Friday, August 11, 2006

look in the mirror much?

Preznit's Statement on Kleptocracy

For too long, the culture of corruption has undercut development and good governance and bred criminality and mistrust around the world. High-level corruption by senior government officials, or kleptocracy, is a grave and corrosive abuse of power and represents the most invidious type of public corruption. It threatens our national interest and violates our values. It impedes our efforts to promote freedom and democracy, end poverty, and combat international crime and terrorism. Kleptocracy is an obstacle to democratic progress, undermines faith in government institutions, and steals prosperity from the people. Promoting transparent, accountable governance is a critical component of our freedom agenda.


Our objective is to defeat high-level public corruption in all its forms and to deny corrupt officials access to the international financial system as a means of defrauding their people and hiding their ill-gotten gains. Given the nature of our open, accessible international financial system, our success in fighting kleptocracy will depend upon the participation and accountability of our partner nations, the international financial community, and regional and multilateral development institutions. Together, we can confront kleptocracy and help create the conditions necessary for people everywhere to enjoy the full benefits of honest, just, and accountable governance.

Read Rep. Louise Slaughter's take on this statement.

Un-American Assholes

bu$h administration drafts war crimes amendment

The Bush administration has drafted amendments to the War Crimes Act that would retroactively protect policymakers from possible criminal charges for authorizing humiliating and degrading treatment of detainees, according to lawyers who have seen the proposal.

The White House, without elaboration, said in a statement that the bill "will apply to any conduct by any U.S. personnel, whether committed before or after the law is enacted."

bu$h seeks political gains from foiled plot
Snow said Bush first learned in detail about the plot on Friday, and received two detailed briefings on it on Saturday and Sunday, as well as had two conversations about it with British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

But a senior White House official said that the British government had not launched its raid until well after Cheney held a highly unusual conference call with reporters to attack the Democrats as weak against terrorism.

An aide to Lieberman, who would have been one of the first Democrats to hear of the plot because he is the top Democrat on the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said the lawmaker first heard of it late Wednesday.


"Weeks before September 11th, this is going to play big," said another White House official, who also spoke on condition of not being named, adding that some Democratic candidates won't "look as appealing" under the circumstances.

The Stakeholder - Timeline: A Profile in Politicizing Terror

friday random ten

Photo by Ryan McManus

"Jane Jane" - Miki Obata and the Out Casts
"Tropical Ceremonies" - Tangiers
"Dead Pop Stars" - Altered Images
"Credit 'Tard" - Vancougar
"Saint Lonesome" - Big Ditch Road
"La Cage App√Ęt" - Peppertree
"Murder" - The Big Sleep
"You're Having the Time of My Life" - Jets to Brazil
"Killer Inside Me" - MC 900 Ft. Jesus

Video Bonus: Calla - "It Dawned On Me"

Thursday, August 10, 2006

quote of the day

Condoleezza Rice is on top of the Middle East crisis:

“Look, we’ve had this experience, with Katrina, and we thought we were doing it right,” she reportedly said. “But we learned that many people who want to leave can’t leave.”

Scout Prime over at First Draft reveals Condi's Hidden Message


Watch The Daily Show coverage of the Connecticut primary over at Crooks and Liars.

there are motherfucking [blanks] on the motherfucking [blank]

Inspired by Snakes on a Plane the [Blanks] on a[Blank] Filmmaking Challenge is underway. Teams submitted short films based on a random draw of an animal and a form of transportation. Some of the results:

Tarantula on a Hovercraft
Kangaroo on a Jetski
Unicorn on a Stagecoach

Well, you get the idea. Voting for the films ends tonight at midnight (Thursday, August 10th).

Watch the films here.

(via Austinist)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

supporting our troops

USA Today

Congress appears ready to slash funding for the research and treatment of brain injuries caused by bomb blasts, an injury that military scientists describe as a signature wound of the Iraq war.

House and Senate versions of the 2007 Defense appropriation bill contain $7 million for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center — half of what the center received last fiscal year.

Proponents of increased funding say they are shocked to see cuts in the treatment of bomb blast injuries in the midst of a war.


Front page of the Waterbury, CT newspaper  Posted by Picasa

Kos rounds up the winners and losers of the Connecticut primary.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Be an Expert on Anything

Stephen Colbert

PICK A FIELD THAT CAN'T BE VERIFIED. Try something like string theory or God’s will: “I speak to God. I’m sorry that you can’t also.”

BE SURE TO USE LOTS OF ABBREVIATIONS AND ACRONYMS. Someone who says the words operations security may be educated, but the person who uses the military abbreviation Opsec is clearly an expert. If I use the term Gitmo, that means I’ve actually been there. If you say, “We’re going to Defcon 1,” it means you probably have the launch codes. Real experts don’t have time for extra syllables.

DON'T BE AFRAID TO MAKE THINGS UP. Never fear being exposed as a fraud. Experts make things up all the time. They’re qualified to.

CT Primary

"Connecticut's For Fucking" - Jesus H. Christ and the Four Hornsmen of the Apocalypse

Monday, August 07, 2006

poverty 101

THE SHEPHERD PROGRAM for the Interdisciplinary Study of Poverty and Human Capability is that rare kind of thing that can change your life. It is, its founders say, the only program of its kind in any undergraduate institution in the country. Any student in any major can sign up, but to earn the program's certificate, one must do not only the academic work -- reading liberal and conservative thinkers on theories of poverty and attending lectures on what it is to be poor -- but also complete a rigorous eight-week summer internship. Side by side with undergrads from Berea College, a largely low-income school in Kentucky, and from the historic black colleges of Morehouse and Spelman in Atlanta, they work, live with and live like the poorest of the poor, subsisting on $10 or less a day and bunking at institutions like the District's N Street Village women's shelter.

That the program is based at Washington and Lee University, a school for the elite and the privileged since 1749, is somewhat ironic. This is a school that, in some media and college rankings, turns out among the most CEOs, corporate presidents and political leaders per capita of any university in the nation -- about one-third of all graduates in a given year are from its Williams School of Commerce, Economics and Politics. W & L students are overwhelmingly white, largely from families who can easily pay the $27,960 annual tuition. Its reputation is Southern and conservative: It was one of the last all-male schools to admit women, in 1985, and this spring men from one fraternity were proudly sporting T-shirts with lines from a Hank Williams Jr. song: "If the South woulda won, we woulda had it made."


The idea behind the intense study of poverty never was to turn out an army of social workers, and, by and large, it doesn't. "We still want to graduate lawyers, physicians, businesspeople, educators," says Beckley, who developed the program. "The goal is to have students understand how their profession impinges and impacts poverty. And, as a result, they may want to approach things differently."


Beckley began teaching the program's survey course, "Poverty: An Interdisciplinary Introduction," in 1997. The experience of taking it has nudged some conservative students to the left and some liberal students to the right. Others -- Beckley estimates that one-fifth of the 1,700-member undergraduate student body now takes the class -- have been profoundly moved. Ingrid was one of these, and for her the class was a revelation on a couple of levels. Most obviously, it made her rethink her assumptions. "Before the class, I'd always thought of poverty as something in other countries," she says. "We are blessed with such abundance in America. I didn't realize how many people are left out."

In the class, she learned that the United States is among the poorest of developed nations by some measures, including infant mortality. She read conservative thinkers such as Lawrence M. Mead, a politics professor at New York University, who argued that the poor need to stop demanding handouts, and progressives such as Rebecca M. Blank, dean of the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan, who wrote that real inroads in fighting poverty had already been achieved. Beckley challenged the students to confront their own stereotypes. Polls have shown that the prevailing view in America is that people are poor because of some character flaw such as laziness, promiscuity, addiction or moral failing, he taught. Was that true? Or were the flaws in the system: such as prejudice and economic or educational inequality? Could it be both?

Along with Ingrid's new perception of poverty came a desire to act. "I didn't understand that so many people are limited by the opportunities they're given, how we're nowhere near having an even playing field in this society," she says. "I think we are all called to do something about it."

science fair

WalMart needs more workers


A decade after the government set out to transform the nation's welfare system, the limits on college are part of a controversial second phase of welfare reform that is beginning to ripple across the country. The new rules, written by Congress and the Bush administration, require states to focus intensely on making more poor people work, while discouraging other activities that might help untangle their lives.

By Oct. 1, state and local welfare offices must figure out how to steer hundreds of thousands of low-income adults into jobs or longer work hours. They also must adjust to limits on the length of time people on welfare can devote to trying to shed drug addictions, recover from mental illnesses or get an education.

This second generation of change reverses a central idea behind the 1996 law that ended six decades of welfare as an unlimited federal entitlement to cash assistance. The law decentralized welfare, handing states a lump sum of money and the freedom to design their own programs of temporary help for poor families. Ten years later, the government is tightening the federal reins.

Many state officials and advocates are furious. "You had fixed block grants in exchange for state flexibility," said Elaine M. Ryan, deputy executive director of the American Public Human Services Association, which represents welfare directors around the country. "Now you have fixed block grants in exchange for federal micromanagement. . . . That was not the deal."