Lori Tschudy, left, and Laura Masotti, right, both of Bridgefield join protesters during a Stamford Tea Party to voice opposition to Obama’s tax plan.
Abu Zubaida was the alpha and omega of the Bush administration’s argument for torture.
That’s why Sunday’s front-page Washington Post story by Peter Finn and Joby Warrick is such a blow to the last remaining torture apologists.
Finn and Warrick reported that “not a single significant plot was foiled” as a result of Zubaida’s brutal treatment — and that, quite to the contrary, his false confessions “triggered a series of alerts and sent hundreds of CIA and FBI investigators scurrying in pursuit of phantoms.”
Zubaida was the first detainee to be tortured at the direct instruction of the White House. Then he was President George W. Bush’s Exhibit A in defense of the “enhanced interrogation” procedures that constituted torture. And he continues to be held up as a justification for torture by its most ardent defenders.
But as author Ron Suskind reported almost three years ago — and as The Post now confirms — almost all the key assertions the Bush administration made about Zubaida were wrong.
Zubaida wasn’t a major al Qaeda figure. He wasn’t holding back critical information. His torture didn’t produce valuable intelligence — and it certainly didn’t save lives.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan asked for an emergency hearing today on behalf of an Escanaba woman sentenced to 30 days in jail because she is too poor to reimburse the court for her son’s stay in a juvenile detention facility.
“Like many people in these desperate economic times, Ms. Nowlin was laid off from work, lost her home and is destitute,” said Michael J. Steinberg, ACLU of Michigan Legal Director. “Jailing her because of her poverty is not only unconstitutional, it’s unconscionable and a shameful waste of resources. It is not a crime to be poor in this country and the government must stop resurrecting debtor’s prisons from the dustbin of history.”
In December 2008, Ms. Nowlin’s 16-year-old son was sentenced to the Bay Pines Center and Ms. Nowlin was ordered to pay $104 per month for his lodging. At the time of this order, Ms. Nowlin was homeless and working part-time with a friend after being laid off from her job. She told the court that she was unable to pay the ordered amount, however the judge found her in contempt for failing to pay. In addition, Ms. Nowlin’s requests for a court appointed attorney were denied.
Since March 3, 2009, Ms. Nowlin has been serving her sentence at the Delta County Jail. On March 6, 2009, she was released for one day to work. Once released she picked up her $178.53 check from work thinking that she now could pay the $104.00 to get out of jail. However, upon her return to jail that evening, the sheriff forced her to sign over her check to the jail to cover $120.00 for “room and board.” She was also charged $22 for a drug test and the booking fee.
According to the ACLU’s motion: “This country did away with debtors’ prisons more than a century ago. The imprisonment of Ms. Nowlin because she is too destitute to make payments to the court is a miscarriage of justice.”
Atheists have started advertising on buses in the UK. Do you want to see your own message on the side of a bus? Well now’s your chance.
Answering to a leader called Queen Antoinette, they denied a 16-month-old boy food and water because he did not say “Amen” at mealtimes. After he died, they prayed over his body for days, expecting a resurrection, then packed it into a suitcase with mothballs. They left it in a shed in Philadelphia, where it remained for a year before detectives found it last spring.
Tomorrow, five of the group’s alleged members — including the boy’s mother, Ria Ramkissoon — are scheduled to be tried in Baltimore on murder charges. Sources and Ramkissoon’s mother said Ramkissoon, 22, has agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge on one condition: The charges against her must be dropped if her son, Javon Thompson, is resurrected.
Psychiatrists who evaluated Ramkissoon at the request of a judge concluded that she was not criminally insane. Her attorney, Steven Silverman, said the doctors found that her beliefs were indistinguishable from religious beliefs, in part because they were shared by those around her.
“She wasn’t delusional, because she was following a religion,” Silverman said, describing the findings of the doctors’ psychiatric evaluation.
Rosemary Greenway has been playing passages of opera and orchestral symphonies on the radio to the animals at her stables for more than 20 years, convinced that it helps soothe them.
While not all of her staff are quite as fond of the output of Classic FM as she is, Mrs Greenway, 62, kept the radio tuned to the station religiously while mucking out because of the apparent benefits.
But she has dropped the practice after being told that she must pay a £99 annual licence fee as it constitutes a “performance”.
As you can see from their long faces, the horses are quite upset by this.
A high-level Spanish court has taken the first steps toward opening a criminal investigation against six former Bush administration officials, including former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, on whether they violated international law by providing a legalistic framework to justify the use of torture of American prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, said an official close to the case.
The case was sent to the prosecutor’s office for review by Baltasar Garzon, the crusading investigative judge who indicted the former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. The official said that it was “highly probable” that the case would go forward and could lead to arrest warrants.
This time, the nice lady at the counter asked me if I needed immediate access to the deposit?
Huh? Said I. Looking at the payeee – “I think the check will clear…”
Oh, it is not that, said she, it is just that some people need immediate access to their deposits, like same day, or tomorrow, and if you did we can expedite it.
Oh, that’s nice, thought I, and said “no thanks, got enough balance to cover any outstanding transactions thanks, but been there…”
so, I wandered off, and suddenly though – well was prompted by my better half to think – “expedited? at what price?”
“The Finance Charge is a one-time transaction charge and is not dependent upon the length of time the advance is outstanding. The Finance Charge is $2.00 for every $20 that is advanced, which equates to an Annual Percentage Rate (APR) of 120%.”
Solar power: A Friday editorial said that according to the U.S. Energy Department, enough sunlight hits a “100-square-mile” portion of the Nevada desert to power the entire country. It should have said “100-miles-square.”
Oh well, what’s a few orders of magnitude among friends…
I could say a few things about drugs, but I won’t – I’ll try something else.
Senator Webb, you’re part of the problem. Your country has too many elected officials. Why is that a problem? Simple. It is much easier to scare the public than it is to educate them. So if two people are running for DA, it becomes a competition to be tougher on crime than the other guy. Court judges running for re-election can also not be seen to be “soft on crime”. Legislators will not be able to fix unfair laws because their opponents will scare the public with a “he’s soft on crime”.
Look at the amount of people who wrote Obama on his web site to make pot legal. Just about a majority of people want it legal. Yet no elected official will burn his fingers on this issue.
Fix this flaw in your political system, and the rest will follow.
You’d think there’s a pretty obvious source of the problem: the country is great at creating consumer appetites for cars, clothes, gadgets, and entertainment, but very bad at creating jobs that pay enough to afford the things for which people have appetites. If you create a ravenous appetites for luxury but give people no way to get those luxuries, you create a problem. So, start with killing all the marketing people… You’d expect lots of robberies and burglaries to satisfy those needs.
So, here’s some statistics:
#1 Dominica: 113.822 per 1,000 people
#2 New Zealand: 105.881 per 1,000 people
#3 Finland: 101.526 per 1,000 people
#4 Denmark: 92.8277 per 1,000 people
#5 Chile: 88.226 per 1,000 people
#6 United Kingdom: 85.5517 per 1,000 people
#7 Montserrat: 80.3982 per 1,000 people
#8 United States: 80.0645 per 1,000 people
#9 Netherlands: 79.5779 per 1,000 people
#10 South Africa: 77.1862 per 1,000 people
#11 Germany: 75.9996 per 1,000 people
#12 Canada: 75.4921 per 1,000 people
#13 Norway: 71.8639 per 1,000 people
#14 France: 62.1843 per 1,000 people
#15 Seychelles: 52.9265 per 1,000 people
#16 Hungary: 44.9763 per 1,000 people
#17 Estonia: 43.3601 per 1,000 people
#18 Czech Republic: 38.2257 per 1,000 people
#19 Italy: 37.9633 per 1,000 people
#20 Switzerland: 36.1864 per 1,000 people
#1 Australia: 21.7454 per 1,000 people
#2 Dominica: 18.7892 per 1,000 people
#3 Denmark: 18.3299 per 1,000 people
#4 Estonia: 17.4576 per 1,000 people
#5 Finland: 16.7697 per 1,000 people
#6 New Zealand: 16.2763 per 1,000 people
#7 United Kingdom: 13.8321 per 1,000 people
#8 Poland: 9.46071 per 1,000 people
#9 Canada: 8.94425 per 1,000 people
#10 South Africa: 8.89764 per 1,000 people
#11 Montserrat: 8.24323 per 1,000 people
#12 Iceland: 8.11156 per 1,000 people
#13 Switzerland: 8.06303 per 1,000 people
#14 Slovenia: 7.93734 per 1,000 people
#15 Czech Republic: 7.24841 per 1,000 people
#16 Hungary: 7.15849 per 1,000 people
#17 United States: 7.09996 per 1,000 people
#18 France: 6.11634 per 1,000 people
#19 Ireland: 5.73755 per 1,000 people
#20 Netherlands: 5.55531 per 1,000 people
#1 Spain: 12.3265 per 1,000 people
#2 Chile: 6.92522 per 1,000 people
#3 Costa Rica: 4.79109 per 1,000 people
#4 South Africa: 4.4434 per 1,000 people
#5 Estonia: 3.56639 per 1,000 people
#6 Mexico: 2.02555 per 1,000 people
#7 Portugal: 1.6237 per 1,000 people
#8 United Kingdom: 1.57433 per 1,000 people
#9 Uruguay: 1.57114 per 1,000 people
#10 Poland: 1.38838 per 1,000 people
#11 United States: 1.38527 per 1,000 people
#12 Latvia: 1.37991 per 1,000 people
#13 Venezuela: 1.37833 per 1,000 people
#14 Lithuania: 1.21601 per 1,000 people
#15 Australia: 1.16048 per 1,000 people
#16 Netherlands: 1.13549 per 1,000 people
#17 Zimbabwe: 0.974838 per 1,000 people
#18 Mauritius: 0.947197 per 1,000 people
#19 Russia: 0.923114 per 1,000 people
#20 Jamaica: 0.851974 per 1,000 people
And incarceration rates.
#1 United States: 715 per 100,000 people
#2 Russia: 584 per 100,000 people
#3 Belarus: 554 per 100,000 people
#4 Palau: 523 per 100,000 people
#5 Belize: 459 per 100,000 people
#6 Suriname: 437 per 100,000 people
#7 Dominica: 420 per 100,000 people
#8 Ukraine: 416 per 100,000 people
#9 Bahamas, The: 410 per 100,000 people
#10 South Africa: 402 per 100,000 people
#11 Kyrgyzstan: 390 per 100,000 people
#12 Singapore: 388 per 100,000 people
#13 Kazakhstan: 386 per 100,000 people
#14 Barbados: 367 per 100,000 people
#15 Panama: 354 per 100,000 people
#16 Trinidad and Tobago: 351 per 100,000 people
#17 Thailand: 340 per 100,000 people
#18 Estonia: 339 per 100,000 people
#19 Latvia: 339 per 100,000 people
#20 Saint Kitts and Nevis: 338 per 100,000
You’ll note that incarceration rates do not correlate with crime rates. The problem does not lie with the people doing the crimes. The problem lies with the people who have to be “tough on crime”
In other words, Senator: you are the problem.
(the story appears to be: 21 year old male from Rotterdam died early in the morning. He was driving from Rotterdam to Gouda on the A20, lost control near exit Capelle aan den IJssel, hit the guard rails and came to a stop. The hummer couldn’t evade the suzuki and hit it at considerable speed. The story doesn’t tell how fast, but the local limit is 100 km/h)
here are some more pictures.
Like a lot of people, I read Wednesday’s New York Times editorial by former AIG Financial Products employee Jake DeSantis, whose resignation letter basically asks us all to reconsider our anger toward the poor overworked employees of his unit.
DeSantis has a few major points. They include: 1) I had nothing to do with my boss Joe Cassano’s toxic credit default swaps portfolio, and only a handful of people in our unit did; 2) I didn’t even know anything about them; 3) I could have left AIG for a better job several times last year; 4) but I didn’t, staying out of a sense of duty to my poor, beleaguered firm, only to find out in the end that; 5) I would be betrayed by AIG senior management, who promised we would be rewarded for staying, but then went back on their word when they folded in highly cowardly fashion in the face of an angry and stupid populist mob.
I have a few responses to those points. They are 1) Bullshit; 2) bullshit; 3) bullshit, plus of course; 4) bullshit. Lastly, there is 5) Boo-Fucking-Hoo. You dog.
So much for the summary of the responses, read the whole thing for the reason the answers are this way.
State education leaders forged a compromise on the teaching of evolution Friday, capping a week of impassioned debate that had scientists, teachers and textbook publishers from around the country focused on Texas.
The move represented something of a victory for pro-evolutionists, who wanted the State Board of Education to drop a 20-year-old requirement that both “strengths and weaknesses” of all scientific theories be taught.
But the board’s 13-2 vote also means students in public school will be encouraged to scrutinize “all sides” of scientific theories. That left some of the pro-evolution crowd upset.
“I think we’ve seen some classic examples of politics interfering with science education,” said Eugenie Scott, executive director of the California-based National Center for Science Education.
Critics say the requirement has been used to undermine the theory of evolution in favor of religious teachings.
The words strengths and weaknesses have become “code for creationism and (the similar theory of) intelligent design,” said board member Barbara Cargill, R-The Woodlands. “So by being more clear in the language and using words that aren’t seen as code words, we were able to get all of the 15 board members to agree that this is how we’ll teach all sides of scientific explanation, using scientific evidence.”
The curriculum will require that students “in all fields of science, analyze, evaluate and critique scientific explanations … including examining all sides of scientific evidence of those scientific explanations, so as to encourage critical thinking by the student.”
The problem is that it doesn’t define “scientific evidence” at all, the creationists can quite easily claim to be doing “science” under their definition of the term.
EU Profiler: the authors of Kieskompas, a “Vote-O-Mat“-style tool for the undecided Dutch voter, following up on their adaptation for the US Presidential election (previously on MeFi), will launch an EU-wide version for the European Parliament elections upcoming in June.
So Europeans, urge your political parties to register! The tool itself will launch in May.
I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
Thomas Jefferson (1743 – 1826)
Joe sez, “South Korea is arguably one of the world’s most internet-connected countries. Regrettably, the corrupt dinosaurs in the Korean National Assembly have just passed a bill in-committee to use a “three strikes” law against ISP connections there. The law awaits approval by the legislature. New Zealand recently defeated similarly-worded ISP laws. A brief prediction from someone who lives in Korea. Korea is like a high-tech ocean miles-wide and one-inch deep. Once the implications are understood, look for this law to collapse under its own bureaucratic deadweight, or to otherwise morph into the usual scofflaw behavior.
Thousands of buildings at U.S. bases in Iraq and Afghanistan have such poorly installed wiring that American troops face life-threatening risks, a top inspector for the Army says.
“It was horrible — some of the worst electrical work I’ve ever seen,” said Jim Childs, a master electrician and the top civilian expert in an Army safety survey. Childs told CNN that “with the buildings the way they are, we’re playing Russian roulette.”
He said problems are “everywhere” in Iraq, where 18 U.S. troops have died by electrocution since 2003. All deaths occurred in different circumstances and different locations, but many happened on U.S. bases being managed by various military contractors. The Army has reopened investigations in at least five cases, according to Pentagon sources.
Of the nearly 30,000 buildings the Army’s “Task Force Safe” has examined so far, Childs said more than half “failed miserably.” And 8,527 had such serious problems that inspectors gave them a “flash” warning, meaning repairs had to be completed in four hours or the facility evacuated.
He said the majority of those buildings were wired by contractor KBR, based in Houston, Texas. KBR has faced extensive criticism from Congress over its performance in the war zone. KBR has defended its performance and argued it was not to blame for any fatalities.
Pentagon auditors have challenged $45 million worth of company costs, out of $365 million in charges that were reviewed. Under the terms of its deal with the government, KBR earns its profit as a percentage of its costs.
In one case, the government’s contracting officials reported that KBR attempted to inflate its cost estimates by paying a supplier more than it was due. In another, KBR cut its cost estimates in half after it was pressed on its true expenses. In a third, KBR billed for work performed by the Iraqi oil ministry.
One of the people named this week to President Obama’s new Task Force on Tax Reform is a member of the AIG board of directors.
Martin Feldstein, a professor of economics at Harvard University, has been on the board of American International Group since 1988. He also was a prominent economic adviser to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.
Look, I understand something has to be done with all the toxic assets owned by AIG, but to take them on a tax reform task force is just too much.
As inflation tumbled to a mind-numbing zero per cent earlier this week, the question on many people’s lips is: why is everything still getting more expensive?
The simple answer lies in the tired old joke about the statistician “who drowned in a pond that was only 1-inch deep – on average”.
Bank of America Corp. plans to increase some investment bankers’ salaries by as much as 70 percent following the takeover earlier this year of Merrill Lynch & Co., people familiar with the proposal said.
Bank of America, which has received $45 billion of taxpayers’ money, may raise the annual base pay for some managing directors to about $300,000 from $180,000, said the people, who declined to be identified because the final numbers are still under discussion. Salaries for less-senior directors would climb to about $250,000 from $150,000, and vice presidents would get $200,000, up from about $125,000, the people said.
“The concepts we are considering would not increase total compensation,” Brian Moynihan, Bank of America’s president of investment banking and wealth management, wrote in a memo to employees today, obtained by Bloomberg News. “Rather, we believe it is responsible, and consistent with the emerging public consensus, that a greater percentage of overall compensation come from fixed base salary.”
Bonuses will become a “smaller” portion of total compensation, Moynihan wrote in the memo.
Moynihan clearly has a different view of public consensus than most of us.