled out.

The expected legal challenges, in cases from Florida, Ohio, Oregon and Virginia, add another dimension to the growing controversy over the agency's domestic surveillance program and could jeopardize some of the Bush administration's most important courtroom victories in terror cases, legal analysts say.

The question of whether the N.S.A. program was used in criminal prosecutions and whether it improperly influenced them raises "fascinating and difficult questions," said Carl W. Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond who has studied terrorism prosecutions.

"It seems to me that it would be relevant to a person's case," Professor Tobias said. "I would expect the government to say that it is highly sensitive material, but we have legal mechanisms to balance the national security needs with the rights of defendants. I think judges are very conscientious about trying to sort out these issues and balance civil liberties and national security."

firedoglake and Booman Tribune break it down.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Juan Cole

Top Ten Myths about Iraq in 2005

This Modern World

The Year In Review (Part I), (Part II)

Monday, December 26, 2005

Action Alert : Guatemala

Help End "Social Cleansing" by Police in Guatemala

Transvestite sex worker Sulma (legal name Kevin Robles) was shot in the head, allegedly by police, on 17 December, and remains in hospital in a serious condition. Another transvestite sex worker was killed in the attack. As Sulma witnessed the killing, the attackers are likely to attempt to silence her, but the authorities have not responded to requests to give her protection.

In the early hours of 17 December Sulma was in Zone One of Guatemala City, at the intersection of Fourth Avenue and 11th Street, with another transvestite sex worker, Paulina (legal name Juan Pablo Méndez Cartagena). Four men on motorbikes, who witnesses say were in police uniform, ordered them to stop, and then shot them. Paulina was hit twice in the head: she died minutes later. Sulma was hit three times but survived, and is in a serious but stable condition in hospital. She can only speak with difficulty, as one of the bullets reportedly smashed all her front teeth.

Several other transvestite sex workers witnessed the shooting, but are reportedly too scared to give testimony, fearing police reprisals. Police have reportedly been patrolling the streets near the shooting, in an apparent effort to intimidate the witnesses.

Since 1999 Sulma has been member of, and worked as a volunteer for, the Guatemala City-based Organización de Apoyo a una Sexualidad Integral frente al SIDA, Integral Sexuality AIDS Support Organisation (OASIS), which works on the prevention of HIV/AIDS and provides support to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) people. Paulina had started paid work at OASIS in 2004 and since then had only occasionally had to make money as a sex worker.

OASIS has requested police protection for Sulma in hospital and the Human Rights Ombudsman’s office has reportedly requested protection from the Interior Ministry. However, to date no protection has been provided.