politics

January 27: march on Washington, D.C., to tell Congress to end the war

Thousands of people will come to Washington on January 27th to tell the new Democratic Congress to do the job for which it was elected: to stop Bush's war. Demonstrators are asked to assemble on the Mall, between 3rd and 7th Streets, at 11 am; march begins 1pm.

Flyers can be downloaded from www.unitedforpeace.org.

Iraq's puppet government beheads Saddam Hussein's half-brother

One continual talking-point of apologists for our contemporary Crusade in the Middle East is how barbaric "those people" are because they execute people by beheading. Remember that these apologists are, by and large, people who are in favor of Americans executing our own criminals by electric shock or by injecting an agonizing potassium chloride solution directly into their veins as they lie paralyzed; describing the irony is left as an exercise for the reader.

Anyway, their argument is that our invasion of Iraq is justified because we're bringing civilized democratic government to the region.

According to a report from Reuters, in another botched execution, Saddam Hussein's half-brother Barzan al-Tikrit was beheaded by the noose during his hanging.

Besides being ghastly, disturbing, and inhumane in and of itself, this can only inflame hatred of the Iraqi government and its American sponsors, i.e., us.

interview with Army officer who refuses Iraq deployment orders

Yahoo's "Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone" blog interviews First Lieutenan Ehren Watada, the first U.S. commissioned officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq.

Watada announced last June that he would not follow orders to participate in an illegal war. He has avoided charges of desertion by staying on base (Fort Lewis, Washington), but faces counts of "missing troop movement" and "conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman." He faces up to six years in prison.

USA Today on Prosper.com and microcredit

I though Prosper was an interesting idea when I came across it a few months ago. In USA Today, Laura Vanderkam takes a look at it in the context of the larger microcredit movement:

Microcredit - small loans to people such as Miller who are neglected by traditional banks - is big news these days. Muhammad Yunus, founder of the microcredit Grameen Bank of Bangladesh, accepted the Nobel Peace Prize last week for his work developing the concept. But not all microcredit customers look like Grameen's (Bangladeshis borrowing $100 to buy a cow), and not all microcredit enterprises are charities like Grameen, either.

Reuters: U.S. withdraws demand for return of secret memo

Reuters reports that the federal government has given up its attempt to use a grand jury subpoena to suppress information obtained the ACLU:

"The issue was not the content of the document but the government's unprecedented effort to suppress it," said ACLU Legal Director Steven Shapiro. "Now that the document has been declassified, it should be plain for all to see that it should never have been classified to begin with, and that the grand jury subpoena was overreaching and inappropriate."

more political interference in American science

LiveScience reports on new rules from the Bushies for scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey, putting controls on research that might go against the party line:

“I feel as though we've got someone looking over our shoulder at every damn thing we do. And to me that's a very scary thing. I worry that it borders on censorship,'' said Jim Estes, an internationally recognized marine biologist who works for the geological unit. “The explanation was that this was intended to ensure the highest possible quality research,'' said Estes, a researcher at the agency for more than 30 years. “But to me it feels like they're doing this to keep us under their thumbs. It seems like they're afraid of science. Our findings could be embarrassing to the administration.''

pray on your own time, please

Something I posted on Slashdot today (quoted material is another poster to whom I'm replying):


The anti-christian community utilizes the same methods in trying to enforce where/when people can pray or trying to change decorations on a holiday celebrating the birth of Jesus.

You are absolutely free to pray anywhere and anyway you like - on your own time. (In theory. If you're Muslim, well, sorry.)

You are free to put up decorations commemorating any deities,
heroes, mythological beats, prophets, or demigods you choose - on your own property.

Requiring that people do their jobs in a professional manner
(e.g., teachers and military officers should not be spending their work time trying to convert others to their beliefs), and requiring that governments neither promote nor restrict religion, is not
"anti-Christian", it's pro-professionalism and pro-liberty.

(Oh, and let's be honest and admit that Xmas is a pagan celebration wrapped in a thin Xian veneer, ok?)

--

Mother Jones: 12 climate tipping points, and the tipping point in human perception to stop them

A heavy article at MotherJones.com investigates a dozen "tipping points" for global warming, any of which could cause sudden and catastrophic climate change - and asks about the thirteenth tipping point, for our perception of it all:

IN 2004, JOHN SCHELLNHUBER, distinguished science adviser at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research in the United Kingdom, identified 12 global-warming tipping points, any one of which, if triggered, will likely initiate sudden, catastrophic changes across the planet. Odds are you've never heard of most of these tipping points, even though your entire genetic legacy—your children, your grandchildren, and beyond—may survive or not depending on their status.

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