Saturday, September 24, 2005
Christian School Expels Girl for Having Gay Parents
ONTARIO, Calif. - A 14-year-old student was expelled from a Christian school because her parents are lesbians, the school's superintendent said in a letter.
Shay Clark was expelled from Ontario Christian School on Thursday.
"Your family does not meet the policies of admission," Superintendent Leonard Stob wrote to Tina Clark, the girl's biological mother.Click here to read entire article.Terry's Remarks: I'm going to quote Mark 10:13 and 10:14 out of the King James version:
10:13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and [his] disciples rebuked those that brought [them].
10:14 But when Jesus saw [it], he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
I see nothing in the words above, neither query nor qualifiers, pertaining to the marital preferences of the children's parents in the words said by Jesus. However, there was a rebuke of the parents for bringing the children to Him, by the disciples, and Jesus "was much displeased."
Terry D. Barhorst Sr., Austin, Tx
Latest post to DemLog.
Slate-Papers: Hurricane sequel - Sept. 24
By Telis Demos - Posted Saturday, at 4:53 AM CT
Hurricane Rita is making landfall near Beaumont, and winds are wreaking havoc all along the Texas coast. The New York Times and Washington Post also front the surges that have breached the New Orleans levees, flooding the impoverished Ninth Ward once again. As the storm creeps toward land, it's caused fires in Galveston and knocked out the power in coastal Jefferson County. In a banner-headline story, the Los Angeles Times reports that 17-foot waves are forcing coastal residents along the Texas-Louisiana border stuck in traffic jams to flee on foot.
As with Katrina, the elderly have been hit hard. A bus carrying nursing-home patients, left, burst into flames outside Dallas, killing at least 24. Police then moved the bus, with bodies still inside, away from the highway to clear up a 200-mile traffic jam. [DemLog blogged this story yesterday morning.] Lessons have been learned, though, as the LAT reports that military cargo planes have busily airlifting the infirm out of hospitals and nursing homes. But some Katrina lessons aren't helping. An excellent below-the-fold NYT story says Texas officials admit they asked too many people to evacuate.
Inside the papers, it's hurricane politics. The NYT snarkily reports that Bush, right, with his FEMA director, won't be in Texas as the storm strikes; the rescue team he planned to meet in San Antonio will be deployed to the coast. Bush will head to Colorado Springs, home of the disaster-response command center. [DemLog blogged this story yesterday afternoon.] The LAT gives the administration more credit, detailing cabinet-level disaster prep. But whatever happens with Rita, there's still behind-the-scenes talk of wholesale changes in Bush's agenda post-Katrina. The WP fronts a good analysis, although it does bury the most interesting revelation: Bush may scrap Social Security and tax reform, stop talking about Iraq, and focus on poverty and disaster preparation.
Off-lead in the NYT, there's a new report of prisoner abuse in Iraq. This time it's a confession by three former soldiers in the legendary 82nd Airborne to Human Rights Watch that detainees were routinely beaten in 2003 and 2004. [DemLog blogged this story at 4:15 this morning.] According to the LAT, one sergeant says the troops were acting on orders form military intelligence. He decided to come forward after he heard Donald Rumsfeld say the military had changed its procedures after Abu Ghraib.
Below the fold, the NYT reports that Sen. Bill Frist, left, now has problems of his own. The SEC is investigating a sale of his stock in his family's hospital chain a month before the price dropped on news of weak earnings. Frist says the stock was held in a blind trust so he didn't know about any sales, although the AP has documents that suggest he was told about other stock transactions.
FDA chief Lester Crawford suddenly resigned. The NYT front-pager reports that nobody is sorry to see him go, as he's blamed for politicizing FDA decisions and cozying up to big pharma.
Gaza violence gets a reefer in the NYT. The WP story inside starts with rocket strikes from Gaza into southern Israel and a reprisal by Israeli helicopters against a weapons factory. The NYT story starts with what's believed to be an accidental rocket-loaded-truck explosion at a Hamas rally, leaving 15 dead. The new Palestinian government in Gaza opened its first border with Egypt, although only temporarily to allow injured and some students to leave.
Class Act. Lawyers at American University in Washington are arguing about the definition of "first class." American's president signed a contract in 1997 that allowed him to travel "first class." To the university trustees, that meant flying at the front of the plane. To president Ben Ladner and his wife, it meant European chefs and fancy parties. Extravagant trips on someone else's dime? Looks like studying in Washington means you really do learn a lot about how government works.
Telis Demos is a writer in New York. Source: Slate Magazine.
AP: Law change spurs bankruptcy filings
By DAVE CARPENTER, AP Business Writer
CHICAGO - File bankruptcy now before the law changes! That's the message -- or exhortation -- that attorneys are making across the country, in TV commercials, print ads and mailings, urging Americans to seek bankruptcy court protection before a new law makes it harder for them to walk away from their debts.
Attorney Melvin James Kaplan, right, who runs a consumer bankruptcy practice, holds some of the credit cards clients seeking bankruptcy help have left with him at his office Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2005, in Chicago. The biggest change in a generation for U.S. bankruptcy law, that becomes effective Oct. 17, will make it harder for Americans to walk away from their debts. Kaplan, who hasn't seen a rush this big in his 48 years in the business, says the volume of calls to his office has been increasing all month and tripled in the past week. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Debtors are responding. Counting down toward the Oct. 17 effective date for the biggest reform in U.S. bankruptcy law in a generation, personal bankruptcy filings have jumped this month to the highest on record. Filings averaged more than 9,000 per day, up roughly 50 percent from last year's average daily volume, during the first two weeks of September.
Full AP-Yahoo News story. D.H.: I'm a lone voice saying the law is not going to make that much difference, because informal practice by the U.S. Trustees prevented Chapter 7 liquidation filings by people with around $200 per month or more of disposable income, and forced such filers into a Chapter 13 payout. The new law makes $166 the maximum amount of disposable income for a Chapter 7 liquidation filing, a $34 difference -- big deal! See my bankruptcy-law webpage. But this new law was a massive sellout by Congress to the credit-card companies.
Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
Published at http://demlog.blogspot.com
MMfA: Limbaugh says protest un-American
Sept. 24 - On the September 22 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Rush Limbaugh, below left, touted an article from the right-wing news website NewsMax.com that contained a reference to "anti-American war protester Cindy Sheehan." Sheehan, whose son Casey was killed in the Iraq war, has participated in several anti-war events around the country. Referring to NewsMax's September 22 description of Sheehan, Limbaugh agreed that "they've written this correctly." He added, "She's not 'anti-war,' she's 'anti-American war protestor Cindy Sheehan.' "
Full Media Matters for America story.
NYT: 82d Airborne abused iraqi prisoners
WASHINGTON - Three former members of the Army's 82nd Airborne Division say soldiers in their battalion in Iraq routinely beat and abused prisoners in 2003 and 2004 to help gather intelligence on the insurgency and to amuse themselves.
The new allegations, the first involving members of the elite 82nd Airborne, are contained in a report by Human Rights Watch. The 30-page report does not identify the troops, but one is Capt. Ian Fishback, a 2001 West Point graduate, who has presented some of his allegations in letters this month to top aides of two senior Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee, John W. Warner of Virginia, right, the chairman, and John McCain of Arizona. Captain Fishback approached the Senators' offices only after he tried to report the allegations to his superiors for 17 months, the aides said. The aides also said they found the captain's accusations credible enough to warrant investigation.
Full NY Times story.
Friday, September 23, 2005
AFP: Bush cancels Rita photo-op to release rescuers for real work
SAN ANTONIO, United States (AFP) - US President George W. Bush (below left) decided at the last minute to cancel a visit here to avoid getting "in the way" of emergency workers planning to spring into action after Hurricane Rita strikes.
Minutes before his scheduled depature from the White House, his spokesman announced that Bush would fly directly to his second planned stop in Colorado in order to avoid getting in the way of disaster preparations.
Spokesman Scott McClellan said the search and rescue teams with whom Bush had been set to meet in San Antonio were redeploying to an area closer to where Rita was set to make landfall along the Texas-Lousiana coast.
"We didn't want to slow that down," said McClellan, who had insisted for days that the president's travels to storm-ravaged areas have virtually no impact on efforts to respond to the powerful storms.
Full AFP Story.
AFP: Perry activates 3,300 troops
Austin, Sept. 23 (AFP) Some
3,300 members of the Texas
National Guard have been
activated by Governor Rick
Perry, seen here in a file photo.
The Pentagon rebuffed requests
for up to 40,000 extra troops for
storm duty in Louisiana and
Texas, but promised to help
meet the states' needs for fuel
and other assistance in the
face of Hurricane Rita.
In prosecution of theory as a scientific tool. (satire)
In prosecution of theory as a scientific tool. Theory is useless. If you can’t touch it or read about it in a holy book, it doesn’t exist. Herman makes everything up as He goes along.
The Sun is not what teachers teach in those dumb sectarian schools. That’s all only theory—they’re guessing—nobody has ever touched the Sun or been there. The Sun is Herman’s smile and the fact that teachers use a theory to teach their drivel proves its Herman’s smile. It’s up there and you can see it, can’t you!
Herman created man one day when he got lonely for a beer buddy. He was very intelligent so he made women to mess around with. Now, everybody knows that beer buddies like to mess around with women. Never-the-less, those left wing communist loving, gay and lesbian teachers want to teach your kids a theory of evolution.
That’s just plan dumb. Everybody knows beer buddies and women don’t evolve. It ain’t no theory that they do a lot of other things, but they don’t evolve. They don’t even mess around with blacks….that’s all theory that that kinda thing is okay. Herman never said outright that that’s okay, but it’s just another dumb social theory.
We gotta go to court and wipe the teaching and using of the word theory out of the Human language. We don’t care what the monkeys do with it—they ain’t no relatives anyway.
Then we can get back to serious beer drinkin’ and worshipping Herman.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Latest post to DemLog.
CNN: Elderly evacuees' oxygen cans cause bus explosion
Ennis, Tx (CNN) A bus carrying as many as 45 elderly Hurricane Rita evacuees from Houston exploded south of Dallas this morning, killing over 20 people, according to Dallas County Sheriff's Sgt. Don Peritz.
The bus burst into flames on Interstate 45 south of Dallas. It pulled over and people were getting off when a series of explosions ripped through the bus.
Dallas County Sheriff's Sgt. Don Peritz said 14 or 15 people got off the bus before the explosions.
Peritz said the fire was believed to have started in the bus's brake system and may have caused oxygen canisters on the bus to explode. Authorities blocked all lanes of the interstate, complicating the already grueling exodus from the Texas coast.
Authorities said traffic would be diverted off Interstate 45 south of the accident scene. (Full CNN story)
Abilene, Sept. 23 - The main event of Democratic candidate for Governor Chris Bell's visit to Abilene yesterday was the Democratic Club meeting at the T&P Visitor Center at 1101 N. 1st Street in Abilene, where Chris Bell was the lead speaker and about 50 Democrats, left, attended.
Roger Spier, club president, below right
, chaired the meeting. Roger reported a successful county fair booth by the Democrats, and thanked Allen Glenn for recruiting the
volunteers to work the booth. Roger gave a financial report from Anna Vedro, treasurer. Roger reported on the search for a congressional candidate and on the book club, which meets next Tuesday and every third Tuesday, this time at the Center for Contemporary Arts in the 200 block of Cypress Street. Roger said the next "adopt a highway" workday will be Oct. 1, and the Christmas party will be Dec. 12 with Speaker Pete Laney of the Texas Legislature as our lead speaker.
County Chair Dave Haigler introduced Chris Bell as a leader in government reform and ethics, from his days on the Houston City Council and in the U.S. Congress. Chris Bell led the charges against Tom DeLay over illegal fundraising involved in the mid-decade Texas redistricting scandal.
Chris Bell spoke eloquently of the need to restore Texas to its former glory as a leader among the states, instead of being thankful for Mississippi for being in last place and Texas being next to last in so many areas, such as education and health care.
Chris Bell is an Abilene native, but moved away with his family when he was only two years old. Dave Haigler thanked Bell, left,
for coming, presenting him with momentoes of his Abilene visit -- an Abilene hat and an Abilene coffee mug.
Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Tx
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Why Not Amtrak?
I know there is track and passenger trains between Houston and Galveston, because we’ve ridden the trains on it. There is track between Houston and San Antonio, then points west or North, because we’ve ridden the passenger trains on them. There is a passenger train from San Antonio to Austin and then north to the Fort Worth/Dallas Metroplex.
Where is AMTRAK?
The highways are overloaded and there’s no gasoline.
Where is AMTRAK?
I know, somebody from FEMA will think about the trains carrying thousands away from danger……4 or 5 days from now.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Latest post to DemLog.
Abilene, Sept. 22 - Democratic Party candidate for Governor of Texas Chris Bell met with representatives of Abilene media, such as the KRBC-NBC camera crew, below right, this afternoon, as well as Democratic Party leaders.Bell's visit was organized by Royse Kerr, past president of the Democratic Club, a media consultant. The candidate had lunch at Betty's Little Brisket with leading Democrats such as David Durham, Dusty Rhodes and Charles Scarborough, where the focus was on fundraising. He then met with area county chairs at the party headquarters at 453 Pine Street. Chairs from Brown, Nolan, Jones and Taylor Counties were present, where the focus was on issues that are of concern in rural and west Texas. Bell then was interviewed by KWKC Radio, known as a conservative market. He then was to have dinner at China Star with Roger & Alice Spier and Dave & Becky Haigler, along with his staff assistant Walker Self and Royse Kerr.-Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Tx
published at http://demlog.blogspot.com
Able Danger Hearings
I am following the “Able Danger” investigation as closely as I can. In doing so I see a lot of spinning and plain misleading via opinion rather than fact going on throughout the net—especially on Right Wing blogs. I have the entire two hours plus of the hearing on three 8meg MP3s.
If you want to hear exactly what facts were brought out and what was blocked by the DOD or disappeared send me an e-mail.
I’ll send the MP3s on three separate replies so your ISP might not throw a fit.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Latest post to DemLog.
Salon.com, in a story titled "Is Bush back on the bottle," by Tim Grieve, has given some credence to a National Enquirer story that President Bush, below right, is off the wagon. Grieve refers to the rumors about the mysterious bulge in the president's coat during the debates with John Kerry last year, saying we'll never know what it was and may not know the truth about the current drinking rumor either, but he does say, "The National Enquirer is reporting that the president's troubles have literally driven him to drink. 'Faced with the biggest crisis of his political life, President Bush has hit the bottle again,' the Enquirer says."Grieve dutifully admits the sourcing by the Enquirer is vague and anonymous, but appears to give some credence to the statement that Dr. Justin Frank -- the Washington psychiatrist who wrote "Bush on the Couch: Inside the Mind of the President," the only source named by the Enquirer -- believes the story.But I don't believe a word of it, myself. Because everybody knows George W. Bush doesn't make mistakes. Besides, these are liberal media sources, which everybody knows cannot be believed because they hate Bush. The next thing you know, they're gonna be saying the Earth is round. -Submitted by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
Published at DemLog political blog: http://demlog.blogspot.com
is also available at Blogger News Network
Slate-Papers: Redux in Rita - Sept. 22
By Eric Umansky - Posted Thursday at 3:48 AM CT
Everybody leads again with Hurricane Rita, below left, which is now a Category 5 storm and is on track to hit the central coast of Texas early Saturday. About 1.1 million have been ordered to evacuate -- that includes residents of low-lying areas in Houston, the country's fourth-largest city. The hurricane is expected to slow down a bit before making landfall. But as it stands, Rita is the third-strongest hurricane ever recorded. (Katrina clocked in at No. 5.)
Rita is currently slated to miss New Orleans by a wide margin, but levees could give way if the city gets just heavy rain. The Financial Times says officials are worried about the possibility of even 3 inches. Other papers put it at 6 inches.
Knight Ridder and the Los Angeles Times both have pieces explaining why Rita and Katrina blew up into super-storms. The two lingered in a spot of the Gulf that currently has "perfect hurricane fuel: ultra-deep, super-warm water."
As USA Today notes in a front-page piece, officials on all levels are, not surprisingly, going the extra mile to prepare. After Katrina, officials in Galveston went door to door making a list of citizens who would need help evacuating. They were all out by yesterday afternoon. As for Washington, President Bush, right, has already declared a state of emergency in Texas and Louisiana. And thousands of active-duty troops are on standby. The Wall Street Journal notices that the administration has named another Coast Guard admiral as the fed's point man for Rita, "bypassing the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a second time."
Texas has far more refineries along the coast than Louisiana and Mississippi do. "We all sort of hope that Rita is not as strong as Katrina," said one analyst. "But if you put them on an equal basis you are talking about nearly three times the amount of refining capacity that is at risk." Oil prices picked up again yesterday, and the stock market took a small dive.
The New York Times has a particularly glum piece about the prospects for the energy market. "Even if you restart [refineries] on Sunday, it's going to be two, three or four days before they are fully operational," said a market analyst. "Can we afford to have that much supply out of the market? It doesn't seem that we can."
The Washington Post says that in a break with tradition, the gambling industry will be allowed to take part in the tax breaks to be offered in the "Gulf Opportunity Zone." "The casinos don't need this," said one local economist. "If they are [eligible], that would be a complete waste of money." The WP actually has a better story buried -- and barely mentioned -- within its story: So-called opportunity zones have been tried before in the region, with questionable results. Western Mississippi has had one since 1994, and one economist said it has "had zero impact." Follow-up, anyone?
The Post flags a GAO report concluding that the Pentagon's accounting books are so FUBAR the military doesn't know much it's spending in Iraq and Afghanistan. Really. Here's how the government report puts it: "Neither DOD nor Congress can reliably know how much the war is costing and details of how appropriated funds are being spent." The story is stuffed onto A23. That's better than the other papers, which put the public report nowhere that TP sees. The Pentagon has been losing billions for years. Does that make it a non-story? (Bonus annoyance: Why didn't the Post link to the actual report?)
Citing a "church official," the NYT fronts apparently pending Vatican rules barring men who are gay from becoming priests even if they're celibate. Pope Benedict, left, hasn't put the proposal to paper yet. But according to the "church official," the question is not "if it will be published, but when."
The NYT fronts and others go inside with two studies showing that flu vaccines are only moderately effective. They also found that resistance to vaccines is seriously spiking, from less than 1 percent of the samples 10 years ago to 12 percent in 2004.
The NYT peels back the picture a bit of the surprisingly murky world of medical-implant devices. "Some" surgeons who implant the devices, say knee replacements, have consulting deals with the manufacturing companies. It's hard to know numbers because the deals are "largely hidden." The Times says the feds actually have a few investigations into what appears to be implant payola, but the paper doesn't adequately cite the regulations around all this. For example, what's the AMA's stance: Are doctors required to disclose the deals?
Something for the news pages? The Post's David Broder says the White House is dragging its feet on making Katrina survivors eligible for Medicaid.
The Post announces on Page One: "IN OFFENSIVE, IRAQI FORCES SHOW SIGNS OF PROGRESS." And indeed the paper does give evidence that the Iraq soldiers fought hard. What's buried -- not mentioned until the 12th paragraph -- is that most of the soldiers were rebadged militia men, in particular, Kurdish peshmerga hated by the locals. There was one Shiite unit fighting; the Post says U.S. commanders "grounded it
alleging overly aggressive tactics." A Time reporter who was embedded during the offensive focuses on one other small detail: Most of the insurgents got away.
Eric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Source: Slate Magazine.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Chris Bell in Abilene Thursday
Abilene, Sept. 21 - Taylor County Democrats will sponsor former Congressman Chris Bell, right,
Democratic candidate for Governor of Texas, at a public meeting tomorrow at 7 p.m. at the T&P Visitor Center at N. 1st St. and Cypress, Dr. Roger Spier, club president, said today.
"Chris Bell had the courage to stand up to Tom DeLay and bring to light his ethics violations that were involved in the redistricting scandals of 2004," said Dave Haigler, County Chair. "We need that kind of leadership as governor, not the kind that has failed to fund our schools," Haigler said.
"The area county chairs will meet with Chris at our HQ at 453 Pine at 2 p.m., and we will have dinner with him at 5:00. There will be a press avail at 6:30 at the T&P Center. I thank Royse Kerr for these arrangements. Come help us set up the T&P Center at 4 p.m.," Roger Spier said.
Specter Urges Delay in Replacement of O'Connor at Supreme Court
Sept. 21 (Bloomberg) -- The chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee said he urged President George W. Bush today to delay nominating a replacement for retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.
Senator Arlen Specter, left, Republican of Pennsylvania, said he talked to Justice O'Connor about staying on the high court. "She's prepared to do that'' through the court's term ending in June, Specter said. The president "was noncommittal,'' Specter said. "The body language was not very positive,'' Specter said.
Specter said the delay would give Congress and the rest of America more time to know John Roberts as chief justice. "When we know a little more about Judge Roberts it's going to be easier with the next'' nomination, Specter said.
Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist of Tennessee, right, said he urged Bush to submit a name to the Senate promptly. "I feel we should proceed with the nomination as anticipated,'' Frist said. If so, the confirmation process could be completed "around Thanksgiving.''
O'Connor, 75, often a key swing vote on the Supreme Court, announced on July 1 that she is retiring and agreed to stay on until her replacement is confirmed. She has said she wants to help care for her husband, John O'Connor, who is suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
Specter and Frist, together with Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, spoke with reporters at the White House after meeting with Bush over breakfast.
To contact the reporter on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington:
IPS: UN to focus on US rights abuses in war
By Thalif Deen - Inter Press Service - Sept. 21
UNITED NATIONS - The U.N. Human Rights Committee, scheduled to meet in Geneva next month, has written to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) calling for any available evidence of human rights abuses by the United States -- particularly in the aftermath of its global war on terrorism.
The 18-member committee, comprising of independent human rights experts, will take up "issues of specific concerns relating to the effect of measures taken (by the administration of President George W. Bush) in the fight against terrorism following the events of 11 September 2001," the day the United States was subject to terrorist attacks.
The primary focus will be "on the implications of the USA Patriot Act on nationals and non-nationals, as well as problems relating to the legal status and treatment of persons detained in Afghanistan, Guantanamo, Iraq and other places of detention outside the USA."
The U.S. Congress adopted the USA Patriot Act in October 2001 in order to provide "appropriate tools required to intercept and obstruct terrorism."
But virtually all human rights organizations, both domestic and international, have criticized the Act as seriously threatening civil liberties and freedoms in the United States.
"The USA Patriot Act was destined to foster abuses, as it weakened the system of checks and balances on law enforcement while setting aside due process safeguards under the law," says Jumana Musa, advocacy director at Amnesty International USA.
Alarmingly, Musa added, the Patriot Act has inspired a proliferation of copycat laws worldwide, prompting abuses that the United States has officially pledged to counter.
"The boast that the United States is now the world's only superpower has a grim undertow in the area of human rights; no one can tell Washington what to do or not do, no matter how egregious its cruelties," says Norman Solomon, below left, executive director of the Washington-based Institute for Public Accuracy.
"Most governments deserve to be censured by a human rights committee. The United States, far from being an exception, is among the most culpable -- in particular because of its large-scale foreign policy efforts pursued under the rubric of a 'war on terrorism' over the last four years," Solomon told IPS.
The rhetorical use of "human rights" as a political football has mired its transcendent importance in the muck of self-serving hypocrisies based on the tacit precept that might makes right, he added.
"The character of the Bush administration is such that the U.S. delegation to the United Nations will -- in practice -- indignantly refuse to recognize a single standard of human rights whenever such a standard would put the U.S. record in a negative light," said Solomon, author of the recently-released book 'War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death.'
The U.S.-based Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute at the University of California in Berkeley has detailed some 180 alleged human rights violations by the United States, including 11 types of violations of individual rights and 19 types of violations of government duties.
These violations include enforcement of the Patriot Act, and also allegations of killings, torture, detentions and other "inhuman treatment" in Afghanistan and Iraq, and at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad and the U.S. detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Last July, the Berkeley City Council submitted to the Human Rights Committee a report prepared by the Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute, titled "Challenging U.S. Human Rights Violations Since 9/11".
In June, four independent experts of the U.N. Commission on Human Rights expressed "deep regrets" that "the Government of the United States has still not invited us to visit those persons arrested, detained or tried on grounds of alleged terrorism or other violations in Iraq, Afghanistan, or the Guantanamo Bay naval base".
The Bush administration has also turned down a similar request from the U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, and a joint request by the U.N. Special Rapporteurs on torture and health.
"Such requests were based on information, from reliable sources, of serious allegations of torture, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment of detainees, arbitrary detention, violations of their right to health and their due process rights," the four experts said in a statement released in June.
They also said that many of the allegations have come to light through declassified government documents. "The purpose of the visit would be to examine objectively the allegations first-hand and ascertain whether international human rights standards that are applicable in these particular circumstances are being upheld with respect to those detained persons," the experts added.
When the Human Rights Committee meets in Geneva from Oct. 17 to Nov. 3, it is expected to discuss the submissions made by the Bush administration. These submissions include Washington's periodic reports on how it has helped enforce the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
The committee was established to specifically monitor the implementation of the Covenant and the Protocols to the Covenant in the territory of States parties. The committee convenes three times a year for sessions of three weeks' duration.
Under article 40 of the Covenant, States parties must submit reports every five years on the measures they have adopted which give effect to the rights recognized in the Covenant and on the progress made in the enjoyment of those rights.
The United States will be appearing before the committee for the first time in the post-Sep. 11 period.
Although only members of the committee and representatives of the relevant state party may take part in the dialogue, NGOs are encouraged to submit written information or reports to the committee.
Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy pointed out that for a long time, officials in Washington have been dismissive of the human rights pretensions of regimes that clearly are human rights violators, while much of what Washington does to violate human rights is "coated with a veneer of righteousness".
A multi-track monologue discourse from Washington -- in tandem with tremendous economic, political, diplomatic and military power -- can be bought to bear on the United Nations, he said.
"A superpower that is striving to remake the 60-year-old world body in its own image can hardly be expected to submit to institutional scrutiny of its actual human rights record. The self-designated role of Uncle Sam at the United Nations is to preach and teach without reflecting or learning," he argued.
A harsh truth is that a pronounced form of jingoism is at the core of the Bush administrations approach to the United Nations, Solomon added.
"Human rights violations come in many shapes, styles and sizes. The United States, like many other countries, has a government well-practiced at dodging accountability and proclaiming its own virtues," he said.
"But the U.S. Record, as assessed by independent organizations like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, is reprehensible," Solomon noted.
Source: Inter Press Service.
I know everyone is worrying about the hurricanes, but please take a few minutes to run a search on “Able Danger.”
Draw your own conclusions. I already have and that is why I’m posting this. I’ve been listening to the hearings on Cspan.
Terry D. Barhorst Sr.
Latest post to DemLog.
Slate-Papers: Raising 'Cane - Sept. 21
By Eric Umansky - Posted Wednesday at 3:40 AM CT
Everybody leads with Hurricane Rita, left, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) satellite image taken at 2045 GMT on September 20, 2005. After lashing the Florida Keys, Hurricane Rita gained power on Wednesday and headed across the Gulf of Mexico on a course that could take it to Texas and dump more rain on Katrina-battered Louisiana. Rita was upgraded to a Category 3 storm overnight and the National Hurricane Center said it had developed into a Category 4 this morning, the same classification as Hurricane Katrina, which devastated parts of Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama last month.
Rita passed through the Florida Keys without causing significant damage but is on pace to become stronger still before it hits probably Texas as early as Friday. "The conditions over the central Gulf are much like they were for Katrina," said a top hurricane official. A few thousand New Orleans evacuees who landed in Houston are being evacuated again, with FEMA sending most to Arkansas.
Citing the analyses of independent experts, the New York Times and Washington Post both front pieces saying that Katrina's storm surge in New Orleans was actually far less than originally thought and the levees should have held. The Army Corps of Engineers' system was designed to handle Cat. 3's and 14 ft. storm surges. The NYT says Katrina's winds actually made it just a Cat. 1 in New Orleans, and the Post says the storm surge was never higher than 13 feet. "It should have been a modest challenge," said one expert. "There's no way this should have exceeded the capacity."
The Times zeros in on what appears to have been the levee system's weak link: floodwalls. They may have been built too high, actually leaving them more vulnerable to failure. "If this is true, then the loss of life and the devastation in much of New Orleans is no more a natural disaster than a surgeon killing a patient by failing to suture an artery would be a natural death," one analyst told the WP. (OK, he's an author not a scientist.) The Army Corps still insists that the storm was just too darn big.
A Post piece inside looks at the ecosystems destroyed by Katrina and the floodwaters. "This is what I would call catastrophic damage to our national wildlife refuges," said one environmental advocate. One thing not mentioned: According to the Associated Press, state samples from Lake Pontcharntrain show it's relatively clean and "far from the alarming predictions that chemicals and sewer materials could alter the habitat and fisheries. "
The rest of New Orleans might be evacuating, but the Los Angeles Times and NYT both notice the return of some important service workers: strippers.
The WP off-leads the latest signs of GOP friction. The White House had fiscal conservatives over for tea or some such, trying to ease their concerns about paying for Katrina. The congressmen weren't impressed by the generalities offered. "At least give us some idea" of how to cover the cost, said Republican Sen. Conrad Burns. The Post also seems to smell some kind of duck, saying that Republicans are wondering whether Bush is a "liability for the party." Sen. Rick Santorum, right, a big Bush supporter, is up for re-election and trailing by double digits. Asked whether "Bush's problems" (as the Post paraphrases it) were playing a part, Santorum said, "That may be."
Arguingnot convincinglythat Katrina has caused fissures in both parties, the Post's Dana Milbank highlights this bit from yesterday: Hours after Treasury Secretary Snow said that, given Katrina, extending tax cuts will be pushed to the "backburner," House Majority Leader Tom DeLay responded, "That's not an option," repeating, "Not an option."
The NYT and LAT front Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, left, saying he'll vote no on Judge John Roberts' nomination. Reid cited Roberts' civil rights sensitivities, pointing in particular to one memo in which Roberts referred to "illegal amigos," a phrase he declined to distance himself from. "I'm not too sure if his heart is as big as his head," said Reid. It's an interesting choice for Page One sinceas the NYT doesn't mentioned until way downReid said he's not pushing for a filibuster, meaning Roberts is still a sure thing. [DemLog blogged this story yesterday.]
The WP frontsand nobody else doesthe nine Americans killed in Iraq since Monday, four were embassy employees or contractors killed in a suicide car bombing; the other five were soldiers killed in assorted attacks. Meanwhile, there were more details about Monday's bizarre incident in Basra where Britain forces assaulted a prison to rescue two of their commandos. The Brits said they only did it after they heard the soldiers were being handed over to Muqtada Sadr's militia. And indeed, the commandos weren't found at the jail but in a private home.
The NYT notes inside that, for some reason, the Pentagon has barred officers from testifying in hearings about allegations that the military project known as Able Danger ID'd Mohamed Atta prior to 9/11.
Everybody runs big obits on Simon Wiesenthal, right. A Holocaust survivor, he was the world's most-dedicated Nazi hunter and, as it happens, a very good self-promoter. He often recalled a talk he had with a fellow survivor: "When we come to the other world and meet the millions of Jews who died in the camps and they ask us, 'What have you done?' there will be many answers. You will say, 'I became a jeweler.' Another will say, 'I smuggled coffee and American cigarettes.' Another will say, 'I built houses.' But I will say, 'I didn't forget you.' "
Eric Umansky (www.ericumansky.com) writes "Today's Papers" for Slate. He can be reached at email@example.com .
Source: Slate Magazine.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Reuters: Reid to oppose Roberts
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, right, said on Tuesday John Roberts would be confirmed as chief justice of the United States but that he would oppose the conservative Supreme Court nominee because "I'm not too sure if his heart is as big as his head."
"I have too many unanswered questions about the nominee to justify a vote confirming him to this enormously important lifetime position," Reid said of President George W. Bush's first nomination to the high court.
"This is a very close question for me," Reid added. "But I must resolve my doubts in favor of the American people whose rights would be in jeopardy if John Roberts turns out to be the wrong person for the job."
Reid, however, said the case against Roberts did not warrant Democrats raising a procedural hurdle known as a filibuster to block Roberts' nomination when it comes up for a vote in the U.S. Senate next week. It seemed likely Reid would be unable to muster the needed 41 votes in the 100-member Senate to sustain it in any event.
Slate: Bush struggles to find qualified woman for SCOTUS
Who's Next? - Supreme Court scuttlebutt.
By Emily Bazelon - Posted Sept. 20, 2005
Making one perfect Supreme Court pick is hard enough. Making a second one may be impossible, as the Bush administration is learning. John Roberts' cakewalk through the Senate has changed the calculus. The Democrats swear they won't be slow on the trigger for the next nominee. Republican women are anxious. The far right is determined to gain rather than lose ground on the court. And that's just the beginning. Here's what is being whispered, screamed, or hissed into the ears of the decision-makers:
1. It's Girl Time. Whether or not the gender of the next nominee should matter, it does to Republican women lawyers. When Sandra Day O'Connor and Laura Bush expressed enthusiasm for a female justice, these women took hope. Priscilla Owen (shown at left appearing before the Senate in 2003) of the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals reportedly flew to Washington for a meeting with Bush recently. But many of the Republican women who want to see one of their own chosen aren't satisfied with Owen. And they also aren't wild about the other women mentioned most often as candidates, federal judges Janice Rogers Brown, Edith Jones, and Edith Clement. The women on the shortlist are crazy or lightweights or both, the naysayers complain. In their most despairing moments, they worry that the administration has deliberately cut down the pool of women candidates by refusing to seriously consider anyone who isn't a federal appeals court judge (with the exception of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former Deputy Attorney General Larry Thompson). According to the rumor mills, no prosecutors or politicians or law firm partners are under consideration. "They haven't done that well appointing women to the courts of appeal, so now they're going to say, 'Well gee, there isn't anyone qualified?' " one law professor sputtered. "They need a really smart woman and maybe in their universe she doesn't exist, but she does in mine!"
None of the women whose names are being bandied about this week are known intellectual stars like Roberts, which makes it seem hard for Bush both to satisfy his female base and appoint another world-class legal mind.
2. John Roberts, The Sequel. If Bush really wants to put his mark on the law, he'll pick someone with the intellectual weight to lead the court and the personality to persuade his colleagues to follow him (or to think he's following them). Who is another Roberts? The clearest choice is Michael McConnell, the former University of Chicago law professor who had the support of fellow academics across the ideological spectrum when he was chosen to sit on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit in 2002. McConnell is the kind of guy deft enough to give a warm eulogy for William Brennan, the justice for whom he clerked, without departing from his own far-right stances. The idea of a Roberts-McConnell one-two punch on the court thrills conservative academics. Judge Michael Luttig also plays well in the heavyweight field, but he's not universally known as a nice guy. He's got detractors who say he has John Bolton tendencies.
It may be that the female John Roberts is out there. Like Roberts, Maureen Mahoney is a leading Supreme Court litigator; she's been arguing before the court since 1988. Like Roberts, she's from the Midwest (born in South Bend, Ind.). Like Roberts, she clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist. Like Roberts, she was one of Kenneth Starr's deputies when he was solicitor general for Bush I. Mahoney's problem: She has argued in favor of affirmative actionon the winning side for the University of Michigan Law School in the 2003 Supreme Court case Grutter v. Bollinger. But that shouldn't disqualify her if defending development restrictions around Lake Tahoea bad loss for the property-rights movementdidn't disqualify Roberts. Also, Mahoney isn't a judge. In 1992, George H.W. Bush nominated her for a federal trial bench seat in Virginia, but Bill Clinton became president before confirmation. So, she's still a lawyer at the Washington, D.C., firm Latham & Watkins. At first blush, it would seem odd for the administration to single out a plain old lawyer for the nation's highest court. At second blush, why not? Mahoney is smart and she knows the court.
3. Someone Bush Trusts. Mahoney lacks what another late-surging female candidate hasa longtime spot in the president's inner circle. White House Counsel Harriet Miers has been vetter-in-chief of the Supreme Court candidates. What if Bush selects her over them, in the Dick Cheney tradition? Before she got her current job, Miers was assistant to the president and his staff secretary. She was the person who knew where all the paper in the White House was coming and going. She never talked to reporters. She came with Bush from Texas, where she was chair of the state lottery commission and the first woman president of the Texas State Bar. But Miers isn't a skilled Supreme Court advocate. She has no reputation outside the insular Bush circle. Firepower-wise, she looks like a big gamble.
Is that also true of Alberto Gonzales? He's not known in Washington for his great intellect. On the other hand, the opinions he wrote as a justice on the Texas Supreme Court are solid, consistent, and well-reasoned. Gonzales, of course, gives the religious right fits. But he's still the candidate to beat if you believe the chatter at the Department of Justice, which dismisses the recent Owen sightings as a decoy.
Inevitably, Roe. If narrowing or eliminating the right to abortion is the administration's priority, then Gonzales is out. Owen and Jones are the surest bets. McConnell looks good, too: As a private citizen, he signed a 1996 statement supporting a constitutional amendment to ban abortion, and he has testified before Congress in opposition to a bill designed to limit the access of protesters to abortion clinics.
Of course, a reliable stance against abortion also means a fight. All those Democratic senators who seemed unable to ask Roberts a coherent question would have a bull's-eye they couldn't miss. And there are good long-term political reasons for the Republican leadership to prefer chipping away at Roe to scrapping it and to care more about other issues before the court, like protecting business interests and curtailing environmental protections.
So many agendas, so hard to choose. Source: Slate Magazine. Republished at: http://demlog.blogspot.com, by Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas.
AP: Sheehan roughed up in NYC scuffle - Sept. 20
NEW YORK - Anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan said Tuesday she was hurt slightly in a scuffle that erupted when police broke up a rally as she was at the microphone.
An organizer, Paul Zulkowitz, right, at mike, was arrested and charged with using a loudspeaker without a permit.
"I was speaking and someone grabbed my backpack and pulled me back pretty roughly," Sheehan said, describing the scene at Manhattan's Union Square on Monday. "I was shoved around."
Sheehan, the grieving mother whose vigil near President Bush's Texas ranch sparked anti-war protests around the country, said wasn't roughed up by police, but was jostled when officers broke up the rally and arrested organizer Paul Zulkowitz.
"I think their use of force was pretty excessive for someone that didn't have a permit," Sheehan said.
Paul Browne, spokesman for the New York Police Department, said Sheehan had finished speaking when officers arrested Zulkowitz, who had been repeatedly warned that he didn't have a permit.
Zulkowitz was charged with unauthorized use of a sound device and disorderly conduct. He was given a court summons and released.
Source: AP-Yahoo News.
On the September 20 broadcast of his nationally syndicated radio show, Fox News host Bill O'Reilly took aim at Media Matters for America after they highlighted his comments expressing regret that Hurricane Katrina had not hit the United Nations building in New York instead of New Orleans. O'Reilly's comments were brought to the attention of Fox News by former U.S. Sen. Timothy E. Wirth (D-CO), president of the United Nations Foundation, who asked Fox News and O'Reilly to publicly apologize. Far from an apology, O'Reilly's vitriolic response instead targeted both Media Matters and Wirth. O'Reilly repeatedly referred to Media Matters as "creepy" and compared them to the devil worshipping "little people" in the film Rosemary's Baby. O'Reilly admonished Wirth for sending the letter -- lamenting his willingness to accept the "propaganda that this creepy, little, left-wing outfit gave him" -- and called it "off-the-chart embarrassing."
Source: Media Matters for America.
Abilene, Sept. 20 - Beltway Park Baptist Church of Abilene has announced a military-appreciation day rally at the Taylor County Coliseum at 10 a.m., on Oct. 9.
The church's website
says, "The Christian Community of the Big Country supporting our military in Faith, Life, and Combat."The event flyer
Help us honor the military and their families by joining us for a city-wide
interdenominational Sunday Worship Service.
All military, retired military, veterans, and Big Country citizens are invited.
Featuring Guest Speaker,
New York Times Best-Selling author of
The Faith of George W. Bush
The Faith of the American Soldier
Sunday, October 9 @ 10:00 AM
at the Taylor County Coliseum
Free Lunch and Kids Activities
Call 325.692.6540 ext. 145 for more information.
Source: Beltway Park Baptist Church.
Dave Haigler comment: I asked a pastor-friend of mine at Beltway Park whether this rally was to be "supportive of our troops," or "supportive of the Iraq invasion."
The pastor said it was not intended as a "pro-war rally," though he felt some support for the Iraq battle will likely occur.
I also feel that is likely. I should also say the featured speaker, Stephen Mansfield, has been a friend of mine over 20 years, although I could not disagree with him more on his support for the Iraq invasion. I did a websearch on him and found this from a FOX interview over Memorial Day 2005, just as his book on soldiers' faith came out. He was asked about soldier misconduct in Iraq & Guantanamo Bay, and he said most of the soldiers are not that way:
Most of the soldiers overseas see themselves as liberators. They want to do good. (Note: at this time Fox begins showing "Happy Iraq" videos of soldiers tossing packages to crowds of kids, holding up a soccer ball, handing desks down from a truck, etc). They daily see the difference between Iraq and Afghanistan now and the way those countries were before we went in and removed tyranny. They see themselves as a force for good. There have been very, very low casualties among civilians and what they call collateral damage, and I don't want to see this generation of warriors maligned like the Viet Nam generation was.
Click here for full FOX interview of Mansfield.
The promotion of this Oct. 9 event reminds church people that Mansfield wrote The Faith of George W. Bush, left, published in April 2004 and used to promote Bush as the Godly candidate during the 2004 election. The book is well written, but fails to distinguish between President Bush's religious rituals, like prayer and Bible study, and the ethics of his policies, like tax cuts for the rich and deficit spending.
Those Christians among us who feel the Iraq invasion was founded in deceit, and prosecuted with misguided aims, and has resulted in greater terrorism in Iraq and elsewhere, are offended at the linking of our dear Christian faith with such a venture devoid of Christian ethics.
Submitted by: Dave Haigler, Abilene, Texas
Member, Veterans for Peace, & Vietnam Veterans Against the War
Taylor County Democratic Party Chair
Published at: http://demlog.blogspot.com.
(Link to story: http://demlog.blogspot.com/2005/09/bpbc-military-appreciation-day-oct-9.html).
Slate-Papers: A New-Clear Deal? - Sept. 20
By Eric Umansky - Posted Tuesday, at 3:34 AM CT
The Los Angeles Times leads with North Korea's announcing that the country won't scrap any friggin' nukes until the U.S. hands over the light-water nuclear reactor that's mentioned in the recently announced deal. The U.S., in turn, has said it won't even discuss the reactor until North Korea scraps its nukes. It's possible, of course, that one or both sides aredon't tell anyonebluffing. The New York Times, Wall Street Journal world-wide newsbox, and Washington Post all lead with New Orleans Mayor Nagin's reversal, shutting down re-entry to the city and warning any residents already there to skedaddle by Wednesday. President Bush said yesterday it wasn't safe to return. But Nagin, right, said the call was based on Tropical Storm Rita and the fact that the levees are in worse shape than originally thought. USA Today puts New Orleans across the top, but in the traditional right-hand lead spot goes with a post-address poll showing President Bush's support at a record low 40 percent. Asked how to pay for Katrina, 54 percent said cut funding in Iraq; just 6 percent endorsed cutting domestic programs.
The "agreement" with North Korea is less a deal than an outline for one. It has no timelines and is full of mushy references such as: The parties will "discuss" North Korea getting a light-water reactor "at an appropriate time." Now would be an appropriate time for the reactor, says Pyongyang. As if, said, Secretary of State Rice, left: "At an appropriate time we are prepared to discussdiscuss responding." The outline doesn't even mention uranium enrichment. North Korea swears it had no such program, but the U.S. says that's B.S.
The NYT says the U.S. at first turned its nose up at the deal, but China pressured the U.S. to get on board, reportedly giving the U.S. a few hours to sign on or face a news leak that it blocked a deal. As Slate's Fred Kaplan notes, the deal's outlines have been around for a few years, but the White House wasn't interested.
Rita is scheduled to hit Key West late today. Then it's expected to strengthen in the Gulf and hit anywhere from Mexico to Mississippi but most likely Texas. An Army Corps of Engineers official said New Orleans' levees "can't take much of a hit." Naginnot an engineersaid a few feet of storm surge could flood the city again. Asked whether anything much can be done about that, he said, "Just tell people to run."
Two weeks after announcing "U.S. INQUIRY SET," the NYT follows inside, announcing that the president has appointed the White House's domestic security adviser to investig
analyze the White House and others' Katrina response.
The Post and NYT front the indictment of the White House's just-resigned top procurement official, David Safavian, below right, for allegedly giving under-the-table help to uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff and then lying to investigators about it. Safavian, as Post puts it, "set purchasing policy for the entire government," he resigned last week, when the indictments were written up. According to a piece in Government Executive magazine last year, he came to the gig with little procurement experience. Before his time in the administration, he worked as a lobbyist with Jack Abramoff. (And final bit of fun: Safavian's wife is the top lawyer on the House committee that oversees government procurement.)
Speaking of experience, a front-page Post piece points out that an official nominated by President Bush to head the customs and immigration agency doesn't have much of it.
The WP fronts and others goes inside with yesterday's confusing action in Basra, where British forces apparently broke into a prison in the southern Iraqi city to free two of their undercover commandos who had been arrested earlier in the day by police. (The police said the commandos shot at them.) Rioters then set fire to some of the British tanks. Basra is largely under the control of (often competing) Shiite militias. According to the Post, "Iraqi police cars circulated downtown, calling through loudspeakers for the public to help stop British forces from releasing the two." A few days ago, British forces in Basra arrested a few of Muqtada Sadr's aides.
Another NYT piece focuses on the murder-execution of one of the paper's Iraqi stringers, also in Basra.
In a USAT interview, the head of the National Guard Bureau complains about what's always been the case: Reserve troops don't have anywhere near enough modern gear. "We were underequipped," he said. "We don't need tanks and attack helicopters and artillery, but we must have state-of-the-art radios and communications."
Everybody gives some form of front-page play to former Tyco chief Dennis Kozlowski, below left, and his right-hand man getting eight to 25 years in the pokey for looting their former company. The two will be allowed to work in prison and earn $1.05 daily.
The LAT and NYT front NASA's new plan to put astronauts back on the moon by 2018, using the same rockets being developed to replace the shuttle. NASA insisted the plan won't require any extra money.
The LAT catches late-breaking word of the death of Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal. He was 96.
The WP notices that the FBI is looking to fill a few congressionally mandated positions for what a recent bureau memo dubbed one of AG Gonzales' "top priorities": fighting porn. A memo from FBI central suggested going after things like "bestiality, urination, defecation, as well as sadistic and masochistic behavior." One response suggested from a less-than-enthusiastic G-man: "I already gave at home."
Source: Slate Magazine.
Donate to DemLog, a project of Marcus Comton (click on box below to go to PayPal and donate). Thank you very much: