Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Yet Another White House Official Sentenced

J. Steven Griles, the former deputy secretary at the Interior Department became the highest administration official so far sentenced in the Abramoff corruption case. It seems U.S. District Judge Ellen Segal Huvelle was so upset about his lack of remorse that she doubled his proposed prison term to 10 months.

UK: Intelligent Design Isn't Science

The UK government has reiterated that Creationism and Intelligent Design are not science and have no place in a modern science curriculum.
"The Government is aware that a number of concerns have been raised in the media and elsewhere as to whether creationism and intelligent design have a place in science lessons. The Government is clear that creationism and intelligent design are not part of the science National Curriculum programmes of study and should not be taught as science."

via /.

Monday, June 25, 2007

President Schooled on Torture

The President today was unexpectedly given a handwritten letter signed by 50 high school seniors urging him to end violations of detainees' human rights. The students are part of the Presidential Scholars program and had been invited to the White House.
"We do not want America to represent torture. We urge you to do all in your power to stop violations of the human rights of detainees, to cease illegal renditions, and to apply the Geneva Convention to all detainees, including those designated enemy combatants," the letter said.

Everyone is Al Qaeda

Glenn Greenwald takes a look at the recent trend of the military and, more importantly, the press referring to all enemy as "Al Qaeda".

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Wiretap Case in Court Today

The Justice Department is arguing in federal court today that states should be blocked in their investigations into warrantless domestic wiretapping.

Sexing Up Israel's Image

Maxim magazine and the Israeli consulate in New York have collaborated to produce a photo feature entitled "Women of the Israeli Defense Forces" as part of a public relations drive to improve the image of Israel within the United States.
"Males that age have no feeling toward Israel one way or another, and we view that as a problem, so we came up with an idea that would be appealing to them," said David Dorfman, a media adviser at the consulate.

via TruthDig

Cheney: VP Not Part of Executive

Vice President Cheney is claiming the Vice President's office is not part of the Executive Branch of government, and thus exempt from procedures for safeguarding classified national security information. When the National Archives complained, Cheney's staff tried to close down the office looking for the records.
As described in a letter from Chairman Waxman to the Vice President, the National Archives protested the Vice President’s position in letters written in June 2006 and August 2006. When these letters were ignored, the National Archives wrote to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in January 2007 to seek a resolution of the impasse. The Vice President’s staff responded by seeking to abolish the agency within the Archives that is responsible for implementing the President’s executive order.

via Atrios

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Those Missing Emails

The scope of the missing email scandal at the White House is growing dramatically. The House Oversight Committee is now saying that email from 51 of the 88 accounts which used an RNC mail system are missing, including the account of White House Political Director Ken Mehlman. Of the remaining accounts, it seems many of the emails are missing. For example, of the over 140,000 emails sent or received by Karl Rove, only 131 are from Bush's first term. And none of those are from before November 2003.

The Administration's defenders are claiming that neither the Presidential Records Act, nor the Hatch Act have been violated, but that in not a settled fact.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Pentagon Hires ABC Reporter

The Pentagon has hired ABC News White House correspondent Geoff Morrell to be the Defense Department’s on-camera briefer.
Morrell, 38, will become a familiar face of the administration on television and the Web. The official said that a working journalist was chosen by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates in an effort to improve press relations at a time when the administration is under pressure to show progress in Iraq.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Senate to Vote on Wiretap Subpoenas

The Senate Judiciary Committee has scheduled a vote tomorrow on authorizing subpoenas for documents related to the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program. Republican members may delay the vote for a week, but it's expected to ultimately pass.

via Muckracker

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Busted for Recording a Traffic Stop

Eighteen year old Brian Kelly was arrested on a felony wiretapping charge for recording a police officer during a traffic stop. Kelly was the passenger in the car and used his video camera to film the incident.

But the video camera also recorded the sound, and that's why Mr. Kelly is in trouble. There is a state law which bars the intentional interception or recording of a person's oral conversation without consent.

After pointing out that the young men were actually being filmed by a police camera on his cruiser, the officer asked Kelly to stop recording, which he did. Kelly was then arrested and spent the night in the county prison. He now faces felony charges and a possible 7 year prison sentence.
"I didn't think I could get in trouble for that," Kelly said. "I screwed up, yeah. I know now that I can't do that. I just don't see how something like this should affect my entire life."

via BoingBoing

Pentagon Considered "Gay Bomb"

In 1994, the Air Force's Wright Laboratory in Dayton, Ohio requested $7.5 million from the Pentagon to see if they could develop a weapon which would turn the enemy gay.
"The Ohio Air Force lab proposed that a bomb be developed that contained a chemical that would cause enemy soliders to become gay, and to have their units break down because all their soldiers became irresistably attractive to one another," Hammond said after reviwing the documents.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Police Collect Scents of G-8 Protestors

I was listening to the Daily Show tonight when fake news anchor Jon Stewart said the police at the G-8 Summit in Heiligendamm had collected the scents of some known opponents. Ha ha, lots of comedic laughs.

But guess what? It's true!

Not only that, they didn't stop at collecting scents.
Prosecutors already face criticism for taking scent samples in a pre-summit investigation of a handful of G-8 opponents _ a technique used by the dreaded East German Stasi secret police to track dissidents with dogs _ and for intercepting and opening the mail of another suspect.

Teddy Bear Robot to Rescue Troops

I had to triple check the calendar to make sure it wasn't April 1st. But no, it's true. The company VECNA Technologies has developed a rescue robot with a teddy bear head. Well, it vaguely resembles a teddy bear, I guess.

The idea behind the design of the Battlefield Extraction-Assist Robot (BEAR) is that the "friendly appearance" of the cute little head will comfort soldiers as they are being transported. Personally, I'd be a bit creeped out.

via /.