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We Have met the Enemy and He is Us July 29, 2007

Posted by psmc in America, Bush, Coast to Coast AM, economics, Freedom, money, Politics, Society, Uncategorized, war.
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To fund a new Iraqi economy and government after the March 2003 invasion, the U.S. Federal Reserve shipped 484 pallets of shrink-wrapped U.S. currency, weighing 363 tons, totaling more than $4 billion, and, according to a House of Representatives committee staff report in February, most of the cash was either haphazardly disbursed or distributed to proper channels but with little follow-up tracking. By March 2007, The Times of London found bank records revealing, for instance, that two unremarkable Baghdad small-business men (appointed to the defense ministry) eventually deposited over $1 billion in private accounts in Jordan, and that U.S. efforts to buy state-of-the-art equipment for the Iraqi army were seriously undermined because middlemen purchased only cheap, obsolete Polish munitions and pocketed the savings. [ABC News-Reuters, 2-6-07; The Times (London), 3-11-07]

I always loved Pogo. Well I guess we shouldn’t complain. It is only $4Billion. It’s not like it’s some major amount of money.

Who you gonna call???…GHOSTBUSTERS!!! July 29, 2007

Posted by psmc in humor, paranormal, voyeurism.
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In April, Donald Duncan Jr., 34, was convicted of invasion of privacy in Carlisle, Pa., after his wife discovered a hidden-camera video of two girls who were disrobing in a bedroom in the couple’s house. Duncan said he had set up the camera because he suspected there were ghosts in the house and wanted proof. [Patriot-News (Harrisburg), 4-12-07]

Apparently the wife was okay with two young women disrobing in the house.

It’s Official…Bush is NOT the Dumbest Politician July 25, 2007

Posted by psmc in Belgium, Bush, european, humor, international politics, music, Politics.
1 comment so far

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This honor has to go to Yves Leterme. M. Leterme, the Belgian Prime Minister-to-be, was asked recently to sing a few bars of the Belgian National Anthem. He complied with a rendition of the Marseilles, the French National Anthem. M. Leterme’s grasp of his country’s history is apparently also as strong as his knowledge of the national anthem.

When asked why July 21 is celebrated as Belgium’s independence day, he responded that it was the day the adopted their constitution. The correct answer is that is the day that the first Belgian King accepted the throne.

Finally he demonstrated his skills at national unity by making the following comment about the French speakers, who make up 40 % of Belgium, on their reluctance to learn Dutch. “Initially, the idea was that many French speakers would adjust to the new linguistic reality. But apparently the French speakers are intellectually not capable of learning Dutch.”

Its always a good thing for ones political career to call 40% of the electorate morons.

At least we in America can take pride in knowing that our President isn’t the dumbest leader out there.

Death of a Republic July 21, 2007

Posted by psmc in America, Bush, Freedom, Hillary, Politics, Society.
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“Executive Order – n. a President’s or Governor’s declaration which has the force of law, usually based on existing statutory powers, and requiring no action by the Congress or state legislature.”

I have never bought into that Bush is stupid act. I’ve always believed it to be just that, an act. It’s purpose is to give the people the sense that he is not part of the highly educated Eastern elite, which he is in fact is. And it has worked very well. He served two terms as governor of Texas and then went on to become President. He has a record of being able to work with the Democrats. In Texas he always worked with Democratically controlled legislature and he has been able to work fairly well with Congress. Bush has, as of this time, vetoed only 4 bills from Congress. Clinton had 37, this total is similar to other recent presidents. Clearly Bush has a some of political savvy in order to work with the opposition in Congress. Indeed, Bush may be more savvy that we realize. Recently he has signed two executive orders, which seemed to have gone unnoticed for the most part by our ever vigilant media.

The first was signed on 9 May 2007 and is called “The National Security and Homeland Security Presidential Directive“. It allows the president in case of a “Catastrophic Emergency” establish policy for “National Essential Functions” for all executive departments and State, local and territorial governments.

Apparently this overrides the US and various state constitutions. What’s a “Catastrophic Emergency“? It’s any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions. So a hurricane, earthquake or terrorist attack can cause this to be invoked. This directive is broad and vague and some feel it gives the president the authority to suspend or postpone elections if he feels the need.

The second executive order was signed 17 July 2007 and is called “Blocking Property of Certain Persons Who Threaten Stabilization Efforts in Iraq“. On first glance it seems fairly reasonable. It allows the government to seize assets of individuals who openly or covertly interfere with or threaten the peace stability of Iraq and the Iraqi government. Which most people would think refers to individuals and groups actively operating or financially supporting terror groups in Iraq. But as one reads further, one realizes that it can also include political and anti-war protests here.

Bush, stupid? I think not. Dangerous? Only time will tell. Oh and as far as I can tell executive orders are valid until they are superseded by another executive order. So even if George II doesn’t use them, the next person can…. hmmm Queen Hillary I???

Is it warm here? July 19, 2007

Posted by psmc in Al Gore, America, Enviroment, humor, Politics, Science.
1 comment so far

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Yes, another blog on the ever-changing climate. I’m not going to concentrate on who is right and whose science is valid. Rather my major concern is that the politicians aren’t doing anything other than making political hay, though this probably indicates that both sides realize their arguments are based on not-so-certain conclusions facts.

It seems certain that, at least in the short term, the climate is getting warmer. This will cause changes, if only in the short run, mainly the raising sea levels and changing weather patterns. Instead of working on plans to mitigate the inundation of major cities or where we will put populations of displaced people our illustrious political leaders would rather argue who or what is at fault and/or how we can reduce our carbon footprint.

No, they rather put on global rock concerts, tell us to use one sheet of toilet paper and have us buy carbon credits. They should be thinking of ways to protect cities like New York and Miami. Or where to put the people who now live on the coast when their homes are gone. Or how we will get water when droughts become more common. Let alone talk to other world leaders of what to do when entire countries like, Bangladesh virtually disappear.
At least the polar bears have a plan.

Injustice in Jena July 17, 2007

Posted by psmc in America, Freedom, KKK, Politics, race relations, racism, Society.
1 comment so far

 

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When I first saw this I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was a recycled story from 50 years ago. But no, this crap is still happening today in the 21st century. But what is more alarming to me is the lack of coverage this story has gotten in the US Press. It is an indication at how effete and morally bankrupt the Press in the USA has become.

 

Why morally bankrupt? News claims that its their duty to inform the American people, yet when a real news story occurs they don’t report it. They rather spoon feed us pabulum about socialites’ driving skills, celebrities getting married and the arrival of a Posh and Becks. Then they fill the airwaves with partisan and divisive crap tat they pass off as analysis.

 

This country is headed for the toilet

 

For background, see:

Black High School Students in Louisiana Threatened With Lynching *

All-WhiteJury Likely to Hear Racial Fight Case in Louisiana *

 

Injustice in Jena as Nooses Hang From the “White Tree”

 

By Bill Quigley t r u t h o u t | Report

 

Tuesday 03 July 2007 all white jury sitting before white judge agrees with white prosecutor and all white witnesses and convicts black youth in racially charged high school criminal case. In a small, still mostly segregated, section of rural Louisiana, an all white jury heard a series of white witnesses called by a white prosecutor testify in a courtroom overseen by a white judge in a trial of a fight at the local high school where a white student who had been making racial taunts was hit by black students. The fight was the culmination of a series of racial incidents starting when whites responded to black students sitting under the “white tree” at their school by hanging three nooses from the tree. The white jury and white prosecutor and all white supporters of the white victim were all on one side of the courtroom. The black defendant, 17-year-old Mychal Bell, and his supporters were on the other. The jury quickly convicted Mychal Bell of two felonies – aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. Bell, who was a 16-year-old sophomore football star at the time he was arrested, faces up to 22 years in prison. Five other black youths await similar trials on second-degree attempted murder and conspiracy charges.

 

Yes, you read that correctly. The rest of the story, which is being reported across the world in papers in China, France and England, is just as chilling. The trouble started under “the white tree” in front of Jena High School. The “white tree” is where the white students, 80 percent of the student body, would always sit during school breaks. In September 2006, a black student at Jena high school asked permission from school administrators to sit under the “white tree.” School officials advised them to sit wherever they wanted. They did. The next day, three nooses, in the school colors, were hanging from the “white tree.” The message was clear. “Those nooses meant the KKK, they meant ‘Niggers, we’re going to kill you, we’re going to hang you till you die,'” Casteptla Bailey, a mother of one of the students, told the London Observer. The Jena high school principal found that three white students were responsible and recommended expulsion. The white superintendent of schools over-ruled the principal and gave the students a three-day suspension saying the nooses were just a youthful stunt. “Adolescents play pranks,” the superintendent told the Chicago Tribune, “I don’t think it was a threat against anybody.” The African-American community was hurt and upset. “Hanging those nooses was a hate crime, plain and simple,” according to Tracy Bowens, a mother of students at Jena High. But blacks in this area of Louisiana have little political power. The ten-person, all-male government of the parish has one African-American member. The nine-member, all-male school board has one African-American member. (A person called the local school board trying to find out the racial makeup of the school board, and was told there was one “colored” member of the board). There is one black police officer in Jena and two black public school teachers.

 

Jena, with a population of less than 3000, is the largest town in and parish (county) seat of LaSalle Parish, Louisiana. There are about 350 African-Americans in the town. LaSalle has a population of just over 14,000 people – 12 percent African-American. This is solid Bush and David Duke Country – GWB won LaSalle Parish 4 to 1 in the last two elections; Duke carried a majority of the white vote when he ran for Governor of Louisiana. Families earn about 60 percent of the national average. The Census Bureau reports that less than 10 percent of the businesses in LaSalle Parish are black owned. Jena is the site of the infamous Juvenile Correctional Center for Youth that was forced to close its doors in 2000, only two years after opening, due to widespread brutality and racism including the choking of juveniles by guards after a youth met with a lawyer. The US Department of Justice sued the private prison amid complaints that guards paid inmates to fight each other and laughed when teens tried to commit suicide. Black students decided to resist and organized a sit-in under the “white tree” at the school to protest the light suspensions given to the noose-hanging white students. The white district attorney then came to Jena High with law-enforcement officers to address a school assembly. According to testimony in a later motion in court, the DA reportedly threatened the black protesting students saying that if they didn’t stop making a fuss about this “innocent prank”, “I can be your best friend or your worst enemy. I can take away your lives with a stroke of my pen.” The school was put on lockdown for the rest of the week. Racial tensions remained high throughout the fall.

 

On the night of Thursday November 30, 2006, a still-unsolved fire burned down the main academic building of Jena High School. On Friday night, December 1, a black student who showed up at a white party was beaten by whites. On Saturday, December 2, a young white man pulled out a shotgun in a confrontation with young black men at the Gotta Go convenience store outside Jena before the men wrestled it away from him. The black men who took the shotgun away were later arrested; no charges were filed against the white man. On Monday, December 4, at Jena High, a white student – who allegedly had been making racial taunts, including calling African-American students “niggers” while supporting the students who hung the nooses and who beat up the black student at the off-campus party – was knocked down, punched and kicked by black students. The white victim was taken to the hospital treated and released. He attended a social function that evening. Six black Jena students were arrested and charged with second-degree attempted murder. All six were expelled from school. The six charged were: 17-year-old Robert Bailey Junior whose bail was set at $138,000; 17-year-old Theo Shaw – bail $130,000; 18-year-old Carwin Jones – bail $100,000; 17-year-old Bryant Purvis – bail $70,000; 16-year-old Mychal Bell, a sophomore in high school who was charged as an adult and for whom bail was set at $90,000; and a still unidentified minor. Many of the young men, who came to be known as the Jena Six, stayed in jail for months. Few families could afford bond or private attorneys. Mychal Bell remained in jail from December 2006 until his trial because his family was unable to post the $90,000 bond. Theo Shaw has also remained in jail. Several of the other defendants remained in jail for months until their families could raise sufficient money to put up bonds. The Chicago Tribune wrote a powerful story headlined “Racial Demons Rear Heads.” The London Observer wrote: “Jena is gaining national notoriety as an example of the new ‘stealth’ racism, showing how lightly sleep the demons of racial prejudice in America’s Deep South, even in the year that a black man, Barak Obama, is a serious candidate for the White House.” The British Broadcasting Company aired a TV special report titled “Race Hate in Louisiana 2007.”

 

 

The Jena Six and their families were put under substantial pressure to plead guilty. Mychal Bell was reported to have been leaning towards pleading guilty right up until his trial when he decided he would not plead guilty to a felony. When it finally came, the trial of Mychal Bell was swift. Bell was represented by an appointed public defender.

 

 

On the morning of the trial, the DA reduced the charges from second-degree attempted murder to second-degree aggravated battery and conspiracy. Aggravated battery in Louisiana law demands the attack be with a dangerous weapon. The dangerous weapon? The prosecutor was allowed to argue to the jury that the tennis shoes worn by Bell could be considered a dangerous weapon used by “the gang of black boys” who beat the white victim. Most shocking of all, when the pool of potential jurors was summoned, fifty people appeared – every single one white. The LaSalle Parish clerk defended the all white group to the Alexandria Louisiana Town Talk newspaper saying that the jury pool was selected by computer. “The venire [panel of prospective jurors] is color-blind. The idea is for the list to truly reflect the racial makeup of the community, but the system does not take race into factor.” Officials said they had summoned 150 people, but these were the only people who showed up. The all-white jury which was finally chosen included two people friendly with the district attorney, a relative of one of the witnesses and several others who were friends of prosecution witnesses.
Bell’s parents, Melissa Bell and Marcus Jones, were not even allowed to attend the trial despite their objections, because they were listed as potential witnesses. The white victim, though a witness, was allowed to stay in the courtroom. The parents, who had been widely quoted in the media as critics of the process, were also told they could no longer speak to the media as long as the trial was in session. Marcus Jones had told the media, “It’s all about those nooses” and declared the charges racially motivated. Other supporters who planned a demonstration in support of Bell were ordered by the court not to do go near the courthouse or anywhere the judge would see them. The prosecutor called 17 witnesses – 11 white students, three white teachers and two white nurses. Some said they saw Bell kick the victim, others said they did not see him do anything. The white victim testified that he did not know if Bell hit him or not.

 

The Chicago Tribune reported the public defender did not challenge the all-white jury pool, put on no evidence and called no witnesses. The public defender told the Alexandria Town Talk, after resting his case without calling any witnesses, he knew he would be second-guessed by many, but was confident that the jury would return a verdict of not guilty. “I don’t believe race is an issue in this trial. I think I have a fair and impartial jury”

 

 

The jury deliberated for less than three hours and found Mychal Bell guilty on the maximum possible charges of second-degree aggravated battery and conspiracy. He faces up to a maximum of 22 years in prison. The public defender told the press afterwards, “I feel I put on the best defense that I could.” Responding to criticism of not putting on any witnesses, the attorney said “why open the door for further accusations? I did the best I could for my client, Mychal Bell.”At a rally in front of the courthouse the next day, Alan Bean, a Texas minister and leader of the Friends of Justice, said: “I have seen a lot of trials in my time. And I have never seen a more distressing miscarriage of justice than what happened in LaSalle Parish yesterday.” Khadijah Rashad of Lafayette Louisiana described the trial as a “modern day lynching.”

 

Tory Pegram with the Louisiana ACLU has been working with the parents for months. “People know if they don’t demand equal treatment now, they will never get it. People’s jobs and livelihoods have been threatened for attending Jena Six Defense meetings, but people are willing to risk that. One person told me: ‘We have to convince more people to come rally with us … What’s the worst that could happen? They fire us from our jobs? We have the worst jobs in the town anyway. They burn a cross on our lawns or burn down my house? All of that has happened to us before. We have to keep speaking out to make sure it doesn’t happen to us again, or our children will never be safe.'” Whites in the community were adamant that there is no racism. “We don’t have a problem,” according to one. Other locals told the media, “We all get along,” and “most blacks are happy with the way things are.” One person even said, “We don’t have many problems with our blacks.”

 

Melvin Worthington, the lone African-American school board member in LaSalle Parish, said it all could have been avoided. “There’s no doubt about it,” he told the Chicago Tribune, “whites and blacks are treated differently here. The white kids should have gotten more punishment for hanging those nooses. If they had, all the stuff that followed could have been avoided.” Hebert McCoy, a relative of one of the youths who has been trying to raise money for bail and lawyers, challenged people everywhere at the end of the rally when he said: “You better get out of your houses. You better come out and defend your children- because they are incarcerating them by the thousands. Jena’s not the beginning, but Jena has crossed the line. Justice is not right when you put on the wrong charges and then convict. I believe in justice. I believe in the point of law. I believe in accepting the punishment if I’m guilty. If I’m guilty, convict me and punishment, but if I’m innocent, no justice.” The crowd joined with him and shouted, “No peace!”

 

 

What happened to the white guys? The white victim of the beating was later arrested for bringing a hunting rifle loaded with 13 bullets onto the high school campus and released on $5000 bond. The white man who beat up the black youth at the off-campus party was arrested and charged with simple battery. The white students who hung up the nooses in the “white tree” were never charged. Since the arrests, a group of family members have been holding well-attended meetings, and have created a defense fund- The Jena Six Defense Committee. They have received support from the NAACP, the Louisiana ACLU and Friends of Justice.

 

 

For more information:
The Jena Six Defense Committee, PO Box 2798, Jena,
LA 71342 jena6defense@gmail.com; Friends of Justice,
507 North Donley Avenue, Tulia, TX 79088
www.fojtulia.org ; or the ACLU of Louisiana, PO Box 56157, New Orleans, LA 70156 www.laaclu.org or 417-350-0536.

 

What is next? The rest of the Jena Six await similar trials. Theodore Shaw is due to go on trial shortly. Mychal Bell is scheduled to be sentenced July 31. If he gets the maximum sentence he will not be out of prison until he is nearly 40. Meanwhile, the “white tree” outside Jena High sits quietly in the hot sun.
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Bill is a human-rights lawyer and law professor at Loyola University in New Orleans. You can reach him at Quigley@loyno.edu. Audrey Stewart contributed to this article.
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The face of God July 15, 2007

Posted by psmc in Uncategorized.
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Hubble Pic

To me, this is one of the most awe-inspiring photos ever taken. Every smudge of light is a galaxy. In the original, there are about 3,000 galaxies. This one is not as detailed due to memory restrictions. The brightest ones are only a BILLION light years away. The dimmest and furthest away are about 12.5 billion light years away. Or rather that was how far they were when the light from those objects started on its way to us. By now the furthest ones are on the order of 20 billion light years away.

Most of the galaxies are similar to our own. Our humble galaxy is average size; an assemblage of approximately 100 billion stars. And now it seems than planetary systems are fairly common. Assuming half the stars have planets and that half of them have a planet like Earth then we are looking at approximately 25 billion Earth-like planets. And if 1 percent of them have intelligent life then we probably have 250 million planets full pf critters like us. And that is just our galaxy.

This Hubble photo is of a very, very small part of the sky, about a quarter degree by a quarter degree in area. I am sure that this means very little to most of you. Another way to look at this, it would take 16,500,000 snapshots like this to cover the entire night sky.

Looking at this you realize how vast the universe is. If that isn’t a humbling thought, then not only do you really need to see a psychiatrist, you are probably very obnoxious as well.

Live Earth July 14, 2007

Posted by psmc in Uncategorized.
2 comments

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Yeah, I know this is basically the same one I had written in another blog, but I like it and I thought I would put it in a space where it might get more notice.

A weekend or two ago was the multi-city, 24 hour-long Live Earth Concert. The purpose of this event was to make everyone aware of Global Warming and the dire situation the planet is in. I have just one problem with this, who DOESN’T know about this by now? The changing climate has been front page news now for awhile and Global Warming is being blamed for every meteorological event. I think the only ones who aren’t aware of the situation are remote tribes in the Amazon, New Guinea and the Amish. And I am pretty sure the Amish have some inkling of what’s going on. They may live simply and plainly but they aren’t stupid. I doubt if many of these people will be going to any of the concerts. Except for a few rebellious Amish and Mennonite youths.

It also seems hypocritical to host rock concert which by its very nature is energy intensive. What’s wrong with folk music or chamber music, besides the fact that they aren’t as profitable as rock music. Also, a lot of the people who performed have life styles with rather large carbon footprints, large estates, private jets, etc. Yet they expect us to adopt changes and make sacrifices that they clearly are not doing.

Let’s not overlook Al Gore, former US vice-president and inventor of the Internet, who helped to organize this concert. Another person with a rather large carbon footprint. I can’t help but think he is using this more for political mileage and photo ops than saving the environment. He would do better in the long run if he would stay away from assigning blame and concentrate more on possible solutions. I like Al Gore, but I think he is wrong on ascribing the cause of Global Warming to primarily man’s activities and I object to his part in politicizing this whole debate. That won’t help anyone when the day is done.

How much energy was used to put on these concerts and to transmit his holographic to the masses? (When I heard tis was done my first thought was that of Emperor Palpatine talking to Darth Vader.) Supposedly they used green energy to supply electricity for this concert, but as far as I know there are not many windmills, tidal generators or solar cell arrays in NYC. At least not enough to supply enough to put on a rock concert. How much was used to broadcast it and how much was used by the people watching or listening to it? And I highly doubt if everyone who viewed it had green energy readily available.

I don’t mind the global concert, the good intentions, but I do mind the hypocrisy.