October 10, 2007 archive

RFID & The Future

Most of us are aware of the RFID tags and chips…now there are
DragonFlys…

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Vanessa Alarcon saw them while working at an antiwar rally in Lafayette Square last month.
“I heard someone say, ‘Oh my god, look at those,’ ” the college senior from New York recalled. “I look up and I’m like, ‘What the hell is that?’ They looked kind of like dragonflies or little helicopters. But I mean, those are not insects.”
Out in the crowd, Bernard Crane saw them, too.
“I’d never seen anything like it in my life,” the Washington lawyer said. “They were large for dragonflies. I thought, ‘Is that mechanical, or is that alive?’ ”

and MagicMirrors…

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What it does is let you try on virtual outfits and share with friends, allowing them to then text you back with a yay or nay. Besides the main panel where you can see your proposed new look, there are two other panels: the left showing you available pieces from the store, while the right offers up info on accessories that you might like.

Bring me mah hammer, Maudie!

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Poll: 70% Support Fully Funded Withdrawal or NOTHING

News From Rep. Barbara Lee:

Asked what Congress should do with President Bush’s pending Iraq supplemental request, the poll found that 70 percent of respondents want Congress to either vote against the President’s request or require that funds can only be used for my plan to protect troops and bring them home. And by a two to one margin, respondents favored requiring that funds be spent on redeployment instead of providing the administration funds without conditions

She asks us to contact our representatives and support this plan. That is my intention, and I hope you’ll join me.

Follow The Leader

Amazing:

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in a determinedly good mood when she sat down to lunch with reporters yesterday. . . . But her spirits soured instantly when somebody asked about the anger of the Democratic “base” over her failure to end the war in Iraq.

“Look,” she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. “I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things — Buddhas? I don’t know what they were — couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk.” Unsmilingly, she continued: “If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have ‘Impeach Bush’ across their chest, it’s the First Amendment.”

Though opposed to the war herself, Pelosi has for months been a target of an antiwar movement that believes she hasn’t done enough. Cindy Sheehan has announced a symbolic challenge to Pelosi in California’s 8th Congressional District. And the speaker is seething.

“We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow,” Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their “passion,” Pelosi called it “a waste of time” for them to target Democrats. “They are advocates,” she said. “We are leaders.”

She hates us. She really hates us. But by all means, let’s coddle the Dem leaders in Congress. I’m sure she’ll lead us somewhere. Suuuure she will.

Republicans attack a 12-year-old

The Frost family v. BushCo:  a modern day David and Goliath story????

This is a story of a Republican movement totally detached from even trying to deceive us anymore. They are hateful.

I suggest reading the Baltimore Sun story first, and then read Kos’s great compilation of reactions.

[http://www.baltimore…]

[http://www.dailykos….]

Attacking a 12-year-old

The Frost family v. BushCo:  a modern day David and Goliath story????

This is a story of a Republican movement totally detached from even trying to deceive us anymore. They are hateful. They are Repuglicans…

I suggest reading the Baltimore Sun story first, and then read Kos’s great compilation of reactions.

[http://www.baltimore…]

[http://www.dailykos….]

Four at Four

This is an OPEN THREAD. Here are four stories in the news at 4 o’clock to get you started.

  1. The following from Washington Post columnist, Dana Milbank, is offered without comment:

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was in a determinedly good mood when she sat down to lunch with reporters yesterday. She entered the room beaming and, over the course of an hour, smiled no fewer than 31 times and got off at least 23 laughs.

    But her spirits soured instantly when somebody asked about the anger of the Democratic “base” over her failure to end the war in Iraq.

    “Look,” she said, the chicken breast on her plate untouched. “I had, for five months, people sitting outside my home, going into my garden in San Francisco, angering neighbors, hanging their clothes from trees, building all kinds of things — Buddhas? I don’t know what they were — couches, sofas, chairs, permanent living facilities on my front sidewalk.”

    Unsmilingly, she continued: “If they were poor and they were sleeping on my sidewalk, they would be arrested for loitering, but because they have ‘Impeach Bush’ across their chest, it’s the First Amendment.”

    Though opposed to the war herself, Pelosi has for months been a target of an antiwar movement that believes she hasn’t done enough. Cindy Sheehan has announced a symbolic challenge to Pelosi in California’s 8th Congressional District. And the speaker is seething.

    “We have to make responsible decisions in the Congress that are not driven by the dissatisfaction of anybody who wants the war to end tomorrow,” Pelosi told the gathering at the Sofitel, arranged by the Christian Science Monitor. Though crediting activists for their “passion,” Pelosi called it “a waste of time” for them to target Democrats. “They are advocates,” she said. “We are leaders.”

  2. If I were president decider, this is not the kind of headline I’d want to see in the Los Angeles Times — ‘Bush urges ‘no’ vote on Armenian genocide bill‘ or in The New York Times — ‘Bush Argues Against Armenian Genocide Measure‘. But then after invading countries, sanctioning and using torture, and systematically eroding away your own citizens’ civil liberties, then I suppose you might get a bit squeemish about the House passing a resolution recognizing, in yet another non-binding resolution, genocide.

    From George W. Bush’s statement today:

    On another issue before Congress, I urge members to oppose the Armenian genocide resolution now being considered by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. We all deeply regret the tragic suffering of the Armenian people that began in 1915. This resolution is not the right response to these historic mass killings, and its passage would do great harm to our relations with a key ally in NATO and in the global war on terror.

    So, Mr. Bush. What is the “right response”? According to the Washington Post story on Bush’s remarks, “Three former defense secretaries, in their own letter, said Turkey probably would cut off U.S. access to a critical air base. The government of Turkey is spending more than $300,000 a month on communications specialists and high-powered lobbyists… to defeat the initiative.” Bush has offered no alternative to the reslution other than continuing to ignore genocide.

    [EVENING UPDATE] According to Bloomberg, House panel backs Armenian measure over objections. “A congressional panel approved a resolution calling for the U.S. to designate the World War I-era killings of 1.5 million Armenians as genocide, amid warnings that the measure would harm relations with Turkey. ¶ The nonbinding resolution, backed by the House Foreign Affairs Committee on a 27-21 vote, calls for a reversal in the practice by successive presidential administrations of avoiding referring to the deaths as genocide in an annual April message commemorating the event. More than half of the House’s 435 members have signed on as co-sponsors.”

  3. The Guardian reports that Russian president, Vladimir Putin said there is no proof Iran is trying to make nuclear weapons.

    “We do not have data that says Iran is trying to produce nuclear weapons. We do not have such objective data,” Mr Putin told a news conference in Moscow after talks with the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy.

    “Therefore we proceed from a position that Iran has no such plans, but we share the concern of our partners that all programmes should be as transparent as possible.”

    So, will Putin provide an effective check to President-in-waiting Cheney? Would Russian protection extend over Iran? Welcome to the Neo Cold War. Now with even more insanity!

News item no. 4, ‘Tensions heat up between China and Taiwan’ and today’s “Guns of Greed” is below the fold.

The Road To Hell…

Note: Revisiting a topic originally posted over on The Big Orange. Given our current discussions about extraordinary rendition and torture, it seemed worth dusting off (actually this is a major rewrite) and posting in the new digs.

The seminal piece to date on the origins of extraordinary rendition is this piece over in the New Yorker. It is titled: Outsourcing Torture – The secret history of America’s “extraordinary rendition” program. (by Jane Mayer).

The main focus of the article is to discuss how egregiously the government of George W. Bush has crossed the line in its decisions to use extraordinary rendition as a tool to fight terrorism.

But my interest in the piece was tweaked by the discussions about the origins of the program. And with a little research, the picture proved not to be pretty.

Beware Misdirection on Torture Scandal (The “DDD” Story)

The New York Times had a front page article on the legal peregrinations of the Bush Administrations as it seeks safe harbor for its ship of torturers. The next day, the scandal spills out into official Washington, and the stubborn evil denizens at 1600 Pennsylvania trot out for a desultory press conference. There’s the snarling, contemptuous Bush, explaining, “This government does not torture people.”

Away, in countless rooms in millions of houses, the populace reads the stories and sighs and does nothing. Politicians screech, and pundits blather, and the war their generation shouldered with both protest and calm continued its carnage. Slowly, the news media formed a tight narrative around the new scandal: Bush’s Justice Department had found a way to legally, and yet secretly (and only in 2007 America can this occur without oxymoron), legitimate forms of torture too bestial to contemplate — beatings, simulated drownings, freezing men half to death… you know, Bush had growled, interrogation techniques that were “tough, safe, necessary and lawful.”

But no one knew, no one could know, that in the bowels of CIA headquarters at Langley, a group of men and women were safeguarding a group of techniques that were already exposed, and already forgotten, that were carefully cozened, that men were trained in, that were meant to outlast the worst New York Times editorial or Congressional investigation. And if they were referred to, if anyone should have to whisper them, they could use the awful acronym that had referenced them for over fifty years now: DDD.

Behind the ‘peace process’

As Ehud Olmert busied himself shaking hands with Abbas and correcting uninformed journalists from calling the Annapolis summit a “peace conference”, the IDF yesterday ordered the expropriation of over 1,100 dunams of land from four Palestinian villages (Abu Dis, Arab al-Sawahra, Nebi Musa and Talhin Alhamar) in the West Bank, between East Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim. The land will be used for a new Palestinian road connecting East Jerusalem with Jericho, thereby freeing up the so-called E-1 area for Israeli development.

This follows a recent report that Israel’s police force in the West Bank is moving its HQ to the E-1 area.

Telecom Immunity

Bush pushes for telecom immunity
By JENNIFER LOVEN, Associated Press Writer
21 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – President Bush said Wednesday that he will not sign a new eavesdropping bill if it does not grant retroactive immunity to U.S. telecommunications companies that helped conduct electronic surveillance without court orders.

A proposed bill unveiled by Democrats on Tuesday does not include such a provision. Bush, appearing on the South Lawn as that measure was taken up in two House committees, said the measure is unacceptable for that and other reasons.

A top Democratic leader opened the door on Tuesday to allowing an immunity provision. But House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., said the Bush administration must first detail what the companies did. About 40 pending lawsuits name telecommunications companies for alleged violations of wiretapping laws.

Bush detailed criteria that the bill must meet before he would sign it, including the immunity provision and the broad requirement that it “ensure that protections intended for the American people are not extended to terrorists overseas who are plotting to harm us.”

When will Gore announce? It’s about Bali

You read that right. When. Why am I so certain? I have of course no inside knowledge. None. Yet I’ve been certain that he would get in ever since I first saw An Inconvenient Truth, a year and a half ago. And my certainty has only grown since then. Am I delusional? Hardly. I just use a different primary premise for my opinion. Disclaimer: I am not an American. I can’t vote in your election, though I’ve followed your politics almost obsessively ever since watching the 2000 election debacle live on television (Canadians have a front-row seat when it comes to watching you). No, my friends. The timing of Gore’s entry is not so much to do with Hillary, ballot deadlines or any Hamlet-like hesitations on Gore’s part as it is about a meeting of world leaders on climate in Bali in December and all the meetings that will follow in the coming years and that will ultimately decide the fate of humanity on this planet.

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