Friday, April 21, 2006

Breaking News: Scientology to Declare War on KNBC

Oh my, local pseudo-news organization KNBC has a slideshow of 49 celebrity Scientologists up on their website! But earning their 'pseudo' status I think some of these are wrong (Rob Thomas is not a SciTi according to Brando) and they count lots of "former" ones to get their list to 49. Funny list though.

Anyone get the feeling Scientology is just in the news a little too much?

Every TV In The West Wing...

Not such a shocker is it?
Republicans said Mr. Bolten has been focused on finding a new White House press secretary with good contacts in the Washington news media and a deep understanding of how they work.

Mr. Snow is the host of his own radio program and comes from the news operation that flashes from every television in the West Wing.
Or is that what folks here call 'synergy'?

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Well, It Was Your Money...

Think of what we could have done with all that lovely money...
The cost of the war in U.S. fatalities has declined this year, but the cost in treasure continues to rise, from $48 billion in 2003 to $59 billion in 2004 to $81 billion in 2005 to an anticipated $94 billion in 2006, according to the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments. The U.S. government is now spending nearly $10 billion a month in Iraq and Afghanistan, up from $8.2 billion a year ago, a new Congressional Research Service report found.
Boy winning sure is expensive.

Weirdly poetic talking about 'treasure'(???) like that...

Playing A Dangerous Game

Ahmadinejad: Oil Price Is Lower Than Value

Oy. This guy is finally calling the Bushies out by finally saying what we all know: they have the oil and we shouldn't f@#k with them.
In statements likely to rattle world oil markets, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also said developed countries, not producing countries like Iran, are benefiting the most from the current high prices.

"The global oil price has not reached its real value yet. The products derived from crude oil are sold at prices dozens of times higher than those charged by oil-producing countries," state-run Tehran radio quoted Ahmadinejad as saying.

"The developed nations are the biggest beneficiary of the added value of oil products," he said.

The president, who is embroiled with the West and the United Nations over Tehran's nuclear program, stopped short of saying Iran would use oil as a weapon, a tactic much feared by his antagonists on the nuclear issue. Nor did he say what oil prices should be.

Oil prices leapt above $72 a barrel Wednesday, settling at a record high for the third straight day.
I'll say it again: Oy.

Personally? I think Ahmadinejad is fundamentalist who believes his god is telling him what to do and will protect him. Bush? I don't know: half the time I believe he's the same way, the other half I see him as just some dry-drunk failed business man who just looks after his friends and has no idea how 98% percent of people actually live. This is a bad combination.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Tricksy Little FBI Agents!

Apparently agents tricked Jack Anderson's 79 year old widow into signing a release so they could have access to his records (who are they scrubbing them for???).

More over at Hey, we may live in a world were we enjoy TV shows & movies where FBI agents trick "bad guys" but we don't live in a world where Jack Anderson's widow is one of those kind of folks.

FBI Wants Jack Anderson's Papers

Here's a real shocker:
Jack Anderson turned up plenty of government secrets during his half-century as an investigative reporter, and his family hoped to make his papers available to the public after his death last December--but the government wants to see and possibly confiscate them first.

The FBI believes the columnist's files may contain national security secrets, including documents that would aid in the prosecution of two former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, Steven Rosen and Keith Weissman, who have been charged with disclosing classified information.

Lawyers for the family are preparing a letter saying no to the FBI, said the columnist's son, Kevin Anderson.

"He would absolutely oppose the FBI rifling through his papers at will," Anderson said.

Although some of the documents may be classified, he said, they contain only "embarrassing top secrets--hammers that cost a thousand dollars and things like that."

Anderson said it was unlikely his father had papers relevant to the AIPAC case, since he had done little original reporting after being diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1990.
Good for the family. Kudos to them.

This story originaly appeared in the Chronicle of Higher Education and they had some good bits:
Were he alive today, Jack Anderson "would probably come out of his skin at the thought of the FBI going through his papers," said Kevin N. Anderson, the journalist's son. If papers were taken -- even if some were stamped "declassified" and returned -- that would "destroy any academic, scholarly, and historic value" of the archive, Kevin Anderson adds.
Hey, they would never do that... would they?
The FBI would not comment for this article.

The Andersons are the not the only ones who are incensed. Observers of academic freedom and libraries say that the FBI's request is part of a renewed emphasis on secrecy in government, which has focused on libraries and archives in particular. Recently, librarians have been concerned about scores of documents that have been reclassified at the National Archives, and librarians have long been concerned about freedom of information since the passage of the USA Patriot Act in the wake of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The FBI's interest in the Anderson archive is "deeply disturbing and deeply in conflict with the academy's interests in freedom of inquiry, research, and scholarship," said Duane E. Webster, the executive director of the Association of Research Libraries.
Now all the FBI dudes I know are good dudes, but the institution? And their masters? Well they've done some awfully sketchy stuff.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

The Gerrymander That Ate America

Now I have to give it to Slate, that is a funny title. Too bad the article isn't funny at all:
It's hard to find a defender of the current process: It's engineered to favor not only incumbents, but also typically the most ideological ones who derive their power from pandering to party extremists. House incumbents seeking re-election now have a 98 percent chance of winning, up from the lower 90s in the 1990s. It's a system in which party operatives manipulate sophisticated computer software to maximum effect, shuffling voters across district boundaries to guarantee their candidates have the best chance of winning election every two years.
Wow: House incumbents have a 98% chance of being re-elected. Were the even the Soviets that brazen? It's hard to think of anyone short of Sadam and Kim Jong Il that are that bad... and it's only a difference of 2%. Why do folks in the House hate democracy so much?
"As a mapmaker, I can have more of an impact on an election than a campaign, than a candidate," says Republican consultant David Winston, who drew House seats for the GOP after the 1990 U.S. Census. "When I, as a mapmaker, have more of an impact on an election than the voters, the system in out of whack."
At least David here knows there's a problem... do our so-called 'representatives'? I say we turn every single one of them out onto the streets...
Even former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., who once embraced such tactics as a key to helping his party take control of Congress, now backs any redistricting reform plan that involves "citizens who do not have an interest in maximizing [political] leverage." Under the current system, Gingrich reasons, Democrats "get to rip off the public in the states where they control and protect their incumbents, and we get to rip off the public in the states we control and protect our incumbents, so the public gets ripped off in both circumstances. ...In the long run, there's a downward spiral of isolation."
Me? I'm thinking Civil War in this country in the next 50 years... either that or it'll look like 'Roadwarrior.'

The ability for legislators to gerrymander has always been fundamentally dangerous to our democracy and I really worry.