Desert Cat's Paradise
"The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it." - Proverbs 27:12.
Tuesday, September 30, 2003
September 2003, Part 4 - Jim Miller on Politics: "The Average Person Got A Little Poorer in 2001, but the rich got much less rich.Comments
The incomes of the top 1 percent of Americans fell 18 percent in 2001, as did their income taxes, shaving $66 billion off revenues and showing how dependent the federal government has become on its wealthiest citizens.
That top 1 percent paid 37.4 percent of all personal income taxes in 2000, but just 33.9 percent in 2001. Not because of any Bush tax cuts, which did not much affect the wealthy in 2001, but because the stock market declined. The stock market bubble of the late 1990s pumped up many things, including tax receipts. When it burst, as it had to, those declined as well.
Our dependence on the incomes of the very wealthy for such a large share of the federal budget means that our federal receipts will continue to move with the stock market. Perhaps the next time receipts jump up we will have the wisdom to see that the gains are temporary, but I doubt it."
Over a third of tax receipts comes from the top 1%, and to listen to the Demo's, they're still not paying their fair share and need to be torn down every which way.
In another day and age, this was called "shooting the goose that lays the golden egg"--in this case the egg rings in to the tune of a third of the federal budget!
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:11 PM | permalink
ColbyCosh.com: "Remember 'saving the world for democracy'?Comments
Just when you thought the War on Drugs couldn't possibly do any more damage to the esteem in which the United States is held abroad:
The highest White House drugs policy advisor, John Walters, accused the Dutch Cabinet on Friday of not taking the fight against the ecstasy trade seriously enough. Speaking in Rome at a UN drugs conference, he also said the Netherlands would benefit by using different investigation methods.
Walters said police should be given greater powers to tap telephone conversations and Dutch authorities should make more use of criminal infiltrators, i.e., criminals who are prepared to work for justice officials, an NOS news report said.
This means that in order for them to infiltrate drugs gangs, justice authorities allow the informers to engage in criminal acts. But such investigation methods were banned in the Netherlands in the wake of the IRT affair in the 1990s, when a specialist police unit actively imported huge amounts of drugs while infiltrating drugs gangs.
Dutch politicians reacted with splendidly restrained irritation to the suggestion that their country's safeguards against a police state are an impediment to good relations with the United States. The question, I suppose, is whether any American will care to get upset about it. Many of the people who might be expected to are still awfully busy cracking jokes about French heatwave deaths.
- 6:50 pm, September 29"
His royal highness, making an ass of himself abroad again...
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:59 PM | permalink
Drug Policy AllianceComments
This is an important link related to the war against the drug war. I'm adding it to the sidebar. If you want a quick way to let your representatives know what you think about the drug war and pending legislation, they have easy to submit form letters customized for your senators and representative.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:09 PM | permalink
Liberians Despondent as U.S. Task Force Sets Sail: "Many Liberians wish that the United States was leading the force. And some were especially sorry that they had not had a chance for more intimate contact with the marines.Comments
'They were only on board the ship,' said student Lorpu Smith. 'I thought those people were going to come ashore so that some of us could make friends with them and maybe have children with them,' she said. "
Um...heh! Now that's the kind of welcome sailors LIKE! Too bad, Uncle Sam said 'no thanks'.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:20 PM | permalink
God on Their Side:Comments
"God on Their Side
By NICHOLAS D. KRISTOF
Published: September 27, 2003
Mention the words 'evangelical missionary,' and many Americans conjure up an image of redneck zealots' forcing starving children to be baptized before they get a few crusts of bread.
In reality, the wave of activity abroad by U.S. evangelicals is one of the most important --and welcome -- trends in our foreign relations. I disagree strongly with most evangelical Christians, theologically and politically. But I tip my hat to them abroad."
While I disagree strongly with most of the opinion editors of the New York Times, I tip my hat to Mr. Kristoff for recognizing the good we do abroad. However I am troubled by the implication that what is good enough for Africa isn't good enough for America (you're not a closet racist, are you Mr. Kristoff?), not to mention the absurd caricature that you assume "many" Americans conjure up.
"But I'm convinced that we should all celebrate the big evangelical push into Africa because the bottom line is that it will mean more orphanages, more schools and, above all, more clinics and hospitals. Particularly when AIDS is ravaging Africa, those church hospitals are lifesavers.
"In most of Africa, these are the cornerstone of the health system," said Helene Gayle, who directs AIDS work for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "In some countries, they serve more people than the government health system."
The evangelicals abroad are mostly pragmatists, not ideologues, so they should be a good influence on the Christian Right."
I had to laugh at that one. Mr Kristoff, what liberals fail to understand is that there is no such thing as real poverty in America. The bible commands us to meet people's most basic needs as well as introducing them to the gospel. Despite your wringing of hands, virtually no one in America suffers the privations of the average person in most third world countries. Therefore the opportunity to be "pragmatic" in the practice of one's faith is simply greater abroad. There is a significant amount of Christian charitable work in this country, but there is just not the same level of need for it like there is outside the country. If anyone doubts me, I encourage you to contact me and accompany me next time I lead a group of people on a short term medical outreach in Latin America.
You see, this is what I do with my "free time". Most recently, in June we returned from a week and a half in Iquitos, Peru, where we conducted a series of five free medical clinics in Iquitos and in the nearby jungle. Iquitos is cut off from the rest of Peru by trackless jungle. The only way in is by air or by boat on the Amazon from Brazil. Therefore Iquitos is rather neglected by the central government in Lima.
We worked together with the leadership of an established local evangelical church in the city. Our group provided the medical expertise and the medications, and the local church made the arrangements for the clinic locations. Their people also used the opportunity to do evangelical outreach, and to pray with the people who came for medical attention. My role, as a non-medical person, was coordination and prayer coverage. By the end of the week, we had served over 500 people in the clinics, and 120 people had prayed to receive Jesus as their savior.
"At the end of my interview, Mr. Lazar prayed for me -- and came pretty close to asking the Almighty to ensure that I wrote a nice column. The episode underscored the difference between my world and his."
I'm glad to see that God answered his prayer, in that despite some questionable assumptions, Mr. Kristoff wrote a largely positive piece.
posted by Desert Cat @ 2:32 PM | permalink
This is a paper that details the flaws inherent in P2P software that raise serious questions about the ability of the RIAA to positively identify "offenders", and how identification information can be spoofed by a network attacker.Comments
Recall that granny with a Mac that was supposedly sharing hundreds of hip-hop music titles on Kazaa (there is no Mac version of Kazaa)? This could explain it. This could very well open up a huge hole in RIAA's attempts to prosecute "offenders".
p2p_entrapment.pdf (application/pdf Object)
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:04 AM | permalink
Monday, September 29, 2003
ACLU takes aim at record labels | CNET News.comComments
Every once in a while the ACLU does something useful...
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:46 PM | permalink
The Faruq Magazachi Group - Your key to business in IraqComments
Liberals! Worried that Haliburton is getting all the business in Iraq? Well stop yammering and protesting and DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Have your people contact this group and get a piece of the action. Now is the time for your business to establish itself in free Iraq.
The Faruq Magazachi Group specializes in business consultation, marketing and after-sales customer service. Act Now! Don't delay!
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:00 AM | permalink
Sunday, September 28, 2003
This is an interesting perspective. I have copied just a portion of the piece below. Click for the rest.Comments
OpinionJournal - Thinking Things Over: "
THINKING THINGS OVER
Angry Democrats: Lost Birthright
Why they hate Bush as much as Republicans once hated FDR.
BY ROBERT L. BARTLEY
Monday, September 22, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT
To protect democracy, three judges of the far-left Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have just canceled elections in California. The last horselaugh, I'd hope, for the Democratic charge that Republicans are subverting democracy. As we saw in this space last week, the charge was already a pretty silly explanation of the patent anger surging through the Democratic primaries.
The anger must have deeper, perhaps subconscious roots. So let me put the Democratic base on the couch and offer my own speculation. The party's most ardent adherents are angry because they feel they've lost their birthright.
That is to say, base Democrats think of themselves as the best people: the most intelligent and informed, the most public spirited, the most morally pure. This self-image has become more than a little shopworn over the years, and now George Bush's conservative Republicans threaten to strip it away. Inevitably such Democrats are angry.
Beyond mere politics, the fading birthright becomes a matter of self-identity. It's possible, we've witnessed, to assert moral superiority while defending the Clinton perjury, sexual escapades, vanishing billing records and last-minute pardons. But politicians, pundits and intellectuals with this record shouldn't expect much moral deference from the rest of us. Indeed, inner doubts about their own moral position is one obvious path to anger."
Rush expresses sentiments similar to these often. This is probably an example of the Limbaugh echo syndrome, but well and articulately written.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:31 PM | permalink
This is a very interesting weblog and resource site (thanks again to Pete Guither for the headsup!)
To be honest I kind of thought I might be an extremely rare bird. It appears I do have company. Don't let anyone mislead you into thinking Christian conservatives must be statists by definition.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:05 PM | permalink
Saturday, September 27, 2003
What would it really cost to rebuild Iraq?Comments
USATODAY.com - Iraq costs require some perspective: "The Vietnam War cost 12% of GDP at the time and World War II cost 130% of GDP. The cost to defeat Saddam was less than half a percent of America's annual income (measured as gross domestic product). If spending continues at the current pace, our involvement could cost us 0.4% of our income for the rest of this year. If President Bush's request for $87 billion for Iraq and Afghanistan is approved, the cost of these two fronts will amount to about 0.8% of our income next year.
Put it in context
But what does that really mean? Each year American households spend about 1% of their income on alcoholic beverages and another 1% on tobacco products. We spend about 0.7% of our money on cosmetic products. In other words, our combined operations to combat terror in the Middle East cost a bit more than we spend on makeup and shampoo and a bit less than we spend on booze or tobacco."
There ya go. Now Senator Kennedy, please shut the hell up!
posted by Desert Cat @ 1:26 PM | permalink
Thursday, September 25, 2003
U.N. Pulls More Workers From Iraq After Bombings: "A union representing United Nations workers had demanded a complete withdrawal. 'How much more can our staff take in Iraq?' the U.N. Staff Union asked in an angry statement."Comments
Go back to your pantywaist European capitals, go wheedle, harrumph and wave some papers. Then stick a treaty up your arse, bury your head in the sand, and hope for the best.
Let the real men and real women of the only country on the face of this planet with the guts willing to face terrorism head-on, deal with the issue.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:13 PM | permalink
Wednesday, September 24, 2003
California's Free-Spending Climate Tests Campaign Finance Laws (washingtonpost.com): "Davis has been able to avoid the limits altogether because he is not a candidate in the legal sense, although his survival as governor hangs on the outcome of the vote. As a result, there are no limits on contributions to Davis's committee, Californians Against the Costly Recall, which has raised almost $8.5 million."Comments
I know this is just a snippet lifted from the article, but when I read it I had to guffaw!
*sniff*, *sniff*...if it smells like hypocrisy, it just might be. :)
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:31 PM | permalink
BusinessWeek Online: News from C|Net.com: "The Recording Industry Association of America has withdrawn the first of its file-swapping lawsuits after a possible case of mistaken identity.Comments
The trade association confirmed Wednesday that it had withdrawn its suit against a Boston-area senior citizen named Sarah Ward, who claimed that she could not possibly have been involved in the file-swapping incident attributed to her. Among other objections, Ward is a Macintosh computer user, and there is no Apple version of the Kazaa file-trading software she is supposed to have used, according to attorneys who have spoken to the woman.
An RIAA spokeswoman said the group did not believe it had made a mistake in identifying the ISP account used by Ward, but that it was dismissing the case for now."
Another black eye for RIAA. Serves them right!
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:59 PM | permalink
Tuesday, September 23, 2003
No Clapping, Dancing at Mass, Vatican to WarnComments
This is another reason why the Roman Catholic church is no longer the vibrant center of Christ's church on this planet. They have gone the way of the Pharisee, more interested in tradition and form over substance, formularies of rules and law over Spirit, religion instead of relationship, the dignity of ritual in preference to allowing for the possibility of a life-changing encounter with the Savior.
And they wonder why they're losing ground in Latin America...
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:57 PM | permalink
Monday, September 22, 2003
National Review Cover Story, July 1, 1996Comments
Another Buckley reference in re: the drug war.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:29 PM | permalink
Selections from William F. Buckley at conservativeforum.org: "It is widely assumed by the other side on the drug question that to decriminalize drugs would be to register a social assent to drug consumption. [I] ... stress the contrary. The initial problem is to make clear that to license an activity is not to approve it. We license the publication of Hustler magazine even as we gag at the knowledge of what goes on within its covers."Comments
Another interesting quote from Buckley. The link is worth reading as well.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:15 PM | permalink
California Panel Hears Recall Delay CaseComments
The bottom line to remember is this: these same voting machines were more than good enough when they were used to elect Gov. Grayout Davis into office. But when they will be used to vote him out of office, suddenly they are unconstitutional. Hmm...
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:08 PM | permalink
William F. Buckley Jr. on Marijuana on National Review OnlineComments
For reference, this is one of the articles by Buckley that I have referred to.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:07 PM | permalink
What in tarnation is a "Conservative Evangelical" doin' rantin' 'gainst th' drug war, Mabel?!!Comments
Now that I seem to be getting a trickle of readers through the link on Pete Guither's site, I want to iterate where I stand politically.
To some people, it might seem odd for someone espousing a conservative perspective on most political issues, and more startlingly a Christian perspective, to also espouse what has traditionally been considered to be a liberal perspective in regards to the drug war. Up until a couple years ago or so, I would have thought it odd, as well.
Up until recently, I would have considered myself to be more of a social conservative, because I am both conservative and an evangelical Christian. I am no less an evangelical now as ever, but I have been giving considerable thought to the implications of many of the positions of the "religious right" in regards to both my core conservative beliefs, as well as my beliefs as a Christian. An article by William F. Buckley, Jr., the esteemed conservative thinker, who is also a Roman Catholic, began my journey of thought. His well-articulated position against the drug war almost seemed to give me "permission" to question it as well. Up until then, I was willing to overlook any of the excesses of the drug war as a necessary evil, toward the establishment of an orderly society where moral good is encouraged and moral evil is discouraged.
However, what should become clear to any Christian who studies both the Bible, and the history of the early church, is that the Christian life does not depend upon one's living in a "christian" society. In fact even today, Christianity tends to be found at it's most vibrant where Christians are a persecuted minority. Therefore to a true follower of Christ, the focus should not be so much on society in general, but on the individual persons in your sphere of influence who might be persuaded to the truth of the gospel. Morality in society follows as a result of a change of heart in the individuals that make up society. It cannot truly be imposed from without, (although I give a nod of acknowledgement to the argument that societal sanction tends to encourage favorable moral choices).
Now this is not to say that I agree with the axiom that "you can't legislate morality", as you most certainly may. Our society makes moral judgements all the time. Murder is immoral and therefore is made illegal. Likewise theft, bribery, extortion, fraud, rape, incest and a whole host of other moral evils are made illegal and punishable by law in our society. The question is not one of whether morality can be legislated, but *what* moral evils are properly the place of government to legislate against, and what ought to remain in the realm of one's personal conscience or the moral suasion of society, or the significant persons in one's life.
As I consider that question, I find myself slowly drifting away from some of the positions of the social conservatives, and in the direction of the conservative libertarians. I am coming to the conclusion that the cause of Christ is best furthered in a relatively permissive society, where the moral choice in favor of following Jesus is more clear-cut. A society in which one is virtually presumed to be born a christian and will live a christian life, based on the allegedly christian strictures in place in society, is not a society conducive to the kind of life-changing encounter with the Savior that "true Christianity" requires.
This brings me to the drug war. At least in the case of marijuana, I am unable to fathom any rational basis for the persecution of this substance. Certainly it seems to be more benign than either tobacco or alcohol, both of which are legal and the use of which is primarily a matter of personal moral, aesthetic, or health choices. Further it seems less likely to create the types of situations that alcohol or tobacco may cause in terms of harm to non-users who come into contact with the user of alcohol or tobacco. Therefore use of this substance at least, seems to me to fall clearly in the realm of personal conscience and/or moral suasion. When information about the violation of civil liberties that have been sanctioned in pursuit of eradication of cannabis usage are added to the equation, the answer becomes most emphatic. The cost of marijuana prohibition is much too high.
From a Christian perspective as far as it may relate to personal use, a couple of things come to mind. First of all we are instructed to "obey the authorities, because they are placed in power by God for our benefit". That would argue pretty clearly against use of any substance that is currently illegal. However it says nothing about our rights as citizens to petition our government for redress of grievances, which in this case would be our opposition to the drug war. Secondly, there is the admonition to "be not drunk with wine, but be filled with the Holy Spirit". This would tend to argue against the use of any intoxicating substance. However it is clear also from the writings of Paul, that the consumption of wine was certainly not prohibited in the early church, although some Christian thinkers do continue to take it that way. Some translations of that verse add "wherein is excess" after the first clause. That would be a key to understanding, in my estimation. It would then clearly read as first, an admonition against abuse and overconsumption of any substance, and second, an admonition to prefer the joy and intoxication of the Holy Spirit in favor of intoxication by any other physical substance. My take on this is that in the absence of legal sanction against usage, moderate consumption, whether of alcohol or any other legal substance, would not place one outside the parameters of Christian morality, unless one were to find that consumption was interfering with one's more important relationship to Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
On that topic I find more that is instructive. "All things are lawful for me, but not all things are profitable", states Paul. That would tend to say that though I may be permitted to consume anything, it may not be to my best spiritual interests to do so. That, I believe, is a question that each individual believer would have to answer for him or herself. Elsewhere Paul notes that, if a believer is convinced that what he is doing is a sin, for him it becomes a sin. For a more mature believer, who understands his freedom in Christ, it may not be a sin. Yet for him to do what he knows is not sinful in a manner which leads a weaker Christian to do what he believes is sinful, is to dishonor the weaker Christian. From this I draw the conclusion that were I to choose to consume that which I am convinced is not sinful, I must do so in a manner that does not lead a weaker Christian into sin. In the case of marijuana, if it were to be legalized, and I chose to partake of it, I would choose to do so privately or not at all, to avoid leading those who have not become convinced of their freedom in Christ into what would be sin for them. This stricture I place on myself also applies to those currently legal substances I do use, such as wine or beer, or Salvia divinorum.
The bottom line for me personally is I am an unafraid Christian. I "put no confidence in the flesh", but I do put a great deal of confidence in my relationship with Jesus. I am ready to trust Him to make it clear to me if I am approaching something that may be harmful to me spiritually, and I endeavor to remain spiritually aware of his guidance to keep me from harm. "Lead me not into temptation, but deliver me from evil". That part of the Lord's Prayer has to mean something, and this is what it means to me.
The bottom line for me politically is, though I am an evangelical Christian, I do not believe the laws of society need extend any further than what is minimally necessary to establish an orderly society under the rule of law, (as opposed to the "law of the jungle"). To that end I believe many of the current efforts under the banner of the "war on drugs" actually undercut that goal. The drug war, at least in the case of cannabis, makes a matter of legal sanction, what properly belongs in the realm of personal moral choices and possibly public health. This contributes to high rates of drug "crime" and actual crime.
Hope that explains it. I welcome questions and/or comments.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:42 PM | permalink
BBC NEWS | Health | 'Killer' Ecstasy claim was falseComments
This is too important to let go without noting and linking. In discussions with co-workers, I have discovered that they are of the impression that the results of this study are true. The real question now, is how to undo the harm caused by the report of this junk science? Will newspapers and other media outlets devote as much space to getting this story out as they did the original story about the false results?
The bottom line for those too lazy to click is that the studies that showed a 40% fatality rate for monkeys consuming a single tablet of Ecstacy were fatally flawed by the fact that it was not Ecstacy but speed that the monkeys were fed.
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:51 PM | permalink
Sunday, September 21, 2003
I paid a visit to Summerhaven this afternoon. The devastation wrought by the Aspen Fire is wrenching to behold firsthand. I walked down the road to the site of the Living Rainbow Gift Shop, and I had to choke back tears as I stood near the place where I took a photo the previous summer. But next door, the Cookies and Cabins business is being rebuilt, with the frame of a new log cabin already set up on the lot. From all up and down the hillsides came the sounds of construction and debris-clearing activity. The Mt. Lemmon Cafe was open for business, with temporary shade structures erected over the patio where the original shade was burned.Comments
At the same time, it is not quite as bad as I had envisioned on the rest of the mountain. There are areas that were scorched to cinders, but by and large it appears that this fire burned lower than the Bullock Fire last year. There are significant stands of forest that were largely unaffected, and much more that only experienced scorching of the lower branches and needles.
Except for the top of the ski lift, Ski Valley was untouched by the fire. We enjoyed a couple of good German beers and danced to polka music at the Ski Valley Oktoberfest.
Afterward we hiked a short way down to the Butterfly Trail from Mt. Bigelow. We passed through an area burned by the Aspen Fire and into an area burned by the Bullock fire. At least in this area, the Bullock fire was much more devastating. I predict that within five years it will be hard to tell that the Aspen fire happened, but the area affected by the Bullock fire will just be starting to heal.
I took photos, and I will add some of them here when I get them downloaded.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:29 PM | permalink
Friday, September 19, 2003
Crosswalk.com - Commentary: Pray for Canada, Pray for USComments
Statist homosexual activists in Canada are attempting to (indirectly) ban the Bible. Statism in any form is an affront to democracy and freedom.
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:42 PM | permalink
All I can add is "heh!" Click for the rest.Comments
IF YOU'RE SICK OR DYING, DON'T CALL ON FRANCE OR GERMANY FOR HELP By J. Grant Swank, Jr. posted Sep 19, 2003, 19:35: "The more I think about their infantile approach to complex New Iraq, the more I lose any respect for French and German officialdom. They are so utterly snobbish and unreal in their approach that it borders on cruelty toward the Iraqis. In fact, it is cruelty; that's why I warn you: If you're sick or dying, don't call on French or Germans for help. It won't happen.
Further, France and Germany have made it known in no uncertain terms that when they meet to talk about UN authority plays in New Iraq, EU power plays in New Iraq, there will be NO troops from either countries sent to aid in keeping order in New Iraq. None. Absolutely none. No real assistance. No militia.
In other words, France and Germany will meet this weekend to rub their gums together - and that's it. Nothing substantial but just another center stage drama fest. Anybody can talk but it takes persons of integrity to walk. Where's the walk in France and Germany? Where's the walk? It takes muscle to walk"
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:29 PM | permalink
Here is an excellent article on the topic of a responsible alternative to Prohibition. Click for the whole article.Comments
TheDEA.org: One alternative vision: "There seems to be an amusing idea among the Drug Warriors that there are only two possible ways a society can deal with the problem of drug use: Either we give people longer prison sentences for growing pot than for rape, or we hand out heroin and needles to kids on the schoolyard. There are, of course, a thousand shades of gray in between these two equally ridiculous ideas. What America needs is true drug control, not a continuation of the failure of Prohibition. When we've got junior high kids selling crack out of their lockers, it's time to stop pretending that the 'kill or be killed' attitude of the Prohibitionists towards drugs is working. What is needed is a rational, responsible, scientifically based social policy that doesn't pretend it can (or needs to) stamp out even responsible drug use by competent adults."
posted by Desert Cat @ 2:39 PM | permalink
Wednesday, September 17, 2003
Seattle Weekly: "(Seattle voters) also approved Initiative 75 by 59 percent to 41 percent. The new city ordinance will make marijuana laws, as they relate to adult personal use, the city's lowest law-enforcement priority. Seattle becomes the largest city in the U.S. with such a law.Comments
"Seattleites don't think adults should go to jail for marijuana," said Dominic Holden, campaign manager for I-75. Voters agreed with us that law enforcement has more important priorities." Others at the smoke-free I-75 victory party in Belltown saw something broader in the vote. "It gets people to think more rationally about our drug laws," said Andy Ko, head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington. "Our drug laws are so knee-jerk.""
Another cold, damp place.
If recent history is any guide, hell will need to freeze over before Arizona sees any relief on the drug war front.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:36 PM | permalink
Marijuana Policy Project: United StatesComments
Thanks to Pete Guither for this link. The Marijuana Policy Project is currently looking for people interested in faxing their senators in support of legislation that would permit defendants in cases involving medical marijuana to reveal that fact in court. Currently several states have legalized marijuana for medical use, but defendants are prohibited by the feds from revealing to a jury that their use is for medical purposes. This proposed legislation will change this travesty of justice.
The process is automatic--just enter your name and contact info and a fax will be sent to your senators.
I faxed my senators, and I encourage you to do the same.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:33 PM | permalink
France deplores US veto of UN resolution "The resolution addressed a balanced message to both sides thatwas likely to result in a consensus," said the French spokeswoman.Comments
The text also called for an immediate and unconditional halt to"acts of violence and terrorism" between Israelis and Palestinians and a return to the roadmap peace plan"
Fools with heads buried in the sand.
Wheedling and harrumphing and waving of papers is no replacement for action on the ground. When will these people wake up and realize that terrorists, rogue states, and criminals don't give a damn about laws and agreements and consensus, etc., etc., ad nauseum? They just use the "process" to continue to further their own objectives.
Then again, maybe the French are part of the problem. Why else would they continually side with terrorists and rogue states while trying to bind the hands of the law-abiding and peace loving?
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:28 AM | permalink
Tuesday, September 16, 2003
annika's journal and poetryComments
I found another one for my "weBlogs of Note". Annika has got the "attitude" l like to see. :->
Sadly I decided to remove the link to Ann Coulter, as she has yet to publish a single blog entry.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:23 PM | permalink
Monday, September 15, 2003
Excite - News: "A Frenchman tore down part of an ancient Inca wall to build a hotel in the Peruvian city of Cusco, capital of the Inca empire, that he ironically wanted to call 'The Archeologist,' El Comercio newspaper said on Sunday."Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:11 PM | permalink
Desert Cat, not lab rat!Comments
The Potential Dangers of Sucralose 12/3/00
I am habitually suspicious of the granola left and most of their hyperventilating claims about toxic foods. However reading some of the letters at the bottom of the linked page (above), I was struck by how disturbingly similar several of the accounts were to my own experiences over the last two years, and particularly the last 6 months.
I have been suffering from mild emotional disturbances, and more acutely over the last couple of months, that have no basis in the external circumstances of my life. Particularly unsettling are the feelings of anxiety and "doom" that regularly afflict me. When I spent a week and a half in Peru back in June, the symptoms dissapeared. I thought it might have been because I was in the middle of an adventure. But looking back I realized that I did not have any sucralose during that time. I drank "Inca-cola" and Diet Coke. Since then I have found some relief with a combination of SAM-e, dl-Phenylalanine and l-Glutamine. However something (God?) told me I should look into the possible side effects of sucralose (Splenda).
How interesting that sucralose (Splenda) does not appear to be the benign substitute for Aspartame that it first appeared! I have been drinking Diet RC for about five years now, almost since it first appeared with sucralose (Splenda) sweetener. I liked it because it had no sugar and was not sweetened by the somewhat dangerous Aspartame. Now I find out that there were NO human studies done on sucralose before marketing it.
So I appear to be cast into the role of a lab rat. My bad. I suppose I could have found this out before consuming upwards of about 4 liters of Diet RC a day for five years! I will be going back to sugar or aspartame sweetened drinks now, or to tea or coffee sweetened with Stevia, for a trial period. I will most certainly follow up with a report if my symptoms dissapear.
EDIT: Referring back to my opening statement, the rest of this site has got it's share of hyperventilating nonsense.
Witness the following:
Q: Does chlorine occur naturally?
A: Typically chlorine does not normally occur in the environment except as a yellow gas on rare occasions. It's a manufactured substance produced through an industrial process. An electrical current is passed through salt water producing chlorine and caustic soda.
That is flat-out false! He's trying to confuse his readers, equating chlorine gas with various chlorinated compounds, including common household bleach and table salt! Chlorine is one of the most abundant elements on the face of the earth. It is the chloride half of sodium chloride - table salt. It is one of the most abundant chemicals in the ocean - part of what makes it "salty". There's chlorine in that isotonic contact lens solution you put in your eyes this morning. Oh horrors! Do you know what "isotonic" means? It means having the same sodium chloride balance as your own tissues. Yes, that's right. Sodium chloride is an abundant chemical in your very own body, and a "natural" one at that!
Now that is not to say that there are not a number of chlorinated compounds that do exhibit various levels of toxicity, dioxin being one of the most famous. But to castigate the poor lowly chlorine molecule for all this mischief is equivalent to saying that trees are evil because some of them are made into baseball bats, and some of those are used to bash people's heads in. Absurd, of course!
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:53 AM | permalink
Missoulian: Recorded music is free only to thieves - Friday, September 12, 2003: "Do you think the neighbor kids should be able to waltz into your house and steal your stuff? Do you think shoplifters are entitled to take what they can carry out of a department store? Should your broker be able to skim money from your investment portfolio for his personal use? Well, of course not."Comments
This analogy is deeply flawed and designed to deceive the readers into believing file swapping is more serious an offense than it actually is. Here is a better analogy: Do you think the neighbor kids shoud be able to waltz into your house, point a device at, say your TV, that instantly creates a carbon copy of your TV back at their house, leaving your TV intact? What would be the harm in that? Only to TV manufacturers, of course.
But let's consider that for a moment. The neighbor kid can't afford a TV yet anyway, and without his magical device, wouldn't be able to afford a TV for quite a while. Now what harm has been done to anyone? The TV manufacturers didn't "lose a sale", since no sale was going to happen anyway. You didn't lose your TV. There it sits on your console.
What may have been lost was a legal fiction called "intellectual property" which is worth defending after all, but not with lies and deceit.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:59 AM | permalink
Sunday, September 14, 2003
Once again my ad bar is a source of amusement. On one side I see an ad for the Heritage Foundation. On the other side I see an ad for Al Franken's new book.Comments
Gosh, Google must think I'm "fair and balanced" :D :D :D
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:28 PM | permalink
The following is copied from a portion of Freenet's philosophy page (link below). I am certain it was not intended this way, but the points noted below are quite an indictment against many aspects of the drug war. The idea of the information feedback loop is of particular interest as it relates to the censorship of information presented to juries in drug trials.Comments
The Freenet Project - Philosophy:
"3. The importance of the Free flow of information
Freedom of speech, in most western cultures, is generally considered to be one of the most important rights any individual might have. Why is the freedom to share ideas and opinions so important? There are several ways to answer this question.
3.1 Communication is what makes us human
One of the most obvious differences between mankind and the rest of the animal kingdom is our ability to communicate sophisticated and abstract concepts. While we constantly discover that animal's communication ability is more sophisticated than previously assumed, it is unlikely that any other animal approaches our own level of ability in this area.
3.2 Knowledge is good
Most people, given the option of knowing something and not knowing something, will choose to have more information rather than less. Wars have been won and lost over who was better-informed. This is because being better-informed allows us to make better decisions, and generally improve our ability to survive and be successful.
3.3 Democracy assumes a well informed population
Many people today live under democratic governments, and those who don't, probably want to. Democracy is an answer to the question of how to create leaders, while preventing them from abusing that power. It achieves this by giving the population the power to regulate their government through voting, yet the ability to vote does not necessarily mean that you live in a democratic country. For a population to regulate their government effectively it must know what their government is doing, they must be well informed. It is a feedback loop, but this loop can be broken if the government has the power to control the information the population has access to.
4. Censorship and freedom
Everyone values their freedom, in fact, many consider it so important that they will die for it. People like to think that they are free to form and hold whatever opinions they like, particularly in western countries. Consider now that someone had the ability to control the information you have access to. This would give them the ability to manipulate your opinions by hiding some facts from you, by presenting you with lies and censoring anything that contradicted those lies. This is not some Orwellian fiction, it is standard practice for most western governments to lie to their populations, so much so, that people now take it for granted, despite the fact that this undermines the very democratic principles which justify the government's existence in the first place.
5. The solution
The only way to ensure that a democracy will remain effective is to ensure that the government cannot control its population's ability to share information, to communicate. So long as everything we see and hear is filtered, we are not truly free. Freenet's aim is to allow two or more people who wish to share information, to do so."
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:15 PM | permalink
Excite News: "Academic Freedoms Said Hindered by 9-11"Comments
Twenty years from now, we will look back on today and shake our heads. Our freedoms are part of why they hate us. And we are restricting our cherished liberties in response to terror.
Catastrophic events always seem to push the pendulum too far. It takes time and saner heads to restore a balance. One also hopes that by then the Saudi rathole can be flushed out as well.
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:42 PM | permalink
Excite - News - Police Urged to Chill Out on Cannabis ArrestsComments
Now here's the beginnings of sanity for Great Britain.
Geez. Once again, a place with lousy weather begins to come to its senses on drug policy. I just don't think I could stand the damp chill winters...
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:13 PM | permalink
Excite News - New Terror Laws Used Vs. Common CriminalsComments
Is there any surprise here? Is there any doubt left? Mr. Ashcroft, this is why your statist law is wrong! As I surmised long ago, the Patriot Act is being used as a backdoor effort to ratchet up the drug war. Shame!
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:11 PM | permalink
Friday, September 12, 2003
Fairness Doctrine Redux?Comments
It looks like the left and no doubt certain incumbents on the right (*ahem* McCain *ahem*) are attempting to ressurect the so-called "fairness doctrine".
Here's a couple of facts to consider. The "fairness doctrine" was originally conceived in 1949 to provide for a wide range of viewpoints of "vital interest to the community" in radio, and later in television. However the definition of what constitutes a "vital interest" was never established, nor was the definition of the "community served" ever defined. Would it apply only to issues affecting the local area served by the station? The region? Or in the case of a national show, the entire nation or world? What kind of issues, and how controversial? The actual effect of the doctrine was to suppress discussion of anything that could remotely be considered "controversial". Any potentially controversial topics had to be balanced by an opposing viewpoint. This created a hassle that station managers simply chose to avoid altogether.
In 1987, the year that the "fairness doctrine" was repealed, there were approximately 120 radio stations nationwide devoted to talk. Today there are over 1400. There is a far wider range of issues and opinions discussed today than ever. However to the chagrin of the left, more listeners would rather tune in to conservative talk than to liberal talk. And to the chagrin of incumbent politicians with thin skin (*ahem* McCain, Daschle *ahem*) talk radio sometimes gets under their skin.
A restoration of the "fairness doctrine" would doubtless return the airwaves to the bland fare pre-1987, for the same reasons that radio stations stuck non-controversial content during that time. Thus, under the cloak of so-called "fairness and balance", this effort is nothing more than a thinly disguised attempt to silence the predominantly conservative voice in talk radio in this country. The left is attempting to create by government fiat, what they are unable to obtain in the free market. But then, this is certainly not out of character for them, is it?
What is out of character, is that there appear to be a significant number of squishy, mushy, middle-muddle Republicans willing to go along with them. Who stole your testicles, boys?!
I'm beginning to hear more clearly just what the sound of the "new tone" really is. It sounds an awful lot like centrist statism to me.
It's not just talk show host hyperbole to say that conservative talk radio is equal time. There is no real question left about the liberal bias in the mainstream press. I know those on the left can't see it, but that, as much as anything, is evidence of it's existence. If the mainstream press reported the news straight down the center, those on the left would certainly detect a conservative bias to the news. That is the basis of their denigration of Fox news, where both liberal as well as conservative views are expressed.
There is one more angle to this. Does anyone suppose that equal time would be granted to the anti-drug warriors any time the official government propaganda line against drugs was aired? I seriously, seriously doubt it. Better to keep free speech free of government oversight, my friends.
Click the link for more info.
Welcome to www.stopmediaregulation.org
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:13 AM | permalink
I feel truly marvelous at the moment!Comments
My morning dose of SAM-e and "beCalmed" has not quite worn off, I recently woke from a short noontime nap, and the expansive beauty and light of a fantastic Salvia trip last night is still glowing in me.
Wow. I wouldn't mind camping here the rest of my life...
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:02 AM | permalink
Thursday, September 11, 2003
Alex has another gem here: GIRL: a page by alex "If you don't like something change it; if you can't change it, change the way you think about it."Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:21 PM | permalink
PCWorld.com - Senator Questions RIAA CrusadeComments
Well well well, and that Senator would be Orrin Hatch, of all people! Laurence Simon should be happy to hear this, as it was his blog that exposed Hatch's hypocrisy on the piracy issue.
Amazing what a little negative publicity can accomplish.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:08 PM | permalink
PCWorld.com - Industry Group Pays Child's RIAA Fine: "But the executive director of the Washington, D.C.-based P2P United, Adam Eisgrau, says the RIAA should pick on someone its own size, not a little girl who downloaded songs like 'If You're Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands.'Comments
He is also calling on the RIAA to abandon its campaign and stop going after children and grandparents--one RIAA target is a 71-year-old grandfather. Eisgrau contends the RIAA is taking its legal action because it fears technology and is unable to embrace it.
The RIAA couldn't be reached for comment."
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:06 PM | permalink
Chong Bong Gone Wrong - Drug WarRantComments
LMAO! Just the title of the post is hilarious. Peter, this one is a classic. I hope you get lots of links out of it. Who would ever think that apple farmers are complicit in the drug war...
Ironically, so is every corner hardware store across America. It doesn't take too much ingenuity to fabricate your own utilitarian-grade paraphenalia.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:06 PM | permalink
Granite Staters for Medical MarijuanaComments
As Peter noted, this voters guide to the presidential candidates may be of interest.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:20 AM | permalink
Wednesday, September 10, 2003
Erowid Experience Vaults: Salvia divinorum: "If LSD or psilocybin provide a gradual, staged loss of ego, salvia is a rapid ego-ectomy with no anesthesia."Comments
That about sums it up. It's awful. But hard medicine can be good medicine sometimes.
I think I'll go unbecome.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:25 PM | permalink
Esquire:Feature Story:The Falling ManComments
Tomorrow is the second anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. The story above may make for some interesting reading. Note: if you are squeamish, you might want to bypass it.
To me, the deaths of those who jumped are no more terrible to contemplate than those who were asphyxiated, burned, or crushed when the buildings fell. In fact, there may be a shred more dignity in choosing the manner of your death when death is certain.
I may have waited, still hoping for rescue. But not if the fire was at my back. If my option was an agonizing death by fire, I probably would have jumped.
posted by Desert Cat @ 9:27 PM | permalink
A Call for Drug War Truce with Peace NegotiationsComments
The only problem is that it is impossible to negotiate from a position of weakness.
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:51 PM | permalink
Kucinich for President - Drug WarComments
Sad but true. The only person in the presidential race to take a strong stand against the drug war is the guy currently polling near 0%. I haven't seen this anywhere in the press, either. One would hope that his candidacy would at least raise some awareness on the issue.
Problem is, he's pretty much way out there on the rest of the issues...
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:38 PM | permalink
Excite - Computers and Internet: "Speaking at the annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Linge said there were even talks about installing global positioning technology in cars that could regulate speed remotely.Comments
'If you are in a 30 miles an hour zone, the system would automatically prevent the car going over that speed,' he said."
When you start looking for examples of this sort of stuff, you find it everywhere. Good gravy! "Resistance is futile! You will be assimilated!"
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:11 AM | permalink
RIAA takes $2000 to not prosecute 12-year-old file-sharerComments
Where's the justice in this? A megalith with massive resources at it's disposal threatens a 12 year old girl, and her mom has to cough up $2,000.00 for them to back away. That's not justice. That's extortion!
Boston.com / Business / Dozens in state face RIAA suits
posted by Desert Cat @ 6:49 AM | permalink
Tuesday, September 09, 2003
Rebuilding Food Pyramid to Slim U.S. Waistline: "'We've got to do something to get a behavioral change,' said Eric Hentges, director of U.S. Agriculture Department's Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. The USDA and the Health and Human Services are responsible for federal nutrition policy."Comments
Oh really? Since when is it the federal government's business to tell me what to eat, let alone "get a behavior change"? I see a fat bureaucracy with too much money and time on it's hands, badly in need of a fiscal crash diet.
This is the same government bureaucracy that would try to tell me that my "Atkins Diet" food choices are unhealthy and likely to lead to obesity, heart disease, and early death (Uh huh. That's after I lost 40 lbs, my blood sugar levels stabilized, and I shaved 25 points off my blood pressure numbers).
Butt out, and give me that portion of my tax bill back!
See, a populace that is willing to tolerate this level of government intrusion into their very personal lives, is a populace that is more than willing to avert their eyes to the excesses of the drug war. If it's okay for the government to "tut tut" and harass us about that french fry or oreo cookie, most certainly it is okay for them to do everything possible to stop those horrific illegal drugs. Whatever happens to the lives of the people caught is a small price to pay, because, after all, it's "for the children", right? What's all that about founding principles and liberty? Will these "principles" help me pick up my kids at soccer practice on time? Will this "liberty" help me pay the visa bill at the end of the month?
The drug war is merely a symptom of the wider problem of the "nanny state". "We simply cannot allow people to hurt themselves with that Dorito or that Oreo, or that reefer!" Why not? Who made you mama? Don't give us that hooey about "societal costs". If the government didn't make it their business to meddle in the first place, they wouldn't be "societal", but merely personal costs. That's why the proposition of government-run universal health care is so ominous. It presages the government making a valid claim to control over the most intimate details of your personal life, on the basis that it will be bearing the costs of your (allegedly bad) decisions. Hooey! I say...
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:14 PM | permalink
ABCNEWS.com : Lieberman Takes on Front-Runner DeanComments
If there's anything better than Kerry in tie and bouffant raising his fist in a display of "courage", it's Lieberman raising his voice (and fist) against Dean. I'm sorry, but anyone who sounds like Boo Boo Bear... :D
Either he needs to up his blood pressure medication, or he's been spending way too much time in the tanning booth...
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:02 PM | permalink
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:43 PM | permalink
The RIAA sees the face of evil, and it's a 12-year-old girlComments
Uh huh. A swat team of reporters descended on her home. Next we'll have asset forfeiture, mandatory prison sentences and forced file-swapping rehab...
Let this story play loudly in the press, and we hope people will see the RIAA as the personification of evil corporate greed that the left always likes to portray.
This is absurd.
The Cincinnati Post
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:35 AM | permalink
Monday, September 08, 2003
President Bush Addresses the Nation to Outline Iraq StrategyComments
Address of the President to the Nation
The Cabinet Room
THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. I have asked for this time to keep you informed of America's actions in the war on terror.
Nearly two years ago, following deadly attacks on our country, we began a systematic campaign against terrorism. These months have been a time of new responsibilities, and sacrifice, and national resolve and great progress.
America and a broad coalition acted first in Afghanistan, by destroying the training camps of terror, and removing the regime that harbored al Qaeda. In a series of raids and actions around the world, nearly two-thirds of al Qaeda's known leaders have been captured or killed, and we continue on al Qaeda's trail. We have exposed terrorist front groups, seized terrorist accounts, taken new measures to protect our homeland, and uncovered sleeper cells inside the United States. And we acted in Iraq, where the former regime sponsored terror, possessed and used weapons of mass destruction, and for 12 years defied the clear demands of the United Nations Security Council. Our coalition enforced these international demands in one of the swiftest and most humane military campaigns in history.
For a generation leading up to September the 11th, 2001, terrorists and their radical allies attacked innocent people in the Middle East and beyond, without facing a sustained and serious response. The terrorists became convinced that free nations were decadent and weak. And they grew bolder, believing that history was on their side. Since America put out the fires of September the 11th, and mourned our dead, and went to war, history has taken a different turn. We have carried the fight to the enemy. We are rolling back the terrorist threat to civilization, not on the fringes of its influence, but at the heart of its power.
This work continues. In Iraq, we are helping the long suffering people of that country to build a decent and democratic society at the center of the Middle East. Together we are transforming a place of torture chambers and mass graves into a nation of laws and free institutions. This undertaking is difficult and costly -- yet worthy of our country, and critical to our security.
The Middle East will either become a place of progress and peace, or it will be an exporter of violence and terror that takes more lives in America and in other free nations. The triumph of democracy and tolerance in Iraq, in Afghanistan and beyond would be a grave setback for international terrorism. The terrorists thrive on the support of tyrants and the resentments of oppressed peoples. When tyrants fall, and resentment gives way to hope, men and women in every culture reject the ideologies of terror, and turn to the pursuits of peace. Everywhere that freedom takes hold, terror will retreat.
Our enemies understand this. They know that a free Iraq will be free of them -- free of assassins, and torturers, and secret police. They know that as democracy rises in Iraq, all of their hateful ambitions will fall like the statues of the former dictator. And that is why, five months after we liberated Iraq, a collection of killers is desperately trying to undermine Iraq's progress and throw the country into chaos.
Some of the attackers are members of the old Saddam regime, who fled the battlefield and now fight in the shadows. Some of the attackers are foreign terrorists, who have come to Iraq to pursue their war on America and other free nations. We cannot be certain to what extent these groups work together. We do know they have a common goal -- reclaiming Iraq for tyranny.
Most, but not all, of these killers operate in one area of the country. The attacks you have heard and read about in the last few weeks have occurred predominantly in the central region of Iraq, between Baghdad and Tikrit -- Saddam Hussein's former stronghold. The north of Iraq is generally stable and is moving forward with reconstruction and self-government. The same trends are evident in the south, despite recent attacks by terrorist groups.
Though their attacks are localized, the terrorists and Saddam loyalists have done great harm. They have ambushed American and British service members -- who stand for freedom and order. They have killed civilian aid workers of the United Nations -- who represent the compassion and generosity of the world. They have bombed the Jordanian embassy -- the symbol of a peaceful Arab country. And last week they murdered a respected cleric and over a hundred Muslims at prayer -- bombing a holy shrine and a symbol of Islam's peaceful teachings.
This violence is directed not only against our coalition, but against anyone in Iraq who stands for decency, and freedom and progress.
There is more at work in these attacks than blind rage. The terrorists have a strategic goal. They want us to leave Iraq before our work is done. They want to shake the will of the civilized world. In the past, the terrorists have cited the examples of Beirut and Somalia, claiming that if you inflict harm on Americans, we will run from a challenge. In this, they are mistaken.
Two years ago, I told the Congress and the country that the war on terror would be a lengthy war, a different kind of war, fought on many fronts in many places. Iraq is now the central front. Enemies of freedom are making a desperate stand there -- and there they must be defeated. This will take time and require sacrifice. Yet we will do what is necessary, we will spend what is necessary, to achieve this essential victory in the war on terror, to promote freedom and to make our own nation more secure.
America has done this kind of work before. Following World War II, we lifted up the defeated nations of Japan and Germany, and stood with them as they built representative governments. We committed years and resources to this cause. And that effort has been repaid many times over in three generations of friendship and peace. America today accepts the challenge of helping Iraq in the same spirit -- for their sake, and our own.
Our strategy in Iraq has three objectives: destroying the terrorists, enlisting the support of other nations for a free Iraq and helping Iraqis assume responsibility for their own defense and their own future.
First, we are taking direct action against the terrorists in the Iraqi theater, which is the surest way to prevent future attacks on coalition forces and the Iraqi people. We are staying on the offensive, with a series of precise strikes against enemy targets increasingly guided by intelligence given to us by Iraqi citizens.
Since the end of major combat operations, we have conducted raids seizing many caches of enemy weapons and massive amounts of ammunition, and we have captured or killed hundreds of Saddam loyalists and terrorists. So far, of the 55 most wanted former Iraqi leaders, 42 are dead or in custody. We are sending a clear message: anyone who seeks to harm our soldiers can know that our soldiers are hunting for them.
Second, we are committed to expanding international cooperation in the reconstruction and security of Iraq, just as we are in Afghanistan. Our military commanders in Iraq advise me that the current number of American troops -- nearly 130,000 -- is appropriate to their mission. They are joined by over 20,000 service members from 29 other countries. Two multinational divisions, led by the British and the Poles, are serving alongside our forces -- and in order to share the burden more broadly, our commanders have requested a third multinational division to serve in Iraq.
Some countries have requested an explicit authorization of the United Nations Security Council before committing troops to Iraq. I have directed Secretary of State Colin Powell to introduce a new Security Council resolution, which would authorize the creation of a multinational force in Iraq, to be led by America.
I recognize that not all of our friends agreed with our decision to enforce the Security Council resolutions and remove Saddam Hussein from power. Yet we cannot let past differences interfere with present duties. Terrorists in Iraq have attacked representatives of the civilized world, and opposing them must be the cause of the civilized world. Members of the United Nations now have an opportunity -- and the responsibility -- to assume a broader role in assuring that Iraq becomes a free and democratic nation.
Third, we are encouraging the orderly transfer of sovereignty and authority to the Iraqi people. Our coalition came to Iraq as liberators and we will depart as liberators. Right now Iraq has its own Governing Council, comprised of 25 leaders representing Iraq's diverse people. The Governing Council recently appointed cabinet ministers to run government departments. Already more than 90 percent of towns and cities have functioning local governments, which are restoring basic services. We're helping to train civil defense forces to keep order, and an Iraqi police service to enforce the law, a facilities protection service, Iraqi border guards to help secure the borders, and a new Iraqi army. In all these roles, there are now some 60,000 Iraqi citizens under arms, defending the security of their own country, and we are accelerating the training of more.
Iraq is ready to take the next steps toward self-government. The Security Council resolution we introduce will encourage Iraq's Governing Council to submit a plan and a timetable for the drafting of a constitution and for free elections. From the outset, I have expressed confidence in the ability of the Iraqi people to govern themselves. Now they must rise to the responsibilities of a free people and secure the blessings of their own liberty.
Our strategy in Iraq will require new resources. We have conducted a thorough assessment of our military and reconstruction needs in Iraq, and also in Afghanistan. I will soon submit to Congress a request for $87 billion. The request will cover ongoing military and intelligence operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, which we expect will cost $66 billion over the next year. This budget request will also support our commitment to helping the Iraqi and Afghan people rebuild their own nations, after decades of oppression and mismanagement. We will provide funds to help them improve security. And we will help them to restore basic services, such as electricity and water, and to build new schools, roads, and medical clinics. This effort is essential to the stability of those nations, and therefore, to our own security. Now and in the future, we will support our troops and we will keep our word to the more than 50 million people of Afghanistan and Iraq.
Later this month, Secretary Powell will meet with representatives of many nations to discuss their financial contributions to the reconstruction of Afghanistan. Next month, he will hold a similar funding conference for the reconstruction of Iraq. Europe, Japan and states in the Middle East all will benefit from the success of freedom in these two countries, and they should contribute to that success.
The people of Iraq are emerging from a long trial. For them, there will be no going back to the days of the dictator, to the miseries and humiliation he inflicted on that good country. For the Middle East and the world, there will be no going back to the days of fear, when a brutal and aggressive tyrant possessed terrible weapons. And for America, there will be no going back to the era before September the 11th, 2001 -- to false comfort in a dangerous world. We have learned that terrorist attacks are not caused by the use of strength; they are invited by the perception of weakness. And the surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans. We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.
The heaviest burdens in our war on terror fall, as always, on the men and women of our Armed Forces and our intelligence services. They have removed gathering threats to America and our friends, and this nation takes great pride in their incredible achievements. We are grateful for their skill and courage, and for their acts of decency, which have shown America's character to the world. We honor the sacrifice of their families. And we mourn every American who has died so bravely, so far from home.
The Americans who assume great risk overseas understand the great cause they are in. Not long ago I received a letter from a captain in the 3rd Infantry Division in Baghdad. He wrote about his pride in serving a just cause, and about the deep desire of Iraqis for liberty. "I see it," he said, "in the eyes of a hungry people every day here. They are starved for freedom and opportunity." And he concluded, "I just thought you'd like a note from the 'front lines of freedom.'" That Army captain, and all of our men and women serving in the war on terror, are on the front lines of freedom. And I want each of them to know, your country thanks you, and your country supports you.
Fellow citizens: We've been tested these past 24 months, and the dangers have not passed. Yet Americans are responding with courage and confidence. We accept the duties of our generation. We are active and resolute in our own defense. We are serving in freedom's cause -- and that is the cause of all mankind.
Thank you, and may God continue to bless America.
President Bush's Strategy for Meeting Objectives in Iraq
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:25 AM | permalink
Sunday, September 07, 2003
Showdown over money in politics | csmonitor.com: "On one side are campaign-finance reform advocates who view the influx of hundreds of millions of dollars in unregulated 'soft money' into the election system as a corrupting influence upon the democratic process. On the other side, free-speech advocates say money is a means of ensuring that one's voice may be heard on matters of important national debate. Attempts to muzzle election-related speech undermine, rather than enhance, democracy, they say."Comments
Monday is the showdown at the OK corral...er, the Supreme Court.
posted by Desert Cat @ 3:12 PM | permalink
More sleaze from RIAAComments
Aiming at Pornography to Hit Music Piracy: "The recording industry, struggling to curb music piracy, is shining the spotlight on another demon lurking on the Internet: pornography.
Others ask whether raising this issue is more than a little cynical from an industry that heavily promotes music with sexual and violent themes."
No kidding. Since when does the recording industry have a moral conscience?? Hypocritical bastards.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:33 AM | permalink
Friday, September 05, 2003
John P. Walters Marijuana Rhetoric Could Prove Bush Re-election Liability - BBSNews Black and White 2003-08-15: "The United States Drug Czar, John P. Walters is currently touring the top 25 most populous cities in the country to explain to Americans how they have it all wrong. Heroin and cocaine are bad but marijuana is the number one drug problem in the US. A claim that borders upon fantasy. The number one addictive drug problem in the US is tobacco. This has been true during the entire "drug" war. It borders upon incompetence to suggest that marijuana even comes close.Comments
To the extent that there really is 'gateway' to drug use, a little touted fact is that tobacco and alcohol use usually occurs before illicit drug use. In a study commisioned by ONDCP in January 1997 the Institute of Medicine found that 'Patterns in progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood are strikingly regular. Because it is the most widely used illicit drug, marijuana is predictably the first illicit drug most people encounter. Not surprisingly, most users of other illicit drugs have used marijuana first. In fact, most drug users begin with alcohol and nicotine before marijuana--usually before they are of legal age.'"
The next time you hear an official claim that marijuana is getting stronger and more "dangerous" think about a product called Marinol, an FDA approved medication containing pure THC suspended in sesame oil in a gel cap.
The rest of the article is equally interesting. Go read!
I keep hoping there will be some kind of wake-up call that will cause my party to realize that the drug war is a failure and a waste, and the resources would be better spent fighting real enemies like Islamic jihadists, (instead of providing them the market conditions where they can actually make money off our "drug war"!) But alas! The social conservative wing is quite powerful. Bush has to answer to them, and he's already vulnerable with his alleged past drug use.
posted by Desert Cat @ 10:52 PM | permalink
President Outlines Six Point Plan for the Economy, Saying "We want everybody in this country working."Comments
Amid positive news that U.S. productivity is growing faster than expected and consumer spending is on the rise, President Bush went to America's heartland to announce his six point plan to ensure a full economic recovery and create jobs in America. The President has provided bold leadership to end the recession, but new actions are needed to reinforce economic growth and create jobs. His plan includes:
* Making health care costs more affordable and predictable.
President Bush proposes to allow small businesses to pool together to purchase health coverage for workers at lower rates.
* Reducing the lawsuit burden on our economy.
The President's plan will reform class action lawsuits so businesses can focus on creating jobs rather than fighting junk lawsuits.
* Ensuring an affordable, reliable energy supply.
President Bush has proposed a national energy plan that upgrades our electrical grid, promotes efficiency, increases domestic production, and enhances conservation efforts.
* Reducing government bureaucracy to promote job creation.
Too often government regulation discourages, rather than promotes job creation. President Bush is working to streamline and simplify government regulations and reporting requirements.
* Opening new markets for American products.
The President recently signed free trade agreements that open markets to American-made products and level the playing field for American made products.
* Enabling families and businesses to plan for the future.
The President's tax relief is already having positive results for families. His plan will make benefits permanent rather than phasing them out as the law is currently written.
* Read the Presidents Remarks in Kansas City, Missouri
* Read the Presidents Remarks in Richfield, Ohio
* Learn more about the Presidents Jobs and Growth Agenda
Democrats Switching to the President's Team
This week President Bush met with a dozen Mississippi Democrats that switched to the Republican Party during his presidency. Leading the group was Mississippi Lieutenant Governor Amy Tuck who became a Republican in 2002 after she increasingly saw the Democrat leadership at odds with her principles.
President Bush's decisive leadership continues to attract a growing number of independents and Democrats to the Republican Party. At least 85 Democrats have become Republicans since President Bush was elected to office.
*Check out the Photo of President Bush and Mississippi Party Switchers
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:38 AM | permalink
Thursday, September 04, 2003
"I am neither.Comments
I am a Dancing Moon Creature..."
No longer locked in a prison. I am fighting with the jailkeeper, and that is not a good thing. She should not fight, but just accept. I am stretching my wings a bit, and I find that they are quite broad and keep knocking holes in the walls. Good. We need a bit more fresh night air in here, not to mention the space to spread out.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:30 PM | permalink
The Radical Goal of McCain-Feingold's Enemies (washingtonpost.com): "The Radical Goal of McCain-Feingold's Enemies "Comments
So why are opponents of campaign finance reform fighting hard to have the court knock out the issue ad provision even if it upholds the rest of the law? Because their real objective is to make sure that reform fails.
What this guy failed to tell us is that Totalitarian regimes are very efficient at solving certain types of problems. He also left out the real heart of the issue.
See, the real objective of "campaign finance reform" opponents is to stop the very real erosion of our civil liberties. This is a First Amendment issue. It goes to the heart of my ability to associate with like minded individuals, pool our resources, and buy the airtime necessary to get our views heard. Face it. In the modern world, "speech" equals the money necessary to buy the air time or newspaper ad space to speak. A "soapbox on the corner" is no longer meaningful as a freedom. Therefore any attempts to limit what I can say, via limits on what I can spend to say it, is a direct assault on my First Amendment rights.
I am further offended by this legislation, for two reasons.
It very clearly favors the incumbent in any race. An incumbent, by virtue of being in office, can generate "news" any time he wants, simply by opening his mouth in the presence of a sympathetic reporter. Second, it gives vastly increased power to the press by virtue of supressing other opinions that must pay to be heard. With the strongly liberal slant of most of the "mainstream" media, this is reason enough for my opposition.
I am ashamed that it is one of my senators whose name is attached to the law.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:13 PM | permalink
Wednesday, September 03, 2003
Thinking about potential Democrat Presidential-Vice Presidential candidate matchups for the convention:Comments
Kerry/Dean - For the war, against the peace! (or is it, for the war, against the war, er, for the peace against the pe..??? Oh wait, I know! For the threat of war, against going to war; for removing Saddam from power, against actually accomplishing it; for the troops, against what troops are for; For something to be done, Against Bush doing it...)
Lieberman/Sharpton - Across the Great Divide.
Kucinich/Braun - 2 luzrz 4U
Gephardt/Gephardt - My imaginary friend...
Clinton/Gore 2004 - Because you *know* you want more!
posted by Desert Cat @ 7:42 PM | permalink
Crosswalk.com - Tom Perrault on Johnny DeppComments
So America is a "dumb puppy", eh mister frenchy, german boot-licker?
Time to break out the 'Dixie Chicks' treatment and spank this little twit.
posted by Desert Cat @ 5:42 PM | permalink
Paul Harvey today, quoting someone who thought Hillary Clinton was likely to run for president next year, noted that she *does* have high name-recognition, but...she *can* overcome that...Comments
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:26 PM | permalink
John F. Kerry (the FRENCH-looking candidate, who, in case you didn't know is a VIETNAM veteran) announces his candidacy today for president of the United States.
Doesn't he look like he's been smacked in the face by a pizza tin? Somehow a guy in white shirt and tie with a bouffant like that, seems less than inspiring with his raised fist. That was probably one of the dozen or so scripted times he used the word "courage". His handlers probably told him to raise his fist when he said it. Some "courage" it takes to focus-group test your candidacy speech...
Next they need to show him how to eat a philly beefsteak sandwich in front of the cameras. Maybe Gephardt, hearing about Kerry's philly sandwich fiasco, will pose for the cameras with Iowa pie all over his face.
But I still say Al Sharpton is WAY more colorful...
posted by Desert Cat @ 12:23 AM | permalink
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Activity Page: "Kerkhoven-Murdock-Sunburg H.S."Comments
Speaking of Martha (now that I am in a nostalgic mood again), it looks like she is involved with the speech and drama departments at this high school as an "activity contact" (Martha Prekker is her married name). It doesn't look like she is listed on staff at the school, which is a disappointment. I always expected she would end up as a teacher. When I knew her, she wanted to be a writer, and wanted nothing to do with teaching.
I was in both speech and drama during my last two years of high school. I was also a debater. She was in speech as well, although I don't recall if she was involved in drama back then. We didn't meet through our involvement in speech, but rather it was through our mutual interest in computers and J.R.R. Tolkien.
Back then there was a statewide computer network called MECC. My username was Gandalf, and hers was Bilbo. It started friendly and fun (blowing "smoke rings" and all...), then deep and serious, and in the end I got badly burned. She was a "butterfly" she told me, flitting from flower to flower. Concordia College beckoned and she flew away.
That piece in the archives entitled "Listening to the Echo" was about her.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:49 PM | permalink
Asylum: PROFITABLE VIOLENCE AGAINST MEN: "The other day my son and I were watching TV and happened to see an advertisement for a new comedy film coming out. I don't remember what film but I will never forget what my son said about a scene where a man was kicked in the balls: 'Mommy, why is that funny?'Comments
After a long discussion about sub-standard, sophomoric physical comedy versus intellectual humor that is presented not only in a way that makes you laugh, but also makes you think (yes, he and I have these discussions), he said simply, 'Still, they never joke about girls getting kicked there. They never joke about women getting hurt.'"
Crazy Tracy, she calls herself. All I can add is "AMEN!" Go read the whole post.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:18 PM | permalink
It appears that photocountry.com has gone >>KABLOOIE<< !!Comments
Now I'll have to upload images manually to my web space. If anything doesn't show up properly, particularly in the archives, I apologize. I'll fix what I can when I can.
posted by Desert Cat @ 11:01 PM | permalink
I know this is kinda old, but it made me snicker. So I am stealing it until it rolls off my front page.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:06 PM | permalink
Alaska Appeals Court Decision: "With regard to possession of marijuana by adults in their home for personal use, (the law) must be interpreted to prohibit only the possession of 4 ounces or more of marijuana,' wrote Court of Appeals Judge David Stewart in the conclusion of the unanimous decision."Comments
Why is it these damn cold places (Ontario, and now Alaska) are the first to legalize MJ? I won't live there for that reason alone.
posted by Desert Cat @ 8:15 AM | permalink
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