Filtered news 12/6

What is rich? It's often easy to forget how unequal the world really is. The richest 10% of adults than 85% of all worldwide wealth. And how much do you need to hold to qualify for that global top 10%? $61,000.

The liberal media strikes again. From of today's San Francisco Chronicle:


The article in a nutshell: Bush might still be talking about staying the course in Iraq, but behind the scenes, who knows what the heck he's really thinking or doing? That should be pretty obvious by now, but there's something bracing about seeing that in print in a major newspaper. Even the Chron.

"We are not winning in Iraq."
-- Robert Gates, (soon to be new Def Sec) calling Bush a liar

What we're doing to ourselves -- it's ugly "A celebrated police anti-terrorism cyber unit became a beehive of anti-Muslim rhetoric after a city consultant unleashed hundreds of hateful e-mails saying Muslims and Arabs were all potential terrorists, a unit member said in a lawsuit filed Tuesday. The Department of Correction lieutenant, listed as John Doe Anti-Terrorism Officer on the lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan, said he was subjected to a hostile work environment, great emotional anguish, public humiliation and illegal retaliation. The Egyptian-born man asked for unspecified damages, saying he had suffered severe emotional distress, mental anguish, depression, physical injuries, illness, loss of pay and benefits and loss of advancement opportunities as a member of the elite anti-terror unit." (AP)

Survey says: Yankee go home!

conducted a new survey that was commissioned by the Iraq government. The surveyors wouldn't allow themselves to be seen on camera which usually is not a good sign. -WMP -QT More than half of the 2000 participants said they want all the US troops out now, the remainder want the withdrawal to begin immediately. The economy is a big problem for most Iraqi's as well which isn't surprising—The Iraqis also feel that since the Democrats won big time in November they are hoping that they'll be able to help change policy.

For some people, there's nothing like personal involvement in administering capital punishment to make them start opposing it. was a warden at two Florida death row prisons for many years, during which time he helped carry out over a dozen executions. The experience so scarred him that he quit his correctional career, got ordained as an Episcopalian priest, and now preaches against the death penalty - from the pulpit of a church in one of the prison towns where he used to oversee death row. Maybe he'll start a support group with Bill Wiseman, the man who only to later also become an anti-death penalty priest.

FEMA still screwing Katrina victims "The Bush administration is challenging a court order requiring it to make housing payments to thousands of families whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Katrina. "U.S. District Judge Richard J. Leon said last week that confusing, often contradictory letters to hurricane victims from the Federal Emergency Management Agency didn't explain why housing funding was cut. He said that violated the Constitution, and he ordered the agency to restart the program immediately. "FEMA said Tuesday it would appeal that ruling." (AP)

"As Democratic leaders in both chambers ponder the details of their proposed lobbying and ethics overhauls, a bipartisan group of leading Congressional reformers on Tuesday signaled their intention to set a high bar in the debate by introducing their own package on the first day of the 110th Congress. "The bicameral group — consisting of Sens. John McCain (are you kidding?) [R-AZ], Susan Collins [R-ME], Joe Lieberman (oh my God) [D-CT], Russ Feingold (thank God!) [D-WI] and Reps. Christopher Shays [R-CT] and Marty Meehan [D-MA] — said that in addition to sweeping new rules for lawmakers and lobbyists, the bill would include a provision to create an independent Office of Public Integrity that accepts ethics complaints and investigates them. "That provision is the top reform priority for Congressional watchdog groups. Though House Democrats appear increasingly likely to include the provision in their version, it is not yet apparent if it will make the cut in the Senate, or whether it will survive challenges from other lawmakers as the bills wend their way to a floor vote." (Roll Call, )

Just when we got done digesting news that federal detention has turned alleged enemy combatant Jose Padilla into comes CQ's Jeff Stein with a that tucked into this year's defense authorization bill (aka the John W. Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2006, signed into law October 17) is a tidbit that on its face "seems to be about giving the federal government a far stronger hand in coordinating responses to Katrina-like disasters.


But on closer inspection, its language also alters the two-centuries-old Insurrection Act, which Congress passed in 1807 to limit the president’s power to deploy troops within the United States.

Now before you think we (or CQ) are going all black-helicopter on you, rest assured that this is not about the federal government marching jack-booted thugs into your living room... we think. It's just that the law adds


"natural disaster, epidemic, or other serious public health emergency, terrorist attack or incident" to the list of conditions permitting the President to take over local authority — particularly "if domestic violence has occurred to such an extent that the constituted authorities of the State or possession are incapable of maintaining public order." Since the administration broadened what constitutes "conspiracy" in its definition of — anyone who "has purposely and materially supported hostilities against the United States," in the language of the Military Commissions Act (PL 109-366) — critics say it’s a formula for executive branch mischief.

Oh yeah, the critics. Turns out that the indefatigable Senator Pat Leahy of Vermont is among the vanishingly small number of people who have even been paying attention, warning that "using the military for law enforcement goes against one of the founding tenets of our democracy." Oh, that.

Autism help will finally pass! This is really great news. A bill that's been held up by looks to be a done deal now, MSNBC (12-04-06) fails to report that Barton was the main person holding up this very important bill. I wonder why? Andrea Mitchell and Chip only say that it's been stuck in the House. Some great Republican moral values. Texas Kaos asks: Why does Barton ? He even called the police on .

Remember this in 08 "Democrats blocked Bolton's nomination, preventing an up or down vote. They have deprived America of the right man at the right time at the UN." -- John McCain, (R-Pro-Torture)

Who knew was French:

said one individual at hearing the news.It was recently revealed that dwarf mistletoe has been routinely attacking christmas trees for years... Even more disturbing:


    Dwarf mistletoe (dmt), an evergreen parasitic plant found on conifers in Canada, can significantly reduce a tree's life expectancy. Even more important in beetle-infested British Columbia, the almost-invisible dwarf mistletoe species that prefers pines can weaken a tree and make it more susceptible to attack by micro-organisms and insects.

In other words, they are in Canada, heading towards the North Pole and Santa Clause. indicates the christmas hating mistletoe has opened a fifth column here in the United States.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Kafka predicted Bush World : The Bush Crime Family has literally used all the power of the government to ruin a man without so much as charging him with a crime.

"No, he shouldn't be worried. He should be terrified."
--Senator Patrick Leahy, when asked if Bush should be "worried"
that he was to be Chair of the Judiciary Committee,

Preserving the truth : Democratic Reps tell EPA to suspend the closure of public document libraries

Big Brother spending your money The Bush administration wants to build a $125 million courthouse complex at Guantanamo Bay? That sure sounds like a great use of taxpayer dollars, doesn't it? You will be unsurprised, I'm sure, to learn that the Pentagon plans to do this without congressional approval. You see, they've identified "offsets" to pay for it — though they aren't really offsets since they expect Congress to restore them to full funding in the near future. Even Republicans who are used to rubber stamping anything with the words "national security" attached to it apparently think this is a rather cavalier treatment of Congress's spending authority. The Miami Herald has the full story The ACLU objects

Contractors gone bad A government contractor who has managed to do a terrible job in and at the . Let's see, there's also Halliburton and its screw-up subsidiaries in Iraq and New Orleans, and Aventure screwing up voting lists in Florida and Wisconsin, HMOs across the nation screwing up Medicaid and Medicare... Any other examples come to mind of this "out-sourcing mania" from government to private, for-profit firms going bad? Let me know.

For example: "The Federal Emergency Management Agency has recouped less than 1 percent of an estimated $1 billion in fraudulent or unjustified payments it distributed after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a new report by Congressional investigators says. "At the same time, the agency continued to wrongly send out millions of dollars of new aid this year, including $17 million in rental assistance to families living rent-free in FEMA trailers, the Government Accountability Office report says." (NY Times)

Abortion wars The Religious Right and their Capitol Hill allies are taking one last shot at limiting women's reproductive rights in the final days of Republican rule in Congress with new legislation in the House meant to intimidate women into forging abortions:

The :


The bill is misnamed the "Unborn Child Pain Awareness Act." It would force physicians to give women seeking an abortion at 20 weeks or more an inflammatory, unfactual brochure written by anti- abortion legislators, not physicians, and offer them anesthesia for their fetus.

The RCRC Board opposed a similar bill last year as inappropriate interference by Congress in private medical decisions. We take all aspects of the abortion decision with greatest seriousness and we believe that healthcare professionals, religious counselors, and loved ones can best assist women to work through the medical and moral decisions they face in a voluntary and compassionate manner. While solidly in support of providing complete and accurate information about pregnancy and fetal development, our Board called for unbiased, scientifically based research about the possibility of fetal pain before legislation is considered. At this time, there is no reliable, accepted evidence to support the need for this measure.

Many mainline Christian denominations - including the - are part of the coalition.

The today saying this "legislation is yet another attempt by those who oppose abortion rights to use unproven and ideologically-based arguments to persuade women from obtaining reproductive health services."

"If the House passes the bill by the required two-thirds vote, Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., has said he will seek unanimous consent to pass the bill in the Senate," according to an action alert in favor of the legislation sent out today by the Religious Right group Focus on the Family. Brownback announced this past week that he is in 2008.

Feeling more secure? Here's an of the collective crimes of homeland security employees.

Supporting our troops? “A new investigation by National Public Radio looked at troops diagnosed with mental health disorders and concluded that ‘officers at Ft. Carson .’” Paul Rieckhoff, head of the , has .

Pot, kettle, calling "black" and all that Princeton economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman went on Fox News this afternoon to talk about his new article in Rolling Stone Magazine, “How the Super-Rich Are Screwing America.” Krugman’s article is about how income inequality is getting worse and, as a result, even though some aggregate economic indicators are positive, most people aren’t benefiting. Cavuto told Krugman, “Here’s what I’m saying that you’re doing: You are lying to people.” Cavuto claims that income inequality isn’t “dramatically worse now than 10 years ago, 20 years ago.” Actually, Krugman is completely right: things are dramatically worse now than 10 or 20 years ago. Here’s a chart from the Economic Policy Institute that tracks the ratio of the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans to median income in the United States, :

What? No gold watch? The reports that Wal-Mart has a new way to show its workers how much it appreciates them: After 20 years, you get a polo shirt.

Income inequality seems to be the topic of the day. Over at the Economist's Free Exchange, , citing an in-house report, that although "high earners experienced more than a 30% increase in their real income over the last thirty years...[and] the bottom 50% of wage earners saw their real income increased by only 5-10%," income inequality isn't that marked and if it is, who really cares anyway? It might spawn economic growth. Whether you want to argue that economic inequality creates an incentive for education, which then leads to a more productive workforce and greater economic growth, as the folks over at the Economist have done today, is up to you. Although Clive Crook from the Atlantic Monthly would definitely disagree. In his article "A Matter of Degrees," Crook that education is not an "economic cure-all," which it is so often touted as, but in fact it is just a way to differentiate oneself from another (so if everyone is going to college, then it won't give you a leg up anyway). Regardless, the facts are in. The income gap is growing and the effects of this are dire (for many). In "How the Rich Get Richer" and "Poor Losers," Mother Jones this growing chasm between the rich and the poor:


In 2005, there were 9 million American millionaires, a 62% increase since 2002.


Since 2000, the number of Americans living below the poverty line at any one time has steadily risen. Now 13% of all Americans—37 million—are officially poor.


Only 3% of students at the top 146 colleges come from families in the bottom income quartile; only 10% come from the bottom half.


Since 1983, college tuition has risen 115%. The maximum Pell Grant for low- and moderate-income college students has risen only 19%.


Bush's tax cuts give a 2-child family earning $1 million an extra $86,722—or Harvard tuition, room, board, and an iMac G5 for both kids.


Bush’s tax cuts (extended until 2010) save those earning between $20,000 and $30,000 an average of $10 a year, while those earning $1 million are saved $42,700.

You can get all the stats and .

Just what the hell are we doing here? Lizardbreath of Unfogged why the treatment of Jose Padilla is indefensible on every level:

We seem to be systematically ill-treating our prisoners in a way that doesn't make any legitimate sense. If it's punishment, it's simply wrong because they haven't been tried. If it's for interrogation, it seems insanely excessive. If the argument is that "We are certain enough that Padilla had vital information that we are justified in confining him for years and treating him in any manner, no matter how psychically damaging not likely to cause organ failure in the hopes of extracting that information," I really want that argument to be made explicitly. What do they hope to find out from these people? And if we're claiming that the ill-treatment is necessary for security, that is patent nonsense. What was done to Padilla (and is being done to prisoners at Guantanamo) is obviously not necessary to keep them from escaping or hurting other people, and anyone putting forth that justification for blindfolding Padilla on his way to the dentist is either deceiving themselves or a liar.

This is all correct -- and there's an additional issue. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that Padilla was an extremely dangerous man who should have been locked up (although the government can't actually substantiate the most serious charges against him.) As Andrew Sullivan , torturing Padilla is also counterproductive because it will make it extremely difficult to convict him. This kind of systematic mistreatment of prisoners is an utter disgrace on every level: moral, political, legal, and pragmatic.

"How do you ask a man to be the last to die for a bully's ego?"
-- Paul Krugman on Dubya's quagmire,

The hell created in our name The House of Death When 12 bodies were found buried in the garden of a Mexican house, it seemed like a case of drug-linked killings. But the trail led to Washington and a cover-up that went right to the top. David Rose reports from El Paso.

Bush: Screw the sick who got sick doing our dirty work "The Bush administration repeatedly sought ways to limit payouts to nuclear weapons workers sickened by radiation and toxic material, according to a memo written by congressional investigators and obtained by USA TODAY. The investigation focuses on a federal program created in 2000 to compensate people with cancers and other illnesses tied to their work at government and contractor-owned facilities involved in Cold War nuclear weapons production. About 98,000 cases have been filed under the program, and the Labor Department has approved compensation in about 24,000 of those cases. However, program records show that not all of those approved claims have been paid. Since 2002, 'there is a continuous stream of (administration) communications … strategizing on minimizing payouts,' according to the Nov. 30 memo by staff for the House Judiciary subcommittee on immigration, border security and claims. The memo, prepared for the panel's chairman, Rep. John Hostettler [R-IN] summarizes and quotes from thousands of pages of records reviewed by the subcommittee in its probe." (USA Today)

Obama knows how to slug it out (watch short ad for site pass)

As he opened his remarks Friday at a World AIDS Day summit at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church, Republican Sen. Sam Brownback said he was feeling a little more "comfortable" than he did the last time he shared a stage with Barack Obama. "We were both addressing the NAACP," Brownback explained. "They were very polite to me … [but] I think they kind of wondered, 'Who's this guy from Kansas?' And then Barack Obama follows, and they're going, 'OK, now we've got Elvis.'"

Figuring their joint appearance at an Orange County evangelical church finally put the shoe on the other foot, Brownback turned to Obama and said, "Welcome to my house." The audience of evangelicals howled with laughter. But when Obama had the chance to speak a few minutes later, he returned to what Brownback had said: "There is one thing I've got to say, Sam: This is my house, too. This is God's house."

Everyone laughed again — neither Brownback's opening nor Obama's comeback were offered with the rancor that a cold retelling of them probably suggests — but the point had been made anyway. In Obama's eyes, at least, the Republican Party can no longer claim ownership of all things evangelical.

Obama seems to be the sort of nominee you're looking for -- someone who's actually more liberal than his public image would suggest -- rather than, say, an unnamed senator from New York who's less liberal than her reputation (now that I think about it, this applies to both NY Senators, but whatever).

The Federation of American Scientists' Steven Aftergood this fascinating nugget in a recent Navy on its "Human Research Protection Program," which, much as the name suggests, is tasked with safeguarding human research subjects from inhumane experiments.


The Under Secretary of the Navy (UNSECNAV) is the Approval Authority for research involving... severe or unusual intrusions, either physical or psychological, on human subjects (such as consciousness-altering drugs or mind-control techniques).

Umm, mind control. Part of me is relieved that research, of the Manchurian Candidate variety, if it does indeed exist, requires some form of high level approval. Mostly, though, I'm unnerved by the possibility that government researchers are spending any time whatsoever contemplating this line of inquiry. Perhaps I shouldn't be too surprised. The DoD is known for floating some pretty absurd proposals, such as one in 1994 by researchers at the Air Force's Wright Laboratory who developing "harassing, annoying, and 'bad guy' identifying chemicals." One example:


Chemicals that effect human behavior so that discipline and morale in enemy units is adversely affected. One distasteful but completely non-lethal example would be strong aphrodisiacs, especially if the chemical also caused homosexual behavior.

Your tax dollars at work folks.

In Prisoners The United States has been than any other country for some time now - and last year we extended our lead. A - three per cent of the population - were behind bars, on probation or on parole in 2005, the Department of Justice announced last night. That number includes 2.2 million people currently locked up here in the Land of the Free, despite the fact that crime rates have been falling for over a decade. That gives us an incarceration rate than that of any Western European country, and far ahead of our closest competitor, liberty-loving Russia.

Beauty is evil and God loves only fat and ugly people (I'm in!) Currently a very popular actress, there was a time in her teenage years when Jessica Alba was active in a born-again evangelical Christian church. Why did she eventually stop? The answer is a simple as it is disturbing: they started to treat her badly because of her developing physical beauty and accused her of tempting the men. How shortsighted and narrow minded can people be?

Mining for truth, however sordid The Center for Reproductive Rights and the activists at the are well aware that the fight over Plan B access , and they're trucking right along with their against the FDA for its decision to ignore the science and deny Plan B over-the-counter to teens. A New York judge recently to allow the Center to subpoena White House officials and question them about their involvement in the FDA's . (Predictably, the Justice Department is the subpoena.) Depositions in this case have already revealed some details about the Bush administration's meddling. As far back as 2003, then-FDA commissioner Mark McClellan agreed to an unprecedented with a White House domestic policy adviser to discuss the Plan B application. And Dr. Janet Woodcock (who also warned that Plan B would create ) Plan B shouldn't be sold over-the-counter to teens -- not because of the science but "to appease the administration's constituents." And that information is just from depositions of FDA officials. Just imagine what will emerge if the Center for Reproductive Rights gets a peek at White House officials' Plan B-related email and correspondence.

Charles Dickens on American torture (yes, that Charles Dickens) Apropos of Atrios's comment , readers who'd like to know more about how and why America turned away from that form of punishment -- which was in the early 19th century considered more humane than what had come before -- and turned instead to the rehabilitative prison model -- which we've also since partly abandoned -- would do well to read Charles Dickens's 1842 book American Notes for General Circulation, the full text of which can be found online Dickens' description of and outrage at the system, in Chapter 7, seems worth thinking about as we read about of Jose Padilla, American citizen and one-time enemy combatant:

In the outskirts, stands a great prison, called the Eastern Penitentiary: conducted on a plan peculiar to the state of Pennsylvania. The system here, is rigid, strict, and hopeless solitary confinement. I believe it, in its effects, to be cruel and wrong.

In its intention, I am well convinced that it is kind, humane, and meant for reformation; but I am persuaded that those who devised this system of Prison Discipline, and those benevolent gentlemen who carry it into execution, do not know what it is that they are doing. I believe that very few men are capable of estimating the immense amount of torture and agony which this dreadful punishment, prolonged for years, inflicts upon the sufferers; and in guessing at it myself, and in reasoning from what I have seen written upon their faces, and what to my certain knowledge they feel within, I am only the more convinced that there is a depth of terrible endurance in it which none but the sufferers themselves can fathom, and which no man has a right to inflict upon his fellow-creature. I hold this slow and daily tampering with the mysteries of the brain, to be immeasurably worse than any torture of the body: and because its ghastly signs and tokens are not so palpable to the eye and sense of touch as scars upon the flesh; because its wounds are not upon the surface, and it extorts few cries that human ears can hear; therefore I the more denounce it, as a secret punishment which slumbering humanity is not roused up to stay. I hesitated once, debating with myself, whether, if I had the power of saying ‘Yes’ or ‘No,’ I would allow it to be tried in certain cases, where the terms of imprisonment were short; but now, I solemnly declare, that with no rewards or honours could I walk a happy man beneath the open sky by day, or lie me down upon my bed at night, with the consciousness that one human creature, for any length of time, no matter what, lay suffering this unknown punishment in his silent cell, and I the cause, or I consenting to it in the least degree....

Over the head and face of every prisoner who comes into this melancholy house, a black hood is drawn; and in this dark shroud, an emblem of the curtain dropped between him and the living world, he is led to the cell from which he never again comes forth, until his whole term of imprisonment has expired. He never hears of wife and children; home or friends; the life or death of any single creature. He sees the prison-officers, but with that exception he never looks upon a human countenance, or hears a human voice. He is a man buried alive; to be dug out in the slow round of years; and in the mean time dead to everything but torturing anxieties and horrible despair.

Dickens's report sparked a reform movement, and the Pennsylvania prison model was abandoned even while capital punishment remained. Today, it seems that Padilla has been subjected to something very like the early 19th century Pennsylvania treatment, if not worse. Padilla's lawyers are now arguing, unsurprisingly, that "he has been so damaged by his interrogations and prolonged isolation that he suffers post-traumatic stress disorder and is unable to assist in his own defense," according to The New York Times. It is impossible to imagine that those who held Padilla did not know and intend for something like this to happen, for the effects of extreme isolation to -- and have appalled -- humanity for more than 150 years.

Health care: We can build it better than it is Good column by making the point that, contrary to popular belief, America does have a sort of national health care system. It's just not organized in a way that makes any sense. If you tally up the amount spent on deductibility for employer-based care ($208 billion), Medicare ($378 billion), Medicaid ($180 billion), not to mention military health care, coverage for public employees, and various sundry other programs and subsidies, you have the federal government picking up 2/3rds of the total tab for health care in this country. It just does so in an inchoate, nonsensical fashion. Some politicians, including former governor John Kitzhaber, argue for simply totaling up the money we already spend, then funneling it all into some sort of new, coherent program that could do much more for much less. After that, we could talk about new funds. Always seemed sensible to me, but the political life expectancy of someone suggesting an end to employer deductibility can be measured in moments. That said, if anyone has an argument for why we wouldn't be better off using this cash to fund an intelligently-designed, smartly-targeted program rather than the mish-mash of disconnected aims and historical giveaways we're currently pursuing, I'd like to hear it.

Bar the Gates. The more I refresh my memory about defense secretary nominee and former CIA Director Robert M. Gates, the more convinced I am that no senator on the Armed Services Committee, before which Gates appears today, who votes to move this nomination to the Senate floor will honestly be able to say that he or she has supported a man worthy of the job. In their rush to fill the Pentagon's top spot with anybody but Rumsfeld, the committee appears poised to replace an arrogant, loud-mouthed crank with a craftier player of the same philosophical bent.

Like his prospective colleagues in the W adminstration, Gates has a reputation for bending intelligence to suit the political goals of his bosses, as he did during his stint as deputy to William Casey, who served as director of Central Intelligence in the Reagan administration. Lending support for the rationale that led to the unconstititutional arms-for-hostages deal known as , Gates advanced faulty intelligence that asserted Soviet influence in Iran, a straw man used to create a justification for providing the regime of Ayatollah Khomeini with HAWK missiles.

In their of the Iran-Contra affair, Malcolm Byrne and David Kornbluh of the National Security Archive remind us that, "at its heart, Iran-Contra was a battle over presidential power dating back directly to the Richard Nixon era of Watergate, Vietnam and CIA dirty tricks.

That clash continues under the presidency of George W. Bush, which has come under frequent fire for the controversial efforts of the president, as well as Vice President Richard Cheney, to expand Executive Branch authority over numerous areas of public life. Iran-Contra also echoes in the re-emergence of several prominent public figures who played a part in, or were touched by, the scandal. The most recent is Robert M. Gates..."

During the Iran-Iraq War, Gates was one of Saddam Hussein's best friends in the U.S. government, facilitating the provision of intelligence -- including satellite photos of Iran -- to the Iraqi dictator. Opposing the 1991 nomination of Gates to head the Central Intelligence Agency, Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin asserted in a that "[t]he secret intelligence-sharing operation with Iraq was not only a highly questionable and possibly illegal operation, but also may have jeopardized American lives and our national intersts." Harkin also contended that Saddam likely used that intelligence in the 1991 Gulf War. Nice goin', Bob.

A former incarnation radio yacker Dennis Prager was fairly sane. Now that he's on his own crusade to force every member of Congress to hold a Bible when they take their oath of office, I was glancing over some of his recent columns. Here's a . According to Prager, the threat of radical Islam (or, you get the sense from Prager, just plain old Islam) is greater than that of Nazism and Communism combined. So the threat that Nazi Germany would control the European continent and from that sturdy perch dominate the world was just a warm up for the threat of al Qaida and its deracinated Jihadis. Any respect for, or recognition of, what transpired in the ideological wars of the 20th century seems now to be collateral damage in the endlessly hyperbole that seems intrinsic to the mindset of War on Terror whackjobs.

MJ Rosenberg Prager and self-hating Jew. I wouldn't argue with that for a moment. But somehow that phrase just doesn't do Prager justice. Here's a Jew who says that no Jew should be able to serve in the US Congress unless he or she is willing to have a copy of the New Testament on hand when they take the oath of office. I'm not sure if one can appreciate this without having the context of Prager's general sanctimony and cloying ethnic self-abnegation. But it's hard for me not to imagine Prager as one of Jews in the Medieval Europe arguing that living in the Ghetto and maybe wearing these funny hats might actually be a good thing after all. I'll refrain from invoking the toxic parallels of more recent vintage. I can't help but wonder, deep down, what he's trying to prove to whom. Maybe he so hates and is so frightened of Muslims that he's willing to sell out his religion and Jewishness, to slap on yellow badge of second class status, in the hopes that the Christians will protect him. The guy gives Uncle Toms a bad name.

The Bush Lagacy "At least five marines are expected to be charged, possibly as early as Wednesday, with the killing of 24 Iraqis, many of them unarmed women and children, in the village of Haditha in November 2005, according to a Marine official and a lawyer involved in the case. "The charges are expected to range from negligent homicide to murder, said a senior Pentagon official familiar with the military’s nearly nine-month investigation into the episode. Several marines from the Third Platoon of Company K, Third Battalion, First Marine Regiment, are accused of killing the villagers after a roadside explosion killed one of their comrades." (NY Times)


December 6, 2006 - 8:31pm