Friday, October 26, 2007

Man Jailed For Teen Sex Will Be Freed

Genarlow Wilson, who was sentenced to 10 years in jail for having oral sex with a 15 year old girl when he was 17 years old, has been ordered released by the Georgia Supreme Court.
"Although society has a significant interest in protecting children from premature sexual activity, we must acknowledge that Wilson's crime does not rise to the level of culpability of adults who prey on children and that, for the law to punish Wilson as it would an adult, with the extraordinarily harsh punishment of ten years in prison without the possibility of probation or parole, appears to be grossly disproportionate to his crime," the court's ruling said.

FEMA Fakes News Conference

The "reporters" asking questions were actually FEMA staffers.

The White House says they're sure it won't happen again.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Lesson 1: Don't Drunkenly Murder

Condoleezza Rice has said she will order sensitivity training for Blackwater and other private contractors in Iraq. Spencer Ackerman has some of the bullet points that might be covered.
Lesson One: Don't drunkenly murder bodyguards of Iraqi dignitaries.

Lesson Two: Should Lesson One fail, don't hire those who drunkenly murder bodyguards of Iraqi dignitaries.

Mean Girl Faces

Apparently it's the latest training technique used by Hamas. That, and going to the bathroom.

via eschaton

Monday, October 22, 2007

Air Saftey Info Withheld To Protect Profits

From the AP:
An unprecedented national survey of pilots by the U.S. government has found that safety problems like near collisions and runway interference occur far more frequently than previously recognized. But the government is withholding the information, fearful it would upset air travelers and hurt airline profits.

Beck: A Lot of Fire Victims "Hate America"

Glen Beck has this to say about today's fire victims:
I think there is a handful of people who hate America. Unfortunately for them, a lot of them are losing their homes in a forest fire today.

via atrios

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Feds: Dismiss 'Secret Flight' Lawsuit

From Reuters:
The U.S. government asked a federal court late on Friday to dismiss a lawsuit against a unit of Boeing Co that charges the firm helped fly suspects abroad to secret prisons.

Plame was Tracking Iranian WMD

Reports are coming out that Valerie Plame "was involved in operations to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons" when she was outed by Robert Novak. CBS is expected to confirm this on tonight's edition of 60 Minutes. If true, her exposure may have seriously undermined the safety of the United States.
Speaking under strict confidentiality, intelligence officials revealed heretofore unreported elements of Plame's work. Their accounts suggest that Plame's outing was more serious than has previously been reported and carries grave implications for U.S. national security and its ability to monitor Iran's burgeoning nuclear program.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mukasey Mum on What's Torture

When asked if waterboarding is constitutional, AG nominee Michael Mukasey was less than expansive in his answer. And that didn't please Senator Whitehouse, who had asked the question.
"If it amounts to torture it is not constitutional," is all Mukasey would say.

Whitehouse scolded Mukasey, saying he was "very disappointed" in his "very semantic answer."

"Sorry," Mukasey mumbled.

Using Game Ads to Recruit Spies

One of the UK's intelligence agencies will use advertising within video games to recruit possible spies.
The Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), Britain's intelligence listening post, will embed the adverts as billboards in video games including "Tom Clancy's Splinter Cell: Double Agent" in a bid to attract "computer-savvy, technologically-able, quick-thinking" recruits.

Panel: Islamic School Should be Shut

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended that the Islamic Saudi Academy should be shut down until the Feds can ensure the school's teaching doesn't "adversely affect the interests of the United States".

Test: 75% of "Bombs" Missed at LAX

From USA Today:
Screeners at Los Angeles International Airport missed about 75% of simulated explosives and bomb parts that Transportation Security Administration testers hid under their clothes or in carry-on bags at checkpoints, the TSA report shows.

Court May Order Email Preservation

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics filed a lawsuit against the Executive Office of the President regarding emails the White House claims were lost. The lawsuit demands that the emails be restored from backup tapes, since (according to CREW) there has been no assurances that the backups won't be destroyed. The Justice Dept. lawyer said there was no need for a court order since "The Office of Administration is not recycling backup tapes," but now the magistrate is considering issuing court order to preserve the backup tapes.
Facciola adjourned court for 20 minutes, asking the two sides to try to work out wording on an agreement of what has been preserved. After the attorneys said they were at an impasse, Facciola suggested the requirements for a court order had been met.

School: No Pink Hair!

Apparently confusing education with obedience training, administrators at Valley View school in Scranton PA are threatening detention or suspension of students with pink hair, even if it is part of a breast cancer awareness drive. It seems the problem is that so many of those darned kids have decided to go pink.
Mary Catherine Roper, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union based in Philadelphia, said students have the right to govern their length or style of hair, including facial hair. Any limitation must come with evidence of a health of safety hazard or disruption of the educational process.

"It seems to me that they would be illegal suspensions and the parents would be able to contest them if they want to," Ms. Roper said.

Mr. Daley disagreed, arguing that the pink is a disruption because of the degree to which students have it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

U.S. Terror Chief Resigns

Just three days after saying the invasion of Iraq has "probably not" left the US tactically safer, Admiral Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center, has announced he is stepping down to "take care of some long-delayed surgery that I can no longer neglect." Not surprisingly, a NCTC spokesman said the resignation was "absolutely not" related to the comments.

Did McConnell Lie About Emails?

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has been denying that his staff had anything to do with the smearing of Graeme Frost. Now it turns out that this may not be true.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell knew last week -- at a time when he was denying it -- that his staff had sent e-mails encouraging reporters to look into the background of a 12-year-old boy used by Democrats to support expansion of a health-care program.

via atrios

Gore: Still Not Running

Nope. Can we give it a rest and move on?

Lantos: Yahoo! Lied About China

Congressman Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, says that Yahoo! has provided false information to Congress regarding its part in the arrest and imprisonment of Shi Tao. He is now asking Yahoo! executives Jerry Yang and Michael Callahan to appear before the committee early next month.
"Our committee has established that Yahoo provided false information to Congress in early 2006," Lantos said in a written statement. "We want to clarify how that happened, and to hold the company to account for its actions both before and after its testimony proved untrue. And we want to examine what steps the company has taken since then to protect the privacy rights of its users in China."

via huffpost

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The "Vaginal-American" Candidate

This is what passes for political discourse on MSNBC.
Digby says they are just "Dickhead-Americans".

via atrios

Rape or "Theft of Services"?

Philadelphia Municipal Judge Teresa Carr Deni dropped all sex and assault charges against a man who held a prostitute at gunpoint while she was gang raped. Instead, the judge allowed the defendant to be held on a charge of armed robbery for "theft of services". To the judge, it seemed plain and clear, even if the woman didn't consent to the gun, or the multiple "clients".
"She consented and she didn't get paid . . . I thought it was a robbery."

via feministe and atrios

Verizon: 720 Warrantless Disclosures

Verizon has told Congress it has turned over customer data, on an emergency basis and without a court order, more than seven hundred times to Federal authorities. The requests not only included information about who made and received the phone call, but also about people they called.
Verizon also disclosed that the FBI, using administrative subpoenas, sought information identifying not just a person making a call, but all the people that customer called, as well as the people those people called. Verizon does not keep data on this "two-generation community of interest" for customers, but the request highlights the broad reach of the government's quest for data.

via tpm

Study: Little Evidence of US Jihadists

The Center on Law and Security at NYU has released a study which "suggests the presence of few, if any, prevalent terrorist threats currently within the U.S." Of 510 "anti-terror" arrests made, only 158 lead to terrorism prosecutions. And of those, there have only been 4 convictions, including Zacarias Moussaoui and Richard Reid.
"The vast majority of cases turn out to include no link to terrorism once they go to court," the report found. The analysis "suggests the presence of few, if any, prevalent terrorist threats currently within the U.S."

More Iraq Vets Against the War

Twelve more phony soldiers have written an OpEd for the Washington Post regarding the folly which is the Iraq war.
There is one way we might be able to succeed in Iraq. To continue an operation of this intensity and duration, we would have to abandon our volunteer military for compulsory service. Short of that, our best option is to leave Iraq immediately. A scaled withdrawal will not prevent a civil war, and it will spend more blood and treasure on a losing proposition.

America, it has been five years. It's time to make a choice.

via tpm

Monday, October 15, 2007

Girl Sidelined Over Headscarf

A 15 year old Muslim girl in Florida was prevented from playing in a soccer match because she was wearing a headscarf. A referee, despite being told otherwise, said she was violating league regulations and would not allow her to play. The United Soccer Association has now apologized.
"I never thought I'd have to deal with that kind of thing in soccer," said Khalil. She also stated, "I felt really bad because I felt like I sort of let the team down."

US Maternal Deaths Higher Than Europe

One in 4,800 U.S. women die from complications of pregnancy or childbirth. Compare that with 1 out of 47,600 women in Ireland, and 1 in 29,000 for Bosnia. According to a UN report, the US is ranked 41st out of 171 countries.
"Among the ten top-ranked European and other industrialized countries, where women are guaranteed good-quality health and family planning services that minimize their lifetime risk, fewer than one in 16,400 will die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth," the United Nations, which issued the report along with the World Bank, said in a statement.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Insect Spy Drones at Rallies?

Are robotic dragonflies being used at anti-war rallies?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

No Money For Innocence

The Feds spend hundreds of millions of dollars collecting DNA samples. But none of that is going to prove anyone's innocence.
"DNA evidence is such a powerful tool in proving guilt or innocence that it's inexcusable not to use it," says Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., the chief sponsor of a bill to provide more funding for what is known as innocence testing.

via tpm

Cop Suing Rescued Baby's Family

Sgt. Andrea Eichhorn is suing the family of a baby rescued from a pool. The officer slipped on a puddle of water and claims the family was careless. Meanwhile, the family is caring for the 1 year-old baby, who is severely brain damaged and lives in a rehabilitation facility.

via rawstory

Coulter's Perfected Jews

Ann just wants to see Jews on the fast track to Heaven.
DEUTSCH: You said -- your exact words were, "Jews need to be perfected." Those are the words out of your mouth.

COULTER: No, I'm saying that's what a Christian is.

DEUTSCH: But that's what you said -- don't you see how hateful, how anti-Semitic --


DEUTSCH: How do you not see? You're an educated woman. How do you not see that?

COULTER: That isn't hateful at all.

DEUTSCH: But that's even a scarier thought. OK --

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Drug Plane Owned by CIA?

Mark at BoingBoing points out some questions about the ownership of a plane full of coke which crashed in the Yucatan last month.

Monday, October 08, 2007

"Deliberate Murder"

From the NYT:
The Iraqi prime minister's office said Sunday that the government's investigation had determined that Blackwater USA private security guards who shot Iraqi civilians three weeks ago in a Baghdad square sprayed gunfire in nearly every direction, committed "deliberate murder" and should be punished accordingly.

Sen. Craig Into Idaho Hall of Fame

"It's a sad day to be a Republican."

Friday, October 05, 2007

BTW, He Loved Rehab

Rush recommends the $8000/week facility for everyone.

Rush's walk on the Moon

Yup, drugs do funny things.

No Torture! No Torture!


Today's Issue: Lapel Pins

No really, I'm not kidding.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Troops Confiscate AP Video

The AP says one of their camera operators was detained, and video tape confiscated by U.S. troops who apparently were enforcing Iraqi censorship laws regarding how bombings may be reported.
Authorities at the scene confiscated an Associated Press Television News videotape that contained scenes of the wounded being evacuated.
US military spokesman Lt. Col. Scott Bleichwehl told the AP Thursday morning he had checked with American soldiers who were at the scene and the US military did not take the tape. He called back later and said he had discovered in further checks that the tape was in the hands of the US military and would be returned to AP shortly.

The camera operator said he was handcuffed and detained by the US troops at the scene for 40 minutes. He said he was kept inside an American Humvee then released. He said the Americans took the tape but returned his camera upon his release.

The Perv Stays Put

Larry Craig isn't leaving the Senate, like he said he would, twice.

Larry Craig, Still Guilty

From CNN:
A Minnesota judge has denied Sen. Larry Craig's request to withdraw his guilty plea to a disorderly conduct charge stemming from his arrest in a sex sting at an airport men's room.

Onward Atheist Soldier

From the The Christian Science Monitor:
On Sept. 17, the soldier and the Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) filed suit against Army Maj. Freddy Welborn and US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, charging violations of Hall's constitutional rights, including being forced to submit to a religious test to qualify as a soldier.

FBI Won't Use Blackwater Escort

Ya think?!?
FBI spokesman John Miller told the New York Daily News that the agency had dropped plans to use Blackwater guards as their security escort after the relevation "to avoid even the appearance of any conflict."

Domenici Quits Senate

The senator accused of exerting "unprecedented" political pressure upon a US Attorney isn't going to run for reelection. America is heartbroken.

UPDATE: Senator Domenici is citing a degenerative brain disease as the reason for his early retirement. I wish him well, and hope he enjoys that retirement for a long, long time.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Torture, By Another Name... still torture.
The debate over how terrorism suspects should be held and questioned began shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, when the Bush administration adopted secret detention and coercive interrogation, both practices the United States had previously denounced when used by other countries. It adopted the new measures without public debate or Congressional vote, choosing to rely instead on the confidential legal advice of a handful of appointees.

via tpm

Carter Blocked in Darfur

President Jimmy Carter got into a shouting match as he was blocked from parts of a town he was visiting in Sudan.

Draft Gore

Good luck with that.

Feds Fly First Class

From the AP:
Federal employees wasted at least $146 million over a one-year period on business- and first-class airline tickets, in some cases simply because they felt entitled to the perk, congressional investigators say.

"Every two months or so..."

...Sy Hersh tells us another White House story.
And usually the White House is not too pleased.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

More Chronic Disease in US

From AFP:
Americans over the age of 50 are more likely to be diagnosed with chronic illnesses such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease than their European counterparts, a study released Tuesday said.

Blackwater's Drunken Killer

Henry Waxman wants to know why the U.S. State Department helped a Blackwater employee leave Iraq less than two days after a December 2006 incident where, while drunk, the 26 year-old firearms technician shot and killed a guard for Iraqi Vice President Adel Abdul Mehdi. The answer from Richard Griffin, the assistant secretary for diplomatic security, could be fairly summed up as "Ummm, I dunno. I wasn't there."

The GOP Hates Troops?

How else to explain why they don't blast right-wing name callers instead of commending them.

Vet to Rush: Say it to my face!

It seems the multimillionaire pontificator isn't making friends among the phony soldiers.

Rudy's Phone Thing

It seems Rudy's rather bizarre phone manners may not be an act. Instead, many see it as an ongoing problem which isn't endearing him to the faithful.
The fact is that people inside the Giuliani campaign are appalled at the number of times their candidate has felt compelled to interrupt public appearances to take calls from his wife. The estimate from those in a position to know is that he has taken such calls more than 40 times in the middle of speeches, conferences and presentations to large donors. "If it's a stunt, it's not one coming from him," says one Giuliani staffer. "It's an ongoing problem that he won't take advice on."

via Digby and Drum

Is Blackwater a GOP Company?

That's all Darrell Issa wants to know.

Update: Or maybe a Green company.

$150,000,000,000 More for War

The Senate voted 92-3 to approve the funding.
The House is scheduled to vote tomorrow.

Beware Remote Control Toys

The DHS and TSA are cracking down on the growing threat of remote control toys.
In an announcement Monday, Kip Hawley, the assistant secretary at the Department of Homeland Security in charge of aviation security, said travellers can expect to see more scrutiny of toys as they pass through inspection gates at airports.

Obama: No Nukes!

From the NYT:
Senator Barack Obama will propose on Tuesday setting a goal of eliminating all nuclear weapons in the world, saying the United States should greatly reduce its stockpiles to lower the threat of nuclear terrorism, aides say.

"I stand by my testimony."

Anita Hill has an answer to the recent attention Clarence Thomas has been getting.
Justice Thomas offers a litany of unsubstantiated representations and outright smears that Republican senators made about me when I testified before the Judiciary Committee — that I was a "combative left-winger" who was "touchy" and prone to overreacting to "slights." A number of independent authors have shown those attacks to be baseless. What's more, their reports draw on the experiences of others who were familiar with Mr. Thomas's behavior, and who came forward after the hearings. It's no longer my word against his.

via rawstory

Domestic Spy Satellites Delayed

The launch of the agency charged with using U.S. satellites for domestic spying, known as the National Applications Office, is being delayed because of concerns expressed by members of the House Homeland Security Committee.

Judge Rules Against Prez Secrecy

U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly has made it a little more difficult for presidents to keep some of their papers secret.

The Germs Are Missing

From the Associated Press:
American laboratories handling the world's deadliest germs and toxins have experienced more than 100 accidents and missing shipments since 2003, and the number is increasing steadily as more labs across the country are approved to do the work.

"Iraqi leaders have 90 days"

Senator Graham has set a deadline for things to get started in Iraq.

via atrios and tp