Friday, December 07, 2007

Getting to be lunchtime in Washington, DC,

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Maybe we'll start to see some feeding action....

For reference, blacktipped reef sharks, Moorea, July 7, 2007, Nikon D70s with twin Ikelite DS-125 strobes, 18-70mm F/3.5-4.5 Nikkor lens @ 55mm, 1/250th @ F/8 [click picture for larger image]


Yes, looks like some are beginning to circle....

Thursday, December 06, 2007

"You have the right to an attorney..."

"... if we cannot afford to allow you one that might actually work in your interests, we will appoint one for you."

That's the new Miranda Warning, courtesy of the maladministration:

From a S.F. Chronicle article on the Boumediene oral arguments:

In response to questions from the bench, Clement said each detainee is afforded "a personal representative" to assist him.

How is the representative chosen? Justice John Paul Stevens asked. By the military, Clement responded.

And is this representative required to relay to his superiors any useful intelligence gleaned from the detainee? Justice David Souter asked. When Clement answered in the affirmative, Souter observed that the representative "is not in a position of counsel, as we understand the term.

Dubya maintains that, for (alleged or "designated") "enemy combatants", the maladministration and/or the military under Dubya's command will be policeman, magistrate, district attorney, defence attorney, judge, jury, jailor, and executioner. The only role they won't play is the "poor sucker that's caught". What a deal, eh? Who could complain about that?

The Boumediene petitioners? Who are they?
Well, let’s take the case of the Boumediene petitioners themselves. They were not captured fighting U.S. forces in Afghanistan or, like Hamdi, surrendering a weapon there. Instead, they are Algerians who immigrated to Bosnia and Herzegovina during the 1990’s. Five of them are Bosnian citizens. On 9/11/01, each was living with his family in Bosnia. None is alleged to have waged war or committed belligerent acts against the United States or its allies. According to the Boumediene brief, they were arrested by Bosnian police in October 2001, purportedly on suspicion of plotting to attack the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo. But the Bosnian authorities had no evidence for this charge; instead, they acted under pressure from U.S. officials, who threatened to cease diplomatic relations with Bosnia if the petitioners were not arrested. On January 17, 2002, the Supreme Court of the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina, acting with the concurrence of the Bosnian prosecutor, ordered the petitioners released because a three-month international investigation (with collaboration from the U.S. Embassy and Interpol) had failed to support the charges on which the petitioners had been arrested. On the same day, the Human Rights Chamber for Bosnia and Herzegovina, established under the U.S.-brokered Dayton Peace Agreement and staffed by judges from several European countries, issued an order forbidding the prisoners’ removal from Bosnia. Later that day, however, as the Boumediene petitioners were being released from a prison in Sarajevo, Bosnian police acting at the behest of U.S. officials (and in defiance of the Human Rights Chamber’s order), re-seized them and delivered them to U.S. military personnel, who transported them to Guantanamo, where they have been held for the past six years, without contact with their families.
(h/t to Prof. Marty Lederman at Balkinization for the bio)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Dan Bartlett inadvertently comes clean

In the midst of a pile'o'crap that he tries laying down in an interview, former Dubya White House counsellor Dan Bartlett let this tidbit slip about the RW bloggers that have been given a reach-around by Dubya:

[TM]: Yeah, or what if [conservative blogger] Hugh Hewitt called?

[D.B.]: That’s when you start going, “Hmm . . .” Because they do reach people who are influential.

[TM]: Well, they reach the president’s base.

[D.B.]: That’s what I mean by influential. I mean, talk about a direct IV into the vein of your support. It’s a very efficient way to communicate. They [RW bloggers] regurgitate exactly and put up on their blogs what you said to them. It is something that we’ve cultivated and have really tried to put quite a bit of focus on.
We already knew this. But nice to have an admission against interest....

(h/t to ThinkProgress, TalkingPointsMemo, and Kevin Drum)

Norman Podhoretz gets his panties in a bunch

Norman Podhoretz is incensed about the weirdest things. Writes the Pod Man in Commentary:
I must confess to suspecting that the intelligence community, having been excoriated for supporting the then universal belief that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, is now bending over backward to counter what has up to now been a similarly universal view (including as is evident from the 2005 NIE, within the intelligence community itself) that Iran is hell-bent on developing nuclear weapons....
Well, if we ignore the fact that if you actually read that Saddam NIE (unlike Dubya and Condi, it seems), it had a bit more in the way of caveats in it ... and ignore the fact that this erroneous "conclusion" had kind of been forced down ("stovepiped", I think they called it) on the intelligence community by Cheney's "B-Teamers"....
But I entertain an even darker suspicion. It is that the intelligence community, which has for some years now been leaking material calculated to undermine George W. Bush, is doing it again....
"... to let people know that Dubya's a war-mongering liar, eedjit, or even both."

And the problem with this is? Sounds like sound job performance (not to mention a public service) to me....

(h/t to TPM Cafe and others)

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

How do you know when Dubya's lying?

His lips are moving.

Yeah, I know it's old, but it needs saying. Again and again. Until everyone gets the message.

Because he does it again:
"The larger point is, and the fundamental question is, did Saddam Hussein have a weapons program? And the answer is, absolutely. And we gave him a chance to allow the inspectors in, and he wouldn't let them in. And, therefore, after a reasonable request, we decided to remove him from power,..."
(July 14th, 2003)

And again:
"I would like this to end as quickly as possible so we know the facts. And if someone committed a crime, they will no longer work in my administration," Bush said.
And again (h/t to ThinkProgress).

That's just the five-minute Google survey.

He just can't stop himself.

We'd be harder pressed to find an occasion where he actually once told the truth.

His buddy (and "brain"), Karl Rove, has taught him well.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Ethical problems with stem cell research

According to recent reports, a "breakthrough" has been made so that skin cells can be turned into stem cells. This has caused excitement in those folks that are (nominally) opposed to stem cell research because of the derivation of embryonic stem cells (you know, eminent scientists and ethicists such as the deeply thoughtful and studious George "Dubya" Bush).

There are still a few drawbacks to this line of research, such as "the stem cells produced are likely to cause cancer", but outside of that niggling detail, the far-thinking ethicists who are trying to protect the "dignity of human life" are pointing to this as an alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells (and thus even more reason to ban the embryonic stem cell research).

But this "breakthrough" hardly stops the ethical inquiry; I think the ethical issues become even more intractable. We at the Society for Prevention of Abuse of Zygotes, Blastcysts, and Other Teensie Skin-cells (SPAZBOTS) recognize that this development shows that skin cells are also potential human life (the article linked above even mentions that clones can be made of skin cells). With this recent advance, we call for an immediate ban on washing dishes by hand (which constitutes the wanton murder of millions of incipient new human babies), and we have instituted a boycott of bathing, brushing teeth, and other bodily hygiene so as to keep our own hands clean of this holocaust, so to speak.

Along with our sister organization, the Organization Protecting Teratomas, Myelomas, Adenomas, and Neuroblastomas (OPTMAN), who are active in advocating for these other under-appreciated but also fully human forms of life (if you look at their genome, that is), we think it's important for us all to remember what it is to be truly human. Teratomas have been know to show
"hair, teeth, fat, skin, muscle, and endocrine tissue" (see images here). These forms of "human life" are just as deserving of a chance to live as some 16-cell blastocyst, and their extirpation for the "convenience" of the person supporting these "preborn human lives" is murder as well. Not to mention, the longer these "human life" forms have been developing, and the larger they get, the more protection they obviously deserve. Once angiogenesis occurs and they have blood circulation, it's unthinkable to kill them.

On another note; we decry the inaccuracies of the article linked above. From the article:

In addition to opposition from the Roman Catholic Church and the anti-abortion movement, women's rights advocates have raised concerns that the technology poses a danger to the young female donors whose eggs are needed for research and would be needed in vast quantities for therapies.

"I don't think they realize what an invasive procedure egg harvesting is for women," said Diane Beeson, professor of sociology at California State University East Bay. The potential for exploitation of low-income women also troubles her. "Women's eggs are very valuable now," she said.

As is well known, no one is being paid for embryos or eggs (for stem cell research, at least); there's plenty of fertilized eggs left over from IVF programs that would otherwise just be thrown away; enough to supply all embryonic stem cell research needs. The real travesty is the daily taking of showers. Let's focus on the real holocaust that is occuring; no need make up false stories to slant the ethical argument.


Our glorious "Independence Day" Preznit, taking time off from piloting space fighters and defeating the invading alien Terra-sts to get his hands wet in the lab, wasted no time in taking credit for this new research.

Update 2:

ThinkProgress points out that Dubya's 'new bosom buddy' thinks Dubya's a turd and an eedjit.