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Showing posts from April, 2006

PLEASE WATCH THIS VIDEO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

When GI Joe Says No

Christian Parenti

A young former US Army sniper wearing a desert camo uniform, an Iraqi kaffiyeh and mirrored sunglasses scans a ruined urban landscape of smashed homes, empty streets and garbage heaps. His sand-colored hat bears a small regulation-style military patch, or tab, that instead of reading "Airborne" or "Ranger" or "Special Forces" says "Shitbag"--common military parlance for bad soldier.

This isn't Baghdad or Kabul. It's the Gulf Coast, and the column of young men and women in desert uniforms carrying American flags are with Iraq Veterans Against the War. They are part of a larger peace march that is making its way from Mobile to New Orleans. This is just one of IVAW's ongoing series of actions.

In all, about thirty-five Iraq vets cycled through this weeklong procession of 250. For the young, often very broke, very busy veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan, this represents a fairly strong showing. But many casual observers, in…

The Rehabilitation of the Cold-War Liberal

By PETER BEINART
Published: April 30, 2006

This fall, for the third time since 9/11, American voters will choose between Democrats and Republicans while knowing what only one party believes about national security. In 2002, Democratic candidates tried to change the subject, focusing on Social Security and health care instead. In 2004,John Kerrysubstituted biography for ideology, largely ignoring his own extensive foreign-policy record and stressing his service in Vietnam. In this year's Senate and House races, the party looks set to reprise Michael Dukakis's old theme: competence. Rather than tell Americans what their vision is, Democrats will assure them that they can execute it better thanGeorge W. Bush.

George F. Kennan: As architect of America's first cold-war policies, he argued that the U.S. should resist the imperial temptation.

Democrats have no shortage of talented foreign-policy practitioners. Indeed, they have no shortage of worthwhile foreign-policy proposals. Eve…

Afghanistan Releases Man Involved in Private Jail

By CARLOTTA GALL
Published: April 30, 2006

KABUL,Afghanistan, April 30 — An American cameraman imprisoned in Afghanistan for his part in running a private jail and torturing hostages, was released under a presidential pardon and whisked out of the country today on a flight home via Dubai.

Edward Caraballo, 44, a filmmaker from the Bronx, was convicted with two United States servicemen, Jack Idema and Brent Bennett, in 2004 after their arrest in a house in Kabul where police found a number of detained Afghans. Mr. Caraballo had served 21 months in jail and was due for release in July. His original sentence of eight years was reduced to two years on appeal last year.

"I am not trusting it until it happens," he said hours before getting on the plane todayon a borrowed mobile phone from the prison. American embassy officials and the Afghan prison chief had informed him he was to be released and to get ready Saturday afternoon and then again this afternoon, he said. "I am ready …

Celebrities and Activists Rally for Darfur

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: April 30, 2006


WASHINGTON (AP) -- Thousands of people joined celebrities and lawmakers at a rally Sunday urging the Bush administration to use its political muscle to help end genocide in Sudan's Darfur region.

''Not on our watch,'' the crowd began chanting as a parade of speakers lined up for their turn on a stage on the National Mall, the Capitol serving as a backdrop.

''The personal motivation for a lot of us is the Holocaust,'' said Boston-based Rabbi Or Rose of Jewish Seminarians for Justice. ''Given our history and experience, we feel an obligation to stand up and speak out.''

The organizers' permit estimated a turnout of 10,000 to 15,000 for the rally, one of several planned in U.S. cities over the weekend over what theUnited Nationshas termed the world's worst humanitarian disaster.

''It is the socially responsible, good conscience thing to do,'' said Ron Fisher, who took a…

LA Times Discontinues Reporter's Column

Sun Apr 30, 11:00 AM ET

LOS ANGELES - The Los Angeles Times said Sunday it is discontinuing the column and Internet blog of a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter because he posted items online using assumed names.

The decision, reported in an editor's note on the Times' Web site, came a week after the paper suspended Michael Hiltzik's Golden State blog.

It said Hiltzik would be reassigned after serving a suspension.
"Hiltzik did not commit any ethical violations in his newspaper column, and an internal inquiry found no inaccurate reporting in his postings in his blog or on the Web," the editor's note said. "But employing pseudonyms constitutes deception and violates a central tenet of The Times' ethics guidelines: Staff members must not misrepresent themselves and must not conceal their affiliation with The Times."

Hiltzik did not immediately return phone or e-mail messages seeking comment Sunday morning.

The Times said Hiltzik "has acknowledged us…

Powell Forces Rice to Defend Iraq Planning

By LIBBY QUAID,
Associated Press Writer 2 hours, 9 minutes ago

WASHINGTON - Just back from Baghdad and eager to discuss promising developments, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice found herself knocked off message Sunday, forced to defend prewar planning and troop levels against an unlikely critic — Colin Powell, her predecessor at the State Department.

For the Bush administration, it was a rare instance of in-house dissenter going public.
On Rice's mind was the political breakthrough that had brought her and Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld to Iraq last week and cleared the way for formation of a national unity government.

Yet Powell sideswiped her by revisiting the question of whether the U.S. had a large enough force to oust Saddam Hussein and then secure the peace.

He said he advised Bush before the U.S.-led invasion in March 2003 to send more troops to Iraq, but that the administration did not follow his recommendation.

Rice, Bush's national security adviser during the run…

Colbert's White House Correspondent Dinner Performance Underscores Irony's Power And Delicacy

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by Joe Gandelman

The scene: The White House Correspondent Dinner. The time: right after President George W. Bush put in a boffo performance next to a top-notch Bush impersonator. It was a hard act to follow.But Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert most assuredly followed it in his irony-heavy TV persona of a TV News talk show host that seems reminiscent of a Fox News host with the initials B.O. (or, rather B.O'R.)What followed was a study in contrasting satirical forms — the easier task with one form (the one-liner, the visual, the lines dependent on joke construction and timing)...and the tougher task with the other (heavy irony, which relies on shared assumptions)..The result: Bush & his new performing bud brought down the house with a much "safer"and traditional form of self-effacing political humor, while Colbert's edgier Comedy Central-style humor clearly turned off some members of the audience and —Editor and Publishersuggests — perhaps Bush and his wife Lau…

Pollution slowly choking North China's largest lake to death

Fri Apr 28, 2:41 PM ET

ANXIN, China (AFP) - When a slick of pollution in north China's biggest freshwater lake left fish farms decimated in early March, locals and environmentalists were little surprised.

Large-scale fish deaths have occurred regularly since the 1980s as excessive amounts of untreated industrial waste water and raw sewage, coupled with drought and constantly falling water levels, have left Baiyangdian Lake in northern China's Hebei province choking for its life.
"When we were kids we used to drink the water straight from the lake," Liu Zhanbing, 41, a fish farmer who has lived his entire life on the banks of the lake in Dazhangzhuang village, told AFP.
"Now we can't even cook with it. We have to use well water for our drinking water."

This year's fish kill came after upstream reservoirs of waste water in the Baoding city region, home to about 10 million people, emptied their putrid sludge into streams and rivers that run into the lake, …

Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela Reject U.S. Trade

By ANITA SNOW,
Associated Press Writer Sat Apr 29, 7:04 PM ET

HAVANA - Bolivia's new left-leaning president signed a pact with Cuba and Venezuela on Saturday rejecting U.S.-backed free trade and promising a socialist version of regional commerce and cooperation.

Cuban authorities did not release copies of the so-called Bolivarian Alternative for the Americas signed by Bolivia's Evo Morales, so its contents were unclear.
Local media reported that it had the same language as the declaration signed last year by Cuban leader Fidel Castro and Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, which contained much leftist rhetoric, and few specifics, but was followed by closer economic ties between the two vehemently anti-U.S. leaders.

The agreement was "a clever mixture of politics and economics, weighted toward the politics," said Gary Hufbauer, an economist at the Institute for International Economics, a Washington think tank.

Venezuela-Cuba trade is expected to reach more than $3.5 bi…

US Now Planning Fourth Attempt To Oust Hugo Chavez

CorporateMediademonizing invective against Hugo Chavez prepping the public for planned US fourth attempt to oust the Venezuelan president.

This essay has a duel purpose. I began it initially to explain how sophisticated and effective the dominant corporateMediais in programming the public mind to believe whatever message they deliver regardless of whether it’s true which it rarely is. I chose the title Reeducation 101 - Defogging and Reversing the CorporateMedia’s Programming of the Public Mind which I’m now using as the heading of my introductory section. Along with that discussion, I then planned a detailed case study example of how they’re doing it by demonizing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez Frias with a building and resonating drumbeat of invective in advance of the US government’s fourth attempt to oust him. That discussion follows my introductory section.
REEDUCATION 101 - DEFOGGING AND REVERSING THE CORPORATEMedia‘S PROGRAMMING OF THE PUBLIC MIND

Does any reader of online progr…

Bush: the Decider Dictator

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Kurt Nimmo

I recall months ago, when folks began first murmuring about booting Donald Rumsfeld, arriving at the obvious conclusion- Donald Rumsfeld is not going anywhere, not anymore than Cheney is (short of a heart attack). Rumsfeld and Cheney are integral to the Straussian neocon hold on both the Pentagon and the Oval Office. Bush may appoint Rob Portman to head the Office of Management and Budget, and Dan Senor (former AIPAC flunky, director of the US-Israel Business Exchange, and associate at the Carlyle Group) may replace Scott McClellan, but Cheney and Rumsfeld are like white on rice.

It’s said Rumsfeld has to go because Iraq is a disaster. I beg to differ—things are going swimmingly for the Straussian neocons in Iraq. Bush never intended to bestow democracy on the Iraqi people, as claimed, and we all know about the weapons of mass destruction that never were (and a few of us said this in late 2002, as the Office of Special Plans began to circulate itsPropagandaand lies to the lik…

Donald Rumsfeld and the Tamiflu scam

Donald Rumsfeld has made a killing out of bird flu. The US Defence Secretary has made more than $5m in capital gains from selling shares in the biotechnology firm that discovered and developed Tamiflu, the drug being bought in massive amounts by Governments to treat a possible human pandemic of the disease.

More than 60 countries have so far ordered large stocks of the antiviral medication - the only oral medicine believed to be effective against the deadly H5N1 strain of the disease - to try to protect their people. The United Nations estimates that a pandemic could kill 150 million people worldwide.

Britain is about halfway through receiving an order of 14.6 million courses of the drug, which the Government hopes will avert some of the 700,000 deaths that might be expected. Tamiflu does not cure the disease, but if taken soon after symptoms appear it can reduce its severity.

The drug was developed by a Californian biotech company, Gilead Sciences. It is now made and sold by the giant …

House Republicans manage to delay vote on ethics reform legislation

By James Kuhnhenn
Knight Ridder Newspapers


WASHINGTON - House Republican leaders on Thursday narrowly defused a revolt within their ranks that would have killed lobby and ethics legislation, but then delayed a final vote on the package until next week.

The legislation still faces broad, if not unanimous, opposition from Democrats and a handful of Republican moderates who say the legislation falls far short of what Congress needs to remove the stain of scandal rising from recent criminal convictions for influence-peddling.

The legislative package, which will be voted on Tuesday, restricts some congressional travel, requires more frequent public disclosure of lobbying activity and forces public identification of sponsors of special-interest "earmarks" inserted into spending bills.

The measure's defeat would have been an embarrassing setback for House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., and Majority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio. Both vowed to tackle ethics and lobbying legislation i…

Hundreds of detainees abused, report finds

By Drew Brown
Knight Ridder Newspapers


WASHINGTON - Three human rights groups said Wednesday that they had found credible evidence that U.S. troops and government civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, had abused, tortured or killed at least 460 detainees.

The researchers said they had found 330 cases of abuse and that only about half of them had been fully investigated, and one-third never were investigated or remained unresolved. The findings are in a report by New York University's Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, Human Rights First and Human Rights Watch.

At least 600 U.S. service members or civilians have been implicated in the cases of abuse. About 400 of them have been investigated, and only one-third of those who have been investigated have faced punishment of any kind, researchers said.

Also Wednesday, Army officials confirmed that criminal charges were being considered against Lt. Col. Steven L. Jordan for his role in the Abu Ghraib prison scanda…

In Leak Cases, New Pressure on Journalists

By ADAM LIPTAK
Published: April 30, 2006


Earlier administrations have fired and prosecuted government officials who provided classified information to the press. They have also tried to force reporters to identify their sources.

But the Bush administration is exploring a more radical measure to protect information it says is vital to national security: the criminal prosecution of reporters under the espionage laws.

Such an approach would signal a thorough revision of the informal rules of engagement that have governed the relationship between the press and the government for many decades. Leaking in Washington is commonplace and typically entails tolerable risks for government officials and, at worst, the possibility of subpoenas to journalists seeking the identities of sources.

But the Bush administration is putting pressure on the press as never before, and it is operating in a judicial climate that seems increasingly receptive to constraints on journalists.

In the last year alone, a repo…

Fathoming Tibet's political future

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By Tim Luard

Many Tibetans believe that only the Dalai Lama can save Tibet from extinction.

The Dalai Lama is 71 in July

But even a Dalai Lama is mortal. And they are deeply anxious about what will happen when the present one dies.

For Tibetans, he is not just a Buddhist monk, a god and a king - the latest in a centuries'-long line of spiritual and temporal rulers - but a larger-than-life symbol of their unique civilisation.
For the past 50 years, from his sanctuary on the other side of the Himalayas, the 14th Dalai Lama has kept alive their dreams of survival as a separate people.

The Chinese definitely want to see the Dalai Lama die so they can have a Dalai Lama of their own.

Many fear that his death will rob them of their last chance of any genuine self-rule.
Others predict chaos and bloodshed. Tibetan extremists might finally feel free to resort to terrorism, giving Beijing the chance to crack down harder.

The Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959, amidst a failed uprising against the Chin…

Chinese Internet Writer Charged with Subversion

By REUTERS The New York TimesApril 27, 2006

BEIJING (Reuters) - A Chinese Internet writer has been charged with attempting to ``subvert state power'' for backing a movement by exiled dissidents to hold free elections for a new democratic government, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Yang Tianshui, 45, faces up to 15 years in prison for posting essays on the Internet supporting the ``Velvet Action of China,'' Attorney Li Jianqiang said by telephone.

Named after the ``Velvet Revolution'' that peacefully overthrew communism in the former Czechoslovakia, the movement held an online ballot for government leaders last year. But it attracted scant interest, with just over 500 people casting a vote.

The trial of Yang, who has been in custody since last December, is due to be in Nanjing, capital of the eastern coastal province of Jiangsu, in May.

Prosecutors could not immediately be reached for comment.

If convicted, Yang, a member of the China chapter of International PEN, would…

Railway raises fears for Tibet's future

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By Rupert Wingfield-Hayes BBC News, Beijing

The completion of the Tibet railway is being hailed in China as one of the world's great engineering marvels.

The longest high-altitude railway in the world, it will ease access to the remote region. Test runs are due to begin on 1 July.

Tibet's extraordinary isolation has kept it poor. Education levels and life expectancy fall well behind the rest of China. But that isolation has also helped to preserve Tibet's unique culture and way of life.

The arrival of the railway will bring tremendous change. China's communist rulers say it will open up Tibet, bringing greater prosperity for its entire people. Detractors say the opening of the railway is the death knell of an independent Tibetan culture.
It doesn't feel like our home any more

Sedeng Tibetan shop owner
Before the railway there were only two ways into Lhasa: an expensive plane ride, followed by a hair-raising touch down; or three days and nights on an overcrowded bus boun…

Caring for Veterans on the Cheap

How the Veterans' Administration has been shortchanging soldiers who come back wounded.
By Judith Coburn
April 28, 2006

On the eve of his Marine unit's assault on Falluja in November, 2004, Blake Miller read to his men from the Bible (John 14:2-3): "In my father's house, there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I leave this place and go there to prepare a place for you, so that where I may be, you may be also."

Aphotographof Miller's blood-smeared, filthy face, so reminiscent of David Douglas Duncan's photos of war-weary Marines in Vietnam, is one of the Iraq War's iconic images. Over a hundred newspapers ran it. But asthe San Francisco Chroniclereported recently, Miller, a decorated war hero, has been shattered psychologically by Iraq. Disabled by flashbacks and nightmares, he continues to pay daily and dearly for his service there.

His eloquent commitment to his fellow Marines is the highest value in military life. But the Bush…

Caring for Veterans on the Cheap

How the Veterans' Administration has been shortchanging soldiers who come back wounded.
By Judith Coburn
April 28, 2006

On the eve of his Marine unit's assault on Falluja in November, 2004, Blake Miller read to his men from the Bible (John 14:2-3): "In my father's house, there are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I leave this place and go there to prepare a place for you, so that where I may be, you may be also."

Aphotographof Miller's blood-smeared, filthy face, so reminiscent of David Douglas Duncan's photos of war-weary Marines in Vietnam, is one of the Iraq War's iconic images. Over a hundred newspapers ran it. But asthe San Francisco Chroniclereported recently, Miller, a decorated war hero, has been shattered psychologically by Iraq. Disabled by flashbacks and nightmares, he continues to pay daily and dearly for his service there.

His eloquent commitment to his fellow Marines is the highest value in military life. But the Bush…

The Predator State

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Commentary: Enron, Tyco, WorldCom... and the U.S. government?
By James K. Galbraith


WHAT IS THE REAL NATURE of American capitalism today? Is it a grand national adventure, as politicians and textbooks aver, in which markets provide the framework for benign competition, from which emerges the greatest good for the greatest number? Or is it the domain of class struggle, even a “global class war,” as the title of Jeff Faux’s new book would have it, in which the “party of Davos” outmaneuvers the remnants of the organized working class?
The doctrines of the “law and economics” movement, now ascendant in our courts, hold that if people are rational, if markets can be “contested,” if memory is good and information adequate, then firms will adhere on their own to norms of honorable conduct. Any public presence in the economy undermines this. Even insurance—whether deposit insurance or Social Security—is perverse, for it encourages irresponsible risktaking. Banks will lend to bad clients, workers…

Still no reaction from Yahoo! after fourth case of collaboration with chinese police uncovered

Reporters Without Borders called on Yahoo! to withdraw its Internet servers from China as a fourth case was revealed of the company’s collaboration with Chinese police that led to the jailing of a cyberdissident.

Human Rights in China (HRIC) has said that the verdict in the case of Wang Xiaoning, 55, sentenced to ten years in prison in September 2003 for posting “subversive” articles online, referred to collaboration by the US Internet company.

"Chinese journalists and dissidents used to trust Yahoo! more than local companies, to protect the confidentiality of their electronic communications,” Reporters Without Borders said.
“This company has betrayed them by shamefully collaborating with the police. It has said today that it is ‘upset’ by the situation, but the time for lamentation is past. We expect Yahoo! executives, particularly Jerry Yang, to announce that they will withdraw their email servers from China.”

Wang, was arrested on 1st September 2002 and sentenced on 12 September 2…

At least 117 journalists injured in pro-democracy demonstrations

Reporters Without Borders condemns reprisals against journalists working for government media

Reporters Without Borders has paid tribute to the courage of Nepalese journalists who braved a targeted onslaught on the press to cover popular demonstrations which led to the restoration of parliamentary democracy.

The press freedom organisation recorded at least 117 cases of journalists suffering physical attacks and injury - including a score from bullet wounds - inflicted on them by the security forces, while they were covering pro-democracy demonstrations.
It said that in the majority of cases reporters, who were clearly identifiable, were deliberately targeted by the police.

”Police brutality which caused the death of at least 15 people and left more than two thousand more injured between the 6 and 17 April 2006, would never have been made known to international public opinion, if Nepalese journalists had not taken considerable risks to do their job,” said the organisation, member of a coal…

Target: Negroponte & Iran

By Robert Parry,http://www.consortiumnews.com

In a replay of the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction charade, neoconservative supporters of George W. Bush are pushing the U.S. intelligence community to take a more alarmist view about Iran’s nuclear program – only this time, the nation’s top spy John Negroponte is resisting the pressure unlike former CIA chief George Tenet.

Tenet joined in Bush’s hyping of the WMD evidence about Iraq – famously telling the President that the case was a “slam dunk.” But Negroponte is defying hardliners who want a worst-case scenario on Iran’s capabilities. Instead, he is citing Iran’s limited progress in refining uranium and their use of a cascade of only 164 centrifuges.

“According to the experts that I consult, achieving — getting 164 centrifuges to work is still a long way from having the capacity to manufacture sufficient fissile material for a nuclear weapon,” Negroponte said in an interview with NBC News on April 20.

“Our assessment is that the prospect…

As Profits Soar, Oil Industry Unapologetic

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE and BRAD FOSS
AP Business Writers © 2006 The Associated Press

— The oil industry's massive first-quarter profits this week triggered another round of election-year outrage from President Bush and members of Congress, who spoke up on behalf of angry constituents feeling pinched at the pump.

There's little that either lawmakers or the industry can do in the short-term about the high oil prices that yielded those profits, however, as long as energy markets stay tense and the global economy is expanding. Instead, it would take a decision by consumers and businesses to consume less fuel, a choice they have yet to make, analysts said.

The country's three largest petroleum companies _ Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp. and ConocoPhillips _ posted combined first-quarter income of almost $16 billion, an increase of 17 percent from the year before.

-continued-

Foreclosure nightmare

Rising interest rates, outrageous energy costs and a sputtering housing market are all blamed on amassive 72% increasein home foreclosures compared to the same period last year.

People just can't keep up with their bills, and it takes just 90 days of missing your house payment before most lenders begin the tragic process of taking your house.
The first three months of 2006 have also seen a big increase compared to the last quarter of 2005, with38% more foreclosures.

Today, there's a new foreclosure for every 358 home mortgages in the United States.
"Foreclosures have now increased in four consecutive quarters and are on track to goabove 1.2 million in 2006," RealtyTrac CEO James J. Saccacio said Wednesday.

That would put one out of every hundred American homes in foreclosure.

But rather than being spread equally across the country, foreclosures are clustered in the same states where the housing boom was craziest: states such as Florida, Nevada, California, Georgia, Colorad…

HANK"S BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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THE HENRY ROLLINS SHOW PREMIERES THIS SATURDAY NIGHT

Following last year’s monthly television series Henry’s Film Corner, the all new THE HENRY ROLLINS SHOW premieres on the Independent Film Channel (IFC) this Saturday, April 1 at 10pm ET. The expanded half-hour talk show airs every Saturday night at 10 pm ET and 1 am ET with a encore airing the following Thursday night at 11 pm and 1 am ET. The new format incorporates an eclectic selection of musical acts, a wider range of celebrity guests, and new, original field segments. Maverick film director Oliver Stone and musical guests Sleater-Kinney join HENRY for the show’s premiere. Other guests scheduled for the show’s initial 20-episode run include Ozzy Osbourne, Chuck D, and German auteur Werner Herzog, while upcoming musical performers include Jurassic 5, John Doe, and Frank Black. Tune in this Saturday to catch the premiere episode and click to http://www.ifctv.com/henry/ to check out exclusive content (longer interviews, music) not …

Bush orders Darfur suspects punished

Friday, April 28th, 2006

George Bush has ordered sanctions against four men linked to the troubles in the region of Darfur that the US has labelled as genocide.

The US president followed the example of the UN Security Council on Tuesday and imposed sanctions on four Sudanese accused of abuses in the conflict.

Bush also issued an executive order freezing the assets of anyone deemed to have posed a threat to the peace process or stability in Darfur. The order also prohibited US companies or individuals from dealing with those implicated.

For the past three years militia, backed by the Sudanese government, are alleged to have murdered thousands people from tribes in the region, burning villages and forcing more than two million people into refugee camps in Darfur and neighbouring Chad.

The four men subject to sanctions include a leader of the Khartoum-backed Janjawid militia and a commander of the rebel Sudanese Liberation Army.

Bush said he was taking the action because the violence in Darfur…

“Boycott Da Vinci Code film”: top Vatican official

Friday, April 28th, 2006

ROME (Reuters) - The Vatican stepped up its offensive against “The Da Vinci Code” on Friday when a top official close to Pope Benedict blasted the book as full of anti-Christian lies and urged Catholics to boycott the film.

The latest broadside came from Archbishop Angelo Amato, the number two official in the Vatican doctrinal office which was headed by Pope Benedict until his election last year.
Amato, addressing a Catholic conference in Rome, called the book “stridently anti-Christian .. full of calumnies, offences and historical and theological errors regarding Jesus, the Gospels and the Church.”

He added: “I hope that you all will boycott the film.”

The movie, which is being released by Sony Pictures division Columbia Pictures, stars Tom Hanks and premieres next month at the Cannes film festival in France. Sony Pictures is the Media wing of Japanese electronics giant Sony Corp (NYSE:SNE - news).

Amato said the book, written by Dan Brown, had been hugely successf…

Congressmen to sue over budget

Thursday, April 27th, 2006

Ten members of the U.S. House of Representatives will file a lawsuit tomorrow seeking to block implementation of a budget law as signed by President George W. Bush,RAW STORYhas learned.

In February, the President signed a version of the “Deficit Reduction Act” that never passed the House. The draft signed by Bush omitted provisions from the version that passed the House that required the government pay for 36 months of durable medical equipment rentals for those who qualified. The version Bush signed allows just 13 months–a difference of 23 months rental
and $2 billion in spending.

According to the Constitution of the United States, the same version of a bill must pass both houses of Congress before it can be signed by the President to become law.

The plaintiffs seeking to block the law are all ranking Democratic members of committees affected by the differences.

According to earlier published accounts, House Republican leadership notified the President that it h…

Neil gives it away

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Neil Young couldn't wait for his Bush-smackin' new record to reach stores next week, so he put the whole thingon the Internettoday.
You can listen to theentire CD online here.
The recording and mixing was done in a few weeks starting March 29, and Reprise Records got its first listen last week.
"Living With War" is a 10-song album recorded live with a three-piece band, some trumpet and a 100-person choir that was added the week after the sessions,Young says on his website.
It's got lots of raw distorted "Ragged Glory"-style lead guitar from Young andangry lyricsaboutbeing lied to, spied on and ripped off.
Young has alsolaunched a blogand the inevitable MySpace page.
-I listened to about half the album, and it was really good. I actually liked it. A huge compliment coming from me.

The Devil wins again

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A thousand-year campaign by Christians to stop musicians from playing the "Devil's Interval" has been a complete failure, theBBC reportstoday.
The tritoneis a spooky-sounding musical interval that medieval Catholics believed was actually evil. Monks weren't allowed to sing the notes and composers couldn't use them.
As the church began to lose its power during theReformation and the Enlightenment, composers ignored religious rules and used the Diabolus in Musica with abandon.
The dramatic tritone can be heard everywhere today, from the first notes of "The Simpsons" theme to the opening of "Purple Haze," Wagner operas to the orchestration for almost any suspense movie. Black Sabbath got its signature satanic sound by plodding along on tritones -- a hard-rock trademark even "Christian" metal bandsreligiously copy.
"In the Middle Ages when people were ignorant and scared, when they heard something like that and felt that reaction in the…

Bush Against Singing National Anthem In Spanish

MIAMI -- The national anthem should be sung in English -- not Spanish -- President George W. Bush declared Friday, amid growing restlessness over whether to grant legal status to immigrants who are in the United States illegally.
"One of the important things here is that we not lose our national soul," the president exclaimed.
A Spanish-language version of the national anthem was released Friday by a British music producer, Adam Kidron, who said he wanted to honor America's immigrants.

When the president was asked at a Rose Garden question-and-answer session whether the anthem should be sung in Spanish, he replied: "I think the national anthem ought to be sung in English, and I think people who want to be a citizen of this country ought to learn English and they ought to learn to sing the national anthem in English."

He made his remarks on the matters during a wide-ranging briefing with reporters.
"I think people who want to be citizens of this country ought to…

Trapped inside a Disneyland costume

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Imagine standing under a hot California sun all day, while wearing some ridiculous costume as hoards of strange children mill about. Sounds awful, doesn't it? Welcome to Disneyland.
After five years of stuffing herself into a variety of costumes, including Eeyore and Pluto,Crystal Nettles is finally free to tell the truth.
"Sometimes teenagers will get violent; they'll kick you. It happens all the time, and it can get really bad. I've known people who were on disability because of injuries they got. Certain characters really get kicked around," she told Greg Stacy of the OC Weekly.
According to Nettles, the children are particularly hard on Winnie the Pooh and his friend Eeyore even more so. She can't fathom why.
"He's so depressed already. People are evil."
Not only is Pooh the object of scorn, "being" him is no picnic.
"Winnie the Pooh has a really big, heavy head. Smaller people play him, because of his stature, and that head can hur…

'America loves Santa more than war!'

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The US Army's Chief of Staff expressed outrage Wednesday thatAmerica spends more money on Christmas decorations than on defense.
Gen. Peter Schoomakerwas testifying before a Congressional budget committee, fighting for the Bush administration's $440 billion defense budget.
"Here's what is amazing to me. ... What do you think we spent on plastic Santa Clauses and tinsel and all this stuff for Christmas last year ... the holidays?'' Schoomaker asked during a meeting with reporters. "The answer is $438.5 billion, roughly equivalent to the defense budget.'"
But the general's numbers are a bit off.
The $440 billion the White house is requesting doesn't include the cost of the war in Iraq. As for the $438 billion figure he got from a newspaper clipping quoting the National Retail Association, it's actually $435 and includes the Thanksgiving holiday season.
Despite the inaccuracies, one the the general is right about is that our defense spending …