Monday, April 11, 2005

Our Country Has Been Overtaken By Murderous Thugs

Summary: Background: In an earlier study on malignant melanoma incidence in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the USA, we found a strong association between the introduction of FM radio broadcasting at full-body resonant frequencies and increasing melanoma incidence. The purpose of the current study was to review mortality and incidence data for malignant melanoma of the skin in Sweden and its temporal relation to increased “sun-traveling”, and to the introduction of FM and TV broadcasting net­works.

Posting of Email from New Service

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It Will be Karl Rove Who Brings Down Tom DeLay, Not the Democrats.

Our Country Has Been Overtaken By Murderous Thugs -- A BuzzFlash Guest Contribution
from Cindy Sheehan

The Bush Legacy to the American Worker: Inflation has outpaced the rise
in salaries for the first time in 14 years. And workers are paying a bigger
share of the cost of their healthcare. 4/11

Democratic "leaders are increasingly making the case that in 2005, it is
Congressional Republicans who are drunk with power, overreaching on issues
like Social Security and judicial nominations, ethically challenged, and
profoundly out of touch" 4/11

Iraq's new president, Jalal Talabani, said U.S. forces could leave in two
years, the time it will take to rebuild security forces and defeat the insurgency.
Sure, Gotch You. 4/11

A Very Funny Must Read! The Angry Liberal's Living Will

Revival of the Taliban; and more in the April 11th World Media Watch by
Gloria Lalumia

A pope of peace and Bush's war 4/11

Why are the Dems silent on Bush's infamously fraudulent "town hall" meetings?

Senior GOP advisor called a hypocrite after gay wedding 4/11

Military spending bill is ripe for the stuffing 4/11

Bolton, a Jesse Helms Protege, Wants to be Ambassador to the U.N. to Undercut
It and Close It Down, If Possible. Just Another Cynical, Dark Humor Bush
Appointment That Can Lead to World Tragedy. 4/11

Inquiries of Top Lobbyist Shine Unwelcome Light in Congress. DeLay May Just
be the Tip of the Iceberg. 4/11

GOP chair Mehlman, a boss in a party that demagogues against gays for cheap
votes, refuses to answer questions about his sexuality 4/11

PM Carpenter: Let's Not Jump on the "Values" Bandwagon 4/11

TomDispatch: Blood, oil and Iran 4/11

Data Show African Americans, Hispanics Pay More to Borrow for Home, Refinance

Arnold on the Ropes. Reality Catches Up to the Gropinator. 4/11

Obama's online pitch gives Byrd's campaign a big boost 4/11

Oh, Yeah, Does Bush Remember North Korea? 4/11

Democratic Underground unveils list of Top Ten Conservative Idiots 4/11

Buchenwald horror revisited 60 years after liberation 4/11

Reading the Constitution -- A BuzzFlash Reader Contribution 4/10

The Top Ten Conservative Idiots 4/11

These are Ironic Times 4/11

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The Top 10 Conservative Idiots (No. 193)
April 11, 2005 · Spouting Thomas Edition
Tom DeLay tops the list again this week after a tough week for ethics violators,
but Fox News is more than happy to give him an assist. Mel Martinez owned
up to the Terri Schiavo memo - sort of - not that The Forgery Shovelers
cared of course.

Bush wants to divert money from victims' funds
Posted by True_Blue
Added to homepage Mon Apr 11th 2005, 08:27 AM ET

As Victims' Rights Week begins, victims' advocates are seeking help from
Hawaii's congressional delegation to restore money intended to help victims
of violent crimes.

The Victims of Crime Act, established by President Ronald Reagan in 1981,
collects fees and fines from federal criminal defendants and uses them for
grants for compensation and services for victims locally. Congress caps
how much money can be spent each fiscal year to keep a reserve in case less
money is collected the next year. The current cap is $625 million.

The Bush administration wants to take away $1.2 billion dollars in reserves
that would have been sitting in the fund at the beginning of fiscal year
2007 and divert that money, as well as any new revenues, into the government's
general fund.

County Prosecuting Attorney Jay Kimura is among those who have asked the
congressional delegation for their help in stopping that plan.


Discuss this topic (44 responses)

Wolf Blitzer "not so sure" liberal CNN host Begala is "a good Catholic"
Posted by qanda
Added to homepage Mon Apr 11th 2005, 08:24 AM ET

On the April 8 edition of CNN's Inside Politics, CNN hosts Wolf Blitzer
and Judy Woodruff discussed Pope John Paul II's funeral with Crossfire co-hosts
Paul Begala and Robert Novak, both Catholics. Blitzer opened the segment
by suggesting that while "I'm sure Bob is a good Catholic, I'm not so sure
about Paul Begala." In responding to Blitzer, Begala took exception to on-screen
text* earlier in the program that characterized many Catholic doctrines
as "conservative":

BLITZER: While they were united today in mourning the death of the pope,
U.S. Catholics are a diverse group, as illustrated by two of our Crossfire
co-hosts, the conservative Robert Novak, the liberal Paul Begala. Both good
Catholics -- I don't know "good" Catholics, but both Catholics. I'm sure
Bob is a good Catholic, I'm not so sure about Paul Begala.

BEGALA: Well, now, who are you to pass moral judgment on my religion, Mr.
Blitzer? My goodness gracious.

BLITZER: All right, go ahead, go ahead.

BEGALA: On the day of my Holy Father's funeral. My eldest son is named John
Paul, after the Pope.

BLITZER: So you are a good Catholic?

BEGALA: I'm serious, that annoys me. I don't think anybody should presume
that a liberal is not a good Catholic.


Discuss this topic (88 responses)

Abramoff: 'Delay Knew Everything. He Knew All the Details.' (Newsweek)
Posted by seemslikeadream
Added to homepage Mon Apr 11th 2005, 08:22 AM ET

Luncheon Companion of Jack Abramoff Says the Former Lobbyist Lashed Out
Last Week:
'Delay Knew Everything. He Knew All the Details.'

NEW YORK, April 10 /PRNewswire/ -- At lunch at his downtown Washington restaurant
last week, Jack Abramoff -- the once Washington superlobbyist who is now
the target of a Justice Department criminal probe -- lashed out in frustration
and was noticeably caustic about House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, reports
Investigative Correspondent Michael Isikoff in the April 18 issue of Newsweek
(on newsstands Monday, April 11). "Everybody is lying," Abramoff told a
former colleague. "Those S.O.B.s," Abramoff said about DeLay and his staffers,
according to his luncheon companion. "DeLay knew everything. He knew all
the details." There are e-mails and records that will implicate others,
Abramoff said.

For years, Abramoff raised hundreds of thousands for DeLay's political causes
and hired DeLay's aides, or kicked them business, when they left his employ.
But now DeLay, too, has problems-in part because of overseas trips allegedly
paid for by Abramoff's clients. In response, DeLay and his aides have said
repeatedly they were unaware of Abramoff's behind-the-scenes financing role.


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Equal Time with Bob Boudelang
April 9, 2005 · By Bob Boudelang

The Top 10 Conservative Idiots
April 11

Equal Time with Bob Boudelang
April 9

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Pope John Paul II
Laid to Rest in Rome

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April 11, 2005

Alfred Webre

4-11-05 - 4-17-05

Billionaire Picks One-Horse Town To Start Space Empire

Genetically Engineered Crops Damage Wildlife

Scientist Calls For World DNA Database

Zimbabwe - Been There, Done That

Melanoma Not Caused By Sun But By EMF Exposure

Video Shows Object In Sky Over St. Peter's

Differences in page

US Workers Hit by 'Perfect s
Storm' of Economic Force

DeLay May Be Headed
for Hotter Water

I find this post engaging. However, there are some areas missing from the equation. I would have to spend time to collect my thoughts to make my case, but there are the tremendous changes in mass transportation, mass communication, other technology, life span, etc. that need to be included in this discussion.

2 high-powered Chicago thinkers (a Nobel Prize winner and a rabble-rousing federal judge) rattle the blogosphere -- one intellectual grenade at a time

By Maureen Ryan
Tribune staff reporter

April 7, 2005

Though the blogosphere is gaining in respect and influence, the word "blogger," for some, still brings to mind an image of a wild-haired ranter -- a guy in his basement, clad in pajamas, railing at the world from behind the glowing screen of his computer.

Which is why Judge Richard A. Posner and professor Gary S. Becker, world-renowned academics and authors, still encounter the occasional raised eye-brow when the topic of their new blog, , comes up.

"My guess is that some people think it's in somewhat questionable taste," Posner said in a phone interview. "I don't think people would be disturbed by what I actually say in these postings, but they might feel it's unusual for a judge to be doing a blog."

Blogs are increasingly popular in areas in which academia, public policy and law intersect. Yet in some legal circles, they are seen as being a little off-the-beaten path. Becker has gotten his share of mixed feedback on the site.

People "were surprised. But it's also true that a number who looked at it and actually read it wrote me back and said, 'Gee, this is an interesting blog,' " Becker said. Given both men's stature as leading intellectuals and authors, the site has gotten noticed plenty; the duo's postings on everything from the controversy over alleged sexist comments at Harvard to Social Security reform have been quoted and commented upon throughout the blogosphere.

But the intellectually challenging comments and the immediacy of blog communi-cation are just part of the attraction for Becker and Posner. Here, they discuss their reasons for starting their blog and what the experience has been like so far.

Richard A. Posner, 66, is a pioneer in law and economics, a senior lecturer at the University of Chicago law school, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit and "the most mercilessly seditious legal theorist of his generation," according to a 2001 New Yorker profile.

Gary S. Becker, 74, is a Nobel prize-winning economist and a professor at the University of Chicago. Becker grew up in Pottsville, Pa., "a little coal mining town in Eastern Pennsylvania." Read more about Becker at here .


Last year Posner guest-blogged for Lawrence Lessig , a Stanford law professor, and enjoyed the experience. He later asked Lessig for help setting up the Becker-Posner blog. The site's a little different in that it doesn't have the daily posting frequently seen in the blogosphere. Posner and Becker decide on a topic (say, the future of China), then each writes an entry on it. Both entries are posted about once a week, along with their reactions to comments by readers.


- Becker, April 3:

"Authoritarian regimes can do well economically when they have good leaders, but they can produce disasters when these leaders have foolish economic ideas."

- Posner, March 26:

"Let me make clear that I have no ethical objection to performance-enhancing drugs."


Why did you start a blog?

It was actually professor Becker's idea. He had been doing a column for Business Week for a number of years, a monthly column, and I think he'd gotten tired of that but also he felt, as we all feel, that the blog phenomenon is very important, it's an important way of reaching people, it has a degree of freedom that you don't have writing for a magazine.

It may seem a trivial point but [it's] actually not; magazines impose very very strict word limitations on their columnists . . . . With the blog, we don't want to go on for thousands of words, but you don't have that kind of mechanical limitation. And you're not tied to a rigid schedule.

And also, I think this is very important, with Business Week or any other magazine, of course, you get letters to the editor. But with the blog, what would be a letter to the editor is a comment that a reader of the blog can just post. It's much easier than writing a letter, it doesn't have to be formal, you don't need a stamp or anything. It's really simple.

Then it's very easy for us to read the comments. And we can respond to them. Again, we don't have space or time limitations, we can respond whenever we have a set of interesting comments, then the commenters, they can go back and forth with each other, so the blog stimulates a kind of interchange that isn't really feasible in the print medium.

And, of course, it's free; we don't get anything and it doesn't cost anything to create the blog; it doesn't cost anything to read it. Once you have [Web access] it's free. You don't have to subscribe, there's no paperwork, no billing. So it has extraordinary flexibility. And autonomy -- you don't negotiate with an editor what you can write about -- you write whatever you want to.

Is that a liberating feeling?

Well, of course the other side of it is, the blogging is not as carefully done as the other extreme, an academic article. For that you would spend more time, do more research and probably confine yourself to a more limited subject matter where you're a real expert. It would be vetted by journal editors and referees and so on.

Nowadays a process like that can easily take a year or more. So that's a big cost and that's avoided by the blog, but the other side of it is the accuracy problem and the depth problem.

What's good about it is that through the comments and through other blogs, as we know from the CBS fiasco, there's extremely rapid communication and correction. So the blogger doesn't have his fact-checking staff, but if you make a mistake, within minutes a bunch of people have descended on you.

That, I think, is a very important advantage over the newspapers.

Newspapers have their fact-checkers, people write in and make corrections, newspapers will print corrections. But you know, I don't think many people read the corrections. And if they do, they've forgotten what's being corrected. [With blogs] the opportunity for immediate correction of errors is very important.

When did you first become aware of blogs?

It's pretty recent. I started reading a couple of them, like Andrew Sullivan's, and this fellow in Tennessee, Instapundit , and Mickey Kaus and a few others maybe a couple of years ago. My real introduction to the process was that a friend of mine, a [law] professor at Stanford, Larry Lessig , asked me to be a guest blogger for a week last summer. And that's when I learned how it works, how you post things and so on. That was my real initiation, and I enjoyed the experience. . . . Having dipped my toes in the water, when Becker suggested this, I was responsive.

What have you thought of what people have posted to the comment areas of the blog?

They have a high-average quality -- I found it also when I did Lessig's blog. The comments are really interesting, they add a lot to it.

It makes for a more participatory relationship. If you read a newspaper, it's a passive experience. You don't have much of a sense of being part of the enterprise. [On a blog] you have regular commenters; they clearly feel they are contributing to this enterprise. I worry a little about people spending too much time sitting in front of the computer doing this stuff.


Why did you start a blog?

There's a new medium, the Internet, and it does a lot of different things, but it's a way of conveying information and discussing public policy issues, and I think the latter has not been exploited so much. So it seemed like it would make good use of the Internet. Most blogs are personal diaries [about] sex, a lot of them, but [we wanted] to make it a discussion between two people with related but not the same views on issues and see if that could generate interest among people and further discussion.

I had written a column for almost 20 years for Business Week, and I enjoyed doing that a lot but after awhile got tired of doing that. This seemed like another type of challenge.

Why blog with Posner?

We've been friends for a long time. I have a great deal of respect for him; he's an amazingly able person and I thought we would have enough similarities and enough differences to make it an interesting dialogue.

What can blogs do that other forms of communication can't do?

You instantaneously reach a world-wide audience, in principle. . . . we seem to have a good following and it's certainly beyond the U.S. borders.

People can respond immediately. We usually post Sunday night or Monday morning, and the vast majority of comments that we see are in within a couple of days or so. So this instantaneous ability to be in contact with your readership and get responses from your readership I think is unique to the Internet.

The other aspect I liked about it was the informality of the blog presentation. I didn't have to go through copy editors or anybody. There are disadvantages to that, but to me, it was a relief, to tell you the truth. A lot of the stuff we post there isn't quite finished . . . it's more informal. . . . That appealed to me.

What has the readership been like?

I don't keep close track -- we were informed after the first few [weeks] that we were pretty high up there in the readership among serious blogs, but I haven't kept track of it. But we do get a lot of comments, not only in terms of those posted, but in terms of e-mails and so on.

What has the commentary been like?

I've been impressed by the level of the commentary we've gotten. If we get a comment that's erroneous, somebody else writes in and points it out. We try to address what people write in the comments, but in my last one I said, `Since most of what I thought were mistakes in the comments were answered by other comments, I can be very brief.' [The commenters] engage in a discussion among themselves.

China, Social Security reform, legalizing drugs

The mechanics of Richard Posner and Gary Becker's blog are a little unusual: The two men decide on an idea or theme and then take turns writing the primary post on that theme. The other then writes a response to the first post and elaborates his ideas on the topic; both entries are usually posted early each week. Later in the week, the men respond to reader comments and clarify or expand their thoughts.

Both say the blog is something of a laboratory for various ideas and theories they have about social policy and current events, and they don't by any means always agree with one another. Below are portions.

April 3: Will China Become the Leading Nation of the 21st Century? Perhaps Not! (Becker)

"Authoritarian regimes can do well economically when they have good leaders, but they can produce disasters when these leaders have foolish economic ideas. China discovered this under Mao, with his incredible "great leap forward" that helped kill millions of rural Chinese. While the evidence indicates that authoritarian regimes do not grow slower on average than democratic governments, they do have more unstable growth rates than democracies. I believe China will become more democratic if it continues to grow rapidly, but economic progress could falter badly if they select poor leaders who have strange ideas about how economies should be organized."

April 3: Will China Overtake the U.S.? (Posner)

"But there are definite negatives in the picture. I am struck by the resemblance between China and Wilhelmine Germany (1871--1918) -- two aggressively, at times hysterically, nationalistic countries, paranoid about encirclement by potential enemies (in China's case, Russia to the North, India to the Southwest, Vietnam to the South, and South Korea, Taiwan, and above all the United States, to the East), and possessed of economic institutions more advanced than their political institutions. That is an explosive combination. It may lead China to invest very heavily in military power and even to become involved in wars that could bring disaster upon it."

March 27: The Bankruptcy Reform Act (Posner)

"Critics say that more than half of all individual bankrupts are not reckless borrowers but rather are unfortunate people who have been hit by unexpected medical expenses. But this ignores the fact that whether one is forced into bankruptcy by a medical expense (or by an interruption of employment as a result of a medical problem) depends on one's other borrowing. If one is already borrowed to the hilt, an unexpected medical expense may indeed force one over the edge. But knowing that medical expenses are a risk in our society, prudent people avoid loading themselves to the hilt with nonmedical debt.

"At a more fundamental level, one might ask why voluntary bankruptcy is ever permitted.

"Behind the Bankruptcy Reform Act, as behind the President's proposal for social security reform, is an ideology of giving nonwealthy people greater responsibility for their own economic welfare, which entails subjecting them to additional financial risk."

March 27: Response on Legalizing Drugs (Becker)

"A couple of comments claimed legalization would be a tax on the poor, especially with the market price held constant. I do agree that the demand for drugs by the poor would be more responsive than demand by others to a fall in price produced by legalization. But can anyone doubt that the war on drugs has primarily hurt the poor? They are the ones mainly sentenced to prison on drug charges, their neighborhoods are often destroyed by drugs, and so forth.

"I did not suggest that the legal excise tax on drugs should keep the market price of drugs constant -- I allowed the possibility that the tax could be high enough to lead to higher prices, or low enough to produce lower prices than at present. My instincts as an economist are to favor giving individuals free choice as long as they do not harm others. But as a parent I also understand the desire to keep drugs away from young persons so that they do not get started along that path, although the prohibitionists have to realize that little is known about what behaviors would substitute for drug use.

"Legalization would give the government additional tax revenue if they do not cut other taxes. I have sympathy with the comments that are skeptical of whether the government would use that revenue wisely. But it would still be much better than the present system that involves, among other things, a drain on taxpayers' resources, and hits the poor especially hard."

March 26: The War on Drugs -- Posner's Response to comments

"Regarding performance-enhancing drugs, such as steroids, one comment points out that sports fans appreciate better performance, and notes that professional football is more popular than college football (alumni loyalties to one side). But there is a difference between skill and strength; if the principal effect of steroids is to increase strength rather than skill, it is not clear that entertainment value is enhanced. But suppose it is. Then what must be considered is the tradeoff between the increased income that steroid-consuming athletes can expect to obtain and the risks to their health. The tradeoff is complicated because some athletes will prefer the higher income and others will prefer to have better health and, being thus at a competitive disadvantage, will drop out of the sport. It is unclear whether there will be a net increase in performance, since some killed athletes will be lost to the sport, though those that remain will be better performers.

"Let me make clear that I have no ethical objection to performance-enhancing drugs. Suppose there's a drug that adds 10 IQ points to everyone who takes it, and it has no adverse health consequences. Once some people start taking the drug, this will put pressure on others to follow suit. But I don't see any difference between this effect and that resulting from an effort by a young business person to gain a competitive edge by getting an MBA, which will place pressure on his competitors to do likewise. That kind of competition improves economic welfare."

Feb. 12: Social Security (Posner response to comments)

"Some of these excellent comments [by readers of the blog] put me in mind of the following crude but suggestive way of stating the difference between liberals and conservatives: liberals think that the average person is good but dumb, conservatives that he or she is `bad' (in the sense of self-interested) but smart. Liberals trust the intellectual elite (because they are good) to guide the masses (because they cannot guide themselves); conservatives distrust the elite (because the elite are bad and therefore dangerous) and think the masses can guide themselves. So in the social security debate, liberals oppose private accounts because they do not think the average person competent to manage money for retirement but think government can be trusted to manage it; conservatives support private accounts because they give the opposite of the liberals' answers to the goodness and competence questions.

"The basic contrast that I have suggested (something of a caricature, I admit) between the liberal and conservative world views has a further implication for the social security debate. Bel[i]eving that people are good and therefore never, or at least very rarely, deserve to be poor, liberals favor redistribution of wealth from rich to poor, which a self-financed retirement system would be incapable of bringing about because everyone would be paying for his own retirement rather than for the retirement of others. Conservatives recognize that people can be unlucky, and also (because in the conservative view people are `bad') that the elderly may free ride on their children, and on these grounds support public welfare for the indigent elderly."

What others in `blogosphere' are saying

Comments on other blogs about the Becker-Posner blog :

"The old joke about Chicago school economists is that they believe you can't find a dollar on the street because it's already been found in our world of efficient markets. . . . The Chicago school's irrational belief in rational actors and efficient markets rarely shows up in quite as ridiculous a form as the dollar that can't be found on the street, but a recent posting on the Posner-Becker Blog by Judge Richard Posner, arguably the most peripatetic legal mind of a generation and an adherent of Chicago school economics, comes mighty close." ( )

"The question is what [immigration] reforms could potentially gain political support and improve the lives of these immigrants. Counterintuitive as it might seem (and I can already hear some liberal friends screaming), I think Gary Becker's proposal to sell additional immigration slots for $50,000 a green card meets these criteria." ( )

"Nobel-prize-winning economist Becker and federal circuit judge Posner have made their introductory post and will be blogging over [at ]. It has been highly anticipated. By the way, why is it that I feel like such a dork every time I say the word `blogosphere'?" ( )

"Posner's take is that [Lawrence] Summers should have kept his mouth shut to begin with, but having opened it, he should not have apologized for what he said." ( )

Readers post their opinions

Some comments from visitors to the Becker-Posner blog:

Reaction to "Aids, Population and Policy": "Lots of people . . . would rather see Africans die in massive numbers than for the relevant facts to be understood in the West even among the elite audience that frequents this website."

Reaction to a post on Harvard's Lawrence Summers: "The unintellectual witch hunt against Summers is completely disgraceful. . . . But on some level this is the price Summers pays by hitching his wagon to the liberal left. What the heck did he expect?"

Reaction to a post on selling the right to immigrate: "As a wealthy businessman, I would be thrilled to put up the $50K each for a bunch of poor immigrants in exchange for 20-year work contracts. Naturally, I would provide them with room and board (in shacks near my fields/mill/factory/whatever) as well as a couple hundred bucks a month for spending money."

Reaction to a post on China's future: "I am constantly amazed that these discussions about countries constantly bring out this us vs. them mind set. Why do you (meaning some of the other commentators) care if it is the U.S. or a future (possibly Democratic) China that is more economically powerful?"


Other popular and influential academic and/or legal blogs:

- : A site from technology-law guru Lawrence Lessig, a professor at Stanford Law.

- : Current-affairs site from University of Tennessee law professor Glenn Reynolds.

- : A group blog addressing legal issues; named for contributor Eugene Volokh, a professor at UCLA's law school.

- : Ohio State law prof Douglas Berman's site is one-stop shopping for latest changes to federal sentencing guidelines.

- : U of C-Berkeley econ prof J. Bradford DeLong tackles economics, politics and current events.
Copyright © 2005, Chicago Tribune

Hmm, another interesting topic posted from Bainbridge.

Another post at the Bainbridge blog where his commentary is the mostly desultory (meaning not rigorous), yet the subject of the discussion is current and interesting.

(Hat tip to Professor Bainbridge []) On the whole, I believe true conservatives (i.e. ones who follow these principles) should be more outraged at the current state of affairs than so-called liberals. "The Spy who was left out in the Cold -
The Untold TRUE Story of a woman left alone without
protection from her government �The USA�, a woman, who
had special clearance with the FBI, a woman who saw,
and knew too much about a major drug trafficking ring "

Technorati Tags: sept11 WTC "John O'Neil"
Dems swing party chair vote by crashing grass-roots meeting

By Samara Kalk Derby
April 10, 2005
Local Democratic Party members crashed a meeting of Democracy for Wisconsin after learning that the group was voting to endorse a little-known, grass-roots contender for Wisconsin Democratic Party chairman.
About 100 people packed into a small upstairs room at the Madison Public Library downtown Wednesday night. The standing-room-only crowd was more than twice the number that typically shows up for the citizen group's monthly meetings and swung the endorsement vote in their favor.
Democracy for Wisconsin and other Democracy for America groups grew out of the presidential campaign of former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean. For two years the local organization has worked to develop a network throughout the state to foster stronger, sustained participation in American democracy.
The majority of core local Democracy for Wisconsin members support Jeff Rammelt, the longtime chairman of the Jefferson County Democratic Party, to chair the state party.
The others - a group that included students and activists along with Madison Ald. Austin King and Tim Sullivan, president of Dane County Local 65 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees - support former state Sen. Joe Wineke, who sat in the front of the room.
At the end of the meeting, when the hands were counted, there were fewer than 30 votes for Rammelt. So many hands went up for Wineke that DFW organizers didn't bother to count.
DFW went ahead with its vote even though many "

Archives: St. Petersburg Times

Archives: St. Petersburg Times: "

Blogs spin theories of computers, conspiracies; [SOUTH PINELLAS Edition]
LUCY MORGAN. St. Petersburg Times. St. Petersburg, Fla.: Apr 9, 2005. pg. 1.B
Abstract (Document Summary)
At the time, [Tom Feeney] was general counsel for [Clint Curtis]' employer, Yang Enterprises, an Oveido computer company. Curtis says he initially thought Feeney was concerned Democrats might try to fix elections. Later, Curtis said his boss told him Feeney wanted to fix voting machines in South Florida to help Republicans.
Curtis began complaining to authorities about Feeney and [Li Yang] on May 10, 2001, a day after attorneys for Yang questioned whether Curtis' employment by a DOT subcontractor violated a noncompete agreement he had with Yang. The lawyers also questioned whether Curtis had taken a confidential computer program when he left Yang in March 2001.
Curtis and Mavis Georgalis, his DOT supervisor, also told DOT investigators about other problems with Yang, including alleged overbilling on contracts. Curtis said Yang frequently billed for all of his time when he was also working for other clients. They also accused the Yangs of allowing an illegal alien to handle state contracts in violation of state law.
Full Text (1520 words)
Copyright Times Publishing Co. Apr 9, 2005
Democrats around the country have accused Republicans of stealing the last two presidential elections in Florida.
Now some Internet Web sites that traffic in conspiracy theories have fashioned something of a political thriller out of a series of apparently unrelated events they say prove the elections really were st"

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Ailing Health Care

The New York Times > Opinion > Op-Ed Columnist: Ailing Health Care


April 11, 2005
Ailing Health Care

hose of us who accuse the administration of inventing a Social Security crisis are often accused, in return, of do-nothingism, of refusing to face up to the nation's problems. I plead not guilty: America does face a real crisis - but it's in health care, not Social Security.

Well-informed business executives agree. A recent survey of chief financial officers at major corporations found that 65 percent regard immediate action on health care costs as "very important." Only 31 percent said the same about Social Security reform.

But serious health care reform isn't on the table, and in the current political climate it probably can't be. You see, the health care crisis is ideologically inconvenient.

Let's start with some basic facts about health care.

Notice that I said "health care reform," not "Medicare reform." The rising cost of Medicare may loom large in political discussion, because it's a government program (and because it's often, wrongly, lumped together with Social Security by the crisis-mongers), but this isn't a story of runaway government spending. The costs of Medicare and of private health plans are both rising much faster than G.D.P. per capita, and at about the same rate per enrollee.

So what we're really facing is rapidly rising spending on health care generally, not just the part of health care currently paid for by taxpayers.

Rising health care spending isn't primarily the result of medical price inflation. It's primarily a response to innovation: the range of things that medicine can do keeps increasing. For example, Medicare recently started paying for implanted cardiac devices in many patients with heart trouble, now that research has shown them to be highly effective. This is good news, not bad.

So what's the problem? Why not welcome medical progress, and consider its costs money well spent? There are three answers.

First, America's traditional private health insurance system, in which workers get coverage through their employers, is unraveling. The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that in 2004 there were at least five million fewer jobs with health insurance than in 2001. And health care costs have become a major burden on those businesses that continue to provide insurance coverage: General Motors now spends about $1,500 on health care for every car it produces.

Second, rising Medicare spending may be a sign of progress, but it still must be paid for - and right now few politicians are willing to talk about the tax increases that will be needed if the program is to make medical advances available to all older Americans.

Finally, the U.S. health care system is wildly inefficient. Americans tend to believe that we have the best health care system in the world. (I've encountered members of the journalistic elite who flatly refuse to believe that France ranks much better on most measures of health care quality than the United States.) But it isn't true. We spend far more per person on health care than any other country - 75 percent more than Canada or France - yet rank near the bottom among industrial countries in indicators from life expectancy to infant mortality.

This last point is, in a way, good news. In the long run, medical progress may force us to make a harsh choice: if we don't want to become a society in which the rich get life-saving medical treatment and the rest of us don't, we'll have to pay much higher taxes. The vast waste in our current system means, however, that effective reform could both improve quality and cut costs, postponing the day of reckoning.

To get effective reform, however, we'll need to shed some preconceptions - in particular, the ideologically driven belief that government is always the problem and market competition is always the solution.

The fact is that in health care, the private sector is often bloated and bureaucratic, while some government agencies - notably the Veterans Administration system - are lean and efficient. In health care, competition and personal choice can and do lead to higher costs and lower quality. The United States has the most privatized, competitive health system in the advanced world; it also has by far the highest costs, and close to the worst results.

Over the next few weeks I'll back up these assertions, and talk about what a workable health care reform might look like, if we can get ideology out of the way.


Aljazeera.Net - US urged to probe Iraq media deaths

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Lawrence Lessig

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Behold, the wizard of blogs

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911 Updates

Technorati Tags: sept11 wtc OKCityBombing

Date: 04/10/05 20:59:37
Subject: 9/11 Truth Alert: Larry Flynt, OK City and Pro Bono "Hijacker Hunts"

9/11 Truth Alert: Larry Flynt, OK City and Pro Bono "Hijacker Hunts"

- Fundraising Results & Gratias
- Larry Flint takes on 9/11
- Oklahoma City 10th Anniversary Truth Rally
- Play "Hunt the Hijackers" Now!


First off would sincerely like to thank the hundreds of you who generously responded to our funds request last month. We collected a little over $4000 -- a decimal place shy of what we needed to launch "911 in 30 seconds" media contest, but enough to help us seed other low-rent projects such as the "Hijacker Hunt" described below. We fully understand the despair now afflicting many truthseekers, but we think that spirits (and donations) will pick up this spring as many heartening new possibilities heave into view.

DONORS NOTE: We have acknowledged and sent premiums to those who contributed by mail, but we are blocked from receiving addresses of online contributors. If you contributed online and would like to finally receive your tax-exemption letter and/or donor premium, please send us your mailing address and put "DONOR REQUEST" on the Subject line. These addresses will not be shared with anyone and will be held in strictest confidence.


Despite hit jobs like the Popular Mechanics' disinfo rant and the suffocating Schiavo/pope/Michael Jackson media congestion overall, our truth may really come alive in 2005 as 9/11 skepticism finally starts to take off in the alternative press. "We're All Paranoid," the 3/21/05 San Francisco Bay Guardian's 9/11 cover story, was exceptionally long, detailed and sympathetic, and nostalgically reminds you what journalism was originally intended to do. ( )

The next big, welcome and ironic breakthrough will hit the newsstands the June first as Larry Flint features renowned theologian Dr. David Ray Griffin in a four-page Hustler interview/article entitled "What if Everything You Knew about 9/11 was Wrong?" Hustler is not only a major mass market rag, Flint has exploited it skillfully in the past to break major cover-ups around the FBI, Catholic clergy child abuse, the Clinton-stoners' own sexual scandals, etc. If he gets gratifying feedback on his first 9/11 effort and/or recognizes the need for more investigative follow-through, he could become a formidable ally. In any case, in this interview he will bring the best evidence for US 9/11 complicity a giant step closer to the mass awareness it deserves.


"Former Oklahoma State Representative Charles Key, co-author of “The Final Report”*, in cooperation with The OKC Bombing Investigation Committee, REACH committee, and writer/documentary film producer Christopher Emery are pleased to announce “The OKC Bombing: A Day of Truth ~ Ten Years Later” reception, dinner, and speakers forum to be held in Oklahoma City on Tuesday, April 19th and Wednesday, April 20th, 2005.

Speakers for the special ten-year anniversary event include former U.S. Congressmen Bob Barr and Charles Key, retired USAF Brigadier General Benton K. Partin, local police & grand jury members, and many other heavy OKC truth warriors.

What is new and most hopeful is that Key has also included major 9/11 truth advocates such as former PA Assistant Attorney General Phil J. Berg, Byron Belitsos, Gabriel Day, and many more, and he is further proposing long-term strategic cooperation between the OKC and 9/11 truth movements. This convergence is largely due to the fact the commonalities between the OKC and 9/11 plots have become all too obvious, including the official involvement, the suppressed evidence, the FBI cover-up, the cowed media, and hundreds of victims still hungering for the facts. We urge you to visit the event's website at and Key's own site at for reference and envision ways our two powerful truth crusades can creatively interact.

Given the new drive for 9/11-related hearings in DC this summer, we feel it is extremely important that these events show up on the media map. One simple powerful way to attract surviving "journalists" and focus public attention is to include one or two of the alleged hijackers in the public witness list.

There have been press stories for years about five surviving "hijackers" who complained FBI reports of their murderous demise were premature at best. Despite these articles and testimony, the FBI has never once attempted to correct their original hijacker list and the 9/11 Commission never questioned their deception on this front at all.

We are therefore asking all of you to help us track down at least two of these gentlemen so they can tell their stories to DC, CSPAN and the American public, and ask why, three years later, the FBI still refuses to clear their names.

We need current addresses, phone numbers and/or emails and we need them asap. If you have any PI skills or investigative talent, we could certainly use some fast help on this front. Please address all your findings (and how you wish them credited) to:

"Hunt the Hijackers" Starting points c/o

" September 16-23, 2001 : Reports appear in many newspapers suggesting that some of the people the US says were 9/11 hijackers are actually still alive:

Ahmed Alnami is still alive and working as an administrative supervisor with Saudi Arabian Airlines, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] He had never lost his passport and found it “very worrying” that his identity appeared to have been stolen. [Telegraph, 9/23/01] However, there is another Ahmed Alnami who is ten years younger, and appears to be dead, according to his father. [ABC News, 3/15/02]

Saeed Alghamdi is alive and flying airplanes in Tunisia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, Telegraph, 9/23/01, BBC, 9/23/01] He says he studied flight training in a Florida flight schools for parts of the years, 1998, 1999, 2000, and 2001. [Arab News, 9/18/01]

Salem Alhazmi is alive and working at a petrochemical plant in Yanbou, Saudi Arabia. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, Telegraph, 9/23/01] He says his passport was stolen by a pickpocket in Cairo three years ago and that pictures and details such as date of birth are of him. [Guardian, 9/21/01 (C), Washington Post, 9/20/01, Saudi Gazette, 9/29/02]

((Graphic: The Salem Alhazmi on the left [Saudi Gazette, 9/23/01] claims that the FBI pictures of a Salem Alhazmi such as this one on the right [FBI] are of him, from when his passport was stolen. ))

The brothers Waleed M. Alshehri and Wail Alshehri are alive. A Saudi spokesman said, “This is a respectable family. I know his sons, and they're both alive.” The father is a diplomat who has been stationed in the US and Bombay, India. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, Arab News, 9/19/01] There is a second pair of Saudi brothers named Wail and Waleed M. who may have been the real hijackers. Their father says they've been missing since December 2000. [ABC News, 3/15/02, Arab News, 9/17/01] The still living Waleed M. Alshehri is a pilot with Saudi Airlines, studying in Morocco. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01, AP, 9/22/01] He acknowledges that he attended flight training school at Dayton Beach in the United States. [BBC, 9/23/01, Daily Trust, 9/24/01] He was interviewed by US officials in Morocco, and cleared of all charges against him (though apparently the FBI photos are still of him!). [Embry Riddle Aeronautical University press release, 9/21/01] The still living Wail Alshehri is also apparently a pilot. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] What are the odds that two Saudi terrorist brothers would find two other Saudi brothers with the same names who were pilots with one even training in Florida?

Abdulaziz Alomari is alive and working as a pilot for Saudi Arabian Airlines. [New York Times, 9/16/01, Independent, 9/17/01, BBC, 9/23/01] He claims that his passport was stolen in 1995 while he was living in Denver, Colorado. [Los Angeles Times, 9/21/01] “They gave my name and my date of birth, but I am not a suicide bomber. I am here. I am alive.” [Telegraph, 9/23/01, London Times, 9/20/01]

On September 19, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. distributes a “special alert” to its member banks asking for information about the attackers. The list includes “Al-Midhar, Khalid. Alive.” The Justice Department later calls this a “typo.” [AP, 9/20/01, Cox News, 10/21/01] The BBC says: “There are suggestions that another suspect, Khalid Almihdhar, may also be alive.” [BBC, 9/23/01] The Guardian says Almihdhar is believed to be alive, but investigators are looking into three possibilities. Either his name was stolen for a hijacker alias, or he allowed his name to be used so that US officials would think he died, or he died in the crash. [Guardian, 9/21/01 (B)] Almihdhar is wanted for other terrorist acts (see January 15, 2000), so it's not surprising he's still hard to find. There are three official pictures of Almihdhar—one of them doesn't look at all like the other two (see photos on left).

((Graphic: Three different pictures of Khalid Almihdhar. Which one does not belong? [FBI, 2/12/02, Boston Globe, 9/27/01] ))

Marwan Alshehhi may be alive in Morocco. [Saudi Gazette, 9/18/01, Khaleej Times, 9/20/01] Family and neighbors don't believe he took part in the attacks. [Reuters, 9/18/01]

Atta's father says he spoke to his son on the phone on September 12, 2001 (see September 19, 2001 (C)).
No one claims that Hamza Alghamdi is still alive, but his family says the FBI photo “has no resemblance to him at all” (on the other hand, Ahmed Alnami's family says his FBI picture is correct). [Washington Post, 9/25/01]

Majed Moqed was last seen by a friend in Saudi Arabia in 2000. This friend claims the FBI picture doesn't look like Moqed. [Arab News, 9/22/01] There are three official pictures of Majed Moqed—one of them doesn't look at all like the other two (see photos on below right).

The Saudi government has claimed Mohand Alshehri is alive and was not in the US on 9/11, but no more details are known. [ [AP 9/29/01 (B)] imagewidth="300" topic="coverup">The Saudi government insists that five of the Saudis mentioned are still alive. [New York Times, 9/21/01] On September 20, FBI Director Mueller says: “We have several others that are still in question. The investigation is ongoing, and I am not certain as to several of the others.” [Newsday, 9/21/01] On September 27, after all of these revelations, FBI Director Mueller states, “We are fairly certain of a number of them.” [Sun Sentinel, 9/28/01] Could it be that the bodies (and sometimes faces) in question are correct, but the names were stolen? For instance, the Telegraph notes, “The FBI had published [Saeed Alghamdi's] personal details but with a photograph of somebody else, presumably a hijacker who had ‘stolen’ his identity. CNN, however, showed a picture of the real Mr. Alghamdi.” [Telegraph, 9/23/01] Police have even determined who sold at least two of the hijackers their fake ID's. [BBC, 8/1/02 (B)] On September 20, The London Times reported, “Five of the hijackers were using stolen identities, and investigators are studying the possibility that the entire suicide squad consisted of impostors.” [London Times, 9/20/01] Briefly, the press took this story to heart. For instance, a story in the Observer on September 23 put the names of hijackers like Saeed Alghamdi in quotation marks. [Observer, 9/23/01] But the story died down after the initial reports, and it was hardly noticed when Mueller stated on November 2, 2001: “We at this point definitely know the 19 hijackers who were responsible,” and claimed that they were sticking with the names and photos released in late September.

((Graphic: How can all of these pictures be of Majed Moqed? [AP 11/03/02] ))

Yet many of the names and photos are known to be wrong. Perhaps embarrassing facts would come out if we knew their real names, such as more terrorists who studied at military bases or were on watch lists?


For source and hyperlinks to original press reports see: "September 16-23, 2001" entries at

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