Saturday, February 18, 2006

Using 9/11 To Pimp For War With Iraq

Started on 9/11:

The Washington Note: More Evidence that Iraq War Plan Started on 9/11

A blogger's FOIA request has yielded Steven Cambone's handwritten notes of Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld's instructions to General Myers at 2:40 pm on September 11, 2001.

Some of the lines are fascinating:

"Go massive. . .Sweep it all up. Things related and not."

Judge whether hit S.H. (Saddam Hussein) @ same time -- Not only UBL (Osama bin Laden)

Hard to get a good case

Need to move swiftly

This is what Rumsfield thought about on 9/11. What were you thinking about? Through your tears?

US Women's Hockey Upset By Sweden

US Women With Cammi Granato (2005):

US Women Without Cammi Granato (2006):

Where was Cammi Granato yesterday? Oh, that's right, the best US women's hockey player ever, their long-time captain, got cut from this team. For no reason I can figure. Doing a great job in the booth, by the way, but should have been on the ice. So she's broadcasting, and the US women are in the bronze medal game. Coincidence? I don't think so. Coach Ben Smith should be out on his keister after this Olympic showing, but he's a man, and the federation is run by men. Even if he is fired, he'll get a cushy exit package.

Hockey is a sport that reveres its captains. Granato was a great captain. Why was she cut? Why isn't Smith answering that question?

Supposedly this game will "save" women's hockey. The powers that be were thinking about cutting it from the Olympics because only two teams are competitive, the US and Canada. Like it's the women's fault that most countries organizing committees don't support their sport. Well, if this is what it takes, it's the silver lining for the US women. They lost to save women's hockey as an Olympic sport.

MSNBC: This U.S. hockey squad doomed from start
Americans' best player was doing color commentary for TV broadcast

Chicago Tribune: A cut that still pierces: `Kicked to the street'

Cammi Granato is angry. She is a broadcaster at the Winter Olympics, not a player on the U.S. women's hockey team. The face of U.S. women's hockey for the last decade, Granato was cut from the team last summer. Six months later, her relationship with USA Hockey remains icy.

"I'm not mad," she said. "It's just that, I was kicked to the street. See ya. See ya later. Thanks for shopping. I'm not saying, 'Oh, they need to come suck up to me.' There's just a lot of raw emotions at the moment."

NY Daily News: Granato wishes she had a shot

TURIN - The greatest player in the history of American women's hockey desperately wanted to be on the Palasport Olimpico ice, leading the United States to yet another gold-medal showdown with Canada.

But she was sitting in an NBC studio under its stands, aching for her friends, not seething at the coach who had unceremoniously cut her from the 2006 Olympic team.

"I feel like someone punched me," a shaken Cammi Granato told the Daily News an hour after Sweden had rocked the women's hockey world with a stupefying victory over the U.S. "I don't even know how to feel. It's like all the air is gone. I feel so bad for the girls."

As clutch a performer as women's hockey has ever seen, Granato set standards in the sport with 186 goals and 343points. She captained the United States to the first Olympic gold in Nagano in '98 and to silver in Salt Lake City.

But just five months after captaining Team USA to the 2005 world championships, the 34-year-old forward was cut from the national team without warning by coach Ben Smith. In his postgame press conference, Smith cut short a questioner wondering if the Americans missed Granato when crunch time arrived last night.

Red faces leave Team USA feeling blue

Ben Smith, the U.S. women's hockey coach, is probably feeling it a little bit today, too. He made the controversial and widely criticized decision to cut Cammi Granato from his team. Smith was cruising, too. His team had a 2-0 lead in its semifinal against Sweden yesterday.


If the U.S. team had reached the gold medal game against Canada - as it has in every single international tournament up until now - Smith would have skated (you'll pardon the expression). He still would have been wrong for whacking the most recognizable female hockey player in the States, but he would have been off the hook.

Now? Smith looks like a fool.

Call it Der Miracle on Ice, although this time the Americans were the prohibitive favorites who played scared and let the scrappy underdogs come back and beat them. Once the Swedes came back to tie the score, you half expected the U.S. players' sticks to start shattering, so tightly were they being gripped.

They played like a team that needed an experienced leader. A team that needed someone who had been there and done that and could rally the troops with a big play or the right words.

Say ... Cammi Granato?

But Granato was commenting on the game for NBC when her replacement as captain, Krissy Wendell, took a bad penalty during a Swedish power play. The Swedes didn't score, but the penalty prevented the U.S. from getting back its momentum.

Toronto Star "The Spin" blog: Miracle in Turin

With criticism of the women's game having hit new heights during the past week because of a series of lopsided scores, it may well be that Sweden's absolutely shocking 3-2 shootout victory over the United States this evening at the Palasport Olimpico will be the match that saves women's hockey as a viable sport in the Winter Olympics.

For the first time in any major women's competition - world championship or Olympics - it will not be Canada vs. the U.S. in the final. Sweden, having never beaten either country, fell behind 2-0 against the Americans but fought back to tie 2-2, largely on the basis of a breathtaking goaltending exhibition by Kim Martin.

Both Swedish goals were scored by star forward Maria Rooth, and it was Rooth again in the shootout who ripped a wrist shot past Chanda Gunn in the U.S. net to send her country into the gold medal game on Monday.

It was an upset perhaps even greater than that of the 1980 Miracle on Ice in Lake Placid when the U.S. men upset the mighty Russians, for that had happened before. In fact, the Americans had been Olympic champions at Squaw Valley in 1960.

WaPo: U.S. Women on a Cold Spell at Olympics
Hockey Team's Shocking Loss to Sweden Is Latest Disappointment

Since the first women's hockey world championships in 1990, the United States had faced Sweden 25 times in various competitions. Twenty-five times, the Swedes lost.

The Americans' record against teams other than Canada was 102 wins, two ties -- both with Finland -- and no losses. The talk at the women's tournament all week centered around that inevitable Canada-U.S. matchup for the gold. Sweden, in fact, lost 8-1 to Canada earlier in the competition. There had never been another matchup in a world championship or Olympic final, and some observers had grown critical of women's hockey as a sport because it seemed just two teams could win.

"It's always Canada and the U.S. in the final," Swedish goalie Kim Martin said.

That has changed now, in large part because Martin was in net for the Swedes. Four years ago, when she was all of 15, she led Sweden to the bronze medal -- behind, of course, Canada, which took the gold, and the United States -- at the Salt Lake City Olympics. On Friday she was steady and stellar, the primary reason Sweden was able to withstand 39 shots from the Americans and still finish regulation time tied at two goals apiece.

Friday, February 17, 2006

If Terrorist Funders Run Our Ports, Terrorists Win

Everyone in Congress should object to this:

WaPo: Some in Congress Object to Arab Port Operator
Company Based in United Arab Emirates Set to Manage 6 East Coast Facilities After Takeover

Fortunately, two US Senators -- Democrats, natch -- are filing legislation to stop this insanity:

Reuters: Democrats plan bill to block Dubai port deal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. Democratic senators said on Friday they would introduce legislation aimed at blocking Dubai Ports World from buying a company that operates several U.S. shipping ports because of security concerns.

Robert Menendez of New Jersey and Hillary Clinton of New York said they would offer a measure to ban companies owned or controlled by foreign governments from acquiring U.S. port operations.

"We wouldn't turn the border patrol or the customs service over to a foreign government, and we can't afford to turn our ports over to one either," Menendez said in a statement. The Senate Banking Committee also plans to hold a hearing on the issue later this month.

P&O, the company Dubai Ports World plans to buy for $6.8 billion, is already foreign-owned, by the British, but the concern is that the purchaser is backed by the United Arab Emirates government.

The UAE company would gain control over the management of major U.S. ports in New York and New Jersey, Baltimore, Philadelphia, New Orleans and Miami and that has sparked national security concerns among lawmakers.

Previous post: Privatization Gone Wild - Bushco Puts Terrorist Funders in Charge

Dick Cheney, Armed and Hammered*, on Friday? Or Saturday?

After receiving a tip, I watched Harry Whittington's statement on TV today and was weirded out by the guy behind him. Here's a picture from yahoo, telling us he's "David Frum, the vice president of Business Development and Strategic Planning for Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial Hospital." I thought he must have had a hand in writing Whittington's statement, he got so into it.

The guy couldn't stop grinning and mugging every two seconds. (Check out the Crooks & Liars video of the press conference.) Until Whittington said, about 58 seconds into the press conference, "That's what happened last Friday." Frum darted his eyes to the left to someone behind Whittington, completely exposing the whites of his eyes. The grinning and mugging stopped for about 10 seconds.

Now, it has been reported in the parroting corporate media that the incident happened on Saturday. Or did it? I'd like to get ahold of pop-eyed David Frum and give him the John Yoo treatment.

PHOTO CAPTION: Austin attorney Harry Whittington talks with reporters Friday, Feb. 17, 2006, in front of the hospital in Corpus Christi, Texas, where he has been recovering after being shot by Vice President Dick Cheney in a hunting accident Saturday. David Frum, the vice president of Business Development and Strategic Planning for Christus Spohn Hospital Corpus Christi-Memorial hospital, is at left. (AP Photo/Paul Iverson)

: Actually, I think yahoo got his name wrong, because when I put "Frum" into, I found that FRUM, ROBERT MR CORPUS CHRISTI,TX 78404, Occupation CHRISTUS SPOHN HEALTH SYSTEM/VP MAR, gave $250 on 11/9/04 to the Texas Hospital Association. (FEC filing.)

Update #2: The Christus Spohn Health System website lists his name as David Frum (via Anonymous commenter at Crooks & Liars).

*Dick Cheney: Armed and Hammered another classic headline from firedoglake.

Luddites In Charge

I joke about myself as a luddite, because my computer skills are pretty rudimentary. I mean, I don't even have a blogroll anymore. (not that you care about this, but a blogroll was part of the original blogger template I used, but I liked this one better aesthetically, but it doesn't contain the blogroll code, and I don't really know HTML, blah, blah, blah. Sad, really.)

But compared to Michael Chertoff and Donald Rumsfield, I'm Bill Gates, and you're reading slashdot:

They Haven’t Got Mail
The Katrina hearings haven’t only revealed critical information about White House responses to the hurricane. They’ve also uncovered the online secrets of Donald Rumsfeld and Michael Chertoff.

When it came to documentation of how Secretaries Michael Chertoff and Donald Rumsfeld responded to Katrina, however, congressional investigators got a different answer from the administration. The House committee established to investigate Katrina was “informed that neither Secretary Chertoff nor Secretary Rumsfeld use e-mail,” reported Reps. Charlie Melancon and William Jefferson, two Louisiana Democrats who participated in the inquiry despite a boycott by other House Democrats who felt that the inquiry was too partisan.

How can you not use email in 2006?

Frist and Asbestos

Is Bill Frist the worst majority leader ever? Who could argue that. His current strategy to get the (bad) asbestos bailout passed? Call out the other senators who didn't show up for his first vote. Earth to Frist, that's your job, to make sure the votes are there. You just f*cked up.

WaPo: No US Senate asbestos bill without 60 votes: Frist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist said on Friday that 60 senators must pledge to help an asbestos bill overcome procedural hurdles before he would bring it up again on the Senate floor for debate.

The bill to create a $140 billion fund to compensate asbestos victims was shelved this week after it failed to get the 60 votes it needed to defeat a senator's objection on the grounds that it violated federal budget rules. The vote was 58-41.

Frist said he told the bill's sponsors that "60 members must signify their commitment" to vote to beat that particular budget hurdle as well as end any filibuster of the measure, before he would bring it up for consideration again.

"Once that public assurance is given, I will look to schedule the bill at the earliest possible opportunity," Frist, a Tennessee Republican, said in a statement.

Wah! Wah!

Previous posts: Bad Asbestos Bill Defeated; Another Bad Asbestos Bailout Bill

Glacier National Park OR Waterworld?

The glaciers are melting in the US as well as in Greenland. I'm glad I went to Glacier National Park in 2001, because I doubt there is much glacier left to see. Already, 5 years ago, the once huge sheets of ice were little grey nubs on the tops of the mountains. If you looked at pictures of the park from even 20 years ago, the difference was striking.

BBC (UK): Legal case against US on climate

US conservation groups have begun a new legal case aimed at forcing government action on climate change.

They have filed a petition with the UN arguing that Waterton-Glacier Peace Park, a protected area, is being damaged by rising temperatures.

Conservation groups argue that climate change threatens to have four major impacts on the park:

* average summer temperatures have increased 1.66C between 1910 and 1980, and precipitation levels have decreased by as much as 20%
* the loss of more than 80% of the park's glaciers is the result of climate change
* since 1850, the area covered by glaciers in the park has decreased by 73% and continues to decrease

* loss of the glaciers will reduce stream flow
* climate change threatens mountain and prairie species which live in the region, through a reduction in water and other mechanisms

The Silenced Majority

Half the Population, A Fifth of the News

LONDON - ''What we see in news subjects is that whilst women make up 52 percent of the world's population, they make up only 21 percent of news subjects,'' Anna Turley from the World Association for Christian Communication (WACC) told IPS. WACC is a non-governmental organisation that promotes communication for social change.

But the number of women behind the news is rising, she said. ''Encouragingly, when we look at the men and women who report the news, we see a steady increase in the number of news stories reported by women,'' she said. That has gone up from 31 to 37 percent from 2000 to 2005.

The findings are based on news items appearing on a single day (Feb. 16, 2005). Almost 13,000 news items were surveyed on that day in 76 countries.

Operation Switch the Victim




Mission Accomplished: Operation Switch the Victim Deemed Raging Success

''My family and I are are deeply sorry for everything that Vice President Cheney and his family had to go through this week,'' Whittington said, appearing emotional in front of television cameras.

'We don't have much time left' to stop global warming

This undated photo provided by the journal Science shows East Greenland icebergs. Large numbers of bergs are calved each year from the fast-flowing terminus of Kangerdlussuaq Glacier, East Greenland. Iceberg production is a major form of mass loss from ice sheets. (AP Photo/ho/J.A. Dowdeswell, Science) (J.a.dowdeswell - AP)

Global warming makes the front page of the Washington Post:

Glacier Melt Could Signal Faster Rise in Ocean Levels

Greenland's glaciers are melting into the sea twice as fast as previously believed, the result of a warming trend that renders obsolete predictions of how quickly Earth's oceans will rise over the next century, scientists said yesterday.

The new data come from satellite imagery and give fresh urgency to worries about the role of human activity in global warming. The Greenland data are mirrored by findings from Bolivia to the Himalayas, scientists said, noting that rising sea levels threaten widespread flooding and severe storm damage in low-lying areas worldwide.

The scientists said they do not yet understand the precise mechanism causing glaciers to flow and melt more rapidly, but they said the changes in Greenland were unambiguous -- and accelerating: In 1996, the amount of water produced by melting ice in Greenland was about 90 times the amount consumed by Los Angeles in a year. Last year, the melted ice amounted to 225 times the volume of water that city uses annually.

"We are witnessing enormous changes, and it will take some time before we understand how it happened, although it is clearly a result of warming around the glaciers," said Eric Rignot, a scientist at the California Institute of Technology's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.


"Glaciers have retreated systematically and in an accelerated fashion in the last few decades," Casassa said. One glacier that provided Bolivia with its only ski slope five years ago has splintered into three and cannot be used for skiing, the scientist added.

Rapid melting of Himalayan glaciers also raises concerns for the large portion of humankind that gets its fresh water from glacier-fed rivers in South Asia, Aizen noted.

Most climate scientists believe a major cause for Earth's warming climate is increased emissions of greenhouse gases as a result of burning fossil fuels, largely in the United States and other wealthy, industrialized nations such as those of western Europe but increasingly in rapidly developing nations such as China and India as well. Carbon dioxide and several other gases trap the sun's heat and raise atmospheric temperature.

From the Independent (UK) we get the take of Jim Hansen, the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York; the scientist the Bush Administration attempted to muzzle.

Climate change: On the edge
Greenland ice cap breaking up at twice the rate it was five years ago, says scientist Bush tried to gag

A satellite study of the Greenland ice cap shows that it is melting far faster than scientists had feared - twice as much ice is going into the sea as it was five years ago. The implications for rising sea levels - and climate change - could be dramatic.

Yet, a few weeks ago, when I - a Nasa climate scientist - tried to talk to the media about these issues following a lecture I had given calling for prompt reductions in the emission of greenhouse gases, the Nasa public affairs team - staffed by political appointees from the Bush administration - tried to stop me doing so. I was not happy with that, and I ignored the restrictions. The first line of Nasa's mission is to understand and protect the planet.


[] We are seeing for the first time the detailed behaviour of the ice streams that are draining the Greenland ice sheet. They show that Greenland seems to be losing at least 200 cubic kilometres of ice a year. It is different from even two years ago, when people still said the ice sheet was in balance.

Hundreds of cubic kilometres sounds like a lot of ice. But this is just the beginning. Once a sheet starts to disintegrate, it can reach a tipping point beyond which break-up is explosively rapid. The issue is how close we are getting to that tipping point. The summer of 2005 broke all records for melting in Greenland. So we may be on the edge.

Our understanding of what is going on is very new. Today's forecasts of sea-level rise use climate models of the ice sheets that say they can only disintegrate over a thousand years or more. But we can now see that the models are almost worthless. They treat the ice sheets like a single block of ice that will slowly melt. But what is happening is much more dynamic.

Once the ice starts to melt at the surface, it forms lakes that empty down crevasses to the bottom of the ice. You get rivers of water underneath the ice. And the ice slides towards the ocean.


How long have we got? We have to stabilise emissions of carbon dioxide within a decade, or temperatures will warm by more than one degree. That will be warmer than it has been for half a million years, and many things could become unstoppable.
If we are to stop that, we cannot wait for new technologies like capturing emissions from burning coal. We have to act with what we have. This decade, that means focusing on energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy that do not burn carbon. We don't have much time left.

Let Her Jump

Remember that old Nike commercial "If You Let Me Play"?

"If you let me play sports ... I will like myself more ... I will have more self-confidence ... I'll be 50 percent less likely to get breast cancer ... I will suffer less depression ... I will be more likely to leave a man who beats me ... I'll be less likely to be pregnant before I want to ... I will learn to be strong."

Nike needs to produce a new commercial to support women ski jumpers. ABC's morning program ran a story yesterday that astounded me. Ski jumping is the last sport women aren't allowed to compete in in the Olympics. And it's the old crap, they're looking out for us. Bullshit. Go protect someone who really needs protection. These women are talented, and they're being denied the right to compete. Too medically dangerous? Are you kidding me? I've watched skeleton and luge this week, and sliding down an icy runway at 70 miles an hour has got to be much more dangerous.

When I was in high school, state athletics rules made it ILLEGAL for girls to wear cleats. To protect us. Because we might hurt by being spiked. Meanwhile, I watched girls rip up their knees slipping on wet grass on sneakers.

And you can make all the rules you want, but women will still compete. Because athletics are fun, and competition is a gas.

Let's keep the pressure on the old men gasbags at the Olympics to let the women ski jumpers compete. Let them jump in Vancouver in 2010.

Why Are Women Being Left Out in the Cold?
Ski Jump Is the Only Winter Olympic Sport to Exclude Women

The International Ski Federation has ruled that ski jumping is too dangerous for women, making it the only winter Olympic sport that has male competitors and no female counterparts.

"It's like jumping down from, let's say, about two meters on the ground about a thousand times a year, which seems not to be appropriate for ladies from a medical point of view," the federation's president Gian Franco Kasper said on National Public Radio.

Newsday: Rules let a brother fly, but clip sister's wings

The international federation will take another vote this spring on whether women should jump in the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. And Alissa said, "So far, we've been told every excuse in the book. That it's too 'dangerous' for girls. That there aren't enough of us. That we're not good enough. That it would damage our ovaries and uterus and we won't be able to have children, even though that's not true. It's so outdated, it's kind of funny in a way. And then it's not."

The ABC story has a left column side bar asking this question:

Should Women Be Allowed to Ski Jump?
Yes, it's the 21st century.
No, it's not safe.

Currently, with 319 votes recorded, "Yes" has 97.8% of the vote. Go vote. It's the 21st century, damn it.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Headline of the Day, Dick Cheney Edition

Jane Hamsher at firedoglake:

If The Shooter Was Tight, You Must Indict

99 Bottles of Beer On the Wall, 99 Bottles of Beer

You take one down, pass it around, and go hunting. If you're Big Time Dick Cheney, that is. No wonder the Secret Service wouldn't let the local investigators talk to him.

VIDEO: Cheney Admits To Drinking Beer Prior To Hunting Accident

Cheney Speaks: Less Filling, More Speculation

Cheney, "A Beer or Two" and a Gun

The Nation -- Vice President Dick Cheney, who was forced to leave Yale University because his penchant for late-night beer drinking exceeded his devotion to his studies, and who is one of the small number of Americans who can count two drunk driving busts on his driving record, may have been doing more than hunting quail on the day that he shot a Texas lawyer in the face.

Katherine Armstrong, the wealthy Republican lobbyist who is a member member of the politically connected family that owns the ranch where Cheney blasted his hunting partner, acknowledged to a reporter from the NBC investigative unit that alcohol may have been served at a picnic that was served Saturday afternoon on the dude ranch where Cheney shot Harry Whittington.


This is where the hunting accident "incident" becomes a serious matter. The role played by the Secret Service in preventing questioning of Cheney on the evening of the shooting takes on new significance. If Cheney was in any way impaired at the time of the shooting, it was certainly to the Vice President's advantage put off the official investigation until the next morning.

Just For Laughs

Make the Pie Higher

This following poem is composed entirely of actual quotes from George W. Bush.

Make the Pie Higher

I think we all agree, the past is over.
This is still a dangerous world.
It's a world of madmen
And uncertainty
And potential mental losses.

Rarely is the question asked
Is our children learning?
Will the highways of the internet
Become more few?
How many hands have I shaked?

They misunderestimate me.
I am a pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity.
I know that the human being and the fish
Can coexist.

Families is where our nation finds hope
Where our wings take dream.
Put food on your family!
Knock down the tollbooth!
Vulcanize society!
Make the pie higher!
Make the pie higher!

Congressional Report Confirms: Bush Fiddled While New Orleans Drowned

August 30, 2005

House Probe Blasts Katrina Preparation

"Earlier presidential involvement might have resulted in a more effective response," the inquiry concluded.

White House spokesman Allen Abney declined to comment Tuesday night. On Monday, White House homeland security adviser Frances Fragos Townsend said Bush was "fully involved" in Washington's preparations and response to Katrina.

Massachusetts 2 - Fundies 0

State orders Wal-Mart to sell morning-after pill
Retailer says it will consider stocking drug at all US stores

Wal-Mart said yesterday it will start stocking and selling the emergency contraceptive drug Plan B at its 44 Massachusetts pharmacies and is giving serious consideration to carrying the drug at all of its stores nationwide.

The world's biggest retailer acted after the state Board of Registration in Pharmacy voted unanimously to require Wal-Mart to stock and dispense Plan B, a high dose of hormones that women can take three to five days after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.

The only other state where Wal-Mart sells the so-called morning-after pill is Illinois, where a state law requires it. Elsewhere, Wal-Mart has refused to stock the drug for undisclosed ''business reasons."

Guardian (uk):

Wal-Mart Must Stock Contraception in Mass.

Massachusetts got its first point on the gay marriage issue. Equality-R-Us.

Cheney Shooting: Hard to Keep All Those Lies Straight

Good diary on dailykos summarizing all the holes in Cheney's alibi witness's story:

Update: Shooting Holes In Cheney's Story

To summarize: Katherine Armstrong, ranch owner, is the only witness cited on the accident report. She said Whittington came up behind Cheney, didn't signal or indicate his presence or announce himself, and Cheney didn't see him. She also said she was 100 yards away -- the length of a football field -- in the hunt vehicle (too far to hear anything, for sure). She said he was bruised, the pellets broke the skin; but the medical team said he was bleeding profusely from the face, neck and chest, and his daughter says he doesn't recall a lot of the incident, and didn't know if he was going to the mortuary or the hospital. Was drinking involved? She said "No, zero, zippo and I don't drink at all. No one was drinking."; but yesterday she said "There may be a beer or two in there, but remember not everyone in the party was shooting." She said she talked to the VP on Saturday, and he told her to get the story out; she said she and her family decided on their own on Sunday to go public.

And then there's the most damning statement:

There's a paragraph in the now-scrubbed beer story that makes it clear that she didn't see the accident.

Armstrong said she saw Cheney's security detail running toward the scene. "The first thing that crossed my mind was he had a heart problem," she told The Associated Press.

This is Armstrong admitting that the first evidence she saw that alerted her that something was wrong was the Secret Service running to help. And that she thought it was Cheney who was in trouble.

This says, to me at least, that she did not see the accident at all.

I'm very curious why no one has asked Ms. Ambassador to Switzerland about the accident, seeing as how she was supposedly standing right next to Dick.


“A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is still putting on its shoes”
- Mark Twain


Hayley Wickenheiser, Canada

I woke up this morning and turned on MSNBC to watch hockey. I've been watching women's hockey for the last few days. The score read "Italy 1, Canada 2" and I thought to myself, wow, Italy scored on that powerful Canadian women's team. Shocking! They had only given up one goal in the tournament so far. I thought Italy was only in the Olympic hockey tournament because they're the hosts. I thought Canada already crushed Italy. I wasn't awake yet. I put the coffee on.

Then I saw the back of one of the Canadian's uniforms and it said "Bertuzzi". I thought, I wonder if she's Todd Bertuzzi's sister? How come I've watched all these games and never heard those excellent NHL announcers says Todd Bertuzzi's sister is on the Canadian women's team?

It was Todd Bertuzzi. This is a men's game. Parity has indeed arrived. You can't tell the difference between the men's and women's games just by looking at the size of the players. Hayley Wickenheiser, Todd Bertuzzi, put a uniform and pads on 'em and it's hard to tell the difference. Italy has a men's hockey team! They scored two goals on Marty Brodeur. Parity all around.

Hot Ticket

Looks like I could make some money if I wanted to sell my Women's NCAA Basketball Final Four tickets. I entered the lottery last year and got my 4 tickets a month ago.

I attended the 1991 (New Orleans), 1992 (Los Angeles), 1993 (Atlanta), 1995 (Minneapolis), 1996 (Charlotte, NC), and 1997 (Cincinnati) women's final fours. Then my trial schedule heated up, I missed 1998 in St. Louis, and I never got back into the habit. In the early years you could walk up to the box office on the day of the game and buy a ticket. The last few years I attended the place was packed, but serious scalping wasn't going on yet. I guess the women's game has finally arrived. Thank you Patsy Mink, Birch Bayh, and Title IX.

Women's basketball proves a hot ticket

April brings Opening Day for the Red Sox. There is no denying that fundamental truth of life in Boston. But before this year's ritual, another major sports event will come to the Hub: the NCAA Women's Final Four.

The women's college basketball championship will be held this year at the TD Banknorth Garden, and the event is expected to bring upward of 30,000 visitors to Boston. The semifinal games are scheduled for Sunday, April 2, the day before the Red Sox begin their season in Texas, and the finals will take place on April 4.

Boston beat nearly two dozen other cities for the right to host the event, which is expected to pump at least $20 million into the local economy. But fans hoping to stroll up to the Garden's box office and purchase tickets in the coming weeks are out of luck: For the 13th straight year, all three games of the Women's Final Four are sold out. On eBay, tickets to the three games are being sold for as much as $342 apiece, which is nearly 2 1/2 times the $140 face value.

Nearly all of the Garden's 19,334 seats will be filled by students and others affiliated with the competing schools, other NCAA Division I universities, and corporate sponsors and muckety-mucks. About 6,000 tickets to the games were sold to the general public last August after a random computerized drawing. About 22 percent of them went to Massachusetts residents, second only to the 26 percent that went to Connecticut and its rabid UConn fans.

Where the tickets go

Cheney Shooting Victim Has Heart Attack

Shotgun Pellet Causes Cardiac Event In Victim

The lawyer's heart condition Tuesday led Blanchard [ER medical director] and hospital Administrator Peter Banko to say Whittington had suffered a "mild heart attack." However, their description of events does not fit that of a heart attack as that term is generally used.

Blanchard said a single shotgun pellet that was lodged in Whittington's chest had moved and come into contact with the surface of his heart. Inflammation of the heart muscle disturbed the electrical circuitry between the upper and lower heart chambers, triggering atrial fibrillation.

That condition affects 2.3 million Americans and is most common in the elderly. It causes an irregular heartbeat that is often faster than normal and frequently produces a feeling of breathlessness, though Blanchard said Whittington reportedly had no symptoms.

From, we learn that the victim has lead pellets lodged against his larynx and in his liver, as well as the lead pellet in his heart:

Full of Holes
The gossip about Cheney's bad shot.

At what range was Harry Whittington hit? The official story is that the blast from the vice president's shotgun hit Whittington at a distance of 30 yards. Hunters at the Vaughn Building are skeptical. The hunt took place on a cold, windy afternoon. Whittington and his fellow hunters were probably wearing warm clothing—say, a jacket and a flannel shirt. Cheney was using a 28-gauge shotgun, a smaller-diameter firearm with pellets smaller than BBs. Whittington's friends question whether the pellets could have penetrated his layers of clothing and skin at that range. Yet two pellets lodged against his larynx, another was in his liver, and another migrated into the heart muscle, causing the heart attack. The pattern of wounds was between the lower chest and the forehead, a pretty tight zone for shot of 30 yards. If the range was considerably less than 30 yards, then it is likely that Whittington's injuries were worse than the initial statement by Katharine Armstrong indicated. (The blast "knocked him silly," but "he was fine.")

And just why was Whittington shot in the face at close range? How could an experienced hunter make such a stupid mistake? This afternoon MSNBC published a story with a quote from ranch owner Armstrong:

"There may be a beer or two in there," she said, 'but remember not everyone in the party was shooting.'"

but later in the day MSGOP scrubbed that article, which now can only be found in the Google abstract. Drinking and hunting don't mix.

To be continued, with another version of the story tomorrow. Mark my words.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Bad Asbestos Bill Defeated

A win for asbestos victims, Harry Reid, and small and medium sized asbestos companies. Big loss for Bill Frist and Big Asbestos. I watched the vote on C-Span. Frist had 59 votes but needed 60. As a procedural matter, he changed his vote to "No" so that he can bring it up again.

You could tell who was going to win before the votes were counted. Dick Durbin, Harry Reid, Barack Obama, and John Kerry could all be seen smiling broadly on the Senate floor.

One small victory. Hurrah!

Senate vote effectively kills asbestos bill

From tomorrow's WaPo:

Senate Foes Block Proposed Trust Fund For Asbestos Victims
Vote Short Against Budgetary Challenge

Previous post: Another Bad Asbestos Bailout Bill

They Think We're Stupid

August 30, 2005

Disaster Response Changes Promised
Administration Admits Katrina Flaws, Moves to Retool Homeland Security

Responding to a draft House report that said the administration disregarded warnings of Katrina's threat to New Orleans and that Bush was slow to become engaged, Townsend said, "I reject outright any suggestion that President Bush was anything less than fully involved."

The Incompetence, The Corruption, and The Cronyism, Valentine's Day edition, 2006

The Incompetence:

I believe giving $7 billion dollars from American taxpayers to the obscenely rich oil and gas companies qualifies for all three categories, but it's certainly monumental incompetence:

U.S. Royalty Plan to Give Windfall to Oil Companies

WASHINGTON, Feb. 13 — The federal government is on the verge of one of the biggest giveaways of oil and gas in American history, worth an estimated $7 billion over five years.

New projections, buried in the Interior Department's just-published budget plan, anticipate that the government will let companies pump about $65 billion worth of oil and natural gas from federal territory over the next five years without paying any royalties to the government.

Based on the administration figures, the government will give up more than $7 billion in payments between now and 2011. The companies are expected to get the largess, known as royalty relief, even though the administration assumes that oil prices will remain above $50 a barrel throughout that period.

Administration officials say that the benefits are dictated by laws and regulations that date back to 1996, when energy prices were relatively low and Congress wanted to encourage more exploration and drilling in the high-cost, high-risk deep waters of the Gulf of Mexico.

The Corruption:

Ohio Coin Dealer, Fundraiser Charged

TOLEDO, Ohio -- A coin dealer and GOP fundraiser hired to manage an unorthodox state investment in rare coins was charged Monday with embezzling at least $1 million in an election-year scandal that has sent Ohio Republicans running for cover.

Tom Noe, 51, pleaded not guilty and was released on $500,000 bail. He was arrested over his handling of a $50 million investment fund set up by the state workers' compensation bureau in an unusual attempt to make money by buying and selling rare coins.


Lucas County Prosecutor Julia Bates would not say how much money Noe is alleged to have stolen, but one of the charges accuses him of embezzling at least $1 million. The Ohio attorney general has said he believes Noe stole up to $6 million.

Ohio Inspector General Tom Charles said investigators know where the money went, but he would not say where. Investigators were looking into whether any of the stolen money was donated to political candidates.

Noe already faces charges of illegally funneling $45,000 to Bush's re-election campaign. The 53 new counts include racketeering, forgery, theft, money laundering and tampering with records, with the most serious charge carrying up to 10 years in prison.

The Cronyism:

Bush's Nomination of Warsh to Fed Draws Criticism

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) -- Most of President George W. Bush's nominees to the Federal Reserve have earned accolades from across the economic and political spectrums.

And then there's Kevin Warsh.

Bush's nomination of the 35-year-old White House aide -- a lawyer by training who would become one of only two members of the Fed's seven-member board of governors without a Ph.D. in economics -- has been greeted by criticism and bewilderment by some former Fed officials and economists. They point to his political connections and inexperience, and say the White House could have found a better-known, more qualified choice.

``Kevin Warsh is not a good idea,'' said former Fed Vice Chairman Preston Martin, who was appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan in 1982. ``If I were on the Senate Banking Committee,'' which must approve Fed nominees, ``I would vote against him.''

``The Warsh nomination came out of left field,'' said Tom Schlesinger, executive director of the Financial Markets Center, a Howardsville, Virginia-based group that monitors the Fed.

In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican.
-- H. L. Mencken

All Hat, No Cattle

The Bush Administration is all talk and no action. They're spending billions to tell us everything is great rather than spending on programs that actually do something. All hat, no cattle, as they say in Texas.


How much is good press worth? To the Bush administration, about $1.6 billion.

That's how much seven federal departments spent from 2003 through the second quarter of 2005 on 343 contracts with public relations firms, advertising agencies, media organizations and individuals, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

The 154-page report provides the most comprehensive look to date at the scope of federal spending in an area that generated substantial controversy last year. Congressional Democrats asked the GAO to look into federal public relations contracts last spring at the height of the furor over government-sponsored prepackaged news and journalism-for-sale.

Bush Budget Would Cut Popular Health Programs

President Bush has requested billions more to prepare for potential disasters such as a biological attack or an influenza epidemic, but his proposed budget for next year would zero out popular health projects that supporters say target more mundane, but more certain, killers.

If enacted, the 2007 budget would eliminate federal programs that support inner-city Indian health clinics, defibrillators in rural areas, an educational campaign about Alzheimer's disease, centers for traumatic brain injuries, and a nationwide registry for Lou Gehrig's disease. It would cut close to $1 billion in health care grants to states and would kill the entire budget of the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Resource Center.

Water Woes

From dailykos, a good post summarizing the world's water woes:

When the Well Runs Dry

Lower river flows and lower lake levels could impair navigation, hydroelectric power generation, and water quality, and reduce the supplies of water available for agricultural, residential, and industrial uses. Some areas may experience both increased flooding during winter and spring, as well as lower supplies during summer. In California's Central Valley, for example, melting snow provides much of the summer water supply; warmer temperatures would cause the snow to melt earlier and thus reduce summer supplies even if rainfall increased during the spring. More generally, the tendency for rainfall (see climate trends) to be more concentrated in large storms as temperatures rise would tend to increase river flooding, without increasing the amount of water available.

That quote is not from the dailykos diarist: it's from the EPA.

Jacques Cousteau

We forget that the water cycle and the life cycle are one.

Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.

'How do I know this and you don't'?'

I am loving a new-to-me website called "Overheard in New York". This one, for example, just cracked me up:

Zero Christians Set to March in Union Square

Guy #1: What, you got a problem with me cursing?

Guy #2: Nah, nah, it's just that, you know, sayin' "holy fuck" is like talkin 'bout Jesus's mom fuckin' his dad and it's not cool to talk about Jesus's mom fuckin' people.

Guy #1: Dumbass, Jesus's mom didn't fuck anyone. She was a fuckin' virgin. How do I know this and you don't? You're the Christian.

Guy #2: What are you talkin' 'bout? How could Jesus have been born if his mom hadn't screwed his dad? Wait, who was Jesus's dad again?

Guy #1: Dude, are you serious?

--F train

Monday, February 13, 2006

Just What Democrats Need, Forced Out

More ham handed bullshit from the national Democratic party. Do they want to win any of these races? Is milquetoast the desired persona? Do they really think the "let's hide in the corner until the Republicans implode" a strategy?

I am sad to see Hackett has been forced out by chickenshit Dems. We don't lose elections because we have primary contests. We lose elections because we're afraid to say what we think.

Popular Ohio Democrat Drops Out of Race, and Perhaps Politics

Paul Hackett, an Iraq war veteran and popular Democratic candidate in Ohio's closely watched Senate contest, said yesterday that he was dropping out of the race and leaving politics altogether as a result of pressure from party leaders.

Mr. Hackett said Senators Charles E. Schumer of New York and Harry Reid of Nevada, the same party leaders who he said persuaded him last August to enter the Senate race, had pushed him to step aside so that Representative Sherrod Brown, a longtime member of Congress, could take on Senator Mike DeWine, the Republican incumbent.

Mr. Hackett staged a surprisingly strong Congressional run last year in an overwhelmingly Republican district and gained national prominence for his scathing criticism of the Bush administration's handling of the Iraq War. It was his performance in the Congressional race that led party leaders to recruit him for the Senate race.

But for the last two weeks, he said, state and national Democratic Party leaders have urged him to drop his Senate campaign and again run for Congress.

"This is an extremely disappointing decision that I feel has been forced on me," said Mr. Hackett, whose announcement comes two days before the state's filing deadline for candidates. He said he was outraged to learn that party leaders were calling his donors and asking them to stop giving and said he would not enter the Second District Congressional race.

Cheney Shooter

Last night I asked, after learning that the victim was in intensive care, where will the Dick Cheney shooting story be in 24 hours? Teach me to EVER accept a story about the Bush Administration at face value. Remember the first story? "Accidentally sprayed a fellow hunter with birdshot", instead of the truth: Shot a man in the face at close range, had him airlifted to a hospital where he was operated on & spent days in intensive care.

Today's headlines:

Austin lawyer shot by Cheney moved from intensive care
Harry Whittington hit by as many as 200 birdshot pellets in Saturday incident

Cheney Was Hunting Illegally When Accident Occurred

Texas Sheriff Barred From Interviewing Cheney About Shooting Incident

Best corporate media headline of the day goes to Dan Froomkin of WaPo:

Shoots, Hides and Leaves

Privatization Gone Wild - Bushco Puts Terrorist Funders in Charge

Why is the Bush Administration poised to turn over the operations in the Port of New York to an United Arab Emirates company? This is crazy.

Via Brilliant at Breakfast [Fox, Meet Henhouse], this is from yesterday's WaPo:

United Arab Emirates Firm May Oversee 6 U.S. Ports

A company in the United Arab Emirates is poised to take over significant operations at six American ports as part of a corporate sale, leaving a country with ties to the Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers with influence over a maritime industry considered vulnerable to terrorism.


The $6.8 billion sale could be approved Monday and would affect commercial port operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia.

Brilliant points out that the WaPo omitted this portion of the original, AP article:

Critics of the proposed purchase said a port operator complicit in smuggling or terrorism could manipulate manifests and other records to frustrate Homeland Security's already limited scrutiny of shipping containers and slip contraband past U.S. Customs inspectors.

"When you have a foreign government involved, you are injecting foreign national interests," Kreitzer said. "A country that may be a friend of ours today may not be on the same side tomorrow. You don't know in advance what the politics of that country will be in the future."

Does this pose a national security risk? I think that's pushing the envelope," said Stephen E. Flynn, who studies maritime security at the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations. "It's not impossible to imagine one could develop an internal conspiracy, but I'd have to assign it a very low probability."

Changing management over the U.S. ports "doesn't offer al-Qaida any opportunities it doesn't have now," said James Lewis, who worked with the U.S. committee at the State and Commerce departments. "It's in Dubai's interest to make sure this runs well. There is strong economic incentive to be sure these worries never materialize."


Since the Sept. 11 attacks, the FBI has said the money for the strikes was transferred to the hijackers primarily through the UAE's banking system, and much of the operational planning for the attacks took place inside the UAE.

Many of the hijackers traveled to the U.S. through the UAE. Also, the hijacker who steered United Airlines flight into the World Trade Center's south tower, Marwan al-Shehhi, was born in the UAE.

After the attacks, U.S. Treasury Department officials complained about a lack of cooperation by the UAE and other Arab countries trying to track Osama bin Laden's bank accounts.

Tiffeny Milbrett to Chelski

Chelsea FC is apparently on the brink of signing Tiffeny Milbrett for the remainder of their season, along with Canadian Christine Sinclair:

Whitecaps sign Milbrett and Sinclair

Tiffeny Milbrett, 33, comes to the Whitecaps as one of the most productive goal scorers in U.S. national team history. The 5'2" native of Portland, Oregon, has amassed 204 appearances (fifth all-time), 100 goals (fourth all-time) and 61 assists (third all-time) with the U.S. women's national team.

Sinclair and Milbrett are slated to travel to England next week to join Chelsea LFC of the F.A. Women's Premier League for the remainder of their season. They are then scheduled to join the Whitecaps in May.

What a contrast in players. Milbrett is tiny, but incredibly skilled, with a powerful shot. Sinclair is a beast, just a very big woman. Every time I've seen her play I see her land on top of someone else, hard.

Tiffeny breaks Chelsea fast

Ever since the female Blues shook buckets outside Stamford Bridge to raise money, Chelsea have been portrayed as uninterested to the point of meanness. Signing Milbrett and Sinclair would mark a turning point for the game in the UK and prove that one of football's biggest brands is prepared to put women at the heart of its drive for growth.

Some things never change. When I played soccer in college, our Athletic Director was the head of the NCAA. Yet the women's soccer team wasn't varsity, and we had bake sales to buy uniforms (until one of my teammates threatened a Title IX lawsuit, that is). I hope Tiffeny is getting some of Roman Abramovich's money.

2/15/06 Update
: New York Times says Milbrett is trying to obtain a work permit to play for Chelsea.

Anucha Browne Sanders Update

The former New York Knicks executive's sexual harassment lawsuit continues.

Newsday doesn't think the Garden's attempt to smear her is going anywhere:

MSG firing Anucha air ball

Madison Square Garden and Garden dirt-diggers are working overtime on Anucha Browne Sanders, the former Knicks executive who filed a sexual- harassment suit against Isiah Thomas. And they couldn't fill a thimble with what they've dug up so far.

We have learned -- assuming the dirt-diggers and dishers are dead on -- that Browne Sanders once scolded Marcus Camby for refusing to meet a VIP.

That she told Clarence Weatherspoon (who wasn't named after an eating utensil for nothing) that he might consider dropping a few pounds.

We learned she requested a full page for herself in the media guide.

We learned she once kept Willis Reed waiting for 30 minutes in the reception area.

My sources tell me this is only the beginning.

It hasn't come out yet, but my people say she didn't always floss as a child.

And she routinely doesn't curb her dog.

And she once took call- waiting while talking to Walt Frazier.

All this is B.S., of course, which is only a half-step below what the dirt-diggers have gathered on Browne Sanders. If that.

We're eight days in, and they've got nothing on Nucha, as she was called as an all-everything basketballer at Northwestern.

There's another sexual harassment case pending against Madison Square Garden, this by the former captain of the Ranger City Dancers, Courtney Prince. The EEOC has already investigated and found probable cause that she was harassed:

Skater's garden torment
Sex harassment nightmare

A New York Times hockey writer was involved!

What's Missing in 'NY Times' Coverage of Sex Harrassment Case?
A Times hockey writer allegedly plays a role in a high-profile lawsuit, as revealed by another New York daily this week. Why has the Times reported on the case -- but not mentioned its own employee's relation to it?

The Garden has a long history of sexual harassment complaints by female employees, according to the New York Daily News:

Sex woes sprout at garden
News probe uncovers history of complaints

The Madison Square Garden empire is a hotbed of sexual harassment, with pervasive complaints from temporary bar staff to senior managers, a Daily News investigation has found.

Past and present female employees described an overwhelming "frat boy" culture that seemingly permeates every tier of the huge organization, according to interviews and legal papers.

Though a sign posted at the employee entrance to the Garden on W. 33rd St. promises "fair and respectful treatment" to all personnel, female employees told The News of instances where they work surrounded by sexist jokes, bikini-clad pinups and even a blowup doll.

Others described much more aggressive and frightening abuse — incidents stunningly similar to harassment claims made by Anucha Browne Sanders, the Knicks' former vice president of marketing, and former Rangers City Skater Courtney Prince.

Isiah Thomas treated the CBA owners and personnel like crap while he was running that league into bankruptcy:

Menace behind the smile
CBA owners: Isiah nasty,
incompetent behind closed doors

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Cheney's Victim in Intensive Care

Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter
Dick Cheney Accidentally Shoots Hunting Companion in Texas; Millionaire Lawyer in Intensive Care

That important detail -- intensive care -- was not in the initial reports.

The incident was not reported for over 24 hours.

Wonder what the story will be by this time tomorrow?

When Criminals Have Guns

The innocent are at risk.

Cheney Accidentally Shoots Fellow Hunter

Update: James Wolcott tries to make me spit out my coffee:

Vice President Elmer Fudd

Time to take the shotgun away from grandpa, who's blasted perhaps hundreds of innocent birds into bloody feathers during his life, before he has another senior moment.

And then there's Art Pottery, Politics and Food:

Veep Bags Senior Citizen

with a picture captioned, "Cheney draws a bead on a Social Security recipient". Tee hee.

And via firedoglake, Bob Geiger with

Dick Cheney’s Top 10 Excuses For Shooting Fellow Hunter

And the laughs just keep on coming, this from Joel Achenbach in the WaPo:

Deadeye Dick Cheney

Horizontal Snow

Michelle Kwan

replaced by

Emily Hughes

Well, this storm's living up to the hype. If only the hype were a little less hysterical:

Got Milk? And Bread and Shovels?
Washington Region Braces For Biggest Snow in 3 Years

Boston Globe:
With snowstorm looming, residents take action
Many stocking up as winter of calm appears doomed

The snow blowing by my windows is completely horizontal. Of course, it's not like we're getting the snowstorm to end all snowstorms. I have a problem with the use of the word "doomed" in the Boston Globe article, sarcastic or not. A foot or a foot and a half of snow is not unusual. This happens in the winter. Last year we got 114 inches. I live in New England, for crying out loud. I expect it. I have shovels, scrapers, gloves, hats, boots, skis, snowshoes, and big fat down coats. I'm prepared.

So it's a good day to watch the winter Olympics. Too bad the coverage doesn't start until this afternoon. I'm spoiled by the wall-to-wall coverage of the World Cup.

Michelle Kwan had to withdraw with an injury. Who could have predicted that? She was too injured to compete in the trials, but she was given special treatment by the USOC. She was given a special tryout after the trials were over, and knocked Emily Hughes, who earned the third place on the squad at the trials, off the squad.

Injury Forces Kwan to Withdraw in Turin

Hyperbole, thy name is Peter Euberroth:

"Michelle Kwan means more to the United States Olympic Committee than maybe any athlete that's ever performed for the U.S. Olympic Committee," Ueberroth said. "She's been a leader, she's been gracious, she's somebody that cares for so many youngsters that are training in our country.

"She's a real loss to all of the United States Olympic Committee and to the United States of America, and I think to the world. She's made a courageous decision."

Really, Pete, more than Bonnie Blair, Mark Spitz, Wilma Rudolph, Eric Heiden, Carl Lewis, Jim Thorpe? Really a ridiculous statement. I'm sorry she wasn't able to get her gold medal, but most important athlete in Olympic history? Please.

I hope Emily Hughes was able to get a plane out of New York City before the snow shut down the airports.

: Coach Mom's take: "Michelle Kwan means more than Jesse Owens? More important than Babe Didrikson? Are you kidding me?"

'Eau, No'

From the Independent (uk):

Eau, no: Clean, healthy and pure? Hardly. Bottled water is killing the planet
And our thirst grows, with 154 billion litres drunk in one year.

It costs 10,000 times more to create the bottled version than it does to produce tap water, say scientists. Huge resources are needed to draw it from the ground, add largely irrelevant minerals, and package and distribute it - sometimes half-way around the world.

The plastic bottles it comes in take 1,000 years to biodegrade, and in industrialised countries, bottled water is no more pure and healthy than what comes out of the tap.

The new study comes from the Earth Policy Institute (EPI), a Washington-based environmental group which has previously alerted the world to melting ice caps, expanding deserts and the environmental threats of a rapidly industrialising China. It points out that the world consumed a staggering 154 billion litres of bottled water in 2004 - an increase of 57 per cent in just half a decade.

I need to reform my water habits. I live in a town where the water didn't meet EPA standards for a number of contaminants. Every six months I got a notice in the mail telling me that our water contained these contaminants, and that no home filtration system would remove them. Therefore, under EPA standards, the water shouldn't be used for drinking. So I got into the habit of drinking bottled water.

The town's water filtration plant went online this summer, so it's time for me to get back to my filtered-from-the-tap water.

Test Your Energy IQ

From the BBC:

Global energy quiz
Running on empty
Just how much do you know about the world and its energy sources and how they are used?

I was 3 for 9, .333, a good batting average in baseball but woeful on a quiz.

I Had This Thought Percolating in the Back of My Mind...

And then I read No More Mister Nice Blog, and said, That's it. Just what I was thinking:

The first picture of Bush in the same frame with Jack Abramoff has surfaced in The New York Times and Time.

Of course, I'm suspicious about the way the photos are being parceled out. As I said last month, I think the White House wanted us all to be slavering for the pictures. We were, and now the first one comes out -- and it shows Bush (and Karl Rove) very, very far from Abramoff. Almost certainly, the White House, the right-wing press, talk radio, and righty bloggers are ready with a carefully calibrated message ridiculing our eagerness to see these pictures when what they show (or at least this one shows) suggests no closeness whatsoever between Abramoff and Bush. (Blogs for Bush gets the ball rolling tonight.) I think we're being fed this stuff very carefully, so it suggests what the White House wants us to believe, rather than telling us the truth.