Cross posted from Sancho Press.Trivia question of the day. (answer below the fold) -- Who was the only 20th century tennis player to win the Grand Slam in both singles and doubles? Word of the day. (definition below the fold) -- Syncline.Quote of[...]
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cross-posted from The Wild Wild Left
Stories of note from the WTF news desk....
Waterboarding was one of the most common tortures employed by the Spanish Inquisition for the first half of its 450-year-long history (circa 1480-1834). This has never been a secret. It is attested to by reams of documents - letters, debates, manuals of instruction and copious records of trials that include verbatim accounts of the torture sessions themselves - in the Historical Archives of Spain and Mexico, in which I have worked for the last 30 years. The information about inquisitorial waterboarding has also been available to the English-reading general public since publication of H.C. Lea's A History of the Inquisition, the last volume of which appeared a hundred years ago this year.
A Russian Tupolev 95 bomber flew for about three minutes over the isle of Sofugan, 650km (400 miles) south of Tokyo, Japanese officials said. Japan responded by scrambling 22 jets and lodging an official protest with the Russian embassy. But a spokesman for the Russian air force denied any incursion into Japanese airspace had occurred.
The U.N. officials told the Security Council that intensified fighting has worsened the plight of civilians and is hurting chances for a political settlement in the five-year conflict.Darfur rebels denied any of their fighters were in the towns attacked by the government and said some 200 people were killed. They said helicopter gunships and fixed-wing aircraft battered Sirba, Sileia and Abu Suruj, setting buildings on fire and causing thousands to flee."The government attacked using aircraft bombardment, troops and janjaweed (Arab militiamen)," said Abdelaziz Ushar, a senior commander with the rebel Justice and Equality Movement.
In early 2006, NATO made plans to relieve the United States of command over operations in Afghanistan. The mission was seen as vital, above all, to NATO. It was a test of whether, in the post-Cold War era, the alliance had any role to play as a unified expeditionary force. To get all the nations involved, "caveats" were negotiated. Some nations would send troops, but only if they didn't have to fight; others would fight, but not at night; and so forth. Troops under NATO command, in general, could engage in "proactive self-defense," a deliberately vague term that permitted commanders to fire when fired upon and go after insurgents if they were spotted nearby. But they could not initiate offensive operations. (For that reason, the United States would keep 13,000 troops, mainly airmen, under its own command-in addition to the 7,000 it was placing under NATO's-so that somebody could continue to go after Taliban forces on the Pakistan border.)
At pretrial hearings this week, attorneys for two al-Qaida suspects captured in Afghanistan said they need more access to interrogators, witnesses and records. Prosecutors objected, citing a need to protect the identities of U.S. service members and other security concerns.The hearings did not resolve the disputes, which appear likely to further delay the launch of first U.S. war-crime tribunals since the World War II era. The first detainees were charged more than three years ago, but repeated legal challenges have kept any from going to trial.
Conyers expressed fear of what might happen following an impeachment, fear of installing a Bush replacement or losing an election. The "corporate power structure", he said, would not allow impeachment without unleashing "blowback." Conyers told Ellen Taylor and Manijeh Saba: "You need to be more than brave and courageous. You need to be smart."Their response? They are asking people who care about justice to help them let Conyers know that the smart thing right now would be bravery and courage.
Has this year's presidential campaign become too religious? All we hear about is Romney's Mormonism and Obama's alleged Muslimness. I do think that somebody vowing to never vote for Mitt Romney because he is Mormon is a bigot. (And somebody vowing to not vote for Obama because of an internet rumor that he's a closet Muslim would be downright retarded.) What counts is how the candidate acts on that faith. Vowing to never vote for Mike Huckabee is not bigotry; it's self preservation. Huckabee has vowed to amend the Constitution to make it look more like the Bible. It's what the candidate says that counts. Talking about Romney's religion to the huge extent that the media has is ridiculous. The media might be reflecting the public's prejudice. If that's the case, it just illustrates how bigoted many Christians are, and it belies the claim of the Christians about how tolerant their religion is. Talking about Huckabee's religion is mostly Huckabee's own fault. The guy is a dangerous theocrat. Fortunately, he is not smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it until after he's elected.
At the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday some attendees compared Democrats to Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, claiming that the political right is being silenced by the political left."I am hear to warn you of what is going to happen to the First Amendment if the Democrats retain control of both houses of Congress and if Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama become president," said Joseph Farah, editor of WorldNetDaily, a popular Web site among conservatives. The First Amendment would be threatened, he said.
Here's a sign of how shaky the economy has become: Wal-Mart says its shoppers are redeeming their holiday gift cards for basic items - pasta sauce, diapers, laundry detergent - instead of iPods or DVDs.Merchants had hoped shoppers armed with gift cards would provide a lift after a dismal holiday shopping season - partly because shoppers tend to spend even more than the value of the card. But that didn't seem to happen last month, and retailers are feeling the pain.
The U.S. Army has drafted a new operations manual that elevates the mission of stabilizing war-torn nations, making it equal in importance to defeating adversaries on the battlefield.Military officials described the new document, the first new edition of the army's basic comprehensive doctrine since 2001, as a major development that draws on the hard-learned lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan, where initial military successes gave way to long, grueling struggles to establish control.It is also an illustration of how far the Pentagon has moved beyond George W. Bush's stance, frequently stated in his first presidential campaign eight years ago, against the use of the military to support "nation building" efforts.
Four days after John Mellencamp's reps asked John McCain to stop playing his songs "Our Country" and "Pink Houses" at his rallies, the Republican frontrunner's campaign spokesman announced today that Mellencamp's songs would no longer be played as McCain's rallying cry.
Pulling out of the war ranked first among proposed remedies in the survey, followed by spending more on domestic programs, cutting taxes and, at the bottom end, giving rebates to poor people in hopes they'll spend the economy into recovery.The $168 billion economic rescue package Congress rushed to approval this week includes rebates of $600 to $1,200 for most taxpayers, the hope being that they will spend the money and help revive ailing businesses. President Bush is expected to sign the measure next week. Poor wage-earners, as well as seniors and veterans who live almost entirely off Social Security and disability benefits, would get $300 checks.However, just 19 percent of the people surveyed said they planned to go out and spend the money; 45 percent said they'd use it to pay bills. And nearly half said what the government really should do is get out of Iraq.
Today at 10 AM ET, The LiberalOasis Radio Show was broadcast on WHMP-AM in Western MA. My special guests were the African-American Political Pundit who discussed the upcoming primaries in Virginia and Maryland, as well as David Goldstein of HorsesAss.org who previewed today's Washington state caucuses.
The audio podcast for the show is here. No videocast today as there's no opening monologue today.
Note: I was pretty sick yesterday, and still majorly sub-par today. Hence the lateness of[...]
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Join us every Sunday Evening at 11 P.M. (ET) for African American Political Pundit's "Late Night Black Political Slugfest." "Late Night Black Political Slugfest." Where Grown Black Folks - Talk Politics
join us by calling in number on Sunday at 11:00 pm - (ET): (718) 508-9867
This weeks debate: Superdelegates are Democratic Party elites trying to steal the election from Barack Obama?
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SecDef Bob Gates told reporters today that he believes Russia wants to resolve sensitive security disputes with the United States, including proposed missile defenses in central Europe.
``I think that regardless of what's said in public, I think there is still an interest (in Moscow) in pursuing the dialogue, and we are doing that,'' he said.And you know what? He's right.
When Hillary Clinton?s presidential campaign disclosed on Wednesday afternoon that the candidate had given herself a $5 million loan, it came as a huge surprise to the political world, which had assumed Clinton?s coffers were full. They weren’t.Within about 24 hours, however, a new narrative had emerged: with its back against the wall, the [...]
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Now, with huge numbers of followers, whom do you think Ann Coulter speaks for when she said, “Obama’s first big accomplishment was being born half-black?”Because she said it at a speech of of the national college Republicans. And I guess they clapped.
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Donna Edwards: Let's hope she runs for president one day
To say that Donna Edwards is one of Blue America's "favorite" candidates this year, is quickly borne out by a glance at our donation page. The over $60,000 we have contributed to her campaign this year is considerably higher what we have given to any of our other great candidates. In many ways Donna has been the ideal candidate, a grassroots progressive reformer imbued with the values and principles needed not just to be a stellar representative, but also to help build a national progressive movement.
I was, of course, overjoyed that today's Washington Post endorsed her bid to oust corrupt corporate pawn Al Wynn in Tuesday's Maryland primary. The endorsement points out that Donna "has been an effective, energetic advocate for a range of liberal causes -- the environment, higher minimum wages, stemming domestic violence, campaign finance reform. As a community organizer, she has been an unstinting voice for improving mass-transit options, although sometimes at the expense of building roads that the 4th District badly needs. Even in cases where she clashed with local developers, however, she won their respect as a sensible and no-nonsense adversary. Poised, persistent and principled, she would make a fine representative for the 4th District." The reasons they give though for dumping the incumbent brings me to something very important in their editorial-- and it isn't just about Wynn.
Mr. Wynn has long touted what he regards as a pragmatic ability to work across partisan lines. We're all for bipartisanship, but in Mr. Wynn's case, too often his stances have been unthinking and out of step with his district's interests. His vote to scrap the estate tax suggested he was indifferent to his own middle-class constituents. By flip-flopping on fuel-efficiency standards and opposing campaign finance reforms, he showed his contempt for clean air and clean government. And he seems scarcely aware of the import of his votes to permit federal courts to intervene in the Terri Schiavo case and to support a constitutional amendment banning flag-burning: granting federal courts a license to meddle in private affairs and cramping free speech... we think the district can do better and would with Ms. Edwards.
In the 5th District, Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, who is approaching 30 years in Congress and is now, as the House majority leader, a major political asset for Maryland, faces only token opposition.
A new survey of 400 likely Democratic primary voters in the district shows Donna Edwards leading incumbent Albert Wynn by eight points as we head into the final days of the primary campaign. Donna Edwards' message of fighting for change and the public interest is winning supporters across the district while less than half (44%) of the voters think that Wynn is doing a good job.
I stumbled across this YouTube of an acoustic guitar version of Van Morrison's Moondance, and loved it. Thought it was the perfect mellow way to start off the day. Enjoy. Yesterday evening, I put up a post weaving together some disparate paragraphs and[...]
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