I'm walking out the door here at work on hump nite, planning on catching the Black eyed peas here in SF this weekend... But here's some factoids i gleaned while reading the newspapers and scanning the web this afternoon, which once again makes me wonder why I even bother to read anymore...
Report: U.S. Troops Filmed Burning Taliban Bodies
Kids Dropped In SF Bay
They say justice is blind, but in Iraq, she is more likely blindfolded, on her knees, bound & gagged,sleep deprived and photographed while a laughing US soldier points at her genitalia.
That is the impression I got from reading the initial accounts of big bad Saddam's so called "trial". The kangaroo court proceeding that started this week with unidentified judges, an outraged "Not Guilty" pronouncement from the caged former dictator is now being held up until late Nov. Word is the postponment is because about 40 witnesses against Saddam and his buddies didn't show up, likely due to fear.
Fear sounds like to the dominant character in the proceedings thus far, with heavily armed security scrutinizing officials and journalists. All who wish to attend have their identities established by iris scan and all entrants are repeatedly searched. Arrival to the court in the heavily fortified Bagdhad "Green Zone" is via a bus with curtains drawn. Reporters were inexplicably not even allowed to bring a pencil and note book into their bulletproof glass observation area. Saddam Hussein and his seven co-defendants, all elderly men, sat in a series of white metal cages, that according to one UK newspaper reporter appeared to look" like gigantic play pens."
"I don't acknowledge the entity that authorises you, nor the aggression, because everything based on falsehood is falsehood."
Four times he was asked his name; four times he refused to give it, but he did complain about being asked to get in and out of his ill fitting suit, and having his penis photographed.
Video: Saddam Hussein on the first day of his trial. (1min 16s)
Watch the video using RealPlayer
Over here, in our country, where we not only do democracy, but chicken right...House Majority Leader on extended indictment leave Tom Delay had an arrest warrant issued for him. His perp walk & mug shot is expected Friday...
Howard Zinn was down in Santa Barbara last month, giving one of his cursory examinations of American foreign policy objectives and the lies our leaders rely on to get their way with the people who will pay for their folly and ferocious rhetoric. Zinn's popular book The People's History Of The United States is simply a must read for anyone who wishes to clarify & understand and erase the propaganda and lies of your high school text books.
Zinn was quoted as telling the assembled "No president has invoked God as his military advisor more than Bush to justify war with immunity,". The 79 year old professor also mentioned the idea of providence and manifest destiny as being an integral part of the American consciousness that leads the country to believe that its place in the world supersedes all other nations.
This egregiously sanctimonious behavior is no more apparent than in our current administration's hyped up tone of pseudo-religious babbling. A recent NY Times column by Thomas Freidman exemplifies the conflicts this is having in our foreign policy, particularly as we attempt to "sow democractic ideals" in Iraq. Freidman reports that Iraq has sent home representatives of it's constituitional study delegation after receiving contradictory examples of US ideals. Since you can't read the column online unless you have access to subscribers-only TimesSelect, here's a couple excerpts.
Some of the Iraqi's appeared shocked that Bush was saying his party should support Harriet Miers for the U.S. Supreme Court because of her religious beliefs. This after the U.S badgered Iraqi's about the need for separation of "mosque & state":
"Now let me get this straight," Judge Mithaqi said. "You are lecturing us about keeping religion out of politics, and then your own president and conservative legal scholars go and tell your public to endorse Miers as a Supreme Court justice because she is an evangelical Christian.
"How would you feel if you picked up your newspapers next week and read that the president of Iraq justified the appointment of an Iraqi Supreme Court justice by telling Iraqis: 'Don't pay attention to his lack of legal expertise. Pay attention to the fact that he is a Muslim fundamentalist and prays at a Saudi-funded Wahhabi mosque.' Is that the Iraq you sent your sons to build and to die for? I don't think so. We can't have our people exposed to such talk."
Here Friedman quotes a Shiite lawyer in the delegation:
"I survived eight years of torture under Saddam," Unfi said. "Virtually every extended family in Iraq has someone who was tortured or killed in a Baathist prison. Yet, already, more than 100 prisoners of war have died in U.S. custody. How is that possible from the greatest democracy in the world? There must be no place for torture in the future Iraq. We are going home now because I don't want our delegation corrupted by all this American right-to-torture talk."
Meanwhile in other brewing disasters of a non-diplomatic sort:
Hurricane Wilma is maintaining her strength as a catastrophic Category 5 hurricane with winds are at an incredible 160 mph, as the storm sits about 285 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. It's apparently headed towards the Yucatan and may scrape Cuba , with South Florida expected to possibly get the remaining brunt of what's left towards the end of the weekend. The ironically titled Miami Hurricanes college football team, has already had their weekend game against Geogia Tech postponed. The Miami Dolphins pro team are scheduled to host the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday afternoon and haven't announced their plns as of Wednesday eve.
Proving that not all sports sex scandals happen in the U.S, 20 year old Manchester United Football star Cristiano Ronaldo from Portugal voluntarily turned himself into U.K police for arrest & questioning regarding claims of a sexual assault/rape reported by a woman in a London penthouse hotel suite after a game on Oct 2nd.
Last year two Premiership players were interviewed over an alleged gang rape at the Grosvenor House hotel in London but no charges arose. The independent UK newspaper reports of other alleged sexual assaults & rapesin which European football players were arrested, but most resulted in no longterm punishments ever materializing.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation decodes secret dot matrix tracking codes in common computer printers from Xerox, Dell and other manufacturers. Here's a list of printers known to print tracking dots on documents (http://www.eff.org/Privacy/printers/list.php
Is mega corp Procter & Gamble breaking the law by enlisting teens to coax friends to try teen-tailored products? The consumer advocacy group Commercial Alert has filed a complaint with the FTC that claims P&G's word-of-mouth "buzz marketing" unit, Tremor, targets teens with deceptive advertising.
In San Francisco, striking health care workers face an uphill battle against Sutter / California Pacific Medical Center. Management at Sutter has refused to meet with a federally appointed mediator and the hospital has put in place a notorious private security firm known as the Steele Foundation. The Steele Foundation has done work protecting contractors from insurgents in Iraq, and now in the normally quiet Pacific Heights district is engaged against largely female groups of picketing nurses and other workers. An unarmed, and downed woman was recently pushed off a sidwalk and repeatedly kicked to the point of injury. Here's a photo of some of the military-trained thugs hired by Sutter CPMC to intimidate striking caregivers at a recent candle light vigil and picket line.
To watch the news coverage of CPMC's security guards attacking caregivers, click on http://www.ktvu.com/news/5094332/detail.html
Gannett Smokers to Pay
Gannett's employees are receiving a notice that tells them to kick their nicotine habit or pay an extra $50 for their health insurance each month. The publisher of USA Today and 98 other newspapers is instituting the smoking disincentive in an effort to curb rising health care costs.
Newspaper Adds Click-to-Call to Classifieds
Embattled by online web ads, publishers seek new revenue and The Palm Beach Post says it will become the first newspaper to offer click-to-call service to all its online classified advertisers. By clicking a "Talk to Seller" link, interested buyers can request a phone call with whoever took out an ad. The service will be free to advertisers.
Saturday Night on TV is Dead ?
The state of network television on Saturday nights has become so dire that CNN reports ABC has essentially put a prime-time slot up for auction to any Hollywood producer who can make a program for no more than $500,000 an episode. Since 2000, Saturday night network TV viewership has dropped 39%.
Anyhow... I don't watch much TV and really could give a shit I suppose ...
here's some tunes to reward all you Bay City Scrollers...
RUSH - Crossroads