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Archive for June, 2004

Bye bye T-Mac

June 30, 2004 Leave a comment

Magic, Rockets Swap Seven Players

HOUSTON – In a blockbuster deal that gives the Houston Rockets (news) one of basketball’s most intriguing tandems, Tracy McGrady was traded to Houston in a multiplayer deal that sent Steve Francis to the Orlando Magic (news) on Tuesday.

The long-anticipated deal also sent forward Juwan Howard, and guards Tyronn Lue and Reece Gaines to the Rockets. The Magic also got guard Cuttino Mobley and forward Kelvin Cato.

Well, I like forward to a completely different Orlando team next season. The current one wasn’t going anywhere so even though they lose one of the best in the NBA, I’m not that disappointed. Though, Francis not really wanting to play for the Magic isn’t a good sign. Hopefully the draft picks will shape up quickly.

Categories: Sports

Some things to read

June 29, 2004 1 comment

Version of this post: 2.0. I failed to save it before closing Firefox. I’ll recommend that up here instead of at the bottom, too. And don’t forget Tabbrowser Preferences.

Ezra on the transfer of Iraqi sovereignty. Or whatever it is, exactly.

upyernoz on the Supreme Court cases decided today. Glad to see the Constitution is still in use. Mostly.

Trish discusses Michael Newdow’s custody shenanigans. He seemed obnoxious to me, but apparently he’s in the asshole section, too.

I’ll add a disclaimer about Firefox: 0.9 has been kind of a pain in the ass. I can’t install a certain theme a like, apparently because I had to delete the extensions folder when I screwed up installing an extension. And after installing an extension just a moment ago (which is what caused the loss of version 1.0 of this post) I had to restart several times before it worked (could have something to do with the fact that I reset my homepage to the windows I had open to save where I was). Anyway, if you can put up with some hiccups, it’s a great browser. I’m going to upgrade to 0.9.1 now, so hopefully that fixes some things.

UPDATE: Or not. I forgot that it’s 4.7 mb. That takes a while on a just over 28.8 dial up connection.

Categories: Blogging

The Jesus and Constitution Party

June 28, 2004 4 comments

So I was watching whoever the Constitution Party nominated to run for President on CSPAN today. It was kind of fun, kind of painful. It’s just really silly. They have a real aversion to social welfare, saying it’s illegal and such. Well, in their platform it’s bad because Jesus says so:

The message of Christian charity is fundamentally at odds with the concept of welfare maintenance as a right. In many cases, welfare provisions by the Federal government are not only misdirected, but morally destructive. It is the intended purpose of civil government to safeguard life, liberty and property � not to redistribute wealth. Such redistribution is contrary to the Biblical command against theft.

And of course, the 16th Amendment is evil:

Since 1913, our Constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property have been abridged and diminished by the assumption of direct taxing authority on each of us by the federal government.

They come so close to saying it’s unconstitutional. Which would be false, obviously. I’m not sure my life has been threatened by not having a flat tax, but hey, that’s just me.

This AIDS statement made me kind of curious:

The first duty of civil government is to protect innocent human life. AIDS and HIV is a contagious disease which is dangerous to public health. It should not be treated as a civil rights issue. Under no circumstances should the federal government continue to subsidize activities which have the effect of encouraging perverted or promiscuous sexual conduct. Criminal penalties should apply to those whose willful acts of omission or commission place members of the public at risk of contracting AIDS or HIV.

So if you have unprotected sex and you have HIV, you should be punished? How does AIDS treatment subsidize “perverted or promiscuous sexual conduct”? Honestly, I’m kind of confused about this passage.

Anyway, I was bored, and these people are entertaining.

A book everyone should read

June 26, 2004 1 comment

I wrote about this in a Daily Kos open thread not long ago, but I just finished the book, so I thought I should expand a bit more.

The book is An Air That Kills by Andrew Schneider and David McCumber. It’s about asbestos in the country generally and Libby, Montana, specifically (which is 15 miles east of where I am now). A quick summary: W.R. Grace mined vermiculite outside the town and that vermiculite was contaminated with tremolite, an extroardinarily toxic kind of asbestos and the dust made the miners sick. They then brought the dust home with them and made their families sick. Grace knew the stuff was toxic and did not tell the miners. The EPA knew it was toxic and did nothing. The stuff was shipped all over the country and sold in the form of Zonolite attic insulation, among other things, so millions have the toxic material in their attics. And to top it off, asbestos in general is still all over the place in this country.

The book could hardly be more infuriating. What Grace did was criminal. The complete failure of the government to do anything about it is unforgivable. The EPA did a much better job fixing it this time around, though only through the perseverence of the EPA people on the ground. Republicans don’t come off well in the book, which is not really surprising. They’re friendlier with industry, so they came out on completely the wrong side of it, especially in the White House meddling with the EPA’s declarations after 9/11. However, Judy Martz, of all people, gets a mark in her favor in declaring Libby a Superfund site. Interestingly, doctors in the book come off pretty badly, bending to industry and not wanting to upset anyone, save for the few who stuck their necks out.

Libby was a disaster of staggering proportions. Anyone who decries regulation on industry, especially environmental regulations should read this book. The damage that could be done without proper regulation is scary. And even if you aren’t one of those people, you need to read for a reminder of just how badly lives can be ruined by uncontrolled corporations. This is absolutely a must read book.

Categories: Social issues

More of those ties

June 25, 2004 Leave a comment

Iraqis, Seeking Foes of Saudis, Contacted bin Laden, File Says

WASHINGTON, June 24 � Contacts between Iraqi intelligence agents and Osama bin Laden when he was in Sudan in the mid-1990′s were part of a broad effort by Baghdad to work with organizations opposing the Saudi ruling family, according to a newly disclosed document obtained by the Americans in Iraq.

The document states that Iraq agreed to rebroadcast anti-Saudi propaganda, and that a request from Mr. bin Laden to begin joint operations against foreign forces in Saudi Arabia went unanswered. There is no further indication of collaboration.

I suppose we went to war over broadcasting anti-Saudi propaganda now, right?

We really aren’t going to win the battle over Iraq/al Qaeda ties, as Kevin Drum noted the other day. The Bush administration can throw out unconfirmed intelligence report after unconfirmed intelligence report and there’s no way they can all be debunked, even if they were all false.

We know it was going to be tough for bin Laden and Saddam to work together, as they aren’t really predisposed to friendship. They’ve had contacts, but there’s no collaboration to speak of. Their best evidence is Zarqawi and we know how thin that is. I don’t think you can find a government in the Middle East that hasn’t talked to bin Laden.

Categories: Iraq

Proof we're winning

June 23, 2004 Leave a comment

U.S. Amends Report to Show Rise in Terror

WASHINGTON – Significant acts of terror worldwide reached a 21-year high in 2003, the State Department announced Tuesday as it corrected a mistaken report that had been cited to boost President Bush (news – web sites)’s war on terror.

Incidents of terrorism increased slightly during the year, and the number of people wounded rose dramatically, the department said.

In all, the department recorded 208 incidents of terror last year, compared with 205 in 2002.

There were 175 “significant events” in 2003, which Black said was the highest number since 1982.

The department also reported a decline in the number of people killed, to 625 last year from 725 during 2002. The department reported in its April report that 307 people had been killed last year.

In all, 3,646 people were wounded worldwide in terror attacks last year, the report said. This represented a sharp increase from the 2,013 wounded in 2002.

Well, at least there weren’t as many people killed. But really, more attacks, they must be getting desperate, right? Right?

Categories: Foreign Policy

Well, no more trusting Spinsanity

June 22, 2004 Leave a comment

They agree with the Communist press with regards to the 9/11 commission and an Iraq/al Qaeda connection:

The White House has repeatedly argued that the Commission�s statements were restricted to the issue of whether Iraq was connected to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Appearing on CNBC�s “Capital Report” on June 17, for instance, Vice President Dick Cheney said, “What [the Commission was] addressing was whether or not [Iraq was] involved with 9/11, and there they found no evidence to support that proposition. They did not address the broader question of a relationship between Iraq and Al Qaeda in other areas, in other ways.” And in the extended online edition of a June 18 interview for National Public Radio�s “Morning Edition,” National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice stated, “As I understand it, the Commission said that there was no operational relationship and that would suggest that the Iraqis had nothing to do with 9/11.” Similarly, a recent email from the White House to its weekly News Room mailing list carried the headline, “Report Confirms Administration’s Views of Al Qaeda/Iraq Ties.” It stated that “A 9/11 Commission staff report supports the Bush Administration’s longstanding conclusion that there was no evidence of �collaboration� between Iraq and Al Qaeda on the 9/11 attacks against the United States.”

In fact, the 9/11 Commission looked at whether Al Qaeda and Iraq had worked together as far back as the mid-1990s, as the White House implicitly acknowledged when it noted in the email that “The Commission’s investigation does not dispute that contacts between Iraq and al-Qaeda occurred.” For instance, some of the contacts cited in the 15th staff statement occurred in Sudan in 1994 (84K PDF), seven years before the September 11 attacks. And commission spokesman Al Felzenber told the Washington Post that “We found no evidence of joint operations or joint work or common operations between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein’s government, and that’s beyond 9/11.”

They find this gem from Cheney as well, which was on the Daily Show earlier:

During the CNBC interview, Cheney also dissembled in the following exchange about Mohammed Atta, an Al Qaeda member who was allegedly involved in the September 11 attacks (a witness claimed that Atta met with an Iraqi intelligence officer in Prague in the spring of 2001, a heavily disputed assertion that the FBI and CIA have questioned):

BORGER: Well, let’s get to Mohamed Atta for a minute because you mentioned him as well. You have said in the past that it was, quote, “pretty well confirmed.”

CHENEY: No, I never said that.

BORGER: OK.

CHENEY: I never said that.

BORGER: I think that is…

CHENEY: Absolutely not. What I said was the Czech intelligence service reported after 9/11 that Atta had been in Prague on April 9 of 2001, where he allegedly met with an Iraqi intelligence official. We have never been able to confirm that nor have we been able to knock it down, we just don’t know.

But as a White House transcript demonstrates, Cheney said in a December 9, 2001 interview on “Meet the Press” that, “Well, what we now have that’s developed since you and I last talked, Tim, of course, was that report that’s been pretty well confirmed, that [Atta] did go to Prague and he did meet with a senior official of the Iraqi intelligence service in Czechoslovakia last April, several months before the attack.” (our emphasis)

Oopsy. I guess that’s just the SCLM in action, backing away from a bald faced lie from a Republican.

Well, I can’t defend the press for a whole post, can I? That’s bad for my credibility.

Categories: 9/11

I report, you decide

June 19, 2004 Leave a comment

Yeah yeah, I’m copping out and just posting my Blogs for Bush Rebutted post for today.

Well, no points for originality on that headline.

On B4B they’ve been complaining about the recent relevations from the 9/11 commission regarding Iraq and al Qaeda. Bill Hobbs writes:

A front-page headline in the New York Times read: “Panel finds no Qaeda-Iraq Tie.” The Washington Post headline said: “Al Qaeda-Hussein Link is Dismissed.” The CBS Evening News reported that the 9/11 Commission’s report “directly contradicted one of President Bush’s justifications for going to war against Iraq.” ABC News said the report “unequivocally” disputed the administration’s claims of links between Saddam and al Qaeda, while NBC said the Commission’s report was “sharply at odds with what leading members of the administration continue to claim.”

Lies. All lies.

For example, you don’t have to believe what CBSCNNABCNBCMSNBC and the big papers like the NYT, WaPo and LA Times tall you about the 9/11 Commission’s report. You can go on the Internet to the Commission’s website and read the report for yourself. People who did know the major media lied. One more reason to trust the major media less, and your own eyes more.

First off, with a little thought he could have come up with ABCNNBCBSMSNBC, which is much shorter and has more of the effect he’s looking for.

Enough of that. You know, I actually did go to the Commission’s website. Here’s what I found:

Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein’s secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time support anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three vists to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occured after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States.

There’s also this statement:

There is no convincing evidence that any government finacially supported al Qaeda before 9/11

So, how far off is the media?

Comments should be directed to Blogs for Bush Rebutted.

UPDATE: Aww, they deleted my trackback. Well, they can have another.

Categories: 9/11, Iraq

Blame the FAA

June 17, 2004 2 comments

Since the 9/11 commission’s comments on the Iraq-Al Qaeda link has been commented on plenty, I’ll look at something else I found:

Air Defenses ‘Unprepared’ for 9/11 – Report

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. fighter jets had virtually no chance to shoot down or intercept four hijacked planes on Sept. 11, 2001, because of confusion and poor communication among “unprepared” officials responsible for America’s air defenses, a special commission said on Thursday.

Although fighter jets were airborne seven minutes after the first plane crashed into the World Trade Center, military officials received insufficient notice of the other hijackings to stop the planes, the staff statement said.

Gen. Ralph Eberhart, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), said that if the FAA had immediately reported all it knew to the military command, jets could have shot down the planes.

The earliest notice the military had of any of the hijackings was nine minutes before a plane crashed.

In the two hours between the takeoff of the first hijacked plane at 8 a.m. and the fourth plane’s crash, officials raced against time to discover the extent of the crisis.

“We have some planes,” a hijacker said from American Airlines Flight 11, which hit the north tower of the World Trade Center at 8:46 a.m. EDT. “Nobody move … If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the airplane.”

At one point, unnamed senior FAA officials mistakenly directed Air Force fighter planes to chase American Airlines Flight 11, which had struck the World Trade Center’s north tower 30 minutes earlier.

NORAD also said it was not alerted to the hijacking of United Airlines Flight 175 until after it hit the trade center’s south tower.

FAA controllers lost track of Flight 77′s route for 36 minutes. Once the agency identified an unknown plane “six miles from the White House,” fighters were too far away to help, and Flight 77 hit the Pentagon (news – web sites).

The report is here (and that link works, unlike the ones on the commission’s site), which I’m going to read and hopefully comment on tomorrow. It seems they’re blaming the whole thing on the FAA. I think there are some problems with that, but I have to read their full report first.

Categories: 9/11

Oh yeah,

June 16, 2004 Leave a comment

GOODBYE LAKERS!!!

I don’t like the Pistons that much, but the Lakers are the Yankees of basketball.

Categories: Sports
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