Friday, September 28, 2007

gone sk8in'

2007 Women's Flat Track Derby Association Championship Tournament

Lead Jammer will be live blogging the tournament and first round bout previews can be found over at the Derby News Network.

friday reads

Naomi Wolf - Blackwater: Are You Scared Yet?

In little noticed news, Blackwater, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, and Arinc were recently awarded a collective $15 billion — yes, billion — from the Pentagon to conduct global counter-narcotics operations. This means that Blackwater can be deployed to engage with citizens on a whole new level of intimacy anywhere around the world — including here at home. What is scarier than scary is that Blackwater’s overall plans are to do more and more of its armed and dangerous ‘security’ operations on U.S. soil.

Glenn Greenwald: The U.S. military's role in preventing the bombing of Iran

Burmese troops today broke up street gatherings, sealed off Buddhist monasteries and shut down internet connections, in an attempt to snuff out the most serious protests against the country's military dictatorship in two decades.

Jena 6 defendant released on bail.

Digby wonders if The Village has run out of smelling salts.

Paul Krugman
Sometimes it seems that the only way to make sense of the Bush administration is to imagine that it’s a vast experiment concocted by mad political scientists who want to see what happens if a nation systematically ignores everything we’ve learned over the past few centuries about how to make a modern government work.

William Rivers Pitt: Dan Rather's Magnum Opus

Thursday, September 27, 2007

thursday reads

Burmese authorities again opened fire on anti-government protesters today after raiding monasteries and rounding up hundreds of monks overnight in an attempt to crush the demonstrations.

Ohio, Florida laws could dampen Democratic voting

Ohio and Florida, which provided the decisive electoral votes for President Bush's two razor-thin national election triumphs, have enacted laws that election experts say will help Republicans impede Democratic-leaning minorities from voting in 2008.

Backers of the new laws say they're aimed at curbing vote fraud. But the statutes also could facilitate a controversial Republican tactic known as ``vote caging,'' which the GOP attempted in Ohio and Florida in 2004 before public disclosures foiled the efforts, said Joseph Rich, a former Justice Department voting rights chief in the Bush administration who's now with the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights.

Caging, used in the past to target poor minorities in heavily Democratic precincts, entails sending mass mailings to certain voters and then using the undelivered letters to compile lists of voters for eligibility challenges

Juan Cole: Transcript Reveals Impeachable Offenses by Bush Re: Iraq War

Iraq War: Love and Personal Loss [Photo Slideshow]

David Swanson: Observing Our Government Through Blackwater

It's no surprise that politicians are rarely conversant with the limits on their legislating found in the U.S. Constitution. But it is worth noting when federal judges have actually read the First Amendment and strike down a law accordingly.

The Chicago Tribune spotlights the Windy City Rollers as they prepare to take on the Texas Rollergirls this weekend at the 2007 Women's Flat Track Derby Association Championship Tournament.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

wednesday reads

State Department vs. the Pentagon

A confrontation between the U.S. military and the State Department is unfolding over the involvement of Blackwater USA in the shooting deaths of Iraqi civilians in a Baghdad square Sept. 16, bringing to the surface long-simmering tensions between the military and private security companies in Iraq, according to U.S. military and government officials.

In high-level meetings over the past several days, U.S. military officials have pressed State Department officials to assert more control over Blackwater, which operates under the department's authority, said a U.S. government official with knowledge of the discussions. "The military is very sensitive to its relationship that they've built with the Iraqis being altered or even severely degraded by actions such as this event," the official said.

"This is a nightmare," said a senior U.S. military official. "We had guys who saw the aftermath, and it was very bad. This is going to hurt us badly. It may be worse than Abu Ghraib, and it comes at a time when we're trying to have an impact for the long term." The official was referring to the prison scandal that emerged in 2004 in which U.S. soldiers tortured and abused Iraqis.

Maude Barlow talks to AlterNet: World's Water Supply at Risk
...Our governments are allowing corporations to pollute our water, and then they are signing contracts with corporations to bring in clean-up technology and make billions of dollars cleaning it up. The very sector of society that is polluting our water is turning around and selling our water back to us. And this is going to be more and more of an issue in the future. We'll be increasingly drinking water that has been polluted by corporations, then cleaned up by corporations, then bottled and sold to us by corporations.

At least one person was killed and five wounded today in Burma's mass protests, as the military junta sent in police to disperse demonstrators, reports said.

Grits for Breakfast: "Clearance rates" for serious crime disturbingly low

McClatchy covers Preznit bu$h's UN speech:
President Bush implored the United Nations on Tuesday to recommit itself to restoring human decency by liberating oppressed people and ending famine and disease.

Speaking before the United Nations General Assembly, the president called for renewed efforts to enforce the U.N.'s Universal Declaration of Human Rights, a striking point of emphasis for a leader who's widely accused of violating human rights in waging war against terrorism.

Bush didn't mention the U.S. prisons in Afghanistan or at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, the U.S. practice of holding detainees for years without legal charges or access to lawyers, or the CIA's "rendition" kidnappings of suspects abroad, all issues of concern to human rights activists around the world.

"At first read, it's little more than an exercise in hypocrisy. His words about human rights ring hollow because his credibility is nonexistent," said Curt Goering, the deputy executive director of Amnesty International USA. "The gap between the rhetoric and the actual record is stunning. I can't help but believe many people in the audience were thinking, 'What was this man thinking?' "

Digby: The Republican racist beast is coming unleashed

Rick Perlstein: Bed-wetter Nation

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

RIP:Gary Primich

Gary Primich

Jazz News

Gary Primich, considered by many to be one of the greatest harmonica players in the world, passed away suddenly on September 23rd. Not only is this the loss of a world-class talent, but also of a true world-class person. Offstage, Gary was a caring and gentle soul -- a real Regular Joe of the best kind. Onstage he played with a ferocity and indescribable sound that was often mind-blowing. He'd say Thank You to his fans then quickly change the subject because he didn't want it to be all about him. He loved animals, he loved people, he loved music and he loved life. Gary's career sent him around the world, traveling thousands and thousands of miles for his love of music, but he'll always be right here, in our hearts.

tuesday reads

Burmese protesters defy junta's threat of crackdown

Tens of thousands of Buddhist monks and their anti-government supporters today defied threats from the Burmese military regime to march through the streets of Rangoon.

Between 25,000 and 50,000 people have taken to the streets of the city, despite the presence of army trucks near the Shwedagon Pagoda - the most overt sign of a possible security crackdown after six days of demonstrations during which the army has remained in barracks.

Vehicles fitted with loudspeakers toured Rangoon, warning people not to join the monks in what has become the greatest challenge to the military dictatorship in almost two decades.

Naomi Klein Debates Alan Greenspan

A special agent for the Department of Commerce is facing up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for using a Department of Homeland Security database to cyber-stalk his former girlfriend.

Marvin Kitman: Olbermann Rules!
What the evening news shows need is less "objectivity" and more analysis. The problem with objective journalism is that it doesn't exist and never did. Molly Ivins disposed of the objectivity question for all time when she observed in 1993, "The fact is that I am a 49-year-old white female, a college-educated Texan. All of that affects the way I see the world. There's no way in hell that I'm going to see anything the same way that a 15-year-old black high school dropout does. We all see the world from where we stand. Anybody who's ever interviewed five eyewitnesses to an automobile accident knows there's no such thing as objectivity."

The General on Priorites.

Monday, September 24, 2007

monday reads

U.S. Aims To Lure Insurgents With 'Bait'

A Pentagon group has encouraged some U.S. military snipers in Iraq to target suspected insurgents by scattering pieces of "bait," such as detonation cords, plastic explosives and ammunition, and then killing Iraqis who pick up the items, according to military court documents.

The classified program was described in investigative documents related to recently filed murder charges against three snipers who are accused of planting evidence on Iraqis they killed.

"Baiting is putting an object out there that we know they will use, with the intention of destroying the enemy," Capt. Matthew P. Didier, the leader of an elite sniper scout platoon attached to the 1st Battalion of the 501st Infantry Regiment, said in a sworn statement. "Basically, we would put an item out there and watch it. If someone found the item, picked it up and attempted to leave with the item, we would engage the individual as I saw this as a sign they would use the item against U.S. Forces."

Graft in U.S. Army Contracts Spread From Kuwait Base
...Less than 24 hours later Major Cockerham was behind bars, accused of orchestrating the largest single bribery scheme against the military since the start of the Iraq war. According to the authorities, the 41-year-old officer, with his wife and a sister, used an elaborate network of offshore bank accounts and safe deposit boxes to hide nearly $10 million in bribes from companies seeking military contracts.

The accusations against Major Cockerham are tied to a crisis of corruption inside the behemoth bureaucracy that sustains America’s troops. Pentagon officials are investigating some $6 billion in military contracts, most covering supplies as varied as bottled water, tents and latrines for troops in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan.

The inquiries have resulted in charges against at least 29 civilians and soldiers, more than 75 other criminal investigations and the suicides of at least two officers...

Closing Guantanamo lockup looks increasingly unlikely
A lightning rod for international criticism, the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, not long ago appeared headed for closure. President Bush and his top advisors said they wanted to shutter the controversial lockup.

But the latest attempt to shut it down is facing collapse: The detention facility has been embraced by many Republicans as a potent political symbol in their quest to seize the terrorism issue ahead of next year's elections.

Tom Engelhardt: Freedom as Theft

Arthur Silber: Let's Make It About You: Can We Stop the Slaughter Now?

Hunter offers Care and Feeding Instructions for your newly purchased Congress.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

sunday reads

Operation Groundhog Day

British forces are spearheading an offensive this weekend aimed at driving the Taliban out of a strategically vital area of southern Afghanistan. The battle could also decide whether other Nato members are willing to continue fighting in the country.

Project Checkmate
THE United States Air Force has set up a highly confidential strategic planning group tasked with “fighting the next war” as tensions rise with Iran.

Anti-government protest in Washington DC Burma
Up to 20,000 people took to the streets on the seventh day of protests calling for an end to the "evil dictatorship".

driftglass: Supah! Hillary! Day!

Diane Feinstein - Symbol of the Worthless Beltway Democrat