politics

Study suggests there could over 1,000 fingerprint identification errors a year in the U.S.

Are there a large number of criminal convictions based on junk science? LiveScience briefly reports on a study by UC Irvine criminologist Simon Cole, who estimates that there may be as many as 1,900 mistaken fingerprint matches a year in the U.S.

Can we please smack the next person to say "death tax"?

Listening to To The Point while washing dishes last night, I found myself resisting the urge to throw things at the radio during an interview with wingnut Senator Rick Santorum (pick your link: Dan Savage style or Senate website style). No, not because of his famous homophobia (not this time), but because of his references to the inheritance tax as the "death tax".

Lack of confidence in police honesty

The Baltimore Sun reports on a new grand jury convened to prepare a report suggesting ways to restore public confidence in the Baltimore Department.

As evidence that this is a problem worthy of its attention, McCurdy told the grand jury about two recent cases in which city judges doubted the word of police officers.

In the past two weeks, two weapons violations cases have crumbled - and convicted felons who admitted carrying loaded revolvers were able to avoid five-year prison sentences - because judges believed the guns might have been discovered illegally.

Mike Tidwell: "Get Used To It: New Orleans is Our Future"

I'm not quite sure when I first heard about how a hurricane like Katrina could destroy New Orleans; I know it was at least a few years ago. Mike Tidwell wrote a book about it in 2003: Bayou Farewell: The Rich Life and Tragic Death of Louisiana's Cajun Coast. No one paid much attention to the book then, but since Katrina struck, he's been on "Meet the Press", CNN (three times), Fox, MSNBC, CBS, and NPR. He says, "[M]y main objective in all of these interviews is to raise awareness of how climate change will soon turn every coastal city in the world into a New Orleans unless we make a rapid switch to clean, renewable energy."

Since he pretty much hit it on the nose before, sounds like it might be a good idea to listen to him now, no? Read his essay, which makes clear just how much of the Katrina tragedy was a result of poor environmental policy, here.

Cuts for farm conservation programs and food assistance

Congress has been ordered to cut $3 billion from farm and nutritional programs by the Bush Administration. Of course, they're not thinking of cutting the billions of corporate welfare that flows to agribusiness concerns, but instead planning on cutting farm conservation programs and food assistance for hundreds of thousands of poor people.

Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley (R) has proposed an Senate bill 385, an modest amendment to USDA appropriations that would cap federal subsidies to corporate farms at a quarter-million dollars per year and thus leave more funding for protecting hungry people and the land itself. You can write your Senator to support this bill through OCA's website.

My new short-term hero: guy who yelled "Go Fuck Yourself, Mr. Cheney!"

Originally saw this on the Daily Show. Seems VP Dick Cheney was touring the second Gulf region he and George have helped to destroy, and while the cameras were on him, one of the locals summed up the resident's feelings for him with the same invitation Cheney delivered to Patrick Leahy a while back: "Go fuck yourself, Mr Cheney!"

I want to buy that man a beer.

Google: web says Bush == failure

Nothing quite like Google for reading the thoughts of the world as expressed on the web. Try a Google search on the word "failure" and what's the first entry? The official White House web site's biography of the George W. Bush.

That would be a lot funnier if it wasn't for the thousands of people left dead, maimed, or destitute because of Bush's criminal and incompetent behavior. But hey - a Google search for "impeachment" brings up www.VoteToImpeach.org, former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark's organization devoted to giving W the treatment he has so richly earned.

You know, it occurs to me that in a few months, after all the Katrina refugees have at least been fed, families reunited, and have roofs over their heads again, the impeachment of George W. Bush would make a great Christmas gift to them.

Federal court: Bush has authority to make you disappear

A federal appeals court has ruled that all the government has to do to make inconveniences like due process go away, is label you a "suspected enemy combatant". They can then hold you indefinitely without charge, even if you are a United States citizen.

Yet another bold step forward by our government in freeing itself from hindrances like the Constitution.

Katrina: Hurricane experience by two who made it out

Forwarded to me by our good friend Mike Gurklis:

LARRY BRADSHAW and LORRIE BETH SLONSKY are emergency medical services (EMS)
workers from San Francisco and contributors to Socialist Worker. They were
attending an EMS conference in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck.
They spent most of the next week trapped by the flooding--and the martial
law cordon around the city.

Hurricane Katrina-Our Experiences

Larry Bradshaw, Lorrie Beth Slonsky

Two days after Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans, the Walgreen's
store at the corner of Royal and Iberville streets remained locked.
The dairy display case was clearly visible through the widows. It was
now 48 hours without electricity, running water, plumbing. The milk,
yogurt, and cheeses were beginning to spoil in the 90-degree heat. The
owners and managers had locked up the food, water, pampers, and
prescriptions and fled the City. Outside Walgreen's windows, residents
and tourists grew increasingly thirsty and hungry.

FEMA adds insult to injury by requiring use of Internet Explorer

So let's say you're a Katrina refugee - sorry, that's not PC, evacuee, but that's another story - and you've found refuge at a friends' house. And let's say said friend has a computer. Can you go to register for aid from FEMA on-line? Only if your friend does business with a corporate criminal, Microsoft. MSNBC (ironically, a Microsoft - NBC joint venture) reports:

The good news: If you've survived Hurricane Katrina, the government will let you register for help online. The bad news: But only if the computer you're using is running Windows.

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