Saturday, May 30, 2009

Climate Change Responsible for 300,000 Deaths a year

From the Global Humanitarian Forum:
First ever report exclusively focused on the global human impact of climate change calculates more than 300 million people are seriously affected by climate change at a total economic cost of $125 billion per year.

  • Report projects that by 2030, worldwide deaths will reach almost 500,000 per year; people affected by climate change annually expected to rise to over 600 million and the total annual economic cost increase to around $300 billion.
  • Report projects that by 2030, worldwide deaths will reach almost 500,000 per year; people affected by climate change annually expected to rise to over 600 million and the total annual economic cost increase to around $300 billion.

Bush Defends His Torture Policies, Says Lawyers OK'd It

Former President George W. Bush is finally speaking out. He has decided to follow the Cheney approach and defend the indefensible. But he is hiding behind his lawyers.

Former president George W. Bush is stepping back into the public arena to defend his decision to allow harsh interrogation of some detainees.

The former president addressed the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan Thursday with wide-ranging remarks on his presidency, his retirement and decisions he made while in office, the Detroit Free Press reports.

He defended his decision to allow harsh interrogation of the terrorist who ordered the 9/11 attacks, saying it was cleared by his lawyers to prevent what his advisers believed was another, imminent attack.

"I made a decision within the law to get information so I can say, I've done what it takes to do my duty to protect the American people," he told the largely sympathetic audience. "I can tell you, the information gained saved lives."

But he does make some interesting admonitions on the economic mess he left behind.
In his first major speech on his presidency since leaving office, he also acknowledged that he had abandoned his free-market principles to bail out the U.S. financial industry, but says he did so because he was told that the nation otherwise would fall into a depression.

The Associated Press reports that the 43rd president blamed "a lack of responsible regulation" in the lending industry for the recession and condemned the practices of some financial institutions, like Fannie Mae.

He's also paling around with ex-President, and fellow criminal, Bill Clinton. They have a lot in common.
Former President George W. Bush hardly misses it at all. “Free at last,” he proclaimed before the same crowd at the Metro Toronto Convention Center. “I like being in Texas, and I do not miss the spotlight.”

But that was practically where the differences stopped as the two former presidents appeared for the first time on a stage together to discuss national and international policy. Each earned more than an estimated $150,000 for the appearance.

Some 6,000 people — or their corporate employers — paid from $200 to $2,500 to attend the event, a rare chance to see two former presidents, who served in succession, square off from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

What they got instead, while no less historic, was a glimpse of the strange-bedfellows-for-the-moment friendship between the two men, once bitter rivals.

Mr. Clinton made it clear from the start that he would avoid any major clashes with Mr. Bush, telling the crowd that the agreed-upon moderator, Frank McKenna, the former Canadian ambassador to the United States, would try to meet their expectations by turning the convention hall into a gladiators’ coliseum, but “we’ll do our best to thwart them.”

And as they settled into overstuffed chairs, Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton became something of an ex-presidents’ support group, avoiding direct critiques of each other, or, for that matter, their future club member, President Obama (“I want you to understand that anything I say is not to be critical of my successor,” Mr. Bush said, “there are plenty of critics in American society.”)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Study Finds Half of men Arrested Test Positive for Drugs

This study only confirms what we know--drugs have a terrible impact on our society and lead to criminal conduct. What isn't mentioned in this study is how many of these same individuals have drinking problems. Alcohol has an even greater impact on criminal behavior. We need a study that shows that disastrous impact.

Half of the men arrested in 10 U.S. cities test positive for some type of illegal drug, a federal study found.

Not only do the findings show "a clear link between drugs and crime," they also highlight the need to provide drug treatment, says Gil Kerlikowske, director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which will make the data public Thursday.

Assessing offenders for drug and mental health problems and providing treatment is "important if you want to stop recidivism and recycling people through the system," says Kerlikowske, who supports drug courts that offer court-ordered drug treatment.

"There's an opportunity when someone is arrested to divert them to treatment if they need it," says Bill Piper, director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance Network, a group that supports legalizing marijuana and treating drug use as a public health issue. "But people shouldn't have to get arrested to get treatment."

In 2008 researchers interviewed and obtained urine samples from 3,924 men arrested in 10 metropolitan areas: Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Indianapolis, Minneapolis, New York, Portland, Ore., Sacramento and Washington, D.C.

In Chicago, 87% tested positive for drug use and in Sacramento, 78% tested positive. Many of the men — 40% in Chicago and 29% in Sacramento — tested positive for more than one drug.

Marijuana is the most common drug in every city where testing was done except Atlanta, where cocaine is most prevalent, the study found.

Methamphetamine use is concentrated on the west coast where 35% of the men arrested in Sacramento and 15% of the men arrested in Portland tested positive for the drug.

Heroin use is highest, at 29%, among men arrested in Chicago, an increase from 20% in 2007. Heroin use among arrestees declined in Portland, from 12% in 2007 to 8% in 2008.

More facts:
Provisional data for 1997 show that respondents arrested in the past year for possession or sale of drugs and driving under the influence had the highest percentage of illicit drug use in the past year. Past year illicit drug users were also about 16 times more likely than nonusers to report being arrested and booked for larceny or theft; more than 14 times more likely to be arrested and booked for such offenses as driving under the influence, drunkenness, or liquor law violations; and more than 9 times more likely to be arrested and booked on an assault charge.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Court Upholding Gay Marriage Ban: Victory for America

The California Supreme Court's upholding of a ban on gay marriage is a victory for democracy, thus America. Gay groups would like to shove their preferences down our collective throats, even if a majority of Americans don't agree. That is why they will continue to use the courts to impose minority rule over the people:

A coalition of gay rights groups said Wednesday that a federal same-sex marriage lawsuit brought by two high-profile lawyers is premature and they'd rather work through state legislatures and voters to win wedding rights.
A day after the California Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved ban on gay marriage, the American Civil Liberties Union, Lambda Legal and other national organizations issued a statement saying they think the U.S. Supreme Court is not ready to rule in their favor on the issue.

"In our view, the best way to win marriage equality nationally is to continue working state by state, not to bring premature federal challenges that pose a very high risk of setting a negative U.S. Supreme Court precedent," said Shannon Minter, legal director of National Center for Lesbian Rights.

On Tuesday, lawyers Theodore B. Olson and David Boies, who represented opposing sides in the 2000 Bush v. Gore election challenge, announced they had filed a lawsuit in federal court on behalf of two gay men and two gay women.

Their case argues that California's voter-enacted ban on same-sex marriage, known as Proposition 8, violates the U.S. Constitution's guarantee of equal protection and due process.

Olson said he hopes the suit, which seeks a preliminary injunction against the California measure until the case is resolved, will wind up before the U.S. Supreme Court.

In New York voters also want the right to decide if same sex marriage will be the law. Let the people decide not the courts or politicians.
Nearly eight of 10 New Yorkers say the state Senate should put a bill legalizing gay marriage up for a vote regardless of whether there's enough support to pass it, a new poll released Tuesday shows.

The Siena College poll shows that 78% of those surveyed disagree with Senate Majority Leader Malcolm Smith, who said he would only bring the bill to the floor only if he has the 32 votes needed to pass it.

Just 15% said the Senate should wait until the votes are there to pass it.

Overall, voters are split 46%-46% on the issue of whether gay marriage should be legalized. That's down from last month's 53-39 margain approval margin.

Monday, May 25, 2009

On This Memorial Day: America in Danger

The nuclear test conducted by North Korea today is a stark reminder of the dangers that face America.

We are a nation unprepared to deter agression against us and our allies. Two inconclusive wars and a bankrupt economy leave us vulnerable to hostile intentions. September 11th proved the United States could be brought to it's knees by militarily insignificant forces. This is no reflection of the superior abilities of our military, but the morally corrupt and incompetent government ruling us in Washington.

I predicted 'disaster' on July 4th 2001. My attitude has not changed since. We are a nation imperiled. We need national soul searching. In short, we need a revolution.
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Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tom Ridge Refutes Cheney, Limbaugh: Transcript (5-24-09)

Former Homeland Security head under Bush, Tom Ridge, distanced himself from Dick Cheney and Rush Limbaugh. Read the complete CNN's State of the Union transcript. Excerpt below:

KING: It is that last point, Governor Ridge, Dick Cheney says a lot of Americans are alive today because of them. The Obama administration disputes that. You were there, you saw the intelligence. Did those enhanced interrogation techniques save lives, prevent attacks on this country? Is Dick Cheney right?

RIDGE: I never saw the intelligence at that depth. We were a consumer of information. We didn't generate it. But I do believe that since President Obama has released the memos that are substantially redacted, then perhaps there may be information that should be released to show that they actually received substantive information that enabled America to better protect itself. You can't have it both ways. I think that's one of the things that the vice president is arguing. Don't delete or redact parts of the memos to gird your point of view. There may be other information. I don't know what it is that may also support the vice president.

At the end of the day, we haven't been attacked since 9/11 in the United States of America. At the end of the day we've had a lot of professionals working very hard around the world to make sure that it doesn't happen.

[...]KING: Where's Tom Ridge?

Are you in the Rush Limbaugh/Dick Cheney version of the Republican Party or the Colin Powell version of the Republican Party?

RIDGE: I'm in the Tom Ridge version of the party. And my version of the party is simply, when you're asked to serve, as I have been by two Republican presidents -- one gave me a draft notice and sent me to Vietnam and the other called me away from the office I had led as governor, and neither one asked me where I stood on gay rights or abortion. They said, "Will you serve?"

And I think, for the American public -- for the Republican Party to restore itself is not as a regional party but as a national party. We have to be far less judgmental about disagreements within the party and far more judgmental about our disagreement with our friends on the other side of the aisle.

KING: You've used those terms, "need to be less shrill, less judgmental." Who's being shrill? Who's being judgmental?

RIDGE: Well, I think a lot of our commentators are being shrill. I mean, I don't disagree...

KING; Rush?

RIDGE: Yes, I -- listen, Rush Limbaugh has an audience of 20 million people. A lot of people listen, daily, to him and live by very word. But words mean things, and how you use words is very important.

KING: I want to be clear, though. You think Rush is among those being too judgmental, too shrill?

RIDGE: Well, I think -- I think Rush -- Rush articulates his point of views in ways that offend very many. It's a matter of -- matter of language and a matter of how you use words. And it does get the base all fired up, and he's got strong following. But, personally, if he would listen to me -- and I doubt if he would -- the notion is, express yourselves, but let's respect others' opinions. And let's not be divisive.

Let's lead our party based on some principles that have been very much a part of who we are for decades, and let's be less shrill, in terms of -- and, particularly, not attack other individuals. Let's attack their ideas. Let's explain, in a rational, thoughtful, responsible and reasonable way why our ideas and our approach are more acceptable, why they should be more acceptable to the average citizen.

Times Square Opens to Pedestrians Monday

I plan on being there. How about you? (e-mail me if in the neighborhood at

Shut Down: 42nd-47th In Midtown; 33rd-35th Near Herald Square. Broadway will close in Midtown, from 42nd to 47th streets. And over at Herald Square, no traffic will be allowed between 33rd and 35th streets.

It's about the environment and and a better living environment:
Starting on Sunday, pedestrians will really own a piece of the city.

Broadway will be closed to vehicle traffic for five blocks at Times Square, turning part of the "Crossroads of the World" into a pedestrian mall of throbbing lights, animated billboards and towering skyscrapers. The city believes the move will reduce pollution, cut down on pedestrian accidents and actually increase the flow of traffic.

A second pedestrian promenade will be created from 33rd to 35th streets on Broadway by Herald Square, where Macy's dominates the intersection. The city will try out the pedestrian malls for the remainder of the year, and if things go well it could make the change permanent.

Planners hope that the uncontrolled chaos that has long defined the heart of this city will shift to a gentler landscape, one where a visitor could conceivably use the word "stroll" to describe getting from one side of Times Square to the other.

No one's strolling there now. Crowds press up against each other, body to body, pushing the unlucky onto the street to walk alongside the cars. A sea of yellow cabs trickles foot-by-foot down Broadway. People who want to enter stores play a game of human Frogger, dodging pedestrians going in both directions, getting a toe crushed here and there.

Those caught in the crush of people say some added breathing room would be a welcome change. After spending his 52 years in New York, Carlos Grande hopes the pedestrian walkway can transform midtown into a grand, Old World-style space.

"You go to Europe and it's different. You see people sitting at sidewalk cafes, enjoying life," he says. Settled at a small street-side table already placed by the city on Broadway, he is interrupted by a chirping sparrow that lands by his feet, right by the rushing wheels of trucks.

[...]From 42nd Street to 47th Street, planners hope pedestrians will lounge at outdoor seating and stroll along the avenue. They hope drivers will begin using Broadway between the two promenades only if they're headed right there.

As construction on the project continues throughout the summer, the city has hired an array of musicians, magicians and other performers to keep lunchtime crowds in the area. Next month, they will broadcast the Tony awards on the new Broadway promenade. And in December, the Transportation Department will complete a report meant to help decide whether the setup should be permanent.

- Honor our fallen heroes whatever you do.

Colin Powell Responds to Limbaugh, Cheney: Transcript (5-24-09)

Read the complete Face The Nation transcript. Excerpt below:

SCHIEFFER: Rush Limbaugh said the other day that the party would probably be better off if Colin Powell left and just became a Democrat. Colin Powell said Republicans would be better off if they didn’t have Rush Limbaugh out speaking for them. Where do you come down?

DICK CHENEY, FORMER VICE PRESIDENT: Well, if I had to choose in terms of being a Republican, I’d go with Rush Limbaugh, I think. I think my take on it was Colin had already left the party. I didn’t know he was still a Republican.

SCHIEFFER: So you think that he’s not a Republican?

CHENEY: I just noted he endorsed the Democratic candidate for president this time, Barack Obama . I assume that that is some indication of his loyalty and his interest.

SCHIEFFER: And you said you’d take Rush Limbaugh over Colin Powell. CHENEY: I would.


SCHIEFFER: Well, there you have it, General. So I guess the first question, are you a Republican?

POWELL: Let me answer it this way, if I may, Bob. Rush will not get his wish. And Mr. Cheney was misinformed. I am still a Republican.

And I’d like to point out that in the course of my 50 years of voting for presidents, I have voted for the person I thought was best- qualified at that time to lead the nation. Last year I thought it was President-now Barack Obama .

For the previous 20 years I voted solidly for Republican candidates. Voted for Ronald Reagan twice. George Bush 41 twice. George Bush 43 twice. I spent eight years in Bush administrations. I served Ronald Reagan for two years. I spoke at the 1996 convention and I spoke at the 2000 convention.

What the concern about me is, well, is he too moderate? I have always felt that the Republican Party should be more inclusive than it generally has been over the years. And I believe we need a strong Republican Party that is not just anchored in the base but has built on the base to include more individuals.

And if we don’t do that, if we don’t reach out more, the party is going to be sitting on a very, very narrow base. You can only do two things with a base. You can sit on it and watch the world go by, or you can build on the base.

And I believe we should build on the base because the nation needs two parties. Two parties debating each other. But what we have to do is debate and define who we are and what we are and not just listen to diktats that come down from the right wing of the party.

SCHIEFFER: Well, why do you think the former vice president said what he said?

POWELL: Well, I assume that was his point of view. But he was misled if he thought I left the party. You know, neither he nor Rush Limbaugh are members of the membership committee of the Republican Party. I get to make my decision on that.

And so I will continue to work in a way that I think is helpful to the country and helpful to the party. And there are good reasons for this. I mean, in the military we have something called after- action reviews. After a battle or after a training exercise you bring all of the leaders in. And you say, what’s going right? What’s going wrong? What did do right or wrong? And how do we move forward?

It’s a no-holds-barred candid discussion of where we are. That’s what the Republican Party needs now. When you look at the results of the election last year, lost the presidency by 10 million votes. Lost that campaign by 10 million votes.

We saw both houses of Congress switch to the Democrats. We saw whole sections of the country move to the Democratic column, Virginia, my state, Democratic. Florida, Nevada, other places.

We looked at all of the demographics of it, a Gallup poll had a series of indicators. And in almost every demographic indicator, the Republican Party is losing. North, south, east, west. Men, women, whites, blacks, Hispanics.

And I think the Republican Party has to take a hard look at itself and decide what kind of party are we?

Thursday, May 21, 2009

RNC Head Balks at "Democratic Socialist" Labeling


Has Michael Steele averted the cultural and political train-wreck that would have come from the RNC's proposed "Democrat Socialist Party" resolution? That's what CNN now reports.

RNC member David Norcross of New Jersey, who had been a sponsor of the resolution, told CNN: "The language is being changed so that the proposers and chairman Steele are on the same page." Steele had opposed this thing from the start, and had sought to avoid the spectacle -- yes, Michael Steele thought this was too goofy.

Iraq bombings kills Americans
Three bombings in Iraq on Thursday killed at least 21 people and wounded more than 50 others[...]the bombings brought to over 60 the number of people killed in a 24-hour period.

The Associated Press reported that three American soldiers were killed on Thursday morning in a roadside bombing in the southern Baghdad district of Dora while they were patrolling near a popular outdoor market.

Obama in a political box over closing Gitmo
President Barack Obama finds himself in a political box — at home and abroad — on closing the Guantanamo Bay prison, and he has prepared a major address on national security in hopes of working out of the tight spot.

Obama was taking on the explosive topic Thursday, a day after the Senate, at the behest of majority Democrats, denied his request for $80 million to close the prison. The 90-6 vote followed a similar move last week in the House and underscored widespread apprehension among Obama's Democratic allies in Congress over the issue.

Couple flees with banks money
Police are looking for a New Zealand couple who disappeared after a bank mistakenly put 10 million New Zealand dollars ($6.1 million) into their account.

The couple, who ran a gas station in the northern city of Rotorua, applied to Westpac Bank for a NZ$10,000 ($6,000) overdraft and had 1000 times that amount paid into their account. The two then withdrew some of the money and disappeared, Detective Senior Sgt. David Harvey said.

Murder plot soap opera in Egypt
A real estate mogul with ties to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak's son was sentenced to death Thursday for ordering the slaying of a Lebanese pop star in a case that sparked a media frenzy in a country where the elite is often perceived as being above the law.

Hisham Talaat Moustafa, a member of the ruling National Democratic Party, was accused of paying a former Egyptian police officer $2 million to kill Suzanne Tamim while she was in Dubai.

Missouri capital punishment passes legal mustard
As lethal chemicals surged into Dennis Skillicorn's arm early Wednesday, a new era in capital punishment began in Missouri.

The state's new court-mandated and court-approved lethal injection protocol passed its first test without a hitch, according to prison officials who already are preparing to carry out Reginald Clemons' execution next month.

Kris Allen wins American Idol
Kris Allen, the mellow crooner who was considered the underdog, was crowned the winner of the Fox singing competition Wednesday night.

In one of the bigger upsets in “Idol” history, Allen defeated Adam Lambert, the flamboyant rocker whose vocal skills had made him an early favorite.

Major Church sex scandal investigation in Ireland
The thousands of victims of Ireland's child-abuse homes spent decades just trying to get the public to believe them. But even after a mammoth investigation proved the horrors of their youth, many say they are no nearer to real justice.

A nine-year probe into child abuse by Ireland's Catholic religious orders painted a damning portrait of a system that shielded child-molesters from justice and trapped generations of Ireland's poorest children to misery from the 1930s to the 1990s.

World Child Deaths Decline
The World Health Organization says almost a third fewer young children are dying than in 1990.

The global health body says about 9 million children under 5 years old died in 2007, the last year with figures available.

WHO says the number of under-5 deaths was 12.5 million in 1990.

The Geneva-based body says the 27 percent drop shows progress in achieving a two-thirds cut in deaths by 2015. That is one of the U.N.'s so-called 'Millennium Development Goals'.

Newsweek: RNC = "(R)ush-(N)ewt-(C)heney"

"Vampire Banks: Thriving on Death and Taxes"
The Wall Street Journal has a tutorial explaining how banks are holding $122.3 billion in life insurance on workers and retirees with themselves as beneficiaries in order to escape taxes, inflate their earnings and to fund bonuses and pension benefits:

Monday, May 18, 2009

Why is Obama Flip-Flopping on Bush era Law Breaking

The Left is angry with Barack Obama. They think he's betrayed his campaign promises to them. Some have gone as far as accusing him of morphing into his predecessor. Rachel Maddow, in particular, has been very critical. One constitutional scolar on her program accused Mr.Obama of covering up the crimes of George W.

We musn't blame Barack too much. The reality is if the new President wants to survive he has to play the corrupt political game the two-party system has set up. I said this before Obama was elected President. I said the left would be disappointed because they believe one party is better than other. They are not.
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Sunday, May 17, 2009

Let's Find out who's Telling the Truth: Pelosi or the CIA

This is no small matter. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is calling the CIA liars. Who's telling the truth? We need an answer. Why don't we have a investigation. But who will do the investigation? Can we trust the Congress? I don't think so. The press. They didn't even look into the torture allegations in the first place. Not to mention how the Bush gang started a war under false pretenses. We need an independent group or counsel with individuals of different political persuasions. They will obviously have to have access to sensitive intelligence information, so therefore must be trusted Americans. This commission could also look into whether the Bushies lied about torture. The Obama administration for some time now has wanted this matter to go away. Now we know why. Both parties are implicated. The American people need and deserve answers. You should demand that the government not bury the truth.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pakistan: The Coming Disaster

Already we are seeing a dramatic rise in refugees in Pakistan due to the war against the Taliban. It is only a preview of the chaos to come in the months to come. All the indications are that the Taliban/religious extremists will take over that country.

It is reminiscent of Vietnam before the fall. If that should happen it would be disastrous for the U.S. and civilized world. Pakistan is already a hot bed for Jihadists. It also believed that Bin Laden, if still alive, resides there along the border with Afghanistan. A victory in Pakistan for the Taliban will guarantee the retaking of Afghanistan. It would also threaten to send Iraq into chaos as well. Given the fact that Pakistan has the bomb we could have a very serious situation indeed. Worst of all al Qaeda would have a free hand to plot against America. And it doesn't seem the government, including the Obama administration, has a clue on how to deal with the dire situation in the Middle East.

Israel's plan to bomb Iran would only make things that much worse. And if Iran retaliates we could see a World War. This is why we need a clearly articulated strategy for dealing with the situation in Pakistan. Dropping bombs on that country is no strategy.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Miss California: A True Leader

Carrie Prejean is exhibiting the kind of leadership and courage not often found amongst politicians. Maybe she should become the leader of the Republican Party. They obviously could use her.

The left is showing it's total lack reason when it comes to the question of gay marriage. They have vilified Prejean as if she joined al Qaeda. They might even hate her more than Bin Laden. All she did was to express her point of view.
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Monday, May 11, 2009

David Gregory was off base on Meet the Press

It is becoming increasingly clear that David Gregory is a second rate interviewer. But his interview of Hamid Karzai was downright irresponsible. At several points he implied that Karzai anti-American. His line of questioning is usually riddled with silly oversimplifications. The Afghan President is not anti-American. He is in fact in a very difficult situation because of U.S. Bombing of civilians in Afghanistan. Although accidental, the bombings nonetheless undermine our support in that country. Karzai made that point on the program. As a result Gregory concluded stupidly that it constituted anti-Americanism. This was probably Gregory's attempt at impressing the Limbaugh crowd.

David Gregory is no Tim Russert. ---

To show you how bad things have gotten. According to Reuters, girls are being poisoned in Afghanistan to keep them from going to school.
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Humor that is not funny

Wanda Sykes' humor was not humorous. But neither was that Saturday Night Live skit joking about sleeping with your best friend's mother. We've become a nation without a sense of decency. Everything goes.
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