Back to Basics: Why Does High School Fail So Many? 29th JANUARY 2006
Shockingly high dropout rates portend a bleak future for youths and for society. For many, the traditional U.S. education system is a dead end. On a September day 4 1/2 years ago, nearly 1,100 ninth-graders arrived at Birmingham High in Van Nuys. On a radiant evening last June, 521 billowing figures in royal blue robes and yellow-tasseled mortarboards walked proudly across Birmingham's football field, practically floating on a carpet of whoops and shouts and blaring air horns, to accept their diplomas. It doesn't take a valedictorian to do the math: Somewhere, Birmingham High lost more than half of the students who should have graduated. What happened to the Class of 2005? It is a crucial question, not just for Birmingham but for all American schools.
Bloggers [and Sentient Beings] Beware: Pentagon Declares Undeclared War 29th JANUARY 2006
Pentagon plans for electronic warfare take on an extraordinary tone. It seems to see the internet as being equivalent to an enemy weapons system. "Strategy should be based on the premise that the Department of Defense will 'fight the net' as it would an enemy weapons system." The slogan "fight the net" appears throughout the roadmap. The document recommends that the United States seek the ability to "provide maximum control of the entire electromagnetic spectrum". US forces should be able to "disrupt or destroy the full spectrum of globally emerging communications systems, sensors, and weapons systems dependent on the electromagnetic spectrum." Consider that for a moment. The military seeks the capability to knock out every telephone, every networked computer, every radar system on the planet.
StopLossaPalooza: US Army Forces 50,000 Soldiers into Slavery 29th JANUARY 2006
The U.S. Army has forced about 50,000 soldiers to continue serving after their voluntary stints ended under a policy called "stop-loss," but while some dispute its fairness, court challenges have fallen flat. The Army said stop-loss is vital to maintain units that are cohesive and ready to fight. But some experts said it shows how badly the Army is stretched and could further complicate efforts to attract new recruits. With yearlong tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, some soldiers can be forced to stay in the Army an extra 18 months.
Catastrophe Looms [Because We're Idiots] 28th JANUARY 2006
Two polls indicate why Bush is getting away with impeachable offenses. Half of the US population is incapable of acquiring, processing and understanding information. Much of the problem is the media itself, which serves as a disinformation agency for the Bush administration. Fox "News" and right-wing talk radio are the worst, but with propagandistic outlets setting the standard for truth and patriotism, all media is affected. Despite media’s failure, about half the population has managed to discern that the US invasion of Iraq has not made them safer and that the Bush administration’s assault on civil liberties is not a necessary component of the war on terror. The problem, thus, lies with the absence of due diligence on the part of the other half of the population. What does it say for democracy that half of the American population is unable to draw a rational conclusion from unambiguous facts?
CSI: K Street [We Know Who Done It] 28th JANUARY 2006
Why is the White House so desperate to downplay any contact between the resident and Jack Abramoff -- even though photos of Bush making nice with Abramoff are bound to surface sooner or later? And why is the White House refusing requests to release information about Abramoff's White House meetings -- described as "a legitimate inquiry about what an admitted felon might have been seeking at the highest levels of government"? I mean, sure, the former uber-lobbyist has become the poster boy for the GOP's culture of corruption -- famously guilty of mail fraud, tax evasion, bribery, federal conspiracy, and taking in $80 million from Indian tribes he subsequently disparaged as "morons" and "troglodytes." But it's not like he's been implicated in murder, right? Oh, wait a minute...he has!
Hold the Good News You’re Not Hearing Between Your Knees 27th JANUARY 2006
American media ignore the joyful, voluminous, ever-increasing good news that has become Iraq’s chief export now that its oil pipelines have been sabotaged beyond functionality. If only the media were reporting the positive developments, the public would stop questioning whether the effort is worth the deaths of two or three brave Americans a day. The story isn’t that media ignore the good news out of hatred for Bush. It’s that the media are doing the resident a huge favor. If the good news were regularly circulated, if the American people were daily presented with the idea that this is what success looks like and that teacher training programs are the payoff for a grim toll of blood and treasure, they’d be abandoning the war effort even faster than they are now.
A Clear & Present Danger to America 27th JANUARY 2006
The arrogance surfaced as he faced the press. His eyes darted from side to side, blinking rapidly – a textbook example of a maniac on the loose. His temper threatened to erupt more than once because reporters actually had the gall to question his motives. After too many years watching this man destroy what once was a great nation, I can only conclude that Bush is insane and his insanity is protected by a brain-dead populace and a power-mad political party that can’t possibly accept the sad fact that they helped put a madman in charge of our government and have kept him there. I believe with all my soul that George W. Bush and the Republicans who rubber-stamp his actions represent a clear and present danger to the peace and security of the United States and all must be removed from office immediately if this nation is to survive. Those are words I never, ever, thought I’d write about a President or other elected officials of this country. And I wish, with all my heart that I did not have to write them now.
Evict Residents Bush and Cheney: Time for the Squatters to Go! 27th JANUARY 2006
We are living in the American Emergency, the climactic American Crisis. Our elections are bought, and our government is run by and for transnational corporations. Bush announced in 2002 his illegal policy that the United States can and will attack other nations first, waging war on them, when he so decides. He is now waging, in our names, a bloody war of aggression against Iraq, which on the face of it is a crime against humanity under the Nuremberg principles that we and our allies established and enforced with hangings. Yet he has three more years of dictatorial control over our nuclear and other arms and Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps and seems to be maneuvering to wage another aggressive war on Iran, with literally incalculable consequences.
Documents Show U.S. Army Seized Iraqi Wives As Tactic 27th JANUARY 2006
The Army has seized and jailed wives of suspected insurgents in hopes of "leveraging" husbands into surrender. In one case, a secretive task force locked up the mother of a nursing baby. In the case of a second detainee, one American colonel suggested that they catch her husband by tacking a note to the family's door telling him "to come get his wife." The deputy justice minister dismissed such claims, saying hostage-holding was a tactic used under Saddam Hussein, and "we are not Saddam." A U.S. command spokesman said only Iraqis who pose an "imperative threat" are held in long-term U.S.-run detention facilities. But documents tell a different story. "As each day goes by, I get more input that these gals have some info and/or will result in getting the husband."
US Propaganda Aimed at Foreigners Reaches US Public 27th JANUARY 2006
The Pentagon acknowledged in a newly declassified document that the US public is increasingly exposed to propaganda disseminated overseas in psychological operations. But the document suggests the Pentagon believes US law that prohibits exposing the US public to propaganda does not apply to the unintended blowback from such operations. The National Security Archives said the document "calls for 'boundaries' between information operations abroad and the news media at home, but provides for no such limits and claims that as long as the American public is not 'targeted,' any leakage of PSYOP to the American public does not matter."
Criminalization of Dissent Now Obvious to Anyone Paying Attention 27th JANUARY 2006
I sat watching this movie, one I’d seen dozens of times, as it captured the true plight of the people of Fallujah better than anything else I’ve seen. But I’d never viewed it with someone who would be sentenced to six months in a Federal Prison for trying to stop the bloodshed that has been flowing non-stop since the invasion began. "After seeing that film, this feels right to me," she said. "It feels right that I’m gong to jail. It feels like a piece of cake. Watching the film I thought ‘This is criminal.’ We belong in jail for allowing that kind of atrocity to occur. What human being would sit silently by, listening to the screams of a child who is being bludgeoned to death, and do nothing? The people of Iraq are being bludgeoned by our policies."
[When] Are Concentration Camps Coming to the U.S.S.A. 26th JANUARY 2006
KBR, the engineering and construction subsidiary of Halliburton, has been awarded a contingency contract from the Department of Homeland Security to supports its Immigration and Customs Enforcement facilities in the event of an emergency. The value of the contract is $385 million and consists of a 1-year base period with four 1-year options. KBR held the previous ICE contract from 2000 through 2005. The contract, effective immediately, provides for establishing temporary detention and processing capabilities to expand existing ICE Detention and Removal Operations Program facilities in the event of an emergency influx of immigrants, or to support the rapid development of new programs, KBR said. The contract may also provide migrant detention support to other government organizations in the event of an immigration emergency, as well as the development of a plan to react to a national emergency, such as a natural disaster.
ACTION ALERT: Fresh Google Search Terms to Confound Dubya and the FBI 26th JANUARY 2006
Attention, right now, please put down
your drink and leap up off the couch and put your pants back on and log in
to Google and type "hot bunny terrorist fluffer banana" into the
world-beloved Google search engine. Do it now. "Osama butt pancake lube explosives yay." Or
better yet, try "homemade nuke porn lollipop kiddie nipple bomb!!!" Be sure
to include extra exclamation points because as we all know, Dubya isn't the
brightest of residents and these will add zing and personality to your
entry and make your search terms -- the very ones the Bush administration is
right now subpoenaing the Google corporation to gain access to -- really
stand out to the FBI and the Department of Justice. It shall be a mini-movement called "Operation Screw With
the DOJ and Make Lynne Cheney Squirm." It shall be a national gigglefest
as we watch George W. Bush's gummint work to force and coerce the search
engines of the nation to turn over their massive logs of search terms, all
in an effort to see what perverted and criminal-minded people like you are
really searching for, and sure you can defend yourself and claim it's
pictures of Brangelina or recipes for blood orange/vodka body shots or just
what the hell is wrong with Samuel Alito to make him look so wan and
malicious, when we all know you're really looking for, of course, massive
amounts of porn. And so are your kids.
Our Leaders Are Feeding Us Propaganda 26th JANUARY 2006
DRAFT IVINS & ELLERBEE IN '08! Our government is about to launch a propaganda blitz to convince us all that its secret program to spy on us is something we really want and need. The question for journalists is how to report this. President Bush says it's a great idea and he's proud of the secret spy program? Attorney General Gonzales explains breaking the law is no problem? Dick Cheney says accept spying, or Osama bin Laden will get you? Perhaps we have some obligation to try to sift through what it means that our government is spying on us in violation of the law and the Constitution.
WalMart Gets 25,000 Applications for 325 Job Openings 26th JANUARY 2006
WalMart's Chicago manager said generally stores receive between 3,000 and 4,000 applications for about 300 to 450 positions. He says Wal-Mart has been participating in job fairs and advertising the positions but this time "we got an amazing response. That incredible number of applications shows the community thinks WalMart is a great place to work after you've been laid-off, lost your home, your unemployment's run out, and you're tempted to put a gun in your mouth."
Audit Describes Criminal Misuse of Funds in Iraq Projects 25th JANUARY 2006
A new audit of American financial practices in Iraq has uncovered irregularities including millions of reconstruction dollars stuffed into footlockers and filing cabinets, an American soldier in the Philippines who gambled away cash belonging to Iraq, and three Iraqis who plunged to their deaths in a rebuilt hospital elevator that had been improperly certified. The inspector general found that living and working quarters of American occupatiers were awash in stacks of $100 bills. One official kept $2 million in a bathroom safe, another more than half a million in an unlocked footlocker. One contractor received more than $100,000 to completely refurbish an Olympic pool but only polished the pumps; even so, local American officials certified the work as completed.
Chomsky: The Re-Declared War on Terror 25th JANUARY 2006
Facts matter, even if we do not like them. Elementary moral principles matter, even if they have consequences we would prefer not to face. Relative clarity matters. We should seek enough
clarity at least to distinguish terror from two notions that lie uneasily at
its borders: aggression and legitimate resistance. Since facts matter, it matters that the War was
not declared by Bush on 9/11, but by the Reagan administration 20
years earlier. There are ways to deal constructively with the threat of terror,
though not preferred by those who
try to avoid the real world by striking heroic poses about Islamo-fascism. The constructive ways have
to begin with an honest look in the mirror, never an easy task, always a
A Tale of Two Peckerheads 25th JANUARY 2006
Arresting fantasy, isn't it? A Beijing that resembles Atlanta, strip malls dishing out cheeseburgers and other interesting foreign foods to Chinese soccer moms hurrying back to Toll Brother's starter homes in Chinese knockoffs of the Ford Explorer. Note to Mr. Reich and the rest of the people he is smoking opiated hashish with: you've got it backwards. Over the next twenty, thirty years America gets to be more and more like Chinese peasant life in 1949. Why? Because neither America nor China (nor anybody else) can continue running industrial economies the way we have been, or even a substantial fraction of that way, in an energy-starved world. Nor will anybody come up with a miracle technological rescue remedy to keep all the motors humming.
War Against Iraq Truly a Nuclear War: Heads Roll in US DU Scandal 24th JANUARY 2006
Special report by eminent scientist Leuren Moret naming depleted uranium as the definitive cause of the ‘Gulf War Syndrome’ has fed a growing scandal about the continued use of uranium munitions by the US Military. This malady (from uranium munitions), that thousands have suffered and died from, has been identified as the cause of this sickness, eliminating the guessing. The truth is now being revealed. Long-term effects revealed that DU (uranium oxide) is a virtual death sentence. VA Secretary Principi was aware of this as far back as 2000. He and the Bush administration have been hiding these facts, but the scandalous tragedy is far too big to hide or to cover up.
Still Pouring Toxic Thimerosol Mercury Preservative into Children 24th JANUARY 2006
Every time I write about the dangers of toxic mercury preservative in the shots we give our kids, I hear from at least one local physician insisting there isn't any thimerosal in the shots -- hasn't been for years. Imagine my surprise, then, when the daily Nashville Tennessean reported: "Legislation that would prevent Tennessee children from getting flu shots that contain a controversial mercury preservative is pitting parents against pediatricians." There are flu vaccines that are thimerosal-free, but doctors' offices don't always have them in stock. The FDA says it has found no causal link between thimerosal and autism (even though autism was virtually unknown before the preservative was introduced in the 1930s, and has skyrocketed with the number of shots required), but that has not quelled the outcry of countless parents who say their children began to exhibit symptoms of autism shortly after being immunized.
BushCo Feds Have Damaged and Shamed Our Country Long Enough 24th JANUARY 2006
Reflect on what the federal government told the world that America stands for in terms of freedom versus dictatorship, limited government versus omnipotent government, and the rule of law versus the rule of men. Bush’s position was clear: While he would welcome support from the Congress, he repeatedly emphasized that he did not need it. He repeatedly stated that he — and he alone — had the power to decide whether the nation would go to war against Iraq or any other nation. It is not coincidental that that power has also been wielded by the most powerful dictators in history. It was the exercise of such dictatorial power that the Framers attempted to prevent by dividing the power to declare war from the power to wage war in the Constitution. The time has come for the American people to restore our country’s moral standing in the world. The government has damaged and shamed our nation long enough.
War Is Not About Victory or Defeat but About Total Failure of the Human Spirit 24th JANUARY 2006
Increasingly chaotic conflict in Iraq is utterly unjustifiable and a by-product of Western thirst for "control, control, control" of Middle East assets and resources that has been evident for centuries. We've always gone to the Middle East to 'liberate' people, taking with us our guns and our swords, our horses and our helicopters. Film-makers saw fit to include the full gore of war in productions such as Saving Private Ryan and there's no reason news broadcasts should be any different.
Trend Towards Targeted Assassination of Journalists Intensifies 23rd JANUARY 2006
At least 89 journalists were deliberately murdered because of their professional work, the IFJ said, out of a total of 150 media deaths in 2005. "The numbers are staggering," IFJ general secretary Aidan White said in an annual report, "Targeting and tragedy - journalists and media staff killed in 2005." On top of the 35 targeted killings in Iraq, the report noted that another five journalists were killed there by U.S. troops -- including Reuters soundman Waleed Khaled, shot in the face and chest by U.S. military forces on August 28.
Constraining the Tyrannous Behavior of an Unaccountable Executive 23rd JANUARY 2006
Many [Constitutional] ideals are at risk in Bush's breathtaking assertion that he is accountable to no one. According to the theory of the "unitary executive" espoused by Samuel Alito, there are literally no limits to presidential actions so long as they are couched as part of the "war on terror." It is preposterous to imagine that [the Founding Fathers would] design a government where the president had uncontrollable powers in any circumstance. Only a fantastically licentious, deceitful reading of history can produce such an interpretation.
DeLay's Criminal Behavior All Over the Map from Sea to Shining Sea 23rd JANUARY 2006
It was the fall of 2002, and Texans for a Republican Majority was scouring for corporate money when it found an unlikely donor — a California defense technology firm to sent part of its $40,000 startup money to help Tom DeLay's political committee. PerfectWave Technologies, a San Diego firm, gave DeLay's committee $15,000 to help elect Republicans to the Texas Legislature. It sent the rest of the $40,000 to a gala tribute to "Duke" Cunningham, the congressman who resigned after pleading guilty to taking bribes from military contractors. According to the subpoena, a republican deposited $40,000 to the account of PerfectWave Technologies. Two days later, the company gave $15,000 to Texans for a Republican Majority. PerfectWave sent the remaining $25,000 to a "Tribute to Heroes" gala that feted Cunningham with a trophy naming him a hero.
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