Archive for November 18th, 2009
Absolutely astonishing. The Maricopa County (Phoenix and environs) Sheriff’s Department is totally out of control. Watch the security video at the link.
Have you ever purchased something online, pressed the "Continue" button, and then, months later, discovered that you had signed yourself up for a membership program that was charging your credit card 20 bucks a month for something you had never heard of and never knew you were buying? Well, guess what: these scams are a multi-billion dollar business, they’re partnered with lots of brand name sites you’d think you could trust, and they do everything they can to sign you up for their "services" without you knowing about it.
More here from Felix Salmon, but make sure your blood pressure is in good shape before you click over to read about it. Previous background about legal harrassment of a blogger who wrote about this a couple of months ago here. (Note: blood pressure warning still applies.)
Do not trust businesses.
On the whole, has humanity proved an asset to life on earth? Or would life on earth had been better off if humanity had failed to arise?
How old is old enough for students to be approached by military recruiters?
High school? Junior high? Fourth grade? How about ten weeks into kindergarten?
Last week at the dinner table, my five-year-old son announced blithely, "Soldiers came to school today." He then added, "They only kill bad people. They don’t kill good people."
He made the announcement with the same levity he uses in recalling the plot line of Frog and Toad or a Nemo video.
My wife and I looked at each other incredulously.
"Soldiers came to school? What do you mean?" I asked.
He repeated himself and then I remembered – it was "Career Day" at school. My son mentioned a bus driver too, but it was the soldier who stuck out in his mind. When my wife asked if the soldier was cool, he nodded yes.
The soldier had given my five-year-old a gift. From his yellow backpack, he produced a six-inch, white, plastic ruler with big, bold, red letters reading "ARMY NATIONAL GUARD" next to a waving American flag and below that www.1-800-GO-GUARD.com.
So, now we know the answer to the above question…
Opposition to the Obama administration’s plan to try alleged 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his confederates in a federal court in New York City is hardening into two camps. One is concerned that we may be unwittingly playing into the terrorists’ hands. The other is incensed that we already have. What both camps share, besides a kind of unhinged logic and complete disregard for the legal process, is an obsessive fascination with the accused. The result is a broad willingness to sacrifice our commitment to legal principles in favor of the symbolic satisfaction of crushing the hopes and dreams of a motley group of criminals.
Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, firmly in the first camp, is hopping mad that we are poised to make all the suspect’s dreams come true. As he said on ABC’s This Week: "Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, when he was first arrested, asked to be brought to New York. I didn’t think we were in the business of granting the requests of terrorists."
Funny, that. I didn’t think we were in the business of caring one way or another what the terrorists want from us. The criminal justice system is as uninterested in advancing the goals of the accused as it is in frustrating them. The most vocal critics seem to forget that our legal system exists not to grant requests or dash hopes but to bring people to justice.
Giuliani seems to object mainly to trying terrorists in his backyard. Presumably, he would be fine prosecuting KSM in criminal court in Virginia. Or at least he was back when Zacarias Moussaoui was convicted on terror charges. At the time, Giuliani had this to say: "I was in awe of our system … that we can give people a fair trial, that we are exactly what we say we are. We are a nation of law." What Giuliani objects to, it seems, is the symbolic defeat of trying these defendants in the same place the crime occurred—hardly an exceptional undertaking in the criminal justice system. In his view, it’s somehow rude to New York itself to try the terrorists there…
Evidence was growing this weekend that babies born in the Iraqi city of Fallujah – scene in 2004 of one of the few set-piece battles of the invasion – are exhibiting high rates of mortality and birth defects.
In September this year, say campaigners, 170 children were born at Fallujah General Hospital, 24 per cent of whom died within seven days. Three-quarters of these exhibited deformities, including "children born with two heads, no heads, a single eye in their foreheads, or missing limbs". The comparable data for August 2002 – before the invasion – records 530 births, of whom six died and only one of whom was deformed.
The data – contained in a letter sent by a group of British and Iraqi doctors and campaigners to the United Nations last month – presaged claims made in a report in The Guardian yesterday that there has been a sharp rise in birth defects in the city. The paper quoted Fallujah General’s director and senior specialist, Dr Ayman Qais, as saying: "We are seeing a very significant increase in central nervous system anomalies… There is also a very marked increase in the number of cases of brain tumours." Earlier this year Sky News reported a Fallujah grave-digger saying that, of the four or five new-born babies he buries every day, most have deformities…
Continue reading. George Bush’s needless invasion of Iraq continues its enormous human costs.