Good clips All topics Archive

Sunday, May 18, 2003

Arundhati Roy: Instant-Mix Imperial Democracy (Buy One, Get One Free), presented in New York City at The Riverside Church May 13, 2003

Old Memos Detail Link of Money to Influence: "piles of documents unearthed in the ongoing lawsuit over the nation's campaign finance law, widely known as McCain-Feingold ... the documents, many of which were subpoenaed over the past year and made public for the first time this month, provide an unusually detailed look at how the Washington money culture operates. In them, political operatives privately worried that their political attack ads might skirt the edge of legality. Senators shamelessly courted campaign contributors. And corporate executives plotted how to pursue their legislative goals by answering the parties' never-ending call for campaign funds."

In town for protest, cyclists are arrested : "Police told the cyclists that anyone older than 12 needed a license to ride a bicycle in St. Louis, the cyclists said. The eight men and one woman in the group were handcuffed, taken to a St. Louis police station and processed. Eventually, they were given tickets for impeding the flow of traffic and released after about six hours in police custody. City Counselor Patricia Hageman said a rarely enforced law requiring bicycle licenses was on the books until about two years ago. She called the incident Friday a "misunderstanding." But members of the group said it was part of what they called a pre-emptive strike on World Agriculture Forum protesters. "

Iraqi children face death through malnutrition: "More than 300,000 Iraqi children face death from acute malnutrition, twice as many as before US and British forces invaded the country in March, the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) warned on Wednesday. Many of these -- nearly eight per cent of all Iraqi children under five -- could be saved if the occupation forces ensured that aid convoys could move around freely and kept looters away from water plants and pipelines, it said. The agency, charged with protecting children around the globe, said a survey taken in Baghdad indicated that 7.7 per cent of children under five in urban centres were suffering from acute malnutrition, nearly twice as many as one year ago."

Odyssey of Frustration ( long account of the frustrations of a US Army WMD inspector team in Iraq - false leads, abandoned hazardous radioactive materials, looted sites, lack of Arabic capacity. Never mentions the UN, but the implicit comparison to the UN WMD inspections is damning.

Saturday, May 17, 2003

Arrests and weapons allegations spark [St Louis BioDevastation] activists' anger: Brian Tokar, one of the organizers of Biodevastation 7, said police overreacted. "We've been doing these events for years," he said. "Every year in the U.S. we've gotten these insane, inflammatory issues from the police. It's to inflame public passion and to prevent public discussion of the dangers of agribusiness."
   Matt LeMieux, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Eastern Missouri, said, "I think if the police are going to conduct searches and arrest people, it ought to be based on the conduct of what a person is doing now. But what they're doing is pre-emptively trying to arrest people. It's a bad and unconstitutional policy."
   He called the housing inspections "a trick" to get in without a warrant and suggested police should have worked with protesters instead of antagonizing them.
   J. Justin Meehan, a lawyer called by some of the jailed activists, complained that police would not release detainees' names, charges or amounts of their bails.

Friday, May 16, 2003

Whatever Happened to Bin Laden?: Springmann complained himself right out of a job. Now a lawyer, he has obtained more information on the questionable "engineers" with no engineering knowledge whom he was ordered to permit into the United States. "What I was protesting was, in reality, an effort to bring recruits, rounded up by Osama bin Laden, to the United States for terrorist training by the CIA. They would then be returned to Afghanistan to fight against the then-Soviets." But then they turned their talents against the post-Soviet power: us. In the parlance of spook-world, this is called "blowback." Bin Laden and his bloody brethren were created in America's own Frankenstein factory. It would not do for the current president nor agency officials to dig back to find that some of the terrorists we are hunting today were trained and armed by the Reagan-Bush administration. And that's one of the problems for agents seeking to investigate groups like WAMY, or Abdullah bin Laden. WAMY literature that talks about that "compassionate young man Osama bin Laden" is likely to have been disseminated, if not written, by our very own government.

Statement From UK Minister Charges Illegal Conduct: "The situation in Iraq under international law is that the coalition are occupying powers in occupied territory. Under the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague regulations of 1907, the coalition has clear responsibilities and clear limits to its authority. It is obliged to attend to the humanitarian needs of the population, to keep order and keep civil administration operating. The coalition is legally entitled to modify the operation of the administration as much as is necessary to fulfil these obligations but is not entitled to make major political, economic and constitutional changes. The coalition does not have sovereign authority and has no authority to bring into being an interim Iraqi government with such authority, or to create a constitutional process leading to the election of a sovereign government. The only body that has the legal authority to do this is the UN Security Council."

I. Wallerstein, 113, "Empire and the Capitalists": "No doubt, George W. Bush thinks he is in the forefront of those sustaining the world capitalist system. No doubt, a large part of the world left thinks that too. But do the great capitalists think so? That is far less clear. A major warning signal has been launched by Morgan Stanley, one of the world's leading financial investor firms, in their Global Economic Forum. Stephen Roach writes there that a "US-centric world" is unsustainable for the world-economy and bad in particular for the United States."

Saving Private Lynch story 'flawed': "There was no [sign of] shooting, no bullet inside her body, no stab wound - only road traffic accident. They want to distort the picture. I don't know why they think there is some benefit in saying she has a bullet injury."
   Witnesses told us that the special forces knew that the Iraqi military had fled a day before they swooped on the hospital. Dr Uday was surprised by the manner of the rescue "We were surprised. Why do this? There was no military, there were no soldiers in the hospital," said Dr Anmar Uday, who worked at the hospital. "It was like a Hollywood film. They cried 'go, go, go', with guns and blanks without bullets, blanks and the sound of explosions. They made a show for the American attack on the hospital - action movies like Sylvester Stallone or Jackie Chan."
   ... There was one more twist. Two days before the snatch squad arrived, Harith had arranged to deliver Jessica to the Americans in an ambulance. 
   But as the ambulance, with Private Lynch inside, approached a checkpoint American troops opened fire, forcing it to flee back to the hospital. The Americans had almost killed their prize catch.

Wednesday, April 30, 2003

A Bit of Self-Mockery, a Lot of Stamina: "durability is a Wagnerian virtue, and in middle age this "Meistersinger" has by general agreement all its moving parts still in workable shape. I can think of no other performing challenge in which the comedic heart and sheer physical endurance are so inseparable. Friday's cast was admirable for its quality, depth and staying power. How many tenors have we heard using their talents in the early scenes only to be caught desperate and panting at Walther's defining moment before the final curtain? Johan Botha's voice rang with as much life and beauty at the end as at the beginning.
   ... The nice thing about the Met's "Meistersinger" (staged this season by Peter McClintock) is a certain self-mockery. Beckmesser is by definition made fun of to his face, but we can also smile at Eva (dumb blonde) and Walther (woozy swain) behind their backs. Mr. Morris's Sachs presides over them all with a quiet, forbearing irony.

Tuesday, April 29, 2003

Chicks against the machine: Offered the chance to take it all back and make nice, the Dixie Chicks instead chose to turn the interview around. Sawyer wanted answers; the Chicks offered questions, hard questions. Sawyer wanted to talk about the damage they may have done to their career; the Chicks talked about the damage being done to America in an era where Vice President Dick Cheney has proclaimed "You're either with us or against us." The band may have gotten more attention posing nude for the cover of the current Entertainment Weekly, with phrases like "Dixie Sluts," "Saddam's Angels" and "Traitors" stamped on their bodies. But it was the stubborn refusal they showed Sawyer that cut deepest.

Monday, April 28, 2003

Cutbacks Imperil Health Coverage for States' Poor: Millions of low-income Americans face the loss of health insurance or sharp cuts in benefits, like coverage for prescription drugs and dental care, under proposals now moving through state legislatures around the country. State officials and health policy experts say the cuts will increase the number of uninsured, threaten recent progress in covering children and impose severe strains on hospitals, doctors and nursing homes. But those officials, confronting a third straight year of fiscal crisis, say they have no choice but to rein in Medicaid, the fast-growing program that provides health insurance for 50 million people. Many state officials are pleading for federal help as they face an array of painful trade-offs, often pitting the needs of impoverished elderly people for prescription drugs and long-term care against those of low-income families seeking basic health coverage.

Bush's Boomerang:[Useful capsule history of British/US involvement in Iraq.] With the monarchists now discredited, the US began cultivating a rival--and bitterly anti-communist--Arab nationalist group, the Baath Party, in a bid to destabilize Qasim. In 1959, the young Saddam Hussein was part of a CIA-backed Baathist hit squad that attempted to assassinate Qasim. In February 1963, the Baathists took power in a bloody coup, and unleashed a reign of terror on Iraq's left, as well as the long-suffering Kurds in the north. The CIA, which had been monitoring the Iraqi left, provided the names of who to round up--as it would later do in Indonesia and Chile. The CIA director at the time was John McCone, a longtime Bechtel executive.

Saturday, April 26, 2003

Golden State Museum Sacramento "The Whole World's Watching: Peace and Social Justice Movements of the 1960s and 1970s" Exhibit April 22 through June 15, 2003

Urban war in plain sight: With the conventional war in Iraq all but over, U.S. forces are working to clear pockets of resistance in Baghdad and other cities where, as U.S. ground forces advanced three weeks ago, thousands of Iraqi soldiers and other loyalists simply removed their uniforms and went home. The battle is now being waged from rooftops and other vantage points against isolated attacks on U.S. troops. The enemy is no longer a conventional Iraqi soldier. It's one who has chosen to strike under cover of darkness. U.S. officials here say some are former Baath Party members or the Fedayeen Saddam paramilitary force. American forces have responded by deploying dozens of sniper teams--such as Osborne and Field--to thwart those attacks. Their standing order: Shoot to kill anyone who fires on U.S. troops or equipment. In the last two weeks, this team alone has recorded more than 20 enemy kills. "All day, you build up for the moment when you fire the shot," Field, 23, says as he and his partner take positions in a hostile zone. "Then there's a feeling of exhilaration, and you feel like you've really done something for your country. You've taken someone out." .... Both men said they were raised in religious homes. Both said they have learned to separate their feelings from their duties.
[Reassuring to know that these folks will be back in the US before long, trained to snipe and to override their consciences.]

Reports Of Weapons 'Greatly Exaggerated': There is no question that Saddam's regime produced, and used, terrible weapons. The odds are that forces will uncover evidence of them. But this is a long way from the claims made in the run-up to war, or the accounts now offered about why the weapons remain so hard to find.

Bush Shows 'Pattern of Hostility' Toward Civil Rights: The administration of President George W. Bush is steadily and systematically working to reverse longstanding civil rights policies and impede the enforcement of U.S. civil rights laws, according to a new report released Thursday by the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights Education Fund (LCCREF).
   ... "the combination of below-the-radar regulations, little-noticed litigation, and severe budget cuts illustrates a pattern of hostility toward core civil rights values and signals a diminished commitment to the idea of non-discrimination"

Amy Goodman Interview with Robert Fisk - on the pillage of Baghdad, on Saddam Hussein (in Belarus?), on the coming decades of war. Long.

The Headache of Black Gold Ownership: At the UN, the struggle promises to be merciless. Those principally affected, Russia, China, and France, permanent Security Council Members with veto rights, have no intention of clearing out for the Americans and the British. "Those are legally our reserves. If all else fails, we'll go to the Arbitrage Court in Geneva, which will lead to an immediate freeze on those reserves": as the premiere Russian oil producer, Lukoil, specified, Moscow is determined to fight to secure the contracts it signed with the former regime.
   ...the Republican Administration would like to hew a new legal framework. The acknowledged objective is to support American companies- the Mastodon ExxonMobil and the Texan and Californian "juniors"- who were shut out of the Iraqi oil sector before the war. The future oil authorities could offer some kind of legal immunity, protecting companies from lawsuits before the courts.  New dispositions could, in addition, interdict the bribes that Russian and Chinese companies readily practice.

Friday, April 25, 2003

Bush Goes AWOL: "Bush has inspired new terrorist threats to the United States--according to the official testimony of his own CIA--where none existed. At the same time, he purposely starves those localities and institutions on which the complex and expensive task of terrorist protection ultimately falls. "

TRO - "55 Most Wanted" Playing Card Deck Aims for Regime Change in U.S.: In the wake of the U.S.'s "pre-emptive" destruction of Iraq, her people, and her culture, the Trade Regulation Organization is issuing a "55 most wanted" playing-card deck similar to the one that the Pentagon issued two weeks ago in Iraq.

I.R.S. to Ask Working Poor for Proof on Tax Credits: Internal Revenue Service is planning to ask more than four million of the working poor who now claim a special tax credit to provide the most exhaustive proof of eligibility ever demanded of any class of taxpayers.
   ... But some tax experts criticize the higher burden of proof as unfair and a wasteful allocation of scarce I.R.S. enforcement dollars. They say that corporations, business owners, investors and partnerships deprive the government of many times what the working poor ever could — through both illegal means and legal shelters — yet these taxpayers face no demands to prove the validity of their claims in advance with certified records and sworn affidavits.
   Others warn that the proposed I.R.S. rules will set a standard of proof so high that it will be difficult, and in some cases impossible, for honest taxpayers to meet it. As a result, some people entitled to the tax credit will no longer receive it. And those who do manage to file successful claims will almost certainly have to pay commercial tax preparers more for helping them with the extra paperwork.

Wednesday, April 23, 2003

No war for whose oil?: By YAHYA SADOWSKI - The slogan 'No war for oil' rightly presumes that the Bush administration had plans for post-war profits from Iraq's substantial oil reserves. But those plans were based on the Bush cabal's relationships not with the major oil internationals, but with smaller independent firms. Everybody has now done the maths on Iraqi oil and found that their sums don't add up. [Very interesting and challenging analysis.]

Iraq: misreading the vital signs: A paucity of original sources, a repetition of misinformation, and plain wishful thinking in the West have led to dangerous errors in interpreting the nature and behaviour of the Iraqi regime through the past decade. by DAVID BARAN

MSNBC Reveals Facts on Israel's Weapons of Mass Destruction - unfortunately the MSNBC site is graphic; hard to download the details.

Rethinking Schools - Just For Fun Map Game - interactive map quiz for mideast and N Africa

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

Tim Robbins: Speech to National Press Club: "A chill wind is blowing in this nation. A message is being sent through the White House and its allies in talk radio and Clear Channel and Cooperstown. If you oppose this administration, there can and will be ramifications. Every day, the air waves are filled with warnings, veiled and unveiled threats, spewed invective and hatred directed at any voice of dissent. And the public, like so many relatives and friends that I saw this weekend, sit in mute opposition and fear. "

Monday, April 21, 2003

Nina Simone, 70, Soulful Diva and Voice of Civil Rights, Dies
   Although she was most often characterized as a jazz singer, Ms. Simone, who usually performed with a rhythm section and always accompanied herself on piano, was almost impossible to classify.
   "If I had to be called something," she wrote in 1991 in her autobiography, "I Put a Spell on You," "it should have been a folk singer because there was more folk and blues than jazz in my playing."
   But her piano playing also revealed her classical training more clearly than most jazz pianists', and her singing — at times rough and raw, at other times sweet and pure — owed an unmistakable debt to black gospel music.
   ... Ms. Simone was as famous for her social consciousness as she was for her music. In the 1960's no musical performer was more closely identified with the civil rights movement. Though she was best known as an interpreter of other people's music, she eloquently expressed her feelings about racism and black pride in those years in a number of memorable songs she wrote herself.
   "Mississippi Goddam" was an angry response to the killing of the civil rights advocate Medgar Evers. "Young, Gifted and Black," written with the keyboardist Weldon Irvine Jr., became something of an anthem, recorded by Aretha Franklin and many others. "Four Women" painted a subtle but stinging picture of the suffering and the strength of African-American women.

April 16, 2003 - Why The Anti-War Movement Was Right - A Huffington: far from being on the verge of destroying Western civilization, Saddam and his 21st century Gestapo couldn't even muster a half-hearted defense of their own capital. The hawks' cakewalk disproves their own dire warnings. They can't have it both ways. The invasion has proved wildly successful in one other regard: It has unified most of the world -- especially the Arab world -- against us.

Today Show Goes Dark on Tim Robbins: A conversation about free speech. An anchor asking reasonable questions. A guest responding in equally reasonable tones. No attempt to close out the discussion - to say "Well thank you Tim". This was not a filibuster. Robbins was not hogging the spotlight. Someone in the control room simply decided that it was time to pull the plug. And without grace or ceremony, or even the face saving of letting Lauer say "We're out of time" as morning shows do on so many occasions. A conversation about free speech and free expression was cut off mid sentence as the network went to black.

How to Wage the Peace - [A liberal pro-war view.] Improving on Saddam’s rule will be easy. But democracy will take hard work. Don’t believe oil riches will make it easier. And above all, don’t rush it.

Powell, State differ on '73 coup -- The Washington Times: "It is not a part of American history that we're proud of," Mr. Powell said, quickly adding that reforms instituted since then make it unlikely that the policies of that time will be repeated.
   ... In a highly unusual move, the State Department issued a statement that put distance between the department and its top official. The statement asserted that the U.S. government "did not instigate the coup that ended Allende's government in 1973."
     Mr. Rogers was concerned that Mr. Powell's comment was reinforcing what he called "the legend" that the Chile coup was a creation of a Kissinger-led cabal working in league with Chilean military officers opposed to then-President Salvador Allende.
     Mr. Rogers called the department legal office to point out that there was a pending lawsuit against the government involving the episode, and Mr. Powell's comment was not helpful.

The New York Review of Books: Anti-Americans Abroad - Tony Judt: "Europeans want a more interventionist state at home than Americans do, and they expect to pay for it. Even in post-Thatcher Britain, 62 percent of adults polled in December 2002 would favor higher taxes in return for improved public services. The figure for the US was under 1 percent. This is less surprising when one considers that in America (where the disparities between rich and poor are greater than anywhere else in the developed world) fully 19 percent of the adult population claims to be in the richest 1 percent of the nation--and a further 20 percent believe they will enter that 1 percent in their lifetime!" [first half of this review is not very interesting.]

Sunday, April 20, 2003

4/3/2003 -- Mugging the Needy - Bob Herbert: "The House plan offers the well-to-do $1.4 trillion in tax cuts, while demanding billions of dollars in cuts from programs that provide food stamps, school lunches, health care for the poor and the disabled, temporary assistance to needy families -- even veterans' benefits and student loans. An analysis of the House budget by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities found that its proposed cuts in child nutrition programs threaten to eliminate school lunches for 2.4 million low-income children. "

THE ABRIDGED 9/11 TIMELINE - the king of the 9/11 conspiracy web sites. Lots of interesting stuff...

The Press and the Myths of War: "War itself is venal, dirty, confusing and perhaps the most potent narcotic invented by humankind. Modern industrial warfare means that most of those who are killed never see their attackers. There is nothing glorious or gallant about it. If we saw what wounds did to bodies, how killing is far more like butchering an animal than the clean and neat Hollywood deaths on the screen, it would turn our stomachs.
   ... War as myth begins with blind patriotism, which is always thinly veiled self-glorification. We exalt ourselves, our goodness, our decency, our humanity, and in that self-exaltation we denigrate the other. The flip side of nationalism is racism--look at the jokes we tell about the French.

Argument: Robert Fisk: For the people on the streets, this is not liberation but a new colonial oppression America's war of 'liberation' may be over. But Iraq's war of liberation from the Americans is just about to begin

Uranium Medical Research Centre - Depleted Uranium impact in Afghanistan: The UMRC field team was shocked by the breadth of public health impacts coincident with the bombing. Without exception, at every bombsite investigated, people are ill. A significant portion of the civilian population presents symptoms consistent with internal contamination by Uranium.

The Carlyle Group - Former World Leaders and Washington Insiders Make Billions from the War on Terrorism: "How will President George W. Bush personally make millions (if not billions) from the Wars on Terror and Iraq? The old fashioned way. He'll inherit it. Meet the Carlyle Group Former World Leaders and Washington Insiders Making Billions in the War on Terrorism"

"All our lives we have blamed our parents and our parents' generation for allowing Hitler to gain control. Now we're beginning to see how powerless they must have felt to stop what was happening all around them." ---An elderly Jewish couple, quoted by Richard L. Clinton in the Oregonian, 8 April 2003

Saturday, April 19, 2003

India File: The other Saddam - Mani Shankar Aiyar: It was Saddam's revolution that ended Iraqi backwardness. Education, including higher and technological education, became the top priority. More important, centuries of vicious discrimination against girls and women was ended by one stroke of the modernizing dictator's pen.
   ... Iraq under Saddam had everything going for it -- except democracy. And it was, of course, the absence of democracy that accounted for Saddam brushing aside all vested interests: his instant liberation of women, his instant dismantling of feudalism, his instant caging of the priesthood, and, therefore, his instant -- and, yes, brutal -- exclusion from Iraq of all forms of religious fundamentalism and religion-based terrorism. Which is, one thing at least that Osama bin Laden and Bush III share: they hate Saddam equally.
   If Saddam goes, the brutality of the Baath party will finally be ended.
   But other things not wonderful either will take its place. There will be a takeover of civil society by the elements sidelined over four decades of Baath rule. Therefore, along with democracy, fundamentalism and terrorism will rear their heads.
 [Very interesting piece. It does show the hypocrisy of US policy toward Saddam. This story leaves out, though, that Saddam was not the only would-be modernizer at the time he took power. There were also the leftists, whom Saddam slaughtered, with help from the US government. This is also what happened in Iran... because the US had helped the Shah exterminate the Iranian left, there was no one left to replace the Shah, when he fell, except the fundamentalists.]

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

Carving Up The New Iraq: "In a special Sunday Herald investigation, we have charted the network of financial kickbacks, political pay-backs, cronyism, self-interest and ferocious ideology that underpins the entire reconstruction scheme. " - [long annotated catalog of interconnected persons and companies; not sure how well informed it is, though, since it lists (Pashtun) Afghan-American Zalmay Khalilzad under "The Arabs".]

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

News: "After days of arson and pillage, here's a short but revealing scorecard. US troops have sat back and allowed mobs to wreck and then burn the Ministry of Planning, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Irrigation, the Ministry of Trade, the Ministry of Industry, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Culture and the Ministry of Information. They did nothing to prevent looters from destroying priceless treasures of Iraq's history in the Baghdad Archaeological Museum and in the museum in the northern city of Mosul, or from looting three hospitals.
   The Americans have, though, put hundreds of troops inside two Iraqi ministries that remain untouched -- and untouchable -- because tanks and armoured personnel carriers and Humvees have been placed inside and outside both institutions. And which ministries proved to be so important for the Americans? Why, the Ministry of Interior, of course -- with its vast wealth of intelligence information on Iraq -- and the Ministry of Oil. "

Nine Theses on Moving the Peace Movement Forward  by Betsy Hartmann

What About Private Lori?: "Lori Piestewa, 23, was killed, with the gruesome distinction of being the first native American in the US army to be killed in combat and the only American servicewoman to die in this war. "

'Fearless' Dean Wins Converts: "Dean, 54, a doctor who served as governor of Vermont for 11 years, gets his biggest applause when he starts his closing choruses of, "We want our country back." It is now as much a part of his stump speech as was the line borrowed and paraphrased from the late Sen. Paul Wellstone that he used repeatedly in February and March: "I am Howard Dean, and I'm here to represent the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party." Dean said he believes that line -- "We want our country back" -- generates such a visceral response among Democratic activists because "people are in despair about what is going on. "

US Troops Encouraged Ransacking Khaled Bayomi looks surprised when the American officer on TV complains that they don't have the resources to stop the plundering in Baghdad. "I happened to be right there just as the American troops encouraged people to begin the plundering."
   Khaled Bayomi traveled from Europe to Baghdad to be a human shield and arrived on the same day that the war began. About this he can tell many stories but the most interesting is certainly his eyewitness account of the wave of plundering.
   "I had gone to see some friends who live near a dilapidated area just past Haifa Avenue on the west bank of the Tigris. It was the 8th of April and the fighting was so intense that I was unable to return to the other side of the river. In the afternoon it became perfectly quiet and four American tanks took places on the edge of the slum area. The soldiers shot two Sudanese guards who stood at their posts outside a local administration building on the other side of Haifa Avenue. Then they blasted apart the doors to the building and from the tanks came eager calls in Arabic encouraging people to come close to them. "
   "The entire morning, everyone who had tried to cross the road had been shot. But in the strange silence after all the shooting, people gradually became curious. After 45 minutes, the first Baghdad citizens dared to come out. Arab interpreters in the tanks told the people to go and take what they wanted in the building."
   "The word spread quickly and the building was ransacked. I was standing only 300 yards from there when the guards were murdered. Afterwards the tank crushed the entrance to the Justice Department, which was in a neighboring building, and the plundering continued there".
   "I stood in a large crowd and watched this together with them. They did not partake in the plundering but dared not to interfere. Many had tears of shame in their eyes. The next morning the plundering spread to the Modern Museum, which lies a quarter mile farther north. There were also two crowds there, one that plundered and one with watched with disgust."
   "Are you saying that it was US troops who initiated the plundering?'
   "Absolutely. The lack of jubilant scenes meant that the American troops needed pictures of Iraqis who in different ways demonstrated hatred for Saddam's regime."

Bomb Before You Buy: Rather than rebuilding, the country is being treated as a blank slate on which the most ideological Washington neo-liberals can design their dream economy: fully privatised, foreign-owned and open for business.
   ...Some argue that it's too simplistic to say this war is about oil. They're right. It's about oil, water, roads, trains, phones, ports and drugs. And if this process isn't halted, "free Iraq" will be the most sold country on earth.
   It's no surprise that so many multinationals are lunging for Iraq's untapped market. It's not just that the reconstruction will be worth as much as $100bn; it's also that "free trade" by less violent means hasn't been going that well lately. More and more developing countries are rejecting privatisation, while the Free Trade Area of the Americas, Bush's top trade priority, is wildly unpopular across Latin America.

Swiss to keep Iraqi funds until UN backs leadership: "Switzerland will not hand over frozen Iraqi assets to a post-Saddam Hussein government backed by the United States without a United Nations resolution, the Swiss government announced Wednesday in an apparent rebuff of the Bush administration."

AFL-CIO Executive Paywatch

30-year tax resister will refuse to pay again, protesting war in Iraq
By JIM GETZ Post-Dispatch
  Thirty years ago, St. Louis peace activist Bill Ramsey withheld his federal income taxes to protest the Christmas 1972 bombing of Haiphong in the war in Vietnam.
  Nothing has changed for him, 30 years later, except the bombing has shifted to Iraq. 
  Today, with about 30 others in the St. Louis area, Ramsey will again refuse to pay the taxes and instead will direct the amount to local humanitarian causes. 
  "I believe all the resources that come to me come as a trust," he said, "and I can't turn them over to somebody who uses them to kill people, and that's what the Pentagon does." 
  This infuriates some people who believe Americans should be willing to pay the tax bill that enables the benefits of living in the United States.
  They also are annoyed that the federal government seems to be more willing to prosecute tax resisters such as anti-government radical groups Posse Comitatus and the Freemen than protesters such as the anti-war St. Louis Covenant Community of War Tax Resisters. 
  Janine Meriweather investigated such cases for nine years for the Internal Revenue Service before becoming a spokeswoman for the agency last August. She has heard most of the claims, and many are found within the Department of Justice Tax Division's 56 pages of legal guidelines on tax resisters. 
  "They're basically the type of people who say, 'I'm not going to pay taxes because the Constitution doesn't say I have to pay taxes,'" she recalled. "Sometimes they put a religious angle on it or say that the type of income they receive isn't taxable." 
  Ramsey served 30 days in prison in 1993 for failing to pay taxes. Since then, though, Meriweather has not heard of any cases referred to the U.S. attorney in St. Louis, Ray Gruender. 
  "I would just say that we don't set criteria on the type of people we investigate," she added. "Each case is looked at evenly. There's no different standards for different types of people." 
  But Meriweather and Gruender say they can't comment on whether Ramsey or any other protester is being investigated - or why they haven't been in the past. 
  Gruender's office prosecutes based on evidence received from the IRS. Meriweather said the criminal division, when made aware of a case, tries to determine how much money is involved and how much "willfulness" there is to not pay. 
  The IRS investigation can take up to two years and another year after that before a charge is filed. 
  Nationwide, from October 2001 through March 2003, 346 people were convicted for failing to pay their income taxes. About 80 percent of them went to prison.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

War, Politics, Culture  Intervention Magazine / Mission Statement:
In response to this vastly changed world, Intervention Magazine online has expanded its forum. Beyond military affairs and foreign policy, the magazine will present insightful and clear discussion on the domestic and international political environment, the media, which is increasingly concentrated, global and local environmental issues, as well as the literature of witness. The major themes of the new Intervention, then, are war and its aftermath, politics and democracy, as well as culture and literature.

Nationwide Inquiry at Veterans' Hospitals: "The Bush administration has ordered a nationwide review of medical research at 115 veterans' hospitals and has halted some studies after investigators found serious violations of federal rules, including some that may have contributed to the deaths of patients. The Department of Veterans Affairs said it was investigating the deaths of patients in research projects at hospitals in Detroit, Albany and Fargo, N.D. The department also said it had found "serious noncompliance" with federal rules at its hospitals in Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I.; Martinez, Calif.; and Long Beach, Calif, and detected problems at hospitals in Northampton, Mass., and Portland, Ore."

A civilisation torn to pieces - Fisk: "They lie across the floor in tens of thousands of pieces, the priceless antiquities of Iraq's history. The looters had gone from shelf to shelf, systematically pulling down the statues and pots and amphorae of the Assyrians and the Babylonians, the Sumerians, the Medes, the Persians and the Greeks and hurling them on to the concrete. Our feet crunched on the wreckage of 5,000-year-old marble plinths and stone statuary and pots that had endured every siege of Baghdad, every invasion of Iraq throughout history ­ only to be destroyed when America came to "liberate" the city. The Iraqis did it. They did it to their own history, physically destroying the evidence of their own nation's thousands of years of civilisation. Not since the Taliban embarked on their orgy of destruction against the Buddhas of Bamiyan and the statues in the museum of Kabul ­ perhaps not since the Second World War or earlier ­ have so many archaeological treasures been wantonly and systematically smashed to pieces. "

Saturday, April 12, 2003

U.S. Attacks on Holdouts Dealt Iraqis Final Blow - very long, triumphalist analysis of the US attack on Iraq.

Friday, April 11, 2003

IndyMedia Center - Pulling down the statue in Baghdad : "The photographs tell the story... media manipulation on a grand scale. Yes, the occupation has begun.  [ very interesting photos]

Susan Davis: The New York Times and the Peace Movement
While the patriotism of pacifists has always been an argument, it really got wheeled out in the big demonstrations after Christmas, and as groups like Win without War, and, which the New York Times especially approves of, stepped to the forefront to help organize the enormous national demonstrations of January and February and March. These were very useful and very threatening demonstrations. But in Win without War's formulations, and I think arguably's approach, the United States policy towards Iraq before the war was fundamentally acceptable. That's a problem. Groups like Voices in the Wilderness have worked for years to undermine the acceptability of so-called containment, which Jeff Gunsel of Voices points out, is really just another word for sanctions -- but sanctions were becoming politically unacceptable. If you look today at's call for letters to the editor about the management of postwar Iraq there isn't a single critical connection made -- the argument is simply back to the status quo of European nations managing what will be Middle Eastern occupied territory.

Spoils of War: Bob Herbert - "The war against Iraq has become one of the clearest examples ever of the influence of the military-industrial complex that President Dwight Eisenhower warned against so eloquently in his farewell address in 1961. This iron web of relationships among powerful individuals inside and outside the government operates with very little public scrutiny and is saturated with conflicts of interest."

Is There Some Element in the US Military that Wants to take Out Journalists?: Fisk - "First the Americans killed the correspondent of al-Jazeera yesterday and wounded his cameraman. Then, within four hours, they attacked the Reuters television bureau in Baghdad, killing one of its cameramen and a cameraman for Spain's Tele 5 channel and wounding four other members of the Reuters staff. Was it possible to believe this was an accident? Or was it possible that the right word for these killings - the first with a jet aircraft, the second with an M1A1 Abrams tank - was murder? "

Hans Blix: War Planned 'Long in Advance': By attacking Iraq, Washington had sent the wrong message - that if a country did not possess biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, it risked being attacked. "The United States maintains that the war on Iraq is designed to send a signal to other countries to keep away from weapons of mass destruction. But people are getting a different message. Take the announcement North Korea has just made. It's tantamount to saying 'if you let in the inspectors, like Iraq did, you get attacked'.

Muslim Groups Protest Bush Peace Nominee: "Muslim groups were stunned last week when President Bush nominated Daniel Pipes to the board of the United States Institute of Peace, a federal think tank. For years, the outspoken director of the Middle East Forum in Philadelphia has called for a war on Islamic extremism, declaring in one post-Sept. 11 interview: "What we need to do is inspire fear, not affection." The Harvard-trained scholar has declared Islamic extremists are conspiring to replace the U.S. Constitution with the Koran, that one in 10 American Muslims are militants and suggested the government needs to monitor Muslims and mosques across the country. "

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Robert Fisk visits a Baghdad hospital: The Iraqi civilians and soldiers brought to the Adnan Khairallah Martyr Hospital in the last hours of Saddam Hussein's regime yesterday sometimes still clinging to severed limbs ­ are the dark side of victory and defeat; final proof, like the dead who are buried within hours, that war is about the total failure of the human spirit. As I wandered amid the beds and the groaning men and women lying on them ­ Dante's visit to the circles of hell should have included these visions ­ the same old questions recurred. Was this for 11 September? For human rights? For weapons of mass destruction?

Institute for Policy Studies - Talking Points on the U.S.-Iraq Crisis: WHO RULES THE PEACE WHEN THE RULERS BREAK THE RULES? for United for Peace & Justice by Phyllis Bennis

Institute for Public Accuracy - IPA: "As a nationwide consortium of policy researchers, the Institute for Public Accuracy seeks to broaden public discourse by gaining media access for those whose perspectives are commonly drowned out by corporate-backed think tanks and other influential institutions. "

War is Just a racket, by Major General Smedley Butler, USMC, 1933: " I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it."

House Democrats Want Halliburton Probe: "Questioning whether Vice President Dick Cheney's former company has received favored treatment from the Pentagon, senior House Democrats asked Congress' investigative agency Tuesday to delve into contracts awarded Halliburton Co. over the past two years.
   Halliburton's KBR subsidiary has a record of gouging the government in contracts awarded without competition, Reps. Henry Waxman of California and John Dingell of Michigan contended in a letter to the General Accounting Office.
   Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall said the lawmakers have ignored the exemplary record of the Houston-based firm that employed Cheney as chief executive officer from 1995 to 2000 and still pays him deferred compensation for his services during that period.
   ....  -A GAO finding in 1997 that the company billed the Army for questionable expenses for work in the Balkans, including charges of $85.98 per sheet of plywood that cost $14.06.
   -A year 2000 follow-up report on the Balkans work that found inflated costs, including charges for cleaning some offices up to four times a day.
   -$2 million in fines paid in February, 2002, to resolve fraud claims involving work at Fort Ord, Calif. The Defense Department inspector general and a federal grand jury had investigated allegations by a former employee that KBR defrauded the government of millions of dollars by inflating prices for repairs and maintenance.
   The Securities and Exchange Commission already is investigating Halliburton's accounting practices, looking into an accounting change made in 1998, during Cheney's tenure as CEO

The Pentagon's "Trainee," Ahmad Chalabi (INC), Claims to be epresentative of a New Iraq: "Descendant of a rich Shiite family, Ahmad Chalabi, 54 years old, never enjoyed any political position in Iraq. A banker by profession, he has always had a complex relationship with money: condemned in absentia to twenty-two years in prison in the beginning of the eighties for bank fraud and misappropriation of funds in Jordan, he became the subject of suspicion again in the mid-nineties, this time with regard to the use of CIA funds furnished to the Iraqi National Congress (INC); and again only a few months ago, his good faith seemed to have been put in doubt with regard to the use he made of almost half of the 4.3 million dollars of new American financial aid granted to this same INC, a coalition of the Iraqi opposition created in 1992 at the instigation of the United States and of which Chalabi claims to be a central figure."

Republicans Want Patriot Act Made Permanent: "Working with the Bush administration, Congressional Republicans are maneuvering to make permanent the sweeping antiterrorism powers granted to federal law enforcement agents after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, officials said today. The move is likely to touch off strong objections from many Democrats and even some Republicans in Congress who believe that the Patriot Act, as the legislation that grew out of the attacks is known, has already given the government too much power to spy on Americans. The landmark legislation expanded the government's power to use eavesdropping, surveillance, access to financial and computer records and other tools to track terrorist suspects."

On Getting Along By Howard Zinn: You ask how I manage to stay involved and remain seemingly happy and adjusted to this awful world where the efforts of caring people pale in comparison to those who have power?

When Democracy Failed: The Warnings of History: February 27, 2003, was the 70th anniversary of Dutch terrorist Marinus van der Lubbe's successful firebombing of the German Parliament (Reichstag) building, the terrorist act that catapulted Hitler to legitimacy and reshaped the German constitution. By the time of his successful and brief action to seize Austria, in which almost no German blood was shed, Hitler was the most beloved and popular leader in the history of his nation.
   ... Through the 1930s, however, Hitler and Roosevelt chose very different courses to bring their nations back to power and prosperity. Germany's response was to use government to empower corporations and reward the society's richest individuals, privatize much of the commons, stifle dissent, strip people of constitutional rights, and create an illusion of prosperity through continual and ever-expanding war. America passed minimum wage laws to raise the middle class, enforced anti-trust laws to diminish the power of corporations, increased taxes on corporations and the wealthiest individuals, created Social Security, and became the employer of last resort through programs to build national infrastructure, promote the arts, and replant forests.  To the extent that our Constitution is still intact, the choice is again ours.

Wednesday, April 09, 2003

ZNet - No Ribbons, No Flags, No Fireworks: "Don't misunderstand. I guess one could say that I too support the troops, but surely not in the way that you and other flag-wavers intend.
  I support them being able to make a living and get an education without having first to subordinate their consciences to a military establishment that vitiates critical thought, reflection and free will, so as to create more efficient killing machines. How about you?
  I support them not being lied to about the chemicals and depleted uranium to which they will likely be exposed. How about you?"

George Monbiot - US preparing to use chemical weapons in Iraq: In February, the defence secretary, Donald , told Congress's armed services committee that "there are times when the use of non-lethal riot agents is perfectly appropriate." He revealed that he and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Richard Myers, had been "trying to fashion rules of engagement" for the use of chemical weapons in Iraq. Rumsfeld, formerly the chief executive of GD Searle, one of the biggest drugs firms in the US, has never been an enthusiast for the Chemical Weapons Convention. In 1997, as the senate was preparing to ratify the treaty, he told its committee on foreign relations that the convention "will impose a costly and complex regulatory burden on US industry". Enlisting the kind of self-fulfilling prophecy with which we have since become familiar, he maintained that it was not "realistic", as global disarmament "is not a likely prospect". Dick Cheney, now vice-president, asked the committee to record his "strong opposition" to ratification
 .... You cannot use chemical weapons to wage war against chemical weapons. They are, as the convention makes clear, the instruments of terrorists. By deploying them, the US government would erase one of the remaining moral distinctions between its own behaviour and that of the man it asks us to abominate.

Tuesday, April 08, 2003

Guardian - Russian spy reports online: There is a surfeit of war news, but reliable intelligence is hard to come by. The canny trader in these parlous days has a first port of call - GRU (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye), the espionage arm of the Russian military.
   GRU is the most sophisticated agency of its kind in the world. And, since Glasnost, the most transparent. GRU has thousands of agents worldwide (especially in countries such as Iraq, where Russia has traditional trade links). Intelligence has always been a top priority for Ivan. The number of agents operated by the GRU during the Soviet era was six times the number of agents operated by the KGB.
   Russia, superpower that it was, still has spy satellites, state-of-the-art interception technology and (unlike the CIA) men on the ground. The beauty of GRU is that it does not (like the CIA) report directly to the leadership but to the Russian ministry of defence. In its wisdom, it makes its analyses publicly available. These are digested as daily bulletins on
   The Russians have a contrarian view on the current conflict. What was it Kissinger said about the Iran-Iraq war - "Ideally we'd like both sides to lose"? That's what the Kremlin thinks about Operation Free Iraq. 
    From its neutral stance, GRU offers detailed, top-grade, and wholly unspun analysis. The bulletins are in Russian (bilingualism is suddenly in demand on Wall Street). You can get English translations a day later on Venik's Aviation website (

'This Is Like A Scene From Hell. There Are Bodies All Around': "BBC journalist John Simpson witnessed a "friendly fire" attack in northern Iraq yesterday, in which his translator and up to 17 Kurds and US troops were killed. This is how he described the scene:"

Police Open Fire At Anti-War Protest, Longshoremen Injured: (photo): "This young woman was shot in the face today by Oakland Police officers, who fired wooden pellets at protesters marching against the war in Iraq."

Russian intelligence report: War in Iraq - situation at the Saddam airport: April 6 "All the claims made by aviation commander of the coalition, general Michael Mosley, about "Iraqi army, as an organized structure consisting of large units, exists no longer" are contrary to fact and, according to analytics, are probably connected with severe pressure put on the military command by American financial groups that desperately needed good news from the US-Iraqi front by the end of the financial week. In fact, the Republican Guards defending Baghdad have not lost even 5% of their numerical strength and military equipment. Most of those losses were due to bombardments and not land combats. The total losses of Iraqi army since the beginning of the war have not exceeded 5-8% of their defensive potential. This means the main battles are still to be seen. "

War in Iraq - US troops attack Russian diplomats: April 6, 2003 "The following is the English translation of the IRAQWAR.RU report based on the Russian military intelligence reports"

US Arms Group Heads for Lisbon: Top of the meeting's agenda is expected to be the company's involvement in the rebuilding of Baghdad's infrastructure after the cessation of current hostilities. Along with several other US companies, the Carlyle Group is expected to be awarded a billion dollar contract by the US Government to help in the redevelopment of airfields and urban areas destroyed by Coalition aerial bombardments. The Group is managed by a team of former US Government personnel including its president Frank Carlucci, former deputy director of the CIA before becoming Defence Secretary. His deputy is James Baker II, who was Secretary of State under George Bush senior. Several high profile former politicians are employed to represent the company overseas, among them John Major, former British Prime Minister, along with George Bush senior, one time CIA director before becoming US President.

Area Surgeon Aids Troops Boulder neurosurgeon Gene Bolles.
   Bolles spent Thursday hunched over an operating table at Germany's Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, repairing the broken back of Army Pfc. Jessica Lynch, who was rescued from an Iraqi hospital this week. The 19-year-old soldier will require aggressive rehabilitation, Bolles said, but is expected to recover well — one success story in a war full of tragedy.
   "It really is disgustingly sanitized on television," said Bolles, who has spent the last 16 months as chief of neurosurgery at Landstuhl, the destination for the war's most wounded soldiers.
   As of Friday, 281 patients had been brought to Landstuhl since Operation Iraqi Freedom started, and plane-loads are arriving regularly. 
   "We have had a number of really horrific injuries now from the war. They have lost arms, legs, hands, they have been burned, they have had significant brain injuries and peripheral nerve damage. These are young kids that are going to be, in some regards, changed for life. I don't feel that people realize that."

Monday, April 07, 2003

Mossback: The Empire Falls Down by Knute Berger The Brits in the coalition force should have some understanding of the Iraqi irregulars who are fighting for their country against all odds. They have a history of glorious speeches urging on the underdogs of war, or inspiring a fight to the death for an honored people. Think of Winston Churchill promising to fight on the beaches; think of Shakespeare’s Henry V and his “band of brothers” on St. Crispin’s Day. Reaching back further, one finds in Tacitus’ Agricola the inspiring speech of the Scottish warrior Calgacus, who resisted the conquering Roman legions poised before him. 
  His speech is worth remembering. Part of it goes: “But there are no more nations beyond us; nothing is there but waves and rocks and the Romans, more deadly still than these—for in them is arrogance which no submission or good behavior can escape. Pillagers of the world, they have exhausted the land by their indiscriminate plunder, and now they ransack the sea. A rich enemy excites their cupidity; a poor one, their lust for power. East and West alike have failed to satisfy them. They are the only people on the earth to whose covetousness both riches and poverty are equally tempting. To robbery, butchery, and rapine, they give the lying name of ‘government’; they create a desolation and call it peace.”
   Shortly thereafter, Calgacus got his butt kicked by superior Roman numbers, technology, and tactics. But, as you know, the story doesn’t stop there. One day, the people of Rome reaped the consequences of their actions and appetites. One day, they got to experience “peace” in their own land, and finally came to know what Calgacus was talking about.

Mossback: Conservative Crybabies by Knute Berger not only have so-called conservatives taken the country and consolidated their power, they are also wowing—or at least (shall we be generous?) snowing—the public. This won’t be good news to your typical Seattle peacenik, but here’s a disturbing message: Polls don’t lie. Yes, I wish we could ignore them, too, but the messenger, while not perfect, is close enough when it comes to measuring attitude trends. What do the polls say?
  They say 70 percent of the American public supports the war—and that support has been growing. They say 70 percent of the public approves of the way Bush is doing his job. And more broadly, they say that more than half (53 percent) of the country thinks America is on the right track.

Sunday, April 06, 2003

Five Guidelines for Our Organizing by Cynthia Peters

How the peace movement blew it | "how can the peace be won? First, articulate a holistic critique of, and alternative to, Bush's postwar vision. Second, demand significant representation in the postwar "reconstruction regime," and if refused, infiltrate it with the coordinated efforts of international humanitarian and relief organizations. Third, force public scrutiny of companies that will be awarded billions of dollars of "reconstruction" contracts, especially those with close ties to the White House. More broadly, engage in unprecedented levels of education and protest to help the public understand how the coalition of arms and oil companies behind this war is reaping profits at the expense of America's healthcare, education, retirement, and criminal-justice systems - in short, our future."

The Rural Opposition: Protesting Where Everybody Knows Your Name: It is one thing to speak up in a large crowd in a big city and quite another to do it amid the farm fields. The antiwar movement here has already learned that politics are intensely personal in communities where people do not pass each other without waving and the woman at Harmony's Village Square restaurant recognizes the voice of the caller ordering a pizza.
   The anonymity of chanting among several hundred thousand in New York or San Francisco is unavailable on Lanesboro's Parkway Avenue, where Lydia O'Connor, whose son-in-law is in the 101st Airborne Division in Iraq, stood silently writing down names as the protesters passed. Some small-business people who say they oppose the war have not joined the marches, they say, for fear of alienating customers; others who have protested report receiving nasty looks and letters.
  ... In New York and San Francisco, rallies supporting and opposing the war compete for crowds and scream at each other across police cordons. Not in Lanesboro. Mr. Redalen, carrying his flag, and Mr Wright, with a "Wage Peace" sign, walked arm in arm at the head of the line, down Parkway Avenue and to the Lutheran church, where Mr. Redalen led those gathered for the potluck in a prayer.

Statute Becomes Justice Department's Weapon of Choice
The Justice Department, buoyed by a series of court victories, appears to be gaining traction in prosecuting Americans linked to terrorism by using a once-obscure law that predates the Sept. 11 attacks.
   Federal prosecutors in recent weeks have secured their first convictions under the 1996 law, which makes it a crime to offer "material support" to any group designated by the United States as a terrorist organization. The statute has become so useful that the Justice Department is exploring ways to cast an even wider legal net, despite objections from civil rights groups.
   In several dozen cases both high profile and little noticed, the law has become the Justice Department's main weapon in pursuing people it contends are linked to terrorists. Part of the appeal for prosecutors is that they do not have to prove that the defendants actually supported terrorist attacks, only that they helped a group tied to terrorism.
   Civil libertarians and defense lawyers, however, are increasing their criticism of the law and the department's aggressive use of it, saying the prosecutions smack of a McCarthylike notion of guilt by association. Critics say the law is so overly broad that people with no intention of helping terrorists are being prosecuted. Moreover, they accuse authorities of using strong-arm tactics to force pleas.

Support the Warrior Not the War: Give Them Their Benefits!: "The House of Representatives have recently voted on the 2004 budget which will cut funding for veteran's health care and benefit programs by nearly $25 billion over the next ten years. It narrowly passed by a vote of 215 to 212, and came just a day after Congress passed a resolution to "Support Our Troops." How exactly does this vote support our troops? Does leaving our current and future veterans veterans without access to health care and compensation qualify as supporting them? The Veteran's Administration, plagued by recent budget cuts, has had to resort to charging new veterans entering into its system a yearly fee of $250 in order for them to receive treatment. It is a sad irony that the very people being sent to fight the war are going to have to pay to treat the effects of it. "

UK troops told: Be just and strong: Lieutenant Colonel Tim Collins, 1st Battalion of the Royal Irish: "Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there. You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis. You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing. Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you."

Wired News: Fears About DNA Testing Proposal 
  A Justice Department proposal to create a database containing the DNA of suspected terrorists has raised fears that the measure would lead to so-called DNA dragnets. The concern is that police could round up people of Middle Eastern origin and other targeted groups to force them to contribute genetic samples to the database.
  The Terrorist Identification Database Act of 2003 is buried deep within the department's secretly drafted Domestic Security Enhancement Act of 2003 -- known colloquially as Patriot Act II. It would empower the attorney general to collect DNA samples for the purpose of "detecting, investigating, prosecuting, preventing or responding to terrorist activities."

Justice Scalia says rights excessive, can be scaled down in wartime: "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia had this to say on Tuesday: "The Constitution just sets minimums ... Most of the rights that you enjoy go way beyond what the Constitution requires." According to Scalia, during wartime, "the protections will be ratcheted right down to the constitutional minimum." "

Saturday, April 05, 2003

Professors Protest as Students Debate
  It is not easy being an old lefty on campus in this war.
  At the University of Wisconsin at Madison, awash in antiwar protests in the Vietnam era, a columnist for a student newspaper took a professor to task for canceling classes to protest the war in Iraq, saying the university should reprimand her and refund tuition for the missed periods.
   Irvine Valley College in Southern California sent faculty members a memo that warned them not to discuss the war unless it was specifically related to the course material. When professors cried censorship, the administration explained that the request had come from students.
  Here at Amherst College, many students were vocally annoyed this semester when 40 professors paraded into the dining hall with antiwar signs. One student confronted a protesting professor and shoved him. 
  Some students here accuse professors of behaving inappropriately, of not knowing their place.
  ... The students' attitudes have many possible explanations. There is no draft this time. Students on small liberal arts campuses like this one are more diverse than those of the 60's and 70's. More receive financial aid, and many are more concerned about their careers than about protesting. But the students have also been pulled toward a more conservative mainstream than their parents.
  ....A nationwide survey of freshmen by the University of California at Los Angeles over the last 37 years reflected other shifts from Sept. 11. This year, more students called themselves conservative than in other recent surveys, and 45 percent supported an increase in military spending, more than double the percentage in 1993.
  ... My job is not to get my students to agree with me," Professor O'Connell insisted.
  Still, he conceded, `There is a second when I hear them, and my heart just falls."

Friday, April 04, 2003

DaveNet : NY Times pulls back: "All my links into the NY Times archive that are older than 30 days are broken. I suspected this day would come, eventually. Advertising doesn't pay for Web publications. It probably doesn't pay for print pubs either anymore. The business model for news is gyrating wildly. So much uncertainty. But one thing is certain, the Times will be missed on the Web."

Sober Replies to Speculative Questions: "His father, Leo Brooks Sr., is a former Army major general, who after his retirement in 1984 was named Philadelphia's managing director, the city's top appointed position. He held that job during the confrontation with the radical group Move in May 1985, which ended when the police dropped a bomb on a rowhouse, causing a fire that killed 11 people. Mr. Brooks announced his resignation 10 days after the incident, and he was cleared of all criminal liability by a Philadelphia grand jury three years later. General Brooks's brother Leo Brooks Jr. is also a brigadier general and commandant of cadets at West Point, the academy's No. 2 position. At West Point, Vince Brooks stood out among a group of standouts. In his senior year in 1979-80, he was elected first captain, the leader of the 4,338-member corps of cadets, a title held before him by John J. Pershing, Douglas MacArthur and William Westmoreland, among others. He was the first black cadet in the academy's 177-year history to hold the position. Twenty-two years later he was the first member of his class to be nominated for flag rank. He was confirmed by the Senate last year as a brigadier general, the third member of his family to wear a star on his shoulders."

China Yields Data on Mystery Illness Reluctantly: "SARS has presented these same kinds of officials with a similar choice -- to save people or save face with their bosses -- and until recently they chose the latter."

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

THIS WAR IS NOT WORKING  by Peter Arnett. "I am still in shock and awe at being fired. There is enormous sensitivity within the US government to reports coming out from Baghdad. They don't want credible news organisations reporting from here because it presents them with enormous problems."

St. Louis Police riot: Louis Indymedia - part 1:
part 2
part 3
part 4
"First-hand accounts from people who were attacked during a march following the peace rally at Forest Park March 30"

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Ritter says US will lose in Iraq: "We do not have the military means to take over Baghdad and for this reason I believe the defeat of the United States in this war is inevitable," he said. "Every time we confront Iraqi troops we may win some tactical battles, as we did for ten years in Vietnam but we will not be able to win this war, which in my opinion is already lost," Ritter added. "We find ourselves... facing a nation of 23 million, with armed elements numbering around 7 million --who are concentrated at urban areas. We will not win this fight. America will lose this war," said Mr. Ritter.

Saturday, March 29, 2003

The War in Iraq Turns Ugly. That's What Wars Do.

Military Mirrors Working-Class America - long article: military demographics and anecdotes

Friday, March 28, 2003

Department of Peace - We Can Make It Happen!

US Department of Laughs: The US government has a new website, It's another attempt at scare mongering in the style of the old "duck and cover" advice after WWII. The fun thing is that these pictures are so ambiguous they could mean anything! Here are a few interpretations...

Power tool: ... Tomahawk missiles. Since they were first used in the 1991 conflict, they have become the ultimate symbol of US military power. Oliver Burkeman reveals how a hi-tech weapon that promised blood-free combat changed the way America thinks about war

Ladies' Tea Boils Over as Saudis Rail at U.S.: RIYADH, Saudi Arabia -- The invitation one afternoon this week was for a ladies' tea -- a social event at the home of the U.S. ambassador's wife, Ann Jordan...
  ... the Americans needed to hear what they had to say. The other Saudi women nodded in agreement. Jordan looked vaguely alarmed.
   "This war is making people pro-Saddam, because it's not fair that you come from outside and remove a president, even if he is a dictator," she declared. "You thought the Iraqis would join you and fight for their freedom, but people instead of fighting for their freedom are standing behind him. And this isn't what anyone wanted to see!"

Uniting for Peace - Why The U.N. General Assembly Has Authority To Speak on the War on Iraq In the Event of Security Council Stalemate By MARJORIE COHN

We Work for Peace and Justice Building a movement powerful enough to stop the war in Iraq or to successfully curb a next war in Syria or Iran or Venezuela, involves many factors. Among these, and perhaps the most fundamental, is sufficient numbers. Statement signed by Roy, Martinez, Zinn, Chomsky, etc.."

Haunting Thoughts After a Fierce Battle: "I have my wife and kids to go back home to... I don't want them to think I'm a killer."
   ... Many of the Iraqis, he said, attacked headlong into the cutting fire of tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.
   "I wouldn't call it bravery," he said. "I'd call it stupidity. We value a soldier's life so much more than they do. I mean, an AK-47 isn't going to do nothing against a Bradley. I'd love to know what Saddam is telling his people. 
   "When I go home, people will want to treat me like a hero, but I'm not," he went on. "I'm a Christian man. If I have to kill the other guy, I will, but it doesn't make me a hero. I just want to go home to my wife and kids."

Antiwar Movement Morphs From Wild-Eyed to Civil: "With the war against Iraq in its second week, the most influential antiwar coalitions have shifted away from large-scale disruptive tactics and stepped up efforts to appeal to mainstream Americans" [long article]

Thursday, March 27, 2003

Crude Vision: How Oil Interests Obscured US Government Focus On Chemical Weapons Use by Saddam Hussein: Key figures associated with the Bush Administration, in particular Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, pressed Saddam Hussein during the mid '80's to approve the Aqaba pipeline project from Iraq to Jordan.
   ...the break in US-Iraq relations occurred not after Iraq used chemical weapons on the Iranians, nor after Iraq gassed its own Kurdish people, nor even after Iraq invaded Kuwait, but rather, followed Saddam's rejection of the Aqaba pipeline deal.
   "In their own words, we now see that for Administration officials, a dictator is a friend of the United States when he is willing to make an oily deal, and a mortal enemy when he is not" said Vallette

Wednesday, March 26, 2003

Baghdad Empties, but Fills With Foreboding: "they feared what might befall Iraqis like themselves if, faced with continued stiff resistance by Mr. Hussein's troops, Mr. Bush did what his father did at the end of the Persian Gulf war in 1991, and decided that a settlement was preferable to a long and grisly campaign to topple Mr. Hussein."

Monday, March 24, 2003 - maryland's online community: "Michelle Waters, the oldest of the dead Marine's four sisters, criticized the U.S. government for starting the hostilities. "It's all for nothing, that war could have been prevented," she said last night in the living room of the family home, tears running down her cheeks. "Now, we're out of a brother. [President] Bush is not out of a brother. We are.""

Saturday, March 22, 2003

American Politics Journal -- Big Babies: "God Damn You by Alan Bisbort Mar. 20, 2003 -- HARTFORD ( -- ...and I mean that sincerely, George W. Bush. Far be it for me, a sinful man who has backslid more times than Robert Downey Jr., to personally single you and your murderous cohorts out. I gladly defer to Bishop Tutu and the Dalai Lama and Jimmy Carter and the Pope, more conversant in things scriptural or theological than I, or any of your unenlightened inner circle, will ever be. I will let them speak the truth, as far as any of us can know it here on this earth. To a person, they condemn your most unholy and unjust of wars in Iraq."

Innocents in Uniform: "Should not the proper minimum in any war be loss of human life, period -- which in this case includes Iraqi soldiers, too?"

Marching Forward: "It may be, however, that the greater significance of the protests lies in what they portend for politics here at home. While antiwar movements are rarely successful in their immediate goal, they are often prescient indicators of the national mood. Historically, antiwar movements have nearly always put forth larger critiques of how American society is organized, and have often been entwined with powerful social movements focused on domestic problems. "

Iraq marshes vanishing: "The United Nations has warned of a growing ecological catastrophe in southern Iraq. Satellite images show that less than 7% of the Mesopotamian marshes remain intact, the UN revealed at the World Water Forum in Kyoto, Japan. The area where the rivers Tigris and Euphrates join in southern Iraq is thought by some to be the original site of the Garden of Eden. By 2000, it was estimated that 90% of the natural wetland had disappeared, through drainage works and dams upstream which restrict the flow of the rivers.
   ...Iraq says its engineering programmes were for reclaiming agricultural land and that it was running a relocation programme for the benefit of the marsh dwellers.  But human rights groups and western governments accuse Baghdad of draining the marshes as a tactic of political repression. Tens of thousands of army deserters, political opponents and others sought shelter there in the 1990s, Human Rights Watch says.
   The Iraqi regime began large-scale hydro-engineering projects in the marshes, building dams, canals and embankments. Water levels began to drop. In 1992 and 1993 reports emerged of a military campaign to flush out the wetlands. Refugees fleeing to Iran described artillery and aerial attacks on civilian areas, arrests and executions, mine-laying and the destruction of homes and properties.

Day after war's beginning brings local calls for peace - Columbia Missourian: "They marched. They screamed. They prayed. They cried. They laughed. They sang. They spoke. They listened. Thursday was the day local peace advocates spent weeks planning for but hoped would never come."

Thursday, March 20, 2003

Red alert? Stay home, await word: "If the nation escalates to "red alert," which is the highest in the color-coded readiness against terror, you will be assumed by authorities to be the enemy if you so much as venture outside your home, the state [New Jersey]'s anti-terror czar says."

Arrogance of Power: Today, I Weep for my Country. by US Senator Robert Byrd Speech delivered on the floor of the US Senate:
  ... We flaunt our superpower status with arrogance. We treat UN Security Council members like ingrates who offend our princely dignity by lifting their heads from the carpet. Valuable alliances are split. 
  After war has ended, the United States will have to rebuild much more than the country of Iraq. We will have to rebuild America's image around the globe. 
   The case this Administration tries to make to justify its fixation with war is tainted by charges of falsified documents and circumstantial evidence. We cannot convince the world of the necessity of this war for one simple reason. This is a war of choice.

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

Doomsday Predictions, By Frederick Vreeland, former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East and Ambassador to Morocco. Prior to that he served for 35 years in foreign service posts including anti-terrorist assignments for both the State Department and CIA.
   "Yes, there is a clear link between Saddam's Iraq and Muslim terrorism" said several friends during a recent month spent in the Arab world. "The link is that an American attack against Iraq will immediately create a massive increase in terrorist volunteers throughout the Arab-Islamic region.".
   These words came from highly sophisticated Moroccans who have devoted their energies and assets to forging links with the United States, where they have their children educated and their economic interests invested. Morocco is the Arab country closest to America, obviously geographically but arguably also psychologically. Its conservative, secular-oriented, democracy-aspiring elite, have increasingly looked to New York and Washington for ties that would be at least as important as those with Paris and the European Union. And part of their over-all aspiration is to undercut any growth in the Islamic fundamentalism that they fear for their own country and for the entire Muslim arc from Casablanca to Jakarta.
   Many progressive, moderate, Westernized Arabs consider themselves more antiterrorist than their friends in the US because they are closer to it and have more to fear from it. They have been barring the door against fundamentalism in their own countries, and trumpeting the advantages of modern democracy, as well as desperately seeking entry into the Western global economy. But they are fearful of American insensitivity to the realities of the Islamic world.
   They define Washington's current foreign policy as the most effective possible formula for fortifying and galvanizing the fundamentalism that they have so far been successfully curbing. "America attacking Saddam -- which we condoned when he invaded sovereign Kuwait -- will put Washington in exactly the same category of public-enemy into which Iraq placed itself by that invasion in 1990,"they maintain. "The big difference is that while we Arabs were divided in our attitude toward the Gulf War, we will be totally united against America, if it at aggresses Iraq."
   "Do your leaders understand that a US-British attack on one Arab country will devastate the delicate balance that has kept our countries tranquil, and will sew pandemonium and murderous anti-Western actions. That would be totally contrary to the US stated aim of bringing Democracy to the Arab world; it would deprive us of Democracy for decades."
   They also say that Iran's failure as a fully Islamized state is just now starting to turn young Muslims against the allure of fundamentalism. This tendency would be reversed by an attack on Iraq, according to their belief that "Bombing Baghdad today will spawn a million Bin Ladens tomorrow." They cheered our hunt for Bin Laden last year but see war against Iraq as playing into his hands this year. Similarly, they firmly oppose Saddam Hussein, but warn that our attack will increase his popularity among the Muslim masses.
   In Rome these Arab fears were immediately brushed aside when I discussed them with a senior foreign policy advisor to Italy's Prime Minister, one of those who guides Silvio Berlusconi on his pro-US stance. My Italian friend, who also maintains good contacts on the other side of the Mediterranean, acknowledged that these are widely held Arab positions, but dismissed them. "The war will be short" he replied, "and once Saddam is gone, all these attitudes will change, as the Muslims hurry to join the victorious side."
   This man's experience in international affairs runs deep and he speaks with authority. But I remember him assuring me 15 years ago that the Europeans alone would rapidly solve the problems of ex-Yugoslavia, and he promised that the action would be lightening-quick. As one of the actors on the scene at the time he had believed that the comportment of others was predictable. He had been proven wrong in all three predictions.
   For America's leaders to assure us they will have the situation in the Middle East under control after a short, containable war is equally unconvincing and unrealistic. When taking decisions regarding the fate of this volatile region, Washington must listen to, and take properly into consideration, the doomsday predictions coming from the Arab world.

Media giant's [pro-war] rally sponsorship raises questions: Some of the biggest rallies this month have endorsed President Bush's strategy against Saddam Hussein, and the common thread linking most of them is Clear Channel Worldwide Inc., the nation's largest owner of radio stations.
   In a move that has raised eyebrows in some legal and journalistic circles, Clear Channel radio stations in Atlanta, Cleveland, San Antonio, Cincinnati and other cities have sponsored rallies attended by up to 20,000 people. The events have served as a loud rebuttal to the more numerous but generally smaller anti-war rallies....
   ...In 1987 the FCC repealed the Fairness Doctrine, which required broadcasters to cover controversial issues in their community and to do so by offering balancing views. With that obligation gone, Morris said, "radio can behave more like newspapers, with opinion pages and editorials." "They've just begun stretching their legs, being more politically active," Morris said. "

BBC NEWS - Robin Cook's resignation speech: "Ironically, it is only because Iraq's military forces are so weak that we can even contemplate its invasion. Some advocates of conflict claim that Saddam's forces are so weak, so demoralised and so badly equipped that the war will be over in a few days. We cannot base our military strategy on the assumption that Saddam is weak and at the same time justify pre-emptive action on the claim that he is a threat. "

Tuesday, March 18, 2003

Michael Moore letter to Bush : "Dear Governor Bush: So today is what you call "the moment of truth," the day that "France and the rest of world have to show their cards on the table." I'm glad to hear that this day has finally arrived. Because, I gotta tell ya, having survived 440 days of your lying and conniving, I wasn't sure if I could take much more. So I'm glad to hear that today is Truth Day, 'cause I got a few truths I would like to share with you:"

The New York Review of Books: Bush's Tax Plan--The Dangers: Joseph E.Stiglitz - "By now, it is well known how Bush's tax package favors the rich, but the degree to which it does so is not well appreciated. While 50 percent of all tax filers would receive $100 or less, and two thirds $500 or less, Bush himself, according to Bloomberg News, would have saved $44,500 on his 2001 tax returns, and Cheney $326,555. According to an estimate in the Financial Times, John Snow, Bush's secretary of the Treasury, would save some $600,000. The calculations of the Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center show that more than half of the benefits of exempting corporate dividends from the individual income tax would flow to the top 5 percent of the population. All the taxpayers in that group earn more than $140,000 and they have an average income of $350,000. The 226,000 richest tax filers, those with incomes over $1 million, will receive a benefit roughly equal in size to the 120 million tax filers with incomes below $100,000"

The New York Review of Books: The Wrong War:  Avishai Margalit : "If you were to ask American officials after September 11 what the enemy is, you would hear three different answers: world terrorism, weapons of mass destruction in the hands of evildoers like Saddam Hussein, and radical Islam of the sort promoted by Osama bin Laden. I believe that the muddleheadedness in the American thinking about the war against Iraq comes from conflating these three answers as if somehow they were one and the same. In fact they are very different, with very different and incompatible practical implications. In my view radical Islam of the sort promoted by bin Laden is and should be regarded as the enemy. And fighting Saddam Hussein will greatly help this enemy rather than set him back. This will be true even if the war is successful, let alone if it turns out to be unsuccessful."

The New York Review of Books: The Right Way: Michael Walzer "The right way to oppose the war is to argue that the present system of containment and control is working and can be made to work better. This means that we should acknowledge the awfulness of the Iraqi regime and the dangers it poses, and then aim to deal with those dangers through coercive measures short of war. But this isn't a policy easy to defend, for we know exactly what coercive measures are necessary, and we also know how costly they are."

UN Resolution 1441 Does Not Authorize Force: "According to the UN charter, there are only two possible situations in which one country can take military action against another. The first is in individual or collective self-defence - a right under customary international law which is expressly preserved by Article 51 of the UN charter. The second is where, under Article 42 of the charter, the security council decides that force is necessary "to maintain or restore international peace and security" where its decisions have not been complied with. In other words, where a UN resolution clearly authorises military action. "

William Rivers Pitt | Into the Darkness: "This has been a disaster, and it is about to get worse by orders of magnitude." A detailed doomsday scenario of the war and its aftermath.

Monday, March 17, 2003

The Man Who Would Be President: "When the regime finally changes in Baghdad, and Saddam Hussein is dead, in custody or in exile, 70 years of Iraqi independence will end, political authority will pass into the hands of George W. Bush and Western rule will be planted on Arab soil for the first time since the French and British left the region in the middle of the last century. What then happens to Iraq's 23 million people, its oil and its relations with its neighbors will remain the personal responsibility of Mr. Bush and his successors in the White House until one of them chooses to surrender it."

Why The U.S. Inspires Scorn: " for a growing number of observers outside the United States, the central issue in the crisis is no longer Iraq or Hussein. It is America and how to deal with its disproportionate strength as a world power."

Photo story: Israeli bulldozer driver murders American peace activist:

Sunday, March 16, 2003

2003 State of the Universe Address - By Swami Beyondananda: "I have to be blunt here -- the folks we have in charge are fossils fueled by fossil fuels. And in the reptilian brain, problems aren't solved, they're attacked. Like the War on Poverty. Remember that? I'm happy to report that it's finally over. The poor people have all surrendered. And take the War on Drugs -- please! How many billions have they spent? My solution is cheaper and more effective ... improve reality!
   Now we have the War on Terrorism. We're going to terrorize those terrorists into giving up terrorism if it's the last thing we do! And it just might be. The good news is -- and I have it on the Highest Authority -- there will indeed be peace on Earth. Whether we humans are around to enjoy it, that is up to us...
   ...  the folks we have in charge are fossils fueled by fossil fuels. And in the reptilian brain, problems aren't solved, they're attacked. Like the War on Poverty. Remember that? I'm happy to report that it's finally over. The poor people have all urrendered. And take the War on Drugs -- please! How many billions have they spent? My solution is cheaper and more effective ... improve reality!
   Now we have the War on Terrorism. We're going to terrorize those terrorists into giving up terrorism if it's the last thing we do! And it just might be. The good news is -- and I have it on the Highest Authority -- there will indeed be peace on Earth. Whether we humans are around to enjoy it, that is up to us.

t r u t h o u t - Massive Human Slaughter: "Civilian Iraq is utterly defenseless and totally unprepared for the carnage that is about to be visited upon them. It is murder plain and simple, murder on an unimaginable scale. There is no "war" looming, no "conflict" with Iraq, and no "standoff." What exists is a vast military force poised to inflict death and destruction on a major population center...
... We hear day after day that "Time is running out." Running out on what, on who? On Saddam Hussein? On a five thousand year old city? On 24 million men, women and children? Or is time running out on the spirit of America? On the soul of our people? Why is it that the world no longer cherishes American values? Could it be because we no longer cherish them ourselves? "

Audacious Mission, Awesome Risks Bold War Plan Emphasizes Lightning Attacks and Complex Logistics "The plan is probably one of the most risky in our history as it launches us off into terra incognita for the U.S.: our first preemptive or preventive war; our first attempt to democratize an Islamic state; and establishment of a very narrow beachhead in the midst of a billion undefeated Muslims"

Saturday, March 15, 2003

A Chorus Against War | Howard Zinn: "The anti-war movement will not likely surrender to the martial atmosphere. The hundreds of thousands who marched in Washington and San Francisco and New York and Boston--and in villages, towns, and cities all over the country from Georgia to Montana--will not meekly withdraw. Unlike the shallow support for the war, the opposition to the war is deep and cannot be easily dislodged or frightened into silence. Indeed, the anti-war feelings are bound to become more intense"

Anger on Iraq Seen as New Qaeda Recruiting Tool: " On three continents, Al Qaeda and other terror organizations have intensified their efforts to recruit young Muslim men, tapping into rising anger about the American campaign for war in Iraq, according to intelligence and law enforcement officials. "

The War Against Ourselves: An Interview with Major Doug Rokke - Depleted Uranium Weapons Consequences: "When you reach a point in war when the contamination and the health effects of war can't be cleaned up because of the weapons you use, and medical care can't be given to the soldiers who participated in the war on either side or to the civilians affected, then it's time for peace. "

Friday, March 14, 2003

Germans Revisit War's Agony, Ending a Taboo: " the new awareness of the Allied bombings and the devastation they wrought has become an important element in German opposition to the expected American war on Iraq. What people like Ms. Lang and Ms. John, both antiwar activists in Dresden, have been saying is something like this: We have direct knowledge of the gruesome effects of war and we don't want anybody else to experience what we have experienced."

Disrespectful graphics about GW Bush

'Bush Wins': The Left's Nightmare Scenario: the antiwar movement would be well advised to plan for a third scenario: "Bush Wins." In this third scenario, the war is over quickly with relatively low U.S. casualties, some sort of mechanism for transitional rule is put in place, and President Bush and his policies gain unprecedented power and prestige. From my recent conversations with organizers and their latest pronouncements, it is clear that this possibility has yet to be addressed. Waiting much longer could spell disaster for the antiwar movement....
   .... Interestingly, while the organizers of the antiwar movement are not paying enough attention to the ramifications of a war that follows President Bush's script, their constituents, the thousands of students whose energy and devotion are driving the movement, are full of ideas on how to proceed in such an eventuality.

George W. Queeg: Krugma - What really has the insiders panicked, however, is the irresponsibility of Mr. Bush and his team, their almost childish unwillingness to face up to problems that they don't feel like dealing with right now. I've talked in this column about the administration's eerie passivity in the face of a stalling economy and an exploding budget deficit: reality isn't allowed to intrude on the obsession with long-run tax cuts. That same "don't bother me, I'm busy" attitude is driving foreign policy experts, inside and outside the government, to despair.

Torture, Beyond Saddam: - Nicholas Kristof - The world has turned its back on the Kurds more times than I can count, and there are signs that we're planning to betray them again. The U.S. was so desperate to bribe Turkey into our coalition that it was willing to allow tens of thousands of Turkish troops into Iraq's Kurdish areas...
   ... "The Turkish government has been far worse to the Kurds than Saddam has," one well-educated Kurd said bitterly. His comment stunned me, for Turkey never used poison gas or conducted mass executions as Saddam did, but one Kurd after another said the same thing. They described past Turkish military techniques like raping wives in front of husbands, or assembling villagers to watch men being tied and dragged to their death behind tanks, and they noted that Turkey had been less tolerant of Kurdish language and culture than Saddam.

Bombs and Blood: Bob Herbert - "We should outlaw the term collateral damage. Above all else, the damage done by the weapons of war is to the flesh, muscle, bone and psyches of real people, some of them children. If we're willing to inflict such terrible damage, we should acknowledge it and not hide behind euphemisms."

"Many Thousands" of US Troops Could Die in Iraq: "A consensus appears to be emerging that U.S. deaths during an operation in Iraq will likely run into the thousands. The two concerns most often cited to account for significant U.S. fatality rates are the likelihood of urban combat and of Saddam Hussein's use of chemical and biological weapons."

Ex-U.N. Inspector Warns of War Consequences: The United States could face decades of worldwide political and economic turmoil should it take military action against Iraq without United Nations consent, a former chief U.N. arms inspector warned a Las Vegas audience Wednesday. "If the United States acts without such approval, then I frankly fear the consequences of such action," said Richard Butler, who from 1997 to 1999 worked to disarm Iraq as executive chairman of the United Nations Special Commission. "It will be a terrible business and its consequences incalculable in terms of the number of lives lost and the cost....
   ..."(Iraq) has come to be seen as much more about ... the question of what will the U.S. do with its great power than about the disarmament of Saddam Hussein," Butler said. "If you listen to the French, the Germans and the Russians, you could be given to thinking that they've decided the bigger problem in the world right now is the uses to which (President Bush) will put American power.

Thursday, March 13, 2003

China introduces execution vans "The introduction of mobile execution vans, in which condemned prisoners are put to death by lethal injection, has been hailed in Chinese media as "a more humane method of dispatch".

In homage to sleep renowned researcher tucks in his teaching career  Professor William Dement, the noted authority on sleep disorders and founder of the world-renowned Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic, who was delivering the final lecture of his 40-year teaching career.

Bill Moyers on Patriotism and the American Flag : "I put it on to take it back. The flag's been hijacked and turned into a logo -- the trademark of a monopoly on patriotism. On those Sunday morning talk shows, official chests appear adorned with the flag as if it is the good housekeeping seal of approval. During the State of the Union, did you notice Bush and Cheney wearing the flag? How come? No administration's patriotism is ever in doubt, only its policies. And the flag bestows no immunity from error. When I see flags sprouting on official lapels, I think of the time in China when I saw Mao's little red book on every official's desk, omnipresent and unread. But more galling than anything are all those moralistic ideologues in Washington sporting the flag in their lapels while writing books and running Web sites and publishing magazines attacking dissenters as un-American."

The New Yorker: Seymour Hersh: "Khashoggi is still brokering. In January of this year, he arranged a private lunch, in France, to bring together Harb Saleh al-Zuhair, a Saudi industrialist whose family fortune includes extensive holdings in construction, electronics, and engineering companies throughout the Middle East, and Richard N. Perle, the chairman of the Defense Policy Board, who is one of the most outspoken and influential American advocates of war with Iraq....
   Perle, in crisscrossing between the public and the private sectors, has put himself in a difficult position—one not uncommon to public men. He is credited with being the intellectual force behind a war that not everyone wants and that many suspect, however unfairly, of being driven by American business interests. There is no question that Perle believes that removing Saddam from power is the right thing to do. At the same time, he has set up a company that may gain from a war. "

Landover Baptist: Where The Worthwhile Worship. Unsaved Unwelcome.

The Lie Of The U.S. Military -- Tough gritty American soldiers protect freedom of liberal S.F. columnist? Or the other way around?
  More than ever before in recent history, the otherwise worthy U.S. military is right now in service not of the people, not of the national security, but of the current government regime and its corporate interests. Has it always been this way? Of course. But this time, with our smirky Enron president and cash-hungry CEO administration, it's never been so flagrant, or insulting, or invidious. 
   Our soldiers are not protecting our freedoms. They are not preventing more terrorism. They are not guaranteeing continued free speech. Because the only true threat to such freedoms is coming from within.
  There is every indication that our own government, more than any other in the Western world, is the one that would like our free speech quelled, dissenting voices silenced, proofs of wrongdoing or proofs of corporate greedmongering that are used as a cheap excuse to massacre an estimated half-million Iraqis, eliminated....
  What is keeping America free is not the military -- it is independent thought. It is the progressive provocative evil "hippie vibe" that refuses to let Bush completely molest the nation.
  Because BushCo would love nothing more than for everyone to shut the hell up so it can bomb in peace. And they are trying. E-mail snooping, Homeland Security, the draconian Patriot Act, new wiretap..."

Michigan Man Uses Junk FAX Law to Sue Sears Over Spam

George Monbiot: Out of the wreckage: "The men who run the world are democrats at home and dictators abroad. They came to power by means of national elections which possess, at least, the potential to represent the will of their people. Their citizens can dismiss them without bloodshed, and challenge their policies in the expectation that, if enough people join in, they will be obliged to listen. Internationally, they rule by brute force.
    They and the global institutions they run exercise greater economic and political control over the people of the poor world than its own governments do. But those people can no sooner challenge or replace them than the citizens of the Soviet Union could vote Stalin out of office. Their global governance is, by all the classic political definitions, tyrannical.
     But while citizens' means of overthrowing this tyranny are limited, it seems to be creating some of the conditions for its own destruction. Over the past week, the US government has threatened to dismantle two of the institutions which have, until recently, best served its global interests. "

The United States of America has gone mad - John le Carré  "America has entered one of its periods of historical madness, but this is the worst I can remember: worse than McCarthyism, worse than the Bay of Pigs and in the long term potentially more disastrous than the Vietnam War. The reaction to 9/11 is beyond anything Osama bin Laden could have hoped for in his nastiest dreams. As in McCarthy times, the freedoms that have made America the envy of the world are being systematically eroded...
   How Bush and his junta succeeded in deflecting America’s anger from bin Laden to Saddam Hussein is one of the great public relations conjuring tricks of history. But they swung it. A recent poll tells us that one in two Americans now believe Saddam was responsible for the attack on the World Trade Centre. But the American public is not merely being misled. It is being browbeaten and kept in a state of ignorance and fear. The carefully orchestrated neurosis should carry Bush and his fellow conspirators nicely into the next election."

New Scientist - artificial hippocampus: "The world's first brain prosthesis - an artificial hippocampus - is about to be tested in California. Unlike devices like cochlear implants, which merely stimulate brain activity, this silicon chip implant will perform the same processes as the damaged part of the brain it is replacing."

Tuesday, March 11, 2003

1. Cabal of oldsters who won't listen to outside advice? Check.
2. No understanding of ethnicities of the many locals? Check.
3. Imposing country boundaries drawn in Europe, not by the locals? Check.
4. Unshakeable faith in our superior technology? Check
5. France secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
6. Russia secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
7. China secretly hoping we fall on our asses? Check.
8. SecDef pushing a conflict the JCS never wanted? Check.
9. Fear we'll look bad if we back down now? Check.
10. Corrupt Texan in the WH? Check.
11. Land war in Asia? Check.
12. Right unhappy with outcome of previous war? Check.
13. Enemy easily moves in/out of neighboring countries? Check.
14. Soldiers about to be dosed with *our own* chemicals? Check.
15. Friendly fire problem ignored instead of solved? Check.
16. Anti-Americanism up sharply in Europe? Check.
17. B-52 bombers? Check.
18. Helicopters that clog up on the local dust? Check.
19. In-fighting among the branches of the military? Check.
20. Locals that cheer us by day, hate us by night? Check.
21. Local experts ignored? Check.
22. Local politicians ignored? Check.
23. Locals used to conflicts lasting longer than the USA has been a country? Check.
24. Against advice, Prez won't raise taxes to pay for war? Check.
25. Blue water navy ships operating in brown water? Check.
26. Use of nukes hinted at if things don't go our way? Check.
27. Unpopular war? Check.

Monday, February 24, 2003

U.S. on Diplomatic Warpath: "Senior U.S. officials have been quietly dispatched in recent days to the capitals of key Security Council countries where they are warning leaders to vote with the United States on Iraq or risk "paying a heavy price.""

Allies hushed up weapons' destruction: "THE highest-ranking defector ever to turn informant on Saddam Hussein's government told United Nations weapons inspectors in 1995 that Iraq had destroyed all its chemical and biological weapons stocks after the Gulf war. But UN inspectors hushed up that part of Hussein Kamel's story - which he also told to debriefers from British and United States intelligence - because they wanted to keep the pressure on Iraq to tell more. The revelation, reported in the US magazine Newsweek, raises new questions over claims by the US and Britain that Iraq has failed to account for vast stores of chemical and biological weapons. "

Saturday, February 22, 2003

CBS News | Inspectors Call U.S. Tips 'Garbage' " inside Iraq, U.N. arms inspectors are privately complaining about the quality of U.S. intelligence and accusing the United States of sending them on wild-goose chases. "

Iran sues U.S. in world court for helping Saddam kill Iranians - SPIEGEL ONLINE A strange spectacle in court: As the USA prepares for a war against Iraq, it is being sued by Iran for its previous close relationship to Saddam Hussein. At the International Court of Justice, Teheran is accusing the United States of delivering dangerous chemicals and deadly viruses to Baghdad during the eighties.
   The Hague - The oral deposition in Iran's suit against the United States in the matter of the destruction of Iranian oil platforms in 1987/88 began on Monday. The suit was presented to the highest court of the United Nations in 1992 and has been handled in writing ever since.
   Teheran accuses Washington of the destruction of three oil platforms in the Persial Gulf. The US argues that the attack was in retaliation of Iranian attacks of ships sailing under the American flag. The court has scheduled three weeks to hear arguments from both sides.
   The Iranian representatives accuse the USA of having provided Iraq with raw materials for chemical and biological weapons at the end of the 80's. The US government had delivered dangerous chemicals and deadly viruses to the Iraqi government for its war.
   Washington had provided aid to Iraq in this, and other ways, in its war against Iran, said Iran's representative at the start of the oral depositions.
   Mohamat Zahedin-Labbaf, as the spokesman of the Iranian delegation, emphasized that the US could not dispute the destruction of the platforms. The US version, that it had been a matter of defense against Iranian missile attacks of ships under the US flag doesn't hold water, he said.
   In any case, the USA had violated the Friendship Treaty which both countries had signed in 1955. It is this Treaty which constitutes the legal basis for these proceedings, according to a 1996 decision by the highest court of the United Nations. Both delegations will be able to argue their positions in detail during the next three weeks.
   Professor Bruno Summa, a German expert on international law, was sworn in as the new judge at the beginning of the proceedings on Monday. The longtime University Professor at the University of Munich was elected as one of the 15 regular judges of the Supreme Court in the Hague Peace Palace.

Wednesday, February 19, 2003

Behind the Great Divide: "much speculation why Europe and the U.S. are suddenly at such odds. Is it about culture? About history? But I haven't seen much discussion of an obvious point: We have different views partly because we see different news....
  some U.S. media outlets — operating in an environment in which anyone who questions the administration's foreign policy is accused of being unpatriotic — have taken it as their assignment to sell the war, not to present a mix of information that might call the justification for war into question."

NewsWeek: Turkey Wants Northern Iraq. Period.: "Turkey is demanding that it send 60,000 to 80,000 of its own troops into northern Iraq to establish "strategic positions'' across a "security arc'' as much as 140 to 170 miles deep in Iraq. That would take Turkish troops almost halfway to Baghdad. "

This is the presentation Sr. Joan Chittister gave at the UN Conference, in Geneva: "It is time for religious women to put the world on notice that we will not go on silently supporting war-either its victims or its executioners, not only to make safe the world but to make real the religions we revere, so that life before death can come, as God wants, for us all. Say yes to life. Yes to life. Always, always yes to life."

Tuesday, February 18, 2003

The Weapon We Gave Iraq - Depleted Uranium: "Iraqi researchers say that the epicentre ("Ground Zero") for DU effects is around the city of Basra, in southern Iraq. It was here, in 1991, that U.S. and coalition jets ravaged the retreating Iraqi army, leaving behind the smoldering hulks of thousands of vehicles. The U.S. and British air forces expended an estimated 300 tonnes of depleted-uranium ammunition in and around this area; it has since been dubbed the "Highway of Death."
   The preponderance of birth defects among children born in the Basra region over the past decade defies explanation....
   Should U.S.-led forces again invade Iraq, and should Canadians join them (something that has not been ruled out by Defence Minister John McCallum), they would probably move from Kuwait straight up the Highway of Death to Basra. The aerosol from the depleted-uranium-coated shells has long since dissipated from the hulks of Iraqi vehicles along the road. But Iraqi scientists believe the particles remain in the desert sands. Uranium possesses a radioactive half-life of 200 million years; it would still pose a serious risk.
   Despite increasing evidence linking DU to degenerative health disorders, the British and U.S. militaries steadfastly refuse to suspend their use of such weapons."

Clinton on media bias': "there are five people in America with more than two hours on radio. Who are they? Howard Stern. Near as I can tell, old Howard's not political. If he is, he's done a great job of hiding it. Don Imus, who's more Republican than Democrat. And the other three are Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Sean Hannity. Who are very outspoken, and -- on the right wing of the Republican Party " [but not a very interesting interview overall]

Friday, February 14, 2003

Reckless Administration May Reap Disastrous Consequences
By US Senator Robert Byrd, February 12, 2003 
   To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war. 
   Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing. 
   We stand passively mute in the United States Senate, paralyzed by our own uncertainty, seemingly stunned by the sheer turmoil of events. Only on the editorial pages of our newspapers is there much substantive discussion of the prudence or imprudence of engaging in this particular war. 
   And this is no small conflagration we contemplate. This is no simple attempt to defang a villain. No. This coming battle, if it materializes, represents a turning point in U.S. foreign policy and possibly a turning point in the recent history of the world. 
   This nation is about to embark upon the first test of a revolutionary doctrine applied in an extraordinary way at an unfortunate time. The doctrine of preemption -- the idea that the United States or any other nation can legitimately attack a nation that is not imminently threatening but may be threatening in the future -- is a radical new twist on the traditional idea of self defense. It appears to be in contravention of international law and the UN Charter.

Wednesday, February 12, 2003

David Corn - the banning of Rabbi Lerner: "He has been a leading Jewish voice against the hawks of Israel and a supporter of Palestinian rights, while calling himself a Zionist. So it was natural that his name was floated as a speaker for the protest. Not In Our Name and United for Peace & Justice were two of the four coalitions behind the event. ... But International ANSWER, another of the organizers, said no. Lerner's crime: he had dared to criticize ANSWER, an outfit run by members of the Workers World Party, for using antiwar demonstrations to put forward what he considers to be anti-Israel propaganda. "

Principles of the Nuremberg Tribunal: "We sentenced Nazi leaders to death for waging a war of aggression," says International Law Professor Francis A. Boyle of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. By contrast, Prof. Boyle wants merely to impeach George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and John Ashcroft for their plans to invade Iraq and create a police state in America.

[But the alternative looks pretty grim too. See: Order of Presidential Succession]

Students, faculty express opinions on war: "The 4th floor of Lucas Hall displays a bulletin board of anti-war sentiments. Patriots for Peace, as this montage of anti-war cartoons, information on patriotism, and upcoming events is titled, is maintained by Gerda Ray, associate professor of UMSL's History Department."

Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Nachman' for Jan. 29: SPENCER: Oh they can protest whatever they want. And what's upsetting to me is that the United States, our people, the reason we're such a great country is because we hold dear the right to protest, to question our government. And I really feel like a lot of this movement has hijacked that right to advance their own political agenda.
  When you strip away the communists and the socialists, the environmentalists, the anarchists, and those who are just there for the beer and the babes, the skeleton of actual antiwar protesters really isn't that big. So I think we have to take it with a grain of salt what this movement actually is.

Daniel Ellsberg's comments.. on Bush's reasons for first-use nuclear threats against Iraq:
...  Bush administration has prepared us to the idea of responding to chemical or biological weapons with nuclear weapons. That turns out to have been the function of this new category, which at first puzzled me, of "weapons of mass destruction." I've been in the arms control field for nearly forty years now, and I'd never heard of this "weapons of mass destruction" category, which lumps together biological, chemical, and nuclear. Between chemical and nuclear there's an enormous difference of destructiveness, by a factor of at least a thousand. So what's the purpose of lumping them together in this new category, "WMD"?
...  A whole lot of strategists of the ilk of Wolfowitz and Perle and so forth, since the Cold War ended, think, "Well, now, the gloves are off. The big stick is going to be nuclear. They've been looking for a chance to show that when we threaten nuclear weapons, believe the threat."
  But this is what they cannot conceive. They don't understand Vietnam at all, even just from a military point of view. We couldn't get people to risk their lives to inform us about the Vietcong, but they would risk their lives to inform the Vietcong about us, so they knew every move we were making, and we didn't know any moves they were making. That didn't mean they could beat us from one year to the next, but it meant that we couldn't possibly beat them. We couldn't find them unless they wanted us to find them.
  Well, that's going to be the same with al Qaeda. After Iraq, we are not going to be able to get any degree of cooperation from governments with large Muslim populations. Al Qaeda can grow and do what they want—they're safe, essentially. That doesn't mean they're going to beat the U.S., and it doesn't mean they're going to drive us out of the Middle East. But it does mean they're going to be able to kill a huge number of American civilians, much more than if we had the police and intelligence cooperation of Arab and Muslim states, which the Iraq war will destroy.

Sunday, February 09, 2003

Ralph Nader on Oil and the War Against Iraq: "The connections between the Bush administration and the oil industry are clear and pervasive. A remarkable 41 members of the administration have ties to the industry, and both the President and the Vice President are both former oil executives. National Security Adviser Condaleeza Rice is a former director of Chevron. President Bush took more than $1.8 million in campaign contributions from the oil and gas industries in the 2000 election. The Bush people and the oil moguls do agree with one another in part because they are one another...
  The American people have a right to know what is being discussed in these meetings about the oil industry's designs on this gigantic pool of petroleum and what, if any, assurances they are being given by what is supposed to be our government.
  Clearly, there is a better means of achieving U.S. energy security. Instead of relying on costly military ventures in unstable countries to ensure a steady source of oil, we need a national energy security strategy that is expeditious, self-sufficient and environmentally sustainable.  "

France-Germany Hatching a Plan: "Germany and France are working on a new plan to try to avert war in Iraq that would compel Baghdad to admit thousands of U.N. troops to enforce disarmament and tighter sanctions, a magazine said on Saturday. A German government spokesman confirmed Berlin and Paris were working together to find a peaceful alternative to war with Iraq, but would not provide any details of the efforts. "

Saturday, February 08, 2003

Justice Dept. Drafts Sweeping Expansion of Anti-Terrorism Act: by The Center for Public Integrity - "The Bush Administration is preparing a bold, comprehensive sequel to the USA Patriot Act passed in the wake of September 11, 2001, which will give the government broad, sweeping new powers to increase domestic intelligence-gathering, surveillance and law enforcement prerogatives, and simultaneously decrease judicial review and public access to information."

Wednesday, February 05, 2003

Monty Python's Terry Jones on pre-emptive strikes: "For some time now I've been really pissed off with Mr Johnson, who lives a couple of doors down the street. Well, him and Mr Patel, who runs the health food shop. They both give me queer looks, and I'm sure Mr Johnson is planning something nasty for me, but so far I haven't been able to discover what. I've been round to his place a few times to see what he's up to, but he's got everything well hidden. That's how devious he is.
   As for Mr Patel, don't ask me how I know, I just know - from very good sources - that he is, in reality, a Mass Murderer. I have leafleted the street telling them that if we don't act first, he'll pick us off one by one. Some of my neighbours say, if I've got proof, why don't I go to the police? But that's simply ridiculous. The police will say that they need evidence of a crime with which to charge my neighbours. They'll come up with endless red tape and quibbling about the rights and wrongs of a pre-emptive strike and all the while Mr Johnson will be finalising his plans to do terrible things to me, while Mr Patel will be secretly murdering people.
  Since I'm the only one in the street with a decent range of automatic firearms, I reckon it's up to me to keep the peace...."

Tuesday, February 04, 2003

Signs at anti-war marches:
Drunken frat boy drives country into ditch.
Bush/Cheney: Malice in Blunderland
Who would Jesus bomb?
War begins with 'Dubya'.
Bush is proof that empty warheads can be dangerous.
Let's bomb Texas, they have oil too.
How did our oil get under their sand?
Fighting for peace is like fucking for virginity.
If you can't pronounce it, don't bomb it.
Daddy, can I start the war now?
1000 points of light and one dim bulb.
Sacrifice our SUV's, not our children.
Preemptive impeachment.
No George, I said Mac Attack.
Frodo has failed, Bush has the ring.
Look, I'll pay more for gas!
He is a moron and a bully.
It's the stupid economy.
Draft Richard Perle.
Draft dodgers shouldn't start wars.
War is sweet to those who haven't tasted it (Erasmus).
Pillow fights only.
Our grief [over 9/11] is not a cry for war.
Different Bush, same shit.
Stop the Bushit.
"Just war"/just oil.
You don't have to like Bush to love America.
Bushes are for pissing on.
Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld: the asses of evil.
$1 billion a day to kill people -- what a bargain.
Consume -- Consume -- Bomb -- Bomb -- Consume -- Consume
What's the difference between me & God? He might forgive Bush, but I won't.
Smush Bush.
America, get out of the Bushes.
It's time to trim the Bush.
Pro-lifers: Wake from Bush's propaganda spell -- war kills innocent children.
Don't make me come back here [to a peace rally] again.
Disarm Bush too.
Big brother isn't coming -- he's already here.
Empires fall.
An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind (Gandhi).
Impeach the squatters.Mainstream white guys for peace. (Sign held by three mainstream-looking white guys)
Hans Blix -- look over here.
Let Exxon send its own troops.
Curious, George? -- get a clue.
Destroy Florida. [It could happen again]
There's a terrorist behind every Bush.
How many bodies per mile?
SUV owners roll over for terrorism.
We can't afford to rule the world.
War is so 20th century!
9-11-01: 15 Saudis, 0 Iraqis.
While you were watching the war, Bush was raping America.
Don't waive your rights while waving your flag.
Leave Desert Storm to the desert.
Drop Bush not bombs.
Bush is to Christianity as Osama is to Islam.
I asked for universal health care and all I got was this lousy stealth bomber.
America's problems won't be solved in Iraq.
War is not a family value.
[2 sided poster] one side has a picture of a chubby feline, with the words: GOOD FAT CAT other side has a picture of Cheney, with the words: BAD FAT CAT
Colorfully dressed drag queen carrying a sign that says: I am the bomb.
[Picture of the peace symbol:] back by popular demand.
A picture of Bush with a red-stained upper lip: Got blood?
A picture of Bush saying "Why should I care what the American people think? They didn't vote for me."
A picture of Bush saying "Ask me about my lobotomy." Beneath a picture of Osama bin Laden dressed as Uncle Sam:
I want YOU to bomb Iraq.
Beneath a picture of a menacing soldier pointing his rifle/bayonet toward the viewer: "Say it! One Nation under God. Say it!"

Saturday, February 01, 2003

Free speech struggle in Antarctica: "On Jan. 18, workers at McMurdo Station in Antarctica joined with millions of others around the world in protesting the war drive on Iraq. In red jackets, they formed a giant human peace sign on the ice against the backdrop of the towering Trans-Antarctic Range. WW3 REPORT sources at McMurdo report that moves to censure anti-war activities at the research base have precipitated a free speech struggle. "
See photo:

Friday, January 31, 2003

Shock & Awe: Is Baghdad the Next Hiroshima?: "Have your heard of Harlan Ullman? Everyone in the White House and the Pentagon has. They may very well follow his plan for war in Iraq. He wants to do to Baghdad what we did to Hiroshima. "

The Guardian : Speak for this nation War at this time is wrong because, given Iraq's currently unresolved, ambiguous circumstances, it is not a remotely justifiable or sensible way to conduct our affairs. Does anybody honestly believe that if Baghdad falls to US armour and Saddam is dethroned, that will be the end of the story? Those who enthusiastically support an attack may yet have their "victory day". But even as they turn away in tricked-out triumph, and turn away they surely will, as after the one-day wonder of Kabul's capitulation, the real problems will begin in earnest.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

Institute for Policy Studies: UNDERSTANDING THE U.S.-IRAQ CRISIS: A Primer , By Phyllis Bennis, January 2003"

Anti-War Ads Rejected During Bush Speech: "The Comcast cable television company rejected ads that an anti-war group wanted to air during President Bush's State of the Union speech, saying they included unsubstantiated claims. Peace Action Education Fund had spent $5,000 to have six 30-second ads aired on CNN by Philadelphia-based Comcast beginning Tuesday night. "

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he said to the boy. "It is a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil. He is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego." "The other wolf is good. He is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. This same fight is going on inside you, and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee replied, "The one you feed."

Israeli officer obstructs attack on Palestinians: " a lieutenant in an elite intelligence unit, delayed passing on information for an air raid planned against a Palestinian city after 22 people were killed on January 6 in a double suicide bombing in Tel Aviv. The officer... told a military tribunal he acted out of conscience, saying innocent people would have been killed and calling his orders illegal under international law, the newspaper reported... The court tribunal rejected his argument and transferred him to a less prestigious intelligence unit, Maariv said."

Saturday, January 25, 2003

Capitol Hill Blue - Role reversal: Bush wants war,Pentagon urges caution Intelligence sources say some Arab nations have told US diplomats they may side with Iraq if the U.S. attacks without the backing of the United Nations. Secretary of State Colin Powell agrees with his former colleagues at the Pentagon and has told the President he may be pursuing a "dangerous course."
An angry Rumsfeld, who backs Bush without question, is said to have told the Joint Chiefs to get in line or find other jobs. Bush is also said to be “extremely angry” at what he perceives as growing Pentagon opposition to his role as Commander in Chief.
“The President considers this nation to be at war,” a White House source says,” and, as such, considers any opposition to his policies to be no less than an act of treason.”

Friday, January 24, 2003

The Unseen Gulf War by Peter Turnley - The Digital Journalist: "War is at best a necessary evil, and I am certain that anyone that feels differently has never experienced or been in it. I have always hoped that true images of conflict give one the opportunity to witness and reflect more fully on the full realities of war. After covering many conflicts around the world in past 20 years and witnessing much human suffering, I feel a responsibility to try to contribute to making sure with my images that no one that sees the brutal realities of conflict, ever feels that war is comfortable and/or convenient."

The Guardian | The message from the Bush camp: 'It's war within weeks'

Thursday, January 23, 2003

Wired 8.04: Why the future doesn't need us. By Bill Joy, April 2000 "Our most powerful 21st-century technologies - robotics, genetic engineering, and nanotech - are threatening to make humans an endangered species."

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Crowd Estimates: 30,000 to 500,000 ( "U.S. Capitol Police suggested yesterday's antiwar street march drew 30,000 to 50,000 people. Protest organizers said that the number was closer to 500,000. District police settled on "an awful lot of people." The truth might fall somewhere in between the guesses, or it might fall somewhere beyond the edges. That's because no one really knows how many people showed up."

Sunday, January 19, 2003

Independent: Robert Fisk: This looming war isn't about chemical warheads or human rights: it's about oil Along with the concern for 'vital interests' in the Gulf, this war was concocted five years ago by oil men such as Dick Cheney.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

The Rise of the Fortress Continent: Naomi Klein - "the growing number of free-market economists, politicians and military strategists pushing for the creation of "Fortress NAFTA," a continental security perimeter stretching from Mexico's southern border to Canada's northern one. A fortress continent is a bloc of nations that joins forces to extract favorable trade terms from other countries--while patrolling their shared external borders to keep people from those countries out. But if a continent is serious about being a fortress, it also has to invite one or two poor countries within its walls, because somebody has to do the dirty work and heavy lifting.
   It's a model being pioneered in Europe, where the European Union is currently expanding to include ten poor Eastern bloc countries at the same time that it uses increasingly aggressive security methods to deny entry to immigrants from even poorer countries, like Iraq and Nigeria. "

The honorable Mario Cuomo: Mario Cuomo Talks To The National Press Club January 7th, 2003

Chicago Passes Anti-War Resolution 46-1 - Vote Follows Extensive and Personal Debate (Chicago, Jan. 16, 2003) (from yahoogroups portside group)
  After one of the most mesmerizing, impassioned and personal debates ever to occur in Chicago's City Council Chamber, Chicago has become the largest and most prominent city in the nation to formally oppose a unilateral pre-emptive strike on Iraq.
  One by one, black and white, Latino and Jewish, men and women, the Aldermen stood to draw attention to their own particular concerns with the current path of the Bush Administration. Many pointed out that the real dangers this nation faces today are the rising rates of unemployment and economic stagnation. Others were concerned about the double standard the administration is showing with respect to North Korea. And some drew attention to the prospect of young sons and daughters coming home in body bags from an ill-conceived war.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003

Bush Tax Cuts: "Fleischer... pushed the tax cuts as a package that would provide 92 million taxpayers with an average tax cut of $1,083 in 2003. This is about as disingenuous as it gets. The CTJ numbers show that most of the bottom 80 percent ($77,000 and less) receive much less than one thousand bucks. The average gain for taxpayers in the $46,000-to-$77,000 slice (the second quintile) is $657. Obviously, the people below will get less. According to the Urban Institute-Brookings Institution Tax Policy Center, nearly 80 percent of income tax filers would receive a tax cut below $1083. Almost half of all tax filers would get a tax cut of less than $100"

The National Youth & Student Peace Coalition "BOOKS NOT BOMBS!
National One-Day Student Strike -  March 5th. The Bush administration is intent on plunging America into an illegitimate and pre-emptive war in Iraq that will only increase danger for Americans and the world.  At the same time education, healthcare, and the economy are being neglected.  Its time for youth and students to take a stand for America’s future! "

Old Words on War Stirring a New Dispute at Berkeley: "In an unusual showdown over freedom of expression, university officials have refused to allow a fund-raising appeal for the Emma Goldman Papers Project to be mailed because it quoted Goldman on the subjects of suppression of free speech and her opposition to war. The university deemed the topics too political as the country prepares for possible military action against Iraq. In one of the quotations, from 1915, Goldman called on people "not yet overcome by war madness to raise their voice of protest, to call the attention of the people to the crime and outrage which are about to be perpetrated on them." In the other, from 1902, she warned that free-speech advocates "shall soon be obliged to meet in cellars, or in darkened rooms with closed doors, and speak in whispers lest our next-door neighbors should hear that free-born citizens dare not speak in the open." Berkeley officials said the quotations could be construed as a political statement by the university in opposition to United States policy toward Iraq. Candace S. Falk, the director of the project and author of the appeal, acknowledged that the excerpts were selected because of their present-day resonance. But Dr. Falk said they reflected Goldman's views, not the university's policies."

Dick Cheney, chickenhawk ( "Vice President Dick Cheney has never shown much interest in meeting his responsibilities as a citizen or an elected official. During the Vietnam War, Cheney avoided military service. Like so many of the current advocates for war with Iraq, he did not want to upset his career plans by wearing the uniform of his country. The political career that got a jump-start during the Vietnam era has been a successful - and lucrative - one for Cheney. But he has never gotten over his aversion to fulfilling his public responsibilities...
   So when it was revealed Friday that Cheney would not be coming to Madison - because, his office said, "his calendar wouldn't allow" the visit - no one was surprised. 
 The prospect that Cheney might come to Madison inspired widespread organizing by religious, political and community groups that oppose war with Iraq. "

Friday, January 10, 2003

Injections counteract psoriasis in patients: Science News Online, Jan. 4, 2003: "Injections of an immune system protein called interleukin-4 can alleviate skin problems in people with psoriasis."

Thursday, January 09, 2003

US shares blame for North Korea's bad behaviour "far from there being any progress towards normalising political and economic relations, President Bush, at the outset of his presidency, called North Korea part of the "axis of evil", and in place of formal assurances talked about pre-emptive attack and indicated a willingness to include nuclear weapons as part of it.
  If Pyongyang has plainly departed from the Agreed Framework, therefore, it did so after the agreement had already been substantially voided by the US, in the reactor commitment, the failure to proceed with the promised normalisation, and the nuclear guarantee. "

Why Does President Bush Want to Drop Bombs on Innocent Iraqis?: Transcript of White House Briefing - January 6, 2003

Wednesday, January 01, 2003

GREG FREEMAN 1956-2002: "Gregory B. Freeman, a Post-Dispatch columnist, unabashedly proud son of St. Louis and a tireless champion for racial harmony, died Tuesday (Dec. 31, 2002) at his home in the Central West End.
  Mr. Freeman, 46, joined the Post-Dispatch as a reporter on March 24, 1980, began writing columns in 1989 and became a full-time columnist in 1992. He attracted a large following for his column by writing about everyday life - his cats, his son's coming of age and his own struggle to control his weight - and time-honored virtues, such as courage, integrity and loyalty. He wrote frequently and passionately about civil rights and the need for St. Louisans of different races to look at the world through each others' eyes....
  Mr. Freeman's visibility and impact extended well beyond the newspaper. Since November 1999, he had been host of the KWMU-FM's "St. Louis on the Air," a current events talk and call-in show, and had been a contributor to the National Public Radio affiliate for a decade.
  Mr. Freeman also hosted a television show, "Mosaic with Greg Freeman," on KETC-TV (Channel 9), from 1997 to 2001. He was a leader in the National Association of Black Journalists and in several local journalism organizations, and took special pride in conducting workshops for black students who were interested in journalism.  "

Monday, December 30, 2002

Chile Sect Thrives Despite Criminal Charges: "The group's reclusive leader is accused of sexually abusing scores of young boys. Former political prisoners say they were imprisoned and tortured in underground dungeons in the group's compound. An American who disappeared on a hiking vacation is reported to have been executed there. More than 50 other charges are pending against the group and its leaders, ranging from kidnapping and forced labor to fraud and tax evasion. Yet the paramilitary religious sect known as Colonia Dignidad continues to flourish here in a 70-square-mile enclave in the Andean foothills that remains, in the words of a recent Chilean congressional report, a heavily armed "state within a state....
  "web of protection" supplied by sympathetic military and police officials nurtured by the group's leaders during the long dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet... those allies still hold powerful positions. 
  Colonia Dignidad has managed to fight... "a guerrilla war in the courts"
  "They easily control properties and enterprises worth more than $100 million through their various holding companies... They are involved in real estate, mining, commerce and agriculture, just like any of several better-known business conglomerates in this country."

Hijacking India's History: "India's Hindu nationalists have long had a quarrel with history. They are unhappy with the notion that the most ancient texts of Hinduism are associated with the arrival of the Vedic "Aryan" peoples from the Northwest. They don't like the dates of 1500 to 1000 B.C. ascribed by historians to the advent of the Vedic peoples, the forebears of Hinduism, or the idea that the Indus Valley civilization predates Vedic civilization. And they certainly can't stand the implication that Hinduism, like the other religious traditions of India, evolved through a mingling of cultures and peoples from different lands. Last month the National Council of Educational Research and Training, the central government body that sets the national curriculum and oversees education for students up to the 12th grade, released the first of its new school textbooks for social sciences and history. Teachers and academics protested loudly. The schoolbooks are notable for their elision of many awkward facts, like the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi by a Hindu nationalist in 1948."

Mwai Kibaki, Kenya's New Leader: "Mr. Kibaki helped draft KANU's constitution in the days before the break from British rule. He later served as finance minister to Mr. Kenyatta and as Mr. Moi's vice president, a position he was later fired from after a power struggle. Even then, he stuck by his leader and his party. Until his last days in KANU, Mr. Kibaki defended the party as the best way to develop Kenya. "

Sunday, December 29, 2002

Taming the Task of Checking for Terrorists' Names: ""Qaddafi," for example, can be spelled at least 60 ways in the Latin alphabet. To match a name on a watch list, the Basis system takes a Latinized name and compares it to the company's own transcription scheme, so that it will match with the one Arabic version of the name. The future of name-searching, according to the companies working on it, is not in watch lists, but in sifting through huge quantities of digital documents, like those that might be found on terrorists' computers or intercepted online. "

Who's Afraid Like Virginia Woolf?: "Interweaving flashbacks from Woolf's life as she was writing "Mrs. Dalloway" with scenes from the lives of Laura Brown (Julianne Moore), a Southern California housewife and mother in 1951, and Clarissa Vaughan (Meryl Streep), a New York book editor living in contemporary Greenwich Village, their stories blend into a lofty, mystical theme and variations on Woolf's novel... Clear eyed and austerely balanced... magnificently written and acted. "

Saturday, December 28, 2002

Rigorous Recycling: "Some 50.7 billion aluminum cans were tossed last year instead of being recycled... recycling of aluminum will dip below 50 percent this year, a rate not seen since 1986.... aluminum-can recycling is a bellwether for other kinds of recycling... because it's valuable, easy, and cheap to reuse."

U.S. Confirms Reports of Mass Rapes by Burmese: "mass rapes of hundreds of girls and women have been carried out by the Burmese army in central Shan Province, where the military government has tried for years to suppress an ethnic rebellion, the State Department said today."

More Schools Rely on Tests, but Study Raises Doubts: "Rigorous testing that decides whether students graduate, teachers win bonuses and schools are shuttered, an approach already in place in more than half the nation, does little to improve achievement and may actually worsen academic performance and dropout rates, according to the largest study ever on the issue."

Vietnam Announces Prison Sentences for 8 in Christian Minority: "Vietnam announced this week the latest in a long string of prison terms as part of a crackdown on the mostly Christian hill tribe minorities known as Montagnards."

A Restive Kosovo, Officially Still Serbian, Squirms Under the Status Quo: "Ever since NATO bombed the Serbia of Slobodan Milosevic in 1999 to stop Serbian attempts to crush an armed rebellion by Kosovo's repressed Albanian majority, the international bureaucrats have tried to defer a decision on the ultimate status of what remains, officially, a Serbian province. It is an act increasingly hard to pull off -- largely because many of the Albanians of Kosovo are aware of the foreigners' desire, particularly palpable in conversation with American officials, to end their involvement here."

Ranchers Bristle as Gas Wells Loom on the Range: "no one questions the need for new sources of this clean-burning fossil fuel. What alarms ranchers, along with environmental groups, is the hugely disruptive process of getting gas out of all those wells. It is a 15-year-old drilling technique called coal-bed methane extraction, which can turn ranches and prairies into sprawling industrial zones, laced with wells, access roads, power lines, compressor stations and wastewater pits."

Automakers Block Crash Data Recorders: "Highway safety could be vastly improved if black boxes that record information about car crashes were standardized, experts say, but they contend that vehement objections from the automobile industry are thwarting efforts to set a standard."

The 10 Best Movies: By A. O. SCOTT

States of Alarm: "President Bush will have a heck of a time getting the national economy back on track while states from coast to coast are trying to balance their budgets by raising taxes, cutting spending and laying off employees. The National Governors Association, in a report last month, said states are facing "the most dire fiscal situation since World War II." Nearly every state "is in fiscal crisis," the governors said."

Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Bill Of Rights Pared Down To A Manageable Six: "We're not taking away personal rights; we're increasing personal security," Ashcroft said... thanks to several key additions, the Bill of Rights now offers protections that were previously lacking, including the right to be protected by soldiers quartered in one's home (Amendment III)"

Saturday, December 21, 2002

In Tax Twist, Big Vehicles Get the Bigger Deductions "Small-business owners are taking advantage of a tax loophole that allows them to take huge write-offs on purchases of S.U.V.'s."

U.S. Jury Cites Unpaid Work at Wal-Mart: "federal jury in Portland, Ore., found Wal-Mart Stores, the world's largest retailer, guilty yesterday of forcing its employees to work unpaid overtime in the first of 40 such lawsuits to go to trial. In the four-week trial, dozens of Wal-Mart workers testified that under pressure from their managers they frequently clocked out after 40 hours and continued working."

Gene Study Identifies 5 Main Human Populations: "Scientists studying the DNA of 52 human groups from around the world have concluded that people belong to five principal groups corresponding to the major geographical regions of the world: Africa, Europe, Asia, Melanesia and the Americas. The study, based on scans of the whole human genome, is the most thorough to look for patterns corresponding to major geographical regions. These regions broadly correspond with popular notions of race, the researchers said in interviews."

Ex-Soldier, Now a Bishop, Deals With Blood on His Hands: "When he was in his 20's, before he went to seminary and became ordained, Bishop Packard was an Army lieutenant who led a platoon in Vietnam that set up ambushes. He and his men killed in each encounter anywhere from 12 to 15 North Vietnamese, Vietcong and perhaps Chinese mercenaries. They did it clinically and efficiently and then stacked up the bodies... He received the Silver Star and two Bronze Stars for valor. But he returned home disillusioned, "hating the war." He said he joined the seminary in 1971, not so sure that he wanted to be a priest, but "to study the ethical and moral issues that confronted me in Vietnam." It was in seminary that he found the solace and reassurance that he needed. "I violated the commandment, `Thou Shalt Not Kill,' " he said. "Nothing will be gained by intellectualizing this. I killed other people."

Justice for Cambodia: "the General Assembly directed United Nations officials to resume negotiations with the Cambodian government to set up trials for surviving Khmer Rouge leaders. The vote was not easy to come by...
  Mindful of concerns about the Nixon administration's secret aerial bombings of Cambodia during the Vietnam War and Cambodia's own human rights record of the last two decades, negotiators had reached a firm agreement that the court's focus would be limited to senior Khmer Rouge leaders and those who were most responsible for the crimes of the Pol Pot regime from 1975 to 1979. "
  [Kissinger's defense lawyers must have been working overtime.]

US blocks cheap drugs agreement: "The deal was agreed by 143 countries. The United States has blocked an international agreement to allow poor countries to buy cheap drugs. This means millions of poor people will still not have access to medicines for diseases such as HIV/Aids, malaria and tuberculosis. US negotiators say the deal would allow too many drugs patents to be ignored. "

The Politics of Selling Tax Breaks for the Wealthiest: "Citizens for Tax Justice, a liberal research institute, found that the wealthiest 1 percent of taxpayers -- those with annual incomes over $356,000 -- would receive about half the revenue the government would lose next year if dividends went untaxed and 45 percent of all the money from accelerating the rate cuts. The 80 percent of households with incomes below $73,000 a year would get less than 10 percent of the new tax breaks. These findings are not surprising. After all, the richest 1 percent has 18 percent of all the pretax income and pays 36 percent of all personal income taxes. But studies like this reinforce the public perception that the Bush administration favors the rich."

Who's Who in the House of Saud

Friday, December 20, 2002

Ashcroft's tough Sell: "Jan. 16, 2001 | [John Ashcroft's] ultraconservative record on such issues as abortion, affirmative action and civil rights has already stimulated intense controversy. And opponents of his nomination have sharply questioned the Missouri Republican's racial attitudes because of his opposition to a Federal judgeship for African-American jurist Ronnie White and his endorsement of the Southern Partisan, a racist, pro-Confederate magazine which has praised the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Now Ashcroft has been asked to explain why he met last fall with Thomas Bugel, the president of the militantly racist Council of Conservative Citizens and a veteran leader of segregationist groups in the St. Louis area. "

Ali Moayedian: Creating a Secure America or Another History of Shame?: "Most of the arrested people have been living in the U.S. for many years now. They have families, jobs (with work authorizations), and are hard-working and peaceful people. Their only "crimes" are being born in the "wrong" countries and being out of status, that is not having a current visa. But this is nothing new. This has been a tolerated and accepted practice by INS to allow people who have applied for permanent residency to stay in the U.S. until they receive an interview date from INS and receive their permanent residency (green card). And these people have naturally been in regular contact with INS and have been here with the full knowledge of INS. These people in a way were given a virtual amnesty until their case is processed by INS."

Thursday, December 19, 2002

Untypically, a Rockefeller Tells the Story of His Life: "David Rockefelle, at age 87, has become the first in three generations of Rockefellers to publish an autobiography, breaking a century-long habit of fierce privacy instilled in his clan by his grandfather. "Memoirs," a candid account of Mr. Rockefeller's life at the busy intersection of global banking, family business and unofficial diplomacy, made its debut from Random House yesterday."

Jennifer Van Bergen | Bush's Gulag: "The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) wrote in its amicus brief for one of these detainees: "The executive seems to be proposing 'enemy combatant' as a permanent legal category, not limited by the scope of the hostilities or the scope of the authorization to use force." The brief notes news reports that the Department of Defense is considering creating detention camps"

New Tax Plan May Bring Shift In Burden: "As the Bush administration draws up plans to simplify the tax system, it is also refining arguments for why it may be necessary to shift more of the tax load onto lower-income workers. Economists at the Treasury Department are drafting new ways to calculate the distribution of tax burdens among different income classes, which are expected to highlight what administration officials see as a rising tax burden on the rich and a declining burden on the poor."

Harvard Advertises for People Abducted by Aliens "... Dr. Clancy, whose main interest is not outer space but the more mysterious question of whether children who are sexually molested can bury knowledge of their abuse, and yet later, as adults, recover true memories. Dr. Clancy says the answer to that question, one of the most fiercely disputed issues in psychology today, is no. Many psychiatrists, psychologists and victims of child sex abuse dispute her view. "

Lawsuit Says Del Monte Sale Was Rigged: "A lawsuit filed in a Miami court yesterday by seven private and corporate minority investors includes allegations that may shed light on why Del Monte was sold for so much less than it seemed to be worth. The suit accuses Mohammad Abu-Ghazaleh and his company, the IAT Group, of bribing Eduardo R. Bours, a powerful Mexican politician who was chairman of the investment group and an important member of the country's ruling party, to rig the sale in their favor."

A 'silver bullet's' toxic legacy : "As American forces prepare to take on Iraq in a possible Gulf War II, analysts agree that the bad publicity and popular fears about depleted uranium (DU) use in the first Gulf War, and later in Kosovo and Afghanistan, have not dented Pentagon enthusiasm for its "silver bullet." US forces in Iraq will again deploy DU as their most effective - and most controversial - tank-busting bullet...
   Another report by the British Atomic Energy Agency used an estimate of 40 tons of DU to create a hypothetical danger level, and predicted that that amount of DU - one-eighth of what actually was fired - could cause "500,000 potential deaths."
  "I don't think we know if DU can be used safely, and until we know that, we shouldn't use it," says Chris Hellman, a senior analyst with Washington's Center for Defense Information."

Nestle claims £3.7m from famine-hit Ethiopia "The multinational coffee corporation, Nestle, is demanding a $6m (£3.7m) payment from the government of the world's poorest state, Ethiopia, as the country struggles to combat its worst famine for nearly 20 years. The money is compensation for an Ethiopian business which the previous military government nationalised in 1975. It could feed a million people for a month, according to Oxfam."

Mass arrests of Muslims in LA: "US immigration officials in Southern California have detained hundreds of Iranians and other Muslim men who turned up to register under residence laws brought in as part of the anti-terror drive. Reports say between 500 and 700 men were arrested in and around Los Angeles after they complied with an order to register by 16 December. "

Democracy Now!: "Hewlett Packard, Dupont, Honeywell and other major U.S. corporations, as well as governmental agencies including the Department of Defense and the nation's nuclear labs, all illegally helped Iraq to build its biological, chemical and nuclear weapons programs."

Military Seeking Ways to Skip Sleep: "To strive toward creating the no-sleep soldier, DARPA has funded a multi-tiered program from tinkering with a soldier's brain using magnetic resonance to analyzing the neural circuits of birds that stay awake for days during migration. The hope is to stump the body's need for sleep -- at least temporarily."

t r u t h o u t - Group Says U.S. Broke Law in Use Of Cluster Bombs in Afghanistan: "The U.S. military violated international law in Afghanistan by indiscriminately dropping cluster bombs on populated areas, killing at least 25 civilians and injuring numerous others, Human Rights Watch said in a report scheduled for release today. The group also said that another 127 civilians have been killed or injured in Afghanistan by unexploded cluster "bomblets" that have become "de facto antipersonnel landmines" across large areas of the country. Sixty-nine percent of those killed or injured, the group said, were children. "

t r u t h o u t - Carlyle Group Buys Chunk of CSX

I Stand with Israel: I Stand with the Jews: By Oriana Fallaci
"I have often had disagreements with the Israelis, ugly ones, and in the past I have defended the Palestinians a great deal. Maybe more than they deserved. But I stand with Israel, I stand with the Jews. I stand just as I stood as a young girl during the time when I fought with them" [Eloquent diatribe that claims but does not demonstrate any sympathy with the Palestinians.]

Wednesday, December 18, 2002

getcreative_121002 - animation of Creative Commons copyright rationale

Egyptian justice: in whose court? | "The special court found him guilty. The supreme court set him free. And somewhere in between the country's two systems, Egyptian-American democracy advocate Saadeddin Ibrahim learned earlier this month, the story of Egyptian justice is being written, one case at a time. Mr. Ibrahim's High Security Court trial last May showed the country's justice system at its worst: The main charge against him - "defaming Egypt abroad" - was an embarrassment to many of his countrymen. His lawyers were denied access to prosecution documents until months into the trial, and several "witnesses" who supposedly accepted bribes from him testified that they had never met him. Still, after just 90 minutes of deliberation, judges delivered a guilty verdict"

Is $200 the magic number for PCs? - Tech News - "Welcome to the dawning of the age of the $200 personal computer."

GOP right long frustrated with Lott: "Lott flounders - not just because of his words, but because his tenure has disappointed conservatives...
  Should Lott lose the leadership job and opt to resign from the Senate, Mississippi's Gov. Ronnie Musgrove, a Democrat, would name his replacement, likely returning the Senate to a 50-50 split until a special election is held next November. A resignation before year end would trigger a special election in 90 days."

Mugabe ratchets up the misery in Zimbabwe | "In the countryside, the prospect of starvation is real - 6 million or 7 million people are at risk, primarily because Mr. Mugabe's ruling Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriot Front (ZANU-PF) systematically denies even donated food to peasants or town dwellers who live in areas that voted against him."

NAFTA to Open Foodgates, Engulfing Rural Mexico: "on Jan. 1 tariffs on almost all agricultural imports from the United States will end. The looming deadline has consumed the attention of a nation where a quarter of the population lives in rural areas, and produced warnings about the possibility of unrest and increased migration across the Mexican countryside and into the United States, as millions of peasants are forced to abandon their tiny fields. In recent weeks, hundreds of thousands of Mexican farmers and their supporters have blocked highways and border crossings. They have temporarily shut down gas and electricity installations, and even burst into Congress on horseback."

The Quality of the President's Mercy: "Almost two years into his presidency, George Bush has yet to grant a single pardon or commute a single prison sentence. This unusual record may reflect a certain indifference to the value and purpose of executive clemency...
  The framers of the Constitution understood the president's power to pardon not as a personal privilege but as an obligation of office. They understood that the president had a duty to be merciful, to mitigate the sometimes harsh results of the legal system. A president who uses his pardon power courageously and creatively can bolster public confidence in the overall morality of the criminal justice system. "

The Death of Operation TIPS, Volunteer Spying Corps Dismissed: Nat Hentoff

The Evil of Access: Mark Green - "with President Bush loudly beating his war drums, who heard any discussion about the escalating cost of campaigns? Spending in the New York and Pennsylvania gubernatorial elections, for example, tripled within one election cycle. The evidence that money shouts is mountainous: Ninety-four percent of the time, the bigger-spending Congressional candidate wins--and 98 percent of House incumbents win. The average price of a House seat rose from $87,000 in 1976 to $840,000 in 2000. It cost Ken Livingstone 80 cents a vote to win the London mayoralty last year, compared with Michael Bloomberg's $100 a vote in New York City. As money metastasizes throughout our political process, the erosion of our democracy should be evident to left and right alike: "

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Gotta Have Faith: Krugman - "years from now, when it becomes clear that much public policy has been driven by a hard-line fundamentalist agenda, people will say "But nobody told us." "

Personal Truths and Legal Fictions: "There are two legal versions of what happened in the courtroom last week. The first is that what Justice Thomas did is unforgivable; by hijacking the argument into the murk of personal experience, he did violence to the disinterested, lucid distance necessary for justice to be achieved. The second version is that he recognized, and his colleagues chose to respect, that some questions cannot be answered dispassionately, especially ones as fraught as, "Can symbols constitute threats?" In this version, personal narrative in appellate decision-making is ignored only at the peril of true justice. The latter conclusion is troubling. It suggests that the Supreme Court will never do "true justice" until there's a Holocaust survivor, a gay abortionist and a blind monk on the bench. "

New Premise in Science: Get the Word Out Quickly, Online: "A group of prominent scientists is mounting an electronic challenge to the leading scientific journals, accusing them of holding back the progress of science by restricting online access to their articles so they can reap higher profits. Supported by a $9 million grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the scientists say that this week they will announce the creation of two peer-reviewed online journals on biology and medicine, with the goal of cornering the best scientific papers and immediately depositing them in the public domain. "

Where Israeli soldiers go to heal: "Where Israeli soldiers go to heal Kfar Izun, a retreat on the Mediterranean, helps veterans traumatized by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict"

Few but proud: US antiwar activists in Iraq | "The 30 or so members of the self-declared "Iraq Peace Team," most of them Americans who have arrived in the past week, have heard it all before. Some critics charge them with treason. Some call them pawns of the Iraqi regime. But activists say their mission is neither pro- Hussein nor anti-American, but aims to avert war by showing the human face of Iraq - and what suffering a new war will bring."

The Heavy Cost of Chronic Stress: "Prolonged or severe stress has been shown to weaken the immune system, strain the heart, damage memory cells in the brain and deposit fat at the waist rather than the hips and buttocks (a risk factor for heart disease, cancer and other illnesses), said Dr. Bruce S. McEwen, director of the neuroendocrinology laboratory at the Rockefeller University and the author of a new book, "The End of Stress as We Know It." Stress has been implicated in aging, depression, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, among other illnesses." [detailed summary of recent research]

Doctors Rethinking Treatments for Sick Sinuses: "The disillusionment with surgery occurs as recognition is increasing that other common remedies for chronic sinus disease like antibiotics, steroids, antihistamines and decongestants also are falling short of expectations. Researchers say they are beginning to suspect that they have to rethink the underlying causes. Instead of allergies and infections, long considered the primary culprits, doctors are asking why sinuses become sick in the first place. Increasingly, they are looking at inflammation or the responses of the immune system."

Run or Walk by the Book:
Running: The Athlete Within, by Dr. David Costill and Dr. Scott Trappe.
The Complete Runner's Day-by-Day Log and Calendar, by John Jerome.
The Complete Walker IV, by Colin Fletcher and Chip Rawlins. 
"These three books are excellent for anyone interested in running or walking. Taken as a whole, they cover every aspect of each activity "

Black Republicans Speak of Their Outrage at Lott: "a fury has been building among black Republicans who believe that Mr. Lott has significantly damaged their standing within the party and among their fellow African-Americans, many of whom already view them with suspicion. Within the Bush administration and around the country, many black Republicans are privately urging the party to dump Mr. Lott from the leadership for its own good. "They've been fighting the good fight for the party, often enduring tremendous abuse that they are Uncle Toms or traitors," Robert A. George, a conservative black columnist, said of black Republicans. "Lott's statement seems to confirm what Democrats and many blacks have believed about Republicans all along.""

Monday, December 16, 2002

In Simple Pronouns, Clues to Shifting Latino Identity: "a team of linguists is studying the consequences of the collision of Spanish dialects in New York, looking not only at how that contact is affecting the Spanish spoken but also at what the outcome might suggest about the evolution of Latino identity in the city and beyond...
  The use of subject pronouns in Spanish has long been of interest to linguists... In English, the subject of a sentence is always expressed; in Spanish it can be, and often is, left out.
  For example, where an English speaker would say "We sing," a Spanish speaker could say either "Nosotros cantamos" or simply "Cantamos." Linguists say Spanish speakers from the Caribbean tend to use a lot of pronouns; people from Central and South American countries use them less."

Hydrogen: Empowering the People: JEREMY RIFKIN "While the fossil-fuel era enters its sunset years, a new energy regime is being born that has the potential to remake civilization along radically new lines--hydrogen. Hydrogen is the most basic and ubiquitous element in the universe. It never runs out and produces no harmful CO2 emissions when burned; the only byproducts are heat and pure water. That is why it's been called "the forever fuel." Hydrogen has the potential to end the world's reliance on oil."

Iraqi Report Named US Business Partners: " Iraq's 12,000-page declaration of its weapons programs lists American companies that provided materials used by Baghdad to develop chemical and biological weapons in the 1980s, according to a senior Iraqi official. The public release of such a list could prove embarrassing for the United States and highlight the extent to which the Reagan and first Bush administrations supported Iraq in its eight-year war with neighboring Iran in the 1980s. U.S. military and financial assistance to Iraq continued until Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990. "

Chess Offers Young Students Life Lessons at a City School: "chess master and teacher at Mott Hall School, Jerald Times, has a thousand-watt gaze and skin the color of bitter chocolate. He radiates energy as he patrols the classroom, urging fourth and fifth graders to fight through chess problems that he has given them. Mr. Times is looking for potential prodigies who could join the Mott Hall Dark Knights, a mainly black and Latino chess team from a poor community that has won six national championships over the last decade. In addition to seeking out potential champions, Mr. Times wants to connect even average players to the history of the game and encourage them to view the world through its lens."

Sacco and Vanzetti Memorial: "On August 23rd, 1927, the State of Massachusetts executed immigrant anarchists, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti, after an international campaign to stop their execution. This page is a tribute to their memory. "

The Never-Ending Wrong June 1977 - Katherine Anne Porter - "For several years in the early 1920s when I was living part of the time in Mexico, on each return to New York, I would follow again the strange history of the Italian emigrants Nicola Sacco a shoemaker, and Bartolomeo Vanzetti a fishmonger, who were accused of a most brutal holdup of a payroll truck, with murder, in South Braintree, Massachusetts, in the early afternoon of April 15, 1920. They were tried before a Boston court and condemned to death about eighteen months later."

From schoolgirl Emma to Asma, the Syrian icon: "Asma Akhras was raised in London. Today she returns as wife of Syria's leader.... the woman who has become a symbol of President Bashar Assad's ambition to reform his country... what happened in the months after the wedding, when she seemed to disappear from view? In her first-ever interview, Mrs Assad told The Observer that she did not disappear. Instead, she spent the first weeks of her marriage in jeans and T-shirt, travelling incognito around the rural areas of Syria. After a wedding in which only the closest family members had been invited to a private service, she wanted to get a handle on the country.  "

US historian stripped of gun book prize: "A US historian whose book on the origins of gun culture caused a furore has been stripped of a prestigious prize after being accused of "unprofessional and misleading work". Columbia University announced that its trustees had voted to rescind the Bancroft prize awarded last year to Michael A Bellesiles for his book, Arming America: The Origins of a National Gun Culture. "

Sunday, December 15, 2002

3 Wise Woman: What would have happened if it had been three Wise Women instead of three Wise Men?
-they would have asked for directions.
-helped deliver the baby.
-clean the stable.
-brought practical gifts.
-and made a casserole.
But, what would they have said as they left....?
"Did you see the sandals Mary was wearing with that gown?"
"I hear Joseph isn't working right now."
"And that donkey they are riding has seen better days too!"
"Virgin my *%@$! I knew her in school."
"That baby doesn't look a bit like Joseph!"
"Want to bet on how long it will take before you get your casserole dish back?"
"Did you see that Drummer boy? He can beat my drum anytime!"

Saturday, December 14, 2002

'Dominion': The Most Compassionate Conservative: DOMINION The Power of Man, the Suffering of Animals, and the Call to Mercy. By Matthew Scully.  '''Dominion'' is important in large measure because the author, an avowed conservative Republican and former speechwriter for President George W. Bush, is an unexpected defender of animals against the depredations of profit-driven corporations, swaggering, gun-loving hunters, proponents of renewed ''harvesting'' of whales and elephants and others who insist that all of nature is humanity's romper room, to play with, rearrange and plunder at will.'

O'Reilly Network: Piracy is Progressive Taxation, and Other Thoughts on the Evolution of Online Distribution

What kind of antiwar movement is this? | ""Not In My Name" is fast becoming the most popular refrain of today's antiwar movement. At the demonstrations I attended in London, thousands of placards declare that an attack on Iraq is "Not In My Name." In March, a huge variety of American antiwar groups set up an umbrella organization in New York called the Not In Our Name Project. One protester I talked to recently said: "Whatever Bush does or doesn't do in Iraq, it won't be in my name." This slogan sums up the current antiwar sentiment. Rather than trying to stop America's and Europe's warmongers in their tracks, antiwar protesters instead wash their own hands of war. Saying "not in my name" seems to be a way of declaring that, if and when war breaks out, we personally want nothing to do with it. This is as passive as it gets. It's almost like saying, "Do what you like, we know we can't stop you - just count us out.""

Lott Often Opposed Measures Identified With Civil Rights: "In his 30 years in Congress, 16 in the House and the last 14 in the Senate, Trent Lott has voted consistently against measures that could be identified as civil rights legislation, and often he was one of a small number of lawmakers to vote that way.
  A review of his voting record shows, for example, that Mr. Lott, a Mississippi Republican, opposed extension of the Voting Rights Act, expansion of fair-housing laws, establishment of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday and payment of lawyers' fees to people who bring successful civil rights suits.
  Last year, Mr. Lott was the only senator to vote against President Bush's nomination of Roger L. Gregory to be the first black judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, in Richmond, Va.
  Over the years, he favored measures to outlaw busing for school desegregation, to extend a design patent owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and to eliminate affirmative action in federal contracts."

Technical Difficulties

Friday, December 13, 2002

New Kind of Dam Rises in Switzerland: To Hold Back the Land: Global warming: "Swiss scientists are studying landslides to determine which ones may have been caused by melting permafrost. One terrifying instance was in September in the Caucasus, in Russia. There, scientists say, 140 million cubic feet of rock layers, including a mass of ice, rock and ferns, snapped off and began a free fall down the the northern slope of Kazbek Mountain, gathering fresh mud, trees and rock until it hit the Kolka Glacier. A portion of the glacier sheared off and an estimated 2.1 billion cubic feet of snow, trees, ice, debris, rock, mud and water continued to rumble toward the bottom of the mountain. It landed in the Genaldon Gorge, near Karmadon, and killed about 140 people. The compressed avalanche dammed several lakes, including one whose water rose to flood level, threatening a second village."

Iraq Opposition Is Pursuing Ties With Iranians: "Leaders of all the major opposition groups, including an Iranian-backed group that represents Shiite Muslims and two Kurdish groups that have tens of thousands of troops on the ground, warned that while they welcomed American help in overthrowing President Saddam Hussein, Iraqis would not tolerate an American military occupation afterward or an American "viceroy" to govern Iraq, as some administration officials have contemplated."

Republican Party's 40 Years of Juggling on Race: "Ever since the Republican Party in the South was reborn by hostility to the civil rights legislation of the 1960's, the national party has increasingly depended on Southern votes while insisting to Northern moderates that it is still the party of Lincoln."

The Other Face: Krugman: "while Mr. Bush has finally denounced Mr. Lott's remarks, he and his party benefit from the strategy that allows the likes of Mr. Lott to hold so much power. Let's not forget, in particular, the blatant attempts to discourage minority voting in South Dakota, Louisiana, Maryland and elsewhere. It's about time for those of us in the press to pay attention, and let this great, tolerant nation know what's really going on. "

A Life Divided: Italy's Quixote of Terrorism: " March 14, 1972, Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, a leading European publisher who was one of Italy's richest men, was blown up trying to ignite a terrorist bomb on an electric pylon outside Milan. It was a strange and yet emblematic end to the complex career of a man who was a major figure in the history of postwar European culture. Feltrinelli had helped revolutionize Italian book publishing. The son of a family of wealthy Italian monarchists, he joined the Communist Party while still a teenager. He nonetheless published, over the objections of the Soviet Union, the first world edition of Boris Pasternak's "Doctor Zhivago," an event that shook the Soviet empire and won Pasternak the Nobel Prize for Literature. Feltrinelli also started the first (and still the best) great bookstore chain in Italy, which still bears his name."

Thursday, December 12, 2002

William Rivers Pitt | The Pure Essence of Stupid: "George W. Bush has tapped John J. Snow to replace blabbermouth former Secretary of the Treasury Paul O'Neill. Snow rises to his post from a corporate executive background, having served as the CEO of railroad giant CSX... Mr. Snow ran a company whose 2001 annual report claimed this as its company motto: "CSX will pursue all available opportunities to pay the lowest federal, state and foreign taxes." They succeeded admirably in this. CSX has not paid taxes in three of the last four years. In fact, CSX supplemented its $934 million in pretax U.S. profits over those four years with a total of $164 million in tax rebates from the federal government. "

Wednesday, December 11, 2002

A Liberal With a Wrestler's Stance: by Bill Holm - " Paul Wellstone was an unlikely politician in a place like Minnesota -- land of walleyes, cornfields and phlegmatic Scandinavians. He was an urban Jew, son of immigrants, a college professor at the fanciest of Minnesota's private colleges. And, probably worst of all for his non-talkative constituents, he was a passionate orator, a skilled rouser of rabble over issues he loved and an unapologetic populist liberal."

A Terrifying Video Becomes a Best Seller: "ANSON W. SCHLOAT, the president of Human Relations Media, has an unexpected hit on his hands, a 26-minute video called "Dying High: Teens in the ER," which has become the hot teaching tool in Westchester County."

Web site keeps tabs on emerging vocabulary | "Possibly the most single-minded website ever reviewed in this space, the Word Spy exists almost exclusively to record changes in our collective vocabulary -"

Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Venomous and Sublime: The Viper Tells Its Tale: ""Snakes turn out to be very complicated creatures," he said. "But they have few ways to express what they know. It's easy to underestimate a tube." "We're becoming more like primatologists in our thinking," said Dr. Gordon W. Schuett of Georgia State University and Zoo Atlanta, an editor of the new book. "We're tracking individual snakes for long periods of time to see who they hang out with and whom they might even form pair bonds with.""

Watching Your Back as You Watch the Back Pocket: "Some pickpockets are known as cutters, old-school thieves who love the thrill of razoring women's wallets from their pocketbooks, leaving them clutching their bags, completely unaware. Others are creepers, who do not like to work crowds or jostle their victims but follow them out of the subway and are so talented they can steal a wallet, take a credit card from it and then replace it."

Seeking Perfection in Shoe Lacing, With 43,200 Choices: "Dr. Polster also offered advice for tying shoelace knots that do not unravel 10 steps later. Most people tie their shoes in two steps, essentially layering two half-knots on top of each other (for example, wrapping the left piece of the lace over and around the right one and pulling it through, then wrapping the left piece over and around a loop of the right piece of shoelace and pulling a second loop through). That produces a granny knot, which is unstable. Reversing the orientation of the first half-knot (by passing the left piece of the lace under the right one and pulling it through) produces a knot that will hold much longer."

Statins: Miracles for Some, Menace for a Few: "hailed as miracle drugs for their ability to prevent deaths from heart attacks by lowering cholesterol... but... sometimes cause serious side effects. The most serious involves the muscles, a disorder called rhabdomyolysis, rare but debilitating and deadly if not detected in its early stages."

Treatments: Calming Agitation in Alzheimer's: "Aromatherapy using lavender oil or lemon balm appears to help calm agitation in patients with severe cases of Alzheimer's disease, according to a review of several studies"

The Next Africa?: "Until now, the only part of the world to suffer a sustained drop in incomes has been Africa. But South America and Central America now risk becoming another Africa, in the sense of institutionalized Western neglect and indigenous despair, of tumbling living standards, of coups and civil war and failed states. If we allow this to happen, we Yanquis will pay the price -- in terms of economics, drugs and immigration -- for years to come. "

The Land That War Protected: "a preserve carved from the [Korea] demilitarized zone could be the source for replenishing endangered plants and animals lost to development in both North and South. It could also serve as a laboratory to study nature's resilience. In little more than five decades, the natural world has reclaimed an area devastated by war. There is no comparable place on earth. However, the window of opportunity for preservation may be closing. In September the two Koreas signed an agreement to build two rail lines and adjacent highways through the zone. Efforts to remove mines have already begun. Roads are likely to follow, and thereafter harm to the environment."

Rural America's new problem: handling sprawl | "Missouri... represents trends taking place around the country. Joplin and the state's three other smaller metro areas grew faster during the 1990s than the state's two largest metro areas - Kansas City and St. Louis - according to a new report on Missouri growth patterns released Sunday by the Brookings Institution in Washington. More telling, unincorporated, "open country" areas of the state saw population rise an average 12.3 percent. That's 50 percent faster than the population growth in Missouri's cities and towns... The result is a thinning and spreading of population that looks all too familiar to smart-growth advocates:"

Method of Funding Legal Services Is Challenged Before Supreme Court: "the Washington Legal Foundation said its goal was to "deal a death blow to the single most important source of income for radical legal groups all across the country." "

After Top Job at Yosemite, He's Hanging Up the Ranger Hat: "After 30 years with the National Park Service, Mr. Mihalic is at the top of his career in a high-visibility assignment, a member of the federal government's prestigious Senior Executive Service, and recently picked by the Bush administration as the next superintendent for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, the country's most visited national park. But Mr. Mihalic is saying goodbye to it all. On Jan. 3, he will retire...
  Mr. Mihalic said the Bush administration wanted him to push through two contentious proposals at Great Smoky. The proposals, a land swap and a road project, had long been opposed by the National Park Service because of environmental concerns but had been backed by some influential Republicans in North Carolina and Tennessee. "

New Tools for Domestic Spying, and Qualms: "across the country, sometimes to the dismay of civil libertarians, law enforcement officials are maneuvering to seize the information-gathering weapons they say they desperately need to thwart terrorist attacks. From New York City to Seattle, police officials are looking to do away with rules that block them from spying on people and groups without evidence that a crime has been committed. They say these rules, forced on them in the 1970's and 80's to halt abuses, now prevent them from infiltrating mosques and other settings where terrorists might plot. At the same time, federal and local police agencies are looking for systematic, high-tech ways to root out terrorists before they strike. "

Administration Proposes Rules That Can Alter Pension Plans: " Bush administration has proposed sweeping new pension rules that will encourage companies to adopt a type of retirement plan that has been under attack for three years for what critics call a tendency to strip benefits from older employees. The proposed rules, which are to be released by the Treasury Department on Tuesday, describe the steps for companies to avoid age-discrimination challenges when they convert their traditional pension plans into what are called cash-balance pension plans. Cash-balance plans tend to benefit younger workers, often at the expense of older workers, and are less costly for companies."

World War 3 Report #63: "In an analysis for the LA Times, Sandy Tolan, an IF Stone Fellow at UC Berkeley, joins those who see an imperialist plot to redraw the boundaries of the Middle East behind the Iraq war drive: "

Economist tallies swelling cost of Israel to US | "Since 1973, Israel has cost the United States about $1.6 trillion. If divided by today's population, that is more than $5,700 per person. This is an estimate by Thomas Stauffer, a consulting economist in Washington. For decades, his analyses of the Middle East scene have made him a frequent thorn in the side of the Israel lobby."

Monday, December 09, 2002

Don't Blame Columbus for All the Indians' Ills: "the general health of Native Americans had apparently been deteriorating for centuries before 1492. That is the conclusion of a team of anthropologists, economists and paleopathologists who have completed a wide-ranging study of the health of people living in the Western Hemisphere in the last 7,000 years. The researchers, whose work is regarded as the most comprehensive yet, say their findings in no way diminish the dreadful impact Old World diseases had on the people of the New World. But it suggests that the New World was hardly a healthful Eden....
  researchers attributed the widespread decline in health in large part to the rise of agriculture and urban living. People in South and Central America began domesticating crops more than 5,000 years ago, and the rise of cities there began more than 2,000 years ago.
  These were mixed blessings. Farming tended to limit the diversity of diets, and the congestion of towns and cities contributed to the rapid spread of disease. In the widening inequalities of urban societies, hard work on low-protein diets left most people vulnerable to illness and early death."

Philip Berrigan, Peace Advocate in the Vietnam War Era, Dies at 79: "The life of black sharecroppers in Georgia, where he had basic training, and the treatment of black soldiers on his troop ship to Europe made an indelible impression on his conscience. So did his own role in infantry and artillery battles that earned him a battlefield commission as second lieutenant. In so many words, he came to consider himself as guilty of murder as the Germans and Japanese. Along with this came the conviction that he had grown up on a diet of nationalistic propaganda in which the good -- "white Europeans" -- always triumphed over evil -- "anyone else.""

Abrams Back in Capital Fray at Center of Mideast Battle: "Mr. Abrams's selection this week as President Bush's director of Middle Eastern affairs at the White House plunged him into one of the sharpest disputes in the nation's capital -- the one in the administration over how to deal with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Mr. Abrams's appointment thrilled those who had criticized the administration for being too tough on Israel and too deferential to the Palestinians. But it dismayed those, especially at the State Department, who want Israel to ease its crackdown in the West Bank and Gaza. An administration official said Mr. Abrams's ascension had created "serious consternation" at the State Department. It was seen there, he said, as likely to impede the efforts of Secretary of State Colin L. Powell to work with European nations to press Israel and the Palestinians to adopt a staged timetable leading to creation of a Palestinian state in three years."

G.I.'s Walk Perilous Line Between Finding Enemy and Alienating Afghans: "Four months after the United States adopted a new strategy of using more ground troops to hunt for remnants of Al Qaeda and the Taliban, it is unclear if the strategy is working, Afghan officials say. Attacks on American bases have continued through the fall, and by some measures are intensifying. Afghans along the border with Pakistan say aggressive American ground troops and a lack of relief aid are alienating the local population. The central issue of the American military mission here is at stake: how to defeat a shadowy guerrilla enemy without alienating fiercely independent Afghans with a long tradition of souring on, and then humbling, great powers, among them the British Empire and the Soviet Union. Recent attacks and dozens of interviews with Afghans in three strategic border provinces -- Paktia, Khost and Kunar -- suggest that American forces are, at best, holding their own in what has evolved into a classic counterinsurgency campaign. Rather than being cowed, their enemies appear to be gradually growing bolder."

Growing Poverty Is Shrinking Mexico's Rain Forest: "Five miles up a muddy trail from Emiliano Zapata, in southeastern Chiapas State, is Mexico's largest unpolluted lake, Laguna Miramar, and beyond that stands the last rain forest in Mexico. But today almost half a million poor people, speaking six different languages, live in that dying forest. For some here in Chiapas, the issue is turning from saving the trees to saving the people. A century of government reaching into this most remote corner of Mexico has left most citizens with next to nothing. "

Pastoral Poverty: The Seeds of Decline: "Around the country, rural ghettos are unravelling in the same way that inner cities did in the 1960's and 70's, according to the officials and experts who have tried to make sense of a generations-old downward spiral in the countryside. In this view, decades of economic decline have produced a culture of dependency, with empty counties hooked on farm subsidies just as welfare mothers were said to be tied to their monthly checks. And just as in the cities, the hollowed-out economy has led to a frightening rise in crime and drug abuse...
  Supporters of subsidies say they keep entire counties from going under and ensure a cheap and abundant food supply.
  But opponents say that the biggest checks go to large corporate farms and do little to stem rural decline. The farm bill signed in May by President Bush — and backed by both parties — will, over the next 10 years, distribute two-thirds of $125 billion in payments to the top 10 percent of farms, according to an analysis done by the Environmental Working Group, a conservation group."

Why Confess to What You Didn't Do?: " if the convictions are ultimately thrown out, what does that say about the ease with which investigators can persuade an innocent person to confess? "Reform in this area has been extremely slow in coming because law enforcement generally have refused to acknowledge that their interrogation techniques themselves can produce false confessions," said Steven A. Drizin, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law. More verdicts are being reversed every year because of advances in the use of DNA evidence. As a result, there may have been more research in the area of false confession in the last 10 years than in the previous century. The very nature of interrogation is antagonistic, accusatory and focused on leading questions rather than on open lines of inquiry. Many of those methods have been upheld by the courts. Interrogators sometimes lie. They claim to have evidence that they don't really have or confessions from accomplices. The more compliant, naïve or cowed by authority a suspect is, the more likely that person is to confess -- honestly, or falsely. Suspects who are young or mentally ill are particularly vulnerable to pressure."

Use of Renewable Energy Took a Big Fall in 2001: "Consumption of energy from renewable sources, like the sun, the wind and biological fuels, fell sharply in 2001, the Department of Energy has reported. The department attributed much of the decline to a drought that cut generation of hydroelectric power by 23 percent. Such variations are natural. But in a report last month, the department's Energy Information Administration also said solar equipment was being retired faster than new equipment was being built."

Chechen in Extradition Dispute: Criminal or Peacemaker?: "Akhmed Zakayev has been an actor and a rebel commander, a negotiator, a politician and then a commander again. Bearded, articulate and mild-mannered, he has over the last decade become perhaps the most prominent public face of Chechnya's struggle for independence from Russia. To the Russian government, he is a terrorist and a murderer... To others, even some in Russia, he is none of those things, but rather the best hope for a peaceful resolution of Russia's long, bloody Chechen conflict."

Grand Soviet Scheme for Sharing Water in Central Asia Is Foundering: "From the mountainous Chinese border to the Caspian Sea, the Soviet Union remade the two grand rivers of Central Asia, building 20,000 miles of canals, 45 dams and more than 80 reservoirs. The government turned sand and dust into one of the world's great cotton-growing regions. But the Soviet Union is long dead. And here in western Uzbekistan and in areas of its four neighbors, one of socialism's most grandiose schemes is being sundered by capitalism, nationalism and a legacy of waste. Without a bigger supply of water -- or better use of it -- an economic and social crisis seems to be awaiting the region of 58 million people"

From Radical Background, a Rhodes Scholar Emerges: "Chesa Boudin was unable to celebrate with his parents on Saturday afternoon when he was named a Rhodes scholar. He could not even share the good news. As maximum-security inmates in the New York State prison system, Katherine Boudin and David Gilbert are barred from receiving telephone calls or e-mail messages. "

Guardian - Poisoning the air "Atropine is used for treating various heart and respiratory disorders. It is also the drug of choice in cases of organophospate (pesticide) poisoning, where massive amounts - up to 100 times the normal dose - may be needed to effect recovery. The UN sanctions committee, which of course includes Americans, took the view that the Iraqi orders were probably about adequate to meet the country's routine medical needs. But suddenly, as the US prepares to invade, along comes another order - seemingly very similar - which, according to American officials, far outstrips the amount Iraq could conceivably need for normal hospital use. Someone, somewhere, has clearly got it wrong.
  There is also a lot that the US has not disclosed about the latest Iraqi order for atropine. For a start, there has been no public confirmation of the order from independent sources."

The Liberal Quandary Over Iraq: "This Bosnian generation of liberal hawks is a minority within a minority, but they hold an important place in American public life, having worked out a new idea about America's role in the post-cold war world long before Sept. 11 woke the rest of the country up. An antiwar movement that seeks a broad appeal and an intelligent critique needs them. Oddly enough, President Bush needs them, too. The one level on which he hasn't even tried to make a case is the level of ideas. These liberal hawks could give a voice to his war aims, which he has largely kept to himself."

Hundreds opposed to war let their feelings be known at rally By JODI GENSHAFT Post-Dispatch 12/08/2002 10:28 PM"
  The "Instead of War" rally to display opposition to U.S. military action in Iraq drew an estimated 1,500 people of all ages Sunday afternoon in downtown St. Louis.
  Protesters marched to Soldiers Memorial, at 14th and Chestnut streets, carrying hand-drawn signs and chanting, "Down with war, up with peace." Cheering them on was a group of young adults - many with dyed hair and painted faces - calling themselves the "radical cheerleaders." The young people chanted anti-war and anti-globalization cheers as the march set out.
  "We don't want to see innocent lives destroyed, Iraqi and American," said Lubna Alam, academic vice president of St. Louis University's Student Government Association.
  Alam said many college students felt an acute responsibility to speak out about the "pre-packaged" war with Iraq, "complete with theme music, colorful graphics and catchy sound bites." 
  "Why should we punish an entire nation for the heinous actions of one man?" Alam asked the audience at Centenary United Methodist Church in St. Louis, during the anti-war rally held before the march. Participants spilled into the aisles and hallways of the church, which seats about 1,200. An organizer of the rally estimated the crowd at 1,500. 
  Jason Murphy, 31, of St. Louis, said the turnout "proves there's not a national consensus in favor of violence in the Middle East." 
  A Gallup poll, conducted Nov. 22-24, showed that Americans support 58 percent to 37 percent a U.S.-led invasion of Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein from power. Polling has continually illustrated that Americans want U.N. and allied support before U.S. officials launch military action.
  "We should be working through the United Nations to apply pressure," said Elizabeth Case, 70, of Clayton. 
   Iraq submitted a declaration of its weapons programs Saturday to the U.N. weapons inspectors in Baghdad. 
  U.S. officials say Iraq is violating U.N. resolutions requiring it to give up all biological, chemical and nuclear weapons, but Iraq claims it no longer possesses any banned weapons.
  "I don't think they have weapons we should be concerned about," said Carolyn Griffeth, 30, of St. Louis. "This isn't about democracy. Now we're fabricating a threat. Saddam isn't a threat, but the sanctions are a breeding ground for terrorism. Our only defense to terrorism is to invest in peace relationships in the Middle East." 
  The poll showed that about 80 percent of Americans think Saddam would use weapons of mass destruction to attack the United States. 
  Ron Strawbridge, 31, of Webster Groves, sees the threat differently. "I think he's a threat if he's attacked," Strawbridge said. 
  Anthony Fotenos, 26, of St. Louis, said mainstream opposition to war could have a big impact on U.S. military involvement. He said the success of the anti-war movement during the Vietnam War set a good example for future protests. 
  "I'm sure we would win a war in Iraq, but it will invariably come back to haunt us," said Fotenos, as his 2-month-old daughter, Naomi, slept next to a poster that read "Babies for peace." 
  The Rev. Emery Washington, president of Congregations Allied for Community Improvement, said he feared the legacy being left for future generations. He said, "There has to be another way" to resolve the U.S.-Iraqi conflict. 
  Still, some protesters were skeptical that the anti-war sentiment would have staying power. 
  "I don't think support will last as long as it did in Vietnam," Murphy said.

Thursday, December 05, 2002

Eating less for longevity: "Reduce an animal's intake of calories by 30% and it will live 30% longer than those on an ordinary diet. Now scientists want to know if the same severely restricted diet that has produced dramatic results in laboratory experiments in animals will work in humans. In September, the National Institute on Aging began scientific trials involving about 200 people at three locations in Louisiana, Massachusetts and Missouri. "

Capital Games: David Corn on Kissinger - "Asking Henry Kissinger to investigate government malfeasance or nonfeasance is akin to asking Slobodan Milosevic to investigate war crimes. Pretty damn akin, since Kissinger has been accused, with cause, of engaging in war crimes of his own. Moreover, he has been a poster-child for the worst excesses of secret government and secret warfare...  Consider the record: "

Three Reagan-Era Hard-Liners Return to Help Run Bush's Foreign Policy Team: "They were key figures in the Iran-Contra scandal and U.S.-backed "dirty wars" in Central America in the 1980s. Now Otto Reich, Elliot Abrams and John Negroponte are back, helping run White House policy toward Latin America. The re-emergence of the three has caused consternation among human rights activists and some regional experts, who fear President George W. Bush's team is taking the country back to Cold War days, when the United States intervened flagrantly in Latin America by supporting coups, bankrolling dictatorships that suppressed leftists, and training soldiers linked to human rights abuses. "

The Pentagon Muzzles the CIA. Robert Dreyfuss. "as it prepares for war against Iraq, the Pentagon is already engaged on a second front: its war against the Central Intelligence Agency. The Pentagon is bringing relentless pressure to bear on the agency to produce intelligence reports more supportive of war with Iraq, according to former CIA officials. Key officials of the Department of Defense are also producing their own unverified intelligence reports to justify war. Much of the questionable information comes from Iraqi exiles long regarded with suspicion by CIA professionals. A parallel, ad hoc intelligence operation, in the office of Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas J. Feith, collects the information from the exiles and scours other raw intelligence for useful tidbits to make the case for preemptive war."

New Scientist: "A war against Iraq could kill half a million people, warns a new report by medical experts - and most would be civilians. The report claims as many as 260,000 could die in the conflict and its three-month aftermath, with a further 200,000 at risk in the longer term from famine and disease. A civil war in Iraq could add another 20,000 deaths."

The Poetry of Programming: Richard Gabriel "We've only been building software for 50 years, and almost every time we're creating something new. If you look at software developers and what they produce, if you look at their source code, the programs they make, and the designs that they end up creating, there is real variability. And some people are really good and others are not so good. So, because you can program well or poorly, and because most of it is creative (in that we don't really know what we're doing when we start out), my view is that we should train developers the way we train creative people like poets and artists. "

Into the Breach: Borosage: "Contrary to the DLC, the Democratic Party is not a dirigible that can be repositioned to fit the passing winds. It is a party of working people against the Republican Party of corporations and wealth. It is a party of diversity against the whites-only Republican Party. It is a party of prochoice women against the party of the radical right. It is a party of unions and of environmentalists against the party of Ken Lay and Dick Cheney. It won't ever be more muscular than Republicans on war abroad or guns at home. "

No more going it alone for Uncle Sam: The End of the American Era: US Foreign Policy and the Geopolitics of the 21st Century By Charles Kupchan. "claims American primacy in global politics will end before the decade is out. The transition to a multipolar world is the paramount issue of international relations, but recent events (read: war on terrorism) only obfuscate it. If the US is wise, it will "design" a liberal world order to accommodate rising powers such as Europe and China. But if America "defaults" and remains a "great power adrift," the consequences will be dire: an aggressive China and Japan; a resurgent Russia; a remilitarized Europe; and the hungry, angry masses of the developing world."

Buyers looking for safety are driving in the wrong lane | "Sport utility vehicles are a menace. As these off-road behemoths that never go off road replace cars, the result on American highways will be "mayhem," according to an exposé titled "High and Mighty," by Keith Bradsher. "

Wednesday, December 04, 2002

Study Suggests Mercury in Vaccine Was Not Harmful: "small but groundbreaking study of infants who received vaccines containing a mercury-based preservative has found that the levels of mercury in their blood were well within federal safety limits. The study, reported on Saturday in the British medical journal The Lancet, also found that infants excrete the mercury much faster than expected, suggesting that it does not build up from one vaccination to the next."

The Legacy of Lewis F. Powell Jr.: "Justice Powell's particular legacy illustrates a somewhat different point: that on a court composed of human beings, biography matters. The fact is that Lewis Powell, who died in 1998 just short of his 91st birthday, was a person of a particular time and place, a patrician son of the Old South, who transcended his origins in some ways and not in others, and who drew particular lessons from some singular life experiences. The same could be said of many people, if not most. The difference is that Supreme Court justices, including those now on the court and any future appointees, may be in a position to apply their life lessons in shaping the law for an entire country."

Advocates for Animals Turn Attention to Chickens: " rows of hens crammed 10 to a cage the size of a file-drawer cabinet. They get close-ups of swollen eyes, infected skin and shattered wings entangled in cage wire."

Bush to End Rule Allowing Jobless Money for New Parents: "Bush administration will repeal a Clinton-era rule that allows states to use unemployment insurance money to help people who take a leave from work to have babies or adopt children, officials said today. The executive action will effectively shut down legislative efforts in as many as 16 states to make unemployment compensation money available to working parents who have taken time off to care for a newborn or adopted child."

Tuesday, December 03, 2002

Will China Blindside the West?: Kristoff - "China's transformation is trickling even into the poor interior, dragging all 1.3 billion people into the world economy. When historians look back on our time, I think they'll focus on the resurgence of China after 500 years of weakness -- and the way America was oblivious as this happened. Plenty can still go wrong in China, from a banking crisis (national banks are insolvent) to labor riots (laid-off workers are grumbling everywhere). The government is often brutal and is catastrophically mismanaging an AIDS crisis"

Can Global Warming Be Studied Too Much?: "Bush administration convenes a three-day meeting here to set its new agenda for research on climate change. But many climate experts who will attend say talking about more research will simply delay decisions that need to be made now to avert serious harm from global warming. President Bush has called for a decade of research before anything beyond voluntary measures is used to stem tailpipe and smokestack emissions of heat-trapping gases that scientists say are contributing to global warming.... But many climate experts say the perennial need for more study can no longer justify further delays in emission cuts. "

Texas Death Row Appeals Lawyers Criticized: "Death row inmates in Texas are often assigned incompetent or unqualified state appellate lawyers who do not raise legitimate constitutional arguments and who fail to unearth facts that could prove the innocence of their clients, according to a new study by an advocacy group for capital defendants. The group, Texas Defender Service, examined the state habeas appeals of nearly every death row inmate in Texas since 1995 and found that those inmates had a one in three chance of being executed without their cases being adequately investigated or argued by a competent state appeals lawyer. "

Union Head Cites Secret Report in Quitting Insurer: "A.F.L.-C.I.O. president John J. Sweeney resigned yesterday from the board of Ullico, an embattled union-owned insurer, because of concerns that an outside counsel's report into accusations of insider trading at the insurer might never be made public. Mr. Sweeney resigned on the day that Ullico's board met in Washington to consider an investigative report.. into highly profitable stock trades by members of Ullico's board, which is made up primarily of former and current union presidents... with Mr. Sweeney demanding that the Thompson report be made public and Mr. Georgine seeking to limit its disclosure. Mr. Sweeney, who did not participate in the stock trades, has criticized them and was one of the first to urge that an outside counsel be named. "

A Telling North Korean Journey: "Drinking wines imported from France, nibbling on gourmet meals with silver chopsticks, and joining in rousing choruses of old Soviet songs with "beautiful lady conductors," North Korea's remote "Dear Leader" emerges in flesh and blood from the pages of a new memoir by Mr. Pulikovsky, the representative of President Vladimir V. Putin in Russia's Far East. Called "Orient Express" and published this fall in Moscow, the 200-page snapshot-laden book prompted a diplomatic protest from North Korea and teeth gnashing in Russia's Foreign Ministry. It draws heavily on a confidential report prepared by a Russian Foreign Ministry notetaker on board during Mr. Kim's leisurely one-month train ride across Russia in the summer of 2001."

Dietary Advice Takes On Mediterranean Flavor: "a diet like the one consumed by heart-healthy people along the Mediterranean: rich in vegetables and fruits, whole grains, nuts, unsaturated vegetable oils and protein derived from fish, beans and chicken, not red meat. "Compelling" evidence for this view was thoroughly reviewed last week in The Journal of the American Medical Association by Dr. Frank B. Hu and Dr. Walter C. Willett, nutrition and epidemiology experts at the Harvard School of Public Health, who have followed tens of thousands of Americans for decades to uncover relationships between diet, habits and health."

Health Food Company Buys Rival: "For the last decade, a significant part of Hain's strategy has been to grow by acquisition. In 2001, Hain Celestial acquired Yves Veggie Cuisine Inc., a Canadian manufacturer of soy-based burgers and cheese substitutes. In the same year, the company also picked up Lima N.V., a Belgian company that makes natural and organic foods. Hain purchased Celestial Seasonings, the tea company, for about $390 million in 2000, and in 1999, it bought the Earth's Best brand of organic baby food from the H. J. Heinz Company. In exchange, Heinz took on a 19.5 percent ownership stake in Hain Celestial"

Monday, December 02, 2002

Arguing That Historians Can Be Scientists, Too: THE LANDSCAPE OF HISTORY How Historians Map the Past, By John Lewis Gaddis " the author of several distinguished books on the cold war, both pays homage to Bloch (and with more conditional admiration, to the British historian E. H. Carr) and addresses the challenge of postmodernism. He does all of this in an urbane and eloquent little volume that, in its way, might even be what Bloch himself would have written had he lived."

Gay History Is Still in the Closet: "most gay people know little about Harry Hay. Even fewer know that his comrades, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, who founded the first American lesbian organization, Daughters of Bilitis, are still alive... Gay and lesbian leaders have yet to find a place in the civil rights pantheon. Why are the gay movement's roots so obscured? The reason is the invisibility of gay history. With rare exceptions, schools fail to acknowledge that there even is such a thing. "

Amnesty: Iraq 'torture' dossier was manipulated: "Amnesty International said a dossier released today by the foreign secretary, Jack Straw, listing torture, rapes and other abuses perpetrated by the Baghdad regime, is a "cold and calculated manipulation" of the work of human rights activists. "Let us not forget that these same governments turned a blind eye to Amnesty International's reports of widespread human rights violations in Iraq before the Gulf war," the group's secretary general, Irene Khan, said. "They remained silent when thousands of unarmed Kurdish civilians were killed in Halabja in 1988."
The report contains graphic first-hand accounts by victims of the regime's human rights abuses, as well as intelligence material and evidence from aid charities working in Iraq. It makes clear that the abuses are carried out as a policy of the Iraqi dictator.

India's Poor Starve as Wheat Rots: "More than two decades after a "green" revolution made India, the world's second-most-populous country, self-sufficient in grain production, half of India's children are malnourished. About 350 million Indians go to bed hungry every night... Yet the government is sitting on wheat surpluses -- now at about 53 million metric tons -- that would stretch to the moon and back at least twice if all the bags were lined up."

Black Market for Software Is Sidestepping Export Controls: " illicit copies of the software from Intelligent Light, which in licensed versions typically sells for $12,000, was being sold by Chinese entrepreneurs for $200. The posted advertisement for the wares promised that a "step-by-step install guide and crack file make it easy to install and use!" Which means that anyone with a modem and a little cash can evade the export control rules, even those that apply to prohibited countries."

Seeking a Vision of Truth, Guided by a Higher Power: "I believe creativity is a votive gift, presented arbitrarily by the hand of God, and those who possess it are simply its vessel... I also had to learn that the gift or obsession or neurosis that compelled me to write was one that required a discipline that did not allow exceptions"

Sunday, December 01, 2002

Rights Group Blames Arafat for Not Halting Suicide Attacks: "A report by Human Rights Watch on Palestinian suicide bombings calls the attacks crimes against humanity and criticizes the Palestinian Authority for failing to act effectively to stop them. The 170-page report, to be issued Friday, says Yasir Arafat and the Palestinian Authority bear a "high degree of responsibility" for the attacks and have "contributed to an atmosphere of impunity" that has allowed the bombings to continue."

Reliving World War II With a Captain America of a Different Color: "The Negro press attacked military segregation so mercilessly that Franklin Roosevelt considered shutting down the papers. This version of the war has been marginalized in books and largely omitted from movies. Contemporary ignorance about this period has been painfully evident in the last two weeks, since the Marvel company released the first in a series of comic books that deal head-on with the hard-core segregation that dominated World War II. The series, entitled "Truth: Red, White and Black," has been derisively described as "politically correct" and attacked by people who do not believe that the country ever experienced an era like the one depicted in the comics."

Eating meat 'may still pose CJD risk': "Muscle and flesh of cattle and sheep may harbour deadly levels of prions that cause variant CJD. This stark prospect, raised by the Nobel Prize winner who first discovered that these infective particles can cause brain illnesses, suggests eating meat may still pose a serious health risk. The prospect that a timebomb may still be ticking in our kitchens was raised by Stanley Prusiner, who revealed yesterday that experiments at the University of California in San Francisco had shown that scrapie-infected mice have unexpectedly high concentrations of prions in their muscles. "

Guardian - Fire union chief pledges to topple New Labour: "FBU leader appeared determined to extend the breadth of his attack against the Government beyond the issue of the 16 per cent salary increase, which has been rejected. He said that war against Iraq would be wrong and directly attacked the Chan cellor's decision to provide £1 billion pounds of funding for any future military campaign. 'It's disgraceful to say that for people in this country who are prepared to risk their lives to save others you can't find any extra money, but you can find at least a billion to bomb innocent men, women and children in Iraq,' he told the rally. 'I have no nostalgic romanticism about old Labour but there are real Labour values built on real social progress, on real justice for working class people and indeed for fairness for all.' "

Saturday, November 30, 2002

Union Chief to Return $200,000 From Stock Deal Under Inquiry: (11/1/02) "The president of the carpenters' union, Douglas J. McCarron, President Bush's closest friend in organized labor, has agreed to return more than $200,000 in profits he made in a stock deal that is under federal investigation. On Tuesday, Mr. McCarron informed the Union Labor Life Insurance Company, a labor-owned carrier known as Ullico, that he would pay back the money, which he earned when he sold Ullico shares in what is being investigated for the possibility of insider trading."

Jet Purchase Splits Brazil: New Leader Wants Voice: "feelings are running high over what is perceived here as Pentagon meddling to prevent Embraer, the country's largest exporter, from selling planes to Colombia. Last month, the Colombian Defense Ministry invited Embraer to tender an offer for the purchase of 40 of its Super Tucano light attack aircraft, a $234 million deal. Almost immediately, however, Gen. James T. Hill, head of the United States Southern Command, sent a letter to the Colombian authorities warning that if they went ahead with that plan it might "negatively influence" Congressional approval of future military aid to Colombia. "I recommend the Colombian Air Force spend this money on more pressing requirements, such as modernizing its C-130 fleet," General Hill wrote. The C-130 is of American manufacture"

Ideal Terror Weapons: Portable, Deadly, Plentiful Missiles: "The SA-7 is not as capable as the newer American Stinger, which proved devastating against Soviet aircraft during Moscow's failed occupation of Afghanistan. In fact, the threat of leftover Stingers in Afghanistan was so great that the Central Intelligence Agency offered to pay hefty bounties to anyone who would return one of the missiles during the American-led campaign to topple the Taliban and rout Al Qaeda there."

'Lost Discoveries': The Non-Western Roots of Science: "LOST DISCOVERIES The Ancient Roots of Modern Science -- From the Babylonians to the Maya. By Dick Teresi."

'One World': The Moral and Practical Challenges of Globalization: "Peter Singer's timely and thoughtful book, ''One World: The Ethics of Globalization.'' A professor of bioethics at Princeton University and one of the most provocative philosophers of our time, Singer writes, ''How well we come through the era of globalization (perhaps whether we come through it at all) will depend on how we respond ethically to the idea that we live in one world.'' "

In Harvard Papers, a Dark Corner of the College's Past: 1920: "A group of students were brought before the Court for interrogation about their sex lives. So were some local men who were not students, despite the Court's lack of jurisdiction. Most of the students found "guilty," one a congressman's son, were told to leave not only the college but also the city of Cambridge. Two students convinced the Court that they were heterosexual but were forced to leave anyway because they had associated with some of those identified as gay. The dean also ordered that a letter be added to the student files of all those ousted, which dissuaded the college's Alumni Placement Service from "making any statement that would indicate confidence in these men." Two of those men later committed suicide."

Administration Begins to Rewrite Decades-Old Spying Restrictions: "The Bush administration, in its fight against terrorism, is slowly chipping away at the wall that has existed for nearly three decades between domestic law enforcement and international intelligence gathering in an effort that senior officials said was vital to waging war against Al Qaeda and other terror networks."

New Light on Jogger's Rape Calls Evidence Into Question: "The New York Times has examined the record of the proceedings -- the tapes of the confessions and about 15,000 transcribed pages -- over the last six weeks. "

Supreme Court Could Opt for a Momentous Term affirmative action, gay rights, corporate free speech, free speech vs intimidation.

Mexico's Amber Miners Find Risk, Not Riches: "The difference between suffering and sustenance lies in finding amber. A week's work might produce a quarter-ounce -- for which a miner will be paid as little as $2.50 on top of his regular earnings. A pendant or earrings made from that much amber may sell for $100 or more in the tourist shops of the nearest city, San Cristóbal de las Casas, which lies a hard morning's drive away. The price can double if a piece reaches New York City or Los Angeles. But the miners never see the money from the markup. Fifteen years ago, the miners here tried to form a collective, pooling their money and labor. They accumulated a cache of nearly 900 pounds of amber, and planned to set up their own store. But bandits stole the whole load, and the cooperative collapsed in bitterness."

Debate on War With Iraq Is Entering the Classroom: "Not since the Vietnam War, it seems, have young people been so engaged in America's foreign policy. "

S.E.C. Facing Deeper Trouble: "Bowsher said there were ominous parallels to the problems facing the commission and the difficulties that confronted regulators during the onset of the savings and loan collapses of more than a decade ago, when he led the General Accounting Office. As was the case then, he said, the regulators are sharply underfinanced, face ferocious corporate lobbying interests with friends in Congress who want to weaken the rules, and are often unable to anticipate or prevent major infractions that can wind up costing investors huge sums of money."

The Latest Kissinger Outrage - Why is a proven liar and wanted man in charge of the 9/11 investigation? By Christopher Hitchens

If we cannot find Osama, bomb Iraq. 
If the markets hurt your Mama, bomb Iraq. 
If the terrorists are Saudi 
And the bank takes back your Audi 
And the TV shows are bawdy, 
Bomb Iraq. ....

Wednesday, November 27, 2002

False Confessions and the Jogger Case: "Every minute of interrogation should be videotaped. This simple procedural reform will deter police coercion, deter frivolous defense claims of coercion, and enable trial judges and juries to assess the veracity of taped confessions. The best way to ensure and determine the truth of a confession is to record and see the entire picture."

What Did Poe Know About Cosmology? Nothing. But He Was Right.: "Departing from conventional wisdom of the day, which saw the universe as static and eternal, Poe insisted that it had exploded into being from a single "primordial particle" in "one instantaneous flash." "From the one particle, as a center," he wrote, "let us suppose to be irradiated spherically -- in all directions -- to immeasurable but still to definite distances in the previously vacant space -- a certain inexpressibly great yet limited number of unimaginably yet not infinitely minute atoms.""

Critics Say Government Deleted Web Site Material to Push Abstinence: " Information on condom use, the relation between abortion and breast cancer and ways to reduce sex among teenagers has been removed from government Web sites, prompting critics to accuse the Department of Health and Human Services of censoring medical information in order to promote a philosophy of sexual abstinence."

Ford Motor Is Linked to Argentina's 'Dirty War': "a federal prosecutor here filed a criminal complaint against Ford Argentina this month and ordered an investigation into the company's conduct under the junta that ruled this country. It charges that Ford and its senior executives "managed, participated in or covered up the illegal detention" of Mr. Troiani and nearly two dozen other employees. ...  Over the next year, he says, he was repeatedly beaten, tortured and deprived of sleep and food. The case is an outgrowth of similar charges made against Mercedes-Benz, today a subsidiary of DaimlerChrysler. A total of 16 workers at its plant in a suburb of Buenos Aires were abducted either at home or on the job from 1976 to 1977. All but two are assumed to have been killed. "

Justice Dept. Seeks to Seal Vaccine Papers: "Lawyers for the families said they were outraged by today's move. They said the government was trying to prevent families from obtaining damaging information about the preservative, which could later be used against drug companies in civil courts."

Judging a Mother for a Crime by Someone Else: " Illinois Supreme Court overturned Ms. Pollock's conviction, saying the prosecution's theory -- that she should have known that her boyfriend, Scott English, who is serving a life sentence, was going to murder her child -- has no basis in the law.... Ms. Pollock will go free only because a student plucked her letter from among the 17,000 that the law school clinic at Northwestern University receives every year, and the clinic persuaded the Supreme Court to hear an appeal filed after the deadline had passed. The court reversed the conviction outright rather than order a new trial."

In Iran, a 'second revolution' gathers steam | ""When I remember the promises and pledges of the revolution, I tremble like a willow thinking of my faith," wrote Ayatollah Jaluddin Taheri, a long-venerated cleric who has since been placed under house arrest. Ayatollah Taheri struck at the ruling clerics as corrupt hypocrites and a "gang of shroud-wearers," whose "deviations" were undermining Islamic rule. He accused Khamenei of being propped up by "louts and fascists, who sharpen the teeth of the crocodile of power.""

Monday, November 25, 2002

Amnesty Accuses Israeli Forces of War Crimes: "A new report by Amnesty International contends that Israeli forces committed war crimes in Jenin and Nablus this spring during a large-scale offensive in the West Bank, killing Palestinians unlawfully, blocking medical care, using people as human shields and bulldozing houses with residents inside."

Small investors for social justice? |

Rights Group Says Governor in Afghan West Abuses Power: "Human Rights Watch, in a new report, accuses one of Afghanistan's most powerful regional governors of creating a "virtual ministate" in western Afghanistan where "political intimidation, arrests, beatings and torture" are widespread. The human rights group, in a report to be issued on Tuesday, also contends that the commander, Ismail Khan, who controls the western province of Herat, is reinstituting Taliban-era restrictions on dress for women and is banning Western movies and music.  The group also says the United States and the United Nations are not doing enough to rein in Mr. Khan, who is accused of personally ordering political arrests and beatings, and it accuses the United Nations of turning a blind eye to the violations in the hope of maintaining stability. Mr. Khan, an ethnic Tajik who battled the Taliban, is also accused of overseeing the systematic harassment of ethnic Pashtuns, the country's largest ethnic group and a large source of support for the Taliban."

'Reversible Errors': Presumed Guilty: "''Reversible Errors,'' the latest addition to the Turow oeuvre, may well offer us the richest blend yet. At the center of ''Reversible Errors'' is a confession made by a suspect, Rommy Gandolph, that results in his conviction in a murder case. The plot of the novel moves along on two converging tracks: the events of 1991 leading up to Gandolph's conviction, and the events of 2001 involving his new lawyer's attempt to save him from imminent execution."

Former Hostage Taker Now Likes to Take On the Mullahs: "The three leaders of the embassy takeover -- Mr. Asgharzadeh, Mohsen Mirdamadi and Habibollah Bitaraf -- were university students in Tehran in late October 1979, when they met to plan the operation. Today, Mr. Asgharzadeh, along with his former compatriots, is a changed man. As the secretary general of the Solidarity Party -- which advocates more political and social freedom -- he is a strong supporter of President Mohammad Khatami and is a member of the Tehran municipal council. Mr. Mirdamadi is a member of Parliament and Mr. Bitaraf is President Khatami's minister of power. All three consider themselves political reformers. "

Prison Class: What Ma Barker Knew and Congress Didn't: "prison education programs were radically undermined during the 1990's, when Congress made convicted felons ineligible for Pell grants, the federal tuition aid program aimed primarily at the poor. The government also limited the flow of money to prisons for adult and special education -- a move that turned out to be seriously self-destructive. Researchers have discovered and rediscovered, over and over again, that inmates who attend vocational training or college classes are more likely to stay out of jail once they leave."

Whose Hands Are Dirty?: Bob Herbert "Last week the Senate approved legislation to establish a Department of Homeland Security and it will soon be signed into law by the president. Buried in this massive bill, snuck into it in the dark of night by persons unknown (actually, it's fair to say by Republican persons unknown), was a provision that -- incredibly -- will protect Eli Lilly and a few other big pharmaceutical outfits from lawsuits by parents who believe their children were harmed by thimerosal. Now this has nothing to do with homeland security. Nothing. This is not a provision that will in any way protect us from the ferocious evil of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. So why is it there? Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that the major drug companies have become a gigantic collective cash machine for politicians, and that the vast majority of that cash goes to Republicans. Or maybe it's related to the fact that Mitch Daniels, the White House budget director, is a former Eli Lilly big shot. Or the very convenient fact that just last June President Bush appointed Eli Lilly's chairman, president and C.E.O., Sidney Taurel, to a coveted seat on the president's Homeland Security Advisory Council."

A Pig Returns to the Farm, Thumbing His Snout at Orwell: "An American novelist has written a parody of "Animal Farm," George Orwell's 1945 allegory about the evils of communism, in which the exiled pig, Snowball, returns to the farm and sets up a capitalist state, leading to misery for all the animals. The book, "Snowball's Chance" by John Reed, is being published this month by Roof Books, a small independent press in New York. And the estate of George Orwell is not happy about it. "

Sunday, November 24, 2002

U.S. Is Wooing a Shiite Exile to Rattle Iraq: "An Iranian-backed ayatollah may seem an unlikely ally for the Bush administration. But consider Ayatollah Muhammad Bakir al-Hakim. The ayatollah is an Iraqi Shiite who has been living in Tehran for more than two decades. He is backed by the Iranian government, the one that President Bush has derided as part of an "axis of evil." His father once gave sanctuary to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the fiery anti-American cleric who later rose to power in Iran's 1979 revolution. Still, the United States and the Shiite cleric are in the process of forging a political alliance of convenience"

Nurses' Association Says in Study that Big Hospital Chain Overcharges Patients for Drugs: "Tenet Healthcare, already under scrutiny for receiving unusually high Medicare payments in recent years, apparently charged patients high prices for drugs as well, according to a new analysis by the California Nurses Association to be released tomorrow. In recent years, Tenet-owned hospitals have raised their drug prices to roughly eight times actual costs, the association said. Tenet, one of the nation's largest commercial hospital chains, has come under intense scrutiny for the unusual amount of special Medicare payments it has received in recent years. By raising prices sharply at some of its hospitals, particularly in California, Tenet received hundreds of millions of dollars in special payments. "

Scott Ritter's Iraq Complex - long profile from NY Times magazine

A new charity watchdog rises | Givers may be familiar with two of the groups: the American Institute of Philanthropy ( and the Better Business Bureau's Wise Giving Alliance ( Both have provided information on hundreds of charities for years. Now joining the ratings game: Charity Navigator (, a free, Web-based service that went online April 15 and has rated more than 1,700 charities.

Conservatives Sweep Vote in Austria: "Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel's conservative party made large gains to dominate parliamentary elections on Sunday, according to initial results. But his coalition partner, the anti-immigration party of Joerg Haider, was pounded at the polls, the results released by state television showed. Preliminary results showed Schuessel's People's Party captured over 42 percent, the Interior Ministry said. That's a 16 percentage-point increase over its performance in 1999 elections. Haider's Freedom Party stood at just over 10 percent, down nearly two-thirds from the 27 percent it captured in the last elections. The Social Democrats also gained but appeared to have been outpaced by the People's Party. They were listed at just over 37 percent, more than three percentage points more than in the last elections. The environmentalist Greens stood at around 9 percent, little changed from their results two years ago, the preliminary results showed."

Saturday, November 23, 2002

101 things you can do in Mozilla: that IE cannot

Madison Ave. Plays Growing Role in Drug Research: "The three largest advertising companies -- Omnicom, Interpublic and WPP -- have spent tens of millions of dollars to buy or invest in companies like Scirex that perform clinical trials of experimental drugs. One advertising executive calls it "getting closer to the test tube." Ad agency executives say they do nothing to distort the research process. But critics worry that science is being sacrificed for the sake of promotion.... Dr. Thomas Bodenheimer of the University of California at San Francisco has been critical of drug company involvement in clinical trials."

Egyptian Islamist group faces key leadership question | "With the leadership void left by Mr. Mashhour's death, the Brotherhood, which is known for its social activism as well as a radical brand of Islam, is at a crossroads. Despite a government crackdown over the past few years, the Brotherhood's appeal has grown, in large part due to younger members who are more committed to democracy and human rights in Egypt. If a younger leader gets the nod, it could signal a significant shift in focus, as well as more openness for this organization and possibly for other opposition groups as well."

Islamists escalate fight in N. Iraq | "Al Qaeda-backed 'Soldiers of God' are gaining strength and tying up Kurdish forces, potential US allies in Iraq."

Should churches convert drivers of SUVs? | "Economist Michelle White of University of California at San Diego calculated the effect of SUVs and light trucks on traffic safety. Many people purchase SUVs to make their families safer, but the cost is extremely high, Dr. White said in an interview. "My calculations suggested that for every accident involving a fatality that you avoided by buying a bigger vehicle, you cause 2 1/2 accidents involving fatalities for vehicles that you hit."

The Sons Also Rise: Krugman - "Last week my Princeton colleague Alan Krueger wrote a column for The Times surveying statistical studies that debunk the mythology of American social mobility. "If the United States stands out in comparison with other countries," he wrote, "it is in having a more static distribution of income across generations with fewer opportunities for advancement." And Kevin Phillips, in his book "Wealth and Democracy," shows that robber-baron fortunes have been far more persistent than legend would have it. But the past is only prologue. According to one study cited by Mr. Krueger, the heritability of status has been increasing in recent decades. And that's just the beginning. Underlying economic, social and political trends will give the children of today's wealthy a huge advantage over those who chose the wrong parents."

'Rebel Colonel,' Ecuador Favorite, Adopts Capitalist Look: "Lucio Gutiérrez sounds every bit the button-down capitalist who by nearly every measure appears poised to win the presidency in an election this Sunday. Forget that just three years ago he was a rebellious army colonel who led a revolt that toppled this country's president, drawing comparisons with another former coup plotter, Venezuela's president, Hugo Chávez. Or that, like Mr. Chávez, he burst onto the political stage by railing against market reforms and the corruption of traditional parties. Mr. Gutiérrez, in an interview, was having none of it. He promised to create jobs with economic reforms and foreign investment, pay Ecuador's debt, negotiate a deal with the International Monetary Fund, and allow the American military to continue using its air base here. "

Agency Weighed, but Discarded, Plan Reconfiguring the Internet: "Pentagon research agency that is exploring how to create a vast database of electronic transactions and analyze them for potential terrorist activity considered but rejected another surveillance idea: tagging Internet data with unique personal markers to make anonymous use of some parts of the Internet impossible. The idea, which was explored at a two-day workshop in California in August, touched off an angry private dispute among computer scientists and policy experts who had been brought together to assess the implications of the technology. The plan, known as eDNA,"

From Wolf to Dog, Yes, but When?: "Three studies in today's issue of Science shed light on the questions of when, where and how dogs were first domesticated from wolves. One suggests that a few wolves, perhaps from the same population somewhere in east Asia, are the mothers of almost all dogs alive today. "

Shouting the Pain From Japan's Germ Attacks: "she vowed... to shake Japan, China and the United States out of the great Pacific amnesia about biological warfare. Ms. Wang assembled 180 Chinese victims and sued Japan, charging that its forces had spread bubonic plague and other diseases in China during World War II. The group claimed that 300,000 people were killed by germ warfare, though there are no official tallies. After five years in court, the plaintiffs scored a partial victory in late August when Judge Kohi Iwata of Tokyo District Court ruled that Japan's infamous Unit 731 "used bacteriological weapons under the order of the imperial Japanese Army's headquarters." The judge rejected compensation, however, saying the plaintiffs had no right to demand money from Japan under international law. "

Changing of Republican Budget Guard Could Create Waves: "The question being asked throughout the Capitol and in the institutes that track budget and tax matters is whether the officials who replace Ms. Paull, Mr. Crippen and Mr. Hoagland -- none have been named yet -- will mainly be honest evaluators of tax and budget policy or primarily facilitators of the Republican political agenda. The three who are leaving were squarely in the camp of honest brokers. Year after year, they spoke their minds and resisted all efforts to alter their designs to fit the latest Republican fashions. For example, Republican leaders were furious this year when Mr. Crippen said publicly that the federal budget would still show a surplus if not for the president's $1.35 trillion tax cut."

Turks, Fearing Flow of Refugees, Plan Move Into Iraq: "Turkish officials are preparing to send troops up to 60 miles into northern Iraq on what they say is a mission to prevent an influx of refugees in the event that a war there sets off a mass movement toward Turkey's borders. The plan, which is being circulated among top government officials, is giving rise to fears that it could be used as a cover for the Turkish military to snuff out any attempt by Iraqi Kurds to set up their own state if President Saddam Hussein falls from power."

E.P.A. Says It Will Change Rules Governing Industrial Pollution: "Bush administration today announced the most sweeping move in a decade to loosen industrial air pollution rules. The administration said the changes would encourage plant improvements that would clean the air. But critics denounced the changes as a retreat from tougher rules now in place that require factories to make costly investments in pollution control equipment when they modernize."

South American Trading Bloc Frees Movement of Its People: " In an important step toward regional integration, the six member nations of the South American common market have approved a plan that will allow their 250 million people to live and work in any other member country and be granted the same rights as the citizens of those nations... Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay were the founders and are full members of the common market, known as Mercosur, which with a combined gross product of more than $1 trillion is the world's third-largest trade group. Bolivia and Chile joined later and are associate members."

As Andean Glaciers Shrink, Water Worries Grow: "In a phenomenon scientists here and abroad call a calamity in the making, the glaciers of the central Andes are vanishing because of global warming driven at least in part by pollution. Their disappearance, scientists now say, is nearly unavoidable and could lead to water shortages in places like Bolivia and Peru that depend on glaciers and the rain and snow that fall on the mountains for water for drinking, irrigating fields and generating electricity... Scientists say that without the glaciers the region's natural water cycle will be disrupted. Glaciers release water in dry seasons and collect it in rainy ones. "It's a natural dam," said Lonnie Thompson, a research scientist at the Byrd Center who has studied Andean glaciers closely. "Some people refer to these glaciers as the world's water towers, and once they're dry, you lose that water."

Why U.S. Oil Companies and Russian Resources Don't Mix: " Bush administration is pushing American oil companies to invest in Russia, and President Vladimir V. Putin has thrown his weight behind tax and regulatory changes to draw foreign investment. The only problem is that American oil companies are not buying. After years of grappling with stubborn bureaucracies and hostile local oil companies, Western executives doubt that even Mr. Putin can make investing in Russia much easier. The Russian industry, led by companies like Yukos and Sibneft, has turned itself around and is now battling to keep foreigners off its turf. The two sides are mired in a standoff that most executives and analysts say will drag on for years. "

The New York Review of Books: Brazil: Lula's Prospects: "For a country of its size and importance, Brazil has little support in the US Congress. Nor do the US press and television take much interest in it. News from Brazil is mainly about samba, sex, and soccer, and economic reporting is confined to the financial pages. It is time Washington realized that loose talk in the Treasury, hysteria on Wall Street, and foolish fears about a new axis of evil can hurt US interests. Brazil's election must be seen against the backdrop of the Argentine crisis, the imminent possibility of a bloody coup in Venezuela, and the escalating conflict in Colombia. If Brazil fails, as it could, this will have major implications not only for the international financial system but for the prospects of democracy in the region. How ironic that while the United States is now talking about how to "build" a democracy after a war in Iraq, it risks, by inattention and misplaced priorities, aggravating the problems that could undermine the largest and most successful democracy in what it likes to think of as its own "neighborhood.""

Shooting Magda, by Joshua Sobol: "Shooting Magda tells the story of Samira (Robin Kacyn), a young Palestinian woman who has fallen in love with an Israeli law student and whose life is now being captured by an Israeli film crew. Benesh (Brad Schwartz), the film's director, has helped Samira draft a semi-autobiographical script but, as budget issues force a marathon, 24-hour shoot, differences of vision -- both personal and national -- begin to arise. "

Thursday, November 21, 2002

States of Pain: "Watching the fiscal crises gripping cities and states across the U.S. is like watching a chain-reaction auto wreck in slow motion. I don't think the general public has a good sense yet of the pain that will result from the carnage. California residents learned last week that their state, already laboring under a huge budget gap in the current fiscal year, will face a potentially catastrophic shortfall next year -- $21 billion, which is far higher than almost anyone expected. In New York, state officials will have to close an estimated $10 billion gap next year."

How War Left the Law Behind: "How can the council's decision bind Iraq but not the United States?...  Absent Security Council approval, the United Nations Charter prohibits the use of force except for self-defense. NATO, which led the Kosovo war, never seriously claimed a defensive rationale, and the United States has yet to advance such a justification concerning Iraq. Given the contradiction between the mandate of the Charter and the prevailing American view on Iraq and Kosovo, what has happened to the law? It is hard to avoid the conclusion that the Charter provisions governing use of force are simply no longer regarded as binding international law.... since 1945, dozens of member states have engaged in well over 100 interstate conflicts that have killed millions of people. This record of violation is legally significant. The international legal system is voluntary and states are bound only by rules to which they consent. A treaty can lose its binding effect if a sufficient number of parties engage in conduct that is at odds with the constraints of the treaty. The consent of United Nations member states to the general prohibition against the use of force, as expressed in the Charter, has in this way been supplanted by a changed intent as expressed in deeds. The United States is therefore correct: it would not be unlawful to attack Iraq, even without Security Council approval. It seems the Charter has, tragically, gone the way of the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact which purported to outlaw war and was signed by every major belligerent in World War II. "

Wednesday, November 20, 2002


Proud, patriotic & green | "In ads, articles, and websites, environmentalists have pulled a page from President Bush's patriotic playbook, selling their cause of energy conservation against a backdrop of national security."

Security act to pervade daily lives |

How will the new homeland security bill affect you? | "Warren Richey, staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor, talked with about how new homeland security legislation affects America's balance between security and freedom. "

Where Republicans invaded Democratic turf | "GOP expanded its support among white men and rural voters. More striking, the party also made inroads into traditionally Democratic constituencies such as women and union members, Catholics and Hispanics. "

US forms Iraqi opposition army | "Critics say the new army is designed to provide a power base for the INC leader, Ahmed Chalabi, who has the ear of Congress, the Pentagon and Vice President Dick Cheney's office, but has little support in Iraq and is dismissed by some State Department and CIA officials as a self-promoting solo act."

TidBITS: The Evil That Is the DMCA: "Much has been written about what's wrong with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). After all, it's been used to jail programmers, threaten professors, and censor publications, and because of it, foreign scientists have avoided traveling to the U.S. and prominent researchers have withheld their work. In a white paper about the unintended consequences of the DMCA, the Electronic Frontier Foundation argues that the DMCA chills free expression and scientific research, jeopardizes fair use, and impedes competition and innovation. In short, this is a law that only the companies who paid for it could love."

Nuns Bring Hope to Mississippi Delta Towns: "In the 1980's, a half dozen orders of Catholic nuns looked around the country to see where they could be most helpful, and they began sending members into the Delta, with the support of the Diocese of Jackson, Miss. Since then, several hundred nuns have settled in communities like Tutwiler, Tunica, Marks, Rosedale and Jonestown -- places that whites had deserted with the desegregation of schools. With little fanfare and no government help to speak of, these sisters help reinforce the town's crowded and underfinanced public schools. They are also nurses, doctors, counselors and community organizers. They build medical clinics, nonsectarian preschools for the youngest children and houses with Habitat for Humanity volunteers. They provide the towns' only refuges for many children to do homework or make decorations for Halloween. They organize programs for teenage girls as alternatives to becoming pregnant. "

Senate Votes, 90-9, to Set Up Homeland Security Department Geared to Fight Terrorism: "Eight Democrats voted against the bill: Senators Daniel K. Akaka of Alaska, Robert C. Byrd of West Virginia, Russell D. Feingold of Wisconsin, Ernest F. Hollings of South Carolina, Daniel K. Inouye of Hawaii, Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, Carl Levin of Michigan and Paul S. Sarbanes of Maryland. Senator James M. Jeffords, Independent of Vermont, also voted against it, and Senator Frank H. Murkowski of Alaska was not present."

HU'S ON FIRST By James Sherman
Playwright Jim Sherman wrote this today after Hu Jintao was named chief of the Communist Party in China.
(We take you now to the Oval Office.)
George: Condi! Nice to see you. What's happening?
Condi: Sir, I have the report here about the new leader of China.
George: Great. Lay it on me.
Condi: Hu is the new leader of China.
George: That's what I want to know.
Condi: That's what I¹m telling you.
George: That's what I¹m asking you. Who is the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes.
George: I mean the fellow's name.
Condi: Hu.
George: The guy in China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The new leader of China.
Condi: Hu.
George: The Chinaman!
Condi: Hu is leading China.
George: Now whaddya' asking me for?
Condi: I'm telling you Hu is leading China.
George: Well, I'm asking you. Who is leading China?
Condi: That's the man's name.
George: That's who's name?
Condi: Yes.
George: Will you or will you not tell me the name of the new leader of China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir? Yassir Arafat is in China? I thought he was in the Middle East.
Condi: That's correct.
George: Then who is in China?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir is in China?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Then who is?
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Yassir?
Condi: No, sir.
George: Look, Condi. I need to know the name of the new leader of China. Get me the Secretary General of the U.N. on the phone.
Condi: Kofi?
George: No, thanks.
Condi: You want Kofi?
George: No.
Condi: You don't want Kofi.
George: No. But now that you mention it, I could use a glass of milk. And then get me the U.N.
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: Not Yassir! The guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi?
George: Milk! Will you please make the call?
Condi: And call who?
George: Who is the guy at the U.N?
Condi: Hu is the guy in China.
George: Will you stay out of China?!
Condi: Yes, sir.
George: And stay out of the Middle East! Just get me the guy at the U.N.
Condi: Kofi.
George: All right! With cream and two sugars. Now get on the phone.
(Condi picks up the phone.) Condi: Rice, here.
George: Rice? Good idea. And a couple of egg rolls, too. Maybe we should send some to the guy in China. And the Middle East. Can you get Chinese food in the Middle East?

Byrd, at 85, Fills the Forum With Romans and Wrath: ""That Department of Homeland Security will not add one whit of security in the near future to the American people," he said. "In the meantime, the terrorists are going to be very busy. I'm concerned that in our drive to focus on the war in Iraq and the Department of Homeland Security, we're going to be taking our eyes off what the terrorists may do to us." Mr. Byrd advocated slowly creating the department, with Congress overseeing the process, and he pulled out the ever-present copy of the Constitution from his breast pocket to make his point. "We're being recreant in turning over to this president the power shift that is included in that bill," he said.... Mr. Byrd, who will celebrate his 50th anniversary in Congress in January, said he had no illusions that his oratory was going to change the outcome of the final vote. So why was he on the floor day after day? What was he accomplishing? "To me, that question misses the point, with all due respect to you for asking it," he said. "To me, the matter is there for a thousand years in the record. I stood for the Constitution. I stood for the institution. If it isn't heard today, there'll be some future member who will come through and will comb these tomes."

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

Victors and Spoils: Krugman - "The federal civil service, with its careful protection of workers from political pressure, was created specifically to bring the spoils system to an end; but now the administration has found a way around those constraints. We don't have to speculate about what will follow, because Jeb Bush has already blazed the trail. Florida's governor has been an aggressive privatizer, and as The Miami Herald put it after a careful study of state records, "his bold experiment has been a success -- at least for him and the Republican Party, records show. The policy has spawned a network of contractors who have given him, other Republican politicians and the Florida G.O.P. millions of dollars in campaign donations." What's interesting about this network of contractors isn't just the way that big contributions are linked to big contracts; it's the end of the traditional practice in which businesses hedge their bets by giving to both parties. The big winners in Mr. Bush's Florida are companies that give little or nothing to Democrats... It's as if firms seeking business with the state of Florida are subject to a loyalty test. "

Celestial Light Show Tonight as Earth Clips Comet's Wake: "Temple-Tuttle orbits the Sun every 33 years, and during its closest approach the heat of the Sun causes some of the comet's ice to bubble off, taking some dusty debris with it. This year, which some experts believe may feature the most intense meteor storm until the end of the 21st century, the early peak will be caused by a dust stream from Temple-Tuttle's approach in 1767. The late peak involves a cloud from 1866. A later cloud generally has had less time to spread, so it has a higher concentration of dust particles, which should make for more meteors. Earth will also hit this stream more head-on than the 1767 one. These factors mean that the later peak should have more activity than the earlier. Estimates of the rate of meteors during the late peak are as high as 5,000 per hour, although Mr. Kronk notes that, because the moon will be nearly full, a peak of about 3,000 is more likely."

[Between 4:25 and 4:52 a.m. (just after the "late peak"), we counted 100 meteors, from the playing field at Jackson Park Elementary School, University City, Missouri, with a light haze and nearby street lights interfering. (Stars in Leo visible to about 4.5 magnitude.) Magnificent!]

Monday, November 18, 2002

Hu Jintao: Mystery Man at the Helm: " Low-profile even by the hermetic standards of China's one-party system, Hu Jintao today took over the most important political position in the world's most populous nation by appealing to the one constituency that counts: elite party insiders. A merchant's son, Mr. Hu survived a decade-long leadership trial by persuading elders that he was the perfect party mandarin, pragmatic and flexible, yet discreet and fiercely loyal. "

Iraqi army is tougher than US believes "Baghdad will be key. It is within this sprawling city of five million that US troops will have to hunt down the Iraqi dictator and his close associates. With this in mind, all troops and security services loyal to the government will in the last instance be massed in and around the capital.
Caught between a potentially hostile Iraqi population bent on revenge and an invading army committed to regime change, those fighting alongside President Saddam will have little choice but to remain loyal to the end. The result could be the worst-case scenario for US military planners: an organised, committed and disciplined force with nowhere to go, defending a highly populated urban area. In front of the world's media, US troops would have the unenviable task of distinguishing these forces from the wider, innocent, civilian population. "

Gay Army Linguists: "Editor: In "Gay Army Linguists Say They Were Ousted", you report that "nine Army linguists, including six trained in Arabic, have been dismissed from the military because they are gay, even as the military faces a critical shortage of translators and interpreters for the war on terrorism." While we down under debate Australian support for any United States-led war on terror, I would be ever so grateful if an American politician would explain why the Taliban's persecution of women is considered barbaric, yet persecution of gay military personnel by your government is deemed quite acceptable. MIKE LECLERC Sydney, Australia, "

After Conviction of Boy, Prosecutor Switches Sides: " It was not simply a change of heart. As a South Florida prosecutor, Marc Shiner had always considered himself liberal and right thinking, he said. Just a man doing his job. But then he won a murder case against Nathaniel Brazill, who shot his favorite teacher when he was 13. That is when Mr. Shiner decided he had had enough. Now he is preparing to handle a case in which a 16-year-old girl stands accused of murdering her newborn daughter. This time, however, Mr. Shiner is on the other side of the courtroom. He is a defense lawyer now, representing the girl, and making the broader point that children should not be tried as adults"

British Star Speaks Up for 'Quiet American': "Greene's story, about a middle-aged British correspondent in Saigon who loses his very much younger Vietnamese girlfriend to a seemingly naïve American aid worker (played by Brendan Fraser), casts a harsh light on well-intentioned United States meddling in Indochina that led to bloodshed and war. So the days after Sept. 11, when the United States and the world were rallying around the American flag, seemed an inopportune time to release such a film. Why the film was still being delayed a year later puzzled Sir Michael [Caine].... The Quiet American" premiered at Toronto in September and not only drew a standing ovation but also spawned a series of glowing reviews about Sir Michael's performance that overnight made him among the front-runners for an Academy Award nomination. "

Sunday, November 17, 2002

China has new chief, but power may lie elsewhere | "Hu Jintao took party helm this weekend. But Zeng Qinghong may be the man to watch."

Thursday, November 14, 2002

In the middle of 12th century | ""Baudolino" is a richly rewarding novel, as satisfying as it is stimulating. War and peace, belief and skepticism, false dreams and true, the pleasures of storytelling, and the mysteries of love: Eco handles these themes with an exhilarating blend of profundity and lightness. Long though it is, this a novel that keeps getting better, gathering irresistible force as it sweeps toward its brilliantly inevitable conclusion."

Guardian - Interview with Michael Moore he says, the money is about more than status. He leans close. "Back home we call it fuck-you money. OK? What that means is, the distributor of the film can't ever say to me, 'Don't you dare say this in the interview or you better change that in the movie because if you don't, you're not going to get another movie deal.' Because I already have my home and my family taken care of, and enough money from this film and book to make the next film, I'm able to say, 'Fuck you.' No one in authority can hold money over me to get me to conform."

You Are a Suspect: Wm Safire -  "If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage, here is what will happen to you: Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend -- all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database." To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you... This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It is what will happen to your personal freedom in the next few weeks if John Poindexter gets the unprecedented power he seeks. "

Saddam Hussein's Delusion: "As early as 1969, Saddam Hussein spoke of his determination to strengthen Iraq's uruba (Arabness). This was no easy task. Although all the people of Iraq do feel that they are Iraqis, not all regard themselves as Arabs. Historically, only part of the 7,000-year biography of the land that is Iraq could be described as Arab. The rest is covered by Sumerian, Assyrian, Akkadian, Babylonian, Elamite, Urartan, Persian, Byzantine, Mongol, Mamluk and Ottoman periods, among others. Iraqi architecture, music, cuisine and daily rituals reflect this rich diversity. The word Iraq is Persian, meaning lowlands, as is Baghdad, which means God-given. The names of Iraq's two great rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris, are Greek. Iraq is also the home of 11 living languages,"

Study Says a Protein May Be Better Than Cholesterol in Predicting Heart Disease Risk: "inexpensive blood test for a protein linked to artery disease may be better than a cholesterol test at predicting a person's risk for a heart attack or stroke, researchers are reporting today. The test, for the substance, C-reactive protein, may help identify people who have an increased risk even though they do not have high cholesterol. About half of the people with heart disease have normal cholesterol levels"

The Kind of Noise That Keeps a Body on Balance: "In a series of experiments, healthy 75-year-olds stood on a platform that transmitted randomly varying vibrations to the soles of their feet. With these good vibrations, the subjects reflexively adjusted their balance until they swayed about the same amount as 25-year-olds who did not receive the random signals. Younger people who used the vibrating system also swayed less. James J. Collins, a professor of biomedical engineering who led the research group, attributed the improvement to stochastic resonance, a well-known phenomenon in which random noise enhances the detection of weak signals. In this case the noise made the nerves in the feet more sensitive and better able to detect the kinds of pressure changes that occur when the body goes slightly out of balance and puts more pressure on one part of the foot."

Update on 'Arming America' - The Nation: "Michael Bellesiles, the historian accused of research falsification in his book Arming America, a study of gun culture, announced on October 25 that he was resigning from Emory University, citing a "hostile environment" [see Jon Wiener, "Fire at Will," November 4]. His resignation, effective at the end of the year, came the very afternoon that Emory released the report of a three-person external board that had been asked to review some of the charges.... if Bellesiles is right in his reply, then those distinguished historians are guilty of some of the same sins they accuse him of committing: suppressing inconvenient evidence, spinning the data their way, refusing to follow leads that didn't serve their thesis.  "

Wednesday, November 13, 2002

Silver swindle?: "hallmarked Sterling silver jewellery (925 fineness) being hawked at major US retail outlets and even prominent jewellers is probably little better than stainless steel...  nearly everything clung to his magnet for dear life. Sterling silver doesn't do that."

The Chronicle: 8/2/2002: Copyright as Cudgel: "When Congress brought copyright law into the digital era, in 1998, some in academe were initially heartened by what they saw as compromises that, they hoped, would protect fair use for digital materials. Unfortunately, they were wrong. Recent actions by Congress and the federal courts -- and many more all-too-common acts of cowardice by publishers, colleges, developers of search engines, and other concerned parties -- have demonstrated that fair use, while not quite dead, is dying. And everyone who reads, writes, sings, does research, or teaches should be up in arms. The real question is why so few people are complaining."

Erik H. Thoreson | Bush Liberates Europe!: "Bush intends "to extend the benefits of liberty and prosperity through the spread of American values and tangible rewards for good governance." Discussion and speculation abound. What will the new Americanized Europe look like?...
After more than half a century of high-quality, universal and equal healthcare treatment for all, Norwegians will adopt the more elegant pay-as-you-go American system. The best medicine will be reserved for those who can afford it. Those who can't will either join a limited service, for-profit HMO or simply go without healthcare. After all, who said healthcare was a right? It is a privilege for those who have earned the right to pay for it....
To improve their safety and allow them to defend their personal property, Europeans will be encouraged to own and carry handguns, assault rifles and any other weapons they want. There is little doubt Europe will be the "safer" place promised by Bush once capital punishment returns"

Ashcroft's Narco-Terror War: "Announcing the arrest last Wednesday of suspects in two drugs-for-weapons deals, Attorney General John Ashcroft declared, "The war on terrorism has been joined with the war on illegal drug use." One could almost hear him lick his lips, savoring the thought of it....
The drug war and the war on terrorism do resemble each other in important ways, although not those that Ashcroft emphasizes. Both efforts are open-ended, or maybe never-ending. Both lend themselves to broad extensions of government power, and thus, if not carefully controlled, both can lead to violations of fundamental rights. But in trying to combat terrorism the government has at least chosen a worthwhile opponent.
The drug war is not just a conspicuously unsuccessful war, it is a misguided one. Reviving it under the guise of fighting terrorism--and possibly making it more war-like in the process--will only make matters worse."

The Noah's Ark of the Web, 7,000 Characters at a Time: "a new set of fonts being developed by six publishers of scientific, technical and medical journals promises to contain every character - more than 7,000 in all - that might be needed in a technical article published in any scientific discipline. When complete, sometime next fall, the fonts will be shared freely with publishers, software manufacturers and scholars, under the condition that they not be altered. "This work is a breakthrough for publishers and scientists," said Tim Ingoldsby, director of business development at the American Institute of Physics, one of the publishers working on the project, called the Scientific and Technical Information Exchange, or STIX ( "

Greeting card virus licensed to spread - The FriendGreetings electronic greeting card has all the hallmarks of a mass-mailing computer virus. The e-mail misleads a victim into downloading an application--ostensibly to view a Web card--and then sends itself to every e-mail address in the victim's Outlook contacts file. At least a few systems administrators have complained in Usenet postings that the mass-mailing e-card was to blame for swamping their network.
Yet the creators--Permissioned Media, a company apparently based in Panama--will be hard to prosecute: The viral card is protected by a license agreement that tricks unsuspecting users into clicking "Yes" and consenting to have the program send itself to all their e-mail contacts. "They are deliberately trying to hide something in a wrapping that they know people won't read," said Vincent Gullotto, vice president of security company Network Associates' antivirus emergency response team.

Hit by a terrorist, kibbutz still shares a well with Arabs | ""As it stands, a grave injustice is being done to our neighbors," said Doron Lieber, the economic coordinator of the kibbutz, the only Israeli community to argue for rerouting the fence. According to current plans, Kafin would lose two square miles - 60 percent of its farmland. Mr. Lieber says this will not only be bad for the Palestinians, but bad for the kibbutz, fueling enormous resentment throughout the area.
"The moment those beautiful trees are cruelly uprooted, our island of tranquility is turned into any other place in Israel," he says. This kibbutz prides itself on a half century of good relations with neighboring Arab Israeli villages. So the irony that it was targeted by a militia linked to Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement was not lost on anyone, including Palestinian leaders.
But on Monday and Tuesday, it seemed to be precisely that history, as well as the kibbutz's humanistic ideology that were coloring the initial responses to the attack. "I feel like someone who has been slapped in the face," said Lieber. "My hand was stretched out in peace. But a slap in the face is only temporary. It rings in your ears a bit, but when the ringing stops you go on."

Inquiries on Gun and Ousters Focus on Health Dept. Official: " Federal officials said today that they were investigating whether the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services had kept a gun in her office without authorization and whether she violated personnel rules by ousting career employees.... Mr. Grassley said Ms. Rehnquist's dismissal, demotion or reassignment of 19 senior executives could "hinder the performance of an office that has a stellar reputation for fighting fraud, waste and abuse in federal health care programs." The federal government spends more than $400 billion a year on the largest of those programs, Medicare and Medicaid, which provide health insurance for 70 million people who are elderly, disabled or poor.... Ms. Rehnquist, a former assistant United States attorney who is the daughter of Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist, refused to discuss the accusations. "

2002 Election Results

Bill Moyers on Election 2002: "it is a heady time in Washington -- a heady time for piety, profits, and military power, all joined at the hip by ideology and money. "

Government Outlines Plan for Research on Warming: "Bush administration, saying there are still many uncertainties about threats posed by human-caused climate change, has outlined a broad, years-long research agenda on global warming. Among many other goals, the draft plan calls for new work to be completed in the next four years to clarify how much of the warming since 1950 has been caused by human actions like emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide or soot; to explain differing temperature trends in the upper and lower atmosphere; and to improve computer models that simulate climate and monitoring systems for tracking the real thing. Advertisement The proposal was lauded yesterday by industry officials and some scientists who have long questioned the mainstream view that global warming is mainly caused by people and poses big risks....Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, a professor of geosciences at Princeton who has long advocated acting promptly to reduce emissions, said: "The plan veers off into emphasizing what we don't know at the expense of a thorough description of what we do know. If you strip away the rhetoric, there's a valuable agenda of research here to pursue. The danger is that while they're continuing to do the research, the window of opportunity to avoid dangerous global warming is closing." "

Iraq war could recast US-Iran ties: "The leader of Iraq's most powerful armed Islamic opposition group is moving closer to backing American plans for toppling Saddam Hussein. The support of Ayatollah Mohammad Bakr al-Hakkim, whose Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) adheres to the same Shiite branch of Islam as most Iraqis, would be a welcome ingredient in US plans."

"There is, of course, no guarantee of success. But politics is not about observations or predictions. Politics is what we create by what we do, what we hope for, and what we dare to imagine."- Paul Wellstone

Minnesota's shame - Republicans don't like my criticism? Too bad.
They have to answer for Norm Coleman's campaign, which exploited 9/11 in a way that was truly evil.
By Garrison Keillor
(creator and host of the nationally syndicated radio show "A Prairie Home Companion," broadcast on more than 500 public radio stations nationwide.)
From, Nov. 13, 2002

The hoots and cackles of Republicans reacting to my screed against Norman Coleman, the ex-radical, former Democratic, now compassionate conservative senator-elect from Minnesota, was all to be expected, given the state of the Republican Party today. Its entire ideology, top to bottom, is We-are-not-Democrats, We-are-the-unClinton, and if it can elect an empty suit like Coleman, on a campaign as cheap and cynical and unpatriotic as what he waged right up to the moment Paul Wellstone's plane hit the ground, then Republicans are perfectly content. They are Republicans first and Americans second.

The old GOP of fiscal responsibility and principled conservatism and bedrock Main Street values is gone, my dear, and something cynical has taken its place. Thus the use of Iraq as an election ploy, openly, brazenly, from the president and Karl Rove all the way down to Norman Coleman, who came within an inch of accusing Wellstone of being an agent of al-Qaida. To do that one day and then, two days later, to feign grief and claim the dead Wellstone's mantle and carry on his "passion and commitment" is simply too much for a decent person to stomach. It goes beyond the ordinary roughhouse of politics. To accept it and grin and shake the son of a bitch's hand is to ignore what cannot be ignored if you want your grandchildren to grow up in a country like the one that nurtured and inspired you. I would rather go down to defeat with the Democrats I know than go oiling around with opportunists of Coleman's stripe, and you can take that to the bank.

I've run into plenty of Coleman supporters since the election and they see me and smirk and turn away and that's par for the course. I know those people. To my own shame, I know them. I'm ashamed of Minnesota for electing this cheap fraud, and I'm ashamed of myself for sitting on my hands, tending to my hoop-stitching, confident that Wellstone would win and that Coleman would wind up with an undersecretaryship in the Commerce Department. Instead, he will sit in the highest council in the land, and move in powerful circles, and enjoy the perks of his office, which includes all the sycophancy and bootlicking a person could ever hope for. So he can do with one old St. Paulite standing up and saying, "Shame. Repent. The End is Near."

The Republican exploitation of 9/11 for political gain is the sort of foulness that turns young people against the whole business, and for good reason. All sorts of people went down in the World Trade Center, execs and secretaries and bond traders and also the dishwashers in Windows on the World and secretaries and cleaning ladies. Think of all those portraits of the victims that ran daily week after week in the Times that we read, read tearfully, saw ourselves in those lives, and the wave of patriotic tenderness that followed was genuine and included us all. For a cynic like Norman Coleman to hitch his trailer to that tragedy is evil -- call it by the right name. To exploit 9/11 and the deaths of those innocent people on that beautiful day in Manhattan -- to appropriate that day and infer so clearly that there is a Republican and a Democratic side to it, is offensive to our national memory and obscenely evil, and it was rewarded by the voters of Minnesota.

Ordinarily, there should be a period of good feeling after an election, of relief, or relaxation, when we join hands and become one people again, but Norman Coleman doesn't deserve any Democrat's hand. We had come together as one people already -- the precious gift of 9/11 -- and he used that as a campaign ploy against us, suggesting that Democrats are unpatriotic, and he is not to be forgiven for it. I personally don't believe he had anything to do with the crash of Paul's plane. Plenty of people suspect he did. I don't. But I do think he is a cynical politician who should make himself scarce for the next few years until people start to forget his campaign.

Lord, America does love a winner. When you're riding high, people can't do enough for you, and when you fall down low, they don't want to be around to see. I know something about that -- every performer does -- and you quickly recognize your false friends, the people who clutch your hand and grab your elbow and give you a gigantic smile and tell you how much they love your work but they get the name of the show wrong, or the day of the week, or they mispronounce your name, and you see them clear for the phonies they are. Norman Coleman is that very person, the false knight upon the road, and he always has been and always will be. Paul Wellstone was a real person who led an authentic life. The contrast couldn't be clearer.

All you had to do was look at Coleman's face, that weird smile, the pleading eyes, the anger in the forehead. Or see how poorly his L.A. wife played the part of Mrs. Coleman, posing for pictures with him, standing apart, stiff, angry. Or listen to his artful dodging on the stump, his mastery of that old Republican dance, of employing some Everyguy gestures in the drive to make the world safe for the privileged. What a contrivance this guy is.

Paul Wellstone identified passionately with people at the bottom, people in trouble, people in the rough. He was an old-fashioned Democrat who felt more at home with the rank and file than with the rich and famous. (Bill Clinton, examine your conscience.) He loved stories and of course people on the edge tend to have better stories than the rich, whose stories are mostly about décor and amenities.

Paul walked the walk. He was a wonder. Everyone who ever met him knew that he lived a whole life and that he and Sheila were crazy about each other. To be in love with one person for 38 years is nothing you can fake: Even the casual passerby can see it. To die at 58, having lived so well and so truthfully, is enviable, compared to the longevity of a man who invents his own life in order to achieve the desired effect and advance himself. To gain the whole world and lose your own soul is not a course that Scripture recommends. You can do it so long as God doesn't notice, but God has a way of returning and straightening these things out. Sinner beware.

(In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, this material is posted without profit for educational purposes.)

Tuesday, November 12, 2002

G.O.P. Victory Sets Stage for Pro-Business Agenda: "Waking to a new power configuration in Washington yesterday, business leaders began to revise their wish lists for action on contentious issues like taxes, health care costs, personal-injury lawsuits and the ability of government employees to strike" - Maintain CIA's independence: by James Bamford "As the White House searches for every possible excuse to go to war with Iraq, pressure has been building on the intelligence agencies to deliberately slant estimates to fit a political agenda. In this case, the agencies are being pressed to find a casus belli for war, whether or not one exists. "Basically, cooked information is working its way into high-level pronouncements, and there's a lot of unhappiness about it in intelligence, especially among analysts at the CIA," Vince Cannistraro, the agency's former head of counterterrorism, told The Guardian, a London newspaper."

Chokehold on Knowledge: LA Times Editorial - "The Bush administration's plan to strip the Government Printing Office's authority is a threat to democracy. Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels wants to transfer control of information management from the printing office to individual Cabinet agencies. That would spell the end of the current system, in place since the Jeffersonian era, which requires executive branch agencies to send their documents and reports to neutral librarians, who then make them available to the public both online and in 1,300 public reading rooms nationwide. Daniels would replace that system with a more secretive one in which individual agencies would manage -- and possibly sanitize -- their own electronic databases. "

William Rivers Pitt | The Desert of the Real: "One way or another, we must deal with the conservative freight train of legislation that is ramrodding towards us. A brief look at who will be taking control of the congressional agenda in January proves to be revealing..... "

Pentagon Plans a Computer System That Would Peek at Personal Data of Americans: "The Pentagon is constructing a computer system that could create a vast electronic dragnet, searching for personal information as part of the hunt for terrorists around the globe -- including the United States. As the director of the effort, Vice Adm. John M. Poindexter, has described the system in Pentagon documents and in speeches, it will provide intelligence analysts and law enforcement officials with instant access to information from Internet mail and calling records to credit card and banking transactions and travel documents, without a search warrant. Advertisement Historically, military and intelligence agencies have not been permitted to spy on Americans without extraordinary legal authorization. But Admiral Poindexter, the former national security adviser in the Reagan administration, has argued that the government needs broad new powers to process, store and mine billions of minute details of electronic life in the United States.... Before taking the position at the Pentagon, Admiral Poindexter, who was convicted in 1990 for his role in the Iran-contra affair, had worked as a contractor on one of the projects he now controls. Admiral Poindexter's conviction was reversed in 1991 by a federal appeals court because he had been granted immunity for his testimony before Congress about the case."

Monday, November 11, 2002

British Judges Criticize U.S. on the Prisoners Held at Guantánamo: "A panel of three senior British judges used extraordinary language in a ruling this week to criticize the United States' detention of prisoners from Afghanistan at Camp X-ray in Guantánamo Bay in Cuba. The three judges, ruling in a case involving a British subject held at Guantánamo, said detention of prisoners at the United States naval base there appeared to be a violation of both international law and the concept of habeas corpus developed centuries ago in England. Although the judges said the holding of prisoners at Guantánamo with no recourse to a court created an unacceptable "legal black hole," they acknowledged that they could do little about it. But it appeared evident that the judges were intent on sending a message to an appeals court in the United States that is considering the same issue."

Report Criticizes Colombia on Militias: "new report by Human Rights Watch asserts that Colombia's attorney general has undermined investigations of right-wing paramilitary groups by firing or transferring prosecutors, particularly those working on cases in which military officers were believed to have assisted the groups in mass killings or assassinations."

The Not-So-Crackpot Autism Theory: "Halsey attended a meeting to discuss thimerosal, a mercury-containing preservative that at the time was being used in several vaccines -- including the hepatitis B shot that Halsey had fought so hard to have administered to American babies. By the time the dust kicked up in that meeting had settled, Halsey would be forced to reckon with the hypothesis that thimerosal had damaged the brains of immunized infants and may have contributed to the unexplained explosion in the number of cases of autism being diagnosed in children. That Halsey was willing even to entertain this possibility enraged some of his fellow vaccinologists, who couldn't fathom how a doctor who had spent so much energy dismantling the arguments of people who attacked vaccines could now be changing sides. But to Halsey's mind, his actions were perfectly consistent: he was simply working from the data. And the numbers deeply troubled him. ''From the beginning, I saw thimerosal as something different,'' he says. ''It was the first strong evidence of a causal association with neurological impairment. I was very concerned.'' "

An Animal's Place: "The industrialization -- and dehumanization -- of American animal farming is a relatively new, evitable and local phenomenon: no other country raises and slaughters its food animals quite as intensively or as brutally as we do. Were the walls of our meat industry to become transparent, literally or even figuratively, we would not long continue to do it this way. Tail-docking and sow crates and beak-clipping would disappear overnight, and the days of slaughtering 400 head of cattle an hour would come to an end. For who could stand the sight? Yes, meat would get more expensive. We'd probably eat less of it, too, but maybe when we did eat animals, we'd eat them with the consciousness, ceremony and respect they deserve. "

The Murder of Emmett Louis Till, Revisited: "A new documentary by 31-year-old Keith Beauchamp could well cause this case to be reopened. There will be a private screening of the film, "The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till," on Nov. 16 at the New York University Cantor Film Center"

Beyond Anger: Studying the Subconscious Nature of Rage: "The popular notion is that rage is an undesirable but completely controllable emotion. As with drug abuse, the theory goes, one can just say no to it; take an anger management course and get a grip. But what many people don't realize is that the human brain comes hard-wired for anger and rage. There is strong recent evidence from neuroscience that people share this ancient emotional neural circuitry with all kinds of animals....  Dr. Maurizio Fava of Harvard Medical School has reported that up to 40 percent of depressed patients experience anger attacks, which subside in about 70 percent of the subjects who are successfully treated."

Spaniards at Last Confront the Ghost of Franco: "only now is the country beginning to confront the terror of the 1936 army uprising and civil war that brought the generalissimo to power. Nearly 40 percent of Spain's 40 million people either were not born when Franco ruled or are too young to remember him. So in fits and starts, Spaniards are overcoming their fear that something bad will happen if they remember, shattering a conspiracy of silence that may force Spain's center-right government to acknowledge an era it wants to forget."

The Fifty-first State? | Fallows: "Going to war with Iraq would mean shouldering all the responsibilities of an occupying power the moment victory was achieved. These would include running the economy, keeping domestic peace, and protecting Iraq's borders--and doing it all for years, or perhaps decades. Are we ready for this long-term relationship? " - [very long but fascinating.]

A Post-Saddam Scenario | Kaplan: "Our goal in Iraq should be a transitional secular dictatorship that unites the merchant classes across sectarian lines and may in time, after the rebuilding of institutions and the economy, lead to a democratic alternative. In particular, a deliberately ambiguous relationship between the new Iraqi regime and the Kurds must be negotiated in advance of our invasion, so that the Kurds can claim real autonomy while the central government in Baghdad can also claim that the Kurdish areas are under its control. A transitional regime, not incidentally, would grant us the right to use local bases other than those in the northern, Kurdish-dominated free zone."

America's For-Profit Secret Army: "During the Persian Gulf war in 1991, one of every 50 people on the battlefield was an American civilian under contract; by the time of the peacekeeping effort in Bosnia in 1996, the figure was one in 10. No one knows for sure how big this secretive industry is, but some military experts estimate the global market at $100 billion. As for the public companies that own private military contractors, they say little if anything about them to shareholders.... Private military contractors are flushing out drug traffickers in Colombia and turning the rag-tag militias of African nations into fighting machines. When a United Nations arms embargo restricted the American military in the Balkans, private military contractors were sent instead to train the local forces. At times, the results have been disastrous. In Bosnia, employees of DynCorp were found to be operating a sex-slave ring of young women who were held for prostitution after their passports were confiscated. In Croatia, local forces, trained by MPRI, used what they learned to conduct one of the worst episodes of "ethnic cleansing" "

The software that saved my job (and marriage): " Let me tell you what recommends PlanPlus most: Without ever leaving Outlook, I have at my fingertips what FranklinCovey considers to be the foundations of effective planning: a rundown of my main goals and the big roles in my life (father, husband, editor, manager), right along with my calendar and to-do list of daily and undeadlined tasks. Now, in Outlook, I can distinguish between daily tasks (which have due dates) and master tasks (which don't have immediate deadlines). Even better, I can prioritize each task according to FranklinCovey's characteristic A,B,C and 1,2,3 technique. I can also split my main goals into the intervening tasks or appointments necessary to reach each one. I use the PlanPlus's Taskpad several times a day to jot down those little things that crop up. Throughout the day, I'll adjust my priorities accordingly. I also use a built-in weekly planning procedure--it takes me from values, roles, and goals right through to tasks and appointments--in a single, fully aligned process of managing my time to what really matters most to me. "

Sunday Herald - Ian Bell: "can liberal Americans really despise [Bush] so much if they cannot even be bothered to vote against his party? And does a result unthinkable in European terms not remind us, finally, that our American allies have become very distant cousins indeed? Isolationism is a fact of US history. American power, meanwhile, is now the only relevant fact in world affairs. The decay of American politics, its simul taneous surrender to money and voter apathy, is a third fact we now take for granted -- while listening to all those lectures on freedom -- yet we rarely make the connection between these truths.... A nervous people fearing attack have chosen the promise of security, have watched bemused as their leaders have lurched back and forth between bombast and paranoia, but have not all become subscribers to the weird Republican doctrine of interventionist isolationism. If -- and it is a big if -- the Democrats can begin to articulate reasoned dissent then America's multiple personalities, its extraordinary diversity, will again assert themselves.  Two apparently contradictory things are clear. First, according to all the rules, Bush won his electoral prize hands- down. Second, this president has yet to forge the sort of coalition among his own people that makes a long war possible -- let alone convince the rest of the world. Vietnam is too often called in evidence -- this time the stakes are much higher -- but the history of that conflict contains an important truth. It began with a broad consensus and ended in acrimony so profound that America was almost torn apart. It was launched by Democrats and continued by Republicans, but in the end neither party was capable of sustaining the effort, or of explaining away its sheer pointlessness. "

Saturday, November 09, 2002 Politics | Letters: Readers respond to Michelle Goldberg's "Peace Kooks."  "While I too disagree with the more radical positions ascribed to Not In Our Name and the International Action Center, I have questions for Gitlin. Where is your more moderate protest organization? What are you doing to lead the hordes of people who want to work through the U.N. to stop both the more dangerous weapons development of Saddam Hussein and the war with Iraq under Bush's plan?

Salon | The respectable cult: "The respectable cult A new book asks why Christian Science has gotten away with the kind of paranoid, secretive practices that usually push religions into the kook bin. "

IndyMedia Center Behind the Placards The Odd and Troubling Origins of Today's Anti-War Movement by David Corn. If public-opinion polls are correct, 33 percent to 40 percent of the public opposes an Iraq war; even more are against a unilateral action. This means the burgeoning anti-war movement has a large recruiting pool, yet the demo was not intended to persuade doubters. Nor did it speak to Americans who oppose the war but who don’t consider the United States a force of unequaled imperialist evil and who don’t yearn to smash global capitalism. This was no accident, for the demonstration was essentially organized by the Workers World Party,

MoveOn Peace: Bulletin Back Issues in English

End the Occupation--Resources: "US CAMPAIGN TO END THE ISRAELI OCCUPATION" including 2 PDF fact sheets on the occupation.

In Guantánamo: By Joseph Lelyveld. "On February 7 the President decreed that Taliban captives would be treated humanely "in accordance with the Geneva convention." He had the grace not to say that it was better than they and their al-Qaeda brethren deserved and that we are prepared to hold the lot of them at Guantanamo until the distant day, if it ever comes, when Islamic terrorist networks have been universally uprooted; but that, basically, appears to be the administration's position."

Bush and Iraq: By Anthony Lewis "What is President Bush's ultimate objective in Iraq? Is it to make sure that Saddam Hussein does not have weapons of mass destruction? Or is it to remove Saddam by force and remake the politics of Iraq? And if the latter, would it be the first step toward a new American imperium?" MoveOn Bulletin:
Past Bulletins
  • November 6, 2002: Media Concentration
  • October 16, 2002: Conscientous Objection
  • October 2, 2002: Iraq and the Art of Misdirection
  • September 19, 2002: Selling the War on Iraq
  • July 31, 2002: American Kleptocracy
  • July 17, 2002: Can Democracy Survive an Endless 'War'?
  • July 10, 2002: Who is Dick Cheney?

  • Between the Lines : The '48 Nakba & The Zionist Quest for its Completion - Ilan Pappe: by a revisionist Israeli historian. Not easy reading, but important.

    Return to Afghanistan: Americans begin to suffer grim and bloody backlash By Robert Fisk 14 August 2002" "I have banned all coalition forces from my compound and will not meet with them in public," a Western humanitarian official told me in Kabul. "If they want to contact me, I tell them to send me e-mails. I will meet them only in certain public authority offices. Yes, of course we are worried that people will mistake us for the military. They have these 'humanitarian units' and they ask 'how can we coordinate with you?' but I refuse to co-ordinate with them. They simply have no idea how to deal with the social, cultural, political complex of life here. They are really not interested. They just want to fight a 'war on terror'. I don't think they care."
    Earlier stories in the Fisk series "Return to Afghanistan", August 2002:

    Friday, November 08, 2002

    The unlikely career of one of American's most loved poets | "Lucille Clifton is often surprised by the reception she gets from audiences. In September, at the Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, Ms. Clifton received two standing ovations -- the first for simply walking onstage. "I don't understand it," she says without any pretense. "I just try to write clearly and directly. I try to appeal to the whole human." "
    they ask me to remember
    but they want me to remember
    their memories
    and I keep on remembering
    ["why some people be mad at me sometimes"]

    The Saudis' Brand of Islam and Its Place in History: "THE TWO FACES OF ISLAM The House of Saud From Tradition to Terror By Stephen Schwartz" The 4,000 members of the Saudi ruling family are, as he puts it, "a vast mafia of princely parasites." He holds the Western oil companies, especially the Aramco partners and "the American political and media elites that have served them," responsible for "the continuation of dishonesty and injustice in Arabia." Contrary to the standard view of him, Mr. Schwartz writes, the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini of Iran is at the opposite end of the spectrum from Wahhabi extremism and actually represents "the pluralist face of Islam."

    Russia and the Wages of Terror: "A young generation of radical Chechen fighters, reared on these Russian methods, is now fighting far more cruelly for the liberation of their land from federal forces than the Aslan Maskhadov, the aging Chechen president. And only a small fraction of those radicals was destroyed by Russian special forces in the Moscow theater on Oct. 26; the far larger part is preparing new acts of revenge against Russia that we cannot anticipate. At the same time, the intellectual inadequacy of our special services, especially the Federal Security Service, has become obvious."

    Labor Opens a Drive to Organize Wal-Mart: "labor is escalating its efforts, and in an all-out assault on the discount retailer that has grown to nearly 100 stores in 20 states, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union has hired disaffected managers as organizers and created a radio show and Web site that lambaste Wal-Mart's working conditions."

    As Big-City Debut Looms, New Air Traffic System Draws Fire: "A week before a new air traffic control system is supposed to be put into service in a highly congested airspace, federal aviation officials have called an unusual high-level meeting to review criticism that the system is not safe and has not been adequately tested. The ambitious system, which is late and over budget, is called the Standard Terminal Automation Replacement System, or Stars. It is eventually intended for use in nearly 200 air traffic offices around the country, as well as some military bases, to guide planes near airports. Proponents of the system, who want to begin using it in Philadelphia on Nov. 17, say it will increase safety and reduce flight delays, rein in maintenance costs and establish a platform for future improvements.... Current rules on how close airplanes are allowed to fly near each other — rules that often set limits on how much traffic an area can handle — are based on the possibility that a single radar is wrong. With more precise knowledge of where planes are, they could fly closer together, experts say. "

    Friday, November 01, 2002

    The New York Review of Books: Love in a Time of Revolution: review By Stephen Kinzer of The Country Under My Skin: A Memory of Love and War by Gioconda Belli. "Belli has written the first literary memoir by a Sandinista woman. It tells two stories. One is about a rich girl in a poor country who was carried away by political and physical passion. The other is an account of what went on behind the public façade of the Sandinista regime. They merge easily. Belli's progress through her various love affairs mirrors Nicaragua's history during the same period. "

    Wednesday, October 30, 2002

    The New York Review of Books: The Religious Success Story: Jared Diamond "But once a state invokes religion to require peaceful behavior toward fellow citizens with whom one has no relationship, how can a state convince its citizens not to apply those same precepts during wartime? States permit, indeed they command, their citizens to steal from and kill citizens of other states against which war has been declared. After a state has spent eighteen years teaching a boy "Thou shalt not kill," how can the state turn around and say "Thou must kill, under the following circumstances," without getting its soldiers hopelessly confused and prone to kill the wrong people (e.g., fellow citizens)? Again, in recent as in ancient history, religion comes to the rescue.... Wilson explains that fanatical religious sects, such as expansionist Islam and Christianity, spread as a result of group selection operating at the level of human societies: those early state societies whose religions were especially effective at motivating their citizens to sacrifice themselves succeeded in defeating societies with less motivating religions. Fictitious beliefs —such as the belief that a heaven populated by beautiful virgins awaits those who die for the cause—can contribute powerfully to effective motivation.

    Michael : Mike's Message: "Yesterday, Larry Bennett, a 16-year old, was shot in the head after he was involved in a minor traffic accident. You probably didn't hear about it because, well, how could he be dead if he wasn't shot by The Sniper? Yesterday, an unidentified woman was shot to death in her car in Fenton, MI. You probably didn't hear about it because she had the misfortune of not being shot by The Sniper. Two nights ago, Charles D. Bennett, 48, an apartment security guard, was shot to death after confronting two teenagers in his parking lot in Memphis, TN. You probably didn't hear about it because the sniper was too busy sleeping in his car that night, and thus, poor Charles was not shot by The Sniper. Yes, The Sniper has apparently been caught, so we can go back now to NOT reporting the DOZENS of gun deaths that occur every day, the ones that just aren't newsworthy because they happen in all those old boring ways -- unlike the ways of The Sniper, who was interesting and creative and exciting and scary! He played so much better on the news. ... Thank you, Mr. Heston for this unnecessary carnage. Thank you, Mr. Bush, for supporting Mr. Heston and his group's agenda -- which protects only the criminals. And thank you, Bushmaster Firearms, Inc., for providing the gun used to shoot the 13 people in the DC area. Bushmaster's president, Richard E. Dyke, was the Maine finance chairman of George W. Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign. According to Business Week, Dyke had to step down as Bush's finance chair "after reporters began quizzing him about his business dealings. Bushmaster Firearms Inc., is notorious for using loopholes to sidestep a 1994 federal ban on assault rifles." Bush and Bushmaster. Too tragically perfect.

    Capital Games on Paul Wellstone: David Corn "Politics, he once said, "is what we dare to imagine." Before he came to Washington, many Americans could only imagine a senator like Paul Wellstone. But he proved that the dream of having passionate, caring, for-the-people representation in Washington--of having an utterly unabashed populist liberal who lived his principles in the hallways of power--could happen. He demonstrated that he could find his place in Washington, even if he was not embraced by the town; that he could find common ground with ideological foes in pursuit of the public interest; that he could joust with the pundits; and that he could serve nobly and effectively without ceding too much to the capital's culture of calculation and compromise. Wellstone showed progressives how much is possible. His presence here, these past twelve years, expanded their imagination. "

    Senator Wellstone was one of twenty-three Senators to vote against the White House's recent resolution authorizing the use of military force in Iraq. Twenty-one Democrats, joined by one Republican, Lincoln Chafee (RI), and one Independent, Jim Jeffords (VT), all voted no to war. In addition to Wellstone, the Democrats were: Daniel Akaka (HI), Jeff Bingaman (NM), Barbara Boxer (CA), Robert Byrd (W. VA), Kent Conrad (ND), Jon Corzine (NJ), Mark Dayton (MN), Richard Durbin (IL), Russell Feingold (WI), Bob Graham (FL), Daniel Inouye (HI), Ted Kennedy (MA), Patrick Leahy (VT), Carl Levin (MI), Barbara Mikulski (MD), Patty Murray (WA), Jack Reed (RI), Paul Sarbanes (MD), Debbie Stabenow (MI) and Ron Wyden (OR).

    Paul Wellstone, 1944-2002: "for the family-farm activists with whom Wellstone marched and rallied across the 1980s and 1990s and into the twenty-first century, the Minnesota Democrat was more than a representative. He was their champion. And the news of his death Friday in a Minnesota plane crash struck with all the force of a death in the family. "

    Iranian Leader Says U.S. Helps bin Laden's Image: "I hear a discourse from two poles," Mr. Khatami said in his native Persian. "One is the voice raised from Afghanistan by bin Laden that says, `Whoever is not with us must be destroyed.' The other is the voice from the United States that says, `Whoever is not with us is against us."' ... At Complutense University in Madrid, he delivered a speech on Cervantes and his relevance in today's world. In the course of the speech, he cited Proust, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Orwell, Kafka and Mann, and criticized modern-day Don Quixotes who lack his "kindhearted, merciful and humanitarian" nature and "ruthlessly assassinate and annihilate people with their huge war machines."... "If chemical weapons are bad, why when they were used against us or Iraqi citizens wasn't Iraq condemned and pressured?" he asked. But Iran, which shares a long border with Iraq, is vehemently opposed to a unilateral American war against its neighbor and the installation of a government of Washington's choosing in Baghdad. Iranians of all political persuasions are deeply suspicious of American designs on the Persian Gulf, recalling that a C.I.A.-led coup overthrew the government of Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh in 1953 and returned the shah to the throne. Why we must invade Iraq (animation by Mark Fiore)

    Rally in Washington Is Said to Invigorate the Antiwar Movement: "Emboldened by a weekend antiwar protest in Washington that organizers called the biggest since the days of the Vietnam War, groups opposed to military action in Iraq said they were preparing a wave of new demonstrations across the country in the next few weeks. The demonstration on Saturday in Washington drew 100,000 by police estimates and 200,000 by organizers', forming a two-mile wall of marchers around the White House. "

    Tuesday, October 29, 2002

    For the People: Krugman - "Paul Wellstone took risks. He was, everyone acknowledges, a politician who truly voted his convictions, who supported what he thought was right, not what he thought would help him get re-elected. He took risky stands on many issues: agree or disagree, you have to admit that his vote against authorization for an Iraq war was a singularly brave act. Yet the most consistent theme in his record was economic -- his courageous support for the interests of ordinary Americans against the growing power of our emerging plutocracy. In our money-dominated politics, that's a dangerous position to take."

    Thursday, October 24, 2002

    Films With War Themes Are Victims of Bad Timing: "After Sept. 11 the wait was significantly longer for several independent films... Among the independents in limbo were "The Quiet American" and the dark military comedy "Buffalo Soldiers." Their already provocative themes became even more so after the attacks and the war in Afghanistan, and distributors fretted that audiences would hardly be in the mood for such sobering offerings... the film made moviegoers uncomfortable because its title character, a charismatic intelligence officer played by Brendan Fraser, sponsors terrorist acts that kill scores of innocent Vietnamese. "There will be people who are sensitive about seeing the American point of view presented as less than sympathetic," said Sydney Pollack, a producer of the movie. "

    Monday, October 14, 2002

    Duct tape zaps warts: "patients wore duct tape over their warts for six days. They removed the tape and used an abrasive on the spot. The tape was reapplied, and treatment continued for two months or until the wart went away. The tape irritated the warts, and that apparently caused the immune system to attack them. "

    Sunday, October 13, 2002

    Kibbutzniks Offer Land to Palestinians in a Rare Protest Over Israel's 'Berlin Wall': " The planned course of the wall will cut off 80 per cent of the farming land from the village of Kafin. Most of the village's 10,000 people will lose all their income. There are supposedly plans to issue permits for Palestinian farmers to cross. But according to the Mayor of Kafin, the nearest gate in the wall will involve a six-mile detour. And there are no guarantees they will all get permits. Kafin is not an isolated case. Throughout the West Bank, the wall will be a disaster for Palestinians. Long sections of it will not follow the Green Line, but will cut swathes out of Palestinian territory, permanently cutting off thousands of farmers from their land. Some Palestinian villages will be stranded on the Israeli side of the wall, but the villagers will not be allowed into Israel proper."

    Floor Statement by Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay Congress debates the Administration's resolution to authorize military action against Iraq September 2002
       As Congress debates the Administration's resolution to authorize military action against Iraq, I urge my colleagues to consider the very dangerous consequences of unilateral military action.
       If the United States rushes into war without concrete evidence of Iraq's possession of weapons of mass destruction - and without the backing of the UN and key international allies - we face the loss of much-needed support in our war against terrorism. Without a valid reason to remove Saddam Hussein from office our integrity is at risk and it may be assumed that the U.S. mission is aimed at allowing oil companies access to Iraqi oil reserves.
       Up until now, the Bush Administration has completely failed to address the need for peace in the Middle East. This Administration has only watched the turmoil escalate and ignored the Arab-world's blossoming hatred of the United States. At this point in time, a war with Iraq only ensures Iraqi retaliation against Israel and more upheaval and instability throughout the Middle East.
       I urge my colleagues to be more cognizant of the real immediate threats to our nation. An invasion of Iraq poses a costly economic burden and we simply cannot afford to commit American lives and resources to overthrow a regime which does not pose an imminent danger to our nation. At present, American families are facing many far more immediate threats. Americans are experiencing growing unemployment, an unstable stock market, a rising poverty level and an escalating need for homeland security protections.
       Finally, it is unconscionable to expose thousands of young Americans to the perils of war before it is established that Iraq has weapons of mass destruction and we have exhausted all diplomatic and peaceful means of eliminating such a threat. The American people will not tolerate sending their sons and daughters off to fight another war that serves no certain purpose.
       A war with Iraq is bound to inflame Arab-world hostility toward the United States, invite more terrorism and jeopardize our children's future. I am cosponsoring H.J. Resolution 110, which authorizes the use of United States Armed Forces against Iraq to defend our national security interests and sets forth Congressional mandates which must be met before the President engages the U.S. military. This resolution would ensure that all conceivable diplomatic options have been explored and exhausted and that a preemptive strike is our nation's only option. I am also supporting H. Con. Res. 473 which asserts that there are alternatives to a war with Iraq and the United States should work through the United Nations to resolve the matter of ensuring that Iraq is not developing weapons of mass destruction and employ mechanisms such as weapons inspections, negotiations, enquiry, mediation regional arrangement and other peaceful means to address the Iraqi threat.

    Friday, October 11, 2002

    The high-tech angle on an old-fashioned dock strike: "THE CURRENT DISPUTE between dockworkers and port owners is a repetition of the age-old union struggle, but with a technological twist: One of the primary stumbling blocks is over the possible adoption of new technology that could eliminate up to 800 union jobs. But what most media reports have failed to mention thus far is that the technology at the center of that dispute was invented by a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU). He is, in fact, among those in danger of losing his job if the technology is adopted. Bob Carson, the "chief visionary officer" of three-year-old tech start-up ContainerTrac, is also the chief clerk for Pier 80 in San Francisco. Adding to the irony, ContainerTrac chief operating officer Red Smith says the Berkeley, Calif., company's technology is actually endorsed by the union. "
    [This is a great story. It's not coincidental that this ingenious use of life-saving, cost-saving technology comes from a leading member of a strong, independent labor union, giving the lie to the classic canard that unions hold back progress. What democratic unions fight is not technology, but the use of technology to deprive workers of a fair return on labor, and of what little control they still have over labor conditions. What possible reason could the shipping industry have for insisting that the new jobs be non-union, other than as part of a long-term strategy to push labor costs toward third world levels, as industry after industry has done so successfully? This is the same morality that produced bloated paychecks for CEOs and collapsed pension funds for everyone else.]

    Wednesday, October 09, 2002

    Truth on Iraq seeps through- Robert Scheer : " Plainly put, Bush's big bad Boogeyman is a bunch of bull. In truth, the invasion is required not to meet a pressing threat to our security but rather to meet the threat to GOP control of Congress posed by a sagging U.S. economy and a stock market that has wiped out the savings of many Americans. That and the pent-up desire of frustrated wannabe imperialists among top Bush advisors to find a way to use our high-tech weaponry to micromanage the world. The CIA report makes it clear there is no plausible national security reason for pushing for war with Iraq at this time, other than the ill-advised imperial goal of directly controlling the world's oil supplies."

    [too-]Detailed Analysis of October 7 Speech by Bush on Iraq

    Molly Ivins - Death of Corporate Reform: "We just lost the whole ballgame on corporate reform -- without the news even making it to the front page. The sick, sad tidings were tucked away discreetly on the business pages: "SEC Chief Hedges on Accounting Regulator." Now there's a sexy headline. All of you who were shafted by Enron, shucked by Worldcom, jived by Global Crossing, everyone whose 401(k) is now a 201(k) (I think that's Paul Begala's line), you just got screwed again. They're not going to fix it. They've already called off the reform effort; it's over. Corporate muscle showed up and shut it down. "

      A squad of American soldiers was patrolling the Iraqi border, when they came across a badly mangled dead body. As they got closer, they found it was an Iraqi soldier.
      A short distance up the road, they found a badly mangled American soldier in a ditch on the other side of the road, struggling to breathe. They ran to him, cradled his bruised head and asked him what had happened.
      "Well," he whispered, "I was walking down this road, armed to the teeth when I came across this heavily armed Iraqi border guard. I looked him right in the eye and shouted, 'Saddam Hussein is a moronic, deceitful, lying piece of trash!'"
      "He looked me right in the eye and shouted back, 'George W. Bush is a moronic, deceitful, lying piece of trash too!'"
      "We were standing there shaking hands when the truck hit us."

    Group 4 security firm pulls guards out of West Bank "The security conglomerate Group 4 Falck, which pioneered the private contracting of detention facilities and prisons in Britain, has decided to withdraw the private guards employed by one of its offshoots at Israeli settlements in the West Bank after the Guardian raised questions about their behaviour and the legality of their role. The company, the world's second biggest security firm, took a controlling stake earlier this year in an Israeli security company, Hashmira, which employs at least 100 armed guards at settlements.  A Guardian investigation in the settlement of Kedumim showed that Hashmira's guards work closely with Israel's military and security apparatus. In the name of "security" the guards, many of whom are settlers, routinely prevent Palestinian villagers from cultivating their own fields, travelling to schools, hospitals and shops in nearby towns, and receiving emergency medical assistance. "

    Saturday, October 05, 2002

    The New York Review of Books: Is the Universe a Computer?: review by Steven Weinberg "Usually I put books that make claims like these on the crackpot shelf of my office bookcase. In the case of Wolfram's book, that would be a mistake. Wolfram is smart, winner of a MacArthur Fellowship at age twenty-two, and the progenitor of the invaluable Mathematica, and he has lots of stimulating things to say about computers and science. I don't think that his book comes close to meeting his goals or justifying his claims, but if it is a failure it is an interesting one... ...Wolfram's classification of the patterns produced by cellular automata dates from the early 1980s, and the discovery that the rule 110 elementary cellular automaton is a universal computer was made in the early 1990s. Since then, none of this work has had much of an impact on the research of other scientists, aside from Wolfram's employees. The strongest reaction I have seen by scientists to this new book has been outrage at Wolfram's exaggeration of the importance of his own contributions to the study of complexity. Wolfram's survey of the complex patterns produced by automata may yet attract the attention of other scientists if it leads to some clear and simple mathematical statement about complexity. I doubt if even Wolfram cares what picture is produced by the rule 110 cellular automaton after a billion steps. But if Wolfram can give a precise statement of his conjecture about the computational equivalence of almost all automata that produce complex patterns and prove that it is true, then he will have found a simple common feature of complexity, which would be of real interest. In the study of anything outside human affairs, including the study of complexity, it is only simplicity that can be interesting"

    As Trees Die, Biologists Battle Back the fast-spreading new disease known as sudden oak death syndrome. .... The disease has already killed tens of thousands of trees in California and spread to 17 different species, including huckleberry, big leaf maples, rhododendrons and bay trees. Scientists have found it can also infect the northern red oak and pin oak, species that are widespread in the East and Midwest. Recently, the United States Forest Service declared large regions of the East, including the southern Appalachian Mountains, whose climate would probably suit the disease, as areas of high risk. In September, scientists reported that the disease was attacking the beloved redwood and the Douglas fir....... bay trees appear to be infected in leaves and nowhere else. More surprisingly, these leaves, whose only symptoms are small discolorations, are so full of spores that the laboratory machinery cannot detect the total number. ... The finding revealed bay trees, not oak trees, to be the unexpected, key disperser of the disease....

    Saturday, September 14, 2002

    In war, some facts less factual: "When George H. W. Bush ordered American forces to the Persian Gulf -- to reverse Iraq's August 1990 invasion of Kuwait -- part of the administration case was that an Iraqi juggernaut was also threatening to roll into Saudi Arabia. Citing top-secret satellite images, Pentagon officials estimated in mid--September that up to 250,000 Iraqi troops and 1,500 tanks stood on the border, threatening the key US oil supplier. But when the St. Petersburg Times in Florida acquired two commercial Soviet satellite images of the same area, taken at the same time, no Iraqi troops were visible near the Saudi border -- just empty desert....  "This administration is capable of any lie ... in order to advance its war goal in Iraq," says a US government source in Washington with some two decades of experience in intelligence, who would not be further identified. "It is one of the reasons it doesn't want to have UN weapons inspectors go back in, because they might actually show that the probability of Iraq having [threatening illicit weapons] is much lower than they want us to believe.""

    Independent News: Robert Fisk "are we now trying to turn Huntington's third-rate book into a success story? Are we actually now in the process of starting a clash of civilisations? Never before have Muslims and Westerners been so polarised, their conflicts so sharpened â013 and Arab hopes so fraudulently raised. We are no more planning to give those Arabs "democracy" than we planned to honour our promise of independence at the end of the 1914-18 war. What we want to do is to bring them back under our firm control, to ensure their loyalty. " [ Long but well worth the read]

    All That Is Solid Melts Into Air: Sixties Radicals Turn to Lenin, Mao and Che, By Max Elbaum, Review By Tony Platt

    The Guns of September - Kristof quoting Prof Alison "Bush displayed Kennedy's toughness, resolve and even eloquence. But he did not display the other qualities of statesmanship: humility about the risks of miscalculation, a passion to avoid war. ... Kennedy turned first to diplomacy and a blockade. He offered the Russians a graceful exit and thus saved lives and avoided a dangerous spin into the unknown. Today as well, why shouldn't war be a last resort instead of the first tool that President Bush grabs off the shelf? The fundamental question is left unanswered: Why initiating war against Saddam is better than the next option, which is deterring and containing him... You could agree that this is an evil guy — he is evil — who defied the U.N. resolutions — he did — and still ask why he is not susceptible to the same treatment that was used against Stalin, who was also evil and dangerous and cheated. A succession of presidents chose to deter and contain Stalin — rather than invade and occupy Russia — just as every president until now has chosen to deter and contain Saddam. Before launching a war, Mr. Bush still needs to show two things: first, that the threat is so urgent that letting Iraq fester is even riskier than invading it and occupying it for many years to come; second, that deterrence will no longer be successful in containing Saddam."

    Jesse Jackson, Jr. | Bush Needs Moral Authority To Use Military Force: "The U.S. and the UN must exhaust all other possibilities before launching military action against Iraq. The President must convince the world that the danger presented by Saddam Hussein is imminent. And the U.S. must respect the views of others in the world before we use, hopefully, any joint military might to attack and remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq"

    Thursday, September 12, 2002

    Study: Iraq could arm nukes quickly: "Contrary to Bush's claim, however, the 1998 IAEA report did not say that Iraq was six months away from developing nuclear capability, NBC News' Robert Windrem reported Saturday. Instead, Windrem reported, the Vienna, Austria-based agency said in 1998 that Iraq had been six to 24 months away from such capability before the 1991 Persian Gulf War and the U.N.-monitored weapons inspections that followed. The war and the inspections destroyed much of Iraq's nuclear infrastructure and required Iraq to turn over its highly enriched uranium and plutonium, "

    Drain the swamp and there will be no more mosquitoes: Chomsky - "much of the world regards Washington as a terrorist regime. In recent years, the US has taken or backed actions in Colombia, Nicaragua, Panama, Sudan and Turkey, to name a few, that meet official US definitions of "terrorism" - that is, when Americans apply the term to enemies. In the most sober establishment journal, Foreign Affairs, Samuel Huntington wrote in 1999: "While the US regularly denounces various countries as 'rogue states,' in the eyes of many countries it is becoming the rogue superpower ... the single greatest external threat to their societies." "

    Nelson Mandela: The United States of America is a Threat to World Peace: "The United States has made serious mistakes in the conduct of its foreign affairs, which have had unfortunate repercussions long after the decisions were taken. Unqualified support of the Shah of Iran led directly to the Islamic revolution of 1979. Then the United States chose to arm and finance the [Islamic] mujahedin in Afghanistan instead of supporting and encouraging the moderate wing of the government of Afghanistan. That is what led to the Taliban in Afghanistan. But the most catastrophic action of the United States was to sabotage the decision that was painstakingly stitched together by the United Nations regarding the withdrawal of the Soviet Union from Afghanistan. If you look at those matters, you will come to the conclusion that the attitude of the United States of America is a threat to world peace. "

    A World That is Not Just Ours Two Veteran Conservationists Challenge Americans to Take the Lead in Preserving Wildlife.... "joined the Peace Corps in 1973, spent two years teaching in... Zaire, and fell in love with Africa. Even before their Peace Corps days ended, they knew they wanted to come back. Within a few years, they found their way to Rwanda and the mountain gorillas of the Parc National des Volcans.... “I was very content to be running the Africa programs, but meanwhile, I’m reading about spotted owls and wolves here in the United States. It seemed odd to me that we’re asking the world’s poorest people to live with tigers and elephants, but we won’t live with wolves. We’re asking other countries not to log while we knock down our own forests."

    Monday, September 09, 2002

    How Did Iraq Get Its Weapons? We Sold Them: "the US, under the successive administrations of Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr, sold materials including anthrax, VX nerve gas, West Nile fever germs and botulism to Iraq right up until March 1992, as well as germs similar to tuberculosis and pneumonia. Other bacteria sold included brucella melitensis, which damages major organs, and clostridium perfringens, which causes gas gangrene. "

    'In America's Court': A Lawyer Reflects on Injustice: "Geoghegan portrays American law as a creature of politics. From 1910 to 1940, it was shaped by the right, then by the left and most recently by the right again. ''I finally realized the Constitution, American law, is not enough,'' he declares. His solution is that American courts should be governed by the principles of human rights exemplified in the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights....  He wants a new Constitution that on the model of the United Nations declaration would include ''the right to health care, the right to be educated, the right to a good job.'' "

    Friday, September 06, 2002

    Senator Dianne Feinstein: More Questions Than Answers on Iraq: " I believe any action in Iraq at this time, without allied support, without United Nations support, and without a compelling case for just cause, would be both morally wrong and politically mistaken. I just returned from a trip to Europe.... I was shocked at how dramatically perceptions in Europe have shifted since September 11 toward our country. All of the sympathy and concern we received in the wake of the terrorist attacks has apparently vanished, replaced by the sense that the United States is becoming an arrogant and aggressive power, a nation that simply gives orders, a nation that neither listens nor hears. "

    There's Safety in Numbers: Tips for Managing the Coming Crash: By Thom Calandra

    Wednesday, September 04, 2002

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch: UMSL still plans to open arts center next year: "The departure of its executive director has left the nearly finished performing arts center at the University of Missouri at St. Louis without a staff, an operating budget and a schedule of events.... A big setback for the center has been the state of Missouri's refusal so far to produce the $1 million in operating funds UMSL had been counting on to help plug the building's projected annual operating deficit of $1,245,000."

    How Israel's Peace Movement Fell Apart: "The hard truth is that the peace movements and organizations were tired long before the Camp David fiasco. Their leaders were the same well-meaning but worn-out activists who had founded the original Peace Now movement more than 20 years ago.... they failed to attract the younger, middle-class, high-tech generation to their ranks. This failure contrasted strongly with the dynamic activism of the right-wing and West Bank settler movements that have successfully won the hearts and minds of a second, and even third, generation of activists. Israeli right-wing ideology has constantly been renewed through the messages of religious nationalism and irredentism, while the messages of peace and reconciliation -- however difficult they are to sell during periods of violence and terrorism -- have been relegated to irrelevance."

    Give WU a first-class performing arts center: "Washington University is the richest educational institution in the region. Its endowment (more than $4 billion before the stock market tanked) consistently ranks among the Top 10 for universities in the nation. It has a wealthy alumni base whose members give generously when called on. Its building projects provide seemingly nonstop work for construction companies. One would expect the university to have a performing arts center to match its business school, its law school and its other fine facilities. One would be sorely disappointed in that expectation. Many suburban high schools in the area have better setups."

    Monday, September 02, 2002

    Bernard Weiner | The Charnel House Future: Why Bush&Co. Must Be Stopped Now: " by behaving in such an arrogant, bullyboy fashion around the globe, Bush&Co. is building up anti-U.S. resentment and anger, creating conditions in which terrorism grows, ignoring and insulting our traditional allies (especially in Europe), risking our long-term economic and social health, and so on. In the long run, the world is a shakier, more violent place, U.S. interests are damaged, the international economic and civil situation is more chaotic (and we all know what kind of leaders rise in chaotic times), the domestic political situation in the U.S. grows more fascist-like, with a concomitant rebellion amongst key elements in the citizenry. "

    Wednesday, August 28, 2002

    Cheney Stumps for War, Ignores His Own Ties to Hussein: "According to the Financial Times of London, between September 1998 and [early 2000], Cheney, as CEO of Halliburton, oversaw $23.8 million of business contracts for the sale of oil-industry equipment and services to Iraq through two of its subsidiaries, Dresser Rand and Ingersoll-Dresser Pump, which helped rebuild Iraq's war-damaged petroleum-production infrastructure. The combined value of these contracts exceeded those of any other U.S. company doing business with Baghdad. "

    Sunday, August 25, 2002

    Alzheimer's in America: The Aluminum - Phosphate Fertilizer Connection: "The phosphate fertilizer industry seems to be the common thread in Alzheimer's - and maybe also in thyroid and mad cow type diseases. Aluminum by itself may not cause Alzheimer's, but in combination with the radioactive products of the phosphate fertilizer industry, it could be wreaking havoc on our health." [Provocative commentary, but jumbled and hard to evaluate.]

    Friday, August 23, 2002

    Secret Court Rebuffs Ashcroft: "The secretive federal court that approves spying on terror suspects in the United States has refused to give the Justice Department broad new powers, saying the government had misused the law and misled the court dozens of times, according to an extraordinary legal ruling released yesterday."

    Deadly Decisions : Presented by American RadioWorks: "While the states have adopted new instructions to guide jurors in making life or death decisions, many jurors appear to be just as confused about the law as they were when the high court put the death penalty on hold. "

    Scene of the Crime (Gene Santoro): "Everyone knows what happened thirty-seven years ago when Bob Dylan fronted an electric band at the Newport Folk Festival, which is why August 3 saw 100 scribes from all over the country merging into a crowd of 10,000"

    Wednesday, August 21, 2002

    Blueberries and Huckleberries: "Whortleberry from the Anglo-Saxon and Bilberry from the Danish are European names for Blueberries, Fifteen or 20 species of them are found in North America. Most kinds bear fruit in clusters. There are also about 40 species of Huckleberries, all native to North America, but in some parts of the United States the name "huckleberry" is improperly used for both blueberries and true huckleberries. Other people mistakenly believe that blueberries always have blue or bluish fruit, and that all huckleberries are black or purplish black. However, there are dark-colored blueberries, and huckleberries that are distinctly blue, but there is a sure way to tell one from the other: blueberries have a large number of tiny soft seeds, whereas the huckleberries have 10 rather large, bony seeds."

    The Death Convoy of Afghanistan: "Witness reports and the probing of a mass grave point to war crimes. Does the United States have any responsibility for the atrocities of its allies? A NEWSWEEK investigation. "

    Wednesday, August 14, 2002

    Give Greenspan's Fed Its Share of the Blame: William Greider oped - "Federal Reserve policy has been a contributing force in producing deep imbalances in the American economy -- the growing inequalities of incomes and wealth and other disorders, such as the burgeoning debts of families and business. The Fed helped induce these injurious shifts by essentially favoring the financial system over the real economy of production."

    Monday, August 05, 2002

    The Rush to War: Richard Falk - "here we are, poised on the slippery precipice of a pre-emptive war, without even the benefit of meaningful public debate. The constitutional crisis is so deep that it is not even noticed. The unilateralism of the Bush White House is an affront to the rest of the world, which is unanimously opposed to such an action."

    Friday, July 26, 2002

    The Most Important Election of 2002?: "the most important election this fall for progressives, for those who worry about the growing divide between rich and poor, for those who oppose unfettered corporate trade, is the October 6 presidential election in Brazil. The current front-runner is "Lula," Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, the head of the Workers Party in Brazil (the PT) and the former head of the Metalworkers Union. Lula has run for president three times before; he has even been ahead in the polls before; but each time, he was defeated by the opposition's money, personal smears, scare tactics and the open blackmail of international banking, which, in effect, says to Brazil, If you elect Lula, we'll pull your loans, downgrade your credit ratings and throw your economy into turmoil.... What should the progressive community be doing? "

    Radical Union Leaders Are Threatening a Hot British Summer: "Mr. Blair's government has produced a minimum wage and passed some labor-friendly laws, but the militant new leaders object to his emphasis on involving private enterprise in public-sector areas like health and transportation. The private-public partnerships, as Mr. Blair calls them, are at the heart of his plans to modernize the government, stimulate the economy and meet voter demands for better services. The union leaders are professing contempt for the Labor Party, which was organized a century ago to represent the working class but recast by Mr. Blair as "New Labor," a more centrist political force stripped of its socialist ideology and frequent hostility to business. "I came not to praise New Labor but to bury it," John Edmonds, leader of the union representing public-sector workers, said Saturday at a meeting of the Trades Union Congress in London. Delegates called for a "summer of discontent,""

    Back to the Drawing Board: WTC replacement designs: " The Lower Manhattan and Port Authority planners understood their obligation in the narrow sense: to serve their clients, forgetting their larger obligation to the people of New York. While they made much of designing for the millions who are expected to visit the memorial, they neglected the men, women and children who live and work and go to school and play in the area now and will do so in the future. Most significantly, the planners left out residential buildings from the site. "

    Living With Bears: Krugman - "with the recovery still wobbly, this is no time for fiscal austerity -- if anything, right now the federal government ought to be pumping more money into the economy than it is. The obvious answer to this seeming dilemma is to loosen the reins now, but prepare to tighten them once the economy has fully recovered. For example, the Bush administration could move quickly to aid distressed state governments, avoiding harsh (and contractionary) cuts in essential programs. Meanwhile, to assuage worries about the long-run fiscal position, it could put on hold future tax cuts that were written into law back when visions of surplus sugarplums were still dancing in our heads. And after the administration takes these responsible steps, thousands of pigs will fill the skies over Washington."

    A Professor's Activism Leads Investigators to Look Into Possible Terrorism Links: "to law enforcement officials who have investigated him for seven years, Mr. Al-Arian was a major fund-raiser for a terrorist group that funneled money to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad. Based in Damascus, Syria, and supported by Iran, the group has conducted suicide attacks in which scores of Israelis, and at least one American, have been killed or wounded. According to previously undisclosed Justice Department documents, federal investigators have been trying since 1995 to trace at least $650,000 that Mr. Al-Arian and several associates helped send overseas in the late 1980's and 1990's. They suspect, but have not been able to prove, that some of the money went to the Islamic Jihad, and they have asked Israel to help track the funds. "

    Revised View of 2nd Amendment Is Cited as Defense in Gun Cases: "Scores of criminal defendants around the nation have asked federal courts to dismiss gun charges against them based on the Justice Department's recently revised position on the scope of the Second Amendment. The new position, that the Constitution broadly protects the rights of individuals to own guns, replaced the view, endorsed by the great majority of courts, that the amendment protects a collective right of the states to maintain militias. While the challenges have been rejected by trial court judges, based largely on appeals court precedent, supporters and opponents of broad antigun laws say the arguments have forced the Justice Department to take contradictory stances. "

    Why We're So Nice: We're Wired to Cooperate: "scientists have discovered that the small, brave act of cooperating with another person, of choosing trust over cynicism, generosity over selfishness, makes the brain light up with quiet joy. Studying neural activity in young women who were playing a classic laboratory game called the Prisoner's Dilemma, in which participants can select from a number of greedy or cooperative strategies as they pursue financial gain, researchers found that when the women chose mutualism over "me-ism," the mental circuitry normally associated with reward-seeking behavior swelled to life."

    Network of Waterways Traced to Ancient Florida Culture: "Around A.D. 250, Indians inhabiting this area began digging the canals by hand, using wooden and shell tools to create waterways 20 feet wide and 3 to 4 feet deep, said Robert Carr, the Florida archaeologist who directs excavations at the site. Their goal was not to drain or irrigate land, Mr. Carr said, but to create a waterway to bring dugout canoes to their village, a mile north of the Caloosahatchee. The canals also allowed paddlers to bypass rapids roiling the river. The two-square-mile village at the center of this watery network was a planner's dream, with sculptured earthworks (one of them resembling a crescent moon holding a star) and mounds, ponds and geometric causeways. Eventually, the people, known today as the Ortona, added a 450-foot-long pond, shaped like a ceremonial baton and surrounded by a beach they made with white sand. "In adapting to their wetland world, the people of South Florida achieved a level of cultural sophistication and social organization much earlier than previously believed,""

    In Palestinian Children, Signs of Increasing Malnutrition: "A study under way for the United States Agency for International Development is finding that malnutrition among Palestinian children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip has increased substantially during the conflict with Israel, according to diplomats and government officials knowledgeable about the survey."

    Thursday, July 25, 2002

    Amnesty International - Pakistan: Police inaction encourages climate of religious intolerance: "Zahid Mahmood Akhtar, 48, was stoned to death by hundreds of villagers after the cleric used a loud hailer to issue a fatwa, a religious decree, ordering his execution. The mentally disturbed man had claimed to be the "last prophet of Islam". "

    In China's West, Ethnic Strife Becomes 'Terrorism': " heavy-handed security tactics and uneven economic development are aggravating relations between Xinjiang's 7 million Han, the dominant Chinese ethnic group, and its 8 million Uighurs, Turkic-speaking Muslims, many of whom yearn for independence or at least greater autonomy from Chinese rule."

    Afghan Timeline: "AFGHANISTAN HISTORICAL OUTLINE", by World War 3 report

    Is Fighting Iraq Worth the Risks?: "Iraqi forces would probably take a lesson from their defeat in 1991 and fight from the cities, where civilian casualties would greatly raise the cost of air strikes and buildings would provide disguise for weaponry and military personnel. "

    Killings From Taliban's Era Still Haunt a Valley: "the people of the Bamian region have been counting their dead since they returned to this fabled valley seven months ago, after the departure of the Taliban. The ancient Buddhas carved into the great cliffs on one side of the valley are gone, destroyed by the Taliban in its Islamic fundamentalist fervor. Gone, too, are an estimated 1,400 villagers, killed in waves over the four years of Taliban rule. The Hazara, the main ethnic group here, say the massacres were part of a sustained campaign by the Taliban to eliminate them. But the scale and circumstances of the killings have not been independently established."

    Ashcroft's Terrorism Policies Dismay Some Conservatives: "Many religious conservatives who were most instrumental in pressing President Bush to appoint John Ashcroft as attorney general now say they have become deeply troubled by his actions as the leading public figure in the law enforcement drive against terrorism."

    Embattled, Scrutinized, Powell Soldiers On: "A string of internal policy differences and defeats -- most recently on the Middle East and international family planning -- have set off speculation from the Pentagon to Foggy Bottom that Secretary Powell might not last through President Bush's term. Tensions with the White House and Pentagon hawks that Secretary Powell has long sought to minimize are no longer possible to disguise. In public, Secretary Powell, the four-star-general-turned-diplomat, has done what he always does: soldier on, shaping his commander's policies as best he can from within, with some success."

    Wednesday, July 24, 2002

    U.S. to Block U.N. Torture Vote: "Concerned about the possibility of independent visits to U.S. civilian and military prisons, the United States sought Wednesday to block a vote on a U.N. plan meant to enforce a convention on torture. The United States wants negotiations on the plan reopened, a move human rights groups say could kill the proposal, which they believe is essential to ending torture around the world."

    Palestinian ceasefire plan lies buried in the rubble of Gaza: "WESTERN diplomats believe they were within hours of clinching an unprecedented Palestinian commitment to end suicide bombings when Israel launched its missile strike on Gaza on Monday night. The Times has learnt that a Palestinian declaration containing an unconditional commitment to end suicide attacks on civilians was finalised hours before the attack. It was to have been made public yesterday but has now been postponed indefinitely. Yesterday diplomats said they suspected the attack -- which killed 14 Palestinians as well as the Hamas commander Sheikh Salah Shehada -- was timed to wreck what might have been a breakthrough."

    Sunday, July 21, 2002

    America the Invulnerable? The World Looks Again: "American contempt for a weak Europe is producing pressure for more unity, more outspoken independence and a clearer understanding that Europe must spend more money on its military forces if Washington is going to take it seriously. Real interests are diverging, and years of talk about tensions and resentments have crystallized into a sudden perception that the relationship itself has changed. On fundamental issues like the International Criminal Court, the Kyoto environmental treaty and the crisis in the Middle East, even strongly pro-American leaders like the British prime minister, Tony Blair, and the German foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, are openly differing with America with a public bluntness that would have been unthinkable five years ago -- or in the weeks after Sept. 11."

    Citizen Snoops Wanted: "Early last week, the program's Web site indicated that Operation TIPS, which stands for Terrorism Information and Prevention System, would begin in selected American cities next month. It would be fundamentally different from tip systems already set up in many cities, since it would take advantage of the access these workers have to people's lives, rather than simply solicit tips from anyone with something to report. Not surprisingly, the American Civil Liberties Union fumed that the plan amounted to the creation of an unlicensed security force conducting warrantless searches of people's homes."

    Wider Military Role in U.S. Is Urged: "Bush administration has directed lawyers in the Departments of Justice and Defense to review the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 and any other laws that sharply restrict the military's ability to participate in domestic law enforcement. Any changes would be subject to Congressional approval."

    Flaws in U.S. Air War Left Hundreds of Civilians Dead: "The American air campaign in Afghanistan, based on a high-tech, out-of-harm's-way strategy, has produced a pattern of mistakes that have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians. On-site reviews of 11 locations where airstrikes killed as many as 400 civilians suggest that American commanders have sometimes relied on mistaken information from local Afghans. Also, the Americans' preference for airstrikes instead of riskier ground operations has cut off a way of checking the accuracy of the intelligence."

    Friday, July 12, 2002

    The Anthrax Files: "When someone expert in bio-warfare mailed anthrax last fall, it may not have been the first time he had struck. So while the F.B.I. has been unbelievably lethargic in its investigation so far, any year now it will re-examine the package that arrived on April 24, 1997, at the B'nai B'rith headquarters in Washington D.C."

    'Collegiality' as a Tenure Battleground: "For generations, professors seeking tenure at colleges and universities have been evaluated on three factors: teaching, research and service to the institution. But a number of young professors, especially women, have recently contended that their bids for lifetime academic appointments were derailed by a more slippery fourth factor: collegiality."

    Freed From Jail Despite His Pleas, 92-Year-Old Is Found Dead in a River: "At 92 years old, Mr. Russell, stoop-shouldered, blind in one eye and suffering from prostate cancer, had finally been rescued from a life of utter loneliness. For the year and two months -- 426 days -- that he spent at the Butte County Jail for stabbing his 70-year-old landlord, he was Pops. He was given dibs on the television, allowed to be first in the food line, reserved a place in Monopoly game marathons. He rarely had visitors. But he did not need any. Here, among the transient population of men awaiting sentencing or trial, he had found community."

    Thursday, July 11, 2002

    Revisiting the Death Penalty and School Vouchers: "SUPREME COURT Q & A By LINDA GREENHOUSE"

    Seeking to Link Iraq to Poison Gas and bin Laden: "In this hourlong film, its reporter and producer, Gwynne Roberts, travels to Iraqi Kurdistan searching for links between Mr. Hussein and Osama bin Laden. He is accompanied by a doctor studying the long-term effects of poison gas on the towns and villages (more than 200 of them) attacked by Mr. Hussein in the late 1980's. The Hussein-Bin Laden connection is the more explosive subject. The claims are chilling if true, but while the evidence is convincing it remains unproved here. The effects of the poison gas, however, are viscerally, undeniably horrifying. "

    Argentina Charges Ex-Dictator and Others in 'Dirty War' Deaths: "An investigative judge today ordered the arrest of Gen. Leopoldo Galtieri, Argentina's former military dictator, and more than 30 other military officers on charges that they abused human rights during the "dirty war" against leftists here more than 20 years ago. The officers, most of them retired, are accused of ordering or taking part in the kidnapping, torture and execution of more than 20 members of the left-wing Montonero guerrillas. The remains of the victims, like many of the estimated 30,000 others who disappeared during seven years of brutal military rule, were never recovered."

    Suffer the Children: "while the wealthiest Americans "have already received a hefty down payment on their Bush tax cuts -- averaging just under $12,000 each this year -- 80 percent of their windfall is scheduled to come from tax changes that won't take effect until after this year, mostly from items that phase in after 2005." For the vast majority of Americans, three-quarters of the Bush tax cuts -- averaging about $350 this year -- are already in place, the study said. From 2001 through 2010, "the richest Americans -- the best-off 1 percent -- are slated to receive tax cuts totaling almost half a trillion dollars. The $477 billion in tax breaks the Bush administration has targeted to this elite group will average $342,000 each over the decade." The clincher: "By 2010, when (and if) the Bush tax reductions are fully in place, an astonishing 52 percent of the total tax cuts will go to the richest 1 percent, whose average 2010 income will be $1.5 million.""

    U.S. Law Imperils Colombia Coca Spraying: "Even as the Bush administration is trying to increase the aerial spraying of drug crops in Colombia with herbicides, an American law enacted in January threatens to disrupt the strategy and possibly even halt it. A little-noticed provision in the $15.4 billion spending measure for government operations abroad requires that the American-backed program to eradicate coca crops in Colombia must meet the same health and safety standards that would apply if the herbicides were being sprayed in the United States."

    Wednesday, July 10, 2002

    Hormone Replacement Study a Shock to the Medical System

    Slouching Toward Populism: "How can Mr. Bush crack the whip on Big Business when he's a wholly owned subsidiary of it? His dynastic ties to business gave him his career in oil and baseball, provided the record-breaking $100 million that made him president, and spawned his C.E.O. administration. "

    Tuesday, July 09, 2002

    Aid for [Mexican] Farmers Helps Butterflies Too: "Working in eight different poor, rural communities around the butterfly's roosting grounds and with nearly no talk of monarchs, Alternare is succeeding by providing villagers with knowledge they actually want. The group is teaching farmers how to build a house of longer-lasting adobe using one tree rather than a faster-decomposing home that requires 25, how to farm without chemical fertilizers and how to keep this rugged land productive so farmers need not continually move to newly logged territory. While improving the farmers' lives, Alternare, by no coincidence, is improving the situation of the butterflies as well."

    Harsh Spotlight Shines on Mexico's Army: "Without a foreign foe, its 183,000 uniformed men fight the enemy within: big criminal cartels and small bands of rural guerrillas. Its role in the campaign against drug traffickers, who once corrupted generals with bribes, has been a smashing success of late. But two decades after the "dirty war" ended, its battles against its real and imagined enemies -- in particular, supposed guerrilla sympathizers among the rural poor -- have continually been marked by abuses including rape, torture and killing. Those crimes, judged by secret military trials, often go unpunished. President Fox's promises to make the military more accountable to civilian powers remain unfulfilled."

    African Leaders Drop Old Group for One That Has Power: "The 39-year-old group will be replaced on Tuesday by the African Union, a body that will require its members to make commitments to democratic principles and to respect human rights. Unlike the Organization of African Unity, the new group will have the right to intervene with member states in cases of genocide, war crimes or gross violations of human rights. Its members must promise to hold free elections and to allow opposition parties to campaign freely. "

    Citing Risks, U.S. Will Halt Study of Drugs for Hormones: "A large federal study of hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women was abruptly halted, researchers say, because the drugs caused a slight but significant increase in the risk of invasive breast cancer. "

    Monday, July 08, 2002

    BBC - Jenin deaths video implicates army: "The BBC obtains film of an incident in the West Bank which appears to show how an Israel tank fired at fleeing Palestinians, killing two boys."

    Mexico Secrets: Envelope Holds Ghosts of 70's: "A sealed envelope in the hands of President Vicente Fox holds the names of 74 former government officials who may bear responsibility for torturing and killing hundreds of leftists in Mexico.... at least 275 people, perhaps twice that number, died after they were illegally detained during a never-acknowledged "dirty war" fought by Mexico's government from the late 1960's into the early 1980's, according to the government's own human rights commission."

    Court Had Rehnquist Initials Intricately Carved on Docket: Detailed summary of the 2001-2 court term - " If there is one phrase that best describes the Supreme Court term that ended late last week, it is this: the triumph of William H. Rehnquist."

    U.S. Plan for Iraq Is Said to Include Attack on 3 Sides: "The document envisions tens of thousands of marines and soldiers probably invading from Kuwait. Hundreds of warplanes based in as many as eight countries, possibly including Turkey and Qatar, would unleash a huge air assault against thousands of targets, including airfields, roadways and fiber-optics communications sites. Special operations forces or covert C.I.A. operatives would strike at depots or laboratories storing or manufacturing Iraq's suspected weapons of mass destruction and the missiles to launch them. "

    Kurds, Secure in North Iraq, Are Cool to a U.S. Offensive: "These leaders, interviewed in their strongholds in northern Iraq in the last week, say flatly that they would be reluctant to join American military operations that put Kurds at risk of an onslaught by Iraqi troops of the kind they suffered after the Persian Gulf war in 1991.... The Kurdish leaders spoke with a sharp edge of distrust for the United States, which they said had "betrayed" Iraqi Kurds at crucial moments in the past, most recently during the Iraqi onslaught against the Kurdish uprising in 1991. Mr. Barzani and other leaders also referred bitterly to events in 1975, when the United States encouraged Iraqi Kurds to ally themselves with Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi of Iran in a territorial dispute with Iraq, only to back a reconciliation between Iran and Iraq that left the Kurds exposed to a military crackdown by Baghdad. Mr. Barzani coupled this bitterness with a reminder that Washington's hawkishness on Iraq is led by a president whose father, many Iraqi Kurds contend, let them down in 1991."

    Many Gay Men in U.S. Unaware They Have H.I.V., Study Finds: "5,719 men who were interviewed at dance clubs, bars and other places frequented by gays in Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City and Seattle. It tested the men for exposure to the AIDS virus, finding that 573 had H.I.V. Of those, 440, or 77 percent, had said they were unaware they were infected. "

    Expecting Taliban, but Finding Only Horror: "What began as a major operation involving 300 to 400 American and Afghan soldiers against suspected Qaeda and Taliban positions in this isolated corner of southern Afghanistan had apparently turned into a slaughter of innocents. An Afghan delegation says the attack killed 48 people, mostly women and children, and injured 117... it is the scale of the operation in reaction to that intelligence that has angered people, from the villagers right up to ministers in Kabul. "If they have information, they should surround the village and then question us. This is not the way to do it, to bomb the village," said Muhammad Shah, who is the bridegroom's brother and was wounded and lost 25 relatives in the raid. Mr. Rahim said he asked an American commander who visited the scene: "Mullah Omar and Mullah Bradar are just two people and you bombed four villages. Why?" He went on to say that the four villagers arrested by the American soldiers were ordinary farmers."

    Succeeding in Business: Krugman: Bush financial history: "A group of insiders, using money borrowed from Harken itself, paid an exorbitant price for a Harken subsidiary, Aloha Petroleum. That created a $10 million phantom profit, which hid three-quarters of the company's losses in 1989. White House aides have played down the significance of this maneuver, saying $10 million isn't much, compared with recent scandals. Indeed, it's a small fraction of the apparent profits Halliburton created through a sudden change in accounting procedures during Dick Cheney's tenure as chief executive. But for Harken's stock price -- and hence for Mr. Bush's personal wealth -- this accounting trickery made all the difference.... Mr. Bush portrays himself as a regular guy, someone ordinary Americans can identify with. But his personal fortune was built on privilege and insider dealings — and after his Harken sale, on large-scale corporate welfare."

    What if It's All Been a Big Fat Lie? Long article from NYT magazine. First half is sensationalist and misleading, but second half presents strong data indicating that dietary "sugar and starch" may be worse for obesity and heart disease than dietary fat.

    "what happens when we eat carbohydrates -- in particular sugar and starches like potatoes and rice, or anything made from [refined] flour, like a slice of white bread. These are known in the jargon as high-glycemic-index carbohydrates, which means they are absorbed quickly into the blood. As a result, they cause a spike of blood sugar and a surge of insulin within minutes. The resulting rush of insulin stores the blood sugar away and a few hours later, your blood sugar is lower than it was before you ate. As Ludwig explains, your body effectively thinks it has run out of fuel, but the insulin is still high enough to prevent you from burning your own fat. The result is hunger and a craving for more carbohydrates. It's another vicious circle, and another situation ripe for obesity. "

    [I understand that caffeine has the same effect - causes a spike of blood sugar followed by a surge of insulin. I wonder if it is part of the syndrome too?]

    "... The gist of the glycemic-index idea is that the longer it takes the carbohydrates to be digested, the lesser the impact on blood sugar and insulin and the healthier the food. Those foods with the highest rating on the glycemic index are some simple sugars, starches and anything made from [refined?] flour. Green vegetables, beans and whole grains cause a much slower rise in blood sugar because they have fiber, a nondigestible carbohydrate, which slows down digestion and lowers the glycemic index. Protein and fat serve the same purpose, which implies that eating fat can be beneficial, a notion that is still unacceptable. And the glycemic-index concept implies that a primary cause of Syndrome X, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity is the long-term damage caused by the repeated surges of insulin that come from eating starches and refined carbohydrates. This suggests a kind of unified field theory for these chronic diseases, but not one that coexists easily with the low-fat doctrine."

    "... Atkins also noted that starches and sugar were harmful in any event because they raised triglyceride levels and that this was a greater risk factor for heart disease than cholesterol. "

    Sunday, July 07, 2002

    Open Directory - Language and Linguistics:Natural Languages

    Ethnologue Languages of theworld

    Skepticism Greets Leftist's Makeover in Brazil: "Whether Mr. da Silva's ideology has also changed is a more complicated matter. He has roiled markets here and abroad as he battles to maintain his current front-runner status until Oct. 6, when the first round of the election will be held. In recent weeks, the Brazilian currency, the real, has hit one record low after another and the stock market has dived, driven by fears that Mr. da Silva and his party are still firebrand revolutionaries at heart and will govern that way if he becomes president of Latin America's largest country. A runoff is set for Oct. 27 if no candidate wins a majority on the first ballot. Mr. da Silva, who is universally known here as Lula, says his socialist views have "evolved and mellowed." But foreign investors and the Brazilian middle class, whose votes he needs to win, continue to wonder whether his makeover is only cosmetic. The candidate has responded by condemning the market speculation, which he calls "economic terrorism," even as he tries to reassure doubters."

    Friday, July 05, 2002

    EPA says toxic sludge is good for fish: " The Army Corps of Engineers' dumping of toxic sludge into the Potomac River protects fish by forcing them to flee the polluted area and escape fishermen, according to an internal Environmental Protection Agency document."

    'Combatants' Lack Rights, U.S. Argues: "Prisoners [even citizens] declared enemy combatants do not have the right to a lawyer and the American judiciary cannot second-guess the military's classification of such detainees, the Justice Department argued yesterday in a brief to an appeals court."

    FindLaw Forum: Could terrorism result in a constitutional dictator? By John W. Dean

    CPI Inflation Calculator: "This is an inflation calculator for adjusting costs from one year to another using the Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation index.... This inflation calculator will compute inflation rates between 1913 and 1999"

    Wednesday, July 03, 2002

    Sex as a Cosmic Joke, as Demons Are Routed: "[Margaret Cho's] writing is exceptionally lean and accompanied by body language as honed as her verbal delivery. ... She is also a formidable character comic who brings a refined sense of caricature to voices that range from a macho man to an insufferably chirpy colonic hydrotherapist. But her greatest creation is her mother, a proper, devoted know-it-all who refers to herself as Mommy and who delivers her unlikely pronouncements in a half-choked broken English with an oracular pomposity. Ms. Cho's most damning humor is reserved for racism and the insidious stereotyping of Asian-Americans as passive, agreeable servants. "

    WW3 Lynne Stewart Interview: "Veteran Radical Attorney and War on Terrorism Defendant speaks about her case, Islamic fundamentalism and the struggle for Constitutional rights after 9-11 "

    143-Year-Old Problem Still Has Mathematicians Guessing: "Riemann showed that if he knew where the value of his zeta function went to zero he would be able to predict the distribution of the primes. He was able to prove that aside from some "trivial" zeros â014 located at -2, -4, -6, and so on and thus easily included in his equations â014 the zeros of the zeta function all lay within a strip one unit wide running along the imaginary axis. Somehow the distribution of these zeros mirrored or encoded the distribution of the prime numbers. Riemann guessed that all of the zeros ran along the middle of the critical strip like the dotted line on a highway. Nobody is sure why he made this guess, but it has proven to be inspired. Over the past few decades billions of zeros of the zeta function have been calculated by computer, and every one of them obeys Riemann's hypothesis. "

    Monday, July 01, 2002

    'follow the reader' in global giveaway with online tracking  "random acts of literary kindness, leaving books in public places for strangers to find and then tracking the book's fate online. ..What started a year ago in Kansas City, Mo., as a way to share books for free has grown into a virtual community of book releasers and finders who would love a world littered with free literature.  More than 10,500 people, who call themselves "bookcrossers," have been united by a love of reading, serendipity and sleuthing. Setting books free is being likened to a modern-day message in a bottle.  By word of mouth, the Web site -- which doesn't charge a fee or accept advertising -- has become the nation's fourth most popular online reading site"

    Friday, June 28, 2002

    SatireWire | REMAINING U.S. CEOs MAKE A BREAK FOR IT "Unwilling to wait for their eventual indictments, the 10,000 remaining CEOs of public U.S. companies made a break for it yesterday, heading for the Mexican border, plundering towns and villages along the way, and writing the entire rampage off as a marketing expense."

    Wednesday, June 26, 2002

    eMedicine - Toxicity, Arsenic : Article by Christopher Graziano, MD: "Chelation therapy is the definitive treatment for arsenic poisoning. "

    The Poison Is Arsenic, and the Suspect Wood: "chromated copper arsenate, or C.C.A., the predominant wood preservative in the United States and the subject of an emerging body of product liability lawsuits around the country... prevents decay and repels termites. It also contains arsenic... The Environmental Protection Agency and manufacturers of treated wood advise consumers not to use wood with surface residue; to wear gloves, a dust mask and goggles while sawing; to saw outdoors; and never to burn the wood."

    Wednesday, June 19, 2002

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Moderate earthquake leaves impression -- but little damage: "The Evansville earthquake struck a fault about 6 to 10 miles deep and a half-mile long in the Wabash Valley Fault System.... Both fault systems were created about 600 million years ago.... The middle part of the United States was stretched too thin, and a tear called the Reelfoot Rift opened. The ripping ran out of steam around Cape Girardeau, Mo., giving rise to the New Madrid fault system... The same event produced a series of small cracks in the Wabash Valley region - at the junction of Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. It is considered by many to be the northern extension of the New Madrid fault system... Significant recent tremors on the Wabash Valley and New Madrid fault systems:
    Nov. 9, 1968: Broughton, Ill.; magnitude 5.5
    June 11, 1987: Lawrenceville, Ill.; magnitude 5.0
    Sept. 26, 1990: New Hamburg, Mo.; magnitude 5.0"

    Tuesday, June 18, 2002

    Physically Abused Children Recognize the Face of Anger: "Being attuned to the emotions of others is a way to adapt to the dangerous environment of an abused child's home... But when the children move on to other settings, where the people around them behave more rationally, their perceptual systems fail to make the shift. Instead, Dr. Pollak said, they may see anger when it is not there, or spend so much time scanning for the signs of impending rage that they miss other important social clues. "This could be a reason why these children end up developing interpersonal difficulties," he added.... it may be possible to modify the tendency of abuse survivors to overinterpret anger."

    There was a 5.0 quake in SW Indiana today, the first quake I've felt in Missouri. It felt like it lasted for about 10 seconds, but the seismograph showed the strongest activity lasting for about 30 seconds. Here are some seismograph plots. Unsurprisingly, but interestingly, they show it starting in St Louis at about 12:38:20 pm CDT (11:38:20 CST), but 40 seconds earlier in Bloomington:
    St. Louis:
    Bloomington Indiana:
    NW Alabama:
    Little Rock Arkansas:
    Event summary page (slow):
    List of recent quakes:

    An American's Death, Guatemala's Blunders: "two and a half years after the death of Mr. Lee, a 41-year-old journalist, and despite increasing pressure from the United States, his family in Missouri still has no idea who killed him. Guatemalan investigators barely pressed the inquiry, overlooking important evidence and letting the trail to suspects go cold. If the record of Guatemalan law enforcement is any guide, Mr. Lee's relatives may never know what happened. Only 5 percent of urban homicides in Guatemala are ever solved, and more than 500,000 other criminal cases, from robberies to kidnappings, languish without resolution in police files... The lawlessness is a grim legacy of long years of military rule, supported by the United States and ushered in by a coup backed by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1954. It took more than 40 years to begin to curtail the power of the armed forces and achieve peace, with a United Nations settlement in 1996. "

    Monday, June 17, 2002

    Deep Vision: Science News: "CAVE, which stands for Cave Automatic Virtual Environment -- a cubic room of screens onto which rear-screen projectors throw computer-generated views of a virtual scene. A visitor to a CAVE sees -- and, these days, sometimes hears, feels, and even smells -- a three-dimensional world that seems to engulf him or her. That virtual world can include anything a computer can simulate, from the inside of an atom to an ancient Greek temple or the heart of the Milky Way. What's more, the CAVE dweller can move around the objects and experience them from all sides, just as he or she might in the real world.... Astrophysicist Michael M. Shara of the American Museum of Natural History in New York describes the museum's Hayden Planetarium as "the CAVE gone wild."  "

    Sunday, June 16, 2002

    Turmoil rocked Heaven this morning as allegations arose that God had had an affair with a former worshiper. The scandal was begun when a 21 year old woman, known only as Mary, claimed that she had given birth to God's "only son" last week in a barn in the hamlet of Bethlehem.
      Sources close to Mary claim that she "had loved God for a long time," that she was constantly talking about her relationship with God, and that she was "thrilled to have had his child." In a press conference this morning, God issued a vehement denial, saying that "No sexual relationship existed" and that "the facts of this story will come out in time, verily."
      Independent counsel Kenneth Beazulbub immediately filed a brief with the Justice department to expand his investigation to cover questions of whether any commandments may have been broken, and whether God had illegally funneled laundered money to his illegitimate child through three foreign operatives identified only as the "Wise Men". Beazulbub has issued subpoenas to several angels who are rumored to have acted as go-betweens in the affair. Critics have pointed out that these allegations have little to do with the charges that Beazulbub was originally appointed to investigate, that God had created large-scale flooding in order to cover up evidence of a failed land deal. In recent months, Beazulbub's investigation has already been expanded to cover questions surrounding the large number of locusts that plagued God's political opponents in the last election, as well as to claims that the giveaway of a parcel of public land in Promised County to a Jewish special interest group was quid pro quo for political contributions. Some journalists have speculated that the destruction of the cities of Sodom and Gommorah may have been to divert attention away from God's political problems.
      If these allegations prove to be true, this could be a huge blow to God's career, much of which has been spent crusading for stricter moral standards and harsher punishments for wrongdoers. Known for his fiery oratory, God has sometimes been criticized for his political theatrics, as when he introduced the bill he styled "The Ten Commandments" by appearing as a burning bush on the Senate floor. Regardless of the outcome of the investigation, however, it is unlikely that a sitting God can be removed from power. Most legal scholars are in agreement that indicting God would constitute taking His name in vain.

    Friday, June 14, 2002

    Computer System That Makes Data Secure, but Hard to Find: "F.B.I computer systems in the high-tech equivalent of the Stone Age. "

    A Tycoon and His Conscience - South Africa's new black capitalists (NYT Magazine)

    At the Court, Dissent Over States' Rights Is Now War. The Supreme Court's recent state's rights decision was the latest of several 5-to-4 decisions that have unsettled the modern "basic understanding" of federal supremacy. By Linda Greenhouse.

    When Peer Review Yields Unsound Science: "editors began their own primary research into the way the peer review system worked, what was wrong and how it could be fixed. A leader has been The Journal of the American Medical Association, which has held four meetings on research on peer review since 1989 under the direction of Dr. Drummond Rennie, a deputy editor. Last week, the journal published 34 articles from the latest meeting. And the news was grim."

    Activists Win Award in False Arrests: "Radical environmentalist Darryl Cherney said past targets of the FBI -- from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. to Hollywood radicals -- share in a court victory by him and another Earth First! activist over law enforcement officials. Twelve years after Cherney and Judi Bari were arrested in the bombing of their own car, they were awarded $4.4 million Tuesday in a federal suit claiming they were framed by Oakland police and FBI agents. After 17 days of deliberations, jurors awarded the money to Cherney and the estate of Bari, who died of cancer in 1997."

    The Rove Doctrine: "As analysts at the Cato Institute point out, the Bush-Cheney energy plan may have been conservative in the sense that it was anti-environmentalist, but otherwise it was stuffed full of things free-marketeers are supposed to abhor: expanded government power to seize private land (for transmission lines), large tax incentives for energy sources that don't pay their way at market prices (nuclear power in particular). The energy plan wasn't about principles; it was about payback."

    Plutocracy and Politics.  - Paul Krugman - The Gilded Age looked positively egalitarian compared with the concentration of wealth now emerging in America. Pretty soon denial will no longer be possible....  In 1981 those captains of industry were paid an average of $3.5 million, which seemed like a lot at the time. By 1988 the average had soared to $19.3 million, which seemed outrageous. But by 2000 the average annual pay of the top 10 was $154 million.


    Six Men Who Could Be Contenders to Lead Palestinians if Arafat Goes

    Saturday, June 08, 2002

    Dubya calls for US Gestapo - The Register  "US President George Dubya Bush took to the airwaves last night in an appeal for the establishment of a new cabinet-level Department of Homeland Security, to keep us all safe and snug in our beds... The real purpose, clearly, is data acquisition, mining and manipulation on a gargantuan scale."

    Thursday, June 06, 2002

    Our Fruit, Their Labor and Global Reality: Dana Frank - "the big banana producers have been transferring production to Ecuador, which has been almost completely nonunion since the banana labor movement was largely crushed there in the 1970s. Dole now gets 31 percent of its bananas from Ecuador, Del Monte 13 percent, and Chiquita 7 percent, according to industry figures. Bob Kistinger, president of Chiquita's international division, complained in August 2000 that Ecuador's rock-bottom wages were making it difficult for his company to compete elsewhere. Explaining the layoff of 650 workers in Honduras, Kistinger said in the Financial Times of London: "The costs in Ecuador are so much lower. There are no unions, no labour standards and pay is as low as two dollars a day." According to a 2000 study by US/LEAP, a banana worker's average monthly wage was $500 in Panama, $200 to $300 in Colombia, $150 to $200 in Honduras -- and $56 in Ecuador. "

    Why the _______s Hate the _______s by Michael Gerber and Jonathan Schwarz:
    A Guide to Ethnic and Religious Strife Through All Human History.
    1. They stole our _______!
    2. At the Battle of _______ in the _______ Century, they used unfair tactics to defeat us. We cannot rest until the souls of our dead are avenged.
    3. Their religion is absurd. Offensive, really—did you know they actually believe __________? And they won't be happy until EVERYBODY believes it!
    4. While it's not "politically correct" to say so, science has proven them to be _______.

    Wednesday, June 05, 2002

    Sexual Tension Between Arafat, Sharon Reaches Breaking Point "The long-simmering sexual tension between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat finally reached a breaking point Monday, culminating in a passionate kiss before a shocked delegation of Mideast negotiators. "You always got the feeling that there was something more behind all the anger and tension," said European Union Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana. "They wouldn't agree on anything, even though their people were dying, locked in this unending conflict. It never made sense—until now."Continued Solana: "All that repressed passion. And neither of them would admit it to the other... or to themselves.""

    Sunday, June 02, 2002

    Rights Lawyer's Odd Death Tests Mexican Justice: "government investigators, citing forensic evidence and a trail of correspondence, are ready to declare that Digna Ochoa was not a martyr but a suicide. The finding has set off new alarms among human rights advocates in Mexico and abroad, who counter that prosecutors are blaming a victim who can no longer defend herself rather than investigate the soldiers, paramilitary groups and rural political bosses who were the target of her human rights work."

    In the Time of Hugo Chávez - long NYT magazine profile - Venezuela

    Africa Creeps Along Path to Democracy: "Since 1990, 42 of the 48 countries in sub-Saharan Africa have held multiparty elections, the World Bank says. Not since Africans began shaking off colonial rule more than 40 years ago has the continent witnessed such broad political change."

    An Early Sign of Alzheimer's Brings Fear, and New Insight: "The signs of mild cognitive impairment are an inability to form memories for events that just happened and a slight shrinking of the hippocampus, the area of the brain where these memories are laid down. On a memory test, a patient may be able to repeat a string of unrelated words -- red, Oldsmobile, cabbage -- but then fail to recall even one of them 10 minutes later.... Their prognosis is not good. Mild cognitive impairment may be caused by other disorders, especially depression. But when no such cause is found, it has been shown in studies to lead to full-blown Alzheimer's, with its additional impairments in reasoning and thinking, in at least 80 percent of cases. Patients with mild cognitive impairment progress to Alzheimer's at a rate of 12 percent to 15 percent a year, the studies show; for people of similar ages without mild cognitive impairment, the rate is about 1 percent a year. Nothing has been shown to slow brain cell death. "

    Eyeball to Eyeball, and Blinking in Denial "As India and Pakistan edge closer to war, each expects the other to back down. But they may just fall into the nuclear abyss."

    Prison Boom Has Not Deterred Crime, Report Suggests: "Despite the prison-construction boom of recent years, the rate at which inmates released from prison committed new crimes actually rose from 1983 to 1994, suggesting that the increased number of criminals put behind bars has not been an effective deterrent to crime, according to a Justice Department study released today. "

    Study Finding Celebrex Safer Was Flawed, Journal Says: "Doctors should be informed, they added, that the conclusion that Celebrex was safer than drugs like ibuprofen had been contradicted. "The flawed findings published in the original article appear to be widely distributed and believed," "

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Inside Iraq: First of a series by Jon Sawyer - "A 10-day tour through central and southern Iraq finds a country that is surprisingly relaxed -- hopeful that recent economic gains will continue, optimistic that a new U.S. invasion can somehow be averted. In Baghdad, the nation's biggest city, bustling shops and restaurants are full of customers on weekend nights. An American visitor is greeted warmly by all, even by those who denounce American policies. Which is not to suggest that Iraq is a normal place."

    Stories of privation, signs of improvement: "Western diplomats and many Iraqis predict that Saddam Hussein will agree this summer to permit the return of United Nations weapons inspectors, ending nearly four years of defiance and removing one of the factors President George W. Bush has cited as grounds for war."

    Sprinkled across Iraqi desert, "bomblets" fuel anti-American sentiment: "A Human Rights Watch report last year estimated that 1,600 civilians had been killed and another 2,500 injured in incidents involving the approximately 1.2 million bomblet duds sprinkled across Iraq and Kuwait."

    In Basra, effects of Gulf War linger, and U.S. gets blame: "The port city's infrastructure has never recovered. Residents fear they could be targets again"

    Gulf War left water supply compromised: "an American group is trying to repair damaged treatment centers. The health of 7,000 people who live in the farming region of Hibhib, 50 miles north of Baghdad, depends on the one good eye of Abdul Rahman Hussein."

    Iraqi bureaucrats can be roadblocks -- even to those bringing aid: "It's not always easy helping Iraq, even for those willing to bend over backward to see the Iraqi point of view. Consider a meeting earlier this month between the Veterans for Peace delegation and Abdullah Hassan Ali, Iraq's general manager of water services."

    Iraq's road to rage: "Distortion, courtesy of the state-run media, is an ever-present reality: Iraqis get a daily dose of talk about the "American administration of evil." And the wounds from the Persian Gulf War of a decade ago are still raw."

    Saturday, June 01, 2002

    Lost in Translation at the F.B.I.: "The F.B.I.'s Arabic translation test simply does not measure all the language skills needed for intelligence gathering focused on Arabic speakers. The Arabic-language test — copyrighted in 1994 by the Defense Language Institute, according to the back of my exam booklet — was solely in Modern Standard Arabic, the Arabic most frequently studied at American universities. This is the form used for official speeches and in the news media in Arab countries — but almost never in conversation. It differs substantially from the spoken varieties of Arabic in vocabulary, syntax and idioms — enough so that a non-native speaker who learned only Modern Standard Arabic would not be able to understand Arabic speakers talking to one another. ...Yet no colloquial Arabic, in any dialect, appeared anywhere on the F.B.I.'s Arabic translation test, which included a listening-comprehension section. During my post-exam interview, I tried to offer some feedback about the test's failure to measure skills in everyday spoken Arabic, but the interviewer brusquely moved on to his next question. Nor was there a chance for me to name the two Arabic dialects in which I am proficient. The interview is scripted; there is no room for unscripted interaction. All the other Middle East studies applicants with whom I spoke said they, too, noticed the test's shortcoming but couldn't find an opening to comment on it."

    Friday, May 31, 2002

    Bush's Decision on Oil Angers Californians: "President Bush sat next to his brother Jeb Bush, the governor of Florida, and vowed to spend $235 million to buy a number of highly unpopular oil leases in a state where his brother is running for re-election and that handed him the presidency in 2000 by the slimmest of margins. Jeb Bush acknowledged that he would probably gain politically from the plan. But he and the president insisted that it was also sound policy because the move would protect beaches and wetlands. All of this has prompted officials in California, a heavily Democratic state that President Bush lost by a lopsided margin, to ask why saving their beaches and sensitive environment was not as high a priority, particularly since many here have been fighting offshore oil leases in the Santa Barbara area for decades."

    Heart of Cheapness: Krugman oped - "So here are our priorities. Faced with a proposal that would save the lives of eight million people every year, many of them children, we balk at the cost. But when asked to give up revenue equal to twice that cost, in order to allow each of 3,300 lucky families to collect its full $16 million inheritance rather than a mere $10 million, we don't hesitate."

    Cuban Reporter Travels a Bumpy Path to Deadline: "Cuba is the only country in the hemisphere where a journalist is currently imprisoned for an offense related to his work, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists, based in New York. Bernardo Arévalo Padrón was jailed in November 1997 for comments in which he called Mr. Castro a liar. Independent journalists have been prohibited from leaving their homes, repeatedly subjected to brief detentions and picked up on the street to be dropped off miles away just before news conferences with dissidents. The journalists' committee lists Cuba as one of the world's 10-worst places for reporters. "

    Thursday, May 30, 2002

    Nicotine-Laced Water May Soon Be in Stores: "in June, drugstores and convenience stores around the country could begin carrying Nico Water, bottles of nicotine-laced water that are the latest entry in a long line of products intended to help smokers get their nicotine fix through less carcinogenic means. But Nico Water is landing squarely in the middle of a debate about whether products that contain nicotine, but do not claim to help smokers kick the habit, should be classified as dietary supplements or drugs. "

    Data Is Found to be Lacking on Reactions of Chemicals: "review of 167 industrial accidents since 1980 in which chemical reactions caused deaths, injuries or serious damage, federal safety experts have found that more than half involved substances that are not regulated by worker safety and environmental agencies.... Without improvements in rules and practices, it will be hard to avoid more accidents and "adequately understand root causes and lessons learned" when one does occur, according to the report, which is to be released today."

    Judge Rejects U.S. Policy of Secret Hearings: "The decision was the third time that the Justice Department had failed to convince a court that national security would be harmed by the disclosure of information about the 1,200 Muslim immigrants arrested in the weeks after the terrorist attacks. The Justice Department was expected to ask for an immediate stayfrom the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Philadelphia. The New Jersey lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union; The New Jersey Law Journal; and the North Jersey Media Group, which owns The Herald News of West Paterson and other papers. They argued that the government's blanket closing of deportation hearings amounted to a violation of the detainees' due process rights and the public's right to monitor the actions of government officials."

    Government Will Ease Limits on Domestic Spying by F.B.I.: "As part of a sweeping effort to transform the F.B.I. into a domestic terrorism prevention agency, Attorney General John Ashcroft has decided to relax restrictions on the bureau's ability to conduct domestic spying in counterterrorism operations, senior government officials said today. Mr. Ashcroft and Robert S. Mueller III, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, plan to announce on Thursday a broad loosening of the guidelines that restrict the surveillance of religious and political organizations, the officials said. The guidelines were adopted after disclosures of domestic F.B.I. spying under the old Cointelpro program, and for 25 years they have been among the most fundamental limits on the bureau's conduct."

    Wednesday, May 29, 2002

    Haggai Matar, Refusenik, Speaks in Madison, Wisconsin.. 18-year-old Israeli citizen... Matar is part of a growing movement of "refuseniks", Israelis who refuse to serve in the military to enforce the occupation of Palestine. He faces prison time this summer for his refusal. " - audio and video. Decent and intelligent young man, if simplistic.

    Order Yielding to Lawlessness in Rural China: "In Lanshan County, not only can the police look the other way during a cannon battle, afraid to get involved or to challenge certain village powers, but senior police and other county officials have been implicated in heroin dealing and counterfeiting. A senior officer is known to gangsters as Big Daddy, and bribery and cronyism have demonstrably warped the priorities of the police and courts. Protesting the lack of security and fairness, a remarkable 12,000 residents of the county have risked reprisals by putting their names and fingerprints on a petition calling for dismissal of corrupt police and Communist Party officials."

    Allies' Focus in Afghanistan Turns Toward Militant Islamic Leader: "The remnants of Al Qaeda and Taliban's senior leadership are attempting to build ties to a prominent militant Islamic leader, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, with the goal of attacking American-led forces and undermining the interim government in Kabul, senior American and British military officials here said today.... Earlier this month, the C.I.A. attempted to kill Mr. Hekmatyar with a Hellfire anti-tank missile fired from a Predator drone outside Kabul. He survived the attack, and coalition officials said they do not know whether he is still in Afghanistan or has fled into Pakistan, where he once enjoyed wide support. Mr. Hekmatyar has long been hostile to the United States and has openly proclaimed his opposition to Mr. Karzai's government, calling it a puppet of foreigners. But linking him directly to Al Qaeda and the Taliban could provide the Pentagon much stronger justification for launching a major military strike against him and his supporters."

    In Similar Cases, One Inmate Is Executed, One Wins Stay: "Napoleon Beazley, 26, of Texas, and Christopher Simmons, 26, of Missouri, both committed murder when they were 17. They filed identical claims before federal and state courts, arguing that executing an inmate who was younger than 18 at the time of his crime violates the Eighth Amendment's provision against cruel and unusual punishment. Today the Missouri Supreme Court granted Mr. Simmons, who was to be executed next week, a stay pending the outcome of a related United States Supreme Court case that will be decided by the end of June. Mr. Beazley was put to death by lethal injection in Huntsville shortly after 6 p.m. after the United States Supreme Court refused to hear his petition and the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals denied his motion for a stay, and after the Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles voted 10 to 7 against clemency. "

    Justices Expand States' Immunity in Federalism Case: "In ruling that the [state-owned] port was constitutionally immune from having to defend itself before the [Federal Maritime] commission, the court significantly enlarged the scope of the 11th Amendment, which grants immunity to states from private lawsuits. The Supreme Court had never before applied the 11th Amendment, which limits "the judicial power of the United States," beyond the courtroom to immunize states from the actions of executive branch agencies. As have other federalism rulings during the last seven years, this decision revealed a deep disagreement among the justices about the nature and source of governmental authority in the United States."

    Tuesday, May 28, 2002

    Poland's Top Scorer Gets a Cold Welcome: "Emmanuel Olisadebe has scored 10 goals in 16 games for his adopted country, including eight in World Cup qualifying matches. Still, his appearance in Poland's red-and-white uniform has provoked xenophobic behavior from the team's own fans. Never before has Poland fielded a black player. Among his teammates, Olisadebe, 23, is popular for his unpretentious personality and his magnificent skill. Not all Poles have offered the same embrace. Last year, at a so-called friendly match in Warsaw between Poland and Iceland, some home fans tossed bananas on the field. The same thing happened the season before in a league match in the town of Lubin, which devastated Olisadebe. It was left to Tomasz Waldoch, the Polish captain, to defuse the situation, according to Coach Jerzy Engel. "They threw bananas at all of us, not just at Oli," Waldoch told the team after the Iceland match. "If they don't want us, we won't play here again." If he didn't already, Olisadebe knew then where he stood with his teammates. Shoulder to shoulder."

    Colombian President-Elect Softens Tone on Rebels: "analysts who have closely followed Colombia's conflict saw Mr. Uribe's remarks today as an effort to assuage concerns in the United States and Europe about his hard-line reputation by casting himself as a moderate willing to talk peace. The analysts noted that the rebels were virtually sure to turn down any chance to negotiate under Mr. Uribe's demands: that they first declare a cease-fire and end hostile actions like kidnappings. The rebels would be further alienated by Mr. Uribe's proposal to include the paramilitaries in talks."

    Why Angry People Can't Control the Short Fuse: " those who scored highest in hostility on a standard personality test were nearly five times as likely to die of heart disease as their less hostile classmates.... people prone to anger need time to calm down and collect their thoughts."

    Performance: A Quick Power Nap's Benefits: "performance dropped by more than 50 percent in 10 subjects who stayed awake the whole time. The 10 people who napped for an hour in the early afternoon were able to restore their performances. The 10 people who napped briefly rebounded a bit."

    Heroics for Humble Broccoli: "chemical found in broccoli and broccoli sprouts shows promise as a potential treatment for Helicobacter pylori, the bacterium that causes ulcers and raises the risk of stomach cancer, according to a study being published today in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Researchers from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and the National Center for Scientific Research in Paris tested the chemical, sulforaphane, in mice and human cells under laboratory conditions.... The amount of sulforaphane used in the study was "comparable to what one might expect to be consumed by a person eating a diet rich in cruciferous vegetables," like broccoli, cabbage or kale, he said, adding that broccoli contains far more of the chemical than other vegetables and that broccoli sprouts are even more potent. "

    Prevention: Clean Ways to Combat Asthma: "Combining a "supercleaning" technique developed for lead abatement with periodic pest control can sharply reduce the cockroach allergens that have been linked to high rates of asthma in urban areas, according to a new study."

    New Drug for Malaria Pits U.S. Against Africa: "With resistance to old malaria drugs spreading, African officials want to start using a relatively new Chinese remedy so powerful that some experts consider it a miracle drug. Because more than 2,000 African children die of malaria each day, doctors there are clamoring for the drug, and the World Health Organization recommends it. But the United States generally opposes using it in Africa yet. An adviser to the Agency for International Development in Washington, Dennis Carroll, said the medicine, artemisinin, probably represented "the best long-term option." But, he added, the drug is expensive and hard for poorly educated people to take correctly. It needs, he said, more testing in infants and is "not ready for prime time." Other experts say delays will cost too many lives because the drugs now in use are rapidly losing their effectiveness. Artemisinin was first refined 30 years ago in China from the qinghaosu plant, used in fever remedies for 2,000 years."

    Scientists Measuring Martian Ice Detect Oceans' Worth: "In the polar regions of Mars, the surface is covered by a foot or two of dry soil. Below that, pores in the soil and rocky debris appear to be encrusted with ice. The concentration of ice is surprisingly high -- one-fifth to one-third by weight, and up to 60 percent by volume, the scientists report. In the equatorial regions, there was little water near the surface."

    What Makes a Glacier Go? Scientists Look Inside: "Enter a hole in the mountain resembling a sewer pipe. Don a hard hat, miner's light and rubber boots, and walk a mile as the tunnel slowly widens until it is big enough for a truck and is lighted by dim electric bulbs. Pass through a vast cement wall that in summer holds back a subterranean torrent. Find and climb the 79 wood steps that lead up through the tunnel roof. You are now at the bottom of the glacier. There are 700 feet of ice above you, and it all seems to be dripping down your neck. Fumble your way up 15 feet of slippery rock, gripping the ice walls for balance. At the top is a flat spot inside a shimmering wonderland. Long blades of ice â014 some glowing white in the work lamp, some filthy with gray glacial sediment â014 are coming at you from every direction. They are literally coming at you. This cave, just big enough for 10 people to stand in, did not exist two days before, and it will not exist in two more. It was carved out with a warm-water jet, and the ice, flowing like toothpaste at these depths, began pressing back in as soon as it was shut off."

    Monday, May 27, 2002

    An Academic Ready to Take the Plunge Into Novelistic Success: "Stephen L. Carter, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University, tall, slender, elegantly dressed in his beautifully cut sports jacket and silk tie, is so good he could be boring were he not the author of one of the season's biggest novels, "The Emperor of Ocean Park," a legal thriller about black upper class America, to be published next month.... [In his first book] "Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby"... he criticized affirmative action in college admissions for mainly benefiting middle class blacks and being "racial justice on the cheap," enabling whites not to confront poverty and racism directly. He criticized the idea that it promotes diversity, saying that one black cannot represent all. But he supports affirmative action as a device for combating inequality.

    Man Who Killed at 17 Is Scheduled to Die: "Napoleon Beazley, 26, whose case has prompted debate over the execution of those who commit murder before the age of 18, is scheduled to die by lethal injection tomorrow night in Texas. The Supreme Court on Friday denied Mr. Beazley's request for a stay and review of his case. His lawyers had argued that executing Mr. Beazley, who was 17 when he killed John Luttig, 63, in a botched carjacking, would violate the Eighth Amendment's provision against cruel and unusual punishment. The lawyers also argued that executing an inmate who was under 18 at the time of his crime would violate international treaties on civil and political rights."

    Bethlehem Invaded Again, as Israelis Extend Control: " Israel's campaign to seize full responsibility for its own security along its eastern boundary with the West Bank, blurring if not erasing lines that once defined areas under Palestinian security control.... a parliamentary leader on security issues said, "I'm confident that there is a military solution, and by brute force we can completely, or almost completely, eradicate terrorism."... In several incidents recently, soldiers have wounded or killed innocent people who they said appeared to be acting suspiciously.  "

    A Raid Enrages Afghan Villagers: "An airborne assault on this village by United States-led troops three nights ago has raised anti-American fury among villagers, who say soldiers shot several people, killed the headman of the village and caused a 3-year-old girl to flee and fall to her death down a well. About 50 men were arrested and taken away in helicopters, they said. "

    Hard-Liner Elected in Colombia With a Mandate to Crush Rebels: "resounding victory today to a hard-right candidate for president who promises a sharp buildup in the armed forces to battle two rebel groups that have been waging war for 38 years. With 97 percent of returns counted this evening, election officials said Álvaro Uribe Vélez had received 53 percent of the vote, more than 20 percentage points ahead of his closest rival"

    To Build a Country, Build a Schoolhouse. One of the most important goals has been identified by the United Nations: universal primary education by 2015. By Amartya Sen.

    Church & State - June 2001: "With Help From Congressional Republicans And The Bush 'Faith-Based' Initiative, Controversial Korean Evangelist Sun Myung Moon Is Trying To Expand His Religious-Political Empire"

    Earth punctured by tiny cosmic missiles "Scientists have come to the conclusion that two mysterious explosions in the 1990s were caused by bizarre cosmic missiles. The two objects were picked up by earthquake detectors as they tore through Earth at up to 900,000 mph. According to scientists, the most plausible explanation is that they were "strangelets", clumps of matter that have so far defied detection but whose existence was posited 20 years ago. Formed in the Big Bang and inside extremely dense stars, strangelets are thought to be made from quarks - the subatomic particles found inside protons and neutrons."

    Stephen Wolfram - "A New Kind of Science" " Wolfram posits that virtually everything--the patterns on seashells, the ticks of financial markets, even the universe itself--is the result of instructions as simple as an eight-step software program (table). Unearthing all these rules, he declares, could lead to a new scientific renaissance. Biologists, for instance, could pinpoint the code governing the complex shapes and folding patterns of proteins. Within a generation or two, Wolfram predicts, his new kind of science will be taught in schools along with chemistry and math. He says his theory may even supplant today's physics; because it doesn't require calculus, it will attract smart researchers who don't want to learn advanced math. Wolfram also foresees a day, perhaps in his lifetime, when his name will be enshrined alongside those of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Albert Einstein."

    Saturday, May 25, 2002

    Debate on Arafat Stalls U.S. Policy, Aides to Bush Say: "The debate in the Bush administration has divided along familiar lines, officials said, with Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney pressing for a policy that would undermine Mr. Arafat's control over the Palestinian Authority and pave the way for a change in leadership. Secretary Powell and Mr. Tenet are said to argue that there is no alternative to Mr. Arafat. They advocate keeping him under pressure to deliver on his pledges of change. According to this view, political and economic reconstruction of the Palestinian Authority would set the stage for statehood and the gradual transition to broader leadership.... One Saudi political adviser said that the prince felt he had brought Mr. Arafat around, but that Mr. Bush had yet to bring Mr. Sharon around. "The crown prince feels that he has delivered his guy, and now the president needs to deliver his guy," the adviser said. "Arafat has made his commitment on political and security reforms, and we want to hold his feet to the fire, but unless the process moves forward, we could lose the momentum and that could spell disaster.""

    Japan Cuts Whaling Rights for Native Peoples of Arctic: "Frustrated by a string of defeats at the International Whaling Commission meeting here, Japan retaliated today, leading a successful movement to deny Alaska and Siberian native peoples a renewal of permission to hunt whales. It was the first time in the 56-year history of the commission that quotas allowing aboriginal subsistence whaling had been rejected.... Representatives of some of the world's largest environmental groups - rarely defenders of whaling - said they were shocked by what one called the callous politics of the Japanese move.  Richard N. Mott, vice president for international policy at the World Wildlife Fund, said: ``Using native Arctic nations as pawns in a political battle between superpowers in unconscionable. It has done enormous damage to Japan's reputation.''"

    'Ralph Ellison': Unfinished Business: "RALPH ELLISON Emergence of Genius. By Lawrence Jackson. - Jackson beautifully contextualizes Ellison, whether in Oklahoma, Alabama or New York, where he finally fled in 1936" - the first biography of Ellison

    Why Israel's 'seruvniks' say enough is enough: "The laywer representing Israeli conscripts who refuse to serve beyond the 1967 ceasefire lines explains why a growing number of soldiers are disobeying orders, in order to protect the basic values on which Israel was founded."

    Israeli Refuseniks' home page

    CBS "Sixty Minutes" show on Israeli refuseniks - 14-minute video segment

    Pilfering from Publishers: Have You Hugged an Indie Press Today?: "Borders Group Inc., the country's second-largest book retailer, has told book publishers that they have to attend expensive "marketing seminars" if they want to see themselves on store shelves. Moreover, they're putting the foxes of the publishing world in charge of the book store farm. According to a story in the San Francisco Chronicle, Borders' new plan is modelled on one that's used by grocers. The chain will choose publishers to co-manage each of 250 categories in their stores. These "captains" will be involved in determining which titles will be carried, displayed, and marketed, says Borders. Random House, for example, has been made "captain" of books for younger readers. " - sounds like it's time for a boycott of Borders.

    'Jihad': Predicting an Islamic Reformation: "''Jihad: The Trail of Political Islam'' will be a welcome respite for anyone who fears the fury associated with militant Islam. Despite the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 and the Palestinian suicide bombings in Israel, Gilles Kepel argues that the trend is, in fact, now on its last legs. The violence is merely a reflection of the movement's failure, not its success."

    A Big Wedding With a Smaller Bill: "guidelines adopted by Orthodox rabbinical authorities to curtail extravagant spending on weddings. At what is known as a "guidelines wedding," Rabbi Hirth will use a one-man band, and the music will be spiritual. The cost of decorations -- including flowers, centerpieces, fruit baskets and the bridal canopy -- may not exceed $1,800.... Under the guidelines, the wedding dinner may not exceed 400 guests, plus children, although additional guests may attend the nondinner portion. For very large families, up to 500 dinner guests are allowed. "

    Friday, May 24, 2002

    Israelis Consider New Limits on West Bank Palestinians: "The Israeli Army is stringing barbed wire around this city as part of what aid workers fear are sweeping new restrictions that will further squeeze the Palestinians' already crippled economy and perhaps stoke more violence. The barbed wire, evidently intended to prevent Palestinian attacks, blocks what used to be a way to sneak in and out of Ramallah without passing checkpoints. It is likely only to increase the frustration at the nearby Kalandia checkpoint, the only approved way to and from Jerusalem. The checkpoint is already the source of deep Palestinian frustration and recently seems to have become more permanent with the addition of various concrete blocks to channel traffic."

    Administratium: "Investigators at a major research institution recently discovered the heaviest element known to science and have tentatively named it Administratium. 
      Administratium has no protons or electrons, thus having an atomic number of 0. It has, however, 1 neutron, 125 deputy neutrons, 75 assistant neutrons and 111 deputy assistant neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons.It is also surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons. Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically, as it impedes every reaction it comes into contact with. According to the discoverers, a minute amount of Administratium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete when it would normally have occurred in less than a second.
      Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately 3 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a proportion of the deputy neutrons, assistant neutrons, and deputy assistant neutrons exchange places. In fact, an Administratium sample's mass will actually INCREASE over time, since with each reorganization some of the morons inevitably become neutrons, forming new isotopes.
      This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to speculate that Administratium is spontaneously formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as the "Critical Morass." You will recognize it when it occurs.

    Wanted: Ladybug Tenants: ""We've done quite a bit of research on releasing lady beetles and what we find is about 95% you release fly away within 12 hours," Flint of UC Davis said. "But if you have a high aphid population, a small percentage of them will stick around and clean up the plant." The cost of buying the ladybugs was just slightly less than... $20 "

    Sailors Sprayed With Nerve Gas in Cold War Test, Pentagon Says: "nerve or chemical agents were sprayed on a variety of ships and their crews to gauge how quickly the poisons could be detected and how rapidly they would disperse, as well as to test the effectiveness of protective gear and decontamination procedures in use at the time."

    Thursday, May 23, 2002

    Council Tracks Oil Pollution Causes: "-- Leaking oil tankers produce dramatic photos, but a new study says the vast majority of the human-related petroleum released into U.S. coastal waters comes from consumers, not the ships that carry the oil. The National Research Council reported Thursday that about 29 million gallons of oil enters the oceans around North America each year as a result of human activities. Of that, the largest share, 15.6 million gallons, comes from rivers and runoff, largely from such things as street runoff, industrial waste, municipal wastewater and wastewater from refineries. In addition, 1.6 million gallons of the pollution comes from recreational vessels, where two-stroke engines that mix oil and gas are often used in personal watercraft and as outboard engines."

    The Promises Film Project Fresh Air interview with "Promises" producers/writers/directors Justine Shapiro and B.Z. Goldberg

    The War Is Long Over, but Vietnam Continues: Review of "Vietnam Passage" - "through unfamiliar and revealing archival film and photographs. These focus on the Vietnamese experience of the war and its aftermath, including the country as it appears today, looking remarkably capitalistic but still exotic. The stories include wartime tragedy and triumph but also the less dramatic process of rebuilding families and lives in altered circumstances."

    Look Out, the Gurkhas Have Come! With Lawyers: " former Gurkhas have begun legal proceedings against the British government in the High Court here. Britain, they say, has discriminated against them for as long as they have been part of its army, paying them far less than other British soldiers and denying them a range of rights their colleagues take for granted. The case has an unusually high profile, in part because Cherie Booth, the wife of Prime Minister Tony Blair, is on the Gurkhas' legal team, essentially charging her husband's government with human rights violations."

    Some U.S. Backers of Israel Boycott Dailies Over Mideast Coverage: "Intense public reaction to coverage of the violence of the Middle East conflict has prompted unusually harsh attacks on several news media outlets and has led to boycotts of The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post. Broadcast news operations, including CNN and National Public Radio, have also been criticized. "

    Caracas 'Circles': Vicious, or Sociable?: " they have been called armed and fanatical pro-government thugs, the people who form the neighborhood groups, organized and financed by President Hugo Chávez's administration, known as the Bolivarian Circles. But here in the Isaías Medina Angarita neighborhood, the members of the local Circle are mothers and children, old men and a few teenagers. They meet to paint murals, pave pathways and make other improvements to their community, built helter-skelter on a dusty hillside overlooking this city."

    Hormone May Explain Difficulty Dieters Have Keeping Weight Off: "hormone called ghrelin, which makes people hungry, slows metabolism and decreases the body's ability to burn fat."

    Wednesday, May 22, 2002

    Tom Gross - National Review Online - Jeningrad What the British media said: a comprehensive right-wing attack on the portrayal of Jenin as a massacre.

    A New Imprint Is Dedicated to Black Readers: "Harlem Moon will be different in that all its books will be stylishly designed trade paperbacks rather than hardcovers. This will make them economically accessible to more readers, book publishers having awakened only relatively recently to the fact that there's a growing black population ravenous for reading material relevant to them. The new imprint will also publish a line of black classics that are now out of print, many in the public domain."

    Tuesday, May 21, 2002

    Ancient Tool of Survival is Deadly for the Heart: " the preponderance of evidence has indicated a strong relationship between what can be summed up as excessive emotional stress and an elevated risk of developing and dying of heart disease. Now in a comprehensive review published this year in Mayo Clinic Proceedings, the underlying physiology that explains these and other factors linked to heart disease was detailed "

    Runner's High? Endorphins? Fiction, Some Scientists Say: "only now are a few researchers rigorously examining exercise as an addictive behavior. They are finding that exercise, in rats at least, may actually be addictive but that it is not at all clear that the crucial brain chemical is an endorphin."

    The Welfare Washington Doesn't Know: "Most welfare recipients who left or were knocked off the welfare rolls are still struggling to survive. Within the Republican Party, I find myself in a tiny minority as a white male who grew up on welfare and was homeless on a number of occasions... I say with no doubt in my mind that the majority of those on welfare are desperate to work, provide for their families and exist with dignity. Very few are looking for a free ride. "

    Report Suggests Prostate Screening Tests Less Frequently for Some Patients: "Men with P.S.A. levels from 1 to 1.9 would need tests every two years. In both groups, Dr. Crawford said, 98 percent of men would have normal levels if retested after only a year. But the researchers recommended increased vigilance for men with normal levels of 2 or higher. "

    How the Settler Suburbs Grew: oped by David Newman, Ben Gurion University of the Negev - summary of history and politics of the settlements

    Right to Counsel Expanded by a Divided Supreme Court: "The Supreme Court expanded the right to counsel today, ruling 5 to 4 that a state may not impose even a suspended sentence â014 in which eventual imprisonment may be only a remote possibility â014 on an indigent defendant for whom it has not appointed a lawyer." - O'Connor swings "left", expanding Gideon.

    B'Tselem Releases New Report: Land Grab: Israel's Settlement Policy in the West Bank: "The research reveals that while the built-up areas of the settlements constitute only 1.7% of the land in the West Bank, the municipal boundaries are over three times as large: 6.8%. Regional councils constitute an additional 35.1%. Thus, a total of 41.9% of the area in the West Bank is controlled by the settlements. The report presents the various mechanisms by which Israel's governments have taken control of land and have encouraged Israeli citizens to move to settlements. "
    B'Tselem's Map of Jewish Settlements in the West Bank

    Ha'aretz - Israel forces internal movement permits on Palestinians "Donor country representatives say that the new measures have divided up the area into eight population regions, effectively isolated from one another, with traffic and movement control exercised by the Israel Defense Forces. "

    Monday, May 20, 2002

    Enemies of Reform: " Honesty in corporate accounting isn't a left-right issue; it's about protecting all investors from exploitation by insiders. By blocking reform of a broken system, the Bush administration is favoring the interests of a tiny corporate oligarchy over those of everyone else."

    An Anti-American Boycott Is Growing in the Arab World: "American support for Israel, especially during its recent military offensive in the occupied territories, is driving a grass-roots effort to boycott American products throughout the Arab world. With word spread via the Internet, mosque sermons, fliers and even mobile phone messages, the boycott seems to be slowly gathering force, especially against consumer products."

    A Vibrant Battler of Apartheid Keeps Her Vibrancy. Author Nadine Gordimer is celebrating South Africa's hard-fought freedom, even as she acknowledges the challenges ahead.

    Afghans Say 5 Killed in a U.S. Raid Were Farmers

    Stephen Jay Gould, Biologist and Theorist on Evolution, Dies at 60: "Whether eloquently and forcefully championing new or forgotten ideas or dismantling what he saw as misconceptions, Dr. Gould spent a career trying to shed light on an impossibly wide variety of subjects."

    'The Reckoning': Iraq and the Thief of Baghdad: "Sandra Mackey, the author of popular books on Saudi Arabia, Iran and the Arabs, has written an accessible history of Iraq. She is not a scholar of Iraq, and in all fairness to her, does not pretend to be. The Arabic memoirs and primary sources that sustain scholarly works are not to be found in ''The Reckoning.'' Nor is this a book of political journalism and travel; the closed political world of Iraq precludes that kind of inquiry. The result is a derivative work that provides a readable narrative of Iraq's history. "

    In DNA, New Clues to Jewish Roots: "The finding suggested that Jewish men who founded the communities traced their lineage back to the ancestral Mideastern population of 4,000 years ago from which Arabs, Jews and other people are descended. ... A new study now shows that the women in nine Jewish communities from Georgia, the former Soviet republic, to Morocco have vastly different genetic histories from the men.  .... Dr. Goldstein said it was up to historians to interpret the genetic evidence. His own speculation, he said, is that most Jewish communities were formed by unions between Jewish men and local women, though he notes that the women's origins cannot be genetically determined. "The men came from the Near East, perhaps as traders," he said. "They established local populations, probably with local women...  It is possible, Dr. Goldstein said, that the Ashkenazic community is a mosaic of separate populations formed the same way as the others."

    Officers May Gain More Than Investor in Move to Bermuda: "parade of companies that in recent months have proposed incorporating in Bermuda to reduce their American taxes usually provide the same rationale. They are doing it, they say, to increase their profits and, in turn, to benefit their shareholders. But left unsaid is another fact: the biggest beneficiaries could actually be the chief executives of these companies. "

    Lady Beetles

    Lady Beetle, HYG-2002-98: "How to Attract Native Beetles Grow pollen and vector flowers (angelica, dill); grow grains and allow weeds (dandelion, wild carrot, yarrow). Wheast is a combination of whey and yeast that can be sprayed on plants to attract lady beetles (wheast is an artificial diet). Protect egg clusters, larvae, and pupae on plants. To conserve lady beetles, use only selective pesticides. "

    Bush Faces Pressure From Congress to Alter Cuba Policy: "after decades in which the forces for isolating Cuba have dominated the policy, a new crop of lawmakers have demanded change. Advocates say that a majority in the House and Senate favor lifting the travel ban, but that the House Republican leadership has stymied any action. Farm groups, with substantial Republican support in Congress, are the most important growing organized constituency pressing to open lucrative overseas markets to American agriculture."

    Chilean Mystery: Clues to Vanished American: "Of more than 1,000 people cataloged by human rights groups as having "disappeared" during the 17 years General Pinochet was in power, the only American citizen is Boris Weisfeiler. He was 43 when he vanished.... Mr. Weisfeiler was probably kidnapped by Chilean state security forces, who reportedly handed him over to a secretive and heavily armed pro-Nazi religious sect based nearby. One military informant said Mr. Weisfeiler, a Russian-born Jew, was held captive there, interrogated, tortured and finally executed. The American records, which have prompted a reopening of the case, also show that diplomats at the United States Embassy in Santiago were always skeptical of the Chilean government's version of events, and pushed to have the case investigated aggressively. But their efforts were blocked by State Department officials in Washington, who were unwilling to provide the money needed for the investigation."

    For Sleep-Deprived, a Dream Drug?: "Notwithstanding the FDA's protests, there is every indication that modafinil is effective in keeping healthy people awake. It may soon be common for shift workers, soldiers and truck drivers to pop the pills before embarking on long journeys or difficult projects. Nancy Wesensten, a researcher at the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Silver Spring, has shown that healthy people who have been kept awake for 54 hours -- more than two nights -- still function effectively when given modafinil. " - Give them to all your workers and double your profits!

    Saturday, May 11, 2002

    Here is a wonderful moment from the Nixon tapes that captures Nixon re Jews, others, and his general obtuseness. Mitchell and Nixon are considering Rehnquist for a Supreme Court seat:
    N: Incidentally, what is Rehnquist? I suppose he is a damn Protestant?
    M: I'm sure of that. He's just WASPish as WASPish can be.
    N: Yeah, well, that's too damn bad. Tell him to change his religion.
    M: All right, I'll get him baptized this afternoon.
    N: Well, baptized and castrated, no, they don't do that, I mean they cirucmci-, no that's the Jews. Well anyway, however he is, get him changed

    M&M/Mars is currently asking consumers to vote for a new color for its M&M™s. Global Exchange is encouraging chocolate eaters to swing the votes in support of Fair Trade Certified chocolate between now and May 31.
    Fair Trade M&M's Ballot Box......
    * Vote Online for Fair Trade Certified M&M's at the M&M's web site: Choose "Write in Your Own Color" type "Fair Trade Certified!" in the box, and click to submit your vote.
    * Cast & Collect Fair Trade Ballots. From now until May 31, Fair Trade supporters across the world will urge their community members to fill out specially designed Fair Trade M&M's Ballots. Call or e-mail the HRAS for a stack of write-in ballots or download the ballots at
    * Fax A Prepared Letter Free to M&M/Mars from the Global Exchange web site:
    * WRITE a letter to M&M/MARS to register your vote.: Paul Michaels, President, M&M/Mars Inc., 6885 Elm St., McLean, VA 22101
    *CALL M&M/MARS at 1-800-627-7852.
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    Why I Refuse to Fight for Sharon's Settlements: "It became increasingly clear to me that the little orders that I was issued, and then the orders I gave my soldiers to carry out, had precious little to do with protecting the state. They had everything to do with protecting a group of zealots and their settlements, and maintaining a Kafkaesque system that spelled misery for ordinary Palestinians. After two years of deliberation and many sleepless nights, I came to the inescapable conclusion that Zionism is not what the zealots have made it. Zionism is not about occupation and territories; it is about obtaining a secure and internationally recognized home for the Jewish people. While some in Israel view refusal as betrayal, I refuse to betray the basic values and goals of Zionism. The continuing occupation imperils the future of the Jewish state. We must choose between land and legitimacy and between occupation and democracy. "

    Friday, May 10, 2002

    Pavarotti and Borrowed Time: "for at least 15 years, Mr. Pavarotti has been woefully undisciplined. Though he still did some remarkable singing, he coasted on his popularity and blithely counted on the intense work he put in during his early career to keep him going. Joan Sutherland, his closest colleague in opera, has been hinting publicly for several years that he should retire. In addition to chronic struggles with his weight, he has grappled in recent years with knee and hip surgery that sapped his stamina and hampered his mobility. Last season at the Met he sang some unfortunate performances as Radames in "Aida." He had to be propped up, not just musically but physically, with arms and stools, by the rest of the cast....
      He would spin one phrase with pliant bel canto grace, then stun you in the next with a viscerally powerful, dusky-toned outburst. Another mark of Mr. Pavarotti's singing, less widely acknowledged, is the seemingly natural way he binds the round vowel and sputtering consonant sounds of the Italian language to the sounds of the voice. This is not just a matter of good diction but the essence of the Italian vocal heritage, of which he has been one of the best exponents, perhaps one of the last. That he learned the tradition so thoroughly is remarkable, considering that Mr. Pavarotti's early musical education was virtually nil. "

    Thursday, May 09, 2002

    Death Penalty Moratorium in Maryland: "Gov. Parris Glendening imposed a moratorium Thursday on executions in Maryland until the state completes a study of whether there is racial bias in the use of the death penalty. Glendening issued a stay on the execution of Wesley Eugene Baker, who was scheduled to die by injection sometime next week, and said he would stay any other executions that come before him. Only one other state that has capital punishment, Illinois, has imposed a similar moratorium. Baker is one of 13 men - nine of them black - awaiting execution in Maryland."

    Suicide Planner Expresses Joy Over His Missions: "The prisoner, Abdel Karim Aweis, 31, a leader of Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades, a militant group linked to Yasir Arafat's Fatah movement, said he had wanted to even the score after growing numbers of Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops in months of intensifying violence. The goal of his group, he asserted, was to increase losses in Israel to a point at which the Israeli public would demand a withdrawal from the West Bank and Gaza Strip -- an aim he acknowledged has not been achieved."

    Microsoft's file-share rule makes waves. The software giant's stipulation on a file-sharing protocol has evoked new anger from open-source developers and may also have antitrust implications.

    U.N. Plans Soon to Streamline Application of Iraq Sanctions: "The five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have agreed on new procedures for the sanctions against Iraq that should make it far easier for Iraq to import nonmilitary goods. Approval of the changes was a victory for the United States and Britain, which have been seeking to streamline the procedures and deny President Saddam Hussein the claim that the sanctions were causing civilian suffering. "

    U.S. Attack on Warlord Aims to Help Interim Leader: "The Central Intelligence Agency, using a missile fired from an unmanned surveillance drone, tried on Monday to kill an Afghan factional leader who has vowed to topple the current government, Pentagon and administration officials said today. American officials said Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the leader of a militant and predominantly Pashtun party called Hezb-i-Islami, was the target of an American missile strike outside of Kabul. The officials said he survived the attack, which was carried out by a Predator drone carrying Hellfire antitank missiles."

    Florida Footsteps of a Harlem Great: "Hurston was born in Alabama in 1891 but grew up in the central Florida town of Eatonville. It was an extraordinary place, incorporated and populated entirely by blacks, and her father served for a time as its mayor. The Hurston family lived on five acres dotted with orange, tangerine, grapefruit and guava trees. She later described the town as having "five lakes, three croquet courts, three hundred brown skins, three hundred good swimmers, plenty guavas, two schools, and no jailhouse." Eatonville was remarkably prosperous and free of racism. Living there as a child gave Hurston an experience that was close to unique among African-American writers, and it led her to focus on black achievement rather than oppression."

    Men's Teams Benched as Colleges Level the Field: "Since the passage 30 years ago of the law commonly known as Title IX, more than 170 wrestling programs, 80 men's tennis teams, 70 men's gymnastics teams and 45 men's track teams have been eliminated, according to the General Accounting Office. The effort to achieve athletic equality for women is often perceived as a survival struggle between low-profile men's sports and their women's counterparts. Supporters of Title IX contend, however, that the real struggle is not between men's and women's teams, but between men's sports like wrestling and track and the real powerhouse of collegiate sports, football."

    Colombian War Brings Carnage to Village Altar: "117 people, including more than 40 children, were killed here last Thursday when a rebel rocket hit the church where they had sought refuge."

    Vote on Offshore Tax Plan Is Testing Company's Values: "if its shareholders approve a proposal in a vote on Thursday, Stanley will become a Bermuda company in address only, with its legal residence in Barbados. The company says its plan will slash its income tax bills by at least 28 percent -- $30 million a year -- and predicts that the resulting higher cash flow could by itself raise its stock price by 11.5 percent. Tax experts say the saving could be much higher."

    Rumsfeld Sets Up Showdown Over Weapon: "The decision will pit Mr. Rumsfeld, who said the Crusader did not fit his vision for a lighter, more nimble Army, against the gun's influential manufacturer, United Defense, and its supporters in Congress, who have vowed to keep $475 million for the program in the 2003 budget. The Crusader, a mobile, rapid-firing howitzer that can shoot 155mm shells up to 31 miles, is the most prominent Pentagon weapons program to face cancellation since 1991, when Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney killed the Navy's A-12 fighter jet program. Litigation challenging that decision is pending."

    House Backs Plan to Store Atomic Waste in Nevada: "While Representative Joe L. Barton, Republican of Texas, said adoption of the Yucca Mountain site would enable Nevada to reclaim its "nuclear heritage," Representative Berkley said Nevadans wanted none of that heritage because the government lied to them in the 1950's when it told them there was no danger from atomic bomb tests. She said that many Nevadans had died of cancer and that the government was now "asking us to trust them like our parents and grandparents did." "

    Ellen Ullman / Programmer turned novelist talks about computers, writing and the world we live in: "Technology remains dynamic, with its own excitements and dangers. What has lost its luster is the market philosophy that invaded the tech world.... After about 10 or 15 years, most programmers move on to other things. I really do think that programming -- the intensely narrow, detail-of-the-problem viewpoint -- is not sustainable as one gains experience.... I don't think I can write both novels and code -- code is too hungry; it eats you up.... 
    the more restricted range of interactions the robots provide will change the way children interact with other kids, other humans... [Quoting Turkle:] "Why get better and better at fooling people [into thinking these devices are alive] when we already have perfect companions -- other people?" "

    Wednesday, May 08, 2002

    Big Tobacco, smuggling: "Twenty-five percent of exported cigarettes, according to the World Health Organization, are smuggled. Smuggling has enabled multinational tobacco companies to increase sales volume dramatically by evading local tariffs and competing head to head with domestic producers, thereby helping to establish internationally recognizable brands....
    From 1984 to 1993.. the number of cigarettes illegally imported into [Colombia] quadrupled. Meanwhile, domestic cigarette producers' share of total cigarette sales dropped.... Colombia used to have a thriving domestic tobacco industry, but since 1984 the amount of hectares devoted to tobacco crops has plummeted. As the domestic cigarette industry imploded, many tobacco farmers made the shift to Colombia's far more famous addictive crop, coca.

    The War on What?: "Indonesians are still listening, and they're worried they're hearing America shift again -- from a war for democracy to a war on terrorism, in which the U.S. will judge which nations are with it or against it not by the integrity of their elections or the justice of their courts, but by the vigor with which their army and police combat Al Qaeda. For Indonesia, where democracy is still a fragile flower, anything that encourages a comeback by the long-feared, but now slightly defanged, army and police -- the tools of Mr. Suharto's long repression -- is not good news."

    Bethlehem - Under Siege, Fiercely Longing for Peace: "Sick of the siege, he is also careful about blame. "The feeling of revenge on both sides will last a very long time," Mr. Hazboun said. "And we Christians, like our church, are caught in the middle, as usual." When the Israeli soldiers came a few nights ago and asked for weapons, Mr. Hazboun said, "I told them, `My weapon is God,' and they kept silent. Then I added some words, that `Every man who carries arms is a coward,' and the soldier kept his head down.""

    Study Finds Far Less Pesticide Residue on Organic Produce: "The first detailed scientific analysis of organic fruits and vegetables, published today, shows that they contain a third as many pesticide residues as conventionally grown foods. The findings, published in the Food Additives and Contaminants Journal, confirmed what consumers of organic food have taken for granted but did not settle the argument over whether organic food is safer than conventional food treated with chemical pesticides."

    U.S., in a Shift, Tells Justices Citizens Have a Right to Guns: "The position, expressed in a footnote in each of two briefs filed by Solicitor General Theodore B. Olson, incorporated the view that Attorney General John Ashcroft expressed a year ago in a letter to the National Rifle Association. Mr. Ashcroft said that in contrast to the view that the amendment protected only a collective right of the states to organize and maintain militias, he "unequivocally" believed that "the text and the original intent of the Second Amendment clearly protect the right of individuals to keep and bear firearms.""

    Over 100 Dead in Nepal Rebel Attack: "The Bush administration recently asked Congress for $20 million in non-combat assistance for Nepal. ``Nepal is fighting a Maoist rebellion, and Nepal is an example, again, of a democracy, and the United States is committed to helping Nepal,'' White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said Tuesday."

    Truetype embedding-enabler : DMCA threats: "The distribution of this program, whether for free or for a fee, infringes my client's federal copyrights in their TrueType programs. This infringement carries the strong possibility of very substantial statutory damages, the imposition of a federal injunction, and an award of attorneys' fees. Demand is made upon to you to immediately remove this program from your website and to contact me so that we can discuss remaining issues between you and my clients. "

    The Answer is in the Force, by Chris Toensing: "The Israeli-Palestinian standoff requires a drastic solution: a UN peacekeeping force armed with a mandate to end Israel's occupation of Palestinian lands, now nearly 35 years old. Until recently, this idea was unimaginable. Now the impasse between Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's bellicosity and Palestinian desperation conjures up scenarios so frightening that international peacekeepers must be sent into action sooner rather than later.... The failed Hebron experiment underlines the fact that not just any international intervention will do in Israel-Palestine."

    JewishPeaceNews on the latest suicide bombing "The loathsome targeting of civilians by Palestinian radicals is not only morally abhorrent, but beggars comprehension at even the most inhuman tactical level. What can the goals of such an attack be, even for militant Palestinian groups vying for prestige and power? Is it merely blind revenge?
      Certainly, such assaults on civilians do nothing to advance the liberation cause of the Palestinians -- quite the contrary, they curtail international sympathy for Palestinians living under the suffocating regime of Israeli occupation....  
      What Tuesday's bombing has demonstrated... is the futility of the Sharon government's military approach to the conflict.... 
      That the Sharon government blames Arafat for a bombing that occurred just days after his release from weeks of imprisonment by Israel in his compound suggests that this attack provides a fine excuse for Sharon to carry out the objective of politically eliminating Arafat.
      Once again, the militants -- those who care nothing for the lives of anyone who interferes with their exclusivist objectives -- dictate policy. Once again, negotiations are ruled out by those who could most easily reinitiate them, and who most stand to benefit from them. And once again, the innocent suffer.

    Ha'aretz - More money for the settlements: "The Knesset Finance Committee yesterday approved the transfer of NIS 19.7 million to settlements to improve their water infrastructure following the construction of bypass roads. This amount is beyond the NIS 30 million approved for settlements two days ago - NIS 17.5 million for agriculture in the Jordan Valley, NIS 8.5 million in grants to young people settling in the Jordan Valley and the Golan Heights and NIS 3.76 million for beefing up security. "The poorer the state becomes, the richer the settlements become," said MK Mussi Raz (Meretz), who opposed the funding. "The settlements are drying up Israel's economy." "

    Tuesday, May 07, 2002

    Dry High Plains Are Blowing Away, Again: "The soil is on the move again in the High Plains, drifting over a swath of the American midsection calcified by drought. For some, it is reviving memories of a time when the world seemed to blow away. There have been serious droughts here before, some as fierce as the dry spells of the 1930's. But this drought is among the worst, and in some counties, particularly in the northern plains, it is the most devastating in more than a century."

    Focus On Jerusalem~Map Room - the maps are interesting, though the narrative is by anti-Arab apocalyptic Christian fundamentalists.

    Molecular Expressions: Science, Optics and You - Powers Of 10: Interactive Java Tutorial - similar to the one on March 14, but nicer in the "small" direction.

    Afghan Warlords Squeeze Profits From the War on Drugs, Critics Say: " critics say the crackdown, now a few weeks old, is showing many of the hallmarks of the wider ills besetting Afghanistan. Warlords, these people say, have hijacked the program and turned it into a way of gouging cash for use in recruiting new followers, paying soldiers and acquiring weapons. Many of the crops the warlords claim to have destroyed continue to yield opium gum, and farmers mill about every day at the warlords' gates complaining that they have been denied the money that is their due."

    Dams, and Politics, Channel Flow of the Mighty Missouri River: "By the end of this month, the Army Corps of Engineers will decide whether to alter flows in the Missouri. But no matter what the corps decides, there will be challenges in the courts and a long-running battle will continue in Congress among influential lawmakers representing far ends of the 2,341-mile-long river. In Congressional disputes over the Missouri, parochialism almost always trumps party loyalty and political ideology. The hundreds of biologists, hydrologists and other river experts who assembled here in April agreed that the scientific debate about how best to rescue the Missouri had been over for years — and the restoration of seasonal river flows had won."

    Corporate Anthems - So earnest and tedious that they are hilarious

    Monday, May 06, 2002

    China Makes Progress on Chips: "Despite earlier efforts by the United States to keep China behind the high-technology curve, the country is fast catching up with America's ability to make advanced semiconductors, the computer chips that run everything from rice cookers to missile guidance systems."

    Yiddish: For a Dying Literature, a Digital Savior: "As a result of a four-year digitization project and print-on-demand technology, a literature that thrived from 1864 to 1939 will suddenly become proportionally the most in-print literature on the planet. Readers will be able to go to a Web site ( and order any of 12,000 titles in Yiddish. The contents of the book will be retrieved from an electronic database, printed, bound in paperback and shipped within a few days. Members will pay $21.75 per book, nonmembers $29. Aaron Lansky, the president of the National Yiddish Book Center, which initiated the digitization project, said that between 18,000 and 20,000 titles, not including pamphlets and other ephemera, have been published in Yiddish. With two-thirds of those books now becoming effectively in print, a much greater portion of Yiddish literature will be available than is the case with the literature of any other language, he said."

    U.S. Says It Will Not Support International Criminal Court: "Bush administration officials said today that the new International Criminal Court should not expect any cooperation from the United States and its prosecutors will not be given any information from the United States to help them bring cases against any individuals."

    New Details Emerge From the Einstein Files: "The Einstein File: J. Edgar Hoover's Secret War Against the World's Most Famous Scientist," by Fred Jerome, who sued the government with the help of the Public Citizen Litigation Group to obtain a less censored version of the file.... The new material spells out how the bureau spied on Einstein and his associates and identifies some of the informants who said he was a spy."

    Techniques: Babies Who Cry Before Sleeping: "parents were taught how to let the babies cry longer, until they learned to go to sleep on their own. After two months, the group that got instruction reported much more improvement than the group that did not -- 53 out of 76 versus 36 out of 76. And women in the instruction group reported fewer signs of depression."

    Resistance: Avoiding Ear-Infection Drugs: " parents who sought treatment for their children's ear infections were given antibiotic prescriptions, but with a twist. They were asked not to fill them for 48 hours unless the symptoms worsened. The parents were also given pain medications, including ear drops. Doctors have long known that the infection, acute otitis media, can be treated without antibiotics. Concern over the emergence of antibiotic-resistant bacteria has led to an effort to reduce the use of the drugs."

    Dodging Peanuts: To Some, a Lifelong Challenge: "Peanuts are the leading cause of fatal and nearly fatal food allergy reactions. Although allergies to peanuts were once considered rare, surveys indicate that the incidence has been rising in recent years....  millions of susceptible children are being exposed to peanut proteins long before their immune systems are able to handle them. In fact, when peanuts are eaten in pregnancy and lactation, some children may become sensitized to the allergenic proteins before birth or, more likely, through breast milk. "

    Freed Burmese Democracy Leader Proclaims 'New Dawn': "Freed this morning after 19 months of house arrest in the capital, Yangon, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, 56, the leader of the pro-democracy movement, said it was time to move forward from a period of fence-mending to the beginnings of substantive change in the country, the former Burma."

    Washington Accuses Cuba of Germ-Warfare Research: "administration officials say the United States now believes that Cuba has been experimenting with anthrax, as well as a small number of other deadly pathogens that they declined to identify.... Cuban biotechnological research is far advanced in genetic engineering. That has enabled Cuba to make new vaccines for its comprehensive immunization program, which is widely admired by scientists and physicians. "

    True Blue Americans: " what's really outrageous is the claim that the heartland is self-reliant. That grotesque farm bill, by itself, should put an end to all such assertions; but it only adds to the immense subsidies the heartland already receives from the rest of the country. As a group, red [Bush-vote] states pay considerably less in taxes than the federal government spends within their borders; blue [Gore-vote] states pay considerably more. Over all, blue America subsidizes red America to the tune of $90 billion or so each year.... There's no mystery about why the heartland gets such special treatment: it's a result of our electoral system, which gives states with small populations — mainly, though not entirely, red states — disproportionate representation in the Senate, and to a lesser extent in the Electoral College. In fact, half the Senate is elected by just 16 percent of the population."

    A bridge too far, By Gideon Levy: "Once more the occupation reaches into every corner - the home, the school, the workplace, the road, the field, the store, and the deathbed. But in contrast to the pre-Oslo period, when there was a full occupation and responsibility for the life and welfare of the residents was in Israeli hands, through the agency of the military governors, Israel now takes no responsibility for the lives of the occupied population. This is a grave and intolerable change. In accordance with both international law and the rules of natural justice, Israel, which ravaged the civilian infrastructures and is keeping an entire nation in conditions of imprisonment, is responsible - as the occupying power - for the fate of the occupied."

    Apartheid in the Holy Land - Desmond Tutu

    Tel Aviv police violence against peaceful Jewish protesters: "they cornered two boys and beat them up so badly that their backs look like a checkers board. they smashed a loudspeaker into a third person's face. they grabbed arbitrarily two young people and arrested them, pulled them behind the police cars and continued pulling them up by their arms and beating them. they kicked another women from kvisa in the jaw."

    Jenin War Crimes Investigation Needed (Human Rights Watch Press release): "In its forty-eight page report, "Israel, the Occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip, and the Palestinian Authority Territories: Jenin: IDF Military Operations," Human Rights Watch identified fifty-two Palestinians who were killed during the operation, of whom twenty-two were civilians. Many of the civilians were killed willfully or unlawfully. Human Rights Watch also found that the IDF used Palestinian civilians as "human shields" and used indiscriminate and excessive force during the operation. "The abuses we documented in Jenin are extremely serious, and in some cases appear to be war crimes," said Peter Bouckaert, senior researcher at Human Rights Watch and a member of the investigative team. "Criminal investigations are needed to ascertain individual responsibility for the most serious violations. Such investigations are first and foremost the duty of the Israeli government, but the international community needs to ensure that meaningful accountability occurs." "

    Palestinian Authority: End Torture and Unfair Trials (Human Rights Watch Press release, New York, November 30, 2001): "The report says at least ten separate Palestinian security and police forces are operating in PA territory, all of them operating above the law. They have systematically ignored orders from the High Court to release detainees who are being held arbitrarily. Detainees are commonly arrested without a warrant and are not told the reason for their arrest nor allowed access to a lawyer during interrogation. Once arrested, they can spend months in detention without charge or trial. The practice of incommunicado detention exacerbates the routine use of torture. Detainees are frequently subjected to "shabah" (prolonged sitting or standing in painful positions); "falaqa" (beating on the soles of the feet); punching; kicking; and suspension from the wrists. Five Palestinians are known to have died in police or security force custody since the current intifada began. " -- [So is Human Rights Watch biased toward the Palestinians as charged by Israel?]

    Ha'aretz "Ibrahim Haleifa went out to work in the morning, riding on his donkey. The soldiers opened fire from the armored vehicle at the edge of the village. They were strictly enforcing the curfew, even in this remote village, even against this stray youth. The neighbors say that it took half an hour before they could get the bleeding young man off the street and into the house, because the soldiers fired at anyone who tried to approach him. It took another hour to reach the hospital. "

    Foreign Policy In Focus - U.S. Eyes Caspian Oil in "War On Terror "While America has successfully used the "war on terror" to wrestle the oil- and gas-rich central Asian region from Moscow, the south Caucasus could prove a much tougher nut to crack."

    Foreign Policy In Focus -- The U.S. Hit List at the United Nations "the U.S. has mounted a campaign to purge international civil servants judged to be out of step with Washington in the war on terrorism and its insistence that the U.S. have the last word in all global governance issues. The first and most prominent to go was Mary Robinson, the former Irish president whose work as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has been acclaimed by human rights groups across the world."

    IDF admits 'ugly vandalism' against Palestinian property - By Amos Harel - Ha'aretz (Israel) - 30 April 2002 (no URL available).
      Israel Defense Forces sources have admitted that Palestinian claims of the systematic destruction of property, particularly computers, during the recent military operations in Ramallah are, for the most part, true. "There were indeed wide-scale, ugly phenomena of vandalism," a senior military sources told Ha'aretz yesterday.
      And while another military source said that the army had yet to undertake a full investigation into the matter, there are already many individual cases that are being prosecuted through the military justice system.
      Within the context of Operation Defensive Shield, an intelligence unit specialized in systematically going through public institutions of the Palestinian Authority and collecting hard disks from computers in offices, for the purposes of examining them based on the assumption that some would contain information on terrorist activity.
      The IDF sources explained that because various PA institutions, including civil authorities, were involved in terror, some of the computers had indeed included valuable intelligence.
      However, the sources admitted that in many cases the searches had turned into systematic vandalism, without any justification.
      "It was not an order from above," said a senior source, "but that's how it was understood in the field. The infantry, both the conscripts and the reservists who accompanied the intelligence teams, understood that they were allowed -- or indeed expected -- to destroy the property in the offices."
      "The result," the source continued, "was damage running into hundreds of thousands of dollars. Soldiers smashed computer monitors and destroyed keyboards. There were places in which bank branches were destroyed and automatic tellers were raided. In some cases, theft accompanied the vandalism. It was significant damage, widespread and totally illogical."
      The source said that while the extent of the damage was clear, the IDF had yet to undertake a serious investigation into what had taken place.
      A reserve officer who played a senior role in the Ramallah area said that he believed most of the damage had been done during hunts for wanted men and munitions. "We found weapons and sabotage equipment in what were seemingly civil institutions," the officer said. "There were instances in which soldiers broke open doors because nobody was inside. Clearly there was looting, but most of the damage was done during the hunt for people and weapons. This was war, not a lab operation."
      A veteran intelligence officer said the explanation for the IDF's behavior was to be found in the difference between the fighting in the territories and previous wars in Lebanon and the Sinai. "Those were clear-cut enemy territories; and it was clear to the intelligence units that they would take everything because everything was military equipment. In the Palestinian Authority, everything was mixed up -- civilian, security, terrorist. It is very difficult to make the distinction. Some of the damage was done by the unit, and some by other soldiers, at their own initiative."
      Reservists who served in the Ramallah and Bethlehem areas said they had witnessed many instances of deliberate damage caused by soldiers to Palestinian property. Some also spoke of cases of looting.
      "The extent of the looting is much greater than could have been expected in advance," a senior legal source told Ha'aretz. "This is an ugly and serious phenomenon."
      Some cases involved two or three soldiers who had worked together, the source said, noting that reservists as well as conscripts had been involved. Some of the suspects were combat troops, the source added; and in certain cases, military defenders had reservations about representing suspects due to the nature of the crimes.
      Most of the incidents are expected to end in plea bargains, with the convicted serving prison sentences. The majority of the looting took place in Ramallah, though there were reports of instances in Bethlehem as well. Most of the cases are in Central Command's JAG unit.

    Letter from a Methodist minister to President Bush: "I am baffled and confused by your behavior. You claim Christ but act like Caesar. There is blood all over your hands, with the promise of even more blood to come. You sit atop the nations like the biblical Whore of Babylon, openly fornicating with the military men of might, their corporate sponsors, their nuclear madness, and their insatiable hunger for global armament. Is this how you learned Christ?"

    Dick Armey Calls for Ethnic Cleansing of Palestinians: "House Republican Majority Leader Dick Armey ( R-TX) called for the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the occupied territories and endorsed Israel's conquests of those lands. Armey said that he "is content to have a Palestinian state" but is "not content to give up any part of Israel for the purpose of a Palestinian state." He defined the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel-East Jerusalem, the West Bank and Gaza Strip-as Israel. He also said he has "thought this through for a lot of years" and believes that Palestinians living in the West Bank should be removed. Armey stated that "there are many Arab nations that have many hundreds of thousands of acres of land, soil, and property and opportunity to create a Palestinian state." "

    Mammograms on Trial: Science News

    Sunday, May 05, 2002

    The World We're In - Will Hutton: "Those Americans who do not get to college are pushed into the labour market with a poverty of skills, educational and vocational training. Those who do get to college are overwhelmingly students from the higher socio-economic backgrounds, just as they always have been; a study in 1965 found that two-thirds of the explanation for educational achievement was accounted for by family income; a study 30 years later found exactly the same figure. As inequality grows, the grip of the wealthy on educational advantage becomes ever more eviden"

    Edward Hammond: Natl Academy of Sciences Suppresses Public Documents on Chem/Bio Weapons: " If these documents disappear from the public record it will be a sad day for the US National Academies and another blow to US transparency on CBW. In some ways a more disturbing one than others, because this involves expunging items previously available for public view and which form the basis of recommendations from a very high, quasi-public US scientific authority."

    Palestine Chronicle - Where are the Israeli Activists?: "there's an evident effort to hide from the public any signs of collaboration between Israelis and Palestinians. This is done in order to preserve the hatred and keep the war going. "

    Saturday, May 04, 2002

    Tikkun - Edward Said: "The profound question facing Israel and its people is this: is it willing juridically to assume the rights and obligations of being a country like any other, and forswear the kind of impossible land ownership assertions for which Sharon and his parents and his soldiers have been fighting since day one? In 1948 Palestinians lost 78 per cent of Palestine. In 1967 they lost the last 22 per cent, both times to Israel. Now the international community must lay upon Israel the obligation to accept the principle of real, as opposed to fictional, partition, and to accept the principle of limiting Israel's untenable extra-territorial claims, those absurd Biblically-based pretensions, and laws that have so far allowed it to override another people completely. Why is that kind of fundamentalism tolerated unquestioningly? "

    The Conservative Cabal That's Transforming American Law "With 25,000 members plus scores of close affiliates nationwide--including Supreme Court justices Thomas and Antonin Scalia, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, and University of Chicago brainboxes Richard Epstein and Frank Easterbrook (also a federal appellate judge)--the Federalist Society is quite simply the best-organized, best-funded, and most effective legal network operating in this country.  Its rank-and-file includes conservative lawyers, law students, law professors, bureaucrats, activists, and judges.  They meet at law schools and function rooms across the country to discuss and debate the finer points of legal theory and substance on panels that often include liberals--providing friction, stimulus, and the illusion of balance.  What gets less attention, however, is that the Society is accomplishing in the courts what Republicans can't achieve politically.  There is nothing like the Federalist Society on the left."

    Profile of a right-wing conspirator: The case of Theodore Olson: Soberly written and apparently well researched but with no footnotes

    Tikkun- Strategy for Ending the Occupation:  "the U.S. political system, particularly the Congress, which is responsive to the political and economic clout of groups like the American Israel Political Action Committee (AIPAC), as well as to the new found pro-Sharonism of some fundamentalist Christians, and the right wing of the Republican party, is not capable of playing the role of honest broker, but is increasingly pulled to give a blank check to the most hawkish programs of the Israeli government. "

    Israel's Jewish Critics Aren't 'Self-Hating': Rabbi Michael Lerner - "Many American Jews understand the need in today's world to abandon chauvinism and insistence on Jewish "specialness." We need instead to affirm those parts of Jewish tradition that lead us to be able to recognize the spirit of God in every human being on the planet, and to recognize that our security will come not from more armaments for Israel, but from more love and connection between the Jewish people and all other peoples. There is no special path to Jewish safety and security that does not also lead us to global safety and security for all peoples."

    Notes from Faculty Lecture on Bio/Warfare/Terrorism/Weapons:  - Francis A. Boyle Professor of International Law - long, sketchy, provocative. "I believe the FBI knows exactly who was behind [the anthrax] attack and they have probably concluded that yes, it was someone who was currently involved in illegal and criminal biological warfare research by the United States government. Either the Pentagon or the CIA or one of their private contractors. And for that reason they are not going to apprehend and they are not going to indict him because obviously he would spill the beans on the whole thing and implicate the Pentagon, CIA, whoever is behind this."

    CBS 60 Minutes - Refusniks Speak Out : "Members of the group are considered heroes by some and traitors by others. "I felt like what I was doing was wrong," says Iczkovics. "Our presence there simply causes an impossible situation for their normal life." The two discussed their reservations among other soldiers and eventually more joined their movement to refuse to fight in the Occupied Territories. Amit Mashiah tells Simon of a confrontation with an old Palestinian woman an incident that he said helped convince him to become a Refusenik. "There was an old lady who ran to me and spat in my face. It's a dangerous situation. You've got your soldiers behind you seeing you've been spat in the face and what do you do?" Mashiah asks. He tells Simon that he "shoved her real hard," and says it was worse for him to shove her than it was to have been spat upon. "It was a terrible thing to do," he says. "

    Foreign Policy In Focus - U.S. Shadow Over Venezuela "Chavez added one million children to the nation's schools. He increased economic growth by 4 percent. Infant mortality and unemployment dropped, and literacy and minimum wages increased. He also rewrote agreements with Phillips Petroleum and Exxon/Mobil to give Venezuela a bigger slice of its oil revenues, and appointed new directors to the state-owned oil company to keep prices in line with the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Companies. Venezuela has long been a "ratebuster," pumping more oil and selling it for less that OPEC did, thus denying the country the income from higher prices. Of all his accomplishments, this may have been the fatal one. Mess with big oil under the Bush Doctrine at your own peril."

    Fidel Castro at Monterrey Conference: A Better World Is Possible: "The world economy is today a huge casino. Recent analyses indicate that for every dollar that goes into trade, over one hundred end up in speculative operations completely disconnected from the real economy. As a result of this economic order, over 75 percent of the world population lives in underdevelopment, and extreme poverty has already reached 1.2 billion people in the Third World. So, far from narrowing the gap is widening. The revenue of the richest nations that in 1960 was 37 times larger than that of the poorest is now 74 times larger. The situation has reached such extremes that the assets of the three wealthiest persons in the world amount to the GDP of the 48 poorest countries combined. The number of people actually starving was 826 million in the year 2001. There are at the moment 854 million illiterate adults while 325 million children do not attend school. There are 2 billion people who have no access to low cost medications and 2.4 billion lack the basic sanitation conditions. No less than 1 1 million children under the age of 5 perish every year from preventable causes while half a million go blind for lack of vitamin A."

    Yigal Bronner: A Journey to Beit Jalla: "what I saw, heard and experienced-- the child confined to his home for a month, the old lady running after the food-truck, the men lying on the floor of the army vehicle, the soldiers humiliating my Palestinian friends at the roadblock-- all that was quite educational. It allowed me to understand that what Israel has been destroying in Palestine is all but the infrastructure of terrorism. It has been destroying the agricultural, educational, medical and road infrastructure; it has been eroding goodwill and undermining whatever is left of the Palestinian desire for peace. It has been sowing hunger, poverty, humiliation and hatred, all of which only serve to fortify the infrastructure of terrorism. I go to sleep thinking of Amos and Laith, hoping that they can somehow grow up as friends."

    Arundhati Roy: Democracy and Religious Fascism: "Last night a friend from Baroda called. Weeping. It took her fifteen minutes to tell me what the matter was. It wasn't very complicated. Only that Sayeeda, a friend of hers, had been caught by a mob. Only that her stomach had been ripped open and stuffed with burning rags. Only that after she died, someone carved 'OM' on her forehead. Precisely which Hindu scripture preaches this?.... The more the two sides try and call attention to their religious differences by slaughtering each other, the less there is to distinguish them from one another. They worship at the same altar. They're both apostles of the same murderous god, whoever he is. In an atmosphere so vitiated, for anybody, and in particular the Prime Minister, to arbitrarily decree exactly where the cycle started is malevolent and irresponsible. Right now we're sipping from a poisoned chalice: a flawed democracy laced with religious fascism. Pure arsenic. What shall we do? What can we do?"

    Foreign Policy In Focus - Talking Points: Israeli-Palestinian Conflict : [Good clear summary of the issues]. "On virtually all of the outstanding issues in the peace process (the extent of the Israeli withdrawal, the fate of the Israeli settlements, the status of Jerusalem, and the resettlement of Palestinian refugees), the Palestinian negotiating position is far more consistent with international law, UN Security Council resolutions, and U.S. policy prior to the Clinton administration than is the Israeli negotiating position. "

    Foreign Policy In Focus - Israel's True Intentions in Removing Arafat : "The sustained and myopic focus on the Palestinian leader, Yasser Arafat, has little to do with stopping "terrorism." What removing Arafat will do is induce a Palestinian civil war and, by extension, give Israel a pretext for re-occupying the Palestinian territories. "

    Foreign Policy In Focus - Ariel Sharon, Take A Bow: "Prime Minister Sharon has achieved in a few short weeks what the United Nations has failed to do for twelve years. At the Arab summit in Beirut, Kuwait and Iraq have all but kissed and made up: Iraq agrees that Kuwait exists and recognizes its borders and Kuwait spoke against a U.S. invasion of Iraq. And Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia literally kissed the Iraqi representative. Not only has Sharon's war on Arafat unified the Arab world in ways not seen in decades, it has also had the effect of undermining the legal basis for the continuing sanctions and U.S. bombing of Iraqi targets. "

    Friday, May 03, 2002

    Ricky Johnson to be executed today at 6 pm: "Despite a natiowide outcry against this travesty of justice, the State of Carolina plans to move forward with the ultimate punishment on a man that may well be innocent and who is definitely not a danger to those around him. "

    Rights Group Doubts Mass Deaths in Jenin, but Sees Signs of War Crimes: "Human Rights Watch, a group that is generally considered fair-minded, concluded that those actions, among others, constituted "strong prima facie evidence" that Israeli soldiers "committed grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions, or war crimes" and called for further investigation by Israeli or international bodies...He maintained that his group was not singling out the Israelis for criticism, and that it had also investigated the Palestinian Authority's failure to punish suspected terrorists and was now investigating suicide bombings. That practice, the group says, is a crime against humanity because it involves intentionally attacking civilians."

    Thursday, May 02, 2002

    Guardian: "Across West Bank, daily tragedies go unseen Suzanne Goldenberg reveals the extent of abuses against civilians in Israel's four-week military offensive"

    Guardian: "Both the International Committee of the Red Cross and Amnesty International say there is enough evidence to justify a full-scale investigation for war crimes."

    Guardian : "Israeli perspective 'We fight like girls and we are accused of a massacre' "

    Guardian - Brutal Yes, Massacre No: "But other Israeli soldiers, speaking anonymously, have a different view. Their version of events is this: the commanders of the operation were complacent. An arrest raid against the camp a month before had gone without a hitch so they assumed Jenin would be relatively easy. Instead it turned into vicious fighting on both sides. After the 13 Israeli soldiers were killed in a booby-trapped bomb and crossfire ambush, say these reservists, the soldiers simply lost control. It is a version, curiously, given credit by the Palestinian residents of the camp. For their accounts, taken together, describe a breakdown of command at the height of the fighting. Some describe one group of soldiers calling to them to evacuate their homes before destruction then being threatened with being shot by other soldiers who insisted that a curfew was still in force. What they describe is a panic that seems to have taken hold of the Israeli army in Jenin camp, and in its panic it laid the camp to waste. But panic is not an excuse for gross violations of human rights."

    World War 3 Report: "THE PALESTINE FRONT" - extensive compilation of reports from Palestine, post-Jenin

    Claims of massacre go unsupported by Palestinian fighters - Boston Globe: " In interviews yesterday with teenage fighters, a leader of Islamic Jihad, an elderly man whose home was at the center of the fighting, and other Palestinian residents, all of whom were in the camp during the battle, none reported seeing large numbers of civilians killed. All said they were allowed to surrender or evacuate when they were ready to do so, though some reported being mistreated while in Israeli detention. "

    Arab accounts back Israeli version of Jenin: "Testimonies of guerrilla warfare, booby traps, bomb-laden child 'martyrs'"  [from American right-wing press]

    Aerial Photographs of Jenin - from IDF, showing the destroyed area in context

    Ex-Soldier Fabricated Chechnya Story, Russian Officials Say: "Andrei Samorodov, a former Russian Army officer who said last month that he had fled the battlefield in Chechnya in 1999 to escape pressure from fascist cadets to execute civilians during Russia's assault, was not serving in the army at that time, according to Russian officials and acquaintances of his. Mr. Samorodov apparently fabricated his case for political asylum in the United States, which was granted in May 2000"

    Israeli May Day convoys bring food to West Bank: "We knew it was just another drop and the need is much greater, but it was symbolic and a very very moving scene. 200-300 people, young and old, Israeli Jews and Palestinians, all climbing the little hill at the checkpoint and carrying bags of rice, sugar, flower... a farmer brought big boxes of avocados from his plantation. All were equal, working for the same cause. People who refuse to give up humanity. An island of sanity in the madness."

    Wednesday, May 01, 2002

    What really happened when Israeli forces went into Jenin? Justin Huggler and Phil Reeves have unearthed compelling evidence of an atrocity - Independent, UK: "We have found that, while the Israeli operation clearly dealt a devastating blow to the militant organisations -- in the short term, at least -- nearly half of the Palestinian dead who have been identified so far were civilians, including women, children and the elderly. They died amid a ruthless and brutal Israeli operation, in which many individual atrocities occurred, and which Israel is seeking to hide by launching a massive propaganda drive." [long, detailed investigative report]

    JENIN - THE PROPAGANDA WAR Tanya Reinhart : "In Israel, Jenin is perceived mainly as a public relations problem (called in Hebrew 'hasbara' -explaining). It appears even that the army and the government believe that Israel is winning the propaganda battle."

    Opposing rallies find common ground for peace: "Stanford University was the location for a demonstration ... in solidarity with the Palestinian struggle. ... counter-demonstrators in solidarity with Israel. ... as the event came to a close, someone spoke on the microphone asking the demonstrators on both sides not to replicate the conflict, but to join and sing together for peace. The two demonstrations then merged. And Israeli and Palestinian flags flew side by side."

    Hamas would accept Saudi peace plan: "Hamas spokesman Ismail Abu Shanab told a San Francisco Chronicle reporter on Friday that Hamas is prepared to accept the Saudi peace plan which calls for an end to violence against Israel and political normalization in exchange for its withdrawal to the pre-1967 borders. "

    The Road to Nowhere - Tony Judt: "since 1967 Israel has changed in ways that render its traditional self-description absurd. It is now a regional colonial power, by some accounts the world's fourth-largest military establishment. Israel is a state, with all the trappings and capacities of a state. By comparison the Palestinians are weak indeed. While the failings of the Palestinian leadership have been abysmal and the crimes of Palestinian terrorists extremely bloody, the fact is that Israel has the military and political initiative. Responsibility for moving beyond the present impasse thus falls primarily (though as we shall see not exclusively) on Israel. But Israelis themselves are blind to this. In their own eyes they are still a small victim-community, defending themselves with restraint and reluctance against overwhelming odds. Their astonishingly incompetent political leadership has squandered thirty years since the hubris-inducing victory of June 1967. In that time Israelis have built illegal compounds in the occupied territories and grown a carapace of cynicism: toward the Palestinians, whom they regard with contempt, and toward a United States whose erstwhile benevolent disengagement they have manipulated shamelessly."

    When Letter of the Law Does Not Spell 'Clarity': law of war is at once an oxymoron and highly developed. Various conventions and protocols lay out numerous rules for acceptable conduct in military operations. But applying them in densely populated towns like those on the West Bank can be difficult. Even if a neutral inquiry found that one side or the other had violated the law, the enforcement tools are few. Neither the Israelis nor the Palestinians are likely to subject themselves to an international court.

    Lindh Lawyers and Prosecutors Spar Over Secret Witness: "whether a secret government witness should be required to testify for the defense. The question boils down to whether the government can prevent someone from testifying on grounds of national security, even if that denies the defendant his right to a fair trial. "

    Don't Shun Genetic Research, W.H.O. Advises Poor Lands: "developing countries should devote some time and money to keeping up with genetic research because of its promise in battling the diseases most important in the third world, the World Health Organization said"

    Study Hints at Mass Killing of Taliban: "Physicians for Human Rights, which has experience in investigating mass graves in the Balkans, has called for urgent measures, including an international force, to secure the desert site and others in the north and investigate what it suspects was the mass killing of Taliban prisoners last November. That was when the Taliban's Northern Alliance foes took control of northern Afghanistan after American bombs had weakened the Taliban. Hundreds of Taliban soldiers surrendered at the town of Kunduz in November and are thought to have been killed by troops of the Uzbek leader, Gen. Abdul Rashid Dostum, and buried in at least two spots about a mile apart in this desert. "

    China's Communists Try to Decide What They Stand For: "Responding to a mounting identity crisis that has swept through its ranks in the last few years, China's ruling Communist Party has started searching aggressively for a new set of principles and policies to define its future, reforms intended to ensure its relevance and survival in this increasingly market-oriented, pluralistic society."

    The New Left, From Fiery to Fading: movie review - "A Grin Without a Cat" tells the story of the New Left, from the movement's birth as a byproduct of the Vietnam War to the ouster of Salvador Allende in Chile in 1973....a work of extraordinary journalism, but it is also a work of deft and subtle poetry, visual (in the rhyming of gestures and shapes across images and sequences) as much as verbal. Mr. Marker is a great spectator as well as a great filmmaker.

    Tuesday, April 30, 2002

    A Venerable Voice in Israel Is Muted After Questioning Army's Actions: "Government ministers denounced Yarkoni. The town of Kfar Yona canceled her performance at a Memorial Day event to honor Israeli soldiers who have fallen in battle. Youth movements declared a boycott of her music. The septuagenarian received so many hate calls, her daughter said, that she is now too frightened to appear in public. At a time when many Israelis believe that they are locked in a battle for their existence with the Palestinians, Yarkoni's remarks, and the backlash against her, have stirred a debate here about freedom of speech and the nature of patriotism."

    Across West Bank, daily tragedies go unseen: "the Israeli army has been engaged in systematic abusethe length of the West Bank. "Jenin is not so different from any of the other attacks," said Peter Bouckaert, a senior researcher at Human Rights Watch. "The focus of the international community has been on events in Jenin, but equally serious violations took place in Ramallah, particularly, and in Nablus." The most grievous abuses break down into four categories: the killing of Palestinian civilians, the denial of medical care, the wanton destruction of civilian property, and the use of Palestinian civilians as human shields for house-to-house searches. "

    Palestinians Evicted From Homes in Dispute With Israeli Rightists: " Several dozen Palestinians have been evicted from homes in East Jerusalem after losing a legal battle against Israeli rightists working to settle Jews in Arab neighborhoods in the area."

    Passions Inflamed, Gaza Teenagers Die in Suicidal Attacks. On Tuesday night Yusef Zaqout, 14, set out with two friends, each 15, on a futile mission to attack a heavily fortified Israeli settlement near Gaza City. Armed with knives and homemade bombs that can easily be purchased on the street here, the three were shot dead by Israeli soldiers 15 yards from the settlement's exterior wall. (4/24)

    Rule Could Let Mine Debris Fill in Valleys and Streams: "The Bush administration is preparing to allow the coal mining industry to fill waterways and valleys with the rock and dirt from mountaintop mining, particularly in West Virginia."

    Israel Refuses to Recognize Greek Orthodox Patriarch: "The reason most often stated by Israeli officials is a suspicion that Patriarch Irineos is sympathetic to the Palestinian Authority, though no concrete evidence has been offered.... Various Israeli officials and experts said the real issue was the vast real estate holdings of the patriarchate, including land on which the Parliament stands and many other important properties in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Under the last patriarch, Diodoros I, who died in 2000, many questions were raised about the leases of land to Israeli property developers and the multimillion-dollar income from them. Many of the leases are due for renewal over the next decade. Patriarch Irineos, 63, has pledged to examine all transactions involving property."

    Club Happiness Case Is First Test of [New York]'s Death Penalty: "the first death penalty case to reach the state's Court of Appeals since the new law took effect. And it is providing the judges with scores of arguments. Though some are narrow and technical, there are also sweeping challenges arguing that the death penalty is cruel and unusual punishment under the New York Constitution and that the state's lethal-injection method of execution is inhumane."

    Vote in House Strongly Backs an End to I.N.S.: "The House voted overwhelmingly today to abolish the Immigration and Naturalization Service and divide its functions between two new bureaus, one for immigration services like the handling of citizenship applications, the other for enforcement. The lopsided vote, 405 to 9, reflected lawmakers' frustration over the agency's missteps before and after Sept. 11."

    Fatal Flaws in the Justice System: " the whole debate about the death penalty can sometimes seem like a distraction. The reality is that for every person on death row, there are many more who will die before completing their sentences. They will die alone in their cells or in the prison yard. They will die from jailhouse violence or natural causes hastened by stressful conditions and substandard medical care. The main causes of these virtual death sentences are three-strikes laws and mandatory minimum sentencing."

    Anti-Semitism Is Deepening Among Muslims. Anti-Semitic imagery is now embedded in the mainstream discourse concerning Jews in much of the Islamic world.

    Bustling U.S. Air Base Materializes in the Mud: "A Kyrgyzstani public television station recently reported that 60 percent of people surveyed around Bishkek, the capital, which is nearby, would just as soon not have the base. Local villagers are quick to explain why. Dirt roads and open fields near the airport have been cut off. Local people who board buses at the airport for the ride into Bishkek now have to show their identity papers because the airport has become a restricted area. Furthermore, although the foreign soldiers seem friendly, they spend little money locally." - 2000 soldiers living in air conditioned tents.

    As Fears Linger, Venezuelans Press for Truth About Killings During Chávez Protests. Two weeks after the day in which power in Venezuela briefly changed hands, distrust and confusion linger over the events that left more than 100 people injured [and 17 dead.]

    As Egypt Curbs Dissent, Critic Fears His Fate at Trial: "Since his first arrest in June 2000, Mr. Ibrahim has been a symbol of that shift. Along with 27 others connected to the Cairo research center he founded, Mr. Ibrahim was put on trial in February 2001 on charges that included sullying Egypt's reputation, accepting foreign donations without permission and embezzlement. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison."

    'Desirable Daughters': The Cross-Culture Wars: " novel of grace and shrewd intellect, Bharati Mukherjee's most absorbing book to date. Tara serves as tour guide to her surprising family history, to her tangled relationships with her sisters -- one in Bombay, the other in Upper Montclair, N.J. -- and to the undeclared war of Westernized Indian women with their country's traditional concept of a wife. The marvel of ''Desirable Daughters'' is that even as its story flows into deeper and deeper pools of Indian history, religion and intrigue, it stays convincingly anchored in the wry, self-deprecating voice of a West Coast woman with a spiky, agnostic curiosity about the world, "

    Personal and Political in Afghanistan: "The stories told in the three books under review -- Zoya's Story,'' ''My Forbidden Face'' and ''West of Kabul, East of New York'' -- illustrate many of the questions that the West needs to answer if Afghanistan is to emerge from this latest round of warfare in a better state than before. A little reflection on the long battle over the bodies and souls of Afghan women raises one question in particular: Was this a battle between secularism and Islam or between tradition and modernity? Two of these books are written by young women who lived under the Taliban -- both using pseudonyms here -- the third by an Afghan-American man who became famous overnight for an e-mail message he sent to 20 friends in the wake of Sept. 11"

    'Master of the Senate': LBJ's Friendly Persuasion: "MASTER OF THE SENATE The Years of Lyndon Johnson. By Robert A. Caro. Illustrated. 1,167 pp"

    U.S. Envisions Blueprint on Iraq Including Big Invasion Next Year: "The Bush administration, in developing a potential approach for toppling President Saddam Hussein of Iraq, is concentrating its attention on a major air campaign and ground invasion, with initial estimates contemplating the use of 70,000 to 250,000 troops. The administration is turning to that approach after concluding that a coup in Iraq would be unlikely to succeed and that a proxy battle using local forces there would be insufficient to bring a change in power. But senior officials now acknowledge that any offensive would probably be delayed until early next year, allowing time to create the right military, economic and diplomatic conditions. These include avoiding summer combat in bulky chemical suits, preparing for a global oil price shock, and waiting until there is progress toward ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict."

    Despite Violence, Settlers Survive and Spread. Jewish settlers continue to build homes in the West Bank, and to pursue a vision that blends nationalism, messianism and yearning for the good life.

    Two Afghan Warlords Coexist, Warily: ""Dostum is more of a politician than the other faction leaders," said one United Nations official. "He understands his future is in becoming the political representative of the Turkic groups in the north."" and Tadjik General Atta Muhammad

    The Loya Jirga: Transcending the Past With a 'Pseudotradition': " the fear is that some of the very warlords likely to disrupt the loya jirga process, or to try to control it through bribery and intimidation, are allied with American military forces in their campaign to find Osama bin Laden. If foreign money makes its way into the selection procedures, that, too, follows Afghan tradition. Few experts doubt that Russia, Iran and maybe Pakistan are players behind the scenes."

    Discord Over Killing of India Muslims Deepens: "a retired chief justice of the Supreme Court, condemned the government's attempt to silence its critics abroad. "It's the duty of the international community to raise its voice," he said. Harsh Mander, a civil servant who resigned to protest what happened in Gujarat, declared: "I would like to testify that no riot can go on for more than a few hours without active state complicity. It's a crime which is difficult to describe.""

    A Warlord Takes His Revenge, Launching an Attack That Kills 25: "Washington's recent conduct in Afghanistan was a sore subject to many who attended funerals of those killed by the rockets. "During the time of the Taliban, there was no fighting like this," said Jawad Haidry. "They made us wear beards and pray, and there were other strict rules. But now America has replaced the Taliban with the warlords, and what we have is the death of innocents." .... One mourner, Engineer Amin, looked toward where the rockets had been launched. His gaze was angry. "The American camp is on that mountain," he said. "The rockets came from right behind. At any time, the Americans could have stopped it. All they would have had to say was, `Don't kill these poor people.' ""

    Odds Are Stacked When Science Tries to Debate Pseudoscience: "In Ohio, a debate is raging over whether to teach "intelligent design" alongside evolution in high school biology classes. Intelligent design is based on the belief that life is too complicated to explain by natural causes alone and that some intelligence, ultimately some divine intelligence, must have created the original life forms on earth or guided their development. Proponents of that idea suggest that including it in the curriculum is simply a question of fairness. If a significant number of people do not believe that evolution provides an adequate explanation of the origin of species, they argue, then it is only fair to present both sides of the argument in a high school science class. But at least half of Americans polled in a recent survey by the National Science Foundation did not know that Earth orbits the Sun, and that it takes a year to do so. Does this mean we should teach that Earth is the center of the universe?"

    Letters: "an alternative hypothesis consistent with the data is that the [hormone] replacement therapy protects against heart disease, begun soon after menopause. In several years, when final results of the trial are published, we should have sufficient data to discriminate between these hypotheses"

    Beware of Cross-Cultural Faux Pas in China. Evan as globalization continues to narrow the cultural divide, the worst gaffes still leave a bad impression and the right gestures still earn respect.

    Youth Let Their Thumbs Do the Talking in Japan. With its text messaging mania, Japan has become a national experiment for intensive thumb use.

    Seniority Upheld Against Disability Rights. The Supreme Court ruled on Monday that an employer is not ordinarily required to distort a valid seniority system in order to accommodate a disabled worker.

    Scholar's Pedophilia Essay Stirs Outrage and Revenge: "[UMKC political scientist Dr. Harris Mirkin] ... questioned whether some people accusing priests these days were making up stories in search of a payday, and he said he believed that much of what was called molestation was really harmless touching. He said he resented that teachers were leery of hugging children for fear they might be accused of abuse. He imagines, he said, most adolescent males have fantasies similar to his, as a 12-year-old delivery boy, of being seduced by a female customer, and he wondered whether it would have been so bad had it come true."

    Fun With Your Zip Program. "Using little more than the zipping programs found on most personal computers, [Italian scientists] can easily distinguish between texts written in 10 different languages and almost unfailingly tell which of a large group of texts were written by the same author.... The researchers used their method to measure the linguistic "distance" between more than 50 translations of this document. From these distances, they constructed a family tree of languages that is virtually identical to the one constructed by linguists. " 

    Judge Throws Out Case Against Jordanian Student: "The government's jailing of material witnesses for a grand jury investigation of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks is unconstitutional, a federal judge ruled Tuesday in throwing out a perjury case against a Jordanian college student. The ruling, if upheld, could have far-reaching implications for the government's crackdown on terrorism. Dozens of people have been jailed as material witnesses since the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In a rebuke of Attorney General John Ashcroft, U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin said: ``Relying on the material-witness statute to detain people who are presumed innocent under our Constitution in order to prevent potential crimes is an illegitimate use of the statute.'' Scheindlin threw out perjury charges against Osama Awadallah, 21, a Grossmont College student in El Cajon, Calif., who was accused of lying about his associations with two of the Sept. 11 hijackers."

    From Tree-Hugger to Terrorist: " Almost two years ago, he and an accomplice were caught after they firebombed a Chevrolet dealership in Eugene, Ore. He says he did it to punish carmakers and consumers for their love affair with the gas-hogging S.U.V. Although the pair never claimed the bombing on behalf of the Earth Liberation Front (E.L.F.) -- the eco-terror group that has inflicted, along with its ally the Animal Liberation Front (A.L.F.), more than $43 million in damage on farmers, scientists, foresters, universities, housing developers and business owners -- their crime fit the profile of a classic E.L.F. action. " - long piece in NYT Magazine

    Spotlight on Central Asia Is Finding Repression, Too. The United States' newest strategic partners, the impoverished former Soviet republics of Central Asia, are undergoing a surge of repression and corruption.

    The Assault Is Over, the Casbah Is in Ruins. After four days of heavy fighting, the casbah, as the centuries-old warren of shops and homes at the center of Nablus is known, has been utterly destroyed. (4/11)

    Attacks Turn Palestinian Dream Into Bent Metal and Piles of Dust: "the infrastructure of life itself and of any future Palestinian state -- roads, schools, electricity pylons, water pipes, telephone lines --  has been devastated." (4/11)

    Male Circumcision Is Found to Reduce Cervical Cancer: "Researchers found that circumcision made a difference if the man had had six or more sex partners, which made him more likely to have contracted the cancer-causing human papilloma virus, or H.P.V. In those couples, the risk of cervical cancer was more than double if the man was not circumcised. The findings may not apply to couples in which the man has had fewer than six sex partners, because he is less likely to be carrying H.P.V. ... because the lining of the foreskin is especially vulnerable to the virus. Their study, which used DNA testing to look for penile H.P.V. infection in the men, found that uncircumcised men were about three times as likely as circumcised men to be infected. "

    Breast Cancer: Mammography Finds More Tumors. Then the Debate Begins.. Two experts on opposite sides of the debate on early screening look at breast cancer data and discuss what it indicates. - overdiagnosis, or early detection?

    Prostate Cancer: Death Rate Shows a Small Drop. But Is It Treatment or Testing?. 2 experts disagree on usefulness of PSA test.

    By Leaps and Bounds, Monkeys Overrun Japan. Monkeys are spreading across Japan, a tidy, cement-trimmed nation more commonly associated with bullet trains than wildlife.

    Renegade View on Child Sex Causes a Storm: "Ms. Levine [argues]... that the fear of pedophilia is overblown and that the age of consent should be lowered in certain circumstances. Ms. Levine tries to separate what she sees as real risks-- H.I.V. infection, unwanted pregnancies and sexual violence -- from risks she calls exaggerated or even invented. She argues forcefully against abstinence-only education and what she sees as a pervasive tendency to view all manifestations of childhood sexuality as dangerous or disturbing."

    Alternative Medicine Is Finding Its Niche in Nation's Hospitals: "By affiliating with Dr. Chopra, the center is also capitalizing on perhaps the best-known name in alternative medicine. "What Dr. Chopra gives us is immediate brand," said Scott Regan, senior vice president for marketing and strategic planning. But, he said, "the Chopra name brings instant credibility or lack thereof, depending on which side you're on." Memorial expects to invest about $250,000 in the center for the first three years, including licensing Dr. Chopra's name and training about a dozen staff members in his methods."

    Machines Are Filling In for Troops: "the Pentagon, energized by successes in Afghanistan, is moving ever closer to draining the human drama from the battlefield and replacing it with a ballet of machines. Rapid advances in technology have brought an array of sensors, vehicles and weapons that can be operated by remote control or are totally autonomous." [Evidently the "enemy" doesn't count as human.]

    'The Horned Man': Fear of Blushing. In James Lasdun's novel, a feminist professor dreads that spontaneity could make him a criminal.... quick and addictive read. But it is also an evocative meditation on the male terror that a misstep might mean being first a creep, and then a criminal.

    Asking if Obesity Is a Disease or Just a Symptom: "Many studies have demonstrated that short-term weight loss has beneficial effects on risk factors such as high blood pressure and cholesterol," the institute writes in its description of the study. "However, observational studies have raised concerns about negative effects of weight loss and weight cycling. Some of these studies suggest increased, not decreased, mortality; however, most cannot distinguish voluntary from involuntary weight loss."

    Trotskyist on a First-Name Basis to France: "Arlette Laguiller... No one really believes that 10 percent of the French want the overthrow of the Fifth Republic, leaving analysts to puzzle over the reason for her support. Some say it is her sheer familiarity. She has been in the public eye for more than 30 years. The French have watched her progress from a trendy militant in a leather jacket to a dowdy pensioner. A recent survey in the magazine Elle found she was the one candidate with whom voters would feel most comfortable sharing their problems. Others say voters are attracted to her integrity. Her message has never changed, and she seems to live what she preaches. She owns virtually nothing and contributes her salary as a member of the European Parliament to her party, the Workers' Struggle. Still others say her support is a measure of the disgust that French voters bring to the election this year."

    Shredding of Smoking Data Is Ruled Deliberate: "After years of unproven allegations that tobacco companies had shredded internal files that documented the health risks of smoking, a judge here [Australia] has ruled that British American Tobacco had in fact carried out a systematic worldwide program for that purpose."

    Escapee, 16, Tells of Stench and Cold in Besieged Church. Jihad Abdul Rahman, who managed to escape on Monday from the church, which has been surrounded since April 3 by Israeli troops and armor, described the scene on Tuesday.

    Fighters in Gaza Set Traps and Wait for Israeli Prey. While waiting for an Israeli incursion that may not come, fighters have piled steep earthen walls at intersections, set up sniper nests and peppered streets with large bombs.

    Nigeria to Recover $1 Billion From the Family of a Late Dictator: "The family of the late Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha, who has been accused of looting national assets during his military rule, will return $1 billion to Nigeria, the Swiss government said today. The out-of-court arrangement allows the family to keep $100 million, which the Swiss Federal Office of Justice described as funds "acquired prior to Abacha's term in office and which, according to Nigerian authorities, demonstrably do not derive from criminal acts.""

    Justices Hear Arguments on Searches of Bus Riders: "police searches of long-distance bus passengers and their luggage in an effort to find drugs and weapons. Because such searches take place without a warrant and usually without any reason to suspect a particular passenger of wrongdoing, the police must obtain the passengers' consent..... whether their acquiescence to the search amounted to consent under circumstances that a federal appeals court found, in overturning their convictions, to be inherently coercive."

    Civil Rights Group to Sue Over U.S. Handling of Muslim Men: "A class-action lawsuit prepared by the group, the Center for Constitutional Rights, accused the government of arbitrarily holding Muslim detainees in prison for months on minor immigration violations, with no hearings to determine whether the government had probable cause to hold them."

    Pentagon Revamping Command Structure: "The biggest change will be the creation of the Northern Command to coordinate responses to terrorist attacks within the nation's borders... The command would coordinate its activities with the White House Office of Homeland Security. The command would have a four-star general in charge of all military personnel involved in flying patrols over American cities, guarding the coasts and responding to major terrorist attacks"

    Monday, April 29, 2002

    Nuclear Waste Move Spews Political Fallout in 2 States: "heavily armed convoy of trucks is to begin rolling from Colorado to a government fortress near here along the Savannah River. It will carry the first shipment of 34 tons of weapons-grade plutonium once aimed at the Soviet Union. After it arrives, the plutonium is to be converted to fuel for nuclear power plants. But a number of arms control advocates and Democratic politicians here say a principal purpose of the shipment is to enhance the re-election prospects of Senator Wayne Allard, a Republican from Colorado who is campaigning on his efforts to rid his state of plutonium. Gov. Jim Hodges of South Carolina, a Democrat, has been trying for months to get the shipments delayed"

    'Virtual' Child Pornography Ban Overturned: "Affirming that free speech principles apply with full force in the computer age, the Supreme Court today struck down provisions of a federal law that made it a crime to create, distribute or possess ``virtual'' child pornography that used computer images of young adults rather than actual children. The law, the Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996, ``prohibits speech that records no crime and creates no victims by its production,'' "

    Paul Nakada's Segway weblog

    The Heat Before the Cold: " global warming could actually bring colder temperatures to some highly populated areas like Eastern North America and Western Europe."

    Russia Resists Plans to Tweak the Mother Tongue. Russia's tradition-minded press and much of academia has greeted with unremitting scorn a plan to revise the rules of Russian spelling.

    Only Label for American in Ramallah Is 'Human Being': "Mr. Shapiro and Ms. Arraf have been busy challenging the Israeli curfew, defying Israeli snipers by walking the streets and delivering food and medicine. The couple say they want to provide humanitarian aid while nonviolently resisting the Israelis. Those are the goals of a group of Palestinians and foreigners that Ms. Arraf helped found, the International Solidarity Movement. "

    Outbreak of Drug-Resistant Strep Bacteria: "Researchers in Pittsburgh have reported an outbreak of a strain of Group A streptococcus, the bacterium responsible for strep throat and a number of other infections, that is resistant to the commonly prescribed antibiotic erythromycin. "

    Study Sees 6,000 Deaths From Power Plants: "A study prepared by a private contractor estimates that pollution from more than 80 power plants owned by eight electric utilities will cause nearly 6,000 premature deaths in the year 2007. The number is lower than the estimated number of deaths by pollution now because the air is getting cleaner, but the utility industry still cast doubt on the study's credibility."

    Otto J. Reich, Combative Point Man on Latin Policy

    Justices Review Judges' Role in Deciding Death Penalty: "Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg framed the issue: "Tell me how one would explain to a citizen that you can't get five years added to a sentence without a jury making the critical finding, but you can be sentenced to death" when the crucial factual finding is made by the judge."

    Justices Plan to Re-examine Two Legal Weapons in Protests: " The Supreme Court agreed today to use a long-running lawsuit against disruptive anti-abortion groups to decide whether the federal laws against racketeering and extortion can be invoked to stop and to punish political protests that use tactics like blockades and sit-ins."

    Looking Back at the Days of the Locust. Scientists say they are beginning to piece together the story of how locusts may have disappeared, finding clues in places like remote glaciers.

    America Can Persuade Israel to Make a Just Peace: Jimmy Carter - "There are two existing factors that offer success to United States persuasion. One is the legal requirement that American weapons are to be used by Israel only for defensive purposes, a premise certainly being violated in the recent destruction of Jenin and other villages.... The other persuasive factor is approximately $10 million daily in American aid to Israel. "

    At Least 20,000 March in San Francisco Protest

    Please, Dad, Tell Me: How Do I Stop Being Complicit?: " I believe that Jews are being used by an American administration to accomplish its own ends, ends that have nothing to do with the ideals of Jews. We need to shout aloud that 80% of the billions that the US gives Israel in aid must be spent on weapons, and that more than half of those weapons are built in Texas. And Jews are being used by an Israeli government that has no interest except territorial expansion."

    BBC - brief TV report from Jenin c 4/18

    Independent Argument: "Robert Fisk: Fear and learning in America As an outspoken critic of US policy in the Middle East, Fisk expected a hostile reception when he paid his first visit to the American Midwest since 11 September. He couldn't have been more mistaken"

    Sharon Wears Oppressor's Cloak: Robert Sheer - "What is the fundamental difference between Slobodan Milosevic and Ariel Sharon? The former is on trial for war crimes, while the latter still leads an occupying army."

    St. Louis on the Air - Cuba - A Land of Contradictions: "04/15/02- Cuba: A Land of Contradictions. A discussion with native Cuban Anna Navarro about her impressions of her former homeland after a recent trip." [streaming audio, 48 minutes. Fascinating. She left in 1960 at age 12; returned for the first time in February, with a team from the Center for Tropical Ecology; she's pro-revolution, anti-Castro, anti-embargo (though made very little connection between the embargo and material scarcity).

    Thursday, April 25, 2002

    'The Myth of Ownership': Challenging the Rhetoric of Tax Cutting: "They assert that a naive philosophy of ''everyday libertarianism'' infects American politics with a ''robust and compelling fantasy that we earn our income and the government takes some of it away from us.'' This popular myth ''results in widespread hostility to taxes, and a political advantage to those who campaign against them and attack the I.R.S.'' This fantasy grows from the acceptance by all sides in the tax debate that gross, or pretax, incomes are presumptively just and therefore the proper moral base line to begin debate. "

    Oil Fields' Free Refill: "DEEP UNDERWATER, and deeper underground, scientists see surprising hints that gas and oil deposits can be replenished, filling up again, sometimes rapidly. Although it sounds too good to be true, increasing evidence from the Gulf of Mexico suggests that some old oil fields are being refilled by petroleum surging up from deep below, scientists report. That may mean that current estimates of oil and gas abundance are far too low.... [Discovery of] chemo-synthetic communities, creatures that get their energy from hydrocarbons -- oil and gas -- rather than from ordinary foods. So these animals are very much like, but still different from, recently discovered creatures living near very hot seafloor vent sites in the Pacific, Atlantic and other oceans. The difference... is that the animals living around cold seeps live on methane and oil, while the creatures growing near hot water vents exploit sulfur compounds in the hot water.....  In some areas, the methane-metabolizing organisms even build up structures that resemble coral reefs."  [Lovely implications of earth's unsuspected capacities, and horrid implications of centuries more of the automobile's reign of terror.]

    Wednesday, April 24, 2002

    'The Cat From Hue': Apocalypse Then. John Laurence's summary and recapitulation of his time as a network TV correspondent in Vietnam is an eloquent, at times acerbic recollection. By Stanley I. Kutler.

    In Public Health, Definitive Data Can Be Elusive: "The most recent turn in the estrogen debate occurred when a prestigious group of 28 scientists and doctors, authors of the International Position Paper on Women's Health and Menopause, said hormone replacement therapy's established benefits were much more limited than many doctors and women had believed. Estrogen can ease hot flashes and night sweats in women going through or who have passed through menopause, and it can stem the bone loss that accelerates with menopause. But, the group said, it remains to be established whether it protects against heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, broken bones from osteoporosis, severe depression and urinary incontinence, "

    Disparities: Cancer's Added Toll on the Poor. Research suggests breast cancer is diagnosed later in blacks than in whites as a result of class, not race.

    The Mission of a Sept. 11 Widow (Sept. 11, 1973): Joyce Horman - "the Chilean coup was on Sept. 11. So, what is it like now, trying to get your message across after last Sept. 11? "It's very hard," she says, sounding more resigned than bitter. "People absolutely don't want to hear about it. They don't want to know the United States government overthrew a democracy and upheld a brutal dictatorship that was violating human rights."

    Pentagon to Investigate Its Role in Venezuela: " The Pentagon has ordered a review of its actions during the 48-hour ouster of President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela earlier this month to ensure that American military officials did not encourage a coup, a senior Defense Department official said today."

    In All Corners of Ramallah, Big Footprints of Israel Army: "At the Palestinian Authority's Ministry of Higher Education, computers, stripped of their hard drives, were piled up in the center of a room, where they had been destroyed in an explosion. Dozens of other computers in the building were disabled in similar fashion, a blackened crater on the floor marking the spot where some had been blown up. Printers and photocopy machines were also destroyed. A bullet was fired into the safe, but it remained unopened. The Palestine Insurance Company, a private firm a few blocks away, had its doors blown away; its furniture was broken, computers were dumped on the floor and file cabinets were ransacked."

    From Oslo Talks to Jenin: U.N. Aide Comes Under Fire: " Since he visited the Jenin refugee camp last week and expressed his horror at what he saw, Terje Roed-Larsen, the chief United Nations representative here and the man who began the secret contacts that led to the Oslo agreements, has come under an unusually harsh personal attack by the Israeli government. He has been accused of "record-high audacity" and "anti-Semitic ideas," and officials in the prime minister's office have talked of having him expelled. The attacks may be the most furious the 54-year-old Norwegian has faced, but they are hardly the first. As an active supporter of the land-for-peace process that he helped begin in Oslo a decade ago, he has been assailed by both Israeli and Arab foes of the agreements. His denunciations of suicide bombings have also prompted some accusations of bias from the Palestinians." A dedicated peacemaker

    U.S. Forces Out Head of Chemical Arms Agency: "The firing of Mr. Bustani follows the removal last week of Robert Watson, a British-born climatologist who had been outspoken on the threat of global warming, as the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. He was removed after pressure from Washington and at least one American oil company."

    Income Gap Widens Between Rich and Poor in 5 States and Narrows in 1: "over the last several decades... In five states -- Arizona, California, New York, Ohio and Wyoming -- income among the bottom 20 percent of households actually fell in inflation-adjusted terms while it rose rapidly in the top 20 percent."

    Justices Weaken Movement Backing Property Rights: "The Supreme Court ruled today that a government-imposed moratorium on property development, even one that lasts for years, does not automatically amount to a "taking" of private property for which taxpayers must compensate the landowners. The 6-to-3 decision was a sharp setback for the property rights movement, which has scored many recent successes in the Supreme Court. The ruling came in a case that sought millions of dollars in compensation for a prolonged restriction on development along the shores of Lake Tahoe."

    China's Party Bosses Thwart Local Leaders: "A confrontation between dozens of elected village leaders and long-entrenched Communist Party bosses, many of them accused of brazen corruption and nepotism, has stewed for three years now in the apple-blossom hills of eastern China. So far, the party bosses have kept control, sometimes through brute force, preventing elected leaders from doing their jobs and thwarting the scrutiny of village accounts."

    Where Rage Resides: "For the Ordinary People Of Gaza City, Death Is a Way of Life "

    Tuesday, April 23, 2002

    St. Louis: Hundreds demonstrate here against actions by Israelis: "With cries of "We want justice, we want peace," a line of vocal but orderly demonstrators about 500-strong made its way from Lewis Park in University City through the city's Delmar Loop to protest Israeli actions against Palestinians." Great crowd, lots of Palestinian families.

    Peace activists cling to hope: "Just a few years ago, Gershon Baskin and Zakaria al Qaq were key players in back-channel peace negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians that brought the region to the brink of a historic agreement. Now, the two men are working feverishly just to keep average citizens on both sides talking to each other. Baskin and al Qaq are co-directors of an Israeli-Palestinian organization founded in 1988 to search for solutions to this seemingly intractable conflict. It's the last such joint group still operating." - powerful story

    A SISTER'S GIFT OF LOVE, HOPE & SURVIVAL: "Post-Dispatch columnist Greg Freeman was lucky. When he needed a kidney, his sister answered the call."

    St. Louis Who'll step to the podium?: Hans Vonk's stepping down - "Of the 25 largest orchestras (in North America), over half have either installed a new music director this year, are in their final year of an old music director, or are actively searching"

    French Political Leaders Rally Around Chirac: "Mr. Le Pen had benefited from a large field of candidates that splintered the vote. With many of the center-left believing that Mr. Jospin's qualification was assured, they voted instead for ecologists or other candidates only to discover that they had contributed to the total eclipse of the French left." - Another example of why "instant runoff voting" would be useful.

    Palestinian Militant Group Says It Will Limit Bombings: "Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades... said through a commander today that it would not send more bombers into Israel to kill civilians. But ... suicide bombings were being planned against Jewish settlements and Israeli military targets... "I am sorry for all the civilians that died in this intifada, both Israelis and Palestinians," he said. "I want to fight whoever is in charge of the government of Israel, not civilians." " A step back from the abyss, or a tactical shift?

    Thursday, April 18, 2002

    Errant U.S. Bomb Kills Four Canadian Soldiers in Afghanistan. An American fighter mistakenly dropped one or two bombs on Canadian soldiers participating in a training exercise.

    Ha'aretz "The High Court of Justice ordered the state Thursday to explain its position on the question of the legality of the sweeping arrest warrant recently issued by the commander of the IDF forces on the West Bank. The court also issued an interim order giving the state 80 days to check whether the government's policy of `targeted killings` contravenes international law."

    Where Are the Peaceniks [in Israel]?: "On the national level, politicians have been exploiting the pervasive fear, using it to foment a form of fervent nationalism tinged with racism. Effi Eitam, the new leader of the National Religious Party, recently approved to become a minister in Sharon's government, has characterized all Palestinian citizens of Israel as "a cancer." "Arabs," he claims, "will never have political rule in the land of Israel," which in Eitam's opinion includes the West Bank and Gaza. Support for Sharon has also risen from 45 to 62 percent following the latest Israeli offensive. "

    Courage to Refuse - Combatant Letter 2002: "* We shall not continue to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people. * We hereby declare that we shall continue serving in the Israel Defense Forces in any mission that serves Israel's defense. * The missions of occupation and oppression do not serve this purpose -- and we shall take no part in them."

    Some Israelis Refuse to Serve as the Only Honorable Option: by Shamai Leibowitz - a criminal law attorney who lives in Tel Aviv. He is also a tank gunner in the reserves of the Israel Defense Force and a signer of "Courage to Refuse" "Abraham courageously questions God and appeals his decision to mete out collective punishment. Finally, after a lengthy dispute with Abraham, God acknowledges that he will not punish the innocent with the guilty.... we have done the opposite. We have killed hundreds of unarmed men, women and children, destroyed buildings and property, and enclosed millions of Palestinians in their cities, towns and villages. Having enforced strict and cruel curfews, we have expropriated their land and other property.  Yes, we are undergoing difficult times in Israel. Working in Netanya, I have been twice within 100 yards of the terrible suicide bombings committed by fanatic Palestinian terrorists. I have mourned the loss of innocent lives.  But these acts of terror are no excuse for our continuing acts of aggression, for the tanks and helicopters firing at innocent civilians, razing residential areas, and wreaking havoc and destruction everywhere in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.  Since the Palestinian uprising began, I, as a lawyer, must sadly admit that Israel has behaved as a dictatorship that has strayed so far from the morality of order that it ceases to be a democratic legal system."

    Israel-Palestine Center for Research and Information - What’s Happening to Palestinian Society? "The effects of the past 19 months of intifada and the last three weeks of war on Palestinian society have been dramatic and have made an indelible mark whose impact will be felt for many years to come. Palestinian society has lost its hope and its faith that peace is a possibility. Palestinian society is writhing with anger, hatred, and yearning for revenge. Each and every Palestinian feels that s/he has a personal account to be settled with Israel, not only a collective account. Palestinians believe that death – martyrdom, is a desirable option that is being considered or supported more widely than ever before. Palestinians live with a sense that time is on their side."

    Victoria Independent Media Centre: "OPEN LETTER TO COLIN POWELL from Members of English-Speaking Christian Communities in the Holy Land"

    Live from Palestine: "The Israelis Took Over My House":  by Maha Sbitani A Palestinian-American living in Ramallah, next to Yasser Arafat's compound.

    LAW-The Palestinian Society for the Protection of Human Rights and the Environment - periodic updates.
    Today: "eyewitness accounts revealed more evidence of summary executions of a group of ten residents, and a group of approximately six to ten residents. The smell of dead bodies was even present at places where no bodies could be seen, presumably these bodies were located under the rubble."
    Yesterday: "The director of Jenin hospital came out and requested assistance with performing autopsies. Israeli soldiers refused to allow the human rights monitors and forensic expert, Derrick Pounder, Professor of Forensic Medicine (Dundee University), inside the hospital. The hospital is located in a secure area. "

    Wednesday, April 17, 2002

    Illinois Commission on Capital Punishment -  Reports - April 2002 very long, but the summary statement is only 52 pages...

    Evil Unleashed:- Tanya Reinhart, Tel Aviv University "Israel's moves to destroy the PA, thus, cannot be viewed as a spontaneous 'act of retaliation'. It is a calculated plan, long in the making. The execution requires, first, weakening the resistance of the Palestinians, which Israel has been doing systematically since October 2000, through killing, bombarding of infrastructure, imprisoning people in their hometowns, and bringing them close to starvation. All this, while waiting for the international conditions to 'ripen' for the more 'advanced' steps of the plan."

    The Peace That Kills // Tanya Reinhart - December 2000 analysis of the Barak offers to the Palestinians.

    B'Tselem - Daily Update - 16 April 2002: "1... 12-year-old Qossay Abu 'Aisha, was playing in his yard in 'Askar neighborhood in Nablus. The yard is surrounded by a two meter high tin fence. Soldiers who were passing by, opened fire into the yard. Abu 'Aisha was hit by two bullets that penetrated the tin fence. He died instantly. "

    B'Tselem - Daily Update - 16 April 2002: " 5. Dr. H.H., a general practitioner from Bethlehem and her husband, Dr. H, a gynecologist share a clinic. Last night Dr. H.H. received a telephone call informing her that IDF soldiers had broken into the clinic. The Al Madabsa area, where the clinic is located, had been under constant curfew, which began when the IDF entered the city. Yesterday, when the curfew was lifted for a few hours for the first time, Dr. H.H. rushed to the clinic and discovered extensive damage. The clinic door and windows were broken and the waiting room was completely destroyed. Expensive equipment, including a $20,000 ultrasound machine was also destroyed. The computer monitor was shattered and the computer itself had been taken apart. The soldiers broke the telephones and the sterilization machine. They tore up medical files and books. In addition to the damage, many bullet holes and shells were found in the clinic, as well as feces on the floor."

    B'Tselem - Daily Update - 17 April 2002: "2. Ten days ago, two-year-old Tabaraq Udeh ... ran out of medication. The infant suffered from cerebral pulsey and epilepsy. The IDF has had the village under siege, and Udeh's medication supply could not be renewed. Three days ago, her health began to deteriorate. She ceased to communicate, became unable to stand on her feet, slipped into unconsciousness, and began to have convulsions. Following many attempts to get her to hospital in Nablus, a Red Crescent ambulance finally made it to the village yesterday and Udeh was taken to hospital accompanied by her mother. Today, at around 8:00 AM, she died."

    B'Tselem - Daily Update - 17 April 2002: "5...a group of European and North American nationals delivered food and medical supplies to .... The group was detained at the exit from the camp for about two hours. The soldiers would not allow the Palestinians through, and threatened to forcibly remove them. The foreign nationals attempted to form a human chain to protect the Palestinians, but the soldiers and some border police officers who had arrived at the scene began to beat and verbally abuse those present. Three soldiers dragged a UK national to the middle of the road and kicked him in the ribs and lower back. Another member of the group was dragged face down on the pavement and another suffered a concussion after being kneed in the head. The soldiers handcuffed four of the Palestinians and beat them severely. They shattered cameras, video recorders and cell phones and confiscated film and videotapes. During the confrontation, one of the European nationals handed his cell phone to a soldier so that he may speak to his lawyer. The soldier responded that there was no need, because "We are above the law" and smashed the cell phone."

    Jewish Voice For Peace: "As Jews and Americans, taxpayers and voters, we are outraged by Israel's recent invasion of Palestinian territory." Report and photos of sit-in and demo at Israeli consulate in San Francisco.

    Ha'aretz - Interview with two American Jews back from the West Bank " "Soldiers are passing by, shooting randomly into the entrance of the camp," answers Quester, 39, a teacher of children with special needs, who had just arrived in East Jerusalem from Al-Azzeh, where he had lived for one week. Lipton, a 43-year-old researcher in the field of public health, nodded. He had just spent 10 days in another Palestinian refugee camp near Bethlehem. When the two men were asked if camp residents knew they were Jews, Lipton says: "I would tell people after I knew them a little, `I'm a Jew.' They would be surprised, but I never felt a threat."

    Israeli Offensive May Transform US Judaism : Palestine Indymedia: " After this week's horrors in Jenin and other West Bank towns, Israel can no longer count on automatic support from U.S. Jews. Many who had once supported Israeli policies, or at least remained silent, are saying for the first time: "Not in my name." That could mark a major turning point, not only in the Middle East conflict, but in American Judaism. "

    Ha'aretz "Some 3,000 Israelis, both Jews and Arabs, set out on a march towards Jenin, in the West Bank, protesting the IDF operations in the territories. A short while after the march began, border policemen claimed that it was illegal, and tried to block their way."

    B'Tselem - Daily Update - Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Territories: "The events included in this report are only those about which human rights organizations have been able to obtain information. The incidents listed represent only a minute portion of the human rights violations being committed throughout the West Bank. "

    Palestine Independent Media Center - long page with separate journals for each West Bank city.

    Colorado Delegation to Palestine - International observers in the West Bank - journals, photos.

    A Pill to Stretch Your Day: "A new drug keeps people awake with no apparent ill effects." Yuck.

    Prime Palaver #3: Baen Free Library online - "It does not follow that simply because a copy is available for free that sales will therefore be hurt. In fact, they are more likely to be helped, for the simple reason that free copies-call them "samplers," if you will-are often the necessary inducement to convince people to buy something."

    Friday, April 12, 2002

    We bought and paid for carnage of Palestinians - by Robert Jensen, U Texas - "It is easy for Americans to decry the "cycle of violence" in Palestine, but until we acknowledge our own part in that violence, there is little hope for a just peace in Palestine or the Middle East."

    Powell Must Seek Real Compromise : By Rashid I. Khalidi "he should advocate Israel's long-term interests, not the blind policy of its present government. It is not in the Israeli people's interest to maintain occupation and settlements. It is not in the interest of the United States to allow it to do so, after 35 years of occupation, because one day people will hold the United States to account for what Israel does and for the American weapons it does it with. It is, moreover, not possible to repress violence with infinitely more violence or to provide security for Israelis by creating insecurity for Palestinians. "

    Vonk's role at Symphony may change: "Hans Vonk, music director of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, has asked to redefine his role with the orchestra because of health concerns, according to Symphony sources"

    Thursday, April 11, 2002

    AFL-CIO: Executive PayWatch: "Two big trends distinguished CEO pay in 2001: first, a dangerous and ongoing disconnect between performance and pay, and second, stark double standards on retirement security and job security for CEOs compared with workers. "

    White--It Gets Worse: "If [Army Secretary Tom] White does not resign, he must be fired. The recent revelations [of evasions] show that White continues to practice the same squirrelly ethics that made Enron infamous."

    The Origin of the Palestine-Israel Conflict: by Jews for Justice in the Middle East

    Monday, April 08, 2002

    US vs. Iraq: Saddam may have fired the first shot: "An assassination attempt against a leading pro-Western Kurdish leader in northern Iraq underscores the risk that the US and its allies are taking as they weigh options to topple Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. The wily Iraqi leader ... may not wait for the US and its allies to make the first move. Kurdish sources say that Ansar al-Islam, a radical Kurdish Islamist group, last week targeted Barham Salih -- the erudite, pro-Western prime minister of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK). The group is reportedly supported by Mr. Hussein and has links with Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda network."

    UN warns of West Bank 'horror': "UN officials yesterday described a situation of "pure horror" in northern West Bank camps, with strafing from Israeli helicopters, corpses piling up and ambulances and food trucks being barred by the army. "There is a humanitarian disaster in the making," says Richard Cook, West Bank field director for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency."

    Affluent Avoid Scrutiny on Taxes Even as I.R.S. Warns of Cheating: "That the I.R.S. audits the working poor more frequently than wealthy people is well known. What has not been discussed is that the agency does not track nonwage income as closely as wage income -- and in some cases does not verify it at all, even as the I.R.S. says that cheating on nonwage income is rising."

    The Method of This Madness. Two distinct struggles have become entangled: the struggle of the suicide bombers against the existence of the Israelis and the struggle of the Palestinians for a state of their own. By Serge Schmemann.

    Japan's Export Power Drifts Across the China Sea: "As more production is moved overseas and Japan opens to imports, and as an aging population leaves Japan with more consumers and few producers, the trade surplus looks set for a structural decline... With growth prospects poor at home, Japanese investors have increasingly looked overseas, largely to foreign bonds. Japan now has $2 trillion in offshore assets, the equivalent of half of the nation's gross domestic product."

    Bush Seeks Voluntary Steps by Industry to Reduce Work Injuries: "Democratic lawmakers and union leaders were quick to attack the new policy, calling it toothless and far weaker than the Clinton administration regulations that a Republican-dominated Congress repealed 13 months ago, with President Bush's encouragement. Business groups, on the other hand, were mostly pleased. "

    So You Lost Your Job. Feel Better Now?: ""short-lasting economic downturns are good for health ... There are various possible explanations, none of which are completely convincing," Professor Ruhm said. One fairly obvious factor is that people who are not working are less likely to be injured or killed on the job. Another is that traffic congestion and pollution, both of which present health risks, often rise when the economy booms and subside when the economy swoons. While recreational drinking doesn't seem to change much in recessions, heavy drinking declines, perhaps because booze hounds have less money in their pockets, the professor found. The number of smokers also falls. Finally, when the economy is cooling, people have more time to take care of their health, by exercising, say, or eating at home rather than scarfing down fast food. "

    When Sick Is Too Sick to Fly. Flying can make a bad cold, or other ailments, worse.

    Journal Raises Doubts on Biotech Study: "Five months after publishing a report that Mexican native corn was contaminated with genetically engineered DNA, the journal Nature made the highly unusual move yesterday of announcing that it should not have published the work.... The original study alarmed environmentalists because the native corn varieties had been collected from a region considered to be the world's center of diversity for corn... The conclusion of contamination has largely remained unchallenged. Instead, scientists have focused their criticism on data suggesting that genetically engineered DNA might behave in unexpected ways, scattering around the genome -- something that opponents of so-called FrankenDNA have feared. It is that suggestion, and dissatisfaction with the quality of the work, that have caused ink to be poured and mud to be slung."

    'Complications': An Uncompromising Look at Medical Fallibility: "A Surgeon's Notes on an Imperfect Science. By Atul Gawande."

    'Sakharov': From the H-Bomb to Human Rights: "Richard Lourie has written a biography.. Sakharov's first impulse to liberation was not revulsion against the political system (''I still believed that the Soviet state represented a breakthrough into the future'') but his sense of guilt about the deaths caused by radioactive fallout from the nuclear tests he directed. When he advised cutting back on the tests, he encountered the unyielding, repressive Soviet system that he had seen applied only to others."

    A unified theory of software evolution: Meir "Manny" Lehman

    Saddam's Offensive: Safire - "Sixty Islamic terrorists, trained in Afghanistan by Osama bin Laden, are holed up in the town of Biyara in northern Iraq, guests of Saddam Hussein. Their assignment is to infiltrate the no-flight zone and to kill the Kurdish leaders, who Saddam assumes will be allied with the U.S. in his overthrow."

    Encounter With an Asteroid: "radiation can, over the centuries, gently push the asteroid into a different orbit, much as a tiny rocket would. So if scientists in future years should conclude that a collision looks ever more likely, they can probably find ways to alter the asteroid's radiation pattern by dusting its surface with soot or powdered chalk or draping it with reflective Mylar. Such tinkering could be enough to nudge the asteroid safely away."

    Campus Tensions Growing With Support for Palestinians: "pro-Palestinian groups on campuses across the country have asserted themselves with new vigor, organizing demonstrations and national campaigns to try to counteract what they see as a better-financed, better-established effort by pro-Israel student groups. To the alarm of Jewish students who read the campaigns as anti-Semitism, the pro-Palestinian groups have become something of a cause célèbre on university campuses. "

    Mass Graves Reportedly Tied to Last Days of Taliban Rule: " Bamiyan region was the site of the enormous 1,500-year-old carvings of the Buddha that the Taliban destroyed last year. The region is home to the Hazaras, people set apart by their Asiatic features and adherence to the Shiite branch of Islam. Thousands of Hazaras, mostly civilians, are thought to have been killed by soldiers of the Taliban"

    Shattered Afghan Families Demand U.S. Compensation: " The embassy has recommended that a positive response be given, ... but ... neither the Defense Department nor the State Department had replied yet. You cannot imagine how difficult it is to listen to stories like this and not to be able to give an answer"

    The Mideast in Marseille: Violence Shakes a City. A ruined Marseille temple is only one of a series of Jewish sites that have been targets in the past week of homemade bombs in almost a dozen French cities.

    In Nablus's Casbah, Israel Tightens the Noose. With the rest of Nablus in their grip, Israeli tanks and armored vehicles have thrown a noose around the old city, and Sunday they began to draw it closed. By James Bennet.

    U.S. Warns Russia of Need to Verify Treaty Compliance: "But several arms control advocates called the action disturbing. "It's in our country's interest to stop the spread of weapons of mass destruction from leaking out of Russia in any way we can," said Rose Gottemoeller, a former assistant secretary of energy for nonproliferation under President Bill Clinton and now a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "So undercutting these programs is tantamount to shooting yourself in the foot." The decision to send the cable was prompted by American concern over a range of actions by Moscow, including its recent refusal to share a bio-engineered strain of anthrax developed by Russia's scientists"

    Israel Palestine Center for Research and Information - IPCRI : Dilemmas of a Peacemaker - Gershon Baskin

    St. Louis - GOP questions role union, nonprofit group play in Carnahan race: "Republicans are suggesting that the Service Employees International Union and Pro Vote are engaging in partisan campaign activities and questionable fund raising for Sen. Jean Carnahan. Democrats say the accusations are meant to take away attention from controversy over Jim Talent's work as a lobbyist. Every time President George W. Bush shows up in Missouri, several groups plan to greet him with pickets and protests. Their signs so far have singled out Bush, but Republican leaders say that the groups' real target is Republican U.S. Senate candidate Jim Talent. As evidence, the Missouri GOP points to the protest last month by the Service Employees International Union and Pro Vote, a nonprofit coalition, outside the America's Center. Inside, Bush was helping Talent raise money."

    Yankee, bin Laden Jehads and the Devastation of Afghanistan - Hassan Gardezi: "Neither has the US military victory over the Taliban, with all its human costs, brought Afghanistan any closer to peace. The Yankee jehad, metamorphosed into war on terrorism, has not only reduced the country into a physical wasteland, its remaining inhabitants have been driven apart more than ever into bitter tribal and ethnic enemies. The warlords who masqueraded as CIA-ISI sponsored mujahideen for more than two decades are now going to be waging their wars of revenge and material gain for many more years to come in a cycle of bloodshed.For the US this will serve as the pretext, if one is needed, to prolong its military presence in Afghanistan, and administer the aid funds for reconstruction of the country until UNCOL is done with laying its pipeline and beyond. "

    Sunday, April 07, 2002

    Recall of the Wild: "zookeepers are experimenting with ways of reproducing the tasks, puzzles and routines of animals in the wild. These include using various toys, hiding food and changing temperature, humidity and smells. There is a heavy emphasis on scents... "We have to keep inventing new things. The animals get tired of the same old toys. We want to give them the chance to chase, search, play.""

    Drive to Ban Gay Marriage Is Accused of Duping Signers: "Lowell Finley, a California lawyer for the group, said signature collectors have said they were coached to use the horse petition to snag marriage signatures"

    Rooting out plagiarists with software. It's become easy for students to buy term papers on the Web and copy research they find online. But now, with the help of a few start-ups, some teachers are fighting back.

    More Battles Loom Over Bush's Nominees for Judgeships. In a war of ideology, Senate Democrats and the White House predict months of discord over the confirmation of judicial nominees.

    Suffering That Gets Us Nowhere: - Beit Jala diary - Sami Adwan

    Sonnet: Against Making Blood Speak Out
    If I die one day from the bullet of a young killer-
    a Palestinian who crosses the northern border-
    or from the blast of a hand grenade he throws,
    or in a bomb explosion while I'm checking the price
    of cucumbers, in the market, don't dare say
    that my blood permits you to justify your wrongs-
    that my torn eyes support your blindness-
    that my spilled guts prove it's impossible
    to talk about an arrangement with them
     - that it's only possible
    to talk with guns, interrogation cells, curfew, prison,
    expulsion, confiscation of land, wisecracks, iron fists, a steel heart
    that thinks it's driving out the Amorites and destroying the Amalekites.
     Let the blood seep into the dust: blood is blood, not words.
     Terrible-the illusion of the Kingdom in obtuse hearts.
         Meir Wieseltier, translated. from the Hebrew by Shirley Kaufman.
         In The Nation, April 15, 2002

    Beth Taylor -Lost to Vietnam

    I'm Not OK, You're Not OK, We're All Kamikazes: Elijah Wald - "both the suicide bombers and those who wipe out entire neighborhoods with rockets and bulldozers are pursuing their aims by killing and demoralizing civilian populations. The imbalance is not one of virtue, but of power and technology. And, if there is ever going to be peace, both sides will have to face the fact that their enemies are human beings, many with blood on their hands, but not very different from themselves. "

    Appeal V - Whose Right to Prayer?
    by Prof. Sami Adwan, Faculty of Education, Bethlehem University-Palestine,
    Palestinian co-director of The Peace Research institute in the Middle East (PRIME), a joint Israeli-Palestinian research center.

    On March 28, the same day the 14th Annual Arab Summit in Beirut concluded with a peace initiative, Israeli forces surrounded the Bethlehem district. Dozens of tanks and armored vehicles stood at the ready. I was impressed to see Israeli soldiers at morning prayers.

    During the early morning of April 2 they invaded Bethlehem and surrounded the Nativity Church and the refugee camps. During the course of the invasion, a Lutheran minister was seriously injured and six nuns were wounded.

    Omar Bin Al-Khatab Mosque, opposite to the Nativity Church, was hit by tank shells and was in flames. Israeli forces neither allowed the local fire department to reach the mosque nor attempted to do anything themselves.

    Calls for prayers have not been heard from mosques and the bells of churches have mostly been quiet. In Beit Jalla, one Israeli solder was quoted as saying: "Palestinians are not allowed to pray" to people on their way to church for Easter services.

    One of the holiest places in the world, The Church of Nativity, is under siege. Its doors are closed, tanks are just outside. Clergy and civilians are inside seeking safety. The statue of Virgin Mary on the top of Saint Mary's church was destroyed, and six other churches were hit by heavy shelling.

    I am no longer impressed by the scene of the Israeli solders praying that morning.

    Please join me in this special appeal to stop Israeli Forces from attacking clergymen, destroying and attacking  holy places and from prohibiting believers from praying and worshiping God.

    Attacking clergy, destroying Islamic and Christian holy places, and prohibiting Palestinians from worshipping is a clear violation of religious rights and international conventions. These policy and practices sure do not bring peace and security to Israelis.

    Beit Jalla, April 3, 2002 (by email)

    Thursday, April 04, 2002

    Afghan nomads cloaked Al Qaeda | "Of the three pillars of that code -- which distinguishes them from the settled and urbanized Pashtun, whose forefathers gave up this itinerant existence -- the most important principle is to give shelter to those in flight."

    In rural South Africa, 'hippos' carry the load: "The large rolling water buckets -- called "hippo rollers" by their inventors â013 do not provide a long-term solution to the developing world problem of access to clean water. But for thousands of women across South Africa who spend much of their day hauling the clear, cool liquid, it's a step in the right direction."

    Al Qaeda's village lifeline: "ZEROK, AFGHANISTAN -- By day, this is a lively village where young and old imbibe rumors along with cups of tea. But when the sun goes down, the town becomes a sea of clandestine activity: Pick-up trucks race into the mountains, carrying supplies to remote Al Qaeda bases. Many of Zerok's residents are seen as heroes for their role in launching the initial attacks on Soviet-supported Afghan bases in 1979. Now, this remote village, which traditionally divides eastern and southern Afghanistan, is again becoming a nexus for a holy war aimed at ousting the new foreigners. But, in contrast to the situation 22 years ago, there are signs of growing local resistance to the campaign against foreigners."

    Americans are caught in Ramallah siege: "About 16,000 Americans live in and around Ramallah, the largest and most important of the Palestinian towns seized by Israel as part of a military offensive that Prime Minister Ariel Sharon says is meant to crack down on terrorists."

    The Path From Oslo to War: "Israel blames the Palestinian Authority for its failure to provide security for Israel's pursuit of territorial objectives that are clearly illegal under international law."

    The Boomerang Syndrome: "Palestinian terrorism may be succeeding in some twisted, shortsighted way, while Mr. Sharon's incursions into the occupied territories are probably doomed to failure. One of the lessons of recent history seems to be that brutality rarely works for a government, especially a democratic one like Israel's, while terrorism often works just fine for insurgents."

    Connect the Dots: Krugman - "The ideological powers behind the current administration want to do away with Social Security -- not to offer retirees a better deal, but because they are opposed to the program in principle. Unfortunately, that's an argument that won't work in the political arena; Social Security is very popular. So the strategy they have adopted is to declare that the program is already dead, or nearly so. If the facts say, on the contrary, that Social Security is very much alive, the administration doesn't want to hear about it. And it doesn't want you to hear about it, either. "

    Hidden Plague of Alcohol Abuse by the Elderly: "Hidden because its symptoms often mimic or are masked by common physical and mental infirmities of aging. Hidden because doctors rarely ask about when and how much their older patients drink or what effect alcohol may have on their lives. Hidden because older people and their relatives are often in denial about the extent and effects of their drinking habits. Hidden because the amount of alcohol now causing trouble had no untoward social or physical effects in middle age. Hidden because many of the hallmarks of excessive drinking â014 like missing work or being noticeably intoxicated â014 may not be noticed among retirees who live alone."

    Therapies: A Dose of Red Pepper to Soothe Gastric Distress: "Dr. Bortolotti said he believed that the chemical in red pepper, capsaicin, worked by blocking nerves that transmit pain signals from the gut to the brain. But he cautioned that anyone considering using red pepper should first check with a doctor to rule out underlying gastric disorders. "

    Sweet Taste of Kicking Sugar Habit: "i read "Lick the Sugar Habit" by Dr. Nancy Appleton... Sugar is "more of a pharmaceutical drug than it is a nurturing food," she writes. "Your sugar cravings are a direct indication that sugar is at work destroying your body... One common characteristic of sugar addiction is that one taste . . . leads to a craving for more, the same way certain drugs create cravings.""

    Deciphering Contradictory Antarctic Climate Patterns: "Antarctica's role in climate and the oceans is largely a story of ice. Ninety percent of the world's ice lies either on the continent, in ice sheets that are on average 1.3 miles thick, or in sheets that have flowed offshore to form floating platforms of ice along the coast, hundreds to thousands of feet thick. The largest of these, the Ross Ice Shelf, covers 200,000 square miles, an area about the size of France."

    Oil Concerns in Russia Branch Out: "Russian oil companies, overflowing with cash and crude, have begun snapping up "downstream" assets like pipelines and refineries outside Russia, mainly in the former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe. Russia overtook Saudi Arabia in the month of February as the world's largest producer, and its steadily rising output is far beyond the amount domestic demand can absorb. The country's oil companies are moving to secure market outlets and captive customers for their crude. "

    Gunmen Kill 11 Palestinians Suspected of Informing for Israel: "Khalil Shikaki, a Palestinian political scientist, said the killings were motivated by fears that the suspected informers would go free in the chaos of the Israeli invasions and flight by Palestinian police officers"

    Death Threats in Brooklyn: "forced an innocent couple, Doreen and Stuart Shapiro, to flee their home. They became a target after their son Adam delivered humanitarian medical aid to Yasir Arafat's besieged compound in Ramallah, on the West Bank. "

    A Little Town in Judea, Besieged by Israelis and by Grief: "As the crimson stain crept over his pale blue shirt, they called for an ambulance. They called again and again. There was a hospital just a few blocks away, but no ambulance could pass through the gunfire or get by the Israeli armored vehicles that were choking the narrow lanes of Bethlehem's old city."

    Bombers Gloating in Gaza as They See Goal Within Reach: No More Israel: "Hamas believes that the Palestinian Authority has given up on negotiating with Israel, negotiations that Hamas virulently opposed. That has led to a budding alliance between Hamas and Fatah, the organization headed by Yasir Arafat, the Palestinian leader, despite years of bitter and sometimes violent feuding."

    Israeli Armor Units Continue Sweeping Through West Bank: " a demonstration by several hundred Israeli Arabs and leftist peace protesters on the road to Ramallah turned nasty when Israeli security forces fired tear gas and beat the participants. Among those beaten were three members of the Israeli Parliament. Though relatively small, the demonstration marked the first protest by Israelis against the operation. The Associated Press reported late tonight that 12 Palestinians and 1 Israeli were killed today in the fighting. The State Department said today that it had received a report that an American woman was shot and killed Friday in Ramallah, apparently by Israeli military forces. "

    Washington Is Criticized for Growing Reluctance to Sign Treaties: "From nuclear testing and proliferation accords to the land mines ban to agreements on climate change or protecting the rights of women and children, over the last decade Washington has moved steadily away from accepting treaties that would be binding on the United States,"

    Afghan Officials Arrest Hundreds in Bombing Plot: "Afghan officials said the conspiracy was linked to Hekmatyar, a longtime warlord known for his anti-Western views and his ruthlessness on the battlefield. ... suspicions that the government fabricated the threat to crush its opponents. Many of them belong to the Pashtun ethnic group that predominates in the south. Mr. Karzai himself is a Pashtun. But his government is dominated by Tajiks, who formed the core of the resistance to the Taliban."

    Google Technology: "Building upon the breakthrough work of B. F. Skinner... reasoned that low cost pigeon clusters (PCs) could be used to compute the relative value of web pages faster than human editors or machine-based algorithms. "

    Naltech Software - CD Data Rescue, data recovery from damaged cd-rom's and cd-r's: good to know this exists

    House members urge UMKC to fire professor for writings about pedophilia - "send a message: Pedophilia is not something that should be discussed. Not even in academic journals. And especially not by an employee of a Missouri land-grant university."

    Riverfront Times - Hartmann - Ashcroft $$: "Post-Enron, Ashcroft is finally getting recognition as someone willing to participate in that smarmy all-American game: politics as usual. Sure, Ashcroft remains holier than thou. But there's a growing recognition that his moral piety doesn't mean he acts like some goody-two-shoes when there are lucrative favors to be called in. ... What Monsanto gave Ashcroft over his Senate years amounted to more than $50,000, according to the Post-Dispatch. What its spin-off got was a consent decree -- blasted by state officials as a "sweetheart deal" -- that could save the company millions. ...What Adam's Mark gave Ashcroft was a total of $15,700 in contributions -- from CEO Fred Kummer, his family and his employees -- according to the Washington Post. What it was slated to get was early release from a costly consent decree stemming from a bodacious discrimination case involving black hotel guests in Florida. "

    CompuMentor helps non-profits get wired - "Once CompuMentor verifies an organization's non-profit tax status, the customer can log onto the site and purchase the latest office automation suite or message-board tools. The cost is about 10 percent of the products' retail values."

    American Pilots Allege Harassment Over Safety: "Three pilots have been subjected to disciplinary hearings in recent months for wearing uniforms during media appearances in which they expressed concerns about safety practices"

    The Electronic Intifada- Israel's "smoking gun" a damp firecracker: "the allegedly damning document, dated 16 September 2001, with requests for explosives and ammunition was issued in a period when the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades did not carry out suicide bomb attacks against Israeli civilians. The Israeli Defence Forces own briefing document issued for the invasion of Ramallah... notes the milestone at which the Al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades began targeting Israeli civilians within Israel: "Following the [Israeli assassination] of local Tanzim leader Ra'ad Karmi on the [14th] of January 2002, the Fatah changed ... from shooting attacks on roads to suicide bombings in Israeli cities, and terrorist attacks against IDF checkpoints." ... Attacking military forces occupying your land is considered to be a legitimate form of resistance under international law. Israel has failed to prove a credible direct link between Arafat and acts of terrorism. "  I don't know... what price war, whether "legal" or not?

    Monday, April 01, 2002

    Al Qaeda fighters try to regroup: "But some locals, fearing more US bomb attacks, refuse to help"

    Guardian | Hungry, cold and besieged, Arafat defies Israel in the ruins of his empire

    US invented air attack on Pentagon, claims French book: "A bizarre book claiming that the plane that ploughed into the Pentagon on September 11 never existed, and that the US establishment itself was at the heart of the New York and Washington attacks, has shot to the top of the French bestseller lists to indignation on both sides of the Atlantic. The Frightening Fraud, by Thierry Meyssan"

    Chavez rose symbolizes blossoming of labor accord: "Supervisors in the rose fields once waved white flags urging "no union," while the United Farm Workers brandished red-and-black banners advocating dignity, respect and better benefits. These days, rose grower Bear Creek Corp. and its 1,000 laborers are working together - to the point that they have joined forces to develop a rose dedicated to the memory of Cesar Chavez"

    A Breach Prompts Israel to Bar Foreign Media From Ramallah: "The Israeli government, irritated today by protesters and foreign journalists who breached the siege around Yasir Arafat's compound, said reporters who remained in Ramallah could be stripped of their credentials or even have their offices closed down. The government is frustrated at foreign news coverage of the military operation in Ramallah, in the West Bank, and has declared the city a "closed military zone," saying it is illegal for foreign reporters to be there. There was no indication that any news organization had any intention of withdrawing reporters from Ramallah as a result of the order. "

    U.S. Fears Afghan Farmers Can't End Cash Crop: Opium: "American officials have quietly abandoned their hopes to reduce Afghanistan's opium production substantially this year and are now bracing for a harvest large enough to inundate the world's heroin and opium markets with cheap drugs. While American and European officials have debated such measures as paying Afghan opium farmers to plow under their fields, they have concluded that continuing lawlessness and political instability will make eradication all but impossible."

    An Open Letter To The Reform Community: "As citizen groups that have worked to support campaign finance reform for the last 25 years, the State PIRGs feel compelled to register our strong opposition to the McCain-Feingold legislation. While we understand the desire of our fellow reformers to win something, we believe this victory will ring hollow once the public sees the results. Far from capitalizing on the public outcry from scandals that ranged from the renting of the Lincoln bedroom to Enron's purchase of a national energy policy, the current McCain-Feingold bill represents more of a capitulation to Sen. Mitch McConnell and other anti-reformers than a victory over them. "

    Words From The Wise: "[Scott] Nearing's criticisms and conclusions about war, profit-making, pollution and politics led him to become the practical conservationist who was associated with the "back to the land" movement. As the war on terrorism is expands, it's worth returning to Nearing's writing and his model of living in harmony with nature. The words of this great teacher still ring strong in my ears, as does the image of an old man continuing to chop his own wood to heat his house. Rereading Nearing inspires and reminds me: the struggle against American war-making that he began 80 years ago endures -- one which I remain committed to continue during this new century. " - Israeli videotape via Canadian news, of Israeli soldiers in a West Bank home where they killed the wife/mother, wouldn't let her husband call an ambulance.

    Palestine Independent Media Center - frequent updates from international observers in the Occupied Territories

    Saturday, March 30, 2002

    Israel turns its fire on Arafat: "Israel launched a war to the finish against Yasser Arafat yesterday, smashing into his compound with tanks and bulldozers and strafing his offices with machine-gun fire, in a campaign of systematic destruction. "

    Pentagon Seeks Exemption From Environmental Laws: "Concerned that several environmental laws are interfering with the military's ability to train soldiers and develop weapons, the Pentagon is seeking a Congressional exemption from an array of measures that have protected endangered species and their habitats for years."

    Bush Names Affirmative Action Critic to Civil Rights Post: "President Bush used his power to make appointments during Congressional recesses today to name a young black lawyer who is a vocal critic of preferences for minorities to be head of the Office of Civil Rights in the Department of Education."

    Prisoners in Peru Seek a Way Out. About 2,200 Peruvians are in jail for participating in rebel movements, and they have begun to press the government for new trials. By Juan Forero.

    Plastic Recycling Is a Work in Progress. At first glance, plastics recycling looks like an economic and environmental success story. Yet few companies have achieved the economies of scale that could make recycling pay.

    Drilling Could Hurt Wildlife, Federal Study of Arctic Says. A federal study said that oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska could harm caribou, snow geese, musk oxen and other wildlife.

    Historian's Fight for Her Reputation May Be Damaging It. The historian Doris Kearns Goodwin, who is accused of plagiarism, is trying to repair her damaged reputation, but her efforts may be backfiring.

    Burgers in Chile: Hold the Criticism. McDonald's has filed a $1.25 million lawsuit against a woman in Chile who complained that her son came down with food poisoning after eating one if its hamburgers.

    From Old Files, a New Story of U.S. Role in Angolan War: "a trove of recently declassified American documents ... show conclusively that the United States intervened in Angola weeks before the arrival of any Cubans, not afterward as Washington claimed. Moreover, though a connection between Washington and South Africa, which was then ruled by a white government under the apartheid policy, was strongly denied at the time, the documents appear to demonstrate their broad collaboration."

    Out of the Black Box of Phobia. Most of her adult life she suffered from phobias. Then she discovered supported exposure therapy, in which the therapist accompanies you into whatever situation you're afraid of. By Ruth Lippin (former associate of Roger's?).

    An AIDS Skeptic in South Africa Feeds Simmering Doubts. Peter Mokaba has a new, controversial calling: explaining why the world should stop worrying about South Africa's AIDS epidemic. "H.I.V.? It doesn't exist.. The kind of stories that they tell that people are dying in droves? It's not true. It's not borne out by any facts. ... Antiretrovirals, they're quite dangerous. They're poison actually." ... the questions that Mr. Mbeki raised still simmer within the ruling party.

    In a First, Medicare Coverage Is Authorized for Alzheimer's. The Bush administration, in a major change, has authorized Medicare coverage for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease, which afflicts nearly four million Americans.

    DNA Ditties. An executive with one Silicon Valley company is now suggesting that DNA sequences be converted to digital music, arguing that they might then be protected under copyright law. [No end to rapacious capital]

    The Poll That Didn't Add Up: "Finally, or so the world thought, a definitive answer to the question that has haunted Americans since Sept. 11: How much do Muslims abroad really hate us? Quite a bit, according to surveys in nine predominantly Muslim countries by the Gallup Organization, whose findings were first reported last month by CNN and USA Today and subsequently by news organization around the world.... One big problem: Those numbers were the product of Enron-like arithmetic -- sensational but meaningless amalgamations of results from nine separate surveys."

    Oil Company Proves Bush Wrong On Climate Change: "BP chief executive John Browne announced that his company had met its self-imposed target for reducing greenhouse gas emissions -- nearly eight years ahead of schedule, and at no net cost to the company. It was Browne who, five years earlier at Stanford, had sent shock waves through the energy industry by announcing that his company had decided that the risks of climate change justified precautionary action. "

    Help Kenny's Kids: "With Enron bankrupt, and Ken Lay no longer able to generously support those who made him what he is today, many poor, sorrowful politicians have been been left horribly deprived. Please consider the awful plight of the terribly needy men and women shown below. Send a note to show you care, and we'll donate a penny to campaign finance reform. "

    Plugging Up Loopholes: "Was McCain-Feingold Really A Victory?"

    Enron Democrats - the Nation, WILLIAM GREIDER "If left-labor-liberal progressives had the cohesion and muscle of their right-wing opposites, they would be articulating a simple-to-understand litmus test for the Democratic Party--no "Enron Democrats" on the presidential ticket in 2004. That precondition would eliminate a number of presidential wannabes ... Joe Lieberman..Tom Daschle... Joe Biden ... do not pass the Enron smell test. "

    Foreign Policy In Focus - "We are the Democrats:" The Crisis in Zimbabwe and the Death of the NEPAD "Zimbabwe case has highlighted the perpetual reluctance of African elites to criticize one of their own, particularly in light of African leaders' reactions to what most people saw as fundamentally rigged elections. This point raises profound questions as to the seriousness and credibility of the New Economic Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD)."

    Foreign Policy In Focus - The War on Dissent Widens "Americans for Victory Over Terrorism (AVOT, online at has compiled a sample list of statements by professors, legislators, authors, and columnists that it finds objectionable. .... include Congresswoman Maxine Waters, President Jimmy Carter, Congressman Dennis Kucinich, American Prospect editor Robert Kuttner, Lewis Lapham, the editor of Harper's Magazine".

    Friday, March 29, 2002

    Seizure-Alert Dogs May Get Seeing-Eye Status in Florida: " study of patients and their seizure-alert dogs by the University of Florida's epilepsy clinic in 1998 determined that some dogs do detect seizures, but the scientists did not have the money to investigate whether early detection was a spontaneous reaction or trainable behavior. "

    North Korea Has a Hold on Hearts in Japan. A nationalistic fervor has endured among many of the 600,000 people of recent Korean descent living in Japan. By Howard W. French.

    Baghdad-Kuwait Accord -- Support Is Rebuff to Bush's Efforts: " message from the Saudis seemed clear. They coordinated an unprecedented Arab peace initiative toward Israel on the very day they also pushed through a surprise Kuwaiti-Iraqi reconciliation, suggesting that if the former problem could be solved, the Iraqi issue could, too"

    Italy's Unions Seem Ready for Battle: "Italian government's resolve to create a more flexible labor market is coming under increasing resistance from the nation's traditionally powerful labor unions, threatening to unleash the worst labor trouble in decades and challenging the government of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi. "

    Thursday, March 28, 2002

    Despite threats, Guatemalan scientists dig for the truth : "Forensic anthropologists receive armed protection while exhuming bodies killed in country's 36-year civil war."

    Two top Al Qaeda leaders spotted  "Al Qaeda and Taliban fugitives are regrouping in the mountains south and northeast of the city of Khost, helped and supplied in part by Afghan sympathizers who can blend into the city and bring information and supplies to the fugitives."

    In the land of Castro, professors run B&Bs : Cuba's dollar economy"By 2010 the country of 11 million people aims to have at least 5 million visitors. That influx has caused a two-tier society: those with access to dollars -- workers in the tourism industry, primarily -- and those without, most of whom work for the state. This has led to doctors running restaurants out of their living rooms and professors operating B&Bs."

    No more cuts, say heads of colleges in Missouri: "Leaders of Missouri's public four-year colleges and universities have gone on the road, telling audiences around the state that their schools have taken more than their share of state budget cuts. They brought that word Wednesday to a meeting hosted by Harris-Stowe State College and the University of Missouri at St. Louis on the UMSL campus. Among the points made: * Missouri has reduced the share of general revenue going to higher education from 16 percent in 1980 to 12 percent this year."

    The Smoke Machine. The "vast right-wing conspiracy" is not an overheated metaphor but a straightforward reality, and it works a lot like a special-interest lobby. By Paul Krugman.

    New Plan Redesigns Plumbing of Everglades: "Day and night, water managers type and click, banking or moving water through 1,800 miles of canals and gates and pipes and valves. But the system was built to serve people. Nature has mostly been an afterthought. "

    Bush Energy Order Wording Mirrors Oil Lobby's Proposal : "The similarity was identified yesterday by the Natural Resources Defense Council, one of the groups that forced Monday's disclosure of Energy Department documents. The NRDC said the wording was unusually expansive. "The oil companies seem to be putting words in our president's mouth," "

    Wednesday, March 27, 2002

    Army Secretary Defends Timing of His Sale of Enron Stock: "Thomas E. White, a former Enron executive who is now Army secretary, today defended the timing of his sales of millions of dollars in Enron stock late last year, saying that dozens of conversations he had with Enron executives at that time did not guide his decisions"

    Saudi, in Emotional Plea to Israel, Offers 'Land for Peace' Proposal. Crown Prince Abdullah today proposed normal relations with Israel in exchange for concessions on land, refugees and recognition of a Palestinian state. By Neil Macfarquhar.

    FBI to divulge more Carnivore details: "Privacy advocates have won another round in their fight to gain access to more information about the FBI's Carnivore e-mail surveillance system. "

    Supreme Court Rejects Plea for New Trial in Death Penalty Case: The dissent wrote: "allowing the state to have a murder victim's lawyer represent the accused murderer "is not only capricious; it poisons the integrity of our adversary system of justice"

    Terror's Confounding Online Trail: "even against a superior arsenal of technology, there are still plenty of ways for terrorists to avoid detection."

    For Chilean Coup, Kissinger Is Numbered Among the Hunted: "victims of the Chilean military's 17-year dictatorship are now pressing legal actions in both Chilean and American courts against Henry A. Kissinger and other Nixon administration officials who supported plots to overthrow Salvador Allende Gossens, the Socialist president, in the early 1970's." Wouldn't it be simpler to have Kissinger added to the international terrorist registry?

    Tuesday, March 26, 2002

    Chinese Protests Ebb as Officials Talk Tough, but Give Ground: "giant protests by displaced workers from state-owned factories in northeastern China have dwindled in recent days as officials responded with a dual strategy, meeting some of the workers' monetary demands while detaining several organizers and threatening still more demonstrators with "

    Towns With Odd Jobs Galore Turn to Inmates. The use of prisoners for manual labor has increased around the country, but not everyone agrees that the rise is an entirely positive trend.

    From Algeria to a Dream: Elias Adam Zerhouni: "In the 1980's, Dr. Zerhouni, then an associate professor of radiology at Johns Hopkins University, found a way to use magnetic fields to create a grid ... that could track the heart. ... Today, as expected, President Bush announced that Dr. Zerhouni was his choice to become the next director of the National Institutes of Health. For Dr. Zerhouni, who was born in Algeria and came to the United States 27 years ago "

    A Man of Many Professions: Richard Henry Carmona. Dr. Richard H. Carmona, the man chosen by President Bush to be surgeon general of the United States, has an M.D. and a master's degree in public health, but he also has experience in law enforcement and on the battlefield, which may help him cope with the threat of biological terrorism.

    Raids, Detentions and Lists Lead Muslims to Cry Persecution: "Several hundred Muslims held an open meeting on Monday night in Sterling, Va., near Washington, to listen to complaints of people whose homes or businesses were among those raided. Many said they intended to press for Congressional hearings into police tactics and to organize rallies to call attention to abuses against Muslims since Sept. 11."

    Timber Company Reduces Cutting of Old-Growth Trees: "But some timber companies find it unlikely that a few cancellations will have much influence on the way they harvest wood. Indeed, some loggers say homeowners' appetite for moldings, decks and other details carved from old trees like redwood has never been harder to satisfy"

    Cockpit Tape Offers Few Answers but Points to Heroic Efforts: "United Flight 93, the hijacked plane that crashed outside Shanksville, Pa., on Sept. 11"

    More Aid, More Need: Pledges Still Falling Short: Tim Weiner - "After years of resisting, the United States is enlisting in a global war on poverty, but only if it can choose the rules of engagement, the fields of battle and the ultimate cost. Its promises â014 and they are only promises at the moment â014 are a post-cold-war watershed. Still, they fall far short of what is needed to change one hard fact: half the world's people are have-nots."

    Bush Vows to Keep Andes Region Stable: "President Bush pledged today to help President Alejandro Toledo of Peru fight Marxist guerrillas on Peru's border with Colombia, saying that countering violence and drug trafficking in the Andes was crucial to maintaining the stability of the region."

    Shell Plans to Triple Its Stake in China: "2,400-mile pipeline ... which will ship gas to Shanghai on China's east coast from Xinjiang Province in the northwest"

    Anger and Isolation Roil Israeli Arabs: "The standard of living among Israeli Arabs is about half that of Israeli Jews. Several recent reports have shown that the schools are grossly subpar. Most Israeli Arab homes still rely on septic tanks. Year after year, the government promises to equalize spending between Arab and Jewish communities, but the promise still has not been fulfilled. The turning point, when restiveness became anger and revolt, occurred on Oct. 1, 2000, two days after a visit to Al Aksa Mosque in Jerusalem by Ariel Sharon, who was then Israel's opposition leader. Thousands of Israeli Arabs demonstrated and then rioted in protest of the visit. In a response that touched off the current uprising, Israeli police officers shot and killed 13 of the Israeli Arab demonstrators, "

    Brazil's Prized Exports Rely on Slaves and Scorched Land: "despite a federal crackdown announced seven years ago, "contemporary forms of slavery" in which workers are held in unpaid, coerced labor continue to flourish. The reasons range from ranchers in cahoots with corrupt local authorities to ineffective land reform policies and high unemployment. Perhaps most important, though, is the growing pressure to exploit and develop the Amazon's vast agricultural frontier, in part to supply foreign markets with two prized goods: timber and beef."

    Tribal Leaders in Pakistan Warn the U.S. to Keep Out: "Tribal leaders from the treacherous mountainous areas along the border with Afghanistan have an unambiguous message for American commanders who have suggested that they might enter the region in pursuit of Al Qaeda fighters: Don't. One tribal leader, wagging his finger for emphasis, said that tribal elders saw America as the enemy and that his people would sacrifice their lives to keep American soldiers off their land. "

    In Times of Terror, Teens Talk the Talk: "Their bedrooms are "ground zero." Translation? A total mess. A mean teacher? He's "such a terrorist." A student is disciplined? "It was total jihad." Petty concerns? "That's so Sept. 10." And out-of-style clothes? "Is that a burqa?""

    Discussing the Nature of Reality, Between Buffets: "symposium modestly titled "Science and Ultimate Reality." ... to honor the 90th birthday of Dr. John Archibald Wheeler, the Princeton and University of Texas physicist known for his poetic characterizations of the mysteries of the universe....  he said he felt "in his bones," that by the year 2050, "we will have seen the greatest war in the history of the world.""

    Web sites told to delete data: "White House yesterday ordered all federal agencies to scrub their Web sites of sensitive information on weapons of mass destruction and other data that might be useful to terrorists"

    Bleak future looms if you don't take a stand "1. Do you care if a few giant companies control virtually all entertainment and information? 2. Do you care if they decide what kinds of technological innovations will reach the marketplace? 3. Would you be concerned if they used their power to compile detailed dossiers on everything you read, listen to, view and buy? 4. Would you find it acceptable if they could decide whether what you write and say could be seen and heard by others?"

    Improving His Average to One in 16: "When Randy Newman finally won an Academy Award for best original song on Sunday night, putting 16 nominations and 15 losses behind him, he couldn't resist a little mockery. "I don't want your pity," he teased, and went on to thank the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for giving him so many opportunities for humiliation. Receiving the award, for "If I Didn't Have You" from "Monsters, Inc.," was a capstone to a career that has followed, in its odd way, a classic trajectory: the brilliant bohemian iconoclast who ends up going back into the family trade"

    'Beautiful Mind' Wins; Best Actress Goes to Halle Berry: "a momentous night for black actors in Hollywood, with wins for Denzel Washington and Halle Berry, an honorary Oscar to Sidney Poitier, the black actor who last won the lead Oscar for "Lilies of the Field" (1963) and a black M.C., Whoopi Goldberg."

    Energy Chief Met Envoys From Industry: "first wave of documents related to Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force today. The papers showed that Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham, a member of the panel, met with three dozen energy industry representatives but with no consumer or conservation groups in preparing the national energy strategy last year."

    Food Aid for Afghans Way Short of Need, U.N. Agency Says. Despite pledges from many nations to help the people of Afghanistan, governments have given the World Food Program barely 5 percent of emergency aid it needs. By Barbara Crossette.

    Europe Versus United States in Steel War: "In 1980, Europe's five largest steel companies accounted for 30 percent of steel production in the European Union. Today, the top five account for more than 60 percent. By contrast, the top five American companies account for about a third of the American market, and they are all much smaller than their biggest rivals in either Europe or Asia. Europe's steel employment, meanwhile, has shrunk radically, from nearly 800,000 workers in 1980 to fewer than 280,000 today."

    Justices Weigh How Far to Take a Sentencing Revolution: "if a judicial finding cannot be allowed to pierce the sentencing ceiling, can it logically be permitted to raise the sentencing floor, through the imposition of a mandatory minimum sentence?"

    Weapons Labs Offer Changes to End Boycott. The nation's premier weapons laboratories have offered to change their hiring practices in exchange for the ending of a boycott by two Asian-American organizations. By James Glanz.

    Supreme Court Approves Public Housing Drug Ban: "The Supreme Court today upheld public housing agencies' "zero tolerance" policy on illegal drug use, ruling that a tenant can be evicted if a family member or guest uses drugs -- even if the tenant did not know about it. The court ruled, 8 to 0, that the housing authority in Oakland, Calif., was within its rights in moving to evict four longtime tenants whose relatives had used drugs, even if the tenants themselves could be called "innocent.""

    Nutrition: Soy May Play Role in Pain Management. Diet may affect the amount of pain that patients with long-term illnesses suffer. By Eric Nagourney.

    Technology Review - Postol vs. the Pentagon: "Theodore Postol .... MIT professor of science, technology and national security policy has publicly accused the defense technology corporation TRW of perpetrating a hoax on the U.S. government. He has charged the Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency (formerly known as the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization) with committing an 'elaborate scientific and technical blunder,' compounded by fraud and misconduct. He has charged the authors of a report investigating those alleged frauds -- who include two staff scientists at MIT's Lincoln Laboratory -- with committing scientific fraud themselves to cover up the frauds they were allegedly investigating. "

    Satellite spies on doomed Antarctic ice shelf: "Satellite images have revealed the collapse of Larsen B ice shelf on the Antarctic Peninsula "
    Scientific American: Climate Warming Causes Collapse of Antarctic Ice Shelf

    We failed Andrea Yates: Danielle Steel "The verdict in the case against Andrea Yates, and the outrage of the prosecutors (and apparently the jury), is beyond shocking. Every description of Yates' behavior, long before her devastating crime, shouts of deeply psychotic behavior. "

    Missouri: Stop Studying and Do Something!: "Missouri River ecosystem is in a significant state of decline. There's been a lot of degradation of the ecological properties of the system. There's ample scientific evidence to credibly demonstrate that and there doesn't need to be any more research done to make that credible. The most important thing is to undertake some immediate action." - Brewing Poverty And Violence In El Salvador: "Ten years after the signing of the Chapultepec Peace Accords ended more than a decade of bloody conflict, U.S.-supported policies continue to impede progress toward human rights. Rather than atoning for its sponsorship of Cold War crimes, the United States has overseen a type of economic transformation that punishes the same communities most victimized during El Salvador's time of violence. Under the supervision of the IMF and World Bank in Washington, DC, the conservative Salvadoran governments of the 1990s hacked social services and sold off state enterprises in telecommunications and utilities to private interests. "

    World War 3 Report: "CIA LINK TO ANTHRAX ATTACKS? A BBC Newsnight investigation has raised the possibility that the fall anthrax attacks were part of a secret CIA project to simulate bio-terror attacks which went "madly out of control." "

    Village Voice - Ridgeway: "since October 7 the United States Air Force has been raining down depleted uranium shells at targets inside Afghanistan, especially against the Taliban front lines in the north. . . . 'There is widespread radiation in many areas that could adversely affect tens and thousands of people in the two countries for generations to come" [Pentagon denies, says the DU is from Al Queda]

    Village Voice - Ridgeway Columbine shootings: "FBI diagrams suggest that the cops themselves were shooting wildly into the school while the students were waiting inside to be rescued.... one student appears to have been shot through the chest while standing outside the school. At least one cop told his parents the boy was killed by police fire. "

    BBC - Saudi police 'stopped' fire rescue: "Saudi Arabia's religious police stopped schoolgirls from leaving a blazing building because they were not wearing correct Islamic dress, according to Saudi newspapers. In a rare criticism of the kingdom's powerful "mutaween" police, the Saudi media has accused them of hindering attempts to save 15 girls who died in the fire on Monday. "
    But see also:  Cleric sacked over Saudi school fire: "accusations that the religious police had prevented girls fleeing the school because they were not wearing head scarves were dismissed as "untrue". "

    Monday, March 25, 2002

    Home Remedy for Cough: "1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 Tablespoon honey, 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar, 2 Tablespoons water" [she says it tastes terrible, but I think it tastes a lot better than Robutussin!]

    Dear Dr Laura,    "I have a neighbor who insists  on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself? A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination (Lev. 11:10), it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this?"

    When It Comes to Exercise, Little Things Mean a Lot: "America's alarming girth growth, say Blair and numerous other health experts, is directly related to "physical activity being engineered out of daily life." Blair says the average adult expends about 300 to 700 fewer calories per day than our parents did.... our society has created a "toxic environment" that discourages movement. "

    Saturday, March 23, 2002

    Why Republicans Are in Love With the Voting Rights Act: "a challenge to Georgia's new Congressional districts. The redistricting plan has the support of every major black elected official in the state. But Georgia's Republican Party, which has no black elected officials to speak of, has gone to federal court to claim that the plan discriminates against blacks."

    Friends and mortal enemies: "Michael Frayn is at the centre of a fierce controversy over his play, Copenhagen, based on the 1941 meeting between atomic scientists Niels Bohr, a Dane, and the German Werner Heisenberg. Newly released letters shed fresh light on an encounter which was to haunt both men for the rest of their lives " - very long essay

    UMSL unveils long-range plans for expansion of campus and programs: "University of Missouri at St. Louis intends to get bigger in every respect - land, students, degree programs and buildings. The campus laid out its vision of the future Friday in planning documents presented at a meeting of the board of curators"

    Islamic Dogma Out as Afghan Kids Go Back to School: "children opened new textbooks rushed to the country in recent days after they were written by Afghan scholars at U.S. universities."

    A Company's Gain From Energy Report's Recommendation. The national energy report released in May 2001 embraced a reactor being developed by a company that has provided hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republicans. By Don Van Natta Jr.

    Afghans Have a Palace, but Not a Role, Ready for the Former King: "Commonly, Afghans tell outsiders that Zahir -- who came to the throne as an 18-year-old when his father, Mohammad Nadir Shah, was assassinated inside the Arg Palace grounds in 1933 -- accomplished little in his nearly 40 years as king, and that the country's failure to develop laid the grounds for his overthrow in 1973 as well as the Communist revolution five years later. Afghans also note that Mohammad Nadir Shah was himself a usurper, an army general who suppressed a peasant revolt in 1929 and took the throne for himself, deposing King Amanullah, the legitimate monarch. Yet Afghans also remember that under Zahir the country was at peace. After 23 years of war and chaos, that alone makes the former king a figure of reverence. But there are strong factions opposed to his restoration, mainly among the Tajik, Uzbek and Hazara minorities"

    Rome Swamped by 2 Million Protesters: "At least two million trade unionists descended on Rome on Saturday, filling the city center with a sea of red flags in a massive show of force against plans by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi to re-write labor laws. The demonstration was also broadened into a protest against political violence following the killing last Tuesday of a senior government adviser who helped draw up changes to Italy's long-standing employment rules."

    The Soul of George W. Bush: ""On tactics, he may be listening to Colin Powell," said Norman Podhoretz, the influential conservative editor and author. "But he's very clear as to his strategic objectives -- not just to clean up Al Qaeda cells but to effect regime changes in six or seven countries and to create conditions which would lead to internal reform and modernization in the Islamic world.""

    A Bias Toward Waste: "vehicles will also allow manufacturers to exploit a loophole in the government's outdated fuel economy standards to sell inefficient -- if highly profitable -- cars. The Senate had a chance last week to tighten these standards and do something meaningful about global warming and the country's dependence on foreign oil. It surrendered instead to a fear campaign mounted by the companies and the United Automobile Workers"

    'The Black Hearts of Men': Abolitionist Absolutists: "account of the relationship of four radical abolitionists ... a story of politics, religion, sin, guilt, passion, murder and expiation. It begins in innocence and good intentions and ends in bloodshed and madness. Frederick Douglass and James McCune Smith, two blacks, and John Brown and Gerrit Smith, two whites"

    A Secret Iran-Arafat Connection Is Seen Fueling the Mideast Fire

    Survivor and Humanist, Celebrating con Brio: "Rostropovich ... an ebullient survivor of Soviet repression, and a steadfast friend to artists ostracized by the system, ... his spirited conducting and his cello mastery. Known universally by his nickname, Slava, he is stunningly fit and active, crisscrossing the globe with little sleep but remembering with a watchmaker's precision the dates, addresses, details of where things happened and who said what to whom more than half a century ago."

    Friday, March 22, 2002

    Yeast Infection: The Pitfalls of Self-Diagnosis: "only a third of the women buying over-the-counter vaginal antifungal product had accurately self-diagnosed their conditions. An additional 21 percent of the customers studied did in fact have vaginal yeast infections but also had second infections for which the medication was not helpful. Nearly 19 percent had bacterial vaginosis not amenable to antifungal therapy, 12 percent had other conditions, and nearly 14 percent had no vaginal infections at all."

    Another Possible Aspirin Benefit for Men. Men over 60 who took aspirin or another anti-inflammatory drug daily were half as to be diagnosed with prostate cancer.

    Symptoms: The Not-So-Telltale Sign of Lyme Disease: "any sort of red rash, whether circular or oval, that grows in size over a few days, should be checked out," especially if accompanied by mild fever, headache or other flulike symptoms."

    Lead Company Agrees to Buy Homes. The owner of the nation's largest lead smelter has agreed to buy 160 nearby homes to protect the community's children from pollution. By The Associated Press.

    U.S. Acts to Shrink Endangered Species Habitats. The Bush administration is urging federal judges to roll back legal protections for nearly two dozen populations of endangered species. By Greg Winter.

    Disease stalks new megacities: "Two leading British development groups gave warning yesterday that sanitation in many of the world's cities is in crisis and will dramatically worsen with the continuing growth of cities and slums. Poor sanitation.. has become a development scandal: 2.5 billion people, 40% of the world's population, lack access to even the most minimal toilet facilities and up to 6,000 children a day die from water-borne diseases which could be eradicated cheaply and quickly"

    African leaders wary of evolving US definition of 'terrorist': "African leaders ... rankled at attempts by the US and Britain to define terrorists. During their own liberation struggles, many Africans, including South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, appeared on State Department terrorist lists, but are now considered allies, even friends. ... The US supported rebel groups in Angola and Mozambique, as well as oppressive white-minority regimes in South Africa and Zimbabwe. With US help, Angolan rebel leader Jonas Savimbi not only tried to topple the Angolan government during the 1980s, but throughout the 1990s he armed rebels who undermined the newly democratic Namibia."

    Al Qaeda's ploy: parry and run: "Al Qaeda ... are reportedly regrouping with additional funds in the region. But both Afghan and international military analysts say that the caves -- the focus of US firepower in Tora Bora last December and here in Shah-e Kot this month -- may be decoys that Al Qaeda is laying out for coalition forces to target, while the planning for guerrilla warfare here and terrorism abroad is done in other quarters."

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Law firm calls anti-Talent accusations absurd: "Talent worked for almost 10 months for the Washington firm of Arent Fox Kinter Plotkin and Kahn. The firm's expertise includes lobbying Congress and the federal government on behalf of its clients. Missouri Democratic Party Executive Director Mike Kelley has asked Talent to make public his billing records because at least six of Arent Fox's new clients last year were Missouri firms or groups with ties to Talent. Kelley is accusing those clients of funneling money through Arent Fox to give Talent a private income while he considered running for the U.S. Senate against incumbent Jean Carnahan, a Democrat. The companies deny it. Arent Fox registered all six with Congress as new lobbying clients on the same day. "

    Soft-Money Record: Democrats Take in $12 Million (2 Gifts): "Haim Saban, the billionaire chairman of Saban Capital Group and the creator of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and other children's entertainment programming. Mr. Saban said he gave $7 million specifically for the construction of the Democratic National Committee's high-tech headquarters here. The building will cost $32 million, a sum that will be paid entirely with soft money donations that will be illegal after Nov. 6."

    Pentagon Says Acquittals May Not Free Detainees

    Italian Terrorists Say They Killed Economist: "An offshoot of the Red Brigades terror group said today that it was responsible for the shooting death on Tuesday of an Italian economist who was working on bitterly contested changes in Italy's labor laws. The group also said the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States were a model of effective terrorism. A 26-page communiqué portrayed the slaying of the economist, Marco Biagi, as part of a global struggle against "imperialism." "

    Bush Acts to Drop Core Privacy Rule on Medical Data: "proposal would repeal a provision widely viewed as the core of the Clinton rules: a requirement that doctors, hospitals and other health care providers obtain written consent from patients before using or disclosing medical information for treatment, the payment of claims or any of a long list of "health care operations," like setting insurance premiums and measuring the competence of doctors."

    Out of Jail and Out of Food: "1996 welfare law that denies food stamps and welfare ... for life to anyone convicted of a drug felony. It is doubtful that the members of Congress realized a large part of this burden would fall on struggling women and their young children. A study by the Sentencing Project... estimates that since the ban went into effect in 1996, 92,000 women have been convicted of drug offenses in the states enforcing it. Of these, about two-thirds are mothers, with 135,000 children among them. Obviously, the only people hurt by this denial of benefits are the poor, which usually means a minor offender who is an addict and out of jail trying to make it."

    Files Detail Debate in E.P.A. on Clean Air: "White House and the energy industry have pushed the agency to revise a regulation that compels companies, mostly power plants and oil refineries, to modernize pollution control equipment when they upgrade their plants. The industry has argued that the regulation, called new source review, is onerous and contradictory."

    Law Revises Standards for Scientific Study: "a little-noticed law called the Data Quality Act, signed in the waning days of the Clinton administration, has set off a fierce debate over how best to weigh health and environmental risks. The law -- supported, and largely written, by industry-backed groups -- requires the government for the first time to set standards for the quality of scientific information and statistics used and disseminated by federal agencies. It would create a system in every government agency under which anyone could point out errors in documents and regulations. If the complaints were borne out, the agency would have to expunge the data from government Web sites and publications. More broadly, opponents of the new law say that while nobody wants the government to issue flawed data, the new process could undermine valid regulations and stifle government efforts to convey information on issues like climate change and cancer risks."

    In Los Angeles, a Traveler's Best Friend: "With little fanfare, bomb-sniffing dogs have become among the most effective, and important, security tools at airports, federal and local airport officials say. They work quickly and have an almost perfect record in separating real explosives from merely suspicious items ... dogs offer reassurance and are far less intimidating than some of the new measures."

    Monterrey's Poor Sinking in Rising Economic Tide: "A business-class bubble surrounds the presidents, ambassadors and foreign ministers here for the United Nations conference on how rich nations can help poor ones with aid and trade. ... But many, many more people here are dirt poor. They survive on a few dollars a day or less."

    Mugabe Tightens Curbs on Top Opponent: "Political analysts warned today that Mr. Mugabe risked losing African allies if he continued to harass the opposition."

    Justice Dept. Wants to Query More Foreigners: "young, mostly Muslim foreign men visiting the United States, saying it would try to track down and speak to an additional 3,000 of them for information about terrorism. The announcement was immediately criticized by civil liberties and Arab-American groups, and it came as the department disclosed that it had been able to locate and interview fewer than half of some 4,800 young men with whom it wanted to speak in the first round of interviews, which began last November."

    The $2,000 Answer: "Though Democrats pressed most energetically for the legislation, its biggest immediate beneficiary will be President Bush. A group of Mr. Bush's backers called the Pioneers raised $113 million in private money, the most in presidential campaign history. And it was all in chunks of $1,000. ... Now that the measure doubles the limit per donor to $2,000, the job of the Pioneers will be easier. "

    Rules Set on Afghan War Prosecutions: "The rules now require a unanimous verdict for the death penalty, let the press cover most proceedings and provide for defendants to have military lawyers at government expense and also hire their own civilian lawyers at their own expense. The rules also say suspects will be presumed not guilty and can see the evidence against them. They require the highest standard of proof, saying that a tribunal can find someone guilty only beyond a reasonable doubt. Officials said the rules on introducing evidence were looser than those in civilian courts, with hearsay allowed, as well as any evidence that would be convincing to a "reasonable person." The rules do not provide a process for independent appeals, a procedure that critics also sought, keeping control of the tribunals in the military chain of command."
    Military Tribunals Modified - Safire - "The Pentagon has partly set right the deeply flawed executive order setting up military tribunals, but several problems remain."

    Taliban take the battle to the south Asia Times - "strong indications that preparations are well advanced for a large confrontation with US and allied forces in southern Afghanistan in the Kandahar region. According to informed sources, the battle will be fought by Taliban and al-Qaeda troops who have regrouped after escaping from the Gardez region in the east of the country, where they engaged US and allied forces for several weeks in what the Pentagon dubbed Operation Anaconda. In the new engagement, which is likely to begin with guerrilla-type attacks on US and allied forces some time next week, the Taliban and al-Qaeda will receive widespread backing from local Afghan tribes. "

    Taliban bargaining on 18 US soldiers: "18 US soldiers were taken hostage during the severe fighting in the snow covered mountains of Gardez in Afghanistan between the US soldiers and the Taliban forces. Sources said that Taliban are now "demanding the release of all the Taliban and non Afghan prisoners from Guantanamo X-Ray cells but so far diplomacy is going on with no positive signs from Bush administration". More than 400 American forces had not only withdrawn from the Gardez region but also provided safe passage to the AlQaida and Taliban forces for the safety of the US soldiers who were taken hostage during a night time operation. "

    U.S. Behind Secret Transfer of Terror Suspects: "Since Sept. 11, the U.S. government has secretly transported dozens of people suspected of links to terrorists to countries other than the United States, bypassing extradition procedures and legal formalities, according to Western diplomats and intelligence sources. The suspects have been taken to countries, including Egypt and Jordan, whose intelligence services have close ties to the CIA and where they can be subjected to interrogation tactics -- including torture and threats to families -- that are illegal in the United States... In some cases, U.S. intelligence agents remain closely involved in the interrogation"

    Tuesday, March 19, 2002

    Women's History Month archive of Nation articles

    Anaconda ends; battle winds on: "more Al Qaeda up there. All together, there are another 3,000 or 4,000 of them around. A lot of them have already moved out of Shah-i-Kot and have moved east, to around here," says the young Mr. Khan....after the heaviest fighting of Operation Anaconda was past, he says, about 300 of the anti-Al Qaeda Afghan forces were captured. They had gone into the caves looking for evidence, thinking most of the fighters who had been holed up in them were dead. They were not. Instead of killing them or taking them prisoner, the Al Qaeda forces tried to sway them, and then set them free. "When we sent everyone into the caves, our men were surrounded, and the Al Qaeda took them," says Malik Jan. "They arrested 300 of our men, they took our weapons and jumpers and uniforms," he says. "They said, 'Go back to your bosses, and tell them we don't want to fight you and kill you. We want to kill the Americans.'""

    Terror war and oil expand US sphere of influence | "GIs build bases on Russia's energy-rich flank"
    And an excellent map of oil and military presence in Mideast and Caspian region.

    Rebel's widow says U.S. officials lied: "Officials of President Bill Clinton's administration knew a Guatemalan guerrilla was being tortured for information the United States found useful, yet lied when his American wife inquired about his fate, the woman argued before the Supreme Court on Monday. The rebel's widow, Jennifer Harbury, says her constitutional right of access to the courts was violated "

    St. Louis : Chemicals turn up in well near old nuclear fuel plant: "Officials with Westinghouse Electric Co. have warned 18 homeowners who live near what used to be a nuclear fuel plant in Jefferson County that their drinking water might be contaminated. Company officials said Monday that a well tested last week showed traces of trichloroethylene and tetrachloroethylene. The chemicals were used as cleaning agents at the facility in Hematite, about 35 miles south of St. Louis, in the 1950s and 1960s. Westinghouse bought the plant about two years ago. The finding, at a home about a half-mile south of the plant, follows an announcement last month that contaminants had surfaced in another well north of the plant."

    St. Louis : Proposed asphalt plant would face tough scrutiny: "even if the asphalt facility met minimum standards, it would add to the pollution burden faced by residents of nearby neighborhoods. "There's no reason for them to place a dangerous facility in a low-income neighborhood so they can build roads in West County," Berg said. "North St. Louis already has a disproportionate share of air polluting facilities." The plant would be the second asphalt producer in the city,"

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Crowd of 150 is a mixture of Bush backers, opponents

    Bad Medicine: Krugman oped " Medicare payments have already been squeezed beyond their limits, to the point where recipients can't find doctors willing to take them. Something will have to give, and soon. "

    Visiting N.R.A. Heaven: Kristof oped "if you're so bothered by gun registration, and so convinced that guns don't kill people, then consider moving to a nice mud-brick home here in Suq al-Talh [Yemen]. With you and everybody else carrying around an assault rifle, with armor-piercing rounds in your bandolier, with a couple of grenades in your pockets, you'll really feel safe. You'll love the freedom! "

    As Easy as 1, 2, 3? San Franciscans Will Rank Candidates for 'Instant Runoffs': "Chris Bowman, a Republican political consultant and former member of the San Francisco citizens advisory committee on elections, said the instant runoff violated the one-person-one-vote principle." [What a ludicrous claim!]

    Bush Revives Tax-Cut Plan Providing Aid to Businesses: "he helped raise roughly $1.5 million at the $1,000-a-plate dinner" in St. Louis... and the article makes no mention of the spirited protest outside the hotel, linking Enron and the Bush administration.

    When He Talks for Mexico, Washington Pays Attention: "It was a great leap for a not- quite-ex-leftist who had opposed the North American Free Trade Agreement to side with Mr. Fox, a conservative and ardent free- trader, Former friends on the left deemed him a traitor. But he helped Mr. Fox win by convincing people that a vote for him was basically a vote for change from the old regime. Blurring right and left ideologies, Mr. [Foreign Minister Jorge] Castañeda tilted Mr. Fox toward great promises of social and political justice"

    Fumes and Visions Were Not a Myth for Oracle at Delphi: "a geologist, an archaeologist, a chemist and a toxicologist have teamed up to produce a wealth of evidence suggesting the ancients had it exactly right. The region's underlying rocks turn out to be composed of oily limestone fractured by two hidden faults that cross exactly under the ruined temple, creating a path by which petrochemical fumes could rise to the surface to help induce visions. In particular, the team found that the oracle probably came under the influence of ethylene -- a sweet-smelling gas once used as an anesthetic. In light doses, it produces feelings of aloof euphoria."

    Leaner Factories, Fewer Workers Bring More Labor Unrest to China: "every weekday since March 1, tens of thousands of irate workers have gathered outside the headquarters of China's most glorified oil field, at Daqing in the far northeast, charging official deceit and betrayal in what some experts have called the largest protests over labor issues since the Communist Party took power in 1949. "

    34 New West Bank Settlements Spotted: "A survey published today by Peace Now said that 34 new Israeli settlement sites had been built in the West Bank since Sharon was elected more than a year ago. The survey, based on aerial photographs, said the new sites were spotted at distances ranging from a few hundred yards to nearly two miles from existing settlements."

    Deciding Who Will Live: Bob Herbert oped "The death penalty can never be administered consistently with any reasonable degree of fairness and equity. Too many prejudices and preconceived notions are held by the inherently fallible humans who operate the system. And there are too many unknowns when complex issues of culpability arise: Who's insane, or not insane? Who's mentally retarded? Who's lying and who's not? Was it self-defense? Was it an accident?"

    Monday, March 18, 2002

    Afghan Camps Turn Out Holy War Guerrillas and Terrorists: "Details of the training emerge in hundreds of documents and thousands of pages collected from those schools by reporters from The New York Times, and from interviews with American government and military officials."

    Muslims Demand Apology from National Review: "National Review editor Rich Lowry wrote on March 7: "Lots of sentiment for nuking Mecca. Moderates opt for something more along these lines: "Baghdad and Tehran would be the likeliest sites for a first strike. If we have clean enough bombs to assure a pinpoint damage area, Gaza City and Ramallah would also be on list. Damascus, Cairo, Algiers, Tripoli and Riyadh should be put on alert that any signs of support for the attacks in their cities will bring immediate annihilation...""

    Jewish Haikus: "After the warm rain, the sweet scent of camellias. Did you wipe your feet?"

    Taliban-style group grows in Iraq: "In the Kurdish north, a new Islamist group with ties to Al Qaeda has killed women without burqas, seized villages."

    Former East Germany sinks into economic backwater: "Young people are abandoning 'the poor eastern brother' in search of jobs and job training in Munich and other prosperous parts of Germany."

    Al Qaeda plotted new US attacks: "fortified Shah-i-Kot caves of this region just before the recent US attacks. Local villagers, who spoke on the condition that their village not be identified, provided details on how they were recruited to blast a new network of caves for these fighters... A few of the some 100 workers helping the Al Qaeda fighters were also "working" with US forces. So they were able to give the mostly Arab and Chechen fighters a day's notice that Operation Anaconda was about to begin. That information enabled the fighters to send the families traveling with them to a safer place, and spurred the comfortable departure of some of the more senior Al Qaeda figures, who also sent their extraordinarily well-paid workers home."

    World War 3 Report: (citing SF Chronicle) "RUSSIANS WARN NOT TO BE DECEIVED BY EARLY VICTORIES Soviet veterans of the USSR's decade-long Afghanistan campaign warn US troops not to overstay their welcome--and that things may not go so well come spring. The Soviet disaster in Afghanistan actually began swimmingly, said retired colonel Gennady Chebyshev. "The first year it was very peaceful, and people were very friendly," recalled Chebyshev, who now works at a Moscow satellite phone dealership. "I could drive across the entire country and nobody would touch me. People would invite me in for tea. Then...all hell broke loose and the real war began." "

    Sunday, March 17, 2002

    Mystery swirls around just how deeply angry preacher influenced Andrea Yates: " told Andrea Yates that she was evil, that her children were damned, and that only death could save her. In dozens of letters and personal meetings, he built a foundation of delusions in her mind. Although a jury has decided that Yates should spend life in prison for drowning her five children in the bathtub, little attention is being paid to preacher Michael Peter Woroniecki. Nonetheless, he had a profound influence on her beliefs, words and actions."

    Mizzou students flock to course on Islam, but it's not likely to be offered again soon: "The religious studies department has asked the university for years to hire a full-time Islamic studies instructor, only to be told it was not a priority. Now that it is, the university has imposed a hiring freeze on faculty because of a tight budget."

    Carpenters' independence tests unions' Democratic leanings: "takes credit for helping put Republicans in control of the St. Louis County Council, and it hosted Interior Secretary Gale Norton when she dropped by recently to promote oil exploration on Alaska's protected lands."

    St. Louis - Health care union loses its bid to represent four groups at St. Anthony's Medical Center: "The United Health Care Workers of Greater St. Louis on Saturday lost its latest bid to represent workers at St. Anthony's Medical Center, the area's third-largest hospital. ... Four groups of workers - registered nurses; skilled technicians, including licensed practical nurses; skilled maintenance workers; and service workers - voted against organizing and selecting United Health Care Workers."

    Town's Fond Memories of the Enemy: "the 3,000 inmates of Camp Houlton [Maine] were among the few who worked with townspeople, and since the war people who shared that experience have developed lasting friendships. The prisoners were sent to Houlton to work on the farms because there were not enough people to tend the crops. "

    Farmers Market Program Wins Support but Loses Subsidy: " federal program that gives 2.6 million low- income people coupons worth an average of $40 for the summer redeemable only at farmers markets."

    U.N. to Open Rights Review With U.S. on Sidelines: "Human rights campaigners have accused the United States, Russia, China and other countries of adopting security measures that jeopardize basic rights. The Commission on Human Rights is also under pressure to take action during its six-week session to help stem the rising Palestinian-Israeli violence, to censure Zimbabwe for its electoral practices and to condemn Russia over reports of atrocities in Chechnya."

    Pakistan Seethes as the Militants Lash Out: " three doctors -- and three others who barely escaped death after their car was fired on -- are the latest victims of sectarian violence that has surged in Pakistan in the last six weeks. Though the doctors were members of the country's Shiite religious minority, they were not politically active, and the attackers' real target appears to be the government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf."

    Russian Defector Says Army Killed Civilians in Chechnya: " says that young fascist cadets in his elite airborne unit encouraged soldiers to execute civilians during the assault." - swastikas and all.

    Al Qaeda's Grocery Lists and Manuals of Killing: ""The vast majority of them were cannon fodder," a United States government official said. A smaller group of recruits was selected for elite training that appeared to prepare them for terrorist actions abroad."

    Killer Songs: "Simon Bikindi is Rwanda's most famous musician. He is also one of the country's most famous accused war criminals.... accused of inciting genocide with his songs. "

    An Islamic Scholar's Lifelong Lesson: Tolerance: Indonesia: "The inclusive brand of Islam that Mr. Madjid has preached for decades is coming under pressure from more militant quarters in the world's most populous Muslim country. But this tolerant man is unbowed, arguing that the idea of an Islamic state is at odds with the teachings of the Koran, that religion should remain in the realm of the transcendental, and that understanding should prevail."

    U.S. Taliban Soldier Says He Was Disillusioned but Feared Reprisals: "defense lawyers hinted that the government was trying to suppress the statements that would be favorable to Mr. Lindh"

    'A Beautiful Mind' Meets Ugly Oscar Tactics: " John Nash says he is not an anti-Semite. He says he is not a homosexual. Nor, he says, did he try to conceal any of his deficiencies as a father or any humiliating episodes in an attempt to glamorize his life. To combat those rumors, Mr. Nash, a Nobel laureate whose triumph over schizophrenia is chronicled in the Oscar-nominated film "A Beautiful Mind," feels obliged to go on national television: he will appear on Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes.""

    Military Gulf Separates U.S. and European Allies: "European governments sense that they are increasingly becoming second-rank powers, unable to affect American foreign policy goals because they can bring too few military assets to the table."

    Chinese Outdid Columbus, Briton Says: "a British amateur historian says he has gathered evidence showing that, in a double challenge to accepted history, the Chinese beat Columbus to America by 72 years and also circumnavigated the globe a century before the Magellan voyage."

    Columbia Soothes The Dogs of War in Its English Dept.: "14 years since the outbreak of civil war in Columbia University's English department, a war that sent some professors scurrying for more congenial settings, turned feminists and multiculturalists against traditionalists and left a fifth of the permanent positions in the department unoccupied. "

    Saturday, March 16, 2002

    Support for Ryan's freeze on executions has fallen, poll finds: "Ryan spokesman Dennis Culloton said the [Illinois] governor was not worried about what people think. "This has never been about what is politically popular"

    Friday, March 15, 2002

    St. Louis Ballpark Village may be key to Cardinals' deal for new stadium

    ANWR and Peas: "the Senate voted down a proposal by John Kerry and John McCain to raise mileage standards on automobiles. ... What prevailed was an alliance between conservatives who hate the very idea of conservation, on one side, and union leaders trying to demonstrate their influence by making politicians jump. It's the same alliance that, last summer, led the House to support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) by a surprisingly large margin....The surprise is that this dishonest anti-conservationism got crucial support from the United Auto Workers. There's no good reason to think that higher efficiency standards would actually cost any automobile worker jobs"

    Study Says Mammograms Cut Death Risk: "the tests reduce the risk of dying from the disease by one-fifth. The study, made public today by a Swedish team, said the benefits of screening were greatest for women older than 55"

    A Hospital the U.S. Nursed, Again in Need of Care: "Just after midcentury, when the great powers vied for influence in Afghanistan with aid, not arms, Americans essentially built this city on the Helmand River. It was a suburban Shangri-La created by corporate colonialism, its showpiece a state-of- the-art public hospital that drew patients from hundreds of miles around. The city anchored what was to be the Tennessee Valley Authority of Afghanistan, a multimillion-dollar American project to use dams and irrigation canals to transform desert into a lush breadbasket. The Americans called it Bost, for the ruins of an ancient city nearby. So many settled here with their families that the Afghans called it "Little America." "

    On Both Sides in the Mideast, Fear and Stress Are Building: "Ruti Rahav learned that by shutting the doors and windows and staying with her German shepherd, Mikey, she could shelter him from the frights of war. He, in turn, helped comfort her during a recent Israeli bombing raid on Bethlehem. "He got under the bed and I lay down on the floor and held him," she said."

    Stop the War! March on Washington DC April 20th: The "War on Terrorism" Breeds More Terror

    Of All The Republican Chicken Hawks, Tom Delay Takes The Cake: "DeLay's excuse for having a yellow streak as wide as the Rio Grande down his back is truly imaginative, if you take a delight in the bizarre. The man who believes Dioxin is good for you (again, we are not making this up), claims that he volunteered for Vietnam, but all the spots were taken up by minorities, so he was not allowed to serve. " Interviews Michael Moore: "after September 11th, your publisher was going to deep-six the book unless you took out critical comments on Bush. You held firm. Is it true that the librarians of America came to your defense and saved the day? MICHAEL MOORE: That's what it looks like.... They are subversive. You think they're just sitting there at the desk, all quiet and everything. They're like plotting the revolution, man. I wouldn't mess with them. You know, they've had their budgets cut. They're paid nothing. Books are falling apart. The libraries are just like the ass end of everything, right?"

    Thursday, March 14, 2002

    Crony Capitalism Goes Global: "By hiring enough former officials to fill a permanent shadow cabinet, Carlyle has brought political influence to a new level and created a twenty-first-century version of capitalism that blurs any line between politics and business. In a sense, Carlyle may be the ultimate in privatization: the use of a private company to nurture public policy--and then reap its benefits in the form of profit."

    Going Down the Road: "New Orlean Campaign for a Living Wage's volunteers had made thousands of calls and gone door to door in a spirited shoe-leather campaign, ... winning by a sweeping 63-37 margin. The next day the corporate lawyers went running back to the courts, and a decision is due in the next few weeks on whether a trumped-up state law can overturn the voters' voice. "

    God Changes Everything: Katha Pollitt - "as if the thin film of twentieth-century political ideology has been stripped away like the ozone layer to reveal a world reverting to seventeenth-century-style religious warfare, fought with twenty-first-century weapons. "

    Press Release: "A pathbreaking national study finds that although living wage laws reduce employment, they also decrease poverty among urban families. A report released today by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) shows that the substantial pay increases generated by such laws can outweigh job losses among low-income workers - and the net effect is a modest decrease in family poverty."

    Judge Who Ruled Out Matching Fingerprints Changes His Mind: "the judge's ruling addressed only F.B.I. print examiners. Most fingerprint experts work for state and local police agencies, which have differing standards. Rob Epstein, the federal public defender whose challenge of fingerprinting in an earlier case formed the basis of the present challenge, said he was puzzled by the judge's about-face. The judge wrote in his opinion that while the proficiency tests that the F.B.I. submitted as evidence of its examiners' accuracy were so easy as to be of little value, no F.B.I. print identification had ever been proved wrong. Mr. Epstein said: "It's not the burden of the defense to show that the error rate is unacceptably high. It's the government's to show that the rate is acceptably low.""

    Military Discharges of Gays Rise, and So Do Bias Incidents: "The number of military discharges of gays has risen to its highest level in 14 years, and reported incidents of anti-gay harassment have climbed by 23 percent in a year, a legal aid group said today."

    Panel Urges Rights for Afghan Captives: "A human rights panel that is part of the Organization of American States ruled today that hundreds of Qaeda and Taliban detainees now being held in Cuba should be brought before a formal tribunal to determine their legal status. ... The United States has never considered the panel's rulings to be legally binding, and it has repeatedly brushed aside the commission's rulings on other issues. "

    After the Raid, a Slum's Assessment: "The tanks came in the middle of the night last Thursday, entering the refugee camp from three directions, rumbling through the streets and silencing gunfire with heavy machine guns. Helicopter gunships overhead slammed rockets into police positions or possible sniper perches. Electricity was cut, apparently by shooting out transformers and severing wires, and the water stopped soon after."

    100,000 People Perished, but Who Remembers?: "57 years ago this week a fleet of American B-29 bombers dropped 1,665 tons of napalm-filled bombs on Tokyo, leaving almost nothing standing over 16 square miles..  In one horrific night, the firebombing of Tokyo -- then a city largely of wooden buildings -- killed an estimated 100,000 people. In the spring and summer of 1945, similarly devastating raids on over 60 Japanese cities occurred before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki brought World War II to an end. Despite the huge toll, the firebombing of Tokyo left surprisingly few traces in the popular memory of Japanese, or Americans."

    US is "Threat to the Peace", by Francis Boyle

    Writing in the March 10, 2002 edition of the Los Angeles Times, defense analyst William Arkin revealed the leaked contents of the Bush Jr. administration's Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) that it had just transmitted to Congress on January 8. The Bush Jr. administration has ordered the Pentagon to draw up war plans for the first-use of nuclear weapons against seven states: the so-called "axis of evil" -Iran, Iraq, and North Korea; Libya and Syria; Russia and China, which are nuclear armed. This component of the Bush Jr. NPR incorporates the Clinton administration's 1997 nuclear war-fighting plans against so-called "rogue states" set forth in Presidential Decision Directive 60. These warmed-over nuclear war plans targeting these five non-nuclear states expressly violate the so-called "negative security assurances" given by the United States as an express condition for the renewal and indefinite extension of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) by all of its non-nuclear weapons states parties in 1995. Yet this new NPR has delivered yet another serious blow to the integrity of the entire NPT Regime.

    Equally reprehensible from a legal perspective were the NPR's call for the Pentagon to draft nuclear war-fighting plans for first nuclear strikes (1) against alleged nuclear/chemical/biological "materials" or "facilities"; (2) "against targets able to withstand non-nuclear attack"; and (3) "in the event of surprising military developments," whatever that means. According to the NPR, the Pentagon must also draw up nuclear war-fighting plans to intervene with nuclear weapons in wars (1) between China and Taiwan; (2) between Israel and the Arab states; (3) between Israel and Iraq; and (4) between North Korea and South Korea. It is obvious upon whose side the United States will actually plan to intervene with the first-use nuclear weapons. Quite ominously, today the Bush Jr. administration accelerates its plans for launching an apocalyptic military aggression against Iraq, deliberately raising the spectre of a U.S. first-strike nuclear attack.

    The Bush Jr. administration is making it crystal clear to all its chosen adversaries around the world that it is fully prepared to cross the threshold of actually using nuclear weapons that has prevailed since the U.S. criminal bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945. Yet more proof of the fact that the United States government has abandoned "deterrence" for "compellance" in order to rule the future world of the Third Millenium. The Bush Jr. administration has obviously become a "threat to the peace" within the meaning of U.N. Charter article 39. It must be countermanded by the U.N. Security Council acting under Chapter VII of the U.N. Charter. In the event of a U.S veto of such "enforcement action" by the Security Council, then the U.N. General Assembly must deal with the Bush Jr. administration by invoking its Uniting for Peace Resolution of 1950.

    There very well could be some itty-bitty "rogue states" lurking out there somewhere in the Third World. But today the United States government has become the sole "rogue elephant" of international law and politics. For the good of all humanity America must be restrained. Time is of the essence!

    Francis A. Boyle
    Law Building, 504 E. Pennsylvania Ave., Champaign, IL 61820 USA

    Marooned Taliban Tick Off Grim Hours in an Afghan Jail: "Each cell is dark, narrow and deep, holding dozens of men, many of whom can be seen lying on dirty mattresses or huddled in blankets in a corner. ... In January, a team from Physicians for Human Rights found an epidemic of dysentery and jaundice, the latter indicative, the group said, of hepatitis A. The group said the conditions at Jowzjan were in "grave violation of international standards for the treatment of prisoners" and called on the United States to ensure that conditions improve. Exactly how many prisoners have died here seems a mystery. General Beg estimated that "six or seven" had died within the prison walls, most of them from diseases they had brought into the jail. Physicians for Human Rights quoted the warden as saying in January that "many, many prisoners had already died," mainly from dysentery, some from pneumonia. "

    Quarks to Quasars, Powers of Ten: "This is a visual journey consisting of 42 images -- 42 powers of ten. At one end of the journey is the immensity of the known universe, some 13 000 000 000 years old and 1010 light years across. At the other end of the journey is a depiction of the three quarks within a proton."

    Hypothesis: "A Matter Of Choice Can a mathematical idea have political import? By Jim Holt"

    Jim Hightower: DUMPING TOXIC TRASH ON POOR NATIONS -  "Technically, says the [computer] industry, the discarded electronics are not dumped, but "recycled." In reality what happens is that poor Asians are paid a pittance to scavenge various metals and other resellable compounds out of these machines. Indeed, about 100,000 people -- including thousands of children -- in Guiya [China] toil in the midst of piles of electronic trash, smelting circuit boards, using acid to extract traces of gold, dumping cathode ray tubes filled with lead, opening toner cartridges by hand to brush the toxic toner into buckets, and burning plastic components. Guiyu's groundwater is now so polluted that the people have to truck in water for human use. "

    The Association For Reconstruction Of Emmaus: "REPORT ON THE RAZING OF EMMAUS, BElT NUBA AND YALOU IN 1967 By Amos Kenan, a reservist Israeli soldier, who took part in the fighting in this region." - photos of Imwas (Emmaus) before and after

    Wednesday, March 13, 2002

    Reporters Dig Up The Missile Defense Dirt: 'Star Wars' Media Coverage summary (

    A Pretty Poor Posture for a Superpower: McNamara & Graham oped "Should the recently leaked Nuclear Posture Review, or NPR, become official policy, we can expect nuclear weapons to spread around the world. We will live in a far more dangerous world, and the United States will be much less secure."

    John Ashcroft's Palmer Raids: Clancy Sigal oped - "The Palmer raids, though long ago, cut deep and left scars on individuals caught up in them and on America's views of how government could be permitted to deal with anyone dissident and different. What scars is our government inflicting today?"

    Unjust Rules for Insanity: "Andrea Yates attempted suicide twice in 1999 and reported suicidal impulses again not long before the day last June when she drowned her children in a bathtub. She was hospitalized several times for mental illness; the last time her psychiatrist had threatened to force her commitment in court. Both the prosecution and the defense in her murder trial in Texas agree that she is severely mentally ill. Yet under Texas law all this was insufficient to produce a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, and yesterday Andrea Yates was found guilty of capital murder."

    Through Allende's Broken Glasses, a View of Chile Today: "Chile's National Museum of History"

    Color-Coded System Created to Rate Threat of Terrorism: ""This is a good, simplistic method to get the message through,""

    U.N. Chief Tells Israel It Must End 'Illegal Occupation': "as Israeli ground forces and helicopter gunships killed 31 Palestinians in their fiercest assault on the areas since Israel conquered them in 1967. Israel continued to press its two- week-old offensive, which Israeli television said involved 20,000 troops, rounding up scores of Palestinian teenagers and young men in what it described as a hunt for terrorists."

    6 Months Late, I.N.S. Notifies Flight School of Hijackers' Visas: " Six months after Mohamed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi crashed hijacked airliners into the World Trade Center, the Immigration and Naturalization Service sent out a routine notice this week telling a flight school that the two men had been approved for student visas to study there. "

    Tuesday, March 12, 2002

    St. Louis Nurses might face firing for unpaid dues: "About 80 registered nurses at St. John's Mercy Medical Center in Creve Coeur might be terminated for not paying union dues, the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 655 said Monday. A union security clause in the nursing contract, the first in the state between an AFL-CIO union and a nongovernment hospital, requires covered registered nurses to pay dues or service fees. ... 1,358 of 1,478 eligible nurses have joined the union; the number fluctuates daily. Thirty-eight did not join but pay a service fee that is about 7 percent lower than the dues rate.... Jerry Tucker, an adviser to the United Health Care Workers, said the unionization process at St. John's has been raised several times by opponents in the St. Anthony's election."

    Why Congress Has to Ask Questions: Byrd oped - "Congress has a constitutional responsibility to weigh in on war-related policy decisions. Yet in this war on terrorism, Congress, by and large, has been left to learn about major war-related decisions through newspaper articles."

    Two Stubborn Men, and Many Dead: Amos Oz "History will never forget their offenses, because the solution is here, visible, manifestly clear before us all. Every Israeli and every Palestinian knows that this land will be divided into two sovereign nations and become like a semi-detached two- family house. Even those who loathe this future already know, deep in their hearts, that all this is inevitable."

    Gush-Shalom "Barak's Generous Offers" - flash media map presentation

    Missing James Tobin: Krugman - "Yale professor, Nobel laureate and adviser to John F. Kennedy â014 died yesterday. He was a great economist and a remarkably good man; his passing seems to me to symbolize the passing of an era, one in which economic debate was both nicer and a lot more honest than it is today."

    America as Nuclear Rogue: "If another country were planning to develop a new nuclear weapon and contemplating pre-emptive strikes against a list of non-nuclear powers, Washington would rightly label that nation a dangerous rogue state. Yet such is the course recommended to President Bush by a new Pentagon planning paper that became public last weekend. "

    California's Senators Oppose $275,000 Farm Subsidy Limit: "cited concerns about its effect on cotton and rice farmers in their state, the nation's largest agricultural producer. The two senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, both Democrats, are asking the Senate's negotiators in a conference committee on new farm legislation to back off the payment limit."

    British Police to Stop and Search More on Street, With Safeguard: "Britain directed the police today to increase stop-and-search street investigations and, under new anti-bias guidelines, to require officers to give people forms explaining why they had been singled out."

    Argentine Default Reopens 'Dirty War' Wounds: "First her leftist husband disappeared and then all four of her daughters and two sons-in-law. The "dirty war" that took them ended long ago, but Elsa Oesterheld has never stopped feeling that pain. ... Now, a quarter of a century later, the Argentine state .. after admitting its responsibility for the deaths in her family and promising to pay a sizable indemnity, the government has broken its word.... Mrs. Oesterheld was also awarded $160,000 as compensation for the death of her youngest daughter, Marina, who was eight months pregnant when she was abducted and is reported to have been allowed to give birth while in detention before being executed."

    A Village at Source of Heroin Trade Fears Crop Eradication: "Afghanistan's government risks their sanction by turning a blind eye to the crop, but it risks the wrath of men like Mr. Hakim, and those who make the real profit from his labor, by destroying it. Poppies are by far the best crop in much of this drought- parched land."

    Monday, March 11, 2002

    Study flips importance of blood pressure readings: "While many doctors still focus on diastolic readings, recent research has suggested that the top, or systolic, measure, is more important, especially in the elderly. The new study extends those findings to men age 52 on average."

    America's Shady Ally Against Terror: "Uzbekistan... has been raised by its antiterror alliance with America into the pre-eminent Central Asian power. Uzbekistan is located in the very center of a highly explosive and densely populated region where almost 60 million people live, more than a third of them in Uzbekistan itself. The Karimov government's example of repression is likely to be infectious in a neighborhood of states that have little tradition of democracy or human rights. Mr. Karimov shows them that it is possible to gain prestige and money and extend your rule on a whim -- and still gain American support in the post-terrorism world. "

    Talk of New Drilling Raises Doubts on Alaska Pipeline: "In 1999, six employees of the company who did not give their names wrote to federal officials arguing that neglect and maintenance cuts on the pipeline could lead to disaster. "It won't be a single gasket, or valve, or wire, or procedure, or person that will cause the catastrophe," wrote the employees, who said they all had at least 10 years of experience on the pipeline. "It will be a combination of small, perhaps seemingly inconsequential events and conditions that will lead to the accident that we're all dreading and powerless to prevent." "

    Family Works to Free a Kidnapped Colombian Author and Senator: "Ms. Betancourt, 40, is a senator who has campaigned fearlessly against governmental corruption. Until her abduction, in a contested area near the southern Colombian town of San Vincente del Caguán, she was a presidential candidate of the left-of-center Oxygen party, which she founded."

    Japan Rediscovers Its Korean Past: "Recognition of ... Korea's importance as a contributor to Japan's early imperial history... recently received a huge and unexpected push from the highest of sources -- Emperor Akihito. With a candor far removed from the usual poetic fog of the imperial court, Emperor Akihito, in remarks to the news media that took Japan by surprise in December, all but declared his own Korean ancestry. "

    Team Leaves White League in Silence Instead of Cheers: "parents and coaches at St. Sabina, fed up with what they said was a season's worth of racially tinged resentment and hostility, overwhelmingly agreed to quit the nearly all-white Southside Catholic Conference, the athletic league they had fought so hard to join. The fight began last May, when St. Sabina, a mostly black Catholic elementary school on [Chicago's] South Side, tried to join the Southside conference, and league officials voted 11 to 9 to reject the school. "

    Nuclear Arms for Deterrence or Fighting?: ""Throughout the nuclear age, the fundamental goal has been to prevent the use of nuclear weapons. Now the policy has been turned upside down. It is to keep nuclear weapons as a tool of war- fighting rather than a tool of deterrence. If military planners are now to consider the nuclear option any time they confront a surprising military development, the distinction between nuclear and nonnuclear weapons fades away.""

    Call for New Breed of Nuclear Arms Faces Hurdles: "no earth-penetrating weapon can burrow deep enough to contain the ensuing blast and radioactivity. "The explosion simply blows out a massive crater of radioactive dirt, which rains down on the local region with an especially intense and deadly fallout," "

    Taliban and War Deliver a Double Blow to Villagers: "This village is a fine and dreadful place to watch the American air attack. .. an old man with a wrinkled face, a white beard and a regretful pair of eyes was watching intently today. It was his home being destroyed. ... Two and a half months ago, a handful of retreating Taliban soldiers visited a cluster of mountain villages ... They wanted to live there, instead of the people who did. "They told us that we should go and they would stay. They told us that Shah-i-Kot will be bombed by the Americans and if we stayed, we would probably be killed and they would not be responsible for our deaths.""

    Sunday, March 10, 2002

    Advice and Dissent: "the Senate has a duty to reject anyone whose views are outside the modern mainstream. Judgeships are lifetime appointments. Every nominee should be devoted to freedom of speech and the guarantees in the Bill of Rights, sensitive to the civil rights of women and minorities, and respectful of Congress's constitutional power to safeguard those rights and the environment. If the senators adhere honestly to those criteria, it is likely that they will find a number of the Bush administration's current crop of nominees unacceptable. Senators must then find the courage and the energy to reject the nominations. If anyone becomes defensive about the president's inability to get his judicial picks confirmed, it should be Mr. Bush. "

    Alamo Redux: A Mission Impossible: "The script for the film is being written by John Sayles, who a few years ago wrote and directed a contemporary Western called "Lone Star," in which the Anglo and Hispanic descendants of Texas pioneers quarrel over the continuing significance of the Alamo. At the end, one character decides that the best strategy is to simply "Forget the Alamo." By the time the inevitable dust-up over the new movie has died down, Mr. Sayles may wish he had ended up taking his own advice."

    Who Is a Prisoner of War? You Could Look It Up. Maybe.: "Here are some of the most important passages from the Third Geneva Convention, which covers treatment of prisoners of war, with commentary by administration officials and international legal scholars. "

    Gandhi's Dream and India's Latest Nightmare: "Hindu nationalism, once a pariah movement associated with Gandhi's assassination, has become politically mainstream in this nation and in the West. Its political leaders have led a national coalition government for most of the past four years. ... But recent images of rampaging Hindu mobs torching Muslim neighborhoods in the Hindu nationalist- dominated state of Gujarat -- and of the charred bodies of Muslim children burned alive in those attacks -- have again raised profound questions about what the movement stands for and where its political wing, the Bharatiya Janata Party, is leading the world's largest democracy and second most populous nation. Fundamentalism and its violent excesses, themes that leaders of the ruling party have used so effectively against Pakistan, are now boomeranging. If thuggish elements in the party's Hindu nationalist family are not quickly controlled, Hindu-Muslim violence that weakens India's unity and secular foundations could spread."

    Sudan's War Bars Cure for Disease Eradicated in Other Parts of Africa: "Sudan has 80 percent of the world's reported Guinea worm cases, virtually all of them in the war-ravaged south. Clinics are a rarity in the poor villages there. Aerial bombardments by government troops are not. The war between the government in Khartoum and southern rebel groups has raged for 18 years, frequently causing aid workers and residents alike to run for cover. When the fighting flares up, as it has of late, otherwise rare diseases also spread."

    In Camps, Arabs Cling to the Dream of Before - life in the Gaza refugee camps

    U.S. Nuclear Plan Sees New Weapons and New Targets: "Outlining a broad overhaul of American nuclear policy, a secret Pentagon report calls for developing new nuclear weapons that would be better suited for striking targets in Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Syria and Libya."

    Saturday, March 09, 2002

    Will Fingerprinting Stand Up in Court?: "Judge Pollak, who is a former dean of the law schools at Yale and the University of Pennsylvania, also noted "alarmingly high" error rates when fingerprint examiners took proficiency tests; in 1995 only 44 percent of 156 law enforcement examiners could correctly identify all