Monthly Archives: September 2006

On the Radio: 8-10pm central Tonight


I’m going to be part of a great radio show tonight from 8-10pm central on WORT radio that Dave Leucinger has put together.

You can listen as it will be live streamed on the web…

WORT RADIO: New Orleans Show

There are going to be numerous guests including experts on the wetlands, levees and insurance. There will also be the development director of NOLA Habitat for Humanity. I will be there for the whole show as well as NOLA bloggerOyster

There will be Nola musician Jay Chevalier and also a surprise NOLA musician. Sorry I’m sworn to secrecy.

Also there will be a great interview with the Sheik, of the Arabi Wrecking Krewe…or as he is known… The Sheik of Arabi. The Krewe guts homes for local musicians so they can return home and continue the tradition of New Orlean’s music.

So tune in from 8-10pm central time.

WORT Radio: New Orleans Show—–


“Sometimes in human history, especially in a mass democracy that considers itself to be based on equality and justice, tax cuts for the rich, trickle-down economics, and laissez-faire doctrines simply will not suffice. That is, they will not suffice unless one does not consider oneself part of a society, a nation, a community, or if one is satisfied to seek retreat and protection behind the walls of one’s gated community guarded all about by a well-paid, highly trained, and powerfully armed private army.”

—Gary Hart, The Courage of Our Convictions: A Manifesto for Democrats

Mr. A and I used to watch this TV show calledIt Takes A Thief, in which ex-cons broke into people’s houses to show them their security weaknesses, and then they’d give the people they’d just robbed a free security system. We had to stop watching it because I couldn’t quit yelling at the TV.

Every time. Every single goddamned time they’d bust some middle-class couple in a well-kept suburb, the dumbasses would say, “But I thought we were safe,” or “I thought this was a good neighborhood” or “I didn’t think it could happen to me.” The undercurrent usually (but not always) being, “But I’mwhite” or “I’mrich” or some variation of the same theme that some (any) privilege protects you from harm.

It enraged me because my years as a reporter taught me nothing if not the randomness of bad fortune. The stories about the young couple that had just got married, and the next week a drunk driver pasted the wife all over the freeway, or the guy who went out for a coffee and wound up with fourteen bullet holes in him, or the school that caught on fire and killed a bunch of kids, or this one really shitty day when 3,000 people went to work and never came home because planes flew into their offices and the buildings collapsed on them … Not a single one of those people got up in the morning and thought, well, it’s just a matter of time before I die today. Every single one of those people thought, nothing bad could happen to me. And yet it happened.

Part of it’s just human nature, that if you really sit and think about all the ways somebody could burn your house down or rob or beat or rape or kill or blow you up, you’d never get out of bed. Internalize that, take that into your head the next time you read a story about the Promising High Schooler So Full of Hope whose idiot brother got high and plowed them both into a tree. If you’ve got teenage kids, you’ve got to read that story and think, “Could never happen tomy kid, I’ve done things to make sure it won’t.” You read that story and think of all the ways in whichyour kid is different from that kid. And maybe you’re right. Maybe it won’t be a car accident that gets your kids. Maybe it’ll be a school shooting. Or a lightning strike. Or cancer. Or suicide.

You see what I’m saying? I’m not making a joke, I’m saying it’s a survival mechanism, thinking we can do something that will protect us from everything. And I’m not nave. I live in the city, I’m a big girl, I lock my doors. I stick to well-lit streets at night. I’m not very careful about not going places with strangers, because Going Places With Strangers is going to be the title of my autobiography. It’s how I’ve had every unadulteratedly awesome experience of my life, and every time I ask some random dude for directions I’m astounded by the human capacity for kindness, but I’m not out there going, “La la la, who wants to drive me home!” on Rush Street at 4 a.m. I’m not suggesting anybody be an idiot.

But I am suggesting that self-interest, at best (and self-delusion at worst), is a shitty basis for security policy. What good ol’ Gary Hart, whose book is good if a little general for my taste, is talking about up there is how we determine safety, and from whence our sense of safety derives. Does mine derive from the fact that there’s a cop through my alley every 15 minutes, a big cop I’m pretty sure is armed very well? Or does it derive from the fact that I have a network of neighbors and friends who, if my house were to burn down or be robbed, would take me in and feed me?

Reverse that, look outward: Does my sense of nationalinsecurity derive from the fact that Osama bin Laden is out there threatening us and North Korea’s making nasty noises and Iran is led by a lunatic? Or does it derive from the fact that my president can’t find his ass with both hands, needs a posse to locate a coherent sentence and a searchlight to figure out where he left his pajamas?

I can’t separate the two. And I don’t think I should.

Because if our concept of safety, from our house to our nation, is based solely on how many locks we’ve got, is based solely on what we can keepout instead of what we can bring in, can we ever really have as many locks as we need? And will locks keep out everything there is to fear? I’d bring the FDR here, and also the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle here about the pastoral countryside and the horrors its beauty hides to illustrate the idea that bad shit can happen to you anywhere, but you get the idea, don’t you?

Right now we do, very much, think of security in terms of protecting ourselves against all others. As Gary Hart says, as “I’m gonna get mine, and the devil take the hindmost.” In allocating to ourselves responsibility only for holding off harm to the point of a specific radius around us and the people we’ve chosen to extend that circle to encompass. Anybody outside that space is … outside it, and fuck ’em, anyway, we take care of our own.

And the response, the alternative, is an echo of Barack Obama two years ago, the speech that lit everybody up, because he did what Gary Hart up there is telling us to do. He connected it, the idea that we are all of us safe, or none of us. That though I don’t have children, I am well-served by having good schools. That though I’ve not yet needed social programs or other government assistance, I am well-served by living in a community that values the same, because if I am not surrounded by want, I am safer than I would be, even with a hundred locks, a thousand guns.

Turn it around, look outward: that national security, true national security, doesn’t mean a world in which no one can hurt us. It means a world in which no one wants to.

It means a world in which no one can blame us for the death of their children. It means a world in which the calls of radical fundamentalists to hate us for our privilege fall on deaf ears, because our only privilege is the limitlessness of our generosity and our compassion. It means a world in which we truly are the country even the worst of us, deep down, know we can be: light to the world, hope to the hopeless, give me your tired, give me your poor. It means a world in which that ideal is so undeniably our goal that those who would turn their desperate against us find no audience, find no one to believe. America, America, God shed its grace on all.

And we achieve that world by reversing that, looking inward. Some of the most inane commentary after Sept. 11, and I mean the stuff that made me call my husband and say, “Turn down the volume on your phone because I’m going to scream for a while,” was about how America had to learn to live daily with fear. Much of America needed no such crash course. Much of America lives with fear daily. I would give the last five bucks in my pocket for any commentator who talks about a post-Sept. 11, fear-filled world, to stand outside my house and walk straight east, ten or so blocks, and tell me there are places in America that need some kind of crash course in coping with the randomness of fate.

We achieve the country that is the ideal, not the envy, of the world by devouring our own darkness, by truly making our nation secure. Secure, as in, can sleep at night, knowing our needs are met, knowing that even if we want, there is a place we can turn, there are voices that will be raised up for us, that we are not alone. A nation secure not in the notion of its own greatness, but in the actual fact. Barack:

If there is a child on the south side of Chicago who can’t read, that matters to me, even if it’s not my child. If there is a senior citizen somewhere who can’t pay for their prescription drugs, and having to choose between medicine and the rent, that makes my life poorer, even if it’s not my grandparent. If there’s an Arab American family being rounded up without benefit of an attorney or due process, that threatens my civil liberties.

For the past six years, it’s been one maneuver after another designed to make us safe. We’re not safe. We’re never safe, so long as we’re only focused on building the walls around ourselves, on building them high enough and buying enough guns. There’s only one wall so high no thief, no rapist, no terrorist, no murderer can climb, and that is our care for one another. There’s nothing stronger than that, and its the one weapon in our arsenal we have not thought to use.

We can’t protect ourselves. We can only protect each other. We are all of us safe, or none of us. There aren’t enough locks, enough gates, enough fences and farmland to put adequate barriers between us and the problems of this world. There’s no wall of money thick enough to protect me if someone else is poor.

We have to think together. We’ve got no other choice. That photo of Scout’s from New Orleans: “Our fate is your fate.” We can only protect each other. It’s all we truly have.


Foley Resigns

Holy Cow. FL Congressman Mark Foley has decided not to seek re-election and has submitted a letter of resignation…

WASHINGTON – Rep. Mark Foley (news, bio, voting record), R-Fla., submitted a letter of resignation from Congress on Friday in the wake of questions about e-mails he wrote a former male page, according to a congressional official.

Foley, 52, had been considered a shoo-in for re-election until the e-mails surfaced in recent days.

Campaign aides had previously acknowledged that the Republican congressman e-mailed the former Capitol page five times, but had said there was nothing inappropriate about the exchange. The page was 16 at the time of the e-mail correspondence.


Foley was running for re-election to a seventh term. He has represented his district, which includes West Palm Beach, since 1995. Florida Republicans could replace Foley on the ballot

UPDATE: According toTPM Foley’s name will stay on the ballot…

That creates a headache for the Florida Republicans. According to state law, they can pick a new candidate — but Foley’s name will stay on the ballot.

UPDATE: Ok Holy Shit.

ABC has the sexually explicit instant messages from the man who was the chairman of the House caucus on missing and exploited children…

They say he used the screen name Maf54 on these messages provided to ABC News.

Maf54: You in your boxers, too?

Teen: Nope, just got home. I had a college interview that went late.

Maf54: Well, strip down and get relaxed.

Another message:

Maf54: What ya wearing?

Teen: tshirt and shorts

Maf54: Love to slip them off of you.

And this one:

Maf54: Do I make you a little horny?

Teen: A little.

Maf54: Cool.

The language gets much more graphic, too graphic to be broadcast, and at one point the congressman appears to be describing Internet sex.

Federal authorities say such messages could result in Foley’s prosecution, under some of the same laws he helped to enact.

UPDATE: OK I’m out of Holy Whatevers

Again fromTPM

So Rep. Alexander knew about this 10 or 11 months ago. And he says he notified the House leadership. That means Hastert and (at the time) either Tom DeLay or Rep. Blunt (R-MO). We don’t know it was either of those three men yet. But that’s what Alexander means when he says he “notified the House leadership.” They’re the House leadership.

If I’m understanding this correctly, that means that the leaders of the House Republican caucus have known for almost a year that a member of their caucus was having cybersex with an underage congressional page. And apparently they did nothing about it.

I think this story is about to get a lot bigger.

Hastert Should Resign


The resignation rocked the Capitol, and especially Foley’s GOP colleagues, as lawmakers were rushing to adjourn for at least six weeks. House Majority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of some “contact” between Foley and a 16-year-old page.Boehner said he told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.), and that Hastert assured him “we’re taking care of it.”

It was not immediately clear what actions Hastert took. His spokesman had said earlier that the speaker did not know of the sexually charged e-mails between Foley and the boy.

As a former social worker I had worked with victims of sexual abuse, the effects of which were often far reaching, long lasting and devastating. I was also required by law to report suspected incidents of physical or sexual abuse as are many other professionals who work with children in order to safeguard them from any further abuse.

It is appalling and reprehensible that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America knew what was occuring and did not take immediate action against Foley to safeguard the pages under the House’s care. No one and I mean no one should protect an adult who has made sexual advances toward a minor. My God with everything that we know now regarding sexual abuse this should never have occured. This is not something to be swept under the rug! Those days are long gone. But to see that very behavior by the leadership of a House of Congress is an afront to all that we value. It is hypocricy of the highest order that the leadership of the party of “family values” has conducted themselves in this way. Anyone, and it appears to have been far too many, who had knowledge of this and did not act should face consequences.

Dealing with sexual abuse is ugly but we do it because it is the Right thing to do and because We Are The Adults. As adults it is our moral responsibility to protect our children. The House leadership grossly failed in that responsibility. And for what? To avoid scandal? To hold a seat in Congress? The health and well being of even one child should not have been jeopardized for politics.

This is what we get from leaders of the party of family values? This is the Adults in charge again? This is leadership? Their actions lay bare the hollowness of their character, conviction and fitness to lead.

Hastert should resign.

UPDATE:You can make what you want of this but I’m not buying it. Boehner has recanted. He went from specifically remembering Hastert saying “we’re taking care of it” to he can’t remember if he ever talked to Hastert about it. Here is the how the end of the paragraph from the Washington Post (that appears at the top of this post) looks today. The last sentence has changed…

House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told The Washington Post last night that he had learned this spring of inappropriate “contact” between Foley and a 16-year-old page. Boehner said he then told House Speaker J. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.). Boehner later contacted The Post and said he could not remember whether he talked to Hastert.

I’m curious of your opinions. Do you believe Boner?

Take A Breath, Take A Drink, And Then Get Off Your Ass

Wise words:

We admire Harry Reid’s leadership but, in this monumental moment, his instincts and judgment failed him. And his place in history will be marked by this terrible day.

That said, let us not forget who authored this travesty; who stands for torture, for a dictatorial Presidency and against the Constitution and the rule of law–the Rubber Stamp Republican Congress.

Harry fucked up. Remember those letters we wrote Harry two years ago? Maybe it’s time to write him again: Harry, see what you get when you trust Republicans? You get screwed. And somebody in your office needs to learn to do a whip count in advance of your mouth writing checks other people’s votes are gonna have to cash. Maybe he thought he had the votes for the Specter amendment. Doesn’t matter now. Bend over in front of a Republican, this is what happens. Senator Catkiller isn’t interested in making your day.

So look. We have an election in six weeks. SIX WEEKS. I know my saying in the face of every crushing defeat that we just have to keep plugging gets tiresome and frankly starts to look insane. But … I’m tiresome and crazy, then, because I look at what happened today as the result of six years of unfettered Republican rule and if we want to repeal this mess of a bill that denies legal protections thatwill not threaten in any way the prosecution of actual terorrists, then we can’t let Republican rule stand.

Democrats should have filibustered this bill. I said so last night and I say so now, writing this as they’re about to vote. But Republicans never should have written it. A Republican president never should have pushed for it. Republican operatives never should have threatened to hold it over the heads of those Democrats running in tight races (much as those same Dems shouldn’t have fallen for the same line of bullshit again). It never should have come up. Under a Democratic leadership, it wouldn’t have. Which means we have work yet to do.

Six weeks till the electons. Six weeks until better, stronger, more ready-to-fight Democrats can be elected and bring voices to the House and Senate that are unafraid. Six weeks until we have the chance to actually have a Democratic majority to listen to us when we say, stand up for us, don’t let us down. Six weeks.

Give to your Democratic candidates in tight races. Give to your Democratic candidates in hopeless races, if they stand up for what you believe. Make note of those Democrats who displease you and vote and volunteer for their primary opponents. What happened today was shameful. Elect people who understand that.

Take a moment, feel the weight of it. It’s a terrible day. You should feel like hell. I feel like hell. I know, even if we repeal this thing in six months or two years, there’s prisoners between now and then who we can’t un-torture. There are “detainees” waiting for justice to whom one more day in America’s secret prisons is a lifetime.

But this country, once upon a time, voted to deny women the right to vote. We approved of slavery, we declared segregation legal, we marched Native Americans hundreds of miles just because we wanted to and we could. This is not the first time we have made a tragic mistake.

It would be an even more tragic mistake to allow this to stand because of our own disgust and inaction. Six weeks till we have the chance to start undoing all the damage that’s been done. Six weeks.

Get back up.


I’ll be on the Radio Saturday night

I’m going to be part of a great radio show tomorrow night 8-10pm central on WORT radio that Dave Leucinger aka Roadmaster has put together. It will be a 2 hour comprehensive look at New Orleans. I think this is going to be a great show.

You can listen as it will be live streamed on the web…

WORT RADIO: New Orleans Show

There are going to be numerous guests including experts on the wetlands, levees and insurance. There will also be the development director of NOLA Habitat for Humanity. I will be there for the whole show as well as NOLA bloggerOyster and blog reader and NOLA resident lb0313.

There will be Nola musician Jay Chevalier and a surprise NOLA musician. Sorry I’m sworn to secrecy.

And definitely tune in to hear the interview with Sheik, of the Arabi Wrecking Krewe…or as he is known… The Sheik of Arabi. They did the interview tonight and it was incredible…truly a must listen.

So tune in tomorrow from 8-10pm central time.

WORT Radio: New Orleans Show—–

Pop-Up Coin

I always forget to include the Redhead Papers in my daily reading, and whenever I do catch up with all the posts I’ve missed, I’m remindedof how dumb that is:

The announcer was all, “This beautiful gold coin transforms into a miraculous standing sculpture of the Twin Towers, as if they’re rising from the ashes.” Good holy mother on a macramed hammock. Do they think that the people who died on September 11th want to be commemorated by a fucking POP-UP COIN? I seriously doubt it. Also? This coin is made out of metal recovered from the ashes. METAL RECOVERED FROM BENEATH DEAD BODIES AND DEBRIS. What stupid fucking moron is going to buy this thing? I want a list of ALL the people who buy this shit because I am going to hunt them down and beat them in the face with a maggot-infested grapefruit until they die.

I love Erin.


We Get Back Up

It’s tempting, very tempting, to talk aboutwhat’s going on in the Senate in terms of tactics or the upcoming elections or as a symbol of what Democrats and Republicans really are all about, and it’s not exactly hard. Let’s face it, it’s been until today a pretty stark demonstration of what the past six years have wrought: the Republicans wage war on the Constitution and win, Democrats show up in time to shoot the wounded, and everybody goes home feeling sticky and vaguely pissed off.

But this is one of those moments, is the thing. It’s one of those times when it’s got to be about everything else. I live and breathe tactics and strategy, you know that, and most of this stuff that we talk about here is exactly all that.

This isn’t.

This is about what kind of country we are.

And we are better than this.

We are better than murderers. We are better than torturers. We are better than those who would tell us the only way to beat the terrorists is to inflict far greater terror. We are better than those who would tell us the only way for us to live now is to live in fear. We are better than those who say, “Build yourself a tower, build yourself a wall, dig yourself a moat.” We are better than this. I believe that with every shred of my soul or I wouldn’t be up tonight, trying to think of a way to put this to make people understand something I only half understand myself.

We, as a country, are better than this. And if the weakness and fear of a cowed Republican Congress allows them to lose faith in the conviction of America to preserve its ideals while overcoming any foe, that is the fault of the cowed Republican Congress, because I saw Democrats all over the place standing up this week. Russ Feingold, Tim Ryan, Louise Slaughter, Dick Durbin who got beat on so bad over this once before, even Barack got off his snobby ass and joined the fight. Kerry. Dean. They all got up and said no, this is wrong.

Tomorrow my senators, at least, are getting e-mails and phone calls asking them to filibuster, because we don’t need to torture, in America. It doesn’t work, it doesn’t help, it makes us evil and it makes us small. It reduces a great nation to the level of some tin-hat dictatorship and we, cats and kittens, are better than this.

And that conviction, that this is not the policy of a great nation but the demented expression of the fear of a nation’s corrupt leadership, that this is not the course America will chart for years to come, that this is not what my fellow Americans want, will not waver should the unprincipled, undisciplined, unscrupulous Republican Congress pass this moral abortion of a bill tomorrow.

I’m not going to join the crowd of about seven people saying they’ll just quit politics, quit the Democrats, quit the world, whatever, man, if this goes down the way I think it’s going to go down. And I don’t think any of you will either.

We are better than this.

And I know that because I know all of you. I know my family, my friends. I know my neighbors and the writers for my local papers and I know my senators and congressmen. I know people who get up every day and fight like hell against incredible odds to do what is right, be that making somebody a lunch to take to school or writing legislation. I know Americans, and we are better than this.

We are better than this. Look at the past three years. Look what we’ve done, bloggers and activists and writers and singers and rank and file Democrats who are making a 50-state strategy practical and real, so that Republican districts are fighting grounds where they should be quiet pastures of acquiescence and fear. We’ve made it a fight, don’t you know what that means? It’s impossible to explain to somebody who hasn’t seen it, I think, the incredible sight that turning back the inevitable is.

It’s a little like this: When the universe says fuck you, you feel the weight of it. A death sentence, a terminal diagnosis, everybody with good intentions telling you to shut up, sit down, go home. Good people, maybe even people you thought were friends of yours, telling you to give up, that it’s over. if you’ve faced down somehting like that, you know what I’m talking about. That’s not an uphill battle. That’s an uphill battle on ice in the rain with ten tons of cats in sacks on your back.

A lot of people sat down after 9/11, said that’s it, this country’s Republican and scared until the day we die. A lot of people sat down after the 2002 elections, said there’s no way to beat them, we’d better just let them walk all over us and pretend their spikes feel like flower petals. A lot of people sat down after 2004 and said seriously, guys, this time it’s really, really, really over. A lot of people sat down a lot of times since then.

We’re still standing up.

Do you see what I’m saying? I’m not talking about a moral victory. A moral victory and a sack gets you a sack. I’m talking a little bit about whatKos is saying here, though really I’m talking about what it is inside of you that you repeat over and over and over that lets you get up every time they knock you down. You have to have some kind of something to get up after beatings like we’ve been taking, and yet we get up. WE GET UP.

We are better than this. We are better than the torturers and murderers in charge of our country. We are better than the condescending, xenophobic, homophobic, confederacy-fetishizing, lying sons of bitches who sleazed into office by dint of having R’s after their names at a time when that was the hip new craze, and we are better than the shallow talking heads who enable them, and we are better than the fearful, hateful, desperate throng that believes them. Which excludes about two-thirds of the country right now, in case you’re tempted to blame “sheeple” or “Americans” or everybody for the fault of a batch of creeps with microphones. We are, as a country, better than this. Even the polls say so.

Dick Durbin, who not too long ago got the full-on GOP assraping for daring to remark that our prisons’ torture summer camp kind of sucks, stood back up. John Kerry, who got called a liar and worse, whose wife got run through the wringer and whose past came rushing back in technicolor because Nixon’s bagman had nothing else to do that week and missed the warmth of the TV lights, John Kerry got back up. Louise Slaughter, who gets called things by the Freepers that even I won’t type, got back up.

A dear friend of mine once said to me, during a very bad time, “They kept pounding on you and you kept getting back up.” He was trying to make a boxing analogy, and his tone was somewhere between encouraging and “Jesus, you’re a fucking idiot,” but here’s my point. We are better than this, and here’s why:

Tomorrow, starting with the first phone call to the first senator on the list of every single one of them, WE GET BACK UP.

We call them all, even the Republicans. Even the John Cornyns and George Allens and Rick Santorums of the world. Even those creeps who’ll be out of office real soon. We call them and we tell them, yes, in fact, we are constituents. We’re AMERICANS.

And we’re better than this.

Not. One. Inch.


The Courage of the People

We are now a nation that officially tortures. Start getting your heads wrapped around that. I still can not.

In the end there was no courageous act in Congress today. I honestly do not know how the members of Congress will live with what they have done. I do not know how we will live with it or with them.

I am holding to the words of Athenae’s post last night…We Get Back Up. If you haven’t read it I encourage you to do so.

What I have to offer is a video inspired by her words to remind us what it means to Get Back UP and continue to fight for what is right and just. And we will get back up. Courage all and I hope it helps.

Feel free to leave a comment on anyone you would have included or any thoughts you have tonight.

And as Athenae said: Not. One. Inch.

We Are Americans

Music: The Kinks and a just a smidge of KRS ONE at the start

3:20 minutes

GOP: To Coddle or torture tradeable goods…previously known as people

It’s the Cut-N-Run and Coddle-R-Torture campaign. Heckuva a referendum to put before the people. Bushattacked the Dems yesterday claiming they were the “party of cut and run.” The other day SpeakerHasterthad this to say after the House passed the torture bill…

“Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and 159 of her Democrat colleagues voted today in favor of more rights for terrorists,” Hastert said in a statement. “So the same terrorists who plan to harm innocent Americans and their freedom worldwide would be coddled, if we followed the Democrat plan.

Of course the recent NIE now undercuts anything Bush says on Iraq. As for the coddling of Hastert’s terrorists it appears many may be, as feared, innocent people abducted and sold in the profitable shall we say terrorist-trade. From theAP today:

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Amnesty International accused Pakistan on Friday of abducting hundreds of people, alleging they have terrorist ties and holding them in secret locations or handing them to U.S. authorities for money.

Pakistan’s practice of offering rewards running to thousands of dollars for unidentified terror suspects has led to illegal detentions of innocent people, said Claudio Cordone, senior director of research at Amnesty International.

“Bounty hunters — including police officers and local people — have captured individuals of different nationalities, often apparently at random, and sold them into U.S. custody,” he said.


The Amnesty allegations come days after the country’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, revealed in his memoir, “In The Line of Fire,” that Pakistan captured 689 al-Qaida terror suspects, and turned over 369 to Washington.

“We have earned bounties totaling millions of dollars,” Musharraf said, without specifying how much was paid.

Cordone said many detainees ended up in secret locations or at the U.S. prisons, including Guantanamo Bay and Bagram, north of Kabul.

“Hundreds of people have been picked up in mass arrests, many have been sold to the U.S.A as ‘terrorists’ simply on the word of their captor, and hundreds have been transferred to Guantanamo Bay, Bagram Air base or secret detention centers run by the USA.” he said. “The road to Guantanamo very literally starts in Pakistan,” Cordone said. (emphasis mine)

This whole mess reeks of a bygone era. We are paying for people that have been abducted in another land, holding them indefinitely and doing only Bush knows what to them. The term that comes to my mind for it all is Security Slavery without the security unfortunately and regretably another future of shame to overcome.

Friday Ferretblogging: Endangered Ferret Edition

Mr. A is on the road with the FerretCam, so today you get thisNPR story about endangered black-footed ferrets.

“We had this thing called Robo-Badger. It was this mechanized badger that we would drive around the pens to try and scare the ferrets,” says Marinari. “And, you know, when the ferrets started riding on the back of the badger, we kind of thought, ‘Well, let’s move to something else…'”

Adopt an endangered, badger-riding black-footed ferret!



Elect Democrats who get it:

I will never forget the day that two bombs exploded at U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in August of 1998.

The blasts killed more Africans than they did Americans, but the message was clearly from Usama Bin Laden and directed towards the United States and “United States sympathizers.”

By 1998, I had become the leader of our small Crisis Action Team at COMUSNAVCENT (forward deployment of CENTCOM), based in Bahrain. Following the bombings, our office churned with activity for the next few days while local analysts worked with counterterrorism experts in Washington D.C. to figure out, “who done it?”

On August 16, a lazy Sunday afternoon, one of the watch floor analysts showed up at my apartment for a short conversation. “We’re sharpening our missiles and the N2 has a project for you,” she said.

I knew that we had received orders from Washington and it didn’t take me long to make my way to the military base.

Clinton Attacked Bin Laden – Republicans cried, “Wag the dog.”



Hot Ally-On-Ally Action!

Some democracies don’t coddleterror-supporting dictators.

President Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan came to London today and found himself facing accusations that his country’s intelligence service had indirect ties to Al Qaeda.


A report of a leaked document, saying that Pakistan’s intelligence service indirectly supported the Taliban, played into the argument over the growing insurgency in Afghanistan, where both Britain and the United States have sent forces. The BBC said the document originated in the Defense Academy, a British research agency sponsored by the Ministry of Defense.


The document, details of which were broadcast on Wednesday night on BBC television, was quoted as saying that indirectly, Pakistan, through the security agency, “has been supporting terrorism and extremism, whether in London on 7/7 or in Afghanistan or Iraq.”

It said Pakistan’s security services played a “dual role,” combating terrorism while at the same time promoting an Islamic coalition called Mutahida Majlis-e-Amal “and so indirectly supporting the Taliban.”

“Pakistan is not currently stable but on the edge of chaos,” the document said, urging the dismantling of the security service. Echoing a recent American intelligence assessment, declassified this week, it also said the war in Iraq “has served to radicalize an already disillusioned youth, and Al Qaeda has given them the will, intent, purpose and ideology to act.”

Screw The Elephant

Here’s the new symbol of the Republikkkan Party.

Filibuster or Shut Down The Senate!

Come on, Dems! Kill this Bill!

Not Too Swift

Morelaw-breaking in the name of the War on Terra.

The Belgian-based consortium known as Swift, which handles money transfers among banks, violated European privacy regulations when it turned over confidential transaction information to the Central Intelligence Agency and other American agencies, Belgium’s privacy protection commission concluded today.

Meanwhile, In Iraq

Out of control.

The radical Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr has lost control of portions of his Mahdi Army militia that are splintering off into freelance death squads and criminal gangs, a senior coalition intelligence official said Wednesday.

Get out of town.

A quarter of a million Iraqis have fled their homes and registered as refugees in the past seven months, data released on Thursday showed, amid an upsurge in violence that has accompanied the Ramadan holy month.

Cut and Run.

A dramatic home video obtained by ABC News shows U.S. troops apparently abandoned a truck convoy after it came under insurgent attack in Iraq last year.

Three unarmed Halliburton truck drivers were executed at point-blank range once the troops left, according to a surviving driver, Preston Wheeler, of Mena, Ark., who taped the scene. “They was murdered. To me, they was murdered,” Wheeler told ABC News in an exclusive interview broadcast Wednesday on World News and Nightline.

The tape shows an armored personnel carrier leading the trucks that Wheeler says was from the Virginia National Guard. Once insurgents opened fire and disabled four trucks, the personnel carrier can be seen racing ahead.

“They left. They, I don’t know where they went, they’re nowhere to be seen,” Wheeler said. Wheeler says it was 45 minutes before a U.S. military force returned.

By then, Wheeler says, he had seen two drivers shot at point-blank range. He identified them as Keven Dagit, of Jefferson, Iowa, and Sascha Greener-Case, of Sierra Vista, Ariz.

Video here.

Police Academy 8: Baghdad Bugaloo

The Bush Assministration is burning through $2 billion of your tax dollars every week we stay in Iraq. No one can claim that money is beingspent wisely.

A $75 million project to build the largest police academy in Iraq has been so grossly mismanaged that the campus now poses health risks to recruits and might need to be partially demolished, U.S. investigators have found.

The Baghdad Police College, hailed as crucial to U.S. efforts to prepare Iraqis to take control of the country’s security, was so poorly constructed that feces and urine rained from the ceilings in student barracks. Floors heaved inches off the ground and cracked apart. Water dripped so profusely in one room that it was dubbed “the rain forest.”

“This is the most essential civil security project in the country — and it’s a failure,” said Stuart W. Bowen Jr., the special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction, an independent office created by Congress. “The Baghdad police academy is a disaster.”


Even in a $21 billion reconstruction effort that has been marred by cases of corruption and fraud, failures in training and housing Iraq’s security forces are particularly significant because of their effect on what the U.S. military has called its primary mission here: to prepare Iraqi police and soldiers so that Americans can depart.

Federal investigators said the inspector general’s findings raise serious questions about whether the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has failed to exercise effective oversight over the Baghdad Police College or reconstruction programs across Iraq, despite charging taxpayers management fees of at least 4.5 percent of total project costs. The Corps of Engineers said Wednesday that it has initiated a wide-ranging investigation of the police academy project.

The report serves as the latest indictment of Parsons Corp., the U.S. construction giant that was awarded about $1 billion for a variety of reconstruction projects across Iraq. After chronicling previous Parsons failures to properly build health clinics, prisons and hospitals, Bowen said he now plans to conduct an audit of every Parsons project.


Just Shameful

TheHouse approved an administration-backed system of questioning and prosecuting terrorism suspects today, setting clearer limits on CIA interrogation techniques but denying access to courts for detainees seeking to challenge their imprisonment at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.

The 253-168 vote was a victory for President Bush, who yielded some ground during weeks of negotiations but fully embraced the language that House members approved with support from 34 Democrats and all but seven Republicans. Senators also began debating the measure today and defeated the first of five amendments opposed by the administration. Senators predicted their chamber will approve the legislation Thursday.


Juggernaut Update Part I: Show Me The Money

Um, Kathy? Whatever happeneed toodaddy’s $10 million?

In March, U.S. Rep. Katherine Harris went on national TV and pledged to spend $10 million of her own money to beat Democrat Bill Nelson in the race for the U.S. Senate.

But with five weeks remaining until the election and the Longboat Key congresswoman way behind in the polls, her campaign now refuses to discuss whether she has spent that much or her fundraising strategy in what many political observers believe is a lost cause.

On Aug. 16, at the end of the last campaign finance reporting period, Harris reported contributing $3.2 million of her own money to the total $8.2 million collected by her campaign, and had $2.2 million on hand. At the end of the same period, Nelson, who didn’t have a primary opponent, reported having $12 million on hand.

The next reporting period ends Saturday, and indications are that she hasn’t put in any more of her own fortune. Federal election laws require candidates to notify their opponents before contributing significant amounts to their own campaigns, and Nelson spokesman Bryan Gulley said there has been no such notification from the Harris campaign.

When questioned by national radio talk show host Sean Hannity about her finances on Friday’s show, Harris said, “I’ve put in all my liquid assets, I have some real estate on the market.”

She didn’t elaborate, and campaign spokeswoman Jennifer Marks this week wouldn’t say how much of her own cash Harris plans to contribute, nor would Marks answer questions about what property the congresswoman plans to sell.


In March, Harris said she planned to spend money she inherited after her father’s death in January on the campaign. Later, she said she would sell off all her assets to pay for it. Lately, though, she has refused to discuss specifics, saying she doesn’t want to tip her hand on campaign strategy.

In July she reported taking back $100,000 from the money she had put toward the campaign, to finish renovating her Washington home so she could sell it for the campaign. Her spokeswoman wouldn’t comment on whether that house will be sold.