Saturday, April 15, 2006

Benny Hinn Takes the Reigns at USSoccer

I know he says his name is Sunil Gulati, but look at the pictures! He's clearly Benny Hinn. Or Benny Hinn's own Mini-Me.

Of building professional soccer in the United States, Sunil Gulati said, "In the end, the market will decide."(Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times)

NYTimes: Economics Professor Seeks U.S. Soccer Model

Sunil Gulati discusses the future of soccer the same way he addresses his Principles of Economics class at Columbia University.

[]

Gulati, who served six years as vice president of the United States federation, was elected president by the membership of U.S. Soccer, the sport's governing body. He sees his four-year term as a chance to pursue initiatives in international relations, diversity and media growth, all with an eye to playing host to major events. []

Benny Hinn (Wikipedia)

They're Wrong, Wrong, Wrong



Edward Jayne, Dissident Voice: '36 Bush disasters'

Almost everything has gone wrong in the Bush administration. Bush constantly takes the presumably high moral ground while using trickery and misdirection to promote unacceptable policies. He seeks to benefit his "real" base, the wealthiest segment of the U.S. population, while remaining mostly indifferent to less affluent Americans. He harasses his opponents as enemies of the state, while staffing his administration at all levels with political hacks whose only qualification is their undiluted loyalty to his leadership. And he actually takes pride in being a "war president" in direct contact with God, able to obtain God's permission to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. Insisting on his conservative agenda, he has become a "radical" president, probably the worst and most incompetent in U.S. history.


John Farmer, Newark (NJ) Star-Journal: 'Bush's band of war-happy simpletons'

And what about the neocons, our home-front heroes -- Cheney, Rumsfeld, the civilians they've recruited like Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Paul Wolfowitz and Stephen Hadley -- who orchestrated the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war and foreign regime change?

They should never again be allowed anywhere near the instruments and agencies of the American government.

More Global Warming News

This walrus pup alone in the Arctic Ocean, separated from its mother, was a troubling sight for researchers in 2004. (By Phil Alatalo -- Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WaPo: Warming Arctic Is Taking a Toll
Peril to Walrus Young Seen as Result of Melting Ice Shelf


The rapid melting of Arctic sea ice appears to be separating walrus young from their mothers, leaving them likely to die at sea, a team of researchers said.

During a two-month cruise off northern Alaska in 2004, a Coast Guard icebreaker came across nine lone walrus calves swimming in the deep waters -- what the scientists called a highly unusual sighting.

They report in the journal Aquatic Mammals that the pups most likely fell into the sea when a shelf of sea ice that they lived on with their mothers collapsed because of an influx of unusually warm water.

[]

The team found that water flowing from the Bering Sea to the shallower continental shelf of the Chukchi Sea off northern Alaska was six degrees warmer than it had been at the same time and place two years earlier.


WaPo: British Expert Warns of Global Warming

LONDON -- Global temperatures are likely to rise by 5.4 degrees by the end of the century, sharply increasing drought and water shortages, Britain's chief scientist said.

[]

A British government report said a 3 degree increase would cause millions of tons of cereal crops to fail and put between 1.2 billion and 3 billion people at risk of water shortages.

The Washington Post article, from the AP, is poorly written, as it does not specify which scale the degrees are measured in. I think they mean to say 5.4F and 3C, as the British research is measured in celsius temperatures, and 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit is the same as 3 degrees Celsius. The international press captures the truly dire scientific warnings:

The Scotsman: Three billion lives hang on three degrees, warns scientist

GLOBAL temperatures are set to rise by more than 3C, sparking a massive drought that could put 400 million people at risk of hunger, the government's chief scientific adviser has warned.

Professor Sir David King called for the world to take immediate action to alleviate the looming crisis, which could also jeopardise water supplies for up to three billion people.

His warning, on the back of an official report by a leading UK climate change centre, highlights the huge gulf between government's goals on gas emissions and the level of cuts needed to curb global warming.

Even by the most optimistic assessments, carbon dioxide levels are set to rise to double what they were during the industrial revolution, Prof King said.

In Britain, the main threat would come from flooding and "coastal attack" as sea levels rose. He said it was essential that the world began to take action to cope with the changes over the next 100 years.

"We don't have to succumb to a state of despondency where we say, 'There is nothing we can do so let's just carry on living as per usual'. It is very important to understand that we can manage the risks to our population."

Global levels of carbon emissions need to be cut by 27 per cent more than the current goal of 550 parts per million in the atmosphere to achieve a 2C rise in temperatures - the level deemed acceptable by the EU and Tony Blair. Going beyond this level would force temperature and sea-level rises which would be "extremely difficult for populations to manage".

Prof King was also scathing about politicians who believed they could rely on new technologies to produce cleaner fuels. "There is a difference between optimism and head in the sand," he said. His criticism will be seen as a clear swipe at President George Bush, who has refused to sign up to international agreements to cut gas emission and has instead pledged to look to new technologies to combat climate change.

War Pimp Cheney Earned $8,819,006 Last Year

photo courtesy agitprops.org

WaPo: Bushes Paid $187,768 in Federal Income Tax
First Couple's Earnings Totaled About $735,000; Cheneys Made $8.8 Million


The Cheneys owed $529,636 in federal taxes on taxable income of $1,961,157 in 2005,according to their tax return, also released by the White House. Their overall income included the vice president's annual salary of $205,031 and $211,465 in deferred compensation from Halliburton Co., the Texas-based energy services firm and defense contractor that he headed until August 2000. Before leaving Halliburton, a large military contractor in Iraq, Cheney chose to defer his 1999 salary as chief executive and have it paid to him, with interest, in fixed annual installments over five years after his retirement from the company.

[]

The Cheneys appear to have taken advantage of a special tax break Congress passed in the Katrina Emergency Tax Relief Act of 2005, said Steve Hurok, tax director at BDO Seidman LLP, a national tax consulting and professional services firm. The provision temporarily suspended a federal rule that prevents people from taking tax deductions on cash charitable giving that exceeds 50 percent of their adjusted gross income.

That change, which expired at the end of last year, allowed the Cheneys to deduct from their taxable income the full $6,869,655 of their charitable giving last year, rather than the $4.4 million that normally would have been eligible, Hurok said. In essence, the Cheneys were able to donate the extra $2.4 million to charity without having to pay taxes on the money or to defer the tax benefits to future years.

Like most people, I will pay a higher percentage of taxes than the millionaire Veep. The Cheneys manage to make even their charitable contributions look sleazy.

Little Debbie's Revenge

Maryscott O'Connor says her liberal Web log, My Left Wing, is "one long, sustained scream." (By David Finkel -- The Washington Post)

When left bloggers reacted with outrage when the Washington Post's new ombudsperson misstated the facts of the Abramoff scandal, the Post was shocked and offended. They've been trying to get even ever since. First there were the opinion pieces full of whining about the nasty shots they took (WAHHHHH), then the hiring of Box Turtle Ben as inhouse Republican blogger (he lasted 4 days before being exposed as a serious plagiarist) and now a front page article depicting left bloggers as raving loons.

The article is on MaryScott O'Connor of My Left Wing, who started out at dailykos and still blogs there. She tells us that the WaPo reporter that wrote this five-page article told her in their first meeting that "He did have a phrase weaving in and out of his mind: 'The Angry Left.'" He wanted to know why she was "so mean". Read the article below. He had an agenda, and he carried it out. He came to see and write about The Angry Left, and everything he saw fit into his predetermined theme.

WaPo: The Left, Online and Outraged
Liberal Blogger Finds an Outlet and a Community


SHERMAN OAKS, Calif. -- In the angry life of Maryscott O'Connor, the rage begins as soon as she opens her eyes and realizes that her president is still George W. Bush. The sun has yet to rise and her family is asleep, but no matter; as soon as the realization kicks in, O'Connor, 37, is out of bed and heading toward her computer.

Out there, awaiting her building fury: the Angry Left, where O'Connor's reputation is as one of the angriest of all. "One long, sustained scream" is how she describes the writing she does for various Web logs, as she wonders what she should scream about this day.

Blah, blah, blah. We're all crazy. Must be since we're being so mean to the Post. Wahhhhhh!

Update: For an example of the nastiness of this article, look at the picture WaPo used, above, and then look at this picture of Maryscott O'Connor from her website:



Beautiful or deranged? I leave it to you, dear readers.

Rummy, You're Doin a Heckuva Job


WaPo: Bush Speaks Out for Rumsfeld
'My Full Support' For Defense Chief

Mercury Regulation Falls to the States


Since Bushco is corporately blinded to the issue, the states are stepping in to reduce mercury use and pollution.

Maine passed legislation to reduce and eventually eliminate mercury use.

Boston Globe: New laws will reduce toxic metal in environment

The latest bill signed by [Gov. John] Baldacci calls for reducing the existing mercury emission limit for an individual source from 50 pounds per year to 35 pounds after Jan. 1, 2007, and then to 25 pounds per year after Jan. 1, 2010.

Baldacci marked the occasion by drawing attention to other mercury-reduction bills he's signed in recent days and weeks, saying they move Maine "substantially closer to the goal of eliminating man-made sources of mercury emissions." He said the Maine laws have become models for other states.

"The effects that mercury can have on your health can range from acne to impaired brain development and everything in between. It depends on the type of mercury and how you came in to contact with it," the governor said.

Other newly enacted Maine laws require manufacturers to set up a system to collect and recycle unused mercury thermostats by offering incentives worth at least $5 per thermostat, and ban the sale of button cell batteries that contain mercury -- including consumer products that contain button cell batteries -- as of July 2011.

A new law will take initial steps toward recycling of old cell phones, which contain lead, mercury and other materials that can pose health risks if released into the air, water and ground. The final law requires the annual reporting of the volume of mercury amalgam supplied to dentists in the state.

A group of 11 states including Massachusetts is suing the federal government because the new federal mercury emission rules violate the Clean Air Act. The Massachusetts Attorney General, Tom Reilly, sued EPA to get the documents EPA considered in promulgating these rules. This week a federal magistrate in Massachusetts (Robert B. Collings, appointed by Ronald Reagan, no leftie he) ordered the EPA to turn over the documents.

EPA is ordered to release documents on mercury rule

The EPA's mercury rule allows dirtier power plants to buy air pollution credits from cleaner facilities, a market mechanism the agency says will reduce mercury pollution 69 percent by 2018. But critics say technology exists to reduce mercury even further at a low cost and that the EPA's rule allows hot spots of mercury pollution to develop near power plants that pay for the right to pollute.

The EPA argued it did not have to release the documents because it was part of a deliberative process and exempt under the Freedom of Information Act. But Collings said the agency did not prove that the documents were exempt.

''We will now be able to see the documents that the EPA has tried to keep hidden," said Reilly. ''By making the facts available, the public will now be able to understand the choices the EPA is making and whether the agency is meeting its important responsibility to protect the public health and welfare."

Nevada companies released 3.9 million pounds of the 4.6 million pounds of mercury released in the United States in 2004 so the state has (finally) stepped in:

Salt Lake Tribune: Mercury levels stir new outcry

Elyssa Rosen, senior policy adviser at Great Basin Mine Watch, said the latest information ought to raise concern, particularly among Utah and Idaho residents whose lakes and streams are being contaminated with mercury drifting from Nevada gold mines. Her group, examining newly released data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Toxics Release Inventory for 2004, noted that Nevada remains the nation's mercury hot spot, releasing more of the toxic metal into the air and water and onto the land than any other state.

[]

Last month, the Nevada Environmental Commission approved the first mercury controls for the gold industry, whose largest companies have operated under voluntary curbs for four years.

40% of fish caught in Illinois exceed federal guidelines for mercury:

Chicago Tribune: 40% of state's fish high in mercury, study says
Data cited in report cover 2 decades


High mercury levels found in waterways throughout Illinois led Gov. Rod Blagojevich earlier this year to make an election-year push to dramatically reduce mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants, the top source of the metal.

[]

Blagojevich has called for a 90 percent reduction in mercury pollution from power plants during the next three years. If adopted, the rules would be far more stringent than federal limits proposed by the Bush administration, which would require coal plants to cut emissions by 70 percent by 2018.

The percentage of mercury-contaminated fish in Maryland is even higher: 59%.

Baltimore Sun: Mercury report details toxic fish
Study finds 59% of catch in Md. waters contains unsafe levels for infants, kids


Pick praised the Healthy Air Act recently passed by the General Assembly and signed by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. The law will require coal-burning power plants to install equipment to limit emission of mercury and other pollutants. Pick urged the governor to push hard to incorporate the mercury-reduction provisions as the model for a regional approach when the 13 Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic states of the Ozone Transport Commission meet in June.

Why Does Joe Klein Hate America?

Dueling posts on the Huffington Post:

Joe Klein: The Crucial Difference Between Liberals and Leftists

Alterman had me castigating the "liberal wing" of the party, which I was careful not to do. There is a crucial difference between liberals and leftists, especially on foreign policy--even though Republicans (and leftist-wingers) have successfully conflated the two over the past few decades. The default position of leftists like, say, Michael Moore and many writers at The Nation, is that America is essentially a malignant, imperialistic force in the world and the use of American military power is almost always wrong. Liberals have a more benign, and correct, view of America's role in the world and tend to favor the use of military force if it is exercised judiciously, as a last resort, and in a multilateral contect--with U.N. approval or through NATO. The first Gulf War, the overthrow of the Taliban and the Kosovo intervention met these criteria; Bush's Iraq invasion clearly did not. That was the point I was trying to make at breakfast.


Jane Smiley: Let's Pile On Joe

So, Joe Klein, I wonder if you've noticed in the last five years that in the name of patriotism, the right wing has decimated the treasury, broken the army, wrecked the bureaucracy, silenced the media, gelded the opposition party, handed the public lands over to private interests to exploit as they please, dirtied the air and water, impoverished the working class, damaged the schools, outsourced the jobs, and laid waste to the public health. You haven't said much about that, but that's what I call America-hating.

This round goes to Jane with the knockout punch.

And by the way, liberals never favor war. War is a stupid way to solve problems. Stupid like Joe Klein.

Friday, April 14, 2006

I Think Your Clock Is Fast


I received this in email:

CLOCKS

A man died and went to Heaven and
standing at the Pearly Gates,
saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.
He asked, "What are all those clocks?"

St. Peter answered, "Those are
Lie-Clocks. Everyone on earth has a
Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands
on your clock move."

"Oh", said the man. "Whose clock is that?"
"That's Mother Teresa's", replied St.
Peter. "The hands have never
moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible", said the man. "And whose
clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham
Lincoln's clock. The hands have
moved twice, telling us that Abraham
told only two lies in his entire life."
"Where's Bush's clock?" asked the man.

"Bush's clock is in Jesus' office. He's
using it as a ceiling fan."

Rumsfield: The Real Torture Guy


And I've been calling Attorney General Abu Gonzales Torture Guy. He approved the policies; Rumsfield participated in the torture. No wonder the retired generals are out to get him. Real members of the military oppose torture. If we torture the enemy, we approve a policy that will be surely used against us.

Raw Story: Salon: Rumsfeld 'personally involved' in interrogation of Qaeda detainee that turned 'harsh'

Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was "personally involved" in the interrogation of an al-Qaeda detainee that turned "harsh," according to an explosive report at Salon.com based on an Army inspector general's report released through an FOIA request.


Salon: What Rumsfeld knew
Interviews with high-ranking military officials shed new light on the role Rumsfeld played in the harsh treatment of a Guantánamo detainee.


Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was personally involved in the late 2002 interrogation of a high-value al-Qaida detainee known in intelligence circles as "the 20th hijacker." He also communicated weekly with the man in charge of the interrogation, Maj. Gen. Geoffrey Miller, the controversial commander of the Guantánamo Bay detention center.

During the same period, detainee Mohammed al-Kahtani suffered from what Army investigators have called "degrading and abusive" treatment by soldiers who were following the interrogation plan Rumsfeld had approved. Kahtani was forced to stand naked in front of a female interrogator, was accused of being a homosexual, and was forced to wear women's underwear and to perform "dog tricks" on a leash. He received 18-to-20-hour interrogations during 48 of 54 days.

Albino Robin Sighting


From Middle Earth Journal, a picture of an albino robin. Which, as I click on the link in the post, is from an article in the Binghamton Press, the fishwrap that used to be thrown on my parent's porch every day. To be read for Dave Rossie and local news. Like albino robins.

Another Billionaire for Bush


Remember when George Bush said, during his 2000 campaign, that he'd 'jawbone' oil producers to keep oil and gas prices low? You guessed it, his lips were moving and he was lying. No excess profits tax on the record-breaking year for Exxon Mobil and other oil and gas producers. That's why this scumbag who ran Exxon-Mobil gets a HALF BILLION dollar farewell handshake.

Oil man's half a billion dollar bye-bye

LAST year's high oil prices not only helped Exxon Mobil report $US36 billion in profit - the most ever for any corporation - they also allowed Lee Raymond to retire in style as chairman of Exxon Mobil.

Mr Raymond received a compensation package worth about $US140 million last year, including cash, stock, options and a pension plan. He is also still entitled to stock, options and long-term compensation worth at least another $US258 million, according to a proxy statement filed by Exxon with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The total sum for Mr Raymond's golden years comes to at least $US398 million ($545 million).
The compensation is among the richest known and is certain to provoke criticism of profiteering from oil prices - though oil companies say fluctuations in prices are outside their control.

[]

Exxon's board also agreed to pick up Mr Raymond's country club fees, allow him to use the company aircraft and pay him another $US1 million to stay on as a consultant for another year. Mr Raymond agreed to reimburse Exxon partly when he uses the company jet for personal travel.

"When is enough, enough?" asked Brian Foley, an executive compensation consultant in White Plains, New York. "This looks like a spigot that you can't turn off."


I saw this at Surburban Guerrilla.

FEMA: Still a Disaster

WaPo: Waste in Katrina Response Is Cited
Housing Aid Called Inefficient in Audits


Nearly eight months after Hurricane Katrina triggered the nation's largest housing crisis since the Second World War, a hastily improvised $10 billion effort by the federal government has produced vast sums of waste and misspent funds, an array of government audits and outside analysts have concluded.

As the Federal Emergency Management Agency wraps up the initial phase of its temporary housing program -- ending reliance on cruise ships and hotels for people sent fleeing by the Aug. 29 storm -- the toll of false starts and missed opportunities appears likely to top $1 billion and perhaps much more, according to a series of after-action studies and Department of Homeland Security reports, including one due for release today.

[]

Only 71 percent of the 141,000 trailers that FEMA estimates are needed are being occupied.

Meanwhile, the trailer program consumes more than 60 percent of funds FEMA is spending on housing aid -- even though it benefits about 10 percent of the approximately 1 million households getting help, according to agency data and the Brookings Institution, which tracks recovery progress.

By contrast, a rental assistance program is serving 800,000 families, or 80 percent of households, at about one-third the total cost, or more than $3 billion. []

[]

Neither FEMA nor its predecessors had ever housed hundreds of thousands of disaster victims for a prolonged period, and the collapse of its initial trailer strategy is part of what Dennis S. Mileti, former director of the National Hazards Center in Colorado, called "the largest disaster-response failure in the history of our country."

I guess since Bushco has wasted more than a billion dollars in their disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, it's time for another tax cut for millionaires.

Sale of Defense Contractor to Dubai Company in Bush's Hands

UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Makhtoum owns the majority stake in Dubai International Capital. (Photo: Reuters)

Looks like we are going to allow the sale of a major defense contractor to a company owned by the government of Dubai. The only news organization actively covering the story is Reuters. This article was picked up and republished in a few news outlets, but no other journalist seems to be following the story.

Reuters: Bush to make decision on Dubai defense purchase

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. panel that reviews foreign investments behind closed doors was sending President George W. Bush a recommendation on Thursday on a Dubai-owned company's proposed $1.24 billion takeover of Doncasters, a British group with U.S. plants that supply the military.

Doesn't this make you feel secure?

Bush "will thoroughly review the findings and recommendations of CFIUS, he will make a determination within the 15-day period and send a report to Congress as required by statute," he said.


Previous post:

Now We're Gonna Sell Our Tank Parts Manufacturing to Dubai (April 12, 2006)

Unverified, Scurrilous Gossip

But hysterically fun! This dailykos diary made me laugh out loud:

Someone may be spilling the beans at the White House

How could you not laugh at statements like this:

Donald Rumsfeld needs to wear iced underwear because of some medical condition []

Although, if you think about it, 6 retired generals coming out for your resignation in the last month could make anyone need iced underwear.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Have a Nice Day, Christy Todd Whitman


BBC (uk): Problems mount from 9/11 fallout

The number of people with medical problems linked to the 9/11 attacks on New York has risen to at least 15,000.

The figure, put together for the BBC, counts those receiving treatment for problems related to breathing in dust.

Many of the victims say the government offered false reassurances that the Manhattan air was safe and are now pursuing a class-action lawsuit.

[]

The apparent cause? The long line of contaminants carried by the dust into the lungs of many of those at, or near, the scene on that fateful day.

'Real' figure

One list of sufferers has been compiled at the Mount Sinai Medical Center. Its World Trade Center Screening Programme has 16,000 people on its books, of whom about half - 8,000 - require treatment.

A further 7,000 firefighters are recorded as having a wide range of medical problems, producing a total of 15,000. But the overall numbers affected could easily be far higher.

[]

Many of the people now suffering were sent to Ground Zero to help search for survivors. Others volunteered. Still more just happened to be living or working in the area.

The latter feel particularly aggrieved, even betrayed.

In the days following the attacks, the head [CHRISTY TODD WHITMAN] of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared that monitoring operations had proved the "air was safe to breathe". And with that reassurance, the authorities reopened the globally important financial hub of Wall Street.

At the time it was seen as a critical morale-booster to a wounded nation.

Yet now the federal courts have allowed a class-action lawsuit to be filed against those very authorities.

Last month, a judge described the EPA's reassurances as "misleading" and "shocking the conscience". The legal process could last years.


Historical note: The phrase "Have a nice day" is taken from the classic Doonesbury cartoon from the early 1970s, summarizing the murders of four students at Kent State after Nixon's Attorney General, John Mitchell, had ordered the National Guard in to Kent State. The final square of that cartoon read "Have a nice day, John Mitchell". I probably have it somewhere in a box. It is embedded in my brain, along with "Dare to be great, Ms. Caucus" and "But this war had such promise."

Now We're Gonna Sell Our Tank Parts Manufacturing to Dubai

Because the deal to sell port security to the United Arab Emirates was so popular?

New York Sun: Now Dubai Eyes a Key Defense Contractor

CAIRO, Egypt - A confidential Treasury Department review of a United Arab Emirates firm's pending purchase of the British-based contractor that makes components for a tank used by the U.S. Army is expected to go to the White House as soon as this week, according to administration officials.

The proposed $1.2 billion deal is almost identical to Dubai Ports World's takeover of the British firm that operated American ports from Miami to New York. But in this case, the proposed buyer, Dubai International Capital, would gain control of a British company, Doncasters Group Limited, that builds the specialized turbine fan blades for the M-1 Abrams Tank, and is also a key contractor in the development of the new stealth joint strike fighter airplane.

The ruler of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Makhtoum, owns the majority stake in Dubai International Capital.

Isn't the definition of insanity doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result? This is insane.

First Death Officially Linked to 9/11 Clean-Up


USAToday: Police officer's death tied to post-9/11 work

NEW YORK (AP) — The death of a 34-year-old detective who developed respiratory disease after working at ground zero is directly related to the Sept. 11 attacks, a coroner said in the first known ruling that attributes a death to recovery work at the World Trade Center site.

[]

"It is felt with a reasonable degree of medical certainty that the cause of death in this case was directly related to the 9/11 incident," wrote Gerard Breton, a pathologist at the Ocean County (N.J.) medical examiner's office.

Zadroga, of Little Egg Harbor, N.J., died in January of respiratory failure and had inflammation in his lung tissue due to "a history of exposure to toxic fumes and dust," Breton wrote.

NYDaily News: WTC air doomed ex-cop
Autopsy confirms family suspicions


Have a nice day, Christy Todd Whitman.

God Talks to Pat Robertson: "Ask Her About Her Sex Life"


I heard the icky audio clip of Pat Robertson describing his conversation with god on AirAmerica radio this morning. It's from the interview with Rita Braver on CBS's Sunday Morning program.

RB:
What-- what's the basic thesis of your book?
PR:
Well the basic thesis is that there's a god in heaven who is all powerful who wants to help people. And that-- he will answer prayer, and does miraculous things in people's lives. And so I've documented some of these wonderful things.

I've-- I've had one woman-- African-American woman raised from the dead. She was stone cold dead, and her prayers of her church brought her back to life. Another woman was a spastic quadriplegic from the time--
RB:
These are [] things you've been particularly personally involved in? Or just--
PR:
Well-- some of us-- have-- the-- these stories that we've carried on our television. And-- (COUGHS) our producers have done it. I-- they're-- they're not-- what I think-- involved in prayers that I gave spec-- specifically. But-- they have really-- they're heartwarming. They're just bring tears to your eyes, some of these things. And they're-- they're--
RB:
You know you-- you talk about-- a couple very specific cases in the book that []you say you were personally involved in. You tell the story of-- being on a trip to the Holy Land, and some people coming to you and asking you if you can help a woman with severe asthma.
PR:
That's right.
RB:
And you say-- that God spoke to you and--
PR:
Well--
RB:
--told you--
PR:
--well it wudn't (PH) quite that way. Well-- well anyhow, they thought she was demon possessed. And these women are in the conference, and they said, "Go cast demons out of her." And I ignored it and ate dinner and went on to the meeting.

And then the next night, they had moved this poor woman out of the hotel. She was crying out for mercy and saying, "Oh God, help me," because she had such bad asthma. So-- I had to go see her. But fortunately I had my wife with her, so we went to another hotel-- in the heart of Jerusalem and knocked on the door.

And here, this haunting woman, she looked like-- she really looked like she was terrified-- very attractive-- striking brunette, 45 years old, you know thin, 5'8" kinda thing. And-- she had this look in her eyes. And-- so I went in, and my wife was with me. And they took the two chairs and I sat on the bed.

And I said, "Tell me about your problem." And she said, "I've got this asthma." And I said, "Have you been to the (LAUGHTER) doctor?" And-- and she said, "Yes. The doctor said my asthma was caused by praying with nuns." And I said, (LAUGHTER) "A doctor?"
RB:
That sounds--
PR:
"A doctor?"
RB:
--that sounds like-- (LAUGHTER) you should've advised her, "Maybe go see another doctor."
PR:
There was-- (LAUGHTER) well see-- the-- "A doctor told you this?" (UNINTEL) said, "Yes, that's what my doctor told me." And I says, "There is no way that praying with nuns is gonna cause you-- asthma." And then I prayed. And I said, "Lord, what's wrong with her?" I just prayed silently. And the Lord said, "Ask about her sex life." And--
RB:
The-- the Lord said that to you?
PR:
Yes, He said that to me. And I said, "There's no way I'm going to ask a strange woman about her sex life." So I said-- (COUGHS) "Excuse me for-- being personal, but would you tell me about your marriage."

She said, "Oh, I have a wonderful marriage." I said, "You do?" She (UNINTEL PHRASE), "A wonderful husband, wonderful marriage. It's just absolutely marvelous." I said, "You do?" She said, "Yes." So I prayed again. (LAUGHTER) I said, "Lord, what's the matter?" And she-- He said, "Ask her about her sex life."
RB:
I-- it's hard to imagine the Lord--
PR:
The-- the--
RB:
--saying this to you--
PR:
--the Lord say-- well He did. And I-- and I said-- "You know, please forgive me if I'm being personal, but tell me about your sex life." And she said, "I don't have any." And I said, "Well, I thought you had a wonderful marriage." And she said-- "I do, but I don't have any sex life."

And I said, "How long has that been going on?" And she said, "Two years." And I said-- "And that's when your asthma started, isn't it?" And she said, "Yes." And I said, "Well it's obvious that you're blaming yourself-- for this condition. What's the problem?" And she said, "My husband's impotent."

And I said, "You think it's your fault." And she said, "Yes. It's-- I think it's my fault." And I said, "Well it isn't your fault. And it may be that he's working too hard. He may be having a physical impairment. But-- there's something in his life, that this isn't your fault." And she said, "It's not?"

I said, "Absolutely not." And I said, "Okay, now let's pray for your asthma. And she said, "Okay." And we prayed. And God healed her asthma just like that.

Here's the link to the CBS story and video. Turn down your volume before you click the video link; it has a hideous full-volume commercial before the clip.

Medicare Part (D)isaster: Watch Out For That Hole


I read an article in the local paper, the Metrowest News, yesterday, about the Medicare Part (D) plan and the seniors who have found it helpful. Knowing as I do that the plan pays benefits up to $2,250 and then pays NOTHING from dollar $2,251 to dollar $5,100 -- leaving the seniors to cover that $2,849 by themselves, out of their social security and hopefully pensions and savings, I looked for that fact in the article. It's not mentioned in the AP article. It's become known as the 'doughnut hole'. $2,849 is a lot of money; you'd think a reporter would find that significant. Not always.

Metrowest News: Enrollment report
By Kevin Freking/ Associated Press
Tuesday, April 11, 2006


The Washington Post covers the Medicare Part (D)isaster drug benefit on its front page today, and likewise does not mention the doughnut hole.

Most Seniors Enrolled Say Drug Benefit Saves Money

The Christian Science Monitor covers the story more honestly:

Confusion remains as drug-plan deadline nears
In order to maximize savings, some seniors must sign up - and choose from dozens of different insurance plans - by May 15.


People may like their plan now, but [there is] a "doughnut hole" in the coverage. After a participant and his plan provider combine to spend $2,250 on drugs in a given year, the provider doesn't pay anything again until $5,100 has been spent. A Heritage Foundation study predicts that many participants will hit this "doughnut hole" next fall - and perhaps change their minds about the plan - just in time to vote in congressional elections.

Blogtopia Round-Up, April 12, 2006


Billmon has the must-read post of the day, on crazypants Bush and his nuclear ambitions:

Mutually Assured Dementia

I mean, what exactly does it take to get a rise out of the media industrial complex these days? A nuclear first strike against a major Middle Eastern oil producer doesn't ring the bell? Must every story have a missing white woman in it before the cable news guys will start taking it seriously?


Pharyngula links to a report on Minnesota godbags that refuse to provide services to a disabled senior; she's a transsexual.

Good thing we're moving to faith-based initiatives, huh?

Hallelujah! And this is exactly why I will always oppose any attempt to draft the godly into the business of supporting the social safety net. It is this pretense of knowing the will of an invisible being, which they freely use to give their bigotry the deity's imprimatur, which makes them untrustworthy. Anyone who makes untestable claims of a god's will, claims that can't be verified by anyone else, is suspect—it's simply too convenient an out. And when it's used to make an innocent suffer, it's simply contemptible.


Welshman at dailykos finds an LATimes article that proves: (1) the democracy in Afghanistan is a sham; and (2) Pakistan is betraying our military men and women. Oh, and by the way? The Taliban is back. Seems they never left.

THE STARTLING REVELATIONS THAT THE MEDIA IGNORED


skippy (yes! he invented the term 'blogtopia'!) points out that Richard Mellon Scaife, the rightwing nutjob who funded 'The Arkansas Project' to get Bill Clinton over his sex life, is having some woman problems of his own. I'm filled with pity, myself:

her karma ran over his dogma

Luckily, He Did Not Have His Shotgun



Watch the video at Crooks & Liars:

Cheney gets Booed in Baseball Opener

Add Another Bold-Faced Lie to Bush's Giant Stack of Lies



The Pentagon sends a blue-ribbon panel of experts -- scientists and engineers -- to Baghdad to analyze some trailers captured in the invasion of Iraq. Their unanimous conclusion: These trailers were not mobile weapons labs. So what does Bush do? Stamps the report secret, throws it in a drawer somewhere, and goes on TV to say, in those serious tones we now know he reserves for the big lies, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction." His lips were moving. I guess we should have known he was lying. The boy who cried wolf, no one with a brain should ever believe anything he says. Ever again.

Lacking Biolabs, Trailers Carried Case for War
Administration Pushed Notion of Banned Iraqi Weapons Despite Evidence to Contrary


On May 29, 2003, 50 days after the fall of Baghdad, President Bush proclaimed a fresh victory for his administration in Iraq: Two small trailers captured by U.S. and Kurdish troops had turned out to be long-sought mobile "biological laboratories." He declared, "We have found the weapons of mass destruction."

The claim, repeated by top administration officials for months afterward, was hailed at the time as a vindication of the decision to go to war. But even as Bush spoke, U.S. intelligence officials possessed powerful evidence that it was not true.

A secret fact-finding mission to Iraq -- not made public until now -- had already concluded that the trailers had nothing to do with biological weapons. Leaders of the Pentagon-sponsored mission transmitted their unanimous findings to Washington in a field report on May 27, 2003, two days before the president's statement.

The three-page field report and a 122-page final report three weeks later were stamped "secret" and shelved. Meanwhile, for nearly a year, administration and intelligence officials continued to publicly assert that the trailers were weapons factories.

The authors of the reports were nine U.S. and British civilian experts -- scientists and engineers with extensive experience in all the technical fields involved in making bioweapons -- who were dispatched to Baghdad by the Defense Intelligence Agency for an analysis of the trailers. Their actions and findings were described to a Washington Post reporter in interviews with six government officials and weapons experts who participated in the mission or had direct knowledge of it.

None would consent to being identified by name because of fear that their jobs would be jeopardized. Their accounts were verified by other current and former government officials knowledgeable about the mission. The contents of the final report, "Final Technical Engineering Exploitation Report on Iraqi Suspected Biological Weapons-Associated Trailers," remain classified. But interviews reveal that the technical team was unequivocal in its conclusion that the trailers were not intended to manufacture biological weapons. Those interviewed took care not to discuss the classified portions of their work.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

No Nukes


The Union of Concerned Scientists's animation of what a 'bunker buster' nuclear bomb -- the one Crazypants Bush wants to drop -- will really do.

I saw this on Suburban Guerilla.

Take Action for Women's Rights

Petition to allow women to attend sporting matches in Iran.

I saw this in the LATimes soccer column.

The Emperor Has No Credibility


Dan Froomkin in today's Washington Post: Wild but True?

President Bush dismissed reports that he is planning to attack Iran as "wild speculation" yesterday. But that's a far cry from saying it flatly ain't so.

And Bush -- who, it is now abundantly clear, secretly decided to go to war in Iraq long before he admitted as much in public -- lacks credibility on such issues.

What Would Jesus Do?

Great article by Garry Wills. I read his book 'Nixon Agonistes: The Crisis of the Self-Made Man' for my first political science class many moons ago & have always admired him. I missed his opinion piece in Sunday's New York Times. It's worth a look.

Christ Among the Partisans

THERE is no such thing as a "Christian politics." If it is a politics, it cannot be Christian. Jesus told Pilate: "My reign is not of this present order. If my reign were of this present order, my supporters would have fought against my being turned over to the Jews. But my reign is not here" (John 18:36). Jesus brought no political message or program.

Nauseating

Mr. Yuk

Truthdig: Molly Ivins: The Daily Drip of Special Favors for Special Interests

AUSTIN, Texas—We need to keep up with the daily drip, that endless succession of special favors for special interests performed by Congress, or we’ll never figure out how we got so far behind the eight ball. While the top Bushies lunge about test-driving new wars (great idea—the one we’re having is a bummer, so let’s start another!), Congress just keeps right on cranking out those corporate goodies.

Earlier this month, the House effectively repealed more than 200 state food safety and public health protections. Say, when was the last time you enjoyed a little touch of food poisoning? Coming soon to a stomach near you. What was really impressive about H.R. 4167, the “National Uniformity for Food Act,” is that it was passed without a public hearing.

“The House is trampling crucial health safeguards in every state without so much as a single public hearing,” said Erik Olson, attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council. “This just proves the old adage, ‘Money talks.’ The food industry spared no expense to ensure passage.”

Thirty-nine attorneys general, plus health, consumer and environmental groups, are opposing the law. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the food industry has spent more than $81 million on campaign contributions to members of Congress since 2000.


The bill would automatically override any state measure that is stronger than federal law, the opposite of what a sensible law would do. The NRDC says state laws protecting consumers from chemical additives, bacteria and ingredients that can trigger allergic reactions would be barred, and that includes alerts about chemical contamination in fish, health protection standards for milk and eggs, and warnings about chemicals or toxins such as arsenic, mercury and lead. Happy eating, all.

Katrina Aftermath, Still a Struggle Against Incompetence and Corruption

Dead bodies are still being recovered in New Orleans, seven months later:

NYTimes: In Attics and Rubble, More Bodies and Questions

The bodies of storm victims are still being discovered in New Orleans — in March alone there were nine, along with one skull. Skeletonized or half-eaten by animals, with leathery, hardened skin or missing limbs, the bodies are lodged in piles of rubble, dangling from rafters or lying face down, arms outstretched on parlor floors. Many of them, like Ms. Blanchard, were overlooked in initial searches.

A landlord in the Lakeview section put a "for sale" sign outside a house, unaware that his tenant's body was in the attic. Two weeks ago, searchers in the Lower Ninth Ward found a girl, believed to be about 6, wearing a blue backpack. Nearby, they found part of a man who the authorities believe might have been trying to save her.

[On Friday, contractors found a body in the attic of a home in the Gentilly neighborhood that had been searched twice before, officials said.]

In the weeks after Hurricane Katrina, there were grotesque images of bodies left in plain sight. Officials in Louisiana recovered more than 1,200 bodies, but the process, hamstrung by money shortages and red tape, never really ended.

In the Lower Ninth Ward, where unstable houses make searching dangerous, a plan to use cadaver dogs alongside demolition crews was delayed by lawsuits and community protests against the bulldozing. In the rest of the city, the absence of neighbors and social networks meant that some residents languished and died unnoticed. Many of the families of the missing were far from home, rendered helpless by distance and preoccupied with their own survival.

[]

In October and November, the special operations team of the New Orleans Fire Department searched the Lower Ninth Ward for remains until they ran out of overtime money.

Half a dozen officials of the Federal Emergency Management Agency rebuffed requests to pay the bill, said Chief Steve Glynn, the team commander. When reporters inquired, FEMA officials said the required paperwork had not been filed.

While FEMA couldn't find the money to find and bury the dead, they made sure to pad the coffers of rich contractors:

Times-Picayune: Senators grill corps, FEMA
Hearing details waste in relief spending


Testimony at a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing Monday in New Orleans showed that in the matter of the Katrina cleanup, taxpayers got taken to the cleaners.

[]

[T]he hearing also revealed in stark terms how the poor level of federal preparation and response carried more than an economic punch. As the questions from the elected officials gained momentum, it became clear that two themes especially bothered the Louisiana contingent. One was that, for all of the state's storied corruption and the defense its officials had to mount that relief money would not be squandered in Louisiana, the lion's share of waste occurred under the federal watch.

The second theme is that tens of millions of dollars were frittered away in layers of subcontractors. What Washington and the nation need to realize, the Louisiana contingent argued, is the totals bandied about as earmarked for relief are, in fact, grotesquely inflated by misspending.

Insurance companies are also preying on the weak and defenseless. Tort reform advocate Trent Lott is using the tort system he so hates to prove insurance companies are cheating homeowners in the hurricane zone:

AP: Lott Lawyer: State Farm Destroying Papers

Zach Scruggs, one of Lott's attorneys, says his client has a "good faith belief" that several State Farm employees in Biloxi are destroying engineering reports that gave conflicting conclusions about whether wind or water was responsible for storm damage.

Like thousands of Gulf Coast homeowners, Lott's claim was denied because State Farm concluded that Katrina's flood water demolished his beach-front Pascagoula home. State Farm says its policies do not cover damage from rising water, including wind-driven water.

But lawyers for the Mississippi Republican claim Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm has routinely pressured its engineers to alter "favorable" reports that initially blamed damage on hurricane's wind, which the company's policies cover.

A State Farm spokesman said Monday he couldn't immediately comment on Scruggs' allegations.

Lott's allegations come on the heels of a lawsuit filed by Kiln, Miss., couple who claimed they had obtained copies of conflicting reports prepared by State Farm's engineers on what damaged their home. They said one report traced the destruction to Katrina's winds while a later report said flooding was the culprit.


In response, State Farm spokesman Phil Supple had said the second report was the only one the engineering firm sent to State Farm's claims office.

In an interview Monday, Scruggs said corporate "whistleblowers" who are cooperating with Lott's attorneys have provided evidence that State Farm employees are destroying or moving those "initial favorable" engineering reports.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Our Complete, Blithering Idiot


From Holden at First Draft, Bush's press conference today in all its glory:

Your President Speaks!

The Presidency Is No Place for a Smart person

We're a influential nation, and so, therefore, many problems come to the Oval Office. And you don't know what those problems are going to be, which then argues for having smart people around. That's why you ought to serve in government if you're not going to be the President. You have a chance to influence policy by giving good recommendations to the President.

This Photo Begs For a Caption

Here's the photo with the caption from yahoo:

President Bush, right, holds up a pair of swimming trunks presented to him by the Auburn University Women's Swimming and Diving Team as Crystal Langhorne, the captain of the University of Maryland women's basketball team, looks on during an event honoring 2005 and 2006 NCAA athletic champions on the South Lawn of the White House Thursday, April 6, 2006. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)


My suggestion: "These will come in so handy for interrogations at Guantanimo!"

Is Bush Crazy Enough to Drop the Bomb?

Paul Krugman's column in today's New York Times (behind the firewall, sorry) answers:

Yes He Would.

Here's an excerpt, from Brilliant at Breakfast:

"But he wouldn't do that," say people who think they're being sensible. Given what we now know about the origins of the Iraq war, however, discounting the possibility that Mr. Bush will start another ill-conceived and unnecessary war isn't sensible. It's wishful thinking.

[snip]

Now there are rumors of plans to attack Iran. Most strategic analysts think that a bombing campaign would be a disastrous mistake. But that doesn't mean it won't happen: Mr. Bush ignored similar warnings, including those of his own father, about the risks involved in invading Iraq.

As Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace recently pointed out, the administration seems to be following exactly the same script on Iran that it used on Iraq: "The vice president of the United States gives a major speech focused on the threat from an oil-rich nation in the Middle East. The U.S. secretary of state tells Congress that the same nation is our most serious global challenge. The secretary of defense calls that nation the leading supporter of global terrorism. The president blames it for attacks on U.S. troops."

Why might Mr. Bush want another war? For one thing, Mr. Bush, whose presidency is increasingly defined by the quagmire in Iraq, may believe that he can redeem himself with a new Mission Accomplished moment.

[snip]

And it's not just Mr. Bush's legacy that's at risk. Current polls suggest that the Democrats could take one or both houses of Congress this November, acquiring the ability to launch investigations backed by subpoena power. This could blow the lid off multiple Bush administration scandals. Political analysts openly suggest that an attack on Iran offers Mr. Bush a way to head off this danger, that an appropriately timed military strike could change the domestic political dynamics.

Does this sound far-fetched? It shouldn't. Given the combination of recklessness and dishonesty Mr. Bush displayed in launching the Iraq war, why should we assume that he wouldn't do it again?


Update
: Middle Earth Journal has the whole article.

I Read The News Today, Oh Boy

The Leaker-in-Chief, exposed:

NYTimes: Bush Ordered Declassification, Official Says

WASHINGTON, April 9 — A senior administration official confirmed for the first time on Sunday that President Bush had ordered the declassification of parts of a prewar intelligence report on Iraq in an effort to rebut critics who said the administration had exaggerated the nuclear threat posed by Saddam Hussein.

The Pentagon's top operations officer, now retired, comes out against the Iraq war.

TIME: Iraq Was a Mistake
A military insider sounds off against the war and the "zealots" who pushed it
By LIEUT. GENERAL GREG NEWBOLD (RET.)


The cost of flawed leadership continues to be paid in blood.

The BBC also has an analysis of America's blind march to war:

How predictions for Iraq came true

It was a few weeks before the invasion of Iraq, three years ago. I was interviewing the Saudi Foreign Minister, Prince Saud al-Faisal, in the ballroom of a big hotel in Cairo.

Shrewd, amusing, bulky in his superb white robes, he described to me all the disasters he was certain would follow the invasion.

The US and British troops would be bogged down in Iraq for years. There would be civil war between Sunnis and Shias. The real beneficiary would be the government in Iran.

"And what do the Americans say when you tell them this," I asked? "They don't even listen," he said.


Over the last three years, from a ringside seat here in Baghdad, I have watched his predictions come true, stage by stage.

In today's global warming news, this chilling comparison of Earth and Venus:

Parting the Shroud of Earth's Mysterious Twin


Eons ago, Venus may have been the gentle, tropical paradise that Earthlings once imagined. It was closer to the sun -- but not too close. It was almost Earth-size -- but not quite. And it had plenty of water, even oceans.

But that was then. Sometime in the distant past, the oceans started to heat up and then boiled away. The water vapor hung over the planet like a glove, trapping the heat below and creating a berserk greenhouse effect.

Today, Venus's atmosphere is 97 percent carbon dioxide, and the planet is wreathed in clouds of sulfuric acid. The planet is apparently condemned to an eternal cycle of global warming, with surface temperatures that hover around 900 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Bush Wants To Drop The Bomb

This is kind of the way I'm feeling, and it makes it really hard to write.

Pharyngula: We are children of the Cold War, and we learned nothing

I've written to my representatives, but I doubt anything will happen; we have a madman running the country, and the checks and balances that are supposed to be in place are failing—there is no opposition. There are only benchwarmers in congress, people collecting their paychecks and their graft and calculating what they need to do to keep their seats. There are no leaders.

Liars

DEADLY FIBERS: This shirt was worn by Yeheda Kaploun at Ground Zero on Sept. 11 and 12, 2001.A toxic examination by RJ Lee Group foud the collar contained 93 million chrysotile asbestos structured per square centimeter - 93,000 times higher than the normal 500-1,000 structures per square centimeter, which is the average amount of asbestos found in American cities.
Photo: Liz Sullivan


Remember the EPA lying about air quality in Lower Manhattan after 9/11?

This shirt puts the lie to that:

NY Post: ASBESTOS SHIRT IS A TOXIC NEW WRINKLE IN WTC WOE

April 9, 2006 -- Sky-high toxic levels of potentially deadly asbestos still cling to the fibers of this ordinary white dress shirt - worn by a 9/11 volunteer for two days at Ground Zero, a shocking analysis sought by The Post reveals.

Community liaison Yehuda Kaploun volunteered at Ground Zero for 48 hours immediately after the attack, wearing the shirt as he watched good friend and beloved Fire Department chaplain Mychal Judge die in a building collapse.

The volunteer kept his contaminated shirt packed in a sealed plastic bag until last week, when The Post sent the garment to RJ Lee Group laboratories for testing.

Analyzed portions of his shirt collar reveal a chilling concentration of chrysotile asbestos - 93,000 times higher than the average typically found in the environment in U.S. cities. That appears to be even higher than what the EPA said was found in the most contaminated, blown-out building after 9/11.

While there appear to be no specific regulations for asbestos levels on clothing, one lawyer for relief workers called the sickly shirt's amount "astronomically toxic."

It's the "high end of surface concentrations that you would find anywhere," added Chuck Kraisinger, a senior scientist for RJ Lee.

Testing also revealed the shirt was contaminated with zinc, mercury, antimony, barium, chromium, cobalt, copper, lead and molybdenum. Tons of the heavy metals were pulverized and burned in the debris in fires that raged for four months.


The test results are especially frightening in light of last week's report by the Centers for Disease Control that 62 percent of those caught in the massive dust cloud suffered respiratory problems. Also, 46 percent of civilians living or working in the immediate area but not caught in the cloud still experienced respiratory problems - and 57 percent reported new and worsening respiratory symptoms.

Making matters worse, Dr. Mark Rosen, chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine at Beth Israel Hospital, said that because it can take decades for asbestos cancers to develop, "We just won't know the effect [of Ground Zero exposure] for years."

About 400,000 tons of asbestos were released in the World Trade Center collapse. David Worby, a lawyer for 7,300 rescue and recovery workers who inhaled the smoke and dust at Ground Zero for months, called the area "the worst toxic site ever.

"It's mind-boggling the poisons they made these people work through," Worby said. "The amount of dioxins there make Vietnam look like a kindergarten."

"It is an urgent situation. If the government does not act . . . in terms of setting up [widespread] medical testing . . . more people over the next few years will die of toxic diseases than died on 9/11."

Have a nice day, Christy Todd Whitman.

Happy Birthday GOD



Robbie Fowler (known to Liverpool fans as GOD) after scoring Liverpool's goal today v. Bolton, on his 31st birthday. Sign him, Rafa!

The End is Near

Have I woken up in La La Land? I turned on the TV this morning, and there on C-Span is right-wing nutjob Rick Scarborough, telling us that Tom Delay is a fine man and that he supports him no matter what. Tom is a good man, persecuted by those who hate Christians. I turn to CNN and they are reporting that Seymour Hersh reports that Bush intends to use nuclear weapons against Iran. He's gonna drop the bomb! Then I turn to CBS Sunday Morning, usually an oasis of calm, but Rita Braver is doing a piece on Pat Robertson. Pat Robertson goes mainstream.

Then the host, Charles Osgood, wishes Hugh Hefner a happy birthday, and I feel the ground beneath me begin to shake.

Is the end really near?