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All content © 2002-2005 Anne Zook

November 12, 2005
But wait!

Thankfully, the principles behind habeas corpus may not quite be dead in this country's eyes.

Reconsidering stripping the Guantanamo prisoners of their rights to challenge their detention is a decent first step.

Still, I have to admit I'm confused by some of the legal issues.

In a brief interview Thursday after the 49-42 vote, Graham said his proposal was intended "to correct the balance" in how terror suspects should be treated - as enemy combatants, not as potential criminal defendants.

Well, if you want to define how prisoners (semantics side-stepping aside, that's what they are) should be treated, you could start with the Geneva Conventions.

The idea that the Senate was taking on the Supreme Court over who had final say, or jurisdiction, in this matter is interesting.

The NYTimes Editorial Page, which I rarely visit these days, talks on the same subject.

Slick

That "invading Iraq" thing? Looking more and more like it was all about the oil.

Which, as you'll recall, many of us have been saying all along.

The only thing I doubt is that these neocon nitwits would just have handed over the oilfields to the U.N. without some kind of guarantee that the USofA was going to get the major part of the output. Other than that, this sounds like just the kind of idiocy they would have indulged in.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:49 AM | Comments (0)
Yes

As always, Molly Ivins says it best.

I have known George W. Bush since we were both in high school -- we have dozens of mutual friends. I have written two books about him and so have interviewed many dozens more who know him well in one way or another. Spare me the tough talk. He didn't play football -- he was a cheerleader.
Posted by AnneZook at 09:43 AM | Comments (3)
Oops

Seems like there were some problems counting votes in Detroit's recent election.

Electronic voting machines? Bad, bad, bad idea.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:26 AM | Comments (0)
Walking the Talk

I always liked John Edwards.

Edwards has raised more than $4 million for Democratic legislative candidates in mostly red states, trying, as he says, "to build the party back from the ground up." He's teaming with unlikely partners on the left--including local AFL-CIO, ACORN and NAACP chapters--in campaigns to raise the minimum wage in Ohio, Arizona and Michigan. He's praising Big Labor's historic role in "lifting millions of Americans out of poverty." And he's floating serious--and surprisingly liberal--proposals to put his high-flown rhetoric into action. He's touting a controversial "cultural integration" plan to give low-income families housing vouchers to move into better neighborhoods. He's calling for expansions to Bill Clinton's earned-income tax credits, for concerted crackdowns on predatory lenders, and for "work bonds" to help low-income workers build savings and assets. He wants not only to repeal Bush's tax cuts for the wealthiest 1 percent but also to raise capital-gains taxes for those on the top rungs. After Hurricane Katrina he spoke pointedly about how "the face of poverty in America is the face of color" and promoted an ambitious Gulf Coast recovery program modeled on FDR's Works Progress Administration--a touchstone for the kind of big-government liberalism that the old Edwards (like most Democratic leaders today) wouldn't have touched with a ten-foot pole.

He's becoming the candidate I always thought he had the potential to be.

Even the notorious smear campaigners at the North Carolina Republican Party could dredge up nothing damning on Edwards during his upset of Republican Senator Lauch Faircloth in 1998--nothing beyond the indisputable fact that he had, for twenty years, been successfully suing big corporations on behalf of those "regular people," piling up millions in the process as one of America's top trial attorneys.

An honest politician? Who would have believed it?

____________________

Connected story. Free college for all students who want to go? Interesting idea.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:15 AM | Comments (2)
November 11, 2005
Seriously Stupid

Anyone suing, and claiming "white racism" because there are a few helping hands programs for minority and female postgraduate students at a university? Has too much time on their hands. And a problem in their brain.

I really hate how the bigots are using the law to roll back affirmative action progress by claiming that the priviliged "white" population of this country is being picked on.

Posted by AnneZook at 11:38 AM | Comments (0)
Bipartisan Intelligence

In my search for signs of intelligent life in the Federal government, I was pleased to see signs of it from the Right.

House Government Reform Committee Chairman Tom Davis (R-Va.) yesterday threatened to subpoena three members of the Bush Cabinet and White House counsel Harriet Miers if they do not comply with document requests issued by his select committee on Hurricane Katrina response.

Bottom line? We can't just let the Rightwingnuts destroy our Federal government while we're all distracted by body counts from Iraq. I'd like to see a full, open, and public debate on what government should and should not be. Because if Hurricane Katrina isn't the kind of massive disaster we have a Federal government to help cope with...well, we all need to agree to that up front.

Further, if we're going to destroy government support for education, healthcare, and the environment, I think the public should know that in advance. So let's halt the neocon dismantling of government domestic functions that don't support corporate power and let's talk about what we want the future to look like.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:52 AM | Comments (0)
Ready...Set...Pain

Was Rumsfeld given permission to authorize torture with a new legal loophole?

US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld can authorize exceptions to a new Defense Department policy on military interrogations that bars torture and calls for “humane” treatment of detainees, a spokesman said Wednesday.

The new directive lays out broad policy governing interrogations of detainees in Defense Department custody, but leaves the definition of “humane” to a separate, yet to be released directive that is still being debated within the administration.

A little noticed loophole in the directive, which was made public Tuesday, gives the secretary of defense or his deputy authority to override the policy.

Granted, he has to be willing to put his name to it, but one presumes such a document would instantly be deemed "highly classified" and we'd never know if its existence.

For what it's worth, the CIA doesn't want its own loophole. That's the one Cheney is lobbying for. (That's Vice President Cheney...the one lobbying to make torture by USofA citizens legal.) The CIA says torture isn't useful.

And, what with one thing and another, it's not likely that Vice President Cheney's Torture Program is going to get approval anyhow. Apparently he's not the powerhouse he used to be.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)
We Take It Back

Kofi Annan's son was not involved in the Iraq oil-for-food scandal and the paper that printed that he was has admitted to libel.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)
Birth Control

If you use the patch, stop.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:53 AM | Comments (3)
We're Wonderful!

Charming. Guantanamo detainees could be stripped of their right to challenge their detentions?

What on earth is happening to this country?

Posted by AnneZook at 08:32 AM | Comments (2)
November 10, 2005
Military Stuff Costs More

Like ice cube trays that the rest of us buy 4/$1. If you're the military, they'll cost you $20/each

Hundreds of billions of dollars a year, that's what we give the miliitary. They can afford twenty-dollar ice cube trays.

Posted by AnneZook at 10:03 AM | Comments (0)
Why'd They Run Away?

What's happening in Myanmar?

BANGKOK At precisely 6:37 a.m. on Sunday, according to one report - with a shout of "Let's go!" - a convoy of trucks began a huge, expensive and baffling transfer of the government of Myanmar from the capital, Yangon, to a secret mountain compound 320 kilometers to the north.

There are some very strange people in the world. Myanmar seems convinced we're going to invade them.

Of course, as the story mentions, we do consider them an Outpost of Evil. Which isn't quite as prestigious as being an Axis of Evil, but isn't a bad accomplishment for a county few USofA citizens have probably ever heard of.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:59 AM | Comments (2)
Shouting in the Sudan

Looks like our envoy lost his cool.

I don't blame him. Listening to the conflicting stories in the news, I can't tell who is to blame for the ongoing slaughter, but it does seem quite likely that government collusion has taken place.

It's a racial war...and/or a religious war. I don't even know any more. Seems to me I've been hearing about trouble in the Sudan for decades and I probably have.

This is one of those places where I don't think the U.N. and other governments should give any more money until we know what the heck is actually happening and who is on which side. If we can ever know such things.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:45 AM | Comments (2)
IRS Calling

Would the anti-war Left be up in arms if the church in question was under investigation for pro-Bush lobbying?

The principle would be the same.

(I know. Not likely to happen. I don't remember anyone suggesting the IRS go after the Catholic Church, for instance, and they've been pretty outspoken a few times in the last couple of years.)

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Remove the tax exemption for religious institutions and then they'll be free to say whatever they want.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:35 AM | Comments (2)
Save the Arctic

The Arctic Wilderness is safe again. At least for a while.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:41 AM | Comments (0)
Is She Pretty?

You know, this is absolutely true. I noticed it again the other week.

Coverage of some woman in the news...may have been Meirs, included prominent coverage of what she was wearing. I don't notice anyone talking about Alito's clothes or his tiepin. When there's a woman in a news story, there's always talk about how she looks, hair or clothing. I've seen it for years and it's always vaguely aggravating.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:30 AM | Comments (4)
November 09, 2005
Less Bloody News

How protein tames hunger. I know it does, from personal experience. It's always nice to read scientific evidence, though.

Solar power! True solar power is becoming more of a reality.

It incorporates the world’s most powerful photovoltaic cells (developed for space by the Boeing/Spectrolab folks), an ingenious lens that concentrates the sun into a small powerful dot (you know the power a toy hand lens can create on a sunny day), mixes these with their genius for design and voilà, it’s like the Ferrari of solar. Compact and powerful and elegantly designed. Their first prototype, which is 23 feet in diameter and 16 inches high, produces an astonishing 6.5 KW of electricity

You see? We don't need to kill tens of thousands of innocent bystanders to power our ridiculous way of life after all.

(Okay, it's not a done deal yet, but it's doable.)

And:

The police are at the door, no warrant in hand.

"Can we search your house for illegal drugs," one of them asks.

"No," you say.

"Wait," says your embittered roommate/unhappy partner/angry spouse. "Sure you can. Come on in."

Later, as you're sitting in jail, you might wonder, "Was that Constitutional?"

Posted by AnneZook at 11:54 AM | Comments (4)
So, How 'Bout That War?

No, of course we didn't use the banned white phosphorus as a weapon in Falluja. We used it for "target-marking" and "illumination" over the city. If some of it fell on people, well that's gravity's fault. Something falling on someone isn't our fault. They shouldn't have been living where we wanted to bomb.

Sigh. War. Did we have to? I agreed with the invasion of Afghanistan and would have agreed if we'd hung around there and finished the job thoroughly (which we did not). I never supported (this will come as a surprise to you), I never for one instant supported invading Iraq. It was a stupid idea then, the "reasons" we were being given were patently false, and it's created a mess the world will be decades cleaning up. (The U.N. says, you broke it, you fix it.)

Looks like the U.K.'s Blair has jumped on the Evil French bandwagon. He's saying it's the fault of the French that the USofA (and U.K.) invaded Iraq. Because we all believe that a U.N. resolution would have stopped the Bush Administration. Mmmhmm, sure we do. (France is Blair's Clinton.)

War crimes. That's a reasonably "new" concept in history. In the past, almost nothing that happened in the course of waging "war" was considered to be a "crime. We have a different view of the situation these days, and even though I'm aware of the dissonance of a "legal war" or a "good war" the truth is that, human beings being what they are, it's still necessary to resort to violence in order to accomplish some goals.

But I don't think the media should minimize war crimes. People have to know the true cost of the action they've undertaking. They need to understand that "crimes" go along with war, and that that's one good reason why we should never go to war except as a desperate last resort.

The Bush Administration's approach to elective slaughter in the name of corporate profit doesn't really make the cut as a decent reason.

And they certainly shouldn't forget, or allow us to forget that we've been torturing people. We've killed prisoners.

Under the "management" of the Bush Administration and with what's sounding like the complete and whole-hearted support of Vice President Dick Cheney. (Which approach, from our CEO-in-Chief, probably explains much about why every business venture he laid his hands on went down in flames. He's incompetent. Anyone starting to grasp this?)

Bottom line? If you're the "world's sole remaining superpower" as the USofA is so often said to be, you can't just act unilaterally, deciding to kill tens of thousands of people because you're aggravated. We have a responsibility, to ourselves and to the rest of the civilized world, and we're not living up to it.

And everyone hates George Bush, which gives the country a black eye. Not even Reagan's warmongering Admininstration(s) were so thoroughly loathed.

Although....

The current conundrum is how to check the drift toward the emergence of three separate geographic and political entities -- Iraqi Kurdistan, Sunni Iraq and Shiite Iraq -- as they were more or less before Winston Churchill drew lines on a map after World War I.

Why check the drift? Who are we to decide what other people's countries should look like? If Spain decided, after all these years to give the Basques the separate nation they've always wanted, would we be intervening? If the U.K. separated entirely from Ireland, would we go to war over it?

Could we, just for one moment, really give up our delusions of empire and realize that even brown people of non-christian religions are entitled to autonomy and self-determination?

Posted by AnneZook at 09:51 AM | Comments (2)
Life After Neoconservativism?

Democrats in US rack up victories Now there's a headline to warm the heart.

President George Bush's Republicans have fared badly in state and local polls, losing races across the US.

Heh.

As is Voters Endorse Maine Gay Rights Law.

And 'Intelligent-Design' School Board Ousted in Penn.

It's like...everywhere I look this morning, signs of intelligent life are stirring in the USofA. (And in the U.K., where the recent vote went against allowing police to hold 'suspected terrorists' for more than 90 days without charges.)

Well...not everywhere. Kansas is still a hotbed of stupidity.

And here's Another example of the Republican party recycling old criminals players in new roles.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)
India

Looks like companies that jumped on the "outsource to India" bandwagon might be facing a little trouble.

The incessant rains that submerged vast swathes of Bangalore in the last week of October couldn't have come at a worse time. The rains came on the eve of Bangalore's annual information technology exhibition - BangaloreIT.in, billed as one of Asia's hottest IT events.

Not only did the rains swamp the technology fair, but worse, they laid bare Bangalore's crumbling infrastructure at a time the city, India's hi-tech hub and capital of southern state of Karnataka, was preparing to showcase itself as the country's most attractive investment destination for IT.

Snarkiness aside, Bangalore is facing some serious problems.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:47 AM | Comments (6)
November 07, 2005
Statistical Hit Parade

I'm hopelessly behind on my blog reading so I'm not thinking about it at the moment. Let's check out the old stats program.

Yes, dear readers, it's time for that whenever-I-think-about-it feature of the blog where I make fun of everyone who wound up here by searching for something improbable (or pornographic) on-line. It amuses no one but me, but I'm at peace with that.

Also, I know that most people save their silly/pointless/off-topic posts until Friday. Since I'm a Lady of Leisure now, every day is Friday. (Well, sort of. But I'm part-time employed, so I have time on my hands. Time that, today, I spent doing chores and cleaning house, which explains why I have no idea what's going on in the world. I could have read a lot of news in the time it will take to write this post, but the mood is not upon me.)

First...a moment for celebration. I seem to have finally shut down about 90% of the sp*m referrals to the blog, at least until the sp*mm*rs break out into a new pattern. It's a pleasure to log into the old stats program and not find the first 50 referrers are sp*m-related. I'm assuming that last month's record-breaking traffic numbers are related to those sp*mm*ers I didn't get shut down until the end of the month.

And now...on to the mockery.

First, I certainly hadn't anticipated being asked, "does an error count against batting average" and I'm afraid I'm not prepared with a response. I'm guessing...no?

One hit came from, "create a Zook." I'm only familiar with the old-fashioned method and I'm guessing that's not what's required here.

Another poor soul wanted the, "dnc s list of priority issues." If you find out, let the rest of us know, okay?

But I can answer this one. "Exclamation points journalism" Real journalists! Don't! Use exclamation points!

What I can't answer is why my brief discussion of this book consistently gets dozens and dozens of hits every month.

As far as "motivations for homophobia" go, I don't know. I'm, guessing fear, repression, and political opportunism.

"I make 44k a year. how much will a child save me on taxes" Not a tenth as much as it will cost you.

One inquiring mind sought information on "the worst misconduct in government during the gilded age." I'm no expert, but I'd imagine choosing the #1 in that list would be tough.

"Fast food cause disses." Does it? I mean, I might diss you, because I've more or less given it up, but is this really a wide-spread problem?

Someone wanted to know, "how Ben Franklin was disgraceful." I guess that depends upon your perspective, but I really haven't spent a lot of time contemplating the issue.

To the person searching for information on "how to make crystal methane drug" please believe me when I say you don't want to know. Seriously...chocolate is a lot less complicated.

And to the person searching for "mouth of sauon" it's "Sauron" and it comes in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, which you really should have read by now. I'm going to do you the favor of deciding it was a simple typo and you're not actually that ignorant.

Someone needs to know "how to use peevish in a sentence." Now I do feel peevish.

"What does bastille day commemorate?" This is me...beating my dead against the desk....

I have no information on "the importance of hummus." Sorry.

To the person who asked, "should i take a lunch break?" My answer is, "are you hungry?"

"Why do we buy something just because it belongs/ belonged to a famous person?" That one's always been a mystery to me, as well. I once bumped into a celebrity at a convention and she naturally assumed my friend and I would like her autograph. We accepted graciously, of course, but I, for one, tossed it out as soon as I got home. If I like someone, I don't need their name written on a piece of paper to remind me of that fact.

I once used "for every drop of rain that falls" as a post title. I rather regret that now, as I'm sure the many searchers after knowledge on that phrase do as well.

I continue to be absolutely appalled by the number of lazy slobs looking for Cliff's Notes on books. Read the books.

To the person looking for a "research paper on the best democracy money can buy" I hope you flunk. (I get so many hits around the books I've discussed that I''m tempted to take those posts down. I just know some lazy slacker is pulling stuff to use in a school assignment.)

"map federalist antifederalist" Okay, you understand this is a political position, not a geographic one?

I got a ton of "federalist antifederalist" hits last month. I'm happy to see the renewed interest in the foundations of our Constitution.

"What i can do to stop voting in parliament" Stop running for office? Call in sick? Hide in the bathroom?

"What is at the center of every rain drop" Oh! I know that one! Water.

To the person who typed, "ultimately saddam hussein is going to make a mistake that plays into our hands," I think it's time someone mentioned to you that he's been captured. Pick up a newspaper occasionally.

"Dirty tee shirt saying !" It's the exclamation point that really makes that one work.

"National Stress Awareness Day" If there was one, I missed it. I was probably too busy to notice.

"political party demographics church goers" I think that depends. Are you asking about people who actually go to church regularly (i.e., a dozen or more times a year) or those people who claim to be "regular church goers" but who show up only two or three times a year, if that?

You can learn a lot online. For instance, I didn't know, Wisconsin is "the devil s playground," did you? And while I know I'm occasionally rude about Texas, I'm fairly certain I never referred to it as the "spawn of Satan."

And I didn't know men got "pec implants" much less that there were "dangers." (Or, maybe I did. Now that I think about it, I have a vague memory of having read something about that.) Cosmetic surgery? Such a bad idea, unless you're fixing some kind of birth defect or accidental damage. Surgery is dangerous and it's not less dangerous just because your surgery is elective.

"Men are attractive." I knew that one. Known it for years, actually.

I got a ton of hits from people who don't understand the "feeling lucky" button on Google. For reference, you don't have to type the words, "I'm feeling luck" into the little box, people. That's why there's a button.

"why does failure and i m feeling lucky give george bush" It's called a Googlebomb.

"Rosa Parks who was the white man" I got a lot of search phrases similar to this one. Looks like I wasn't the only one wondering.

"How do lemmings move" I dunno. Maybe they rent a truck?

I'm not able to provide anyone with a "laser tag franchise." On principle I disapprove of "games" that are organized imitations of wholesale slaughter of other human beings. If you want adventure, climb a mountain.

There's something a bit surreal about, "house appropriations minutes virtual reality paint." Not that I doubt that our highly efficient and caring government spent time on such a critical topic.

Lots of s*xual searches, but that's not unusual. For instance, someone was looking to find "blogs men und*w*r." (If your und*w*r is blogging, you really need to do your laundry more often.) (If someone is specifically blogging men's und*w*r....well, whatever. It's better than the guy who posted TMI about his smell, I guess.)

Those interested in "politics and p*rn" should check with the Republican Party. They're the ones obsessed.

Someone else is also searching for "male ch**s*cak* So odd. I'm sure I never blogged anything that would lead these kinds of searches here. (Okay. Fine. Go here.)

Regretfully, I have not posted any "Victorian erotica" but if there's a crying need, I could make an attempt. Not a good attempt and I wouldn't actually, but I find the search interesting enough that I'm almost tempted to try it myself to see what results.

If John Bolton has been having group s*x, I really don't want to know about it. You people make me tired.

"Just do that little thing for me and I'll always be by your side" Yeah. I've heard that one before.

Posted by AnneZook at 03:11 PM | Comments (3)